Slow

Unreasonable haste is the direct road to error.
~Molière

I’ve flown by the seat of my pants my entire life. Trauma was a regular part of my life from birth, until i was finally free from my mother around the age of 21. Although i sought treatment over the years that followed, i didn’t find anyone that helped me significantly until around 45. It’s only been since then that i’ve been able to properly identify my many trauma-based reactions to typical life situations. These responses have been generally dissociative, with hair-trigger responses to stress and anxiety manifesting regularly as fight, flight, or freeze. More than half my time since then was initially spent dealing with more chaos, rather than less, and the work left me so exhausted that i spent a couple of years just hermitting and resting.

The last few years i’ve built a fairly normal life for myself, and that took some planning. As you might guess after reading my first paragraph, that did not come naturally to me. I needed to be told how to do it step-by-step, incrementally, and to see it modeled, and to be given the grace and the freedom to practise it safely, and fail quite spectacularly, too. Because there’s so much going on in my head, i can be quite scattered. I’m one of those people that regularly loses track of what i was saying or doing, the reason usually being that i’ve been tripped up by a voice in my head. Something/someone on the inside has caught my attention, and i’m now more focused on my inner world than my outer.

Then there was my mother, who wasn’t into the teaching part of parenting. Fortunately, i had the same babysitter for my first 6yrs, so she taught me how to play and how to socialise with other children. My grandmother was a teacher, and she gave me reading, writing, and basic arithmetic, and along with Grandpa, some normal and fun family activities. What my mother taught me was by example, and it was a crash-bang-tinkle course in how to be manipulative and dysfunctional. I knew nothing about planning for the future, or setting goals, or organising my living space, activities, chores, or events. No people skills save charm, which was used strictly for manipulation. She taught me how to hide in plain sight. I was a tumour dressed up like a cupcake. Although i’ve always been a good person, i did things that weren’t good because that’s what i was taught, and i treated people poorly sometimes, because that’s what i knew. I looked down on others, because part of the way it’d been so easy to keep quiet about my upbringing, was that i was indoctrinated to believe i was special; different than the people around me, and better. Others wouldn’t understand our ways – they didn’t belong, and they weren’t smart enough to understand.

I wanted to be liked and accepted so badly. Part of that is a natural human desire, but some of it was because, deep down, i desperately wanted to be rescued, and also because i’d been trained to seek approval. Of course, at the very bottom of the well, was a little girl starving for love and affection. I was too dysfunctional for anything healthy and lasting, though. No one could get to know me well enough for intimacy to develop, as my mother had Rapunzeled me long before i hit school age.

I’ve not digressed – i share this so you might see how the way i was raised was a roadblock to learning life skills from anyone. Back when i was just trying to survive, living an unexamined life, i wasn’t conscious of looking down on people, nor did i know i trusted no one. It simply didn’t occur to me that i could find someone who had what i wanted and ask them how they got it, or even just observe them and try to emulate what i saw. There were many flaws in the way i thought about life and people, and i lacked the insight to see what the problems were. All i knew was that there was something wrong with me. Learning that i was a victim of child abuse opened my eyes to how ill-equipped i was to live life on life’s terms. I saw how abuse had twisted me in some ways, and had atrophied my development in others. Eventually i could see how i kept people far, far away. I was all closed doors and drawn shades.

(You know, as i’m proofreading this, i just had a little a-ha moment! I can see on a deeper level why i had to hide in my house for a couple of years, while i was trying out my new self-knowledge and acquired life skills. I still needed the protection of closed doors and drawn shades around me. It’s like taking your clothes off in front of a new lover. I’m in the bedroom with them and yes, we are going to be intimate, but first time i take my clothes off will be behind this beautiful shoji screen, thank you. We can even light one candle! You’re welcome.)

Having a child was a brutal awakening to how completely disconnected i was, but it was also the beginning of me reaching out to find connection. My son needed me for everything, including affection, and as his concept of himself as separate from me grew, so did his requirement for love and to have his need for attachment be honoured, respected, and nurtured. My son was probably the first person i didn’t fear, the first with whom i had no walls or filters or masks. He was the most amazing, most precious thing i’d ever known, and my love for him shone a stark light on how i was unable to meet some of those needs to the level he seemed to be wanting. Needing.
I began looking to other parents for cues on how to do this. I took a couple of weeks-long parenting courses. I hired money management. I went back to school. I walked away from some troubled friendships and i began purposely building relationships with more functional and successful people.

