Life, Depression, Breakdowns, and Blogging

Life’s crazy sometimes.

Actually, life’s pretty boring if you’re an adult stuck in-between events. Like in the film Groundhog Day, each morning brings the same alarm which leads to the same breakfast cereal which leads to the same commute which leads to the same workday which leads to the same after-workday and housework. Exciting changes come in the form of bills (yay!) and the dishwasher breaking (double-yay!)

Lately, however, change has come creeping around like the green mist in Charleton Heston’s The Ten Commandments. At the advice of leaders, people have closed their doors, painted the lintels with sanitizer, and plan to stay inside till respiratory failure passes over.

I do not know how the Coronavirus news affected you, but ours was neither Groundhog Day nor The Ten Commandments. Ours was more of an accidentally-released film that started out with Alfred Hitchcock suspense, then lost all funding and turned into whatever the actors could come up with on the fly. We then got action, horror, comedy, bad stunts, feel-good moments, and even subtitles for when the grocery store workers watched their display of canned vegetables disappear for the umpteenth time.

Seemingly some of the few doing this, Kevin and I viewed the previews for this bad movie and planned accordingly. Still; when I read about this and this and this closing whilst listening to my baby’s coughing from a bad cold whilst tasting that chocolate I ate that yet again broke my diet -whilst probably experiencing postpartum hormones…

I broke.

Life was too much.

Blogging and all it entails was too much.

I wrote my last epistle, forever, and logged off. After a day of consideration, I logged on and added a note so as not to scare anyone.

A side effect of all this is a new desire for more privacy in my thoughts and feelings, so I will not go into many details besides these few. Even this much information is more than I wish to explain regarding my sudden change and my dramatic withdrawal.

My go-to in life is to numb, but I’ve taken it too far. I’m in The Matrix. Furthermore, I’m Cypher, intentionally trying to get plugged in despite tasting the freedom of The Real World. In the absence of godlike powers of Kung Fu and Jiu Jitsu, I concluded that life will always be the repetitive lines of off-green code that dictate a pre-programmed outcome that I will never change.

But; some tiny, immature, insecure person is still inside. It was she who woke, stamped her foot, and told Older Me to knock it off. Stop numbing. Stop plugging into the internet. Start living.

She knows I want to feel again; to live again.

And so, there are going to be some changes around here. I must, for my health and my life, prioritize what is real. I must connect with my family. Heck -I must connect with my bedroom wall, getting my brain to realize the wall is really there and really cold and really really real.

If you are experiencing similar numbness or disassociation, call your therapist or psychologist or whateverist. It’s not sustainable. It’s not real. It’s NOT what you want.

…and we woke to earthquakes this morning. If it gets any more funtastic around here, you may not hear from me till next year.
—————-

Since I checked out last week, here are the past two weeks. Bonus!
Wednesday, March 4: Complained about WordPress’ issues in “Dammit, WordPress!

Thursday, March 5: Throwback Thursday: “Motivation.”

Friday, March 6: Winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Congratulations to EVERYONE!

Saturday, March 7: Announced the 62nd Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest.

Sunday, March 8: Suffered a mental breakdown, and said, “Goodbye.”

Monday, March 9: An inspirational quote by Corrie Ten Boom.

March 10 – 12: Nothing.

Friday, March 13: Winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Congratulations to Ellen!

Saturday, March 14: Announced the 63rd Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. The theme is a limerick about hoarding during a catastrophe. PLEASE ENTER!

Also, I shared and featured my hope for how people are dealing with the COVID-19 scare.

Sunday, March 15: Nothing.

Monday, March 16: An inspirational quote by Terry Pratchett.

Tuesday, March 17: “Going Postal, I,” the first in a short series inspired by my postman.

Wednesday, March 18: Today.

I also posted on my motherhood site. I wrote “Super Parent or …Me?,” “Background Noises,” and “Oh, Baby.”

 

Photo Credit: GIPHY
Photo by Ekaterina Kartushina on Unsplash
Photo by Delaney Dawson on Unsplash
Photo by MI PHAM on Unsplash
Photo by Roland Hechanova on Unsplash

 

©2020 Chelsea Owens

The Kirkwood Scott Chronicles: Skelly’s Square

War! Adventure! Boring desk jobs! Drinking! Compulsions! Evil paranormal enemies?

A week ago Monday, I got a very long-anticipated book in the mail.

I met Stephen Black way back when he followed my blog as part of growing his. He’s moved on to securing 11,000+ followers, finishing his manuscript, and finally (FINALLY!) publishing.

Even though I’m deathly envious of his success, I’m also freakin’ proud. Great job, Stephen!

But what about the book??

Skelly’s Square is only my second or third experience with reading a newbie author’s work. Plus, I’ve known Stephen through his blog’s awkward teenage years. Plus, I’m a …bit of a spelling and grammar fiend.

