acinoM Revisted - Heavy Stuff

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acinoM Revisted - Heavy Stuff

Postby EdSaari on Fri Feb 04, 2005 1:50 pm

Not at all sure this is appropriate here, even. I wrote Azalea2 that I'd re-post a message I sent to bit heaven. A painful one.
It is no less painful now...

I was moved by the aconoM arc. Pablo did one HELL of a job describing some of the mechanics ... far more succinctly than a LOT of deep stuff I've read before.

Depression is a miserable attitude to be in. At some strength it is a valuable - and necessary part of us. When we cannot handle its intensity and it builds to point where we, like Monica, throw ourselves into the path of a bus, we can all use help.

I've been to that point a few times before... the last was an instance where I ingested a (definitely) fatal amount of pills.

I was helped - the only way I can describe what hapened is - by the voice of an angel. I was sinking into some unnamed depth when I heard a low, female voice - calm, very calmly, saying, "No, Ed, - Don't let go." I can hear it now, if I think of it.

I awoke as if hit by an electric shock - I was alone, on the floor of my studio. I *HAD* to get up, proceed to the porcelain receptacle/ throne and invoke the name of the great diety, Ralph, a number of times.

Something else happened.... I realized that as frustrated and full of anger at those around me (really should have been at myself - which is no better) and how severely (grit teeth ...) unloved I felt, I still DID love those around me. I realized also that the pain I was trying to visit on them - to get even ... was really NOT what I wanted to do. "Getting even" be damned - I could NOT hurt them.

Azalea2 ... I can only say that I think I have been there. I can't "feel your pain" ... but I think I can imagine it.

I wish ... oh, how I wish ... I could send that angel-voice to you, with no necessity for it. It was one of the most beautiful sounds - things I've ever experienced.

I'm going to end here... I've never opened up like this before.

Anytime I can help... write me. And Azalea2 - don't let go.
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Postby azalea2 on Fri Feb 04, 2005 10:59 pm

Hi EdSaari; thanks for posting. I had been sitting quietly here at the end of the bar, sipping my seltzer water with a splash of cranberry juice, wondering if you were going to show up.

I wish... oh I wish I had an angel voice to catch me at those times. I... oh, bother. The last time the best I could do was realize that I was very cold and just wanted warmth... called 911... then after some silence cussed them out and hung up. Ah. It's something, I guess. (Took them quite a while to track my cellphone, though.)

**edit**
It wasn't so much that I wanted warmth as that I wanted no more cold. Each time I came to, I was colder, and colder...
**end edit**

My life is actually good right now, which makes it all the more frustrating. I am most definitely loved. But everything gets swallowed... sometimes it's just so hard to fight back.

It's been... a while since I felt unloved. I had this vivid nightmare in 9th or 10th grade; I had finally succeeded in committing suicide, and I was watching my funeral. It was help at my church, open casket, priest eulogizing me - very dramatic. Then my viewpoint widened...and there was nobody in the church. Not my classmates, not my teachers, not my family - nobody. The priest said "Fuck it, nobody cares about this anyways. It's a good day to go fishing," and walked out. Yeah, that's a wake up in terror moment. That ended whatever brief thoughts I had about "teaching" people a "lesson" by killing myself.

It's hard to explain. I tried telling one therapist about it; she suggested that I might have a mild disassociative order. I just wish that what was in me wasn't trying to kill me. She suggested that there was something deep within me that wanted to live, but that's not it at all; there's something deep within me that wants me to die. High school: all alone, felt unloved/unlovable. It was only *after* I had decided to not kill myself, arguing that there was a very slim chance that I might meet someone who cared, even if it were decades in the future, that I "woke up" with the half-empty bottle of sleeping pills in my hand.

The times I most need help, I am no longer physically capable of asking. Gods, have you ever sat and stared at a telephone, not being able to figure out how the buttons on it worked? Fuck, just crawling across the floor is difficult enough.

