Letters From the Eastside – Letter Eighteen

Dear Mother Directional,

When there’s science, then there’s a reason to understand why things happen – or why they don’t. When there’s science, there is an understanding of how things work.
For example, we know about the trees. We know about the land and the sea. We know about the winds and the rain. And we know about things like, say, the greenhouse effect, which is something I learned about in ninth grade Earth Science.
When there’s science, we can understand more about the brain. We can understand more about our pathology and understand why we react – or should I say, maybe this explains why we overreact? Maybe this explains why we jump to conclusions.

I am not writing this as a doctor or as any kind of professional. No, this is something that’s come from lived experience as well as a little bit of training in the mental health world.
When there’s science, we can understand our relation to each other. For example, we can understand why the family tree is broken down into different fashions that range from the hero to the mascot or to the lost child or the scapegoat.
When there’s science, we can understand the different roles, such as me being who I am, Brother Bewildered, and my brother being who he is, Brother Exceptional. There is clear evidence why Sister Serenity is who she is – and you being you, you are Mother Directional and my Father being who he is; he is Father Correctional.

We live in this world together yet we all see different things. We all have our own adaptations to facts and figures. We all have our own intentions and our interpretations are frequently different.
We can see the same thing yet we come up with different reasons, different conclusions and, of course, we all have our own perceptions. Or dare I say it, we all have our own deception of perception, which can mislead us into ideas that jump to an unfair diagnosis or analyzation to lead us to close encounters of the farthest kind. See what I mean? The mind is the predicament. I know that Socrates said this and he was right.

We have people in this world who’s pathology leads them astray. We have people in this world whose worry overcomes sanity and then anxiety overcomes rationality.
Then of course, there’s always someone who comes along and uses the word “just” as if changing is “just” that easy. “Just don’t think that way. Just don’t feel that way.
Just don’t talk to me is what I’d like to tell them.

There’s always someone who looks to simplify the pain or discomfort of someone else and when the pain is theirs or when their discomfort is triggered – all of a sudden, the rest of the world is wrong or insensitive and people need to learn how to address them.
I have seen this firsthand. I have witnessed people scream about the unfairness and insensitivity of others yet they are fine to act as judge and jury when it comes to someone else’s grief or complaints.

When there’s science, maybe we can figure out the difference between those who quit and those who never give up. Maybe we can understand why some people can walk in a room and be content with who they are – and other people can’t.
When there’s science, maybe we can understand the adjustments it would take to remove the catastrophes in the mind. We can fix the doubt. Ease the pain. Calm the anxiety and satisfy the mind.

When there’s science, we can use our understanding to recognize the pathways from our past and why they’ve led us to where we are.
(At least, I hope so.)

When there’s science and when we face the pathology of our own simple uniqueness, maybe then we can take the poison out of our lives and understand why (or how) we poisoned ourselves in the first place.
Maybe now we can address the itch in the center of our brain, which is where the triggers begin. Maybe now, we can address the quakes and the emotional tremors, which begin in the epicenter of the mind – we can understand more about ourselves and our thoughts. We can recognize the patterns of our feelings and our actions and the end result, which is our emotion.

Mother,
I am learning to address this. (Maybe this is when they’ll let me out of here.)
I am also of the understanding that no one will ever understand, which is fine, this allows me the freedom to stop explaining myself, which benefits me because I can stop trying to convince the world that dammit all! I’m not crazy.
I’m neither demented or odd or anything in-between.

I remember a billboard that was downtown which said “Depression is a flaw in chemistry. Not character.” On the uptown side at the bridge on 59th Street, there was another billboard on the Queen’s side of the that read, “Perfection is not an accident.”
Neither is recovery. Neither is improvement of any kind. Neither is the rebirth of self or the rebirth of self-love. None of this is accidental.
Perfection is not an accident.
Neither is self-hate. Neither is self-destruction. Neither are the effects of self-deprecating lies, which we tell ourselves. Neither is abuse. Neither are the bruises and the scars which no one ever saw and never seemed to heal.
This is not an accident. Neither is the reason why people lay to waste or find themselves at the bottom of the barrel. This is not an accident.

Depression is not an accident. Neither is anxiety. Neither are the bi-polar events or the manic shuffles in the brain.
Mental health is neither good nor bad but, in fact, this is only a state which is applied to us on an individual basis.
Such is me; such is my body type or the ability of my lungs or my heart, which beats in my chest, and hopefully provides me with the blood I need to rush through my veins and supply all of my necessities so that I can live.
My physical health is mine which means I have a personal chemistry and that foods, liquids, and other variants will benefit me in a way that suits my body.
Therefore, my physical fitness can either be addressed or ignored – in either direction, the outcomes are usually a reflection of my efforts. This is not accidental.

