Right this very moment in time, I am utterly content. It’s 5am and I’m still not asleep because sleep seems to reset the anxiety and I can’t get bear to let go of this moment just yet. I can breathe. I’m in bed, or rather, I’m on the couch in the loungeroom with Rose sleeping bedside me and the animals all around, because we thought a change of environment night help. It’s dark and quiet and beautiful.
The past 6 weeks or so have been hellish. Stuck in chronic distress all I’ve been able to do is look for windows of time when things are not so bleak and soak up what I can. Rose is on her way up I believe. Not back to her old self yet but certainly her windows of good time are getting bigger and lasting longer. And I think I am too, a bit slower and more bewildered, but starting to come out of it at times. A couple of nights ago Rose sent us to bed alone with journal and pen and candles lit and for several hours we were in no pain at all – gone, like turning off a tap. But that night in sleep it all returned.
Today I had a remarkable conversation with an acting student about the making of art and being centered. She was so grounded herself that just being in her company I felt myself calm and settle into some unreachable peace. When I went back to class the trembling nausea and catch in my throat returned, but the memory of that peace wasn’t entirely gone and all afternoon I cultivated it.
I’ve had the most wonderful evening I’ve had in weeks. Friends came over for dinner and hugs and games. The lovely lady who bought my first print left a beautiful comment on this blog and I felt a tiny flicker of warmth when I read it! Someone asked for a referral locally and I felt a tiny sense of looking forward to getting that professional support referral project up and running for my networks… The joy of that! To feel things again! To care about my work again!
When it’s gone it’s so terribly gone though. A couple of days ago I phoned my mother from bed, so distraught she cancelled her day and came straight over. I spent most of it crying. There’s been many days like that. I coax myself into housework and college and doing my best to function, and I sob inconsolably the rest of the time. Focusing, meditation, conscious breathing, journaling, warm baths, sitting in my garden, distractions, good company, and all the millions of other tools I have to manage tough times seem to do nothing.
Yet, in the presence of someone deeply calm, something in me calms, like a distraught child being taken by the hand and walked through all the dark and scary night back home where it’s safe, and realising on reflection that they weren’t so far lost after all. It’s infuriating. It’s wonderful.
I had a sense today that following my transformations this year, in some ways I’m exactly the same highly strung, passionate, intense persons I’ve always been. But in others I am totally different – approaches that used to nurture me now do nothing, while I find myself deeply moved by approaches that have always been useless to me. Something has changed, and I don’t know it or understand it very well yet. I have the sense of myself – my body and mind, as a new kind of instrument I don’t yet know how to play or care for, don’t yet know how to hear the warning signs of problems, or nurture to get the best music from. It’s been a harsh lesson, like leaving a guitar out in the rain! I’ll learn. I’ll do anything I have to do.
Right now I’m going to surrender to sleep, and try to accept with grace the possibility that tomorrow I’ll be a trembling overwhelmed shadow of myself again. I can feel the lump in my throat, the bite of nausea. It was real, I did find a window, and I will find more. I’m going away shortly, camping with my sister in the hopes that this time my night under the stars will be helpful and reset some of this anguish. I hope the dawn is near for me, I do. I am grateful to be reminded of the humbling sweetness of those who have very little being kind – how few of us who live privileged lives ever get to feel that? It flattens those hierarchies of important people so quickly, stings but only our pride. You can’t look at people the same way when last week you were so broken and they so kind. They become your equals, even your teachers and mentors. Always learning, always something to learn.
Wish me luck.