Moving On, Moving Forward

The unruly creature we call “change” has taken control of my life since the last time I’ve gone to write. Whether it’s a startling push in the right direction or a terrific disaster, I’m not yet sure what to make of it. In the face of unfamiliarity, I know one can only go through the curtain and be prepared for what awaits them on the other side.

The addition of a new family member has certainly brightened up my hectic household, bringing a sense of energy and youth with it; that new member would be a three month-old kitten I named Juno, and what an experience it has been! I feel I finally have a sense of duty, a responsibility to take care and nurture something precious and full of life. As we bond with each passing day, I’ve been reunited with a connection I had lost a long time ago. Though we’ve come across challenges and frustrations along the way, I’m hoping having Juno around will be a good change of pace.

Along with this has come another big change: we’re moving in two days. Living in my current apartment for eight years now, it’s hard to believe I’m finally saying goodbye. Of course, moving my step-father and step-sister in has made living here a bit of a squeeze now, so perhaps the move is a change for the better. As a person who prefers to settle, I have mixed feelings about our new home, and the fear of sleeping under that unfamiliar ceiling with a new view outside the window is daunting in itself. There are countless cardboard boxes stacked against my bedside and the walls are painfully bare. Tomorrow will be another agonizing wait as I anticipate the stress of starting over in a new house. Will there be problems there? Can I adjust well? Will it ever feel like home? I’m having trouble gathering my thoughts on everything.

Other things have also been on my mind. My mother and step-sister recently found jobs, leaving me to be the only one without an income. As I graduate in two years, they insist there’s no rush, but I’m concerned about our finances. The constant struggle of paying the bills and keeping food on the table is more than enough to put pressure on me to begin job hunting. However, my anxiety is the ever-present wall blocking my way to transitioning into an independent person. My elder brother, who has proven to be my closest friend, is moving away into his own apartment as well. I’m torn between loneliness and the need for an income, and along with everything else happening, it’s simply overwhelming. The flying time only seems to push me closer to the idea of becoming independent, but yet I’m afraid to cross that line.

As the days pass, I look forward to a better future in my new home. I’m starting to realize that I must decide whether I will let my fears hold me down or stand up and push myself out of my comfort zone. If I can both embrace change and treat it with caution, then hopefully this big transition will go more smoothly than I thought it might.

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Stumble, Fall, Get Up, Repeat

It’s been quite a while since I’ve come back to the keyboard to write. So many days have passed me by, and not enough of them have been what I’d call fruitful. In the past couple months, my life has been a roller coaster of the good and the bad, the shut-in days and the brave days. However, I suppose some progress is better than none, and this time, I think I can say that I’m not always running in circles for once.

Recently, I’ve been seeking help. It’s still strange to me to think that for the first time, I am meeting with a counselor. I was terrified, at first, at the thought of discussing my personal life with another human being. The first day was a struggle to hold back the tears of issues I have never spoken aloud before. I never realized how hard it was to speak of the unspoken, in a room alone with a stranger who I’ve never met before. In fact, the subject of my family, anxiety, and concerns suddenly felt like a bigger beast than I could tackle. Four weeks in, and I’m still wary of the doors she may open. A test of bravery, another adventure of “that wasn’t so bad,” and a friendly push into a world full of everything I have come to fear. I can’t tell if the feeling I get when I enter her office is dread or the anticipation of a new “assignment” to confront.

While starting counseling surely has helped, I’m still dealing with some major subjects. My insomnia feels like a weight pressing in on me for the majority of the day, and I’m unable to shake off my hurtful habits. I had gone almost entire month clean. But once again, I’m left with the marks of my guilt, and that god-forsaken thing, that thing in which I despise yet depend on every time I feel defeated, sits at my bedside as if to mock me for all of the energy I have put into getting better.

As if to say, “You’ll always come back to me.”

I can’t bear to dispose of it. Even if I did, there’s always another way, always another object to fulfill that need to hurt. And it’s embarrassing to realize these are thoughts conjured up by my own mind. How terribly so that I still wish pain upon myself when all I want to do is get better. Is it too much trouble to find self-control among other things? The roller coaster never ends, it seems. But I suppose I should see it through a positive perspective; even if I could get off the ride, a person can’t grow if the road is always straight. We need to fall and climb our way up again. That is how individuals are born, after all.

Things have been so…well, all over the place, that I haven’t given myself the chance to examine or write about all the things on my mind. I hope that my continuing adventure towards a better future will bring me to where I need to be. Perhaps one day, I’ll lay my fingers on the keyboard with the intention of sharing such an achievement. Until then, I will keep on going, searching for the next big chapter of my life.

