Dear Diary: I’m the Star of this Drama

I’m in this limbo where i’m just done. I’ve fought hard for my relationships, mostly working on myself to save them and/or make them better, but also asking, cajoling, begging, demanding, and yes, at times manipulating, to get what i want from the other party.

And i’m not doing any of it anymore.

I’ve bettered and changed myself before anything else. I’ve made sure my side of the street is swept before pointing out what i see over on theirs. I’ve burned through enough logs to heat Hell for a day, and then i’ve gingerly, carefully, respectfully approached the other person before delicately, with much self-deprecating and toadying to preface and soften the blow, broached the subject of their mote.*
(They’re actually got logs too, but i’m trying to be nice.)

I’m over it.

I acknowledge my mistakes, my flaws, i can show my work and give evidence for the ways in which i’m different: more positive, more functional, easier to share space with, more helpful, more available. I’m the first to admit when i’m wrong, offer a sincere apology, and offer amends.

I’m through bending over backwards and i’m out of olive branches.

I’ve asked for emotional connection and intellectual, artistic interest and involvement.
I’ve asked for kindness and respect and boundaries.
I’ve asked for understanding and trust and space.

In these 3 separate relationships, i’ve not gotten what i asked for.

I’m done contorting myself into all kinds of different shapes, hoping to be good enough for the person to give me what i’m asking for. I have decided that, since i’m not getting it and i’ve done my best to, it’s okay for me to stop. Stop asking, stop trying, stop worrying, stop hurting over it all and just… Let it go and lay it down.

I’m trying to understand and live with a new diagnosis. I’m trying to make a career out of writing. I’m trying to make some money for some things i want. I’m trying to grow and maintain control over my system. I’m trying to reach people who might need my particular kind of help. I’m trying to take care of a chronically ill body. I’m trying to learn more about the world and the things that live in it. I’m trying to be more useful.

I think at this point, to continue working so hard on these specific relationships is a waste of time and energy. I’m going to keep working on myself. I’ll leave the door open –i have no intention of closing it– but my focus is shifting elsewhere.

This is a good and right place to get to, for me. Probably a long time coming, too.
But the shit of it is, now i am alone. And i’m grieving the losses and i’m pissed off and deeply saddened by all of it. I knew this time might come, but i’d dearly hoped it wouldn’t.

And yes, i know how dramatic all of this sounds, and maybe it isn’t so much. But it sure feels like it, and as this is a “Dear Diary” post, it gets written. It currently hurts, but honestly? Not too much. More of an ache, really. Like i said, this has been coming down the pike for a while now. I wish the other halves of these relationships would notice, but they haven’t. And i’ve said a lot and i’ve said it all, and it’s enough.

It’s enough and i am done and moving on.
I’ll still be doing personal work that’ll benefit these relationships, should they work out.
I still have a great deal of hope that they will — i just won’t be working on them specifically, unless or until something changes. And that something will be them, because i’ve changed quite enough, for now.

Feeling this lonely really sucks though. Really.

I’m hangin’ in there though, and i hope you are, too.

~H~
* Biblical reference ( Matthew 7:3)

IMAGE: Nathan Dumlao

Dear Diary: I’m Pissed Off

I’m afraid and i’m hurt.
And now the worst has happened.
I’m pissed off.

SO pissed off. I’m angry most of the time. I can keep it at bay during daylight hours, but somewhere around 6pm, it comes over me. It’s bad, like, don’t talk to me if you’d like to keep your head attached to the rest of your body, kind of bad.

I’m afraid i’m losing a friend, and i’m mad about it. It’s wicked unfair. I have to put myself first though, and i’m simply not strong enough to walk through someone’s anger and disappointment with me. There’s hurt on my end too, and resentment as well. I’ve remained silent because i’m not sure they could handle what i might say. I hope we can weather this storm.

I know i can survive the loss of a friend, but i don’t want to. Plus, it triggers all kinds of extra crap for me to deal with, and frankly, my outhouse is full.

I’m afraid i’ve lost someone else, too. It probably happened years ago, but i’ve tried to hang on and i’ve tried to make them like me and want to be a part of my life. I have to accept that they don’t. I think they’ve tried a few times to make it work between us, but it just doesn’t for them, for whatever reason. And i have to let it go.
I’m mad about it because it’s so unfair. I’m mad at myself for failing them, and i’m mad at them for not letting me fix it.

I’m afraid my marriage is in serious trouble, and holy shit am i furious over that one. I’ve fought like hell to keep it going. I’m tired of all the years of trying to be heard, trying to be taken seriously, reaching out for connection, asking for more, for better, for something deeper and more intimate. It’s not happening, and i’m changing in ways that put more distance between us and i don’t intend to stop.
This also seems to me to be outrageously unfair.

You know what – you know what?
I still don’t know if i buy that anger is a secondary emotion (i’ve written about this before). It can be, but for me, in a helluva lot of instances, it is primary. When i acknowledge the fear and the pain, you know what’s underneath?
Yep — it’s anger.
But in this case, it’s obviously due to hurt and fear. In this case, it is definitely a protective response.
I’m so fucking mad i can barely function.

I am tired of being the only person in close relationships, who can consistently admit when they’re wrong.
I’m tired of being the one who takes stock of shit and figures out what’s going on and notices when things are out of whack, and wants to talk about it and try to make things better.

Which leads to a major piss off:

I’m tired of being the one who lets shit go, who doesn’t say the thing, and who takes on the blame because, after all, i’m the fucked up one, right?

I’m dramatic, i’m loud, i’m chaotic, i’m controlling, i’m unbalanced, i’m sensitive, i’m angry, i’m withdrawn, etc., etc., ad nauseum.

Well you know what? I can be all of those things and more, but i show up and admit fault and cop to my shortcomings. And i don’t use my brain as an excuse – i set to making amends whenever and however i can. I’m always working on myself and trying to be a better person and a better friend and a better parent and a better wife, and what in the actual flippity-flip have i gotten in return lately?

Not much.

Someone had the audacity to tell me i’d better have a damn good reason for letting them down… There’s 2 sides to every story and i’ve kept mine to myself. I could take the backseat in this relationship for a while. I was seriously due. Quite honestly, it was my turn. So, in a way i was happy to be the one that wasn’t fucked up. This relationship should be give AND take, and i’d taken a lot. Turns out what i gave wasn’t enough.
I wish i had unlimited stores, but i don’t.

I’m pissed off that i live in a society that admires workaholism, selflessness, and sociopathy.

I’m pissed off that we worship revolting amounts of wealth that simply CANNOT come without preying upon, or at least knowingly victimising, those with few means and no power. I’m disgusted that we’ve bought the lie that we too might one day profit immeasurably off the bloody backs of the poor and afflicted and desperate, so we tolerate the unbelievably selfish and psychopathic behaviour of the vainglorious billionaire. It’s disgusting to me that anyone would even want that. We clap along with their hype man while they rape the resources of countries that aren’t ours and refuse to pay their employees here a living wage, or provide safe, let alone enriching, work environments.
And don’t even get me started on royalty – particularly the festering pus-boil that is the British royal family. YES – all of them.

