Saturday, August 29, 2015

Coming Home

Lately, I feel like I am disappearing.

Like pieces of me have fallen off and gotten lost. In many cases, I did not even notice till I went looking for them, and suddenly, they are gone.

And it is not just that they are missing, but that I do not even know what they were anymore.  Some instinct has sent me in search of... something; but at the end of that search, there is just an empty spot.  I do not know what I was looking for, but whatever it was, it is gone.

When I was 20 I had an emotional breakdown. I got to the total, complete end of my rope and got on antidepressants.  For almost a year, I worked with my Dr. and a counselor to figure out the best tools for me to use.  The pills only took me from rock bottom to feeling level, but never happy.  Or sad.  Or anything actually.  And I wanted to feel things, so I looked for other tools. 

After that year, I started getting off the antidepressants.  And it was slow going. 

I am exceptionally sensitive to medications that alter my body chemistry in any way.  When we were first married I was on birth control.  After the first six months I called the Dr. to see if I could try a different kind.  She asked why.  I responded that my side effects were making life hard for me.  She asked what side effects I was having.  I asked if she could pull up the list and when she did, told her I was having all of them, other than the life threatening ones.  I had a new prescription by the end of the day.

So even on a very small dose of antidepressants, I had to go slowly.  I went down a milligram at a time.  For the 10 mg I was taking, it took me another 15 months to get off completely.  I spent more time getting off than I spent on the full dose. 

By the time I turned 23, I had been off the meds for almost 6 months.  Unfortunately, my brain had rewired itself.  Emotionally I felt like I was 15 again.  I had to relearn how to process things, and did so at a rate that amazes me looking back. 

Part of me wonders if that has to do with my missing pieces. 

Six years later, is my brain finally catching back up to who I was before?  And is it that, while I was trying to relearn how to process my emotions, and rewiring my brain to work the way I wanted it to, some things got left behind as unnecessary. 

Funny, I typed that as a question and looked at it for a second and realized, it is not a question, it is a statement.

And the next thing that comes to the surface as I type: A huge part of why I have been feeling like I have is that I cannot find what I am looking for subconsciously, and so my conscious gets a little wigged out.  And I get anxiety that I cannot connect to anything.  Not because I am losing it, but because I am missing something I thought I had.  And the thing my brain wants to use to fix things is no longer where it was. 

So the big question is, how do you find something when you have no idea what you are looking for?

While I cannot, and truthfully do not, want to go back to who I was at 20, I do wonder what she knew that I have lost.  And, if I knew it once, is it still there somewhere? 

Because if it is still there somewhere... I just have to find it.

So maybe I am not looking for something with no idea. 

I am looking for something that feels... familiar.  Something that feels like coming home.

And that is not no idea. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Seeing clearly

Yesterday I was running through my instagram feed and saw a post by a woman I follow who I have never met, but really wish I could.  Her pictures are perfect, but she is so real about how her house is messy and her kids run wild on occasion.  Her name is Kelle Hampton, and you can find her @etst on instagram.

Her post yesterday was a list of five random things.  One of them was that she has almost called her hairdresser three times in the last month to get her hair cut short.  I started to comment, and after a few minutes, realized I needed to actually write out an experience I had just recently.  It is way longer than I feel is polite to put in a comment on instagram.

About a month ago I got my hair cut short, like pixie short. I was pretty much not willing to consider going that short, except my husband kept asking if I was going to try it, because he thought it would be fun.  (Side note: when we first got married, he really liked my hair long, but after my first drastic cut from the middle of my back to my shoulders, he decided that as long as I was happy, he was happy.)

So finally I called a friend who has cut my hair on and off for over 8 years, one I trust every time to do a great job. She loves it when I come in; I give her a feeling I want (edgy, rocker, classic, etc.) and a length I am comfortable with and she does her magic.   

When I got to the salon I asked her what she would do if I was willing to let her do anything.


"Anything, any length."

"Awesome." Did a quick search on her phone and found the picture she wanted. "This."
Super short with long side swept bangs in front.

"Do it."

I almost never wear contacts anymore, my eyes get dry after only a few hours.  But I knew she would go short if I let her and I had to watch.  My vision is bad enough that, without correction, everything gets fuzzy about a foot out.  Usually I wear my glasses and only see before and after; the in between is a fuzzy blur.  This time I wore my contacts because I had to see it happen, had to watch every strand fall as she cut it off.

My last few months have been hard ones, even by my normal standard.  I have been working so hard to make changes, but it is so frustrating because so much of what I am working on is internal, with no proof of effort or any visual proof of change.  And to watch that hair fall around me, I could let go of some of the things that have been holding me back.  Things I have been working on but couldn't quite shake totally free of.  I was so happy.

The really funny thing, when I was done I got in the car to go home and started crying.  Not over my hair, but over the things I had left in a pile on the floor.  I felt so relieved and free.  I cried all the way home.  My husband loves my hair, I love it too.  I may never go back; but maybe I will.  Just to get that feeling again; to watch the weight fall to the floor in a brown curly pile. 

Hair grows back, problems you left behind return to be problems again.  But if even just for a moment you can see who you want to be, who you were meant to be, you can fight for it.  And when you lose sight of it, sometimes it takes a crazy step to remind you of what you wanted and how you plan to get there.