Finding Gratitude Through Pain

The passing month has been truly rewarding in the strangest of ways. With my birthday ending yesterday, I’ve had even more to consider in the journeys ahead. I feel that in these moments of uncertainty, it’s best to examine all that I have faced so far, and how those things will affect me later on.

It was only yesterday that I was celebrating that important age I have arrived at—the age that raises the question of getting a job and a driver’s permit, that is—and appreciating those happy moments with my friends and siblings. We sang, rejoiced, and recalled the times we’ve met. I suppose I’ve never fully stopped and appreciated how close I have grown with my possible sister-in-law, and the growing connection I gained with another friend who I’ve only recently been introduced to. It created something so precious in my heart as they gathered around and said, “We love you.” For the first time in a decade or so, I have experienced a celebration that made me realize how much I am loved and cared for, let alone how important those around me have become.

Good has even come out of the pain I’ve pulled through this month as well. Through my bouts of insomnia, depression, and such surreal anxiety attacks, I have learned so much about myself and how I should be treating my illnesses. There are things I’ve grown to understand and deal with in healthy ways that don’t end up in bruises or scars. It’s strange for me to say this, but I’m almost thankful for the unimaginable nightmares I’ve faced this March. As the month draws closer to the end, I can only hope I can continue to learn from what has happened.

After taking time to evaluate my behaviors and emotions that I’ve tried so hard to conceal, I think I’m beginning to make progress towards something better. I’ve noticed signs of shaking when my limit has been reached, and when to take a step back and catch my breath when the climb is too steep. I’ve found my allies, my enemies, and people I can trust. I’m looking forward to a Spring full of good changes and a stronger spirit. I’m not sure what lays ahead, but whatever happens, I hope to take it on with a new perspective. Here’s to a fresh new start!

Anxiety-Guided Nightmares

I couldn’t believe the sounds coming out of my mouth. Screaming, crying, at the top of my lungs as if the ground had opened up to swallow me whole. My body was shaking uncontrollably, and by instinct my hands grabbed at my throat in some fierce desperation to calm down. It was so surreal; only a few moments ago I had been laying in bed, attempting to find sleep after another normal day. But here I was now, a paralyzed mess not even sure how this happened in the first place. I remember my brother holding me in his arms, promising it’d be alright, promising he’d be there the whole night for me as a frantic and rather unhelpful family gathered at the doorway with no clue as to what should be done. In the end, I owed it all to my brother, who did everything in his power to help me through the rest of the night.

I’m still not sure what caused it all. I haven’t had an outbreak like that for a decade or so. The event really opened my eyes on reevaluating the things in my life, as well as showed me a person I can rely on for help. It was in that moment that the emotional bottle I had hidden away had finally shattered. The remnants are still there, along with the things that spilled out with it, but I feel that this is a chance for me to clean up and try harder. There are things in my life that I need to address. The things that I keep shoving to the side are scattered across the floor, and it’s up to me to dispose of them in the right way.

I suppose it’s always been hard for me to move on and start a new and better life. I’m afraid of the unknown, as most people are, and as such is true I tend to cling to the pain that is familiar. So much has happened to me though, and my mental issues have been exploited and examined by those I do not care to share these issues with. There is awareness now, and where there is awareness, there is progress. I want to move forward, but yet I’m not exactly sure how. I keep saying, “It’s time to clean up,” but when am I going to start saying, “Here’s how I’ll do it.”? Progress is easier said than done, especially when you’re as stubborn as I am. For someone who has so many things on her mind, I sure like to make room for a lot of excuses. That’s something to work on for sure, but yet again, I at a loss for where to start on that, too.

What I want to start doing is observe my own behavior. If I’m aware of what I’m doing, I’ll have a better place to start. Perhaps I could reward myself when I work past an excuse and make a bit more progress? My footing is on unstable ground and the horizon isn’t the clearest, but if there’s a way I can get through the fog, I might as well make the leap.

Dormant Demons and the Shadows They Cast

I tend to have the mindset that the well-being of others is more important than my own. It may be a nice thought, but nice thoughts aren’t the cure for suffering or destructive living situations. I sacrifice my own bricks for another’s castle, and as a result, I’m left to sleep under the stars in a cold and terrifying place. All the while, I hoped that if I continued to focus on others, my dormant and suppressed emotions wouldn’t have time to cause me pain. In the end, that hope was stomped out by the black fire of my shadow beasts, and I am only now realizing the detrimental effects I’ve put upon myself.

Large problems, small ones, split-second-doubt and all the things in between, can only pile up so much before they have to make room for other ones. Instead of being released, however, they just mold together into a welcome basket for even more emotions to be stored in. I can’t identify the problems anymore; they appear to me as the massive shadow monsters they molded into. In return, I panic easily in the face of difficulty.

