A few Words from WM

Wentworth Miller has announced he’s unpublishing his page on FA – something that I do  both understand and respect. He’s gone above and beyond in giving some of us a haven on there to be real, and also has given some really good words. His own documentation of his struggles with MH has not only helped other people, but given the struggle some legitimacy- it’s not hidden away with a periodic broadcast. The small things were given note there as well. He’s said people are welcome to copy/cutpast/screenshot anything they wish, as it will disappear… so here are a few things…

 

I was struck by a blog post. Or maybe it was an editorial piece. It read like a letter. And a public apology. Of sorts. Written to someone (everyone?) the author had met when/while they were unwell.
“I wasn’t myself back then,” was the gist. “Back then I was depressed. But now I’m better. And I’d like a second chance to make a first impression.”
That was the general idea. And it struck me.
I respected the writer. I respected their truth.
And (it’s a “both/and” not an “either/or”) it wasn’t my truth.
The mental health community (by which I mean those of us who struggle with mental health issues/illnesses) is a diverse one. Ask a 100 people who suffer from depression what it means to be depressed, and you’ll get a 100 different answers. All of them true.
It’s important to respect that (IMO).
The writer’s truth wasn’t my truth but that didn’t make it untrue. If that makes sense.
Side Note: This is why I don’t claim to be a “voice for the voiceless.” I may stand closer to the megaphone than some, but when I speak, I speak for myself. About myself. If what I say resonates with the next person, reflects some part of their story, great. But sooner or later I’m going to say something that’s true for me and me alone. And I reserve that right. My survival – rooted in self-expression, in sharing my truth, in my own time and way – depends on it. So when it comes to mental health, I make it clear: I don’t speak for other people. And they don’t speak for me. Because that would be impossible. Unless they happen to be a 45-year-old gay man of mixed race born in the UK, raised in Brooklyn, and their name is “Wentworth Miller.”
(Then yes, they speak for me.)
Back to the blog post. The one that struck me.
“I wasn’t myself back then,” was the gist. “Back then I was depressed. But now I’m better. And I’d like a second chance to make a first impression.”
Like I said, this read like an apology. Of sorts. Which I got/get. Totally.
Over the years (decades) I suffered from depression, I did and said things I later felt the need to apologize for. Sometimes I did it in person, sometimes via phone call or email. Sometimes my apologies were accepted. Regardless, it was important that I say the words. “I’m sorry.” That I take ownership of what I did and said during those years when I was struggling.
Two things I did not and will not apologize for:
1. Being depressed.
2. Being the person I was when I was depressed.
I don’t/won’t apologize for being depressed because I couldn’t/can’t help it. Like the color of my eyes, it was/is beyond my control.
I don’t/won’t apologize for being the person I was when I was depressed because while yes, that person (me) did and said things I later felt the need to apologize for, that person (me) also saved my f-cking life.
True story.
That person (me) – angry, grieving, bored, numb, rude, restless, hopeless, sleepless, shiftless, sluggish, selfish, unkind, awkward, reclusive, explosive, compulsive, erratic, unreliable and frequently unpredictable – is the reason I’m still here today.
I’m no longer in the business of shaming myself. These days, I recognize that self-love and self-worth look like embracing all of me. My entirety. My full spectrum. Up to and including who I was in My Darkest Days when I was Not My Best Self. When I was Just Getting By and Putting One Foot In Front Of The Other.
When my phone’s running out of juice and switches to “Low Battery Mode,” I don’t get pissed at my phone. I’m grateful. It’s doing what it needs to do to squeeze out those extra minutes.
I’m grateful to the me I was when I was depressed. The me in “Low Battery Mode.” To him I say, “Thank you for squeezing out those extra minutes (years). Would I choose to be you again? F-ck no. That doesn’t mean you aren’t worth honoring. You did what you needed to do, dude. You were in survival mode. And you made a f-cking mess. And today I’m around to smell the roses. That’s thanks to you.”
The me I was when I was depressed doesn’t deserve to be disowned now that I’m “better.” That would be a) ungrateful b) disrespectful and c) potentially deadly. Because I may need him again someday.
Once upon a time, the disconnect between who I pretended to be (“okay”) and who I really was (“not okay”) caused me pain. As far as I was concerned, the me who was “not okay” was “not me.” Not the preferred me. Not the likable/lovable/hirable/respectable/acceptable me. The me that was “not okay” was the “bad” me. The “wrong” me. Not the “real” me. To be denied and kept quiet in darkened rooms, a disappointment hidden behind lies and lowered curtains until he went away and the “real” me came back.
