Think Positive

yingpis-kalayom-133680Today I’ve decided to try something new.

Over and over again in the past, I’ve been told “You’re just being pessimistic.  You just need to think positive.”  It makes sense, right?  All of my mental and emotional problems are in my head so I can just think them away with positive thoughts.

So today, I have a toothache.  It’s a nasty one that lingers there without provocation, without the insult of hot, cold or sweetness.

I lay in bed this morning wondering if I should take some painkillers and book myself in with my dentist to have this taken care of.

All of a sudden, it hits me.  Why would I need to go to a doctor that specializes in this particular problem, diagnose, medicate and treat an issue with my teeth when my teeth are literally inside of my head?

So I attempted a different approach.  I started to think positive.  I built up the self-esteem of that tooth so much that it really should have swelled up to the point of shoving my other teeth right out of my mouth.

“You’re a great tooth.  You’ve always been there for me.”

“I appreciate everything you’ve done for me.  Without you, I couldn’t complete the first stage of digestion and I couldn’t get the nutrients that fuel my body.”

“You are strong!  I believe in you!”

“You can do this.”

“We’re in this together.  I love you.”

Can you guess what happened?

That’s right!  My tooth healed itself and the pain just simply disappeared.  Score one for the power of positive thinking!

…Just kidding.  It didn’t magically cure my mental health and it didnt solve my tooth problem either.

Goodbye Grandma

Goodbye my dear grandma
May you be at peace and rest
You’ve raised well the family
In which you did invest

Your worldly pain has vanished
But you still live on
In the hearts and minds of those who love you
Right where you belong

I’m so sad to say goodbye
We will remember you with love
Until the day takes us away
And we meet at the gates above.

 

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It Really Is Okay

Two days ago I was taking big steps
That day I reached my goal
I was able to cover a lot of ground
And I felt in control
Two days ago my goal was achievable
And I had quite a bit of help
I was well prepared and I took my time
And I felt good about myself

Yesterday I stumbled and fell
And I was overwhelmed for the whole day
I tried to get ahead of myself
And made no progress along the way
Yesterday my goals were ridiculous
And I had no help at all
I expected far too much of myself
And it slowed me down to a crawl

Today I’m taking baby steps
I’m just going with the flow
I’m making more progress than yesterday
But it’s going kind of slow
Today I haven’t set much for goals
Just one-to make it through the day
And even though I haven’t worked much
I still feel okay

Some days I’ll feel like I’m on top
I’ll feel tall and my steps will be long
Some days I’ll feel like I’m crawling
And I just need to be strong
Some days I’ll feel scattered
Unaware of where I’m going
And some days I’ll be inspired
With creativity and knowledge flowing

On the days I need to catch my breath
I need to realize, I can’t run all day, every day
And when I need to slow down a bit
It really is okay.

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I Can’t

I can’t.

Well, I can’t right now.

One day in the future, I can; as long as you’re willing to bend and stretch your definition of what “can” is.

It’s not that I don’t want to.  I can’t overcome it by positive thinking.  I can’t “just do it”.  I’m not lazy.  I’m not making up excuses.  I’m not weak.

I can’t because I am the brain that is swallowed by panic and fear.

I can’t because I am the brain that is over stimulated and overwhelmed.

I can’t because I am the brain that doesn’t have the proper words in me to describe what I’m going through so I can get help.

I can’t because I am the brain that is numbed from feeling too much for too long and has become worn out.

I can’t because I am the brain that struggles to understand the difference between what is real or not because it all seems the same.

I can’t because I am the brain that is desperately trying to cope with sensory overload.

I can’t because I am the brain that is unable to shut down at night so I can rest.

I can’t because I am the brain who is deficient in executive functions and I have not yet learned and exercised these skills.

I can’t because I am the brain that automatically switches off my control when I’m trying to cope with disappointment, frustration or stress.

I can’t because I am the brain that jumbles, reverses and mixes things up.

I can’t because I am the brain that is scattered and unfocused.

I can’t because I’ve put my energy into trying to cope with my malfunctioning brain, self advocating and trying to meet the standards expected of me and I’ve become so drained.

If I could, I would; but I can’t.

I can’t until I learn the skills that I need and practice them.

