Saturday, October 22, 2016

Welcome to my world

Trigger warning: contains references to self-harm, suicide

In my world, things aren't easy to explain, to vocalise. When I am hurting, I tend to shut down, refusing to let anyone in. So many times, I wanted to reach out but I felt like I didn't have the right to.
Here’s what it can be like in my world.
I get so anxious that my heart isn't racing do much as humming. I know that’s not healthy but I won't do anything to stop it except try and breathe deeply.
There have been times when I get so anxious, I curl up in a ball on the floor and become almost catatonic. I just sit, stare at nothing and let my brain overwhelm me with worst case scenarios. I have moments still where my brain and body go on pause and I have to work through it.
I am not ‘actively suicidal’ but my mind does go to ending my life at times.
I don't drink heavily or use hallucinogenic drugs, not because I don't enjoy it, but I know that I am at risk of addiction of anything that numbs my inner turmoil, even on a temporary scale
I have a diagnosis of high blood pressure, but because of my size the doctor’s hesitate to look for a psychological cause, refusing to acknowledge anxiety because my diet or exercise regime is easier for them to attack that my mind.
When I go into ‘full anxiety mode’, the worst thing that you can do is touch me. Seriously, just don't, and while you’re at it don't tell me that it is all going to be okay, or to not think about it.
I crave physical connection, but I can't bring myself to actively touch another unless it's on my terms, and there is a reason for the action. 
I can't verbalise how much people mean to me because, even though I want to say it, the words aren't there.
I babble like an idiot, saying too much, or other times I am distant, not saying anything at all.
What goes on in my head can be beautiful, or it can open up doors to horrible self destruction.
I am numb right now, I feel even as I write this that I should feel more, that there should be a physical pain to compensate for what is going on in my head.
There’s probably more to tell you, but I will leave those confessions for another time

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Struggling With Inner Darkness: An Ongoing Battle

We tell people to reach out when they need help, that we are willing to listen to them. How many people would or would they just dismiss the call, the cry as being not important.

After a suicide is attempted, whether it results in the ceasing of life or not, we tell ourselves that these people could have asked for help, that we were there and willing to listen. Of course, these words offer us comfort, but inadvertently shame survivors by putting to them how they should have acted, how they could have acted if they truly wanted to live. We shame them for their inability to ask for help. We try to dictate how they are supposed to feel or respond. Without meaning to, we harm. We guilt them about not reaching out before they got to a point where they greeted death with more energy than life.

To a suicidal mind, sometimes it is impossible to vocalise what's exactly going through their minds. Feeling nothing but pain, they can't express just how much it hurts because they feel like no one is listening anymore. There is a complete numbness, making them wonder if they would feel a thing us a knife were to slice open their wrists.

That's the breaking point. It's the point where you make a choice: life or death. To see if you can survive another day of pain, of numbness because there may be light somewhere unexpected along the way. Maybe, just maybe those people will tell you after your attempt how much they care, maybe they will see the pain in your eyes and listen to you when you choose to open up.

That's life. It's full of maybes, of possibilities that something better coming along. You just have to want to live through the pain of today. You have to want to see another tomorrow, more than you want it to end. You have to be willing to feel everything: the good, the bad, the sweet and the unbearably bitter. You just have to pretend to be okay for just another day, even though you know it's just a mask, a facade to get you through.

To a perceptive mind, this is more than just a release, an outpouring of dark emotions.
What if it is reaching out to the wider world, hoping for someone to see the pain that lies within, to say before it's too late, that they genuinely care about this one life?
Of course, by then it might be just too late. Then there will just be the guilt trips, the questions of 'why', and the need for justification that the soul is broken from within. A survivor cannot heal through guilt or shaming about what they should have done.

Written 23.1.16

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Writing on the train: the story starts

No idea where it was going to end up, but the prompt was: returning home and realising everyone thought you were dead

"I know it's really materialistic of me to be upset because my things are gone but there you are," I said as I leaned back in my seat and looked at the good doctor in front of me.
"They thought that you were dead. There were searches after the war and bodies were buried," Doctor Schauss reminded me. 
"And it's a way for them to get closure, I get that," I said. Then I shrugged. "But it's not like I had a lot of stuff to begin with so losing even a little seems like too much!"
"Have you told them all of this?" Doctor Schauss asked me, his pen poised to write down my response.
"Yeah. It lead to another fight though," I said. "I didn't realise coming back from war would throw such chaos into their lives."
It had been five years since the official declaration had sounded but it still felt newer, more recent than that. 
"Sorry, what did you say?" I asked, realising that I had been lost in my own thoughts.
"I asked if your understanding of where they are coming from has changed at all?"
I shrugged. It had become my fallback response when I wasn't sure how to answer. Funny thing is that before and during the war I had hardly shrugged at all. I had an answer for everything, and a filter that only worked some of the time. "Part of me does."
"They buried a body. They thought that body's my was yours. They went through the funeral rites thinking that you were dead."
"It's not like I made them think that," I reminded the good doctor, knowing how petulant I sounded.
"There was testing. A DNA specialist confirmed that it was you based on the sample you provided when you volunteered," Doctor Schauss reminded me.
I had heard it all before. "Well, yeah. The whole point of going off to war against shape shifting zombie creatures is that one might turn in to you after it bites you and start to turn in to you, right down to the DNA."
"One bit you?" Doctor Schauss asked. He hadn't heard that before.
"Yeah," I said, trying to make it sound like it was nothing.
The doctor wasn't convinced. 
"It takes more than one bite to change you into a Shape shifting zombie," I told him. "It takes like a ton more and blood and organ exchange."
"I always wondered that but I was never sure of its accuracy," he said in return. 
I looked at him and raised my eyebrows in disbelief. "You're a medical professional. I thought you would have known all the facts," I told him.
"I am a psychologist, not a field doctor. I only need to know how to help you, not how to become what you were fighting against."
I laughed. Even after so long, so many people had trouble admitting what we were fighting against. They refused to use the words 'shape shifting zombie" because it meant that they wouldn't be able to deny their existence. Part of me wanted to goad him into saying it, to force him to say the words, but a larger part of me just wanted the appointment over and done with. "So, back to my family and friends then," I said in a clear way to indicate that the subject had been changed. "how do we hope about fixing this?"

