Watch Me

Yes, i’m in the weeds. Bipolar depression is the absolute shits. The thing is, though, i’ve been here before, and i basically know what to do. I have experience with what this is like. I’ve been experiencing active suicidal ideation, but don’t let that scare you too much. And while i haven’t had a plan for a long time, and the fact that i have one now is concerning, i’ve told the appropriate people and taken the proper steps. This is learning to live as well as i’m able with this wacky noggin of mine.

I’m done with that subject and on to something better.

**********

Audre Lorde said,

“When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.”

I am developing a vision of who i am and what i want. The first half of that has been coming along nicely for some years, but that last part has been tough to even imagine.

I needed the safety of my marriage and trust in my therapist before i could clear away enough of the wreckage of my past to see what was on the horizon. For most of my life i’ve been hypervigilant, functioning in survival mode. My brain was stuck in my childhood, and my body thought it was dead. It took years before i could think of anything i wanted to do beyond surviving. My desires only went as far as “not to be fucked up.”

At this point in my healing i finally do have dreams and plans for the future, but i have trouble bringing them to fruition. My first success came a couple of years ago. I decided that i was going to take the bus to the mountains, stay in a hotel by myself, and meet a couple i’ve been friends with online for years.

It was a big challenge. I’m so dissociative i have trouble with things like planning trips and setting itineraries. I’m easily distressed, and when that happens, my system can get activated and things can get FUBAR, fast. I also get lost very easily, which triggers such a high level of anxiety that i will run away from whatever and with whoever i’d made plans.

The trip was a resounding success. I was able to do everything i’d planned to do. The meeting was fulfilling and joyful, with a minimum of dissociation. I got lost in the airport looking for the shuttle desk where i was supposed to be picked up, which triggered me, but that was at the end of the trip. I could go home and care for my upset rather than having to hide it away inside myself until after i’d met my friends. That would’ve curdled my milk, you know?

I plan to go to my old home town for a week by myself to write. I think i can make it happen before the end of the year. For spring of next year, i’m going on a tropical vacation. I know where. And i’m hustling hard for enough money to do both, plus get myself a couple of things i’ve been after for some time. They’re expensive, but i’ll be working at it until i can get what i want.

To accomplish my goals, i’ve had to redefine and reshape my role in my marriage.

I made a mistake in my relationship, and it’s cost me, and probably him, too. When i fell apart so badly that i had to pull away from everyone except my husband, sons, and therapist, i may have given up too much. I surrendered all my responsibilities except cooking, cleaning, and basic mothering, and dumped the rest of it in my husband’s lap. I thought that was what i had to do, but now i wish i’d done it differently.

He paid all the bills and made all the decisions. I tried to keep myself and the house together and did the best i could to mother our kids, but beyond that, all responsibilities were his. I even stopped driving. I was so consumed with my own problems that i didn’t see that he had issues, too. He’s reliable and responsible but he’s not without flaws and limitations. There were areas i might have been more helpful and a better partner.

For instance, by the time i emerged from years-long, intensive therapy, i had no idea what our financial situation was. I didn’t know what bills he paid, how much they were, how much was in our bank account, or what our credit looked like. I had decided that i wasn’t good with money and didn’t know nuthin’ ’bout budgets or saving money. And that’s total bullshit.

When i’m manic i need someone else to handle the money — that’s just common sense. But at other times, i can be quite good to have around when it comes to spending, saving, and paying bills. Before i met my husband, i made a small inheritance last for five years while i stayed home and raised two kids. If i could do it again, i would have gone to school, but i was enmeshed in a religion that told me i had to stay home to be a good mom. I made it work by investing the money and paying myself a small monthly stipend, draining my inheritance as slowly as possible.

I bought used or gratefully accepted hand-me-downs and any charity i was offered. I clipped coupons. I didn’t splurge on anything. And i paid my bills on time. I’m not a materialistic person. I don’t care about labels or what the Joneses have. I’d grown up in such poverty that i felt like i was livin’ large in my little low-rent apartment where everyone who lived there was my friend. I cooked, cleaned, and entertained my kids on a shoestring, but it never felt like we went without.

I have emerged from years of uninvolvement to find us in what i consider to be an untenable situation financially. I’m not happy with our debt load or the handling of our finances. That’s on me as much as it is on my husband, and i own that. But i’m ready to shoulder more responsibility in our relationship… And i’m coming up against some attitude and push-back.

So i’ve had to do an end-run. I’m in my 50s, and i’m done waiting for some things. I have to bear the responsibility for some of how things currently are, and i am. However, i’m going to get what i want, with or without help. Without help is fine — i’m hustling, i’m working, i’m striving. And if i’ve gotta come up against someone who’s standing between me and what i want, it doesn’t matter who it is or how i feel about them; i’m gonna do what i’ve gotta do. I am living in the second half of my life, and time waits for no one.

I’ve been a certain type of way for most of my life. Apologetic. Walker on eggshells. Terrified of rejection. Trying to be who other people tell me i should be. NO MORE. I might still feel that way sometimes, but it will no longer keep me from pursuing my vision. And a vacation is only the beginning. It’s not just about STUFF i want; it’s about things i want to DO. Things that will make the world a better place for me having lived in it.

