Because even the happiest of people feel sad sometimes.

The burn on my lips, the taste of blood, the aching in my jaw, all are signs that I am trying, desperately, to overcome something inside of me that is gnawing at my liver, deflating my lungs, and lobotomizing my brain. 

Let me rephrase a bit. It’s the whisky that burns as it touches my mouth as I sip at it slowly. Bits of cheek and cracked lip are bitten off as I nervously fiddle in my seat. Tears, or screams, or some other unknown force inside me are trying to claw itself out of my throat, and I clench my jaw hard to keep it all in. 

If giving it a name would give me relief, I would call it something gallant, something powerful and awing. Because what it really is, the mix of anxiety, undiagnosed depression, and numbness of the mind just makes me feel pathetic and lame. But, that’s what the constant gnawing is, the boxer to my lungs, and the nail hammered in my head.

It’s really not that bad most of the time. Most of the time I am content, in the best definition of the word. But sometimes, I will get the rug that I’m standing on pulled out from under me and I’m left on my ass looking around wondering why I was standing on that fucking rug in the first place. Questioning things is something I think is important, but sometimes it’s the questions that hold me over the ledge of sanity. Conditioned insecurities run rampant in my mind’s revolving door. Why do I even have that door? 

Understanding that I, alone, cause the pain inside me is as easy as it is difficult. Yes, I see what I’m doing to myself with the unnecessary overthinking and worrying. But no, I don’t always feel like I want to take the blame. But, it is what I should do.  

Sometimes I want to sit in the puddle of shame that I create for myself because when I get cold I realize that I should maybe stand up and find dry land. Maybe, anxiety and depression are a good thing. Without them, where is the push to get out of that puddle? Hell, what if I never realized I’m standing in one? 

It does bring me relief, feeling love for my anxiety and depression. Giving them light, don’t get me wrong, hurts, but there’s also a pulse of healing that runs through me. I can feel it when I meditate. I literally can feel it expunge itself out of my stomach and up my throat and out of my eyes. It’s after the pain that I feel relief. I’ve let all the air out of my lungs, all the tears out of my eyes, and I have nothing left to do but take another breath. With that breath, I imagine my eye sockets sucking the overflowed tears back into me, down my nasal passage and into my throat. I swallow hard and enjoy the refreshment. 

distracted in a time of need

I picked up a book today called “The Feeling of What Happens.” It is about body and emotion in the making of consciousness and speaks on consciousness on a scientific and biological level. Being someone who is often caught in the thoughts of my mind, I thought it would be refreshing to read about the whys that are behind the workings and knowing of the mind in a more structured and scientifically observed manner. Rather than going off of feeling and emotion, I need a little real-life explanation behind the topic of consciousness, big words and all.

So, here I am reading the introduction which is constructed in such a way that I feel the author, Antonio Damasio, is speaking directly to me, like he knows me. Except he’s challenging my comprehension with elongated sentences and complex definitions. The text is something worthy of focus and requires my brain to work a little harder as it shifts out of my Netflix mind melt. Damasio maneuvers the thought of consciousness around my brain like malleable clay. He proposes insight into “an emotion, the feeling of that emotion, and the knowing that we have a feeling of that emotion.” So, with the content being very dense and purposeful, I actively try to accumulate all my focus and attention to it.

But, this is where I realize how distracted my mind is. So distracted that as I am trying to dissect what the hell Damasio is saying, my mind wanders mid-sentence to somewhere in my external life. My mind shifts from a comprehensive state to a pondering distraction. It is obvious to me, this shift. I put the book down and let it rest in my lap as my mind rests on a far away thought. Looking from the other side of this, I become frustrated with myself that I am unable to focus on the task in front of me. I am reading about consciousness and the underlying perpercitves that exist with it, and yet my own consciousness seems to float about. This got me thinking about my future. A thought ran into my mind, and I held onto it so much that it compelled me to put the book down and grab my laptop to write about it.

I long for a time in my life where my mind is not distracted, when I can sit down and read a book—actually read it through without thinking of anything else. I yearn for the time where my life is simple enough that my mind has nowhere to wander to, where I can easily fall asleep. It goes beyond contentedness. Focus is something I strive for, and it was at this moment that I realized how important it is to me.

Just as precise as this thought, this longing for less worry, less chaos, less mess in my brain, I also felt this deep appreciation for it all. I have been in a state of ambiguous emotion where I find myself unsure of everything, externally and internally. I act in the moment, but it is still preceded by worry and contemplation. Anxiety is something palpable in my life, something that I have been ignorant to as of lately.

With my personal life, I am guarded and aware of my actions. I know I am hard to read, and it’s because of my handwriting, I don’t make it easy. I’ve known this for years. But, something that I didn’t know existed has come to my attention. It’s the wall I made for myself within myself. While protecting myself on the outside, I have skillfully built a wall that fools even my own thoughts. I’ll tell myself I’m ok, but my body tells me something different. I’ll tell myself that I’m focusing on a task, but really my mind is somewhere else. I think I am being strong, but I find myself tripping over nothing. My consciousness is super aware of certain things that it blinds everything else.

I do long for simpler times. I wish worrying and anxiety were not apart of my being, but being in this whole thought thing on my own, since my mind is the only mind I know, I feel I should be appreciative of the inner workings of my mind rather than intolerant. I am distracted for a reason. I have a lot going on. There is a whole lot of things up in the air, and thinking about it all is overwhelming and scary. But, really, I guess I would rather have a lot going on than nothing. I would rather worry about something than not have a worry because worrying means I care. The day that I stop caring is when I give up the being of myself, and I am not ready, nor hope to ever part ways with everything that makes me, me.

This internal battle has given me insight into a part of me that I didn’t realize was there, has been there, and has been contributing to the turmoil I feel in a time of change. Conflicting thoughts take swings at each other and I still don’t know how to win. But, I’m glad there’s a fight in me, it seems like a worthy cause.

So speaking on understanding consciousness, I think I just have to let it be what it is, pick up the book, and read it. Distractions and all.