Around the Cauldron

Oh change, how thee is mocked


I was not intending on doing a post such as this, but there are times when you just need to get everything out of your head and hopes that there are those who understand, who can provide some insight, who may have experienced (or are experiencing) the same thing.

My mental health is in a bad state at the moment, which is possibly putting it lightly. It’s shit. I am masking non-stop because it’s how I need to get through the day. Restrictions on movement is finally really getting to me – cannot travel, cannot see my folks. I get looks if I move around the office too much, or too damn hot to go for a walk at lunch time (two weeks off and it was mild… back to work and it’s a heatwave). And yes, this is me trying to summarise without going into too much detail as I accept that the main aspects of what is bringing me down is very much a first world problem, and I understand a lot of people are in a much worse situation right now. Not to invalidate what I am going through, but Rational Brain is working overtime and it’s exhausting. I am masking to the point of forgetting who I am, of what I’m capable of because I’m in such an awkward daily position where this is so often challenged and proved otherwise (ie. Feelings of being proved incapable of much).

I see a health professional tomorrow for a referral, for medication, for assistance. What I’ve now put a name to is too big for me to attempt to handle unaided.

I have also gone through this cyclical nature with my mental health often enough to know when things start to get really shit in my head, there is major change coming. The depression comes in order for me to know it is time to get the smoke going and clean out all the creepy crawlies hiding in unseen nooks and crannies within my being. It is time to dive into meditation, it is time to assess everything in my life, it is time to make change if that change is not already being forced upon you.

And it can be terrifying. Even when you feel like you are absolutely prepared for whatever can be thrown at you because you have been in a mild state of anticipation, think again. I understand that I will soon be tipped upside down, shaken from my ankles, and everything is going to come falling out of my pockets. Everything hidden, whether I have been purposely hiding it or I have put it somewhere and forgotten about it, will be released. It will fall to the ground, and I will have to deal with it. There will be no picking it up to slip into the bin unseen.

Scrutinise everything. Question everything. Understand why it is there, work out why you have held onto it (consciously/unconsciously) and make change.

I am not scared of change. From memory I usually grab onto it and see where it takes me. Yes things can go awry. I often think “what on earth have I done?” but change is always accompanied by growth. Whether the moment be good or bad, successful or a terrifying mistake, there is eventually growth.

From a Spiritual perspective, holy fuck have things changed. I have worked with Herne for 18 years now and he has taught me more in the last two than the last 18. This is absolutely because I have changed – I am no longer lying to myself about who or what I am. I am happy in a ridiculously supportive relationship which has brought me to accept myself again and again, over and over. More importantly, he has seen that I am now ready to learn the more intricate things regarding him – his own practice, his relationship with the world, his history. He has seen that my practice is ready for a step that I could not have dreamed about five years ago, let alone when I first began working with him.

My personal growth has reached a level where I am back to being unsure of how to progress because I never thought this connection was achievable. Intuition has heightened and become second nature (as it should have always been, but, aspergers!) and I am beginning to understand when to say No to other people’s desires when they conflict with intuition. This has been the hardest challenge so far because there is that nagging element of disappointment lingering. Disappointment from others, disappointment from self because I cannot go ahead with a planned… whatever it was going to be. But when intuition says no, and gives you multiple opportunities to come to terms with what you are being told, please listen in the end. It may save your life.

Then there are the repressed memories resurfacing as I face a familiar dilemma – when it comes to mental health v. spirituality, I was coerced (brainwashed?) in my late teens/early twenties to being someone who rode the “meditation not medication” bandwagon, and my goodness did it to some major damage to me. It sent me into a spiralling world of denial, deep depression, frustration, and eventually suicide attempts. Now that I am where I am, and learning to make peace with this brand new set of mental challenges, all these memories are flooding back. Rational Brain and Spiritual Brain are at odds to a degree, or maybe are just humouring the other with the thought of, “Can I do this on my own with only the assistance of meditation and the Old Gods?”

Of course I fucking can’t.

Through years of self-analysis I have understood that I am not someone who can live in just one world. I cannot purely live my life wholly dedicated to spirituality and the Old Gods because it does not work for me. I am beyond envious of those who do, and have made it work for them, and are thriving in that seemingly beautiful reality. Even those who are giving it a good ol’ crack and are struggling, I am still envious because you are giving it a go. But nor can I purely live in a “muggle-centric” world. I need my faith, my Gods.

I need the balance.

I need something mundane as employment to help me pay the bills, because it allows me to fully experience the joy of my spirituality. I need that element of “mundane” (probably the worst possible word to choose for this) because it helps bring that sense of calm I need on the daily. I need to keep them separate yet entwined. I need to live with one foot in either world, walking side by side, in a way that makes sense to me. I am sure many of us do, whether we choose to or not, because that is the world that has been presented to us. That is how we function. I have taken the path to blend the two together in a way that brought me joy, however it wasn’t meant to be, and I have begrudgingly accepted that.

As someone who has tried to walk various paths everyone else has told me to walk for too long, enough is enough. Society always has the best of intentions but society as a collective is often wrong. When you are someone who is the outlier on the beautiful graph that represents everyone else, it needs to be accepted. Even outliers are brought forward when discussing results because it is an outlier. It gets to be discussed on its own merit because it, for whatever reason, did not react as the hypothesis expected, or as the test expected, or because it doesn’t belong with the group that society as deemed it to be a part of.

It does not walk the path that others have set before them, that others expect they walk.

This is terrifying of and on towards itself. Absolutely terrifying. But it is also a “Choose your own adventure” and I will be damned if I am going to read it in a manner dictated to me.

So I will meditate while I medicate with a prescription that will hopefully agree with my own body chemistry as it currently presents itself to bring balance. I will walk the path set before me, not the path that Google Maps is suggesting.

I know I have lost aspects of self. I have said goodbye to past versions of self-numerous times. It again is cyclical – at least every three years I go through a period of performing ritual to release an old version. I first conducted such on the floor of a friend’s bedroom in my early 20s. Again at Anglesea Beach, and I have blogged about how I often see her dancing on the rocks, forever at home locked in space and time. And again. And again. Physically, spiritually, mentally (often).

I am an advocate of change. It is healthy. It is necessary. For me, it is life.

My changing mental state (albeit a negative state currently, but an active state none the less) brings change. I may resort into myself, and that is okay. I will deny myself, consciously or unconsciously, things that bring me joy. I will increase things that I know will impact me negatively. Eventually I will find the balance. This is part of the process. I’m sure it’s part of everyone’s process. I will be upset, angry, frustrated. I will need to feel the confusion, the lack of worth. I will want to resort to old habits I have long let go of and will never succumb to again. I will wish for all the things I cannot have. I will wish for days gone by where I felt normal, human, not in this state.

And then I will be okay. Until I need to go through this period of release, change, growth, all over again.

I am not who I was perceived to be two years ago. I am not who I was perceived to be one year ago. And soon, I will not be who I am currently perceived to be. Because I am changing. And change is necessary.

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