Christmas Disorders and Carols

http://thereseborchard.com/2012/12/15/do-you-hear-what-i-hear-christmas-disorders-and-carols/

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No Surprises

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“No Surprises”
by Amanda Palmer

A heart that’s full up like a landfill
A job that slowly kills you
Bruises that won’t heal

You look so tired-unhappy
Bring down the government
They don’t, they don’t speak for us

I’ll take a quiet life
A handshake of carbon monoxide

No alarms and no surprises
No alarms and no surprises
No alarms and no surprises

Silence, silence

This is my final fit
My final bellyache

With no alarms and no surprises
No alarms and no surprises
No alarms and no surprises, please.

Such a pretty house
And such a pretty garden

No alarms and no surprises
No alarms and no surprises
No alarms and no surprises, please

Bigger On The Inside

Bigger On The Inside
by Amanda Palmer

You’d think I’d shot their children
From the way that they are talking
And there’s no point in responding
‘Cause it will not make them stop

And I am tired of explaining
And of seeing so much hating
In the very same safe havens
Where I used to just see helping

I’ve been drunk and skipping dinner
Eating skin from off my fingers
And I tried to call my brother
But he no longer exists

I keep forgetting to remember
That he would have been much prouder
If he saw me shake these insults off
Instead of getting bitter

I am bigger on the inside
But you have to come inside to see me
Otherwise you’re only hating
Other people’s low-res copies

You’d think I’d learn my lesson
From the way they keep on testing
My capacity for pain
And my resolve to not get violent

But though my skin is thickened
Certain spots can still be got in
It is typically human of me
Thinking I am different

To friends hooked up to hospital machines
Two kinds of cancer
And there is no better place than from this
Waiting room to answer

The French kid who wrote an e-mail
To the website late last night
His father raped him and he’s scared
He asked me “How do you keep fighting?”

And the truth is I don’t know
I think it’s funny that he asked me
‘Cause I don’t feel like a fighter lately
I am too unhappy

You are bigger on the inside
But you’re father cannot see
You need to tell someone, be strong
And somewhere some dumb rockstar truly loves you

You’d think I’d get perspective
From my few years by the bedside
It is difficult to see the ones I love
So close to death

All their infections and procedures
And the will to live at all in question
Can I not accept that my own problems
Are so small

You took my hand when you woke up
I had been crying in the darkness
We all die alone but I am so so glad
That you are here

You whispered “We are so much bigger on the inside.
You, me, everybody.
Some day when you’re lying where I am
You’ll finally get it truly.”

We are so much bigger
Than another one can ever see
Trying is the point of life
So don’t stop trying

Promise me

I don’t know why.

IDK

I feel like I’ve been saying, “I don’t know.”, “I don’t know why.” or any and all variations of, “I don’t know…” a lot lately. And I really honestly don’t know. People constantly ask me what it is I want and what it is I need and why I feel X, why does Y bother me, why does Z hurt? I don’t know why. I wish I knew I why. Often, when I don’t know the answer to something, I can Google that shit and I’m content I’ve found the answer I’m looking for. But unfortunately, you can’t just Google the answers to some of your most difficult questions. This isn’t Jeopardy.

My therapy is going through some very significant changes right now and while I see the potential/goal, change is still scary. It’s making me even more scared, nervous and upset when I’m trying to talk to my therapist M and tell her as succinctly as possible what it is I want and need from her right now. And I just…don’t…know. There are, of course, some very easy and obvious things to rattle off but in my heart and mind, I know there’s something more and for the life of me, I cannot verbalize it; I cannot find the words I need to communicate. What happens when words fail? Music speaks. This song especially speaks to me because of my personal conviction that everything happens for a reason, even if we don’t always know why. I don’t know how, when, why or even if I will come out of this on top. Hell, it doesn’t even have to be on top…I’d be content just coming out of it. M cannot promise me and guarantee that there will be a better place for me…that this won’t last forever…but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen. So it’s sort of like being at an impasse. M: “J…I don’t know how, but I know you will come out of this swinging. This will not last forever. I don’t know why I know these things, but I do.” Me: “M, I don’t know why I’ve hung on for so long. I don’t know why I need you…I don’t know why I don’t know anything at all.” Thank God for music because if there were no music, then I would not get through.

“I Don’t Know Why”
by Shawn Colvin

I don’t know why
The sky is so blue
And I don’t know why
I’m so in love with you
But if there were no music
Then I would not get through
And I don’t know why
I know these things, but I do

And I don’t know why
But somewhere dreams come true, yeah
And I don’t know where
But there will be a place for you
And every time you look that way
I would lay down my life for you
I don’t know why
I know these things, but I do

I don’t know why
But some are going to make you cry
And I don’t know how
But I will get you by, I will try
‘Cause they’re not trying to cause you pain
They’re just afraid of loving you
And I don’t know why
I know these things, but I do

I don’t know why
The trees grow so tall
And I don’t know why
I don’t know anything at all
But if there were no music
Then I would not get through
And I don’t know why
I know these things, but I do
I don’t know why
I know these things, but I do

[youtube http://youtu.be/fPL_VW9LD-k]

Is anybody out there?

