Road To Recovery – Road 9 – Blame

Tired Of The Rain – シワスタカシ

It’s the combination of past inadequacies and current tribulations that I found myself needing a breath of fresh air. I couldn’t hold it in, the rooms were too stifling for the emotions that threatened to boil over and I didn’t want the image of me to be tainted by the small weaknesses that plague my heart. It was a dumb thought that needed to be felt. Almost an inevitable feeling that was to be faced. Something that I knew was coming and maybe was perpetuated by my lack of emotional healing. This idea of blame, a responsibility of my current situation and the continued avoidance of my failure as part of it. Eventually it would catch up to me, I just didn’t know when. It was there, on the roof of my school building when I broke down for a second and it all came flooding out.

I didn’t realize it was there, sitting in the back of my mind. A little voice blaming me for this accident and all the changes because of it. The opportunities lost, the failures I felt both personally and productively. I had been guarded against it but was secretly hoping it would eventually erupted in my face. Like a child waiting for his punishment that appears to never come, ultimately sabotaging the happiness he could attain as guilt of a deed gone unpunished.

I knew it would come to this, I had felt if for months waiting for what would fall into place, hoping my life would just explode into a million little pieces. It’s almost easier that way, you don’t have to face the blame because your life reflected what was already felt inside. I avoided it, which made me avoid the things I hold dear, as sick sense of self punishment that perpetuates only disaster.

It’s a feeling of undeservedness to all the kindness I received, why was no one seeing what I was seeing. Why did no one blame me like I blamed myself? Why could no one see the idiot behind the crippled body who didn’t avoid the chaos to come?

It’s just a bad mix of feelings, that feeds on the past trauma and feelings of inadequacy, multiplying in size until something happens and my self breaks down and falls like rocks unable to support this personal image I had been propping up. Reliving this unresolved conflict that I believed went away only makes me realize that even when you fight your demons that doesn’t mean they disappear.

I was and haven’t been my best self, relying too heavily on the comfort to ease the burden of my failures. Hiding way and subconsciously waiting for this day to come. Even then, having accomplished something great but not entirely what I wanted was all it took to me realize that daze I had been living in. A soft blow pushing me over shows me how fragile I may have already been.

I strongly believe that knowing and understanding of ourselves will give us strength and power overcome the long road ahead. It’s though my naivety that that it made me believe that maybe by knowing I could avoid the trauma in it’s entity. I have taken the stance since my accident, with these emotions that come, to go ahead and feel them, embrace them as they are part of who I am and where I’m at. To realize them, process them, understand them, and let them go. It’s then in this small part of me that I hate, that makes me know I’m healing. It’s then in this small part of myself that I hate, that makes me know I’m human. It’s a process, and it doesn’t come all at once, but now because I acknowledge these feelings I can finally do something about them.

Road To Recovery – Road 7 – Diametric Prose

-Author Unknown

There is a great dichotomy in being, both through injury and in life generally. It’s a give and take that calls to control us and creates the unique experience that is paramount to living as people.

It’s hard though to deal with this, just as the act of being industrious, the desire to build and do works in direct opposition to desire to rest and laze about. Both of these things are essential though, working in tandem to create a reality of balance. Take for instance walking , something I have sought to do since the moment I laid flat on my back on one of those hospital gurneys for the first time. Walking is something I have to avoid and yet it something that comes so natural. The want of putting my foot down and placing weight upon it sits there in the back of my mind as I know that walking could break me. It’s so strange, I am told to rest but in resting I want to get out and be free. A lot of my life has been playing out this way causing this division within myself.

It’s just like what I’ve mentioned before with my lack of motivation, that inability to act causes both stress and anxiety about all that has not been done. I want to do, so the desire itself make manifest when I sit down at the keys and act upon that desire, the problem is the distraction that comes along with that feeling. Back and forth, it’s a fight for balance in my life and each day has to establish its own place on the teeter-totter. It’s this passé-ness that I have trouble with, flowing with the wind of emotion leaves no room for accomplishing dreams.

