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

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’ve 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