Two poles and I don’t mean North and South. No, there are two poles in me. There are two sides, and I mean the ups and downs. This is more than anyone can see from a surface level. There is no way to explain this.
All I can say is there are two sides to contend with. To which, I wonder if anyone can actually tell. I wonder if anyone understands or “Gets it.” Does anyone get it?
(about the two poles, I mean)
Two poles, highs and lows. One minute you’re here and the next is something else. The mind, you know?
It’s this thing. Who knows what comes next?
Is it me? Is it you?
Is the problem my lack of words to explain my predicament? Or is it that no matter how I try, I always believe I am misunderstood? Or, is the problem (to me) that you lack the viscera of experience? How do you know about the blood and guts of something that you don’t understand? Unless you live this way too, which in that case, maybe you do get it.
Two poles to the mind. And here’s the trip; it’s lonely this way. Thoughts leap to tragedy very quickly. By this I mean assuming the worst is common. There’s always some bad news on the way and coming in the mail. There’s always something pending, something waiting, lurking, and any minute now, something is going to come along to expose everything and leave us vulnerable.
There are tides to the ocean, which come in or out right?
There are days when the seas are calm. There are times when the sky is blue and the sun is bright. And these days are good. There are similar days when the water is still calm and the sky’s still blue.
The sun is still bright and everything all-around would seem pleasing to the world. Right? There are days when the world is picture perfect, and yet to some; there are two poles, and I don’t mean the North and South.
No, I mean the highs and the lows and for now, more accurately, I mean the lows. I mean the panicky. I mean the anxious and the uncomfortable. Two poles, in which case, I mean the battle within and the manicky.
Here we are, miles away. Ever feel alone in a crowd?
Ever watch people celebrate something so pure and meanwhile, you think to yourself, “What’s so goddamned glorious?”
Does anybody see? Does anyone get it?
Oh, wait. No.
I get it.
I’m just crazy, right?
I laugh when I hear people look to comfort someone by saying, “Don’t worry about it. It’s all in your head!”
The mind is an amazing thing to contend with.
If there is no hope then there is no hope.
Hurt people tend to hurt people.
No matter where you go, there you are.
I’ve heard these sayings for decades.
Two poles, the ups and the downs, the tragic lows and the crazy highs, which lead us to an ultimate crash.
Here’s to being all over the place at once!
The fits of anger. The feelings of desperation.
Man, this is a lot to contend with.
I do not say this fits for everyone. To each their own. All I can say is that when there is something within us, there’s something within us that alters our view and perception of everything we experience.
Two poles, right?
Two different people see the same thing, and yet they take away two different conclusions.
The glass is half full or half empty.
Remember that trick?
I remember sitting in a small group of people. I was anxious to the point where I wanted to rip through my skin. I was angry. I had a long list of things to deal with.
Meanwhile, great. I was in a group of people who were supposedly like me. I was in a group setting with a counselor. And then it came to me. It was my turn to talk. And you guessed it. I freaked out.
I remember the counselor. I remember her so-called therapeutic voice as she tried to calm me. I remember when she told me, “Ben, you complain that you have no shoes. But what about the man with no feet?”
This literally made no sense to me.
First, I failed to understand the comparison. I never mentioned anything about my shoes.
I was at my wits end. I couldn’t take this anymore.
The man with no shoes? Who the hell asked about him?
To which, I replied to the counselor, “What the hell does the man with no feet have to do with me? Besides, he don’t need shoes. Give me his!”
The point is (and was) that I couldn’t see anything farther than the tip of my nose. I couldn’t see beyond myself. All I saw were my fears. All I felt were my tensions. I was always afraid to be at a loss. I was afraid to be weak and vulnerable. I never wanted to be the mark, I didn’t want to be the doormat or the target but more; I never wanted to be the punchline to anyone’s joke, which is exactly what I thought about myself. I was a joke.
All I knew about was my crazy ideas and thoughts. I saw nothing other than my fears, worries and concerns. Plus, I was tired of living this way.
We are not meant to live like this. We are not meant to live our life in Red-Alert mode at all times. We can’t think straight. We can’t enjoy life this way. We feel raw to the touch.
I heard this explained best by someone that I spoke with about their life with highly-functional Autism.
