November 15, 2012
For some reason, I'm doubting everything. And I mean everything. I don't want to name the root of this feeling because that would bring it into the realm of the real – I'd rather it remained a thought-form so that it could sink back down and become buried.
But wouldn't that be worse? It'll be there, ready for another time and place.
No. No names or specifics. Just, I'm uncertain. It's deeper than you assume. And I'm not panicking.
March 29, 2012
I have a white bar stool, rustic in style, and a bit rickety, which I picked up for free outside someone’s bungalow. I was on the way home from an appointment and as soon as I saw it, I knew it was meant to come home with me.
It sits beside my bed, acting as a seat when I’m contemplating my writing board, and as a small desk for me to sit at whilst perched on the edge of my bed as I type my novel. A space perfectly positioned in front of the writing board, my back to all electronic temptations, and the lure of books for research in the peripherals of my vision.
I’m thinking of fixing a board on the foot rests so I can place a beverage on it.
Why the importance of a stool? It’s one of the few things keeping me real at the moment, in the excellent company of the guttural night-stock scented Welsh of Cerys Matthews and the soft, bobbled warmth of one of my favourite jumpers.
A sort of silence, a familiarity as I come to terms with my lowest ebb in months. No use in fighting it because that leads to violence. Sink into it and find that place which lets you ply your craft in peace amidst the strange comforts of insignificant items; stools, bare feet, lullabies, layered clothing, lack of appetite.
But still an absurd yet pleasurable thrill to go on because of these things.
September 27, 2010
The art of learning any lesson is to get down off your horse and suck ‘it’ up. Of course it isn’t as cruel as it sounds (although sometimes it’s a trial).
How many years have passed? I’m still learning. I’m still learning that I need to let go not only of past hurts but also things that haven’t even happened yet – the notorious Future Worries.
I’m still learning that with every episode of insanity (for want of more apt term, although I’m quite fond of reclaiming it seeing as people are so terrified of it now) an episode of reprieve will follow; the disconnection itself is not the problem, but the feelings of dread and sickness are.
I understand, now that I’ve let off a little emotional steam, that it’s been several weeks since my last bout of ‘not on this planet’ which lends reason to why I’ve struggled with it for the past five days. Regularity breeds familiarity, breeds ability to cope? I’d not like to suggest learned helplessness.
(But why does becoming familiar with difficulty mean learning helplessness? I’m not helpless, I’m off my rocker and quite happy about it! It still astounds me how even the most subtle and apparently caring language can disable anyone who acts or exists contrary to the status quo; enrich your minds and read Foucault.)
Having been so long since the last time, I’ve virtually forgotten the ecstatic euphoria, the hunger to read and learn, the fascination with the shapes and colours of the world around me; the pink rose that looked like a sodden wedding serviette, the fence that was missing new paint in a very haphazard place that took on the shape of a cat and the old telephone poles that intersected the brilliant skies with their thick wires and housed jars filled with ancient, glowing insects.
And then the sudden thrashing of the mind as it begins to become too aware of the immediacy of the world. Coming back to a dull, unnoticing reality when you have spent days in stunning places free from worry and despair is a grim shock.
I don’t blame myself for having such a difficult time.
To return is to make a mental note detailing how to land on your feet:
- Always have herbal tea at the ready
- Don’t fear cancellations
- Keep warm
- Eat foods which bring comfort
- Read a book which confirms your reality
- Sleep lightly through the day
- Avoid television at all costs
- Listen to music that feeds your soul
- Become aware of the world again through the radio (BBC Radio 4 is my choice)
- Don’t rush back to socializing
- Re-familiarise yourself with pets as they are much more understanding that humans
- Have a cry if you need to
- Speak truth
- Ask a true friend to confirm love
- Harbour no resentment for yourself, or any other being
These things happen and I have a choice to make now that my head is clearing: shall I fall into misery or shall I sit gently, allow myself to recover and come through this more prepared for the next wave?
August 26, 2010
No more, no more, no more, no more, no more, no more, no more.