I can’t until I’ve rested.

I can’t until I’ve gotten the help and guidance I need from someone else.

Please try to understand that I’m trying harder than you’ll ever know and be patient with me.  Please don’t tell me that you can just get over it so I could as well if I just try harder.

One day, somewhere down the road, when I can; please recognize the strength and struggles that it took to get that far instead of looking at my other “can’ts”.

 

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Saddened

It seems to me that I can write words worthy enough to be read- and felt- by people.1447161967309

Thoughts that keep me up at night, words that twist and multiply within my scattered brain, ideas that haunt me- until I pick up a pen and a stack of papers and let them flow out of me.

My shadows have voices.  My demons feed me a horrid inspiration.  The fears that nip at my heels also smack creative thoughts into my head.  My coldness warms as the words spill out onto paper.

And it seems to me, that my inspiration, my thoughts, my ideas, all spill from my mind as I finally reach the content part of my life.  Without intense emotion, I am no longer able to mold and shape these words anymore.

Perhaps for happiness and security, I’ve needed to sacrifice the talent I needed to use for comfort and coping for so long.

This concept saddens me, but does not depress me; which is and isn’t the problem all the same.

2009

Grow

I am standing here.

I can’t move.  I am immobile, but not solitary.

There are many behind me, beside me and before me.  More than I could ever count.  I see them there.  On occasion we reach out to one another, but for the most part we are alone in the crowds.

We grow.DSCF1853

We gather information, it feeds us and we grow.  We have no limits in how tall and wide we expand.  The more we branch out the more people we touch, and the more we are exposed to, which in turn allows us to learn more.

I’ve stopped growing once…almost.  Slowed so much my vines stopped thriving.  They withered, but never completely shed.  Parts of my life hanging limply in my mind.  I had likely regressed a little.

I’ve seen some around me flourish.  I’ve also seen  many slow to a crawl, or less.  So many start to die from the inside; that death will never go away.  I’ve seen so many start to wither so bad that they just shrivel into the shade of those around them.  So damaged that even if the had the motivation to fight back, they couldn’t even imagine how to against a world abundantly stronger than they are.

I have touched many in an attempt to provide the life-giving hug I once needed so badly and eventually found, only to be stung by them…poisoned by their greediness, and struggled for a while again.

I have seen many only allow themselves to grow in a certain way; reaching straight but long in one direction or forever growing taller but never reaching wide to hardly ever be touched by anyone else.  I’ve seen some that grow with no real direction, sometimeDSCF1574s around in circles, up and down, or over and under.  Or some that just stretch out above the others.

I have seen some wither away into nothingness…

I have seen some drop from existence.  I have seen some die in the embrace of those who loved them, who they loved in return.  Some plowed down, some poisoned, some that chose to rot away.

It is a shame to watch them fall, to witness them wither and die, to feel them pass away and to experience them wasting away.  Sometimes it’s enough to make you want to just stop growing as well.

Sometimes they come back…the twisted dead alive again.  Some remain idle and harmless for a while, but their souls are faded inside of bodies still living.  They are hard to look at and they burn to touch.

They always reach out to touch you.  They touch everything they can and slowly poison you with their embrace.  It is a poison that travels through your and into those that you’re holding; those you love, those you’rDSCF1831e nursing to health and those you’ve just begun knowing.

The weed.

They are always there.  They will die someday…completely, but they do a lot of damage.  They hurt a lot of people and they choose to do it.  Most of them don’t know that and they never will, but they allowed themselves to transform into beasts that squeeze the life out of you and burn you with their uninvited touch.

We do not start out venomous, the level of our poison or our strength that we pass on is up to us.

It is true that the taller we grow, the father we have to fall….

…but the taller we grow, the more time we have to catch ourselves on the way down.

2006

Parade Behind The Hedges

One day as I sat in my yard I noticed sounds of excitement and enthusiasm on the other side of the hedges.  I had heard these noises before and I had never really questioned them.  They were just background noises.

But on that day, I suddenly needed to know about it.Parade over hedges

I stood on my tip-toes and held my chin up high, trying to peer past the physical limits of my yard, but I couldn’t.  The wall of bushes in front of me was both tall and full all around so I couldn’t see through it or over it.

