It Comes Back

The thing about depression is that no matter how much work you put in, how far you come, it will come back.

I’ve felt it sucking at me again these past days. Felt it dragging at the corners of my mind. I woke up today and there it was. I am also in the grip of a Fibro flare. For those lucky enough not to know what that is, it basically means my entire body is in pain for no damn reason. Are they connected? Hell yeah.

Depression is a little parasite. She waits for something else to bring me down and there she is. Right on my life line, sucking all the feelings away.

Until I am not happy, or sad. I’m back in the grey wasteland of nothing. Everything is leached of joy. I am flattened. I am nothing. But I refuse. Im in a desert leached of all emotion. But I ain’t stuck here.

So I go to work. This is my job after all, keeping the Bonnie Bot alive. I watch my favourite shows. I reach out to my friends who get it. I tell husband. I get good with being sick. I do the things I like doing. I go through the motions. In my case, if I succumb and just lie down, I will get worse.

I start being kind to myself. I bring my best self talk forward. C’mon Bon, you know the drill. Are you safe? Do you need help? Is this manageable?

I take steps. If I want to get better I have to fight for it. I feed my face with good food. Listen to good music. Do things that make me feel… something. Hide the sharps. Put the razors away. Bury my face in my dogs neck and just hold on.

This is the price I pay to be me. My brain gives me creativity, it makes me different, intuitive, imaginative. And sometimes, it tries to kill me. Everything is a balance I guess. I still like being me. But the tax is bitch.

So I will hang on. I will hug my children and breathe them in. I will rest my head on husband’s shoulder. I will wait for it to pass. Hold on Bon, just hold on. Wait for the times to get better. Have faith that they will.

I will stay. I will not let this be the end of me. Because brain, you dear, fucked up mess, the times they are a changing. My smile will come back before you kill me. Just watch.

Stay weird peeps. Just stay.

X Bon

Lost On You

(These are old feel an old note… but it has to go somewhere right? Cos I don’t want anymore).

I’ve tried to tell you a thousand times.

What it feels like to wake up disappointed that you’ve woken up.

To hate the new Spring sunshine on your skin.

To watch your child laugh and feel it echo through your empty heart.

To see the smile on your lovers face and feel exactly nothing in response.

How it feels to already be dead inside and how it hurts to pretend.

What it’s like to keep on struggling because people need you, want you, beg you to stay. How that doesn’t feel like love, it feels like a life sentence.

I’ve talked to you until I’m blue in the face, and your resistance to what I’m saying just makes it harder to stay.

I’ve showed you my scars, begged you to see. You turn my arm over, pull my sleeves down and shutter your own eyes to my pain.

I don’t want to be here.

You made me promise to stay.

So here I am. You’ve moved on because everything is fine now.

I’m sinking in the dark, treading water while you work on the future.

I could show you all the things I’ve done, all the work I’ve put in. To be standing here next to you, while you get busy. You turn you head to your phone and I’m standing here alone.

I give when I can. I take what I need. I write it down and bleed it out. I’m losing more than winning these days. I’m half way gone already.

I never wanted to be this way. I didn’t get to chose. It kills me that the only thing I can feel in this black void is anger.

I’m screaming at the night sky, my head ripped back in a full throated roar. You think I’m just looking at the stars.

I could tell you all these things.

But you can’t feel what I feel.

And so my words

Are lost on you.

Are you tired of this modern world?

I deleted Facebook last night. I had music playing in bed we both loved, until hubby started watching video snippets in his news feed. I turned my music up so he put his headphones on.

Husband beside me, turned away watching video’s while I drifted and remembered days where we would hold hands and whisper into the night.

I deleted the app, felt immediately lightened by relief and danced to the toilet. Then slept like a log. To be fair husband gave me the best cuddles as the fan droned and the night swam.

This morning I slept in. I reached for my phone and turn the alarm off. Stretching gleefully I had no notifications to check. No scrolling that’s supposed to last a minute as an hour creeps by.

I went and picked up something from a craft shop. Sat and finished The Haunting of Hill House while I cross stitched a Christmas present. Then I sewed my dress for a friend’s wedding tomorrow, worked through a pile of hemming.

Returned to the couch and finished an assignment for Uni, then made pork schnitzels for family dinner.

I am not a productive person. As an introvert I need to recuperate on my days at home. Mostly I crochet, read and nap to true crime podcasts. The most surprising thing when I quit smoking was all the extra time I had. Without Facebook I had more than an extra hour or so, I had a whole day. I didn’t even miss the meme’s.

