Scared, Paranoid, Angry, American–On the Occasion that The Words Have Become Synonyms

Dear Lily June,

If I can’t say it here, anonymously, where can I? I whisper confess: I think I am losing my grip on reality.

I don’t know if this letter will make any sense to you.

I don’t know if I’ll be able to write for a while, as the mundane details of daily life are starting to feel trivial instead of joyful.

I try to remind myself that it is the small joys which are the first to deteriorate when a mental health break begins, and so they must be cultivated, strengthened, clung to.

But I don’t know what’s going to happen from here.

All I know is that I’m going to have to let go for a while, or be dragged.

In trying to describe my mental health crisis to your father today, I said this:

I feel like the me inside of me is hiding from me, and I don’t know how to get to her to pull her out from where she has fallen.

I don’t know if, when I get to her, she’ll be injured.

I can accept that she’s in a well if I know how to lower supplies to her to keep her alive until I can get her back up here.

But when I call down to her, her voice is getting fainter.

And that scares the me looking down into the darkness.

I know part of this has been caused by getting too deep into what’s happening in America today. Spending too much time in the non-reality of social media. The mentally ill are more vulnerable to a collapse in the face of a collective paranoia and vitriolic mob mentality.

I do know this: If, as so many I know and love and trust and admire, are predicting correctly, and the steamrollers come, I will throw myself under them before I’ll allow anyone to make me their driver.

I do that as a last act of love, though it may be impossible for you to understand it or see it that way.

I would rather expose you to grief than teach you cruelty.

Unless I experience some major lift and soon, I leave for you, for a little while, the last thing I think I’ll be able to write for a time. I love you more than I can say, little darling. Know there is so much love in my silence.

***

My Last American Prayer, My Last Song to Restore Sanity

Dear ______,

THEY will never make me hate YOU.

There is no THEY.

There is only US, and WE are full and frail and flawed and more complex than we’ll ever understand of each other.
We are so full and frail and flawed, we’re incapable of explaining even ourselves, let alone others, to ourselves.

Every group of people has the same flaw: they are a group of people.
There is no THEY.

I CANNOT simplify YOU, demonize YOU, dehumanize YOU.
All that does is make me appear simple, demonistic, inhumane.
Remembering that (and trying not to hate myself for what I can not do) is half of my resistance plan.

I do not know who or what exactly I am resisting. Too many groups of people call it by too many names to know it.

I only know it has no eyes that see ME.

America, Americans:
Know your line, inside yourself, for who you are.
Know who you won’t let yourself become.

Don’t let anyone push you over that line, not even you yourself.

Especially not yourself.

Don’t ever let YOU hate YOU.
Don’t ever let YOU hate THEM.
Don’t ever let THEM use their hatred of THEM to make YOU disappear.

There is no THEY.

***

Picture Credit:

By Ohikulkija – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=39535033

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16 thoughts on “Scared, Paranoid, Angry, American–On the Occasion that The Words Have Become Synonyms

  1. Elle says:

    Alyssa: here is a voice calling to the you that is at the bottom of the well. It comes from the part of me that is also at the bottom of a well, although she thinks perhaps, now, she’s found a rope to climb up. But she can’t be sure. So she is saying hello to you in your well, from hers. She says she is here too.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. The Antipodean Blatherer says:

    This is a difficult time. I hope you’ll make it through and pull that “you” out of the well.

    You’ve alluded to some things that you need to do, like take time to notice the small joys, and you’ve recognised some things you need to avoid, like social media. I would strongly support you on that one, if you’ve recognised that it’s dragging down your mental health. It’s easy to fall down the rabbit-hole, reading one article after another about the latest outrages from the Trump administration. Try to let your mind have a complete break from those stories – decide to give yourself a month or so where you simply don’t read any articles on this topic. You’ve recognised that your sensibility is sensitive and fragile. Clearly you are a thoughtful and empathetic person. Those are good qualities – don’t let the Trump administration make you think otherwise – but they do make you more vulnerable and you have to be aware of how to take care of yourself. Don’t click on the headings. Move on. Read things that move you and bring you joy instead.

