To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them?
~To Be Or Not To Be, from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Act 3 Scene 1
Some people journal a lot. I suppose i could be considered one of those people, but with me it was sporadic. I’d pick it up for a few months or a year or so, but eventually i’d drop it. Consistency is not one of the hallmarks of my life.
Some people regularly look back over their journals to see what they’ve learned and how far they’ve come.
I should not do that – at least not now. Perhaps never.
One of my sons asked me for a recipe yesterday. I knew i had it posted online somewhere, so i set about finding it for him. While i did find it, i stumbled across some other things. I also found journal entries and posted social media rants. My brain, which has been full of background mumblings lately, fairly exploded a la Scanners (1981 Canadian horror film from David Cronenberg).
Yesterday was an absolute shit of a day.
What i see when i look back at old journal entries depresses and scares the hell outta me.
It’s the same thing, over and over:
I know i’m not right, somehow.
I’m doing the things i’ve been told are good to do, and i’m seeing some progress.
I think i’m finally on my way and i’m hopeful for the future.
It’s the same fears, the same struggles, the same words on the page.
What if this is just the same thing again? What if i’m still screwed? What if i’ve always been just blowing smoke up my own ass? What if i’m full of it, and i’ll always be full of it, and i’ve just convinced myself over the years that i’m not? What if i’m just pathetic and deluded?
Oh, and then there was the other thing.
I’ve been so angry.
So bloody angry.
And the drama. The dramatic pronouncements and the histrionic outcries.
“This is the most important thing i’ve ever written.”
I read that yesterday, and it most certainly was not. It was childish, was what it was.
It read like a prepubescent diary entry.
And here’s the thing – i am just SO embarrassed. All of the rants and the diatribes that i put on my social media. So much anger. Hostile towards everyone, save a very, very few.
Hang on. I’m having trouble pulling out thoughts and putting them down with any kind of logical flow. It’s all tumbling around in my head, with the occasional geyser out my mouth/fingers. It’s so hard to rein in my bits and pieces when i’m like this.
There are some things that i may not be able to convey well, unless i first provide a basic understanding of how my brain works with regards to my Peanut Gallery.
I really, really don’t want to do that.
It’s taken forever for me to even use the word dissociative.
I use a euphemism for my alters, and using that word makes me cringe. Alters. *shudder*
I’ll share what i will, but you may still be nonplussed. Please know that i’m sorry and i’m doing the best that i can.
I don’t know where to begin. When my head gets full like this i either go to sleep, use drugs, or switch. I don’t want to do any of those things anymore, but this is bloody hard. It feels like too much, it’s too real and too fucking personal. Who wants to know all this shit anyway? Blargh. I can feel the separation starting. It’s like i’m pulling away from the rest of what’s going on in my head. Distancing myself from the mass of crawling thoughts and emotions. Dissociating. I can’t allow that to happen though, because most of the last few years has been dissociative writing, and i want that to stop. Maybe not for always, but definitely for now.
What i wanted when i first started this blog was to help myself stay in control of the way my brain works, and motivate and inspire myself to keep improving. I was depressed over what i saw as wasted years, and so i also thought sharing my life might help someone else. That’s all.
Well, maybe one thing i knew i did not want. I didn’t want to be the subject of morbid fascination. One need only think of how many television shows and movies have used multiple personalities as a cheap plot device to get an idea where i’m coming from. I want to find healing through being understood and find purpose through helping others, but i have no desire to be a sideshow attraction. (Much respect to those over the years who have done so, however.)
I never want this to be some kind of bizarre soap opera with the entire cast being played by me. I don’t want to be a train wreck that you can’t look away from, and besides, some people are just trying to get somewhere else and they have no time for a traffic jam.
Which sort of brings me to the next thing that bothered me while i was looking through my notes yesterday. I am deeply and profoundly embarrassed. I was so obviously dysfunctional for so long. Gah. Like, hermitting is easier since yesterday – and honey, it wasn’t hard. I never want to go out again. I only looked through a few things, but they were enough. After that i thought about the pictures there are; so much evidence of all my antics, and i think, This is a pretty nice rock i live under, i could stay here forever and not be sorry about it.
I’m ashamed that i’m only a couple of years out from acting the perfect fool. The obnoxious try-hard that fancies herself the centre of attention when she’s really just tolerated and pitied. Ugh. A woman who, from her late 30s to late 40s, acted more of a teenager than her own children.
This is where i start to cry as i type, because this is very, very personal. And frustrating, because i don’t know that i’ll be able to communicate well enough for anyone to understand. There are a lot of voices in my head wanting to be heard on this matter, and they’re all trusting me to get this part right.
