TRIGGER ALERT: Mental-health-related personal post below. (TL; DR: There is nothing for you to worry about and nothing I need you to do or say; I am fine.)
Note: This is actually a copy-and-paste of a Facebook post I made earlier. My reasons for including it on this blog are two-fold: 1) Although I have a Bio page, I feel called to divulge to you on a deeper level more of who I am and what I’m about; and 2) un-addressed mental-health issues, and just plain un-addressed feelings, lead to personal and planetary ills such as addiction and loneliness, leading to excess consumption of resources. I am trying to be the change I want to see in the world.
There have been several times in my life when I have felt the very core of myself and my being disintegrate, fall away, get ripped away, til I felt like a non-person who would not even be visible, were I to look in a mirror.
This has been a terrifying experience each time. I have always wondered if I would come out on the other side. Right now is one of those disintegration times. Everything and everyone feels stripped away. I’m questioning everything. I feel like a non-person. This has been going off & on for some weeks now, or actually months really, but so much has been happening in the world that I didn’t want to say anything to distract people when so much else was going on.
Last night I stood out in the breeze and the surreally luminescent late-afternoon air and felt the breeze blow right through my ribcage and out the other side of me. What was interesting was that it actually felt good in that moment. Instead of being terrifying it was a rich moment of being all connected with the trees, the birds, the light.
When I moved to Florida from Austin, I was responding to some kind of inner guidance, divine guidance. But I have often questioned my value here.
There’s nothing any of you needs to do or say or worry about. I have a lifelong history of mental-health challenges and throughout my life have learned the most effective techniques, collected the right navigational tools and vessels, and professional support network, for managing my sometimes-turbulent inner terrain. This post is just about being honest instead of trying to pretend I have it all together. (It never occurred to me that anyone would even think I had it all together, or even had a substantial percentage of it together, but one person intimated as much the other day, so I am saying this just in case anyone thinks that.) Being honest in case it might help someone else who hits choppy waters. It is helping me already, typing this.
Fundamentally, maybe on some level I’m
some sort of mental thrillseeker. Repeatedly being drawn to explore out to the wild edges, maybe past the point where it’s a good idea to turn around and get back on the well-marked trail.
It sounds crazy and self-indulgent when I put it like that. But then some of my alltime favorite people, the ones I admire most from ancient historic figures to the present, are ones who I see as sharing that attribute in common with me. Venturing a little too far out sometimes and having to try to grab onto something solid, only to find that everything we try to grab onto disintegrates between our fingers. And at the end of it all somehow we make it back alive in one piece, and are able to impart somehow a distillation of the magic or the bedrock sense of safety or whatever other value we gained from our Major Tom-like voyage.
Real-world facts: Over the past two years, three of what I thought were my closest friendships dissolved, collapsed, or disappeared in short order. When I looked honestly into myself, I had to admit those friendships were built on shaky foundations, and I had to take responsibility for my part in that. Other facts: I have in recent months voluntarily & deliberately dropped a lot of my activities that were a big part of my self-definition. So it makes sense that I would feel floaty and dismantled. It felt at the time like a refreshing exhilarating downsizing and a healthy exfoliation, yet at the same time WTF is left; WTF is next.
(Anytime in the past that I underwent one of these disintegration experiences, it always ended up ushering in the great thing or things or person or people that/who needed to be next in my life. The biggest challenge is letting go and trusting the process.)
Still another fact: Over the past N units of time, I have noticed myself turning into an approval-whore, too focused on chasing emotional comfort and being LIKED, as opposed to focusing on being someone who I would want to be around.
I realized I had come to look down on myself and not imagine how I might someday again LIKE myself. Typing this, openly and honestly, not seeking anyone’s approval, just seeking to stop being fake to the extent that I have been fake …. I finally feel, for the first time in literally I don’t know how long, could actually be since 2017, yes, that long — I actually feel, in this moment, a genuine liking for myself.
Which is important, because I LOVE the world, have always LOVED life and the world and the universe — but my dislike of my own SELF got in the way of my love affair with all-that-is.
Part of me is afraid to post this for fear of being ridiculed, unfriended, disliked. But that part of me is vanishing into my rearview mirror at an accelerating pace. And a much bigger part of me knows there is no consolation prize for not being real. Somehow I get found out and people will dislike me anyway. I would way rather be REAL and disliked (or ignored), than be FAKE (which I have been being) and suffer the same fate.
Oh wow, I think I just right here right now felt my core come back. It didn’t disintegrate after all. Or it did for a bit, but it re-integrated. I love you all, in the same way that the great mystic poet Rumi meant when he talked about love being “such a friend to Rumi” that he was in love with the entire universe. That is not the exact words; I need to dig them up for you.
Wow. What a ride, people. I am so in awe and in love with life right here and now. Anyone who stayed with me all the way through this post, I send you extra appreciation. Thank you for being here; thank you for being who you are. And please, if you ever need help, ask me. I might not be able to help but I will do my best. This goes double for any of you who have asked for my help over the past few weeks and I was short with you. That wasn’t me; that’s not the person I am deep down. I let my own inner crap get in the way of joyous opportunities to be in service. No more. If I can help any of you, I will. And consider it an honor.
The Power of Vulnerability (TED Talk by Brené Brown). When we try to numb out the “bad” feelings, we numb out all other feelings too. So we end up unhappy and unfulfilled. But, when we have the courage to be imperfect; to say “I love you”; to try something even when the outcome is uncertain — we become much more alive. I’m a big fan of Brené Brown but had never heard this particular talk before. Many thanks to the friend who shared this 20-minute talk on my Facebook thread!