As someone with my particular set of mental challenges can do, i took this new information that i could learn from modeled behaviour and ran with it. I would zero in on someone who had what i wanted (like 12-step groups had been teaching me), and then i would do what i saw them do, or what they told me they were doing.
Some of it i just couldn’t get the hang of though, like commitment, discipline, and sticktuitiveness. I continued to look for a good therapist or group, but had little success, and couldn’t tolerate any of them for the length of time required to build relationships.

A ridiculously long mania in my late 30s taught me that what was missing, in part, was pacing. I was impatient for results, i was pushing too hard and going too fast. I was caught in a chaotic and humiliating cycle of 3 steps forward and 3 back – 4 if i got mad. I was learning how my brain worked and how to deal with it, and that would have to come before i’d have the cognition and the skills to be able to slow down; to figure out where i wanted to go, and the best route for me to get there.

After half a century i seem to be heading in the right direction.
Of course it has to be playground zones the whole way.
There’s children all over the damn place.

Homeostasis

ho·me·o·sta·sis
/ˌhōmēəˈstāsəs/
noun
  1. the tendency toward a relatively stable equilibrium between interdependent elements, especially as maintained by physiological processes.

This has been a good year; my most functional to date. I stopped hermitting, made a couple of friends, and reconnected with some old ones. It’s the year that i added exercise to all my lifestyle changes regarding food and eating, and all the work finally started paying off with some significant weight loss. I took up some parttime work, and i began volunteering my time in a couple of areas that matter to me.
By the time summer rolled around, i’d hit my stride and was feeling successful, and also like it was just the beginning.

Fall brought a change in the weather, dead leaves picked up and strewn about by chill winds, sucking the warmth from the ground, bringing the kind of silence that fills your ears and echoes in the stillness.
It’s analogous to what was happening in my brain; old voices whispered into an unsettling quiet, invading the hush. I shushed but they persisted, until i was so full of sound my body couldn’t contain it and it spilled out of me like Shhhhhhhh, bleeding off the pressure like a tire with too much air.

Dreams, too many, then nightmares and sleeplessness, and then the old urge to run. To get away, to go home, and for the first time in a very long time, wondering if it might be better to just stop. I didn’t know why it had gotten quiet, but i did know that it had caused fear and panic inside me. I went looking for answers in the dark corners of myself, but i only found emptiness, a yawning blackness where something once had been. The voices following after, soughing through my head like wind through trees.

No sleep, no peace, the anxious murmurs, old bones rustling like ancient scrolls. I have trouble hearing my therapist over the susurration – she repeats everything once, twice. Again please. Sorry.
She doesn’t say “integration”, she says “homeostasis”.

My switching tics return.
I stop exercising because i keep trying to “go home”.
I pull away from people, from work, from helping.
I don’t fit in my body correctly.
I break my ankle.

Maybe it seems like my year started out good, got great, and then got fucked.
Kinda accurate.
Maybe it looks like i started out walking, broke into a run, then tripped on a stone in the road and went sprawling.
I mean, that does look like road rash.

All those years spent fighting the urge my parents programmed into me to go home. I think in resisting it i found true direction. My Fortress of Solitude. My true north.
Homeostasis. HOME.

This has been a good year.

**********

I have some resolutions. I have some little goals and some bigger ones. I intend to continue on as i have been, one foot in front of the other, pushing doggedly forward, adding one kilometre onto the next, putting distance between myself and the place i was told to go, and instead heading towards the place i want to be.

My resolutions this year are less nebulous, more distinct and definitive.
They are little things like building my wardrobe to better reflect my own personal style, and having exercise be an integral part of my personal hygiene, like showering and brushing my teeth.
They are bigger things too, like blogging and keeping in touch with family and friends. Deepening my relationships; letting worthy people in a bit more.
Returning to helping and growing its scope.
Getting my house shipshape, top to bottom. Declutter. Organise. Move Kiddo downstairs and finally turn his room into my makeup/change room, with a day bed and a light-up mirror.
Keep moving our home toward healthier eating.
Read more fiction, and maybe even write some?
Blog more than last year, maybe even through the tough bits this time?

It’s 5:37am on January 1st, and i was woken by a bad dream a couple of hours ago. I got up, got a cup of tea, recorded what i remembered of the dream, and then i brought up my blog and clicked that little rounded rectangle button that says WRITE, with a plus sign, and bashed out this wee thingy.

