Friday, June 7, 2013

I Am This Flower

I Am This Flower.

I planted this flower 3 years ago. I saw it at WalMart and thought it was beautiful and wanted it in my yard. I was going through a VERY brief gardening streak and thought this would be the beginning of a lot more planting. Nahhhhh.
The first summer, it wilted and dried out despite consistent watering. It's just really hot here. REALLY hot.
I figured that was it and just sighed and let it be. Not long after, we were forced to move out of this house for a while for multiple reasons. My life was falling apart. I was in pieces. I was nearly dead, really.. emotionally, and physically. So we left, and the yard went to ruins again....
By the next spring, I had pulled my life together just enough that I was ready to try again. In my own space. Somehow, out of absolute brokenness and near death, something I WAS SURE I would never be revived from, I was starting to bloom again.
When we moved back in, I checked the spot where I had planted this. I couldn't even find it among the weeds.. shrugged it off and thought maybe I'd try to find a more sturdy flower to plant later.
A few weeks later, I walked out of the house in the morning to find this:
(stupid instagram won't let me download my own picture).
I was, clearly, excited as hell. It's just a flower. Just one plant. But it bloomed again. Somehow through the winter and lack of gardening it had sat dormant and managed to beat the odds and blossom again.
Kind of like I had, that year.

And, let's just be honest. I've fallen apart over and over again. I've lost "everything" a million times. I have had to start over more times than I can count... build from nothing. At one point I said, I cannot do this anymore. I cannot keep starting over. I can't. And then
I realized the beauty of your life shattering into pieces you can't even recognize. You can't put them back into what it looked or felt like before.
But you can.... you can pick them up and make something else. Anything you want to. It's a beautiful opportunity. It's hard. It's fucking .. almost impossible..... almost.
It's the most work anyone will ever do, internally and externally, continually rebuilding an entire life.
Sometimes I look at my rose bushes and I think, that's what other people seem like to me. I never wonder if my roses are going to bloom. I can neglect them all year long and they still offer up the same beautiful blossoms. Nearly the entire year, every year. They are reliable, the rose bushes never look like they've wilted beyond repair.. they are strong and they just keep doin their rose thang.
But I... I am THAT flower. And no, I don't know what it's called. ;)

Right now, I've been walking through a pretty scary storm in my life.
I've wanted to die. I've come close to dying. I feel like I am losing everything. I might lose it all. My jobs.. already lost my car... my house.. who knows? It's all on the line right now.
Yesterday the last straw was finding out that half the money I'd been saving to buy a new car had been garnished from my bank account. I sobbed all day.
This came after some very painful conversations with "Friends" who
cruelly discarded me without a second thought... a conversation with a employer that left me inconsolable. I felt like I'd been ripped right out of the ground from the roots. Breathless and lifeless. Too tired to even bother to keep living.
My friend said "come over, have a beer, sleep. Tomorrow is a new day, and you're going to be okay."

I laughed at him. Nothing can get better now. It's all gone to hell and I've been working SO damn hard. So hard.. I've never worked this hard before.
But I went and had a beer (or 3) under the stars on his patio, slept...
And then today I woke up in a good mood, and I relaxed with my friend with some morning coffee.. and I thought about life.. and I thought about my options..
and then I drove home, wondering when I'd start sobbing again, when that feeling would come down on me and stop me from functioning anymore, ever again.
And .. I pulled into my driveway and my flower had bloomed, and I realized

I MIGHT lose everything. I might get cut down. That flower? The entire plant appeared to be gone. A gardener mistook it for a weed over the winter and I was pretty bummed, but ... you know, my black thumb could only keep something that pretty alive this long, right?

