“This we can all bear witness to, living as we do plagued by unremitting anxiety . It becomes more and more imperative that the life of the spirit be avowed as the only firm basis upon which to establish happiness and peace.” ~Dali Lama
If life were easy, it would be boring...or at least a little less prone to the boils of anxiety. I once hoped for a romantic love, one full of hope and adventure. Unfortunately, that was not the case when I finally grew up and began to become who I am today. I am an independent soul, a soul that still longs for adventure, but one that is not tied to someone else's agenda. It wasn't until I had my first child that I realized the relationship drug me down, made me depressed, and left me yearning for freedom. But he was manipulative, deceitful, and completely horrible for my soul.
As I grew in independence, I also grew cold of the idea of marriage. It became only a religious concept, an idea that you needed a piece of paper to claim someone as your own. It mattered not to me, because the piece of paper could be ripped, sullied by the temptation of another, or desecrated by something else. My parents have a beautiful relationship. Not that it hasn't had it's bumps. I remember as a child sitting on the top step listening to my parents argue; both of them angry at one another for something, until this day, I have no recollection of what. Anger may be healthy to a point, but accompanied with abuse, it can be detrimental.
I had my daughter a year and a half ago. She's a beautiful baby girl, the spitting image of her Daddy, with Mommy in the mix. This was the second child out of "wedlock", a mirror of my perspectives of life. I've never felt the need to devote myself to anyone, because I've never felt that anyone deserved my time. Beside my children, I spent my time between my parent's house and my "family". "Family" is quoted for this simple truth: my "family" is made of my son, my daughter, myself, and my "partner". This is where is gets juicy...
I'm a complicated woman.
While I'm an art teacher, I'm also an artist, a writer, a mommy, a dreamer, a wine drinker, a night owl, a late sleeper, and a knuckle popper. I'm darker terms, I'm a dreamer, a wine drinker, a night owl, a late sleeper...a lover, a passionate, distressed soul, holding my face to the edge of the water, trying to breathe, as it rises rapidly, about to consume my every secret as I drown.
And that, my friends, is a horrible phobia...drowning.
In a previous blog, I wrote about how I do not believe in soul mates. I don't believe there is ONE person out there for each and every person. Unfortunately, I don't believe that is how love works. I believe you have the potential to love multiple souls. I believe that you meet them at different points, but there is one you meet that has a characteristic you can't live without. And that one characteristic is what makes you angry, depressed, anxious, spiteful, yet loved, happy, joyous, willing, and aroused. It is everything, yet nothing. It is admired, yet unwelcomed. It is loving, yet hateful. You don't want it, but you will never let it go.
Welcome to my soul.
I had a friend tell me recently, "You choose what love is. If you think of someone as someone you don't love, you will not love them, you will merely think of them that." As much as I love my friend, I can't agree. I don't agree. I have felt love and I have felt pain.
Have you ever loved someone so much that when you get heartbroken you can feel the pressure in your chest and the nauseated feeling in your gut?
As much as I would love to not love the man he is, I can't. He is not a loving man. He is not a caring man. He is not a happy man.
Why? I'm not going into that abyss.
He is a man of genuine sensitivity. He is a man of potential. He is a man of pain.
I'm not going to talk about him though, I'm going to talk about what it is like living and loving someone like him.
Now, stability wise? - I am NOT the most stable person. I'm uncertain of myself every day. I wake up telling myself I wish I could have slept in at least an hour more, I go to bed wishing I could have gone to bed an hour later. My daughter wakes me up in the morning, I bring her to bed with me, hoping she will fall asleep again. I tell my son to not get out of bed until I come get him in the morning. The morning is a hard time for me. Don't get me wrong, the sunrise is beautiful, almost as much as the sunset. However, I'm a woman who believes if my glass is filled with something, I will l drink it until it's gone.
I'm prone to anxiety. In time of turmoil, my breath gets short and I start shaking violently. I like to believe I'm a strong, independent woman; and believe me, if my children were in peril, I would be. However, in every day life situations, I'm a wanker, a woose, a pathetic wimp. When it comes to love, I know very little in the respect of "normalization". There is not much "normal" in a relationship with someone with anxiety and depression. I guess "normal" is a relative term. It depends on who you are, where you come from, how you were brought up, and what your beliefs are. However, anxiety and depression are HARD TO LOVE.
And if I'm speaking truthfully, I don't love them at all.
Anxiety is a monster. It eats at your self-worth, it tears a part your self-esteem limb by limb, it shits you out in the same messy waste you started out in. Depression is its widow; leaving you lonely, sad, and unwilling to get up in the morning or sleep at night. Abuse is the arrow piercing the flesh of each, leaving an open wound, capable of cutting deeply, festering violently.
