Sunday, March 31, 2024

"A" is for Alive - A to Z 2024


An Idiot's Guide to Randomness.

A diagnosis of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Overwhelming anxiety, caused by violent, intrusive thinking. A potent regiment of medication (several). Two separate, one week stints in a behavioral hospital because I could not shake the believe that I would harm the ones I love. An overwhelming feeling of inadequacy and intense difficulty opening up to those closest to me. The sudden death of my mother. A divorce and yet, I remain.

I am still Alive.

"There is still a war going on within me, but things have changed. I'm no longer trying to destroy myself, I'm on a rescue mission now." - Just A Poet Guy

Some people float through life believing that all will be okay. Some have had it much easier and do not fret about tomorrow because, for them, the sun will always rise. A normal person has the ability to compartmentalize issues as they confront them, but that was not me. I would feel every action, every word, every comment and take that negativity intensely personal. Internally, it would create a range of mental and physical side effects that would intensify if not worked through immediately. It may start with a seemingly harmless thought or the idea that I have made an overwhelming mistake. I would ruminate on the lie and experience unbearable anxiety. My will to be "perfect" was not attainable, and I knew it, but it didn't stop me from trying. My stomach would begin to cramp and cause nausea. The thoughts would run away like a freight train and linger for days. In my darkest times, I questioned my sanity and even more so, my will to continue on. I would roll off of the couch upon waking and make a bee line to the medicine cabinet. The thought of missing a dose was uncomforting.

This continued for close to nineteen years. Like clockwork, I'd take those pills, searching for a synthetic happiness that would never materialize. It kept the obsessive thoughts at bay, mostly, but left me numb and not able feel much of anything.

The death of my mother in February of 2022, followed by the separation in March of 2023, I thought, was finally going to do me in.

I found myself lying on a bed, contemplating whether I could continue on and as I had almost reached my decision, the thought of my daughter, growing up without me, caused pause. And then a voice rang out, and it was not my own. The words continue to echo, "KEEP BREATHING!" I knew who spoke those words. I had not heard that phrase before but it reminded me of an exercise that I would complete in the past to combat intrusive thinking. Muster up the courage to inhale deeply and upon exhaling, envision the thought exiting. I continued this exercise for an hour, and with every exhale, I gained courage. "Get busy living, or get busy dying."

Now, free of medication and realizing that I do not lack strength, I am going to take all of those painful words, every hurtful remark, every intrusive lie told, every mistake made and the memory of  all of that hurt, pile them high, strike a match and watch those memories burn to the ground! And on that pile of ash, I will build a new.

"I'm on a rescue mission now."

NF - Leave Me Alone!


Pearson Report said...

Wow, ib, that was heavy. I'm happy you're alive and breathing - a breath at a time, a step at a time, a day at a time. You've experience not only 19 years of being medicated but then the sudden death of your mother, and a divorce - wow... words fail me right now.

Life is truly unpredictable, I'm learning to expect the unexpected and to buckle up for the ride. Sometimes when the tsunami of life pulls me under I imagine I'm a sea creature and embrace the experience - if I fight it, I'm doomed. So, as they say, I just keep breathing.
Sage advice it is.

Cheers my friend, Jenny @ PEARSON REPORT

ib said...

Jenny, thank you. The burden is heavier at times but it is my cross to bear. I am gaining strength daily but some days are more difficult than others. I am glad to see that you have hopped back in and look forward to supporting you in your journey. It is hard to rehash past pains but I do it to remind myself how far I have come, and how far I have yet to go.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Good for you! You are stronger than all that anguish.Keep breathing, keep thinking of your daughter, and keep living.

Karen Jones Gowen said...

What a powerful post this is. Amazing story. Keep Breathing! I love this. New follower here. I look forward to reading more.

martine said...

That was a very moving tale, I am glad you found the strength to get through it.

ib said...

Alex, I will do all of those things with prejudice. Thanks for the support.

Karen, thanks for stopping in and following. It's difficult to rehash these emotions but necessary. If I can help on person, I will accomplished what I set out to do. The Hobbit is not all doom n' gloom and this challenge will have more substance but the first few letters will likely be much the same.

Martine, thank you for stopping in. I hope that you come back in from time to time.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Keep one foot after another. Each of us walks a sometimes lonely path. He who breathed Life into us will be the wind at our back when we need it. If we do not feel it He knows we are strong enough for the next step. Take care, Ib.

ib said...

Roland, thanks for stopping in and reminding me of grace. I forget sometimes and believe that I am alone on the journey but that is simply not true. Take care, my friend.