© Patricia Kekewick 2016

Friday, April 24, 2015

ANZAC thoughts


They fought for us
In wars, experiencing things most of us cannot comprehend.
They deserve to be remembered for their sacrifices, instead of being a reason to have a day off work.
They have earned the right to be acknowledged for doing things most of us wouldn't dream of doing, not trivialised for commercial means.
Even if we do not see war as 'the answer', we must respect those people who fought, because without what they have given, we wouldn't be the nation we are now.
Three words, ingrained in monuments and minds across the country. A statement that makes us sit up and take notice.
Lest We Forget.


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Not Your Body, Not Any of Your Business

Here is my opinion, as both an employed person and as someone who receives part welfare payments, on the 'No Contraception, No Dole' discussion.

I get why people are in support of the whole idea. On the surface, it might appear to be a reasonable solution to the way things are happening with regards to welfare recipients.
However, as I read the comments on the Facebook post, all I felt was despair, because it felt that people were 'liking' the concept without considering the depths. Some people on the Facebook posts even went so far as to suggest sterilisation for these people.

People choose, or choose not to, access contraception for their own reasons. The choice to do so, or not, is their business alone. To force them to use it would be to violate their freedom to choose. Their reasons might be moral, religious, health or a variety of others that they shouldn't have to justify to anyone else.

It is also not unrealistic to anticipate that, despite the most stringent use of contraceptives by both parties, might still result in a pregnancy. If that were to happen, what new 'choice' would the unemployed mother (because, let's face it, women will be targeted the most at this point) be forced to make under this idea? Adopt it out or abort? Would they be allowed to keep their child if they did everything they were supposed to do by someone else's decree?

On to the topic of females being targeted in this plan, let's look at what people would be asked to provide to either Centrelink or their job networks. Most contraceptives that involve a doctor's visit are more likely to be used by a female than a male.

I feel like this also is a very dismissive plan, which with that statement 'no contraceptives, no dole', omits those people in same sex relationships, while practicing safe sex, would not be accessing contraceptive items for the 'birth control' aspects.

Let's also recognise that people would just say that they use it, have all the right documentation to get their payments, but then forget all about it unless called in to question about it.

These are, at best, my concerns in this plan. Agree with them, or do not, but consider them and consider also what you would do if someone in an office, which is not a medical professional, were to ask you what form of birth control you use. I know if someone in either Centrelink or my job network were to ask me this: it is none of their fucking business. It is not for us to try to control the actions of others, to dictate what they choose to do with their own bodies. It isn't any of our business.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Hard to breathe... A Commentary

Warning: Here lies darkness...

We get so down on people who are depressed and suicidal for not asking for help, but when it comes to it, do we realise just how hard it is to say those three words?
Do people who have never been there know how those words get stuck in your throat, unable to move and making it impossible to breath?
Do they know the pain of reaching out, only to be made to feel as if you were a burden for speaking of these horrible dark things and ruining their day?
Do they know that you feel selfish for asking them to hear, really hear, what you have you say?
Do they know that really you're just waiting for them to notice how you are not dealing with life?
Do they know the pain of having your every effort dismissed as if it were worthless, making it even hard to open your mouth and tell them the pain they are (likely without meaning to) causing you?
Do they just assume you are cold and distant because you have nothing to say, not realising that if maybe they asked you why, you might tell the truth instead of just saying that you're fine?
Depression chokes us. It tells us the lie that we are a burden on the world, that we are being selfish for wanting to talk about it out loud with someone, that what we are doing is making their lives that little bit darker and harder yo deal with. Depression shows us for who we are, and those vulnerabilities and truth make other people afraid of us.
One day a year we ask people if they are ok... Maybe we should ask more than that and actually listen to everything they are communicating with us, from their words, to the non verbal communication.
Because it is so easy to say that we are fine, that we are okay when people ask us, because our depression allows us to shape those lies, because it knows that people will accept them at face value,
The real fight is to go beyond the choking sensation and look someone in the eye and tell them that no, you are not okay and if they can/will listen, you might be able to fight your inner demons long enough to express the words that you need to say.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Sneak peek of upcoming project


We were taken on a tour of the facility.

We saw the rows of beds where participants were bound to as their bodies adjusted to the hardware. The stench of fear was overpowering, smelling akin to human bodily waste. The sheets on the bed were messed, as if the facility had been abandoned on that last day.

We went to the Procedure Chamber, where our looks of revulsion were barely mirrored in those horrible shiny blue tiles that were cracked under their film of mildew. The smell of excrement was strong in this room, wafting to out nostrils from the rotting, sodden mattress on the bed in the middle of that room. A dish of lights to shine down on people hung from an angle in the ceiling. Several of those globes were cracked or completely missing. The dish itself was tarnished.

This was not a space to linger in.


(C) Patricia Kekewick 2014