Feeling a little drained of my writing juice again. One must push on, though. We don’t get better or accomplish anything by sitting on our laurels. Now I am at the point of writing in multiple drafts before I hit my groove and finish one. Maybe I finish this on this sentence, or maybe I go to another draft and keep writing. One will be finished.
I’ve felt I was beginning to ramble a bit there but I think that is a good thing. Sometimes I still ramble, and sometimes I am still really uncomfortable and just don’t feel mentally healthy. A thing that I no longer feel uncomfortable about is going into grocery stores.
Something happened after I lost my marbles. I was terrified of grocery stores. I think the most interesting thing about it is I have always been able to explain it — I even owned it when it was happening. I would refuse to go to grocery stores alone and be very uncomfortable in them. I’m pretty sure when Alex visited me in Hawai’i we only went to ABCs and the like. Mom did the grocery shopping.
I have not been able to explain completely why, but the repetition of all the items made me feel really uncomfortable.
I’d hazard to say it was almost like a form of claustrophobia? There’s plenty of room in grocery stores so that is the worst way to explain it. I felt like all the products on the shelves and produce in the baskets were aggressive. Like they were an army encroaching with knives lodged in their teeth to pounce on me. That was a terribly oppressive feeling to be getting from Aunt Jemima, Mr. Peanut, & the Green Giant.
I felt like shopping carts were warthogs snorting and charging at me. When a squeaky wheel went by it would summon a twitch.
I would still at times have thoughts that the people handing out food samples might want to poison me.
This was after getting out of Kahi Mohala, this was after starting therapy, this was just an every day thing that I had to deal with and fight against. It lasted up until around five or six years ago as well. I have Megan to thank for helping me through it because those feelings don’t come up any more. I used to have even more that I can’t even remember and am happy to be so far removed from the ordeal now that I don’t.
Megan accomplished this feat in the sweetest of ways, too. She would just softly nudge me to go to the grocery store for one thing. In and out. Just continually dip my feet in. I think there was one day where Megan was out of town and I needed to get more than one thing. If I remember correctly she stayed with me on the phone and walked me through the aisles so that I didn’t lose myself in there.
That’s certainly a laughable matter, a grown man getting lost in a grocery store — but I wasn’t laughing at the time. It was a matter that needed to be taken seriously and I needed to keep myself grounded and focused. Otherwise I very well could have just lost myself in an abyss of madness again. Who knows what I could have done the second time, and I surely would have broken my probation, therefore giving me a cool one-hundred-twenty years.
I can’t remember exactly how the DA came up with that one, but I think I remember it having to do with my plea deal then being broken at that point, so the assault would revert to being on a police officer — and they would have the ability to double the max sentence of all crimes committed. That would be a really hairy situation to put myself in over beef jerky looking at me the wrong way.
It’s my awareness about these feelings and the fact that they were unhealthy that differentiated me from the person who makes an irreversible scene. That’s it.
I think that’s something that some people don’t realize about mental illness. I am much more balanced now that I’m far removed from my substance abuse and mental break with reality. For the longest time, though, I was just on the verge of cracking again.
This was before I got on medication, I was still refusing my diagnosis of being bi-polar. Let’s be honest here too — these things I was dealing with go a bit beyond bi-polar anyways.
Megan’s small pushes in the direction of getting myself acclimated with them was perfect, though. She wouldn’t ever belittle me or make fun of me for it, but she would totally call out my nonsense and say that it was something I needed to work on to function. That I would need to go to the grocery store at times because she wouldn’t be able to go for me.
When I write it out like that I feel like it may make her sound a bit motherly. She definitely wasn’t motherly. At that time it was more like an embarrassed girlfriend wondering what cuckoo she had gotten herself stuck with. I needed every bit of that.
Megan would often make me laugh at all the ridiculous stuff that coming out of my insanity would cause me to do. The fear of grocery stores sticks out to me most of all — and the others were so minute that I would have to ask her, I have forgotten.
This is another time where I am not sure what the meaning is, but damnit I am going to try and find one, and it’s going to be about conquering your fears. I picked this draft because I just needed to pick something. I had a fear that I wasn’t going to be able to write a full article because I haven’t in a couple days and lost a bit of my spark for it.
Here I am nine-hundred-ninety-five words in. Just a few more to go and I have a full piece to edit and post in the morning. Just like my fear of grocery stores. Conquering it started small but then it grew into something more and more. Until the journey to the end becomes so overbearing compared to the fear of the beginning that you end up seeing the end much sooner than you may have thought.
It’s really nice to set the mind to conquering a fear, and then doing it.
Thank you for reading.