I’m going after what i want. I’m pushing for it, and all those messages i got from abusive caregivers and well-meaning societal robots aren’t going to stop me. And anyone who has trouble adjusting to this new me can step aside. I did all that other work so i could do this work — so i could do something useful and help others instead of only trying not to die.

I want to write to help people, but i think i can help in other ways, too. My vision isn’t fully fleshed out, but i know where i’m at, and i’m clear on my next few steps.

This depression is slowing me down, but it won’t stop me. I have smaller plans to accommodate my current mental state. Plans for August that are doable, goals that are reasonable and reachable.
Watch me.
Help me or get out of my way.

I want to apologise for my tone in this piece so badly. I’ve lost the battle a little to even be writing this part, i think. But it’s babysteps, and i’m doing pretty well, all things considered. Being strong and firm and matter-of-fact is new for me. It’s hard to write these things, harder still to say them, and hardest of all to speak them to a loved one.

I am though, and i’m going to keep on with it.
Watch me.
Help me or get out of my way.

Y’all take care of yourselves as best you can, and i’ll do the same.

Hang in there.

Love and Peace,
~H~

What I Was Pretending Not to Know

I’m trying to write on my other platform, and i can’t. Well i can. I can still write poetry, but prose creeps along like molasses in January. I also have a couple of serious essays i’ve been working on that have ground to a halt.

I don’t have writer’s block. I have lots of ideas and several pieces in various stages of development that i like, i enjoy writing them, and i think (hope) they’ll be good. I’ve popped out some new writing along the lines of humorous commentary, which i’m pleased about. I have a wry sense of humour that i’ve been attempting to find a place for on my other platform, and getting accepted as a writer for a couple of the publications i enjoy has boosted my self-esteem. Which, if you follow my blog, you might realise was needed, or at least desired.

But i’m having trouble writing. Like, slipping into that bashedy-bash-bash flow that feels like free chocolate and new kicks were delivered to my door. Or when it’s so good, i feel like Snow White in the forest with all the forest creatures gathering around… It’s missing. I can sit at the laptop, pull up a piece, read what i’ve written so far, edit a bit and add another paragraph or 2… And i’m done. My brain seizes up. My Bits N’ Pieces infernal racket plays a part in that for sure, but also i just feel stuck, somehow.

Well, after my last time loss, my husband insisted i get back to therapy. He didn’t have to push, though, i wanted to talk to her. I’d cancelled an appointment as i was finished detoxing, and i wasn’t sure why. I hadn’t gotten into too much trouble drink-wise, and i was feeling okay to talk. But i still ducked it.

Being as dissociative as i can be, means knowing something while not knowing it can be on a whole other level. I think we can all ignore the truth that’s in front of us sometimes. I think feigning ignorance is a way to avoid any number of things that we might not want to face. Me, i do that shit like so many other folks, but Dissociative Identity Disorder can make it harder to be aware that i’m doing it because i have deeper and darker places to hide the knowledge. It can be kept from me by other personalities, some of whom have a great deal of power in who i am and how i operate, most of whom are difficult and crafty.

I saw my therapist yesterday. I told her frankly that i’m struggling with suicidality, and i told her my plan. She looked at me for a few seconds -long ones- and asked me a couple of pointed questions:
When is your birthday?
How old are you now?
How did you feel about this spring?


Asking those questions might seem weird. My therapist knows these things, at least approximately. She was asking me to access information that she knew i already had. Things i know that i’m pretending not to.

I was born into servitude. My mother had me to satisfy her own selfish desires. She wanted unconditional love and a vessel into which she could pour all the feelings she didn’t want to house in her own body, like shame, rejection, fear, and especially anger. It didn’t stop there, though. I don’t know how, although i could hazard a guess, but she came across people who wanted what she had — specifically, me. Men who would give her their attention, along with gifts and money. For me.

As open and vulnerable as i’ve been about my childhood trauma, i’m rarely literal in how i refer to specifics, especially the sexual abuse. I prefer to imply, allude to it, and use euphemisms and metaphors. What happened to me was brutal and ugly and horrific. It took years for me to use the words that tell what happened to me in the most simple and succinct language. Words like grooming and indoctrination. Words like trafficking and rape.

I was taught to lie, hide, and deny. I was told i was dreaming, that i had an overactive imagination, that i was a compulsive liar, overly dramatic, and an attention-seeker. I did what i was told, and i believed their lies and internalized their abuse.

Their lies.
Their abuse.

All these years i’ve just been dealing with my mother. I told myself it would be enough, because she was at the root of it all. It was hard to admit my mother was an abuser. It flies in the face of all my programming — all her programming. It was hard to accept my DID diagnosis. Not just because it’s fantastic and controversial. Not only because television and movies portray multiples using harmful and inaccurate tropes.

It’s also because my mother knew i was a multiple, and she knew because the men she trafficked me to, knew.

And now i’m going to write about what i don’t write about: the paedophiles that used my mother to get at me.

Don’t misunderstand me here, please. I’m a skeptic. I’m not a conspiracy theorist.
Some things about my childhood are provable, but some i’ll never know for certain. If it cannot be proven, i put it on a continuum of likelihood. I look for patterns of behaviour. I use what i’ve learned about other victims and their stories, again looking for patterns and probabilities. I try to state regularly the things that i’m not sure of and what i’m only guessing at.

