October 06, 2008
On Giving Up and Getting Up
Well, let's see. Would I rather be pathetic, or full of platitudes?
What's a platitude, anyway? My dictionary says this: plat-i-tude, noun
trite or commonplace remark, esp. one solemnly delivered.
- see CLICHE.
- platitudinous see BANAL.
Doesn't sound too good, does it?
What I'm about to tell you may not sound too good, either...at least at first. I'm about to be painfully honest here. Please use caution; there are words about not wanting--and then, wanting--to live ahead. This could be triggering for some! Or, you may want to scroll down to the good message--"Don't Give Up" and "Don't Quit"-- at the end of this post.
There was some very recent planning on the part (no pun intended) of at least one or two of my parts (I know! They are part of me; I'm responsible). It involved a possible suicide plan or what I call one of the many "running away" plans.
Now, before you send the white coats after me, because I'm a "danger to myself or others," please hear me out. I had a therapist back in Illinois--years ago--who said that "thoughts of suicide" had really become just a habit for me. At first, I was quite defensive about her comment. But, then I understood. What she meant was that suicide had become a type of "fail-safe" option for me, when it seemed I had no options left in life.
Doesn't that kinda make sense--albeit, in a morbid sort of way? If one has no options left in life, then "LIFE" no longer seems like an option, right?
When I was down at Timberlawn in Dallas, doing the Colin A. Ross program in outpatient mode a couple of years ago, one of the things they kept harping away at was: "You always have options!" They were also quite fond of saying things like, "Use your discernment; you always have options." They really liked the words, "discernment" and "options." At the time, I bit my tongue and kept from saying, "Yeah, I may have options, but all of them suck!"
Ever felt that way? I betcha you have. Well, I sure have plenty of times, I'll admit. I've felt that way quite a bit over the past two months. I told you about my recent, really big-time dissociative episode, didn't I? Well, after I finally, slowly came down out of that dark cloud, I realized that I had pissed a lot of people off. (This is IRL--in real life, folks.) Some still aren't talking to me. I was feeling like I was never going to be forgiven. Sound familiar? Yep, it reminded me of the many ways my mother aka "egg donor"--as my twin likes to refer to her--used to heap spiritual/religious abuse on me as a kid.
The thing that was really pretty crazy about it (my life crazy? naaahhhh!) was that this was one of the more "acceptable" dissociative periods I've had. Like I said before, I managed to stay out of the hospital this time...and most of the time, the part that was out was a part I have that I nicknamed, "The Professional." She's really quite efficient and "manages" things quite well most of the time she's allowed some freedom.
Gee whiz! I can only imagine how much people would hate me now if one of my "less functional," or "more rude," or "more crazy-acting" parts had been out a lot recently. I'd really be crucified then, I guess.
But, there's the rub: I didn't go into the hospital this time and a lot of people saw me acting nuts. So, I've spent a lot of time lately feeling even worse about myself than usual. I feel like, God forbid, I inconvenienced people. God forbid, I made people feel uncomfortable. God forbid, I annoyed people. God forbid, I should ever be a burden to anyone. Whatever...you get the picture. Sooo, then I felt like I was very much: judged, condemned, and crucified.
I guess, when you already feel condemned and crucified--um, ya know, like DEAD--that old familiar feeling of wanting-to-be-dead isn't too far behind, eh?
And that brings me to something I want to qualify here: I don't usually feel out-and-out suicidal.
Instead of having any desire to actually kill myself, I often feel like I simply don't want to live...here...alive...on this planet. I've talked before about feeling like an alien here, haven't I? Or maybe that was on my short-lived blog, "Silence The Shame!"
Anyway, I was just going about my business, trying to process this type of shitty self-esteem stuff with my therapist, when the PTSD symptoms returned big time. The nightmares were especially horrific. These led, of course--oh, goody!--to more, new torture-related memories.