When i finally accepted my diagnosis i made a decision to stop trying to control everything (it wasn’t working anyway), and to allow myself to fall apart. I don’t think i could have stopped it if i’d tried, looking back. I was entering my first full-on mania, which hit me like a tornado in a trailer park. I had no idea what i was in for. My past had come out in little drips and drabs, but not the whole story all at once, and there were many things that i’d never told anyone. It took a while, but i told my husband all of it. Plus, i disclosed to some friends on a personal blog i kept for a few years. I haven’t spoken much about it since then. The details, i mean. I can refer to some things in a general way, but i don’t go back to specific incidents and i try not to focus on details. I see no positive reason for reliving my abuse any further.
But that’s now. What happened then was i devolved. My level of function went way down at home, and mania took me out of the house, along with a bunch of people who’d been cooped up in my brain for too long. And they wanted to get out and get some fresh air and exercise. What they did was nearly destroy the half decent life i’d managed to build.
I’m ashamed, but what good does the shame do me, or anyone i love for that matter? If it’s a stepping stone to sincere regret and a genuine attempt at amends, fine. I’m already there, though. I have been living my amends for some time. The shame i carry now can do actual harm to people i care about. My people. The parts of me that are me and yet not me. I don’t want to hurt them with my shame and embarrassment. They saved my life so very many times. They took the abuse at home, they took the bullying at school, they handled the nighttime activities, they covered for me when i was too traumatised or triggered to function. Without them i would either be permanently committed, or dead – whether by my own hand or an abuser’s. They’ve done their job and they did it well; i’m here and i’m better than i’ve ever been and now it’s my job to take care of them.
On an intellectual level, i know all the things i need to know in order to get through this.
Reading those things i posted though… I’m gonna be 50 in a couple of months and the lack of maturity i’ve displayed is mortifying. And i know a more mature person would not be so impacted. I should be calmed and comforted by the truth, that i was doing the best i could with the tools and the information i had available to me at the time, rather than wanting to take to my bed with a case of the vapours.
Let me tell you something, writing stuff down and sharing it can have some unintended effects. For the writer and for the reader. I can take the edge off of the evil and the ugliness by writing about it. For me it can seem like it’s okay, or at least less terrible because now it’s prose – it is attractively arranged sentences with flowery descriptors, creating a pretty turn of phrase. And for the reader? Well i don’t know how you’re reacting of course, but i know how i’ve reacted to similar pieces like these, and i also have some feedback on what i’ve written from people i know personally. Therefore i feel confident that some who read this may come away from my blog thinking i’m doing so very well. That i’ve really got my poop in a pile, or my ducks in a row, or whatever.
Let’s neither of us allow ourselves to be fooled, shall we?
I am only now starting to function on a level that can sustain a healthy lifestyle, including relationships. Barely.
I’m talking about things like cooking meals, keeping house, and doing laundry.
Things like showering and brushing my teeth.
Eating a balanced diet and exercising.
Taking my dogs for a long walk every day.
Going through dozens of boxes filled with goodness knows what and organising my space.
Not drinking or drugging to cope with people, feelings, thoughts or memories.
STAYING PRESENT, IN THE FACE ALL DAY.
There is a trail of wreckage behind me. The last 10yrs i’ve ended every significant relationship i’d managed to maintain or tolerate except my husband and my children. I’m amazed that my children have forgiven me for scarcely being present. I’ve been utterly unable to forge new friendships that cross the line into comfortable intimacy. The only friendships i have that are still strong are with an online community of people that i wouldn’t have allowed that close to me had i known them in real life, and maybe they wouldn’t have minded.
I needed to lose these last 10yrs. I maybe could have found another way, but i’d already tried a lot of different things. All i need for proof is my journals. Yes, the journals i shouldn’t be looking at, but they sit in my drawer bearing paper witness to many attempts by me to figure my shit out and get well. It took what it took, i did what i did, and here i am. But the more clarity and presence of mind i gain the more i realise how much of these last years is either blurry or blank. Booze, drugs, and a constantly rotating cast of players that are all me have made it so.
I should be further along in my personal development as a human being, but i’m here.
I should have been raised in a safe and loving environment, but i wasn’t.
So to answer my own question: I past-ed, but am not currently past-ing.
It is what it is.
I don’t know what the hell the point was to all this, but apparently it needed to come out.
How this hodge-podge could help anyone besides me, well – i can’t imagine, but here it is, regardless. If you read this, you’re a champ. Thanks.
Love and Peace,