I’m pissed off that i’m not being appreciated for what i’ve given.
I’m pissed off that someone i love won’t forgive me and be in relationship with me.
I’m pissed off that my partner won’t do the smallest or the biggest things i’ve asked for to make our relationship better.
I’m pissed off that i have to take care of an ungrateful person who low-key abuses me on the regular.
I’m pissed off that, through watching world events unfold over the last 5 or 6yrs, i’m a hair’s breadth away from becoming a misanthrope. That’s not who i am or who i want to be.

I’m pissed off that i’m this pissed off.

I can hear the tantrums going on in my head. I can read the whiny, petulant tone of this post. I’ve tried to deal with these thoughts and emotions quietly, on my own, because this shit doesn’t cast me in a great light.
But i can’t seem to get past it quietly, or on my own.
So i’m gonna blast this page with a torrent of bile, and hope it helps me get a grip on myself.

I don’t want to be angry and jaded and bitter.
I don’t want to move about in the world as a traumatised child.

I’m a grown woman who loves people and loves the world and wants to make everyone and everything better. I want to be looking at my life, the events unfolding around me and the people i interact with, through that lens.

I just need a few moments to scream and throw stuff.

I should be fine by the next Dear Diary.
Stay tuned.

IMAGE: Roger Starnes Sr

Dear Diary: I Have Been Triggered

I’m poking a bit of fun with the title, but it’s an attempt to keep me from too much trouble. I am having some issues with a friend, have been for some time now, and things have taken a turn for the worse.

I don’t do friendship well, never have. Along with neglect and abuse, i had poor modelling at home, so i didn’t know how to be a decent friend. I didn’t know what it meant, what it entailed. The treatment i received from my mother, my “Daddy,” and later, my stepfather, all contributed to me setting the bar pretty freaking low. I thought as long as someone was consenting to be around me, that we were friends. I was created to be a receptacle for other people’s unwanted emotions, so i accepted anyone who treated me any kind of way. All i ever wanted was the company of someone, and i’d put up with all sorts of crap to get it.

There was the girl who had me clean her room while she was playing outside with her (real) friends. There was the girl i hung out with after school who always seemed to want to talk to me while she was pooping. There was the girl who would rub herself to climax on a part of my body if we were all alone. There were many girls who wouldn’t be seen with me at school, but would happily chirp about their lives to me when no one else was around.

During these elementary school years, if i shared anything about my life it was probably a lie. I knew not to talk about what my home life was like; first, keeping my mouth shut was beaten into me, and second, i quickly saw that other kids didn’t have a home life like mine. My parents told me that it was because we were better (more intellectually and spiritually evolved) than other people. I sort of believed them, but there was an underlying feeling of embarrassment, too. I listened to other kids chatter about their parents and siblings, boyfriends, other girlfriends, their problems, people they hated… All of it. I might have talked a lot (might have, heh), but i was cracking wise, trying to entertain, trying so hard to be liked. I wasn’t going to tell that girl that my mother masturbated on me, too.

I think my peers intuitively knew i was a secret-keeper. If they needed to unburden themselves of something, they told me. I never told anyone anything.

In my junior and high school years, i graduated to full-on lying about everything. I told ridiculous fish stories, and between that and my abominable hygiene, it’s a wonder i had any friends at all. (I did though, and i remember them all fondly. They were good kids, and i was fortunate to have them.) I felt how “other” i was, and it caused me great distress. I tried to provide reasons for all my strange behaviours, i had excuses for all my shortcomings, and i blew my personality up-upup into this massive caricature. I was trying so hard, but my lies must have been so obvious and my false bravado so transparent.

Once i got into therapy as a young adult, i didn’t hide so much, and i stopped lying. I started talking, and i talked a LOT. I was just beginning to see how abused i’d been; how used and neglected. Like the kids who used me as a throwaway confidant, i needed to unburden myself. I wanted everyone around me to know there were legitimate reasons that i was such a fuckup. And so i shared about many of my experiences growing up; many, but not all. There were places i still refused to go, memories i refused to accept as real. My mother’s voice was yet a powerful voice in my head, telling me:

“You just had a bad dream,”
“You have such a vivid imagination!”
“What did I do to deserve a compulsive liar for a daughter?”


In my 30s there came the internet. Suddenly, i was afforded a safety and anonymity that i’d never had before. I wandered around the aether, looking for someplace to belong. After a shitload (a shitload, i tell you) of bad experiences, i found a place. I set down roots there and it quickly became my friendship proving ground. At first i flashed my hundred-watt smile in internet, and threw all my best lines and shiniest charms at them. I was a lot, as i usually am at first, but they seemed to like me enough to tolerate all of my extras. Eventually they became my safe place, and then some of them became my family.

I’d learned about who i was and why i acted the way i did. I saw all the falseness and fakery, and when i peeled away the veneer, i finally saw that i hadn’t been dreaming or making things up. So i disclosed what i thought i knew to some of my little group that i was closest to.

And they stuck around. Crazily, funnily, unbelievably, they stayed in contact and kept being my friends.
Thanks to my relationship with them, i was able to see how unbalanced, unfair, unhealthy, and undesireable my friendships with most everyone in my “real life” circle, really were. A couple of them slammed the door on their way out of my life, but mostly they faded away as i stopped feeding them. That came to include the family i grew up with.

I saw my fault in things, i saw my flaws and my failures. But i came to realise that, without the other half of the relationship doing the same, i was unwilling to continue our association. Friends fell away, one by one. Family i quietly closed the door on, with no fanfare, no grand announcement. No one’s ever come knocking. It hurts, but it’s also, strangely, a relief.

No more friends from my old days.
No more family.
No more party buddies.

I plucked out a few from my manic drinking and drugging days, though. These were people who’d grown up some too, people i enjoyed spending time with when i was sober.
–REVELATION!–

Heh.
Anyway, back to the issue at hand. I built a strong friendship with one in particular. Unfortunately, these last couple of years have proven difficult. I could live with our differences with little issue, until the pandemic came along. They saw things differently and it troubled me. They understood that we differed in this area, so the lack of contact could be explained away. It was a good lesson in letting people be who they are. It disavowed me of the societal tribalism to which we are called, today. I could love them and be friends, despite some fundamental deviations between us.

And then they were diagnosed bipolar. I thought that, while it’s a hard disorder to live with, i could be very helpful to them.

When they became manic, i realised how wrong i was.

I tried my hardest to be around them after they were fully vaccinated and willing to observe all protocols when around me…
But i just couldn’t do it.