    I don’t mean to suggest there are any easy answers if you are experiencing a crisis in your mental health. I have a family member who has schizophrenia, and the first time he declined right into psychosis was right after 9/11. You are right about the vulnerability of the mentally ill when things around them are chaotic and terrifying. I hope that if you are recognising signs of mental health deterioration early, you might be able to stop it from spiralling out of control. If professional help is an option, please see a doctor or counsellor now. Don’t wait.

    And don’t feel pressured to write here. Sending you love and good wishes that you’ll get through this.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. shelie27 says:

    I tend to be down more then up. This has come and gone all my life. I suffer from anxiety (general). I also suffer from depression. I never new I had depression until, I read your blog. “Leaning into the Lyre On The Occassion You need hope” That night I read your post, I kept following links, links which led me to myself. I ended up going to the doctor for a physical, because of feeling off. I found out there how long it had been since I’d seen a doctor. I had labs done. I found out I was lacking a whole lot of vitamin D which will cause depression. I’m taking a few pills now, and feeling a bit better. I have my moments though, A. I live in my head, and don’t bring up most of the visions I have. However, I’ve been taking some time off. I still have my full-time job. I quit working my other two jobs. I turn off the ringer, I quit posting and looking at fb, I been taking naps, I still love the things I can’t control, but I love them from a far. This has not been easy, and since I’m an overthinker I wonder if some of this release has to do with my age. I don’t know where I’m going with this post. I know a bit about you though, and you will find the sense in what I’m saying. I suggest you try and take that Mental Health day, you need one. I hope you get some rest. I always look for your post in the reader because I know I’m going to find a “breadcrumb” I’m always searching for my soul it’s a blessing and a curse but you know that already…

    P.s I’m hoping you get a chuckle from this link. I did the other night!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. orchidblueblog says:

    I’ve been wanting to reply for so long and all I can muster up is, “I understand how you feel”. It will get better for both of us. We are NOT alone! Love you.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. D. Wallace Peach says:

    What a beautiful post. Please turn off the social media. It’s toxic and really doesn’t do any good. Much better to just keep being you, keep loving, keep seeing the light, keep sharing the moments of joy and beauty. ❤

    Like

  6. Hannah Garner says:

    I agree about the technology part. Much fear can be stricken into the hearts of many when most outlets are speaking of so many different and scary things. When all we see is bad news, we begin to think that all there is is bad news, which can stir fear, confusion, and contention. So much is happening at once that it very well may overwhelm. Sometimes it helps to just take a step back from everything for a while.
    I have to do a media fast every now and then to prevent becoming enveloped in social media, which is very common for my generation. And in that time, I feel more living and real in the present that I ever do. But, if you do this, don’t stop writing. Just cut the things that are bad for you. Writing will help these feelings. I always say writing is a form of therapy hahaha Just getting it out of your system does wonders, trust me.
    But try not to become discouraged, because no matter how dark the world can be, it can also be filled with hope and life and people that are the most lovely creatures you could ever hope to know! Live for those moments and love in those moments 🙂
    I’m back in the “blog-o-sphere” as you have so cleverly called it before. Haha can’t wait to catch up with all I’ve missed in my pathetic and long-winded absence. Your writing is always top-notch. You are my writing role model, with how fast you can crank out these quality pieces of work. Speed is one of my weaknesses. I drag my editing out to tedious lengths, when I really could just post it within a few hours and it wouldn’t be much different. -___-

    Liked by 1 person

    1. dearlilyjune says:

      Thank you, Hannah, for the encouragement to keep writing. Kafka once wrote that “A non-writing writer is a monster courting insanity.” I have been that monster lately, but I will get back to writing soon, I hope, and thus to hope itself.

      Writing to me is not just a description of how things are, but a critique of how they shouldn’t be, as well as a whisper of what they could, should, and can be or become. In that way, writing is never a place of despair for me, but always a place of hope.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hannah Garner says:

        Yess! Exactly! As it should be! Writing is always something that makes things right for whatever time we are sitting down to put pen to paper, and that should always make us feel hope. We write to make a difference! 🙂 I hope that you are feeling well very soon! You are definitely missed, chickie!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Whiskey Cat says:

    It must be difficult being so empathic in a world spinning with so much narcissism. For my part I think I hide from the pain you describe by thinking only of myself–but I aspire to be more like you. Soldier on, please.

    Like

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