This madness is mine and if you think I am damned to it then I shall relish it all the more
because no more are you going to tell me what to do, no more are you going to dictate to me and keep me in the prison of your ideals and your whims – no more
am I at your table to negotiate
I am not what you expect
I am not your desire
I am not your toy
I am not your fulfillment
I am not a thing to be fixed
because this madness is mine.
And I am, shall be truly mad
June 19, 2010
Sometimes I question the authenticity of my brain; I wonder if perhaps it’s actually a living sponge, wibbling across the ocean floor and shuddering in delight at the notion of plankton.
Maybe it’s just one of those days. I had a passionate conversation with my niece this morning but that’s all I can say about it: it was a passionate conversation. We can only guess what it was about – generally or specifically – and that sense of mystery can be accurately applied to the rest of the day that has just passed. With the exception of learning that a friend was almost gassed to death in the night and knowing that I ate four digestive biscuits today – one more than I should have eaten, according to my calorie plan – because they were delicious. Especially the rogue one I snuck in.
In fact it became rather apparent to me yesterday evening that I’d experienced ‘one of those days’ quite recently. Although I’m assuming it’s quite recently. I can’t tell for sure when it occurred namely because I have no memory of it, but the evidence is there and true enough. ‘One of those days’ occurred because I’m missing large swathes of documents that I deem important but at the same time, painful to keep.
It’s not like me to destroy something that will come in handy to me at a later date, no matter how inconvenient it may be to retain. I don’t like to assume, but I know me well. I’ve shredded those papers in a moment of unrefined madness and bliss.
A lot of people would be upset if they found themselves in the same position. I’d like to say the same about myself but because I have no memory of the event and the reasons and emotions attached, it’s all water off a duck’s back.
I’m dreadfully sorry but I’ve lost my train of thought…
Losing a train of thought – a train is an elongated piece of fabric usually stemming from a skirt or robe. So my thoughts have elongated fabric to them? Draping across the floor and when I wish to engage the thought, I pick it up. But the thought leads me, because when you hold a train, you’re behind it – does that mean my thoughts precede me? Are my thoughts the play of differánce?
And when I drop the train, the trace of my thoughts and their play? I lose the train? Lose sight of the train? I’m left with little more than a trace of that long piece of fabric I was holding onto tentatively; I remember having it in my fingers but can’t say when or where. It becomes a shadow lodged in the corner of my eye; ever-moving. Out of reach. It becomes the memory I can’t trust.
What are my thoughts trying to tell me? Where do they want me to follow? What are they trying to teach me?
I’m regularly seduced by madness, and today has most definitely been one of those days…
April 15, 2010
It’s been one of those weeks where you easily get lost in everything; you know those kiddy activities you get on the back of paper placemats, the ones with the mazes? I was shit at those. I have trouble seeing logical patterns and yet at the same time, have some of the most outlandish and imaginative ideas, make some of the most ridiculous connections and make them seem plausible.
I’ll not betray my influences this week. Larsson’s Millenium Trilogy has sent me spinning and kick-started an urge to scribble every detail down.
I’m in a process of retreating. Right into the maelstrom too. I’ve never been so thrilled at burying myself in my own thoughts and seeing what happens when I pull at this thread and the next.
This is introspective, don’t you think? All of you who have come from afar must think: surely this is not the same person? It is. I keep my pep and my doom relatively separate. Hello by the way. I hope that you’ll continue to follow me here.
And this is so cryptic. But that’s what happens when you retreat into the trees, the web, the tunnels, the labyrinth – whatever euphemism you want to give it. The truth of the matter is, I’ve been quite mad for the past week, barely present at all, and now I’ve found myself presented with the opportunity to sneak off into a badly lit corner… where I can report here about the things that keep creeping up in my mind, such as:
- How odd it is that both the leaders of the Conservatives and Labour have close-set eyes (that’s not a dig, I couldn’t care less if they were 12ft tall and multicoloured. It’s purely an observation…)
- There are things hidden everywhere and unless you’re in-the-know, you’re likely to walk past these hidden things all the time without realising
- My life is documented in ways and places that I can’t necessarily access with ease. I find this very uncomfortable. Judgements are made without me knowing or being able to refute them
- Somewhere in British Columbia, the Orca I chose to adopt and support for £3 a month is swimming about, living
- Dead people are the most interesting people ever
So what will become of me now? Between playing online and thinking deeply, I’m going to be writing. Maybe nothing will come of it. Maybe something explosive will happen. I’m open to the possibilities but one thing is for sure: I will be writing.
