There you are sitting or lying quietly alone. Your shoulders begin to feel heavy. Eyes begin to water, almost tingling. Sadness slowly rolls over you. Suddenly, you realize you feel…bad? No that doesn’t describe it. Now noticing you’re cold, you become aware something else is happening. “Am I sick?”, you ask yourself. No, you’re not sick. You think about getting up and moving. Perhaps that will help shake this sensation. However, you can’t move, can you? Why can’t you move? It doesn’t make sense. You are not sick, but you feel a churning in your stomach. You are not cold, but shivers and goose bumps crash upon you in waves, drifting away as smoothly as they came. Slowly a fog begins to roll into your mind. Your thoughts start to slow, as if you’re thinking of everything and nothing at the same time. Like reading someone else’ contemplation scroll through your own head. Observing, but not registering. Like a dream. Becoming fully aware now that your body now feels entirely out of your control. You are cognizant but, in this moment, you are frozen in space.
This scenario is all too common for those struggling with depression and PTSD. This is one of the more helpless sensations mental health can ward over you. It is also one of the more difficult aspects for others around you to understand. This is a life without meaning, without purpose, without the feeling of love. When you take a human mind and strip it of all its joy and replace it with chaos. We become a shell. Not that we don’t want to have a goal, or accomplish some tasks. We want to have something, anything, to snap us out of that moment. When you feel nothing, and yet everything, it is hard to be anything but fully enveloped in the present. Overpowered by the outpour of these demons inside you.
These moments of being “bed ridden”, as they call it, can feel very overwhelming. There was a period of my life, for about half a year, where I experienced this daily. Morning to night just lying awake. Staring at nothing, thinking of nothing. Just barely able to function enough to keep me alive via drinking water. Definitely no way in hell I was eating. The mind so jammed packed with thoughts and emotions, trying to make sense of any of it was futile.
This was also when I began therapy for the first time in my life. Not just therapy, but trauma therapy specifically. If you’ve been to therapy then you probably have heard that, during the period of visiting a therapist, symptom usually worsen before they get better. And if you have never been to a therapist, this may be a comforting fact to read if you’re experiencing this.
No matter where you’re in battling mental health, there will be continuous periods where various symptoms will unveil themselves to you. You will get better at recognizing these moments, but until you do, they will slowly get louder and louder. Up to the point of forcing you to address them or risk sinking deeper into a depressive state. I think this is a way your body forces you to eventually deal with trauma, like throwing up food poisoning. The experience is horrendous but your body knows the relief afterwards is worth it and healthy.
One by one, as you grow and heal, different struggles of yours will need to be addressed and dealt with individually. And when you choose to take time to focus on them, your mind will unleash that specific trauma upon you. You will have a moment of clarity seeing just how much this struggle that you’ve spent so long and hard shoving deeper and deeper into the depths of your soul has affected you.
I don’t entirely remember exactly day to day what I did to get through that time. I spent a lot of it simply letting it happen. Why was this happening? Why the devastating depression forcing me to be a shell of a human just pouring out my deepest inner emotions? The answer is simple, my cup was full. There was only one way to empty it. I didn’t have to do anything specific. I just had to be present, aware, and hold on.
I depleted countless hours, days, and long nights sitting alone. Usually in my car. I find my car is a good way, when I’m experiencing social anxiety, to get outside but feel secure in my protective vessel. I didn’t always even drive anywhere. Mostly just sitting listening to music. Being fully present in my mind. Listening to my thoughts, my feelings, and my emotions. Not just feeling, but hearing what my wounded soul was trying to tell me. Contemplating who I was.
I myself did not go the anti-depressant route with combatting mental health. Having had plenty of experience with drugs, I didn’t want another one. I knew I could be made whole again without it. It is also okay if you are someone who finds them helpful to you. Personally, I found self-medicating by way of smoking weed did a lot therapy and pharma could not. It allowed my mind to slow down for a moment, and stop racing. It allowed relief to my stress, tension, and anxiety. It also put me in a psychological state, where my mind and my body were more relaxed, more contemplative, more open to analyzing my thoughts and emotions without being engulfed by them. I’m not saying you have to smoke weed to cure your depression. But that assisted me in my process. And so, I sat thinking about my entire life. For two years this nightly routine became a huge part of my healing process. Most of the poems you will see posted on this page were written during that time. That was the beginning of me actively doing something about my PTSD and depression.
That has been the lowest point in my entire life. Many nights I sat in that car also wanting to kill myself. I wanted to give up. I have held the gun to my head wishing to eradicate the source of so much pain, hate, and suffering. I don’t really know why I didn’t, other than the fact that I knew I couldn’t possibly feel more lonely, sad, and worthless. And if that was the worst it could throw at me, then I may as well just see what was on the other side of this.
“Solitude is for me a fount of healing which makes my life worth living. Talking is often a torment for me, and I need many days of silence to recover from the futility of words.”– Carl Jung