Tag Archives: mental-health

What do we do when the ones who save us leave?

*trigger warning: depression and general fucked-upness follows*

Join me in a bit of time travel. Let’s go back about seventeen years. I was eighteen years old (Jesus, why does that make me sound old?). I was mentally in the darkest place I had been in up to that point. I don’t usually speak of this time, so for some, this may be news. But, that ends tonight.

I hadn’t quite figured out how to live with the loss of my grandmother. I was bullied, relentlessly, every day in school. I was called every name in the book except nice white girl, which I very much was. Due to this, I was quiet. Not shy, just never felt worthy of talking. I had very few friends with whom I could enjoy life and be myself without much worry about judgment, but if I am being honest, I assumed they were judging me also. I knew I liked boys, but I also knew that I had liked girls, too, and I wasn’t sure what to do with that one. I had crushes on people I ought not to have crushes on, and unrequited was the only relationship status box I could punch.

If I would have had seven stitches of self-confidence back then, I would have had the strength to ask for help – to cry out that I knew I was fucked up inside, but I didn’t know how. I didn’t know that I could say a word because back then, mental illness wasn’t a thing we were aware of. Boys would be boys. Girls were bitches. Everyone else was weak. No one could win. I acted like I was fine when inside, I was a mess. An absolute mess. It was awful. I felt hopeless, truly helpless, and worthless.  I was a wreck.

So, I did what kids did back then. I sat in my bedroom and wrote incredibly shitty poetry while listening to music as loudly as I could while imagining various ways I could end my life. And that was how I saved my own life. I’m here because music was there. Writing is something I have always been good at, and I am here because I was doing it then. As I wrote and listened, life seemed more worth it. I got stronger because those words – those artists – gave me the strength to live. I couldn’t do it on my own and didn’t know how to ask for help, so I did what I hoped would work…

In 2000, a good friend of mine gave me a copy of Hybrid Theory by a band I had not heard of until then, Linkin Park. I heard this guy named Chester Bennington tell me that it was okay to be fucked up in the head, that I could still be alive and feel the way I was feeling, that I wasn’t a freak – I was fine in being not fine. There was something inside of me that pulled beneath the surface, like he said he had, and he had also felt insecure. But, he was clearly a successful musician, reaching out to millions, and if he could pull his shit together long enough to live and keep going, then man, I could, too. Something in his voice made me know that even though he had pain, he was going to be fine. And I would be fine. His voice was unlike anything I had ever heard, or will ever hear again. His words gave me the strength to know that I, also, could live and find a place for my head. I would also find somewhere I belonged.

I saw Linkin Park live a few times. Their sound was pure addiction – energy, smart, driving, light with dark edges. Their stage show was remarkable. I am pretty sure I had more than one of their t-shirts and a hoodie, though their whereabouts are long gone. I bought their CDs, and I still have them to this day. Hell, I still follow them on Instagram and Twitter! I was just looking through his Instagram a few weeks ago, commenting on how silly he could be sometimes. I mean, so full of life. So silly.

So, when the news came in that he had died by suicide this morning, I was completely knocked sideways. I fell into tears. I remembered his voice telling me that he was one step closer to the edge and he was about to break, but he didn’t…until he did.

We may never know why today happened the way it did, and we don’t need to. It’s none of our business. We only need to know that it happened, that he fought and fought and fought so hard and was weary, tired of the fighting. And the only way out of the fight was a permanent one. And it’s not our place to judge, just to remember that we never know what is going on behind someone’s smile, someone’s laugh, even someone’s tears.

When the people we turn to when we need a little saving end up leaving us, what can we do? We fucking live, that’s what we do. In spite of the challenges we face in our own lives, we fucking live. We live large because that is what those people would want for us. They would not want us to face the same dark hallway that they have walked – they would want us to fucking live. Suicide is not a sign of weakness, so we must not let it make us weak, either.

So, that’s what we do. We cry. We laugh. We mourn. We celebrate. But, we never forget that we get to fucking live. And that, my friends, that is the gift. It’s hard. It’s SO hard sometimes, but we honor those people and their gifts and we live for them. I still have dark moments – I don’t think anyone is ever bright all the time, anyway – so in those dark moments, I remember to try to live a little louder that day. I must. So many depend on it. I depend on it.

Life is energy, and when one life ends, their energy is dispersed into the Universe. Their light does not go out, it goes on. So, we have to carry the light for Chester Bennington, and those others we have lost for whatever reason.

I remember feeling completely helpless. Hopeless. Broken. And it was Chester who told me it was okay to not be okay. I have to remember to be that voice for others as well, as often and as loud as I can be (and I can get quite boisterous). So, my friends, it’s okay to not be okay. It’s okay to be a little fucked up in the head. Show me one person who isn’t.

So, for you, Chester, and for others we have lost along the way who we have turned to at one point or another for a little bit of saving, I give you my promise to live every single moment like it’s the most precious fucking thing I have ever touched. I will live. Promise.

 

Until we meet again, Chester. I’ll keep on living.
Find my cousin Kevin, please. He’s been gone four years today…

chester

But, I can’t lie, this one fucking hurts.
Just ….

