Tag Archives: survival

Salvaging the sails

Trigger warning: Post contains references to Addiction and Sexual Assault

 

Writing this post has taken me a great deal of courage. However, as does every day require courage, every hour that I continue to walk this path, towards recovery. Thus, if ‘practice makes perfect’, I have reasoned with myself, that it is okay, and probably a good thing, to write with courage, too.

This is a reflective post, speaking of recognition, sadness, determination, and hope. The metaphorical style helped me to communicate something through words, which I still don’t fully understand myself. Hope whispers to me, that someday I will, and therefore will find myself better equipped to win this battle.


There is a ‘demon’ inside my brain, and it has managed to gain near total command. This demon manifests itself as addiction.

It entered my life, disguised in a mask, performing the role of a ‘friend’, and in the beginning, it played the trick of being helpful. This masked stranger quenched my thirst, my aching, for a temporary release, from all the anguish of what was going on around me, to me, and to others as well.

I know that I need to reclaim my own mind, and wrench back control from the demon. Take back the reigns, upon realising they are no longer in my grasp.

Fear and despair warn me, this demon is going to hurt me, particularly as I begin to fight back. It will scream, kick, and shout at me. All of its might will be thrust forward, in the demon’s attempt to survive.

Clenching, tough onto these reigns, desperate to persist in dominating my head space, leaking poison into my mind and my will, the demon is adamant it shall not relinquish, never let go of the throbbing life source which sustains it. That ‘life source’ being the ‘treasure’, which it found, lurking within the deep waters of my psyche.

The Demon’s treasure chest exists not, as one might expect, in the form of a breakable crate, dripping with Gold, jewels, wealth, prize or happiness. Rather, it is the antithesis of such a positive, glowing beacon. There lies no victory to behold, here, for any good willed explorer.

‘Treasure’ for this demon, was/is in fact the lack of it. It emerged as emptiness, a hollowed out crate, where once harboured self-belief, ambition, hope, faith, volition and will.

When the world around me came to blows, seemed to strip away all I knew about myself, all that comprised my identity, almost everything I held so dear and close. Like a tsunami which washed away my happiness, stole the love of my life, swept away my love for life, crippled my career, and bleached out my livelihood, came the breakdown of my mind. In the aftermath, I felt that all I had left was a tired and tested, faltering soul.

When followed, that violent sexual assault, the breaking of a trust I had so desperately believed in, through dark, vulnerable hours, my soul seemed all but smothered, leaving an empty shell of self, all the light flicked out.

That empty shell  is what the demon treasures, the hollow cave, where once sparked my soul- this diminished esteem is what grants the demon it’s dreadful power, power to remain captain of a ghostly vessel. Steering my ship beneath its own sails, towards ever blackening darkness, a watery grave.

And yet my soul remains, as do my sails, and all the fire within me could never be smothered. The demon knows this, and this truth frightens it’s core. Hence it’s rampage. Fearing the fateful inevitable: That once again my soul and my mind will sail the ship. The opportunistc demon shall lie, defeated. Not merely inhibited, completely extinguished.


 

Tides of recovery

On Recovery

Sometimes the waters are unpredictable
We sail our ships into waves upon seas,
We once thought, we were the masters of.

The desolate tides, whose previous reckonings, came only to us through our worst imagined fears, nightmares, narrow escapes. Then, swept under the waves, thrusting towards treacherous whirlpools… We sank, we sank, we submerged.

We survived, below the surface, the only way we knew how. Not by reason, nor desire, but sheer necessity. Necessity and fear.

Courage saves us. Courage gives us the strength to conquer the tides-the waves of fear and despair- and reminds us of an innate gift, perhaps forgotten. The truth lies behind this mental fog, the fog which can turn anxiety, depression, compulsion, addiction, delusion, disorder, and painful self-doubt, into a living entity.

Remember this truth, that we have the power, and possess the will, to swim for the shores, and walk forwards from there.


 

The green mist

Hidden, lie the unseen branches

Vanished, now- unseen green bloom

Deathly claws frosting, winter’s gloom

Tender, stems sleep, beneath chill moon

Fallow, the heart of a breathless Earth

 

Yet still come the brave, to spear through

Ice glazed armour

You will see me though.


balcony view

Tea and Consent

You Tube video- tea and consent

Someone who has been helping me to recover from a fairly horrendous event, showed me a video, which addresses the issue of ‘Consent’, in the realm of Sex.

