The Pink Cloud

When I first was introduced to narcotics anonymous I heard all sorts of buzzwords and phrases coined by drug addicts in recovery. “The Pink Cloud” is used to describe the “high on life” feeling one gets from being newly in recovery. As people detox and stop living the lifestyle of an addict; feelings of hope, joy, and optimism pervade the addict. This is a great feeling for someone coming out of active addiction! But, it can also be very dangerous and very deceptive.

I feel like this may sometimes apply to depression and anxiety. I feel like I felt the Pink Cloud of my recovery. At the end of last week I was honestly feeling great. I had been to several therapy sessions, made an appointment with a psychiatrist, started this blog for support, I was making an effort to be “nicer and not in a bad mood.” It felt dangerous. It felt scary. I told myself I will take this happiness with a grain of salt, as I should have

One comment, one feeling, one moment, one thought. That’s all it takes to have everything come crashing down like a house of cards. I remember feeling fragile. I thought to myself.

“I feel like a vase that has just shattered and been glued back together.” 

Anything could render my psyche into a million little pieces. And that’s all it took. It happens so fast and then you freefall rather quickly into the throws of worthlessness and depression.

Another phrase that circles around NA and AA is, “One day at a time.” This is important to remember. Like myself, you may even need to tailor the phrase to you fit. In my case, “One hour at a time.” I was reminded of this by my therapist. Just because I am taking these baby steps to recovery doesn’t mean I need to set such high standards for myself.

My boyfriend tells me to be nicer, to be more loving and to simply “ focus on the positive.” For someone struggling with depression, “focusing on the positive” is not easy at all and sometimes not even possible. I don’t think he realizes this. He says he does, but if he truly understood how I felt he wouldn’t say any of that. For me, it only makes things worse. I turn inward; why can’t I just be happy? Why can I be nice? Why am I so awful to be around? This triggers a huge cycling of feelings of worthlessness and even suicidal thoughts. Sometimes I just want to feel bad and for that to be okay. Its so difficult to simply exist that the thought of actively trying to change my mindset and reactions seems impossible. He says I am “choosing to be angry” or choosing to have this outlook.

N O T H I N G enrages me more. 

You think I chose this? You honestly think I wake up every morning planning and choosing to feel this awful and to view everything through this pitifully negative scope? If it were that easy I wouldn’t even be writing this blog right now. I wouldn’t be in therapy.

If it were as easy as making a simple decision, I would choose happiness. 

I saw the psychiatrist and was prescribed Lexapro. I am anxious about starting a medication like this as I have never been on any psychotropic medication before. I am anxious about the side effects. I read somewhere in the side effects of the medication that “if your doctor prescribed you this medication he/she thinks the benefits largely outweigh any adverse side effects.” It doesn’t seem fair that I must put my body on the backburner to take care of my mind. This is one choice I do have…take the medication ( I have nothing left to lose,) or feel this hopeless, and miserable weight slowly crush me. Like I said, I have nothing left to lose.

With this blog post I give myself permission to hurt. I give myself the right to be in a “bad mood.”I acknowledge I feel completely and utterly depressed and that’s okay. I warrant myself to cry and give myself a little leniency on “focusing on the positive. Its not as simple as a choice. “This is clinical,” my therapist says. “One hour at a time,” I say to myself.

“One hour at a time,” I say to myself. 