I think that’s why I have also had so much trouble with visions of myself and what I can and should do. It’s hard to recognsize because the only way inside to reflect and to reflect beings about the pain of what the accident and these last several months have been. These forces that ultimately settle in a true love-hate relationship with the man within bemuddles the rigidly established norms that I had fought so hard to impliment in the first place. It’s not a matter of blame but a desire for order. With everything in flux, and it being not of my own volition, I am left to try and establish something with the piece I have left.

I don’t know when I will feel the normalcy again, and I know I can never go back to the way things were but its the balance within that dicotomy that I desire. The unceasing differences from day to day though are beautiful and fantastic leave me with, for lack of a better term, with no leg to stand on.

Road To Recovery – Road 5 – Uncertain Futures And Candid Pasts

Mikko Lagerstedt – https://www.mikkolagerstedt.com

I’ve mulled over what exactly I’ve been wanting to talk about in this temporary series about my injury. Going back and forth about the unique struggles that present themselves so causually after an accident. I ask myself, what is that I am looking to get out of this, what sort of insight can I absorb from sitting down and writing for a while about an aspect of my life. There are many thing I am sure will go left unsaid, and in a couple weeks time as I start physical therapy and get back up on my feet the content will shift from the sole focus of recovery to the life after whatever that may be. Until then I want to try to crystalize this experience as much as possible to add to an understanding for those have never been, and hopefully never will be, in a situation like this and to once again catalog a major moment in my life.

But where do we go from there, this log of experiences ultimately will fade into memory like all the others to the moments thankfully ultimately resting in the back of my mind only to become an anecdote that may arise at meetings and parties. The expereience has changed how I see things but has left me the ability to heal.

I don’t know what will happen in the future with all of this. How much of the trauma will set in? What will it be like when I decide to walk, run, play, and climb again? What will it be like when it gets cold and I feel the chill of steel pressing up against my warm skin? These at the moment are just unknown experiences that I will have to endure when they arise. Even if I try distill these memories into tangible form something will ultimately be lost in translating from the physicality to prose.

There are things I want to say but I don’t know how. At least not in a cohesive way and my mind works to try and understand everything that is going on I lose little bits of it every day in the process. I also don’t want to add to the suffering to I have already caused by making people see my suffering. Maybe I am too prideful to give up that independence so I suffer sometimes in silence. Taking a moment and playing it off as joke make it at least seem more manageable. As I think I had mentioned before the thing that hurts me most is the suffering of others because there is nothing I can do about it except keep faith and help whenever I can.

But I should be more honest with these feelings, with these experiences that I am having because who knows whom it may help in the future. So here is a little honesty. Sometime when I close my eyes I still see it, like flashes of light when you someone turns a lamp in a darkened room. See the different pieces what had happened like a jigsaw puzzle attempting to back together again. Most of the time these flashes are nothing more than randomly accessed memory, easy to pass off. Other times I can feel a pang in my heart as I know that my body still feels the fear of what happened as if it’s slowly etching itself on my bones building the memory into my muscles.

It’s also my automomy, this idea that I treasure so much, that comes into question. How far can I really go now? I can’t even drive, but even if I did have a car and good right foot what would it be like when I get behind that wheel again. I’m starting to feel that hesitation, this unconscionable fear that may plague me for years to come. That’s not even the half of it. I can’t even walk on my own two feet, always needing some sort of tool to assist me in something I did as naturally as breathing. Blocks feel like miles as the distance and unevenness of the pavement become the enemies of motion.
When it comes time I will be able to walk again but it will feel like starting over especially with my how my muscles have slowly faded away.

It’s all just so new, and yet it’s getting tiring to deal with. It’s a marathon not a sprint, not that I could do either, but there is just so much too it.

I think what I want to leave is this. There is so much to being human, and when we break from this routine things get a little weird. We learn so much about the world and about ourselves that sometimes we can get overloaded. I’ll try and be more honest, and work harder than I did before. There is no going to the past and fixing things, it’s about adapting to the reality which we live. It will be over soon, and then we can begin again.

