Into the Looking Glass

I didn’t expect to have a bit of Loki-inspired writing so soon after posting something about breaking out of my comfort zone to do so, but here we are. I’ve been really, really struggling lately with my PTSD and anxiety, so much so that I had a series of intense, crippling panic attacks this past week. To be honest, I’m not sure if it was actually a series or just one really long one, but it was the worst I’ve had in years. Even when processing the news of my father’s suicide I didn’t have such a thoroughly debilitating event. But then again, I was able to afford the copays for regular treatment. I’ve been having a hard time financially this year, so I haven’t been able to see my psychiatrist or therapist since September, so I’ve been unraveling both physically and mentally.

As always, I’m extraordinarily grateful for my family and for members of the heathen community for helping through all of this. I’m pretty positive that the people in my daily life are more or less done with me, so I guess distance makes for a stronger support system, oddly enough. It’s been a really, really bad few years dealing with painful and occasionally debilitating chronic medical issues on top of my PTSD and all that entails, so I absolutely understand that I’m a drag and that people who have to deal with me every day are done. I want to be done, too, because it’s exhausting and usually feels hopeless, but I’m still here and still trying.

In any case, this week was particularly hard physically and mentally, and while my physical health problems lead to me sleeping an average of 13 hours a day, sleep has been pretty impossible lately. My brain feels like it’s hovering in a vat of electrically charged metal filings, and my muscles have been super twitchy and shuddery. It’s exactly as fun as it sounds. The other night, I was aware that once again I’ve kind of shut myself off from the gods, which is a sure sign I’m slipping into dangerous territory. Blocking the God Squad is the step before the suicidal ideation kicks into overdrive, so I reached out for help. And as always, Loki was so much kinder to me than I’ve ever been to myself.

Side note: I hate mirrors. I don’t trust them, and to be honest, they kind of scare me. The few mirrors in my house are strategically placed so that there’s no possible way to walk past them or see them without specifically meaning to. That night, I went into the bathroom and turned towards the mirror above the sink, tucked in an alcove behind the wall that supports the shower. And what happened next led to a hasty, exhausted mess of lines, but I’m going to share it anyway, because Loki showed me something. It’s awkward af, because I’m prone to babbling, so trying to convey something impactful in a few phrases is nigh impossible for me. It sounds like something a teenager wrought with angst would write in an attempt to sound deep, but so it goes. It’s an attempt at a new writing structure for me, and I was exhausted and overwhelmed but also very much stunned and in awe of what I’d glimpsed in that damn mirror.

That night, spirit-drunk not from a stillery
but from You,

I startled at passing of a stranger in my house, reflected in a mirror.

Staring, confused, wondering where I wasand who was the lady staring back from the glass.
She was kind, her eyes gleaming with something both clever and honest,
and her joy-soaked beauty made my heart skip.
I wanted to befriend her, be someone she laughed with,
to be worthy of her company.
And then the moment passed
and I saw the familiar face I expected all along,
eyes dull with misery, jaw slack with fatigue.
Too late, in the breaths that followed
I realized it was me in the mirror all along,
that for that instant
I saw myself through Your eyes.

Something like this has happened to me twice before, where I catch sight of someone in a mirror I genuinely don’t recognize, but it turns out to be me. It’s why I don’t like mirrors. It’s genuinely unnerving, even though what I saw both times was pleasant, and I kind of wondered if I’d somehow managed to glimpse myself the way others do. This time, it was while I was thinking of Loki, talking to Loki when I was once again questioning whether or not it’s worth the effort to keep existing. And then I was compelled to make the walk down the hall and around the corner to a mirror. And he gave me an answer, I suppose. I had to write it down, try to put that moment into words so I’d have something to look at when I need it. I’ve been looking at it a lot the last few days, along with screenshots of things my friends have messaged me. My friends are as inspiring and as extraordinary as the gods, and they’ve helped me without even realizing it.

So was Loki actually showing me what I look like to him? Or was my brain just so worn out and my anxiety so severe that I disassociated and had a split-second psychotic break from stress? Gut instinct says the former while my over-analytical “nothing is good so let’s rationalize it until it’s something much more horrifying and disastrous than it really is” brain suggests the latter. The moment gave me hope, though, and humbled me with the understanding of Loki’s influence, so even if it was delusion, it was a helpful delusion. Much more useful to my survival than the alternative.

Still a fucking weird moment, though. But I’ll take it. And I’ll keep writing, and get the hang of conveying an experience in fewer (and very carefully chosen) words. Eventually, I’ll have a better grasp of structure and phrasing so I’ll be able to better write something worthy of his influence. But it’s a start, and it was impulsive, sparked by a glimmer of hope he gave me while I cried to him. It’s a moment I didn’t deserve, but a moment I needed nonetheless, something to focus on while my gray matter feels like it’s being electrocuted and the rest of me twitches in response.

Chronic pain is a bitch, and mental health is a bitch and a half. Getting medical care in this country is expensive, even with good insurance. Unfortunately, having good health insurance means it’s hard to afford the copays. I’m exhausted, and I’m scared, and I feel myself slipping away more and more each day. But Loki is here to catch me. He’s made it clear time and time again that if and when I fall, he won’t let me hit the ground. He’s here to teach me how to fly. And though my wings feel broken, I have that moment from the other night, from that instant in a dark quiet hour when he showed me why he’s so certain I can fly.

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