October 26, 2016

Black Dog Days

So much has happened since I last wrote in this blog. How does one even begin to sum up six years of a life lived, sometimes well, sometimes confusedly? To account for the ins and outs of nearly 2190 days that from here, where I stand today, all seem like a blur, a distant cloud floating away slowly.

I stopped writing sometime in 2011, but I really did abandon the blog and my writing self the year before; any subsequent posts were mere ceremony.

Painting of Black Dog by artist Sally Muir
The end of the blog coincided with my escaping a life in London that felt filled with struggle, unrequited (although I later found out that it was indeed requited) love, friends in crisis and an all too frail sense of self. I was a brittle autumn leaf tumbling around in the giant field that is London, and the sense of being directionless got to me in the end. It really got to me. After months of trying to pull strings to make my life come together, I jumped on the opportunity to escape it all and let go of the loose ends.

I left for another country, to work in an industry (fashion) I would otherwise never have put my foot in. What had felt like an endless uphill in London now seems like a pool of possibility in comparison to what was waiting for me in the new country. Little did I know.

The rosy tainted new life I had envisioned for myself filled with fierce independence, careless fun and financial freedom quickly proved to be none of that. A series of negative events combined with weak resilience can be an effective recipe for blue moods and hopelessness. The disappointment became palpable, and internalized, very quickly. I fell into depression, a topic that is somehow OK to talk about today, but still felt taboo then, six years ago.

What followed were nearly four years of a vacuum, where my dreams and hopes felt like they were no more, and I fell deeper and deeper into the maze that depression can be. I need not to fill you in on the details, but I look back at that period as the vacuum years, when it felt like someone had pulled the plug on the light inside of me.

A few things got me back on track, slowly but steadily: I credit Mad Men for bringing intelligence and drive back on my radar; sitting in my sofa in my depression PJ's watching Don Draper and Peggy Olsen battle their inner and outer dilemmas through an intelligent and highly emotive script reminded me that there still was a world out there where thoughts and feelings mattered. Where it was acceptable to want things, dream of a life, to own one's desire. But above all, where being human was acceptable, interesting even. It nudged me with its message of that perfection doesn't exist, that imperfection is what makes us and the world go round.

Reading, mainly self help books, was a godsend. As someone who loves books and literature, I had somehow become allergic to reading during my dark depression years; I couldn't handle the emotions evoked by the words on the page. So I stopped. Luckily, a few books found their way to me eventually, and I started hoping for a life that was different, maybe even joyful, again.

I have later come to know that I also suffered from PTSD, or post traumatic stress disorder, but that's something I'll save for another time.

The important thing is that I got out of it, and I later had a massive Aha-moment that made me change my life substantially. I will write about all of that.

With what felt like tiny steps at the time, I managed to take actions that forced me out of my vacuum and away from the black dog that is depression. It wasn't easy at first, but it was doable - that's what matters.

Good reading on depression

October 23, 2016

The Magic of Life.

There I was, again engaged in conversation with yet another neuroscientist explaining just exactly what his area of research is, how intrinsic the exploration is in order to explain something that to must of us is fairly obvious. Standing there, feeling torn between my two selves: the enthusiastic listener, intrigued whenever someone is conveying their passion for what they do, and the life embracing dreamer who does not want everything to be explained in minute detail. Who loves the mystery of life, the bits that we cannot pinpoint, the intuition, the kismet, the flow and the otherworldly drive that is such a natural part of our every day lives, if only we choose to listen.

I smiled politely, nodded my head, sipped my drink. Thought of the next clever question to ask that would prove that yes, I am still listening. But the question I really yearned to ask in that moment was why? Why do we need to know all this? How is it important that we know exactly what happens in the brain when we see movement that we like? And is life long enough for us to constantly be zooming in, and not out?

Torn, because I don't want to sound like a science denying creationist. I too have benefitted from science's many brilliant discoveries. But just as with smartphones and sophisticated apps intended to make our lives easier, I want to turn around and say no, thank you, I know how to live my life without all those added extras. My sleep was fine before the inventions of sleep apps, and it will continue to be fine even when I choose not to have a gadget measure my deep vs. light sleep.

Where is the world that celebrates beauty for the sake of beauty? Where words are magical and presented in front of an audience in awe? The moment we feel that we have to break that awe down into small processes, measurable and up for analysis, that's the moment where I will retract, into my cabin in the woods of the mind, where nothing else than distilled life, life in its essence, is allowed.

In the madness that is the online world, with its many media, opinions, tweets, posts, shares and what have you, it's easy to feel like you're the only one who is harboring these thoughts and emotions. But, I subtly know that somewhere, this is the bottomline. All that searching for the perfect life and the perfect experience, it's really about searching for what we already have from the moment we are created. A sense of awe. A moment of admiration. A few minutes of goosebumps because the music is just that beautiful. A flutter in the heart from the gaze that you've dreamed of. The chill from an exquisitely well
composed sentence.

In those moments, we live, we are complete. And in those moments, there's nothing that is bigger or more important. And that is this thing we call life.

October 22, 2016

A New Voice.

How funny. How very funny. And yet, not funny at all, but moving, emotional and beautiful.

I rediscovered this blog, my own blog, after over five years of absence. Almost six. I went through posts, scrolled back, clicked 'Older Posts' more times than what is probably healthy in one reading go. As I clicked, I was rediscovering myself, one blog post at a time. My old self, but also my true self.

There I was, on the page, filled with creativity, beautiful words and above all, thoughts that were just mine. Five years later, a bit wiser, a bit more experienced, but a little bit less naive, I look at what I created back then, and see myself as the girl who just didn't know, or wouldn't accept, that she had it all. Everything that I needed was there for me to grab, but I was afraid to stand up and say 'yes, please - I'll have one of those'.

How funny too, that I after I gave up blogging those years ago, I also gave up writing. Life became bleak. I felt bleak, even though I clearly can't have been. My five, nearly six, year silence led to all sorts of silences. My soul, crumpled up inside, has been crying and craving that space to be seen, heard and felt. That space on the page reserved just for her.

When I write, I exist. It's really true. And so, perhaps I'll do something unusual here and start again, with my old friend The Blog. Perhaps she'll get a bit of a revamp. Perhaps not. Perhaps I'll give myself another name. Perhaps I'll take a few of the old posts away, or no - I'll let them stay. No matter what I do, I will write. I will honour the fact that I found my way back to this blog, exactly when I needed it the most. Because that's one thing that I have come to trust, utterly and completely, and that is that things happen for a reason.

I can't wait to share all the things that have happened, but more than anything, the things that I've learned.

Until next time, I won't wait too long.
Related Posts with Thumbnails