Thursday, August 1, 2013


Well, here it is, the day after everything is done.

I have been meaning to sit down, put down in words something meaningful, something useful, something that might help someone who, like me, has found themselves in a rather steep and rocky path due to circumstances they couldn't foresee nor change... like always I found myself rambling and making little sense, but here goes nothing:
When I took my first steps down this road, I was just really trying to stand back up... I didn't even see myself walking at all, just being able to stand again was hard enough, the temptation to stay down and let the world keep on spinning without having to deal with it was incredibly strong.
And yet... I didn't just give up. I struggled, sure, I demanded to have the blinds of my hospital room closed at all times, I wanted to shut the world up, but the world wormed itself back in.

I was lucky.
Andrei stayed there and became my reason to get back up again. I made it about someone else, I made it all about him. I didn't want to see him upset, so I willed myself into rejoining my own life and its rather shitty conditions.
Things didn't get easy with time... or at least not as fast as I would have liked. My mantra became: "Give it time, just... give it time"... but time was being a gigantic pain in the rear and it worked oh, so very slowly that I swear at times my sanity was so precariously perched atop my head, that it felt as if a carelessly placed sigh, never mind a remark, could make it fly away and never come back.
But I kept on trying... sometimes out of pure force of habit, I painstakingly put one darned foot in front of the other while cursing everything and sometimes everyone internally.
I put on a brave face and tried not to cry in front of others when they were, oh so happy about their own fortunes and happy days involving pregnancy/birth announcements, etc.
Somewhere along the line I had a talk with myself and decided to never EVER let myself become a bitter pill of a woman and try my best to get a hold of my own emotions... and believe you me it wasn't/isn't freaking easy.
When I felt down I tried different ways to remedy things, I counted all the reasons why, even though my lot in life sucked at the moment, it was a much better lot to have than someone in a much worse situation.
I had nearly died, sure, but I didn't
I had had the worst luck with nurses and doctors, but at least I had been treated in a first world country, not a forgotten shack in a shanty town in horrible conditions somewhere.
I had family
I had friends
I had someone that loved me so much he didn't care if I woke him up every freaking single night when my panic attacks got to be too much and he still held me lovingly and tried his best to figure out a wife that was on the verge of loosing her mind.
I was alive
Sometimes this trick helped... sometimes it just felt flat... because there isn't a sure fire way to heal a broken heart/soul/mind, there is only hope, a hope that clings to life with a freakish determination... a hope that is more of a survival instinct, so primal, that it feels more like an electrical surge, something that keeps your synapses going, your heart pumping, your lungs drawing air in... something that doesn't care how broken you are, it is going to hang in there no matter what.
As long as that current flows through you, as long as you can't just will yourself dead... there is a glimmer of light, no matter how faint, that manages to cut through the muck that envelopes you at your worst.
And so I used that motivation to keep on going, to function, to feel human again, and for a very long time... I faked it until I made it, I slowly started caring whether it was sunny out or raining... I cared if I made it from one day to another, and I started tricking myself into actually looking forward to things.
At first they were very small things... like seeing Andrei walk through the door after work. A TV show that aired the next day, a movie that would come up that weekend, a trip that we would take a month later, a holiday that I liked that would come around in some months.
Finally one day I realized I was acting kind of normal... kind of.
I challenged myself more, I failed, I tried again, I failed, and well, I failed a lot, but I kept trying. I beat myself up so much, downright abuse, physical, verbal, I bullied myself to no end, calling me terrible things, telling me awful stuff, blaming me for anything and everything... yes, even the freaking weather was my own fault.
I hated myself... and I will be very sincere... sometimes I still do... a LOT... because living with yourself is hard enough as it is, but living with yourself when things have gone awfully wrong can be nearly impossible.
But when you are alive... well... it just has to be done, and it is all about being able to deal with yourself or self-destruct and take whoever else along down with you, because when you decide to end it all, you are not only ending yourself, you are ripping apart someone's life, overall if there is someone there that cares for you, because loosing someone is extremely painful and changes people forever, and not for the better.
I didn't want to harm anybody else... so it was down to dealing with myself, or nothing.
So I dealt... I invented coping mechanisms to try and build a better sense of self from zero. At first it started as a joke... when someone would say something good about me, I would come back with something silly:
"Saudade, the cookies you baked were so good!"
"Yes, because I am freaking awesome!"
I never really mean it when I say I'm "awesome"... it is just something silly that helps process something positive that I can use to not hate myself so much... and well, the way I say it, it is obvious I am joking, really, my self-confidence is never past the "I think... I kinda... can... sort of... not mess this up? Maybe?" level. But... this helps.
I tried to push myself to do things, things I once cared about.
Then this project came along, and I was hit by the most incredible wave of wonderful support and encouragement I could ever imagine.
I am not exaggerating... I am pretty sure, that, if it weren't for you, and I do mean YOU, the one reading this right now, yes YOU, I wouldn't have made it past drawing 15 and I probably would be at my wits end.
You see... I was so focused on dealing with things on my own, that I had forgotten there were people out there, people that maybe actually cared how I felt, people that maybe, somehow knew what it was like to walk in my shoes, and other people that, even though had no idea of how I felt, still could encourage me to get better.
I had been alone inside my head for so long... I had forgotten that sometimes putting things out there, talking things out could be all I needed...
And so, there it was...
I have described my struggle to a friend before as feeling trapped inside a small room with no windows, no doors, a depressing little room I couldn't escape from... and I kept trying to find a way out, knocking on walls, crying myself silly, until I finally found the door... cleverly hidden behind wallpaper... stupid door! Stupid wallpaper!
The thing had been there all along... I just... couldn't see it.
You guys helped me figure it out. Your comments, your e-mails, every single word helped me heal. For that... I can't ever, never ever thank you all enough.
So, here it is, my nugget of wisdom, it isn't very big, nor something new, but it is my wish that it will find someone who needs it and help, even in the slightest way, start making their world better again:
Don't let go. Do not ever let go. And if you feel like you are about to let go... reach out, reach out to someone, anyone, find someone, yes, even someone you have never met, but knows what you are going through, and tell them you need to be heard.
Google them, tweet them, write a message on their wall, tumblr, send a carrier pigeon, call them, knock on their door, tap their shoulder, whatever it is you need to do, because just like you are hurting, we have been hurt... and we will get through this together. People can't read minds, for better or worse, some are running through life and can't see when someone else is down and needs a hand to get back up. Don't be afraid, don't shrink away, because in the end, a small sentence such as: "I need help" can be the start of a chain of events that will change your life in ways you have never imagined.

