I am not afraid to die –
but I am not yet
unafraid of living.
I’m not sure I have ever written truer words than the 3-line poem above. This little gem came to me while taking a bath last night, so I repeated it to myself like a mantra until I got out of the tub and could write it down.
It is true that I am not afraid of death. I am a bit afraid of the actual feeling of dying, mostly because of the instinctual anxiety I fear it would bring. However, I am not afraid of being dead. In fact, I rather look forward to it. If there is something after death, it will be awesome to explore and find out what else is out there. If there is nothing after death, it will just be like the times I have passed out or been put out for surgery…simply a loss of consciousness which often sounds like a relief in itself. No more worrying. No more pain. No more anxiety or depression.
However, living is scary. Knowing I may have years and years of dealing with anxiety and depression ahead of me. Knowing that I will likely suffer from chronic pain and chronic illness until I die. Knowing that my degenerative conditions will likely worsen with time. Fearing that my husband may get sick or die and I will be alone. Fearing financial ruin. Fearing homelessness. Fearing potentially abusive situations. Fearing the entire planet going to shit (a justifiable fear from my point of view). Fearing that I may end up committing suicide if life becomes unbearable (not the ending I would desire for my life).
I wish you could see
the spectre of depression
haunting my days…
dragging his knuckles
through the miry muck
and leaving a trail
of icy numbness behind.
(Poetry by Maranda Russell, marandarussell.com)
I recently sold this oil pastel drawing shown above, but I wanted to share it because it is one of my favorite pieces I have done recently. If you can’t tell, the image is of a person and a little dog walking through a rainbow world (which represent happiness and life), but ahead of them lies the darkness of depression and they either don’t see it coming, or are impelled to continue walking, perhaps against their own will.
As someone who struggles with bipolar type 2 and chronic severe depressive episodes, this is clearly a personal feeling conjured into a visual image. I thought I would share though, because I bet some of you can relate to it too.
“I live for these days,
when colors abound
and truth can be found
in the shadows
and the sun.”
Check out my art for sale at my Ebay store!
I am an emotional writer. I write from whatever my current point of view and mood dictates. Often my writing may be entirely contradictory or may not even represent my general consensus on a given subject, but is instead a snapshot of a moment in time.
Reading through my journal entries and blog posts may appear to be a debate between various personalities – and in a sense, perhaps it is. No, I do not suffer from some sort of multiple personality disorder, but I use writing to discover and decipher my own jumbled thoughts and feelings. When I start writing, I often don’t know exactly where it is going to go, what the end result will be, or what I will learn along the way, but that is part of the magic of the creative process.
Please keep in mind when reading this blog, that what is being presented is often unfiltered, barely edited, stream-of-consciousness prose that represents only a momentary glimpse of my overall experience of life. If you dislike what I write today, stick around, because you just might love what I write tomorrow!
Here are a few important questions to ask yourself about your purpose and meaning in life! For fun, I have provided my own answers to them as an example! If you do answer these, I would recommend taking the time to write them down, think about them carefully, and be as honest as you can!
- What is your life work? My Answer: Writing, sharing ideas and emotions, creating art, advocating for and comforting others with autism, mental illness, and chronic pain/illness.
- What is the meaning of your life? What gives you purpose? My Answer: Inspiring others (kids, fellow Aspies, those with disabilities, other outsiders). Loving family, friends, and animals (loyalty).
- What is your passion? My Answer: Writing, spirituality, philosophy, psychology, toys, books, animals, art, creativity.
- What does the world lose if I wasn’t here? My Answer: A child-like, loving heart and spirit. Loss of inspiration and creativity. The loss of a voice crying out for justice and harmony. Loss of a unique thinker.
- What would it take to begin fully living my dreams today? My Answer: Time, the willingness to fail or be ridiculed, the possibility of being proven wrong, unwavering belief in myself, trust in what is meant to be, hope.
The last week has been rather rough. Healthwise, I seem to be having some immune system issues. For some reason, I have gotten sores all over my gums and strangely, under my tongue. They aren’t like regular canker sores, they are more like little painful little red balls and swollen, ulcerated patches. I’m not sure exactly what they are, although while looking around online, I did find forums full of people with CFS and fibromyalgia who have experienced similar outbreaks, so I am guessing maybe it is related to that.
Unfortunately, the sores that are near the back of my jaw are causing an immense amount of ear pain, to the point that it feels like an ear infection. I was also running a low grade fever last night, which makes me think it is some kind of virus or infection causing the sores. I am taking some antivirals suggested by the doctor, but they don’t seem to be helping at all and are only serving to make me nauseated on top of everything else.
Today I was supposed to go to a birthday picnic for one of my husband’s coworkers, but I simply didn’t feel up to it. I feel bad for letting him down because I know he really wanted me to go so that I could get to know his friends better, but socializing is the absolute last thing I feel like doing right now.
All of this has me rather depressed and feeling lethargic. It feels like ever since I overdid it on our mini vacation to Kentucky, my health has taken a nosedive and is struggling to recover. That is what many people don’t understand about CFS, that once you trigger a relapse, it can take weeks to get back to “normal”…and our “normal” is far below average to start with! Chronic pain and chronic illness are no joke and make for a rough life sometimes.
This weekend I am going out of town with my husband to celebrate our 15th anniversary, but I wanted to write a short post first just to let you all know how I’m doing. Fortunately, my depression has let up a little bit, and I think having this weekend to look forward to has helped. Everyone just needs to get away now and then and do something different.
I have been highly into toy collecting and comic books again lately, which I’m sure you have noticed if you follow my Instagram or watch my nerdy YouTube channel. Whenever I am able to lose myself in special interests like these, it also greatly helps my depression and anxiety. I suppose that is the Aspie side of me kicking in. I can always tell when my depression is hitting its worst because one of the first things that happens is that I lose all interest in the things I normally love…which is especially hard to deal with when you have Asperger’s and your obsessive interests are so much a part of your life and coping skills.
As far as art goes, I’ve still been into doing mostly sticker collages (like the one pictured above) and other kid-inspired art. I know many people think art is “bad” if it looks “childish”, but I have always aspired to be as creative as children naturally are. Saying that my art looks like something a child did is actually a roundabout compliment to me lol. If interested, you can see my recent art on my above mentioned Instagram account.
Tonight I am hopefully going to visit the comic book store and then play some trivia at a local Italian restaurant with some other nerdy types from a local meetup group. Then it is off on our trip!