Free Association and Unwitting Mentors

It has been quite some time since I  posted for no reason. Since I’ve felt a prick on the mind – that feeling that I have something to say, but never figure it out until the close of the post. Who needs Freud to free associate when I have WordPress?

I most likely have hypothyroidism.

I pride myself (sometimes too much) on my perception. Longtime readers of my  blog will remember that I study people in all forms – neuroscience to facial expression, body language to psychoanalysis. I go so far as to jokingly call myself Sherlock at times. But the past month I’ve been forgetting things – and it’s worse than the typical trip-up of the brain like forgetting why I came into a room or losing my phone. My arms feel weak when I lift them to take something from a shelf. I often feel as though I’m always moving at half speed. I’ve started thinking slower and talking slower because the words don’t appear in my mind like they used to. And my hair has started thinning. (Wednesday we’ll find out if I do have hypothyroidism)

Did I mention I’m freshly 17?

My anxiety problems, panic attacks, psychosomatic symptoms – I can hide those. My mom told me when I was a child, “I don’t know how to be a parent.” and has shown me how difficult it can be for her to empathize with my emotional baggage. I don’t hold it against her- Grandma Charlie (yes, I just said that) was mentally ill, and, as you can imagine, was not the poster momma for compassion. I’ve come to accept this and learned to just keep a stiff upper lip until I can’t. But my speech, my weakness, my hair…How am I supposed to hide those?

I’ve been working on the first ‘key’ Olga mentioned (referenced *here*) but I’ve been dissociating a lot more. I feel like, even though I control what I say and do, I’m never really here anymore. I’m always a little far away, watching myself. Seeing the world through my eyes like a movie screen. What will she do next? I wonder.

So far, my entries look like this, barely legible scrawl right before I fall asleep at 3AM:

I feel like I have no right to be talking about this – because human beings have been through so much worse so much earlier in life, I feel guilty and foolish for flinging my troubles onto any unsuspecting blog browsers.

Sometimes after putting up a stiff upper lip for a month or so, I have an overwhelming longing to be somewhere safe and certain. With no one and with everyone – the people who matter and don’t pretend to understand when they don’t, what my mom doesn’t see, is that it has never been about knowing ‘the right words’ to say, it’s simply being here. Here. Not awkwardly or angrily or speaking eloquently or in a tone suggesting the essence of eternal wisdom. Because it feels as though trying to find the right words or do the right thing isn’t to make me feel better, mom – it’s always to make you feel better. I’ve protected you from me for this long, and with no choice I’ll keep protecting you from you while I’m at it. Always taking your side when you’re wrong and holding you when you cry when you never hold me. That’s our life, isn’t it? Hasn’t it been this way the past six years? Me raising you and advising you and teaching you while I curl up and scream and cry into my pillow in the still of the night while you sleep peacefully down the hall? So you don’t have to see me like that and feel a responsibility to do anything?

In those days, every month or so, I want to be the kid. I want to be the child who cries about everything and can run into your arms for comfort instead of stepping off to the side and demanding of myself to get a grip when my heart insists on scaring me and the world starts going dark and I think I’m going to die. Who holds me, mom? Who tells me I’m right when I’m wrong and lets me imagine a future of my own and dreams of my own without telling me why I shouldn’t do them and about the challenges, about the people already lining up to stone me into oblivion in the big-bad world whose mission it will be is to crush everything I believe in. And how I won’t have it in me to maintain my dignity.

I’m not bitter now – take my word for it. I’m angry, I’m scared and I’m tired. A voice in the back of my mind keeps snapping at me and saying I shouldn’t be talking about all of this. That I’m a wretch for talking about it. Me, me, me is all I talk about, and who would care anyway?

I know this is absurd. I know I don’t want a flood of ‘Hannah, you are soooooo pretty and sooooo smart! Just look at you, how you know the proper use of ‘You’re’ and ‘Your’!’ I justify my selfishness by the fact that this blog is my safe place. I don’t even talk to Heather Madame about 90% of what I say on this blog. I trust my blogging peeps with the naive raw material from this little brain of mine. Heather gets enough rants from me, don’t worry. And I think that’s why I don’t tell her much. I’ve written before about how Heather is like Watson to me; there’s only one, and I don’t want to lose it or take it for granted.

I’ve got a lot of thinking to do – and what with how slow my mind has been working, this is going to take a while. I might be zipping back around WordPress tomorrow, I might not be back for a month.

All I know right now, is life is a toss of the dice, and all we have is how we handle the cards we’ve been dealt.