Nothing can ever be a “simple misunderstanding,” or “a small bump in the road.” It looms over me with gleaming fangs and empty eyes, and all I can think of to do is retreat back to the safety of…well…wherever might be safest. Sometimes it’s my bed or a quiet corner out of the way of others in the area. Sometimes it’s into my own head, where I can run to the shelter of my imaginary reality. I’ve been doing that much more recently. So much, in fact, that the people and worlds I created in my head tend to squeeze their way into reality in a manner I can’t begin to explain. The impact of such has lead me to question what to trust and who is genuine.

It’s frustrating how many things have happened all because I decided one day that my emotions and well-being were less important than those around me. While they are important, I should know better to take care of myself first. What’s even worse is that I do know better, and still choose the path of self-destruction. I’m afraid of what could surface, afraid of the things I forced myself to forget. Suppression and suffering is familiar, and familiarity is safe. When you get to a point in your life where something that harms you is “safe?” It’s startling, it’s dangerous, and it’s something that needs to stop. I’m tired of running in circles with this, but I’m not sure where the path branches off. The only thing I’m certain of right now is that the answer is in some far-off place and I’m still stuck here wondering where the starting line is. If I could just slow down for a moment, perhaps I could see what’s missing. But even if I do, where do I go from there? I suppose all that can be done is keep running onto tomorrow and try again.

Fighting, Losing, Insomniac Musings

Being the sociably incapable human I am, I spent my Valentine’s Day reflecting on the lack of appreciation and care I give myself. While such musings have not offered any solutions, I was able to allow myself to evaluate a few problems that have been resurfacing in my life. I’ve neglected my well-being for so long that I haven’t been able to recognize the most obvious sources of my inner conflicts lately. All too guilty of trying to power through it all and pretend the problems aren’t there, I find myself trapped underneath the pile of everything I need to fix and everything that’s too late to fix.

The pointless worry and doubt in the face of my academics is transforming into a monster I’m not sure how to kill off. In fact, the mere thought of meeting this week’s tasks is making me a mess. Needless to say, I’m failing to manage my stress correctly. This same stress has kept me from the keyboard for so long, not to mention the myriad of hobbies that I thrived on once upon a time. My creative process is on standby, my focus is blurry, and my usual state of insomnia has evolved from getting three hours of sleep to none at all. I regret saying that I having slept in two and a half days, which wouldn’t be such a problem if I didn’t have two research papers due by the end of the week. I haven’t started either one yet, which is completely out of character for me.

My extensive lack of sleep has left me with no concentration. I can no longer function as I normally do, and creative tasks such as writing and drawing have become near to impossible to complete. I can only hope by writing this I can organize my thoughts to an extent and reevaluate my condition at a later time when I have recovered my healthy mental process. I’ve laid here for a couple hours now begging myself to get sleep, but the stressful thoughts of what I need to do tomorrow are pressing in on me like some kind of black mass. I’m trying to swim to the shore, but I’m not getting anywhere at all.

I desperately want to sleep, want to feel rested and calm and rational. I want to be able to close my eyes and wake up tomorrow capable of facing my daily tasks without worry. I only wish that I could finally take the time to care for my well-being, a day where the consequences of my actions didn’t lead to my own self-destruction, some wonderful, wonderful day where I could wake up without fear of the monsters by my bedside. May there be a day when my life isn’t full of “if only’s” and “some day soon’s,” a day in the near future where I can write about conquering my demons rather than jotting down the anxious ramblings of a deteriorating insomniac.

If My Little Nothings Could Ever Be Somethings

Never has there been a feeling worse than not feeling at all. Quite recently, I’ve been wading through a sea of nothing, trying vainly to untangle the mess of emotions hiding within the depths. It seems I can’t hold my breath long enough to loosen them up and bring them back to the surface, let alone muster the strength to keep trying. I’ve never been sure of why they retreat from me. All I know is that the void in my head has brought a numbness I can’t shake off. Without emotion, I can’t create, and if I can’t create, then what left is there for me to do?

It’s been that exact same bridge that’s been hanging in front of me since the beginning of January. My fingers hover longingly over the keyboard, but my mind can’t find the right words to type. Things that came so easily to me before have no essence now; it feels as though the only emotion I can find is desperation. What exactly happened? How can I catch my fleeting emotions if I don’t know why they’re disappearing? I can only hope that this is just some terrible phase, and perhaps everything I know myself to be will return soon enough. I am, in a sense, trapped somewhere in between reality and the walls of my mind.

The only fuel I have to write is this small pang of desperation. I can’t place a finger on it; is it the beginning of my emotions returning, or will it float away if I don’t hold on? I know within my heart there is a desire to create, to feel with all my might. I want to hold it in my arms and embrace in the warmth and the cold, the light and the dark, everything that has ever given me reason to be here today…I suppose you truly don’t know what you have until you’ve lost it. Oh, even how sweet grief sounds when suspended in a space so void of all else. For now, I’ll keep searching. They’re there, somewhere, and I know I’ll find what I seek eventually.

