Singing in the Dark

Heart of my heart i went down to the water to see you
But i couldn’t
I got lost in the eddies and captivated by currents

Mind of my mind i climbed up the mountain to hear you
But i didn’t
The wind was so loud so i picked a few wildflowers instead

Flesh of my flesh i delved deep in my dreams to meet you
But i shouldn’t
The dreams are lovely and terrible and i find it hard to leave

You are the water that threatens to take me
You are wind that will blow me straight off the cliffs
And you are the dream that will hold me in sleep forever

Song of my song i wrote this to sing for you
But i wouldn’t
And my throat ached at my resistance

Pain of my pain i reached out blindly
And i would
I sat still in the dark tonight and sang it to you

You are the one who gave your life for me
You are the reason my body yet breathes
I will sing to you now and always

I found you here and here you ever shall be

~ Mine, September 03, 2020

IMAGE: Pawel Szvmanski

Do Not Read

This is a dark time for me. This is the first time i’ve posted while i’m down the hole. All i feel is pain and all i am is ugly. I know these things aren’t true but i can’t shake them. Ms T said this is good work to get to a better place, but i feel gross and disgusting ALL. THE. TIME.

I want to ask her, to ask everyone — do you even know what happened to me?
It’s all so ugly and i’m swimming in it every day, all day. It was bad enough to watch it from the corner of the room. Now i feel it in my body. It’s terrible and revolting. I can smell it. I can’t smell anything else right now. The stink of it is all over me and my girl parts hurt. I want to be invisible and i want everyone to see me at the same time. This doesn’t make sense, i know. I’m so smart but i cannot understand this.
I want to shake everyone.
Do you know what happened to me?
It’s not a book or a movie. It’s not fiction. It’s not terribly romantic and poetic.
It’s vile and evil and it’s in my bones and i can’t see anything else right now.

I want to be good and a sign that you can survive bad things, but today i am lost and drowning and just so very tired of it all. How could she do this? HOW COULD SHE? She was my MOTHER. My. mother. And i’ve had to walk away from my entire family. I’ve lost everyone. And i was the one who was raped.
This is why i don’t write when i fall down a hole.
This isn’t helpful.
I’m so sorry, i’m just so broken.
Days like these i despair that i can ever get past this.

Okay, so pull something good out of this.
I’m alive, and that’s good. I survived the unsurvivable, and that makes me kind of amazing. My brain did a thing that saved my life.
It turned everything into a movie i was watching and then it tucked all the pictures into little dream pockets. It waited for the day when i watched and knew the truth. It kept it all safe and technicolor until i found someone to help us.
She’s so calm and she talks science to me because that’s my language.
She tells me it’s going to take moremoremore time. And i hang up and cry.
Please, do you even know what happened to me?
I can’t see this, feel this, smell this, one more bloody day.

I’m sorry. I’m down a hole.
This is how my brain works.
It’s amazing and awful.

Alone

Is this a poem?

I’m alone every day
Smiling at everyone
They can’t know
And that’s all i know

Is this a poem?

I make friends
These are my friends — i made them
You can’t see them
They’re only for me

Is this a poem?

You look at my face
You hear my voice and you think you know me
I’m a Russian doll, friend
You don’t know a thing

Is this a poem?

I can’t write for shit
You’re reading how i talk
Every day all day
To people on the internet

Is this a poem?

It most certainly is not
I tap it out all the same
I live my best life
Regurgitating every thought

This is not poetry

~ Mine, August 24, 2020

Time

Time creeps
Your eyes fixed on me
I can smell you
So strong i can taste it
Fear
Hate
Time swells
Lonely and lost
Ugly and stinking
You smile like pink frosting
Sweet
Pretty
Time ebbs
You’re wretched
Drenched in lies
Swollen with the overflow
Want
Need
Time flies
I’m here alone
Your cupcake was shit
I’m not even hungry
Full
Empty
Time bleeds
You’re all over me
I feel your heart
It ticks and trips
Dead
Gone
But i’m still here

~ Mine, August 23, 2020

Dream #2

WARNING: Relates an extremely disturbing dream involving sex, violence, and animals. This post could be highly triggering for some. Make sure you have your support stuffs in place if you decide to read.

**********

As i’ve stated many times, sleep has been an issue for the entirety of my life. It’s been so difficult that even my abusive mother sought treatment for me as a child. Granted, it was only because my screams regularly interrupted her own sleep, and also likely because she was keen to hide the abuse going on, but still. I couldn’t sleep, and when i could, i was plagued with nightmares. The doctor said i was suffering from “night terrors” and sent me to a psychologist or psychiatrist of some stripe. He taught me relaxation techniques, and told me about lucid dreaming. From him i learned to realise when i was in a dream and be proactive – whether that was to take charge within the dream, or just to wake myself up. It’s an invaluable skill that i’ve used throughout my 50+yrs.