I spied a staircase nearby and joy swelled in me.  That would help pick me up higher so I could see over the hedges.

I approached the stairs and stepped on the bottom step, but I still couldn’t see the show.  I went up one more, and my view opened up a little more.  I went up yet another step and another until I was just a face in the crowd standing on the stairs to enjoy the parade on the other side of the hedges.  There I stood, and watched.

I watched the most colourful, musical and creative things unlike anything I’ve ever seen before.  My mind exploded with thoughts and ideas I never knew existed.  The painted jugglers juggled, the cheerleaders practically floated through the air and the dancers pranced poetically.Parade

I became so thrilled, so excited from the energy that I couldn’t resist cheering and jumping.

Because I lost control of myself, gravity took over and pulled my body down all of the stairs and left me a bruised lump at the bottom.

I understood immediately that I did something stupid and I had no intention of repeating it.  The next time I stood on the stairs, I would have better self control.

So I rested up and recovered, and then I climbed right back up again eager to glance at a magical line up of slowly progressing entertainment again.

This time I was very careful.  I deliberately stood very still on the staircase which took a large amount of concentration.  It worked too… until a tiny car caught my eye sputtering along at a snail’s pace that one…two…three…no four full grown clowns jumped out of and danced around in a comedic show.

The excitement swellefallend in my brain as they danced and flipped around the tiny automobile and it overwhelmed my senses.  I didn’t even realize I was bouncing up and down again.

I had lost control again and I tumbled to the ground once more.

I tended to my scrapes and bruises, I stopped my wounds bleeding, all with my mind needing to know what was happening while I couldn’t see.  I had to get back up the steps again.

That was how it began.

I would climb the stairs vowing to be smarter and better.  I’d lose myself in the thrill and I’d fall down and need to heal.

I would get high, crash and then recover.

It didn’t take me long to sense the insane pattern.  Still I couldn’t resist.  Whenever I wasn’t on the staircase staring at  a world full of wonder and musical folly, I longed to be and it consumed my mind.

Eventually I grew weary of it all.  The same parade just kept wandering by and I was doomed to spend my life crawling up the stairs, jumping, and falling down and I was helpless to stop it.

I dreamed of the days before I even realized that there was something on the other side of the hedges.  I never felt as if I needed it then, and I didn’t miss it or want it at all.

The longer I spend going up and falling down, the more I felt like an idiot.  I had no self control, no pride, and no hope.  I just kept letting myself down time and time again.

Today I took a few moments to stop obsessing about the high that lets me see farther than I’m supposed to see and looked around at the people surrounding me.

I saw people who were equally as fixated on peering over the hedges.

I saw people climbing trees, sitting on branches too small to support their weight.  I saw people crowding too many on the branches, people kicking other people off of the tree and others grabbing someone else’s leg that’s higher and pulling them down to make room for themselves.  I saw people climbing higladderh only to fall down and get hurt.

I saw people leaning ladders against anything they could find and I watched others scurry to follow the first man up the ladder only to collapse into a huddled clump  of angry, hurt people.

I saw trampolines, Pogo sticks and stilts.  Anything to help people rise up and see over the hedges.

I watched people go  up and crash back down again.  I watched people get hurt, break down and cry and I witnessed people hating themselves.

Today I realized that this wasn’t happiness and that there are a lot of people who are unhappy just like me.  Today I realized that this is a vicious cycle that’s leaving us all feeling desperate, helpless and hopeless and it holds no benefit to any of us.

Yet I hang my head in shame and ascended the staircase once again because I don’t know how to stop.

That is what addiction is.

The Family Gets Offended

One evening the family sat around the dinner table eating when Little Brother let out a foul smelling fart.

“Excuse me.”  Little Brother said politely.  He didn’t mean to let one rip at the dinner table, it just sort of snuck up on him and out of him.

“That’s disgusting.”  Big Sister snarled.  “It’s rude to pass gas in the house.”

“I said excuse me.  And it was an accident.”  Little Brother said defensively.

“Of course it was an accident,”  Father piped up, “But Big Sister is right.  It is inappropriate.”

“And offensive.”  Mother added pointing with her fork.

