A Letter to my anxiety

To anxiety/fear,

You leave me vulnerable and bleeding; alone, shaking, begging for relief. I would do anything to be free from you and believe me I’ve tried. You make me feel safe while you silently shrink my world until I am no more than a ball curled up on my bedroom floor.

And what of my dreams? What dreams? Who am I to dream when I am so afraid, too afraid to lift my head and face the day ahead of me. Yes, I am safe, yes I am breathing and yet you leave me breathless and panicked, wanting it all to stop, wanting to breathe no more not one single breath… I have now given you control. Even my mind flees from you desperately dissociating, hiding from my bitter and broken reality, one that I don’t want to exist in.

You have been a part of my life since I was young and I know you will always be with me. This I can accept if maybe you can allow me to catch my breath. I know I will never live a life entirely without fear, but I hope to live one where joy, dreams, and hope coincide. To do that, I acknowledge you and respect you but I also respect myself and I know that you will not continue to control me.

Sincerely,

Sarah

 

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My name is…

My name is Sarah Carlisle.

I don’t know who I am or why I am here.

I am mental illness, I am trapped, I am barely breathing.

My name is Sarah Carlisle.

Sarah Carlisle means unworthy, unloveable, unfit, unwell.

Sarah Carlisle is defined by within, the demons that unwittingly eat away at all that Sarah Carlisle could have been.

My name is Sarah Carlisle.

I am strong, I am fighting, I am growing.

Sarah Carlisle may not be perfect or worthy but she will not be brought down. The demons will not win.

My name is Sarah Carlisle.

I don’t know who I am or why I am here but

I  am free.

Imploding

Implosion. A simple word to describe something collapsing into itself. In many ways mental illness is a type of implosion. Whether the pressure comes internally, externally, or a mixture of both, the feeling of eroding from the inside out is inescapable. When this feeling stabilises for a while, you can start to feel like a ticking time bomb waiting to implode at a moment’s touch. Truth is I’ve always wanted to believe that mental illness is an implosion because an implosion only impacts upon me. The reality is that giving up will impact upon almost everyone in your life to a varying degree whether you realise it or not. And so we must fight. Not because of the chance that we will explode, implode or breakdown but because of the small chance that we won’t. The chance that we still have something to offer this world against all hope. Keep fighting. Stay strong.

Happiness

In a world of pain and suffering, why wouldn’t we all be obsessed with the illusion of bliss and freedom? Initially I saw happiness as an unattainable luxury, a state that keeps us naively alive with the promise of a better world that will never exist. While it is true that moments of happiness in life are a great part of what keeps us living, we need not be permanently happy to lead a fulfilling and  “happy” life. To some extent we choose how to view the world each day. We wouldn’t know true pain and devastation without having experienced some state of contentedness.  I am not going to spend my life convincing myself that I am happy when that may not be the truth, but I will make a concerted decision to try.

5 Things to be Grateful For 22/2/16

  1. The Sun 

For the  past month and a half, I have traded the beautiful (albeit scorching) Australian sun for a European winter in Spain. Basically, the weather differences side by side have looked something like this:

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The sun has finally returned to Logroño and it is BEAUTIFUL.

      2. The Outdoors

Logroño provides many incredible opportunities to be outside and to explore the natural and cultural charm of Western Europe. I am so lucky to have the time and energy to explore this beautiful city both on foot and on bike.

IMG_4923        3. Dance

Since arriving in Logroño, I have started 5 dance classes, including Tap, Jazz, Lyrical, Flamenco and Ballet. Dance, particularly tap, has over the past years been an important part of my life. A way to not only express myself but also to communicate, explore and treat my body with the respect it needs. I am grateful for the opportunity to continue to dance while overseas.

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      4. Friends and Family

While many of the people I love are living on the opposite side of the planet to me, I am so lucky to be able to love and to be loved by all of the beautiful people in my life. While there are  frustrations while attempting to communicate over technologies such as Skype, I am lucky to be able to hear and be heard by the people I love. Although I may live far away, these people are always in my heart.

       5. Trying new things 

Patatas bravas, playing the glockenspiel, Flamenco dance, bike riding, oreo chocolate… These are just a few things I have tried for the first time since arriving in Spain and I’m sure there are many many more to come. Obviously, the most significant new thing I have tried is struggling to communicate in Spanish for the majority of the day (as English in Logroño is fairly limited). While this can be exhausting and difficult, I am very glad to have the opportunity to try my fair share of new things and to attempt to sharpen my language skills.

Whisper

Wind whispers to me,

Telling me all I should see,

The sky, the trees, the beautiful sun,

Streaming down the barrel of my gun.

“Life,” it says “life is out there.”

But I am trapped, my soul laid bare.

“Pick me up!” I scream and choke,

It says “I’ve heard this from other folk,”

“My dear you have wings of your own

And from this prison you could have flown.”

I frantically search but no wings I see,

Maybe I was never meant to be free.

Then it hits me, wind streaming in,

My own strength is where my freedom begins.