Not a bad start to the year.
Homeostasis right now looks like bed and hubby-shnuggles.

Love and Peace To You, and Happy New Year!
~H~

Like Swimming

HELLO, GOOD AFTERNOON, AND WELCOME TO THE MONTH BEFORE MY BIRTHDAY!

If you read that like Terry Gilliam stepping out of a Zulu suit in The Meaning of Life, then you’re reading it how it was written.

In one month i’ll be fifty.
I’LL BE 50 YEARS OLD! (That one was Sally O’ Malley.)
Pardon me folks, but holy shit.

Don’t get me wrong here. I’m not ageist. It’s not that i’ll be old, or too old, or washed up, or a failure. None of that applies.
Number one is that i never thought i’d make it. My whole life i have assumed i would die young. At this point 50 doesn’t seem that old anymore, but when i was 4yrs old, staring at myself in the mirror with a bottle of poison in my hand and contemplating suicide for the first of countless times, 50 was inconceivable.

There are other factors of course. The regular ones that most of us go through. I have regrets, and i wish i had accomplished more. Both of these things, oh, so very much. I try not to trouble myself with these thoughts overly, because what i have gathered from most of those who’ve been here before me is, honey, it’s de rigeur. As Socrates is said to have uttered, if “the unexamined life is not worth living,” then my life is chock full of value. Heh.

I’ve been feeling like i’m being slowly pulled down under. Like i’ve been fighting the current for too long, and i’m close to exhaustion. It’s largely due to the personal issue to which i’ve alluded a number of times, but some of it is because of something else i’ve devoted much of this blogging process to, and that is my certainty that i am at a pivotal place in my personal growth. I’ve done a tremendous amount of work over the years, but it has all been tearing down the old and laying the foundation for the new. Now it’s time to build. The junk’s been cleared out and the old structure razed. The basement’s poured and the framework is done. The rest is all sweat equity, and this house ain’t gonna build itself.

I’ve shared how i started with teeny tiny little baby steps. I’d take a wee and wobbly stumble forward, and immediately rest, congratulate myself, and do it again. The rest in between stumbles was not insubstantial, either. I mean, i rested. Starting with weeks. It was a long time before it was even days. It’s only been this last year that it’s become hours. Today, one month before i turn fiftyholyshityearsold, i don’t even need any time at all between some of those steps. I regularly do some of them one-right-after-the-damn-other.

Lookit me. I’m swimming. I’m stepping. I’m building.

This morning i felt the same terrible drag on my thoughts, my feelings, and my body that i’ve felt for a couple of weeks now. I thought, I’m fighting another depression. Well hell, that sucks a dirty penny, but hey, i’m just gonna keep fighting. I’ll just keep schleppin’ along, doin’ what i been doin’, and it’ll be all right.

It hasn’t been all right though, and it’s been troubling my mind and disturbing my sleep and stirring up my Peanut Gallery and i haven’t been able to write a goddamned word.
So like i said, i felt it again this morning, like more than a dozen other mornings in a freaking row, and so i went back to bed at around 10 or so.
I had the troubled dreams i’ve been having for the same amount of time, and i woke at 12 feeling worse. Worse.
Naps usually make me feel better. They are one of the things i can do between stumble-steps if i need to rest. I rarely nap anymore, though. Usually my rest/reward involves playing on the computer or watching something on telly. Naps are specially reserved for those times when i really need it.
But it didn’t bloody work.
I dragged my more-depressed ass out of bed and forced myself to shower like i haven’t had to force myself to shower in a long time. Which made me feel worse. And anxious.
Great, now i’m anxious too. Wonderful.
I shouldn’t have had leftover cheesy noodles for breakfast. Too many calories and heavy carbs. Ohai Inner Critic. I was definitely needing some self-hatred to add to this toxic brain-milieu, so thanks, ever so.

I’m still in the shower at this point, but already the doing of something positive, that is hard to do, starts having an effect. Rather than just thinking, i become aware of the fact that i am thinking, and i am, quite suddenly, keenly conscious of precisely what i am thinking. I practise a bit of mindfullness: i bring my awareness to the water spraying my skin, my hand with loofah, exfoliating, the scent of my bodywash, my fingers massaging my scalp, brushing the conditioner through. I watch everything wash down the drain and imagine that it is not just dirt and skin cells and soap, but also the psychic weight of all the negativity i’m carrying is sluicing away from me as well.

