On The Days That I Cannot Get Out Of Bed:
I’m cold inside, but my bed offers the illusion of warmth. It will not infuse my bones and my blood will remain reptilian: Jack Frost has not simply nipped at my nose. His touch has violated me, it has burrowed through my flesh and pulsed through my veins until I myself have become Ice.
On the days that I cannot get out of bed, food feels like a nemesis that my teeth are in no position to battle, my tongue too weary from words unsaid to even pretend. And so, in liquid states I ingest only -and barely -what I need to keep me alive… But I always wonder: what I am trying to stay alive for, anyway?
On the days that I cannot get out of bed, my closet remains untouched as each clean garment lays folded precisely in place -and I? I bask in the putrid glory of pyjamas that cling to my skin in a disgusting display of three-day-old sweat, their sleeves crusted with snot and my chest stained with the remnants of a meal that did not quite make it to my mouth.
On the days that I cannot get out of bed, my mouth seals itself in a strike of silence and I wonder if anyone knows how grateful they ought to be? For I haven’t cleansed myself in as long as I haven’t felt like myself. My unwashed hair glistens as though it could provide a fast food restaurant with enough grease to operate the entire franchise, and my eyes are gummed with what the Sandman is working overtime to deliver -gifts that bring only nightmares, never dreams.
On the days that I cannot get out of bed, I wonder what it would feel like not to ever have to get up again? The blankets swathe me in their surety of safety from any external hardships, yet nothing can undo the pounding pessimism that wraps itself around my own internal being -strangling all that makes me who I am. I wonder if the inside of my coffin will be the comfortable haven my bed is not? I wonder how soon I will get there…
Lately my body has begun to fail me. It has derailed with my mind in a pitiful downward spiral that is the ever – present battle of Manic Depression -and today, I am more Depressed than Manic.
And so on this day, I cannot get out of bed.
Most people have an expectation of what their ideal partner would be like. Usually these notions are ideals imprinted through Disney childhoods or classic novelists, through parental impressions or media propaganda. Seldom does our idea of the ideal companion come from who we are and what we want, it is usually a combination of factors with our Ultimate Truth barely making the equation.
In my case, the few essential qualities selected have started to appear less like ideal characteristics and more like intentional confinement. The average person will have an idea of what it is they are seeking, a basic list of traits from which they will not be swayed, but the more intricate items will be overlooked when love comes their way. A few crooked teeth and a different career path are gladly forgotten when the Italian artist smiles as he sweeps the Russian-loving businesswomen off her feet, and yet I seem to have such an unrealistic outlook that I have started to recognise it for what it is on a subconscious level –an excuse masquerading as a standard.
So impossible is my list that it is dubious whether such a person could exist anywhere other than in ink and imagination. It starts with a desire for a specific eye color, which I am convinced my heart can only beat for. So staunch am I in my convictions that I have yet to envision anything other than that colour, and tell myself it is because the iris is the only physical asset that remains the same when all else changes. But then it is also his profession, refusing to believe I could be compatible with those in certain industries, and placing a biased belief on all men in certain sectors -thus completely ruling them out. But I take it a step further still by believing they must be native English speakers, for so strong is my need to explore and express with another that the thought of having a barrier between complete connection is instantly unsettling. Further still, and the man I am with needs to be in touch with his emotional side as stone cold logic would not bode with my fluctuating emotional current. In fact, not just an emotional side -there needs to be damage, and more moderate than mild. Plain down fucked up could be just the ticket. In addition to this he needs just the right mix of characteristics -lacking in one of the traits I deem most imperative is an immediate dismissal, as if I myself am not made of good intentions that never manifest. Most importantly we need to connect, a bond so strong it would feel as if it the comet that struck the earth and took out an entire damned species couldn’t compete. And on top of that, he’s got to…
He’s got to not exist, because if he exists I may let him in, and if I let him in he may stay, and if he stays I may get used to him being there, and if I get used to him being there he may go, and if he goes it may hurt… And if it hurts I’ll have to heal. Again.
When I twizzle a lock of golden hair around my finger until the snap of strands sound, it isn’t because I am a giddy girl in the throes of flirtation. The notion of a partner has always been more terrifying to me than it has been enticing. I am anxious, not infatuated.
When I still my body and seek shadows as my environment becomes overpopulated, it isn’t because I perceive myself as being too good for the companionship of my peers. Burrowing myself in the retreat of solitude ceases the treacherous spinning of yarns in which my mind becomes knitted. I am anxious, not arrogant.
