Thank you, Bradley, for inspiring me to write the following 5 series of posts.
In Things I’ve Had to Let Go, Bradley writes of his excitement at holding his newborn daughter and his sadness at the distance from which he saw her grow up. He spoke of how his corporate career died and how his ambition to be a religious minister couldn’t eventuate.
These are examples of many things in my life that didn’t go the way I wanted them to. I had to let them go. It was painful, but eventually, I reached the point of acceptance…
I do grieve for those and many other things. Some days it hurts more than others, but wallowing in self-pity and wishing them back would only serve to make me old and bitter. I don’t want to be that guy. Today. Right now. In this very second, I am the guy who is grateful for all the good he has in his life and keeps doing the best he can.
What Bradley said resonated so much for me.
Yet initially, it reminded me of the point I lost everything, my free fall before I ever got to the point of releasing my grip on something that was no longer there.
Thank you, Bradley, for this very cathartic process and I hope others may gain an insight into psychosis or feel less alone in their own journey.
Before psychosis, or at least something undeniably psychotic, struck me, I struggled to keep my life on track. To perform. To succeed in my career.
At times I was so stressed out and anxious that I didn’t hold it together and I fled.
One time I remember travelling near the doors of the train on a three-hour trip. The whole way I spoke on the phone to my mum, terrified I’d otherwise hear the voices around me that would say I was a waste of space and see the disgusted glances. I don’t remember the conversation. All I remember is that I was near hysterical. I needed my mum’s lifeline until I got back to my parents and hid.
Yet I managed to go back to work, made a slow and acceptable exit, and started my life again.
I coped by only doing work. An almost non-existent social life. Social interaction felt stressful. Another place I had to prove myself. At the end of each day I’d collapse and try to recuperate in order to appear together and competent for another day.
I wished I was dead. So often. I’d fantasise how peaceful and non-existent it would be. Perhaps because of my Catholic upbringing, I thought suicide would actually condemn me to an eternity of living in an anxious grey and black world.
So there seemed, for a long time, no hope or end. I begged for a natural death that would finally release me from what I regarded as torture. Trying to manipulate myself to conform to an acceptable life.
I didn’t know what to do.
Of course I sought solutions.
Yoga, positive psychology, made me think another life was possible, like the tantalising smell of wattle in mid-winter gives the promise of spring.
Foucault, a French philosopher, gave me insight into how there might be radically different understandings of reality (or discourses). His work had a profound effect on me for years. I kind of began to think that maybe in another reality I wouldn’t stumble around trying to walk in a straight line as if I were blind drunk and in pitch black.
Check out a short post by Eric Wilinksi that points out that getting out of depression and anxiety is more than flicking a switch or talking differently to yourself because they involve sensory perceptions as well as thought.