I took my second Lithium pill, and I got out an oldie, but goodie – Nirvana, Lithium.

I spent my evening sobbing and smiling at the same time.  This song was my favorite when I was in High School.  When Kurt killed himself, I was hysterical.  It distresses me that people judge and blame addicts like Kurt Cobain and Layne Staley.

I say that emphatically too, Kurt left behind a beautiful baby girl with a mother also addicted to heroin.  I’m sorry Maynard, but your “Free Frances Bean” t-shirt joke was in poor taste, I would never laugh, and you can keep your free shirt.  I have been enjoying A Perfect Union of Contrary Things until those lines.  I hurled the book down in disgust.  I texted words I never thought I’d say, angrily, “Maynard sucks”.  For someone who wrote about the Thirteenth step and not letting your halo choke, your shirt is hypocrisy.

“Oh well, he CHOSE to shoot up”  Yes, we all have choice..  No one wakes up and says, “I want to be an addict!” There is a concept of “Lesser of two evils” As aspersions are cast against addicts who try, desperately to save themselves from their minds, their pain, their demons, and try desperately to recover, they battle their choice of the lesser of two evils.  It’s easy to judge and say “Just don’t pick up the ___”  It’s easy to look down, as you tell yourself you are up.

I’ve always understood why he took a shotgun and killed himself, too. I can’t make someone else understand the nights when your demons come out and start talking. I can’t make you understand the strength and weakness I feel in every step I take, and I’ve never touched heroin, but I have done battle with alcoholism.

I can draw from my experience to say “Me too” and also maybe share on how NOT to treat people.  To heal, surrounding yourself with the right people is critical, especially as you make baby steps into the light of healing.  When so much of your world has been consumed by darkness, blind and scared is a daily wake up.  Waking up may be the only part of your day that you can be grateful for.

No God would torture me the way my very mind does, yet I am keenly aware that I have never asked my brain to tell me to kill myself.  I can choose what I listen to, how I react, and how I act, and I take that choice seriously.  I chose to drown those voices in alcohol and escapism as much as I choose to whisper lovingly, “You can do this.”

Listening to Lithium last night, I made the saddest connection in the world.  I struggle as much as I do, in part because I am largely surrounded by people do not understand how to speak to someone who is drowning in depression.  My life is a shitty metaphor of the mental health crisis and stigma.  I will not say “I am depressed”.  Depression, OCD, Bipolar, PTSD, etc. are not me.  To me, they are symptoms of the disease of society, that I cannot understand – NOT my mind.  My diagnoses are one word sound bites – descriptions of the way my brain lies.

“Cheer up”

I’m told as my brain tells me “if you killed yourself, they’d be happier”.  How does one reconcile that?

Music can be the soundtrack of pain, of suffering.  Kurt penned his demons, as people danced and demanded more.  Isn’t it ironic?  I understood last night, that the way I hear music and lyrics are not how everyone does.  I’ve always understood why Maynard gets frustrated with TOOL fans, but for him to mock Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love? No dice.  Addiction and mental illness and the suffering children face at the hands of it is not worthy of a t-shirt joke.  Trust me, my kids have seen me twitching and stuttering during massive panic attacks, and if you want to tell me I’m a bad mom, we can have some words.

Understanding and sadness breed compassion.  Compassion, love, and empathy are how I get out of bed and keep going. I refuse to judge people, because I have no idea the movie or soundtrack playing in their minds as my own soundtrack clamors in my head (quieter, quieter, nicer every day)

“I wish you would smile more, you are always so serious.”

To this, yesterday, I lost my mind.  I have never expressed myself the way I did, and I am glad for it.  My playful mood that I had woken with shattered into repressed anger, pain, confusion, etc.  I struggled to settle myself.  I wrote in every mood I had for the entire day.  To Alan Watts point, I write like my life depends on it.  Writing is the only thing that has helped me grab the very threads of my own sanity with clarity of my insanity.

Music rocks me back and forth in comfort and dance.  Love has lit the way for my eyes to open my heart and arms to myself, my children, my life.

Those words, up there?  Don’t say them to someone who struggles with depression.  Why? That playful happy mood I had was the result of weeks of me pouring my heart out in my journal, this keyboard, dancing, yoga, praying, meditation, and on and on.  In a sense, I chose to feel that pain, but in reality, how does one explain how my brain does not really want me to live?  I can tell you, “I’ve been suicidal for 20 years”; if you have not experienced that, it makes no sense.  If you have, you can smile sadly and nod.

I am so very glad for those who can smile and laugh easily.  I am very glad my children smile and laugh as easily.  Trust me, I’m one of the funniest people you can meet, but I won’t laugh at an addict or someone who is ill.  My brain loves to tell me I can’t smile and laugh.  I am confident I will get better with this, because I’m not fighting anymore.  I don’t have to do battle with my brain, because it is me.  I love me, and that makes the lies of my brain tougher to swallow.  I am so very, very, very fortunate to have purpose – my children and writing.  Without either? I’m in the ether of misery.

My anger, I realized, has been a result of me being so furious with how I am spoken to, because ignorance can sweep the very world out from under my feet.

“Can’t you just get over it?”

Yes, I can.  It takes a lot of work, and it always has, but I can.  Just not on your timeline.

“Why can’t you just take a pill?”

Ah!  The magical pill of happiness, yes.  I can pop every pill you give me, but if I listen to a brain that says “Kill yourself” pills can only do so much – like a diabetic taking insulin and drinking Coca Cola.

Last night, my brain came out to play again, but I didn’t fight.  I let the feelings come, I let the tears come.  I’m grateful, because one of my angels texted me funny pictures, as I had tears running down my laughing face.  THIS is life and the very power of the souls that come into your world, when you cast out love, hope, and a wish for healing.

As I calmed myself, my meditation was “Permission to cry, permission to feel this pain and release.  Permission to be well.  Permission to have peace.  Permission to be loved” until I grew silent.  The power of meditation cannot be understated.  The power of sharing love, kindness, and compassion with all you are connected to can not be overstated.  I gave permission to cry, instead of being blindsided by emotions.  There was a massive catharsis of understanding.

Permission to hold my head high, because my brain came out to play again, and I got myself to sleep.  Permission to feel the pain of 14+ years of misdiagnosed, improperly managed mental illness conjoined with unresolved traumatic experiences.  Permission to feel the sadness at how I have permitted myself to be spoken to and treated.  Permission to forgive myself and everyone.  Permission to heal.  Permission to grow.  Permission to be grateful for every moment that led me to 11:57AM, February 17th, as I type these words, because I Am Alive.

I will not judge Kurt, but I will not let my demons devour me.  They’ve had me long enough.  Permission to rise.  I am fortunate to have beacons in my dark nights of soul and mind.  I am Love.  I Am Loved.  I will not brag and tell you all is well, but I will say with a soft smile on my face, that no matter what, I Will be well.

The world lost an angel when his demons devoured him whole.  

Don’t judge an addict, when you don’t know their soul.  

Love up, love down, and don’t say you’re above

Love is the only measure of love

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