To be perfectly transparent I kept Messenger. I have very important people I chat with daily in there. I have a Uni chat where we mull over essays and keep each other up to date. International friends who are so dear to my heart I couldn’t bear them to be out of reach. I learned from my last break from Facebook (which lasted a whole lonely day) what I need to be happy and stay in touch. Depression creeps in when I’m isolated and fills up all the spaces.

So now I turn my attention to finishing my assignments for the year, whilst getting my daily word count in for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). 50,000 word draft of a novel plus assignments while stitching a Christmas present? No worries.

As always, do whatever it is that makes your days better. As my water bottle declares: Whatever Makes You Happy – just do that.

So I shall chase happiness and encourage you to do the same. Because life is so damn short. Just look at the lines upon your parents face, or the ones upon your own. Is there grey hair in your dog’s beard and have those kids shot up since last you noticed? Fast. Like a one step march through history. Remembered by some, until time catches up with them too. So fuck being remembered. Just be happy. In the long run no one even minds. They’ll watch you waltz delighted through your days and probably join in.

Be you, be happy.

Stay weird peeps.

Love Bon.

It’s a long way to go to die.

As LP says in her song: it’s a long, long, long way to go to die.

It sure bloody is.

Because first I decided not to kill myself. I got good with my pain. Good enough that I wanted to stay. Found my reason, all that jazz. It actually took a fuck load of work, but that’s not why I’m here tonight.

After that came unexpected want. I wanted a future. A career, a path, this crazy life.

Here I am living it. Back in Uni, sights set, so close. It doesn’t even matter now if I don’t make it. This wanting has woken something in me. It was terrifying at first and I resented it. Wanting is so much harder. Quitting is always easier. Now though, my heart beats and my eyes search and I drink it all in.

I realize in all of this that unless a bus takes me out, or my heart stops from all that medication, I’m here for a long time. Not all of it will be a good time. I will smack someone if they make me see 90. Oh fate, don’t be so cruel. Just let me have it for a while.

Cos it’s a long long long way to go to die when you take your own hand out of the mix. So here I am. Standing tall. Forward focused with an overflowing tool box of therapy that’s getting me by. I’m unmedicated, on a break from therapy and on my way.

Just please, please, don’t make that road too long. This ole heart of mine couldn’t bear it. Take me mid laugh. Send me down the stairs with a cocktail in my hand. Let me interrupt a robbery and blow a kiss to a shooter as I step between his bullet and the guard. Take me fast, just freaking do it after I’ve seen this through ok?

Because I can go a long, long, long way now that I’ve seen what it’s worth. It’s everything. It’s mine. By Christ I want it.

X Bon

Toxic People

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I’ve learned something recently and it has freed me in ways I didn’t expect. The relief is enormous and the amusement an added bonus.

You see I have been dealing with a toxic person in my life for a couple of years now, and ceasing to care what this person thinks of me has been a long process. I’ve had to fake it until I made it. Oh boy, have I made it! The rewards are wonderful.  I realise that a lot of us have people in our lives that for one reason or another we simply cannot cut them out. Family, co-workers, friends spouses, whatever the case there are often people we simply cannot avoid. So I share this with you now, so that if you’re stuck like I was you can see that it can get better. They can’t control how you react to them. You do not have to be telling bitter stories about their cruel behavior forever.

There will come a time in your experience with a Toxic Person (TP) when they push you once too many.  When your inner voice screams ENOUGH. For me that happened and I felt the familiar heart thump of what I thought was adrenaline. That feeling of gearing up for a fight, the ‘oh shit, I’m going to have to say something’ feeling.  Only I realised that wasn’t it.  What I felt was akin to celebration. The same heart racing expectation, only this time I did nothing. I talked to my friends. I got support. I fact checked whether this person’s accusations were founded. As usual they were not. The relief washed over me like cool water.

I began to think of my TP as a spider in a jar. Striking repeatedly, yet unaware that no hits were landing.  TP became an amusing creature to watch. Fascinating, yet entirely harmless.  I even enjoyed shaking the jar from time to time. As with all insects TP became rapidly less interesting. Until finally I took the dusty jar down from the shelf and tipped it into the garden. Be gone little spider. Here’s the door slamming shut.  I won’t think of you.

