Concerning My Absence

I don’t like to air my grievances. Normally, this would be written in a private journal, but I feel that I owe it to my readers to explain my absence the past two days.

Those of you who know me know that my husband and I parted ways back in October 2014 and that I moved back home to Virginia and he has remained in Oklahoma. The nine years that I lived in OK were not good ones. I was very ill, physically and mentally, during those years. Some of it was from being homesick the entire time, some of it was due to my husband being a narcissist who made my life miserable, and other parts of it was that I had few friends there to help me. The mental illness that I have suffered from for most of my life became overwhelming in those years. I was suicidal, a cutter and burner, and hospitalized numerous times. It took a lot of therapy and determination for me to leave there.

Since I’ve returned home to my beloved Virginia, my health, physical and mental, has greatly improved. In fact, I’ve gone off of all of my psych meds. I am no longer stressed or anxious all of the time and I haven’t had any depressive episodes since the first week I returned home. Until two days ago, that is…

Two days ago, I received an email from my estranged husband (he and I have been on good terms since September 2015, having worked through most of our differences via email and phone). Before I left in 2014, he and I were renovating the house we lived in. He wanted me to stay until the renovations were complete, but I just couldn’t do it. This left some HUGE messes all over the house – primarily in the kitchen, main bedroom and bathroom. He still has not completed those renovations and because he is a pack rat, things have become worse. In his email, he asked me to come back to OK and help him finish the renovations and get the house back in order. You see, he has fallen into a deep depression since I left and hasn’t been coping well. He has also made some new discoveries about his sexual identity and that too has left him in a bit of a funk.

When the email arrived and I read it, a dark cloud descended upon me. I relived our entire life from April of 2005 when we arrived in OK until October 2014 when I left. I won’t go so far as to say I’ve been depressed, because I know what depression is and I know when I am in it, but my mood has soured and a darkness has surrounded me. The mere thought of returning to OK has crippled my ability to think, concentrate and even write. It really has nothing to do with him. We are in a good place now and I wouldn’t mind seeing him again, just not in OK. It is that place… that house, that state. The thought “I nearly died there” keeps running through my head. I just cannot bring myself to go back there.

I struggled for two days about what to tell him. How to tell him no. I didn’t want to be the reason why depression would cripple him further. But the one thing I’ve had to learn about myself is my limitations. I can no longer do things to please someone else that are detrimental to my own health and well-being. So after living with this dark cloud for two days, I finally replied to his email this morning and told him NO and I told him why – because of what OK represents to me about my health. I know he will not receive the news well and I will regret hurting him and letting him down, but I will stand firm behind my answer and my reasons.

And so, dear readers, I have felt the lifting of the cloud today. Thankfully, I had scheduled ahead many of the posts you’ve all been reading the last couple of days.. here on this blog and on my other two blogs. I’ve fallen behind in the NaJoWriMo, and both of the poetry challenges. So I will likely just skip the missed posts and carry on with the upcoming prompts. As time allows today, I will try to catch up with comments and get back to reading the A2Z blogs tomorrow on our day off. Thank you, if you managed to read this in its entirety. I know it is a long post.

Love & Blessings
Lori

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My Love-Hate Relationship with Darkness

After reading Keith Garrett’s poem, Darkness and leaving a comment, I began to ponder about this love-hate relationship that I have with it.

I’ve always been a night creature. I would stay up past bedtime as a child and read under my covers or sneak downstairs after everyone had gone to bed to watch a scary movie on television. I loved everything Gothic – the literature, architecture, and the fashion, even that of the modern Goths which was just coming into scene in the early 80s. I often mused that I had my own dark soul (and still do) and this was why I was so attracted to the night, to darkness. As an adult, I surrounded myself with anything and everything darkness – clothes, make-up, boyfriends. I began studying witchcraft as a way to capture the essence of the night and all that it embodied. My poetry was dark and foreboding. I played an RPG game about vampires and created my own persona as that of a dark, brooding vampiress bent on revenge and surrounded by ravens. I lived and breathed the dark world I had created for myself.

And then madness set in. I’d always suffered mild bouts of depression, but managed to bounce back from each one. Some time around my fortieth birthday, I became not only severely depressed, but psychotic as well. I heard demonic voices telling me to harm or kill myself. My muses were gone and these voices replaced them more intensely than anything I’d ever experienced before. I become lost and hopeless. I spent my days and nights enmeshed in darkness. I rarely ventured from my home. I saw no one but my husband when he returned from his trips. I refused to go anywhere with him, even to shop for groceries. The result was endless arguments and physical fights. And suicidal attempts. I was hospitalized numerous times and drugged so badly that most of the time I didn’t even know my own name.

My ray of sunshine came in the form of a therapist who taught me Mindfulness and encouraged me to live in the light. I am well now. I no longer hear voices and I am not medicated. My muses have returned in full force. And yet, I still love the darkness, though it nearly caused my demise. Love. Hate. And love again. I just hope this isn’t a vicious cycle and I am just awaiting the madness to set in again.

#joyfuljan – Day Fourteen

For today’s #joyfuljan, I find joy in music.

Keeping with the theme of today spanning across my many blogs, I am finding immense joy today in music. Sometimes I will go several days in a row without listening to any music. It all depends on what kind of writing I will be doing that day. On the days that I do slip over to Youtube and turn on a playlist, my ears are quite happy.

I am always amused at people’s reactions when they discover the type of music I listen to. I frequently get “but you are such a light in the world. How can you listen to such dark music and still give out so much good?” Ah well, you see, I believe you can only give light when you know the darkness and my soul can be quite dark at times. Instead of shying away from darkness, I embrace it. I’ve led a dismal life and dark music speaks to me. Here is one of my favorite dark songs…. When I was deeply depressed, this song actually lifted me up some. I guess it had the opposite effect.

So yes, music gives me great joy today and every day.

What are you joyful about today? Let me know in the comments.


 

Throughout the month of January, I will be celebrating Joyful January with Satya and Kaspa over at Writing Our Way Home