Tag Archives: Dance the Blues Away

That’s the thing about boundaries

“I’m sorry.”

This may be the most overrated, overused phrase in my catch-all, go to, spit it out library. Most times I don’t really mean it, “I’m sorry” is the quickest way around, under, over and out of an uncomfortable situation.

Boundaries, now there’s a swash and spit mouthful. A word worthy of top shelf book space. I don’t pull it out often enough. Managing the days with a serious mental illness (it’s high-tide time I accept it) boundaries should have an entire section in Webster’s. Not really but damn it well should.

There are the managements, physical ick-awful pain, aches, nauseous, brain burning exhaustion. The clenched jaw, neck so tight you’re unaware until you grab a stick of gum to quash the anxiety and each chew hurts. It’s worse than the worst flu delirium and yet there I go again, apologizing. “I’m sorry for not taking the laundry down, I’m sorry for needing a minute, an hour, whatever to wait out the hot flashes, chills, blurry eyes that are clouding my fucking vision. I’m sorry I cannot think straight with the incessant ringing in my ears, head spinning from the constant whir. I’m sorry I can’t remember what I was thinking two seconds ago, or which of the million thoughts swirling around I’m going to shut out, or which I’m going try and  focus on.

I’m sorry this is my fucking, miserable reality. It’s not exactly what I’d hoped either.

I’m sorry you think I don’t care, or am not listening. I’m sorry you think I don’t care, or am not listening.

For that, I am truly sorry. I am listening behind the white noise and I do care about what you’re saying. I care about what you said two days ago, that I am just now processing.

See, how that goes. I’m sorry. I am the first to understand empathy is the wasted, throw away emotion. There are better, far healthier choices, words to choose.

So I’m going to try hard, as if I don’t try every single solitary second so you get my exhaustive, over-exaggerated, moot point.

Boundaries. I’m going to incorporate that word into my repertoire, get used to hearing the way it sounds.

No. I can’t.10246632_10202265395809057_1936156732_n

I’ll let you know when I am able.

Polite, and to the point.

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for the love of a dog

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Wouldn’t it be lovely if kindness, loyalty and showers of affection were our biggest faults?

Wouldn’t it though?

It would be awfully, awfully nice.

It is lovely in the company of my shadow.

The spirit animal who teaches me patiently and without judgement

the crazy curious inexplicable mystery that is uncomplicated love.

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For one glorious moment I forget, all the exhausting complicated human parts.

I’m free. On the walk.

I don’t care how I look on the outside,

neither does she.

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shhhh, my brain is healing

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Benzo withdrawal and the excruciating road to recovery is well worse than the lowest, hottest depths of hell.

Actually if there was a hell, I’d probably choose to go there.

Okay, I understand prescribing a XaniBar for a short time because it is necessary to quash

the extreme anxiety tentacles vice gripping the brain.

I am Manic Depressive (not BiPolar, I despise the modernized, sensationalized term).

I understand that my illness is precarious, and all the uncertainty that is attached.

I understand that Lithium, the ‘gold standard’ drug is my best bet to stay alive.

I take it faithfully, like a daily chore you do not because you like it but simply because it’s part of your routine.

Everyday for the last 13 years I swallow my pride.

I’m not sure when Xanax became the necessity, after a traumatic event, suicidal tendencies, or the full-blown psychotic breakdown.

Does it even matter? I needed it to survive. Trouble is, it wasn’t enough. I needed more, to raise the dose to function, get through the day without doing something drastic.

I admit it, suicide is never far from my broken, tortured, chaotic mind. I am not sure why I’m still here, it’s a crapshoot.

Back to the Benzos.

How could I know back then what Benzo addiction and eventual withdrawal would do to my already damaged mind?

I am an addict. Not by choice, not by my hands.

I have lost a year or more (who’s counting) clawing my way out, chills, hallucinations, tremors, blurred vision, extreme temperature fluctuations, 94 degrees is a scary place to be trapped inside, nausea, headaches, dizziness, muscle aches, pain I have never experienced. Seasick waves, hyper sensitivity.

If you touch me I might punch you out.

