Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Climbing out of a dumpster. Tips and tricks.

Sitting on a bed in an inpatient clinic, watching an orange sun set through unbreakable plastic windows, listening to chair-throwing, guard-running, alarm-heralded patient rages through which your heavily sedated roommate sleeps dozily can give one an inflated sense of competence.

You can feel as though you've got it together, if, say, you can read a September 2006 copy of House Beautiful with fervently earnest interest while others around you stumble half-dosed with Zoloft looking for the nearest exit port, and others more weep over the grilled cheeses accidentally served for breakfast. You can think, "Yeah, I've got this mental health thing down."

But you don't really. And you know it, deep down, in the place that still hurts.

It's really scary to admit you're stuck, broken and need help. Especially when you've seen how impotent, shattered and helpless people can be (like, for instance, when they're being strapped to a padded bed because they felt too strongly about the distance of the nearest bathroom). You don't want to be like that, so you don't want to admit there's a part of you that kind of is.

But that's how you get stuck in dumpsters. Let me explain...

You can't climb out of the dumpster you're in if you won't admit you're in it (and, speaking as one who has many a time thrown out my substance-of-choice with zealous, recuperative dispatch only to find myself fifteen minutes later sifting through the drippy, pestilential dregs of said dumper to restore my forsaken Precious, this is truth). And even if you admit you need a way out, you won't get out easily if you refuse to admit you need help (you know, those moments when you think, "Sure, this coat hanger will make a super escape ladder." No, it really, really won't.)

Take this cutsey-poots video making the rounds on the interwebs as an illustration:

Who doesn't love bears, right? And what Gilgameshian ego can withstand the acidic burn of such vociferous cuteness long enough to reject grasping even one little stray bear-hair of wisdom from their awesomely MacGyvery escape? The mama bear sat around all night worrying and hoping they'd escape. And though they caterwauled and rambled around all night in their junk, they couldn't do it alone. Not until someone dropped in a ladder. And they used it. 

What's great about this is that the rescuers here just leave the ladder. They don't dive in and get mauled trying to lift the cubs out. They don't knock the dumpster over with their Dallasey truck, maybe freeing but probably disjointing some wee baby bear parts. And they don't call in Animal Rescue to have everyone tranqued and drug away dreaming of pastrami wrappers. They just drop the ladder. The bears figure the rest out themselves. 

That's what it's like, recovery. You need a ladder. And, often, you need someone to drop one. But then, the rest is up to you. 

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