So, consider this fully caveated.

It is my belief, although i do not know (knowledge is a subset of beliefs), that there are very “successful” paedophiles out there. They learn from each other, and yes, i believe there are some that form groups. I’m not talking about some massive worldwide cabal, but it is my personal, lived experience that some hang out together, and even abuse, together. Some paedophiles know about dissociatives like me. They look for qualities that might make a child more susceptible to dissociation, like long-term, preexisting trauma. Children like i was are the paedophile’s unicorn.

I was already shattered when they found me. I was already on the far end of the dissociative spectrum; i had alters. And they knew how to make more. So they did. They made alters in me to hide what was happening. More than that, though, they made them complicit in the abuse. They made parts that would ally themselves with them — my abusers.

I know that this is some whackadoo territory, so let me reiterate: i don’t know this, i only suspect it’s true. I have a therapist who is tops in her field, who confirms my suspicions based on her treatment of others who’ve been through similar extremes. I also have memories that back this up, although i know very well the unreliable nature of such, and the danger of confirmation bias that ever-looms over my interpretations.

So when my therapist asked me those questions, i stopped ignoring what i knew.
I thought i could get away with just dealing with my mother. But i can’t.
I’m going to have to deal with the men, especially the man i called “Daddy” and his best friend. There were other men, and some other women too, and i’ll work through what and whomever else i must.

There’s so much more about how i got to this place and why i believe these things, but i don’t know if, when, or how i’m going to write about them. This is quite enough for now. It’s taken me days to write this much — there is powerful programming coming up against me. I’ll be thinking about it and processing it with my therapist, making sure it’s the right thing for me to do and setting up solid, safe boundaries before i go any further with this part of my story. No matter what i decide, i’ll keep writing about the journey.

I feel like Michael Corleone, fuuuuck.

I hope this greases the wheels a bit and can get me writing more smoothly again.

Y’all hang in there. I’m doing my damnedest.
Love and Peace,
~H~

IMAGE: K8

Graveside Poetry

Goodbye in Three Acts


1.
I have worlds inside me
Universes where lives are lived and lost
I melt between them
appearing and disappearing
while my face forms into your desire
Cherub
Captive
Coquette
Chattel

I read the books 
and hid inside the pages
You thought you’d found me
but i wasn’t there
Meantime my body was your marionette 
Pleaser
Performer
Puppet
Plaything

I lost myself in cleaning up your kitchen
and cooking for you almost made me happy
still i knew to stay behind the iron curtain
while stirring the pot in my lead apron
it protected me from your x-ray eyes
Darling
Daughter
Doll
Delight

You never saw me
I was waiting in the wings
Listening intently for your reaction
to my performances
My golem dancing center stage
Sister
Sidekick
Savior
Slave

I live these worlds in dreams
Sleepwalking through my waking life
My children raised by a shadow
I look at pictures but i don’t remember
I was inside living orbits away

It’s all your fault
You put my hands and mouth
my fresh warm body 
in places i didn’t want to be
So i ceased to exist


2.
The cars that came to take me away
that brought me back scooped out and hollow
Never knew i was already gone
Long gone before they even knocked
I’d clicked my heels and blinked and flown away

Walking in space and dancing with stars
My mother was the sun
She shone so bright 
i couldn’t see the corpse beneath me
The maiden on the pyre made from my bones

I watched her burn to ashes
I shed no tears 
I voiced no cries
I floated down to her remains and
I performed my necromancy

I am the root of your carnality
the ramification of your wretchedness
the remonstrance of your rape
I am your reprimand and repercussion 
your reproof and I rebuke you

Your cross won’t stop me
from this sacred appointment
Nor my brother that you twisted
into ugly angry knots
His warning is my parting gift

I blink twice against the sunlight
to clear the water gathering
these tears I shed are not for you
they’re all for me
and from each drop that falls I’ll grow a diamond

I look down upon your resting place
the pretty pink stone merely performative
because in that place where we remember
no one truly mourns
The ground is the best place for you
Molester
Mutilator
Murderer
Monster


3.
Dear Mom,

You were a creature 
a canker 
a cancer

and I’ve come to your grave for the children inside me

You were a pestilence 
a plague 
a poison

but I planted these petunias to keep you imprisoned

You were a disease 
a deceiver 
a destroyer

Now I dare to dance over you in devout celebration

You were a slayer 
a strangler
a sniper

So I sing out my joy at the death of your savagery

All My Hate,
~Histrionica~
*Crossposted from my other platform




Oh, So It’s to Be Depression Now

CONTENT WARNING: Discussion of bipolar depression and suicide.
(Absolutely do not read this if you are not in a good headspace.)

**********

I thought i saw water coming up the banks, but it wasn’t water.

It was sewage.
And i am standing at the bottom of a septic tank.

I should have seen it coming, due to how much loss i’ve suffered this spring.
But i couldn’t see it, because of how much loss i’ve suffered this spring.

Depression is a rising tide of rage.
Like magma boiling inside a volcano.
Like the creeping death.

I’m gripped with it, shaking my own guts in a childish fist, impotent with fury.
The sadness, like the wax my grandmother poured on top of her jams and jellies.
Underneath it — sweet poison.