“Is Anybody Out There?”
by K’naan feat. Nelly Furtado

I don’t wanna be left
In this war tonight
Am I alone in this fight?
Is anybody out there?

Don’t wanna be left left in this world behind
Say you’ll run to my side

Something ’bout Mary
Never won a pageant
Never felt pretty
Never looked like Cameron
Diaz was her last name
Always been abandoned
Keep your head up

Baby girl this is your anthem
There goes Hannah
Showin’ off her banner
Rocking that crown
Make them boys go bananas
When you’re insecure about yourself
It’s a fact
You can point a finger
But there’s three pointing back
I can see her crying out, yeah
Is there anybody out there?

She’s really counting on your love
Still struggling uphill
But you act like you don’t care
Right now she could really use a shoulder
Hanging onto the edge til it’s over
She’s crying for your love tonight
Lonely is hard to survive, she said

I don’t wanna be left
In this war tonight
Am I alone in this fight?
Is anybody out there?

Don’t wanna be left left in this world behind
Say you’ll run to my side
Is anybody out there?

Is anybody out there?
(somebody, anybody)

His name was Adam
When his mom had him
Dad was a phantom
Never took a look at him
Grew up mad and antisocial
Hated outdoors
Always in playing Madden
Adam was lonely
Drugs were the only
Way out of his own life
Now he’s slowly losing his fire
Close to retire
With one last hope he puts his arms up higher
I can see him crying out, yeah
Is anybody out there?

He’s really counting on your love
Still struggling uphill
But you act like you don’t care
Right now he could really use a shoulder
Hanging onto the edge til it’s over
He’s crying for your love tonight
Lonely is hard to survive, he said

I don’t wanna be left
In this war tonight
Am I alone in this fight?
Is anybody out there?

Don’t wanna be left left in this world behind
Say you’ll run to my side
Is anybody out there?

If you feel the way I feel
Like you’ve been talking to yourself
Well this one’s for everyone who’s felt invisible
Lonely in a crowded room
Searching for someone like you
Can’t do it all alone (no one can baby)
Can’t do it all alone (no one should baby)
Is anybody out there?
(somebody, anybody)
Is anybody out there?
I’m right here for you
Is anybody out there?

I don’t wanna be left
In this war tonight
Am I alone in this fight?
Is anybody out there?

Don’t wanna be left left in this world behind
Say you’ll run to my side
Is anybody out there?
I don’t wanna do it all alone
I need your love to take me home
No one said you should be all alone
I’m right here
Is anybody out there?

In the middle of the night…

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“The River Of Dreams”
by Billy Joel

In the middle of the night
I go walking in my sleep
From the mountains of faith
To a river so deep
I must be looking for something
Something sacred I lost
But the river is wide
And it’s too hard to cross

And even though I know the river is wide
I walk down every evening and I stand on the shore
And try to cross to the opposite side
So I can finally find out what I’ve been looking for

In the middle of the night
I go walking in my sleep
Through the valley of fear
To a river so deep
And I’ve been searching for something
Taken out of my soul
Something I would never lose
Something somebody stole

I don’t know why I go walking at night
But now I’m tired and I don’t want to walk anymore
I hope it doesn’t take the rest of my life
Until I find what it is that I’ve been looking for

In the middle of the night
I go walking in my sleep
Through the jungle of doubt
To a river so deep
I know I’m searching for something
Something so undefined
That it can only be seen
By the eyes of the blind
In the middle of the night

I’m not sure about a life after this
God knows I’ve never been a spiritual man
Baptized by the fire I wade into the river
That runs to the promised land
In the middle of the night
I go walking in my sleep
Through the desert of truth
To the river so deep
We all end in the ocean
We all start in the streams
We’re all carried along
By the river of dreams
In the middle of the night

Living In The Moment

Yes, you get two posts in one night because it’s been that long since I’ve written and today was such a mind blowing day that I am inviting you to experience it with me.

In my “Slumber” post (which is required reading, by the way), I prattled on about how music is my nirvana and how powerful it is. In the beginning of that post, I also said I had an uncanny ability to find the most appropriate songs at the most appropriate times. Today was no exception.