Road To Recovery – Road 2 – Pain Management

Robin Har – https://www.artstation.com/saboteur

“These are the times that try men’s souls”

– Thomas Paine

It was there staring at the ceiling that I realized what trouble I was in. Being pumped into were drugs I’ve only heard of in news stories for their role in the recent opioid epidemic. I can be honest, there was part of me that was scared of what could happen to me as a result of these addictive substances, but at least for the moment, it made the sharp pain in my back and chest fade away. This though is the least of the pain, the one that has so much easier to manage.

When you’re hurt you become very acquainted with the ceilings of whatever room you are in. Flat, clean, colored, and pockmarked, each had to have been planned to look uniform and unoffensive to the eyes. It’s in them that I been thrust into these quiet moments, a standard silence that can turn into a mania of the mind attempting to quell the thoughts and energies that were left unspent during the day.

It was easy when I slept most of the day, where I would close my eyes and hours would drift away as my body focused on healing the muscles and bones that I disrupted when I decided to play with hunks of metal and concrete. Even when I left that sterile place, and made it back into a bed of my choosing sleeping was easy, regardless of the several hour intervals, I would be required to awake and take a dose to keep to the pain from getting any worse. I was not afraid of this pain, pain of the body I can deal with as I have all my life. My tolerance for this pain is high because I know I can always push through it. It’s in the echoes of my mind that issues arise.

It’s when sleep when not would come and that my mind wandered that this second sense of fear arose. I had beaten the drugs that threatened to hold me down but what would help me now in this time of need. In a darkly lit room, minutes feel like hours as the stimulus of the plain white ceiling would never be enough. My go to would be to reach to my phone for some reprieve, but I know that the LED screen would take more from me than it would give. The echos of pain as I had nothing else to think about would resonate until all I could feel was the bruising on my back, and the inability to breath.

I have laid there wishing that I had spent more time learning to meditate and praying that the quiet would return. In the wee hours of the morning when no one has any business being up, I would sit there staring at the ceiling, thinking about life, liberty, and where my happiness my now lies. The one consolidation is that I am crazy enough to tilt at windmills so as thoughts would come I promised myself to explore them. Once I allowed these thoughts to come and sat there with them for a while they became less painful and more pleasant. Like concentrated daydreams, thoughts manifest without the worry of everyday reality to bog it down. The ceilings drift away as my mind was allowed to paint the picture it wanted and dance as it needed. Sleep became easy because I was not worried or scared of these thoughts anymore, they are part of the process as I learned to enjoy them.

Pain itself is only a hindrance if is seen as unnatural or antithetical to the process of healing. Though some pain is immense it a reminder that my body is hurt and there is healing needing to be done. So embrace the pain as part of the process, see it as a testament of strength because each day that passes and we push forward our lives will fill the void that the pain has wrought.

I want to end with another quote, the poem Invictus about the struggles of being brought bare and not letting yourself be destroyed by the circumstances we had found ourselves.

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

– William Ernest Hendley

The Great Wind Down

I don’t think it would be a surprise to anyone to say I have been stressed the last several months.  I think it’s been apparent in my writings and my actions outside of them.  Like a candle burning slowly through the night, I feel exhausted now that everything is said and done.  I have finally finished all I have to do before the holidays,  but now that things are over I feel.. well… not as I expected.

Everything is over, sure I have lingering projects that I have to do over the break and my job is still going to be there on Monday but I’m done, I made it through the end of this section. I thought I would be happy, overjoyed at this accomplishment and yet I just feel so… empty about it all.  Like I have been putting so much of myself into this endeavor that when it came time to submit I forgot to put anything back in.

This emptiness has been manifesting itself throughout my everyday. Things like sitting in chairs listlessly staring into the white of the walls around me, sleeping like a madman who found the meaning of his life in dreams,  and a general sense of apathy.  These feelings have been following me for days now, and maybe it’s part of the recovery process, but it bothers me.  For someone who has been depressed multiple times in his life, these symptoms are worrisome, and if they persist I feel like it will spell trouble. I might be overly sensitive to these things but I can tell you being depresses is something to be wary of.

I think this is all part of a great wind down, this recovery from fried nerves, long nights, and so much worrying.  It’s hard to stop after so much frenzied activity, to the point where I am almost more comfortable working at hurried pace than the silence that comes after.  There is no gradual tapering off in this season, it’s just all and then nothing.