And so it was decided, from here on out, that flatulence was banned from the house.  One could only fart outside, and anyone who failed to put their rear-end outside before bursting their stench from it was fined $2 to be added to a large jar on the dining room table.DSCF1907

This led to the family having many hurried attempts to get outside at random times and sometimes in questionable attire.  Sometimes one only had enough time to jam their bottom through the window.  They were able to see that this new rule was foolish, but it was the rule so they just went with it.

The money jar was going to go towards improvements for the family so even though it was a silly hassle it was going to benefit the entire family.

Shortly after, Little Brother noticed Big Sister reading a book from school.

“What’s that about?”  He inquired with wide, curious eyes.

“It’s a book I have to read for school.  It’s about a boy and a girl who fall in love but their families won’t let them be together, so they kill themselves.”  Big Sister summed up for her smaller sibling.  “It’s a romantic tragedy.”

“That’s horrible,”  Little Brother scrunched his nose in disgust, “They’re in love.”

“And they kill themselves.  I can’t believe they would put something horrible like that in a book.  I shouldn’t have to read this.”  Big Sister sat up.  “This isn’t appropriate and this needs to change.”

Little Brother and Big Sister took their concern to Mother and Father.

“Well, these are some valid concerns.  It does not seem to be in your best interest to allow you to read something that could be emotionally damaging.”  Father agreed.  “It’s time for us to ensure that our children only have access to good books, Mother.”

“I think it’s good to read about several things to encourage education, creativity and critical thinking.”  Mother objected.  She was fond of books, and the one that Big Sister was protesting was among her favourites.

Mother was outvoted and the family began to weed out the bad books.

DSCF1905“This one has sex in it, so it must go.”

“This one is about a boy with an imaginary friend.  We don’t want to teach our children to make things up and live in a fantasy world.”

“Clearly this one is encouraging children to jump on their fathers.  It must go.”

And so the pile of books to get rid of grew, each with a valid reason to be removed from the house for the safety of the children.

A psychology textbook was trashed so as to not offend anyone who may have mental illness and to discourage the children from developing a mental illness of their own through the power of suggestion.  Talking animals, magicians and wizards, nightmare creatures, and loving couples all found a new home in the dumpster.  History books filled to the brim with violence, slavery and war were discarded.  Comics, cartoon characters and superheroes suffered the same fate.  Science books could not prove to be an exception since they were full of reproductive parts, venomous creatures and horrific natural disasters.  Even inspirational books were considered rubbish because they told sad stories before they became happy.

In the end of this particular purge, no books remained.  Mother wept with sadness over the lost information, stories she’ll never visit again and tales never to be told now.

But it was best to protect her innocent children from the horrors of feeling unpleasant emotions.

And so it snowballed perhaps out of control over the course of two months.  One member of the family would express displeasure or offense over something and it would become banned from the household.  Many things came with fines that would collect in the large jar on the table.  Sometimes one would claim offense just out of spite to another family member that had gotten one of their favourite things banned.

Big Sister demanded that guns were violent which led to the cleansing of the house of all guns, rifles, pop guns, water guns, cap guns and the list goes on, right down to the toy soldiers with their miniature plastic guns.

This angered Little Brother who took it upon himself to become outraged at the sight of half naked under-aged boy posters that plastered the walls of Big Sister’s bedroom.  This one in particular spiraled so out of control that anything and everything that could possibly be viewed as sexual in any way was to be disposed of.  This led to works of art being destroyed, old pictures of Mother and Father from their early adult years that could be considered questionable were burnt, Big Sister’s friend who was fond of wearing slinky tank tops was no longer allowed in the house, clothing that was considered revealing was donated, and any fruit or vegetable that resembled anything sexual…even vaguely, was barred from the house.

Mother complained about the shows the family liked to watch and the ways they used the computer and so those objects no longer had a place in the home.  Video games were removed shortly after.

Father made comments about the stench of Mother’s cooking which led to a large variety of foods that could no longer be served.  When Mother mentioned how appalled she was by the sugar and preservative content of their foods, the list of foods that was permitted in the house became so tiny that variety was no longer an option.

The wall paper was removed.  The furniture was thrown away.  Toys were donated to second hand stores.  Friends were abandoned.