Recently though, i’ve lost the ability to know i’m dreaming, and i’m troubled. I don’t know why this has happened, but over the last few months of intense dreaming, i’ve only known it was a dream a couple of times. I need the control back, as these sleep-movies have turned decidedly nightmarish, so i’ve begun journalling them again. I’m looking for clarity and control. They’ve become so problematic that my insomnia has returned, full force, which in turn makes managing my mental health issues that much harder. I can lose my shit, as it were, in mere seconds. I simply don’t have the energy to be mindful and considerate.
I need that lucidity to continue this work. So i’m taking a careful look at the dreams that don’t fade. I think the ones i can’t shake might be trying to tell me something.

This dream, unlike the last one, is a straight up nightmare. I’m going to restate my initial warning: this is awful and distressing and chock full of potential triggers. If you are a victim/survivor of sexual abuse, make sure you have your supports in place if you decide to read this. My dream journal isn’t for everyone. It’s mostly for me, but i share it just in case it helps someone out there to know they aren’t alone. My brain’s machinations produce twisted, scary stories to tell me while i sleep.

Dream #2

My husband and i are at home (i don’t recognise the house), and we’re taking care of our nephews on his side. That’s weird, because there’s only one IRL, but in my dream there are 3 or 4. It’s almost Christmas, and although hubs and i don’t celebrate religious holidays, in the dream we’re decorating and planning a big meal for the kids. They’ve brought all of their computer and gaming equipment, which they’ve set up in our living room. It takes up all the space, to the point where it’s hard to move around.

My husband is preparing something in the kitchen, and the boys are gaming and talking animatedly to me and to each other. I’m futzing around on my own laptop, when i get a DM request. It’s from a man, and i’m instantly brittle and electric. I can feel the evil coming from his screen shot. I quickly click it closed and ignore it, going back to my social media and games, etcetera. One of the boys says something to me, and when i look back at my screen, the request is there again.
Hey, wanna chat?
I want to show you something.

My guts churn and i click it closed again, but it pops right back up, immediately. His profile pic is only the top of his face, gazing over something. His hair is dark and curly and his eyes seem to be looking right at me. I click it closed once more, and this time 2 identical windows pop up.
Hey, wanna chat?
I want to show you something.
I think you’ll really like it.

I click them both closed and 1 of my nephews, the 1 i actually have IRL (he’s maybe 13, but he’s actually grown up, now) says, Hey Auntie, would you be mad if i wanted to go home? I say No, not at all, let me help you get your stuff together. We go over to his setup, which has 2 monitors, and i see the chat invitation on both of his screens. I immediately run back to my laptop and see a half dozen chat requests, all him, all saying the same thing. I exclaim, OMG, i think i’ve been hacked!

I try to click them all closed, but my hand is moving so slow, like it’s asleep. More chat windows are popping up, and he’s texting more things.
Would you like to see this?
This is very interesting.
I want you to look at it.
My guts feel like there’s a lead balloon floating around inside. I yell at my husband, Come and help me, i’ve been hacked! I look up and all of my nephews’ screens have the request on them, multiple times.

I run into the kitchen and beg the hubs to come and help me. He smiles inanely at me and assures me that he doesn’t mind taking our nephew back home. He says, I need a litre of vodka for this ceviche anyway. I look down and he’s throwing shrimp and scallops into a camping style cooler. It stinks and the fish doesn’t look right. Exasperated, i run back into the living room and try to close all the open chat windows on my computer.
I can’t, and he starts sending me pictures.
They’re pornographic in nature.
I scream at my husband in the kitchen to come and help me because i’ve been hacked. Then i notice that the images are showing up on my nephews’ screens, as well. I immediately freak out because 1, they’re porn, and 2, my sister-in-law will KILL me for exposing them to pornography. Every screen i look at has pornographic imagery, and at the top of every screen is his chat invitation. His face. His eyes, looking at me.

I start grabbing blankets and towels and trying to drape them over the boys’ computer screens, but they won’t stay up. They slip off no matter what i do. The boys are running around the living room and giggling and pointing. And every time i look there are more screens to cover. I suddenly have 2, then 6, then a dozen televisions and monitors in the room, and they’re all showing the porn with his chat at the top.
Hey, wanna chat?
I want to show you something.
I think you’ll really like it.

I’m crying and trying to get the boys to go upstairs and play.
And that’s when the porn escalates.
It becomes extreme.
(I will not be describing these images, save the one that i know i MUST deal with. )
These are a mix of sex and violence and every subgenre of porn that most people find distasteful/disgusting.*

I’m purposefully ignoring them as i frantically rush around the room, screaming for help, that i’ve been hacked, and trying to cover up the screens, in a vain attempt to protect my nephews from the violent sexuality being depicted. And over it all i can hear the ding, ding, ding of more of his texts flooding every screen.

That’s when i’m caught by some of what i see. There are college students in canoes, naked, being pulled into the water. Then they’re on a football field, being chased by men carrying big sticks. They bash any student they can catch, mercilessly, and they lie around on the grass in lumps of flesh and blood.
Ding, ding, ding.
His eyes are looking at me.
Hey, wanna chat?

