reaching for freedom

i'm finally feeling more like myself, after a very long period of darkness and depression. rather than marinating in it, i've been trying to get back in touch with nature, with the world, with the people i care about. it's been a time of healing, of reconnection, of mending some of the damage i caused while drowning in mental illness. but i want to spend more time in this space again, allowing myself room to sit with the lessons of tarot and learn from the wisdom in the cards. instagram prompts have been helpful in challenging my practice, and today's guidance was simple: something i should do for myself. i pulled the eight of cups, a card that popped up yesterday as well under a similar prompt (what could make me feel better right now?)

IMG_2353the eight of cups is walking away, rejecting something that isn't working, breaking up with a person or situation that's been detrimental. we leave behind our current reality, aware that something about it is broken beyond repair. there is nothing left to salvage, no way to turn this ship around - we have to find a new path, move into the unknown, and embrace the mystery ahead.

this card is challenging right now, since i finally feel more whole after my depression. i hope i've been able to repair relationships that were damaged, and i'm trying not to harbor any hurt or resentment over things that happened. but perhaps this card is speaking of something larger, something that i haven't let myself dwell on too long. i asked for a clarifying card.

the five of swords, a card of self-harm, damage, humiliation, abuse, or a victory that IMG_2355pleases no one. some battles cannot be won by any party, and when we fight ourselves, we always lose. sometimes we have to find mercy, give ourselves a break, and work to move on from these self-destructive patterns. i wrote about some serious self-harm issues in september, but left out the phrase suicidal ideation. what i didn't say is that i made a plan, wrote a will, chose a date, and constructed to-do lists to make my choice as easy on those left behind as possible. it broke me to do it, but i couldn't seem to stop. and in the aftermath, the plan still exists, whether i followed through or not.

the date i chose was yesterday, and it passed without much fanfare. both my therapist and my partner inquired about my plan in general, neither knowing the actual date i had picked, and i felt seen, recognized, and loved in a way i haven't in a long time. someone had remembered, someone cared. i didn't go through with my plan, and that was the right choice.

combined with the eight of wands, it feels clear that i need to work to abandon these dark thoughts that keep creeping in, leave behind my self-loathing, and work to find the good in things. i am not a failure. i am not worthless. i am working hard on my recovery.

IMG_2356how do i leave all of these shadows behind? judgment, one of my favorite cards in the major arcana. the fountain tarot's depiction especially speaks to me, as she rises forcefully out of a deep cup, overcoming adversity and challenges and pain and darkness to stretch her fingertips into the light. my scorpio heart and watery soul feel emotions so very deeply, and often my struggles are internal, self-inflicted, and feel so big i drown in them before i can even identify them. judgment asks us to be brave, to forgive ourselves, to give ourselves the chance to be reborn.

i am trying to find joy in my life right now. i'm running outside and practicing yoga, caring for my physical self. i'm meditating and reading and taking long walks, giving myself mental space. and i'm trying to be positive, to be kind to myself, and take an emotional break from all the darkness. it's difficult, however, to not continue to beat myself up for things beyond my control. i know that i didn't intend to hurt friends and family with my depression, never meant for them to take on responsibility for my mental illness or personal safety, but that happened anyway. i tried to ask for help, and things fell apart. and i can accept that bad things happened in spite of my efforts and release it, or i can keep stewing over the past, feeling guilty and hurt and misunderstood and abandoned, and never let anything go.

i want walk away from the pain, stop hurting myself mentally and emotionally, and show myself enough mercy to pull myself out of my shadows. i can only be responsible for so much - some things are beyond my control. planning to take my own life may have given me a sense of power, but choosing not to go through with it really is power. i am not a slave to my depression. i will not let it take my life from me.

i have overcome two suicide attempts and one period of suicidal ideation. and while i know that depression is a strong, all-consuming beast, one that i will certainly struggle with again, i also know that i am strong too. i am learning to wield tools that help me fight back. i am learning to speak my truth, and embrace real honesty. and i am learning that what feels real in the darkness looks very different in the light of day.

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i don't know what will happen next time. given this last experience, i am more afraid to ask for help than ever before. but i hope that i can find the strength to overcome this demon, and learn to love the light again.

to spite the face

both of today's cards are difficult, involving swords and the self. i'm in a tough mental place right now and the cards are certainly reflecting that. let's start with my first pull: the five of swords. five-of-swordsself-destruction, internal battles, personal suffering. fives are often centered on the self, and can represent challenges, even a personal hell. swords, the suit of air and mental agility, can push this card to represent a real disconnect, a severing of the heart and mind. something is missing, whether it's simple indecision or a more complex issue of communication. am i hiding something from myself? denying an issue that everyone else can see? am i being my own worst enemy?

this is a tough card today, as i wrestle with my anxiety over our move, sore muscles from a tough run in the cold yesterday, and struggle to decide if i should head to the doctor sooner rather than later for a breathing issue that's developing. i'm having trouble making any decisions, and really just want to sit at home all day and play video games. i want to be selfish, want to ignore the bad stuff and just get lost in my imagination for a awhile. one of my resources described this card as "cutting off the nose to spite the face" and it rings very true for this card - making a hasty, poor decision that ultimately hurts everyone, and hurts the decision-maker the most.seven-of-swords

my clarifying card gave some similar messages: the seven of swords.

i've pulled both of these cards recently in larger readings (the five of swords in a reader's spread, and the seven of swords in a clarifying reading for a recurring card), but haven't pulled either for a single-card daily reading recently. sevens are about personal attainment or practical advice, showing us how to achieve our goals. the seven of swords can point to secrecy, self-preservation, staying on guard. this fox can also speak to selfishness, but it's purposeful - he knows that there's a lot of danger ahead and is prepared for anything. he's waiting for the other shoe (or one of those swords overhead) to drop.

i'm in a pretty foggy state of mind, still completely exhausted, not feeling well, overwhelmed and frustrated with myself and my situation. i think my cards are reflecting that - i want to just retreat, ignore everything happening, indulge in self-indulgent behaviors and ignore all those swords hanging over my head. the temptation is there, surely - but i need to be stronger than this. i need to be an adult, honor my responsibilities, and find ways to take care of myself through these difficult days.