I’m standing in front of the mirror and i look at myself and what i’m doing. I’m towelling off, i’m moisturising my skin, i’m doing my morning toilette and i treat my skin to a deep-pore extraction and my hair to some keratin creme. I’ve been practising looking at my body -really looking- while i do this, and so i find myself doing so out of habit.
But today… Today that work bears fruit. My body bears the scars of a childhood full of beatings and sexual abuse, and the resultant war of self-hatred that i waged against it for the majority of my life. Years of morbid obesity have not been kind, and now that i’ve lost most of the weight, my skin looks as empty and hollow as i might look on the inside if it were possible to see after all the psychological fat i’ve shed.

But i look, and today i see. And today i don’t hate it. Today as i was standing there and really seeing my body i thought i looked okay. I accepted what i was looking at in a reasonable and rational way, and i was kind to myself. It was not a you’re-a-beautiful-fucking-goddess moment. That’s not who i am, nor who i want to be. I saw myself as nakedly as i’ve ever seen myself and it was more than okay. It was fine. 
And it was then that my brain asploded with a lovely epiphany.
I don’t seek them and i don’t need them, but they sure are nice to have, sometimes.

I know what’s going on and i know what i need to do. It’s a lot and i’m scared AF, but i’ll even tell you.
I need to do MORE than i’ve been doing. It’s okay that i haven’t been doing enough because i didn’t know that i wasn’t. I’ve been progressing along the road to mature functionality admirably well, all things considered.
But now my brain is telling me to do more, and i didn’t understand, and so my feelings tried to help by telling me something was wrong. This is how it’s supposed to work.
I have been working the way healthy people generally work.

I need to start acting just a bit more like regular folks though.
So i won’t be going back to bed after i’m already up for at least the next month.
Weekdays i’ll be getting up at 5:30 like usual, and i’ll be going to bed at 10:30, which i try for, but it’s a bit spotty (maybe because i can go back to bed?)
And i’ll be blogging too – Monday to firetrucking Friday. (I know i cussed a fair bit for this post, so i’m trying not to overdo. Heh.)

I don’t know how terribly concise this post was, but welcome to how my brain works. This is who i am and this is all i have to offer. If you’re still here i thank you, and maybe i’ll see you tomorrow.

Be as well and as happy today as you are able. I’ll do the same.

It’s a lot like swimming first time over your head
It gets easier when you move your arms and legs
And for air you lift your head, why don’t we try right now
Yes right now
Yes right now
Well
~Like Swimming, Morphine

Love and Peace,

~H~

Ice Cream As Kudos

There’s a bit of panic in me these days. I’m living a less chaotic life, stumbling towards something like normalcy. What i wrote the other day about no parades or kudos has been like scratching a record, scrubbing across the vinyl and playfully warning me that there are No kyu-doze. N-n-n-n-no kyu-doze. Just little victories noted by me and mostly only me.

This is my life today, and though it’s a good life and i’m heartened by my progress, i can be suddenly overwhelmed by the enormity of the work in front of me. I stepped back to get a break from the mood i’ve been in, and as i did so i looked up and caught the big picture. Based on results, that was not a good idea.

I was in the kitchen when it hit me. I’d been putting off little things here and there, trying to give myself some space, to nurse my mood a little. I saw a life of cleaning up the same messes, over and over. Making the same meals, scrubbing the toilet, doing the laundry…

And then i cast both my literal and my figurative eye around myself, my house, my life.
THAT i should not have done. It’s too much for me to bear. The enormity of all that lies before me, waiting to be done, to be cleaned up, to be put right. In mere moments i’m in the grip of an anxiety attack; i’m crying, it’s hard to catch my breath, i feel physically weak, like i’d suddenly picked up a huge burden. Which i had.
Many have either heard or made some joke about trying to manage all the bags of groceries in one go. We want to get it all over at once, but we often end up hurting ourselves or dropping and damaging household items. It might very well have been faster to take what we can easily carry and just go back for the rest. We’re not injured, the supplies we needed are intact, and hey, we got a little more exercise – which most of us can always use.

The fact that i am well behind many of my peers and contemporaries when it comes to the day-to-days of what i see as a relatively normal and functional adult life, cannot be denied. I’m not sure exactly where i learned it -and by that i mean i have no wish to ascertain blame- but i grew up believing that only those doomed to fail offered up any excuses. More than that though -and this is where blame can certainly be assigned- i believed i had none to offer.