I was in a mania myself, and managing fairly well, as i’ve learned to do. But any time i spent with them i was triggered so hard. SO FUCKING HARD. They’re just learning how to deal with it all, and their meds weren’t straight yet, and manic people… Holy shit, manic people are a lot. If you don’t know, let me tell you:

  • we are completely self-focused;
  • everything is the biggest, most, best;
  • we are 10ft tall and bulletproof, unless;
  • we are sad or hurt and then that’s over 9000;
  • we think we know everything but cannot see past our own noses.


To sum up, people experiencing a mania are a lot, often too much.
I was being triggered every time i shared space with them. Even phone calls or texts became difficult. I was in a mania myself for most of that time, and i wasn’t just losing control of my emotions, i was losing control of my system – my Bits N’ Pieces. I was dissociating, to the point of experiencing hard switches and finding myself somewhere else, doing something else, hours after interacting with them.

Before this started, i’d been talking to a therapist about some issues i was having. It was during this time my friend became fully manic and i started having serious trouble being around them.
And then this therapist told me that in their opinion i was autistic, and gently but firmly urged me to get tested.
And i was utterly gobsmacked.

I’d started talking to them to try and figure out some stuff, and i sought their help because they have expertise in the particular areas in which i was struggling.
Being on the spectrum would fit everything, but it is the last thing i would have ever expected. You could have knocked me over with a feather.

I tried to tell me friend a number of times about the struggles i was having. I wanted to share about my mania and my social problems and the new sensory issues i was having and how some old behaviours had resurfaced and i was incredibly distressed…

But it wasn’t going to happen. There was no room for me in what they were going through.
I didn’t begrudge them that at all. I thought, this is one of the things that i can bring to the table; an understanding of what it’s like when you’re in it. I can accept this and be there for them. I have other places i can go for help. I didn’t see a problem because they were completely wrapped up in their own life. I figured we could have a good talk and make our way back to each other when things calmed down.

That’s not what has happened. I’ve instead been blindsided after responding to a seemingly kind and good-natured text full of holiday wishes for the best. I’ve been told i’d better have a good reason for being such a lousy friend. And i…

I don’t know how to respond to that.
What i want to do first is lambaste them from here until Sunday.
Ugh, but that’s not me. That’s hurt feelings talking, and i know i’d feel shitty about it as soon as the words were coming out of my mouth. And they are new to this bipolar business and still sick with it.

But this triggers all the hurt in me that came about over being used and discarded, over and over, as a child. Half of me wants to make them sorry, and the other half wants to shut down and avoidavoidavoid.

When this bullshit ramped up yesterday, first thing i did was eat a buttload of chocolate.
Now, i’m writing.
Not sure what i’ll do next, but i’ll try to make it healthy and fruitful.

Peopling is hard, man.

I’ll check in very soon.
Love and Peace,
~H~

IMAGE: Jennifer Pallian (food photographer)

Dear Diary: I Think I’m Depressed, Now


I think i’m depressed now
There doesn’t seem to be any fun around
I think i’m alone now
The sighing of my heart is the only sound

Yes, a terrible riff on an 80s cover song by Tiffany. You’re welcome.

I keep looking behind me, to see if Mania is still casting her shadow. This last time i checked, she was gone. I quickly turned to look ahead, to see what might be on my horizon —
And i smacked face-first into a wall.
O hai Depression. Long time no see.

I’m in trouble but i’m not?
I have zero energy and my mood is low. Everything seems to take too much effort. I don’t want to clean, or cook, or talk, or write.
But i will. I will because these are the things that i’ve set in place for me to do at times like these. I do these things no matter what, but i do them differently, depending on what’s going on for me. When my mental and emotional health are relatively balanced, i just do them. Not much focus is required. They come naturally, freeing me up to focus on other things. I can work towards some bigger, more long term goals. I can go out and socialise with actual humans!

When i’m manic i put the breaks on – i try to slow myself down. I don’t take on anything new or more or bigger. I take my eye off the big goals and focus on the simple day-to-days like housework and hygiene. I write if i can handle it, but sometimes i put that down too, if it triggers racing mind. Speaking of which, i have to be very firm and disciplined with regards to my sleep regimen when i’m in a mania. Sleep is health. Sleep is the only mountain i’ll climb when i’m in one. Without as much sleep as i can get, i’ll lose control and start rolling downhill like a cheese wheel in the UK. And without a calm resolve toward getting as much sleep as i can, i’ll just lay there and become more frustrated and restless. Until eventually, racing thoughts run off with any hope of quiet management.

Depression, however, requires a shift in the opposite direction. What i need now is a near-constant push. It should be gentle and lacking in the harsh critique and self-judgment that leads to internal voices of doubt, recrimination, and condemnation. Still, a push is what i need. I’m scraping the bottom of the barrel at all times. I plod through chores, i force myself to do morning and evening toilette, and cooking does not bring me joy. I’m dragging my ass. And despite my current insomnia issues, i try to stay out of my bed, except at night. Naps can be great during regular times, and manic ones too, but depression is different. I want to hide in bed. I want to sprawl and flop around and sigh deeply and avoid the life outside my bedroom. So, even if all i can muster the energy to do is sit in my recliner and play a mindless Match-3 game, then that’s what i do.

And just to put a cherry on top of this crap sundae, my health issues are once again at the forefront. I haven’t slept properly in months, first due to mania, and then because i cannot get any relief from Restless Leg Syndrome… Or is it RLS? We’ve tried everything out there trying to arrest or just ease the problem, to no avail. Nothing has worked. I have it every night, even sometimes during the day, and it’s not only in my legs anymore. I’m getting it in my shoulders, my back, and the last 2 nights i’ve felt it in my hands. I see my doctor today to find out if it might be something else and not RLS at all. I’m also currently on massive doses of antibiotics, as i have a rather serious infection.

I’ll also be pursuing further testing to better define where i fall on the autism spectrum, and to what extent. This has affected me far more than i’d have imagined. I have a number of friends whose children are autistic, i have friends who’re themselves on the spectrum. I have a well-informed and modern opinion on autism. I don’t think of the neurodivergent as disabled, just atypical. I already see my multiplicity as placing me solidly in that camp. And yet… the diagnosis has sort of devastated me.

Finally, and probably most significantly – the blog i’ve begun on my other writing platform has completely fucked me up. It’s not like i didn’t know it would happen, it’s that, WOW, it has really REALLY happened. Because it deals with the darkest and most broken part of me, it’s spilling over into my marriage and affecting my physical health. The subject matter is very adult, and needs its own blog, so i won’t be going into it here. Let me know in the comments section if you’d like to check it out. The blog is in this same voice and style, but there is other writing there that’s a bit more formal than this.

Now that my physical health seems to be a bit better (my infection symptoms are not gone, but they are less intense), i’m hoping i’ll be able to get back to using this as a bit more of a diary than a blog – at least temporarily.