This leads me to another thing I want to qualify about not always wanting to live. The feeling, or "logic," often goes something like this: The Universe, Divine, God, Goddess...whatever...has made a mistake. For some insane reason, my soul or some other powers-that-be, decided my spirit could take on this life of horrors. "Bring it on, Universe! I can handle it!" That musta been what my pre-human soul said to someone in charge. "The ultimate in child torture? No prob. The most hideous of the heinous? Got it covered! The most terrifying of the terror? I'm all over it! Whatever this life throws at me, I'm there!"
Uh. Hello? Somebody stop the world! I wanna get off! Who was it who decided I could handle all this crazy-ass shit in this lifetime? I'm sure it wasn't me. I want a re-do! "Do-Over!" Unfortunately, nobody seems to hear me. So, I start thinking of checking out...giving up...getting out. At the very least, I just stare off into space or play Solitaire or Mahjong on my computer for hours and hours.
I get down and give up because, now, I've decided instead: "I can't take this life. I've changed my mind."
So, here's what I just figured out. I allow my part(s)--at least the ones who are really revving to the above, "stinkin'-thinkin" credo--to brainstorm ideas for "a plan." It's usually not a suicide/death plan at my own hand at all. It's usually something more like, "Maybe I'll just wander off into the wilderness and Mother Nature, or God, will just take me." I have no strength left. Maybe I can just fade away.
Well, this is really a big clue that it's one of my parts scheming. Like that would ever happen, right? Like death--just as life--would ever be that easy! Oh, contraire!
But, the new-to-me point is that I allow the plans to be made to a certain extent. But, I only allow such scheming/planning for a set amount of time. AND--very important--I don't allow any consideration of any such plan to be scheduled to be put into place for at least one week. I tell my parts something like: "Okay. Now if we all agree that there's no other choice but to put this plan into play after one week has passed, we'll reconvene and discuss this 'option' some more."
Almost immediately--when I allow myself this mental/emotional exercise--I begin to feel much better. After all, I now have a plan. I now see an option, no matter how "negative" an option, or how you want to look at it.
Well, less than one week has passed since I went through this whole process last. And guess what? I'm glad I waited. Sounds crazy (no matter which way you may look at it), but it's true. Instead of giving up today, I decided to get up off my butt. I actually had more energy when I awoke this morning than I've had for weeks.
And, then, here's what happened: I pulled out a pad of paper to make a grocery list, and guess what I saw? A version of the "Don't Quit" poem printed there. I got to looking around on the Internet and saw lots of stuff on various versions of this poem (attributed to so many authors, I wouldn't even know where to begin--so I won't). There's a YouTube video montage with the "Don't Quit" poem that I'll paste up below. The poem is printed as a prayer on the back of St. Jude Holy Cards you can find at this site here. There's even a website called The Don't Quit Poem dot com. Many sites claim the poem is simply "anonymous."
Now, on my paper pad, the "Don't Quit" poem is quite different from the above-mentioned poem sources. The notepad doesn't have any author credited at all. But, this poem version is a lot shorter than the other one I've mentioned, so I'll stick it right here:
When your luck is down
and your world goes wrong,
when life's all uphill
and the road is long--
keep your spirits high
for through thick and thin
you must carry on
if you are to win.
Never mind if things
slow you down a bit;
you'll come out on top--
but you mustn't quit.
So here's the deal. For today, anyway, I commit not to quit. Now I don't want to simply offer hollow platitudes here, but I hope that at least some morsel of this may inspire, motivate, help, comfort or in any other small way just show empathy for you out there...and what you are going through. Because I know, for many of you, it could be really shitty. And, I know, for at least some of you, all your options look like they suck right now.
But, at least for today, decide not to give up yet. Just for today, decide not to quit. That's what I did. At least for today. Who knows? Now, I'm not going to tell you, that if you just don't quit, you'll win the lottery tomorrow...or you'll meet your new best friend...or you'll find true love. But, if you just wait, there may be something good left in you that you will discover. If you just wait, there may be something sweet for you to yet taste in life. If you just wait, your child may do something so adorable, you decide you're glad you didn't miss it. If you just wait, you may be struck by some awesome beauty in the natural world around you.
If you just don't quit today...if you just wait...you never know...