Category Archives: meltdown

I was just on the verge …

of a meltdown.

I had already picked out the breakable missile to be thrown at, well, something breakable.

My inner voice was saying, rather loudly, that there was nothing to break that could be salvaged and that I should put down the weapon.

I’m not certain when my inner voice became a hostage negotiator, but she has, and with obvious authority, decided that she’s the boss of me.

My meltdown voice, not to be silenced by a newbie, was saying “I don’t care, something has to give.”

Then the inner voice then said, in a still, soft tone, “who are you mad at and why do you want to break things?”

I replied, in my loud, hateful voice,” what do you care?  Leave me alone”.

That soft voice spoke again and said, simply, “Why do you work so hard to destroy yourself?”

It stopped me in my tracks.

I realized at that moment that I was mad at someone.

I was furious that I was, once again, left feeling like I had done something wrong.

I was angry that I felt alone, insecure and abandoned by someone who would, if the world turned on its axis as it is supposed to, mean nothing to me.

I realized that I was disappointed in myself for being gullible, fallible, ignorant and needy and yes, I was intent on destroying myself because of it.

I was angry that I could put so much of my self-worth into someone  that found no worth in a friendship I was  willing to give.

I was angry because I felt I needed someone to find worth in me.

I was angry because, for a span of time, I could find no worth in myself.

That newbie voice just kept on jabbering until I was forced to either listen or throw myself into an active volcano.

Since burning every inch of skin off of my body was the lesser of the choices, I decided to stop being a self-centered, belligerent jerk and listen.

So I listened and in doing so, decided that the newbie voice was likely getting some coaching from a veteran.

I’m worthy without validation, for many reasons, the least not being that I am a child of Christ.

When I went down the reasons that I should feel OK about myself, that one reason, the most important one, didn’t immediately enter my mind.

Yes, there are people I want to like me.

They chip away at my self-esteem and make me feel that I will be less of a person if they don’t interact with me.

They, at some point, gained control over my self worth and whittled it down to next to nothing,

But if they don’t see it, my world will unfold just as it would have anyway.

There came the WOW moment that made me think twice about where I was, where I’d come from and to where I was going.

I found myself very disappointed in myself because I had, yet again, lost my way.

But, if the voice is accurate, which at this point, I’ve no reason to suspect otherwise, the way will be made clear if I stop feeling sorry for myself and ask for directions.

Yes,  folks have hurt me more than I ever knew I could be hurt, on a level that I didn’t even realize existed.

But they can continue to hurt me only if I continue to let them … if I give them the power to make me feel inadequate, insecure and unworthy.

There is only one person who dictates my worth and HE has found me worthy.

I question that.

Daily.

Hourly.

But HE is in a position of omnipotent power and if HE says HE likes being around me, then everything and everyone I have felt inferior to become irrelevant in my world.

I’ve cried way more tears over things I can’t change than over the blessings I had before I tried to change anything.

My meltdown lost merit after that.

I didn’t feel the need to shatter physical things.

Instead, I felt the desire to lift myself higher than I had deemed myself worthy to be because ONE well more worthy than myself found me worthy.

I felt compelled to love and to pray for the ones who challenged my worth.

I am thankful for a Saviour who sees the weapon in my hand and understands that I really want to throw it; who sees my tears and feels my pain, who knows my broken heart and comes running.

I have been looking in the wrong place for a long time.

It doesn’t mean that I won’t want to throw things again, as that is part of the imaginative nature I have been given; but I won’t want to throw them in hurtful indignation.

I will throw them simply for the fun of it.

And then I can sing joyously while I dance in the rain because I am worthy of the raindrops from Heaven.

Life isn’t easy, it’s not a cake-walk or a bed of roses, at least not all the time.

At other times, it is rainbows, daisies, trees in winter and fairies in springtime.

It is, essentially, what it is, and I’m worthy, so says my Lord, to enjoy the best and endure the worst and still be who I was destined to me.

Myself.

In His image and under the magnificent umbrella of His faith in me.

I am, in this moment, OK with that.

http://www.gcuniverse.com/throughtheeyesofthespirit

 

Five years later …

or nearly so, I am still sorting through my late husband’s things.

I should be past overpowering sadness by now.

I suppose I am, mostly.

But being a writer and photographer hinders that absolution.

Just when I begin to ascertain peace in my life, words intervene; I write about him and tear those nearly closed wounds open again.