More in a couple of days.

P&L,
~H~

Dear Diary: Biting the Bullet

Truth can come from anywhere, so i keep my ears open. I picked up a bit of truth from an old vulture of a source some years ago. He said: You can’t change what you don’t acknowledge. I can easily tear that apart, but sometimes it starts like this. There’s some truth in there that i can apply.
I’ve been out of sorts lately, and i thought i knew why. I was right, but addressing the issue didn’t help. Or rather, didn’t help enough.
There was more.

Starting the blog on the other platform is what i needed to do. Yes, i use the other site for less bloggish writings. I know that’s what i said, and it’s true. But i’d always intended it for something else, and the longer i’ve procrastinated getting it started, the heavier a burden it’s been. Sometimes, the only way i can get a thing done is by backing myself into a corner. The new diagnosis, plus the constant inner urging to start the new blog, was causing stress. Stress that amped up a little every day. Stress that twisted my guts and squeezed that muscle that pulses inside my skull.
I started eating my stress – and i’ve gained weight.

It’s not a lot, probably somewhere between 5-10lbs, but that hits me where i live. I’ve struggled with my weight since i was 8yrs old, and it’s taken me a lifetime to figure out the whole jumbled mess of abuse and disordered eating. I was as close to my goals as i’d ever been, when life came and life’d all over me. It only took a couple of weeks for me to notice, which is good. I practise mindfulness to help me curb dissociative behaviours, so one day i noticed my clothes were fitting me differently. I prefer tighter fitting clothing, so it doesn’t take much for my yoga pants to show me there’s a problem. If i’m jumping up and down and getting sweaty to put them on – i’ve got a problem.

So i was stuck in this corner, with weight gain on one side, and being a grouch with my housemates on the other.

I know what to do, and i’m doing it. I’m not freaked out or devastated. This is how i work. I’m always making small course adjustments to keep me on track, heading in the right direction. Getting this new diagnosis hasn’t changed me, it’s new information that shines a brighter light on who i am and why i do the things i do. It can help me make better decisions on how to continue forward. It has answered some questions that i’d been puzzling over for some time.

I haven’t told my family. I’m not sure why.
For one thing, i’m not completely convinced. I don’t think i will be until i go for the more intensive testing that was recommended. It was hard for me, as a multiple, to figure out who i really am. I put on all sorts of masks to survive my childhood, and the masks aren’t me, yet they are. It’s taking time and intention to suss out the “real” me. As my personality has streamlined and become more cohesive, i have a better understanding. In some areas i have a confidence that i am “x,” and i am not “y.”

For instance, i now know that i’m an introvert. That’s only become clear in the last few years. Prior to that, i’d have sworn up and down that i was an extrovert. But i’m so much quiter than i’d have thought, and being around people tires me out. Like, exhausts me. And now that i’m meeting my own needs, i’m not seeking attention and acceptance from every human with whom i have contact. I’m not as obsessive. Things like rejection and conflict don’t wield the power to destroy me as they once did.

So, there might well be other things about me that i’d not known before, things that were hidden by my system coming in to fill the gaps. Aspects of my personality and psychological makeup that my ability to cope had camouflaged. The diagnosis fits in some ways, but i’m not sure it does in others. I guess that might be the “spectrum” part of it. Heh.

What i know is, i’m snippy with my family and i’ve put on weight. These things tell me there’s something i need to handle. I know that it’s ASD and the other blog. I can hurt my loved ones, including myself, or i can bite the bullet and do the work.

I’ve got the blog started, and i’m eating healthier and exercising more.
I also understand though, that the other blog is going to trigger all kinds of crap.
The subject matter is difficult, and the path through it ain’t gonna be easy.
If you’re interested in checking out my other platform, leave me a comment and i’ll send you a link.

I’ll check in again soon. Couple days, tops.

IMAGE: Jay Rembert

Dear Diary

Today i am snippy. I’ve been out of sorts and i’m churlish – not much fun to share space with, i’m afraid. I keep trying to keep my mouth shut, but it’s not working. Next step is hiding in my room and watching nonsense on my laptop. I don’t like being a jerk, and i’m kinda being one.

I need to get more testing with regards to the spectrum diagnosis, but that was recommended months ago and i have yet to act on it. I finally disclosed, but not to my family – on social media. Who does that? Someone with communication and intimacy and socialisation issues? Is it evidence that the diagnosis is accurate? I mean, the diagnosis is a professional one, but i ran from DID for many years before i accepted it. I could also judge all that i do now using autism as my filter, and see it everywhere, in everything i do, but confirmation bias is no more helpful than denial.

I just want to know the truth.
Just.
Pfft. Is that all?

I connected with some of my friends last night. Just seeing their faces made me want to cry. Not from sadness, rather relief. I remembered that i am loved and accepted for exactly who i am, by people that i trust and respect. I feel isolated and alone right now, but it is not the reality. I’ve been working with my husband, trying to make writing a career, living through a pandemic in a religious and politically conservative area where i’ve never quite fit. I’m in a bipolar mania, my husband and son and best friend all have serious health issues, and i got a new diagnosis that has thrown me for the proverbial loop.

I have so much that needs doing i’m frozen.
So i came here and wrote –a day late and a dollar short– but i came here and wrote.

These next entries won’t be like what i generally post. This is going to be more of a diary than a blog for a while.
If you’re able to tune in, thank you.


Love and Peace,
~H~

IMAGE: Kinga Cichewicz

To Do or Not to Do

I’m still in a mania. I had hoped my cycles were shortening, but it’s still here. That doesn’t mean it’s not going to be shorter, but i am anxious and impatient. This is the process, and i am in it, and i am trying to push through.

I know i can’t push too hard, because i’ll stumble – which has been the case for the last couple of weeks. I pushed myself too hard to be a real live actual legitimate writer. It’s okay though, because i suspected i might (push too hard, that is). I’ve done my best to write my way through this; it is my favourite tool in my coping kit, and one of the most effective.

I ventured out on a different writing platform to do a slightly different kind of writing. I’m wanting to produce some writing that’s a bit more -i don’t know- professional(?), for lack of a better term. Let’s say, less intimate. A shift in voice, might be closer to what i’m driving at.
How about, not-a-journal style?

On this platform, there’s a lot of articles to read about how to be successful using it. I fell into that old, familiar trap of following other people’s rules and instructions. It’s easy to forget that other people don’t necessarily think like i think, or work how i work. Chances are they don’t. AA calls it “terminal uniqueness,” which i find arrogant, but yes, i am an individual who is not quite like anyone else on the planet, who will one day die, like everyone else on the planet.

Yeesh, when i’m manic even my sentences run. Heh.

I’m a bipolar multiple, with both picking and ticcing behaviours, and chronic health issues, like fibromyalgia, irritable bowel, restless legs, osteopenia, and bruxism. I’ve recently been gently placed on the autism spectrum. (I’m still processing that one.)

