Every day is an adventure with the diagnoses that I drag around. More accurately, every day is an adventure with me, regardless. Sometimes I am a thousand percent over it and want to pretty much throat-punch everybody. Sometimes I vibe hard and fall in love with life's beauty and perfect little connections. Sometimes I am so full of joy that I could burst; sometimes I am full to the brim with grief. And sometimes I get very, very scared.
I shotgun my handful of pills around noon and laugh it off in a singsong voice as "the perks of being craaaaaazyyyyyy" because nothing in my life has ever been a secret. But it is a perk. Not in the conventional sense, but for me, it is a perk not to want to die every second. It's a perk to recognize a potential psychotic break coming on, and not have it ruin everything or kill me but rather be able to manage and breathe my way through it and keep breathing, survive.
For perhaps the first time in the latter half of my life, I am truly in a safe enough space such that some bits of energy can begin to move; the deeper pockets that have been dormant for a while, waiting until it's okay to emerge. They tap me on the shoulder while I'm walking home in the evening and remind me that, wow, there are times during which I have been really, truly hurt. And sometimes I stop in the middle of the sidewalk because it's really less of a tap on the shoulder and more of an invisible brick wall I've hit.
But what happens next is interesting, and I think some of it comes from being 26 and owning it, and being in a comparatively peaceful environment, and understanding what I must do about these memories coming around to play.
I've realized that it's compassion.
A deep, raw compassion. A compassion that I draw up from the deepest well, a gravitational well, an almost black hole. A compassion that transcends space and time, appropriately enough, and travels backward and forward to the places where I've needed it, will need it, the most.
You guys, this is really important; I've realized that this compassion is mandatory. Because if I'm in this phase during which I'm subject to transient flashbacks every so often, then I have to choose how I'm going to respond to them. Memories come back for a reason, consciously or subconsciously, and I figure that usually it's because I haven't dealt with something or because some part of me is still waiting, very patiently, to be taken care of.
And I have grown up. I've grown into a person who can provide such care to the person I was, when I needed it. And if I have the ability to provide this care, then it's my responsibility to find the compassion to do it.
Obviously, I can't go back in time and advocate for my younger self. That isn't what this is about. It's not about literally, physically forcing my way into the past and tinkering with memories and tearing down the brick walls that I had built and building them differently because I'm older now and wiser now and I can do it better. That isn't even necessarily true; in fact, it probably isn't true at all. This isn't about changing events long past. I had built the walls that I built because I needed them, exactly as they were, exactly when I built them.
This is about understanding why I am who I am. It's about respecting who I was. It's about reminding myself that I have grown, and taking ownership of that growth. It's about intentionally confronting myself and accepting the mirror's reflection exactly as it is. The point is not to reason my way around things that are painful or difficult, but rather to tell myself that I deserve advocacy no matter what; no matter how I had behaved or how somebody else behaved towards me, I deserve to be taken care of. Always. It's about replacing my shame with compassion. It's about replacing my shame with compassion. It's about replacing my shame with compassion.
A profoundly necessary dose of compassion. I've been told to be more gentle; I think that I'm finally learning how to take that advice.