Life is Pain

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Life is pain.

And I don’t mean that
in some philosophical
bullshit way…(or maybe I do?)

Life is pain, whether it
be physical, mental,
emotional, or existential.

The gentle yearning ache
of a heart perpetually unfulfilled…

The bittersweet bile of nostalgia
creeping up one’s throat…

The sharp bite of our
unreliably aging bones…

The mind-numbing weight
of each day survived intact…

The desperate call of a soul
that may or may not actually exist…

~ Maranda Russell

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I Don’t Like to Read Anymore :(

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Lately I’ve hit the worst and longest lasting reading slump I can remember. For at least a couple months now I have struggled with picking up a book (any book) and reading it. I’ve tried a multitude of genres and subject matter, so I don’t think that is the issue. I’ve tried books of different lengths and even graphic novels and books with lots of pictures and still find myself throwing most of them to the side relatively quickly and just losing interest. I’m starting to worry this may be my new normal.

But WHO AM I if I no longer like to read? Reading and being a devoted reader has been such a huge part of my identity for so long that I feel lost without the passion for books I’ve always had. If you aren’t a reader, I know you will probably think this is a stupid post, but if you are like me and love to live in other worlds through print, you probably get my sense of despair and existential angst over this matter.

Desperate Loneliness

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I feel so desperately lonely sometimes, and at those times it feels like I am not only experiencing my own personal loneliness, but the loneliness of humanity in general. During those times I mourn how disconnected we have all become, and I consider how alone each of us really is in our own thoughts and emotions. No matter how deeply we want to relate to one another, there is a shallowness that is unavoidable due to separation and individuality.

Maybe I am overthinking things or ruminating far too much, but sometimes I despair of existence and wish I could truly bridge the chasm between my own mind and heart and another’s.

The Problem is Me

Art by Maranda Russell

The following is a poem about depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder:

The Problem is Me
Written By: Maranda Russell

The problem is me.
The problem has always been me.
It wouldn’t matter
where I go,
where I live,
what house I call home,
who is at my side,
who is under my feet,
who is in power,
or what is going on –
the problem remains
as long
as the problem is me.

Bad Night

Tonight was a bad night. The pain, isolation, and despair came crashing down so hard and fast that I crawled off the couch and collapsed onto the carpet, on my side, in a loose fetal position and just wept. I gripped the beige carpet fibers in my fingers and pulled as the tears pooled below my cheek. I pinched myself. I aimlessly pummeled the floor. The anger exploded in that way it always does, boomeranging right back into myself. I considered my options. All the ways it could end. The option of reaching out for help. The feeling that grasping for that help would only inconvenience others. After all, my husband has to work tomorrow, he needs his sleep. I can’t take the car, who would bring it back to him?

Eventually, I made my way outside. Hoping the cold would numb it all. I walked on the icy, wet grass and then took a seat on the deck stairs. Soon my feet were frozen numb, and my body curled inward, instinctively seeking to conserve its heat, even as I wished that I could bear it long enough to freeze. Dark thoughts of black toes breaking off soon made hypothermia a less attractive ending. If only it were like a Jack London novel, a slow nodding off into warm, cozy whiteness.

Eventually, I found myself back where I started, on the couch, hoping to find comfort on electronic waves, here in the place where lost things seem to gather in today’s society. I soon stumbled across someone else crying and hugging a giant stuffed giraffe and it soothed the edges just a little. Now, I can only hope tomorrow is brighter.

Brutally Honest Writings from a Depressive State

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Today I thought I’d share a few excerpts and snippets from journal entries written while I was in a deeply depressive state. Often, writing these thoughts and feelings out has been healing and maybe even life saving, as it gives me a way to focus the negativity without harming myself. I hope that by sharing these very personal thoughts, that it might help others who struggle with depression to feel less alone, and give those who don’t quite understand true depression a feel for the mental suffering endured by the clinically depressed:

“I’m so anxious today. I feel that there is little hope of my brain ever letting me live in peace. I’m so exhausted by the pain, fear, and despair of existence. I wish there was a simple ‘check out’ button when you can’t deal with life. I don’t want to harm myself but I don’t want to live this way anymore either.”

“I think way too much about death – always have. Death to me always represented freedom, a way out of unbearable life circumstances.”

“I often feel (and sometimes am certain I KNOW) that I am far more mentally ill than anyone else notices. I believe I hide it well, but often feel on the edge of snapping.”

“Only my pride and fear of complete loss of control restrain me from self-annihilation in the worst of my moments.”

“I don’t want to be hospitalized, I don’t want to cross that line, but I wonder sometimes if that is what I need.”

“I am so tired of fighting these self-destructive impulses and wondering what in the hell is wrong with me that I have them in the first place.”

“Why am I tempted while riding in the car to grab the steering wheel and spin us into oncoming traffic? I cross my arms tightly just to make sure I don’t act the thought out.”

“Why do I feel such a depth of emptiness and despair that I lay in bed wanting to sink my teeth into my skin until the pain finally ebbs away?”

“Why do I fear physical pain more than anything in life, yet feel the urge to inflict it on myself?”

“There are no good options. All this rage, anger, and pain. If I inflict it on others…I hate myself. If I inflict it on myself…I hate myself. There are no good options.”

(If you like this post and would like to see more, please comment and let me know! I was thinking of maybe sharing more of these in the future if anyone finds them helpful.)

Hiking with Hemingway

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Hiking with Hemingway
Written By: Maranda Russell

One foot in front of the other,
he reminds himself sternly,
pulling the edge of his hat down
to shield his sensitive brown eyes
from the glare of the city lights
winking in the distance.

Every glimpse of human society,
of the burning embers
from love lost and found
and lust thrown to the ground,
only serve to make a lesser man
turn his heart aside.