If my face doesn’t say “go away”, you aren’t looking hard enough.

I’ve lived a hard life, it’s true.  I know what you’re thinking.. “Oh sure, everyone has lived a hard life.”  I truly detest when people use the circumstances of their past or present life to try and feel superior or get attention, so please be advised that I am trying very hard to not do either of these.  I simply need to vent.  I need to get all of this commotion out of my head and see if I am or am not, in fact, alone in this line of thinking.  If I am, it’s not really any skin off my back.  Onto the main course!

You see, I’ve been around the block and I know how it goes.  That’s such a cliched saying, but the older I get.. the more vaguely accurate I find it to be.  It alludes to nothing at all but leaves the listener with the understanding that you know a thing or two about the subject.  I suppose it is very fitting for discussing a subject that many do not like to think about.  It’s unpleasant to lose one’s mind, and even more so for other people to have to hear about it.  It’s like chronic pain – if people just keep the ‘loonies’ on the lower rung of the ladder, then that must mean said people will never suffer such a tragedy.  Afterall, you must do something horrible to lose your mind.

No, you just have to go through some pretty horrible things.  I won’t get into the details that drip with secrecy.  The ones that would be coveted by any fiction author worth their merit in ink.  I keep those things to myself.  Instead, let’s open another can of worms today.

When you lose your mind the first time, it’s quite scary.  Oh yes, you can do it more than once.  Trust me. The first time though, you become aware of the frail existence of humanity.  It’s like having a near death experience – you begin to take a new appreciation for life.  You can even get a high off this newly found zeal, but it can be dangerous.  It’s kind of like going full-tilt Manic.  Somehow, instead of all the “care givers” telling you to calm down and balance out, they encourage such behavior.  They have the misguided notion that someone with such exuberance must be on the road to health and recovery.  They are mental illness workers and they still fall for the age old, ladder rung mentality.  It’s kind of funny, in a dark ages sort of way.  It’s a grim reminder of the realities you will face once you leave the comforting walls of recovery.  But you soon leave, and return, and leave, and return, etc.. etc.. etc.

Finally, a crossroads is met upon.  A life-changing, near death crossroads.  This is it, make it or break it.  You have to fight your way out of yourself and fight off those very people who are claiming to help you.  The healthcare workers that scream at you for being too depressed to get out of bed to go to the non-mandatory group therapy session.  Literally stand beside your bed, and scream.  Or the therapist that starts to play with himself mid session, and kept doing so even as you walked out – leaving the door wide open for the whole waiting room to see.  These  people got into the mental health profession for a reason, and they still have that reason.  They thought they could fix themselves only to find it the equivalent of a car changing it’s own oil.  It just doesn’t work that way.

Instead of buying into their path to recovery, you have to build your own.  AND you have to do so while convincing them that you are still on their path.  It’s a strange little tight rope walk, but I’ve learned to do it well over the years.  It makes me think of what it must be like to live in a Communist or Dictatorship society.  Instead of modern therapies, I have found that intense meditation, exercise and diet, and a healthy dose of objectivity go far longer than paying someone else to give you their “professional opinion”.  It didn’t take long for me to get tired of other people trying to run my life.  I wish it had taken less time.

At any rate, here I am again.  I have already faced the many demons that exist in the nooks and crannies of my psyche.  I had to, to survive.  The same demons that others run from, I eye suspiciously and they crawl back in their holes.  To say they are gone or are better would be absurd.  They are demons, they don’t go away.  They don’t get better.  You just get used to living with them and find better ways to cope.  One of those ways is being able to accept reality for what it is.  Being able to see and trying to accept the objective reality versus the subjective one.  I have found it difficult as of late.  I can feel every fiber in my being screaming to me from my subjective reality.  I can hear my sense of entitlement flare up, my ego playing background chorus.  It’s hard to try and see the reality of a situation with such din ringing in my ears.  I still try, though.  I often succeed, after much struggle and often banging my head against a wall.  And when I see what is going on (and not the exaggerated version everyone else is trying to commit to), and compromise with other people’s perceptions of the current situation – I feel better.  Better than I would if I had sung my own perceptions at the top of my lungs, drowning out all the rest.  Still, despite being able to do these things, I can feel it.