Yet another part of DBT-focused therapy is radical acceptance (which is part of the Distress Tolerance module). *insert a HUGE sigh here* Acceptance, much less radical acceptance, was/is/probably always will be the bane of my existence and therapy. It is something I will fight and struggle with and cry over and embrace and punch over and over and over again. In a nutshell, radical acceptance is the acceptance (toleration if you want another word) of everything (your life, situation, a relationship, a feeling, a thought, etc.). Now that doesn’t mean that because you accept something, it’s good or okay…it’s just acknowledging that it happened/is happening and you have no control over it (other than what you let it do to you). “It is what it is.” If I had a nickel…

(As a disclaimer, any DBT skill I explain/talk about is always easier said than done.) Radical acceptance takes a lot of practice and a lot of work and after over a year in this therapy group, I am still learning and practicing this skill and there are days where I’m really good at saying, “Fuck it. It is what it is.”…but there are just as many, if not more, days where I say, “I hate you, Life! Y u gotta b such a biatch?! If only I had done this or that, or said this or that…” and on and on and on. Broken record. You continually beat yourself up for all the coulda woulda shoulda’s. Stop that shit. Seriously. (When I figure out how to do it, I’ll let you know.) Acceptance is not a skill that comes easily, if at all, and for me personally, it’s often something I get to after I’ve already beaten myself up (in DBT, they call that “suffering”) if acceptance even comes to me at all. Group and homework this week, as it so happens (but not really because all things happen for a reason), is all about radical acceptance. My peers and I managed to fill all 90 minutes of group time with our musings (and bashings) about acceptance and we probably could have continued until the sun came up if the therapists had let us (sometimes I swear they are grateful for that clock…oh who am I kidding?! I’m grateful for that clock some weeks!). I had some pretty awesome epiphanies this week and even came out with a new a favorite “soundtrack” song. (For those of you who are behind on the required reading *ahem*, “soundtrack” songs are songs I could put in a movie about my life and they would be dead-on perfect for a particular scene.) Before I even knew we were approaching our radical acceptance module, I wrote the “In My Mind” post. In that post, I rambled on about how shitty I thought it was that I wasn’t where I wanted to be in life and things hadn’t gone according to my plan…the one I so meticulously laid out for myself. That song helped me get a little bit further in accepting that “shit happens.” And I said helped…it wasn’t a cure-all…maybe saying that it gave me perspective is a better way to put it. So I walk into group last week with “In My Mind” already floating around in my brain and THEN the therapists want to go and pull the radical acceptance module out on me. It’s moments like those where I wonder who is Big Brother’ing me because sometimes things like that are just way too freaky, even for someone like me who’s own personal conviction is that all things, good and bad, happen for a reason. I walk into group singing, “Maybe I’ve just forgotten how to seeeee…that I’m not exactly the person that I thought I’dddd beeee…” and the therapists go and slap me upside the head with the radical acceptance unit. Really?! Seriously?! BUT…it was what it was…so I rolled with it. (Like what I did there?)

Our homework asked us to list out three really important things that we need to work on accepting and three less important things we need to work on accepting. (Obviously, I was already one step ahead of everyone else.) And then we get to pick those six things apart and attempt to “radically accept” them or at least be aware that we need to work on accepting them for what they are…be it life in general, a situation, a person, what have you. I’m an OCD over-achiever so naturally, I listed FOUR really important things I needed to work on accepting because I just enjoy making things really difficult for myself. I said above that I had already walked into group singing “In My Mind” so accepting my life for what it is, despite going completely OFF the charts of where it was SUPPOSED to go, was my #1 thing I needed/wanted to work on accepting. (I said the song helped…it didn’t “make it all better.”)