Running on Empty…

One of the hardest struggles I have encountered is the effect of my moods on those around me. This state of mind makes it  i n c r e d i b l y difficult to interact with others. Most difficult is interacting with my boyfriend. He is so patient, I can’t imagine how he is still beside me. Its so difficult to be emotionally present when all your emotional energy is exhausted by simply existing and going through your day. But that’s not fair. The inability to reciprocate love during all of this is something that splinters me. It makes me feel selfish and worthless. I feel like such an awful person for feeling the way I do. “Stewing in my own sour air…” I know it permeates and trails wherever I go.  I know those around me can get a whiff. I can’t imagine what it would be like to give so much attention to the one you love that at the end of the day you have nothing left for yourself. I imagine this is how my boyfriend feels. Who does he lean on when the one he loves is incapable of being emotionally present? This depression tints the lens in which I observe. Nothing is unbiased, nothing is neutral. Everything is viewed through this negative lens. I want to rip the glasses off. They feel stuck. I try to take them off they somehow end up right back on. I want to wash my mind of whatever repulsive and vial tincture it has stained me with. I hate that I cannot view any situation while being emotionally unbiased.  I hate how this drains me. Depression is a leech, it sucks any lifeforce I have and leaves me robbed. I feel robbed. Trying to turn up change with empty pockets. Reaching, reaching, rummaging…lint, dirt, an empty wrapper maybe…nothing worthy.

I am going to try to be more loving. I need to. I owe it to him after all he has endured with me. I am in emotional debt to the one I love. it makes me feel horrid but I can’t turn blame inward. I didn’t choose these glasses. I didn’t choose to be tainted. I need to make an effort to remove the lenses….or at least close my eyes and try an remember what life looked like before.

I don’t really have a point to this post. I didn’t even feel like writing but sometimes you have to force yourself. Sometimes you just need to vent I suppose.

“We are not to blame for our illness, but we are responsible for our health.”-Victoria Maxwell , The Bipolar Princess.

The Madman

I’ve always been a writer. As a child, I remember scrawling poems about ice cream and bad days in my journals. In high school I fell in love with creative writing and a method called “madmen” which was introduced to me by my 7th grade English teacher. We would start each day with what she described as a “mental vomit” in which each student wrote for 5 minutes in a “stream of consciousness” fashion. So for five minutes we were to write anything and everything on our mind without any filter and without editing. I’d say this is the first time writing and journaling really spoke to me. I fell in love with this stream of consciousness style and used it daily, sometimes multiple times daily. I still have mostly all the journals; a giant crate, at least 10 or so. Pages upon pages of thoughts, blubs, poems and haikus. I was an insightful and inquisitive teenager coming to grips with who I was as a person and the writing really was like a compass that helped me cope with navigate those years. After graduating high school I went off to college and gradually my madmen mental vomits were replaced with textbooks, term papers and reading assignments. I faltered off of the personal journaling and eventually lost touch altogether with my writing. I am 30 years old now, done with school (for now at least) and now navigating wonderful working world of adulthood. I. Am. Miserable

I went to therapy for the first time ever last week. It’s been long time coming. I remember  experiencing the tumultuous chapter of my life of becoming an angsty and emotional teen. I remember my peers’ parents forcing them into therapy, psychiatry and mood stabilizing drugs. I remember thinking, “wow I am thankful I have no mental issues or mental illness.” I have never lied to myself for so long in my life until I made the realization that I am riddled with trauma.

Now, as an adult…I am coming to the stifling and overwhelming realization that my life experiences have caused me trauma and in turn–horridly unhealthy thought patterns. I’m sure many can relate to this.

My therapist recommended I start a blog. For the past several years of my life I have been pining to write. Aching to express myself, to be completely candid and unfiltered with this depression and anxiety I suffer from. I do not know how to start (I suppose this post is a step in the right direction), I know nothing about blogs, and I have no idea where this blog will end up. I do know it is vital that I do this. I have what feels like little to no support. Loneliness is strange. You can have a whole village behind you and when you lay your head down at the end of the day it’s just you. You and only you. I’ve tried so hard to escape myself and now it is catching up with me. Wherever you go, there you are.

Wherever I sat—on the deck of a ship or at a street café in Paris or Bangkok—I would be sitting under the same glass bell jar, stewing in my own sour air.” -Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

Loneliness can be and oxymoron. I crave a community, fellowship, support “the village,” friendship even. I. Feel. Completely. Alone.

Completely alone. That sounds like an oxymoron almost.