Cliff Diving

My psychologist, she extends her hand as if to shake someone else’s, but then stands her hand at the edge of the table and teeters it back and forth. The gesture is a visual aid, a representation of my plight with depression.

I, by virtue of biology and environment, exist precariously close to the ‘edge’ and with the use of my tools of awareness and self-management, though my path is rocky, I am able to stay atop and not fall over. However, it takes tremendous effort to do this and she readily acknowledges that it shouldn’t be this difficult. I would agree, though not through any direct evidence but through a deep knowledge, a knowing, that this is not my true nature. There is a part of me that knows I am a being of joy and love. It’s in me somewhere, I just don’t know how to access it.

My psychologist then draws her hand in towards the center of the table slightly, explaining how some people live further away from the edge but can, through situations and events combined with a prevalence towards depression, slide quickly to the edge. Her hand moves with her description and falls off the edge of the table.

She then places her hand right in the middle of the table. This is the person who, despite any circumstances experienced in life, will never be drawn towards that dangerous ‘edge’. I understand what she is telling me, it’s not news to me. But, I sit wishing to be the hand in the middle of the table yet not even being able to know what that would feel like.

I exist on a continuum of gray – fifty shades of gray.

Today is black. I lie in a fetal position on the floor, tears streaming down my face, and my head feeling like it’s going to explode. I feel trapped. I can’t explain it either. My husband asks what’s wrong and what he can do. The only answer to both questions is, “Nothing.”

It’s strange. How can someone feel so acutely awful and there not be anything ‘wrong’?

The more I fight the entrapment, the worse it gets and the pressure builds. I eventually surrender to it. I don’t know what else to do.

I lay on the floor, exhausted, staring at the ceiling. Tears still roll down my cheeks.

Ye, though I walk through the valley of death, I shall fear no evil.

Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

I find solace in these verses that come to my forethought. I reach for my bible and lay my head on it like a pillow and allow the words to permeate my mind.

Sleep finds me.

I awake in the morning, a lighter shade of black. I think back to last night. I do not understand.

The attack was torturous yet, the more I fought it, the worse it got. And when the realization dawned that there was actually nothing that could happen to me, that there was actually nothing happening to me, I was able to let go.

There is no epiphany here. The remembrance of the attack fills me with fear. I don’t want it to happen again. But I wonder, what am I really afraid of if nothing actually happened to me? What is the attack?

My mind goes back to the hand and the table; the hilltop, the edge, and the fall into oblivion.

It all started with a pull to the edge but what hurt the most was the incessant struggle to keep from falling. Yet, when I let myself fall, that’s when the voice of God spoke to me.

So, I’m curious now. What’s in this cavernous valley below? Is it the dark and menacing place I’ve believed it to be? Why is the hilltop the ‘place to be’?

Perhaps there’s another world worth exploring…perhaps the pull is a calling to find out…

To Medicate or Not…

This is not the first post I’ve done regarding my decisions to make use of pharmaceuticals. It seems to be an ongoing ‘dilemma’ for me.

I don’t doubt that many people face similar questioning about whether meds are the right choice. Everyone’s situation is different though and so the question should always be directed inward – Why am I choosing this and what, or who, am I trying to protect? The answer will come in honest seeking.

For me, it appears, that at least for now, the medicating will continue.

Seek and ye shall find:

Perhaps my imperfections are meant to teach me something. I get it.

This dilemma about whether to increase my meds or not – why am I against it? What am I trying to prove? Perhaps it’s a lesson in letting go of preconceived, self-made notions of how things should be, letting go of rules and ideas around purity being obtained through my own actions, that in some way strict adherence to a list of commandments will offer me my salvation.

But how could I have been made with imperfections to begin with if Perfection itself made me? Precisely! The so-called imperfection was made Perfectly and therefore not an imperfection at all.

Ah, at first an epiphany but then more confusion comes. I can accept the depression but how do I live with it? It’s all-consuming, at its worst, and I am lost – not the ‘real’ me, of course, that’s still inside. But it’s been barricaded.

With medication the barricades are no longer concrete walls. Rather they are pesky nets of weeds, no longer impenetrable, but a nuisance nonetheless and a hindrance to joy.

The Joy is there, this I know.

If more medication could obliterate the weeds and offer a direct path to joy, why would I not take it? Because it’s Joy I want, not joy. I want Truth, not oblivion.

Why would I take a piece when I could have the whole? But could a piece of Wholeness be not whole?

Why would you allow yourself to struggle still?

Why would you enter the dark forest in search of light when you stand in it already? Or rather, why would you not step out of the dark forest and expose yourself to the light?