After that lovely 90-minute group session, I was hit with epiphany after epiphany. I wrote all over my homework page (I’m so glad we don’t actually have to hand those in). I like to write (duh) and so I write A LOT. Sometimes it’s a blog post, sometimes it’s a one-sentence musing or random thought that gets shoved into a text message, a Facebook status update, a 140-character Tweet, or written all over whatever piece of paper I happen to have handy. One such epiphany that I patted myself on the back for (and later found out that my therapist LOVED…so much, in fact, that she asked me to save it and repeat it to the group later this week) was this one: I’ve mentioned (I think) in some of my posts that I was, at one point, majoring in psychology. (If I didn’t mention it before, I’m mentioning it now.) I haven’t totally given up this dream and while I now realize I could probably never be a therapist, I do enjoy taking notes on serial killers, so I imagine, in my perfect healthy world, that I could be a criminal profiler some day. I also said (in my “About Me” section, I believe) that I am that proverbial preschooler who incessantly asks, “Why?” I’m curious about anything and everything and I like figuring out what makes people tick (myself included). People say TV makes you dumb. I say it only makes you dumb if you let it make you dumb (e.g. you watch Honey Boo Boo and/or Keeping Up With The Kardashians). My TV generally stays on the Discovery Channel, the National Geographic Channel, TLC, or the Investigation Discovery Channel. I don’t condone nor do I believe in everything I see and hear…BUT…I enjoy learning about different people and our world and all the who’s, why’s, what’s, and how’s of almost anything. Yes, I am much more inclined to watch a documentary about Aileen Wuornos than I am Toddlers & Tiaras, but that’s just because I have this weird fascination with crime and serial killers that I haven’t quite figured out yet. (And as a side note, I would much rather watch a real documentary on crime scene investigating, graphic photos and all, than watch CSI or any other “fake” TV drama series.) All that to say that I “enjoy” (I say that lightly) watching Hoarders on A&E (and the TLC one, too). (If you don’t know what hoarding is, click HERE. Remember people, Google is a wonderful tool.) Yes, I have to turn my head away or turn the program off if it involves animal hoarding or anything really nasty but those are insignificant details. In my brain (which is always running rampant with random musings) as I watched Hoarders this past week (which, unfortunately, was one that involved animals so I only watched the other person’s story and not the story of the animal lady…if you don’t know, most of the shows document the lives of two different hoarders per episode)…something hit me: When it comes down to it…as least as far as those of us who have psychological and/or emotional disorders…aren’t we ALL hoarders? Some people hoard THINGS…tangible items…but some of us (the “mental” ones) hoard emotions and feelings. The crux of the behavior that is “hoarding” is a mental disorder marked by an obsessive need to acquire and keep things, even if the items are worthless, hazardous, or “unsanitary”. How are we, as non-hoarders and emotionally dysregulated people, any different? Do we not sit in a group for 90 minutes every week trying to learn skills that will aid us in “throwing out” all of our “garbage”? Pick your chin up off the floor because you know I’m right. BOOM! Mind-blowing, huh? Well that’s what you get when you put a TV in front of an emotionally dysregulated almost-30-year-old who cannot radically accept her own life and throw away all the garbage that consumes her life on a daily basis.

I’ll have to explore this theory in group, but I wonder sometimes if I’ve made my own journey even harder because I am such a perfectionist. It’s so hard for me to just let go of shit. I remember being in school, back when we had to hand-write (in cursive, no less!) our essays…none of that 12-point-Times-New-Roman-double-spaced shit. If I made a mistake, no matter how tiny or fixable that mistake was, I crumpled that paper up and started writing my essay all over again…even if I was almost done with it the first time. It had to be perfect. And my life has gone SO far off of perfect that it has literally eaten me alive. But fear not…because I’m working on letting go of that habit. I’m learning to live in the moment.

Remember wayyyyyy back where I mentioned the “In My Mind” song and post before I got into this long-winded tangent? Come back to that now. There is a part of that song that says, “And in my mind, I imagine so many things…things that aren’t really happening. And when they put me in the ground, I’ll start pounding the lid, saying ‘I haven’t finished yet’…I still have a tattoo to get…that says I’m living in the moment…” On the pretense of doing my best to remain anonymous, I’ll just say that I like tattoos (and piercings) and I did not take that part of the song lightly. Every single time I heard that song, I put “get a tattoo that says you’re living in the moment” on my Bucket List. Well ladies and gentleman, today was the day where I got to check that item off. And right here is where I’m going to make this entire post make sense and tie it all together (I promise): I couldn’t sleep for shit last night/this morning. I had a semi-early therapy appointment today so once the sun started to grace me with its presence (however uninvited it was), I said fuck it, got up, and just started watching YouTube, Googling random shit and listening to music (of course). What song should come on? “In My Mind” by Amanda Palmer. What verse should stick out? The part about the tattoo and living in the moment. What are we learning/practicing in group this week? Acceptance and living in the moment. What bright idea do I come up with to do after my one-on-one therapy session today? If you guessed “accept your life” and “live in the moment”…you are so totally wrong…well…sort of. If you guessed “get a tattoo that says you’re living in the moment”…you are so totally right! And yes, I am so totally dead serious.

Now my tattoo ideas come off as being impulsive but what really happens is is that I sit on the ideas for months, even years, until a bee flies up my butt and I go all Nike and just do it. I’m an instant-gratification kind of girl. If I want something bad enough, I kinda sorta want it NOW…I have little patience for appointments or shipping time. So there I am, 4 AM in the morning, gathering the #s of my favorite tattoo shops, when they open and also looking at where I want my tattoo and what font I want it in. I went to my therapy appointment, made a few phone calls and a couple hours later, I walked out rocking some new ink. And you know what? I think it’s fucking awesome. Not only is it totally meaningful (in more ways than one…everything about it is meaningful, down to how I arranged the words and where I chose to have this permanent piece of ink needled into my skin), it’s totally applicable, it’s a great affirmation and reminder…IT IS WHAT IT IS. I’m sure you’re wishing my story ends there, but it does’t. Well, chronologically it does, but I didn’t tell you about what I found while Googling tattoo placement and font ideas before I even stepped foot into the tattoo parlor. Remember A LONG time ago where I said I was really good at finding appropriate/applicable songs for their appropriate/applicable moments? I had never heard or seen this song before. It was nonexistent in my world…until this morning. Behold, my little angel faces, the little gem I discovered today and the end of my post (finally):

