April 3, 2011

UPDATED - Life on the Couch: A walk.

This post deals with self-injury. If hearing about this is a trigger for you, please don't read it.

I took a walk today.

This is not something I do often (like, once-a-year not often). The local winters aren't very walk-friendly, but more than that I can find the simplest things very overwhelming (see my adventures in cooking for evidence of that). I also have an 8:00-4:30 job that is bloated by a 45-minute commute. Worst of all, I rarely feel like I have the energy to do more than slog through my day.

Some of that will be changing in the near future... the work day with the awful commute is coming to an end in just under five months, and I'm working on coping mechanisms to get me through the simple tasks and activities (like walks and grocery shopping) that seem so impossible to me. I'm trying to eat better and get a little exercise so that I'll have more energy. Best of all, I'm setting off on an exciting journey, going to college to explore where my talents truly lie and to wander the bright and shining path of my life.

I also have an incredible summer to look forward to, starting with an amazing trip overseas, followed by moving out of the basement and into a lovely duplex (a move that is long overdue), a visit from a dear friend, the start of the Renaissance Festival (something I look forward to every year), and finally the end of my job and the beginning of my new life.

There's a lot of darkness before the dawn, though.

I've been spending a lot of time the past few weeks smiling harder and harder as I become more and more desperate. Time seems to be slowing down and the light at the end of the tunnel never gets any closer. Each day at my job has become agony, every small annoyance blown to epic proportions. I come home and lay on the couch and try to block out the room around me. I've been smoking more and drinking more and eating more and doing less and less. I'm holding on by my fingernails, white-knuckling my way through the next two months until everything starts.

And I beat myself up for it everyday. What right do you have to be miserable when you have so much awesome in your future? How dare you whine about having to wait, when the time is going to be gone before you know it? Meanwhile, I'm being crushed under the weight of anticipation.

Friday night, everything went CRACK.

The night was going fine. I started drinking, and was having fun. Then, before I even knew what I was doing, I was cutting. It may have been more gradual than that, but in my memory it seemed to just... happen. When it was over, I was overwhelmed with shame and horror and no small amount of bewilderment. Soon enough, I was berating myself for doing it again when I was supposed to be getting better now.

I got some sleep, sobered up, and hid behind my hangover. I napped, I showered (ouch!), I spent a few hours at my second job. I thought about what I'd done to myself, and why.

Today, I decided to take a walk. To get out of the basement and let myself be in my own head for a while, away from the darkness, out in the light. It was one of those great spring days, about 55 degrees, a little breezy, cloudy. I walked on the wonderful trail through town, looking at the buds on trees, the kind that promise leaves at any moment. I saw a cardinal, and my first robin of the season. I let myself breathe for the first time in weeks.

I knew then that I need to stop ignoring the impatience and punishing myself for it. I have to let myself feel it, and give myself a damn break already. I think I've found a better way to deal with it; instead of pushing it down, I can find those moments that make now enjoyable. Small moments, little things. I can't make time speed up, no matter how hard I try, but I can let myself live in and enjoy the present instead of obsessing about the future.

I think I'll start by taking lots of walks.

UPDATE: I was terrified to post this because some people are going to read it and be all, "Uh. Ok. Back away slowly." Other people are going to think it's a pathetic cry for attention or sympathy. I just needed to be clear that it's not my intention to elicit either of these reactions. The reason I posted this in a public forum instead of on a personal locked journal is because I think it's important to talk about it. To show that people are dealing with these issues, and that doesn't make them a bad person. I don't want to hide this part of me, because it IS a part of me, a BIG part of me, and hiding it only makes it worse. In a way it's like the bullying thing... the way to fix it isn't to stay quiet or hide it away as some deep dark secret. It's to talk about it and bring it out in the open and make sure people know that it's ok to get help.

And believe me, I am getting help. I'm seeing a therapist and am a lot better in a lot of ways. Obviously I do backslide sometimes, and this post is here to show what it's like when that happens. It doesn't mean I'm suicidal or having a breakdown. It means that I'm a human being dealing with some difficult things. Things that do not need to be a shameful secret.

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