Lovely fantastic uberly cool person.
I'm just calling ('cause this is a telephone conversation written in script form, don't cha know?) to say hey, and to say some things but before I say them, I have to say (again) that I'm nervous.
It's been a while since we've last spoken.
It's been a while since we've last shared some laughs, some joys, some great art (at least on my part and for seeing what amazing fabulousness you've come up with since), some empathy, some stories, some life.
It's been a while, yeah.
I hope you're well, you know. I've thought of you often. I've read over your messages, and formulated some replies - maybe more in thought than in actuality, but I'll get there, you know, I'll get there.
I also wanted to say that: I miss you. It's been .... well, you'll see what's it been without you or well, me, here and about with you.
But I do hope you're well. And if you're not, I hope you're hanging in there. I love you, I care about you, and I want you to get through this (whatever your 'this' may be). I'm rooting for you. You can do it - you can make it through. And I'm here for you too, if you ever want to talk.
I just want to make sure you know that, 'cause sometimes we forget and it's nice to be reminded.
But, to make this about me again, because that's always the best transition in a fancy telephone simulated conversation, let me tell you about some things.
Firstly, my last contact with you in a message (a journal) was September 27th. I didn't memorize that or anything, DA just keeps track of those things, which is nice, you know, it is. But also: damn that's a long time.
I meant to phone you sooner, sometimes I even got a few paragraphs in, but well, something always came up.
Something in my head. Something that tells me: Kill yourself.
Nobody cares about you.
Nobody would know.
Jump off the building.
You're just lying.
You're full of shit.
Bleed - you know you want to.
There's a bottle of bleach over there.
What if - ?
Are you sure?
But I don't want to, right? Or do I? Do I want to do that? I don't think I do. I don't...right?
Nobody should know about the nothing.
Don't tell anyone.
It's just you and me. Just you and me.
There's nothing else.
No one else.
Why can't you just jump?
Why is this so difficult?
You're nothing, there is nothing, nothing but nothing.
This is all there is. All there ever will be. Ahahah, it's just you and me. Alone. Trapped. In your head - together.
And, honestly it sucks that it tells me that. It really does. Because I often feel: Anxiety -
This overwhelming sense of anxiety. This -
Trapped feeling. It's just me and it and there IS no one else or nothing else, and it's just me and it. And that's all we do, and all we are, and I sit there, when it gets bad, when it gets intense, and I hold my head, silently screaming because it's just in my head and reality has slipped away and I don't ever feel I'll make it out on the other side of it again.
And if it's not that, it's feeling hopeless. And from there,
It's anger. An anger that grows and builds, demands and objects to being ignored. You cannot ignore it. It will not allow for that. You must do what it says - you must scratch yourself, because you deserve to be punished. For what? For having the thoughts? The thoughts that you CANNOT control? Why can't you control it? Does that mean you want it? (No, I don't.) Yes, you do. (Just shut up! SHUT UP!)
And you do it anyways, sometimes, you scratch to feel the pain, to be distracted, to make it just stop...except it only stops temporarily. Because the thoughts come back - especially if it didn't really hurt, then they really intensify, leaving you to move elsewhere to "get the job done." Because the aim is to just get SOME relief. Except relief turns to shame and you feel so ashamed that you scratched yourself, that you did that, because FUCK that shit hurts. And crap, you can't move your arm 'cause it hurts, and what if you work tonight? Who might see that? What would you say?
But it's just a scratch - it will go away in a few days - it's not really self harm, is it?
(Yes, it is. That is self harm. You did it intentionally to punish or cause pain or to be distracted or any other number of reasons. It doesn't matter if it's a scratch, a bite, a cut, a burn, a punch, a kick, head banging, drug abuse, an eating disorder -- self harm is self harm.)
But that's not all -
Because the anxiety is back and then I'm just crying with this out pouring of emotion because I can't let go, I can't open the door, I can't let the emotion just come and be, I can't let the thoughts just be thoughts, I'm too scared, too terrified - what if it's true? What if I really want that? What if I do that?
I had the thought so I must want to do the action, right?
And then there's the sadness, and the desperation.
There's the resignation.