Living In The Moment
by Jason Mraz

If this life is one act
Why do we lay all these traps?
We put ’em right in our path
When we just wanna be free

I will not waste my days
Making up all kinds of ways
To worry ’bout all the things
That will not happen to me

So I just let go of what I know I don’t know
And I know I’ll only do this by

Living in the moment
Living our life
Easy and breezy
With peace in my mind
With peace in my heart
Peace in my soul
Wherever I’m going
I’m already home
I’m living in the moment

I’m letting myself off the hook for things I’ve done
I let my past go past
And now I’m having more fun
I’m letting go of the thoughts
That do not make me strong
And I believe this way can be the same for everyone

And if I fall asleep
I know you’ll be the one who’ll always remind me

To live in the moment
To live my life
Easy and breezy
With peace in my mind
With peace in my heart
Got peace in my soul
Wherever I’m going
I’m already home

I can’t walk through life facing backwards
I have tried
I tried more than once to just make sure
And I was denied the future I’d been searching for
But I spun around and hurt no more

By living in the moment
Living my life
Easy and breezy
With peace in my mind
With peace in my heart
Got peace in my soul
Wherever I’m going
I’m already home

I’m living in the moment
I’m living my life
Just taking it easy
With peace in my mind
Got peace in my heart
Got peace in my soul
Oh, wherever I’m going
I’m already home

I’m living in the moment
I’m living my life
Oh, easy and breezy
With peace in my mind
Peace in my heart
Peace in my soul
Wherever I’m going
I’m already home
I’m living in the moment

Slumber

If there was a job that allowed me to be a professional theme song/appropriate song of the day finder, I’m pretty sure that would be the best job for me ever…because I’m pretty good at finding the most applicable songs at the most applicable time. It’s a gift. What can I say?

I know I haven’t posted for a while and I have no legitimate reasons or excuses. I haven’t been hit upside the hide with any major epiphanies lately and I just really didn’t have anything to say. Until now. Obviously. And now that I think about it, I’ve been so busy with learning how to be awesome again that writing wasn’t a go-to coping skill for a while…it hasn’t been something I have to do just to get through the day. I was so consumed with getting out of my Bat Cave to do things outside of therapy and so busy smiling, laughing and playing loud music that I didn’t really have time to write (which is why you’re getting a double-header today).

I read once that the bigger the heartbreak, the louder the music. I’ve also read that when you’re happy, you enjoy the music; when you’re sad, you understand the lyrics. I concur with all of the above. I hope I have made it no secret that I am a music whore. I love it. I breathe it. I sleep it. I live it. People ask me if I like music…I ask them if they like air. I can’t carry a note to save my life, but when the volume is 200 decibels higher than it should safely be, that doesn’t really matter does it? (I did take note the other day, that should I ever have children, I will have to tame the volume I play my music at until said child is old enough to withstand the volume…which by then, said child will probably be old enough to not want anything to do with me, much less would want to be seen with me in public blasting the stereo as loud as possible. For now, my lack of volume control is on my “cons” list as to whether or not I should have children.)

The foundation of DBT-focused therapy is mindfulness. I used to hate that word. Not only did I not really understand the concept, but it was hard as fuck for me to do, in my opinion. A lot of people equate mindfulness to meditation and the “happy place” you’re supposed to go to while doing yoga. It’s really, as I’ve learned, not that complicated. It is simply just being in the moment and tolerating whatever that moment is. Notice what you’re thinking, what you’re feeling…describe it…whatever “it” is. The goal of mindfulness isn’t to change anything…it is simply to be aware. If you’re feeling suicidal…notice that…describe it…put words on it…be aware that that’s what you’re thinking. Hopefully, you have enough resources to, of course, get help if you need it (and you should). And you don’t have to ruminate in the thought or feeling…just let it come into your mind, notice it, say “hi”, “fuck off”…whatever…then let it go. Then let the next thought or feeling pay a visit…and so on and so forth. Marsha Linehan isn’t the most eloquent or engaging public speaker. To be blunt: she’s boring and if NyQuil or Benadryl won’t put you to sleep, watching Linehan’s DBT DVD will. Aaannnyyywaaayyyy…during a group therapy session one day, I was forced to watch the “Mindfulness Train” on a DVD. Essentially, Linehan was explaining mindfulness as being akin to watching a train roll by in front of you. You see and notice each freight car…once it’s out of sight, it’s gone…then there’s a new freight car to observe and so on and so forth. It took me many months of forced mindfulness activities and many missed “mindfulness trains” to realize that I was, in my own way, being mindful all the time. Well…maybe not all the time…but I was doing it more than I thought I was…and it was easier than I thought it was. Everyone’s mindfulness “niche” is different. Some things come easier to certain people than other things do. My mindfulness was/is music. Anyone in my group, therapists and peers alike, know that I like my music and I like it LOUD. If you can’t hear me pulling into the parking lot, you should get your hearing checked…seriously. I drive by myself 99.9% of the time so I am free to play anything I want, free to play it as loud as I want and free to sing as loud and off-key as I want…and I do. My drive to the mental health clinic is 30-45 minutes one way depending on traffic and if I put on my lead shoes that day (a heavy police force is a great deterrent as well). While I often listen to music at home too…everyone knows that my drive to and from any therapy appointment is my mindfulness time…and I take full advantage of it….every drive…every appointment.