It is as though he died this day, this moment, this hour.

Sadness seeps through the crevices the words carve.

Normal humans move forward, live their lives, make something of themselves from the shattered remains.

I want that, too.

But I’m a writer.

I’m a photographer.

I keep tearing those wounds, just as they’re healing, open.

I love writing about everything and photographing God’s perfect beauty; but it has a price.

I pay dearly through my words for they rip open wounds I’ve desperately attempted to close.

I bleed, painfully, and use photography to heal me.

Each image I capture stitches the brokenness and, simultaneously, pours remembrance on not quite yet healed hurts.

If one is not an artist of some kind, time will ease your pain.

For the rest of us, those with creative pieces in our soul, time simply laughs.

When the words, melodies and images are in our head and heart, there is little time can do.

What it can do is soon undone by what we are.

Sadness is my destiny, peace my hope.

And yet I write.

I photograph.

My hope is great.

My healing never really comes.

I have to ask myself if I would be willing to sacrifice my writing and photography for peace.

No, I answer.

I can live without peace.

To live without words and images would truly and altruistically destroy me.

That which brings me sadness will fuel my hope.

I am a writer and photographer.

Therein lies my hope.

image

image

image

Over the weekend …

I had a total bipolar meltdown on my dad.

He was, at first, completely blindsided, and then perplexed.

I usually meltdown on my mom, who knows to just let it ride until the event is over.

But she wasn’t there and I was melting down in real time.

I think it was good for him, my Dad, that is, to see me as I have a propensity to be.

Totally crazy, on the edge of straight-jacket territory.

A mess.

I try to shield him from this side of me, because, well, at the risk of starting a riot, he is my dad and is, with abject certainty, a man.

Men rarely understand the astounding psyche of women.

Don’t roll your eyes and pretend to be insulted.

We know that maneuver.

Add bipolar to the mix and a total discombobulation takes over.

I love my Dad.

He is my, second only to Jesus and third to John Robert (who is dead, by the way), my hero.

A man who’s integrity I would bet my last dime on.

But he isn’t my mom.

He wants desperately to pat me on the head and tell me all is ok.

All is not okay.

I’M HAVING A MELTDOWN, WHERE IS MY MOTHER?

In my own defense, I didn’t say that.

I wanted to, but felt the ramifications would skew the effort to find out WHERE THE HELL my mom was.

So I cried, sobbed, made little sense while blindly clinging to my Dad.

I seriously doubt he will
ever be quite the same.

It’s a bit, I suppose, like trying raw oysters.

It sounds gross, but the rewards … well, they, by spades, outweigh the risks.

I hope, some day, to eat raw oysters with my dad.

A small, and yet ambiguous dream.

He hugged me while I was sobbing incoherently and told me he loved me, no matter what.

Major points for that.

Major.

Points.

Major.

There is nothing like a meltdown …

to put things in perspective.

And I had one.

A good, old-fashioned meltdown complete with crying, sobbing, pacing, stomping, ranting, raving and, to make it an official meltdown not just just a casual break in stride, ended with the impressive sound of breaking glass.

What is it about breaking things that culminates  the entire process to tie it all nicely into a neat little package that leads, oddly enough, to the return of sanity.

I didn’t actually intend, when the meltdown started, to break anything, but throwing that heavy candle-holder dead on into my bathroom mirror and watching the shatter … well, that pretty much made my day.

That sounds nutty, right?

Of course it does.

At this point, you are doing one of two things:  nodding your head in agreement or shaking it in disbelief.

Those are the two choices.

There are no gray areas when it comes to the breaking point.  You either do, you don’t; you are glad you did or you wish you hadn ‘t.

I’m glad I did.

My mind is as clear as a bell.

The photographic celibacy I’ve been in for the past few weeks has passed, the writer’s block has been shattered just like that bathroom mirror.

I don’t use the mirror anyway.

My hair is too short to do anything but mousse it to stand up and I haven ‘t worn make-up in years.

I did have to buy a new toothbrush, however, as I wasn’t certain I got all of the glass shards out of it and dentists and coroners alike frown on putting glass in your mouth.

People who don’t know me personally are thinking right now that they are better off, people who do know me are singing the hallelujah chorus.

There is nothing wrong with going, once in a while, off the deep end … as long as nobody gets hurt.

