I’m Losing It

Losing It

I usually try to stay positive in these posts. I may complain a bit about the hard things but over all I try to offer useful suggestions from my own life that maybe can help out some and talk about ways I’ve learned to deal with my illnesses and troubles. But I find I can’t do that today. I’m at the bottom of the Pit and all I can see are the slimy walls of my dungeon. And the thing is, I know I’ve put myself here and I can eventually get out, but I just Can’t do it right now.

To be fair I’ve had some setbacks lately. I’ve had some things happen in my life that I needn’t go into because they’re just things after all and it’s not the things so much as my response to them that matters. And my response isn’t what I usually  can muster up. Usually I can look at the things and see where my thinking has gone astray and turn my mind to better things and thoughts. I can change my reality and be OK with it even if I’m not happy exactly.

But I’m really suffering right now and it’s bleak and all I want to do is die. I want to take a knife and slice up my wrists like I did one time when I was psychotic. I want to take all my morphine at once and never wake up. I want to drive my car into a freeway embankment and crash and burn like my soul feels it’s doing. I want to simply cease to exist.

Of course I’ll do none of those things. I just need to vent sometimes and now is one of them. I tried to give thanks for the good things in my life, and the thing is, it doesn’t help worth crap. None of my multitudinous bag of tricks is working for me right now and I feel powerless and hopeless and defeated and I hate feeling like this. I hate it when life gets the best of me and I can’t respond and can only react to it. It’s not how I think of myself and it’s awful.

But it’s not so uncommon. I feel like this a lot I’d say and I’m in a minor mixed state of Bipolar right now I think. In other words I’m enraged about my state but am too depressed and apathetic to do anything about it. I won’t kill myself be assured. I have too much to live for and I know that. But who cares? I don’t right now. So what if I die? Who’ll miss me? Well, a lot of people would and I know that and it keeps me from doing something stupid. But I still feel this way.

I know this is going to make me sorry when I post it. But I’m going to anyway. I know that there are a lot of other people out there who feel exactly the same way I do and can’t give voice to it because they’re in even worse shape than I am. Or maybe they’re just too reticent to speak bad vibes on here. I dunno. Maybe they’re just smarter than I am.

I just know that it helps me to talk about it and so I am. And I believe in keeping it Real so I talk when I need to. Sure I have a counselor and I’ll see him next week. And I’ll talk to my partner and friends and explain what I’m going thru. And it eventually will change I know.

That’s the one continuous thing in the universe. Change. It Always will change and sometimes it’s for the better and sometimes it’s for the worse. But it never stays the same for too long. Or maybe it is too long. It feels that way to me right now. But it’s what I hold onto and it gives me the courage to stick with it and just let go into the flow of things and let life work its magic on me. It can do wonders.

I’m reading a good book now called “Emotional Intelligence” by Daniel Goleman. I highly recommend it. It posits that our emotional IQ is far more important in how we are able to live a good life than our academic IQ. I’ve known this for years and it’s very validating to read a scientific discourse on it.

I score pretty high on it actually. I’m terrifically empathetic and I can  put myself in someone’s shoes without a thought. I understand my thinking and I can change my thoughts at will much of the time. I’m resilient and I reinvent myself frequently and with good results. But too often, as now, I’m also a  Slave to my Passions and that’s my downfall. My emotions become my reality and I Know they’re Not, but I can’t get out from under the whip.

I know it’s because of the Bipolar disorder and I could just blame it on that, but it seems too facile and easy to do that. It feels like it’s my fault still and I have to do something to overcome it nevertheless. Even tho it’s a debilitating illness and I can’t stop it anymore than I can stop hurting so much by some miracle. I’m still responsible for how I feel at the basest level. We all are I believe.

I’d really like to end this on a positive note but I don’t know how to do that right now. I’ll just say that I know things will be better in time and I’ll get thru this. I’ll wait it out and if nothing else maybe I’ll watch a movie about war in ancient China 2000 years ago which is so far out of my realm of consciousness that it will definitely change my reality, at least for a couple of hours. Maybe that’s copping out but so what? It works.

And I’ll thank my partner for making me lunch and give thanks for the food I eat. I’ll do the work. And hope that in time it’ll net me results of feeling better. But right now… right now I think I’m losing it and I can’t stop myself from falling.

Peace to you,

Steve

How a Tattoo Keeps Me Stable

Tattoo of the Phoenix

Some of you will immediately recognize that this photo I posted here is the same as my Gravatar image I use on all my posts. Actually the Gravatar is the image I colored in and gave to the tattoo artist who put it on my arm in the picture above. It’s a two-headed Phoenix. It’s got two heads because I consider myself a Two Spirit person, a designation some Native peoples use to describe those of us who are gay and follow a Walks Between path, walking between man and woman, spirit and flesh, society and the individual. We’re mediators. But that’s not what this post is about.  (And I’m not a Native American but I use the term because it fits me.)

I got this tattoo sometime around 10 years ago when I was going thru a seriously unstable period in my life. I was doing something to myself that will seem abhorrent to many of you and incomprehensible at best I’m sure. I was cutting myself. That’s right. I was taking my Swiss army knife and I was cutting long strips into my arms and wrists. I had to let the poison out you see. I was in terrible psychic pain and I felt toxic and it felt like it was the only way I could get it out of me. It sounds crazy but it’s not as unusual as you might think. In fact it was an accepted medical practice well into the 1700’s and probably later but I just read about it so I know it was practiced then using a special instrument called a Flean, to use on people who had too much pressure in their systems, to relieve that pressure. That’s what I was doing. I had too much pressure.

I took some pictures of myself during those episodes and I eventually erased them because they were too painful for me to look at anymore. But I didn’t want to forget what I’d done to myself when I got better and so I decided to commemorate it with a tattoo. So I thought  about what I wanted and the Phoenix, which was a name I used for myself in certain communities came to mind. It’s the higher octave of the Scorpio, which is my birth sign and has been a symbol of regeneration and renewal for hundreds of years, rising from the ashes of its own destruction. It seemed fitting to me to use it for myself. And it’s worked. I look at that tattoo on my left wrist where I cut myself and remember what I went thru then.

Now when I feel the urge to do something to harm myself, which I still feel on many occasions, I just look at the tattoo and I remember what I did in one of my most extreme crises. I was clearly in a psychotic state at the time and it’s not an uncommon thing for people to do in that state, often when you’re Bipolar, tho not all people with BP do this of course. But it’s horrible and I only did it a few times. I can’t  imagine the people who do it all the time. It’s most common among young girls I understand and I’ve talked to some of them. They call it Self Harm these days. I’m not ashamed of myself, tho I do I regret that I have these scars on my arms now. I sometimes tell people I was pruning a particularly vicious shrub because I don’t really want to share the truth with just anyone.

So why am I telling you? Because I believe I’m probably not the only one on this site who has done this or something else to harm themselves in a way that has caused them such sorrow and they’ve given into the feeling that we somehow deserved what we did. Whether it was a suicide attempt or cutting or taking an overdose of pills just to see what it felt like to almost die, some of us have reached the limits of human endurance thru our own minds tricks and ploys. So I post this in support of all of us who have been to this place of utter emotional despair. It’s not a nice place to go but it’s possible to get over it and get thru it. And if we remember then we’re less likely to ever do it again. I never have and I never will, because I have help. And that help is a simple tattoo.

In Solidarity with those who suffer,

Steve