Shake it out, because Life is Sweet

Borrowing a phrase from one of my favourite sirens, Florence; sometimes the best thing you can do is shake it out because it’s hard to dance with a Demon on your back. I’ve been battling with my own demons for some time now1. Some of them manifest from external sources2 but at the end of the day, my demons are my own. I’m the only one who can shut them up.

I don’t have suicidal tendencies… except that there are these moments when a part of my brain flashes images of3 about doing things that would probably kill me if I were to carry them out IRL. Things like jumping in front of the incoming train, off a bridge, out of a moving car, through a window of a condo apartment that’s high enough.

I love speed

There’s a part of me that’s an adrenaline junkie and she visualizes these things because these images. Then there’s another part of me who likes to write stories in my head. The two of then together bring me said images whether I’m in a good or bad mood. What’s fun is that I also always manage to survive said actions4; I somehow superhero my way out of dying. Because happy endings are better than sad ones.

Thankfully, I know better than to carry these fantasies out. What if one day I got so emotional, high  ((you can be high on love right?)) and/or drunk that I lose that grip on reality? It’s a scary thought but it happens. More often than it should. I’m a pretty private person5. For all the things that I vocalize through social media and to my closest friends, I have at least 10 other thoughts I keep to myself6. I doubt I’m the only one who goes through this.

It’s hard for me to admit when I’m depressed. I hate feeling sorry for myself; almost as much as I hate feeling other people’s pity for me. There were far too many days this past Autumn when I would wake up to a gorgeous sunny day and all I wanted to do was block my windows from the sun and go back to sleep.

I’m not sure what else to say right now. It’s really hard to admit that.

The thing I find most puzzling is that this past summer had been one of the best summers I can remember. That’s all I’m really willing to say about it for now though. I just know that I still feel off most days. I still don’t feel like myself but at least now I feel like I’m slipping into someone new7 with a little more ease. When I get to a point when I can look back at all this and smile, I can’t wait for the day I can thank the catalyst8.

I had to come to terms with the fact that I let things affect me whether I want to admit it or not. I used to deny myself the ability to feel something if I think it’s going to negatively affect someone else. I still do that, but I am getting better at finding the balance between taking care of myself and taking care of everyone else around me instead. It isn’t easy fighting yourself to change for the better but I think I’m doing an decent job. So, I wanted to talk about it because whether I know it or not, there may be someone out there who needs to read this.

Partners for Mental Health held Let’s Call BullS#!T in January and I’m happy to see that wasn’t the end of the conversation surrounding Mental Illness. I wanted to share these thoughts in support of someone I adore immensely, who is doing something very brave9 in honour of her late Mother’s memory.

Ashley Gibson: Life Is Sweet

Ashley Gibson is a fascinating creature who I’m honoured to call a friend. Ashley’s Solo Cabaret, Life is Sweet, is happening at the Flying Beaver Pubaret this Friday, February 22nd at 9:30pm. Door proceeds are being donated to the CAMH Foundation but the show is sold-out; However, she is also accepting donations through the CAMH website.

“Every February I am faced with a bleak, cold month in Toronto with my mother’s death anniversary on February 24th to top it all off. For the last couple of years I’ve made concerted efforts to do something nice for myself on that day to make it easier to cope and to honour her. This year I decided to create something that has been rumbling in my soul for a long time. On February 22nd I will be performing ‘Life is Sweet, Even in February’ to honour my mother. The show will feature a range of songs that she enjoyed and songs that remind me of her alongside stories of her life, our time together, the impact of her mental illness, and my journey through healing after her death.” – Ashley Gibson

I have been lucky: no one that close to me has ever taken their own life; nor have I ever witnessed it happen. The thing is, I never want to. No one should ever have to see that happen. No one should ever feel like it’s the only way out. We can’t predict when that’s going to happen or for whom. There is no magic pill that’s going solve the problem, but conversation goes a long way towards helping spread the sentiment10 that they’re not alone.

And at the end of the day, isn’t that what we all want? To be Forever Not Alone?

Footnotes:
  1. something like the last year and  half[]
  2. like other people[]
  3. i.e. fantasizes[]
  4. in my fantasies[]
  5. insert your shocked reaction here[]
  6. on a slow day[]
  7. and actually, better[]
  8. yeah, not telling[]
  9. as she does[]
  10. whether they want the reminder or not[]

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