Beyond the mask…nothing

My delay in writing has been due to moving into a cabin in the woods that I was excited about a couple of weeks ago.  It is such a lovely, quiet place. Unlike the dwelling of the Unabomber, my cabin has more than one room, running water and electricity…and I am not seeking a primitive lifestyle; only quiet, semi-seclusion.  For the record, I have no interest in making bombs either. These days, I’m more of a hazard to myself than others.

I have been contemplating the question by my therapist: “Who am I when I am not wearing a mask?”  I am still no closer to an answer than I was in 1986 when I first began therapy. Seems it is automatic for me to define “self” according to whatever behavior I may be engaging in at the time or whatever emotion I might be experiencing at any given moment.  

Several months ago, I attempted to discover self through meditation.  According to some Youtube videos, I could achieve this by “looking within”.  Although I must admit, I don’t know where “within” is exactly. I don’t see anything when I “look within”…just blank.  My therapist suggested that I might have a “blockage” and that could be why I can’t “see within”. Blockage? Why can’t it be that there’s nothing there?  Where am I supposed to be going, anyway? I’m not even clear how meditation works. Perhaps it requires a different skill set I have not yet acquired.

I am pretty good at psychological projection onto inanimate objects though.  Which I suspect is somewhat akin to religion. Speaking of which, I wrote a type of poem about the goddess Morrigan after reading about her through the study of Celtic mythology and beliefs.  It is a mixture of how she is portrayed by others, as well as my own search for self and attempt to see beyond my own mask.

Morrigan, Morrigan

Phantom queen.

Binding my fate

And setting the scene.

Morrigan, Morrigan

The one not clear.

Challenging me

To overcome my fear.

Morrigan, Morrigan

Who ignores demands.

They run through my fingers

Like grains of sand.

Morrigan, Morrigan

Weaver of time.

Creating a mountain

Then hurrying me to climb.

Morrigan, Morrigan

Shifter of shape.

Constant lessons

I cannot escape.

Morrigan, Morrigan

The one who knows.

I follow your path

But see only shadows.

Morrigan, Morrigan

I must open my eyes

If I’m to see you

Beyond your reflected guise.

©Shadow

Memories

Holding the faded photograph

Of a moment I cannot recall

From a time long ago

Of when I was small.

 

As you clutched her in your arms

My face is turned from view

We all posed for a picture

But everyone looks blue.

 

What was it all about?

And why do we all look so sad?

Were you unhappy about,

The family you could of had?

 

We all had our secrets

Hidden behind our frowned face

But now, for the last time

I must leave this place.

 

It’s funny how

Bad memories are erased by years

And sometimes the mind creates good ones

From a time there were once tears.

 

©Shadow

Moving in and out, then facing a fear

I took some time off from work, packed up my things and got ready to move into my new apartment.  I was excited about getting my own small place. I moved everything by myself, with no help from my brother although he assured me “family comes first” and he would help me.  But he only likes to talk about how he “takes care” of his younger sister.

In any case, I got everything moved in and everything went downhill from there.  I was awake for the next three nights unable to sleep because the place was so fucking noisy.  Primarily from my upstairs neighbor. It reminded me of when I was once chased by a bull. It felt like the ground beneath my feet was shaking.  This is what the upstairs neighbor lady was doing to my walls and ceiling. Running, jumping, blasting music…sometimes it sounded like she was skating on roller blades and that she was actually in my apartment.

I have suffered from chronic insomnia all of my adult life.  Historically, I had been prescribed various psychotropic medications to help alleviate it.  But I quit taking them a few years ago when I convinced myself that the pharmaceutical companies had a conspiracy to keep me sick.  Since that time, I have cycled through various over the counter sleep aids…some more effective than others. None of them were effective in this case. Every night,  I ended up taking 150mg of diphenhydramine, using a box fan for white noise, and noise canceling headphones that played sleep music and hoping I would get some sleep. The lady still kept me awake until 2am and I had to get up at 5am to get ready for work.  This went on night after night. And during the day, my head was in a haze from all the sleep aid I had taken the night before…and the sleep I didn’t get.

After about a week or two of this, I became severely depressed.  It quickly turned to anger and then I sat down to make plans. I tried to come up with a way to make her have a very unfortunate accident…I’m not really a planner though…I respond mostly to impulse…I could just shoot her, I thought, but that scenario wouldn’t end well for me…I found myself fantasizing about this day after day.  It consumed me. I wanted to watch her, learn her habits, see who visited her…but because she lived above me, it made it difficult to do this.  So instead, I impulsively left.

I packed up a few items and went back to my father’s empty house where I slept on the floor for the first week.  I was so excited about the silence that I sat there for hours doing nothing but listening to the silence. It was wonderful.  I was happy to be in quietness again but it was short lived.

I went to see a psychiatrist for the first time during my treatment that’s been going on for over a year.  Background: I have been in and out of therapy a lot since I was 17. I must be addicted. In any case, this time around I had refused treatment from the psychiatrist because I fear them.  I told my counselor it’s because, they prescribe pills and keep me sick. But the truth is, they see through my bullshit and that makes me uncomfortable. Why does it make me uncomfortable?  Because I want people to see whatever I decide to let them see. And that doesn’t work, if its a good psychiatrist. Why am I in therapy then? Because I have no friends and we all need someone to talk to.

Anyway, back to my visit with the psychiatrist.  So I go into the room and there’s the psychiatrist on a video chat…on a very large TV screen.  I sat in one of the two chairs in the room…the one closest to the door of course. First, he asked why I was there.  “Because I feel like killing my fucking neighbor. I need to sleep and my mind needs to shut up, it’s like a radio without an off button,”  I tell him. Then he begins to ask a series of questions that I can only assume it is to get some background information. He wanted to know about previous psychiatric diagnoses, if I had every been confined to a psychiatric unit, etc.  Then he begins asking a series of questions to see if I meet criteria for Borderline. This wasn’t my first rodeo, I knew what he was doing…he suspected Borderline and that’s why he was asking those questions. But I answered all of his questions anyway as if I was under some kind of spell.  That is what happens when my shield is down.

Clever, I later thought, a video chat with a psychiatrist makes people feel more comfortable because the psychiatrist is not physically there.  So I had my guard down, less likely to lie and more likely to talk openly. Very clever and I didn’t see it.  Eliminating Borderline from my psychiatric history failed.  Why do I want to eliminate it? That is good question. What is my problem with this term that has plagued me for years?  It’s definitely questions I should explore further.

-Shadow