Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Relapse.

When I first started this blog in 2013, I had planned for it to be entirely anonymous. I didn't want anyone I knew in real life to read it or to know about it. I wanted to be able to be honest without fear of it interfering with my 'real' life. I wanted to keep my online life separate from my real life. I wanted to be invisible.

Yet over time I became friends with the people I met online -- real friends, not artificial hey-how-are-you-that's-cool-okay-bye friends -- and so the line between real and online began to blur. Those lines blurred further still when I started meeting said online friends in person, mainly at concerts held by the band which we bonded over in the first place.

This now puts me in an awkward position because while I love my friends (I really do love you guys, you know), I am fearful of being as honest on my blog as I originally intended. Not because I don't trust these people -- they are some of the most wonderful people I have ever met -- but because honesty often leads to worry, which is never something you want to make your friends do. So I'm going to preface this with a disclaimer, brought to you by Coldplay: It's no cause for concern.

Sometimes (often) the only way I can make sense of things is to write about them. As we all know by now, I've been writing it out since I could hold a pen. It’s how I deal with things and process them when everything becomes too overwhelming. When I was a kid I would even write in code so no one could read it because some thoughts are better left private, but I needed to get them out of me. That is probably the case with the thoughts I'm currently having, but for the sake of what is left of my sanity, I need to write it out of me. Maybe I will post it. Maybe I won't. That's hardly the point right now.

It is currently 1:30pm on a Monday afternoon and I am still in bed. I am writing this post on my phone because the distance between my bed and my desk where my laptop resides is insurmountable. In the last week I have only left my bed to go to work and to feed my (poor neglected) dogs. That is all I am capable of doing right now because I have done that ugly word that sounds like a curse.
I have relapsed.

My heart actually sunk when I typed that. Like I was confessing that I murdered someone or something equally as horrific. As though saying "I am not doing okay" is something to be ashamed of. But I am ashamed of it, so much so that I lied to you all about why I couldn't post Orange Sky last week. I said that things weren't working as they should, and that is true, but the thing that isn't working is me. The broken useless thing is me. Not my laptop or my Internet as I led you all to believe. I am sorry for deliberately misleading you.

It's tough to admit this when so much of my blog is all yay-things-get-better-keep-fighting-believe-in-yourself-all-we-need-is-faith-rainbows-butterflies-unicorns. I feel like it makes me a liar and a hypocrite and a fake and a pathetic mess. It makes me want to go back and edit every one of those posts with a giant THE GIRL WITH WORDS IS FULL OF SHIT AND HASN'T BEEN ABLE TO STOP CRYING FOR THE LAST TWO WEEKS STRAIGHT SO DON'T LISTEN TO A WORD SHE HAS TO SAY. I nearly did that a couple of times, actually, but then that would be admitting I had a problem and God knows you can't do THAT. You told everyone you were better, remember? So suck it up and stop your snivelling. You're embarrassing yourself.

There's a difference, I think, between a relapse and a stint in the dark and twisty place. Being in the dark and twisty place is like being in prison for a minor crime. It's horrible and you hate it and you're cold and scared and alone, but you know your sentence will end and you'll be allowed out. You will be sent back into the world with a new appreciation for life and a clearer perspective. You will feel proud of yourself for getting through it and not letting the darkness win. You will tell yourself that you are definitely better – maybe not better better but better than you were because in the past you wouldn’t have made it through the darkness at all.

A relapse is different. A relapse is a life sentence in solitary confinement with the possibly of the death penalty. A relapse tells you there's no way out. Things are never going to be better. You will never see the sun again. You will never be free again. You will never be okay again, you will never smile again and you will be alone in your cell until the day you die, which, if you are lucky, will be sometime in the near future.
A relapse is so much harder to deal with than a stint in the dark and twisty place.

So what do you when this happens? I'm going to be honest here and say I don't know. I don't know what to do. I'm in solitary confinement and I see no way out. The things which used to help – God, Mars, the magical unicorn that is Jared Leto, words, my puppies, crazy amounts of cleaning -- aren't helping right now. Mainly because I'm not actually letting them help. I'm avoiding all the things that could help like the plague because I deserve this. You don't deserve to feel better because this wouldn't be happening if you were a good person. This wouldn't be happening if you hadn't xyz and remember that time you abc and also you efg and what about when you hijklmnop. You did the whole damn alphabet. You brought this on yourself and so now you have to accept the consequences.

Of course, logically, I know that's not true. I know I shouldn't let the darkness destroy my safe places, but right now my broken side is stronger than my logical side. My logical side has fought through long enough to go, you know what, write about this because that will help, but I don't know how long my logical side can hold down the fort. I don't know how long it will be before I turn off my phone and go back to staring at the ceiling.

I guess the point of the post is this: I am not okay. I can't begin to express how much I hate saying that, but sometimes just saying it out loud (is it still out loud in print?) can help. If writing it gets it out of me then posting it is like letting it go. Sometimes the temptation is to curl up with it after I've written it and let the darkness fester and grow until it blots out every trace of sunlight, but right at this moment, the remaining logical side of me is strong enough to tell me not to do that. Whether or not that results in things looking a little brighter remains to be seen. But I have to try, right. At least that's what they always say. When you're ready to give up, remember why you held on so long in the first place.

Sometimes it's hard to remember.

I really want to end this post on a positive note, but I don't have one. All I can say is this: relapses happen. It is tough to admit to them or to ask for help because but I thought you were better. But the thing we all have to remember is horrible things do happen. Maybe the horrible thing is happening inside you instead of to you or around you, but that doesn’t make it any less valid. Happiness in the face of that, that’s not the goal. Feeling the horrible and knowing you're not going to die from those feelings, that's the goal.* I'm still working on that. I will probably be working on it for the rest of my life, to be honest. I don’t think that depression and the various other alphabet soup of disorders that I have are something that you ever fully recover from. You just get better at managing them. Right now, I am failing miserably at managing them. Right now it’s a good day if I find the will to get out of bed and feed myself. Right now it’s a good day if I can go for more than two hours without my eyes doing that annoying leaking thing. Right now I am so far into the dark and twisty place that I am absolutely convinced that I will never see the sun again, but in the words of my favourite dark and twisty scary and damaged individual:

So there it is.
*Totally a Grey’s Anatomy quote.