Dying to Self

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cognition / emotional health / mental health / Uncategorized

IMG_0164Flat. As far as the eye could see. Brown with slight deviations of tan. The sand was lying face down along an area that appeared to transcend time. She stood tall against the background of stillness in the middle of nowhere. For as far as the eye could see it was all flat. Nothing more. She heard herself whisper this fact out loud to no one.  There was no one anywhere that she could see or hear. She was fixated on the smoothness of the sand. The vastness of this strange new world was in a desert holding only two elements (three if she counted herself). Sky, Sand and Self.

The very idea that this floor consisted of morsel by tiny morsel of sand all formed together to create a flat, smooth surface was mesmerizing to her. She found that idea both silly and stunningly existential.  She watched what looked like a ripple, a slight tremor underneath the smooth exterior of one small area within the whole of all she could take in.  She was reminded of how things…people…events…often weren’t just what they seemed.  Though she “saw” calm, she intuitively felt that this time and this place for her was anything but. She knew what that was like. What she didn’t know was that on the underside of the smooth sandy exterior was another realm.

People were suffocating and desperately trying to come up for air from down there. They were dying to be a part of the living, breathing, ever changing world of emotions pretty people kept hidden in beautiful little boxes.  They of the underworld too had Pandora’s boxes.  There’s were full of dreams, imaginations, fantasies, an acute awareness and compassion, for they who owned their very own uniqueness knew they deserved better.  To be able to dance to their own music without the pain and stigma of other’s finding out that they were indeed different was not authorized behavior.  They were the judged. They were the “difficult to understand”. They were “the deviant”.  They were “the unlucky”.  The “less than” in the equation. But of all that, she did not know. If only she had known.

Upon this sand she stood and took in all that was available to her…the light, as the sun shifted from east to west; the air that took her breath away; the sand that burned her naked feet.  She breathed the air and wished for a better world.  A place for all types to roam and be free. She felt alive for the first time in her young life.  Embraced by the sun, the sand and herself, she was finally free.

 to just be.

And she prayed.  She placed her small hands together and looked up to the heavens.  She thanked her God for that which she’d been given.  She asked for forgiveness for what she had taken away. Then she asked if he might spare her a second more.  She fell to the hot sand and with all of the strength and courage she had left she asked that God might open the door to people’s hearts and minds.  She thought of those she had known who, like herself, had a heavy sadness either placed on them through others faults or through their own doing, where they fell victim to pain on their already overburdened backs. She prayed that leaders of countries could be led to peace.  That those who need drugs to feel good might see alternatives to their pain; that those who were hungry might forever be nourished and those homeless might at long last find a place to call home.  She pled for a day when the mentally ill could be heard and treated as people deserving of respect and opportunities to thrive just as she had hoped she might have had for herself.

Life had presented her too much pain with too little compassion. When the depression stormed through her one last time she was unable to see beyond it to those who shared that same ambiguous, damaging blow. She’d taken her own life in vain. Too late now, she sees she was never completely alone.

Just as she hadn’t seen clearly the subculture of desperation below her own feet in that instant, nor do people look at what they do not want to see, sometimes throughout a lifetime.

Be kind. Be observant. Go beyond your comfort zone.


The Author

I am a licensed clinical social worker who just happens to adore the written word. I have had a private practice and am now writing a memoir on my life in the company of my father and many of my clients who have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I hope to dispel some myths and break down some barriers for those with mental illness. I write out of need and complete joy, which I hope to convey throughout my blogs. The human experience is not exclusive to one group. I hope to appeal to most as I touch on some pretty heady material with some self-deprecating humor and raw emotion thrown in for good measure. I have four amazing children, one HUGE dog and a tolerant husband. I am blessed.


    • It means so much to me as well. Here’s what I find so (not) funny though, people I know who have responded to this on my Facebook page, don’t seem to even get it. Sadly, that tells me so much. Breaking though is tougher than I thought. Perhaps mainstream isn’t wired to “get it”. I shall keep trying to make inroads. For all of us out there that see more than the beauty. Thanks, Tony. You are my kind 🙂 xo

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