I haven’t said that in over a year.
For those of you who are thinking of sticking around, I may have more focused musings in the short period between now and then.
March 20, 2010
Catching a gnarly cold is one of the best ways to make you stop and take stock of your life; nothing says ‘chill out, man’ than the left side of your face feeling like it’s suffered a minor stroke because your sinuses are swollen shut.
Nothing brings you back down to earth than having to stay in bed. Nothing reminds you of your body like a full-blown germ invasion. Nothing makes you feel more alive than laying awake, until the sun rises, with a fever, aching and unable to breathe properly.
Then you have that really amazing moment where you take a shower after three days of festering, and you’re standing there under the scolding jets of water trying to remember the last time standing still, butt-naked, ever felt so good…
I’m unsure whether I’d be diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and quite honestly, I don’t want to talk about it (just add another log to the fire…) but I recognise most of the symptoms: nightmares, flashbacks, avoidance, emotional numbing, being on-ball all the time, 24-7, look over my shoulder, just in case anything like that happens again…
Someone did say it to me before, asked me if I’ve ever had it investigated. I’ve never thought about it.
I don’t like pyscho-babble and so avoid it where I can: have you guessed one of the facets of this trauma?
I try to understand me and I hope somewhere along the way, it’ll help others experience that ‘it all fell into place so beautifully’ sensation for themselves.
I’m not diagnosed with PTSD and I personally don’t care about the labels here but it puts a name to what I want to share with all you lovely people: reliving bad things that have happened isn’t like getting upset over the death of your kitten Fluffles two years after they got squished by that huge SUV. On your birthday. Admittedly though, that’s pretty traumatic…
Reliving the bad things brings it all back – the guts flipping, the sweating, the swearing and shouting, the twitches and the smells and the overwhelming sensation of ‘get the hell away from me’. You don’t want to cry so you choke it back and then start to distract yourself in unusual ways – rhythmic body movements are so soothing, like turning your head one way, then the other.
They’re not even memories, they’re a constant stream of images like someone has gone and hammered a photo slide-show into the center of that bit in your brain where you visualize things. You know the place…
Nightmares are worse because you can’t push them away like you can the images you face in your waking day – in a nightmare, the bad things happen whether you like it or not and unlike a good dream, you never wake up when stuff gets nasty.
You have a hard time remembering the good things. Good things? There are a lot of those about and there are amazing people you know who remind you of them and make you feel free and alive and loved… but you can’t help feeling a bit silenced. Blank.
Reliving the bad things is not a choice. Nobody would put themselves through it if they knew they could let it go. But this is like getting stuck in a great black mass of living tar. You can pull all you want but for every tendril of hurt you manage to escape from, there will be at least three more wrapping themselves around you.
It takes patience and skilled breathing to be released for even the smallest amount of time.
I said to a friend that suffering is for the same people who believe sacrifice is necessary for happiness; suffering can make you strong but only in that you survive it. Even better if you can resist making it your identity.
It’s not always a matter of being able to let go; I can let go, with time especially, but that doesn’t mean it’ll let go of me.
February 8, 2009
I should be sleeping now but instead I’m raking though Mind trying to find some answers that the medical professionals assigned to me should be providing me with.
I’m beginning to realise that I can’t hide behind this screen all the time; it’s an awkward shape and the wheels are wonky so the bloody thing doesn’t go in the direction I want it to, meaning that I have to keep jumping behind it. And on top of that, it’s that horrible pastel green colour that you find in hospitals. As if my ‘conditions’ aren’t exhausting enough.
