Mental Health

For the ones who cry too much, even if that’s only me

Let me tell you a story.

Credit: It’s a short story within “The Nobodies Album.” That book itself is a novel, with a small collection of short stories throughout that build on the theme of the actual novel. And I’m going to completely go all spoiler on one of the short stories, but there is no spoiler for the novel as a whole. This short story alone is really a great look at humanity, and worth the entire cost of the book I promise.

It’s called “The Human Slice”, about a world where everyone forgets all the unhappy memories. No one knows why. But the rare few who remember, those people are called The Heavies, because they’re such downers! Why would anyone want to bring up the unhappy past?

One family had a trauma just before the memories were taken – a toddler dying. But the family forgets, and only the grandma remembers, the only Heavy. The grandma reminds them of their past, and they all have various feelings of hearing it – some wanting to live in blissful ignorance, some wanting to know like really know their own past as their own. As this short story progresses, we find out a lone granddaughter remembers too, and is simply pretending to be like everybody else. Happy. Blissful. Forgetful.

When they visit the scene of the accident, the grandma finds the girl in tears. It’s almost like a reuniting for them. They are once again together to suffer their grief, no longer in it alone. It’s hopeful. They can finally chat about the memories together, work through it together. And then, the ending. The granddaughter wakes up to breakfast and asks grandma – “Will you take me to put flowers on Jonah’s grave?” and grandma says, “Who’s Jonah?”

Boom! What an ending! She forgot, ya’ll! I rarely have the urge to throw a book across the room, but I was so close with that. SO GOOD! and so terrifying. The granddaughter finally admits her secret and has a companion to grieve with, and the memories are taken from yet another! Which leads us to think “poor granddaughter” of course, but also what is going on in the world and will it not stop until no sad memory is left?


 

So why am I telling you this tragically beautiful story? Because sometimes I forget that pain isn’t the end. That sorrow being taken away isn’t the answer.

The story brings up so many quandaries, of people no longer knowing what dangers they have encountered. Kids punch other kids and say “It’s okay, they won’t remember it later.” Students don’t remember the sad parts of history to take the test, but obviously repercussions go further than that. An abused wife would never remember to hide from her husband and call 911. A teenager would consider getting back together with the boyfriend who cheated on her.

Sometimes sorrow is a protector.

But also, sometimes sorrow is proof you’re living, proof you’re human.

The mother in the above story kept asking to be retold the story of her toddler, because she couldn’t remember her own son. Every morning she’d awake having forgotten again. She’d forgotten something so much a part of her. She couldn’t move on, because she didn’t have a memory to return to.


 

I’m an introspective, intuitive, analytical, and emotional person. I cry too easily, I hurt too easily. And sometimes I just want a break.

I once apologized to my boyfriend – “Sorry. Most people wouldn’t cry over something so little.” I don’t remember what it was I was crying about then, but I’m sure it was true. I’ve cried over him having only refrigerated butter instead of room temperature, so case in point.

You know what he said? “Maybe other people should. Maybe you’re supposed to feel this much and you’ve got it right.”

I don’t necessarily agree with him – I remember quite distinctly thinking “No, absolutely no one should cry because [insert ridiculous reason here.]” But he was thoughtful, and he did have a point.

That it’s okay to feel, even alot. And I shouldn’t wish it away for the world, because it’s a part of living.

Advertisements
Mental Health, Musings of a Creative

Trust the chai tea latte…

It takes very little to incapacitate me – about 3 minor inconveniences, sometimes 2. But I have my liquid calm, and it’s not alcohol and it’s not coffee:

If you see me holding a chai, you can bet I’m in a situation prone to panic attack. Crowds or stressful days or interacting with strangers. I call chai my liquid sanity. And of course there’s the occasional time I just have a chai tea latte because it’s a cup of dreamy sweet joy 🙂

So one day I was on my way to work and had an urge for chai. But I hadn’t expected a bad day; I’d be fine, skip the chai, and save money and health. Then I remembered the last time this happened:

The Last Time

I craved chai, but resisted the urge because there was no reason for it. I had a no-stress day ahead of me, likely. I’d save money and health. So I drove right past the Bux, got to work to find out I’d sent – the horror – an email to 60,000-ish people that said “Dear FirstNames”… Like it said “FirstNames” instead of “Joe and Sue” or “Dear Mikayla”. I WANTED MY CHAI!!!!! 😦

Back to This Time

I remembered that instant and thought, “Maybe I’d be wise to have a chai, just in case.” But I reasoned, don’t be silly. This isn’t some magical potion that you have a deeper connection with that warns of doom to come. It’s just happenstance. So I resisted, again.

What was I thinking? Life was kicking my patootie.

A friend had given me a mug from Scotland that says “Scunnered” on it. It’s a Scottish word that means “seriously pit-oot, awfy fed up, and greatly unamused” all in one. I dropped it in the parking lot and it broke. And guess how I felt? Definitely scunnered.

IMG_20170626_163256973

I went home after work and thought “Ya know, I’d rather not have a panic attack soon. I should relax. I should take a bath with a nice bathbomb.” But ohhh no. I relaxed for about 5 minutes before my skin and my tub looked like it came from the Cat in the Hat book:

CatInTheHat

Actual image:

Tub

And it wouldn’t come off with just water, it took a lot of scrubbing and cleaner. I had to scrub my tub instead of relax! Can we all agree it’s one of the worst chores for even the best of days, and here I was doing it on a rough day.

And then, I was like “I’m gonna be healthy and eat those green beans I bought yesterday.” Because I’m trying to be healthy and not let life get me down just because of inconveniences. Sure, I wanted the junk food from this insanely unfortunate day (Yes, it counts as insanely unfortunate from 2 inconveniences, I know, first world problems….), but I’d resist the junk food and eat healthy! But noooo, the green beans were all brown and gross WHEN I HAD ONLY BOUGHT THEM YESTERDAY.

IMG_20170626_181926584

End of day: I threw a fit, ate french fries, and gave up on making the evening worth anything.

And I learned a lesson: maybe chai actually IS a magical potion that I have a deep connection with to know of doom to come, and MAYBE I just need to BUY THE CHAI. If I feel the urge, BUY THE CHAI. No dilly dally over money or health when SANITY is involved! Am I right? 🙂

Buy the Chai!

After sharing this tragic story with my coworker, she laughed, said it was hilarious, and then said I should post a blog about it to make the day worth it. So I hope you laugh enough to make up for my pain 🙂 please laugh!

Mental Health

Arm surgery, anxiety, & the abnormals

 

A lady had broken her arm and the doctor had a quick-fix, something for the interim because of other health complications that prevented a complete fix. This lady no longer could lift so much as a cup of tea with that hand now, halfway helpless, but her bone slowly healed in that wrong way and she grew stronger and found ways to adapt and get around without using her one arm so much.

Months later, the doctor said it was time for the Big Fix – a complete recovery and healing for her arm.

 Does it come as a shock that she didn’t want it?

Thing is, her arm had healed wrong, so her arm would need re-broken to be completely healed. It would be a long painful process and she would have to readjust to new pain and then to this new “normal” life with both arms in relatively perfect condition.

I heard this story and immediately could relate. Can’t you? To that thing you’ve gotten so used to, that wrong thing, but you’re not sure you can live without it?

 

Because being broken is less painful than being fixed.

The novel I’m working on is called “Unfixed” and that’s oddly a safe place for these grotesque characters. But I wonder what would happen if in the end I heal them, if their story heals them.

  • Who would they be then?
  • Would they be themselves anymore, or someone new?
  • What would they have to re-learn, and would they ever like it?

I’ve learned to manage my pain, much like my characters manage theirs. A community of misfits. We’ve created a new normal. And it’s scary to think of leaving it. It’s kinda like arm surgery. And I’m not sure I’m ready to break again.
 