I am at the benzo taper half-mark. I’ve missed so much. Trips to Cali, the beach, NY, hell just being present. Some days a trip to the nature trail with the dog is a huge accomplishment.

I am resilient. I am determined. I am not afraid to admit I’m paralyzed by fear. I blame the doctors, God, whomever is in close proximity. There is no blame, really. Bad shit happens.

I fill my arsenal with things that help with my recovery. Essential oils, strict diet, exercise, epsom salt baths, writing, watching movies, my dog. I try hard not to beat myself up. Rest, when necessary.

If your doctor writes a script for Xanax to ‘take the edge off,’ tell him to shove it and go for a walk, seek alternative treatment, try if you can to SPRINT in the other direction. If you can.

My brain is himages-1ealing. I catch a glimpse of my old, new and improved self. GABA is my new favorite word.

To everyone out there fighting, dealing with impossible challenges, breathe in 7 seconds and then breathe out 10.

Do it, again and again until your skin doesn’t crawl.

Educate yourself.

And if you meet someone who’s a little off-color, be kind.

You don’t know what hoops they’re jumping through.

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Benzo Withdrawal LINKS:

http://www.psychmedaware.org/recovery_tips.html

http://benzowithdrawalhelp.com

http://www.benzobuddies.org

Happy, The Gyre Current Illusion

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The Red Bench

It’s funny how life thrusts you forward, ready or not. Every single thing has changed, and yet I feel very much the same.

You do the work, plan your days, look ahead with the hope you might find happy waiting. Happy is the illusion like gyre currents in perpetual movement.

I wrote The Red Bench half a decade ago churning in my brain trying to comprehend the mystery of living. The story evolved into The Vast Landscape, Georgia Pine and now I begin again, with Ever Green. Curious, all the titles have to do with nature, double entendres. Maybe the quiet, self-mandated daily walk, clean air, gravel crunching underfoot, allows the mind silence, and oxygen from constricted, over crowded spaces. The walkabout leaves a lasting effect. Tales of a familial girl in perpetual spin-cycle. An ordinary, average girl trying to comprehend the mysteries that are human emotion, loss, love and family. Strength and resilience are there too, squashed by fear and hidden below the dirt. Uncovering sparkling, dazzling quartz minerals right beneath the surface. We are the mistake happening by chance, moving along as best we can. Silly it seems, plans change, variables, decisions made, much like the secure future once envisioned.

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I return to the red bench to find my footing, the New Year’s mantra 365 days long.

The Red Bench by Jacqueline Cioffa

-excerpts

“It all comes back to a red metal bench in the woods, on a small hill by a nothing special pond. The air is sweet and wet and fall is here for now. Ducks sleep near the brisk, damp water waiting to take flight to sunnier places, offering no solution. I shiver and squirm in my own discomfort, clenching the bench, determined to will myself better. I’ll sit there god damn it, you fucking God cocksucker, I’m as stubborn as you, until there is something to look forward to. I’m not pretending rosy and cheery just maybe a hint of curiosity.

With one foot planted on the ground, the other dancing with parasol queens and subway kings, I’m off whenever the mood suits. I’m not sure I can keep up this charade of good health. My mind is winning you see, disappearing each day into the void, gray matter dying piece by piece. I say take it all, so that I no longer remember the unnerving beauty here on earth. They tell me I must fight harder, but I don’t see from where or how. The choice has never been up to me, no matter how heavy I wear the armor.

Instead of despair on these sub-zero days, in parades of endless succession. I hate gray the color, the boring winter blank sky. I hate the cold, the incessant bitter freeze I can’t shake off. They say ECT may be the only way back, my mind resistant to the drugs they shove down my throat. I don’t care, zap my brain, shock it, and bring back hope. Where is this God they talk so highly about? He’s a slacker, watching tsunamis, disease and earthquakes swallow babies and their families whole. How could I think for one second he might take pity on me? When the rest of the blue planet has gone haywire. Killing for nothing, stealing, lying, cheating, concerned for number one. There is no honor and trust amongst new millennium thieves. We are a nation consumed with stuff, ego and greed. Hey, look at me, how fabulous the façade. Maybe by spring, the hatred and contempt will be gone. Some warmth and compassion brought back into these cold-hearted bones. If I can hang on until then, I might have a shot.

