I have been struggling in a new way. An awful way. I have an idea that I know what this might be, but that would mean taking something to a psych and saying “maybe it’s this” and fuck knows how they do not like that. I don’t know how to broach something like this and I don’t know how to talk about it and I don’t know what I’m going to do but something has to give, I can’t carry on this way.
I still sit in the bath and weep. My stomach still lurches when I pick my phone up, the place she existed in my world. I still wish it had been me, not her. I don’t talk, I feel alone in a way I never have before. All the hope she carried for me, whilst I had none of my own, evaporated with her. It’s a suffocating, overbearing, hideous way to live and I no longer have any desire for it.
“Are you enjoying your art therapy?” she said.
I shook my head, partly in answer, and partly in disbelief that a mental health professional should have so little understanding of psychotherapy. In what universe is exposing your screwed up self to another FUN?
But this is the world of Recovery, in which any vaguely pleasant or rewarding activity can be dressed up as therapeutic. So there’s therapeutic art, therapeutic gardening, therapeutic baking, therapeutic kindness to others. And from there, of course, it’s not such a leap – and this is already well on the way, inveigling itself into government policy – to the concept of therapeutic employment. You can see the appeal. Cut the benefits bill and solve the growing mental health crisis in one fell ideological swoop.
And if these dumbed down “therapies” don’t work? The blame is easily located in the service user and their poor “coping strategies”. Treatment…
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[Contains mentions of suicide.]
I feel fractured. Shut down. There’s probably feelings hiding in the part I’m cut off from, stoked up by the recent appointment, laying things bare and putting words to my dismal reality. But I’m ignoring the bigger elephant in the room, I’m ignoring that I’m suicidal.
It might sound like a rubbish strategy but it’s the best of a bad lot. If I actually give it any time and attention it’ll likely only seem more appealing, make more sense, begin to be logical and inevitable and right. If it pulls me under I know there’s no place to go with it, fighting it is a solo effort; I survive it or I don’t but at least by ignoring it there’s a chance I won’t have to fight it head on at all.
Sounds like avoidance, but the other thing sounds like ruminating. And so the conflict in my head goes, already telling me I’m dealing with this all wrong. Every path is wrong, every step the wrong one, whipping up fear into terror until I can’t do or say or feel or think anything.
This took an unexpected turn, I think I should leave it there.
I’ve had conversations lately about art, creativity. I like the idea of creating something, expressing, but previous attempts have been unfulfilling, frustrating. Since I discovered I have aphantasia, the difficulties make more sense. So I’ve been courting the idea of trying again. Of using my complete lack of understanding of the concepts of art and design to my advantage. Of not giving up just because it doesn’t come easily & I’m afraid of sucking at it. I’m mulling, slowly, cautiously, as is my way. But then that familiar dread, that knot, that utter fucking paralysis.
No, you can’t do something purely because it might be therapeutic or nurturing or enjoyable.
If it’s not self-improvement via achievement, it’s not happening. And this is how it’s always been, a truth that I never had words for before (not that I’m sure these are the right ones, at all). I can tell it’s terror, I know it so well, the vice-like grip.. and I know I’m powerless to move against it.
There’s a fallout whenever I achieve anything. There’s a bigger fallout when I talk. Where my mind (Steve) picks it apart, tries to ruin it, tries to sour it. Even when I do everything to mitigate, even when I really trust the person, it’s bad. And if I’m honest, it’s getting worse. Idk how to quiet my head. Idk how to make the dread lessen. Idk how to deal with this monster… can’t talk about it, that’s for sure. I feel utterly stuck.
I got nothing, except an apology for my existence. I try to think of the things to remember in this state, for comfort, but my mind goes blank. I used to feel like there’s a monster living in my head but now I feel more monster than not myself. People say anxiety is like a sign something is wrong, not to be ignored… if that’s right, my major problems are only fixed by not existing, never having existed at all. There’s so much shame built up inside me I feel the dreadful, familiar burning of my cheeks even when I’m alone. I don’t know why I’m writing, I don’t know if it helps or if I’m sharing things people shouldn’t share. But nothing I do, say, think or am will go unquestioned & uncriticised right now so I have absolutely no idea what’s right, what’s ok, what’s me.