I wish I had something more profound to talk about today, but I don’t. The truth is that occasionally in life there is nothing super inspirational or motivational that can help you. There will be phases where life will just be really fucking hard and we have to find our own ways of surviving. On one hand it can be excruciatingly overwhelming, while on others it can seem like we have all the power for taking back control. But what happens when you’re stuck in limbo and aren’t able to feel anything at all aside from the exhaustion? The fatigue kicks in and you need to sit down and just not think or feel anything for a little while, what then?
You say, “Fuck it,” and don’t look back.
In mid-April, my mental health took a severe turn for the worse. I chatted about it a bit here. The short version is that quarantine and self-isolation began to impact many methods and coping techniques that I had honed over the years when it came dealing with the vast array of mental conditions that I have. It felt as if everything that I had worked so damn hard for was being wiped away with a magic eraser thingy from Mr Clean and it was terrible. Being able to grasp on anything around me so that I may stand back up was seeming nigh impossible. Things kept on feeling worse and worse, the pressure on my chest heavier and heavier, my shoulders just slumping forward from carrying it all around. Yesterday I hit an all-time low and told my roommate, Madame Gabs, that I wanted to kill myself. I wasn’t merely thinking about it anymore. I was determined to do it. Being overwhelmed was just that, too much to handle emotionally and mentally.
After that conversation, I took my heart medicine (normal dose) and tried to get some sleep at her suggestion. She felt that if I got some rest and tried to ride the suicidal thoughts out with sleep then hopefully they would pass, or at the very least their intensity and dire vitalness would evaporate somewhat. While the unbearable urge of that moment did pass, when I woke up, I still felt like shit.
This last year has sucked. My heart condition took a turn for the worse in October and treatment for it has been incredibly taxing on my body and mind. Then I began to get migraines. I chatted with my doctor about them, learned that they are different than your standard migraine, and when we discussed cancer in my family history, she became concerned. I’m waiting to get an appointment for testing, but the very notion that I could possibly have brain cancer (even with the smallest, snowball chances of it) just broke me. I fell apart and became fed-up of life. How am I supposed to keep moving forward and keep on fighting when Life itself keeps kicking my bloody arse every fucking step of the way?
All I want more than anything else is to become a published author. I have so many bizarre and dark and strange and (occasionally) bittersweet stories to tell. Fantasy, magical realism, literary—all that jazz. I just want to write things and share them with the world and hopefully make a living where my existence isn’t based on desperate paycheck-to-paycheck survival. But mostly, I want to write and spread the splendour of imagination. If I could have anything other than that, it would be a somewhat normal physical health gig, but I’m not getting my hopes up for that one. The prospect of dying before I am able to do this is unfathomably depressing. I have one goal and it seems that the flagpole for that goal keeps getting shoved farther and farther away from me. First my heart, and now my brain? The thing I need the most for being an author? What shit luck is this?
So, yeah, yesterday I wanted to throw in the towel. I was ready to give up and just save Life the trouble and hoops to jump through that they were clearly exerting energy on in shattering all my hopes and ambition. I sat at my computer at midnight and just wallowed in my self-pity party while listening to self-pity party music like Comatose by Skillet. But then halfway through the song, I got angry.
The rage I was feeling was against myself; against my body for constantly getting slapped with one condition or disease or another; against every fucking thing in the world that made me feel like I don’t have what it takes to succeed. When that finally subsided, it dawned on me that I was trying too hard.
We are in the midst of a pandemic. I don’t normally describe things this way because it’s ablest and disrespectful, but in this situation it applies: things are fucking crazy right now and vastly uncertain. Publishing is thriving on one hand, yet also being negatively bitch-smacked on the other with book piracy and authors losing income due to a complete lack of promotional events (in person). Yes, people are getting creative about promoting authors and their works, and I love that. The sense of community and support that is being banded together to help all these brilliant creators is inspiring. But it doesn’t change the cold hard reality that the future is a giant portrait of white noise and janky question marks to make even The Riddler eerily happy, and people everywhere are suffering for it.
So, what am I trying so fucking hard to accomplish here?
I work on my manuscript(s) daily and I have a list of potential agents I want to query when said manuscript is done (can you even query an agent without one?). I put my heart, sweat, and soul into running two blogs. I’m bleeding to complete Uni for a degree I’m not even sure I’ll be able to finish in the next year (all that pandemic uncertainty, remember?).
But is that why I’m trying so damn hard? Are these things reasons for me to keep going and going and going like the Energizer bunny on cocaine? Is this multitude of consistent and constant 120% efforts worth it when the world is fucking falling apart?
I’m not saying that I should stop pursuing all the things, especially that author gig. I would probably be in the middle of chemo and I’d still be pushing to make that dream come true before I bite the bullet (not joking). I’m just saying that with the way things are in the world, it’s okay for me to just take a step back and say, “Fuck it. Not today, bitches.”
Taking time off to do nothing at all is necessary sometimes, especially where mental health conditions are concerned. The way everyone deals with their conditions is going to be different, so this is by no means a mass-produced solution. All I’m saying is that our brains get exhausted and we are more prone to said exhaustion and feelings of inadequacy and inundation. If we don’t step the fuck away from all the chaos, then it will eat us up and consume us in a tornado of terrible thoughts and feelings; things that can greatly hinder our ability to find our path forward again when the dust from Sir Uncertainty finally clears.
Saying, “Fuck it” doesn’t equate to giving up. It just means that for the time being, I’m putting all the baggage into a box and then putting the box in a different room until I’m ready and able to come back and deal with it. For some of us, the option of saying “Fuck it” is not an option at all. There are responsibilities and obligations that can prevent us from creating that separation from le box. So, rather than putting it in a different room, put it in the corner. Even if it’s only there for the five or ten minutes it takes you to drink your coffee or tea or beer. Those handful of minutes can go a long way towards helping us rejuvenate and find our footing again, or at the very least, provide us with the oxygen we need to think clearly and stay focused.
Life is being an executioner’s bastard sword right now and I have so much to do or accomplish.
Fuck it. I’m drinking this chai and eating my biscotti.
I have illnesses that want to kill me via agonising methods.
Fuck it. I’m going to cuddle with my kitties and cherish this moment of joy that death can’t take from me.
I have written and re-written this manuscript five times and I’m frightened I’ll never get published.
Fuck it. I’m going to read a chapter or two from my favourite books by favourite authors and remember why I wanted to be a goddamn writer to begin with.
My depression is making me suicidal even though deep down inside I know that’s not what I want for myself.
Fuck it. I’m going to ignore my depression by playing video games or binging Initial D (although my Hulu account will tell you it’s One Tree Hill I have been binging. #NoRegrets).
I am scared of my future and I am terrified of the uncertainty.
Fuck it. I am far stronger than I shall I ever fucking know.
Fuck it. I will survive.
Fuck it. I will succeed.