I hope the world my predecessor lives in is a kinder place to dwell. I pray the blue people have learned compassion towards the ill, the weak and the mind sick. I hope that time has made her world a softer, more humane place to visit. Shame and fear have been obliterated from her planet, coloring her life with only happy minutes. She will grow up to be a healthy woman, headstrong, a great healer, fearless traveler, and the gypsy traveling the globe on her sacred walkabout. She is me, only better, the direct descendant of all that I was not. She will do everything I hoped to accomplish in life. She will not fall short, cut down by a disease more than complicated than life itself. She will grow up brave and strong, a clearheaded, fine woman. I get to watch, dust particles in heaven floating over her head, living out the perfect life. We have come full circle, my limitations never mattered, disease didn’t win. The spirit guides that went before me showed the easier, less complicated route.

Things always seem brighter, warmer, kinder, and less drastic under the beautiful rays of a golden sun.

My death never mattered one bit, only the courage, grace, and strength of how I lived carries on. In the face of adversity, I hope I was remembered as kind.”

Prose growth.

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Stuck on a Song

Jawbreaking, aching, stunning poetry set to music.

Do you get stuck on a song? I do, and I love it.

“My lover’s got humour

She’s the giggle at a funeral
Knows everybody’s disapproval
I should’ve worshipped her sooner

If the heavens ever did speak
She’s the last true mouthpiece
Every Sunday’s getting more bleak
A fresh poison each week

‘We were born sick, ‘ you heard them say it

My Church offers no absolutes
She tells me, ‘Worship in the bedroom.’
The only heaven I’ll be sent to
Is when I’m alone with you—

I was born sick,
But I love it
Command me to be well
Amen. Amen. Amen. Amen”- partial lyrics -HOZIER

Hey Red.

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Yesterday was not a good day. No, in fact It was a very, very bad one. Crap, we all have them. Not exactly like mine. My bad day started out fine, until out of nowhere, it wasn’t. Frenzied, panicked, the emotional turmoil requires a great deal of work. They tell me ride it out, it will be fine. It won’t. My mother sits across watching, as my eye droops, I sob hysterically, my face contorts, reason jets out the window. Her face frozen with patience, sorrow and exhaustion shows me the way back. After an hour, the very bad subsides. I am wrecked. I tell her I am fine, which I am not but what the hell. It’s a small lie, a white one. Her heart has been broken too many times. She leaves, drives around the block, only to return. She has not done that before, I wonder did she see something menacing as I went missing? Clawing my way back to the here and now. A task, a physical task helps. I rake, working the body to exhaustion quelling the incessant noise. I work until numb. That helps. I spend too much time trying to be the person I was. Wasted energy. I must let her die. She was beautiful, loud, said all the inappropriate things, flawed and messy. She was free. She was me. I loved her, anyway. She is gone, but I celebrate the best parts of her. Even the experts aren’t experts on the bad days. They have no finite conclusion, no magic pill, tangible task to offer. Baffled by the mysterious workings of the mind. I’m leaving this muddled brain to science. That is my contribution to her and me. And all those that came before, and come after.

Today is better. I get out, and walk. Nature’s changing scenery reminds me, all is temporary. Billy Joel’s, “you catholic girls start much too late. Sooner or later it comes down to fate,” takes me to a happy place. Childhood memories, skipping, twirling and tacky plaid uniforms. The crisp air, biting wind off the angry water is good for the soul. Watching my pooch run leaps and bounds, ears at attention, I lose myself in her joy. I feel a smile coming on, in spite of it all. I’d dance in the oddly vacant parking lot, no one’s around. I better not. I must behave. Oh fuk it, I shake my booty just a little, shimmy my shoulders, press unlock and hop in the car. I hit repeat, singing loud and off-key, “I’d rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints. The sinners are much more fun.” Only the Good Die Young. I’m lucky. How many of us die and live to talk about it.