But all of the anger at the unfairness –the absolute torrent of shit–
has left me open to being absolutely and utterly done.

Breath seems like a waste of energy.
I took to my bed and swam in a bottle.
Cans of cold, fizzy oblivion.
I could breathe as long as i wasn’t sober.

Friendship — dead.
Dear friend — dead.
Dearest companion — dead in my arms.
Marriage — gasping, much like my sweet girl. I’m holding it in my arms, too, watching it labour for life.
And then to think my fondest wish had finally been granted, only to have it snatched away from me, YET AGAIN.

I’m tired. So tired. So done. So over all this work. All this work that comes to nothing. Over and over and over and fucking OVER AGAIN.
I’m sick of being at the mercy of this fucking malfunctioning brain.
Of being spirited away by little bits of myself that i cannot seem to fully control.
And i’m so over all of the chaos they bring.
The pall of inescapable death over me.
If it’s not one shitting on me, it’s the other.
And now, it is both, and i simply cannot.

I know that my brain in depression is a liar.
I know that the other people in my brain are traumatised children.
I know these things… but i am tired.
Tired of this acid anger and tired of this aching pain in my heart that climbs up into my throat and chokes me. Throttles me like an abusive lover.
My throat aches and my head pounds.
ALL THE TIME.

And i look around for love and goodness to come and help me–
BUT I CANNOT FIND IT.

A plan is forming in the back of my mind and i’m not even afraid.
I’m far too tired.

I put the plug in the jug and i pulled myself out of bed… For what?
FOR FUCKING WHAT?!
For the death of democracy and the rise of fascism?
For the demolition of human rights and the celebration of indecency?
For the millions who died for the good of all to have come to NOTHING?

To watch millions of overfed babies pat their bellies and yawn while everything good and right in the world is murdered in front of their vapid, staring eyes, like they’re watching a new show on Netflix?
Like all of this death and destruction is a show being produced for their entertainment by their putrid and foul god?

And so this is how my depression seeped in, like an odourless gas, filling my pores and dulling my senses… Now it can talk to me and i will hear its lies.
I have barely the will, let alone the strength, to fight it.

It says the problem has been me all along.
It says my friendship died because of me.
It says i’m being ridiculous about the death of my friend.
It says it’s my fault my dog died.
It says i’m the problem in my marriage and i should just go away.
It tells me i was a terrible mother and my son will never forgive me.
It tells me my children’s struggles are all my fault.

It’s telling me the world is shit and it’s only going to get worse.
It’s telling me everyone would be better off if i just wasn’t here anymore.

This is the worst depression i’ve had in 15yrs.
It’s clobbering me.
I am doing little things as i’m able, but it takes so much energy just to not die.
Just writing this has taken all i have.

I got up and made breakfast for my husband and son.
I made my husband’s lunch and got him off to work.
I stripped my bed to wash the sheets that are ripe with the smell of my recent detox.
I cleaned the kitchen and made conversation with my son as if i’m real. As if i’m alive.
I don’t feel alive.
I feel as if death already has me.
There’s a tumour in my brain and it’s eating me.
I know at this point that intervention might be necessary.
But there will be new doctors that think they know and old ones that KNOW they do…
And they’ll want to pump me full of drugs, and those drugs only make me sicker.
They’ll argue about my diagnoses while the nurses treat me like a thing because i’ve been there before. Because i have a long history…
And i’ll try to remind them to look at my doctor’s notes that say i’m extremely drug sensitive and that psych meds have only ever made me sicker…

And so depression gains a stronger hold and its voice becomes clearer.
Sensuous… Seductive…
It says, Why bother?
You’re tired, and everyone would be better off without you, and the world is total shit.

I’m drinking water.
I brushed my hair and put on clean clothes.
Right now i’m going to vacuum and then check the laundry.
Then i will put on some music and write for my other platform.
Later on, i will take my little Roly for a walk.
I’ll be making a nice dinner.

All i have now is the years of work i’ve done to handle my brain.
It’s all i have to hold on to, and it is a tender thread. A tendril.
I’m too tired for hope — all i have now is the work.
It sets me in motion like a wind-up doll.

I will eat something.
I will drink water.
I will go outside.
I will clean my body.
I will listen to music.
I will talk to somebody.
Well…
I will write.
Okay?
I will write.

Heading for Higher Ground

Enforcing boundaries with people when you’ve never done so before, is hard.
Or, to be accurate, regularly enforcing firm boundaries with people who’ve been privy to the depths of your mental illness, is hard. People you love who love you back, who’ve been on the receiving end of your mercurial moods and waffling nature, who might well see you as a lovable flake — is tough as fuck.

It is the hardest thing i’ve ever had to do, telling people i care about things like:

– i don’t like that;
– i’m not doing that;
– stop;
– no;
– No;
– NO!

I’m ready to end relationships where the other party can’t accept that. And i’m putting distance between myself and relationships where there’s an imbalance of effort and investment.

I’ve been giving a lot of thought to this “selfless giving” thing. I was taught by my elders and the religion i was raised in, that selflessness was the ideal. That might be true, but the examples of such that were modelled for me are not ones i’m keen on anymore.

I’ve learned that i like to be thanked and appreciated for my efforts.

