I was told once, long ago, that in order to heal, I must face myself. Well, no one ever told me that facing yourself hurts so much. Digging that deep, down to the scrapings of marrow in your heart, it’s like burning and having your skin impaled with millions of thorns and rubbing salt in all of the wounds, all at once. It’s feeling so broken you can’t fathom ever being properly whole again, ever feeling right again. I have felt… wrong… for weeks. I only feel okay when blasting my music, or losing myself in a book or in a show or movie, or working on some of the projects I’ve been getting so deep into lately. I can’t tell you how difficult the world looks to me right now. It’s a mountain, even facing the drive to work every morning. I love my job, and I love everything about my world right now… Except for my heart. It’s bleeding, broken, battered and bruised and I don’t know how to go about healing it, or even mending it enough to continue loving like I’ve never been hurt. I still have guilt and I still have self-loathing and I can’t make it fucking stop. Everything suffers under these conditions. My empathic work. My writing. My magick. It’s hard to trance into meditation and it’s hard to trance into ritual. I’m incredibly frustrated and deep down I feel blinded by how much it hurts to just be. It’s literally taking every ounce of energy I have to shut down the negative hell-voices in my head, to make myself breathe properly, move properly, function at least semi-normally. I’m so tired, so emotionally drained and exhausted, every moment of every day just trying to walk along this path of life that I sleep more than I probably ought to. And I work really hard to keep the depression from taking over. It is a full time job. It is a full time fight. It is a full time hell. So I employ a little army of help. Spending time with friends, talking to friends on the phone, burning nice incense and frankincense and sage and palo santo, diffuser aromatherapy (lavender helps!), salt lamps and an aurora borealis machine… I spend time slipping as gently as I can down that inner path in order to explore myself. So many reflecting pools, clear water bright as a mirror… My face within, caught up in the inner hell, twisted with emotional pain and worry and stress. I see these images… And my heart breaks for my Self, that part of me that is always me and always here and suffers so much through every kind of pain. I’m the hot mess in the corner, the train wreck you happen upon, burning on the rails. I am melting. I need to save myself. I don’t fucking know how. I’m scared and I’m not afraid to admit that anymore. I know what I want but I don’t understand why I want it. It’s all killing me.
But here’s the thing. Life is a bitch. I knew it before this depressive cycle started. I knew it before that. I’ve known it for years. I know how it affects me to let myself be cowed by it all. So fuck that. I’m not beaten and I won’t be beaten. I hate myself, but I love the knowledge of myself. I am self-aware and proud of it. I WILL rise above this, yet again. I am broken, battered bruised and all of that dumb shit, but I AM NOT WEAK. I have strength in that self-awareness, in that pride, and in that drive to keep my head above water and strive for the fucking shore. This is what it means to be strong. This is what it means to be me. If you have ever asked me what it’s like to have bipolar disorder and anxiety, this is what it feels like. It feels like constantly having to face the truth within yourself and own up to it all. It feels like the voice in your head that is supposed to be your own is trying to drive you into accepting the worst, but forcing yourself to keep striving for the best. I am not the evil fucking hell-voice in my head. I am not that nasty laugh or that mocking cry or that desperation. I am NOT that voice and that voice is NOT me.
Yes I hate myself. But I don’t hate my Self. The reality of my Self is that it doesn’t match a single bit with the voice of my mental illness.
So who am I? A Pagan, a Witch, a loving friend and family member. I am my own strength just by knowing I have more than the hell-voice tries to tell me. I am determined to succeed in loving myself again, loving my life and loving the beauty of this world. I am not my mental illness. I have mental illness… But it does not and will not ever have me. I am a conqueror, a queen, a killer of hateful thoughts, I slash back at the hell-voice when it slashes at me, I am the silent who is never truly silent, and I am the qualm of every manic thought. I am the child of the Night and the Queen of the Night, too. I am the gift I gave myself when I allowed the lotus to bloom. I am the lotus itself, growing through the muck and the mud and striving in glimpses of the sunlight. I have friends in Morrigan, who fights for me, and Ganesha, who holds me close to his belly and hugs me with his trunk and whispers encouragement in my needing ears, in Hekate, who reminds me that there can be no light without darkness, and in all of Nature, which roots me and holds me fast and takes every chance imaginable to remind me of who I am. Checks and balances. I’m grateful for them. I need them. Even if I AM strong, I need roots, I need a reminder of that strength. The hell-voice does its best to erase that strength. But I turn it around on the hell-voice and use the full force of my strength to erase its grating. That takes a lot of energy. It’s why I’m so damn tired all of the time. But it’s also why I’m still alive. It’s why I’m still walking this Earth and walking this path.
I am determined to save myself, at all costs, no matter what. It’s never going to be easy and I’ll probably never be fully whole, but I am who I am, and I would rather be myself despite the bullshit in my head than pretend to be anything or anyone else. If someone cannot accept me for who I am, as I am, then fuck them, because nobody will ever truly understand how I came to be the way I am, and let me tell you, if you can stand beside me in the middle of my trials, if you can be with me despite how crazy I can be and how crazy I can sound, if you can be loyal and be honest and be real and love me for who I am, then I can reciprocate in every dimension humanly possible. I love others so much more than I love myself because I know what it’s like to lack that love. It’s overcompensation, but it’s part of who I am. I know I am difficult and complex but… It’s me. I have to keep moving along. I have to keep walking.
This is how I save myself.