The healing itch

I emerged from sleep this morning with an itch I desperately wanted to scratch. Exerting unusual willpower I opted for diversion and delayed gratification, picking up my iPhone instead to see what was happening in the blogosphere.  Elliot’s enticing “sleeping dragon” prompt for #MasturbationMonday didn’t help me at all. I thought I’d scratched that particular yen sufficiently last night but…

Braving the late winter chill I threw back the covers to document the moment for #SinfulSunday (that’s dedication for you folks). Then I needed to search through the clutter of toys and lube on/in the bed for the ointment for my itchy hand – which is actually what woke me up in the first place. It’s been four days since I had my birthday tattoo done but this is the first time the healing itch has bothered me.

Some of you may recall me posing the angst ridden question on Twitter quite some time back about whether I should cut my hair, dye it red or get a tattoo. These options were, and are, a fairly typical response to emotional anxieties, in this instance relating to my photographer friend, now companion, CM.  This, finally, is the end result of that period of that girly angst (I’m glad I didn’t cut my hair).

The best part of the time which has lapsed between then and now is that rather than being a symbol of frustration and despair, my first piece of ink documents (re)emerging hope and companionship. CM has had a hard struggle with depression this winter and I’ve had minimal contact with him for nearly two months. This has been particularly difficult given that we had not ventured very far down the companionate path before his health deteriorated, and I, unprepared, took a lot of his need to be alone personally – until I gradually began to understand just how unwell he was.

The lack of contact, rejected offers of support (the healing itch), coupled with my lack of understanding and fears for his safety triggered my own anxiety, fears of abandonment and depression.  My mental health issues have been both checked and exacerbated by the need to prepare for my forthcoming travel to the UK. All in all it’s been a steep learning curve – I’ve never been so emotionally connected to someone with chronic depression before, and I’ve been shocked by his condition and my own responses to it.

But I’ve learned a lot. We agreed some time ago that patience is not my strong point, and mine has been sorely tested in the last little while. Thankfully we had the opportunity to spend some quality time together the other day and now both seem more balanced. (WHICH GIVEN THAT IT’S ONLY THREE WEEKS UNTIL I DEPART IS BLOODY FORTUNATE!!!!)

My simple personally symbolic tattoo is strategically placed (like my hand in the photograph) so I can look at it frequently to remind myself of our “Precious” friendship, especially when anxiety about the future and fear of abandonment threatens to overwhelm me. It is also a visual prompt of the need to foster patience and pleasure in the smaller things in life…

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Sinful Sunday

20 thoughts on “The healing itch

  1. Interesting that, from the choices you originally presented, the option you ultimately chose was the most permanent.

    Being involved with someone who suffers from depression often, in my experience, requires a great deal of mindfulness and considerable commitment to self-care. (And, not being particularly known for having any tolerance for bullshit, it has required… re-navigating(?)… my “no excuses” attitude.)

    I’m glad to know your connection has been strengthened. And in the circumstances, I hope you are doing what you need to do to take care of you. ❤

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    • Thanks Feve. Some time ago I wrote about holding fast to my man and not letting go. This is the underlying mythic element (think Thomas the Rhymer) in my relationship with CM. I am learning from him all the time. And self-care is something I’m having to confront, although I find it far easier to care for others.
      I was very interested to read how you’ve been required to “renavigate” your “no excuses attitude”. I’m finding that I am challenged to adopt different perspectives time after time, which is, on the whole, a good thing. Thanks for the feedback, I always value your thoughtful input. Indie xx

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    • Its a cat shape – we are both cat people, but spells out the word Precious which is how CM referred to our friendship when he asked for companionship. The little plant in the centre refers to the potential for growth and nurture…

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  2. Depression is one nasty illness and yes it is a physical as well as mental. I tend to isolate myself but that is the worse thing I can do. It feeds my anxiety. Now I have my darling S. He knows how to help but you have to open up to being helped. Perhaps when your friend is better you could say that you have great ears and you do not judge. It might help if you do that. ❤

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    • Thank you, Kitten. I appreciate your wisdom and insight. I hope that CM will be able to open up as time goes on, certainly I am willing to help, and I try very hard not to judge. Indie xx

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  3. This is a wonderful post. In my life I have cut my hair, dyed it red (and a multitude of other colours) and got tattoos in response to emotional upheaval in my life. Out of all them the one I favoured least once the anxiety had eased was cutting my hair. The tattoos, while the most permanent, definitely have a long term positive feeling surrounding them. I hope you find this to be true of yours going forward x

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    • Thanks Floss. I’ve done the first two so often they don’t have a good deal of meaning apart from immediate (over)reaction. Marking my skin permanently was a way of making my committment to CM visible to both of us. And the symbolic nature of the design means I am reminded that I have invoked that sense of preciousness in another, as well as reminding myself of the preciousness I feel in relation to what we have (even when my anxieties say I’m wrong). Indie xx

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  4. What a beautifully intricate design, and so very powerful in its symbolism to you both. I’m sure there’s huge potential for growth and nurture there for both of you, individually and together xx

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  5. It is lovely Indy. What a thoughtful piece of ink. I got my first tattoo just before I was 40 and two more since and have never regretted any of them. I think waiting a long time for one maybe means when you do get one it is for all the right reasons

    Mollyx

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    • Thanks Molly. There will be more but I’m not sorry I’ve waited so long. I shudder to think what I may have chosen as a 15 year old when I first thought I’d like to get one…
      Indie xx

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  6. Lovely post Indie and the tattoo is perfect. I love cats – many are so wise and have been here before. The fear of abandonment issue is just shit – I get it sometimes and really feel vulnerable and stupid about it. I am not good at dealing with depression, not patient enough. I really hope you remain in an ok headspace when you leave for your trip. I think your travelling time will help too xx

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    • Thanks love. Unfortunately I have had the belief since I was in my late 20’s that my life lessons are patience and tolerance and I know how much my patience is being tested ATM!!! I do think my traveling will help too. I just wish I could jump on that plane tomorrow hahaha! But I’ll be seeing you soonish. Currently working on your drawing- god knows what airport security will make of it! Xx

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