The damn thing was cut to the ground, nearly killed, no reason to push up and bloom again. I wouldn't have.
Or... maybe. Maybe I am. Because just seeing that made me realize...
You can take away my jobs, my house, my phone, my car, my money, my looks (and even that happened this year, in a fashion, go figure). I can be cut to the goddamn ground and feel no hope of ever coming back from any of this.
But I still have my roots.. I have my family. I have my kids. I have my friends. I have my voice to sing with, I have my body to dance with..
Most important..
I have WHO I AM. Everything I've survived and overcome, everything I've learned. Every person whose life I've touched, even briefly or minimally, every experience, every growth, even the painful growth... I'm still me. And I can always rebuild.
I might spend a while looking pretty much dead. I might think all is lost. I might even go underground for a long time.. but eventually I'll blossom again.
Because I'm that flower.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Suicide Stigma .... SOMETHING has to change.

It's been... oh, almost 6 months since I posted here? I started a private/anonymous blog because my thoughts became too much to share with those close to me. That may seem contradictory but I learn more, the older I get, the more experiences I have, that it is far too dangerous to be too real with those you love.

That being said, I'm about to get kind of fucking real, and yet I will not say "leave this page if it'll make you uncomfortable."
This is a fucking uncomfortable subject. That's the problem. Nobody can look it in the eye. Nobody can handle it and so we try to bandaid the problem.... we make policies that it's not okay to talk about it in certain ways. We make it a crime to feel something that people have no control over. How is this any less biased than making it criminal to talk about any OTHER thing we may be feeling?
Nobody would look at you and say "fuck you, John, your diabetes are really making me uncomfortable, especially the prospect of you possibly dying from them. Your fears and sadness over your condition are also making me kind of upset, so could you just... you know, not talk about it?"

somewhat relevant and funny:

Well, maybe someone would, That person would be an asshole.

And yet...
I talk a lot about the silent diseases that so many of us are plagued with. Depression, Anxiety.. mostly because those are the ones that I have experienced along with RTS and PTSD and fertility issues, but for as long as I have memory of life, I have memories of feeling horribly depressed. Feeling horribly scared. Panic attacks. And I have been told it is all in my head, that I can beat it if itry hard enough. That more sunshine and exercise will do me more good than whatever awful drug I'm on that may be awful but may be the only thing helping me drag my ass out of bed in the morning. I have been told that Not ONLY are my conditions psychosomatic, but that they are such a burden on everyone that I should have the DECENCY not to burden them with the reality of what I go through. That I should be coached in what language to use in talking to other people so as to make it less harsh or alarming for them. That I should sign agreements everywhere I go, INCLUDING the "Safe" place I go to, to talk about how I feel, that I won't talk about it if I decide that I want to die.

Read it again.
In the past week I have been told by 4 very important support systems in my life that I can not TALK about it if I feel that I want to die... (unless it's between the hours of 9 am and 4 pm, or it's in a certain room and not by phone, or I laugh after I say it) Because it could really upset someone.
You know? Me, being in such hell and seeing my uselessness in this condition, and feeling that my LIFE is useless, partially because of how secluded I have become... I really need to cover that shit up in case it makes YOU uncomfortable. It's even a issue with my therapist, while it is not HER fault, I think it has more to do with the nature of the profession and safety regulations, it still felt like yet another brick wall that I ran into..... Really. I walked out of the office today contemplating whether or not to sign an agreement that she said is non-negotiable if I want to continue to come see her. An agreement that I will not say I want to die, and that if I feel that I want to say that I should call a suicide hotline or clog up 911 because they don't have anything better to do than listen to me talk about why I want to do even though I'm not actually going to kill myself.

So here is my question to you, all of you who find people like me so impossible to deal with that you not only willingly DESERT, but berate and belittle us for BEING in hell, for needing help so desperately that we'd swallow our pride and be honest about just how much it hurts to live from one moment to the next... to say out loud how inadequate we feel...  to put our broken hearts in your hands to see in our last desperate gasp for help.. Just hoping that one person could say "this might be hard for me, but it can't be 1/100th of how hard it is for you, so I will sit here with you, and hold your hand, and love you." EVEN THOUGH we're so horrible that we'd be honest about one of the most painful health conditions/side effects of a disease that anyone has ever experienced. That we're so ill-mannered that once or twice we might dare to hope that those few we haven't driven away YET with our reality would look at us in our time of need and say "I'm sorry you're hurting so much, can I HELP YOU not hurt? What do you need?" instead of "don't you dare talk like that unless you want me to walk away. I can't handle it."