And as i look away from his gaze i see it. The imagery has become progressively more disturbing and now i see it and cannot look away.

It’s a man and 2 or 3 women. They are lying in a large puddle of mud in the middle of a dirt road in the middle of nowhere. They’re covered in hundreds of hissing black snakes, and they’re hurting dogs. (I won’t be more specific.) The dogs are drowning in the mud, and i scream myself awake.

This dream troubles me so deeply, that i haven’t been able to sleep well since i had it. Every night before i try to rest, i say to my brain, We will NOT be having this dream again. That’s fine; i’ve learned to control my dreaming life somewhat over my lifetime. The problem is it enters my mind every night and fills me with terror and disgust. Just the thought of it makes sleep nigh impossible.

I know i have to figure this one out if i’m to ever enjoy decent, regular sleep again.
I’m afraid of the process here. This kind of thing doesn’t usually scare me that much. I mean, my system kept my memories safe, but hidden in my dreams for years. I’ve had ugly, violent, disturbing dreams ever since i can remember a dream. But there is something about this one that chills me. I think about it during the day. I rue the approach of night. There is something here and i’m afraid of what it is.

That’s enough for now. I’m all wound up and i know sleep will be hard to find tonight, but it’s just gonna have to be that way. I’m already exhausted by the telling of it. I feel see-through and cold in my bones. My brain is sizzling.

I’ll turn my efforts to this tomorrow. Tonight i’m going to distract myself with food and television, and the love of my husband and son. I hope anyone reading this is okay. I fretted about writing it down, let alone sharing it. I think (hope) perhaps, it’s only upsetting to me.

This is my dream journal. It’s weird and also weird (plus a bit weird), but i have a gut feeling that it’s important for me to do this. It’s been my experience that gut feelings aren’t always correct, but they are worth listening to.

While i do currently feel like a live wire (PUN!) i’m hoping i can settle into a place where i can learn what this dream might be trying to tell/teach me.

Hang in there reader, y’hear?
I’m doing my best.
Love and Peace,
~H~

*This is not a judgment. This is not a discussion of pornography. What it is, what it isn’t, what’s okay/not okay. This is a generalisation, and i make it because it’s important to understanding my dream.

People Aren’t Puppets

WARNING: This post contains some description of childhood physical abuse.

Because to take away a man’s freedom of choice, even his freedom to make the wrong choice, is to manipulate him as though he were a puppet and not a person.
~ Madeline L’Engle


Psychological manipulation is a type of social influence that aims to change the behaviour or perception of others through indirect, deceptive, or underhanded tactics.

My mother could play people like Strauss played the violin. Well, she could play some people. Looking back, i can see there were some giving her a wide berth. I’m gonna guess she had a toxic stink on her for those self-aware enough. Once we moved out of the city and began living a throwaway life in various small towns, things steadily changed. Her sick was beginning to show. It started when she picked up a stray boy to do her bidding. He was 14, and she was 32. It’s hard to maintain your mini-guru status when you’re sexually assaulting someone on the regular. Even if we mightn’t have called it what it was back then (and that’s what it was), it made others intensely uncomfortable and outright disgusted. Isolated and mostly alone in a trailer park at the edge of town, she gained weight and lost all her friends.

Once she had the boy firmly under her thumb (he moved in with us when he was 15), she began squirting out babies every couple of years. She put on pregnancy weight and it never came off. She stopped cleaning her house. She stopped cleaning herself. I’d like to think it was guilt over the past, but i think it far more likely that her monstrousness had become too much for her to handle. She was consuming herself from the inside. Eating her own poison caused her to become bloated and bilious on the outside. She looked wrong, she smelled wrong – on a psychic level. From then on the only card she had to play was pity. She still caught a number of unfortunates in her web, but it was far fewer, and they never stuck around for long. Her mask slipped quite regularly. She’d mostly cut off contact with me before she died, but at her funeral i saw she’d been enjoying quite the resurgence of her sick and sticky influence. She was in a 12-step program and had joined a church – perfect places for a 600lb tumour of a human to bang her pity drum and have a parade behind her. They wept into their tissues as they told me how much she meant to them.

They’ll never know how fortunate they are that she died. She would have taken whatever they’d give her, and then cut them to ribbons on her way out.

I’d watched her manipulate people my whole life, although i didn’t see it for what it was, back then. That was just how we did things at my house. We hid our true selves from the outside world. Other people wouldn’t, couldn’t understand our ways – we were too intelligent, too evolved, psychically, spiritually, intellectually. We were on a higher level. As soon as someone’s back was turned or was out of earshot, my mother had nothing nice to say about them. I watched her smile and charm her way through single motherhood in the big city. I watched her hold her own with large groups of professors and grad students. And then parts of me watched her behaviour when we were alone at home. Her emotional meltdowns, her beating and starving me, her renting me out for money, gifts, favours, and the attention of 1 particular man.