Now that I’m “okay,” now that I’m the “real” me again, I’m aware of pressure – some internal, some external – to pretend the me who was “not okay” never existed.
Problem is:
1. That’s not true.
2. It’s a set-up for upset: “Now that I’m ‘okay’ I can never be ‘not okay’ again.” Now that I’ve made a new impression – better than the first (phew) – I need to make sure I don’t ruin it. (Or else.) Which means one day, if/when I find I’m “not okay,” if/when my depression returns and the “bad” me or the “wrong” me shows his (ugly) face, I may feel compelled to deny it, to keep him quiet in darkened rooms until he goes away again. Like before.
And the cycle continues.
The following is Robert Bly speaking to our evolutionary process, our long road from the cave to the city. It works for my long road to recovery as well:
“There’s a part of us which is dark, reptilian, and primitive… [which isn’t] considered necessary for civilized life… We [want] to get away from that dark, moist, wet, reptilian thing… [But that’s the part] that kept us evolving, don’t you understand? For millions of years. That’s connected with your survival. That snake thing in there… [A reptile] survives! It survives! It survives! [That’s the thing] that kept us moving and without [it] we would never have gotten where we were. We’d have died. So now we’ve arrived to this point and we don’t want him anymore. And he’s thrown out…” (“What Stories Do We Need” Part 2)
I see him. My “primitive.” My reptile. My crocodile. And I see his value. The part of me that’s single-minded. Stubborn as f-ck. Me in “Low Battery Mode.” The me that kept me moving, sometimes on my belly, crawling through those long, grueling years until I made it out of the swamp. I won’t cast him aside now. My croc. Because life is challenging (still). Threatening and destabilizing (still). And he has A Very Particular Set Of Skills (obviously).
I once posted an essay on this page referencing koalas, all warm and cute and fuzzy. They’ve since become a synonym for “hugs.” That brings me joy. #koalas
It’s also how some people choose to perceive me. The part they like to focus on. My koala. To the exclusion of all else. “You’re so sweet.” Mm-hm. How many times have I heard that?
(Many. Many times.)
Well, it’s true. I am sweet.
It’s also not the whole truth. Thank goodness. Because if I were 100% koala (all warm and cute and fuzzy) I’d be dead by now.
True story.
If I’m alive today it’s thanks to my croc. Tough and resilient. Like leather. When “civilized” me longed to Crawl Under A Rock And Die he was like, “Nopes.” And “When’s lunch?” It’s important to respect that (IMO). To make sure he has a place at my table. Even if he chews with his mouth open and breaks the good china.
For me, these days, it’s less, “I’d like a second chance to make a first impression,” and more, “Your first impression was not incorrect. Back then I was myself. Yes – that was me. Me in survival mode. And I own that. I’m a ‘both/and’ not an ‘either/or.’ Cool?”
The answer may be “No.”
Some people want All Koala All The Time. They insist on it. They’re uncomfortable with me refusing to compartmentalize/criminalize my croc, alarmed by me reframing a negative as a positive, unable/unwilling to allow for the possibility that the “wrong” me (angry, grieving, bored) is as deserving of sunshine and airtime as the “right” me (likeable/loveable/hirable). They say, “You look sad,” using sympathy to mask their dis-ease. Then attempt to mask me. “I wish I could put a smile on your face.” Patting my arm they police me, signaling that there’s an “acceptable” me and an “unacceptable” me. And limited space for the latter. “Why don’t you take a break?” they whisper. “Come back when you’ve pulled yourself together?”
To them I say, “Adios.”
If it’s a choice between me loving all of me and others loving certain, highly selective parts of me, there is no choice.
I know where/what my work is, and it looks like recognizing that the me I was “back then,” who previously I’ve felt the need to apologize for, make excuses for, the me I’ve considered broken/damaged/shameful/embarrassing, whose existence I consciously and consistently omitted from resumes, family gatherings and first dates, was and is central and essential to my continued existence on this earth.
“[A reptile] survives! It survives! It survives!”
Yes. Oh yes.
“[That’s the part] that kept us evolving…”
Give credit where credit is due.
“[That’s the thing] that kept us moving…”
Where would I be without him?
“We’d have died.”
Damn right.
That’s worth claiming. Celebrating. My croc deserves some love.
Don’t get me wrong – I love me some koala. He, too, is worth honoring.
But on those dark, cruel nights when he tumbles from the trees and hits the ground hard, when he wants nothing more than to throw in the towel, wave the white flag and go (fuzzy) belly up, it’s my croc who rises from the river and fixes death with unblinking eyes.
And death steps the f-ck back.
🐊🐊🐊

