Call me anachronistic, eccentric even, but there are things about the 21st century I am uncomfortable with…
Two of them being cell phones and this thing called Twitter. Mind you, I include buttons on this blog to let friends share my posts in their tweets, so I’m not totally disinclined to using Twitter, I am just not used to the speed of back-and-forth personal information these days. I like a little more privacy, the comfort and lure of mystery. I want to take things a little slow as I engage someone in conversation. I like conversation to be something like a fine wine, a thing to be savored and remembered, not blurted out in little 140 characters in a rush. Yet the longer I stay out of the loop of instant communication, the more obsessive my imagination can become. Then, when I do check out friends’ twitter pages, I see only their words in half-spurts of conversation, they talk about people I don’t know in seemingly a kind of slang language I’m not hip on, and I panic. The world has changed and I have not changed as quickly with it. I have become lost in my own space.
I suffer from a mental illness that makes it a challenge for me to interact normally with people on an even keel emotional level. The more hurried I am in conversations and interactions with people, the more distressed I can become. I have to regulate my moods, live according to a schedule I can work with, avoid situations and things that can trigger manic episodes, sometimes retreat from ordinary activities my friends have no problem with but, to me, end up being too overwhelming for me to handle all the time. I get overstimulated! My life has been a tight-rope-walk-battle where I am in constant pursuit of balance where I find myself apologizing and explaining my behavior. In my efforts to be kind and make things easier for myself, I get accused of using my disability as a crutch and others just simply roll their eyes and get frustrated. It would be different if I were physically crippled. It has not been easy. Because it is very easy, acceptable even, to quickly judge and reject someone with bi-polar disorder. Sure having this disorder does make life difficult, but it’s not impossible for me to have a life, however I go through periods when I lose hope… and sink into frustration.
Even the pace of Facebook can be a challenge for me. The fragmented, simple one sentence updates can leave a lot to the imagination. Not everyone fully explains what is really going on in their lives in just those few words. My mind works on such an emotionally sensitive level that I fill in what is not being said with delusional conclusions. Over the last three years that I’ve been on Facebook, I’ve developed thoughts that my friends are either ignoring me or are secretly talking shit about me behind my back. This brought out in me the need to defend myself. I got on the attack, or on a mission to save our relationship, and started writing a series of apologies to the people I love, often startling them because they had no idea what I was feeling or why. But you know what was most horrible? That no matter how many friends assured me that they cared, I simply was not able at the time to receive their love because I was stuck in the manic state of despair.
Then there is the shiny side of the coin: elation! There are times when I am crazy with exuberance, dying with joy. I am so happy, so overwhelmed with it and have no idea what to do with that feeling, all I can do is write dozens of updates on Facebook or elsewhere. The rest of the world seems to move too slow then. No one can keep pace with me. I get dizzy. I simply cannot calm down! I go for walks outside to do something with that energy and I still come home to plug-in the computer and find no messages waiting for me. The vicious cycle of feeling ignored creeps up again. It is completely, utterly delusional, absolutely no reason to it. No matter how much I try to logically deal with it and remind myself to cut out those feelings, I still feel it. There is a disconnect with my mind and my emotions. I have to unplug and get back to nature.
The most wonderful thing I have going for me is my spiritual life and devotion to my Gods. Being in touch with nature, practicing meditation, seeking silence, living in solitude, and using ritual prayer distracts me out of manic states of emotion. Just when I think that I have no hope of living a normal life, and fear that I will never be able to see my friends again, much less ever have a romantic relationship, one God comes to remind me every Midwinter and Midsummer that I am loved. He doesn’t tell me always with words, but with warmth and light, a feeling that glows within my heart like an embrace that comes outward, inside-outward, that seems to halo my entire body after I commune with Him, makes me feel like the most beautiful and most valuable woman in the world… Well, He spoke to me tonight.
“You are Mine, You are Loved, You will Accomplish Great Beauty, You are Blessed, You have Great Skill, Your Talents are Testament of My Love, Use Them and Love Without Fear for I am with You”
I needed to hear those words today. At Winter Solstice I fasted and prayed for some kind of miracle to take hold of me. I was feeling like half a woman. I dreamed of one-winged angels and my heart bursting out of my body and I painted a vision of my shadow self as a desperate unicorn girl in need of being accepted. After meeting with my doctor yesterday afternoon, I came to the conclusion that these were signs that my new therapy, meditation techniques, and increased medication were working, and yet I still feel like I’m not fully the woman I dream of being, that I’m sexless, not pretty, old and undesirable, wasting away in the wilderness… while everyone I know is out there having fun.
This may have been me just being jealous, or just a case of beating myself up. I don’t have to be jealous. I shouldn’t have to block myself from enjoying the things others do. Yet… I also know myself more than other people do. I have to respect my limits, but not let myself be a slave to them. I will still feel the pain of my emotions, yet my God Lugh tells me I don’t have to punish myself over it. Sometimes it is not other people who make us suffer, it is WE who cause ourselves the most suffering.
I can still be the woman I dream of being: a wild be-jeweled perfumed belly dancing swordswoman sorceress She-devil spit-fire romantic heroine lover that the poets will all sing about! Well… in my dreams… or in the dreams of someday, somewhere, in the mind of someone who will love me so much… I can’t imagine it, don’t dare want to yet, I just want to get back to my desk because thinking about a dream lover will just start me rolling down the hill into a deep depression again. No. Time to slink back to cursive writing in my private journal, light a candle, shuffle the Tarot cards, and relax into a sacred time and place where the only emotion I feel is tranquility.
Want to unplug and join me?