Saturday, February 13, 2010

Conscious & Paralyzed

For a very long time before now I’ve been excellent at denial.

What’s the root of denial? For me, it’s always started with a glimpse of the truth or the inevitable, but whatever it was that I saw was something I didn’t want to see, I didn’t want to deal with, I didn’t want to believe or accept, and so I enforced the 5-second-rule with my thoughts and either excused them away or flat-out ignored them, refusing to consider the thoughts any longer. It sounds silly, I know, but there’s a reward in everything we do. Otherwise, we wouldn’t do it. For me, the rewards have always been peace and time.

Some things are things that have the potential to get better if you hunker down and form a plan, while other things are immune to effort and planning – these things are the things in life that are beyond your control.

Thinking back to my earliest recollection of denial brings about a sheepish feeling of embarrassment. When I was 11 I came home from school one day only to unexpectedly find half the contents of my house packed up in boxes. My initial thought was that we were moving again, but I didn’t have any other indication that we would be moving (like my parents telling me), so I asked my mom and to my relief she said no, we weren’t moving. It was as if I had just asked someone if the sky was blue and they told me no. Although I was looking right at it and I knew I was being lied to, I made the conscious decision to ignore what I knew to be true, and I went about daily life as if I had never seen the boxes at all. The reward, although short-lived, was my not having to deal with the stress of moving yet again to a new state, a new school, a place where I again knew no one and would have to start over from scratch. A week later my mom looked me in the eye, just as she had a week prior, and broke the news that we’d be moving in a day. And she wonders to this day why I don’t trust her.

I know now that denying what was in plain sight, even for an 11-year-old, was nothing more than a coping mechanism. I suppose I could have fought to find out the truth a week earlier, but if I had done that my day-to-day would have been so disrupted that I wouldn’t have gotten anything done – I’d have to learn to cope in other ways, which I guess is where I’m at now. Coping with the inevitable is sadly something I’ve never learned to do.

A months or two ago I stopped posting as regularly. I finally mentioned that I had made the tough decision to not try out for the All Stars in Q1 because of some other things that were going on outside of derby, namely the failing health of my grandmother and my dog. A month or so went by, and during that time nothing really changed – neither had yet taken a turn for the worse, yet I was paralyzed, unable to function in a normal way in my day-to-day life. If I were of a typical mental state, I’d say I was depressed, but I’ve been being treated for depression for the past four years, so what does that make me now? Super depressed?! Uber depressed? How about “really fucking depressed”? After a while I began to think I was just really lazy, and then I surpassed lazy and lost interest in the hobby that I’ve dedicated the last 5 years of my life to. Unable to understand what was going on and unable to “fix” anything, I tried on various answers or solutions, because I couldn’t stand that I couldn’t fix the real problems that were causing me stress: the failing health of my grandmother and dog. The one answer I have clung to the most is my desire to accomplish several other goals in my life – goals that in a carefree world I probably could accomplish over time without pulling back from derby – yet I have pulled back from derby and I haven’t done a god damned thing toward accomplishing those other goals. This is how I know they aren’t the answer. So what is?

The answer is that there is no answer. There’s no answer, no fix, no solution to death. It’s a part of life. And as much as I know this to be true, and for as expected as it is, I’m apparently still incredibly affected by the stress it’s placed on my day-to-day life. In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m the type of person who thrives on working toward a goal, or in my case, multiple goals. When I don’t like something, I fix it. And now I have no idea what to do with myself since I can’t do anything, and I’m paralyzed by this – completely and utterly paralyzed. As I sit and wait for it to be over, I simultaneously hope for no swift resolution. The time I lose is the time they gain and the time I gain with them, yet while I should be happy and in the moment when I’m with them, I’m distant instead. I’ve somehow isolated myself from everything and everyone I love. I’m not in denial, but I’ve lost peace, and I’m wasting time.

I suppose I should take comfort in the fact that I’m not in denial, and I’m finally learning to face the music. But any comfort is lost to the fact that I don’t know what the fuck to do now, and that stresses me out. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. When life gives you shit, make a shit sandwich? I think not.

Today we got the call that my grandmother may not last the night. My mom picked me up, and we went to go see her – maybe for the last time. As I sit on the sofa typing this, my dog is curled up next to me. Although I worry a lot about what I should be doing, when I’m curled up with my dog there’s no other place I want to be. Maybe life hasn’t given me shit. Maybe it’s actually given me time – not time to stress, but time to enjoy things as they are while they last. I’m still not entirely sure I’m doing the right thing, but only time will tell. In the meanwhile, I suppose I’ll practice patience and try to let go of paralysis.


The Coroner said...

A very good read on denial, death, life. Sorry for what you're going through.

Best to you.

Anna said...

I'm sorry about your grandmother...dealt with that last year w/my grandfather. One of the worst feelings.

I know what you mean though...when I finished derby and school I was like "I have so many things I have time to do now!" and haven't done a single one. I know why that is, and I'm in total denial over it. Ugh.

Esmerelda said...

I have been through that denial and it is horrible. I'm so sorry about your grandmother. Lingering death is it's own private hell and I can't decide what's worse - when it's a long illness or a sudden, unexpected one.

You really should submit "really fucking depressed" to SNL for a depression med commercial. I personally love the one where the side effect is diabetic coma and death.