There is a book on alchemy that I read several months ago that says something about depression, and lately it has been making a lot of sense:
“We are carried downward whenever we feel ourselves losing control. Anything that makes us feel helpless will get us there—illness, depression, grief, addiction, shame, rage, anxiety, PMS. In vertical terms, to be helpless is to be heavy. Surrendering makes the downward journey swifter and a tad less painful, but gravity is going to take you down whether you choose to surrender or not. No matter how hard you struggle, eventually you have to acknowledge your helplessness…Just like going down, getting back up to the horizontal after you’ve been below requires no instruction, no technique. Conscious attempts to employ levity don’t work.”
Essentially the internal alchemical process requires some periods of existential depression as a necessary step rather than as a sign of failure. It is usually a symptom of calcination. In an unexpected way, thinking about this is providing a strange form of comfort to me, because I have been inclined to try and actively get rid of the negative thoughts I have. This time, it seems almost natural to simply sit with those thoughts rather than judge or fight against them. I’ve been disconnecting from a lot of my commitments because I can’t pretend to be fully functioning anymore. And I’m okay with that, because I’m fairly certain that this is what I need to get better. I will return to the world when I’m ready. This is very different from how I felt during the first major breakdown I experienced many years ago, where all I could think about was “Something is wrong with me” or “I’m crazy.” It’s interesting that this new depressive episode is happening soon after I started CBT. I had a little bit of a conniption the other day, and I basically told some people to fuck off because I can’t stand to be drained by them anymore. I felt bad afterward, but it was necessary.
I've been missing my kitty lately. We put her to sleep around the holidays not long after we found out that she had cancer on her tummy. She was nineteen years old and was very healthy until the end, but it was still hard. I always had a cat since I was about four, so it has been weird to live without one this year. I told myself and my family that I won't adopt another cat until I either live alone or we get hard flooring installed in this house. I'm the one who cleans everything, and it is impossible to keep things clean with carpet. The lack of cat hair and "accidents" has been helpful to some degree. But it hasn't been the same. I'm definitely a cat person, though I pretty much like all animals even if I wouldn't keep them as pets.
It's been too hot to hike on my favorite trail (lots of rattlesnakes this time of the year and they are sometimes hard to spot ahead of time), so I've been jogging laps around the neighborhood in the evening. That's when all the cats are out. There are about three or four cats who now run across the street from their houses to have me pet them, and there is a friendly stray that I sometimes see. I get my kitty fix that way, but I'm always afraid that the stray will follow me home. Typically she goes about a few blocks before she turns back. Ed either teases me about it or reminds me that I'm supposed to wait, but Al is like, "She comes to you whenever she sees you. She loves you, and she probably doesn't have a home. You should adopt her." Talk about having an angel and a devil on your shoulders. Judging by her behavior, there is a chance that she is somebody's outdoor cat, so I won't take off with her.
Last week, my mom and I visited a crystal/metaphysical shop so I could pick out an early birthday present, and this girl came in with two male kittens in one of those fancy backpack pet carriers. She said that she was meeting with one of the psychics to help her pick out which one she would keep to be her familiar, and she mentioned that she will have to find a home for the second one. Ugh. So tempting. They were both super cute (they were those gray striped tabby kittens with black tufts on the ears), and they peered out through the little window at us. Later on, I told Arthur about them, and he said, "Funny that girl's getting rid of the second one in search of her own familiar and you happened to be there. He could have been your familiar." I responded, "Dude, you are NOT helping." Not that I have ever felt the need to have a cat familiar. I just really like cats. :P
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After I came back from the movies with my dad for Father's Day, I took the coldest shower ever and did absolutely nothing other than drink ice water. I was fighting the urge to nap until Ed coaxed me to cuddle with him in bed. He likes to hold and stroke my left hand while I'm getting ready to fall asleep (he occupies the same side of the bed every time), and I often think that it is only the muscles twitching from relaxation.
Ed said, "No. It's me."
And I responded, "But I'm not entirely sure--"
He reached over and stroked my other hand, and that shut me up. He laughed.
We're just camped out, here. I was going to write a larger entry, but I'm too tired. So Ed and I took a personality quiz for fun.
I got INFJ (like I always do), and he ended up getting ENTP. I can see him being an ENTP, albeit one who often has it rough.
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For those of you who have read at least one of my other online journals, you probably are aware that I have written quite a bit of personal history. I'll include those stories here, as well, only I will not censor it as heavily as before, because this is my personal journal, dammit. What I plan on doing is posting entries for each headmate and then later creating a directory for future navigation.
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So this is the story of how I "met" Ed.
As of Spring 2017, there are four soulbonds present:
Edward and Alphonse Elric: FMA 2003; post-Conqueror of Shamballa, with some deviation from the canon. They are currently traveling through some version of pre-WWII Europe, though they often take refuge in England after getting into fights with all sorts of people over in Germany. Ed is great at making friends.
And then there’s me.
I have a BA in anthropology, which I’m planning to use as inspiration for sci-fi/fantasy novels. My current day job is at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, where I do a combination of hosting seminars on community development, organizing meetings on workplace culture, and performing clerical work that is so tedious that it makes drying paint as thrilling as a Breaking Bad episode. What I would LIKE to do is write full-time and/or go into some form of teaching with some ridesharing on the side.
I’m a crazy pagan and empath, and I’m one of THOSE soulbonders who does believe these people exist in another plane out there, somewhere. I’m totally cool with anyone who has a different theory about soulbonding, however. The two main soulbonds, Edward Elric and Arthur Kirkland, are often involved in my spiritual practice. Both of their younger brothers, Alphonse and Alfred respectively, are both frequent visitors to the headspace, though I don’t do any kind of work with them. They’re mostly here because they’re close to their big bros in some way (even though Alfred will never, ever admit it). As of spring 2017, I have put deity worship on the backburner and have started calling myself an agnostic pagan. I’m pretty sure that God exists; I just don’t know what form He/She wants me to connect with at this point. In the meantime, I’ll focus on personal development, spirit work, creativity, and all that good stuff.
I had about ten soulbonds pop in and out my head for a few years, but since fall 2016, the number of people I talk to regularly has fell down to two. Nothing bad happened; it’s just having so many entities tied to my energy space proved to be exhausting. They are always welcome to visit.
And just to get this out of the way, I’m in a relationship with one of my soulbonds, Ed. How this happened is a long story. I’m attached to this individual Ed only, meaning that I totally support his relationship with Winry or whoever else in other universes and/or SB groups. I’ve always argued that each version of one character is his/her own person, and this Ed has roots in the 2003 FMA anime, where he is not paired off by the end of the story. We’ve known each other for over twelve years, a lot of things have happened, and so now we’re a thing. I generally identify as asexual and have never been interested in love…you could say that soulbonding has sent this aspect of my identity into a giant tailspin. I will most likely talk about it on occasion, so this journal will be partially locked.
Other than that, I’ll probably talk about my daily life with these people in my head, random things that we find fascinating, a lot of system history, and some thoughts about my practice.