My upbringing tells me that that is selfish and not in the true spirit of giving, but i reject that. I reject it because it has been my overwhelming experience that the people who don’t thank me or make sure i know they appreciate my time and effort and generosity, are either people who aren’t doing the same for me, or those who will take and take until i have nothing left.

Sometimes, in some situations, and for some people, i am still willing to do that.

But sometimes i’m not now, and it’s hard not to.

Because i was also taught:

– i should give whenever i’m asked;
– i should give to my personal detriment;
– i should give even if it will leave me with nothing;
– suffering is admirable;
– suffering makes me a better person;
– to love is to suffer…

I think there is a difference between service and servitude.
I’m being more selective and discerning in where, when, and to whom i give.

And holy shit do people not like that i’m doing this.

In closing, hey, i know i’m extra-feisty lately.
But i think it’s better directed. Before, i’d be snarking about everything, all the time. I got sucked into partisanship. I was on the porch with the big dogs, barking my ass off.

To no productive end.

I don’t regret it, though. Not at all. Because i wasn’t allowed to be angry growing up, and i had so much to be angry about, that when the roof got blown off, HONEY! It was flying to the next continent, never mind the county.

Now though, when i’m angry and discontented with people and situations i’m personally involved in and affected by, i channel it into action.

I state my discontentment.
I set boundaries.
I use time and distance.
And i fucking say, NO and STOP.

This spring has been so shit. Everything has sucked. It’s been one loss after another, along with relationship dramas and physical calamities. It has brought me to a watershed moment. Such is usually recognised in hindsight, but self-awareness and mindfulness are what keeps me alive, so i can see that the water’s coming up the bank…

I will not be swept away.

We got to head for higher ground
We can’t come back till the water comes down
Five feet high and rising
Well its five feet high and rising

~ Johnny Cash, Five Feet High and Rising


IMAGE: Ainur Khakimov

Feeding the Dog

Things are happening in my life that have been a long time coming. One i’d hoped for, and the other i dreaded. I don’t know where i’ll go from here, but it’s time to find out.

I’m back in contact with my oldest child and his family, which has been nothing short of wonderful. For the last 2wks, i’ve spent most of my time with them, and it’s been good for my heart. Watching my marriage breathe its last breaths is excruciating, but it’s been in its death throes for years now, and it’s time to let it go. I’ve done everything i can, i have to accept that the relationship will never be what i want it to be. I’m ready to go back out into the world and see what kind of life i can fashion for myself.

I’m thinking of moving out immediately. I know i said i’d stay, but i think it might be better if i go and then come back when my husband is placed on dialysis. For now, his health is good, and he’ll be able to care for himself. I know i’ll be a wreck for a while -lonely and terribly sad- but i’m lonely and sad here, and i have been for years. At least on my own i have a chance to not be so.

I’m not sure how our split will be received. My youngest is expecting it, i think, which makes sense because he lives with us. The middle one might be devastated. He has a lot going on in his personal life already, and i worry about the extra stress this will create for him. And my oldest will not understand and be angry about it. I think many people will be surprised, not understand, and assume it’s all me and my craziness.

They’re all free to think as they will, of course. But the truth is so much more complicated. Our marriage ending is indeed all on me. However, i have good reasons for ending it. I am not satisfied, i am not fulfilled, and i am not receiving the most important things that i’m in the marriage for. In over two and a half decades, i have not received these things, and i think i’ve waited long enough.

The most important relationship i’ve ever had is dying, and everything about this is terrible.

**********

Once again, life has hiccoughed and my plans have to change.

I got an infection in one of my fingers, requiring a trip to the ER. And then i had an allergic reaction to the precautionary tetanus shot they gave me. I’m so itchy it’s hard to get anything done. I have a large, hot lump on my arm. I’m not sleeping, and when i am, the dreams are so vivid i don’t feel rested. I’m logy all morning, barely productive during the best part of the day, and completely non-functional once i get supper served.

I haven’t been able to return to my son’s house to get more done. I have planting that needs doing. My writing is suffering because i can’t freaking concentrate. I had a new doctor all up in my lady-business because my doctor for over 25yrs retired — and i’m still not over it. My week’s been chock full of triggers. And my personal space doesn’t seem very personal right now.

On one side, i’m being condescended to, and on the other side… Ugh.
My husband thinks my silence is a sign he’s been given the green light to keep trying to save our marriage. But it’s not that. I’m just bloody exhausted and don’t have the spoons for a conversation about it. All this crap has sent me into fibro flareup, so once supper’s laid out, so am i. I leave the clean-up till morning. I can’t even do my nighttime toilet. I take meds, THC, and i fall into bed.

Where i spend the night waking up every 40freakingminutes.

And i’m coping by eating. Which i don’t do anymore. But i am, and it’s making everything worse.

This blog post has just been a bitch sesh so far, i know.
I’m sorry for anyone trying to slog through this.
I had to. It’s been building up, and i haven’t had the time or mental/emotional capacity to purge it before now.

This post is quick and dirty and utterly lacking in finesse.
Maybe this is what was stuck in my throat, and it was the reason i haven’t been able to write anything decent for the last couple of weeks. I plug away at something for an hour or two, hate what i come up with, and walk away from it disgusted and borderline angry.