I’m one angry dude.

I own it. Work with it. Find appropriate containers in which to put it.

Sometimes successfully. Sometimes not. I call that being an adult.

In my 44 years on this planet, I’ve held space for a lot of angry people. Some were easy to recognize. Because their anger was textual.

Others were a little more stealth. Theirs was subtextual.

I consider the second group to be more dangerous.

Because you don’t always see them coming.

The sourness, the self-righteousness, the endless judgments… They pass these things off as love. As concern. As support.

My self-care looks like weeding these people out as they reveal themselves.

And I thank them too. Because they’ve made me stronger. Tougher.

Don’t get me wrong – I see their pain. I see their woundedness. And my heart goes out to them.

That doesn’t mean I need them standing next to me. – W.M.

 

 

Self-Care Chronicle Feb. 2017
“What is self-care? Why is it important?”
* * * * *
02.01 These days it feels like self-care is the last thing I have time for… So today self-care looks like starting a self-care chronicle for the month of February.
What did it look like for you? #selfcare#carechronicle#february
* * * * *
02.02 Today self-care looked like recognizing the difference between “being immersed and being informed.”
What did it look like for you?
* * * * *
02.03 Today self-care looked like clearing space on a cluttered shelf. No idea what will go there. But I’m ready.
What did it look like for you? #selfcare#carechronicle#february
* * * * *
02.04 Today self-care looked like asking for help. I’m putting together a playlist of funny videos to watch when I’m in need of a lift. Links welcome. 🙂
What did it look like for you? #selfcare#carechronicle#february
* * * * *
02.05 Today self-care looked like taking a walk, in the woods, in the snow, and a moment to remind myself that yes, “the world is mysterious and amazing.”
What did it look like for you?
* * * * *
02.06 Nick Zano shares his self-care:
“I recorded my 6-month-old son laughing and listened to it when I got to work. And laughed. It f-cking killed me.”
What did self-care look like for you today? #selfcare#carechronicle#february
* * * * *
02.07 Today self-care looked like drawing boundaries – hard and fast – with parties who, because we’ve got history, felt entitled to pull some sh-t.
My mental health comes first. Period.
What did it look like for you? #selfcare#carechronicle#february
* * * * *
02.08 Today self-care looked like a “share size” bag of peanut butter M&Ms I didn’t share. #sorrynotsorry
What did it look like for you? #selfcare#carechronicle#february
* * * * *
02.09 Today self-care looked like taking three deep breaths (in through the nose, out through the mouth), aware that my lungs have felt a lot more spacious since coming out.
What did it look like for you?
* * * * *
02.10 John Barrowman MBE shares his self-care:
“People might not believe it but when I’m by myself, I actually don’t talk. I’m very quiet. Without thinking about it, it actually calms me down.”
What did self-care look like for you today? #selfcare#carechronicle#february
* * * * *
02.11 Today self-care looked like scrolling through the “likes” page on my personal Instagram account…
The older I get, the more aware I am that my frequency – the rate at which I vibrate – changes based on what I invite and what I allow…
People with whom I spend my time, words I let pour into my ears, images upon which I rest my eyes…
These things either raise or lower my frequency, lingering after they’re gone like radio jingles heard once that repeat in my head for the rest of the day…
And into the night…
I try to cultivate pockets of calm where I can, to collect bits that move, soothe, and sustain…
To plant gardens – virtual if not real – where I can pause, and still, and breathe…
What did it look like for you?
* * * * *
02.12 Today self-care looked like downloading a free coloring book from one of my favorite libraries.
What did it look like for you?
* * * * *
02.13 Today self-care looked like recognizing and accepting that some people will model for me what I want and want to be, and others will model what I don’t want and don’t want to be… Both are of service. Both have value.
What did it look like for you? #selfcare#carechronicle#february
* * * * *
02.14 Maisie Richardson-Sellers shares her self-care:
“I write. I write to find the hope and inspiration within my fears and frustrations. And it varies. Sometimes it’s a story. Sometimes it’s a personal dialogue or a stream of conciousness. It’s a way to calibrate myself and my feelings with the world around me.”
What did self-care look like for you today? #selfcare#carechronicle#february
* * * * *
02.15 Today self-care looked like choosing not to take a nap so I can sleep better tonight.
What did it look like for you?
* * * * *
02.16 Today self-care looked like pausing on the sidewalk when I heard music. It was a pair of wind chimes, hanging in the branches, high above my head.
What did it look like for you? #selfcare#carechronicle#february
* * * * *
02.17 Caity Lotz shares her self-care:
“Meditation. I do 20 minutes twice a day. That seems like the greatest gift I could give myself. It’s like a reset button for me when I’m stressed and my mind is racing.”
What did self-care look like for you today? #selfcare#carechronicle#february
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02.18 Today self-care looks like early to bed with a good book. (Goodnight!)
What did/does/will it look like for you? #selfcare#carechronicle#february
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02.19 “5. Cook Ahead For The Week.” – Laurel Dickman
Today self-care looked like buying apples ahead for the week. Does that count? I think so.
What did self-care look like for you today?
* * * * *
02.20 Today self-care looked like playing a game I call “Pick A Lane.”
This began as an effort, on the road, on my way somewhere, to avoid being that a-hole who zips past you in a hurry then gets stuck at the next red light, so he’s still sitting there when you pull up next to him and you look over like, “Yeah. Didn’t get too far, did you?” but he’s not making eye contact because he knows he looks like an a-hole…
