Mental Health


"'Starry Night'...The Rains of Isaac Falling" © Viewminder, 2012. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.
‘Starry Night’…The Rains of Isaac Falling” © Viewminder, 2012. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.
Hydroplaning. Enough water to lose friction, but not enough to create more. I feel like if I had just a little more ache I could name it. If I had just a little less I wouldn’t have to.

I talk about how I got up this morning. When the alarm clock went off, even. On less than twelve hours of sleep. Amazing. I revel in my ability to take a shower and put on clothes. To leave the house. Keep appointments. Can it count as friction? Please. Something to give me a little traction so I feel less like I’m sliding. Careening. Out of control. Helpless.

My shoes skid across the sidewalk and I swear I’m floating. People are just blurs of hats and scarves. Sunglasses. Warm, fuzzy blobs of color and noise. I am completely disconnected. Nothing you’re saying sounds like words. I smile, but I don’t see you. Not really. Keep my hands in my pockets, unsure if I’d actually feel my touch on anything. Begging to feel like I’m residing in my own body. Like I have any sway over what happens in my head.

The sun goes down and it takes an hour for me to notice. Sitting in the dark, staring at my computer screen. Writing frantically about everything but the thing I need to be. Hard avoidance of those topics that need specific assignment. Which coil around my system and make everything hurt until I decide to pay attention to them. They hide behind my, “I don’t know what’s happening,” and “It comes out of nowhere and I don’t know how to stop it.” Pulling. Tugging. Squeezing in until paralysis sets in and I spend three days on the couch half-watching TV.

Over and over again we tell ourselves the goal is not to stop thinking, but to stop judging. Not to change people, but to change how we react to them. We are not trying to fix, to mend. We are trying to lick our own wounds and get back up again. But first we have to find out where we’re bleeding. Somehow we thought that would be easy. Trace backward to find out how we got here. It feels like we’ve done this before. Each action, each consequence. Both on the giving and receiving ends. They are all so familiar we wonder if we could write them down on a piece of scrap paper, seal it in an envelope, and astound the masses with our prediction a week later. But that doesn’t mean we understand it. Doesn’t mean we can point to the origin.

“Look, there. That’s where it hurts.”

But they tell me we know more than we think we do.

“Write about it. You’ll get there.”

So I’m left wondering if maybe I just don’t want to. When you finally find the splinter you have to remove it, don’t you?

4 thoughts on “Trahere

  1. you know, when I wrote my 4th step it was to the best of my ability at the time. It was painful and i looked at many things i was either unable or unwilling to change. until i was….that’s where the choice comes in for me. I don’t have the choice if i don’t know the answer. once i have the answer, once i know, then i have a decision to make. but it’s MY decision, informed and responsibility accepted. no longer in a haze of “this is what i do so i’ll drink my way through it”, it becomes “this is what i do and I will do it until i am ready to not do it”.

    i do think we know more than we think we do, but sometimes it takes time to get at it. my 4th started the process…it’s still ongoing. I don’t expect some sort of nirvana, just a life free of addiction. those expectations are not unreasonable.

    I also think that changing our reactions can be done by just being aware that they need to change. those splinters go deep, sometimes they stick around for a awhile. i can act AROUND the, and do. Until i am ready to yank them out.

    you write so beautifully, you could be writing about something else entirely, but 4th stop is what resonated for me.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I feel like fourth step (all of them really, but especially that one) is a life-long pursuit. I didn’t have it specifically in mind when I wrote this, but I think I always sort of do.

      It’s easy to beat ourselves up about not realizing things sooner, to get angry that we let actions go on longer than we thought they would. I think you make a really important point when you’re talking about informed decisions. We weren’t the people that could know those things, but we are now.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. “But first we have to find out where we’re bleeding.” Yes. And sometimes when you’re soaked in blood, it’s hard to do. Sometimes it’s not even our own blood.

    As far as having to remove the splinter…I guess I’d consider how big the splinter is and what happens if we remove it? I keep thinking about the stories you hear of how removing a stake or an arrow can actually make it worse or kill you. (Yeah I probably watched too much Gray’s Anatomy, lol).
    Can the body heal over a splinter or even expel it on its own?

    I love how your writing makes me think. Thank you for that.


    1. That’s a really good point. Sometimes we do just expel or heal it on our own. Sometimes removal is a way worse idea.

      I guess it all comes down to identifying the real problem and only then worrying about what to do with it. I have a tendency to try to worry about everything all at once.



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