But... yes, thanks for your warm wishes. I'm doing pretty well at hanging on; the pendulum will probably swing back in another few years, and I'll be able to relax and enjoy myself again.
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Postby plainjim on Mon Feb 07, 2005 6:05 am

First, here's courage to both of you.

I've had a similar-but-different problem; mine's an anxiety-panic disorder that drops in every few years. Most of the time it manifests as simple inability to focus, unreasonable panics, early-morning waking, and no appetite, but every now and again it corresponds with something that's really going on in my life, and then I get suicidal. Most recently it's either job- or finance-related, and when I'm going through it, I'd rather be dead than unemployed or bankrupt.

What kept me alive the last time (about five years ago) was knowing the damage that my suicide would do to my wife. I'm far from an ideal husband, but that's a burden I couldn't place on her. When it finally passed, the only thing I could be grateful for was that I hadn't actually taken my life, because I'd certainly been no joy to live with during the time! (Incidentally, I'm going through a milder one now, having to do with my anxiety about installing a laminate floor in the upstairs bedroom. Writing about it, now, it seems silly, but every time we get into the car to go look at floors, I wind up shouting, driving like an idiot (and/or letting my wife drive), fighting over the stupidest stuff...)

It passes if I hang on long enough. Medication (Buspar) didn't help. I've had a problem with addiction, so short-term anxiety meds like benzodiazepines (Valium/Librium, and that ilk), and their relatives (like Ambien) are contra-indicated.

One of the things that has helped was letting go of religion. Once I realized that God wasn't going to pull me out of this, I stopped blaming myself for falling so deeply into it when it happened. I'm much less afraid of dying than I was (although I'm VERY afraid of pain), and, oddly enough, that's made suicide less of an option than it was a few years ago.

Acinom's quote of "As you are, so was I; as I am, so will you be" is just the sort of thing the anxiety says when it moves in. But Monica's right; I'm responsible for my own happiness. And I will be, when the cloud passes. Which it will.

But I'm still not doin' that damn floor.
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Postby pablo on Thu Feb 10, 2005 8:52 pm

All I can say is "Wow" very humbly. I never thought my nerdy little comic would bring people together like this.
Thank you for sharing guys. :D
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Postby DinkyInky on Sat Feb 12, 2005 1:44 am

It's easy to end it all...infinitely harder to go on living.

Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.

I've lived 5,110 days since then. Each day is a blessing. There is soooooo much beauty in life if you are willing to look.

Oh, and for those that are "too busy" or think "it's just a phase you'll grow out of" --those are NOT your friends(and that goes DOUBLE for family), and you should not think twice about dropping those people from the better parts of your life.

When it seems hopeless, TALK TO SOMEONE, ANYONE!!!! PLEASE!!!! And if the first person doesn't listen, find someone else. Life is beautiful, really it is.

Love yourself, because everyone is beautiful in some way.
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So, who wants to change a diaper?
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Postby EdSaari on Sat Feb 12, 2005 5:12 am

DinkyInky wrote:It's easy to end it all...infinitely harder to go on living.


None of it is easy/easier. It is ALL hell.

When it seems hopeless, TALK TO SOMEONE, ANYONE!!!! PLEASE!!!!


... And that is probably the greatest problem of all. The isolation becomes unbearable. You COULD talk to someone - if only there was someone to talk to, and you had the strength to talk. it is still difficult here, with the protection of anonymity...

I don't know ... maybe I slipped over the edge - and "heard a voice" - a good voice. Someone( -??) talked to me. Whatever - I am thankful - beyond words - that it did happen.
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Postby EdSaari on Sat Feb 12, 2005 5:40 am

pablo wrote:All I can say is "Wow" very humbly. I never thought my nerdy little comic would bring people together like this.
Thank you for sharing guys. :D


"Nerdy"??? I just looked up "Nerdy" in my Funk and Wagnalls Standard College Dictionary. It said, "Whetever it is, Wapsi Square it isn't."

