Defying the Darkness

A while back I wrote some thoughts about what people can do in a mental health crisis. I thought about what led up to my crisis and have been taking a few notes here and there about what led me to those moments. Again, this may not apply to you and I am not an expert, but here we go:

– When I first had negative thoughts that I knew were different than what I knew to be normal, my mind would go all kinds of strange places. I would second guess everything except the negative thought. Now I know that it comes from my own self-confidence. I have real moments that I struggle with knowing that I have what it takes to succeed. It is easier to deal with my doubts now that I know this about myself.
– When in my quiet moments, I now recognize that they are important to my mental health as water and time with my son. Those spaces between activity give me energy. I have never been energized by others. Classic introvert.
– I say ‘no’ more now than I ever have in my life. This is immensely useful and painful at the same time. I would rather take the pain now than suffer later.
– I am honest about how I feel now when people ask me how I am doing. It isn’t for them necessarily… It is so I hear it out loud and acknowledge it. It can make things weird but I really don’t give a damn anymore. Survival.
– When I am tired, I sleep, though now that I use a CPAP I am less so. If you are tired and don’t know why, get yourself checked out. It is worth it.
– I spend more time with family. I have learned that we are peculiar and that sometimes the best thing for you is someone that understands that.
– Organizing work is an addiction I now treat as such. Making it my last priority has kept me sane. Sorry… Not sorry.
– I am reminded by Anice that even in my darkest moments, I was there for Justice. There is something to that and I remind myself that he serves as an anchor all the time, helping me find my way back.

Which Side Are You On?

A few years ago, taxi drivers stopped traffic downtown and it was a nightmare for people working in DC. Traffic was crucial and people were so upset. Some friends at dinner asked me what the point was of pissing off so many people. My response was that sometimes the public isn’t the target. Sometimes it really isn’t about getting your support. It is a disappointing fact of life, but not everything is about you or your permission.

I have questions too about strategy, all the time. I confess that I’ve had conversations where people have asked me why something was happening with #blacklivesmatter and my response was that honestly I didn’t know why a decision was made. Some things I have even disagreed with… for a while. I really like Uncle Bernie for many reasons and definitely felt no small amount of defensiveness. Economic justice is a huge part of my life.
But I started to see the larger strategy as something bigger than me and my shitty little opinion of how things are being done. I wasn’t the target, at least not in that way. I also wasn’t the smartest person in the room and those that were wiser than me caught on to my desire to understand why and pointed this line of strategic thinking out to me. Thank you to those of you that are patient enough to teach… I will continue to let my ego calm down enough to learn.
What the recent actions have done is make me think about ways I could be more supportive and active. Admittedly, I’ve been afraid to let my emotional state rise above ‘slightly irritated’ for fear of some weird psychotic break or something, but that’s natural after a solid year of struggling to feel some semblance of sanity. Maybe that’s the point for ‘the rest of us.’ Maybe we’re supposed to see where we are standing and decide just how much we like the view from where we are. To see if we measure up to our own ideals and make a decision about who we stand with… and to sit with our discomfort while we make that decision.
To quote one of my favorite old songs, Which Side Are You On?
– for my sisters, Alicia, Opal and Patrisse