So Mind has given me a bit more info than I’ve been able to suck out of the so-called medical professionals. Yes, I suffer from severe anxiety which causes all number of nasty physical manifestations including palpitations, sweating, chest pains, nausea, headaches, restricted (or in some cases, complete lack of) breathing and a huge sleep deficit; yes, my phobias include public, unfamiliar and enclosed spaces, people and occasionally mirrors; yes, I’m aware that walking about doing my thang is usually impeded by the fact that most of the time, my body doesn’t feel like it’s actually there – try walking down steps with feet that you don’t believe to be yours, it’s exciting; and yes, I’m acutely familiar with the fact that these things aren’t going away any time soon.
Doctors wonder why I’m so agitated and unwilling to show them the depth of things. Anxiety is merely the blackhead to my being and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let anyone who considers me a ‘client’ go ahead and squeeze it. You’re not supposed to squeeze them anyway.
A friend told me to get out there and start trying to live again. The thought terrifies me to the extent that I don’t want to get out from under my duvet ever again. The only thing that outweighs this is that I don’t fancy having bedsores. So taking into consideration the suggestions made by my friend and other suggestions made by another friend – little steps – I’m going to do something that Mind has recommended, something that can help me on the way.
I don’t like this being public, but anyone who knows me and I mean really knows me will understand that it is public whether I like it or not because I spack out when I’m in public and behave erratically. It’s sometimes hard not to notice. And why should I be ashamed? Why should I hide? Mental health stigma is rife and I’m tired of being a victim of the politics towards difference… I almost wrote différance then, bit of Derrida leaking through like he does before disappearing…
So yes. The thing that Mind recommends. Focus on positive aspects of my life.
- I’m not afraid, or am becoming less afraid of being different
- I’m developing the courage to decide what I want, how I want it and when I want it, whether it be breakfast, my studies or my mental health treatment
- I have a loving cat who cuddles up to me every night
- I have a dysfunctional family, so I don’t feel like a complete freak
- I love the said dysfunctional family and they love me. And respect me, which I only found out recently
- For those who are my friends, they are good friends and they listen no matter what
- I have no material desire for anything because I already have everything I want
- My bed is uber-comfy
- I’m a good writer and I work hard to become better at being a good writer
- My passion for art and music makes me diverse and at peace with many things
- Books give me a good alternative to a world I don’t feel in contact with
- Nothing feels more incredible than achieving the things I’ve worked hard to achieve
- My diet is healthy and I have lost weight through sticking to it
- I’ve stopped smoking – this time for good
- I orgasm in my sleep. Regularly. I don’t have to do a thing. It’s great
- I live in one of the most naturally beautiful areas in Kent
- I live in a very quiet area
- People love my cooking; I make people happy with my cooking
- Even though I’m always really tired and have difficulty seeing it, I make the effort to build myself a future
- I’m stubborn. Which means I don’t quit
- My personas work well together and have been behaving very well over the past couple of months
- They have also become stronger and together we have taken steps to come to terms with a lot of external phenomena and started pushing back at the force that intends to erase us
- I’m fascinated by the worlds that I perceive and know that the be-all-and-end-all of medical science is not the be-all-and-end-all of me and my personas
- I’m proud to be an individual who questions, picks apart, scrutinizes and points a bitter finger at everything. I’m proud to be a Cynic
- Oh yeh, how can I forget? Women. They’re a very, very positive aspect in my life for many different reasons…
So there they are. Positive aspects of my life. The list is longer than I was expecting but who am I to complain? It’s a good list. Onto the next tiny step I go…
Oh and just a quick request: if anyone knows some really good pick-me-up foods/remedies, please tell me them. I can’t handle being this exhausted all the time. My diet is good, my sleep is broken most of the time and unfortunately, physical exercise sets me back a little at the moment. Think small steps people. I need energy food. I need some of the good stuff…
December 6, 2008
So here it is. Saturday night: just me, my blog, the bass of Portishead trip-hopped and remixed. Me and another ebay purchase, keeping it as cheap as I can; under £5 for a nice silver,Indian style engraved, wide wrist cuff. I’d had my eye on it.
