The grounding process begins. I’m digging deep and securing my emotional roots again. Today has been blissfully easy and private. I have happily hidden, barring a few conversations with selected people of lushness. I needed that after two very special but also stimulating days with my bestie mate.
Escapism and grounding seem on first appearance to be goals that oppose one another, but to me, being a head-ish person who lives with my head up in the clouds, balancing on the top rung of the very tallest ladder, my emotional grounding comes via escape.
I’m an escapologist and a distractor. I’m someone who pursues goals in life like my life depends on it, and that’s because it does. Forward motion is my kind of motion. Back slides are to be avoided, or if they happen, I try and keep them brief, then I set the wheels in motion for the next BIG thing. I MUST keep moving forward.
I did something useful today, which I needed to do after the utter shitness of yesterday and the melancholic depressive suicidal hangover type phenomenon I was experiencing. I have put myself forward to do mental health talks to sixth form students about my mental health story. OUCH. That’s quite a bold move isn’t it! Yup. Quite scary and quite responsible and quite adult and very VERY crucially important. I want to feel like an important adult, instead of a struggling and floundering 35 year old child, and how I do that is by contributing positively in my community, via fundraising and speaking about mental health. I actively want to destigmatise mental health, and am more than happy to put my face forward as being someone who openly struggles with life with mental health disorders, because that is the only way young people will learn it is #OKTOSAY how they feel.
I’m wondering what the point is in exclusively trying to adjust adult attitudes. Adults think what they want to think about mental health and stigma is rife. Teenagers however are the adults of the future. They are the ones I want to get in there to speak to. After all, the older generation with the quaint/CRAP/insensitive attitudes and limited understanding of mental health will all eventually die off won’t they! They can take their mental health stigmatised attitudes of insensitive bullshittery to their graves. That is their choice and not my concern. I want to speak to the young people and influence them. Their minds are open and ready to learn and absorb good messages. I want to help people and make a positive difference to the lives of others and paint my summerSHINES mental health rainbow with a broad bristled brush, touching the inner worlds of many.
That is my escape. I think of death often. “You don’t want to die, you just want to escape” said my psychologist in last weeks suicidal themed sesh. I replied that I very much DID want to die, but given that I can’t, I have to find some ingenious ways to creatively escape.
As well as the positive things I try and do in my life that are constructive and make a meaningful contribution, I also like to escape in my head and into an alternate world where fantasy improves reality.
This morning I walked the dogs as usual with the usual view I have across to the sea, but I had an unusual thought. I felt strange, almost psychotic, but not, because I knew what I was seeing I wasn’t actually physically seeing. I was merely using my vivid fantastical imagination to improve reality and turn my inner shit into sparkly sunshine.
It started with the sight of a field of wheat, bleached in colour due to the atmospheric weather conditions earlier this morning. An expanse of pale toned crops meeting the steely grey sea, meeting the luminous sky. My eye fell on a grey smudge in the sky, representing a shower of rain falling out to sea. I love how living by the sea gives a sense of perspective. The puffins out there in their nesting colonies on the Farne islands would be getting a natural soaking, which I could easily imagine happening in my mind’s eye, yet I was inland, gazing out, bone dry and protected.
“What a brilliant metaphor for Borderline Personality Disorder” I said to myself, in my head, or rather more accurately to explain what BPD is NOT like.
Today, on my walk, I could see the rain clouds and the blur of rain falling from them from afar. But yesterday, I was the blimin puffin on the Farnes, getting DRENCHED in a all-day shower of emotion. I could not see dry land, nor could I imagine ever being dry again.
When I am suicidal, I think I will ALWAYS feel that way.
When I am happy, I think the happiness is forever too, though not with such conviction as the reverse. Imagining things could get worse, is far easier than imagining things ever getting better.
Today I had perspective. I visualised how yesterday I was rained on by a grey expanse of bitingly cold rain. Today I knew I was dry, and I felt relieved. I realised that someone out there today, well actually THOUSANDS (MILLIONS even?) are having their rain shower of epic crapness today while I am protected and dry. I felt thankful. I wished BPD allowed the benefit of an outer perspective to know my feelings will change and the storms will pass. but when there are so many storms daily, I get sick of being wet!
Get wet. Dry off. Get wet again. It’s called living, except with BPD its more intense and vastly speeded up.
I wondered what my antidote could be next time I’m getting rained on like those puffins out to sea. What can I visualise, and this is what came to my mind.
I have a specific tree I walk under, which grows by the side of the country lane I walk along. I call it the pixie hollow tree, because I have watched Disney’s Tinkerbell FAR too many times with my girls. It looked like aa usual tree at first glance, but then I thought if I set my imagination to work I could make walking under that tree a different experience. What if the tree was producing golden mental health pixie dust that made everything all BADASS and SPARKLY and SHIMMERY? Yeah…..I like that idea :) And then what about if there is a waterfall cascading down off the top branch except the water is rainbow coloured water, and every individual stripe of colour fixes one particular genre of mental health symptomology?!!! YAAY! I like that idea too! Red sorts out anger, orange- frustration, yellow- anxiety, pink- self-hate, green- negative comparisons, blue- depression, indigo-low self-esteem, violet-suicidality. Awesomeness!!
I was busy grinning inanely to myself when I spotted the Yorkshire couple in the distance (so named because they are a couple who come from Yorkshire). They were walking their dogs in the same direction as me but further up the road, and I thought that familiar sight I see could be jazzed up even more too to make it something beautifully escapist, so I turned the walking dogs into magical galloping unicorns with rainbow manes and imagined them becoming airborne and flying into the clouds, exactly where I wanted to be.
And then I thought…. maybe I am still hungover and sleep-deprived. :P