Have you ever tried getting close to someone with anxiety and depression? Unless you're willing to take the mental, emotional, or physical abuse, the strength and character you should possess is larger than life itself. Or else, it is life itself. You have to devout your time and energy if you truly love someone who continues to push you away. Living with someone suffering from anxiety and depression is like trying to catch a firefly. With all of its delicateness, you can catch it gently, hold it in your hand, and look at it closely as it shines brightly, more radiant than you've ever seen. Once you let it go, though, it looses itself in the darkness once again, blinking every so often as a beacon in the night.
My love, my passion, is a firefly. He is floating through the darkness, lighting up parts of his path through his unfailing love for his daughter, the progress he has made in his career, and his partial acceptance of his need for assistance.
Let me first tell you about the anxiety. The anxiety is a monsoon; when it rains, it pours, and doesn't stop for a terribly long time. To get out of the rain, it takes shelter. The shelter makes a comfortable place of escape for the monster, eventually forgetting the downpour outside. However, what it left outside is the world forgotten, lost for a night in hell, drowned out by the silencing depths of the water they are swirling lifeless in. Once the monsoon has been drowned out and silenced the world inside the monster, it somehow braves the streets to stumble through the darkness once again, settling limply, without feeling, inside the home of the forgotten and broken. Once the sun rises, the monster recoils into the deep hollows, only to awaken by the slightest tinge to its scaly skin, the quietest whisper in its ear, or the slowest of toe-tipping around its hairy body.
If awakened...the monster becomes prone to verbal and emotional abuse. The arrows penetrating so damn deep they pierce the other side. Those who suffer do not realize the suffering that is felt by those around. The fragility of the one's psyche is heartbreaking, because, in this situation, their pain is tossed violently toward their partner in means of verbal abuse, heartbreaking slurs, and images of their person they guarantee you have uttered at least once.
But you haven't...and you won't...
It echoes...it reverberates...it leaves a scar...
Oh, but you've said plenty. You've been hurt to the point of saying some very ugly things. They're not the only ones who suffer, because the monster feasts on all who they care about. Eventually, you have no heart, it's been taken, beaten, and consumed by the monster. The partner is left wondering why you treat them so terribly, but all you look upon is the sleeping monster, dreading, scared of awakening it at any slight move to rescue its host.
If defeated for that moment...another rises in wake.
Here comes depression. Once the monster has been defeated, in its wake comes the widow, the silent growing shadow against the wall. It weeps for its partner. Unlike the anxiety, depression sulks in the corner. And its host? ...keeps to the corner as well. If you reach out, they recoil. If you speak the truth, they become defensive. If you look into their eyes, the emptiness reflects back. Their minds are controlled by the thought of unworthiness, self-criticism, self-loathing, hatred. This control comes from the hatred of the widow, in the defeat of its partner.
If you peek into the soul of the host, you see the widow, knitting silently against the darkness, blind to the effects of loneliness. When the host attempts to reach out, the widow recoils, tugs on the yarn, pulling the host back into the reclusive state of being. And then it festers and feeds, the fucking widow becomes the monster.
...the cuts and bruises of a night strewn out in remnants of degrading remarks and impending doom. For, if you're lucky to see the sunrise the next morning, you may receive an apology, or several awkward days a part, but you'll become weaved into the thread once more of the monster. And, at the moment it decides to become belligerent once more, you will be bludgeoned once again...emotionally, verbally, mentally, or even physically.
You can't always tiptoe around someone living with anxiety and depression hoping they won't think you're trying to hurt them, screw them over, or express the degrading feelings they feel about themselves.
The way I see it, we are all victims to our psyche. I'm not a perfect Mommy, partner, or adult. I'm prone to depression and anxiety. Mine is neither generalized nor constant, but I do allow the monster and its widow to control me when I've been beaten to a pulp by life, love, or longing. I've been shot multiple times by the arrows of abuse. My heart has been ripped from my chest, stabbed over and over again, and placed back in my chest with only a slight beat left. I've tried to encourage, piece together, and handle the shards of brokenness he possesses. Living with monsters is hard. Breaking through the facade is like breaking through a diamond. It's something precious you've had the privilege to hold in your hands, but you desperately want to destroy it to get to the heart.
Mental illness eats away at the mind and kills. It consumes all that it comes in contact with, even the ones around the sufferer.
The monster is in the mirror of those who behold...
*as well as*
...the monster is always in the eyes of the ones who gaze upon...
And we are all victims.