It’s in recognizing these feelings that start the process of healing, knowing that it’s okay to be not okay for a little while as my spirit returns to me. These feelings of anxiety and lack of productivity will be fine for some time, as long as they aren’t keeping me from what I enjoy.  That I have to express my frustration and emotions as they come and be content with the things that I have. To know that things will return in time, and I have to keep pushing forward. In recognition, I have the ability to fight against this and rise above.

Today marks the day to start to recover from this crazy rollercoaster I have been on for the last 6 months, which is a coincidence because it is my birthday too. 

To Catch A Breath.

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In the late 1980s and early 1990s, people did a study about sleep, actually the lack of it. You see, they took these mice and put them on this treadmill, ultimately depriving them of sleep for days and days on end.  The mice walked, and walked, and walked for what seemed like an eternity for them. Of course, they were taken care of, fed, kept in a “comfortable”  environment, they were just forced to stay awake.  After what it seemed like an eternity for mice (11-32 days) they had all died thinner, weaker, full of unhealed lesions. Even though they had everything else, without rest they died.

Now, this is an extreme example, no one in their right mind would try to keep themselves up for that long (unless they were trying to break a world record) but I think this example is a good one.  Through this sleep deprivation happened all at once, how many of us have pushed back this rest, both mind and body.  I do this all the time, little by little chipping away at the amount of sleep and resources I have until by the time the weekend comes I have to throw myself into it just to feel normal again.

That’s what yesterday was. A deep breath. My body and mind telling me to stop and wait. To just be and rest for a little while.

We’re all better when we have time to take a break. I do my best work when I can put 100% of myself into something I love. So for now, let me just catch a breath.

Animated Change

wallup.netPhoto From: 5 Centimeters per second.

It was the 1980’s, a time of great change in music, movies, and media. You see, up to that point, this small art style coming out of Japan was starting to make headway with western audiences.  An older generation appreciating the art from the 50’s and 60’s huddled together at small expos and cons to collect as much of this foreign delicacy as they could. What they didn’t know is that a few short years this would all change, and change quickly.

The first change came fast, a new popular show called Sailor moon came out with a roar, bringing young girls flocking for more from animators across the sea. It was such a hit that the transition period between the old and the new felt more like a crash than a movement. Gradually as the 90’s pressed on Americans were introduced to a variety of styles, artists, genres, and stories never seen on home TVs.  These pieces of Anime as is was called presented new ideas and spun the idea of exactly what show could be like. Shows that weren’t afraid to tell a story where the hero dies at the end, where the send-off is bittersweet, and you’re forced to think about yourself and the world around you a little bit differently. Masters of their craft illuminate the halls of an art form that continues to shift and changes with each passing year. New stories are being told, new artforms being discovered, and new people finding this glorious cacophony of beautiful minutes shared across millions around the world.

Why am I telling you all this?

I discovered Anime a little over 12 years ago.  One night, sitting quietly in a room watching a marathon of a show I have never seen before got me hooked.  A show about a soul reaper and a boy with the power to see the dead.  It was easy enough to pick up, even read, and that’s saying something from a boy who never read.  It consumed me and held me it’s magical embrace, so when the opportunity arose I went to my first convention and I hadn’t looked back since. It has a staple of my early July, more regular than my schooling and in some way connects me to the craft I grew to love.

This year demarks my tenth year of going to Anime Expo, and something is different this time.  Year after year, as I’ve gotten older a little less comes with me each time enter those grand halls.
Sometimes it’s friends, I’ve seen my fair share move forward and on from the con.
Sometimes it shows, I’ll feel a little more out of touch with what people are excited about.
Recently it’s been the focus,  what everyone seems to want and buy there doesn’t interest me as much anymore.  It could be from the familiarity from many years attending but it all feels repetitive, distant.