So the secret of this approach actually relies on them. It makes it a little easier to cope with.  Toxic people will infiltrate and manipulate. It’s hard to get out sometimes, but you can if you let yourself see them for what they really are.  They are not magicians capable of making everyone around you agree with them.  They are nothing more than school yard bullies.  Some people will join you and see that one day. Some won’t. That’s not on you.  And yes, you do have to do some work your end. Ready yourself and neatly return their serve.  You don’t have to confront them if you don’t want to. Oh how they hate your silence more than your words! I needed to have some strong, repetitive self talk going. Here’s a few of my mantra’s:

I don’t care what you think.

I don’t care what you say about me.

I don’t like you anymore.

I can’t trust you.

If you can have this soundtrack playing in your head, the anger you feel next time they do or say something awful lessens.  The impact hurts less.  The urge to retaliate fades. Once that happens, you’ll find you are becoming free of them.  Next time you see them, that rush of emotion won’t happen.  Now it can be different if it is someone you despised from the start, the process is already half done.  But if it was someone you loved like a relative or friend, expect it to take longer. Do the work though.  You deserve to be happy and free of this person.

Unexpectedly I started to find my spider amusing.  They would say something hurtful and I would smile, causing them to stutter and redirect.  They do things and I do not pick up the phone or shoot out an angry text.  I simply laugh, maybe relate the story to my support people.  More and more often it simply slides away.  I have bag fulls of anecdotes.  As a writer they are now material when I create a despicable character. I have ‘get a load of this latest’ stories to share with my friends. Who shake their heads in horrified wonder.

So you see dear readers, my toxic person is only a byline in a story.  A sidenote.  Someone may ask ‘how did it go with such and such there today?’. It went fine.  I snorted my tea laughing, and let them think it was because they were funny. I stopped talking to them and found something better to do.

Their power over me is gone.  They might enjoy my silence for a time… until they need something from me again.  But I won’t be there to ask. I won’t answer that call.  If somehow the question comes to me, I will say No.  It took a while, but I’m really good at that part now.

Before I go, I should emphasize how important that word is. No becomes a tool, and then a way of life.  You might feel like you have to help them, maybe you care about their partner, or their children or whatever the case may be. Trust me, they will find someone else, or they will angrily cope just fine on their own. Never think that a TP is alone. They want you to think that, but they are expert manipulators and will always find someone else.  They might even use you to do it, start saying things like ‘oh they let me down so badly and now I’m in a tight jam with no support’… etc. Rest assured, they will always find a way.

So walk away. Conscience clear.  Go step into the sunshine. Learn from the experience so it doesn’t happen again. Be free.

And as always, stay weird peeps.

Love Bon.

xoxo

**NB: this advice is not suitable for abusive relationships. Domestic violence is very dangerous and outside my realm of experience.  Seek urgent help if you or someone you know is experiencing this.

Nothing Compares

So in my mid thirties I finally figured out what I want to do with my life.  Spoiler alert – it’s actually not watching Netflix compulsively forever and ever. I mean, who knew?

I turned it over (and over and over as I am want to do) until finally something made sense. I’ve gone back to uni to study Community Services. By the time I’m 40 I might just be able to help peeps like me. Or peeps like you. Or just people really. I want to help, I think I can, I hope I’ve got the stones for it. Time will tell, she’s a real bitch that way.

Anyway, I’m often not ‘here’ in my blog. But I am still here and I do still give a shit.

You can find me more often waffling on in a much more casual way on my Facebook page. Sometimes I Tweet too – but mostly I just fall into the Twittersphere and come up for air hours later not really sure what I logged on for.

In the meantime I shared this on Facebook, but I think it was important.  So I’ll put it here too and I’ll see you soon.

Stay weird guys, and for fuck’s sake – please take care. Of yourselves and of each other. No one knows what we go through like we do, so reach out if you can. You might just change someone’s whole day.

Fellow black dog fighters… Nothing Compares 2 U. No matter how dark it gets, there’s no one else like you. The world does need people like us. Hold on. And if you couldn’t, I hope you know somehow that you were loved and we don’t blame you. 

I Lied and said I was Ok.

If I ever let you think this was easy, I lied.

If you look at me and think I won the war against depression, I lied.

If I gave you the impression that I’m ok, then I said it wrong. Because every morning anxiety still pries my eyes open, while depression wants them to close.

Walking into any room, any time makes my heart thud so hard I want to turn and run. It does not matter if that room is filled with loved ones or strangers. I want to run away, and I’ll feel good doing it. I like it better when I’m on my own, but I hate feeling alone. I need the people in my life so much that if they realized exactly how much, it would shock them. The people I love are my anchor. They keep me here. They make me want to stay. So if I tell you I can do this on my own, I’m lying.