I want to deal with this right, I want this to be more than just about me. There is a world outside of me – I’ve seen this through Alannah, Marlize, Mandii, Emily, Mark, and Thoughts (to name a few), they’ve faced crap head on and they handle the cards they’ve been dealt with dignity,  honorability, and a grin to bear it. And more than once when I didn’t know what to do, I’d think about a post from any one of them and I’d laugh out loud or pause and contemplate, always finding the answer I’ve been looking for. My unwitting mentors. I’ll always be profoundly grateful to have known them, and to have them know me as well.

tffn (ta-ta for now.)

Hannah

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13 thoughts on “Free Association and Unwitting Mentors

  1. Mark sure faces a lot. Often do not comment for what can I say? He is so funny, creative and prolific. The dice and the cards? Got to learn to fix” them in our favor but does not work all the time. There are certain things that will or will not happen because I control the doors and windows every way I can. Reduce possibility of chance happenings.

    • He is indeed hilarious and amazingly prolific while keeping his material fresh and thought-provoking. I love The Idiot 🙂
      You do bring up a good point, perhaps exposing a flaw that arises on occasion with my reasoning. I meant that sometimes, all we can do is control how we react to situations and scenarios. Though at times this does cause a delusion that if we control the sails of the boat, we can control the wind while we’re at it. Thanks for this comment, Carl, honestly.

  2. Hi, I’m a friend of Emily. I read this post yesterday and have been feeling that I should say something in regards to the “big-bad world,” although I expect you’ve heard it all before – I just wanted to share my own experience on the off chance something in it might help you. I’m an amateur filmmaker and I’ve been through a lot of discouragement regarding that, though my mom has been encouraging and my dad has been pretty much hands-off. I was behind my colleagues in college because I had no prior filmmaking experience, my first attempts at filmmaking there were so disastrous that I thought I should give up, I felt unwanted and unsupported in most of my classes, and all along there was this pressure to prepare to try to succeed in the cutthroat film industry, because apparently that was the only way I could ever possibly hope to make the fantasy/sci-fi kind of films I like. But when I graduated a couple of years ago I decided not to even try to enter the industry because it would kill me, and now I’m a waiter at a retirement home and doing filmmaking on my own terms in my free time, which is exactly what I wanted before I started college – some kind of stable job (where I am generally pretty happy) and the ability to pursue my passion on the side, whereas if I were in Hollywood, work would probably be hard to endure and I wouldn’t be any closer to doing what I love than I am here; if fact I’m pretty sure I’d have less time and energy for filmmaking there than I do here and now as a waiter in a small midwestern town. And after all the fear and loathing I used to go through about finding bearable work at all (being extremely introverted), let alone ever getting to do worthwhile filmmaking, to my continual surprise I now have both. I don’t know what your dreams are, maybe you’d like to achieve success within an established industry – obviously I don’t have any experience with that, but there’s no good reason not to try if that’s what you want, and if it doesn’t work out there may be other ways to do what you want to do, maybe even ways that you haven’t thought of or that don’t exist yet. Or the raw driving force behind your dreams may lead to entirely new dreams. I don’t know, I haven’t lived much yet but I have lived enough to know with certainty that to never pursue dreams at all is in fact bad advice. Really. In the real world. 😀 And I’ve also noticed that not being a teenager any more is pretty awesome – I expect you’ll like that very much. 🙂

    • You have a grand story, thank you so much for sharing something so personal 🙂
      Recently I have started looking a similar paths to one I’ve picked out for myelf. I want to be a forensic psychiatrist so that involves going to a University and Med School. Now instead of living in the same area as the Uni for my Med School I’ve started looking into schools in areas that I think I would actually enjoy living in for the 7 years after my education at a University. Extremely thought provoking comment, thanks again.

      • Thank you! Wow, I’m not used to having my story regarded as something beneficial to hear…. 😀 Your plan definitely sounds like a good idea to me – after my experiences, I have a pretty low opinion of education and especially higher education in general, so I figure the happier you can be outside of school, the better. 🙂 I didn’t really have a life outside school until I graduated from college, but I would have been a lot happier if I had. And that’s a cool ambition, I hope it works out for you. 🙂

  3. Awwww *blushes* Thank you for including me in that.
    You’re wise beyond your years, I truly mean that because you are so self-aware and that is so important in life, so many adults, way older than you, never learn that first lesson of becoming self-aware, and because of that, they go around life never learning a thing, never making progress and blaming everyone and everything for what goes wrong in their lives, and they never ever accept responsibility for their actions.