 

The great & terrible light ahead…

As this post is published, I’m in the middle of a month of busy. Me, a social life! So many things I’m doing, and I love them all, but I’m just waiting for anxiety to knock me back down. But it can’t keep me from living, not totally.

And that’s not the end of my story either. Really, I don’t know the end to that lady’s arm surgery story. But I know that the end of mine will be complete healing – in this life or another. Healing isn’t regret – that’s a lie, likely from the very pain that afflicts us. I and my characters are going to learn to be brave, to be the hero of our stories as we go into the terror of the woods and as we emerge into the great & terrible light again.

 

Free, Take 1:
|Normal| |Control| |Courage| |New Name|

I recently read this Hannah Brencher post on keeping your normal. You should read it all, but here’s a snippet that I think reminds of the control and the courage we do have.
 

Here’s the thing: I am not my depression. I am not defined by it or confined by it. It happened to me. It still happens to me. My depression does not, on any day of the week, give me a new name though. It will never have that sort of permission.No mental illness, no horrific tragedy, no person who did you wrong or left you broken is allowed to name you. It does not work that way, no matter what other people tell you. This is your life. These are your lungs. This is your space.

 

 

Blog Signature - Crisper

Mental Health, Relationships

When you drive 230 miles thu a snowstorm for your long-distance bf

It starts with dancing to Lady Gaga while cruising through the flurries. Not a care in the world. It goes downhill though, beware.

Here’s how it happened for me:

Halfway through it got rough. Ice on my windshield wipers kept them from clearing my windshield, and I was seeing through a sliver.

It was one of those moments where I knew God is for me in an overall sense, but then I start analyzing whether my greatest good and His greatest glory will actually come from me dying or at least suffering a horrific car crash. And hoping that His glory comes from, ya know, me being safe and sound in my car and then cozied up at Josh’s. (World, meet my boyfriend Josh.)

I finally found a gas station to clean my windshield at, but got stuck in the middle of the road because the town hadn’t plowed their roads yet. That’s when I burst into tears the first time (lol and also, ya know, not funny)…

then I got back on the road and was sliding all around the interstate while cars raced past me. Even though I was in the town right next to my destination, I thought about stopping at a hotel because I wasn’t sure I’d make it.

I was most positive I would die, or at least enter a horrific coma, when Josh told me his coworker was driving just a couple miles away from me on the same interstate. I was like, ya know how this works right? Too big a coincidence, snowstorm and closeby coworker means one of the following:

  1. I crash and die and Josh calls his coworker to go check on me and make sure I’m alive but of course I’m not
  2. I crash and go unconscious so I can’t respond to Josh and Josh calls his coworker to check on me and the coworker rushes to save my life and get me to the hospital

 

That’s how it’d happen in the movies anyhow 🙂

 

But I did in fact make it and pulled into Josh’s alleyway, only to get stuck there. Burst into tears a second time because I was so close but also so so far. After awhile, I was able to back out and park on the street.

 

The trip which usually takes 3.5-4hrs actually took almost 6.5 hrs. And I told Josh I’m never visiting him again during inclement weather, unless he’s on his deathbed or stranded and freezing.

 

Luckily, the ride home was fine. I saw a few people on the side of the road, and got stuck in traffic for 45 minutes from someone else’s car crash, but I at least had no problems.

So if you’re thinking of driving through a snowstorm this winter, cozy up by the fireplace with a book instead. Or face the consequences 😛

 

Blog Signature - Crisper

 

Christianity, Mental Health

While I was doing other things, life.

“Your life gets lived while you’re busy d0ing other things.” –Rizzoli & Isles

I’m pretty sure formulaic crime dramas aren’t supposed to be inspiration for writing. But I finished Gilmore Girls and need some feel-good TV female relationships. And every so often a certain quote just hits you.

I don’t always make the right entrepeneurial-dreamer choices. I watch TV too much and blame it on needing relaxation time or – the writers’ perfect scapegoat – research 🙂 I don’t always know how to balance my need to push myself and exercise self-discipline with my need to monitor my anxiety levels and say no and rest. But while I’m figuring all this out, my life is being lived anyhow. TV shows and all.