He said, “Being touched is very difficult for me.”
“It’s uncomfortable,” he said.
He compared this feeling to the sound of a television without reception. The screen is all snowy and makes a harsh, staticky noise.
He said, “That’s how I feel when someone touches me.”
He told me, “I don’t like this feeling. It took me a very long time to be able to explain this to anyone. And it took me even longer to get used to it.”
Anxiety is this way for me. And I say this openly and without an ounce of shame. I say this because I know anxiety very well. There are times when life seems inescapable.
Emotional claustrophobia is a great way to explain it because it’s not the walls closing in on you; it’s the whole goddamn world closing in. And you just need to get away. You just want to jump out of this.
Sometimes the static is unbearable. Sometimes it is tough to smile. Hell, sometimes it’s hard enough to breathe. And it’s tough to let go of this. It’s scary to let go because I understand my mental hang-ups. I’ve lived with them my entire life. I have lived with fears and anxiousness. I have lived with medically resistant depression for as long as I can remember. And yes, I’ve had the genius suggestions from people that tell me, “Relax, it’s all in your head.”
Just calm down, right?
I think what some people fail to understand is that everyone wants to “Be” happy. It’s not being happy that’s the threat. However, there is a fear of happiness, which is not about the happiness per se. The fears are not about the feelings of happiness at all. Instead, the fear is what do we do when the happiness goes away and the lonesomeness returns.
Imagine being a child, locked in a dungeon. Think about the darkness. Now think about a moment outside to play. The sun is so bright. The sky is so blue. It’s hard for the eyes to adjust to this. But let’s say we do.
Let’s say we learn about the feel of the wind through our hair and the sun on our face. Think about that child; or imagine this is us as a small child, happy with a new toy.
Now think about this; playtime is over. The toys are gone and the child goes back to that dungeon.
Now, of course there will be “The glass is half full” ideas.
“Well at least we went outside to play and now we can use our imagination to brighten the dungeon.”
I applaud this idea.
However, we are not talking from a logical standpoint. This is emotional. There is a big difference.
Instead, let’s look at where the fear comes in. Why feel the moments of joy when all we do is come back to the same dungeon-like feeling? Why experience joy when the anticipation of being joyless is just around the corner.
What’s the point?
This is one of the reasons people fail themselves and never seek help. Because why bother?
What’s the point?
I offer this as an explanation. I offer these as examples as to why people are afraid to let go of the pain because it’s not the pain so much. We can adapt to pain. However, if the pain goes away and hope settles in, what do we do when the pain comes back? How do we handle this type of disappointment?
Two poles, highs and lows. And sometimes we can see this. Sometimes we can tell. Other times, we can’t, which means we can be in crisis mode and not even know it. Or worse, we can be in crisis mode and not even know why.
There are triggers here. I found that learning about my triggers allows me a strong defense, which supports my mental health. For example, rejection is one of my triggers. Whether this rejection is personal or professional, I take this personally; as if this means there is something wrong with me, which in interpretation leads me to thinking that something will always be wrong with me. This leads me to thinking I will never fit. I will never succeed. I will never reach my dreams or pull off my trick.
Other triggers for me are educational. I fear when I don’t understand. I am intimidated when I don’t know how to do something. In this case, even the simplest and teachable chores can become enormous. Therefore, as a result, my body takes on a chemical reaction (AKA: emotion) that stems from early childhood fears that come from my struggles with learning abilities or lack thereof.
Two poles, but perhaps mine are different from yours.
(The truth is, I don’t know about yours.)
All I know is there is something that I contend with on a daily basis. There are times when I do this successfully. There are other times when my thoughts take on an internal voice, which is louder than any scream one could hear.
Two poles: I mean the highs and the lows.
I have this.
I talk about this regularly because I refuse to give stigma the strength. Instead, I will say who I am and say this proudly. I talk about this openly because this is part of my journey as well as my recovery.
This is me and that’s perfect.
We might not relate but that’s okay. However, I ask you to keep something in mind. Life is not supposed to be a debate. We all have our own views. Perhaps if we listen to learn from each other instead of listen to respond and prove our point (or to show how much we know) maybe then, people will reach out instead of go back to that dungeon-like mindset.
Listen . . .
Don’t judge . . .
And remember these words: