I forgot again.
There has been this pressure building in my mind and I couldn’t figure out why. My emotions have been like a constantly moving sea, unknowable and almost insurmountable. I’ve been carrying around depression like a hairshirt, feeling like it’s just something that I have to live with, even if I don’t know why. I stopped questioning the turmoil within and kept on with the business of living as best as I could until last week when it hit me.
May is my dark month. Or it used to be.
I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in April of 2013. I would have to wait until August to find out which type of multiple sclerosis I had living inside of me. At the time, I thought I was okay. I was born with spastic cerebral palsy. I had been disabled all my life; what was a disease on top of that?
Turned out, it was a lot. There were a few other issues that I was dealing with at the time including an abusive relationship. All of this brought on a crippling depression. I lived within the dark forest and didn’t even know. The whisper of the trees kept the voices company; the voices liked to tell me that I was broken.
I remember the moment I almost took my life. That moment is always crystal clear to me. I had just been prescribed one of my first medications, a painkiller named baclofen. I was at work, and I sat outside having a cigarette. I put the cigarette out and poured the bottle of pills into my hand and picked up my bottle of water. I could not feel the breeze on my face, nor the sun on my face. There was only the forest and it wanted all of me.
I called my boyfriend at the time and told him what I wanted to do. He told me to go for it, to kill myself, to stop bitching about it and just get it done. I hung up on him and did what I should have done in the first place and called my mother. She told me that she didn’t raise a quitter and that better things were coming, I would just have to welcome them when they did and believe in the possibility of maybe.
Trauma like that stays with you. Even though my body and spirit had forgotten, my mind didn’t. It’s been trying hard to pull me back into the dark forest where I used to feel so much at home. I’ve been trying to do what I can to ignore the forest and the trees that know me so well. I think in the end, it’s easier to let the emotions run through me rather than to fight against them.
I have learned one thing from the past. I no longer try to mask the emotions with joy that doesn’t reach my eyes. I no longer try to hide behind a wall of positivity so that no one around me needs to see the fragile shell that lays inside. I’ve let go of the toxic positivity that I held on to so desperately, needing to ignore the sadness until it nearly swallowed me whole.
I have forged new paths and new memories, less replacements and more instead of’s. I have done what I needed to develop new patterns and new behaviours. I eat well, I exercise, I meditate every day. I take medication to help balance my emotions. I practice self love as much as I can, and yet, the waves of emotion are still there.
And that’s okay.
I’m glad I forgot, but instead of constantly trying to turn away from the sadness, I need to take a moment or two to sit and reflect on what the sadness is trying to teach me. When I close my eyes, I can see the waters flowing out from me. In the waters are tiny boats filled with different emotions. I can see the bright pink boats of joy, the green boats of growth and the yellow boats of transformation. I can see the red boats that represent love and the blue boats that are my sadness, almost the same colour of the water. The blue boats look as if they were painted by the storm from which they came.
I pick one gently from the water and I hesitate to look inside it. I take a deep breath and when I look down at the boat, I can see my eyes reflected on the waters surface held within.
Instead of shoving those boats aside to make room for the boats with brighter colours. I need to remember that all the boats of many colours come from me. They are all pieces of a puzzle and together they make up the canvas of me.
Even though I’ve done what I can to deal with my emotions, I can’t turn my back on them for they are the many facets of who I am and they can help me produce magic. I place the blue boat back in the water and follow it along on its journey to see what secrets of the waters it has to tell me.