Elephant's Child has provided two lists of prompt words despite her unfortunate computer issues this week. I was inspired by both and ended up with two separate blurbs that I'll separate with dashy lines (----) and hopefully avoid confusing everyone :o)
Here are this week's words:
The First List
The Second List
First up are the first words that inspired me to write about an episode that I had Tuesday afternoon. It was pretty intense but I was able to use my DBT skills and despite things getting messy I think I'm still on an upward trend! So here's my first writing:
Slightly bewildered by the swift avalanche of emotion cascading through my body, I slowly lowered myself to a kneeling position on the floor of our son's room. Tears fell freely while my hands and lips trembled. Words occasionally stuttered or hiccuped forth with a sob as I tried to explain the rationale behind my need to get out of the house despite my day of indepedence without a baby to care for or job to work.
Feelings of guilt and shame rained down on me as I took in my husband's confused and frustrated face. I knew that it didn't make much sense for me to be so anxious and leary about staying home on my own to cook dinner while he went to a gym class and put the baby in the gym's childcare center. It was my assigned night to cook dinner, what more could I ask for than an empty home to myself?
He had worked all day, taken our son to and picked him up from daycare and now all he wanted was to hit a gym class and have dinner ready when he got home. I had no objections to his plans. I had been worrying about his lack of "me" time and felt like he fully deserved more breaks from full-time work, parenting, and husbanding. He'd been running himself ragged for over a year keeping our family afloat while I was cut down by postpartum depression and tonight my symptoms were hijacking our lives once more. It didn't matter how often my needs had already usurped our plans; my mental health crises taking precedence over anyone else's needs and making me feel like a burden and disappointment. This was just one more time.
I continued to try and explain my unstable mood while a familiar darkness invaded my thoughts. I felt helpless as the depressive logic coated my brain like warm, sticky tar; broad strokes of a vicious brush obscuring my ability to be reasonable. My speech broke down into deeper sobs as I recognized the dark thoughts and my suicidal impulses that they conjured up so easily. I had had so many good days of being able to avoid these slippery mental pitfalls but here I found myself once more in crisis.
My husband understood instantly what was happening. He knew when my mind wasn't my own any longer. He was familiar with my draconian thought process; the cruel depressive logic that had months before led me to tie a plastic bag over my head in a suicide attempt. We both knew in this moment that our evening's plans were now going to be directed by my disease, not by our desires.
He spoke low and slow, asking me if I could see him and if I could think of something else, even going on to ask me about our dog's bowel movements that day. Somehow discussing dog feces brought me back to a place a mild functionality and I was able to impress upon him just how sorry I was that I wasn't capable of helping him more when it came to caring for our son or making dinner more often or giving him time to himself. I wailed and shook in anguish. Harsh thoughts continued to lash out within me while I struggled to fight them off with positive, forgiving thoughts.
Somehow I kept my positive thoughts flowing, beating back the self-punitive barrage and replacing it with acknowledgment of my progress over the past few months and reminders that I did contribute to our family by doing chores. My husband rubbed my back and muttered soothing words as my crying slowed and my breathing deepened.
The storm had been a swift one, my tears and darkest thoughts erupting despite my intention to have a simple, composed conversation. With my descent so deep as to be touched my suicidal impulses, we decided it was best if I wasn't left alone and opted to attend the gym class together. It pained me to watch my episode reroute our family's life once more but I also recognized-much more than ever before-that it wasn't me being selfish or dramatic, it was simply a disease taking its toll.
I want to support my husband more. I don't want to be the one always taking from our marriage and not giving as much back, but for now I'm stuck taking. I'm stuck needing extra care and allowances while I strive to control these disorders. Until then, I will take my messy victories like the recovery we fought for today.
The second list made me think of the Dallas shootings and although I struggle to express my opinions on controversial issues (self esteem issues make me feel like my thoughts and feelings aren't refined enough or justified) I felt inspired to free write a little bit about this and get some of my thoughts out. So here's my second writing:
I wonder what was going through his mind while he reached for yet another clip to reload his rifle. That brief pause in his attack giving an opportunity to hear the terrified screams, see the chaotic scene beneath him instead of only the narrow field of vision provided through his scope.
Did previous shootings and terrorist attacks around the world make him sad or afraid, or did they only generate blind rage? Could they have inspired a genuine desire for violence in him? It seems so unfathomable and yet I know just a little of what it's like to lose your tie to humanity, to feel ambivalent about human life. Perhaps he suffers from depression too, or some other vicious disorder. Somehow it feels better to blame the atrocity on a broken brain rather than believe that some people can simply be that cruel.
I imagine the protest before his ambush as a successful blending of police and public. Those police and protestors went there that day aware of their goal to serve their fellow man, their intention to try and improve the lives of everyone. I envision strangers exchanging shy greetings, sharing fleeting eye contact as they proceed down the street with a variety of handmade signs. Friends and family and strangers and coworkers blending together. Feelings of fear, sadness, anger, love, hope, and frustration simmering in the crowd, shared by all sides. Tense but safely orchestrated by mutual standards of conduct.
Then those shots rang out and all potential divisions disappeared. The whole situation doesn't make much sense to me but it makes lots of feelings. I wonder what the future holds, how many more will die before we find a solution to his terrible problem? Through the pain and confusion I seem to consistently find myself arriving at the conclusion that one thing I know I can do to help is to simply be nice. Try to spread kindness in my daily life and catch judgments in my mind and interact with my neighbors and stop isolating and feeding stereotypes and just waiting for a crisis to hit my town.
This all happened because a violent person wanted to emphasize a separation between people and yet, for me, it has emphasized that we are more the same than different, more together than apart. Where we are headed, I'm not sure, but I know that we're going there together and that we're going to get through this and figure out a better way to be here together.
Thanks for reading, I know it was a lot this week!
Update: My mood is good so far today and I'm planning on staying busy and cheering myself on. I can only proceed with the best intentions and hope for the best :o) I've been afraid of backsliding and anxiety and depression but I think I'm actually doing a decent job coping, just have to deal with those fears a little better and not frighten myself into another episode!
Anyways, back to it!