What i mean is, i have a lot going on in the old bod of mine, and i’ve found it ill-advised not to take that into account whenever i’m presented with a step-by-step. After a lifetime of trying to fit myself into spaces and accomplish the generally recognised, societal perceptions of what constitutes success, i’ve discovered i ignore my individuality to my detriment. I force myself at my peril. I’m not sure if it’s an actual failing on my part that might one day be remedied, or if it’s merely the cost of living in my skin. Regardless, i think it’s something we all do, that is, filter through our nature/nurture: our experience, our worldview, and our level of understanding.

I hope that bit can be followed, because my brain is very busy. It’s going 200 clicks per hour, and i can’t seem to rearrange the words in that paragraph any better. It makes sense to me. At the very least, it can shine light on what it’s like in a mania.

And speaking of, the insomnia (a major symptom of manias) lately has an interesting flip side. While i can’t sleep for a few days, i’ve been hit with this strange exhaustion, where i fall asleep HARD, for around 4hrs at a time. I never sleep heavy unless i’m very drugged up. This last week i’ve slept like the dead a few times, and, upon waking i totter around the house as if drunk for hours after. It’s like my body is still half asleep. Weird as hell.

So, back to this writing on a new platform thing.

I tried to do it “right,” and that was the wrong thing for me. But i was able to figure it out almost immediately, and while manic, which is excellent. It’s what i’ve worked so hard to be able to do. To step a bit outside myself and see what’s going on with a critical eye, while being swept along by internal powers that are, so far, beyond my control. I wonder if i’d be this successful at navigating bipolar if i weren’t highly dissociative?

(I snicker-snorted here, feel free to join me.)

The problem now presenting itself is, do i push through?
My brain is working too fast and too hard right now. I am emotionally intense. I feel close a breakdown, which isn’t as scary as it sounds – i think it’s de rigeur for mania. I’m confident i can manage it, but… Do i try to be a little more functional? Can i reasonably expect more of myself than i was able to the last time i was manic?
Do i continue working to accomplish more of my goals, or do i slow back down to a crawl and just baby-step until it’s over?

I’m thinking i will blog daily for the next while, and see what happens.
I think the next step i was planning to take on the other platform might be part of what has me so wired.

More tomorrow.

Photo by Phil Hearing on Unsplash

Who TF Do I Think I Am?

I never write the title first. Not only did i just do that, but the title is ridiculous. It’s patently ridiculous. I mean, how could i, a person who has clearly saved her own life and achieved some smidgen of normalcy by dedicating herself to the pursuit of self-knowledge as the means to accomplish these things,
<insert gasp for breath here>
not know who i am?

The title is based on a familiar idiom that conveys contempt towards someone displaying pride. I mostly mean that, and i’m obviously aiming my contempt squarely at myself, but also… Who TF am i?

So, yeah, the good times are still rolling over here at Santa Mania, population: ME. Me in all my iterations, both figurative and even more figurative.
<insert deep and angsty sigh here>

I knew taking on the mantle, officially, of “writer,” would have fallout. Further, i knew i was taking it on while manic, making it delicate at the least, and perhaps dangerous, too. It’s definitely proven a minefield. There have been some close calls. I’ve tripped a couple of wires, but so far, i’ve managed to get out, unscathed.

I’m really, really struggling, though.
There are so many writers out there, so many GREAT freaking writers…
Who TF do i think i am entering this field? It’s huge and so many don’t even get published anymore. Some are self-published but never find even a small house to take on their work. Some find a house, some even find a major house, but STILL languish in obscurity. The chances of my writing finding a wide and loyal audience is almost zero.

This is where all the bells chime in, and this is where i’m gonna sound petulant and pissy.
Write because you want to write.
Write because you love to write.
Write because you have to write.
Write for yourself.

Listen Belle, darlin’, i’ve been living this provincial life and it has been a fine one. But then you sang so prettily and flounced about town on such impossibly tiny feet… And i went and hoped about things. You trilled and batted your eyes and the birdies flew around you and it sounded like beauty and truth and joy and HOPE, damn you. DAMN YOU, sweet girl.
And double dumbass on you, too.

Writing is going quite well, actually. As far as production goes, anyway. I can easily sit at my laptop and bash away for a few hours most days. Even when mental illness required i stop everything and step back, the last few days back in the game, have found me merely punching up and editing 3 or 4 2500-3500 word pieces that have already been submitted for publication. It’s not the writing that’s the problem, it’s the requirements of being a writer in my current venue of choice that’s proving a problem. And quite honestly, it’s not the place i’ve chosen to hone my craft and pursue it as a career that’s the real problem (although i find a lot about it to be problematic). Of course it’s me. The problem is me and the way my brain works, and the growth that yet lies in front of me.

More proving grounds with more growing up to do.
<insert massive ugh plus eyeroll here>

I’ve been absolutely, completely, and utterly overwhelmed by all the writers. Many are shouting about how well they’re doing on the format, or not. The ones who say they’re not, tend to blame the format. I think there’s probably others who aren’t doing well that don’t blame the format, but maybe because of that, they aren’t writing about it – they’re just writing? And then when someone basically writes an ALL CAPS piece about how poorly run or unfair the format is, there’s a brawl in the comments section over whether the author is takin’ us to church (preach!), or acting like a poopyheaded crybaby (waaaah!).

Listen, i haven’t spent 30yrs trying to overcome 12yrs of bullying only to step back into bloody junior high.
Like, no fucking way, okay?

Yet when i think back on other group situations i’ve been in, like work, church, volunteering, self-improvement groups and courses, and artistic endeavours, many of them functioned like we were still in school. Most of them, actually. Some were more like elementary. One or 2 – kindergarten.*

So… What do i do, pick up my Legos and go home? I think i’m likely to find the same sorts of dynamics at work anywhere i go.

Can you see that i’m writing myself into a corner here?
I just fucking saw it.
My brain is one tricksy Hobbitses.

I’m going to have to face the kind of bullshit that beat me down and broke me when i was in school.
I’m going to have to find a way to work with the dynamics to get what i want.
The obnoxious cliques
the overbearing hierarchies
the tribalistic othering
the frightening bullying.

The us-and-them, zero-sum game type crap.
The infuriating preaching, the cruel browbeating and the pungent stench of the chest thumper.

I can do what i did in order to deal with my past and learn to handle mental illness, i.e. i can go to ground and ignore it all. I might need to do that in order to maintain my equilibrium. But i could try

Not everyone in school was a stinkybutt hosebeast.
Seriously, lots of kids were really nice.
Mostly weak, because they stood there and watched while i was slowly pecked to death by ducks.**
But it’s okay, we were children and we were all just trying to make it out of our school years alive, and as intact as we could manage.
At least they didn’t actively participate.
I still vividly remember the names and the faces of the few who stood up for me.

