I am dealing with high levels of anxiety right now. This manifests itself in me in ways such as, nausea, detachment, extreme tiredness, unable to concentrate, and feelings of panic which I am hoping are not going to get any worse. I’m alone in my house right now which is… well I would just prefer someone to be here. I don’t actually want to talk to someone or be around them, I just want someone here. All of this might sound scary, and it is. In another way, I have been dealing with this crap for many years and so 1) I have ways to manage it and 2) I know it will pass. The waiting is the hardest, to feel better again. Some of my coping strategies are getting outside/physical exercise, writing out my feelings (like I’m doing now), sleeping as much as I need to, music/TV to block out the racing thoughts. I probably should avoid stimulants like sugar and caffeine, but ok, I don’t do that one, because when I don’t want to eat then I’ll just drink a lot of sweet tea/coffee.
The world bothers me a lot. I was thinking this morning about it. All the things that humans do to each other, to animals, to the planet. When you consider all the corruption, cruelty, greed, hate, racism, homophobia, inequality… you might wonder what the point to it all is. You might wonder if life is really a gift when there’s so much to be afraid of. But it is a gift and when I feel despair of life then I try to think about the things that keep me waking up every day. The handful of people that I love. Or, the feeling of sun on my face. The sound of rain in the trees.. on a car roof. Trees. Trees are amazing! The ocean. Music, animals, laughter. Feeling connected to another human being, through love or desire or empathy. When I focus on this stuff, then I can become overwhelmed with how much I have to love about being alive and I can’t stand the thought of those things ending.
I watched this documentary recently called ‘The Bridge‘. It’s not the sort of thing I would usually watch, because of triggers. But instead of diving for the remote, I couldn’t pull myself away. And the weirdest thing happened.. well for me, it was weird. Instead of all the feelings of anger and distress I usually experience around the issue of suicide, I started to feel something different. I was watching these people ending their lives. I was watching their friends and relatives after the fact talking about their feelings of hurt, anger, helplessness, guilt, loss. Bereavement from suicide is complicated grieving. Often it has no end, because there is no closure. I remember one friend of a jumper in particular, saying that if there is a next life and he sees his friend again, he will tell him, ‘you hurt me’. And I saw the pain in his face, his eyes, and I recognised it. His face stays with me. And there was one jumper in particular that I will never forget. A tall man, dressed all in black, long dark hair that he kept pushing out of his face because of the breeze. (It might have been the other man’s friend, it looked like him from the description of him). He paced and paced on the bridge. I don’t know how long he walked up and down for, or what was going through his mind. I don’t know if he wanted someone to stop him. But almost right at the end of the programme, he just got up on the railings with his back to the river, spread his arms like wings, and jumped. I was shocked, and I did say ‘ohmygod’ out loud when I saw him do it. I wondered how that felt like, to fall backwards seemed even worse. It was so sudden, and distressing to see it. And the feeling that I had at the end of that programme was not anger, rage, pain, wanting to escape, my usual emotions. Inside the sadness, I realised I was feeling compassion. I felt like I wanted to go to that bridge and hug the people before they fell. Not stop them if they really really wanted to go. But, give them a moment of human contact before they fell, something to say, I care about this. That was new for me, wanting to hug people instead of punch them in the face for their decision. So I feel like I have taken steps down the long road I am walking with my own grief. I feel like I was meant to see that programme and I feel like something… I feel like I was meant to see it somehow. Maybe it’s time for me to be set free. I’m gonna think about that anyway.. I’m gonna hold that thought.
There are people here, in my house now. I’m listening to them talk and they are playing the radio. I feel separate but I’m glad for their presence. Except my housemate’s GF is drunk. How can you be drunk at 10.25am? Jeez.
So I watched another programme last night, well it was a TED talk, and if you didn’t ever watch TED talks you should definitely check them out. Actually I watched two, but the one I am going to share is by Jane McGonigal. The whole talk interested me in particular, initially because of the ‘gamer’ aspect (you will understand if you watch it) and also, something very important for my particular life challenges, when she talks about ‘post-traumatic growth’. She says that ‘scientists now know that a traumatic event doesn’t doom us to suffer indefinitely. Instead we can use it as a springboard to unleash our best qualities and lead happier lives’. This is an interesting thought for me. I am not interested in extending my life for 10 extra years, but I would like to boost my physical, mental, emotional and social resilience while I am here.
So here is the talk, I recommend this and also checking out the whole channel.