Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Baseline (trigger warning)*

* I'm willing to debate the sense or absurdity of posting trigger warnings on the internet all day long. In fact I might some day. But until anyone can convince me otherwise, I like to err on the side of caution. Have some Joy Division.


This is baseline.
This thought has been at the back of my mind for days now, fading in and out of awareness with the steady certainty of the ponderous beating of a heart.

This is baseline.
In experimental psychology, before a subject is treated in any way, it is important that researchers first establish a baseline condition they can use for future reference. The baseline is the state of the subject in absence of any new stimulus a researcher might introduce. If the human mind were a pendulum, the baseline condition of it would be to hang straight down, motionless, in accordance with gravity. I establish baseline if keep myself perfectly still.

I like the image of a floor, a foundation of some kind, a place to fall to when they pull the rug from underneath. It doesn't have quite the same ring as 'rock bottom' which is much harsher, and seems to imply that things can't get any worse (which, as Seneca assures us, they always, always can). Baseline is more like the beginning of something, like a 'before' picture taken when you know you look your worst. It carries within it the promise of change. It is the source of all my power.

This is baseline.
It is a calming thought when I feel the derealization set in and I find myself mechanically doing the dishes in an attempt to maintain a hold on some semblance of reality. It's just baseline. It does not help you breathe or ease the weight of every atom in your body as it strains against the gravitational pull of earth, but it reminds you that you've been here before, and you can beat it. As long as you remember that, you are not lost.

You can even use the dissociation as a tool to your advantage and look at yourself between Plexiglas. This is serotonin depletion and you know its tricks. You know depression lies. You can not allow yourself any kind of abstract thought or pondering the future, or look in the mirror at yourself. Just the thought that this is baseline, which is your pulse. You know all this.

This is baseline, and you remind yourself of this when you start questioning your decision to fight, when you feel your choice not to medicate is putting an unfair burden on those around you. You remind yourself that as long as you have this thought, in one of its forms that have always been with your through everything, that the fight is not lost, and you are stronger. You are stronger than this.
You have pulled through a million different times in a million different ways, and each time again you surprise yourself, and mere seconds after you forget what it was, because the doors that you step through again and again are impossible to see through on either side. You forget the strength that it took, and that you still have. You forget what baseline is like. But you'll remember this time.

This is baseline.
I can build on this.

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