Today i spent 3hrs walking through a little town i lived in for 5yrs. They were some of the least terrible of my school career. As i was taking pictures –it’s been 40yrs and not much has changed– i found myself wondering, Was it really that bad?

YES. Yes it freaking was.
I was being chewed up and spit out every night at home, and at school the next day, vicious little creatures tossed salt on my wounds.
Yes it was.
BUT…

There was a girl who regularly brought me to her house for lunch.
There was a boy who asked me to dance at our junior high “prom.” One day after school, he told all the boys who were heckling me outside while i was trying to walk home, that if they didn’t stop he was going to beat the heck out of them.
I had a friend i could hang out with after school, and another whose dad took us to the next town every Saturday for the $1 matinee.
There was the principal who rescued me from having to wear a dress every day:
“Ma’am, all the girls wear pants now, and they’re teasing your daughter.”
The teachers who fought hard for me to be skipped a grade. (Mom said NO WAY.)
There was the teacher who told me privately that she would have given me the lead in the school play, but had to give someone else a chance after me taking it the last 2yrs running.
The swim coach who told me, “You can’t go fast for anything, but you never give up and you cheer the loudest for everyone. I’m putting you in distance.”

I’m strolling down memory lane here, but hey, i’m sitting here in the van while my husband puts in baseboards at a house in this little town – everything is fresh from the oven right now.

My brain is clicking away with everything i’ve seen today. My heart is awash in a sea of old emotions. I know the people that live here in my brain with me will have a lot to say over the next while. The grand thing is that they aren’t pushing to take control. It’s been easy for me to finish this piece that i started yesterday. I’m in charge and that’s amazing, considering some of the awful stuff that came up as i wandered around the cracked sidewalks and crumbling buildings.

I have so many new stories i want to tell now, and they aren’t even all bad. In fact, i’d say most of them are just childhood snapshots: a thing that happened, a moment in time, a touch of sunshine, a taste of rain…

I’ve already returned to the platform, written pieces and had them published. I’d already intended to stay and keep pushing forward. But today gave me insight that has changed how i look at it. Whereas last week i was writing with gritted teeth and a set jaw, determined to trudge my way resolutely through the muck, i anticipate returning to writing at the start of the week with a new attitude.

There will be friends there, and teachers too, and i will find them or they will find me. There will be moments where it’s like a warm summer day with a slight breeze and the smell of lilacs. There will be days where i see old faces in the rain that blasts down my window – and i will be tempted to run and hide under my bed until the storm passes.
But i don’t think i will, now.

Some people will always behave as if they’re still in high school – whether for their good or ill. Some people will not. The thing for me to see and remember is that there isn’t a monster in every closet, there wasn’t then and there isn’t now. I do not have to recreate painful moments from my past in order to confront and handle them. It’s been done. I wavered for a bit. I almost fell hard. I took a couple of steps back and took a break. I anticipated that there would be some bobbles and even blunders. I have not yet blundered, but if i do, i’ll handle that as well.

So… Who TF am i?

I’m a grown woman who knows how to figure her shit out.
I’m a kind person who wants to help others.
I’m a creative being who loves to express herself.
I’m a writer – that’s who.
<insert Mona Lisa smile here>

Y’all enjoy the rest of your weekend, if you can.

Love and Peace,
~H~

* The religious ones, in case you wondered.
** Referring to a well known quote from the inimitable Maya Angelou.

IMAGE:
Steinar Engela

Feed Me Tacos and Tell Me I’m Pretty

Busy. Buuuusy, busy busy busy BUSY.
This is new for me, and potentially dangerous territory. I have to be careful. Always mindful. So far i’m mostly okay, but i must be willing to cut back or stop entirely if my current mania, which feels like it’s winding down, ramps back up.
This is it though. Busy with writing, working, relationships, busy with life. I’m not overwhelmed, i’m just capable of doing more. I’m not frozen, immobilised by my past traumas anymore. This is more of the life i wanted – and i’ve worked hard to get here.

This is a catch up post: random fill-ins, observations, things i’ve learned, maybe a thing or 2 that are bugging me… We’ll see. I’ll just get to it and see what i come up with, eh?
Off we go.

**********

First, my teeth. They needed cleaning, and i have 1 tooth that’s become rather sensitive. It doesn’t hurt all the time but, it hurts. I’ve had all my wisdom teeth removed, and lost a couple of other ones too, so i’m not keen to lose any more. Since spring 2020, i’ve avoided any in-person health care as much as possible, and that, along with dentophobia (also known as odontophobia) has kept me out of the chair for around 2yrs. I should say i was once deemed phobic, but therapy brought me down a few notches to what i’d say is more of an intense anxiety now.

I call to make an appointment with the office that helped me with exposure therapy, and patiently handled all my tics and quirks until i could get my dental needs addressed relatively easily. I tell them i’m fully vaccinated and ask to see a hygienist who is, also.
Dead silence.
I’m eventually informed that they won’t be disclosing their status.

After some time and information, i come to understand why, even though i don’t exactly agree. I’m getting twisted up, full of tight knots, and having trouble breathing. I’m weepy and irritated, but i begin problem-solving. What am i going to do, if my teeth need attention, but every office has this stance?

I go to my friends on social media and ask for input. For one, posting about what i’m dealing with calms me, and getting it out of my brain unclutters my thoughts and narrows my focus. After soaking up their support and gathering suggestions, i disconnect from everything and spend quiet time with my husband and pets. A quiet night with loving connections and fun distractions is what i need, and while i don’t sleep much, i sleep a little.

In the morning i feel ready to try and figure out something that will work for me. Unexpectedly, someone reaches out privately, and i’m able to find a place to go.

At the appointment, i try not to say anything about my anxiety and my trauma history. I did that with the last dentist, and it worked well, but i wanted to see if i could go in to the new office and not need to announce all my problems in order to feel safe.
I couldn’t.

I was clearly in distress, so i disclosed as little as possible to the hygienist, who was understanding and kind. I don’t feel like i failed. I’ll tell whomever i need/want to about my mental illness, it was just a wee test. I’m not ready for that yet i guess, and i might not ever be, which is okay.

She said my teeth and gums were in excellent condition, especially for someone who hadn’t had her teeth cleaned in so long. Then the dentist came in to discuss my x-rays, and here’s the suck: See, i have Bruxism, which is excessive teeth grinding or jaw clenching. I grind my teeth when i’m sleeping, and i clench my jaw during the day. I can’t wear night guards because i destroy them. I’d been on Botox injections in my masseter (jaw) muscles for a couple of years, and it had helped tremendously. However, pandemic anxiety has kept me from getting them.

The dentist told me i’m cracking my back molars and need 2 crowns, or i’m going to lose them. Further, she said my tooth sensitivity is likely due to the Bruxism as well. She’s recommending to go back on Botox, and also to get dry needling. I also have bony growths under my tongue due to the nighttime clenching, and it might be partially to blame for my hearing loss.
It’s a lot.

