Today, I want to just share with you a poem about where I have been hiding out for the last little while, and where I might be for awhile longer yet. Mental illness has it’s ways of always reeling us back in, and it has its ways of forcing us to go down all different kinds of paths. It has an interesting way at making us examine death, and it has an interesting way of making us see life. I resent my mental illness for so, so many reasons, but I have to give it some credit where credit is due. I have learned a lot about myself as a person- my needs, desires, fears, strengths. I have learned lots of coping tools, but I have also learned that as time goes on, sometimes those things change and we need to evolve our treatment plan with it. So that’s where I am at right now, on the verge of evolving my plans to meet the needs of my mental wellbeing- and getting myself BACK. Back on track to enjoy every little moment in life, loving my job, loving my hobbies and even my chores, spending time with the people I love and planning for all the exciting things the future has to offer. I know that thanks to my amazing support network and the spark that I still have inside me, I will get to that place soon. I have lots of things that still bring me comfort, so I will just be focusing lots of energy on to those things and starting a new treatment plan that *hopefully* works out my faulty wiring a bit better than it has been for the past while.
I thought, what better way to express all of this than through metaphor, on the INTERNET! So my dear readers, here is a little tale of making changes, making choices, and facing the darkness. Enjoy, and take care of yourselves! ❤
Learning to Swim
I am removed, far on a hillside. It’s raining a little over here, but it hasn’t started to down pour entirely just yet. But you know how you can tell? by the smell of the earth and the way that the wind picks up, you can tell that a flood will be coming soon. You have all the time in the world to prepare, because you know.
I once built a raft, and it kept me afloat the way i needed…it worked….so i pull it out of an old, dark, musty shed and get to work dusting it off. I work on my raft for hours…days….weeks….and still it rains, harder now. I work on it for months, but not under any kind of cover so the pieces of wood i’m using are getting wetter and heavier, and the rope becomes saturated in mud and hard to work with. I will have to discard this raft, I will have to start again.
I never imagined I would have to start again so close to the flood. It could happen any day now. I look around wildly for a sign of something to keep me floating above the swirling fifty fucking shades of blue, and to no avail my head hangs heavy and I am stuck looking at my shoes. The smallest feet, that have already walked so many different roads in one young life, often leading me back to where I stand. They slowly begin to sink as the earth gives way and the first of the flood releases.
PANIC. Anything will do, just not this again. In a split second I am running, running down my hillside, the place that sheltered and held me so comfortably dreary for so long. Looking over my shoulder, I see it dip, see it melt, see it crumble, and see it flatten- see the earth take it back, see it give way to the flood. Comfort level: zero. But I know fear is not an option anymore either. I know I need to continue.
The rain has picked up as I reach an eventual a fork in the road I have been treading. No signs indicate which leads to where, or why I might choose either one, but it appears it is one or the other. I look closely and see that one of these roads, to my left, is flooded all the way through. The water is rushing quickly along, no will to be stopped, and even the thought of travelling down that road is exhausting to me. I think of myself flailing through gasping for air at times, losing all strength at others. It is an overwhelming sense of chaos, and it feels reminiscent of floods I have treaded before. I’m so tired.
I glance to my right, and the road is entirely dark. I feel a warmth emanating from somewhere within it, pulsing and swelling…and it creates a pull unlike the other path. It tells me that this path is where I can finally rest. I don’t have to fight anymore, I don’t have to make rafts or tread water until my limbs give out on me one by one. But there is something else about this path I notice immediately. I feel this sudden awareness that it is a path that no one else has ever come back from, it is deeply hidden away behind the trees, and perhaps that is for a good reason. Perhaps if I were to tread this path, it might just save me….but what if it remains dark forever? Surely I can reason that floods come to an end, but what about THAT kind of darkness?
I shiver. I am cold, and I am tired, and the water is beginning to rise on all sides. I take several steps towards the dark path, and feel the warmth envelope me. I can’t see what’s on the other side here, but I am not afraid of it. What I am afraid of more than anything is fighting against the currant in yet another round. My stomach twists, but my mind tightens it’s grip on me and wills me towards the pulse of this path, the comfort in that.
But then it happens. A beam of sunlight! My head lifts to the patches of sky above the trees, and I see it breaking the clouds. I feel it warm my cheek, and suddenly a warm breeze smelling of pine and sunshine and salt and greenery grips me. It turns me around and forces me to look at the flooded road to my left. The breeze lasts but a second, yet somehow it manages to remind me of something I feel like my mind has forgotten…everything on the other side of this flooded road. “there is something, it is anything you want it to be”, the breeze sounds as if it is whispering to me. I now take some steps towards the flooded path.
The water still rages, and I am still tired. I can see that there is long way to go, but I have to make a decision, and quick. I realize I want a shot at smelling the warmth of the earth again over the sodden trails I’ve been following for so long. The dark path behind me seems to get smaller, hiding itself further away behind the trees. But I still know where it lives, and I know that it is there. A sudden pang of realization tells me that all those other times I’ve been stuck in the flood, I found a way to just float above it. This time, I realized….this time would have to be different, or else I might find my way back here, I might choose to take the road to my right. I glance at the darkness behind me out of the corner of my eye.
“I see you, but this time I believe I’m going to have to learn how to swim.”