-Which didn’t matter in the slightest. To me, an excellent book is one I get lost in. Somewhere along the way I’m part of the characters and story; we’re seamless and it’s beautiful. Skelly’s Square became just such an experience for me.

Colonel Augustus Skelly is the name of a man the main character, Kirkwood Scott, sees in very realistic visions. Skelly is a demon of sorts. He preys on Scott’s Obsessive Compulsive Disorder by making him follow a series of routines determined by dice rolls. These routines are called The 49. Scott knows storms, tempests, abductions, and death around the world will happen should he refuse The 49.

In the midst of a life ruled by this and periods of blackout drinking to avoid it, Scott stumbles across a homeless young woman, Meredith Starc. Starc also practices alcoholic numbing because of a depressive event in her past.

The two, and cosmic forces interested in keeping them down, cross paths. Why? What is their importance? How can they possibly mean anything toward …the fate of the world?

Stephen Black’s delivered a doozy of a first novel. Skelly’s Square is a creation to be proud of. Plus, it’s an engaging fantasy adventure to boot!

Go, visit Amazon and pick up your own.

Do it!!

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©2019 Chelsea Owens

The Cure for Depression: Never Give Up, Never Surrender

Hello, there! Feeling depressed? I’m here to offer you a little encouragement.

Cat

Perhaps you are familiar with James Edgar Skye‘s favorite life maxim: Always keep fighting.

What does that mean, exactly? Is he encouraging site visitors to violence? I’m sure you all know that’s not the answer. Despite your astute intelligence, however, do you keep fighting?

Or, are you in my preferred category of fence-sitting numbness?

Worse yet, are you all alone, hiding from everything except the dark recesses of your mind?

That is no way to fight.

Don’t roll your eyes at me; you’re the one practicing bad habits. …Yes, I intend to get dressed and eat something besides these cookies. Yes, I’m wearing exercise clothes because I’m going to do something more aerobic than climb the step stool to reach another package of cookies.

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Hmm. Maybe we both need to step up our game.

Way back in January of this year I revealed the most secret of secrets: The Cure for Depression. Over the next few weeks I then discussed the secret steps involved.

In fact, last time I wrote about figuring out what’s helping and sticking with it.

Are you still not trying any of these?

Again, that’s no way to fight.

Fight is an action verb, and not one like “yawn,” or “scratch.” Think about what you picture when someone says, “Fight.” It’s not a person laying amidst packages of desserts, feebly raising a hand to scroll through this article and resolve to think about trying something tomorrow.

It’s pride.

It’s power.

It’s a bad-ass mother who won’t take no crap off of nobody!!!

The “nobody” we depressive types need to address is most often ourselves.

Think of how you would get ready for a physical fight. Besides psyching yourself up with a little mirror speech (which, by the way, is like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), you place your feet and hands in a defensive stance. Given time to prepare, you might wear protective clothing, train with a professional, and bring something besides air to smack the enemy with.

D’ya see the correlation? Your daily, healthy practices arm you for the fight against depression: a fight with your own, flawed mind.

It’s a battle we face every day, but one that is easier if we’re prepared. After following the recommended steps, that battle doesn’t even happen some days. Isn’t that worth fighting for?

Yes, it is. Now, get out there. Keep fighting.

Never give up. Never surrender.

 

Photo credits:
Whitney Wright
And Giphy.

 

*Chelsea Owens is not a licensed anything, except a Class D driver in her home state, and shares all information and advice from personal experience and research.

Where IS My Mind?

“With your feet in the air and your head on the ground…”

Most of my day is spent in trying to avoid reality. Through the combined efforts of little sleep and little to stimulate my brain, I’ve successfully dodged true feelings and their accompanying pains for years. Through the added repressive means of modern technology and instant entertainment, I’ve created a virtual mindspace that is more alive than my physical one.

“Your head will collapse / But there’s nothing in it…”

Since entering the world of blogging; and, especially, the community of mental illness support, I’ve learned some terms for what I do: numbing, depersonalization, and (above all) disassociation.

“And you’ll ask yourself: Where is my mind?”

In the beginning, I entered the mind fog willingly. -So I thought. Depressed, repressed, lonely, and mind-numbingly bored at my day-to-day activities; I sought constant distraction.

“Try this trick and spin it…”

I thought numbing was better. In some ways, it was; it is. Because I felt nothing, I did not lash out in anger from the frustrations. Because I felt nothing, I could not feel disappointment. Because I felt nothing, I could not feel the crippling sadness.

“Where is my mind?”

Except that I still could.

“Where is my mind?”

As such, I have made various attempts to kind-of, sort-of climb out of my muddy hole. I read Brené Brown’s recommendations, followed her advice …and really offended a neighbor by being myself. I started counseling and some hormone therapy …then reverted back to old habits and dropped the hormones so that I wouldn’t accidentally birth a hermaphrodite.