I don't know quite how to say this without sounding stupid. Acknowledging that - I'll do it anyway:

Wapsi is, in my mind, simply Great Literature, by a talented Story Writer, Artist ...
What other work has the capability of drawing so many people "out"; of firing the "receivers' imaginations. What else could have had the readers so "hooked" with "Katherine Hangng from the Light Fixture," or "Monica In the Biker Bar," or "Monica's Dark Other Side"?

What other parameters could be more significant in determining "greatness level"?

You've even affected Azalea2 and me to the point where we are, in a small way, over that wall of isolation. Some of what I've written, I've never told anyone before.

Like I've said, Pablo - BRAVO!!!!! Damn!! You are GOOD!!!
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Postby kinako mochi on Thu Feb 17, 2005 2:26 am

Azalea
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Postby azalea2 on Thu Feb 17, 2005 10:03 am

[quote="kinako mochi"]Azalea
You don't know me.
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Postby kinako mochi on Thu Feb 17, 2005 10:53 am

Oh, I'm sorry. I thought you posted on Questionable Content. :)

I agree, when I tried for the first time, I never thought it would happen again. It was only at the second time when I had lost or forgone all that was important to me to the spiral that I found a new bottom. Fortunately for me that was the one that brought insight to the first attempt as well as where I was in life at that point, and I was able to stop validating suicide as an option to the pain of life (truly acinoM's goal in existence). It was also my cherished experience that there was a force stronger and bigger than myself, that didn't want me to die, twice.

Rock bottom is different places for different people. acinoM could have claimed Monica after she had lost the Wapsi circle to something like heroin, or an abusive boyfriend. Rock bottom is your own, no one can say where it is for you, love. But it is in all of us, and it's best to approach it with a professional if it's under a certain level.

I studied Buddhism at a monastery in Honolulu for some time. The name the archbishop (kancho) had for me was "young boy". It was said that through intense training in martial arts and Zen, he was able to see through the myriad veils we hide behind in our minds to the true, naked self. In me he saw a young boy. That was a fantastic insight for me, since it fit every pattern in my life up to that point.

You're alive, Azalea. If you didn't need to be, you wouldn't be. There is a purpose to you still being here with us, your friends. Now to find the courage to seek what that purpose is. :)
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Postby azalea2 on Thu Feb 17, 2005 7:55 pm

Ah, thanks for the clarification, Kinako. I wasn't sure how obvious whatever I was missing was. (Now I just wonder who else you thought I was.)

I am extremely grateful that I have a combination of medications that has brought me back to reality enough to deal with this [crap in my head]. I am terrified that my psychiatrist will try to change medications, due to some side effect or another, or that they will cease to work. I try not to worry about that, and just enjoy what i have right now. What happens, happens. I'll deal with it then, and concentrate on living now.

I decided long ago that the purpose of life was to be happy and enjoy - be that in cooking, or reading, or teaching others, or hiking, or creating, or martial arts, or whatever. But the darkness swallows me every number of years, removing all logic and controlling all emotion. It's odd to *know* that you *must* kill yourself on a certain day, in a certain place, in a certain manner; not that you want to, but that you know you must, just like you know the sun must rise in the morning.
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Postby kinako mochi on Thu Feb 17, 2005 9:00 pm

I thought that there was an Azalea2 that posted there, but I'm with flu now, so it's probably a case of overlapping recall. Don't be alarmed., there's no stigma. :)

Absolutely, Azalea. There are those for whom the darkness is a physiological bramble that cannot easily be extracted without grievous harm to the host. In this case, there are few options but medication. If I come across as some sort of born-again zealot, I apologize; my aim is not to proselytize but to find common ground in experience. :)

I can't say that my condition is severe enough that such episodes come at regular and predictable intervals. But I suppose if this were the case, then you're doing fine -- making the most of the time you have that you can create fond memories of happiness and accomplishment, to refer to when the dark days cycle. I hope that these periods of light are fulfilling and profound for you. :)
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Postby azalea2 on Sun Feb 20, 2005 12:57 am

No need to apologize; the thought had not occurred to me.

