The Daily Me (Journal) Bravery – 11/20/2016

Today’s prompt comes from 100 Inspirational Journal Prompts by Melissa Bolton @ The Mogul Mom

Describe a time when you were brave

I don’t do brave well. It isn’t that I am a coward. I think it is just that I don’t set out to save the world, or even myself often and therefore, I don’t always consider my actions bravery.

There was a time though when I felt like my life was a sinking ship and I flailed in the ocean of life. I struggled between having the will to live and resolving myself to death. My ship was named Depression and as captain, I ignored all signs of the ensuing storm that was about to capsize me. Since I’d boarded this ship in my 20s, I figured I was on it for the long-haul, never to see dry land again. I became complicit, rolled with the sea, ebbed and flowed with the storms. This was my life and I accepted it.

In the mid-2000s, I ignored all signs of a tsunami building off my starboard bow. I’d weathered storms in my teens and my college years, surely this one wouldn’t topple me. I’d just lower the sails and brace for impact, just as I had so many times before. I didn’t realize that I would nearly die from stubbornness and yes, ignorance. This was no ordinary storm and my ship wasn’t strong enough. In order to save myself, I would have to do the brave thing and abandon ship.

Leaving the metaphor aside, I had allowed depression to consume me. I gave into the psychosis of voices which told me that I was worthless, unloved, and a burden to society. When the pain became too much, I would cut myself to release the pain because I thought it dwelt in my blood. If I became too numb to the pain, I would burn myself with a lighter to feel something, anything. And when I couldn’t bear the duality of pain and numbness anymore, I would attempt suicide. This went on from 2005 until 2013. I had two choices left – live or die. To retrieve the metaphor once more, I found a safe harbor and dropped anchor.

I owe my brave act to two things – uterine cancer and a therapist who taught me Mindfulness. Cancer gave me the will to live and Mindfulness gave me the tools to succeed. I am still not sure if what I did was a true act of bravery. Aren’t captains supposed to go down with their ships? And that ship does resurface now and again, beckons to me and seeks to set sail, but I think I am stronger now, more willful to live, more determined not to drift back out to sea filled with uncertainties. If Mindfulness begins to fail me and I hear even a hint of those voices, I now seek the medication route. I may not remain medicated, as I often don’t, but at least I know it is there in case I need a safe harbor.

 

Makeovers #NaJoWriMo

(NOTE: This post may cause triggers for anyone dealing with depression and having suicidal ideation. Please proceed with caution.)

For today’s prompt, write about what the biggest or smallest makeover you’ve done in your life so far? What did it involve? What challenges did you face in achieving that makeover? Who helped you along the way? 

The biggest “makeover” in my life thus far has been having the desire to live. I’ve written here on this blog about my bouts of depression many times. Of how it sucked the will to live out of me and left me suicidal. For the better part of eight years, I wanted only to die. I felt like my life had no worth, that *I* was worthless and that I was a burden to everyone around me, especially to my husband who never tired of telling me so.

I have not talked much about the psychosis that I experienced during these tumultuous times. I hear voices all of the time. I have since I was a child. But the voices that I normally hear are from Catharine and Evelyn (my muses) and Stefano (my animus). However, when I was deeply depressed, I heard two other voices. Dark and deadly ones. One called himself Slash and the other I knew as merely The Demon. When I heard Slash’s voice, I resolved myself to cutting and burning my arm with a cigarette lighter. They were the only means I had of experiencing any sensation as I was completely numb. However, the pain only lasted a few moments and I would once again grow numb. When I heard The Demon’s voice, he would tell me that I was better off dead. It was because of those words that I attempted suicide 7 times. My pdoc put me on Risperidone, an anti-psychotic, but it merely masked the voices of my muses and animus and did very little to deaden the voices of Slash and The Demon.

In late 2012, I was diagnosed with Uterine Cancer. Suddenly, I had an out, if I really wanted it. I could have allowed myself to wither away from cancer. Instead, I had an overwhelming desire to live. Luckily for me, during this time, my pdoc found an excellent cocktail of drugs for me and I also began seeing a new therapist. She taught me Mindfulness. The drugs kept Slash and The Demon away and the Mindfulness kept me grounded in the present. I was able to focus entirely on my health and beating cancer.

I still occasionally feel the darkness seeping in. I guess I always will. But I no longer hear Slash or The Demon. I also have the desire to be alive and the tools to remain so.

How about you, dear readers? What was the greatest “makeover” in your life? Share your thoughts with me in comments.

(Note: if you would like to participate in this month-long journal writing activity, sign up for emailed prompts here)