Most of my days are spent in trying to avoid reality. On the rare occasions that I surface, life feels like the restaurant scene in “Sherlock Holmes” (2009). Unlike the genius that is Holmes, however; I do not note and absorb everyone’s mistresses, limps, or chalk spots. Instead, I feel overstimulated by emotions; in particular, everyone’s emotional reactions to me.

I also feel overwhelmed at the repetitive cycle of life, and the prospect of more of the same for the foreseeable future.

Do I want my mind awake? I’m not so sure. There doesn’t seem much to wake to. Hence, the continued withdrawal and disassociation.

“Where is my mind?” Somewhere inside. Probably.

Do you experience similar non-feelings? Have you, in the past, and now you do not? Is reality worth the cost?

—————-

On a happier note, here’s what I threw together this week:
Wednesday, March 20: Me and me debated who has it harder in “THE Battle of the Sexes.”

Thursday, March 21: “The Cure for Depression: Simply, Joy,” a suggestion in a series originally posted over at The Bipolar Writer Mental Health Blog.

Friday, March 22: Winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Congratulations to Doug!

Saturday, March 23: Announced the 19th Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. The theme is Unrequited Love. PLEASE ENTER!
I also finally wrote up an entry for The Annual Bloggers Bash Competition, “Silent but Tardy.”

Sunday, March 24: “Farmer Henry,” a flash fiction piece for Carrot Ranch’s writing prompt.

Monday, March 25: An inspirational quote by Dieter F. Uchtdorf.

Tuesday, March 26: “Wilhelmina Winters, Eighty-Seven.”

Wednesday, March 27: Today.

I also wrote stuff at my motherhood site; like “Pinterest Mom or Sane Parent?,” “A Very Unmerry Birthday to You,” and a funny quote about mothers.

 

*Credit to the Pixies’ amazing song, “Where Is My Mind?”

Raw Ramblings

My mouth says I’m fine as my pain twists the tone and you hear it in the release sometimes you ask no really what’s wrong but I can only say

Nothing that’s all I feel by choice empty my mind my feelings most especially my soul anything that might be there has been bled dry and I am a skin of a person fluttering in the wind of others’

Change never for me every day the same drudgery-papered walls never the front of the parade nor even the front of the convoy but always the crew walking just behind to scoop the waste of others’

Happiness a dream or conciliatory statement I say to defer inquiry but I can only be happy if you are because I am the receiver of broadcast emotions buffeting my over-sensitive antennae and I really just say I am so you’ll stop asking because

It’s easier this way you’ll leave me alone and that’s where I want to be I think and yet I do not because thinking would mean I am alive and I try and try to not be alive and thinking and feeling and

Hurting so much hurting but soon I will sleep after not sleeping because here in limbo I can handle it until I can’t but the between is best and where I can numb and look up at you and say

I’m fine.

Housework Horror

Whirring, whirring, whirring. The vacuum passed once, twice, a dozen times across the matted carpet.

He frowned in concentration at his occupied hands.

She heard the clicking clunk of swallowed floor matter. A sound that once satisfied, it now grated with repetition. She’d passed over that very spot last week, yesterday, and this morning.

His people needed an upgrade. He carefully tapped the flashing arrows.

Numbly, silently, masked by a roaring tool, she shuffled around the occupied couch. She glanced at his head, bowed in solemn screen-scroll. The cord snaked obediently behind. She vacuumed under his propped-up feet.

Shifting slightly, he activated a virtual addition.

Whir, clink, clunk. She pulled the vacuum tail along, into the next room, near the basement stairs. Its machined voice called eerily down the cemented hole; it reflected in dull echoes from unfinished walls and floors below.

He could add more people to live in the addition.

She paused, transfixed by the darkness beneath, consumed by the darkness within. Pulling impatiently, the sucking beast edged near the naked stairs.

Another notification; another tap.

She let go of cord and machine. Black pulled outward, propelling inward. She fell, she flew; free for a few, fleeting steps.

He thought to relieve himself. Maybe in a few turns.

Whir, clunk, clunk. The vacuum engine moaned, feebly trapped between wall and banister; masking a quiet, feeble plea far below.

The Call of the Storm

I box myself in two stories and hide from feeling.
I breathe conditioning and live controlled.

But the pressure is dropping.

Nature is calling loudly, penetrating insulation and beams and siding.
The roar beckons me out to stand in her tears.

It pulls my animal soul to its embrace
Till her frightening arms buffet my body.

Her crying strokes each nerve from dormancy
And I awake, alive inside.

Why Wake?

Sometimes I actually enter reality:

I step into the Total Perspective Vortex.

Emotions reeling, I make rash, irrational decisions

That are, of course, the rational thing to do.

I stumble around trying to mend the upheaval,

Trying to reason with unreasonable matters.

Ultimately, as always, I run out of time for closure.

I return to effective numbness, and dormant depression.

Too sad to be happy, too functional to drug.

“We cannot selectively numb emotions, when we numb the painful emotions, we also numb the positive emotions.”

-Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are