One Less Birdsong

The grey and yellow little bird lay dead, cradled in the grass. It’s song forever silenced.  Tears welled as I removed the delicate creature fallen from flight. I’ve thought about the bird all day with a feeling of heaviness in my heart, as I do for all creatures of the universe.  Perhaps finding this lifeless bird signifies an end and a new beginning of something for me.

If it’s death was to portend for me then I am grateful for it’s sacrifice, but tomorrow when I listen to the birdsongs I will know there is one less song being sung.

 

IMG_0835

 

Heal is a Four Letter Word

via Daily Prompt: Heal

To heal implies a resolution of a condition or a disappearance of a wound.  To heal implies a cure, a complete reversal of illness.  It’s my experience and opinion that we never truly heal from a mental illness.

Mental illnesses like depression, anxiety disorders, and PTSD don’t disappear.  Symptoms may diminish and sometimes we can learn how to carve out a way to live day by day with them, but we are not healed.  We are altered, forever changed by the experiences of pain, trauma, and the uncontrollable emotions these illnesses inflict.

Everyone’s experience is as unique as a cloud in the sky.  Our illnesses manifest individualized and fluid.  Each of us rides the wave knowing that when the next wave comes we will be changed.  Hopefully we can ride the latest wave with more balance and skill.

We may improve and our demons become less visible, but we never heal.

Garage Sale

I walk the tight isles haphazardly set up in the oversized garage. So much is packed into the space it’s impossible to focus my eyes on any one thing. My wife was a collector, he says. She passed away recently. We chat as I try not to stumble while navigating the maze of tables and shelves. He lost his wife nearly a year ago. They were married 58 years. She had a lot of collections as well as multiple examples of household items. The years of her life on display.  Her life’s work up for sale.

I understand there is pleasure in collecting. Satisfaction from the hunt for a missing piece or special memento. I collected things for a while myself. Until things began to lose their meaning and the act of collecting became a distraction and a way to escape from reality.

When my reality crashed, I let them go, save for a few items that held special meaning in my life or were an item of remembrance from a loved one. After the purge I felt lighter, less tied to things, and more open to the richness of nature and people. Now I collect birds in song, butterflies in flight, and clouds in the sky. I treasure the people in my life, the new ones I meet and the stranger in the street. The Passing glances, smiles, a chance encounter, or a brief interaction.

Everyone should have something special in their lives that remind them of happy times or special loved ones. If you collect something that is meaningful to you, treasure it, revel in the joy it brings you, and perhaps pass it on.

In acknowledging the impermanence of life I strive to travel lightly. I do my best to appreciate what the universe puts in my path to see, feel, and experience. Those things you won’t find at a garage sale, which is fine by me, because I don’t want to end up a garage sale.

A World of Fear and Anxiety

Since January 20th, well actually since November 8, 2016,  a new unreality has dawned in America.  The pounding of chests in Washington can be felt in my own with each new headline.  Almost hourly it seems a new headline breaks or a tweet is hastily released by our so called President.  Each tweet contains false boasts, lies, alternate facts, and conspiracy theories.  Real and troubling matters in need of thorough investigation are hindered at every turn.  When the truth does begin to emerge it throws the so called president and his followers into a frenzy of deflection and denial; resulting in a preemptive framing of new accusations whose main purpose is to distract and confuse by creating a new story or situation.  This circle of deceit has taken on a life of it’s own, swirling about like an F-5 tornado.  The Deconstruction has begun.  Healthcare, immigration, consumer safety regulations,  climate and environmental protections all dismantling before our bewildered eyes.  Hate prevails,  while common decency, civility, respect, and human rights are trampled and rolled back.

You can agree or disagree with my assessment or you may simply feel apathetic because nothing is particularly affecting you.  Whatever your affiliation, beliefs, or opinions, I think you’ll find two facts indisputable.  We are a nation divided and we are a nation full of fear and anxiety.

As someone with anxiety and panic disorders, post traumatic stress, and depression, my ability to focus my energies on my own healing and self care are compromised by the palatable feelings of a nation and world in a flux of fear, anxiousness, and instability.

How do I reconcile a need to focus on myself while trying to stay abreast of current events?  How do I fight my own demons and lend a hand to the growing fight of resistance?  The short answer is that presently I can’t. My own demons want to feast on the fear that permeates the atmosphere. I am not yet well enough to handle the stresses such a fight can bring.

What I am doing is trying not to let my personal demons gather strength.  I am venting my frustrations so the poison doesn’t fester.  Mostly,  I am trying to get creative and find ways to use my own fears and anxieties along with those that are manifested by current affairs to push me on a path of greater determination.  If I can expedite my own healing, perhaps incrementally I can add the space to lend myself to the greater fight ahead.

My plan is simple;  disconnect – reconnect.  I am disconnecting from reading too much news with planned black out days. These will be followed by a structured reconnection with trusted sources for facts rather than opinions.  I think this strategy of disconnect – reconnect will help limit my exposure to all the negativity, fear, and anxiousness.

I have joined a couple of local online groups to keep abreast of local happenings. If and when I am able, I will try to use an event or a opportunity to volunteer as an exposure therapy, the same as I would any other exposure therapy.  A crowd is a crowd.  An interaction is an interaction.  As long as I think the exposure situation will benefit me then I will incorporate it into my therapy, thereby serving dual purposes.

We must be kind to each other and kind to ourselves during these uncertain times.  Most of all, in any guise and in any way…..  WE CAN NOT LET FEAR WIN!

Realities and Dreams

 

Version 2

Can’t manage a job
but I still have my will
I have no money
won’t swallow the pill

beaten down and hurting
I have nothing to hide
working hard each day
I still have my pride

need a helping hand
a dollar in my hat
just wanting for godspeed
the wind at my back

no shame in needing
I still have my dreams
even if they’re fraying
I’ll hold them by their seems

The Normal People

I watch them each morning, going about their business rushing to and from, on the treadmill of life. A woman walks her dog as the sun rises. A man drops off
his daughter on his way to work. Still another returns, perhaps he worked the night shift.

I hear their cars starting one by one as their day begins; off to work, school, or any one of the myriad of places people go each day; seemingly with little effort.

I call them the normal people. I was once one of them; going about my daily activities effortlessly. Now I watch, looking upon them with a combination of envy, sadness, and longing. I feel sad from the loss of functionality that has been taken from me, I envy them doing with ease what to me is now a struggle, and I long, oh how I long, to be one of them once more.

I wonder what their stories are; how different might they be from mine. Maybe they aren’t so different; maybe it takes them extra effort too, maybe they are in pain, lost, or sad.

Ultimately I wonder if perhaps, just out of my sight, there sits someone else watching. Perhaps they too sit and watch the normal people, hoping that they could be one of them.