It’s important, but not all of us like talking about it. We don’t necessarily mind talking about sex, or tea, for that matter, when it is good. It depends who you’re with, even just when it comes to talking about it, right?

The thing is, it turns out that sadly, there do exist some individuals in the world, who need some assistance with coming to understand, what ‘Consent’ is. What is ‘yes’, what is ‘no’. The person who shared this with me, explained how she felt it was a really important video for younger people to be able to watch, too, for educational purposes. I agree. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you came from, this issue of what constitutes ‘Consent’, matters. Saying this, actually, I will say that the video applies really, to ‘adults’, or legal age of above 16, according to UK law, who are deemed to be capable of making decisions. But I still say the video applies to all, because while legal issues surrounding consent do take on additional force, for those dealing with ‘Consent’ who are under a certain age, the matter at hand- Do you want to engage in this activity with me, or not- remains the same.

This may not be a totally uplifting post, but it is a necessary one, I think!


 

Chronic love pangs

I sometimes wish there was a means of silencing that ‘magical’ human condition which most of us living are subjected to, sometimes with pleasant effects, but so often with bewilderingly painful and complicated ‘symptoms’. Love- what a brutal yet necessary force in our lives.

Don’t get me wrong, love can be beautiful. Love is beautiful. I’m certainly not unique in finding myself having to write about it, and forgive me for submitting to what feels a bit like a cliche. At moments, it can’t be helped though.

For me at the moment (hopefully not forever), love burns badly, in a way which I cannot adequately describe in words. It is burning at my core, in a way which is infringing on my ability to even function normally. Thus, leading to the emergence of an immense desire to ‘switch it off’, not necessarily permanently, but at least for long enough for me to be able to move on.

Loving someone so intensely never goes away, and perhaps i’m simply a slow learner in this subject area. I feel so new to the world of ‘getting over heartbreak’ and love ‘lost’. I don’t have practice… can anyone ever have the required level of ‘practice’ or ‘preparation’ to equip them well in dealing with chronically ‘unmet’ love pangs?

It really is downright difficult to imagine ever being able to find yourself, and your sense of wholeness once again, after you spent so long believing so strongly that you were only ‘complete’, when loved in return by a partner you adored. Adore, still, despite all the pain.

That thing people say, about ‘time being a great healer’… well, so far, it doesn’t feel like it’s nursing the wounds particularly breathtakingly, for me so far. It just seems to be making the hurt fester, and begin to blister. Perhaps this is an initial ‘necessary evil’, before scar tissue can begin to form, before gradually becoming smoother, eventually fading. This is desperate hope talking- I so sincerely long for the day that the scar tissue paves over the gaping hole.

I long to rebel against my ‘addiction’ to the person who can no longer return my love. This has surely got to mean some form of ‘progress’, at least that’s what i’m going to have to keep telling myself, for a very long time.


 

Top tips for people in dips

This post will constantly be subject to additional tips, as they are acquirred through the process of living, and learning new survival mechanisms. Please feel free to add any of your own tips in the comments box!

Mental health- it is completely synonymous with physical health. The mental is the physical, and the physical is also mental. So just to get this straight, everyone alive has mental health. Therefore, everyone alive exists in a constant flux of good health, poor health, and the bits in between. Mental illness can happen to anybody. Just as illnesses like Flu, or Tonsillitis, impact on our livelihoods, due to a dip in ‘good health’, so too do Mental Health afflictions affect us. Some perhaps, more than others, but all the same, any stigma needs to be stamped out, before anyone can engage with this post meaningfully, and benefit from it.


Crisis- how to save yourself from suicide

Speak
Write it down, tell someone, send out your distress flares before you become unable to ask for help (because by that point, you’ve already finalised your decision, haven’t you, so if it’s going to be a success, it will have to be a silent one).

Change your surroundings
So if you can get yourself to a safe place for a night, even if it’s completely the harder thing to do, then you can think again. Also, actually ending up in A&E with ‘Suicidal Thoughts’, isn’t at all uncommon. You won’t be the first, and you won’t be the last person to go there, believe me. It’s through A&E that there is a guarantee (unless you make a dash for it) you will have to be seen by the Crisis Team at some point, and thus help speed along referrals for proper mental health intervention and recovery.

But you can change your surroundings in other ways of course. Go to a friend’s, or a random place, wherever you can. Because you need to remove yourself from the area in which you were imagining, plotting, and preparing for a suicide. You can still go back to it, but you need to escape that area, and put yourself in a different area, for at least the time being.