Anyway, one day I got in the habit of picking a lane… and sticking with it.
No matter what.
No matter what’s in front of me – a garbage truck, your great-great-grandpa (what’s he doing with a license?), someone making an illegal left – I stay in my chosen lane until I get where I’m going. (And no honking either.)
It’s irritating as hell. At first.
In time it can become a meditative experience. Since weaving in and out of traffic is not an option, I can relax. Enjoy the view. Surrender to the flow/life.
I find it doesn’t add much time to my commute. More important, I’ll usually get out of the car feeling calmer than when I got in.
What did self-care look like for you today? #selfcare#carechronicle#february
* * * * *
02.21 Neal McDonough shares his self-care:
“When I walk or drive by a church, I’ll say little prayers. It makes me more thankful for everything in my life. Every day.”
What did self-care look like for you today? #selfcare#carechronicle#february
* * * * *
02.22 Today self-care looked like keeping my “worry rock” close to hand. 50 cents and thumb-ready. Worth every penny.
What did it look like for you? #selfcare#carechronicle#february
* * * * *
02.23 Today self-care looked like honoring my ancestors. Those who came before me. “On whose shoulders I stand.”
Like my paternal grandmother.
Born and raised in Tennessee and a graduate of Wilberforce University in Ohio, Pauline (called “Polly”) is, at 93, a warrior, a force of nature, and an inspiration to her children, grandchildren, and now great-grandchildren.
I had the pleasure of spending time in her company last summer, and she shared with me a story I hadn’t heard before.
One day, when my grandmother was 8 or 9, she and her mother were at the train station in Memphis, seated in the “colored section,” waiting to board.
There were two drinking fountains available. One for them, one for “whites only.”
Curious then and curious now, Polly wanted to know if the water tasted the same in both fountains.
“You’d better not try and find out,” her mother said. Because it was illegal. They could be arrested. Thrown in jail.
My grandmother drank from the white fountain anyway.
Returning undetected, she got an earful from her mother. But she also got her answer.
It did.
What did self-care look like for you today?
* * * * *
02.24 “8. Disconnect from your devices.” – Lindsay Holmes
Today self-care looked like leaving my phone at home for a few hours. Didn’t miss it.
What did it look like for you?
* * * * *
02.25 Dominic Purcell shares his self-care:
“Mindfulness. I practice this awareness daily. And it takes f-cking work.”
What did self-care look like for you today?
* * * * *
02.26 Today self-care looked like an old favorite.
What did it look like for you? #selfcare#carechronicle#february
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02.27 Today self-care looked like politely excusing myself when the conversation turned to the latest political f-ckery. Maybe tomorrow.
What did it look like for you? #selfcare#carechronicle#february
* * * * *
02.28 Today self-care looks like self-expression… which looks like sharing part of a written interview I gave recently. The interviewer was me.
I/we covered a lot of territory, including something I wanted to speak to in this space before February’s chronicle came to an end. It’s posted below.
Speaking of which, congratulations to everyone who participated. And thank you to those who held space.
What did self-care look like for you today?
* * * * *
A: To me, the word “queer” has a radical, activist vibe. And I like the kind of activism that’s as simple – and potentially complex – as me showing up. To the party. To the cause. To my truth. “We’re here. We’re queer. Get used to it.” Etc. It echoes my mental health journey, which has also been about being bold enough and stubborn enough and defiant enough to show up to things – like my life – when it’s felt like I wasn’t meant to. Or I shouldn’t. Or couldn’t.
Q: On that note, there’s a term you’ve used on FB but haven’t really elaborated on. How are you defining “#inneractivist” for yourself?
A: There exists, in me, a patriarchy. A negative one. Specifically.
Q: I appreciate you making that distinction.
A: A brutal, censoring and silencing, oppressive, bureaucratic structure hell-bent on me staying exactly the same. “This is who you are and who you will be. Forever and ever. Period. Amen.” When I was depressed, struggling to put one foot in front of the other… that felt like a prison sentence. Believing that it – or I – would always be this way.
My inner activist is the part of me that fights that. Tooth and nail. The part of me that says, “No. I can be different. I can feel different. Change is possible.”
Q: What are some of the tools in his tool belt? Your inner activist?
A: Laughter. Hope. Self-care. A fistful of “F-ck you’s.” Changes in routine. A new way home. Not ordering the usual. Singing in the shower. Pulling over in an empty field and screaming my head off… It can be anything. I’ll know I’m moving in the right direction when my patriarchy is like, “Oh, but you mustn’t. We don’t do that.” And I’ll think, “Watch.”
Q: I like that your patriarchy uses words like “mustn’t.”
A: My inner activist is small but scrappy. Resourceful. And stealthy. He has to be. My patriarchy would like nothing more than to find him and grind him right the f-ck out.
* * * * *
03.09 Today self-care looked like blasting “Jungle Love” by Morris Day and The Time and a Reese’s “Reester Bunny,” a favorite among their chocolate & peanut butter variations. IMO they’re on par with the Eggs and Pumpkins, superior to the Hearts and Trees, less work than the Miniatures and more accessible than the Big Cups. (The Pieces are not to be spoken of.)
Self-care also looked like walking the Labyrinth at a local church. Not my congregation, not my faith. But it’s a meditative exercise that grounds and calms. One I very much enjoy.
