That was essentially the message of my brain for the last few days, although that wasn’t clear until this morning when I was analyzing the episode in the clear light of the aftermath of being frightfully angry. I wasn’t so much angry, although a big part of me was, I was AFRAID. Deeply and utterly terrified on a cellular level. And that’s how I got some major insight into how my mind reacts to fear and essentially becomes a soldier or a warrior in response to it, instead of cowering and crying like fear makes so many people do. In retrospect, while I appreciate my inner warrior (I have to think about her name, but I know for a fact that at one point it was Kali speaking to me), I’m going to have to have a talk with her about when it is and isn’t appropriate to put the warrior hat on. Because the last few days have been pretty miserable for me, although I was able to control myself well enough that nothing got broken and no one got shouted at, and I’d like to avoid that again if at all possible.
Right now, the one surefire way to activate that warrior is by reading the news, because that’s when she put on her armor and picked up her sword and got ready for battle. It was sometime last week, but my husband mentioned that John Pavlovitz, a progressive social leader and “real” Christian pastor, was apparently pretty upset about something given his articles and tweets that day. And that was how I found out about the whole “you’re not being civil” debacle. My inner warrior was like “oh hell no, they did NOT just go there, did they? fuck me, they did.” and BOOM, she was off and running and it would take a few days and a pretty severe pharmaceutical wrangling to get her back under control. Thusly, I am also having a conversation with my inner warrior about the difference between potential danger and immediate danger, even if the potential is very high.
I was smart enough and aware enough and articulate enough to be able to at least somewhat communicate with my husband during those few days, although unfortunately part of my anger and fear were stemming from some trouble we’re having reconnecting after so many years of my essentially being “absent” and us not really living a real marriage for quite some time. I know it will work itself out eventually, but my mind keeps remembering the joy of reconnection we achieved a few weeks ago before I “crashed” a couple of weeks ago (and herein lies another entire potential blog post about how doctors need to be really fucking careful about what they give to people in an elevated mental state).
But the combination of worrying about my marriage and whether or not it would ever recover itself to a state of love and trust that we had before, along with being exposed to just three little news stories, was just bad bad bad. I did NOT want to unload on anyone because I was perfectly aware that my mind was in the “danger zone” so to speak, a state of mind that, in the past when I’ve not had the control I have now, would definitely have the potential for broken things and a lot of screaming and maybe even further destructive behavior I will not discuss because it’s fucking embarrassing. That’s for me, Anubis, and Maat to discuss after I’ve died and we’ll decide together whether or not my soul is worthy enough to board Osiris’ Bark of the Sun.
Instead I internalized the screaming, but I still needed an outlet, and lo and behold, there’s Twitter. So I unloaded on my Twitter feed for a few days, I’m sure to the chagrin of anyone who happens to actually follow me such that I appear in their feeds. It wasn’t too terribly awful, I don’t think, but anyone reading would definitely have been left with the “damn that person is pissed off” sensation. When I wasn’t tweeting, I was watching movies in a desperate attempt to divert and/or quiet the raging inside my head.
First I watched the Lord of the Rings, which I feel more and more is my favorite morality tale. I identify HARD with some of the characters, most notably Frodo and Gandalf, but that’s another post. So I can fall into LOTR if I want or need to, because despite everything that happens, the Ring is destroyed, Sauron is destroyed, Mordor falls into a black abyss, and eventually everyone goes home. This time, though, I was pretty much struck between the eyes by the brief observation narrated by Frodo as the movie panned through Bag End.
“How do you go on, when in your heart you begin to understand… there is no going back? There are some things that time cannot mend. Some hurts that go too deep.”
I had to sit and think about that for a while, because it’s true, and it’s something I’ve been railing against in some situations, but that’s another blog post.
Anyway, I wanted to watch The Core, an utterly ridiculous sci-fi movie that I really like, for whatever reason (I think it’s my penchant for disaster movies), but I was still struggling mightily with my brain to just shut the hell up so I could at least pick a movie, let alone watch it and be able to focus on it. I did pick the movie but I couldn’t make myself sit down because my mind was just so fucking agitated. Finally I said “fuck it”, and I downed Mjolnir, which is my name for the drug Seroquel. Because that’s how it acts a lot of the time, like a hammer. A velvet one, to be sure, but still a hammer. I watched the movie for a bit with my husband, with whom I had actually managed to speak long enough to essentially say that I was really angry about some things between us but I didn’t want to unload on him, and I babbled and struggled with my words so they wouldn’t come out hurtful and finally degraded into tears, which was probably a good thing. Finally I was like “I’m going to watch this movie and yes I’m still mad but you can watch it with me if you want, or not”. And he did, which I wanted but couldn’t say. After a while I had to take another Seroquel, because the anger train was not slowing down.
And so I spent the rest of the day just watching one movie after another and cursing the Seroquel for not behaving the way it had a few days previous. When I’m in a normal mood, or at least one that’s not so intense, Seroquel makes me very sleepy and I’ll pass out watching a movie. Apparently when I’m angry, or fearful, it’ll slow things down enough to be manageable, but will not knock me out. Not at the doses I was taking, anyway.
We went out as a family to eat, and I was glad I was able to do that, although whenever I opened my mouth, sardonic and sarcastic hostility about the world in general spilled out whether I wanted it to or not, so I mostly didn’t talk.