It’s in the background, but it’s always there.  It’s like one of those dull, constant headaches.  Those are the worst ones because they eventually wear you down, threadbare.  I’d really hate to get to that point again, so I’m taking precautions.  Again, acceptance is key.  I am making sure not to play ladder games with myself.  Poo-pooing my intuitiveness would surely mean a major setback.  So I listen.  I hear that pesky demon creeping out of it’s dark crevice in my mind.  I hear you over there.  I know what you are up to.  We’ve been through this a dozen times and I know all your tricks.  All of them.  I am not going through that again so we can do this the hard way, or you can crawl back in your hole.

They usually crawl back in their hole.  This time, though.. the headache keeps throbbing.  Always in the background but always there.  Tenacious little devil.

I don’t usually talk about these things.  People automatically assume the exaggerated, media-hyped worse.  It must be voices or paranoid delusions!  They don’t know what it is really like.  They don’t understand that it is simply a fight to keep myself civilized.  I can very easily become testy, moody, and down right unbearable to be around.  I try, and often succeed, to be polite and empathetic.  I’ve had to practice it because it’s not something I would do if I had the choice.  I would love nothing more than to forget all the absurd and unnecessary squabbling of the people around me and to find a nice little deserted island to settle down on.  I guess we live in an age where a longing for solitude is a mental condition.

Of course, I get the opposite as well.  People who do the whole ladder thing.  “Oh everyone gets that way, dear..”  *pat pat* on the head.  Spare me.  Everyone does not get this way.  If they did, there would be no Facebook.  There would be no social media.  Because there would be no social. And it’s funny I am really this way.  Many people tell me how nice I am, or how thoughtful.  I have to be.  It is my sanity.  It is how I stay alive in this supersaturated social world.  I do not require people’s opinions, information about their day, or even a passing hello.  But everyone else does and if I don’t ask opinions, how someone’s day went, or smile and say, “Hello” in passing, then I would probably be a very mean person indeed. Not because they would think such minor social faux pas as mean, but  only because it would allow the other not-so-social aspects of myself to emerge. In fact, when I am not being social I can begin to feel a sort of panic overtake me.  I begin to force myself to converse with the people around me to prevent myself from lapsing back into isolation and anti-social behavior.  Being social, in many aspects, is my therapy.  I guess that’s why I hate it so much.  Taking medicine is never fun.

My problem is that I am at a loss for words why other people cannot simply use their own minds to figure out situations or solve (what seem to me to be) basic problems before they become larger.  But no, people seem to thrive off of exaggeration and misinformation.  They actually create problems to get dramatic attention.  It’s so tiresome.  It comes in many forms.. People that have a misplaced sense of entitlement and feel they are most important. People that exaggerate the circumstances in their lives to manipulate others around them. People that think they must cowtail to everyone else around them (codependency).  People that think they have to do everything for everyone in order for it to get done right.  People that think only their way of thinking is right and they must proclaim their religious, political, etc etc way of thinking to everyone else to save them.  People, people, people.. manipulating, gossiping, backstabbing.  Ugh, I am so over it.  If there is a round object in front of me,  I would like to investigate it to see if it’s a ball, or an egg.. can I eat it?  I would love that. I love to eat.  But so many other people would do negative things.  Become territorial over the object without even knowing what it is in the first place, not know how to use it but claim to be an expert, destroy it because they claim it meant harm even though it didn’t.. etc etc.  You can replace “round object” with just about anything and get the same response.  Hell, I’ve had coworkers get into cat fights over cardboard boxes.  Cardboard.. boxes.  I am at a loss lately.

Thankfully, I find reprieve in the small things.  Books, music, crafts.  Furry little friends.  Without these things in my life, I think I would have become like the other old hags I see on a daily basis.  Always sour faced, nothing positive to say, and ever quick to try and make others do things they know they don’t want to do.  Must. Not. Be. A. Bitch.  Deep breaths.  Breathing is good for you.  Be social, be polite, and above all else – be yourself.  Ah, but that is an oxymoron for me. I guess I’ll just have to settle for being as much of myself as I am allowed to be.

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