I think I cracked phobias

At least for me.

I can’t begin to tell you what the last quarter of a year has been like for me. I think I’ve felt just about every bad feeling that could ever possibly felt. I’ve been as far as panicking in fear of my life, as far as I could ever panic, anyway.

Fear. I’ve been so full of it over winter it makes sense that now because of who I’ve become, I have learned a lot from it.

Over the last month I’ve noticed spiders. Big enough for me to usually be scared enough of to not want to go near, not big enough to have me hiding and involuntarily twitching. But I was distinctly noticing the absence of the very familiar irrational fear that’s present when I see them. I even removed one of said spiders just by getting it to walk on a piece of paper and then taking it outside. I didn’t chuck the paper, I didn’t get a saucepan (which is usual) to contain the spider on the paper, I very calmly released the spider outside and neither me nor her were in danger or terrified.

The next thing that happened was visiting my friend who has a very small, but very definite, snake. Norbert is his name, there’s a very proud picture of him round my neck on my facebook page. The first time I saw Norbert I wanted to touch him to make some headway against my phobia but I couldn’t and I got twitchy as per usual. It was really hard just being in the room and looking at him.

I can’t exactly tell you that I intended for these phobias to be going away like they are. I haven’t consciously done anything with this goal in mind since the first time I saw Norbert as described.

But what I can tell you is that about two weeks ago I felt once again the fear and anger I felt when I was child and all that horrible stuff was happening to me. The feelings came back to me in such a flood I felt like I was losing control. I was so afraid I started imagining he might even break in to where I live now to kill me. I couldn’t think straight but I knew I had to wait it out and let the feeling calm so that I could think straight and work out what I had to do.

When I calmed down I realised what it was I had to do: Face him.

Not right away. When I’m ready. I have to try to see if he even understands or remembers any of what he did. If he has any remorse at all. He might not. I’m ready for that possibility. That’s ok. The only important thing is for me to face the greatest fear I’ve ever had. However terrified of snakes and spiders I’ve been, they’ve never been as scary as the idea of him, or the idea of facing him.

So I think that’s it. Maybe my phobias even stem in some way from this greatest fear of mine. Maybe my mind interprets them as being less of a threat now that it’s realised there’s something bigger that’s been locked away deeply for 18 years.

I’m filling myself with love and I’m releasing the fear.

I can’t wait to see how I’ll turn out.

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Edmund Jones, the Joker of the Forest.

I’m a couple of months late writing this now. I couldn’t bring myself to face my feelings about you, Edmund. That’s why I didn’t come to your funeral. I could have come but I was scared and I didn’t want to say goodbye. I still rather don’t!

You are my hero. My real life hero. You’re the hero who I got to meet, know and grow up with! When I think of all the people I’d most like to be like, you’re right at the top of the list, the list has very few non-fictional people which means you bested the likes of all the superheroes too.

I’ve finally just read the letters you wrote before you left, it took me a while. Asides from not wanting to say goodbye I knew that reading whatever it was you had to say would have me questioning my own behavior at present. Or perhaps I mean, you made me face myself just by being yourself. Which is you, you’ve been such a loving, positive, honest person, there may have been times in my past where I was becoming a dishonest person, you helped me back on the right track even though you didn’t know it.

I actually questioned my existence when you left. I hadn’t heard from you in a few years but I knew you were off somewhere being amazing. I had been intending to come find you and go adventuring with you. We would have taught each other loads, we would have had the best laughs echoing the length and breadth of every valley we came across. And we’d have probably went our separate ways at some point before bumping into each other again in the farther future for more shenanigans…

So maybe I’ll come looking for you anyway, and maybe you’ll come looking with me. You’ll be with me forever and you’re the voice I choose for my conscience. Which is rather difficult for me right now because you’d find it amusing how much I’ve lied to myself this year, so now my conscience has your laugh and your voice. Great! Well at least nights on my own will be more interesting now, haha!

Love.

PS: I feel I could write a legion more about you but I’m not going to. I think I’d like to use my voice and my eyes when I talk about you. I don’t know if any amount of text will do you justice and I’m not even going to try.

My depression story

This is pretty much an exact copy paste from somewhere else but I felt it was worth putting here. 🙂

Our society was the biggest factor to my years of debilitating depression. But I didn’t actually work that out till I was well on my way to recovery. Discovery of this then rapidly accelerated my recovery. I had childhood abuse reasons for depression too but I actually managed to have dealt with these in my teens. Here’s my story to explain why.

Other than the abuse I received as a child I was actually really lucky. I was born in a city but when I was just three my mother moved with her partner to an abandoned cottage way out in the country, no electricity, just about all the freedom I could possibly want, I could wander and explore and utilise my imagination in any which way I wanted to.