They would be excuses if i offered them up and then did nothing. As that is clearly not what i’m doing, what i have are reasons. I have a legitimate basis upon which to build a case for my status as a late bloomer. But even a sincere acknowledgment by me of that truth cannot gird me well enough to step back and absorb the monumental work that lies before me.
So it’s too much to look at it all, and it is also not enough to only look at what is in front of me.
So it’s to be balance, again.
I don’t need a parade, but maybe a small celebration is in order.
Just me and my Peanut Gallery.

There’s no poetry in this and i don’t have a clever literary device to use in closing.
I’m just putting in the blasted work.
I’m paying attention to what’s going on in my brain and i’m regularly checking in to see what we’re feeling. Roll call. Heh.
I’m learning what thoughts and feelings need to be addressed and i’m facing them and following through.
I believe i have earned a small dish of ice cream and a cat nap.
Huzzah.

I shall keep on keepin’ on, and i hope you do, too.

Love and Peace,
~H~

Tuesday’s Tidbit

I’ve been struggling with mood.
It’s crap. It may not seem like it, but i feel like crap and the world seems crappy.

I want to dive into a bottle or a tub of ice cream.
I want to hide in bed but i can’t – i’m dreaming all night long. It’s a sign that my Peanut Gallery is agitated.
I know it. I know why, too. The why doesn’t fix things, though. The only fix there is, is to keep moving.
Not frenetic. Not a beautiful interpretive dance. Not drill or a colour guard. No knee-scraping mortifications necessary.

Just one foot in front of the other, no cadence, no pacing, no ETA.
I’m not looking up right now. Honestly, i don’t care to see the scenery. I’m in a mood where everything seems overcast and everyone’s tainted.
I know what this is about and it’s not helping. There’s no less of a burden, no light seepage, no magic.
Just the fucking work.

If you have been reading you know i’m doing quite well, very likely better than i have ever done. More clearheaded, functional, and emotionally level than i’ve ever been before.
But i have this personal issue. It’s there all the time. And some days it weighs heavier than others.
I have set my feet upon a path and i know that not everyone will be coming along.
I have choices to make, decisions that won’t wait much longer.

My problems have been so big. They have eaten up the time and the energy of everyone i love who has also loved me. There is no fucking parade. No kudos and congratulations here. Just the catching of breath and the settling of dust.

My problems have been so big and i had to stop pretending they weren’t. I let it all hang out and gave the world a double bird flip. It’s what i had to do to get right, but there is a price to pay that i’m only now beginning to count. My problems have dwarfed those of anyone around me. It’s easy to be Jesus when you’re standing next to Legion. I see now that it may always be that way.

I’ve put one foot in front of the other and been grateful that i’m dogged and tenacious and one stubborn motherfucker. Because it hasn’t helped. I don’t feel better. I don’t feel very que sera, sera.
I know my brain is restless. I itch to wrest control away from anyone that may have it besides me. I ache to stir up some temporary drama to distract me from this feeling. This feeling that i can only do what i can do – and baby, that ain’t much.

I eat properly. I look after my hygiene. I do housework. I continue setting my house to rights. I take care of my dogs. I exercise. I touch base with people who care about me.

I write.

Sometimes, actually a lot of the damn time, all there is is this.
Plodding along. Time ticking interminably by. No fanfare. No epiphany.
No moment.
Just the investment, the commitment, the work.

Traction

So, it’s clear to me that i’m gonna need to force this one out. Meh, it’s okay. Sometimes i’ve gotta drag out the first bits before it begins to flow. Sometimes the whole thing is pure straining effort, but not as often anymore.
(Did that sound like i’m constipated to you? Because i just read it and snarfled.)

The words aren’t so much stuck as i am maybe holding them back. I’m afraid to tell you this next bit. Not because it’s painful, or embarrassing, or ugly, or anything else like that. It’s because it’s good, and i’m afraid of good.

I’m afraid it’s a fluke.
I’m afraid i don’t deserve it.
I’m afraid someone will come and take it away from me.
I’m afraid it’s not real.
I’m afraid it won’t last, that something terrible will surely follow.

