"From this hour I ordain myself loos'd of limits and imaginary lines, going where I list, my own master total and absolute, Listening to others, considering well what they say, Pausing, searching, receiving, contemplating, Gently, but with undeniable will, divesting myself of the holds that would hold me."
Walt Whitman (1819-92)
"When I look back now over my life and call to mind what I might have had simply for taking and did not take, my heart is like to break."
Akhenaton (d. c.1354 BC)
And now, the current weather, from some random person we pulled off the street:
Saturday, February 11, 2006
trigger Function: verb 1 a : to release or activate by means of a trigger; especially : to fire by pulling a mechanical trigger b : to cause the explosion of 2 : to initiate, actuate, or set off by a trigger 2 : what yesterday's events were, to me
After reading yesterday's post, you can imagine that I went to bed with a raging depression. This morning it was no better, and as a matter of fact, it was much worse.
I don't usually respond to triggers, but this time I was blindsided.
I started going through my list of people to speak with when these things happen. I made call after call. I don't take major mood swings lightly; they can kill. But, although the dangerous thoughts were there (they usually are during one of those swings) it was quite clear that I needed to ignore them as so much off balance brain chemistry. Which of course is exactly what they were.
Eventually, I found two friends who invited me over to a charming home that belonged to one of them. I had never seen it before, and I was very impressed with her artistic ability. So many of us are gifted that way. (For example, the collages I illustrate with on this blog are ones I make myself. And, naturally I say that when this particular post doesn't have a really good one!)
Long story short, eventually I left and was able to speak with a friend from out of town. She pointed out some things that I had not thought of. First, she explained to me why I opened that trunk of memories last night, and went straight as a laser to the most painful memories of my life.
When she said this, it made perfect sense to me. Some people, when they are in mental pain, engage in what is called "self injury." Maybe it's cutting. Maybe it's like a friend of mine does, where she holds a sharpened pen knife against her wrist; not to cut, but to focus.
And, well, you don't have to physically harm yourself to self injure. You can hurt yourself mentally and emotionally too. And that's what I had been doing.
The pain that had been triggered inside me was so intense that I was trying to ramp it up even further, to create that cathartic moment when I would just come out of the other side of the pain, and it would wash over me. Sort of like stamping "DONE" on the end of it.
Problem was, even though I hurt myself pretty bad, I didn't hurt myself enough to bring about the catharsis. So, there I was, stuck in an unresolved mess, not even recognizing my own damage. Plowing forward, negative thought feeding on negative mood.
But once I realized, once I saw what had happened, it was like a veil lifted. The man behind the curtain was exposed, and no longer had any power over me. The bulk of the depression fell from me like an old heavy wool cloak dropping to the floor.
My friend tells me that she only repeated back to me things I had said to her. Personally, I don't think so, but I think today I learned a deep lesson, one I will not soon forget.
It’s the friends you can call up at four a.m. that matter. --Marlene Dietrich, German movie actress (1901 - 1992)