My... episodes... don't come at predictable intervals; it may be easier if they did. They've recurred often enough that (for now) I've accepted it as a chronic condition. Part of my problem stems from the fact that I keep on thinking that I've beaten it: "Now that I'm going to have a whole new group of friends in middle school, I'll be okay", "Now that I've gotten away from my parents, I'll be okay", "Now that I have a therapist to talk to, I'll be okay", "Now that I have a set exercise schedule, I'll be okay", "Now that I'm avoiding caffeine and refined sugar, and eating more fruits and vegetables, I'll be okay", "Now that I have a regular spiritual practice, I'll be okay", "Now that I'm in a happy stable relationship with someone I consider an equal, I'll be okay". I am very reluctant to admit that things have spiraled out of my control, until I'm close to disaster. Sometimes I *am* able to pull myself out. Sometimes... no.

It's disheartening to realize that although there are many things I can do, there remain aspects of my brain's biochemistry that I have no control of whatsoever. I enjoy the good times, and simply try to make it through the bad. I've got a huge stack of ways to stay alive. Unfortunately, when things get very dark, I am unable to recall or comprehend happiness and accomplishment. I just... try to exist.

(Side note irony: even though I consider myself to be "doing well" right now, I still test as "moderate clinical depression". As long as I'm avoiding the "severe" or "psychotic" range, that's good enough for me.)
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Postby luchog on Mon Feb 21, 2005 1:23 pm

EdSaari wrote:... And that is probably the greatest problem of all. The isolation becomes unbearable. You COULD talk to someone - if only there was someone to talk to, and you had the strength to talk. it is still difficult here, with the protection of anonymity...


And it also requires someone willing to listen, instead of just walking away. And really listen, not just endure your ramblings for a few moments before telling you that you're full of shit; just being whiny; that you're overexaggerating eveything; that you just need to "cheer up", and "stop looking at the bad side of things all the time"; that you're just fishing for compliments/sympathy/attention; that they know you better than you do, and all your feelings are invalid, and if you just feel the way that they say you should, all your problems would be solved.

If you don't have someone like that; then all the talking in the world isn't going to do you a damn bit of good.
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Postby kinako mochi on Mon Feb 21, 2005 2:09 pm

In my monastic training, an important facet was silence, and to listen.

As everyone knows at a personal level, we tend to block out what the other is saying in favor of stating our own opinions. To sit and listen to the other side is a hallmark of character, but it seems those on Crossfire and in politics value it very little.

A step beyond that is to just be there to listen. There's a really cool teacher I read about that stresses simply being there, fully, for your suffering one. Don't say or think anything, but focus only on the desire to be fully there for your friend or loved one when they need to say something, no matter how painful or how hard it is for you to not respond. This for most people is very, very hard, as we tend to polarize to sides when in the listening role. But the healing power it has is remarkable for such a simple thing.

If your loved one knows they can turn to you, and they have your complete attention, just to listen and not judge until asked, you may be surprised at the problems and conflict you avoid in the future. :)
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Postby azalea2 on Mon Feb 21, 2005 7:27 pm

Yes; I often *think* I'm a good listener, but really i often grab a word that the other person says and runs off with it.