This is a big reason why I don’t date.  Can you imagine it?  I’d  have a restraining order against me after the first week … unless, of course, I could find a nice Irishman who liked a donnybrook now and then as much as I did.

But that is neither here nor there.

Be who you are, even when you are throwing things.  That’s my motto.

Even Jesus threw things … remember the tantrum in the temple?    He is as much a part of me when I’m throwing things as when I’m in His woods or writing His words.

I’m His either way and there is magnificent peace in simply knowing that single fact.  I, like the sun, the stars, the moon, the earth, the grass the trees … have a purpose.

And He helps me find it, sometimes by throwing things.

How very cool is that?

Like a moth to a flame, so the fireflies are drawn to the moon of summer.

Like a moth to a flames, so the fireflies are drawn to the moon of summer.

It has been a long few days …

or has it been weeks?

I haven’t posted anything new.

No blog posts.

No photographs.

Nothing.

I have been in a holding pattern of sleepwalking, nightmares and erotic dreams that leave me confused, wondering and bewildered …

and all the while, trying my very best to make it, without losing my cool, through the seemingly endless days and eventful nights.

I have had patients cry on me, their families strike me, people pulling at my heartstrings which are linked directly to my tear ducts and during all of this, trying to find out if I am to blame for something I had no control over.

I wonder if I have severed a crucial friendship and have already began to mourn the loss of it.

I have a way of ruining beautiful things because I rarely feel worthy of them.

I have slept outside, sent messages I wasn’t aware of and tried desperately to hold it together.

A difficult few days, indeed.

But tonight changed all that.

It came a storm.

A big one, with lots of lightning and torrential rain.

Normally, during such an event, I would be set up on the porch with my tripod and camera, but this time was different.

This one wasn’t to be documented and photographed.

It was to set my spirit free.

And it did.

I stood on the porch with my jeans and t-shirt, getting soaked.

But as time passed, I wanted no earthly barriers between me and the blessing that God was giving me.

A cleansing.

A fresh beginning.

Letting the past be past and bygones be bygones and memories no more than a blip on my radar.

One piece of clothing after another was discarded until I found myself standing nude and vulnerable under the rain, with the lightning flashing, the thunder bellowing, echoing between the mountains and valleys …

tears running down my face.

I prayed to a God that I had decided had forgotten me.

He hadn’t.

I think He was just waiting for me to remember Him.

It was frightening.

It was freeing.

I was liberated from the hold this world had on me.

I was, for that span of time, one with nature and the God who created it.

I still struggle with the emotions and thoughts in my head, but He designed my brain and is well acquainted with my mindless and sometimes senseless ramblings.

He doesn’t hold them against me and so I won’t hold them against myself.

Not everyone believes in my God.  I don’t find fault with them.  I know what I know, they know what they know.

I can only be who I am and, despite all my faults, and they are many, I feel at peace.

And despite that, my friends who don’t believe in my God like me anyway.

I am humbled by that.

Just  as I accept them, they accept me.

With our differences of opinions and thoughts.

It is irrelevant.

Isn’t that what it was supposed to be like?

Love one another?

Are my thoughts still burning through my head? Yes.

Do I still sometimes feel out of control? Yes.

Do I have someone to share the thoughts and emotions with? Yes, and I am thankful for them.

Do I wonder if I am making the right choices? Yes.

Following Christ doesn’t mean that everything is just peachy.  In all honesty, it is the opposite.

I don’t do it right, I never have, but I hope to at least encourage somebody along the way.

And selfishly, I hope to be encouraged.

I wonder sometimes if I am nothing more than the punching bag of the universe.  I don’t mind it if it keeps someone else from suffering, but every now and then, it wears on the soul.

And then, an incredible storm comes, I stand in the rain, and all is right again.

The circle of life.

It is what it is what it is what it is.

It is what we make of it that counts.

So make it count.

a beautiful human, inside and out.

a beautiful human, inside and out.

It is a rare thing …

for me to do a follow up to a previous post, however, on this night, the words were in my head and thus made their way to my fingertips that were writing my blog.

It was an ordinary day, just like any other ordinary day.  Well, maybe not just like, but similar enough to be considered so, anyway  The thing about my ordinary days, though, is that they are are different from what others consider ordinary. I know that I am not alone with this thread of consciousness, or lack of it, whatever the case may be.

It is for those that face the same fears, the same anxiety, the same repetitive actions that this is for.  To bring hope.  To bring encouragement.  To bring solace.

