Punch drunk I reel, stagger, desperately try to regain my footing. I’ve been fighting for a while now, I’m not sure how long. The impact of previous blows smart still as more come in, buffeting me from one side to the other. Somewhere in the distance is rest and balance, they seem far off, hazy, not quite real. If only this were all real, if this were some physical illness – what a terrible thing to wish on oneself – rather than the silent, invisible fight against the Black Dog and Rabid Wolf tag team who personify my depression and anxiety. Being able to pass for someone who’s not completely fucked in the head is just another burden, a heavy sack of responsibility that I can’t put down. I don’t deserve to share the load with those who care about me and they don’t deserve to take the strain. I cast about for the solidity of reason, searching for causes and explanations – if only I hadn’t done this, perhaps if I had done that I wouldn’t be in this place again? Reason however is a mirage and as I frantically surge towards it it becomes another mockery, another defeat. I don’t want to fight any more. I want to give in, to give up and lie down and die. I punch myself repeatedly in the head, or at least I would if only I had the nerve. The urge to hurt myself becomes another whip to torment myself with, the self-judgement of others’ judgement bearing down and suffocating me. I let my child pull my hair, she laughs, there’s no malice there. I want to say “I’m sorry darling, sometimes Mommy feels so sad and wants to hurt herself”. I hate that in the future she’s likely to have to endure the fallout of my battles. I feel guilty for hoping that her sweet kind nature might be something I can lean on in future, that after a fight she’ll bathe my wounds and hold me while I cry. She deserves better than that. This is the way things are.
A few weeks ago I heard someone say autistic people often struggle with the concept of their own identity. My gut reaction was to baulk at this, I thought of the wonderful autistic communities, diverse yet unified by experience, that I am privileged to call myself a part of. I do feel in many respects defined by autism, it pervades every aspect of my being.
Yet as I contemplate the timelessness of being, that all things that were and are and will be are one, I also feel that I am not autistic. Some time ago now I wrote in my description of myself for this blog a list of labels but then added that none of these defined me. I simply am.
The more I look for the profound the more I miss the profoundly simple. My child, so young, knows far more than I. When I think of my past, I often feel as if I have had many incarnations in this life. Many different beings who have defined themselves by relationships, jobs, interests and so forth. This leads me back to the Fight Club quote below.
I see that all my lives, the different ways I have presented myself, were nothing more than outward clothing, the fucking khakis that I mistook for my self.
In that case what am I? I am one of many. I am a person who must use words and labels and images to draw on the canvas of life to express myself. The paints I use for this still-life are not the actual fruit but merely a tool. That is not to say that any of these things are wrong or bad or mistaken, tools in themselves cannot be such things, words can be no more than words.
It is not wisdom or learning, or even experience that defines me. The only reality is this moment. This moment is all moments. It is eternal. Time is meaningless.
Time is the greatest enemy, or feels as though it is. All goodness and love is destroyed by it except in the memory which will also one day be defeated by time. I need to let go of this concept of life as a chronological continuum. Underneath all the clothing my naked soul is the same. Everything that I shall be I already have within me just as I have the eggs of unborn children within me. I do not know what that child will look like, it does not matter for that is in a future which does not exist. In this moment there is no I, I am and yet I am not. I am a part of a larger collective, a vast hive of bodies and animals and nature and life and molecules. Inwardly also my infinitesimally complicated mind thinks and double and triple thinks every possible permutation of thought.
Is this a spiritual matter? Does that question even matter?
There is no teaching here. Nothing that is important can be taught, it cannot be acquired at any price. I would like to get to know the actual self, not the silly way it can present itself.
My troubled mind often seeks peace. I suspect the way to achieve this (how does achievement work if time is removed from the equation? Whatever achievement there is already is) is by practising being with myself. In my calmest moments I am me, I see the naked truth of my being and I do not flinch. Like many I try to hide from myself, afraid of being alone in the silence of my self. I drown it out with distractions, shallow aspirations, all manner of meaningless dross to avoid simply being. I do not need to travel to remote places to be with myself (although this seems to help). I do not need to think deeply to be with myself.
The word tools available to this human form are not sufficient to express my being, they can only hint at the truth. The real expression is in the being itself.
I am already complete.
The self-loathing is strong this morning. There are physical signs that all is not well in the kingdom of my mind, the toothache and ulcers caused by bruxism, the difficulty sleeping, the excoriation, they’re all just tell-tales of a shitful mind.
Shitfulness is like mindfulness only shitty. It tells me that my dumbfuck brain is being a twat again, it’s making me feel all this shit, it’s making me hate myself even though on a good day I believe that I’m ok enough. I am so angry, so absurdly angry with myself for feeling the way I do. I desperately want a reason, some explanation for all the pain. Mostly there is none. All that’s there are a million additional layers of self-castigation, hating myself for hating myself. I know all this will pass, as much as it feels as though I will always end up back in this place I know there are fucking puppies and rainbows over the horizon – shitfulness taints every ray of hope with its lens of excrement. This peace, happiness even, is not real, not to me right now. I know it but I can’t feel it, I can’t make myself believe it when my only faith is in my own shitfulness. Logic does not apply, as much as I yearn for reason there is none here. I try to step outside of the whirlwind of feelings, to let the storm batter my mind and wait for it to pass, but I cannot accept being this way.
There’s a comfort in shitfulness, it’s a known quantity at least, there are others who know this place with as much familiarity as I.
Every day I work, work really hard at being ok, at being ok enough to mother my child, take care of my basic needs, be good enough. This disability of fuckedupness is hard, it sneaks up on me when I think things aren’t so bad and it tells me I am terrible, that I ought to be able to do things that are so far beyond me in the present you may as well ask a fish to ride a bicycle. I judge myself by the standards of those around me, the ones who don’t experience the world in the same way. I hear their thoughts as they see me, surely this person is capable of feeding herself, of dressing herself? Whyever not? I make no sense to them, nor to myself.
It’s a kick in the guts that despite my long hours of working at self-care, of trying to learn how to make myself well, I still fail. I still come back, tail between my legs to this wasteground of thought. I even know things which might help (they’re tricksy things which do not always help and may also make things worse) but I’m afraid to try them. I’m afraid of not being here in this familiar dungeon, like Stockholm syndrome perhaps I stick with what I know, what I am well used to.
I want to punish this mind, this useless hunk of meat that is my body and brain. These ridiculous synapses and chemicals which hurt me so much. I want to beat them until they learn to behave.
I have come to believe that the ultimate goal is this life is kindness. This is the one art I really aspire towards but in order to be kind to others I first need to learn to be kind to myself. I need to forgive these feelings, accept them as a part of who I am and listen to them with patience and without judgement. This is the way that it is, the way that it has always been and most likely the way that it always shall be. I want to see these passing thoughts and feelings as the weather systems that they are. They are me and yet they are also not me. I am not my thoughts, no matter how much they try to tell me what I am.
I will work now, ‘real’ work as opposed to self-care (ahh more judgement there!) I will lose my train of thought in doing. I will lose the pervasive shitfulness. I know that it is there, it is always there, I will return to it many times in this lifetime and whatever lies beyond.