Call for help
I know that in reality, this piece of standardized advice doesn’t necessarily give you any answers. In the middle of attempting to take your own life, or before you begin to, ringing 999/911 (or whichever the relevant area code may be) doesn’t instantly throw itself at you as a plan of action, does it!? But you always, ALWAYS, need that one extra sleep, just one more day, to actually know you want to do this. For real.

Get lost on purpose
Even if you are literally on the way to the place you have decided to die, take a new route. Know that you can still get to where you want to be, to finalise the act still, but you may as well go an unusual way, so as to see just a few more scenes before you can never see them again.

This saved my life once. I drove out to the place, and I had a CD on in my car. I had the ropes, the scalpel, the cocktail and the note. But I took an obscure route, and during this journey, I managed to realise that now was not the time. Plus, it was already getting dark, so by the time i’d reached my destination, i’d not be able to see what I was doing properly anyway. So I had to find my way back, and thus had to think outside of ‘the plan’, to figure out my bearings, and which roads looked most likely to take me back home.

Pointless Walking
Even better if you can get lost while walking. Going for a pointless walk, or even the last walk of your life, it will never fail you in its ability to allow you to think of other thoughts. Take you to ‘imagination land’ or whatever you want to call it, whilst simultaneously exercising and therefore stimulating endorphins and those neurotransmitters- sweet Serotonin and Dopamine- which seem to have gone AWOL, pre-walk. They will at the very least, give you some form of release from the emotional trap you were in before you started walking.

Music is truly a saviour
Get a sound happening. Any sound. Music you know you enjoy, or might enjoy, or perhaps suddenly realise: ‘I guess I may as well listen to that before I die”, when it comes to venturing into a new realm of sounds. Listen, dance, sing, do whatever you need, just let the music have a say first. It is truly a magnificent drug.

Play an instrument
If you have the luck of knowing how to read music, and have an instrument to hand (remember, your vocal chords are an instrument too!), then play it. Make yourself play it well, and concentrate on reading the notes, follwing the rules of timing and intensity, if only to challenge yourself. It will distract you.

Find an animal
Get your pet, if you have one. Go out and find a field full of Sheep, or anything, and just watch them do what they do for a little while. Know that they aren’t thinking about you, and your desire to die- they are just getting on with it in their own way. But animals are therapeutic just to watch, or to touch, and they are wise beyond words for transmitting their silent reflections.

Medicate
Now here’s a controversial one. There will be countless screams of ‘you can’t advise someone who is that vulnerable to go and take medication/drugs of unpredictable side effects’, or whatever. Drugging yourself is definitely not ideal. No shit, Sherlock. But if you are about to take your own life, then the outcomes of both dangerous decisions are not ideal. One is final, the other perhaps not.

If you know of a thing you can take, or get hold of, which will change your state of mind, then get it. I know I should not advocate the misuse of drugs, or doing things which are ‘illegal’ (more on that subject matter later), but mind altering substances can save your life, too.

Obviously, there will most likely be a comedown. Once you’re free of in-toxification, your mind will indeed be vulnerable. You may feel worse, even. But you will still be alive, and live that extra day before you do it. Try and allow yourself to change your mind.

At least plant some seeds before you go
I mean, it’d be almost rude not to. You’ve benefitted from the Oxygen needed for Respiration all the way through your life up until now, so you owe it to the plants and trees, to at least give them more life, before you take your own.

Amazingly, the planting of these seeds is a perfect way to self-soothe. Gardening, soil, seedlings and engaging with nature, is therapeutic and distracting beyond mere words of my testimony. You can perhaps say to yourself, ‘i’ll let this seed sprout up above the soil, and help it become strong enough to plant it out’, before you end that opportunity. Gardening saves lives. I genuinely know this.

Lash out
Preferably, not against yourself. I don’t care if you have to punch walls, smash plates, scream at the top of your lungs and/or run for your life. Physically do SOMETHING. Please don’t hurt others, but please make sure you engage in something physically relieving (or challenging), if it can stop you from the act of Suicide.

Dance it out
Again, humanity’s most loyal and beloved friend, music, comes into the play here. Listen to some rhythm, and then close your eyes, and let that rhythm lead your body into shapes and movements like it is a puppet, played by a sound.

In the words of Friedrick Nietzsche:
“We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once.”

Seek out words of wisdom

“Kiss a lover,
Dance a measure,
Find your name
And buried treasure.

Face your life,
It’s pain,
It’s pleasure,
Leave no path untaken.”  – Neil Gaiman, The Graveyard Book