There's the wishing anvils would fall from the sky - that someone ELSE would just fucking kill me already so that I could stop thinking about it and I wouldn't have to do it - just make it be over, make this end.
And then there's the apathy - oh god, the apathy.
The sitting there and feeling nothing, having no cares, wishing I could trivialize over examinations and homework assignments like so many of my classmates but I'm just sitting there thinking of how I want to jump off a building but I totally can't because fuck it, I'm just always in my own way, aren't I?
Because I don't want to. But I do. Don't I? I think so. I'm confused.
Oh gosh, don't even get me started on the confusion - what's real and what's truth? Who is saying what? How can I get out? I'm trapped in my head and there is no way out and the conflict --
And there's the conflict with wanting to and not wanting to, again and again, over and over, over and over, over and over, over and over, over and over, again and again, again and again, over and over over and op, should I fix that or can I leave it there? (Does it bother you?) Why yes, yes it does. (Leave it, let it bother you, it's okay.)
And can I just say, my friend, that I'm pleasantly enjoying telling you this message in a different and creative way? I mean, the content is pretty dark so far, but, this is far different and far from the kind of update I anticipated and had been planning prior. I quite like it, and I hope it's been interesting so far. If in nothing else than style.
You may have noticed my frequent repetition, my repeating of certain thoughts or phrases, breaks and structure (in speech of course
This is a phone conversation after all! I hope my voice here is interesting too, maybe I've learned too much in creative writing this semester, hehe)
But that repetition is with purpose, yes. I have a confession to make, if you haven't guessed it yet, but first let me fill you in some more about my life.
These thoughts that I have, this one voice that is separate from me (I am not it) but resides within me and causes me great distress, so too, comes with dysfunction. Just letting these words fall from my fumbling fingers as I speak into this black plastic device, makes my anticipation grow. I've taken abnormal psychology this semester, you know, and so I know what weight those two of four D's mean for the diagnostics of a disorder.
Because these thoughts I have, they say, if it's longer than an hour a day, saddles you up to fit dysfunction. As in, you're meeting that criteria in a flash.
And the distress? Why gosh, who wouldn't feel distressed by that?
.......What was that?
You've had those types of thoughts too? And they just go away? Swim on by and you don't think much of it?
I can understand that, sometimes I CAN do that too, but the rest of the time - I just can't let go. I have to question it, I have to ruminate, I have to check, I have to prevent the bad things from happening -- suicide would be bad, self harm would be bad, I don't want those things, right? Or do I? Do I? Let me check - I'll make sure by thinking about it more, I'll ruminate, I'll look through my past, other events, I'll figure this out, I can do this - there has to be answer, a reason --
What was that?
Just "stop thinking about it?"
Well you know, if I could just stop thinking about it, or I could "snap out of it" (let alone the fear that I might "snap" and do it anyhow) I wouldn't have my problem, now would I?
And I'm not angry, no, no, no, it's okay. I hope you're sitting here listening to this message with an idea in mind of what I'm describing to you. Because it's something a lot of us struggle with - I can't remember those statistics off the top of my head, but I know I'm not alone. I know this is treatable. I'm glad that it is, even when I seek reassurance online that what I have is in fact what I have, because well, that uncertainty, you know?
It's difficult to let that uncertainty just come and let it just keep on being there. It's confusing when you can't tell the truth from reality. Because YOU do NOT want to do the things you're thinking about. And you will not. You won't.
You're just scared that you will, even though you won't. You panic and have anxiety and so much fear over the fact that maybe you might, but you won't. It's against your personal values, your personal beliefs, it's out of character for you.
And that should help - and sometimes it does, but the thought and the questions always re-arise -- what if? Are you sure? But what if it's...
And, what's hard is, letting that quest for magic go. Because there will always be another quest, another question, another doubt, another uncertainty. Without fail, you will go through your checking, making sure you don't actually want to do that (suicide, self-harm, you didn't hit the mailman, you really are heterosexual, no you're not a pedophile, no you don't actually want to stab your sister in the neck, no you won't throw your baby off the roof, no you aren't schizophrenic) and by the end of that, when you think it's done, you've "dealt with it", the relief has been met, the anxiety has dispersed -- the thought arrives again (Kill Yourself) and you deflate, and again, you try to "reason it out" - and the process begins again.