The fine art of saying, “NO!”

I’m a yes girl. I am so bad at this, and I know I need to stop. Need something done? I’ll do it! If I can’t do it, I will learn how and THEN do it!! I really, really need to learn how to not be like this. However, I don’t like the feeling of letting people down. So, I take on responsibilities. I do too much. I am constantly working on something, and while I ADORE every minute of my job, the extra stuff outside of my job, I don’t necessarily need. Committee meetings and stuff for my career: necessity. I am known for saying that my life is PR, and that is the God’s honest truth. With my career, I will do all the things because doing all the things gets you to where you want to be. It’s that simple. And it’s a fact I accept and welcome with my chosen career path. I dig what I do, and I do what I dig. It’s that simple. No complaints about my job. Ever. I love it. LOVE it!!!

However “doing stuff” is not necessary. I do…stuff. Everything. I don’t know how to stop feeling like I have to DO EVERYTHING! DO ALL THE THINGS! ACK!

I have my own business with Premier Designs (which I also love). I can do that when I want and not do it when I don’t want to. Which is brilliant, really. A lot of Direct Service (ah ha! I did not say sales!) companies are not like that. So, I am blessed in that. I also am going to be teaching CCD again in the fall at church. Which is something I don’t need to do. But I will do. Because they need asked me. I don’t know why I feel like people need me. No one needs me. Well, no, that’s not true. My children need me. My husband needs me (though I realize that sounds ridiculous, as we are adults who are pretty self-sufficient, but we do need each other). But, my cross to bear is that I don’t know how to say no to people. Shawn is notorious for commentary when I take on extra projects, but he will never tell me not to do it. Which is good in some ways. But this is bad in others: I think sometimes I need someone to tell me to knock it off. I need someone to say to me, “This is enough. Where is the time for you? Where is the time for…breathing?” And then, that person needs to MAKE ME DO NOTHING! That’s the key. That’s what I need.

My girls come first, and they always have me when needed. But I know that my other stuff takes me away from them and I hate that. I feel guilty for leaving them, and I also feel guilty for letting other people down. WHY does it matter so much to me what anyone else thinks/feels? It shouldn’t. No one ever asks me how I feel lol. Very few people give two flips, and if they do, they have a crap way of showing it sometimes. But it’s OK. Because, I don’t “need” other people to ask me how I am doing. Because I am too busy worrying about what I can do to make their lives better. Why do I run this race? Why do I turn myself inside out sometimes for other people? Why am I always so exhausted and in need of about seven extra hours a week …???

The answer is simple: it’s just who I am. Ah, yes, friends. I am a pleaser. OH the life and strife of a pleaser. I need to learn the fine art of saying no. I need to know how to not feel the insatiable need to be everywhere, to do everything. Everclear said it best when they said, “You always try to be everything to everyone.” Do you know that line runs through my head all the time? Like a weird anthem, it saturates my brain. I can’t turn it off. And then? I do something. Shawn’s favorite thing to say is that if I ever had free time, I’d just find a way to fill it up. Ugh. I don’t know why I am so afraid of…being. Just being.

I don’t think it stems back to any deep, dark past trauma. I have no recollection of someone desperately needing me and me not being there for them. And then them falling off of a cliff and dying in a fiery accident. No, no, that never happened. I could blame it on my dead grandma, but that’s silly. It would be irrational for me to believe that she “needed” me to cure her cancer at age seventeen when I could not even cure my rampant acne and boy craziness. No, she’s clear. I really don’t know where it comes from. I guess it could be just because I was never popular in school (this is not one of those bully stories, though I do have a lot of “mean girls” stories, but this is not that time). I wasn’t popular because being me wasn’t cool. I was smart. I wasn’t the most attractive banana in the grove. I didn’t have a lot of friends, but I am damn glad that the few I had that were worth keeping are still with me today, and the others who aren’t don’t need to be. I think it’s because I never felt, in my adolescence, that anyone needed me back then. But, see, that makes no sense really because I was a pleaser back in the day, too. Was it first grade? Kindergarten? Where did the madness start?

Ah, yes. Lady Gaga reminded me. I was Born This Way. I have always been this way. And, sadly, I don’t really see it ending. I do know I need to take more time for myself and my family. I need to do things that seem silly and have nothing to do with my career. Sometimes, being silly is what needs to happen. Sometimes, being still is the only thing to be. I have this quote on my fridge, and I read it every morning (and never listen to it, really). It is from Ashleigh Brilliant and it reads:

Sometimes the most urgent and vital thing you can possible do is take a complete rest.


Isn’t that brilliant (no pun intended)? Why don’t I listen to this? I’d like to meditate more. Swim. Work out. Do yoga. (hot or cold, it doesn’t matter). Write more. Something. I need to do some more things for me. Because multitasking has its place. And somehow my life has become multitasking’s place.

I need to reclaim some pieces of me, before I am stretched so thin that I can see through myself.

Because when you’re that busy, others can see right through you, too.

Doesn’t this look like Heaven??

It would be perfect, if it were right here:

I need to live on a lake… Water is what calms me.

What about you? What do you do to relax? Give me advice. I obviously need it… 🙂