Now there’s science. Now there’s a way that we can understand the brain. Now there’s a way that we can understand more of our thinking and the branches of our thought process.
We can understand more about our cognitive skills and more about our mental fitness, which again; we can do one of two things – we can exercise, or, we can do the opposite and waste away.
This would prove to me: none of this is not an accident. 

It wasn’t an accident when Cousin Contagious, brother of Cousin Courageous, Sun of Auntie Achiever and Uncle Believer fell to himself. There was science here.
There was data. There was a red line on his chart, which went from flat to a steady decline. And why? Because there’s science. There’s pathology. There’s a system and a chemistry. There was a scream, otherwise known as his behavior; a cry for help yet Cousin was unreachable, which is why he is gone now.

There’s a reason for everything and we know this. At least, I should say that intellectually, we know this all too well.
However, emotionally, we fail to understand. We have to find a reason why this is.
We have to find accountability. We have to understand why the problem exists. We do this far too often. We live in the math of our problems instead of the math of solutions. We add wrong. We add our emotion which always distorts the facts and the figures. Then we are lost. Then we have stepped away from logic or the proportions of fact.

Maybe someday, I’ll understand more about this. Maybe someday, I’ll let myself out of this cage – so I can play with the others – so I can rid myself of my immaterial demons – maybe I can find a platform where I can be honest, unjudged and perhaps this way – I can find myself in the comforts of my own soul. My aim is to do this without question, without worry, or without the constant awkwardness or the stress that comes from my anxiety machine. 

I understand that medication helps. I understand that there’s people in this world who can help. Then again, I also understand that in times of crisis – the phone can weigh ten thousand pounds!
The idea of picking it up or calling someone and asking for help is the same as climbing the stairs from the basement to the top of an endless building. 

No one knows. No one gets it. No one else has the visceral feel. But finally, I understand now. No one else has to “get it.”
The answers are within me. What I mean is all the doctors in the world can tell me “what’s wrong.”
All the shrinks and people in lab coats with clipboards can come up with their diagnosis and they can tell me what my problem is. But until I make the connection for myself and until I come to my own understanding, where I can address my own science or when I can come to a place of rest and find peace – then and only then is recovery (of any kind) possible. 

There is no realization more valuable than the realizations that we come to for ourselves.
I can see that now.
Come to think of it, when I was young and in school, a teacher assured me that I was not stupid. She explained that learning disabilities does not mean a person is stupid. Instead, this means we need to find a new way to relate to the information.
I never thought much about that.
I never thought much because, of course, I didn’t believe the teacher. What the hell did she know about me or my frustration or shame? What did she know about hardly being able to read? What did she know about how it feels to be laughed at in a classroom or out in the playground.
I can say this about that – I get it now.
The same as I had to find new ways to relate to the information – and once I saw this beginning to work and once my confidence began to improve – it was easier to solve my literal and emotional stutter. 

I apply this to my mental health. I’m not crazy or demented. Nor am I weak nor should I be ashamed. After all, no one should be ashamed to be who we are.

I am me. I am this person who has taken decades to become. I am learning to relate to information in a new way.
And I can remember now, Mother.
I remember the ambulance ride. I can remember the technician who asked, “Do you want to tell us what happened?”
I can even hear the compassion in his voice.
I can hear the doctor in the emergency room who spoke to me without an ounce of shame – No pressure. No intrusive line of questioning. Just patience and kindness, which almost hurt more than waking up on the ground of a bathroom in an upstate treatment center. 

I can see all of this now, which has lived with me since this day. I can understand more about my science. However, now is the time to address this. Now is the time that we have to live in the math of solutions instead of the problems. 

If someone is thirsty and you take the drink away – the thirst continues. And so does the unreachable itch inside the mind. So does the need to be quenched. We have to get to this.
We have to find a way to champion ourselves and to ease us down. We have to find a way to relate to the information in front of us without shame or a sense of inward-disgust. 

We have to be our own best hero. We have to do this without apology. Otherwise, we can go to waste. We can lose our emotional fitness.
We can succumb to our own science and lose to a life that we never asked for.
(Don’t believe me? Just ask Cousin Courageous.)

When there’s science . . .
We can see what we need to do. If we stick to it, I swear, I believe we can do anything.
I know this because our perfection is not an accident. Neither is the reason I woke up on the floor that day. None of this is an accident.
So let me go now, Mother.

I have some science to attend to.

Love always,
B –

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