School was very hard for me. I was raised very differently to all the other kids who had money, electricity, smart clothes, an easy bath every day. Which all meant I didn’t fit in and was largely not accepted, I was bullied for most of these reasons at some point. So as a teenager I tried very hard to get away from the lifestyle choices of my mad mother and become accepted with everyone else. Indeed when I was just 16 I got my own apartment in the local town. This was really when the depression started to set in. Try as I might to fit in with the social norms I slowly found myself being drained of happiness. Not to mention I was really missing love and acceptance in my life. I had really good and solid friends by this point but at the end of the day I was still returning to my apartment to spend the night on my own, romantic relationships filled some gaps but them ending just escalated the overall loneliness. By the time I was 18 I found anthetamines and cannabis and I marveled at how they made me feel happier and more love than anything else in my life ever had. I never took anything highly addictive like cocaine and I must stress I wasn’t addicted to drugs, I was filling up an emotional gap in my life which I wasn’t entirely aware of doing, at the time I thought I had just caught the drug addiction that everyone always warns about.

It wasn’t until I was 22 that I allowed myself to quit that life. By this point I was intentionally homeless, it didn’t make sense to be on welfare for a home I never would spend time in. I had cash in hand work to pay for my food and drugs and I was always welcome to stay at numerous places. I was a very energetic, fit and sociable, depressed, drug user. I was not a dirty mess that vegetated in a scummy apartment with clothes smelling like piss, I helped people out and did triathlons and fun runs for charity because I could. I was also not a thief or anything else stereotypical of drug users. I knew a lot of people and all of them were happy to see me, actually this was the happiest time in my whole depression. So at this time, as I say, I allowed the people who cared about me to convince me that I had to stop. So I packed in the drugs and got myself on welfare so I could get an apartment, the cash in hand wasn’t enough to achieve this. Once I had the apartment everything went downhill rapidly.

I felt forced into the prospect of going and getting an every day job doing something I didn’t want to do, working for someone who doesn’t care, working with people who are only really your friends at work while serving people who look down on me. Every day. Every day? Something in my brain told me that that life wasn’t worth living. Why in the hell am I supposed to spend my life doing things I hate? Because that’s just the way it is. That’s just the way things are. Deal with it because everyone else has to and also children are starving in Africa so get over it, your troubles are nothing. I tried the antidepressants and they made me feel unnatural, I got a very light effect similar to one of the drugs I used to take, which felt counter productive to stopping drugs. I was also very aware of feelings that did not feel like mine. This all felt very fake and dishonest, I was also not happy with the huge list of definite and potential side effects, chief among them being “may cause suicidal feelings”.

So I got stuck into MMORPG’s. For two and a half years I spent my life inside various virtual worlds. I’d be roaming the lands questing. Fighting mythical beasts. Saving and aiding fellow players/humans. That virtual world had more worth and fun than anything I could see in the real world around me. My welfare was changed from jobseekers benefits to disability allowance for depression and anxiety, and I just sat there having fun and interacting with people. I slowly stopped caring about the world around me and that includes myself. My teeth are damaged forever from neglect and sometimes I’d cry when I woke up because I was awake. Reality no longer was good for me.

Fortunately by this point, age of 25, my mother was not so mad and I not so angry at her. I called her up one day and through tears of desperation, smelling of sweat, grease soaked through my hair and teeth as brown as beavers I told her I didn’t know what to do. I had considered suicide but decided I would never be so cowardly (Edit: This isn’t a judgement that anyone who commits suicide is a coward, in many ways it has to take a sense of courage to take any life, especially ones own. For me I felt like suicide would be giving up, which felt like cowardice at the time). If mother hadn’t driven the 150 miles to collect me in her van to live with her, I don’t know where I’d be right now. She didn’t know how to help me, but I did. I just wasn’t capable of administering the help I needed without help.

I decided the next best step to getting on some sort of track was to get back into college since that was the last time (almost ten years before) that I had any sort of direction. College started about ten months after mother rescued me from my pit. I found the interaction with lots of other humans on a daily basis really empowered and encouraged me. Infact when I started the two year course I didn’t believe for a second that I’d make it past winter holidays without quitting. The support of my fellow students and tutors kept me going. By the end of the two year course I had all sorts of friends and was easily able to engage with life and people, happily, without the need for drugs to provide artificial happiness. I’d even found myself a job that felt like a second family which made serving people who don’t care,  a bearable issue. By this point I was able to force myself to be happy with this monotonous lifestyle. I could be happy with it. I will be happy with it. I can be happy with it. All the while knowing that it wasn’t straight forward to stay on that level of happiness, I had to deceive myself on some levels in order to stick at it.

But then a miracle happened. A rainbow family gathering happened right on the outskirts of the town I was living in. All sorts of travellers and hippies from all over the world came to live in a field for a month. Every single person there treated anyone with the same respect as they would a brother or sister. They accepted anyone, whoever they were and wherever they came from. I visited them during the day when I was working evenings and mornings. After 5 days I quit my job because I could not miss that experience, not one second of it, it was only going to be there for another three weeks.