And ultimately... once you believe you have hit bottom and the world has cast you aside in the deepest darkest hole that has ever existed... there is no way to go, but up.


Vixi Dragon said...

This is beautiful. Thank you for sharing, and for not giving up.

Sparkles McCloud said...

"People can't read minds, for better or worse, some are running through life and can't see when someone else is down and needs a hand to get back up. Don't be afraid, don't shrink away, because in the end, a small sentence such as: "I need help" can be the start of a chain of events that will change your life in ways you have never imagined."

This...this is so very true. Soooo very hard to do at times, especially in the middle of a depressive time. But so true. We have to be the one to say, "i need help." And keep on saying it till we get that help!

Thank you Saudade.

Sarah said...

Saudade, you are freaking awesome! Thank you for sharing your journey and being a voice I can recognize.

Marebabe said...

It’s so true. One of the great principles in life is to Ask For Things! And sometimes the thing you need to ask for is HELP. Even if the request comes out as a tiny little squeak, someone will hear, and respond. Thanks again for opening up and letting us share in your journey. Bless you, and Andrei. :)

Jan said...

That was wonderful! I am so happy that you are finding your footing and the help you give others just by talking about it. Happy one year and happy many more!

Mrsblocko said...

Amen! You are awesome sister!

Brooke said...

Thanks for forcing yourself through everything and touching so many others by sharing. You are incredibly talented AND awesome! You really are. {{{hug}}}

Jennifer said...

<3 No words to say, just that I'm glad you fought and continue to fight. You're an inspiration. <3

Kirsti said...

Thank you so much for letting us share this journey with you: you've helped me to be brave, too.

charissa said...

I'm honored to be part of this journey with you and humbled by your refreshing honesty.

hello haha narf said...

my life is enriched because you add beauty to it. thank you for not giving up.

Andrea said...

Dang it, there's something in my eye.... *sniffle* You really are awesome.

amanda said...

Dear lady,

Even when you have a hard time seeing it, or believing it, please know that you are awesome. Because you are.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your year, Saudade! You're an amazing person and an amazing artist, and I knew you could do it! Is it weird that I'm proud of you? (lol) You're a huge inspiration and I wish you nothing but the best in you future. Thank you for being the wonderful person that you are.

Christina LMT said...

Saudade, I'm so happy I was along for the ride this past year. Thank you for sharing with us, and YOU are the inspiration.
I'm still digging my echidna, btw. :)