And you do this. For hours.
Hours of your day, go to this cycle. Constantly repeating.
I've spent days
just thinking this - over and over. If that's not dysfunctional, I don't know what is.
Because I just want to be alone with it, to keep thinking about it. Because you may be talking to me but I've got about thirty thought loops going all at once and the NOISE in HERE? - DID YOU SAY SOMETHING, I CAN'T HEAR YOU?
And then I may isolate a bit - and I'm just holed up in my room, staring at the ceiling, constantly thinking, barely sleeping - waking up at random hours of the night so I can just think about it more and think about it more and question and cry and be aggravated and stressed - and hardly eating because eating is just distracting and I've got to keep thinking, keep checking, and we laugh sometimes, together, sometimes (especially now as I myself have made some progress in counseling) it's actually incredibly amusing, but it's only amusing in the way that it's absolutely difficult, it's terrible, it's horrible. It sucks to massive proportions.
And sometimes, my friend, sometimes it's just been ........ quiet. This sweet, amazing silence, like the breeze is blowing in a clear field on a sunny day. And I feel...so at peace. And in those moments, I can just try to enjoy them, immerse myself in them, because I don't know how long they'll last before the voice returns and the emotions are stirred up again, but also -
I'm learning to be okay with that. I'm learning that thoughts ARE just thoughts, they are neither good nor bad, they don't warrant meaning or judgment. They are just thoughts and thoughts just are and they come in, and they can go out. And emotions are just emotions.
And I can open the door
and let them come in. Recognize them, accept them, let them be. Let them be felt because, in this whirlwind, this intensity of:
Thoughts, images or ideas ( obsessions
They are not being truly felt. Instead, I resist them, I clench up, I try to relieve the anxiety that they cause, I repeat covert behaviors - covert being in my mind, overt being as we are all so classically (and this isn't to harm those who suffer in this often thought of (and made fun of, may I add) way, my heart and empathy goes out to you as well
) shown as the checking the stove, washing the hands, cleaning items, switching off lights - but in my case, I check thoughts, I ruminate, I go through possible situations or preventative measures, I keep myself still, I avoid knives and blades because eeeps (not that avoidance truly helps of course) but I hope you see that these too, are compulsions.
A temporary relief of anxiety, whether it's a physical or a mental compulsion, is a compulsion all the same.
Yeah, it seems to help, but the thought comes back and actually, it's not the thought at all that's the problem.
You're human, you have a brain that can think of ANYTHING fictional, weird, creative, true.
The thoughts are not the problem, your reaction to them is.
And it's hard, because practicing mindfulness seems so counterintuitive, and it's SCARY because letting the thoughts and emotions come in? Whoa, whoa, whoa, you might think, and I hope you're not backing up off this phone now, either!
It IS scary. It IS difficult. A lot of that fear may be feeling that emotion, sitting with it, letting it exist and being there without you doing any of your compulsions. It's hard, and if you suffer from this too, I can't begin to know what your themes may be of (this is a one sided phone call after all, at least for this body of it on my side) but you may find that mindfulness helps. I found even for me that there was a significant lag time (from going from the surface layer to being processed into the other layers of my brain) before I could begin to try it out. In my experience, or maybe in my case, it really helps. The peace and relief and happiness that comes out of being mindful lasts far longer than any compulsion -- because it's still there for a while, those thoughts, those images, but you're letting them be there now, you've made the involuntary be voluntary, and you're OKAY with them there, because soon they'll just fade into the background and you won't even really notice.
And you know, there's therapy, or ERP (exposure and response prevention) or medication for this kind of thing. For me, friends, you know I'm in counseling, I'll be trying out ERP over some break - not sure if the winter or if I can push it to the summer or what may be best just yet....
And you know, my friend, my fellow deviant, a passing stranger listening to this phone conversation (are you eavesdropping?
