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~

I’m a Pale Blue Bird

I will take this road much further
Though i know not where it takes me
~ Sinead O’Connor, I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got


ZOOM’d with a group of friends that calm and connect me. I was still pretty floaty, but they offer acceptance and unconditional love and support. It was exactly what i needed. I was having trouble being present for anything. All my thoughts and emotions were mixed together in a bitter mélange. They brought a pinch or 2 of sweetness that balanced me out.

My relationships at home are difficult for me at the moment. I’ve taken a stand and set down boundaries with both of them, and, well, let’s just say that change is hard for everyone. I want what i want and i don’t want what i don’t want. I’m through trying to twist myself into unnatural shapes to try and get them to give me what i’m asking for. Give it to me or i’m gone. Stop or i’m leaving.

It’s extra-tough, i admit. I’ve gotten fed up and overwhelmed before. I hit maximum stress and i dissociate, lose the face, and someone else takes over and screams for me. They issue threats and make promises that, once i was back in control, i wouldn’t follow through on. I established a pattern of being all bark, no bite. No follow-through. But i’m different now — more grown up and resolved to my current trajectory.
Give it to me or i’m gone.
Stop or i’m leaving.

I’ve lived my life trying to be what i thought other people wanted. I’ve been trying to avoid harm and rejection. I’ve been trying to earn love and approval.

There came a time when i saw my motivations and patterns clearly. But i still don’t set boundaries well. I avoid confrontation. I’m terrible at saying NO.

The way i handle it is to withdraw. Sometimes that’s me pulling inside myself and another part of me coming forward and handling things for me. Sometimes the withdrawal is physical. I can do it temporarily, or i can disappear from that person completely.

I lost a friendship at the end of last year. It was dear to me and i’m still not over it. It might be saved yet, and i do have some hope. But fixing it is tied up in confrontation and setting boundaries. Saying things that might not be received well, and hearing things that might hurt and upset me. I avoid this kind of shit.

I have other things that take precedence over the possibility of saving this relationship. If it dies, it dies.

I’m trying to get what i want in my marriage.
I’m trying to be a proper mother to a grown man.
I’m trying to reconcile a new diagnosis with the rest of the ones already part of my repertoire.
I’m in a bipolar depression.
I’m dealing with death and loss and my husband’s declining health.
I’m trying to be a real live writer.
I’m pursuing some big ticket items that don’t come cheap.

I know i was doing my best. If they’ve decided my best wasn’t good enough, i respect the choice. But i must put down the club i was beating myself with, because my best is all i can do.

Today is a (VERY) rare day alone. Between my chat with friends last night and a precious day to myself, my mood is considerably lighter.

I’m grateful for what i have, and to quote one of my favourite artists, i do not want what i haven’t got. We’ll see what life has in store for me in the coming week.

Whatever comes, i shall persevere.


Love and Peace,
~H~

IMAGE: Pexels

Dear Diary: I Got Nothin’


I don’t know what to write regarding what’s going on in my life.

The depth and breadth of my self-knowledge is not helping. My sharp insights have fucked off somewhere. I’m floating, disconnected from mindfulness, from self-awareness, from the people i share space with. I’m just existing right now, in this fog of sadness.

I’m unable to access my usual level of vocabulary. Words appear to have abandoned me. My ability to communicate about myself is lost, or maybe it left. Packed up and took off because it needed a vacation. I don’t know.
I don’t know.

I’m so dissociated right now i can barely think.

My husband took our dog to the crematory this morning. His eyes were red and full of unshed tears. I’ve only seen him cry once, and he’s only teared up a few times. Watching him be brought so close makes my own grief cut deeper. Her last week and final moments are all i can think about. No attempts at distraction have been successful for very long.

I lost a dear friend a few weeks ago. It went almost the same way. I couldn’t stop thinking about him and all of our interactions. But then our dog got sick and she was my only concern. A terrible distraction. I was by her side, barely sleeping, until we lost her. And then i tried to write.

It felt automatic and robotic. I felt no emotion coming from the words on the screen. I knew there was an emotional log jam, but i didn’t know what to do about it. I kept pushing, rearranging words, sentences, paragraphs. Putting one work-in-progress away and picking up another. Nothing. It all felt empty and meaningless.

I emote. That’s what i do. That’s my voice. A telling of brutal truths in flowery language. I’m a cheerleader in a straitjacket. My words are fire and ice, sunshine and rain.

I haven’t been able to connect.

