A Window to My Conscience – Entry III

The Past 6 Months

Over the past year a lot has happened in my life. Last year I was diagnosed with Social Phobia and Panic Disorder and put on medication to help try to control it. It worked for a little while, but then in November of 2014, my father committed suicide. I won’t get into the details of it, but after the funeral, things started to change. First, let me tell you this: I have found closure. He is my father and I will miss him dearly, and I think about him every day. But he is gone. I am now focusing on getting better myself. My anxiety got worse – I started having 3-4 panic attacks each week – the smallest things would set them off. I went back to my doctor. I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Now, with the help of some very close friends and some medication, I am in the process of getting the help that  I need.

But still the fact remains. I have a mental illness.

But what does that mean? What does that say about me as a person? Where do I go from here? What about my friends? What if they aren’t okay with me being sick? My family? My coworkers? How do I go day to day when all I can think about is worrying if I’m going to offend someone or have a panic attack? Is medication the solution? What if I can’t find a therapist? What if I can’t afford the medication? How much of my personality does my illness effect? My intuition? my sub conscious? My dreams? Am I just some broken person now?

All of these questions (and more) have popped into my head over the past six-months. The biggest one: What about my friends? I don’t have a lot of friends. 6-7 that I talk to regularly. What if when they find out that I have a mental illness, they want to leave.

Well, as it happens they did. And they didn’t leave. In fact they help me every day. They have helped me understand that I am worth something, and I am important to them. They encouraged me to talk to my doctor about getting into therapy. To talk to someone. Sure, I’ve made mistakes. I’ve said things that offended them and gone nights where they didn’t want to talk to me. But they always came back and they say they always will. True friends.

I’m learning more about my illness every day and I know I will get better. The future has a lot in store for me, and I have to get better to see what is there. To see my friends smile at me without fearing what they hide behind those smiles.


Now, mistakes have been made. Friends have decided that they needed a break from my problems. A break from me. And while my immediate reaction may be anger, it won’t stay. Because I understand them needing a break from this, from my anxiety. Because I do too. Someone once told me that it’s just as hard for those who love someone with a mental illness to handle the person with the mental illness as it is for the person themselves to handle the mental illness.

In my eyes, this cannot be true.

Someone without a mental illness cannot fully grasp how difficult it is to live one. It’s like saying it’s just as difficult for someone to watch actors in a play as it is for the actors to be in the play. You can watch and imagine how difficult it is, but without living it, you can never truly understand what it’s like to not want to get out of bed because you’re afraid of the outside world. Afraid to speak to strangers because of how they judge you. Afraid to let people in because they will only end up leaving you; it’s what everyone has done in the past.


INFJ 6w5

In my adventure to learn more about myself, I’ve taken more MBTI tests (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) and Enneagram to try and help me understand why I make the decisions I make, and what my motivations are. It has revealed that I am an INFJ (Introverted iNtuitive Feeling Judging). The label feels good in itself – feels like there are people on the planet that understand me – people who are like me. INFJ is the rarest of all 16 personality types at only 1-3% of the US population. It feels special in itself. Empathy for me is almost like a super power. I walk into a room and I read the overall emotion of the room and it changes my mood. I value helping others over helping myself and yet, I fear that I’m not meeting my own potential.

I trust my intuition and usually I can tell peoples motivations through conversation. I am good at ‘reading people’ some would say. I pick up on all aspects of conversation easily and they help me determine people’s motivations and intentions through interaction. I am unlikely to have ‘casual’ relationships. Whether it is with platonic, or intimate, I avoid relationships with people whom I feel are not in it for the long haul. I value depth in all my relationships so it’s not likely that I would pursue a friendship if I don’t see it as one that will be deep and lasting. When it comes to intimate relationships, I think my past relationships have failed because I didn’t truely feel that the relationships would last forever. I was only seeking the companionship. I have the ideal intimate relationship in my head – and I know what I am willing to compromise on and what I am not.

Through the Enneagram I’ve found that I am a type 6 wing 5. This says that I am driven by an innate sense that I have no firm foundation to my life. Nothing really solid to hold on to. This couldn’t be more true about me. I’ve taken in a way in the past that lead me to becoming too attached to my friends, almost dependant on them, and it has pushed some of them away. That’s why I understand when someone “needs a break” from me. Because I lack a basic trust in the universe and seek something I can hold on to and in the past it has been my friendships. It’s something I cannot do anymore. I thrive on the sense that there is usually more to any given situation that others let on. I have to learn to not let this sense control me though as I have done in the past. I am keenly aware of power dynamics in relationships. I can usually tell who has power, who wants power, who will use it and who will misuse it. Where others see the status quo I often see a balance or an imbalance.


A Final Thought

This raises the question: Who am I really? I want to get to know myself a lot better than I already do. To learn my motivations, my good and bad traits, things I can change to better myself and things I can’t change – my character flaws – that make me who I am. What do I want out of my life?

That is what I aim to find out.

Arid Waters

Arid Waters

Drink of the water of the sleepless.
The water which within itself tastes dry.

A thirst that cannot be quenched
but by the bourbon of another’s thoughts;
by the whiskey of another’s dreams

Getting drunk on thoughts and dreams
does naught but catch the mind
in nets like spiders webs.
Made of the lines
that once formed letters,
that once formed words,
that once formed thoughts.

Twisted, tangled, messy and chaotic;
the web of strings of letters and words
touches me like one would touch a lover.

A soft caress – a gentle kiss.