I’ve got to get writing, have a hard talk with my son and the hardest one with my husband, figure out where i’m going to live and what i’m going to do for money, and get back to helping my other 2 children, all while dragging my uncooperative body back to exercising and –oh yeah– I’ve gotta stop eating my feelings, STAT.

I am now furious, and i don’t know why. I hate everything about this post, and i want to burn it.

**********

Took a break. Had a nap.

What i know is that i have to gather my thoughts as best i can and get back to basics. Do what i can, let go of what i can’t. This spring has left me with low stores. I’m tired, scattered, and emotional. A bare minimum with lots of check-ins is in order, but i have to distribute the talk around because i’m a lot right now. I’m hoping i don’t trip over a mania — i feel as if that’s a distinct possibility.

I recognise that this post is all over the place, but it’s more important that i get stuff out than it is that i like how it’s presented. That’s just not gonna happen.

So, i’ve bitched and rambled on some.
Now, for a list of small things i can do to manage my current state:

1 day of tea and popcorn
I do this to take away some of food’s power over me when i’m eating for the wrong reasons. I’m not thinking about what i’m going to eat, or what i can and cannot eat. This lessens anxiety and obsession for me. I feel relief that i’m not battling thoughts and urges all day.

3 or so days of eating the same thing
It’s usually a high-protein, low-carb soup. I’m adding calories and proper nutrition back in, but having the same, simple thing for a few days helps ease me back into thinking about food and eating. I know what I’ll be eating, so that removes planning. Planning can quickly lead me to obsession, anxiety, powerlessness and self-hatred.

Regimented eating times
Eating at the same 3X a day, with a 12hr break works well for me when i’m feeling out of control in my life and how i’m eating and thinking about food.

Using alarms
Alarms help me get back on a schedule when my brain is too busy to manage without some help. This is when i eat, this is when i wash my face and brush my teeth. Now i need to walk the dog, now i’m cleaning up from supper, now i’m taking meds and doing nighttime toilette.

Diary
I’ve got to journal a bit every day. I will attempt some non-journal writing if i feel able, but if not, it’s okay. As long as i’m airing out my thoughts and emotions a bit every day — that’s good.

Shower and put on clothes
I don’t usually shower daily, but this will give me a wake-up and a virtue-boost in the morning. I desperately need that right now. I will practise mindfulness while washing and go over my goals for the day.

These are very simple, bare-bones, doable activities that will provide a sense of accomplishment and return a bit of control to me.

This post is what the generation before mine would have called “a dog’s breakfast.”
Hey, at least i fed the dog, okay?

I hope everyone’s hanging in there.
Love and Peace,
~H~

IMAGE: Chris Benson

Dear Diary: She Fell

To make a small change to Gimli’s heartbreaking words to Eowyn after an Orc riding a Warg bests Aragorn… I was cast off the cliff by my own angry and ugly rider.

I have another place where i write about my marriage, but what i will say here is that i have been very intentionally earning my way out of it for many years. I wanted to make sure i left no stone unturned; one, because i wanted it to work, and two, because i wanted to be certain that if i did leave, i could be confident that i’d done everything possible to make it work.

I was fully confident and prepared to go. I had a place to live and several potential jobs. I was going to hock my jewelry to pay the first month’s rent. I was halfway out the door. And then my husband’s kidney disease turns out to have progressed more quickly than his nephrologist had thought it would, and i… cannot leave.

I didn’t want to leave, so much as i had to. It was time; i had done everything i could do, but one person can’t hold two together. At least i couldn’t, not without it costing more than i was willing to pay any longer. The fear and sadness over leaving had been overcome by my need to feel better — to be relieved of the burdens i’ve carried for too long.

*sigh*

But now he is ill, quite ill in fact, and i can’t, won’t leave. He’s still my best friend and favourite person, and he supported me through the sickest time of my life. I owe him, and i want to pay. So, i have to figure out how to take care of this man and stand by him, all while considering the marriage part of our relationship over.

It was too much at first, and i fell. I thought i’d mostly gotten myself back under control the last time i wrote, but the rider and his beast rode hard and knocked me down again. This time there was madness, and i descended into self-harming behaviours (which i will not discuss). I deactivated social media and turned inward, focusing only on negotiating my way to détente… I’ve lost a significant amount of control over my system and figured it was the best i could hope for.

Last weekend both my husband and son were out working. I have never been afraid to be alone, usually, i welcome it. However, when i’m this unstable it’s cause for concern. I’ve been known to disappear from the house for days.

I was sitting in my usual chair, watching crap on telly that i hoped would distract me from my inner turmoil. It wasn’t working too well. I turned it off and attempted to soothe my system some other way. Reaching out with my thoughts to engage some of them, to offer hope and comfort that things would get better.

And then i heard it and my blood ran cold.
I heard a voice, and it wasn’t me, and it wasn’t inside my head — it came from somewhere outside me. But i was alone in the house. I grabbed weapons and my phone and checked everywhere. There was no one. I slid a little then and receded to the back of my brain as someone else took the face and called my husband. He offered concern and some gentle suggestions as to what it might be. The little Bit that he was talking to wasn’t having it though and quickly got off the phone.

I put the television back on and tried to placate the rush of little ones that were afraid.

