Friday, July 29, 2016

Writing Trauma

How does one write after trauma, amidst fresh PTSD and hurt and desire to numb the hurt? Writing is an effort too much for the weakened. It’s too heavy, too precise, too likely to tend toward perfection.

How does one write of the trauma in a public sphere? How does one know when she is ready to share? I can hardly write for myself, but for others? Is it easier or harder? Do I need an anonymous platform? Where does present reality fit into the picture? It’s real and realness is a goal, purpose, whatever of my words. But I hide from the present. Can I share with anyone the hurt that fuels the severe anxiety and the desire? The desire to . . . to . . . I can’t say. Perhaps I am not ready.

Are tears a prerequisite to writing the truth of my present reality? I hate to cry. Don’t ask me to cry that I might share. Writing is healing, sure, yet my body and mind rebel. They won’t be healed.

I want normality. Don’t ask me to “define normal.” That’s obnoxious. I’ll tell you, though, what it’s not: me. I’m a savant. A bipolar II savant. I guarengoddamntee you that my brain chemistry is exceptional. Exceptionally fucked up, that is.

I do not intend to elicit pity from anyone. I intend to be honest. And this is the only place I know to start.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Q&A for my Ex-Therapist

To my previous (most excellent) therapist:

Why did you fire me? (Don’t answer that.) I miss you.

Were you afraid I was going to commit suicide on you? I almost did. Did you know that?

If you could do it over again, would you change anything? I would. We never would have met. I probably would’ve wandered into your church eventually and we would have met on normal people terms. “Normal People.”

Did I come across as withdrawn or deceitful towards the end of our relationship? I’m sorry if I did. I didn’t mean to.

Did you know that all of the shits ‘n’ giggles was the best therapy I could have asked for some days? Most days? You made me smile. You gave me something to look forward to.

If you had it your way, would you have had me admitted to inpatient care April 1st, 2014? I think about that day sometimes, and find it a wonder I was sent home. And more of a wonder I wasn’t sent in that October.

Did you know I still miss you and think of you often but have yet to get mad at you for calling it all off? I’ve been angry with myself for it; I blame my own inability to heal—to respond to treatment, to speak truth—for our split.

Did you know that it had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with you?? That if we had waited a month, the lithium would’ve started to make a dent, and a couple more months, that Prozac would be added and give me the final boost? Did you know I would be stable?

I just needed someone to talk to. That was you. Someone to laugh with. You. Someone to tolerate my silences as an acceptable part of who I am rather than some unsociable flaw. You. Someone to pick my brain and tsk my shoulds and name my depression and the darkness inside (Heloise, you named my depression and darkness, do you remember that?) and greet me with enthusiasm and, again, make me laugh. To laugh with me. YOU.

Thank you. I miss you.

Love and peace to you,

Friday, July 1, 2016

Don't Forget about the Good

Furiously Happy. Jenny Lawson. I can’t say I’d recommend the book. Of course, I wouldn’t recommend otherwise, either. I appreciate her profanity, but I feel she tries a little too hard to be “motherfucking” out there. I wish she talked more about her struggles with mental illness and less about her bat-shit crazy escapades in Australia. Maybe she gets (hypo)manic, and I’m just missing it, and she’s not admitting to it.

I do recommend her chapter on self-harm: “The Fear.” The one she starts with “(Note: this is where I’d put a mild trigger warning for self-harm, but frankly this whole damn book—and life in general—deserves a trigger warning. Sorry about that.)” Yes, I recommend it, very much so. Unless, of course, you’re easily triggered, like me, and are trying to be responsible by not getting overmuch triggered, unlike me.

I want to know what it’s like, for her, to be mentally ill and have a child. Is it doable? To be fighting against self-harm while loving another the way a parent loves her child? The pregnancy. Did she have to go off meds? If so, how did she survive?

Sometimes I want her to be serious. Less shits and giggles. I want to know about the deceit her depression speaks into her mind. Of course, that’s mighty personal. I too would rather laugh off the “crazy” than trigger someone into doing something terrible.

They say talking about suicide won’t make a person more suicidal. I don’t know. I guess, though, I would rather her write about the darkness than engage us in her tom-“fuckery.” (Funny as it may be.) Maybe she writes about it in her first book. Maybe not.

Maybe what is best of her book—well, second best, the chapter on self-harm wins all contest—is its advice to me as a writer:
Quit trying to be so damn funny. You’re funny by being a human being who does stupid shit like wear koala outfits and send taxidermied raccoons riding on the backs of house cats and not filter sarcasm and pick punk-assed elementary school peers up by their t-shirts. But you’re funny even without sharing every last one of those moments.
And keep being honest. About the stupid shit. About the blood. About the nitty gritty details that are inevitably judged to be too personal. And about the good. Don’t forget the good, Annie Williams. Don’t forget the good.