Perseverance

I’m not sure what’s going on in my brain, so i’m gonna write a bit, and see if i can figure it out. Let me say plainly that this may be a dog’s breakfast, and it may not end up with any answers for me or insights for you, but it’s a coping skill that has helped in the past, and it’s one i’ve committed to using, regardless. So, even if we both wind up empty-handed, i’ll at least have the behaviour more ingrained, and i can glean some pride and self-esteem from my sticktoitiveness.

I lost my mother-in-law about a week and a half ago. I tried to write about it, but i didn’t see myself in the draft, so it’s sitting in my folder, waiting for me to find myself and tell the story that’s there.
I’m tired, though. I am so fucking tired, and i don’t know why.
Okay, well, it’s probably depression, but this one feels different. I’m trying to get through it without checking out – no booze, no drugs. Food and sex are handled for now, but i can still stumble with the other 2. And switching.
I want to make it through this depression (?)

Yeah okay, it’s a fucking depression. It is. I know it is. Just because it feels different doesn’t mean it’s not a depression. I’m tired all the time, i have no oomph, no joy, no passion, and i have absolutely no fucks to give about anything.
It’s a depression.

I want to make it through this depression without alcohol, drugs, or switching. I’m okay with a bit of sliding (meaning i’m not in the face, but i can observe what’s happening – kinda like watching myself on telly), but no losing time.
If i don’t make it, i won’t punish myself or hate myself – i’ll give my performance a proper critique, tweak my technique, and prepare for the matinee showing.
That was poetic. Or at least a bit precious, eh?

My legs are heavy, leaden. My head feels like it’s filled with fresh cement that’s in the process of hardening. I went back to bed at 10 this morning, and i’ve only been up since noon and i already want to go back to bed at 2:30. The fibro has settled into my neck and shoulders, my forearms too. It’s moved down into my thighs, which almost never happens. My back feels out of place like it hasn’t in years. My sinuses are acting like they’re infected. I’ve broken my retainer and we’re too broke to afford a new one, so i’m grinding and clenching all night and the pain in my face is excruciating.
I have no sense of time.
My head is a burden, my thoughts are tribulation.
I want chocolate and bourbon and media distractions.
I want to hide in my dreams.
I do NOT want people.
A cabin in the deep woods with books and DVDs and enough fresh snow and firewood would be pure heaven.

As i type this out i can see the truth of it; this is something tangible and it helps to look at it. While i may be feeling heavy, i am not at all grounded. I am the lead balloon. I need my feet back down on earth. I must keep moving, even if it’s a plod, plod, shuffle-stumble, plod… My feet on the ground, the smell of the earth, the pricking grip of the frigid air…

YES.
I know what i’ll do.
I will take some strong pain reliever right now. Then the vacuuming and dusting. I will throw something in a pot for supper. Then i will drink some very hot tea -not my usual black- herb. Something soothing. I like Chamomile, or some delicate mint. Then i will watch a feel-good movie. A happy-cry movie. While i’m watching, i’ll finish up the ironing that’s making me feel bad by sitting there undone, and when that’s finished i will brush out my doggy. After that i will do nothing remotely productive until i must feed my family. I’m going to retire early with a good book.

Tomorrow i’m going to return to my walks. I’m not paranoid due to mania anymore. No hallucinations.
It was the metaphors about continuing on my path. The bite of the winter air.
Ohhh, THAT’S what i need! It’s what i’m now missing.
It’s time to start walking again. I have no doubt that it’s going to help.
Holy shit, i’m excited about something.

I am marking in words on this page made of technology and ether –

Writing works for me.
My thoughts are seeds. The harmful thoughts are born in fertile ground: isolation, darkness, fear. The helpful thoughts must be planted outside, under the open sky. In the sun, with the rain and the air and the other helpful thoughts that came before, that are already growing and blooming and bearing sweet fruits.

I’m going for a walk tomorrow, before breakfast.

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”
~Martin Luther King Jr.

 

Do You Really Want To Hurt Me?

Do you really want to hurt me,
Do you really want to make me cry
?
~Culture Club

It’s been a year since i quit socialising. Actually, it’s been more like 2, but i’d tried to do a bit here and there in 2015. It was all a disaster, and convinced me that i needed to do something a little more drastic. I haven’t been out to a major gathering since a wedding last Hallowe’en, or had people in my home for a meal in even longer.