I watched her deftly handle teachers in interviews, blaming me for every issue that was brought up. I watched her charm my friends at sleepovers or car rides or at school functions. She could ease them past their fear and disgust over her size in mere minutes. Connecting with fellow students years later they’d ask after her, Hey, how’s your mom? She was always so cool. When i’d tell them she died young, they were so sad for me.

I watched her in therapy sessions. With me as a kid and her riding shotgun, with both of us through churches and government run agencies. She’d seek help for me, and it’d always end up being about her. She’d been abused as a child and now she had this troubled daughter who couldn’t sleep and wasn’t getting high enough marks at school and was struggling socially. How she was doing everything in her power and availing herself of every opportunity, and i was still such a problem. I was stubborn, i was a compulsive liar, i never did my homework… How was she supposed to cope with all of that AND make a living? She had them nodding sympathetically and eating out of her hand in 20mins or less. She knew all the buzzwords and dog whistles and they lapped it up. Meanwhile, if my performance hadn’t been spot on, when we got home she’d beat the crap out of me. Sometimes she’d be so mad she couldn’t wait until we got home and would beat me in the car. She bounced my head off the dashboard so hard once, that it cracked. She’d point out the crack occasionally, just by way of reminder to behave or else.

I watched and i learned and i behaved.

All this to bring it back to what i’m dealing with today. Today i know how to manipulate people to get what i want. To read them, to know their currency and their weaknesses and through that knowledge, get my needs met. In the distant past, i can see where i did work people to get their acceptance, but it was an unconscious thing. I’d been taught to figure out what people wanted and give it to them. I’d been taught to blend into the group, chameleon-like. I wasn’t purposefully disingenuous. And i was never on the grift, like her. I never took anyone’s money. I never paraded myself, my past, or my children for cash, or gifts, or help of any kind. I hid my need from others. I only ever had a couple of friends who knew when i was down and out, and they had to force me to take their help (they were generous and kind to do that, i know).

I don’t socialise much anymore, and almost never in big groups, so i don’t have to worry about my must-fit-in programming so much. I have a few friends i can be myself with – or at least practise being myself. I thought my manipulative days were behind me.
Frank and intensive introspection has recently shown me that that isn’t the case.

The manipulation was subtle, embedded in care-based action. First, it starts with my children. I finally became aware of it with my youngest. He’s grown but is still at home for now. He has some serious issues that he needs safety and space to work out, and we’re glad to provide for him. Some if not all of them, can be traced back to being born to and raised with, a survivor of severe trauma who has multiple mental health diagnoses. As i’m working on my own stuff, i watch him work on his, and i think back to when he was in school. I see his struggles in various areas, and i see me trying to get him the help he needed. I attend meetings, so many meetings. Meetings they called, meetings i called. Taking him for tests and more tests. Trying this, trying that, nothing working, constant fretting, so much emotion, so much stress. And today i see how much of it could have been avoided, if i hadn’t been unconsciously manipulating things to get the outcome >>i<< wanted. I wanted him to do things and be things in his life that he wasn’t necessarily interested in. I hung my own unfulfilled hopes and dreams on him. I compounded his stress and anxiety.
Tough pill to swallow, but it’s mine to take.
This led to some insight into other areas where i’ve been trying to make others do what i want.

I’ve written about my crappy parenting and how i’ve apologised to my boys and they all forgive me and still love me. I’ve gone on about how i’ve offered myself to them for therapy – both to pay for it, and be present at any session they’d want. But what i didn’t see was how i apologise too often – i bring it up too much. And the uncomfortable truth of it is that i want them to make what i did okay for me. I want THEM to fix MY feelings. I want them to go to therapy and be mad at me so that i can feel more at peace. I know i don’t get to tell them how to handle their past, but i was missing the selfishness that was enmeshed in the best of intentions.

Which brings me to my husband. Same thing. I wanted him to get help for his past because i thought it was the right thing to do. Our marriage had serious problems and i decided how we should handle it. I decided that because i was wallowing around in my shit that he should, too. I was reminded of the time i forced him to tell his mother he wasn’t religious. She didn’t need to know and he didn’t want to tell her. I was religious at the time and i just decided that it was the “right” thing to do. Truth is, i think i wanted to punish him for not coming along into my religious beliefs/community. Ugh. What a shitty thing to do. It was manipulative, pure and simple.

Just like trying to force him into therapy. In my defense, i truly believed i was doing the right, good thing. I wanted to help. I wanted everyone to be happy and healthy and for us all to get along. What i didn’t see or understand, was that i was trying to manipulate others into MY vision of what happy/healthy looks like, and force those i love into employing MY ideas for how we get there.
None of them have to deal with their trauma at all, let alone in the way i’m dealing with mine. There are many out there in the world who shut it down and put it away. They don’t talk about it, they don’t get therapy, and they have the life they want. Or they don’t have the life they want. Either way, it’s their choice. Their quality of life or lack thereof, is none of my business, and that includes those closest to me that i love.

