I tell myself this every day

I tell myself this every day

Sunday, September 8, 2013

A Letter To My 13 Year Old Self

I just entered this into a writing contest where we had to write a letter to our 13 year old self. I talk about some topics I haven't blogged about yet but I put a lot of myself out there with this simple letter. I feel a euphoric sense of relief strangely. I hope you enjoy.

Dear 13 year old me,
                This was the age you were first put into the hospital- I remember how confused you were by the isolation. The Drs gave you a diagnosis of bipolar which they later retracted. They were right, my child, but you won’t know that for quite some time.
 You had been alone up until this point of your life but having familiar faces around is what brought you minor comfort, the hospital offered nothing familiar. I can see you sitting on your bed, feet dangling down; your body slumped over, too tired and confused to cry. You didn’t even have a roommate in the hospital like all the other girls did. I remember you staring at the other bed- just wishing anyone was there. It was awful, my child. You will never forget that isolation and it will take you 17 years to shake that feeling.
I write to you, my child, to tell you to keep your chin up. Nothing I could tell you will make it feel worth it. I cannot share any insight into your future- you would give up too early.  I won’t tell you how much sadness your life will be filled with after this and for the next 17 years. I won’t tell you about the mental health struggles you’re going to face. I won’t tell you about the times that you cannot control your mind and will spend countless days pulling your hair out and vomiting from the extreme places your mind forces you. I won’t tell you about the numerous suicide attempts you will have. I won’t tell you that you’re going to lose your best friend growing up and the only companion throughout your childhood- your little brother right before his 24th birthday. I won’t tell you how you’ll lose your best friend to a drug overdose. I won’t tell you about the failed marriage you’re going to face. I won’t tell you about the horrific postpartum depression hallucinations you’re going to have. I won’t tell you how many times you’re going to suffer physical abuse at the hands of significant others. I won’t tell you how you will lose the love of your life to infidelity and a battle with drugs. I won’t tell you about the hundreds of nights you will drink yourself to sleep, crawled up in a ball wishing for death. I won’t tell you about the monumental and unbearable loneliness you will feel.
I cannot tell you these things.                                                                                                                            
But do not lose hope my child because something happens 17 years from now. Every miserable day becomes worth it. Something in your mind gets switched on, my child. You will start to value yourself. You will rise up and accomplish the one thing you’ve always wanted but were discouraged to do: you become an artist. Not only that but you find out who you are. You become your own savior. You are not a bad person, my child. That shame, guilt, and self-loathing is no longer your cross to bear. Life finds you. It’s a horrible and lonely path to take but my message is to preserve that road. Don’t change any step along the way child. At the age of 30 you rise up like the warrior you are. You create a life my child that has been lying dormant inside of you.
Don’t change, don’t take another path my child.
With my letter I offer the one thing you never have- I offer to strip away the loneliness of all of your struggles.
Keep this letter under your pillow at night, my child. Know that one day you will find your place in this world.

-Gwendolyn Florie Devereaux

Thank you for reading.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Dog Days of Summer

I haven't been doing very well. I've for the most part settled back into Richmond but something in my mind hasn't clicked into place yet. My thoughts have been racing. I'm finding it hard to sit down and draw/paint/write for extended amounts of time. I can't stay focused. The majority of my day is spent fighting to feel good and focus for more than 10 minutes on something. I'm having a hard time writing this to be perfectly honest. I refuse to dwell in my low swings like I use to but even when feel good it's short lived.

I have everything I was fighting hard for up in Pittsburgh and can't seem to enjoy it. I've got a ton of great things lined up and I keep my schedule full but I'm not feeling the elevation that usually comes with accomplishing these jobs/tasks or even the anticipation of the work I get.

I'm doing awesome artistic things and feeling minimal amount of joy from it. I know it's a reflection of the parasite but I'm feeling lost as to what to do about it- which I know is also the parasite talking. Every good day, thought, and understanding of what to do goes out the window with mood shifts. I feel like I've felt like this forever but checking my mood chart tells me different. I'm the same person but with these shifts it feels like there are different versions of me and they don't remember the advice of the others. Every mood shift feels like I never left it. A very disappointing feeling.

I am still finding beauty in things and the world around me so it's not as bad as it could be. I also do have days where I'm mostly at a not so bad level.

My mind has started to attack itself again- over thinking things and it's very negative. I am my own worst critic and that doesn't go away when I'm not feeling good- it just gets more vicious. I walk around criticizing what I'm doing constantly, well I'm not, the parasite is.

"You're problems aren't that bad, you have food, shelter, water, and people who love you. You should feel bad for thinking your problems are that serious."

"You're getting art jobs but you don't think you're that good. You KNOW you're not that good, you just got a good start."

"You have no idea what you're doing, ever."

"Hope you like being alone, you're too crazy to be with anyone ever again. You'll just drive them crazy."

"You haven't been sticking to your workout, you're going to get fat and gross. You're getting old, it only goes downhill from here."

"You didn't do _____ today. You have no conviction. You won't make it as a freelance artist."

This is a taste of what has been my internal dialog for weeks now. My regular healthy self criticism turns into bullying but it's a part of my mind so I can't get away from it. It just gets worse and worse. It sucks to live with. When it goes on for days and eventually weeks it wears you down.

I'm a creature driven purely by self motivation. The well hasn't gone dry, someone poisoned it.

Thank you for reading.