And then i heard it again.
This time when i heard it, i recognised it. Or i thought i did. Some weird kind of gut feeling about who it was. He’s been dead so long i couldn’t possibly remember what he sounded like, but i believed it was my uncle.

Now, before i go any further, 2 things:

– I am an atheist, and by that i mean that have not been convinced that any god or gods exist, nor anything considered supernatural or paranormal, e.g. ghosts, reincarnation, angels, psychic abilities, etc.
– I am not schizophrenic. I would have been diagnosed a long time ago. I have various diagnoses and none of them is that one.

I have heard a voice speak to me one other time. I was alone then too, and it came from outside me. I was a new mother, living in my own apartment; just me and my baby. I was changing him on the living room carpet when i heard a voice coming from the kitchen. It told me something that my mother used to do to me when i was a baby. It was disgusting and horrible. It made me run to the bathroom and throw up. It matched a terrible dream i’d had since i was a child, and it was the beginning of me realising that some of my dreams were pointing to actual events.

This wasn’t the same voice, but it was the same type of experience. When he spoke again i wasn’t afraid, just like i wasn’t all those years ago. He told me that everything was going to be okay and he was going to help take care of me. It calmed me, and not just me, the constant yammering in my brain instantly softened and slowed.

I know both voices are mine — even though i heard them in another room. I don’t know how my brain has done it, but i know absolutely that it did, just as i know the people that live in my brain are ALL me. I don’t know why it’s only happened twice, i don’t why these particular times and for these particular reasons, but it doesn’t matter. Both voices helped me in their own way.

From that experience i was able to ask for some things that i need to continue forward in this current iteration of my married relationship with my best friend. He wants very much to convince me that he can give me what i want, and i guess he gets the opportunity because i won’t leave until he is well. We have separate rooms, but we continue on much as we have — there is no rancor.

I haven’t heard my uncle’s voice since that day, and i don’t expect to. I feel like i have a part of my own brain caring for me and watching over me. It makes perfect sense to me that i would make it him, as he was my favourite person in the world until the world took him from me.

I know this is weird shit. I don’t pretend to understand it. What i have learned is that my brain is a fantastical place, and my superpower is imagination. I’ve used it to save my life since i was a baby, and it’s still doing its job. We’ll see where we go from here. I’m hoping for more control and less chaos. Whatever comes, i am never alone, because i make companions. Sometimes it’s a problem, but sometimes, it’s strangely comforting.


I’m hanging in there.
Hope you are, too.
Love and Peace,
~H~

IMAGE: Christof Görs

Accepting the Unacceptable

Upon reflecting over the last week, where i was not at all present, there seems to have been a bit of an uprising. Perhaps i should have seen it coming, but i did not. Maybe i could have, had there not been so bloody much going on leading up to it, but there was, and i could not. This being a grownup and living life on life’s terms can be quite the sticky wicket, eh?

I knew i was struggling, and i knew why. I’d had a couple of blips already where i’d lost the face to various and sundry that dwell here in my brain with me. I am committed to the process of handling my mental disorders and now, my apparent neurodivergence. I was picking myself up, dusting myself off (thankfully, not starting all over again, as Cole’s lyrics go), and getting back to it. I was unprepared for the tidal wave that came rushing in. It washed me up on the shore of my mind, exhausted, barely breathing, with my guts full of seawater. It kept washing me further and further up the beach, away from the salty soup of thoughts and activity that comprises who i am as a person.

My personality, or in my case, personalities, as it were.

I handled an issue in a primary relationship that was a long time coming, and i think that’s what broke me. It left me vulnerable, so much so that there was a rush of alters who came for the face. Some, to help, others to play, a couple hoping to take over. I was bashed about quite violently before being left there, on the edge of the shore.

I haven’t yet found the words to properly describe what it’s like, when i’m fighting for control and losing – when i am at war with my lesser selves who are me but not exactly me. These metaphors and analogies fall short in all (our) my estimations, but it must suffice.

There is wreckage, more than usual. I was interacting with some friends; i don’t know if they knew it wasn’t me, but there is a bit of a mess to clean up there. With one of those there are hurt feelings for which i hope i can make amends. In the other, the interaction put a loved one in some jeopardy. I’m in isolation until we’re sure it’s safe for me to be near him. He knows what comes when one lives with a multiple, and is unfazed. I’m mortified, but not devastated.

I’ve lived with a multiple for my entire life, you see. Heh.

I’m not sorry i held such high hopes that i’d get through this spring without my system’s usual shenanigans. If not for life life-ing me so freaking hard these last few weeks, i believe i could have done it. But life is a bit of a bastard, innit? At least i was able to wrest control back before my family had me committed, which was on the table.

In the past, when i’ve lost total control for similar lengths of time, i’ve been overwhelmed by feelings of shame, guilt, devastation, fury. The lack of control consumed and terrified me. It left me feeling hopeless that my life would ever be any other way. It left me open to further time losses. But slowly, and yes, sometimes it’s so slowly i’m gnashing my teeth and pulling out my hair, my life is changing. And for the better.

This time, i can accept what happened. I can see that this is my lot in life, and that’s not fatalistic. It is, as the current saying goes, what it is. I acknowledge this truth, and in so doing, free up an impressive amount of energy.