It’s humbling, to be sure, but i’ve been mulling this over for a few weeks now, and the sting has gone out of it. It’s just the truth, and i am a truth-seeker. I’d rather know than not know. Even if it hurts. Even if i have to look at ugly parts of myself and take responsibility.
What i know today is that i will show up for my family whenever and however they want me to — IF they want me to.
And that may never happen.
And i’m just gonna have to sit with the uncomfortability that comes from not being able to FIX everything so that >>i<< can feel better.

Man, growing up sucks sometimes.
Still totally worth doing.
I’m gonna keep at it.

Hope y’all are hanging in there as best you can.
I’m still here, so i’ve got that goin’ for me.
Heh.

Love and Peace,
~H~

No More Parties?!

So, today isn’t gonna be the day i start, either. *sigh*
I’ll try again tomorrow, but today my heart is just too low. My energy level is practically zilch. I think the best thing to do is give it 1 more day. The stress headache from Tuesday’s therapy is still thumping away mightily, and i’ve been hit with a fibro flare-up, just to make things that much more fun.
Discernment and flexibility – i haz it.

I suppose if i’m not gonna be Little Miss Getshitdone, i should at least write. My head feels like it’s packed full of cement though, and with that jackhammer going on up there too… i’m blanking out. *sigh *

Perhaps some pandemic not-prose-don’t-make-me-say-poetry? Hm.

**********

Party Poem: External

I show up late to the party
Most of the people are gathering their coats to go home
Piled up on the bed in the spare room
Minglings of perfumes and colognes
Can i take your coat?

I sit down on the biggest couch
It’s the best chance i’ve got at not sitting next to anyone
Unfortunately only the drunks remain
So a guy sits down almost right away
How you doin’ tonight?

His breath is so toxic i grimace
It was involuntary and i zero in on his reaction
I needn’t have worried at all
He’s busy charming the pants off himself
Do you know anybody here?

I mumble out that i know the hosts
He launches into a frantic and slurred tale
My friends are his old college buddies
They’ve known each other forever
How do you know them?

I tell him the woman is my sister
This was the wrong thing to say as it gives him an excuse
Drawing close with his whiskey and garlic laced breath
He acts like he’s considering it
So you’re the younger one right?

I blush and begin to sweat
This means i look red and juicy like a steak
I probably smell like meat at this point
He thinks i’m flattered
Can i get you a drink or three?

I suddenly blurt out Excuse me!
I’m absconding to the bathroom at top speed
I pray that i won’t trip over anything
I’ll go to church tomorrow please if it could be empty
Hullo, anyone in there?

I avoid the mirror and sit down
I already know what i’ll see on my turgid face
The flat-out wide-eyed panic
I quietly convulse in a sob or three
Hullo, anyone in there?

I force my voice past the stone in my throat
I let them know i’ll be right out
Swiping furiously at my eyes
I look at my hands and remember i put on mascara
Oh geez are you kidding me?

I fix up the mess as best i can
I knew i should’ve worn the waterproof kind
Using toilet paper and water i work quickly
Keeping my head down i walk out and apologise
I hope everything’s okay?

Now the panic is bubbling up
I don’t know why such a stupid thing just came out of my mouth
I make my way to the spare room and then dash to the front door
Made it a full 20 minutes this time, i say
Why do i have to be like this?

Party Poem: Internal


Swinging door sucks in the cold
Pulling me in with fingers of air and flesh
Flushed skin and frantic smiles
Boozy air with a note of sweat
Smile, dammit, smile!

Pillowy couch threatens to eat me
Perching birdlike i puff out my feathers
Staccato bursts of laughter
I ruffle fluff and side-eye the room
Oh no, don’t sit here!

Open mouth saying smelly words
Fevered lips and hungry teeth wet with a swollen tongue
Yellow paste from cigarettes
My belly hitches and my pits itch
I’m overheating already!

Eyes like hungry mouths move over me
The stink of him and the pounding air
His words like syrup left out with no lid
Too thick and sticky he drowns little gnats
I don’t want this, go away!

My responses trickle out like an old creek
Tripping like i once did at hopscotch
I draw to one side with a lurch and a terrible squeak
I am that one shopping cart
Back up buddy, you’re too close!

My face fills up like a balloon
I’m hot and stretched thin and ready to pop
Full of unspent air and held breath
Hot and brittle like candy
Ohmygod he’s leaning in, nonono!

My legs kick out from me violently
Like a newborn colt trying to stand
The music crawls inside my head and punches
My soft brain cries as it guides me
I must get away right now!

Quiet relative coolness and the good kind of dark
Unlike the dark outside the door full of grave shadows
I pant like a dog at summertime’s peak
My guts wringing me with anxious hands
Someone’s at the door!

I’m too little for this but so big
I can’t fill the space but there’s no room for me
I’ve got to leave but i don’t want to go
I want to go home but must first brave the gauntlet
Stop it now, everyone will see!

I’m 5 and the floor is lava
Wild bears and dragons surround me on all sides
The hot air pulls tears and breath and sweat
I’m melting as i make for the door
Don’t anyone try to stop me!