And the day’s not over yet.
What did/does self-care look like for you today? #selfcare#carechronicle
Self-Care Chronicle Apr. 2016
“What is self-care? Why is it important?”
* * * * *
04.01 Today self-care looked like starting a self-care chronicle for the month of April.
What did it look like for you? #selfcare#carechronicle#april
* * * * *
04.02 Today self-care looked like donating items I like but don’t love to charity.
What did it look like for you? #selfcare#carechronicle#april
* * * * *
04.03 Today self-care looked like exploring a new neighborhood on foot.
What did it look like for you? #selfcare#carechronicle#april
* * * * *
04.04 Today self-care looked like reading about everyone else’s self-care.
What did it look like for you? #selfcare#carechronicle#april
* * * * *
04.05 Today self-care looked like a warm shawl around my shoulders on a rainy morning.
What did it look like for you? #selfcare#carechronicle#april
* * * * *
04.06 Today self-care looked like a) acknowledging that I wasn’t up to socializing and b) letting my lunch date know in a timely manner.
What did it look like for you? #selfcare#carechronicle#april
* * * * *
04.07 Today self-care looked like telling a stranger I liked her hat (bonnet?) and watching her face light up like a Christmas tree.
What did it look like for you? #selfcare#carechronicle#april
* * * * *
04.08 Today self-care looked like drinking water whenever I remembered to.
What did it look like for you? #selfcare#carechronicle#april
* * * * *
04.09 Today self-care looked like recognizing and respecting my limitations.
What did it look like for you? #selfcare#carechronicle#april
* * * * *
04.10 Today self-care looked like card games and belly laughs.
What did it look like for you? #selfcare#carechronicle#april
* * * * *
04.11 Today self-care looked like practicing forgiveness… and practicing… and practicing. 😉
What did it look like for you? #selfcare#carechronicle#april
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04.12 Today self-care looked like a few YouTube videos that always make me smile.
What did it look like for you? #selfcare#carechronicle#april
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04.13 Today self-care looked like getting it out of my head, off my heart, and down on paper.
What did it look like for you? #selfcare#carechronicle#april
* * * * *
04.14 Today self-care looked like catching a free concert.
What did it look like for you? #selfcare#carechronicle#april
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04.15 Today self-care looked like a breakfast burrito for dinner. With sauce piquante. 🙂
What did it look like for you? #selfcare#carechronicle#april
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04.16 Today self-care looked like trying to create the widest possible space for people to respond to my last post… which looked like clicking the “unhide” button on comments automatically hidden by FB because of colorful language… and they were plentiful. 😉
Today self-care also looked like thanking folks for their frankness, their realness, and their rawness. Your stories and your shares breathed life into me. And I know I’m not the only one.
You rock.
What did it look like for you? #selfcare#carechronicle#april
* * * * *
04.17 Today self-care looked like lotion on my hands. They work hard and serve me well.
What did it look like for you? #selfcare#carechronicle#april
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04.18 Today self-care looked like cleaning my eyeglasses so I could enjoy the view. 🙂
What did it look like for you? #selfcare#carechronicle#april
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04.19 Today self-care looked like waking up five minutes before I needed to so I could breathe, gather, and align before my feet hit the ground running.
What did it look like for you? #selfcare#carechronicle#april
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04.20 Today self-care looked like suddenly remembering a children’s book I hadn’t thought of in ages… then finding it online, looking through the images, and recalling the hours of joy it used to bring me.
What did it look like for you? #selfcare#carechronicle#april
* * * * *
04.21 Today self-care looked like sending a “thinking about you” text to a friend just because.
What did it look like for you? #selfcare#carechronicle#april
P.S. It was One Monster After Another by Mercer Mayer. 🙂
* * * * *
04.22 Today self-care looked like building an appropriate container for my anger… which looked like a long hike up a rocky slope.
What did it look like for you? #selfcare#carechronicle#april
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04.23 Today self-care looked like not clicking on that link.
What did it look like for you? #selfcare#carechronicle#april
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04.24 Today self-care looked like cleaning up the “Contacts” on my phone… out with the old, making space for the new.
What did it look like for you? #selfcare#carechronicle#april
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04.25 Today self-care looked like an orange gerbera daisy in a glass of water, set by my computer where I can see it.
What did it look like for you? #selfcare#carechronicle#april
* * * * *
04.26 Today self-care looked like slowing… my… roll… and walking at half my usual pace.
What did it look like for you? #selfcare#carechronicle#april
* * * * *
A note regarding this month’s self-care posts…
April is coming to an end and some of you may have questions about next steps.
Much as I’d like to continue posting my daily self-care, I can’t. Recognizing and respecting what I am and am not capable of is part of my self-care. And I don’t have the bandwidth.
That said, if you’re motivated to continue posting about your own self-care, you’ve got options. I’ve reposted a note from last October on the subject.
Much love. – W.M. #selfcare#carechronicle#april
* * * * *
04.27 Today self-care looked like having a dedicated space where I get to share what educates, intrigues, and inspires me.