Two days ago i got some good advice. Stop trying to write for my money-making platform. Stop trying to produce for the publications i write for. Write something that’s only for me. As soon as i took that to my keyboard, i bashed out a piece about my friend who’d died. It flowed straight from my heart and was done in short order.

I went back to my writing feeling like things were flowing better. And they are… But they still kind of aren’t.

I have relationship troubles – more than one. More than 2, in fact.
I’m facing the very real possibility that my entire life is about to step off onto another path. And while i don’t want that, it might be inevitable.
I’m standing up for myself and becoming more of who i really am, and it’s not being met with applause and congratulations, lemme tell ya.
I have a new diagnosis, and although i require further testing before i’m properly convinced, still, it’s thrown me for a loop.
Pandemic.
Money trouble.
Chronic illnesses; mine and others’.
Death.

I’m running on empty. Trying to function under a veil of sadness and a vague sense of panic. I’m having difficulty with this, a simple diary/update post.
I am dissociated and disconnected. Dissatisfied and disheartened.

I’ve had no anchor to keep me in one place. No person to talk me down. No star to direct my way. I decided to take control of one aspect of my life that i can control. I’m not going to name it here, but i needed something to ground me — a simple thing for me to focus and hold on to. If i can get what i’m after in this area, maybe momentum can propel me into and through some of this other crap.

I don’t know. I’m tired, i don’t have any words left.
Time for a nap.
I’ll try writing again after sleep and food.

I might try checking in here every day with random nonsense and stream-of-consciousness ramblings. Maybe it’ll help.

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


Love and Peace,
~H~

IMAGE: Pexels


Dear Diary: Well, Hell…

I couldn’t hold on. Yep, again.

I write about falling often, because it happens that way. I’m not feeling like getting deeply into the specifics this time, which is weird. What i’d like to do is merely document that it happened. I’m not into a forensic analysis on this one. I do, however, feel an obligation to let my readers know. This is my process, these (hopefully) brief lapses of control might always be part of my life. And you know what? I’m not particularly concerned at the moment. It is a part of my life for now, and that’s what’s in front of me to deal with.

As my therapist so helpfully reminded me last week, trauma like mine is not “one and done.”

I’m already dealing with bipolar depression. If i can avoid going deeper, of course i will. Beating myself up for something that happened, that i couldn’t stop (or i bloody would have), is wasted energy. So here i am, picking myself up.

Yes, again.
But also…
Again, YES!
Perspective.

While i heartily and vociferously reject the cult of suffering, i understand there aren’t many over the course of human existence that have avoided it. I find truth and a powerful tool in the idea that a shift in perspective can move me forward. It can help to propel me out of whatever pain and difficulty i’m currently enduring.
And yes, i choose to endure, but also to MOVE, if i can. I will not tolerate suffering or pain any longer than i must.

I know myself well, and i know my limits.
I will push if i can, but if all i’ve got is just enough to hang on, then i will hang the fuck on. Sometimes, torpor provides the opportunity for rejuvenation. I’m immobile, but i’m marshalling my forces. I’m in trench warfare, and it ain’t pretty, but i have always prevailed. I’m a plodder, a babystepper.

Wow, i just motivated my own damn self.
If this helped you in any way, well, even better.
You are enough.
Hang on.
I will, too.

Love and Peace,
~H~

Photo by dominik hofbauer on Unsplash

Dear Diary: I Gotta Be Me

I’m starting to write this thinking it’ll be more diarising, but it might just swerve into the regular post lane. Off we go and let’s see what happens, eh?*

I couldn’t hold all the emotions around the decisions i’d made regarding these 3 relationships. To lay them down and stop trying. To let people be who they are, do what they’re going to do, and keep on truckin’. I’m stuck in this house in near total lockdown, because someone in our family is at significant risk for hospitalisation and death if they contract the virus. I can’t get away from triggers. (THEY are my triggers.) I can go for walks, but i can only walk so far for so long, and it gets mighty cold where i live.

So i’m feeling trapped and lonely and fed up and sad… And i switched. I lost a day or so. My system pushed forward to take care of me when i was at a weak moment. I used and i (THEY) spilled my damn business to my husband. I wasn’t there, but i know how it goes, and i imagine they left no stone unturned. I’ve got parts that would’ve read him the riot act, and parts that would’ve been soft, sweet, and vulnerable. Oh, and then there are parts that would have been subtly manipulative and vaguely threatening. All designed to take care of us and get our needs met.