Booming bass like ship cannons
My guts float up and grasp the base of my throat
Food and bodies and booze invade my nose
Rubbery legs cross the space to freedom
I’m out i’m okay i’m safe, breathe!

~ Mine, August 19, 20, 2020

The Ace Up Her Sleeve

I don’t know if I can open up
I’ve been opened enough
I don’t know if I can open up
I’m not a birthday present
~ Marilyn Manson, Mephistopheles of Los Angeles

So that happened…
I have a scheduled phone therapy sesh at 2 today.
It’s 8 and i’ve already lost time.
When i come back to the face i always check around me to see what i can figure out about what happened while i wasn’t there, and to assess any damage. Over the years, i’ve become quite the sleuth.

I wish i could describe what it’s like to come back from various levels of dissociation, but it’s difficult. After a mild dissociation, i’m lightheaded, like i almost fainted, but didn’t. Coming back from a slide, where i’m there, but helplessly watching what’s happening around me from a distance, is like a carnival ride… sort of. There’s internal, psychic gravity involved. When the elevator lurches and you feel it in your belly? It’s akin to that. Returning from a full switch is much harder to define. Part waking up, part falling and hitting the ground, part walking out of a smoke-filled room, part amyl nitrate popper, cracked and inhaled. Out of the 3, it’s violent and deeply unsettling. Like being punched unconscious by the school bully, and when you come to, you look up and see a crowd of your peers staring down at you.

The first thing i do when the awareness sets in that i’ve been gone, is i try to keep my face neutral. I don’t want to do the big blink, or have a deer-in-the-headlights look on my face. This is number 1 due to shame, but it’s also a not unhealthy sense of self-preservation. I’ve been slammed back into the face while in some dangerous situations; places where i’m around people that are keen for an advantage over someone like me. Prey. And frankly, switching is private. The whole multiple thing, while over the past few years i’m more “out” about it, is deeply personal. Those who respect that are in my life. Those that look at me like i’m a puzzle or a party trick, are not. It’s been my experience that those types WILL play me like a Chinese finger puzzle if i let them.
So yeah, as unobtrusively as possible, i try to suss out what TF is going on.

This morning i fall into the face, and it’s not too bad – more like falling off my bike onto the grass rather than the asphalt. Still, it’s never pleasant. There’s a hitch in my gut, because i must always wonder if i’ve fucked up, and if so, how badly. I see that i’m fully dressed, and the siren starts to bleat when i look down and see i have my shoes on. Being dressed at 8am is one thing; having my shoes on and in the house (i come from a country where people don’t wear their shoes indoors) means i’ve at least tried to go for a walk. At this time my husband will be at work, so i can’t ask him. I look carefully out my bedroom door and see my son’s door is closed. I don’t want to ask him, but once he hears my door open, he comes out to check on me. UGH. He lets me know i was fighting with his dad, and i’d left the house. I hate that he knows, but he’s grown, and it’s better than if he wasn’t. I won’t lie to him at his age, not even by omission. I’m not going to give him a blow-by-blow, but if he asks me a question – i’ll tell him the truth.
He says everything’s okay, and i’m okay, and he and i are okay. That last part is because i constantly fret that i’ve upset him or we’re not on good terms.
I worry on the regular that i’ve enmeshed him with me.
All i have is that i’m willing to know and do what must be done.
For now, that involves hanging on until i can speak with the inimitable Ms T.

**********

When the session starts, i can feel my irritation. This is not at all uncommon. My system has always been varying levels of hostile towards my therapist. It doesn’t bother her. It bothers me, of course. I was trained to respect authority, but also hide all my business from them. Seems weird, but when you consider what my mother was doing to me, it makes total sense. Present as normal as possible, because what was happening was not at all normal, or right, or legal.
She asks how i’m doing, but quickly transitions into therapy.
That may sound weird, but let me explain: I’ve seen a LOT of therapists in my life. I mean, a lot a lot. I always knew something was wrong with me, although i didn’t know what. I always knew someone needed to help me, but i didn’t know who or how. Over the years, i’ve knocked on countless doors and sat in innumerable chairs. I’ve told my story so many times it was like a script i’d memorised. I don’t know if any of them wanted to help me –i’d like to imagine they all did– but no one had what i needed/was looking for.

I’ve been asked a thousand times, How are you doing? and it was bullshit, because it didn’t matter what i said. I could play their game or not, depending on how i felt or who was in charge that day. I know i sound smug and superior here, but let the chips fall where they may. I’d been in the system, barking in the yard for so long, that i could convince anyone to let me in. But no one offered me the bone i wanted. None of it was palatable. None of it or them, made me hungry or want to eat.

So when i met a therapist who not only didn’t ask for my history, but also knew i was a multiple and didn’t try to play with my brain, i felt the first pangs of hunger (HOPE) that i’d felt in years and years.
Today she asked me how i was doing, and after over 12yrs of knowing me, she’s very capable of quickly discerning the direction of our session and getting started. She doesn’t waste time, for which i’m grateful. At my age, i don’t have as much left as i’d like.