I have a quote for how much it’ll cost, and a general idea of how much insurance will cover. I’m taking things a step at a time and not freaking out, but it’s clear this can’t wait any longer than it has to.

So i have anxiety about dental work and SARS-CoV-2.
I asked for what i wanted, set boundaries, managed my emotions, and went to my support system to get me through. I lost a good dental office, but it’s okay. They did what they felt they had to do and so did i. I have a new office that seems pretty decent so far. I definitely appreciate the hygienist.

This brings me to another bit i want to post about.

**********

I like compliments.
Actually, i love compliments.
And i don’t just love them, i thrive on them. They boost my self-esteem, creativity, productivity, and imbue me with a level of calm and confidence that i don’t have without them.

Growing up i got the message that i should be humble. Especially because i was only worth what i could do for my abusers, and they wanted to keep me down so it was easier to control me. But i received the same message from those who were good to me, and my religious community, too. I saw other good and “godly” people blush at compliments, and say things like, “Oh, you’re too kind,” and “It was nothing, really,” and “I just helped,” and “It was all so-and-so’s doing.”

I learned that the proper thing to do was to deflect, to give credit to someone else, to look flustered and embarrassed and squirm uncomfortably while clearly forcing oneself to say, “Thank you.”

So i did that – i internalised what was modeled for me.

Therapy showed me that i’m a people-pleaser. I fawn, i toady, and i try to read everyone, to anticipate their moods and needs. To riff on a terrible B movie that i love, i was there to eat humble pie and kiss ass.*
I did it all to be accepted, get approval, and avoid rejection. Thanks to my mother’s manipulative influences, what i did could verge on cozening, although it wasn’t consciously done. What i did understand was that compliments worked, that most people liked them, but that i wasn’t supposed to, because it made me conceited and “full of myself.”
Hello cognitive dissonance.

Once again, continued therapy helped me figure it out. The culture i was raised in, along with abusive parental conditioning, had stifled many aspects of my personality. I’d buried them in self-preservation, and any time they made an appearance i felt deep shame, often added to by those around me:

Who do you think you are?
Do you think you’re special or something?
You think you’re better than everyone else!


I did not. In fact, i’d internalised the message that i was bad and disgusting and worthless.
But thankfully, tucked away deep inside, i had a beautiful, marvelous, amazing and indomitable spirit.
I was a survivor. I wanted to live.

Therapy helped me set myself free.

Over the last year and a half or so, i’ve been well enough to help my husband at work. I don’t do it all the time, but when he needs an extra hand, i can go and lighten his work load a bit. He works in construction, so it’s physical labour. I have a couple of chronic pain issues, so the cost to me is not small, although i’m glad to pay it. If i go and assist him, he doesn’t have to train and pay someone else. But there’ve been times over the last few months where i’ve snapped at him, and it’s not for any obvious reason – i’m just churlish, and it’s not okay.

I apologised every time, but my snarkiness continued, and i needed to figure out why. I’m not generally an asshole, but i was definitely acting like one. Through paying close attention to my thoughts and emotions, i found that it was occurring most often when i felt like i wasn’t doing a good enough job. So, i started telling him this, and he’d respond that it was fine.
But i still felt petulant. I felt like a child, and became aware that my system** was at play.

I did what i do when my Bits N’ Pieces are particularly active: i asked them what they want.
It was like i’d pulled that old nubby metal chain that hangs from a dusty lightbulb in movie attics…
The light shone, i knew what the problem was, and went to my husband and told him:

“I need you to tell me i’m doing a good job. When you take a look at what i’ve done and say nothing, i assume it’s not good enough, and you’re not saying anything because you don’t want to hurt my feelings. I would like you to say nice things about my work; i need to know i’m doing well.”

My husband is very quiet. He was raised by parents who were emotionally unresponsive, and he has difficulty accessing his own emotions as well as understanding others’. It’s not natural for him to consider his or anyone else’s emotions. However, he’s been open to learning, and he makes an effort to meet me where i’m at, emotionally. I had to let go of the destructive belief, “if he really loves me, he’ll just know.” Once i was able to ask for what i wanted, we’ve both been able to work on me getting it.

In other words, he’d forget to praise me for my work.
I had to quash that silly romantic notion for the thousandth time (it’s dying a hard death – think Paul Ruebens in the movie version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer), then go to him and ask:

“Am i doing okay? Do you think my work is good?”

He’d respond with a “Yes! I’m sorry, i forgot. Yes, you’re doing a great job, thank you! I appreciate your help. You’re helping me a lot.”

And just like that, something relaxes inside me. My system gets quieter and i feel strangely warm and glowy.
My mood improves and i have more energy. Time stops dragging and i feel more able to do the job. I have more confidence that i can do it correctly. I feel valuable and important.

Compliments, man. I like compliments.
My BFF says, “Feed me tacos and tell me i’m pretty.”
‘Bout sums it up.

Let’s give my adventures in dentistry a call back now, shall we?

When i was sitting in that chair, a new-to-me chair in a new-to-me office, with a hygienist i don’t know and my pockets filled with anxiety and my body tense with stress – she said nice things about my teeth. She said nice things about ME and how well i’ve taken care of my teeth. She casually praised me and immediately i could feel myself softening.

I’m doing okay.
I’m doing a great job.

It’s going to be all right, H. Breeeeathe.


**********

This post feels good and right. I don’t need or want to muddy it up with the stuff that’s bugging me lately.
I think i’m cruising on the memories of those compliments, you know? Heh.

I’m going to leave it at that, then.

Y’all take care as well as you can.
You’re still here, so you’re doing okay.
You might even be doing great, consider that one!

Now i want tacos.


Love and Peace,
~H~

*From They Live: “I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass. And i’m all out of bubblegum.”
**If you’re a new reader, welcome! When i refer to my system, i’m referring to my DID diagnosis.

IMAGE: Sidral Mundet

Bugged & Bummed Out


So, yesterday happened. I’m not happy about it, but i lost the face from late afternoon to this morning. I was fully switched, so i have no idea what happened. Those hours are a blank, and so far, nothing’s coming back. I do know that an angry part was in charge, probably for most of the time i was gone. Some of my Bits N’ Pieces are so intense, they leave a trace of themselves behind. It’s like talking closely enough with someone you can tell what they had for lunch.
Rage, terror, garlic…

Plus, i’m absolutely knackered. The angry ones use up all my energy; when i come back i feel like a scooped out melon. These days i’ve been waking up early, and i mean early. Usually, i get up to use the facilities between 3 and 4am. The last couple of months i’ve been unable to get back to sleep.