While exploring mindfulness, how it integrates with music and how I personally choose to go about it, I realized that music, for me, sets my mood. Sure, I have some shitty days where I just want to play Sarah MacLachlan and “Boulevard Of Broken Dreams” all day. But in doing that, I reinforce my mood and thoughts. It hit me, at one point over the last year plus, that I have the power to change my mood with music. Who woulda thought?! The antidepressants and other drugs aren’t doing me any good…but you go and blast “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” by Whitney Houston through my stereo (which, needless to say, is very well equipped with a sub-woofer and all the necessary accouterments to make any drive feel like a back massage during a rock concert) and I will lip-sync for my life! Maybe not everyone can go through a half-hour drive with Vanilla Ice, Whitney Houston, Sarah MacLachlan, George Michael, Jason Mraz, OneRepublic and Ke$ha and their accompanying emotional spectrum…but I can. Music is a very powerful thing. I don’t think I was ignorant of this fact before, but as I said above…when you’re happy, you enjoy the music…when you’re sad, you understand the lyrics. So 18 months ago, when I first started to slip, music became so much more meaningful to me. It was no longer just a “thing” or “sound” that brought me joy…it was a mood-altering drug…and totally legal to boot! (Withdrawals are a little rough but that’s a different subject for a different day.)

I also communicate with music more so now than I ever have before. Sometimes I just can’t find the right words to express my pain and feelings to my therapist…so I’ll slap a song on a CD-R and fling at her like a Frisbee. And, bless her heart, she gets it. (I have been very blessed to have one of the most amazing therapists ever and one whom I mesh with on such a hardcore level. We get along great but the relationship we have cultivated is rare and it has been, quite literally, life-saving for me. There aren’t many people I can throw a single song at who will understand, validate and empathize the way she does…albeit, she even enjoys it when I fling CDs at her because she loves music just as much as I do.) I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…when words fail, music speaks…and sometimes, I step back and let it do just that. It’s even more than just the lyrics…it’s the beat, the voices, everything together. Music is my own personal nirvana. But enough about what it means to me…let’s get to the point of the post, shall we?

Every now and again, I come across a song that, with every single beat struck and with every single word sung, explains my exact mood, emotion, situation, whatever the case may be. I call them my “soundtracks.” If my life were a movie playing in front of you, song A, B or C would be the perfect song for whatever scene you were watching. Such was the case with this song: “Slumber” by NEEDTOBREATHE. I know a few songs from this group that I absolutely love, but I heard this particular song one day and it was one that made me hit “replay” and look up the lyrics…it was speaking to me…and for once, I decided to listen (no pun intended) instead of tune it out (no pun intended there, either…okay…maybe a little intention…).

Sometimes, when you are in whatever psychological “funk” you are in, you can easily become blind to everything else going on around you. As the song clearly states (lyrics are below), it’s very easy to just pull the covers back up over your head. I’ve done exactly that for a majority of the past 18 months. I won’t go into much detail, but I had some sort of “come to Jesus” meeting with someone or something a few weeks ago and I opened my eyes (and heart) to things that I had not seen or felt for a very long time. I don’t dare set myself up for disappointment by calling myself “cured” or even “happy” right now because if whatever I’m feeling is in fact the definition of “happy”…it is only just the beginning of this part of my journey. In fact, the feeling of happiness is so foreign to me that I don’t even know if what I’m feeling is in fact happiness; I don’t remember what that feels like. But a song like this one makes me want to open my eyes a little bit more than I have been opening them and take my covers off a little bit more than I have been. It doesn’t mean I’m hopping out of bed like the Energizer Bunny…remember when I said this was just the beginning of this part of the journey if it is what I think it is? Mr. Energizer Bunny and I will not meet for quite some time…in fact, we probably won’t ever meet because I am not a morning person and as far as I’m concerned, the early bird can have the stupid worm because both mornings and worms suck. Regardless, I’ve had blinders on for over a year and a half. I have let my emotions make me their bitch. I have been “asleep” and ignoring everything else going on around me because I was/am so consumed by my emotions. Suffice it to say, I’m pulling the covers off a little bit more than I have been…peeking around corners…still a little scared about what might be around that corner…but curious and alert enough to want to look instead of run away.