On that note, Just Being Present is harder that it seems. I remember one morning when i was eating breakfast, listening to the radio, reading a magazine, and scratching my cat behind the ears. It struck me that i was doing so many different things at once that I wasn't really there for any of them. It was oddly difficult to turn off the radio, put away the reading material, and just eat. It's like I'm so used to being overstimulated that it's hard to relax and notice life.
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Postby kinako mochi on Mon Feb 21, 2005 9:00 pm

I apologize to mods and all other Pubbers
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Postby pablo on Mon Feb 21, 2005 9:18 pm

No need to apologize, that's what the pub is for, to talk about more off topic things inspired by Wapsi. :D
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Postby kinako mochi on Tue Feb 22, 2005 2:41 pm

Thanks, Pablo! :D

*finish my Pernod and order a 100-yr Grand Marnier in an Ethiopian coffee*

I reread the arc again, and I feel the most striking imagery is the fact that acinoM was always there, slithering in the background, looking for an opportunity, and how Pablo's visceral, Frank Miller-esque ink style really accentuated the darkness, the grotesque, the weight of such a monster when she found one. It floored me.

I'll add azalea's comment that her worst times with her own struggle was when she felt she had overcome it for good, and it wasn't true. You never overcome the demons, and they will grow again out of simple complacency.

That's not to say I'm some sort of nihilist, but I think back to a Zen teaching back in cloister, "If you face your fears, they will release you, but if you do not, they will destroy you." This is such a simple teaching, but of course very hard to make a part of you.

acinoM and Monica are essentially the same person, just different sides. They are made of the same stuff, but attitude, balance and brightness are what make them what they are. Cancer, it was taught to me, takes the same routes. Your own mindset causes certain natural chemicals to be dominant in the body, causing imbalance, and a body "sweet" for cancer. Cancerous cells are simply normal cells, with a different environment, killing them means killing the cells they were and the function they served, making cancer sometimes impossible to cure. At monastery, I have seen patients cured of their terminality with massage and a simple attitude change, which seemed like magic, but was really just a deeper understanding of body, and its inseparable connection to the mind.

I was emotionally uplifted, as I'm sure a lot of us were, that Monica found the key that unlocked her own strengths that tipped the scales of her mindset towards balance and away from chaos and self-destruction. She's a happy, healthy pechochi-girl, and the world would miss her dearly. :)

Hunter S. Thompson wrote magnificent escapism. But what he experienced couldn't save him from his own SretnuH, but instead strengthened it. Think about that.
Last edited by kinako mochi on Sat Feb 26, 2005 2:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby EdSaari on Sat Feb 26, 2005 5:39 am

This is not "two-way". If any are at all like me, this is a difficult subject: much of what I have learned about the workings of the "being" has been either the result of, or has been accompanied by, a LOT of pain, and one of the most common defenses against pain is forgetting (more properly: repression of the memory) of it.

Memories can become a strong source of fear - fear of the pain, of the fear of the pain. It is true, to ... not conquer, that is not possible ... but to deal with the repressed stuff, we have to open the anxiety box, and face it again. Pablo did a *masterful* job expressing that through Monica's reaction to acinoM, and reading and re-reading this thread is, at some level doing the same for me.

One comment: I was about to write that I was fortunate to NOT require drugs - but that is not true. The drug I choose is alcohol, and it can be one of the most dangerous of all.

I'll write more later. I am here!
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Postby azalea2 on Mon Feb 28, 2005 12:18 am

Yes, alcohol is dangerous because it's legal, readily available, and socially acceptable. (Why it's socially acceptable to drink until you're throwing up and/or unconscious is beyond me.)

Not to mention the futility to medicate depression with a depressant...

Feh.

Try to treat yourself well. :-?
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Postby azalea2 on Mon Feb 28, 2005 12:21 am

And Kinoko: Having a positive attitude can work wonders, but i sincerely hope that anyone with cancer also gets medical assistance.
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Postby kinako mochi on Wed Mar 02, 2005 3:17 pm

Hi Azalea! Just finished moving, so I'd been off the grid since Monday. :)

All of the patients that sought help at the dojo had already been seen by western medicine, and proclaimed terminal. Doc, our dentist, had pancreatic cancer and was given three weeks to live. With the dojo body therapy, he completely recovered; I saw it with my own eyes. Attitude and thought are as real as bricks, it would be a huge disservice to deny them their healing power. :)
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