I’ve been stressed and overspent for countless months, but i’ve learned a couple of things and i want her to fix them. I want her to take the feelings of anguish and disgust away. I want her to wash away the filth.
She hears me, and tells me she wishes she could, but it doesn’t work that way.
I say, Okay, so you want me to use another word so you don’t feel so bad?
She calls me on my aggression; says what i said was kinda mean.
She’s right. It grounds me as well as i can be at that point.

She speaks to me in ways i can hear, using words i can understand. From the beginning i told her what i wanted and what i didn’t, who i was and who i wasn’t. It was only to the best of my ability at the time (how can it ever be anything else?), but it was clear from the jump that if anyone could help me, she could.
But the point is that she was always listening. She always heard me. She always gave me a platform – but not like a fucking analyst’s couch. If that’s what works for you, great! I don’t mean to say that can’t be effective, or any other kind of therapy. I’ve never said that any of those that i’d seen prior weren’t good and effective at their job and helped a lot of people… I’m just saying that, for whatever reason, they couldn’t help me (much).

What follows is private, but, it helps me. SHE helps me. She can help me because she first gained my trust, and then, MOST important of all, once she had that i LET her help me.
The shitty part of it is that she assures me that she’d expedite things if she could, but being a multiple, with my particular set of concerns, ensures that isn’t possible. She tells me it’s going to be slow, but based on our prior association, she’s sure i can do it.
I’m feeling grouchy, angry even, and very, very tired and small.

I’m ashamed of my moodiness, my bitchiness, with her. She tells me she doesn’t worry about any of my acting out behaviours (i’m synopsising to make my point).  She says, “H, i knew from the moment i started working with you that it was going to be okay, and i had nothing to worry about.”
(For background, she came to my home for therapy for years, because i couldn’t/wouldn’t have come to her.)
She said, I didn’t worry because i could see you had a code of ethics. I could see that you cared, above all, to be kind to others, and to not allow anyone to suffer as you’ve suffered. You are a good egg.

I get all weepy at this point.
Okay more weepy then. Pfft.
And then she asks me, How does that feel?
I’m like, Wut?
She digs in and asks again, How does it feel for me to say these things about you?
Um, good.
Why does it feel good, do you think?
Urk… Because you see me.
Yeeeeah! I do see you. I’ve known you a long time. And i trust you.

Then she tells me that’s what healing IS.
To be SEEN.
To be KNOWN.
And then to be loved and believed in and trusted following that.
Well, i’ll be good n’ goddamned.
Ms T always has an ace up her sleeve, and she knows when to play ’em.

**********

That was yesterday.
There was fallout; there always is for me after therapy. This time it wasn’t too bad, although the evening is gone. I didn’t go for a walk, and i’m not on a bender. I’ll take it.
A good thing has come from it already. A thing i desperately needed, and that’s sleep. My insomnia has reared its ugly and most unwelcome head this last week or so. I’d had around 6hrs sleep total in the last 5 or 6 days. I was on a razor’s edge emotionally, and my body was in that sleep-starved mode where it vibrates and you feel dizzy all the time. I hated my bed. I hated the approach of the night. For someone who’s as tightly wound as i am currently, i thought i didn’t have much torque left in me. Unfortunately, anxiety will always find a way.

I’d do my sleep preparation, and beyond that try not to think about it. Ha. Don’t think about the elephant standing behind you H, and definitely don’t look at it. Again i say, Ha. So i lie down and try to breathe deeply, and keep my mind as close to empty and calm as i can. My mind is never quiet like a non-multiple’s can be. I’ve never had a conscious minute in my life that didn’t have thoughts roiling around in this ole noggin of mine. But i’m trying not to think about the fact that i haven’t slept in days and i’m exhausted and OMGWHATIFICAN’TSLEEPTONIGHT?!! Usually, i start off thinking Hey, i feel pretty comfy, i think it just might happen! Then, around 20mins in my confidence begins to waver, as my need to change positions becomes stronger. I start to feel little electric pinpricks randomly, all over my body. So i shift, a little, not too much – don’t wanna trigger my restlessness. Then again i think, Okay, maybe… And then suddenly i don’t just have my eyes closed, i’m staring at the inside of my eyelids. My eyeballs immediately start to ache, and i know it’s all over.
I get up at this point because all i’ll do is thrash around, getting more and more frustrated and anxious until i’m so amped that the possibility of any sleep all night becomes impossible. I usually play a game on the computer for an hour and then try again. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Lately though, it just wasn’t happening for me.

Cue therapy. I not only slept last night, i slept more this morning. I feel infinitely better. Less emotional, and more able to accomplish tasks.
So yeah, my post-therapy experiment starts tomorrow.
Feeling hopeful, but not too much. I don’t want to put expectations on myself that i might not be able to meet. It’s gonna be what it’s gonna be. I’m just trying something new. Tweaking my program a little. It’s only an experiment, after which my support team and i will assess the data, and see where i go from there.