What did it look like for you? #selfcare#carechronicle#april
* * * * *
04.28 Today self-care looked like reminding myself that There Is No Perfectionn Here. And that’s okay.
What did it look like for you? #selfcare#carechronicle#april
* * * * *
04.29 Today self-care looked like admitting there was no self-care…
When I acknowledge a lack of self-care, I’m also acknowledging the need for it… which I call self-care.
What did it look like for you? #selfcare#carechronicle#april
* * * * *
04.30 Today self-care looked like honoring everyone who participated in April’s self-care chronicle. Myself included. 🙂
Whether that looked liked posting 30 self-cares, 0 self-cares, “no self-care today” 30 times, or just holding a silent, appreciative space, I want to thank you for sharing with me, teaching me, and supporting that conversation.
And it is a conversation. Part of a larger one that’s being had by more and more of us.
As I write this, my meme reply post has been shared over 300,000 times and “liked” over 900,000 times.
Maybe I shouldn’t be astonished, but I am.
Depression, anxiety, body image, suicidal thoughts… So many of us know the shame and stigma that go hand-in-hand with these struggles. And the silence.
To me the numbers above reveal, more than anything, a collective need to know and connect. To speak.
I’m so proud to be part of that conversation. And so pleased to hear calls from across the canyon.
What did it look like for you? – W.M. xox
Self-Care Chronicle Oct. 2015
“What is self-care? Why is it important?”
* * * * *
10.01 Today self-care looked like three deep breaths when I needed them.
What did it look like for you? #carechronicle#october
* * * * *
10.02 Today self-care looked like doing my morning stretches.
What did it look like for you? #carechronicle#october
* * * * *
10.03 Today self-care looked like a phone call with a friend.
What did it look like for you? #carechronicle#october
* * * * *
10.04 Today self-care looked like reading about everyone else’s self-care. 🙂
What did it look like for you? #carechronicle#october
* * * * *
10.05 Today self-care looked like peanut butter and strawberry jam on toast.
What did it look like for you? #carechronicle#october
* * * * *
10.06 Today self-care looked like saying “yes” when I wanted to say “yes” and “no” when I wanted to say “no.” #carechronicle#october
* * * * *
10.07 Today self-care looked like holding space for yesterday’s imperfections, including my incomplete self-care post.
What did it look like for you? #carechronicle#october
* * * * *
10.08 Today self-care looked like burning sage while answering emails.
What did it look like for you? #carechronicle#october
* * * * *
10.09 Today self-care looked like two long walks.
What did it look like for you? #carechronicle#october
* * * * *
10.10 Today self-care looked like wearing a favorite piece of jewelry that cost 10 bucks.
What did it look like for you? #carechronicle#october
* * * * *
10.11 Today self-care looked like going to an improv night and laughing my butt off.
What did it look like for you? #carechronicle#october
* * * * *
10.12 Today self-care looked like being okay with miistakes.
What did it look like for you? #carechronicle#october
* * * * *
10.13 Today self-care looked like taking the stairs.
What did it look like for you? #carechronicle#october
* * * * *
10.14 Today self-care looked like a warm bath with a cup of Epsom salt.
What did it look like for you? #carechronicle#october
* * * * *
10.15 Today self-care looked like not engaging when someone tried to enroll me in negativity.
What did it look like for you? #carechronicle#october
* * * * *
10.16 Today self-care looked like a dragonfly resting on the back of my hand.
What did it look like for you? #carechronicle#october
* * * * *
10.17 Today self-care looked like putting together a new mixtape. 🙂
What did it look like for you? #carechronicle#october
* * * * *
10.18 Today self-care looked like finally taking the garbage out.
What did it look like for you? #carechronicle#october
* * * * *
10.19 Today self-care looked like self-expression through writing. And editing. And writing. And editing.
What did it look like for you? #carechronicle#october
* * * * *
10.20 Today self-care looked like taking a nap.
What did it look like for you? #carechronicle#october
* * * * *
10.21 Today self-care looked like pausing… then sending that email after all.
What did it look like for you? #carechronicle#october
* * * * *
10.22 Today self-care looked like beating the sh-t out of a punching bag. Felt great.
What did it look like for you? #carechronicle#october
* * * * *
10.23 Today self-care looked like sitting on a park bench.
What did it look like for you? #carechronicle#october
* * * * *
10.24 Today self-care looked like breaking bread with a loved one.
What did it look like for you? #carechronicle#october
* * * * *
10.25 Today self-care looked like keeping a promise to someone.
What did it look like for you? #carechronicle#october
* * * * *
10.26 Today self-care looked liked enjoying community with a local men’s group.
What did it look like for you? #carechronicle#october
* * * * *
10.27 Today self-care looked like acknowledging that I didn’t make time for self-care.
What did it look like for you? #carechronicle#october
* * * * *
10.28 Today self-care looked like a nice breakfast out by myself.
What did it look like for you? #carechronicle#october
* * * * *
10.29 Today self-care looked like repeating my affirmations in traffic.
What did it look like for you? #carechronicle#october
* * * * *
10.30 Today self-care looked like extra cream in my coffee.
What did it look like for you? #carechronicle#october
* * * * *
10.31 Today self-care looked like taking time to say thank you to everyone who participated in – or simply held space for – October’s care chronicle.
Today self-care looked like sending healing, light, and love to everyone choosing to continue their work around self-care. Whatever that looks like.
What did it look like for you? #carechronicle#october#complete
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Dear Diary….