It was long day.

It was anxiety filled.

It was, at times, difficult.  But in the end, I didn’t have another panic attack and for that, I am sincerely grateful.

I feel as though I have dodged a familiarly dangerous bullet.  I tried, last night, after such an incredibly difficult, disheartening day, to imagine myself before … when I had felt out of control and lived in a state of perpetual panic.

I couldn’t bring myself to do it.  I couldn’t bring the images of the person I had been, clearly into my vision.

That is a good thing, I am certain.  Nothing I have faced since that time has been as bad … as dark … as confusing.  I hope to never reach those depths again.

I haven’t forgotten it, but I don’t dwell on it, either.  I was fearful, after yesterday, that I would slip back into the old OCD habits and find myself  unable to sleep, late for work, unable to drive without pulling over and putting my head between my knees; unable to function as a normal, living, breathing human being.

I was frightened.  I admit it.

But I lectured myself before turning in last night that I would not face this day with panic.  And I didn’t.  I rose an hour earlier than usual in the event that the steps on my porch  posed a problem and became an obstacle rather than what they simply were; steps on my porch.

As it turned out, I ran down them, jumped in my car and actually beat the scool bus to the road.  If it hadn’t been so cold, I would have put my convertible top down and arrived at work feeling completely human and not only semi-so.

I spoke to my mom tonight and told her of yesterday’s occurrences.  I expected, and received, no judgement from her.  She knows that I have rituals that I go through.  She knows that I am not, though I wish to be, what the world considers to be normal.

She knows about the counting.

Nobody, not even she, knows how severe it can be or how much it rules my life.

Nobody, that is, until now.

I have opened myself, a part of my psyche that shames and humiliates me, to others who are shamed and humiliated as well.  The shame is self-centered, the humiliation born of a life of trying to fit a round peg into a square hole only to find, again and again, that it doesn’t fit.

I know there are others and I suppose I don’t want them to feel as alone as I sometimes do.  I try to not be ashamed of who I am when I am not myself, but it isn’t always possible.

These are the realities we face.

I know what triggered yesterday’s event.  It was the realization that I no longer trusted someone that I thought I could.  It sent me reeling, and I didn’t fully realize it until it was too late.  I was too caught up.  I was too far gone at that moment to stop the attack.

There is nothing wrong with an occasional backset.  It will do many people well to know that.  Sometimes, we slide.  Sometimes, we fall into old patterns.

It is frightening, but it isn’t the end of the world.

It seems like it, at the moment, but it isn’t.

I write this to encourage everyone who has moments when they feel like they are slipping.  It happens.  We are who we are.  Our brains function entirely differently than the best part of the world’s population.  That doesn’t make us wrong, only different.

I’m not going to beat myself up over this event.  I am going to treat it as just another blip on the radar.  I am me.  I am ok.  I am a survivor.

For those of you reading this that see yourself in this and in the my previous post,  http://wp.me/p1CqmN-ZH , so are you; a survivor, that is.  There is nothing that I or you can’t accomplish.  It may simply take us a bit longer because there are rules to follow and things to be counted.

That is just how we roll.  So roll with it and know, beyond any doubt, that you, and I and all the others are going to be just fine.

redbuds-103

Matthew 12:20 ~ A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench …

I started over today …

for the first time in a long time.

At the bottom.

Eight times.

I had cause to go to the second floor of a building, a building I’ve been in countless times.  The elevator was being inspected, so I took the stairs, again, as I had done countless times.

I usually always take the stairs, but was feeling lazy and not in the mood today, but fate would have its way.

It always does.

I walked up the two flights of stairs, ending with my right foot on the second floor landing, just as it was supposed to.  I started to step towards the door and realized, with something akin to terror, that I hadn’t counted the steps.

Oh shit, I murmured under my breath.

I know how many steps were there.  I’ve counted them hundreds of times.  Every time, as a matter of fact.  I always count steps.  Not just stairs, but steps.

I know how many it takes to get to the second floor of this building, or the third, for that matter, just as I know how many it takes to get many places.

I am a counter.  I count.  But it hasn’t been an issue, other than counting just to be counting, for years.

On this occasion, however, I had, for whatever reason, not counted them; it had become an issue.

Maybe at another time, it wouldn’t have mattered, but this time, I was frozen.  I had to be sure.  I had to be certain and it had to be right.