Do you fear the light? You don’t know it, do you? All you know is darkness so you keep yourself enveloped in its safety.

You’re afraid of what you’ll see.

But medication’s not of God.

Who says? Did God not make the mind of man that made the medication?

But depression’s not of God?

Who says? See it not of God and it’s a curse for sure!

Apart from its whole, you know not what it is. The image on the puzzle piece means nothing until it’s put in place. And the whole image can’t be seen without its pieces.

If the wholeness of God is joy, allow yourself to be the piece you were meant to be.

You’re so afraid of joy. You know not what it is.

It’s true.

Medication can’t touch me, truly. But in believing it can I keep myself in body, fearful of its demise.

Let go of your body, little mind, and find solace in My offering to you. My Joy cannot be found in your weak protection of your self. Fear not. Let go of your self and find Me.

I know not what I’ll find in Joy. It’s true – I am afraid.

I continue to see myself as separate, trying to make my piece whole, alone.

Yet a ray of light shines not at all without the sun.

I’m a defiant little ray. I’ve known darkness for so long. I have no idea how bright I could truly be in union with the sun.

Does the type of bridge I cross to freedom truly matter? I think not. All that matters is that I choose to cross it. The paths are all different but the destination is the same.

The instruction is not to devise your own path but to seek His will in all you do and He will direct your path.

What’s My Role?

I meet my husband. We have dinner. Parts are good and parts are not so good.

We’re still at a stalemate. I want him to go to treatment. He refuses.

We do the dance, back and forth, I get angry and leave.

Is it possible for me to engage with him and leave anger out of it? Can I do this?

I think my anger as the final act of the evening performance sets the tone and provides an excellent opportunity for the addict to focus less on their behavior and more on my behavior.

What if I could just engage without judgement or anger and leave expectation out of it?

F*@k! Because my whole marriage is riding on this!

But I can’t shake him, wake him, make him see.

Do I stay? I wish I could but I’m not strong enough to endure this situation as-is.

I feel weak for not being able to just accept him as he is. Why can’t I just stay open and just love?

What is it that I really want from him? Is it wrong to want something from anyone? If I didn’t want would I feel this anger and rejection and resentment? Can anyone else really provide me with what I need?

If I walk away from this do I end up in another relationship wanting more of what someone else can’t provide?

The Rabbit Hole

I’ve been spiraling down the rabbit hole for about five months now and I can’t do it any longer.

There are only two options at this point. I either continue going down, which will result in complete self-destruction or, I get the hell out.

I’m gonna ditch this hole.

I’ve started to see the separation so clearly – it’s happening all the time, day and night. With every turn of my head my mind goes to the dark side. But, at the same time, there’s this knowing in me, coursing deep within my veins, that says, “This isn’t right, man. This isn’t who you are.”

My mind and body are fierce defenders of this black alley. And I don’t really understand why they want to be there. But, God knows, I don’t want to be there – not anymore. It’s do or die time, literally.

I’m linking my chains together, one by one, and eventually the strong chain of light will be long enough to haul my ass out of this pit. I’m looking one way only…that’s up and out.

I can so ably see and catch the spin to negativity but  I know I’m pretty darn weak right now. I don’t have the strength to just jump out. So, I’m starting slow.

Today, when I caught every drop in mood, I identified it as the thing I don’t want. Then, I just kept saying what I do want – that I want to feel good. I want to feel good. And then when my mind would say, “Yeah, nice try, but you don’t feel good.”, I just spoke louder – I WANT TO FEEL GOOD.

If all I’m doing is looking towards what I do want then the momentum will build, over time I will become strong, and eventually the rabbit hole will be a barely memorable thing of the past.

I like rabbits. But they can have their hole back.

Breaking

I’m a fighter. I always have been. Life has thrown me a lot of curve balls but I’m tenacious and persistent. I always seem to pick myself up and carry on.

I always thought my fight and ferocity were admirable qualities.

I wonder now though if the fight in me is the very thing that is holding me back, preventing me from realizing peace and freedom.

One step forward, two steps back. That’s what it feels like every single day.

I don’t know who I am or what I am doing anymore.

I feel like I’m making progress and then something happens that shows me just how broken I truly am. I realize just how many barriers I still have erected.

I talk about surrender but wonder if I’ve really surrendered anything at all.

If everything is just one fight after another, is that what I’m subconsciously seeking? Have I identified with the fighter and made that into me and so continually seek the next battle I can win?

I’ve never known rest.