Well, it’s been… 18 months since my last… yeah. that’s not true. I have been posting, but WordPress, I’ve been cheating on you, as I’ve been posting elsewhere. It wasn’t you. It was me. I needed a break.

I came back because someone told me there were words written about me. Silly of me really, but I did it anyway.

Same could be said about a lot of things though!

I see no point in anything other than acknowledging an entitlement to an opinion. There’s a difference between being heard and being listened to, and when perspective is ruled by feelings that’s when things go wrong. I wish everyone well. It’s as simple as that. I bear (and never did) no ill-will or malice towards anyone.

This is now the past however. I don’t expect it to never come up – that’s unrealistic. But I don’t intend to dwell. Lines of communication are still open should they ever be sought.

‘But it does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live…’

It may not be much of a life, but I’ve worked on that. And at least I’ll be able to say I died trying.

4am thoughts

So I’m going the another low patch at the moment, and it’s messing with my sleep pattern. Since midwinter my body has been trying to split my sleep into two with a gap between, which would actually be OK if I didn’t have a 9-5 job… as waking up at 2am for three to four hours doesn’t leave much room for a second bout!

This week and a half has been hard though. I have had to be the port in a storm for a friend on rough seas when I’ve been fighting the urge to just let myself drift away… as a result I’ve struggled a lot and this week have become progressively more sad, culminating in Friday where I just wanted to run, and cry, all through the day. I made it through work, got home, had something to eat and went to bed. At 7pm. I slept, albeit broken ly, for fourteen hours. Not for being tired, but in an effort to escape.

Today I took it easy, and practiced some self care, with a view to being up to some more decluttering tomorrow. I’m CHOOSING to not berate myself for wasting a day, or feeling crappy, instead, I’ll take tomorrow in my stride.

I’ve also been feeling isolated, which doesn’t help… I miss Jo, I’m not gonna lie. I miss nattering and drinking tea…the times it was ‘just us’…

My closest friends are, somewhat  ironically, geographically furthest away, which has been hard this week. I could have really used a hug at several points, but, I’ve been able to at least spend some time talking online, which has helped some.

It’s starting to get lighter now, at least, so hopefully the sadness will begin to lift with the days lengthening. Until then, it’s just a case of keeping going…

perspective

This year has been a doozy and a half.

I haven’t written so much as I’ve been at a loss as to what to say.

I could talk about the friendship I lost. Someone I considered as my closest friend, even though I struggled immensely (and continue to) with issues related to my self worth which mean I hand on heart cannot say of anyone that their feelings (of any sort) towards me are unconditional. The irony here being that that meant the friendship I had was conditional on my acceptance of that. I’m the first to admit I screwed up with things, but an explanation to someone who has no interest in listening is wasted breath. Nevertheless, whilst I may never be forgiven for my transgressions I want nothing but good for them.

I could talk about the fact that the consequence of this was my walking away from a lot of mutual friends as well. It may mean that I’ve given the impression of being guilty of something, but the truth is I simply dont have the fight left. Instead I chose to not drive myself crazy with m head over analysing and over thinking every little thing.

I could also talk about the breakdown I had in July, which led to a month off work because I couldn’t function coherently.

I could also talk about the fact I’ve had two near misses of suicide attempts the latest one being november. But at this point I’ll just acknowledge my mental health has been absolutely shit this year.

I could instead then talk about my leg, and how my recovery has progressed to a point at which point it’s unlikely to improve much more.

Or I could focus on my trip to Denmark, the things I saw, and experienced and enjoyed.

I Could talk about th fact that work has gone pretty well this year, and I have a few friendships forming over mutual geekiness.

I could talk about lots of things… but instead, I’m choosing to talk about the words I’m adopting for myself for the coming year.

“Be kind to yourself in the year ahead.

Remember to forgive yourself, and to forgive others. It’s too easy to be outraged these days, so much harder to change things, to reach out, to understand.