To pick myself up, dust myself off…

And get back to it.


Y’all Hang In There, Y’Hear?
~H~

Death in Springtime

This post might be even more important than the last one. I don’t know, actually. I guess the truth is the most important thing, and after that, someone finding something here that they can use to help themselves. I’m speaking hyperbolically because, not only do i tend towards that regularly, i’m sitting in that position quite intensely, at the moment.

I have failed in my attempt to avoid the thing i wished so to avoid. The trap is set every year, and this year i tried so hard to keep my feet clear. Alas! it was not to be. (I’m just being poetic, not fatalistic. Heh.)

The truth is i drowned my sorrows in the bottle for a solid week.
I’d felt stronger than ever, and the best of intentions were tucked carefully in my back pocket. But here’s the truth:

Even though i thought i was telling the truth, both to myself and to this page…
I was not. The bodies were piling up around me, but i am inured to the stench of death.

My trauma is a terrible one. It was the kind of trauma that, once you have seen it, it is tattooed on the inside of your eyelids, forever. Even when i look to the sun, and the sun is so bright i close my eyes. Oh… There it is. It is the filter through which i see all things.

My trauma is always with me. It whispers in my head, it seeps into my heart, and my heart pumps it through my veins. It has been written into my psychic DNA. I can never escape it, i can only learn to live with it, as best i can.

I build upon each little victory. I gain momentum, slowly. Ever-sososo slowly.
Because i fall so often. A little blip here, a slip, a stumble, a tumble down.

I’m not just talking about booze. No, that is the least of it, really. The drinking comes after all the real pitfalls. The trauma, and the vastness of its wreckage always comes first. Liquor does not always follow. In fact, rarely now.
Ah, but the spring is the worst.
The most ripe for such behaviour.
For me, the season’s new life always brings death.

See, i’d been laser-focused on surviving this spring’s onslaught: the amping up of my system, the rising timbre of the voices, the increasing vividness of the memories…
That everything that was going on in the moment, in real time, was able to sneak up on me. It fucking hamstringed me.
My real life was filling up with death and i didn’t smell it coming.
I just tripped over the pile of bodies.

I’ve recently endured the death of a friendship, the death of a friend, and the death of a pet. I’m facing the possibly impending death of a loved one. I’m walking through the valley of the death of a close relationship.
All that while trying to stave off being swallowed by my trauma.

And so, it is okay that i fell. Understandable, even.
Death carries a scythe, and They have hewn me down, as winter wheat.

So, that is my confession.

I’ll try for more tomorrow, maybe, but today i am walking through the valley.
Playing sad songs and writing poetry. As you do.


Y’all Take Care,
~H~

IMAGE: Urip Dunker

Dear Diary: So, It’s That Time Again…

This time of year is always an utter shitshow for me. It’s my birthday in a couple of weeks, and memories have cast a pall over every birthday of my adult life. These are the worst few weeks of my life, every year. But i feel strong enough, and ready to change that. My present to myself this year will be peace. No more living in old traumas. I lost the face this weekend, and had to rely on others to bring me up to speed. I was lost in suffering that was over decades ago.

Childhood trauma is so bloody powerful. However, i’m relatively functional and productive in society, now. I stand up for myself and go after what i want. I don’t allow fear to keep me from moving forward. I can handle more responsibility. I’m finally, actually growing up.

But these few weeks get me every time. It’s like i’m a leaf in the wind. This is pretty vulnerable stuff, and i hope i haven’t made anyone reading this uncomfortable. I plan to post this on both blog and socmed pages, and i’m writing about how messy i am. How prone to despair and problematic drinking i am when mid-March hits. I have to put it here though, because i feel an accountability to this page that i’m hoping will help me accomplish my goal.

Social media can be such an insidious lie. You only see what anyone wants you to see, and that might be just the good stuff. Based on its cannabalistic (and well-earned) reputation, i don’t blame anyone for how they edit themselves for the internet. Not at all.

But here’s another small way that i can be helpful to others. I have found that the best way to heal from my trauma is to forge through it, to shine a light on every single bit of it. I’m more in control of my system, and i lose less time. I know how to weather both manic and depressive storms. As i dissociate less, i’ve become avoidant of social situations. It seemed counter-intuitive, but life had another interesting surprise for me, which is ASD.

Being around people has become more and more difficult. I lost a dear friend due to my inability to handle certain social situations. I can become completely overwhelmed to the point of panic in mere seconds. What do i do as a human who absolutely loves other humans, but can’t stand to be around them for very long? How do i fulfill my job as a humanist out here in my Little Crooked House?

I can do things like this. Be honest about my situation. Let people know who i really am, warts n’ all. Admit publicly when i’m wrong, take responsibility and offer no excuses. Reach out in empathy, in sympathy, in truth, with a spirit of kindness and generosity.

Vulnerability is my gift to others.

Courage is my gift to myself.

It will take courage to get through these next couple of weeks with a minimum of dissociation. I won’t want to do it sober, at times, but i will. The most intense and vicious abuse would occur in the spring and the fall. This year for my birthday i will stay strong and not permit myself to soak in the blood and tears of the past.

I will always be broken, but i am mending myself with gold.

Love and Peace,
~H~