>When I disguise my ears beneath headphones and disappear into mind and melody, it isn’t because I believe what you are saying to be worthless. Music muffles the suspicion that your words are weapons aiming to tell me that I am less than worthy… The music serves to embellish the background of a life to which I do not feel I belong. I am anxious, not inconsiderate.
When I press a beverage to my lips with alarming frequency and gulp the contents as we share a meal together, it isn’t because I’ve been in urgent need of hydration. The opportunity to occupy my hands and excuse my silence is a subconscious motivator that drowns both tongue and words. I am anxious, not thirsty.
When I consume a disturbing amount of liquor as we sit amidst a gaggle of strangers, all erupting with their own characters that mesh into the night air, it isn’t because I want to be instantaneously inebriated. The liquor only serves to dissolve the walls in which I am enveloped. I am anxious, not an alcoholic.
When my teeth rip the skin from the beds of my fingers until they drip scarlet sheets, my habit is not a statement about my past. Tearing flesh from fingers and feet means I am easing my emotions NOW, not fixating on occurrences back THEN. I am anxious, not time locked.
When I self-medicate in my spare time until I have merged the darkness of reality with the comfort of neutrality, it isn’t because I found a moment too mundane to endure. My vices aid in alleviating an internal battle so that I am less war and more warrior. I am anxious, not an addict.
When blackened universe speckled with stars form before my eyes as panic attacks and renders my lungs redundant, it isn’t because I want a spotlight shone on me. My heart pounding faster until it unites with my throat isn’t a contrived act in a bid for your attention. I’m anxious, not desperate.
When you think you can analyse my every action, and neatly label me with a diagnosis so as to know which box to shove me in to and find the shelf to hide me on, know that I am more than my panic attacks and mental disturbances, more than my emotional dysregulation and paranoid withdrawal. I am anxious, not a statistic.
My reactions to this world should not warrant me a stranger riddled with a disease, to be avoided, to be ignored, to be viewed as lesser than and unfit for the reality of this life. I am anxious, not incompetent.
I am anxious, not ill.
I am ANXIOUS, not UNLOVABLE .
Loneliness. Each individual has a unique interpretation of loneliness as they experience it. Is it the lack of companions that imparts a sense of aloneness in you? Is it the act of being ostracised by your community, rejected by your peers? A feeling of being misunderstood? Or is it solitude itself?
To me, my loneliness stems from the belief that I am irreparably damaged, that I have been so broken by life that I can never bind the cracks of my shattered self together –let alone deeply bond with another! – that I am so misshapen my psychological model is considered defective, and discarded. My imperfections are not the quirky foibles one can consider endearing, but rather abominable deficiencies so dark the light of day would not hazard an attempt at illuminating them. A sense that although all my broken pieces play hide-and-seek in the mansion of madnesses and I am able to use them to witness, understand and relate to the inhabitants of each room, they are all entire yet fractured whilst I am partial and wrecked. I wander the halls of life, laden with lockers all protecting the treasures of complete existences, holding the promise of potential connections, taunting me with the knowledge that at any moment I could reach in and discover the depths of another. There is no place for me, I am but a tourist, a foreigner –wherever I go, all I am is temporary. Few can get close, and those that do are almost guaranteed to injure themselves on the razor edges of my fragmented remains. In their haste to draw back from the sudden pain, the probability of their mishandling me is likely to multiply my pieces into smaller, less manageable shards whilst inflicting unintentional further harm upon themselves. Broken people break people.
The solitary life has been my default mode for as long as I can remember –I bond, and in intensity, but generally it is exclusive to one person during a given period, and at the exclusion of any other notable attachments. This is sufficient for my needs, but it isn’t uncommon for me to oscillate between being involved and being isolated. Withdrawing into myself and warding off interaction becomes my modus operandi with alarming frequency, and those I love become the ones I lose. The more the pain accumulates, the further I retreat into my own shell. And although externally I inhibit my expression of taste, my inner world is a rich and colourful haven –even when those colours are varying shades of black, with a burst of vehement crimson and an irate blush of scarlet to break the monotony. It is here that I find my solace, and it is here I feel a sense of acceptance; for in my complete unacceptance I am sure, in my faults I am certain, in my failings I am aware.
Loneliness? It isn’t a lack of people with whom you spend your time, but rather the absence of understanding even among those with whom your time is shared. It is a self-imposed sequestration, a selected introspective isolation. And yet in it I have found there is serenity, there is splendour but most importantly? There is safety…