Monday, June 20, 2016

Thank you

Of course my Spotify Discover playlist today is full of songs which remind me of him. Of course it is because he was the single largest influence on my musical tastes, after my Dad.

I was just a 21 year old kid when I met him. So young, so still unsure of who I was and what I could be.

Despite being 6 years older than me he always treated me with respect, like an equal. He asked my opinions and valued them. He always gave me copies of his music and would sit and ask me to tell him what I thought of every song. I think it was only in his music he could ever be himself.

He cared too much about people's opinions. He wanted to be what people wanted him to be. He tried so hard to be what other people wanted that he got lost.

We all have a part of ourselves, a little box, which carries the words of support and love from our friends and family. We can open it up when times are bad and remember that we are loved. But he didn't have a box, he couldn't carry the love people gave him, so he needed it all the time and broke himself trying to get it.

Eventually I also wanted him to be something he could not be, and I saw him hurting himself trying to be that. I didn't want to be, but I was hurting him. I could not be one of the many reasons he had to hurt himself. So I left.

Don't get me wrong, he was also hurting me, and he was hurting a lot of other people he cared about then. It was not a good time, and I didn't get the best version of him. But he helped me find the best version of myself.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Hard lessons

Here's a lesson I learned 5 years ago, and again last spring, and once more today in the most definitive way - you can not love a person so much they get well. No amount of love will ever help that person if they don't love themselves and if they don't think they are worth loving.

I gave love until I couldn't anymore, until I had nothing left to give and it didn't make a difference.

But I didn't ever actually stop loving and now there is nowhere for this to go anymore.

Friday, June 17, 2016

It's my writing challenge and I can change the rules if I want!

And so I did. I'm starting today rather than yesterday.

I've gotten a few suggestions from people which are fun. But I'm going to start by telling you about my mental health right now.

Many people who know me know that I deal with a pretty big depressive episode every summer and I'm well into it now.

It starts with a bang one day sometime in May usually, though this year my first indication was a couple of weeks early in April. And then the couple of bad days go and I'm better, but not as bright as I was before the bad days. I get two more really bad drops which usually last a week or two and when I recover from those I'm never as up as I was before that bout.

And then someone turns off the tap of depression and one day between September 3rd and 7th I wake up feeling fantastic and happy and like the world is in colour and I'm excited for everything coming. Just like that. Like a snap of the fingers and I'm a completely different person.

It's really kind of amazing actually.

Right now I'm 5 days into my first really bad week of the season. It starts with being irritable and not having patience with people, and becomes gut wrenching anxiety which leads to not being able to eat much because my throat just closes when I put food in my mouth and it hurts to swallow anything but liquids.

And I can spend hours sitting, staring at nothing, thinking nothing. Keeping focused on anything, to read, to speak, to write, to listen, feels like so much work.

Until yesterday I had taken a nap every day this week, not because I was tired but because I just couldn't bear to be awake anymore. Hours of this feeling is awful. If I'm asleep at least I won't feel this weight.

I feel so unlike myself when this happens.

Just the day before I woke up in a bad way I was with friends, enjoying the weather and music and food and company. And I'm so glad this episode started the day after that because I would have had such a different experience on that day.

I think about the moments when I was enjoying being where I was on Sunday, savouring the good things and I know how I would have felt having the exact same experience the next day.

Instead of savouring the good things I would have recognized how great the experience was and be sad that it would be over soon. It's such a tiny difference in attitude between enjoying a moment and being sad that a moment is passing, but for me it's like being two completely different people. And this week I woke up as the person who is always sad that every great moment is constantly passing.

I believe strongly in the value of a gratitude journal, and over the summer, when I'm at my lowest, my gratitude journal is my most important tool. It keeps me more grounded in time and reality. Right now, I am grateful for my shady backyard to work in. And I'm trying not to be sad that this afternoon is slipping away and I'm moving further away from myself.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Writing Challenge

Remember back when I used to write blog posts and record podcasts? Those were good times weren't they?

I've been thinking I'd like to write more often so that I can remember how to do this. I kind of feel like taking on a blogging challenge again. But I think I'll need your help.

I want to write every day for 30 days, but I want to do it BattleDecks style, or whatever the written equivalent of that is.

So I need 30 topics, or quotes, or photos or whatever so that I can write a blog post per day on whatever I've been given.

This is the only part of this challenge where I will ask you to do work. I expect to see 30 comments on this post so that I can start on Thursday and write every day until the 15th of July.

My extemporaneous writing is strictly non-fiction. Don't expect to see any wild stories here.

And go!