I had planned to return to normality after they were gone. But in those weeks I listened and observed. I learned that real freedom is possible. I experienced feeling love, unconditionally, by hundreds of people.

So when the gathering packed up and everyone went to where they were going next, I packed my rucksack, took my last 10 of pay from the old job and started travelling around the country.

Everyday now I decide what I do. I don’t know what I’m doing tomorrow or next week and I didn’t know what I’d be doing today. All I know is that I get to spend as much, or as little, time with/meeting people. I have more people I love than I know what to do with. Every day is a different horizon. I’m well loved and I get to live by my own rules.

I’ve never been happier. Maybe this isn’t true for everyone but of all the people I spend time with, the ones who are locked into 9to5 jobs are bored and just accept things because they feel they have no choice. The people who do what they like are the most happiest and inspiring people I’ve ever known. I can only believe there’s an obvious reason for this.

We’re meant to live free.

I work when it’s necessary like helping out, chopping wood for my fire so I can cook my food, that sort of thing. I’m just adding this bit really because I know someone will want to suggest I’m lazy and don’t want to work. I have no problem with working, I’m not strong and fit because of magic. I just can not and will not work for the machine or anyone’s expectations. This is the only life I’ll get and I will live it doing things that make me happy, not what people tell me I ‘should’ be doing.

After all, no one consulted me about if I wanted to be alive. It’s my right to be happy and not ordered into file and rank. I’ll never be depressed again.

Mum met her Mom.

As much as I’ve been going through some profound internal and external changes in my life this year, so has my mother.

Briar was born in Canada in the late 1960’s to my grandmother Edna, who was in her mid-teens at the time. The socially determined “best thing” to do in those days if your child had a child at a young age and without marriage prospects to the father: Was to have your child give their child up for adoption. So that is what happened to my Mother and Grandmother. Briar had a few different families she was fostered with until she was eventually fostered in England about ten years after her birth. During that first portion of Briar’s life she was not treated appropriately, I only know bits and pieces as she’s never really opened up to me about the details but suffice it to say that for a very, very long time she often seemed to regress to the emotional states that she experienced then, often reliving the trauma she felt. One example of this would be that when I began to grow tall, into a man, if I were to be moody or arrogant occasionally (like a lot of teenagers do from time to time) she’d feel threatened by me even though I would not be necessarily directing that energy at her or necessarily because of her, her feeling intimidated would tend to push her towards lashing out or becoming very frightened and sometimes hysterical. Indeed some of that still lingers in some ways but she has grown emotionally stronger in the last years especially after her fiance passed away and my sister has been in care.

She’s been in contact with her mother and sister very rarely in the last few years since she located them and this year it occurred to me that perhaps the biggest step she could take towards healing herself would be to actually go meet them in person and also face some of the ghosts of her childhood that have been still clinging to her. The thing was, on Briar’s part, was that she wanted to meet her Mom and family so badly that to try to achieve this would be potentially setting herself up for the biggest let-down in her life if it didn’t happen. Which, I feel, for her would have been unbearable, so for her own sanity she chose to accept that she was never going to be able to meet them. I had originally planned to finish college this year and work my bottom off to save up enough for her to go, I then realised that this was going to be a ridiculously hard thing for me to achieve and actually, if I had taken that route then I feel that time would have not waited that long for Mum to meet her Mom. So I set up a fundraiser site and wrote a brief story about the situation, Edna has needed a lot of health care for a while and there was some question to how much time she had left. And it happened! Many many wonderful people donated to this cause and within two weeks we had got enough money for Briar to fly to Canada! There was some paperwork things to sort out and she needed a bit of convincing still that she needed to go sooner rather than later (jobs and bills be damned!) and that she needed to go on her own (there wasn’t enough for me to go with her like she wanted but also I really felt this needed to be her journey) but she went! It was nice that I was the last person she got to see in England before she was on her way, I’d been travelling and this last meeting was pure fluke, or the universes plan I might say.

So she met her foster-brother from her childhood at the airport and her foster-cousin, they went to visit their old haunts and memory lanes. She stayed with her sister and nieces (my aunty and cousins, who are beautiful), she met one of her brothers, her aunt, her grandmother (who sorely regrets the decisions made at the time of Briar’s birth and has given her a ring from her grandmother) and of course her Mother, Edna.

In the time Briar was there she got to take a role of ‘Big Sister’ and ‘Eldest Child’ which is a very new and unusual feeling for her. She got to help care for Edna and even sat in on a meeting about the support Edna was receiving and was able to provide some constructive input. Edna had an awful lot of things to tell Briar and did tell many, but sadly due to her condition she often fell asleep mid-sentence. When it was time for Briar to leave for the plane home, Edna really held on to her and did not want her to go.

The next day, Edna passed away.