The money jar found a new home on the floor when the table was removed from the house.  Everyone always added to the jar when they were fined for using offensive words such as bossy, stupid, lame or ugly.  They also added to it when they made offensive smells or sounds like burping, farting, screaming, sweating or snoring.  Yet the amount of money in the jar never actually seemed to increase and so it never could be used as it was intended.

There was always going to be somebody offended by something, and even when everything was gone the family still wasn’t happy.  Instead, they were just bitter people feeling as if they’ve had their whole world taken away from them while being angry at those around them.  Their world became smaller and darker as they became more disgruntled and the smaller and darker their world got, the harder it was for them to remember how to be happy and healthy.

In the end, Mother, Father, Big Sister and Little Brother sat in the dimly lit living room on the cold hardwood floor, legs crossed and looking at each other in misery until some fool piped up “I don’t like the way you’re looking at me.” and they were all forced to gouge out their own eyes.

Grand Idea

I got this grand idea
That fluttered into my head
But when I grabbed a pen
It was already dead.
I tried to write it anyways
It was a shadow of what it had been
I tried to remember the details
Of the wonderful thing I  had seen.
It’s details did escape me.
It’s really unfortunate too
Because I had this grand idea
That I had hoped to share with you.

2007

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Hallways of my Mind

I am trapped in my own mind, and it’s my fault.

Come with me as I walk through the hallways of my mind.  Please stay close by and I’ll do my best to ensure your physical and mental safety.  And remember, if you see something that scares you, that it’s all in my mind.

This hallway is the hallway of knowledge.  The one above us is the hallway of spirituality, but you don’t want to go there.  Some of it is wonderful and artfully designed, but mostly it’s cracked and very fuzzy.  I’m afraid it’s not nearly done yet.

You’ll see the walls are covered with quotes that define or amuse me.  Don’t bother trying to read them all, you don’t want to be in here that long.

To the right there’s a room labelled English.  No, no, don’t bother going in.  If you can understand me, than you already know all of that language that you need to know.

All along here you’ll find your typical school subjects; Mathematics, Home Economics- that’s a small room, and Science.  That door opens into another hallway that has rooms off of it with different sub-divisions; Geology, Biology, Chemistry, Anatomy…that sort of thing.

This stretch is for History, Geography, and politics.  It’s a little dim here, so please watch your step.

You see, how it works on this floor is when I need information on any of these topics in particular that I already know, I come up to this floor and open the door.  Usually the answer will jump out at me after it’s opened.  Sometimes though, I need to go in and dig around a bit before I find it and I have to be very careful not to mess things up.

I’m a bit short on memory.  If you know any places that sell memory I’d appreciate it if you let me know.

Please follow me down the stairs.  The floor below us has rooms labelled “Family”, “Sex and Sexuality”, “Friendship” and so on.  Don’t get too excited, we won’t be walking down that hallway, though I’m sure many of you are dying to do some snooping in there.

Please, down this next stairwell.  This floor is not a hallway.  It is just a room.  To the left I’ve gotten my thoughts and thought processes organized and it looks much like a library.

I’ve dedicated a lot of my time to this room.  I’ve mixed in all of my knowledge of psychology in here as well as yo ucan see by the back wall there under the big sign “Psychology”.  It is there because I’ve been studying my own thoughts and their patterns.  Once I can isolate the problem thoughts I can work on correcting them.

I’m sick, but I’m getting better.

This chalkboard in front of you is the Board of Debate.  I can come in here and write out a thousand reasons why I believe what I believe so when the debate is on I can argue my point effectively.  It’s large so I can take notes as I’m debating.  I come back to the notes and reason out a new opinion if necessary.  I am not completely closed minded after all.

But alas- I should have invested in a Board of Arguments because once the discussion takes that big step over the fine line into argument and away from debate, the damn thing erases itself and I can’t, for the life of me, remember what was on it.

And if that’s not enough, it will write out the other person’s argument- not all…just one hurtful phrase.  And then of course, that’s all I see for the rest of the argument.