Try to make your time matter: minutes and hours and days and weeks can blow away like dead leaves, with nothing to show but time you spent not quite ever doing things, or time you spent waiting to begin.

Meet new people and talk to them. Make new things and show them to people who might enjoy them.

Hug too much. Smile too much. And, when you can, love.”
– Neil Gaiman

Boxes. Literal and Figurative.

We spend a lot of time trying to put things into boxes.

Whether it’s the literal lets keep things tidy or put them away out of sight, or the figurative filing as to where pieces of information and all other intangible things fit it’s built in to us nowadays. I’m fairly sure that it wasn’t always like that though. There was a simpler time when things just were what they were, and they were accepted for that. trying to reclaim any semblance of that is difficult, even for someone who sees thing as they truly are and does not judge.

At the moment I have a lot of things in boxes – from things that were in the hospital with me, to some of the things that I accumulated during my 6 months convalescence away from home, to things that aren’t even mine, but I am storing. It’s probably about the same ratio in my head to be honest, but some of the content is different. From random information, through to paranoia and negativity – not all of which is mine…

I closed this blog down shortly before Christmas, because other people were chastising me for getting some of this stuff out of my head and onto paper, or page. In hindsight, it may not have been the best plan. Because all it did was cause me to put more things into boxes and shut the lids. Not always helpful when you’re already in a spiral downwards that you know about, and others know about.

I don’t know whether it’s time to dust it down and start using it again, as to be honest, every time I think about writing a blog post, whether it’s on here or my lifestyle blog I am left wondering how long it will be until I’m forced to stop expressing myself in any way. Its been a hellish few months, as things in my head haven’t gotten better. they got worse, and compounded by real life events that would take a good toll on anyone at all have also taken their toll on me.

I moved back to my own flat. A scary premise in itself, as my entire support structure was taken out from under my feet, and suddenly, aside from the obvious things like stairs I needed to deal with, I didn’t have anyone to help if I slipped or got stuck or any of the things that were a worry. I also became truly single again, which… still hurts. I’m pretty sure that there won’t be another relationship now. That’s not me being defeatist or negative either, that’s just gut feeling. If I’m proven wrong, then so be it, but I think its probably best that I remain as per the internet memes of notoriety, Forever Alone.  I also went back to work. Another scary thing.

It’s no real surprise then, that I’ve hidden. I’m afraid to go out now, whether it’s on my own or with people. Partly rational, but partly not. I’m afraid that friends are taking pity on me, that others are tolerating my being around. That others will look and not see the injury that I’m hiding because now, with the crutches, I walk relatively normally. Its only when you take them away that they aren’t there. And that’s when it comes to people I know. I’m scared to go anywhere I haven’t been before and seen the route that I can go and made sure I’m not going to come a cropper.

For me, in all honesty, that is the point where I am losing my raison d’etre. Fiercely independant and unable to go out and explore and do anything the way I used to…

the dangers of extroverted processing.

I am an introvert by nature. (INFJ if you want to know my Myers Briggs type) However, what’s even rare than that is the fact that I’m an introvert with an extroverted processing mechanism – that is to say, that I work through things externally – whether it’s coming to a conclusion about one of the Big Things, or just something as simple as what to have for tea, sometimes. Whether or not it’s a learned coping strategy (because I tend to not be great at self talk) or it’s just my nature to be that is actually irrelevant. It’s a hard thing, because I don’t like talking to people. I don’t like feeling like I’m disturbing people or being a burden in anyway (which IS relevant because my thoughts and feelings are no more (and no less) important than anyone else’s.) so to get around that, quite often I’ll write things down. That way I can give it the consideration it needs, in the way I need to give it without having to worry.

Of course the thing that’s really under scrutiny here is the fact that a lot of the time, I’ll write on here. The reason I do is that if anyone else has an opinion, they are welcome to chip in, but I don’t expect it. But that in itself is fraught with danger. People tend to assume I’m writing about them, or that it’s a situation somehow involving them, or that I should talk to them about things. 99% of the time it’s none of those. A situation involving a single person or set of people I WILL GO AND TALK TO ABOUT IT, I don’t know how many times I have to keep saying and doing that.

I’m aware that this is sounding suspiciously like an angry rant, and it is, in a way. I slept really badly, due to my last post being brought up in a conversation while I was getting off to sleep. Consequently I didn’t sleep well, and every time I woke up I had the last comment made running round my head, which doesn’t help anything. I’m not in a good mood today because I need to have a pointless conversation now which will only piss me off more and because I slept badly I got up late and now can’t do half the stuff I wanted to today…

So I guess what I’m trying to say in sum is that I won’t be writing on here any more. Not as a sounding board to my own head anyway. I’ll find somewhere else (I’ve got other places I used to write) or just go back to pen and paper. It’s getting to the point where it’s more trouble than it’s worth- whether it’s doing ME any good be damned.