Perhaps I must retire my fighting weapons now…

…I’m not sure I have any idea how to do that…

An Incomplete Thought

… yet it’s a scratch on the dense surface.

The quality of the nectar consumed no longer even matters. I realize any nectar will do.

It’s the act of consuming the nectar that I want because it’s that which takes me away from myself. The discomfort of looking at myself directly is too much to bear.

Yet I can feel something different. There is a knowing that nothing is going to satisfy, nothing will provide the perpetual escape from self.

At some point I will need to stop  and turn and meet myself head on.

Nothing else will matter once that introduction is made…

Waving the White Flag

Past and future, fear and judgement. Yes, they have ruled my life for the majority of it. They continue to, too, yet I am more acutely aware of this than I ever have been before.

I recall that one of the hardest things I struggled with through treatment and into recovery of my eating disorder was giving up control.

I remembered the past and feared the future.

From the past, I remembered the excess weight. I remembered the words that cut like knives, “You are fat. No wonder you have no friends. You are ugly.”

There were also seemingly innocent words of wisdom shed my way. “You can be anything you want. Don’t ever settle. You are capable of doing anything.”

Two points of view that were completely contradictory and totally confusing. One said I was something to be shamed and the other said that I had complete control over who I was.

The sum of that equation was pretty clear.

If I was capable of being or doing anything, yet I was a disgusting shame, well, I clearly was doing a damn awful job at being the person I should be.

And so, from the past, rules were generated in order to create the perfect future. And every action forward spawned from a place of fearful memory. There was no presence or joy in any action anymore, everything simply became a means to an end which I never, ever was able to reach.

That was the struggle in recovery, to give up the memory and just be, but in many ways, recovery, for me, became more rules.

I was shown how ‘normal’ people ate and thought and acted and how ‘eating disordered’ people ate and thought and acted. I learned strategies for integrating ‘normal’ thought and behavior into my life and, with repetition of these, I managed to become ‘normal’. For a while.

Two years later, I now find myself in a phase of relapse.

I ask myself, “What happened?” And the question comes not from a place of blame but, truly, from a place of curiosity.

Food and eating disorders go hand in hand. But food is not the foe, not mine anyway.

To some degree, food issues and proper nutrition must be addressed, but to a greater degree, I believe, there is an underlying modus operandi that drives the choices I make.

My life underwent a significant and traumatic change almost a year ago and, well, in many ways I’ve tried to effort my way out of it. And in my effort I’ve not managed to do much of anything except push myself into a corner of fear and judgement and condemnation of my actions.

I give thought to the events of the past year and I can see when I started to unravel. I fell back to the past and began fearing the future outcome.

I instigated a huge, fundamental change in my life. It was driven by inspiration, this I know, because I knew in the deepest place in my heart that I was doing what needed to be done. But then the desired outcome, or what I thought would evolve from my actions, didn’t happen. In fact, nothing has happened the way I anticipated that it would.

I fell back to memories – “You are shameful. You are ugly.”

Yet, more memories tell me I have the ability to do anything, to make my life into something.

The equation fell short yet again.

Subconscious memories started replaying – shame, disgust, failure, bad, unworthy, stupid, fat, horrible.

I fell back into major depression. I didn’t want to look, I refused to look. And, the way out? The eating disorder. The food. It has been the doorway out of reality and into dreamland, to get me out of the pain of myself that I don’t want to face.

But that is exactly what I must do. Face it. Regardless of the circumstance, this is the Now.

I can hardly understand it myself because everything is a choice, isn’t it? And if it’s a choice, and I’ve relapsed into my addiction, then isn’t it my fault? And then doesn’t that mean I’m wrong, I’m bad, I’m a disgusting shame?

But, who says? Only my memories say so.

I believe the action of my eating disorder is a response to memories that are replaying in me. The eating disorder is not the problem. The memories that are replaying in me are what are causing the eating disorder.

It is in me. Whatever ‘it’ is, it is in me. I don’t know why, I cannot seek to know why anymore. IT is in me. This is true.

So then, is there a way out?

In a manner of speaking, I believe so. But it’s not in the denial of the eating disorder within. It’s in the acceptance of what is Now and loving every aspect of it.

I don’t understand it. Hardly at all. But I’ve tried fighting it. I’ve tried ignoring it. I’ve tried a million things. And the only thing I have left to do is surrender.

The bible says in Philippians 4:6, “Do not worry about anything. Instead, pray about everything and the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your mind in Christ Jesus.”

I hardly understand this either. But when effort is futile the easiest thing to do is trust the wisest words I know and just allow the peace of God to transcend the pain.

I surrender.