About Losing Control, and Snake Thoughts

Content Warning: depression, severe mental illness, hopelessness, thoughts about death

Seriously though, content warning. This post ends hopefully, but the journey there is not always light. Take care of yourself <3

I feel like I'm losing control. In 12 million ways I it feels like I am unable to get ahold of myself, and I can't even box it into one category. Is it irritability because of depression or because of hypomania? Is it depression? Is it mania? Is it excitement, euphoria, despair, self-hatred, narcissistic moments?

It's all of the above, all at once, all hitting me and washing over me, both a wave from above and a riptide throwing me back under.

It's so many things happening and I don't have a name for any of them and that, really, is its own things as well.

Honestly I think the problem is just life. Or maybe me. Is life just too hard for me?

It feels like my bones are trying to claw out of my skin. It feels like my brain is trying to explode out of my skull. It feels like my heart is trying to beat out of my chest. It feels like my body has turned against me in the same way my brain did all those years ago (and never turned back).

I close my eyes and think about my options.

I open my eyes and face the possibility that there are no options.

By turns I am devastated or encouraged by the fact that this is unchangeable. I could pick up my life, abandon my job, my friends, my city, move to another coast, across an ocean, immerse myself in a new life — even create a brand-new wardrobe, hairstyle, overall look — and this would be with me: I would be depressed. Anxious. Bipolar. Frantic.

It’s not like I haven’t done that before.

Devastated to know there is no escaping.

Encouraged to know it’s not up to me to fix this.

I do what I can and sometimes it helps more, sometimes it helps less, sometimes I run out of energy to do what I can and I let the waves rip me under, let the water pour over my head and wash me away.

But when it comes down to it, when the rubber meets the road, when it’s truly all said and done, what am I if not unable to fix myself? I can’t cure myself. I can’t change the way my brain is wired. I can’t will myself into being happy, into knowing joy, into not being ill.

So that’s good to know.

At the same time it doesn’t…make this easier. When it feels like my internal organs are contorting themselves in an effort to destroy me, when thoughts slither into my mind and hiss terrifying thoughts, coil around my throat like a snake, it doesn’t help to know that I’m doing what I can.

What I feel then is terror. Terror at how out of control I am. Terror at what I might do. Terror that one day I’ll have enough and decide that since I can’t change my circumstances I should change my state of existence.

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It’s not something I want. What I want is — not even to be done with this, but to be able to cope. I’m trying so many things. Self-esteem workshop with my therapist, trying to learn grounding techniques to keep me from spiraling into panic, distraction, leaving the house and all the heavy feelings that sometimes come with it.

The picture to the left: I took it on a day when I woke up and all I felt was panic, rage, helplessness.

I forced myself out of my room, down the stairs, onto the train, and I rode it at least an hour to Bryant Park. It’s one of my favorite spots in the city, somewhere I used to spend long, lazy afternoons three summers ago, writing and applying for jobs and trying to stem the panic of that season of unemployment.

That day, it helped.

So I guess that’s the way it has to continue: I will try. When the loss of control hits, when snakey thoughts slither into my mind, when I feel like I’m losing everything, I will take a step. I will think about what I’ve learned in therapy. I will clear my head by changing my scenery. I will make this work.

And if I can’t? If I feel like all is lost and I have to end it now?

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline phone number is 1-800-273-8255 and there’s always someone on the other end.

There are hospitals for short-term emergency care. There are even treatment centers for long-term care.

There are options.

Take a deep breath, Karis. Close your eyes, count to 10. Open your eyes. Look around. Fairy lights on the walls. Music in your headphones. Help available a phone call or chatbox away. Take a deep breath. You might be losing control, but all is not lost. All is not hopeless.

And it’s not hopeless for anyone else, too.

Listen, I write this post not just because it helps me, but with the hope it can help someone else. Maybe it can help to know that you’re not alone. That mental illness is a shitty, creepy, disastrous thing, but that you’re never alone. We are legion out here, living this way. But we are living through it. So if you need help in any way — please seek it. And if you don’t think you can go to help through formal therapeutic channels, if you need someone to talk to, if you need a boost of courage, let me know. The thing is: we’re in this together.

In it, together.

Love y’all. Drop a line below or send me a note if you need anything <3