I turned around, careful to start out, left foot first, on the first step down and emptied my mind of numbers, for it is against the rules to count going  down if I didn’t count going up.

I sang, in my head, Beast of Burden, to keep the numbers out of my head.

Apt, I think now, looking back.

Once on the first floor landing, I pivoted around, careful to not make an  uncountable step and began my assent with my left foot.  It is, even when things are going well, a rule.  And counted.

Twenty four.

As expected.

Right foot on the landing.

But … and isn’t there always a but?

Had I taken a step between the first and second flight and forgot to count it?  I could not be certain.

So I turned around, careful to pivot and not make an extra step that would need to be accounted for and started down.   Since I had counted going up, I counted going down.

Twenty four.

Right foot on the first floor landing as expected.

I turned around.

Left foot first, I began up the steps again, careful to note that an extra step was not taken on the platform between the first and second floors.   I arrived on the second floor landing with my right foot.

Twenty four.

I was certain of it.  I knew in my mind and my heart that it was twenty-four.

I couldn’t move a muscle.

I felt the tears  begin to burn behind my eyes as I realized that I could not go on with my task until I had assured myself that I had done it correctly.

So back down the stairs I went.  Left foot first, counting as I went.

Twenty-four.  Twelve on each level.  It was right.  I knew it was right, but I turned around and began up again.

I counted out loud this time and squeezed my fists together, left, then right, to correspond with my steps.  I made certain to not take an extra step  between the first and second flights and continued to the top.

In the end, I completed this sequence eight times.

Eight.

My legs were so tired.

My thighs are strong from frequent, arduous hikes, but now, they were aching and cramping from the absolute concentration and focus on making certain to hit every step just right and say the number, out loud, as my foot hit the step.  Too soon or too late and it meant an automatic do-over.

Tears of frustration and shame poured down my face.

Once I had successfully accomplished walking up the stairs and taken care of the business at hand, I stopped by the elevator to ask the man how much longer it would be.

I felt fat and lazy asking such a thing and he looked at me as though I was fat and lazy to ask such a thing.  He said it would be about five minutes, so I sat in the lobby of the second floor of the building and waited.

I didn’t have the courage or the strength to attempt the stairs again.

While I sat there, waiting under the condescending eye of the elevator inspector, I thought about what the trigger might have been.  What had caused this unexpected moment of panicked relapse.

I was fooling myself, though.  I didn’t need to think about it.  I knew what the trigger was.

I always, irregardless of the catalyst, know instantly.

I felt the tingle on the back of my neck as soon as the moment occurred.  As a matter of fact, when I felt that tingle, I wondered what would happen.

When nothing did for a few days, I felt like a super-hero.  I had avoided a calamity.

Not true.  It seems that, at times, my brain has the most fun when it can torture me.   It is almost as though it is not a part of the whole, but one of the bullies that tormented me through elementary and middle school.

I’m too old for this nonsense.  I have come too far to go back. I refuse to go back.  I couldn’t survive it again.  I barely survived it the first time.

No.  I won’t go back.

When the elevator inspector was finished, he said, disdainfully, to me “ok lady, load up”.

I didn’t look in his direction.  I looked at the floor as I counted the steps to the elevator.

Once home, many hours and much counting later, (art class, which is always a joy, was almost unbearable.  I counted every circle, every line drawn, every pencil stroke, doing my best to hide that I did so and still not certain if I succeeded) I came into the house, after walking up the four porch steps six times.  I came in and prepared to take a shower hot enough to blister my skin.

But I couldn’t.  I kept wondering if I had counted the cinder blocks that keep the first step on my porch from being too high, as a step.

Eight more times.  Eight.  Fourteen total.

I was wasted.

I came inside, locked the door, sat down on the floor and sobbed.

After I had cried myself dry, I put on a pot of coffee.  I love the smell of coffee.  Smells, good ones, soothe me.  I found myself wishing, even while I was hoping it wouldn’t, for rain.  The smell of rain in the mountains in springtime has a way of calming me.

In the end, I turned to words.  As they poured out of my traitorous mind onto the page, they fell, in a way, like rain.  I like the sound of words and I like saying them.

They have soothed my wounded pride, my damaged confidence and my weakened spirit.  God knows of that which I need and gave me the words to get me through the torment that this day wrought upon me.

Tomorrow?  Well, it will be what it will be and I will face it with courage.  I panicked today.  I won’t panic tomorrow.