BPD still wrestles with me, every day is hard. If you think I’m not holding a clamped hand over its mouth, just to hear you speak, then I’m telling it wrong. I’m straining against the claws of a monster just to make it through the day. Some days I lose. Some days it forces me to watch the world pass like everyone got a pretty invitation to stand in the sunshine, while I’m stuck behind the glass and can’t feel it’s warmth.

Some days are good days. I’m starting to be able to string more than one together at a time. I was starting to rock through an entire week…

Then Fibro came along to add her 5 cents worth to the whole mess. She is the fiercest dictator I’ve washed up against so far. She tortures so invisibly that no one can see the scars. She’s an expert in making you forget she’s got her chains around me every minute. She hides in plain sight. She sees my good days and she laughs while she takes my feet from under me.

I didn’t chose to fight these battles. I’m no angel through it all. I can be so cruel it would suck your breath out. I’m so angry I’ll scream at the sky when I run out of things to be mad about. Resentment is my poison. It shows on my face, in the holes punched through plaster, in the burned bridges I leave in my wake. It could be so much fucking worse, but that doesn’t help me on the days I want to bash my head against a wall just to make it all stop.

The damndest thing keeps happening though. I keep feeling my lips curling up at the corners, my feet keep tapping, my heart bangs and I rise again. I tell my wrong brain to shut the fuck up and carry on. I’m learning to walk without limping as Fibro rattles through my central nervous system. I tell depression to shove it, even when anxiety puts a tremor in my voice. I turn the key in the ignition with shaking hands. I keep on going.

Recovery looks different for everyone. And it’s not fixed. It changes as I do. It’s a god damned bloody spectrum, and I’ve learned to be ok with that. But if I ever told you I was ok, that it was easy, then I bloody lied. I didn’t tell my story right.

I don’t want anyone to stumble across my blog and go well look at that, we can be fixed. Because we can’t. But we CAN manage life with all this nonsense. A good life even. I can never go back to the person I was ‘before’. I can be happy. I’m facing forward with anticipation for the first time in years. But let’s none of us pretend ‘happy’ is an attainable, fixed state. Cos that simply isn’t how life works. Adjust expectations, get comfy with the new version, make peace with it. When you look at me, know how much I’ve had to fight just to be stood there, looking right back at you.

My smile is real. That part I never lied about. This world might force me to my knees more often than I’d like, but I still have no poker face. The laugh is honest, the grin pure me. My strongest feature isn’t something I expected. I thought my weapon would be humour. It’s not. The force that keeps me going is pure, bull headed stubbornness. I’m a sore loser, so whenever my ailments think they’ve got me, I’ll up-end the game board right in their face and walk on.

Every time something comes along and tells me it’s going to take something away from me, I get up and fight to take it back. I’m that plucky little kid in the school yard. You’re watching her drag herself up off the gravel, nose bleeding, to turn around and spit on her bullies. Just when you think she hasn’t got it in her, she throws sand in their eyes and runs away. I didn’t know I had this much fight in me. I’m not a brave person. I fold like a piece of paper. I hate confrontation. And it’s not because I don’t want to argue over my change, or send a crappy meal back to the chef. It’s because I’m already tired of fighting.

The point of all this work, this endless battle? I found something to fight for. I didn’t know that. I thought I had nothing left to lose. Apparently even in my rawest, most flawed moments, I won’t lose my grip on the world. I lift my bowed head, scream FUCK YOU at roaring volumes and I stay. Every blow I expect to be the last straw… somehow isn’t.

This is mine. My ruined mind and broken body. It’s Mine. This life I live is Mine. The things I seek are Mine. The people I love are somehow Mine too. So maybe I’m not that brave little girl wrestling with her bullies. Maybe I’ve had enough. Maybe I’m also that stubborn, tantrum chucking little shit in the supermarket. Jumping up and down, turning heads, shamelessly screaming MINE, MINE, MINE!

So yeah, I lied. I let you think I wasn’t completely broken by all of this. I showed you the days I found my reason to stay alive, and I hid under the covers on the days when I couldn’t. Some days I rally do want it all to stop.

And yet.

The world keeps spinning, and I keep spinning with it. I will fight, fall down, get up and do it all again. One day if you look over your shoulder and I’m not there, at least you will know that I never give up. I gave until I had nothing left. I fought for every day I had here. I tried.

Stay weird peeps, stay here.

X Bon