And the senselessness of twisted words
becomes clear within the passionate embrace.

In chaos there is order;
In madness there is sanity.
And drinking of another’s thoughts –
tasting of another’s dreams –

Is getting drunk from an arid well.

©2015 Alex Hicks

Serene

Show me someone standing strong
Strained against the shame and sorrow
not slighted by the silent song.
Show me someone stronger still
Steadiness and iron will
A stormless serene symbol
of the smashed and shattered souls

©2015 Alex Hicks

Alone – He Sits Until Dead

This poem is another rather dark piece and is on the topic suicide. Suicide is something very sensitive to me as my father committed suicide in November of 2014. Again, it is not how I feel about myself. If you or someone you love is having thoughts of suicide please please call the suicide prevention hotline.

Canada and the USA: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

A full list of suicide prevention hotlines around the world is available HERE.

A man sits alone
in the place he calls home
and he sits in his chair and he weeps

A tear in his seams
Has wounded his dreams
And upon him, slowly, death creeps

He’s not broken yet
But he can’t forget
How he pushed all of his loved ones away

And now he can tell
That in this living hell
That he’d wishes he’d just let them stay

Now see the blood drip
From his fingertips
As it pools at his feet on the floor.

He’s fought for so long
His defences are gone
And he can’t fight alone anymore

And the pieces he’s lost
That his choices have cost
Have torn his conscious to shreds

His own mind betrayed
Wants not to be saved
So now – there he sits – until dead.

©2015 Alexander Hicks

A Shard of Himself

This poem is a rather dark piece and is on the topic suicide. Suicide is something very sensitive to me as my father committed suicide in November of 2014. Although I wrote this poem with feeling, it is not how I feel about myself. If you or someone you love is having thoughts of suicide please please call the suicide prevention hotline.

Canada and the USA: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

A full list of suicide prevention hotlines around the world is available HERE.

He sits all alone in his room
Picking up what pieces he can
He can’t shake this feeling of doom
as he holds what is left in his hand

The shards have all fallen from him
Like glass from a fell picture frame
The pieces all fall from within
And no one remembers his name

No one remembers the tears
That glistened in his soft eyes
All he can see is the pain and the fear
And all those who told him the lies

He knows that he should regret
Hurting the ones who say that they care
Now waiting for deaths soft caress
Only now he admits that he’s scared

He thinks that he won’t be missed
No more chances, he can’t ask for help
Blood pours when he opens his wrist
With a jagged, sharp shard of himself.

©2015 Alexander Hicks

A Ruined Man

Originally posted on Driven to Verse:

Do you see the man in ruins,
curled up in his dark cocoon?
He is wrapped in sore and sorrow;
a puparium all built from wounds.
His is not a season’s slumber;
not a problem simply solved.
Inside his wraps of grief and sadness
he is broken; he’s dissolved.
At the end of his entombment
there are two alternate paths:
either he’ll emerge the stronger,
or he’ll succumb and he will pass.

View original

The Open Man

Originally posted on Driven to Verse:

There’s a man with a hole
that goes straight through his soul
and it’s open for all to see.

Just ask and he’ll tell
every joy, every hell,
and how it all came to be.

He will tell you unbidden;
no secret is hidden;
and he’ll speak with a gleam in his eyes

But he hides in the shells
of the stories he tells;
each story a cunning disguise.

It’s easy to heal
when all that you feel
is bared like a page in a book,

but the depth of a hole
in a broken man’s soul
depends on how deeply you look.

Each story’s a mask
with the ultimate task
of hiding the tears at the seams.

Tears in the heart
are bad for a start
but there’s nothing like tears in your dreams.

View original

Light It Up


 
It’s time for me to light the fire
Light it up and burn it higher
One step closer, one at a time
I’m going to make my life mine.
 
The bigger the flame, the brighter the burn,
Easier to make my world turn
Round and round to change direction
To live my life at my discretion
 
For once the voice of anxiety
Doesn’t phase or frighten me
My voice is tiny but speaks true
That I will get better, I will break through
 
Because right now I am broken
But solace in the words I’ve spoken
Anxiety thinks for me, in my place
But soon enough I take my place.
 
My friends, they are my inspiration
The fire that burns, my motivation
They love me and I love them
And I know that I’ll be whole again.
 
©2015 Alex Hicks

I will be okay…

Have you ever had someone you love
Take their own life?
 
Shock sets in first.

The feeling that reality is something that you left in the dust behind you.
And in the coming weeks, part of you will hold on to that.
Part of you will hold on to that so strongly that you will keep looking at the door every time it makes a noise expecting him to walk in, only to see that it’s another person – here to remind you that he’s dead and gone express their condolences – when all you want is to forget that this is real. The shock never goes away.

Part of you will always be in disbelief.

You will want to cry – but you won’t.
Because you can’t.
You can’t cry over what didn’t really happen right?

Then, you will.

The tears will come suddenly. You will not be able to stop them, nor will you want to.

Get used to it.
Every little thing that goes wrong – every little thing that goes right – will bring more tears.
You will cry for hours, days, weeks, maybe even months.

You’ll hate yourself for crying so much, you’ll start to think that all these people – none of these people…

None of these people understand

You’ll be angry at them – at yourself.

WHY DO THEY KEEP REMINDING ME!?
STOP ASKING ME IF I’M OKAY
I AM NOT…
Okay…

Not yet…

But I will be…
Eventually…

Goodbye dad…I miss you…