Anyways. The purposes of this rambling. Asides from slipping between people the past few days, it’s all relatively and beautifully unstable. Contradiction? Hardly; it’s nice to be clear about instability. But this isn’t the purpose of this rambling.
I am torn. I have sooooooo many books I want to read. Allow me to list…
1. The Journals of Sylvia Plath 1950-1962 ed. Karen V. Kukil (currently reading)
2. A Lover’s Discourse by Roland Barthes (currently reading)
3. Between Us: A Legacy of Lesbian Love Letters ed. Kay Turner (currently reading)
4. How to Write Love Letters by Michelle Lovric (currently reading)
5. Rumo & His Miraculous Adventures by Walter Moers
6. Labyrinth by Kate Mosse
7. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
8. Helen of Troy by Margaret George
9. Sappho’s Leap by Erica Jong
10. Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman by Murakami
12. The Russian Concubine by Kate Furnivall
13. The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant
14. Geisha by Liza Dalby
15. Perfume by Patrick Suskind
16. Orlando by Virginia Woolf
That’s what I want to read, and am reading. These are the things I’m going to be reading amidst all of my desired reading:
1. Stigmata by Cixous
2. Voiles by Cixious & Derrida
3. A Philosophical Enquiry by Burke
4. The Sublime: A Reader ed. Ashfield & de Bolla
5. The Lifted Veil by George Eliot
6. Memoirs of the Blind by Derrida
7. The Birth of Tragedy by Nietzche
Amongst other tid-bits, that constitutes the named material I will be throwing myself into for the module next term. The unnamed stuff includes: material pertaining to literary practice and criticism, Aristotle’s Poetics, Longinus, Kant, a snappy little book by Phillip Shaw entitled The Sublime, and if I get time… Lyotard.
I have no issues with the material on the module’s reading list, the extraneous work that I wish to read alongside or even the books that I intend to read for pleasure.
Note: I also want to submerge myself in every inch of work I can that was written by, or is related to Sylvia Plath and Virginia Woolf, including essays and critique, and also the correspondences they had between various people. I’m trying desperately to get hold of The Letters of Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West (not The Letters of Vita Sackville-West to Virginia Woolf), so if anyone can help me there… please tell me how and where…
The only problem with all of this is the lack of time I have. I’ve started getting up earlier (oh how it pains me) and have ditched the laptop for long periods of time in favour of reading. This is after I’ve done the chores and all. I could quite happily squeeeeeeze in 5-8 hours of reading a day, maybe more. But. And it’s a big one. My mind.
By now, readers have probably figured out (or have been told if you’re unfortunate enough to be a friend) that my good ‘ol mind is a bit doolally. To you anyway. (Urg, the Danish I ate is rolling around – damn you food, damn you…) So yes, to you it’s all a bit delicate and new, but if you get it over and out with, just say it… go on… I have several other people in my head.
It’s like having housemates, except they’re tidy.
Anyway. This in itself causes a problem because sometimes there’s a bit of disruption due to whatever (the details are too detailed) and then there’s the problem of memory in that (urg… why did I have to try that vanilla Danish…) I usually have the company of another part of me reading up alongside and it all gets mushed into discussion and hedonistic indulgence and quite frankly … I lose all memory of what I have previously read. This occurs to the point of where I read the same line over and over without realising it and then being completely bewildered by who and what I’m reading:
You see my dilemma. I have little time as it is on top of having a skull full of marbles doused in baby oil. And I could be reading now but I’m blogging.
I guess my real question is: Do I begin reading one of my ‘desired’ texts alongside what I’m already picking my way through, or finish the smaller titles so that I may focus on Plath’s Journals (which are huuuuuuuuuuuge) for the Christmas period?
Answers in a comment box.
Ms. Dexter, if you read this – do not mock my weakness for the cinnamon roll; it is a love that knows no bounds. Not even the death in my stomach. …