It’s a combination of all these things that makes going back a little bit harder each year. This by no means is it a bad convention. It’s a great convention, with some growing pains but people still get excited about all the new and wonderful things they are experiencing. It’s just me, I’m changing, and my relationship to the fandom is different now.  Like an old man coming back to a schoolyard years after he graduated, it’s more reminiscent of times past than times present.  Things have changed, people have changed, places have changed as they should. It has to adapt to the people it’s still serving, long after we make use of it.  But is it my time to graduate, to move forward onto something new? It’s this conflict that weighs heavy in my heart. When I leave, it may not be forever, but if I ever return it will be different, for different reasons and a different me.

This fight with my personal obsolescence hits me because this con is part of me, my childhood and adolescence.  Giving it up means part of me has changed, that young kid inside though always with me is pushing me forward beyond him.  He’s telling me to let go and find my next adventure.  Let go and choose a new path beyond, whatever it may be. Live life with these memories as wings on my back, not as a tether around my neck.

It’s hard to give up and put away these things.  Truthfully, I will always read manga, and watch anime as its part of who I am now. But I have to pursue my next adventure.

Thank you Anime Expo, for all that you are. You helped introduce me to the heroes who showed me how to give it all I got, no matter the odds.

 

Here Again

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I’m here again, I find myself here every couple of months, feeling so disconnected from the writing on the page that I must destroy the boundary between it an I.  Compel change from within and grow, so here I am sitting in the acquiescent dark of night hoping to reach something or someone out there. Can you hear me, can you hear my heart.

This break hasn’t really been the break I thought it would be.  That gap in expectation and reality is starting to get to me.  Working, going to school, walking through that hall with all empty classrooms knowing most people aren’t here because they are living their lives outside this campus.

I want to do things, have fun, go out, but I am restricted by the weight of my dream. Working day in and day out feels like I’m running a marathon without mile markers to guide my way. This angel on my shoulder keeps whispering in my ear to keep going, it will all be worth it, driving me closer to what it feels like is a cliff where I shall fall into a pit of stress and despair. Teetering on the edge to see if I’ll break before I even hit bottom.

It’s hard, and at times I don’t believe I can do it. Lists of things are piling up during the time I can’t get to them, to the point where when I finally sit down to work on myself I don’t even know where to start.  It’s daunting because it feels both structured and unstructured at the same time giving me a sense of unbalance. Not being able to settle and move forward as I like. Like being chained to a cage in the jungle, restricted and left out fend for myself in my little spot in the wild.

I think what bothers me most is how quiet it is. The hustle and bustle of the semester is left with this silent summer. These familiar faces I saw daily are ones displaced by scenes of somber emptiness as the campus empties in the wake of the coming heat.  The people I am lucky enough to see are all devoted to their separate causes and tribulations that summer has wrought.

I’m tired, and here I am counting down the days sitting in the space of not having enough energy to work but being too concerned allow myself to relax and get the rest I need.

Things will change, as things do. Time will pass and things will and won’t be done.  I speak out, my insistence because I want to live up the expectations of the man in the mirror, and I pray that one day I see don’t see someone hollow looking back.

It’s a Matter of Choice.

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To accompany this recent reflection on purpose I wanted to stray into the arena of choice because purpose and choice have a strange and strained relationship.

You see, purpose in some ways intends for there a set path before us, one that either is given or is created through hard work and dedication. This purpose, be it predestined or manifested creates a dilemma, if we have the path, how could we stray from it, the forks in the road only highlight the false potential of different choice made and different purpose held. If we have what appears to be this true purpose, the choice though apparent is no more than an exercise in false wills because we would never deviate from the path set out before us.

We like choice, or thinking about having choices. It is a luxury of growing up in our time period. Seemingly limitless sets of possibilities unfurl themselves before us, giving us options and opportunities we never knew we had in the hopes that each one will be taken, all roads followed and new roads paved.  Choice comes with a burden of unknowing.  If there is no destination in sight, our hearts hesitate for we do not want to make the wrong choice. To go down the path that leads us astray and lose our most precious resource, time, to the follies of circumstance or indecision.

