Tuesday, April 6, 2010
I Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
My blog saved my life.
Quite Possibly in the literal sense.
There are few things in this world that have been consistent loves to me over the years. Things that have been able to make me happy, even if only for a little while, during my life battling depression.
Sure my son is a given. There is nothing greater than hearing the fruit of your loins look up at your and tell you he loves you for the first time un-provoked. Or hear him call you "Mama". Watch him grow, walk, learn. Just this Sunday on Easter, he looked at me, gave me a huge hug and said "This is the greatest Easter ever, you're the BEST". Made my freaking day.
Other than the obvious, there have been a few inanimate. Shoes for example. They give me innate pleasure. I can smile and revel in their structure and beauty. In their differences and style. Casual, elegant. Chunky and streamlined. The true cornerstone of every outfit. When you're feeling fat or down on yourself, a shoe shopping trip always helps. Shoes, unlike clothes, ALWAYS fit. They can make you stand taller, feel thinner, walk prouder. They are their own stiletto little miracle.
Music has always been a release as well. Listening to it, singing it, playing it. I have been a musician of sorts my entire life. Belting out music makes me feel whole sometimes. I feel connected to rhythms and notes. My entire body swarmed with emotion. Lyrics become my lifeline, a chorus the beat of my heart. I get lost in it. I could listen to the same song for hours repetitive at times, cathartic.
But writing, writing has staved off the madness. Has been my life's ambition. My calling. Kept the White Coats at bay. In my world of ups and downs, of manic and madness, desperation and despair, it was my solace. My escape. Like "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" I feared Nurse Ratchet was coming to take me away.
The only reality I know. It's my raw and uninhibited feelings about everything inside me. All that you would tell to a therapist, yet without judgment. Without recourse. Freeing.
I write what I know, what I live. I started young and never stopped. Stories, poems, essays. I wrote from my heart, I flooded pages upon pages of journals and diaries with thoughts and questions about people I intertwined my life with, how they affected me. I sorted out everything. It became my greatest confidante.
When words failed me, which never seemed to happen often, but happened often enough ironically, they were found on pen and paper. They were there, in front of me with a few key strokes of a keyboard or a typewriter. There in front of me, everything I felt, everything I needed to say, express.
I felt so alone in what I felt so much of the time. I felt isolated. That if the words I penned were said out loud, I would become a pariah. That society would look upon me like I was insane. And maybe I was a little. The thoughts I had sometimes didn't always feel rational, but they didn't have to after all, they were thoughts. MY thoughts. Feelings swimming in a huge ocean of confusion and hormones in my mind. Overlapping the shores of expectations of others and what I was supposed to think.
At 16 I had a breakdown. All the thoughts in my head could no longer be contained and I broke. I broke because I wasn't able to say what had to be said. I held back my feelings. My life. I shut down everything I felt and kept it inside. What I felt about others, what had been happening to me. All of it, drifting inside the head of a pubescent teenager who had no outlet, no release.
I wrote poetry then. Dark and desperate. Plath-like and seemingly unsuitable for a girl who was popular on the outside. A cheerleader. I played the role so well, but inside, inside I was drowning.
Naturally the therapist they sent me to (as doctors of young people in these situations do) recommended I write. EVERYTHING. I had journal after journal. I wrote essays and stories and articles for my school newspaper. I was good at it. I loved it, and I started to heal.
Whenever I wasn't writing, I was miserable. Well, more miserable than I if I wasn't able to express my misery. Off and on I'd be medicated for depression over the years. Zombie like and lacking personality under the guise of self-improvement. The pills never seemed to make me ok, they just sort of made me blah.
There were so many times when I thought I couldn't do it anymore. When I would be driving and envision myself letting go and heading straight into the guardrail. Almost daily. When I would be taking my medications at night and wonder how many more I could take to just not wake up. It's scary to think I ever had these thoughts, but I have. More times than I can probably should have.
But getting it all out on "paper" is my way of being ok. Like standing atop a mountain and screaming and crying at the top of my lungs until the point of complete and utter emotional exhaustion until I collapse. Collapse into a peaceful and comforted sleep. Awakened rejuvenated, like Sleeping Beauty after years of rest, the past entirely behind her.
When I started to blog, it was for me. A place I could go to where ever I was, no matter what to be able to get that help, to feel that release. Then a magical thing happened. Someone read it. Not only read it, but related to it. I wasn't alone after all. I wasn't crazy, what I was going through wasn't a solitary event.
I felt a connect to people, people all over the world. And for the first time I felt invincible. I felt like I was a part of something. Something bigger than me. That by sharing MY life, MY feelings I could actually help someone else. Someone else realize they too could be ok. That they could not feel alone.
Sure there are a few creative license moments. A few turns of phrase that are a little more for the sound of the way I write than they were when they may have been said or happened, but it's my life. My emotions nonetheless. With a little help from my lovely college background in journalism and Creative Writing.
Nothing is done from malice. Nothing is meant as a blotter to the world as an actual play-by-play of my daily routines or daily life. "Some names are changed or omitted to protect the innocent" kind of thing. I write about everything, my life, the people in it, mostly about how I FEEL about the previous two. It's just how I am able to survive on a daily basis. You take it away, you take away my lifeline.
So there may not have been a defibrillator involved. No mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. No actual knocking a razor out of my hands so to speak. But blogging has saved my life, no doubt about it.