You see those messy bookshelves, overflowing boxes and stacks across from my library of organized thoughts?  Those are my unorganized thoughts.  Many of them aren’t worth keeping, but I need to sift through them all so I don’t throw away the real gems.  That is why I spend so much time in here, but there are always thoughts falling out of thin air.  Constantly, as you can see.  There’s just no real way of sorting them out without hiding inside myself for the rest of my life.  And as much as I hate the clutter and confusion, I’d like the alternative less.

But enough of this room, as intriguing as you guys seem to think it might be.  Our destination is not here.  Please follow me down another staircase.

YOU may have noticed that the staircases have become a little more twisted and misshapen each floor we go down.  I’m sorry about that, I had no control over the construction.  I merely shaped the rooms.

This floor, another room of course, is dedicated to creativity.  I tried building rooms, but I found that I couldn’t label the art properly, so I stopped trying.  I kept most of the walls though, so I could hang up as many pictures as I could.  Many beautiful paintings.  I put in a lot of shelves too, for all the items I find appealing.

Why yes, that is a houseplant.  Isn’t it delightful?  Please don’t touch those rocks, I found them when I was very young and they have sentimental value.

Over there is my written creative section.  All of the good creative ideas I have upstairs get copied and brought down here.  There are also many writings that I’ve done myself and the most wonderful ideas from other people.  In them, I find inspiration.

And over there we have music and entertainment.  The music section is larger of course, as it fuels my passion much more than entertainment.  It’s probably good I don’t know how to play any instruments.  I think it’s too crowded in here already.

All throughout this room are my works mixed in with other people’s.

I like this room the best.  It’s so…motivating.  I can spend hours in here just soaking up the energy.

Pardon my sigh.  It’s just that I never look forward to walking away from this room.

Alright, down another staircase.  Please be very cautious on these stairs.  They are very deformed.  Hold onto the wall, not the banister or you will end up with nasty splinters.stiars

I apologize for the odor, but that’s part of what you came here for.  Don’t mind the noises.  I know they set off a wave of panic, but they are utterly harmless.

We descend now into the basement…the dungeon.  This is where I keep my demons…when I can capture them.

Don’t worry, I did a walk-through before you got here to ensure that they were properly caged.

Behind this door, you’ll find Greed.  He’s always hungry.  He’s a slippery creature.  Every time I think I’ve found a good way to chain him down he always seems to find a way to break out.

This is Anger.  Even if you opened the door- which I don’t advise- you wouldn’t see him.  I’ve lost track of the number of walls I’ve built around him.  Still he pulses through from time to time.

The room with the open door is Guilt.  it seems he got out again.  I can never keep him locked up for more than five minutes.  He is definitely a hassle.

No, don’t be concerned.  He can’t hurt you.  He’ll only attack me.  I’ll lose of course, but there won’t be any gore for you to see.

There’s many of them, as I’m sure you can see for yourself.  And my, they do love to feast.

On their own they are often no more than annoying, but when they gang up on me; Anxiety and Fear, Depression and Laziness, Hate and Jealousy….in whatever combination they decide to attack, it gets rather unpleasant.

Some days it’s just impossible to battle them.  I’ve had most of them at all once before.  It took me a long time to recover from that.

My friends, what you have come here for today lies behind the door at the end of that hall.

I’ll thank you in advance for not opening the doors.  I’m afraid she’ll get confused if she sees you.  She can’t see you through the glass, it’s a mirror on her side.

May I now introduce you to the real me?

What she is doing right now is removing her face.  She’s worn many different masks- all in the shape of her own face.  All of which she honestly believed was her own face.

No, she hasn’t discovered herself yet.

She spends all day trying out new things, reading organized thoughts and wandering through the creative room, spending hours in the family room.  Once in a while I see her up on the spirituality floor, but not often.

She’s been in here all day today trying to find herself.  Who she is, what she wants, how to be better, and so on.

Why down here?  You ask.

Yes, this is the deepest, darkest section of my mind.  She is here because of the demons.  I need to deal with those before I can find myself.  I need to face them.  Keeping them caged isn’t enough.

She is down here so she can study them, so that she can defeat them.

But I’ll have to ask you guys to leave now.  Anxiety has broken out and is pulsing through me at this moment.

I’m going to soothe him with a cold beer and a couple of hours in the creativity room.

Thank you for stopping by.  Any time you need a change from your drab, sane world, I’ll be here.

2008