Sunday, July 26, 2009
Posted by Maggie May Labels: mental illness
I am into small pschological adjusters.
Coping Mechanisms Recently Utilized in the Curry Family
-Harry Potter Books, Repeatedly Read By Various Family Members Until Pages Fall Out
-Champagne with cran-cherry juice splash
-Ridiculous Jokes, Obnoxious, Snorting Laughter ( "Mom you are the most without a doubt the most and without DOUBT the most embarrassing ridiculous mom ever in the history of time" )
-Parodies of shows, songs, and people ( " haha! ' New Poon' is the porn of ' New Moon' haha ) *
-Nightly wrestling in the living room/kitchen area to the point of knocking pictures off the wall **
-Admissions of guilt, ie 'confession' : " I ate the ice cream " " I farted " " I'm sorry I put Vagisil cream on your owie instead of Neosporin " " Damnit I broke another cup " " I chewed the entire pack of gum last night "
* No children involved in this joke
** Mr. Curry and the boys must own this one
***No children involved
I have given up smoking ( began: age 15 quit: age 30- also for both pregnancies ) heavy drinking, self indulgent pity over small infractions, self flagellation in various forms and other vices, all intended to control the chaos inside. What I need to be ' OK ' ( In AA, 'fine' stands for Fucked Up, Insecure, Neurotic and Emotional ) has, over the years, morphed from what keeps me barely stable to what keeps me ' happy '. By happy, I mean grateful, looking forward to things, loved, loving, etc- to feel ' happy ' is not a constant state of mind for normal humans who are not Zen masters or stoned out of their mind. I haven't been stoned since 1990.
Having had an abusive, lonely childhood, I was transphormed by pregnancy as an unwed teenage mother, given a reason to live beyond myself. I had to have something else to live for, and Dakota, my boy, he was that, as easily and profoundly and clearly as a clarion call. I began to shed more vice, move toward a better life, but it was the steady, clear light of my love for him that was the headlight in the fog. I still felt depressed all the time. I was depressed, clinically so, for most of my life. I've only felt as good as I do now for the last three years. I had three years before then, after Lola, holding steady at another level of 'good', and then all the years after Dakota was born. The Before Dakota Was Born is a long, mournful howling of the soul. It still rings inside of me like a depressive's tinnitus. It is part of me.
The letting go of vice and moving toward a higher level of existence, of happiness, was based on the belief I had that I would see no immediate results, but instead a slow, long, excrutiating rehabilitation. Which is what it was. I put in so much work. Long years of therapy, teetering on the edge of my own abyss, long years of fear, shaking panic attacks in the middle of the night, staring at the clean unmoved sky smoking my cigarette with shaking hand, praying to God although I had no faith- only hope- and this was enough for me.
Some Things I Believed That Kept Me From Complete Despair
-Focusing on myself brought blurry vision and misery. Helping others, giving of myself through family and friends but also strangers and volunteer work, gave clarity, meaning, and relief from isolation. I knew early on that the answers did not lie in fervent self improval alone, but came as much, if not more, from what I could learn and receive from helping/connecting to those who suffered.
- Excercise. I had always been exhausted, later to be diagnosed with various problems. But depression + physical problems means an urgent need for exercise, to help the body balance and detox. So I forced myself, after Dakota was born, for the first time ever. Bought a video, worked out five days a week, felt better. Less sad.
- Nutrional healing is key when mental problems exist. I'm sure that suffering, if it was a tangible thing, would eat sugar and white bread. In fact I'm sure it does.
- Hard, meaninful work clears the mind. The pilgrim thinking, the farmer mentality, so true. Hard work is the answer to many an ill, and important for a meaningful life, in whatever form it takes .
- Learning makes me happy.
- Mentors are important to growth. I found mine, for most of my years, in books.
- Yoga, when I finally gave in and tried it? AMAZING. It kills anxiety.
- Accepting, not submitting but accepting, that I was depressed and scared all my life, and stopping fighting against it, but moving forward accepting I felt it, knowing that the human condition was overflowing with people who felt like me and worse, was key to moving away from those feelings. I had to stop feeling deeply, deeply sorry for myself in order to begin healing.
These days I have no belief that I am safe from emotional furies. I have felt them ebb and flow, and my life with Mr. Curry has been very difficult. We are extremely poor, both of us have to manage emotional problems, we are a blended family, and I have had serious health problems and surgeries which in addition to the obvious stresses have ruined me financially. But the perspective that I have on my life is priceless to me. Priceless. I know that when the skies clear at night and the wind stills and the earth is letting out the bats and owls and tigers, my cries are not the loudest, and my pain is not singular. We are not alone. We have each other in this life. For me, that is the majority of what blogging is about.