    Next year, I’m planning a visit to that big state you’re from. Was in Dallas once, and I loved it and want to go see Austin, for the music.

    • Thank you, Alannah, your opinion holds a lot of weight to me, so it means a great deal that you said this.
      Hypothyroidism was confirmed today. Olga said my pattern in the test results is a ‘death pattern’, and by the time I reached 20 I would have started seeing signs of my body shutting down if I never found out.
      Austin is a wonderful place – definitely more sanitary than Dallas, and the people are in less of a rush and more civil. Though the area in Downtown Fort Worth by Bass Hall is incredible on a weekend night. Beautiful streets with cowboys and jazz men alike singing and playing every instrument on earth. And seeing the handsome violinists walk out of the Hall after a performance wearing tuxedos and carrying their cases…*swoon* but, I suppose, after seeing Ravel’s Bolero there I have a soft spot for violinists now.

      • Hypothyroidism? Oh I am glad they caught that now, so you can be treated. Your thyroid can go backwards and forwards. I have a friend who is on medicine for life. Her thyroid was once hyper, but then, it slowed down and went the other way.

        You make me want to go to Austin now, and the downtown Fort Worth area you describe sounds great. Love the sound of it.

    • Thank you, Thoughts. I feel like I’ve known you all my entire life – whether it has been as close friends or distant relatives, my blogging family has always been here for me when I need them.
      After reading your posts after your break-up with Kiefer, I can’t help but admire the way you move up and onward with life, and don’t linger on what must be really hurting you to reflect on. You’ve inspired me to look for things to happy about when something dreadful happens. I find things to laugh about when a situation takes a wrong turn, and I credit this to you.

      Well, in a nutshell, hypothyroidism confirmed. On top of that, though, she said my results are in a ‘death pattern’, and by the time I turned 20 my cells would have been in the perfect condition to mutate into cancer cells in my brain. The slow thinking is from the nerve cells in my brain having difficulty communicating and retaining as much information as they should. Tomorrow I’m seeing Batwoman to discuss treatment and supplements and to just talk if I need it. Hopefully it goes well.
      Thank you again, Thoughts.

  4. Your smartest move from the start is that you’ve trusted your instincts enough to speak about your experiences, good and bad, to sympathetic listeners (and how quickly I’ve learned that fellow bloggers are an incredibly supportive community!) and to follow through with a search for further assistance if necessary.
    I’ve done the hypothyroidism downward spiral, too, though with a much milder form than yours apparently is, and can understand how weirdly not-oneself it can make a person feel. Lots of those symptoms are (not at all surprisingly) shared with clinical depression, and in my experience that was the more distinct problem requiring slightly more aggressive treatment. With your family history I’ve no doubt you’ll be alert to any such things should they be part of *your* experience.
    Me, I ended up with a couple of mild long-term thyroid meds that dealt with the “top layer” of my set of symptoms and that got me enough healthier to reveal the underlying layers of depression and anxiety junk. Talk about good news/bad news! Once I got to my doctor with *that* part and in turn, to a terrific therapist, and further, to just the right medication, a whole lot of burdens started to lift and allowed me to have a new perspective on my real and healthy and contented self.
    No therapy or meds will ever make the troubles of the Big Bad World stop, but it sure makes coping with them a whole different and less traumatic daily experience. So I am very hopeful that the path you are now on will lead to similarly uplifting and healing insights or treatments or whatever’s needed for you! I certainly see you as a person who will benefit greatly from this search and will keep your progress in my heart. It’s clear from your other responders above that you have a tremendous group of great people rooting for you already! All best to you.

    • When I first started The Last Classic about four years ago (several URLs ago) that was the idea for the blog – being upfront about everything (my blog is a secret from everyone in my life except my best friend) I think I would be a much more bitter, confused person if I didn’t have my blog or my blogging family.

      I’m sorry you happened to get pinned with a thyroid problem, as well, it isn’t a pleasant experience, and indeed you have my sympathy. Mine is only perhaps worse because I also have anxiety problems that are possibly genetic (even my great-grandmother was agoraphobic) and adrenal burnout from overstimulation of my adrenal glands due to the tension and fear causing overproduction of adrenline typically reserved for fights or life-or-death fight or flight situations. Thank goodness that even being a teenager has yet to predispose me to depression. I’ve seen it firsthand and it is a heartbreaking malady.

      Thank you sincerely for your words of encouragement, take care of yourself, Madame 🙂

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