Slumber
by NEEDTOBREATHE

Days they force you
Back under those covers
Lazy mornings they multiply
But glory’s waiting
Outside your window
So wake on up from your slumber
Baby, open up your eyesTongues are violent
Personal and focused
Tough to beat with
Your steady mind
But hearts are stronger after broken
So, wake on up from your slumber
Baby, open up your eyes

All these victims
Stand in line for
The crumbs that fall from the table
Just enough to get by
All the while
Your invitation
Wake on up from your slumber
Baby, open up your eyes
Wake on up from your slumber
Baby, open up your eyes

Take from vandals
All you want now
Please, don’t trade it in for life
Replace the feeble
With the fable
Wake on up from your slumber
Baby, open up your eyes
Wake on up from your slumber
Baby, open up your eyes

All these victims
Stand in line for
The crumbs that fall from the table
Just enough to get by
All the while
Your invitation
Wake on up from your slumber
Baby, open up your eyes
Wake on up from your slumber
Baby, open up your eyes

Come on
Sing like we used to
Dance when you want to
Taste of the breakthrough
And open wide

All these victims
Stand in line for
The crumbs that fall from the table
Just enough to get by
All the while
Your invitation
Wake on up from your slumber
Baby, open up your eyes
Wake on up from your slumber
Baby, open up your eyes
Wake on up from your slumber
Baby, open up your eyes

Come on
Sing like we used to
And dance like you want to
Come on now and open your eyes

Come on
Sing it like we used to
And we’ll dance like we want to
Come on and open up your eyes

In My Mind

From the first time I ever started therapy, and even before therapy…I was always feeling like I was behind everyone else in terms of where I should be in my life and what I should be doing at certain ages. I was fine until I graduated from community college. I had my acceptance letter to my first choice university in my hand, had attended orientation and was right on track with what I was “supposed” to be doing at the age of 20. Until life blew up. Until shit hit the fan. Right before I had to make my final decision to attend my choice university and register for my classes and move, things didn’t feel right…my woman’s intuition alarm was sounding. My mom was acting weird and home became SO stressful for me that instead of leaving for college, I chose to move out on my own instead…giving up my university dreams and psychology degree. I THOUGHT I was only giving it up for a little while until things settled down…but things only got worse. I found out that my mom was dating (and technically cheating on my dad)…a man I actually knew beforehand and who was a friend of mine and my brother’s before he ever met my mother (for kicks, I’ll throw in the fact that this man is about 15 years younger than my mom). I found out that my mom was divorcing my dad after almost 25 years of marriage…and then the clincher: I found out my dad was sick. (I got sick to my stomach when I found out my mom was still going to go through with the divorce even after we found out my dad had stage four cancer.) I don’t need to go into the details, but in a nutshell, I moved back home to take care of my dad, lost my dad, moved back out on my own, lost L 8 months later, made a stupid decision to chase a boy across the state thinking I was going to get married and get on with life, only to have that blow up in my face (in a way, I felt I sort of deserved that explosion). Then I had to swallow my pride and ask to move back home…where I’ve been for five years now. Even after I first moved back home, I was pissed because I felt my life veering off track and I was not happy about it. I was watching my friends graduate from college with their degrees and getting married; some were even having babies at this point. I did, at one point after coming back home, feel like I was getting back on track when I went back to school for my pharmacy technician certification. It wasn’t the psychology degree I wanted, but it was something. I excelled in school, landing myself another set of honors cords and I was surprised (and QUITE pleased) when I found a GREAT job not long after completing school and before my unemployment money ran out. I LOVED that job, I LOVED my coworkers (initially), I was good at this job and honestly…what MORE could I have asked for in a job? Complete health benefits, a guaranteed schedule with great hours Monday through Friday, great pay with two guaranteed raises a year and a two and a half minute commute with an hour for lunch that allowed me to go home and refresh myself for the rest of my day. It was PERFECT. And for the first time since moving back home, I finally felt back on track and happy again. I was making considerable progress in reducing my debt, I was close to having enough money to move out (I was even looking at condos and townhomes to put a down payment on and work towards OWNING) and I felt things were falling into place. Then life said, “You’re happy? LOL! One sec…”

