Fluidity

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I went to the water to find peace–

somewhere in the waves,

where the sun fades and the noise becomes hollow.

 

I went to the water to find resilience–

like the aqua liquidity bending and shaping

to whatever it encounters.

 

I went to the water to find a sense of permanence–

like the lasting effect of years upon years of continuous movement,

that leaves its mark on all it touches.

 

I went to the water to find something, anything–

grasping for something concrete to hold onto

or finally letting go forever.

 

I went to the water to find comfort—

but in between the droplets, I found myself.

 

Contradiction

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I sit in isolation-

(surrounded by the masses)-

desperately looking for companionship-

(exhausted by  the interaction).

 

 

An imitation of a person.

Passionate, yet apathetic.

Loving, yet spiteful.

 

Tedious days melt into dark nights

and I’m a remnant of who I once was.

 

 

 

 

Steel Blue

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I still catch a glimpse of her sometimes….

behind the steel blue cage.

The girl I once was

staring back at the woman she never thought she’d become.

A woman who lost her hopes and dreams

in a black, murky sea.

Carrying too much baggage in her heart

and in her skin.

Weighed down as she tried to swim to shore,

tried to escape the grasping tides.

That girl looks sad and lost,

wanting to see the world again-

wanting to see herself again.

Instead, the stranger stares back and once again

she loses hope of ever escaping.

Black and White

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There are no grays for me—

no in-between moments.

I live in a world of extremes

full of black and white, good and bad, all or nothing.

My heart is either too full or completely empty,

my mind—devoid or in abundance.

No one understands, no one can fathom

the energy it takes each day to stay afloat.

To not lose myself in the depravity and hopelessness,

yet get caught in such overwhelming beauty that it hurts.

I’m up and down, in and out–

enemies with my own mind and soul.

Longing for gray.

 

The Monster I Know

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He lies in wait for me every day

looking for that perfect chance to attack.

Waiting

Ready to strike at the

first sign of weakness.

I try to fight.

I see him coming from the corner of my eye-

his yellow eyes

with nothing behind them

void of love, of feeling, of happiness.

I try to run, I try to fight-

flailing my arms, screaming at the top of my lungs,

hoping someone will hear

someone will help.

But, he’s my enemy-

mine and mine alone.

With one full swoop of his claws,

grip tightening around my throat,

fear in every cell of my body,

he has me.

I am his.

I am defeated.

My world goes dark.

 

Times Long Past

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I’ve never been a big fan of New Year’s Eve. I hate resolutions. I feel they put too much pressure on me and then I’ll fail and hate myself even more. So, I make personal goals for the new year. I have a list of things I want to do in the next 12 months and then I cross them off, as I do them. Then, I see real progress. Crossing something off a list gives me a momentary bump in my self-confidence. Yay me! I did accomplish something.

I found myself in a strange place this New Year’s Eve. I looked at my parents, during our traditional dinner out and I had this dreadful feeling in the pit of my stomach. I started thinking, “What if this is the last New Year’s Eve they are here to eat dinner with us?” Being in their 80’s and having some medical issues for the last 10 years or so, it really is a distinct possibility. Then, I looked at my 21-year-old son and thought, “Wait a minute….what if he isn’t here next year?”  Which, of course, led to me turning that question on my husband and then myself.

It’s true, isn’t it? We aren’t guaranteed anything in this life. Only that life happens. Shit happens. Bad things happen. Every. Single. Day. To every single one of us. In life, the bad comes with the good. The light always turns to dark. In order to live a happy and full life, we have to accept that. And then I realized, that my list needs to be more than a “2016 Goals” list. It has to be “Allison’s Life Goals” list. (Not a bucket list. I hate that term.) For some strange reason, sitting there in a nice restaurant on the last day of what was a very trying year, among the dinner rolls and salad, I had an epiphany of sorts… we are all running out of time. Every day. Every minute.

I mean this is common sense, right? At least it should be. But, with all my issues and my mental illness, it is a concept that is very difficult for my brain to process. I fret about every step I take. I get knots in my stomach at missing keys and dirty dishes. I live my life in a constant state of worry, guilt, regret, and sadness. What a waste of precious time. One of my personal development goals this year is to try to find the color in my days of black and white. Try to embrace the happy and push away the sad. This will be a big undertaking, but I feel up to the task.

I’m not saying that I’m going to overcome my diseases—quite the contrary. I know they will always be there, but maybe I can accept them a bit more. Maybe I can find a silver lining in the darkness. Maybe if I find it enough, it will start to penetrate and permeate into my being. I’m running out of time, and damn it, I have too much left to do. If I’m here next year, then I can celebrate what I did accomplish in 2016. If I’m not, I want people to look back and know I did my best every single day to live a good, full life. And that I refused to let the darkness win.

The Mask I Wear

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Depression sucks. Anxiety sucks. Borderline Personality Disorder sucks. And when you’re a woman dealing with all three, life can sometimes seem like torture.

It’s been so difficult lately to pick up the pieces of myself, when I feel like those pieces have been glued back together so many times that they are unfix-able. The pieces have become dust and that dust has flown away somewhere, leaving me with nothing but big holes in who I am. I’ve been struggling with mental illness since I was a teenager and I really thought it would get better. I thought that the dark parts of me would somehow get illuminated with time, and I would grow up to be a well-adjusted, happy adult. But, the illness never leaves, it just finds new ways of manifesting itself. In some ways, I feel like I dealt with it better when I was younger, because I was more resilient and I had this hope of one day getting “better.” But, I haven’t. I’ve actually gotten worse.

My anxiety is a recent thing. The last 10 years or so have brought this new dimension to my life. I never had anxiety before. I never cared what people thought of me. I never had fears of public speaking or of new situations. I never let fear stand in my way of anything. But, lately, it consumes me. This sense of dread, this sense of despair. It makes me lie awake at night and worry about things that will never happen. It’s worse when it comes to my children. Now that they are both in college, I think about what could happen to them away from home and I physically make myself sick with worry. And it doesn’t help when people get irritated with my irrationality. If it’s physically possible, I’ve thought of it. Even if you hit me with statistics, how unlikely something is, it makes no difference to me. I’ll still get ill over the scenarios that play out in my head like a bad movie.

Being mentally ill has always been something I’ve been afraid to talk about, afraid to let others know. So, I wear a mask of normalcy. But, in recent years, I’ve realized that there is no shame in saying, “I’m a mentally ill woman.” It’s who I am and it won’t ever change. It’s a lifetime label. My mission has become to help other women become empowered by their label, no longer fearful of what others will think. Would I choose to have this disease wrecking havoc on my life and the life of my loved ones? No–But, it was the hand I was dealt. They are the only cards I have to play–so play them I will–with dignity and pride.

My mental illnesses make me who I am–and most days, I’m okay with that.