Destruction is Relative: Chasing Crazy
Let’s talk about how we deal with the demons we face. I think of these demons as that friend who always got me in trouble as a kid - we had a blast but it often ended in a lot of destruction. If not a catastrophe! And that gamble is exhilarating!! I came to understand that these destructive tendencies were fueled by mental illness and addiction. Instead of running from my demons, I've found ways to channel that energy into more positive pursuits.
After exploring healthier outlets like exercise and therapy, I found them to be boring. Useful, yes! But total snooze. And unfulfilling. I needed something more intense; a lot more intense! This is about the time I came across the documentary, “Running from Crazy,” by Mariel Hemingway and Barbara Kopple (2013) that explores Mariel’s family. Mariel is the granddaughter of Nobel Prize-winning author Ernest Hemingway. The film chronicles the Hemingway family history of substance abuse, mental illness and suicide. Ultimately, this documentary is a beautiful journey of Mariel Hemingway exploring her hidden family history and using the truths she finds to aid in her recovery.
With this, I turned a corner in my own recovery. I started doing things that scared me and this was gold! I sang karaoke “I Want it That Way,” in front of a crowd of strangers. Boom! Adrenaline – and no one got hurt (eardrums aside). The highest zip line I could find, despite my fear of heights. Again, no one was hurt, but I got that boom! The difference between what I was doing before was that it hurt me and others in numerous ways and that was not helpful. This was a path to happiness and healing that I never knew existed! I found peace in these new options that are not destructive. These activities were exhilarating and brought me a joy to be alive!
As I continue on this journey, I've learned to recognize when my self-destruction dragon is getting restless and I needs to be fed. Now I can feed that dragon in a healthy way that no longer run from my crazy, but instead, I’m chasing it. I chase my crazy down! Anything that is exhilarating (and usually embarrassing). And boom! I’m flying high.
I took that crazy energy and refocused it to pursue my dreams and goals. I embrace my crazy. I realized it was time for me to take control and steer towards a healthier, happier life. I I wanted to harness the crazy energy and move it into something constructive for me. I call this chasing crazy because I am no longer running; I am hunting it down. I have a solid handle on my destructive impulses and my boundaries and I can consciously choose methods of LESS destruction.
Here’s a short list of some exhilarating things that I’ve embraced as part of my healing process: tattoos, public speaking/singing, new piercing, zip lining, jumping into a cold river, rollercoasters, putting my writing out there to an anonymous audience. Any of the things I avoided because I was scared, I did it. This helped me shift my fear of rejection into an excitement for at least trying. So, I win no matter the outcome.
I think to myself: what would I do if I wasn’t scared? And then I start moving in that direction. At this point I’m no longer doing just harm reduction – I’m harnessing my destructive energy into moving towards my dreams and goals!
Being benched means I no longer run from my crazy – I embrace my crazy and feed it in a healthy way. I am now chasing my crazy to the next adventure! My search for the next high no longer means a fix or a fuck or a cut; I no longer seek to destroy myself. My new highs take me to beautiful places of self-exploration. How can you embrace healthier options? Being on this bench means you have a team rooting for you!
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