There’s a few reasons for it. One is the writing. I’m trying to be a real live writer, i.e. writing like it’s my job. I read about how to be better at it, and other general thoughts from others on the craft itself. I’m learning about a career as an author. I’ve tapped into the passion i feel about it. It’s always been there, a pool in the centre of me, limpid but deep. Its quiet mystery always beckons, yet i’ve only ever dipped a toe in, or sat carefully on its edge and dabbled my feet.

Now, i’m fixin’ to swim.

There are other issues, but isn’t there always? Unfortunately, i fractured my left arm a couple of weeks ago. It’s causing me more irritation than pain. Don’t get me wrong, it aches like a bugger, but it isn’t unmanageable. The real problem is that it’s holding me back a little, and i’m chafing at life’s current restraints already. I have so much i want to accomplish. I’m not sure why i feel held back, exactly. Most of what i want to do can be done right here at home. I think i’m just grumpy and as fed up with all of this as everyone else.

I’m isolated and safe out here on our farm, though. We have money coming in and want for nothing. We’re all healthy and we have each other.

It could be a lot worse. I have dear friends who’ve endured nothing short of tragedy over the last couple of years. Many have lost those dearest to them.
I’ve been inconvenienced and delayed, nothing more.

Well, there you go.
Sometime’s a girl’s gotta kick her own ass.

Now that i’ve decided not to write about how tough i have it (because i don’t), on to the matter at hand. I lost time yesterday, and i have no idea why. I know my triggers, and while i deal with those every day, nothing was enough to trigger a switch. Yes, i’m tired and in pain, but –not to sound like a martyr here– i’m often tired and always in pain. I was writing, and it was flowing well. I’m receiving support and positive feedback. My fractured arm doesn’t keep me from writing or walking, which has become important for my physical and mental well being. My real life friendships are in some flux, but my online friendships are stronger than ever. The changes in my routine are stimulating, rather than overwhelming. I’m excited for what the future holds, not trepidatious.

I don’t know, man. I just don’t know.

I was up early, got some chores and some writing done before the hubs got up for work. I fed him breakfast, made his lunch, got dressed and ready for the day. I watched the news with him for a bit, but i quickly felt anxious, so i walked away and did more housework. I frequently hitch a ride with him into town, where he stops for gas and coffee before heading to the big city for work. I clocked 9,000 steps before i got home at around 8:30 or 9. I made 2 loaves of Friendship Bread and 5 pints of jam.

The jam didn’t set properly, which bugged me.
I kept trying to write, but it felt like i wasn’t getting anywhere with it, which bugged me.
An appointment i had, cancelled. Didn’t bug me, but change can be unsettling for me.
Couldn’t get my ass up to do any more housework, which was frustrating, and got me talking crap about myself, to myself.
I tried distraction, but nothing on telly grabbed me.
All my music – same.
Dogs were constantly underfoot, wanting walkies. I was annoyed.

And that’s really all i remember.

Woke up in the morning with a hangover/headache. I’m not drinking, it’s a rage hangover.

Feedback from my partner is that i was snippy and out of sorts. My texts were clipped. I didn’t have the right leash for our bigger dog. She would have been harder to handle, as she’s used to having around 3m of play. At some point after i met up with my husband after work, i got angry and demanded to be let out of our vehicle. Off i went on an angry walk.
My son relates that when i got home, he was downstairs but could hear me yelling. Said he knew immediately that i wasn’t myself.

These days i don’t struggle with shame over switching, like i used to. I’ve mostly accepted that i’m a multiple with bipolar disorder, who minors in anxiety and obsession. The thing that’s getting under my skin a bit is that i don’t know why i switched.

So, i came here to use one of my most productive tools. I’m writing about it. I came here yesterday morning, to write because it’s been a couple of weeks. I try to be somewhat regular and reliable these days. I want my readers to be able to count on me producing a couple of times a month. It’s not a stress, really. It’s helpful and appropriate. I’d drop it like a hot potato if it wasn’t helping or using spoons i needed for something else more important. But i wanted to write, and i needed to write, and here i am.

It came to me yesterday while i was walking. Because it’s actually the second day after i switched (Friday, if i’m hard to follow):

– I’ve been having trouble focusing;
– I can’t seem to get much done besides the basics.

I was irritated again, all day, so i decided to get my ass outdoors for a good long walk. It helped. Headphones on and just wandering around town aimlessly cleared my head. My thoughts were wandering around aimlessly, too.

It was then i remembered – i’m still manic.
Mania does not pop in and out of my life. While my cycles are significantly shorter than they were when i was first diagnosed (years long), i’m still a long, slow cycler. I could feel mania lapping at the shores of my consciousness months ago, but i’ve only identified being in an actual mania for, i don’t know, less than 2mos.

One of the chief symptoms of mania is irritability. I don’t know how i could forget that, except that i’m currently in a mania. My thoughts can jump quickly from one topic to the next, making it easy to lose track of things.
And you wanna know what?
I forgot about that insight until i made myself sit down and try and write this blog post again, today.

I would guess a large part of why i switched is that i’m experiencing a mania.
Another thing occurred to me though, during my walk. It struck deep and has stuck with me.
There may be times when i have no idea why i switched.

Not many people know themselves as well as i do, but i have limits. We know enough about the human brain to know we don’t know very much about it at all. And psychology is a very, VERY soft science, including the study of psychiatric disorders and neurodiversity. I know how my brain works in a general, non-specific, uneducated way; filtered through my own beliefs, experiences, and understanding.

What i know about my brain is that in some ways, it doesn’t function like other people’s. It does these extremely weird, often inconvenient things for myriad reasons – only some of which i’ve been able to suss out. There are things about my childhood i’ve forgotten, and others i’m not certain i’m remembering correctly. I know a bit about how trauma affects the brain, but i’ve only a lay person’s understanding. The abuse i survived was extreme and long term, and i imagine the effects have mirrored that. If nothing else, my multiplicity has taught me there’s a shitload going on up in this bat-filled belfry of mine, and i’m unaware of most of it.

I’m glad that i booted my ass out of the WHY-MEs earlier on in this post, but the truth remains. I live with serious, debilitating, complicated, life-altering mental illnesses, and at the moment my plate is FULL. I’m dealing with my own stuff, loved one’s stuff, and the world in crisis, on top of everything else. Whether or not everyone else has got a tonne of stress (and they do) doesn’t change the reality of my situation.

My brain will do what it’s going to do.
My job is to cope the best i can.

Yeah, not the most interesting or inspiring of posts, but it’s helped me to write it. The tool got the job done. Maybe now that i’ve got this out of the way, i can get back to my writing job.
I’m hopeful.

ETA: I’m posting this Saturday afternoon, and my time loss occurred on Wednesday. Since then, while chatting with a friend, it came up that one of my medications may be at least partly responsible. One of the known side effects is “mood swings,” so i guess i’ll be looking into that, now.

Love and Peace,
~H~



IMAGE: mana5280