Finally 10pm rolled around, which is nighttime med-time for me. I took my usual stuff along with two Mjolnir and a prayer, and settled into bed to watch Twin Peaks, which I started watching again a few days ago. I got sleepy enough around midnight to think it was safe to turn off the show and go to bed, so I put on some music and tried to lay down. Unfortunately, I became gripped with anger once again about marriage stuff and any semblance of sleepiness vanished. Fine, I thought, be that way, and I put my computer back on the bed so I could watch the show some more, but before I did that I went downstairs and took two more Mjolnir and a sleeping pill. I knew this wasn’t a dangerous combo of drugs or a dangerous level of Seroquel: I took it a long time ago and the doses go pretty high. At last I fell asleep, for real, and put aside the computer and finally went to bed.
I did not get up until almost 9am, which hasn’t happened in weeks. I think I really needed the rest, plus I had to give my brain the subconscious time to do its own magic combined with the effect of the drugs to throw a lot of ropes around the horse of my brain and get it to slooooow down and eventually be put back in the stable. When I got up I took my usual meds plus a Seroquel as a pre-emptive effort to prevent getting angry again. I think that’s passed, though. I feel much calmer now.
The Voice of the Goddess is back now, and she keeps reassuring me and telling me everything’s okay now. She also did that nice magic trick I love: planting a song in my head, sometimes one I haven’t heard in a long time. Today that song was “Good News First” from my favorite band, Rush, from their “Snakes and Arrows” album that came out in 2007. At the time, I really only liked 3 or 4 songs from the album. This time, however, it was like I was hearing it for the first time, and just about all of the songs are now meaningful to me. Really, it was THE perfect thing for me to listen to, and as always, the words of Neil Peart set to Alex and Geddy’s music is the perfect salve to my irritated soul, if for no other reason than the musical proof that SOMEONE UNDERSTANDS ME. I think that’s why Rush fans love Rush: they speak our language when regular words and other music fail.
Here are the words that almost instantly summed up my feelings and made me go look up Snakes and Arrows again and give it another listen:
Some would said they never fear a thing
Well I do
And I’m afraid enough for both of us
For me and you
Time, if nothing else, will do it’s worst
So do me that favor
And tell me the good news first
Then all of the other songs on that album came into super focus, and the songs that I had always liked from that album gained even more meaning. Probably the one that means the most to me and expresses my dismay, disappointment, anger, fear, and the potential for madness is Far Cry.
Whirlwind life of faith and betrayal
Rise in anger, fall back, and repeat
Slow degrees on the dark horizon
Full moon rising lays silver at your feet
It’s a far cry from the world we thought we’d inherit
It’s a far cry from the way we thought we’d share it
You can almost feel the current flowing
You can almost see the circuits blowing
One day I feel I’m on top of the world
And the next it’s falling in on me
I can get back on
I can get back on
One day I feel I’m ahead of the wheel,
And the next it’s rolling over me
I can get back on
I can get back on
That’s pretty much my internal rallying cry song when the frustration builds and I’ve been knocked off my feet again, and it fairly translates internally to “dammit, this is fucked up and I’m sick of it being fucked up, but I am not going to sit here feeling sorry for myself, I’m getting the fuck back UP”. In Buddhist terms, “fall down seven times, get up eight”.
So that’s me this morning, in the aftermath of my brain’s fear-induced rage, tending my now calm horse, or warrior, with whom I still have to speak for a bit if for no other reason than to figure out who she is, because I look at her and damn, she’s complicated! But no, I cannot watch or read the news, although now that she and I have had this experience, I think I have a better grip on her, and have the stable door firmly closed and locked until I really need her. Because I do. She keeps me safe when there’s danger; she just got confused about how immediate the danger might be because we both share the same ability (because duh, we’re the same person, it’s MY brain) to project into the future and see the possible outcomes of a situation, and we are both dismayed to see so many potential futures ending in bad things, some of which will directly affect mine, my husband’s, and my child’s futures.
I’m also perfectly aware that the various news sources are heavily biased towards bad news, and so there may indeed be good things happening, but the sounds of victory are being overwhelmed by the various calls to battle and infighting that seem to plague “the good side” amidst the calamitous roar of “the other side” dismantling American democracy from out beneath us. I see a virtual army of millions of people, all with the same hopes and goals when you boil it all down, yet choosing to essentially pick on each other for what kind of armor and weaponry they’ve brought to the battle. It’s a battle, and we need everyone. Stop picking on each other and just figure out how to best utilize each person.
Put another way that may make things clearer that also illustrates the ridiculousness of the infighting: people showing up to put out a great fire, all bearing buckets of varying sizes and shapes carrying water, and having people tell them that there’s something wrong with their bucket or their water while they simultaneously pick on each other’s buckets and ask stupid questions about where they got their water. It’s a fire people, and water (aka the power of enough people with a vote) will put the fucker out, but you have to stop arguing with each other over your buckets and water and what’s going to happen afterwards. When firefighters show up to put out a fire, they don’t stand around arguing about what’s going to happen to the runoff from putting out the fire or the value of the surrounding properties in the absence of the building or what’s going to go there after the burned building is torn down: they just put the damned fire out before it fucking spreads.
I think I’ll stop here and contemplate fleshing out the vision of a great fire extinguished by water into a blog post, because I think it was the final booster rocket on my brain that sent me into orbit on/around May 21. I’m still trying to nail down the timeline of my little mental journey and what exactly set it in motion. Though I have to remember yet more Rush words:
some things can never be changed
some reasons will never come clear