It’s hard to balance these things, purpose, and choice because it is a matter of belief in how much autonomy we actually have.  It’s these two things that I fight over regularly.  There is a belief in me, coming from ancestors and culture that anyone can be anything, work towards the dream and accomplish what they put their mind to.  This is juxtaposed with the knowledge that people don’t necessarily do that, some people can’t be singers, artists, powerful businessmen. It’s as if our world has to be asymmetric. If there is a winner, there has to be a loser. If someone gets first place, most likely there a second or third. What happens to those people, it’s ridiculous to say that they simply wanted it less, that in their heart of hearts chose to not go to the top. What of choice then? Is it but a game where the rules are defined by the resources accrued and given from birth.  How far we can go, no more of an option of the great limitations erected by time and self-belief. Is this world just the chaos of people running through this maze hoping to find the center and be happy?

As for purpose, it holds that darker reality to be true.  That some people are meant to not succeed.  It elevates and exasperates, instead of being subjected to the will and desire of power or person whom may hold dominion over us.  It’s hard to stomach, that our lives may not have these paths to follow but are more akin to a track which shows us the world but never lets us deviate to explore it. This can be a freeing feeling though, that your life is always going to some other destination that you are always where you are meant to be.  It allows for us to feel and believe that the problems of today are only a part of the journey and the decisions that are made were suppose to be that way.  Though this disposition usually only works when times are well. The great problem of evil is that everything happens with a purpose and bad things happen to good people with no benefit, at which point should we follow this divine power who seems to act in ways we cannot understand to ends we cannot comprehend. What happens to those who are made to suffer their whole lives, never knowing truth or happiness? What happens when destiny forsakes us and dreams?

The reason that this is so problematic for me is that ideologies clash, but don’t always overlap.  We will always make choices regardless of what fate may have in store for us. As a psychologist, my whole ideology is that I can predict peoples live’s if only I had enough knowledge and data, but with that, it can change the path of those to come after into something better.

Can we really be all that we want to be? I have to believe that perhaps I do have more choice or greater purpose. That in the darkness, it is not the end but a chance to change. A freedom to start anew, be whom I envision for myself, and find my way back home.

Transcend​.

I find myself here often now, this place of mounting frustration for the limitations of myself. I know, I can’t be everything,  I am trying so hard to be something, something more than I ever thought possible.

This all leads back to a belief I have, the belief that anyone is capable of anything.  That the legacy of humanity is founded on the word “can”.  Generations built on the idea that we can push farther and further than the generation before creating scaffolding for those who will come after.  It is up to us to build our lives in the way we see fit.

I find trouble though, in this belief as it causes me pain.  I find myself in pain when my hands have stopped moving, my eyes begin to close and fade, when everything winds down to a still. My mind reminds me of the people who keep going, who push through, and are continuing to walk along the path ahead of me.  It’s then I have the fight within my head, between the two voices that cry out from within. One yelling “Go! Do! There is still much to be done!” and the other crying “Stay! Wait! We need a second for air!”. My life feels like the result of the battle of these two forces trying to out-compete the other.
I want to keep going, I know I have to if I want to accomplish all I want to do during the short period of my life.  Diligence and discipline are required.  As with all things, I feel though I come up short of my goal, of my potential still. I keep grabbing at my future but never reaching the bar to know I have got there.  At times I feel as if I could only set aside myself, drive my being to its limits, to really push the boundaries of my existence, then perhaps I could be satisfied.
The thought pops into my head, a small analogy that takes presents itself as a colder truth.  To strive is to bleed, to bleed out of yourself, to suffer for your dreams, to push past the pain of these long nights and lonely hours.  It’s in some sick way what I want, to feel like I am finally putting my heart and soul into something.  The feeling of giving up everything I am and becoming if not for a moment 100% of something. A being of directed madness and constructive obsession. Maybe then I can say that I’m not making excuses for anything, that I can look in the mirror and see the sacrifice etched upon my face. Maybe then, I can finally rest.

I’m tired, my body is tired, my mind is tired and all I want is rest. I keep going, keep pushing, because I know if I do a little bit more than I might be able to grasp the thing I seek. I find peace within my heart but drive within my head.
I sit there in the quiet moments as my body ache and my mind fogs, I feel a mounting frustration as I reach the limitations of my body. There, I say to myself, one more, just do one more thing, push yourself farther than you’ve ever been before.

Just one more.

Transcend.