No, no... instead, you tell us to call a suicide hotline. Because talking to someone who probably has a script of "appropriate responses" to calls and who is faking their concern and will ultimately tell you to lie to them and say you're fine, or that you'll go to the hospital. What fucking good does that do? Or you call 911 on us because it's easier to send in a jaded law enforcement officers and a couple of EMTS to yell at you or drag you off to a hospital that will release you 2 days or 2 weeks later after what was left of y our life has crumbled to pieces....
Far easier to let someone else deal with the crazy person than to be what they really need: a friend.

And they tell us that friends aren't trained and equipped to deal with a suicidal personal properly.... so they tell us to go to our therapist or a dr... and then that doctor tells us that there are boundaries and things that can't be said, and you find yourself staring at the wall realizing that there is NOWHERE you can turn if you are in this much pain that will actually help you, or be there for you.... just people that will cover up the ugliness and send you on your way, meanwhile leaving you more and more alone... and then eventually we realize that we have been silenced. Our tongues cut out, with threats hanging over our heads.
Our voices have been taken away. Our doctors refuse to be our doctors but cannot be our friends. Our friends refuse to be true friends and cannot be doctors.

There is nowhere for someone to turn when life has beat them to a bloody pulp and they simply cannot get back up again without real love and support that doesn't stand back and distance as if they could catch this "disease" by getting too close or understanding too much.

And at that point when you realize (as I did, today, in my therapist's office) that there is truly nowhere for me to turn the next time I truly cannot keep going in this life...
I won't say anything. I won't warn anyone. I won't leave an explanation because my whole life's writings, my whole life in itself is explanation enough. And those who truly knew me would know that itwas not an act of selfishness (the fuck heads who say that need to take a week or two in our shoes if they want to try to say shit like that)... it was not an act of defiance or a cry for help. My cries for help died out long ago and I suspect I am only one of millions in this situation.
I won't cry out anymore because I CAN'T. And it falls on deaf ears.

I'm afraid that this is an epidemic. I am seeing it everywhere..... Suicide has become the new worst swear word, the most taboo possible subject... just the word can cost me a 5 yr friendship in 5 minutes or a sudden mistrust of a therapist I have loved and trusted for 3 years.
I know I can't be the only one who feels this way.

Families and friends of anyone who is or has been suicidal in the past -- something has to change. Maybe if it did, maybe we would stop dropping like flies. Maybe the epidemic would slow down just a little bit... Maybe if we could speak honestly without everyone covering their eyes and ears and walking away and telling us that the proper place is always SOMEWHERE ELSE.. the proper ears to hear are always SOMEONE else's....
When house cleaning, washing your hair, being a little tired, the drive being more than 10 minutes, or any other simple inconvenience is shown to trump your friend's life (because they humbly beg, probably silently sobbing and shaking on the phone line, beg for a ahand, beg for you to just come sit with them...) Something huge needs to be reevaluated.

You say you want us to live.
Help us live. Life hurts sometimes... for YOU. Life hurts ALL the time, for US. For ME. What hurts us enough to consider leaving a whole lifetime behind just to stop hurting might sting for you to hear about, but if you love someone, you better start listening.
Because the next time, they might not say anything. You may never hear their voice or see their face again. If they stop talking, you better start asking.
I'm writing this for everyone else who might feel the way I feel and have felt. Writing this in hopes that maybe itcould save one person's life because ONE person decides that their life is more important than not feeling uncomfortable or scared.