It’s the Forgiving, Not the Forgetting

It’s near the end of December already; Christmas is in the air, right along with those god-forsaken candles that keep finding their way into my home. And, as each year holds as such, the rush of the holidays has brought with it all the fuss and hassle it can offer. I’ve not a penny to spend on presents. My pockets are as empty as my Christmas spirit. But as the saying seems to go, it’s the giving, not the getting. I desire neither of these things. For me, Christmas has been the Season of Resentment. Towards my family. Myself. That box of cookies I ate in one sitting. Nevertheless, I’m trying to look at the holidays with a new perspective. Because in the end, it’s the forgiving, not the forgetting, that counts.

How much energy have I wasted trying to let go of the past? When all is said and done, I settle for any distraction I can find to block out the noise. I won’t lie; no matter how many times I fail, I still want to forget the past year. The past decade and a half, really. There’s not much of a fighter in me to put up with the echoes of my mistakes. And though I haven’t admitted to myself that I’ll never be able to forget, I’m trying my best to move forward. There’s just about everything in my way, though, from the holidays to family to all the things in between. And how do you explain that to all those cheery faces around you? Simple. You don’t. You suck it up and binge on high-calorie Christmas cookies that taste faintly of Play-Doh and cheap eggnog. And that, my friends, is the taste of defeat.

Instead of falling into that same fate again, it’s time to invest myself in a new perspective: forgiveness. I’ll never truly forget the wrongdoing I or my family have caused me, but I can learn to understand it. I want to understand it. I want to believe that we feel pain for a reason. That we gain something from hardships, something other than depression. So for Christmas this year, I’m willing to give that. I’m willing to find forgiveness in my heart. For my family, and more importantly, myself. I need to accept that I’m not who I was before. I am worthy of a second chance, and always have been. We as people deserve that much…whether I like it or not. So let’s give it our all this holiday. Don’t settle for sitting in the corner with a box of sugary guilt. Let’s take Christmas on like a champ, buy a treat worth our time, and kiss those cookies goodbye.

Candles for a Ghost (poem)

If your life were a candle

I’d cherish your scent

Breathing in the flames

The sparks from when we’d met

So many years ago

Inside smoky rooms and castle walls

Where you lit the way up to the top

Casting shadows of my claws

On the bricks where I struck out

To empty myself of grief

For when your flame blew out

Our love like sand in the sieve

But the shadows were lovely

And I stayed within its depths

Thinking of your warmth

Burning my hands in the wax

That now hardens o’er my heart

The wick is buried underneath

I’ll never find another candle

Choking in smoke, send me to sleep

Because Depression Has a Face

My body shivers at the thought of change. For years, I’ve longed to escape from the shadows of depression; however, there is a part of me that is afraid to move on. To move on is to leave something behind, but my being grows weak and my grip ever so tight on suffering’s rope. Could my eyes ever adjust to a world full of color when I’ve lived my whole life in grey? It is this uncertainty that causes me to run only in circles, and I find myself doubting if I will ever reach that inner peace I desire.

I am an individual raised and molded by my depression. It’s been the voice that taunts me in the dark, the children who’ve harassed me as a little girl. Depression has followed me like an ever-present shadow. It came to me as a friend, wrapping its arms around me like a blanket as my tears warmed my face. And in this, I welcomed it. As the years went on, my dear friend grew larger and larger. Soon it was too big to just shove in my pocket or shoo into the closet. Depression no longer knocked at my door, but rather let itself in.

“I’m busy today,” I’d say.

It’d sit there, however, like an unwanted guest.

Soon enough it became a regular visitor, and ultimately my roommate. In the end, Depression knew me best. It weaved its clever words into my brain however it saw fit; I became exactly what it wanted. And as it infected my body, I found the medicines I needed to subdue the sickness: Art, music, writing, whatever creative outlets I could find. I thrived on those things. They were and still are the desperate pills in which I feed myself on.

In a way, I have Depression to thank for such things. My growing skill in creativity, the passion I now chase, has been so cleverly molded by the shadows. And yet I know it cannot stay. My candle will burn out and I will be left a corpse if I don’t evict this creature from my home. In my heart, I know I must starve and deprive Depression of my sorrows, to let it grow weak and die. But yet my soul aches with the question of who I will become. Might I live to be something I never intended? Can I still be me if I erase the most prominent part of myself? I am surely afraid; indeed, I wish only to thrive as the girl I have grown to know. To be free and true and me…That is the only person I desire to be.