Life as me, man.
What a gig.

Love and Peace to All,
~H~

My Travelling Pants

When the pants you’ve been wearing for a week walk off the job in disgust, you may be having some issues.

Yeah, i joke, but i’ve been low functioning these last few months, and getting lower. Perhaps it’d be more accurate to state that my lows are getting lower. I still crawl outta that hole i fell in and get more functional for a time, but it’s still only marginally better than the hole. Before the pandemic hit my periods of better functioning were longer, and i would get closer to the level i was at when i first started this last bout of therapy nearly 2yrs ago.

I’m bipolar, and the best way i’ve found to cope with the manic side of me, is to take only very small, slow steps towards better functioning. It has been my overwhelming experience that going any faster only makes me fall flat on my face harder. Plus, it can trigger a mania – and my manias can last years and cause massive destruction. So i’m a baby-stepper. But babystepping isn’t helping me right now. I’m slipping lower and lower, every time i fall, and as i said, the falls are coming more frequently.

So, i’ve decided to change it up a bit. Just a small experiment, to see if it helps. I’m setting up parameters like length of time, and those who will be overseeing my work.
I’m going to try pushing a little harder.
Those of you who read my blog -especially those that know me personally- don’t freak out. It will be a 3-day trial following my phone therapy session with Ms T this week.

Sometimes shaking things up a bit is just the remedy.

I’m currently fighting a mania. If you aren’t aware, yes, lows can be a part of manic behaviour (and usually are, in some form or fashion). I’m going to feed it a bit of what it wants, but carefully, and strictly measured. No coke binges or booze benders, here. And the positive side of the pandemic is that my anxiety levels ensure that there’s no danger of suddenly becoming my old, social-butterfly self. Heh. What i’m talking about is positive accomplishments. I’m going to feed it some self-esteem.

I’ve worked hard to be okay with the way my brain works. Sometimes that means dialing things back to the bare minimums. I throw prepackaged foods in the oven and microwave to feed my family – or hubby brings home take away. If i can’t be arsed to get in the shower, well, maybe i can just get the pits n’ bits treatment, and splash some water on my face, leaving my usual, rather involved skin care regimen on the shelf for a day or 2 or 10. I ask my son and husband for help with household chores that i normally consider my domain (i’m a right prig about the laundry), and the upkeep of my kitchen is something i actually enjoy. When i ask though, i consciously let go of my need to have it all done a certain way. I also let go of the things i do for exercise, and we have low maintenance doggos, who don’t mind if i can’t walk them for a few days (they still get a bit of exercise around our yard – we live on a farm). I try to write what i can, but honestly, that’s usually the first thing that goes.
Once i start feeling better, i slowly add things back in.
This is a proven helpful and effective way to deal with life as me.

But it’s not working these last months, or better said, it’s not helping.
I’m gonna flip the script, briefly, and see what happens.
If my support system says No, i will advocate further, and probably fiercely. But in the end, if they cannot be swayed, then the trust is there for me to acquiesce.

After my session with my therapist, my plan is to either write, or immediately get on the treadmill if i’m feeling like taking off. (For those unfamiliar with this habit of mine: When i am triggered or feel overwhelmed, i will often dissociate and leave the house at top speed and hit our old country road for a walk towards the highway. Often, nothing good comes from that, and sometimes, very bad things happen.) After this initial absorbing of whatever has come up for me during our talk, i will decide what to do next, based on how i’m feeling, what i’m thinking, and what my body might be trying to tell me.

So, grok me:

– i will be the cooking the suppers,
– i will be washing the bod and the face on the regular,
– i will be doing the laundry and cleaning the kitchen,
– i will be walking the doggos (they will be so happy!),
– i will be keeping up with both my writing and my reading.

I will be keeping the thing i do where i reward my accomplishments regularly with down time. Lots of futzing about on the computer, watching anime with my Kiddo and my current various streaming services series obsessions. I will stop for ice cream or chocolate or potatoes at my whim. And i will drop everything and call my husband or BFF or text Ms T if i sense or feel trouble.
It’ll just be for a few days, and then we’ll take stock. Me, my support system, and of course my precious Bits N’ Pieces. We’ll all have a say and then we’ll decide if i continue as is, maybe push a little harder, or if it would be best if i stopped.

Maybe my pants will forgive me and come back.

It’s time now for the show
Put on my makeup, away I go
I’ll say a prayer
That I will see you out there

So when the show is done
You’ll take my hand, away we’ll run
Along home, to make supper
~ Storm Large, Under You

I Remember

I remember

your face filling every space in my eyes
no room for anything else
Nowt but you

I remember

your voice flooding into my ears
like a cheap cotton swab
What’d you say

I remember

your touch on every inch of my skin
oily and unctuous slick
Choking my pores

I remember

terrible days and terrifying nights with you
always bracing for the onslaught
violent and dreary

I remember

i’m stuck here in our memories together
still caught fast in your web
being consumed