I have tried, for the last 18 months, to figure out where I went wrong. What did I do to fuck things up? Yes, some people made some poor choices that affected me greatly but I refuse to put the primary blame on anyone but myself. Yes, my coworkers and boss made my life a living hell for three months before I figured out what was going on…but what did I do to make them do that to me? I was 27 at this point and not only was I deeply hurt but subconsciously, this was a sign that I was not meant to have what I wanted for myself…I wasn’t meant for the life I had so meticulously planned out. Yes, I was still young…but now I was even further behind in the race of life. So I decided to end my life and give it up because I didn’t think I would ever catch up and I was hurt, I was angry, I missed my dad, and I was SO tired of things not going my way. I had a fucking plan for my life and NONE of it was happening. Obviously, my attempt to end my life was not successful. I woke up in an ICU angry. Not only was I pissed at whoever was to “blame” for saving my life, I was pissed that a decision I made was taken away from me, that my plans failed AGAIN and not only did I fail to end my own life, I then had to deal with the consequences of the choices I made (i.e. knowing full well I had lost my job, worrying about going to jail for committing a felony and everything that came with such a serious attempt on my life including the medical and psychological repercussions…everything I was planning on NOT having to deal with because I wasn’t supposed to have survived). I was mad that my dad was no longer here, I was mad at the endless parade of chaotic emotions and failed relationships, I was mad for making a stupid decision to chase a boy, I was mad at having to move back home when that was the FIRST thing I said I wasn’t EVER going to do once I moved out on my own the first time. I was NOT going to move back home after I left. I wasn’t going to be like my older brother who was constantly moving in and out because of his own poor choices. I’m mad now because I have royally fucked up my life and with each passing year, I only get further and further behind. I’m mad because I’m not “on track”…I’m not doing what I am supposed to be doing…I’m not following MY life plan and MY goals. This is NOT how I planned my life. I am a textbook Type A personality, stubborn as fuck and OCD to the core. I make a list, I set goals, I make a plan and that shit happens because THAT IS HOW IT’S SUPPOSED TO WORK! That’s how it’s supposed to happen…that’s how I operate and it pisses me off when things don’t go my way. I don’t mean to imply that I’m selfish and I want want want and it’s all about me me me. I made a plan, I set goals and up until last year, I followed that plan and I met those goals. But due to circumstances out of my control and because of certain decisions I (and others) have made, here I sit…staring the age of 29 in the face, living at home, without a job, three suicide attempts under my belt, unmarried and no children. This is NOT what I had planned…this is NOT what I wanted for myself…and I have yet to get to a point where I can accept that “it’s okay” things didn’t go as I had planned and just because you make plans, things aren’t always going to go AS PLANNED. I consider myself a pro at pill popping…but that acceptance pill is just one pill I can’t seem to swallow. I haven’t completely lost my willfulness (and honestly, I’ve probably gotten more stubborn over the past year, if that is even possible) and part of me wants to accept that shit happens…move on and make your life what you want now…get back on track. But another part of me is like NO…this is NOT how things are supposed to be, this is NOT what I wanted and I’m mad about it…and I can’t seem to let that anger go.

This entire rant to say that I constantly feel like I’m behind, that I’m not where I feel I should be and that I’m not doing what other people my age are doing (e.g. marrying and having babies)…and this song captures ALL of that emotion. It’s important to note the title: “In My Mind”…because this belief I have, that I’m behind and fucking up, is ALL in my mind. People, namely my therapists, tell me all the time that it is completely okay to not be where you envisioned you would be right now. Does it kind of suck the hind one that things didn’t go your way? Absolutely. But it’s not too late to fix it…and it’s not even so much about “fixing” my life (aside from fixing MYSELF) but more about just ACCEPTING my life for what it is: that it’s okay to not be okay right now, move forward and go BACK to your plans and pursue your dreams…get back on the horse after you’ve fallen off.

“In My Mind”
by Amanda Palmer

In my mind
In a future five years from now
I’m a hundred and twenty pounds
And I never get hung over
Because I will be the picture of discipline
Never minding what state I’m in
And I will be someone I admire
And it’s funny how I imagined
That I would be that person now
But it does not seem to have happened
Maybe I’ve just forgotten how to see
That I’m not exactly the person that I thought I’d be

And in my mind
In the faraway here and now
I’ve become in control somehow
And I never lose my wallet
Because I will be the picture of discipline
Never fucking up anything
And I’ll be a good defensive driver
And it’s funny how I imagined
That I would be that person now
But it does not seem to have happened
Maybe I’ve just forgotten how to see
That I’ll never be the person that I thought I’d be

And in my mind
When I’m old I am beautiful
Planting tulips and vegetables
Which I will mindfully watch over
Not like me now
I’m so busy with everything
That I don’t look at anything
But I’m sure I’ll look when I am older
And it’s funny how I imagined
That I could be that person now
But that’s not what I want
If that’s what I wanted
I’d be giving up somehow
How strange to see
That I don’t wanna be the person that I want to be

And in my mind
I imagine so many things
Things that aren’t really happening
And when they put me in the ground
I’ll start pounding the lid
Saying I haven’t finished yet
I still have a tattoo to get
That says I’m living in the moment
And it’s funny how I imagined
That I could win this win-less fight
But maybe it isn’t all that funny
That I’ve been fighting all my life
But maybe I have to think it’s funny
If I wanna live before I die
And maybe it’s funniest of all
To think I’ll die before I actually see
That I am exactly the person that I want to be

Fuck yes
I am exactly the person that I want to be