After The Storm

I feel…good today. Functional. My bills are paid. My errands are run. Cat boxes changed. It may not seem like much but for me…This is good.
Not good is when you have to speak your mind and hurt someone you love. Tough love, I guess it is called.
I’ve gotten a lot of it in my life. And while it hurt, sometimes it was the only catalyst to get me out of my panic stricken “deer in the headlights” state.
Building burned. No choice but to snap into action. Eviction. No time to hide. Being told by numerous people to stop wallowing and get off my ass or I’d be thrown out. Finding myself a single mom on a partial income. Time to grow up and get on with it.
Painful but necessary.
It’s still not a good feeling when the shoe is on the other foot. I like to let people do things in their own time but there comes a point when nothing’s been done in so long…You have to nudge, even if it means hurt feelings and guilt tripping yourself.

It’s strange how seeing your own behavior in others can bring an epiphany. You think, Is this how others perceive me and my behavior?
It’s hard to swallow when you’re forced to put your own flaws under a microscope. I figure most people aren’t self aware enough to draw a parallel between the actions of others and their own.
I’ve come to see it clearly.
While I may not agree entirely with others’ perception of me…I have to give it credence because while not entirely right…They’re not entirely wrong.
Many times last year during the depression from hell…I asked myself if my withdrawal into myself was hurting me more than it was helping. I rationalized and convinced myself I needed to step back, take some time, not let the pressure of others’ expectations push me into a much worse place. They just don’t get it, I’d tell myself.
And they don’t get it. They don’t even try.

This is where it becomes less about them and more about me and what I can do to help myself. So this year, in an effort to at least keep the depression from consuming me entirely…I am not going to retreat. I am not going to shut people out while I embrace my misery and hump its leg. I am going to take a day here or there when I truly need to step back, but I am not going to self isolate and give up living.
It is really sucky when you have to take a long hard look at yourself and see…You’re part of the problem as much as the mental dysfunction.
Maybe the people around me don’t get it. But, in their own fucked up way, they still care about me.
Even if my own needs aren’t being met entirely…I’m not all alone.
Shutting out those who give a damn isn’t the answer.
Denial isn’t the answer.

Wine is the answer.
Okay, I couldn’t resist a joke, it’s who I am.
I think the point of this post is to show that even after the storm of anger, of self pity, of agitation and hopelessness…
There is hope.
You have to allow yourself to feel, it though.
It is so easy to hold onto past habits, past behaviors. You think, nothing ever changes.
And it won’t if you don’t do things to bring it about.
I’ve spent so many years with this c’est la vie attitude about it all.

The mood swings will still keep swinging. The depression will still keep burying me. The anxiety will cut into my central nervous system. I have a mental illness and nothing I do can change that.
What is in my power is to change my reaction to it. Repeating the same old behaviors, no matter how comforting, no matter how much it helps the pain I am in…is just ensuring I stagnate in my misery.
Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome is the definition of insanity.

I may imbalanced but I am not insane.

Maybe some days I won’t be all “I am Niki, hear me roar.”
I am sure there will be the “fuck it, why bother days.”
And I will choose to vegetate sometimes so as to recharge my overtaxed mind.
I am coming to realize, though, it doesn’t have to become the status quo.
I have to keep going. Keep associating with people. Even if my desire is to say “screw this and screw them, I’m in no mood for it.”
i HAVE to do it for myself. For things to change, even the tiniest bit.

I have resented for a long time when people dared to speak up and tell me to snap out of it. It’s not easy. There is no snapping out of it.
What there is, is the choice to let it consume you or the choice to fight it.

In the 80’s there was a song by Nick Lowe, I think, called “Cruel To Be Kind.”

Maybe the cruelty I perceive is simply people trying to help, albeit insensitively, out of my paralysis.

It’s food for thought, even if instinct says, “Throw it back up, it’s hurtful, it’s wrong, it’s plain mean….”

Instead of wallowing…I think it’s time to face the truth about myself. The people I consider so mean…Gave me the shove I needed to get on with life. Cruel to be kind, indeed. And I am grateful because left to my own devices…I might have just stayed in denial and lost everything rather than rebounding and rebuilding what was lost.

The one thing people have always said about me, even my worst detractors, is “Niki is so strong.”

I want to keep being strong.
And I wish I could share that strength with others who struggle so much and I can’t help them no matter how much I want to. I can only be here for them, offer a hug, and let them know, I love them.

Because that’s all I have ever wanted from people.

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