I’m not lonely most of the time. I have a teenage kid still living at home, and the other 2 stop by regularly with the families that they’re building. In the last year, that’s been more than good enough. I have some online relationships that have filled any serious need i’ve felt to interact with anyone outside of them.

I’ve never been good at peopling, i guess. It’s not been for lack of trying. I may have put more effort in to having friends than just about anything else. No long term success, though. I’ve had friends off and on throughout my life, some very close and very dear. None of them though, for a long time. The longest friendship i’ve ever been able to maintain was around 15yrs, and no other friendship even comes close to that one, which is, like all the others save one that has been rekindled, either over, or no longer close.

I accept that it’s mostly been my fault. I accept that it’s hard to be my friend, much like i accept that i’m an odd person – not because i know it, but because i’ve been told it’s so, and the opinion seems to be largely borne out. I don’t feel like i’m particularly hard to be friends with, but based on my track record it seems fairly obvious. Heh. I’m not exactly sure what it is that makes me so weird, either. However, based on how hard it is for me to maintain a relationship, or forge new friendships, coupled with how people look at me and treat me… Some people have even told me right to my face, which i actually appreciate. Especially now, with my resolution to stop reading everyone reflexively; blunt people are less stressful.

I had a job from the time i was very young, and the most important part of it was to behave in certain ways around certain people. Different ways around different people. It hasn’t lent itself well to a strong sense of identity. I wasn’t so good at being myself but i was quite good at being who i thought other people expected me to be.

Well, i thought i was good at it.
Now i’m not really sure.

The harder i’ve worked on myself -you know, my brain and my fucked up life- the more i’ve wondered if that was ever really so.
That i was good at it.
You know, peopling.

It also seems to be that, the healthier and more functional i’ve gotten in my brain and my much-less-fucked-up life, the less good i am at peopling. I get nervous, anxious, awkward. Everything feels forced and i know i’m trying too hard. I feel exposed, naked, vulnerable… I’ll smile too wide, laugh too loud, talk too long, drink too fast. Sometimes all at once. Dissociation to some degree is never far behind. I can devolve in 2hrs or less now.

I’m kind of a train wreck.

So i decided over a year ago that it was time to take a break. I desperately needed to get some perspective, and my body needed me to stop punishing it with drugs. My body is healthier and my vision is much clearer. I don’t always like what i see, but at least i’m not crashing into it full speed, wondering What the heck was that, and Is this the collision i won’t walk away from?

Here is my truth: When the people who created me did unspeakable things to me, it broke me on a level that can never be mended. I know that. I don’t know if i can ever trust anyone enough to let them really know me – even what little i know about myself. I know i’m trying my best, and i know i’ll continue to try, but it may be that i’ll never be able to people very well. Some of those friends that i’ve lost along the way have said they couldn’t live with the wall i have around myself. Others have called me closed, unreliable, full of myself, full of shit.

They’re not wrong, although in my own defense, it’s hard to be genuine when you have no clue who you are, and you can’t let down your walls long enough to figure much out.

So i guess what i’m saying is, Fuck them. Kinda. Not really i suppose.
But they hurt me.
People hurt me.
All the time and even when they don’t mean to.
I think just being around people hurts me a lot of times.
I’m sick of people’s shit and i’m tired of trying to figure them out.

I feel safe in my Little Crooked House, and i’ve almost never felt safe in my entire life.
I still get hurt here, but they’re sorry, and they know me. I guess?
I don’t really know right now, but i’m really fucking trying.

Sorry for all the cursing. Dark night of the soul stuff actually makes me less poetic and more profane.
Love and Peace,
~H~

Pain is the Great Winnower

I’ve got a couple of big, emotional pieces coming up that i’m not looking forward to – and this is one of them. Right now, all my feelings are very close to the surface. Chronic pain has a way of stripping away everything you use to protect yourself, until there’s nothing left but the brutal, naked truth. There’s no energy for anything but coping.

It doesn’t have to be that way, but it does. I’ll tell you why.

