Thursday, August 29, 2013
Part Two: Roots.
Life was more shattered than I dare wish to push my breath to speak of. Normal daily decisions grew from being mere annoyances to overwhelming binds. I was driving to work one day and I considered wetting myself so that I could go use the embarrassment to go home and hide. I felt selfish, and I'd get angry at myself for my ignorance. Day after day I witnessed people in real pain, in excruciating grief, and yet there I was constricted and consumed with hurt because of a boy exercising his own free will. It wasn't until I considered crashing my car into a wall on the Monash Freeway that I knew I had hit a low point and I needed to change my projection. I fantasised about my own death in a similar way to how a little girl dreams about her wedding. I desired it when my cheeks were flushed with rage, even though I held fundamental issue with the covenant and conditions of execution.
I packed up my shit and moved from the tip that I lived in. The time was not without incredible stress but the action was healthy. In some ways I longed for friends to talk to or family to support me, but my avoidance coping mechanisms kicked in and I entertained the illusion that as soon as I parked my car back in Brisbane my troubles could be dumped in the southern state.
Herein lies the beginning of my legal fuck ups. I didn't pay a bunch of tolls, because the auto payment function on my e-toll device had been disabled due to a declined top up transaction. I continued using the toll roads because of time pressures at work, and I didn't follow up on it because I just wanted to get the hell out of Melbourne. Time passed. Fines accrued. Six months down the track and I'm facing some heavy penalties. Twenty one way trips can cost more than an overseas holiday. Take example and be a good citizen.
So why the avoidance?
Good question. Because of hurt. Because anything Melbourne related brought back feelings of anxiety, and I wanted to push it all away. Maybe because even something that could land me in jail got me out of where I was.
This made me consider what else I had avoided to my detriment. Like Alice into the hole, I fell further and further into my empirical experience. Major stressors, life long, appear to have been dealt with in a similar fashion. When I had my first period I didn't tell my mother, I just found the tools of the trade and got on with it. I parented myself through my teenage years and early twenties and I avoided anything that compounded my feelings of injustice for being required to do so. It may hurt my parents to hear it, but I did not feel that I could discuss problems with them. I assumed and considered my burdens with an existential awareness that they may not have been able to connect with me on.
In my early twenties I intermittently experimented with drugs with relatively little drive or reward. Very few people know of this time. I don't have much to say about my experiences as it's not very interesting, to be honest, other than how I have never addressed how close I came to using drugs as a way of self medicating and numbing issues of disconnection and depression. Being sober brings clarity if nothing else.
And here I am, examining my roots. If I have met you and have seemed distant or preoccupied or just fuzzy behind the eyes, it's because I have been preoccupied and fuzzy behind the eyes. I'm not an asshole or a ditz, if this is how I seemed. If I owe you fifty bucks and have never paid it, this is why. If I haven't returned an email, or a CD, or your love, this is why.
Being close to death isn't the cause for my feelings. Not being close with the living is. Roots are fortified with the strength of other trees. Luckily for me, I've started sharing.
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Part 1: I'm in deep.
My life events are starting to string together to create a weave of action and reaction. There's a natural ebbing and flow of connection and solitude, and in the last five years I've observed myself navigating a career change, five romances and five corresponding breaks to the heart, an interstate fling, two global adventures, and this here literary adventure.
I'm facing an erupting volcano. A situation that I'm going through today has been developing over the last six months due to a maladaptive avoidance coping style that I've since self identified. It's no secret that I had a rough 2012, but I didn't share the full extent of my issues other than the odd "A book this heavy should be closed in private" sort of analogy. It was very certainly the most challenging period of my life.
I told someone about my anxieties and a depression that I had faced during this time, of which I still succumb to occasionally. This companion said "You're not anxious. You're the happiest person that I know. A REAL anxious person does 'x,y,z'....". This stung to the core, as they didn't even pretend to consider the internal conflict that I had been facing at any point of the year before. My anxiety wears lipstick, hides knots under smoothed hairbands, speaks softly and with temperance, and unleashes like a high frequency whistle to a dog when the burden is too heavy. It also pushes strength to it's limits and faith for a clearer future, and blends it up into a smoothie of 'life on this planet hurts.'
Prospective funeral directors take note: if you're a nervous or anxious person generally, becoming a funeral director will give you a new found perspective on life and love and make you grow into a very aware and capable professional. On the other hand, the time pressures and responsibility specific situational factors involved can send you on a downward spiral if you fail to keep your life in balance. I took a little from column A and a lot from column B. I burned out in 2012, working too hard and too rigidly in a new city.
I drank too much, ate badly, wasted opportunities and constantly chased my next pay day. I felt lonely and restricted by finances, so instead of the bigger picture I kept focusing on putting one foot in front of the other. With one step forward and seemingly sixty five back, I didn't get anywhere but deeper and deeper into it. Into debt. Into desperation. Into illusion.
There was a point where things felt good. I met a gentleman that could seemingly take my blues away. He addressed my loneliness and my intellectual hunger and he literally took me away from my problems at work and at home. We spoke of travel (and did some), and then of marriage and children and a house full of light and love. Obviously, this didn't work out. He left for travel and never came home for reasons that neither of us can really understand. It was on, and then it was off, and my life was more shattered than I dare wish to push my breath to speak of.