) I do hope you've better enjoyed this message, because again,
I'm actually really happy to have spoken of it in this creative, different way. It made it much easier to talk about, and I didn't feel as caught up in the whirlwind as I had feared I might get when speaking of things that have been happening. I mean, there's always more I have to tell you all, but saying what I've said here is so huge and big and awesome, I'm glad I've described to you my experience - through the thoughts, the emotions, the questioning, the repetition, the thought loops, the information on this mental illness, I just - it's different. I like it. I hope you've liked it too. I will be leaving you some attached phone sparklers with more information at the end of this message, in case you're interested in learning more. Because raising awareness is nice and beyond that, with some final last words: (your ears must be getting tired by now!)
There's a lot of negativity that can distort your vision and your world, but there can also be a lot of hope that can shine through your darkness. This past week for me has again been lovely and inspiring - I have felt so much hope, so much happiness and joy and the ability to look beyond and a little more forward than what I could have a few weeks ago (particularly October). It's so amazing to be on this other side. And it's not that I haven't had my intense moments, in fact today had some questionable hours spent along, but it's that I've had them, I've moved through them, and I'm damn determined to report good news (great news even!) to my counseling session on Monday. I have more to say on this but I will list that in a separate phone call.
I will say though that reading about or listening to those who have suffered with mental illness and have made it to a continuing to blossom path of acceptance, progress, coping mechanisms and more - is just so inspirational and amazing.
We had two NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) speakers on Wed in abnormal come in and I definitely felt impacted in multiple ways about their stories (not to mention I'm cooking up ideas on what my coping mechanisms are and can be and more).
I just think, and want to say, there's hope out there. For whatever it may be that you are struggling with. Just hold on, hang in there.
And finally, friends, my update is ultimately this:
I've been diagnosed with OCD, in particular, primarily obsessional OCD. I am not suicidal (maybe it was suicidal ideation here and there, who knows), but I have suicidal obsessions. There are also self harm themes with my OCD too. I've seen some sites categorize primarily obsessional into their respective categories, so the one I fit criteria for would be the Harm OCD (aggressive or violent thoughts about killing or harming yourself or others). And of course, to reiterate, except you don't want to do it, and no, you won't do it (kill or harm yourself or others). You won't ever come close to it, but there's always the fear or discomfort that you will. OCD's your own personal hell. And also, remember, OCD's an asshole. IT is the one full of shit. And your struggle is real, and when you may be questioning your OCD (or more so your OCD is questioning its OCDness) just call it out on it and let it pass. Again, it's an asshole anyways, it can keep talking but you don't necessarily have to pay attention completely.
Well, this conversation has been long. I hope this has been interesting. I hope there's been some take away here. If anything, I hope it's spread some awareness through its creative process.
I hope you're well and thank you for listening.
I will call again another time.
*as putting in sparklers, smiles and sets down the phone*
If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide, I encourage you to speak to someone. You could call one of the lifeline's below (the second link has information for worldwide numbers, it's the best I can find for short notice here). Just having someone who can listen, nonjudgmentally can help so much.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (USA): www.suicidepreventionlifeline.…
Some helpful information I have found before regarding suicide prevention if you or someone you know may be struggling.
People, resources or places I have found helpful, inspiring, bringing me hope, raising awareness or just having time to read up on articles.
www.youtube.com/user/Downtownp… (Laura Lejeune)
(TED talk on schizophrenia)www.youtube.com/watch?v=-eBUcB… (TED talk on depression)
psychcentral.com/Alternative coping strategies from self harm can be found in the link below.www.teenhelp.org/forums/f12-se…(A USA call center regarding SI: 1 (800)-366-8288
If you are interested in more information about the form of OCD I have or examples mentioned (they may not all be super accurate but...)www.socialworktoday.com/archiv…
www.steveseay.com/hocd-homosex…www.steveseay.com/mental-check… (can you tell I like this site? :3)
(some audio recordings for mindfulness based exercises)psychcentral.com/lib/ocd-and-t…www.anxieties.com/94/ocd#.VHEs… (this site in particular is very helpful if you have OCD)
(I found this Youtuber helped with my shift towards practicing mindfulness)
And, I could go on for days, honestly. But I'll save the trouble ^^ I hope to have presented information as delicately but explicit as possible. I'm no expert though, and I apologize if anyone has been made uncomfortable, distressed, triggered or offended with this phone call.