I was going to my high school reunion. I’d been planning it for a while, and it was the night before i was to leave. I should have stayed home and gotten a solid 8hrs sleep, but i was dating this new guy, and i was falling for him like i’d never fallen for anybody. I went to his place and he made supper, and we lay in bed after, and he just held me all night. No sex -we hadn’t been intimate yet- but my body was on fire . I didn’t get a wink of sleep and i was punch drunk and stupid with lust. I went home and picked up my kids and my sister, and i set off on the drive to stay with my grandparents and attend my 10yr reunion, 833km away.
Yeah. I had no business behind the wheel for any distance, but i packed my 5yr old and my baby and my kid sister into my big ass old van and blithely navigated highway traffic. Yeah. To put all those precious people at grave risk apparently wasn’t enough for me, so i picked up a Belgian hitchhiker.
Yeah. I rolled my van 2 1/2 times. I threw that poor young man out and broke his collarbone. My oldest son still bears the scar from the deep scalp laceration. I could have killed them all: a stranger, my babies, and the sister i’d tried so hard to save.
Luckily, the only lasting damage i did was to myself. When we were finally stopped by a ditch culvert, upside down, i felt something just… i don’t know, give way in my back, and i knew it was bad.
Yeah. I’d spent my entire school career being messed up and awkward and my reunion was no different. Such not surprise. Heh.

Although my back injury healed, i was experiencing widespread, diffuse muscle pain, which my truly spectacular family doctor suspected was Fibromyalgia. She sent me to a specialist who confirmed her suspicions. I don’t know how much you know about the condition, but all you really need to know is that i was in constant pain, and it never went away. My doctor tried everything and nothing gave me any relief until i found over-the-counter codeine, which i immediately began abusing all day, every day. I could go through a 250tab bottle in 5 days, easily. That’s a lot, like a dangerous lot. It still didn’t do enough, but i kept at it for about 5 or 6 yrs, when i quit it, cold turkey.
So how then, you may ask, did i cope with the pain that didn’t magically disappear, and in fact had become even worse, as of course is the way with an opioid addiction. Well, i had something else on my horizon, and that was Bipolar Disorder getting its hooks in me and with it came a hard drinking, party lifestyle. Oh, and it didn’t take long before i was so out of control that i couldn’t hide my dissociations any longer. Rather than just happening when i was undergoing extreme emotional distress or feared for my safety, it was happening at any time, and it was happening often.

So in other words, if i wasn’t feeling no pain because i was drunk off my ass, i was feeling no pain because i was completely dissociated from my body.

It’s taken years to get here, and i’ve traded one kind of pain for another. Now, i don’t mean that to sound as fatalistic and whiny as i know it does, but hey, i’m in a lot of pain. Physical pain. And i’m not running from it for the first time since my diagnosis over 20yrs ago. I’m not medicating with pills or booze, or street drugs, and i’m not leaving my body to escape it. I’m here and i’m feeling it and HOLY FRICKETY FRACK does it hurt.  I can feel the pain in my body when i’m dreaming for pity’s sake.

But i needed to take control of my brain, and i knew the day would come when i’d have to work harder and do more in order to stay on track. I have to find a way to cope with this physical pain without abusing drugs or letting the inmates run my asylum.
Last year around this time i made a lot of hard decisions, and my reward is that i’m as fully present and conscious of myself, my surroundings, my situation, my relationships, my choices, and my desires as i have perhaps ever been before. No, not perhaps. Definitely. I’ve never been more capable of being who i want to be and doing what i want to do as i am right now.

I’m beginning to envision the kind of human i want to be now. I can also !FINALLY! look back and see all the work i’ve done and be proud. Because i’ll tell you something – i have never given up. Even when i was in the absolute shit of it all, i was always trying. I wanted to be better and do better and understand what in the hell was wrong with me. And now i know and i’m very better. Not all the way and never fixed, but WOW kinda better.

I guess the gift in the pain is i’m just too exhausted to deal with all my bullshittery anymore, let alone anyone else’s. My emotional pain carved away all the relationships and activities and interactions that were standing in the way of me just growing the hell up. I expect my physical pain will do something along the same lines. I don’t exactly know yet how i’m gonna deal with it, but i know that i will deal with it, head on, and no checking out.

There will be whimpering, though. And some whining. Perhaps some whinging.

I’ll end with some happy news: That guy that kept me up all night? Next year we’ll be married 20yrs.

Love and Peace,

~H~