These days i use “I” and “me” more often than not. It connotes a feeling of the control i now have over my system. I have an awareness that’s more than intellectual, that all these parts are me. I’m like a box of puzzle pieces that suffered water damage. I’ve got the thing mostly put together, but some of the pieces are warped and keep popping out a little. But this weekend was a “we” and “us” situation – no doubt about it. I switched for nearly a day, and then i slid around for a couple more. On Sunday the urge to let the switching happen and the using continue was so strong that i kept myself heavily medicated in order to sleep through the worst of it. It’s not ideal but it worked.

Monday i took it fairly easy on myself, knowing there would be lots of grumping around up there in my brain. They’re children and they pout and whine for things. They like the escape that being under the influence of drugs provides, and they like how it loosens my control on their activities, i.e. they can take the face when they wish. No thanks, dear ones. The plug is in the jug.

What happened was what i knew would happen. He has asked for another chance and promised to change; to make a concerted effort. I’ve heard all this many times before. I’m still earning my way out the door, but i’ve had a wee epiphany, i think.
I love those — they’re always helpful.

I had this thought: I’m working so damn hard to know who i am and who i’m not. To be more authentically and fearlessly myself. And man, this is who i am. I want this relationship to work and there’s nothing wrong with me continuing to hope. I’ll keep hoping until i’m walking out the door… Probably longer than that. It’s not shameful and embarrassing –i mean, it IS– but it needn’t be. I grew up with constant rejection, and carry the awful weight of that everywhere, all the time. It’s the weight of believing i’m not good enough and who would want me? (Toobigtooloudtooweird.) It’s also my parents’ indoctrination that has me focused on my flaws and my shortcomings, and heaps blame on me for those, while asking me who do you think you are? when i shift my focus to theirs.

How dare you?! You should be grateful they tolerate your miserable, useless presence.

Yeah. Self-talk is a good time around here. /sarcasm

It has gotten much better. I’ve come quite a distance, but at a time like this, i’m flying in the face of everything my abusers taught me. The training is still there. It’s a reflex – like breathing. But i’m doing my best to be mindful and present, and i address all the internal commentary. It’s exhausting; it’s necessary.

I’m back in therapy. Not because i’ve gone off the deep end, but because i don’t want to, and i need a little extra help. She grounds me. She told me today that new research by neuroscientists has been able to prove DID’s etiology. The cause is childhood trauma, abuse, and neglect. It’s not like we multiples and our caregivers didn’t know that, but being able to prove it scientifically is important. The stigma within the psychiatric community is still significant. The way it’s portrayed in media is damaging. Those working on tracing its causes and attempting to understand how it works neurobiologically are helping to change things.

So she says to me there is a provable cause for DID, and something inside me just… relaxes. I’m in my mid-50s, and i’m always wrestling with the voice that asks me, Why are you not over this? Why are you still so messed up?

This information reassures me that my response to trauma was not overblown, nor my pain and suffering over-inflated. I make jokes about being Queen Emoterella of Drama Island, but what i grew up in was extreme, and it happened during the most pivotal and formative of my (or anyone’s) life. Most people who’ve been through what i’ve been through aren’t doing as well as i am.
If they’re even still here.
And that’s just the truth.
And i needed her to tell me again, and tell me why, and tell me i’m doing great, and lay some more knowledge and a couple new coping skills on me.
She never disappoints.
We ZOOM again in a month.

The overarching conclusion that i’ve come to after this weekend’s shenanigans, is not so much about losing control, or using, or even needing to connect with my therapist to remember that it’s okay to be where i’m at today. What i’m taking away from all this is more important to the work i’m doing, and it’s come at the right time.

I am done trying to be anyone other than me. Not that i won’t still struggle sometimes — i’m a multiple and this shit is entrenched. But i know who i am now, and also who i’m not. I’m through simpering around, walking on eggshells, trying to please the people around me, trying to be accepted, to be liked/loved/desired. I’m done explaining myself. I’m done apologising for things that don’t require one. I’m done trying to placate people. I’m done exposing my soft underbelly to people who’ve repeatedly hurt me. If you don’t want the kind of relationship i want, if you aren’t willing to give as much as you’re expecting, well, i guess you gotta do what you gotta do.

This may all sound very glib and even powerful, but i assure you it is not. I’m deeply upset that these relationships have come to this. Upset… But still hopeful.
What can i tell ya?
I’m a hopeful girl.

Y’all Hang in There.

*Definitely diary stuff.

IMAGE: Jackson David