While I’ve been busy figuring it all out, I’ve grown bitter and skeptical, in general but of the church specifically. How bad is that! A professing Christian who loves the church doesn’t know how to just be there anymore. And I’m trying to fix that. To remind myself that God has put me in a safe place.

But while I’ve been busy figuring it all out, I’ve been questioning, good questioning. Who is God really, beyond Christian tradition and deep in the Bible. Who does God say that I am? What is my sin and what is my sickness and what needs deliverance? It’s not easy questions, I certainly haven’t found all the answers. But it’s a reminder that God loves disciples who don’t have it all figured out.

 

Blog Signature - Crisper

Mental Health, Musings of a Creative, Relationships

Living is the Hardest Part

“We say that writing is the hardest part, but I think that living is the hardest part.”

 

I haven’t written much in the past 6 months. And I wasn’t okay with it.

How long can a writer go without writing and still be called a writer? 

I wasn’t okay. Until I had this quote come up in my Facebook memories –

 

“We say that writing is the hardest part, but I think that living is the hardest part.”

Hannah Brencher said that in a class I took about a year ago. (P.S. Everyone go take her class or read her blog or follow her facebook/twitter/instagram or buy her book. You can’t regret it.)

 

The truth is, I haven’t been writing lately. I’ve been living. And learning to live. I explored new places. I met new people, and am learning not to panic about it. I actually have had multiple sunburns this summer. I’m living.

 

I’m still not entirely okay with not writing. I’m more emotional. (Can you believe it? Me, more emotional than I already am!? And my boyfriend gets the brunt of it, and – get this – still likes me! He’s a keeper 🙂 ) I feel a bit like I’m floating around without an anchor, not really sure where I’m going in life or what I’m working towards.

So I have to write. But I have to live. I have to intentionally choose both writing and living and know when to choose which. That’s what I’m learning right now.

 

I don’t know what that means for this blog. I hope to get back to weekly postings. You can count on me posting semi-regularly on Thursdays. Upcoming posts you’ll hear more of what I’ve been up to. And thinking. And living. Who knows 🙂 Thanks for sticking with me!

 

 

Blog Signature - Crisper

Mental Health

Today I’m Not Strong

I’m not sure when it happened. There’s no moment I can pinpoint, no catalyst to blame. Or maybe there’s too many. Did it happen when I lost my dream? When I lost my community? When I lost my future?

The symptoms, the evidence piles up against me. I’m out of control.  To be blunt, I’ve gained weight, I’ve lost friends, I avoid gatherings, I’ve neglected my blog, I’ve postponed my writing/teaching, and I failed a dream I’ve been working toward for 4 years.

But this isn’t supposed to be a pity party. I haven’t lost everything (for instance, I haven’t lost weight…haha. ha. ha. I know, not funny…). I am discouraged, but I’m not gone. I am discouraged.

The thing is, we don’t go through this life unscathed. There’s some days I just don’t know if I can make it, but an easy life isn’t promised and I’m not sure that’s one I’d want anyhow.

I’m still working on myself. I’m still working on my dreams. I’m still working on looking past myself to all the other people in this world I can care for. I’m still working. I’m still here.

Those picture-perfect people who are the epitome of grace and beauty? You know the ones….You’ve got them on your facebook because they’re friends, but also to remind you that you’re not who you’re supposed to be, not yet. But when we enroll in a battle, when we’re fighting for something, it’s not pretty. We’re not necessarily gonna be pretty. We’re gonna be scarred and bruised and calloused and somehow still beautiful.

Some warriors have frazzled hair and cautious steps. That’s me. I’m not supposed to be this way, but if that’s the wound I carry from battling for love, for dreams, for life, then I’ll take it.

I’ll limp my way through and believe that somehow at the end I will come out “a pure and spotless bride without wrinkle.” I don’t know how I go from broken to spotless. I don’t know how I go from weary to youthful. But it’s my hope. And until then, I’m broken yet beautiful.

 

Blog Signature - Crisper