I’m certain i’m not the only one who struggles with good news. I was the receptacle for all my parents’ negativity. I was raised believing i was a bad seed, that i provoked the hatred and the rage and the disgust that spewed out at me. As a result i felt less than everyone around me. The teachers, preachers, caregivers, and of course, my fellow students, mostly confirmed for me that i was low and wretched, unworthy of the good things in life.

And yes, i was one of those people who would sabotage the good things. That is, if my mother didn’t do it first, so full of envy and jealousy, she was. I was approached a number of times to do commercials when i was a little girl – NO. Twice, my teachers suggested skipping me a grade – NO. Good families offered to take me in and raise me as their own – NO. By the time i left home i felt destined for a hardscrabble life. Looking back now, i see a dozen missed opportunities for really good things. At the time they were offered i didn’t even see them.

Things began to change once i started dealing with my problems, and the childhood abuse from which it all seemed to stem. I could see how badly i’d been hurt, how much wrong had been done me – having children of my own made it glaringly obvious how awful my mother had been. Although i wrestled with corporal punishment due to my continued affiliation with my religion, and when Bipolar Disorder got its teeth into me i was shamefully neglectful, but the sexual abuse, the terrible beatings, the constant manipulation of my thoughts and feelings – that was anathema to me.

Slowly, slowly, ever so slowly, i began to allow myself to want good things, and to think that maybe i even deserved them. Even typing that causes a reaction though. Still. It’s hard, but it is easier than it was, and i expect it to get better and better, as i continue to do the work that’s in front of me. I’m learning more about who i am and what i think, healing this skin suit i was born with and finally growing into it so it fits. It’s what i came into this life wearing, and it’s served me well. It’s held together despite some serious wear and tear. I’ve spent years now, stitching it up, patching the holes, mending burst seams and tacking up all the fallen hems. I’ve scrounged fabric from wherever i could get it, at first taking the stuff in the bargain bins, but working my way towards the fine and fancy bolts of cloth that are always displayed in the window. And why shouldn’t i have them? I can afford it now.

This skin suit i wear is now rather natty. I’m haute couture, y’all. I was ready to strut my stuff. Or march, as it were. And when i marched a couple of weeks ago, i felt like i belonged.
Well, maybe that’s not quite it. I still feel apart – different. I’m open to connecting with humans outside of my husband and children (and my treasured online friends), but i don’t quite have the knack of it yet. It’ll take more work and a lot of practise, i think, but that doesn’t trouble me anymore.
What i felt was that i had a right to be there. I know that that is a powerful, perhaps even crucial step in my development, and i can’t quite quantify why or how yet, but i will. I had a right to be there.

I HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE HERE.

After the march ended, my companion asked if i would go with her to the grand opening of a new refugee centre in our city. I said yes. And just like when i knew i was going to march, i knew i was going to offer to help if they would have me. And just like that i started volunteering.
The week following i was filled with this kind of simmering excitement, like i am bubbling to the surface. I’m ready to start being the person that i want to be, the person that i am, the person that i’ve always been. I acknowledged the wreckage and i cleaned up the mess, looking at every broken bit and deciding what could be fixed and what needed to be tossed. I arranged things to please myself, i brought order and functionality and let in the air and the light and made everything fresh, and i am good. to. go. Whether it’s strutting around town in my spiffy new suit (okay vintage, but revamped – like Molly Ringwald’s prom dress in Pretty in Pink), or inviting someone into my newly reno’ed home. I’m ready.

I do this blog for myself and my Peanut Gallery, #1, but a very close second is everyone out there who can relate to my experiences and struggles to be happy and functional. If i can encourage anyone to keep going, keep trying… If you struggle with your thoughts and emotions, if you think you’re worthless or hopelessly defective… I’ve been there, and i am living, breathing, functioning, reasonably happy proof that it can get better. Long term and consistently better.

Here is a list of the things i’ve done since the Women’s March on Washington:

-started volunteering,
-spent the day with my MIL at the senior’s home, with a firm commitment to do so bimonthly,
-asked my local community of friends for help with a problem (within 5mins i had offers!)
-asked a friend to come for lunch and take me and my doggie to the vet (he’s fine and so was lunch!)
-finally started work on a project i’ve had swimming around in my brain for a year or 2,
-set down some firm boundaries with someone very close,
-added more exercise to my daily than just dog-walking.

All of this is yippee-skippy, for sure, but it is also scary stuff. I’m afraid of failing. I’m afraid it’s too much and i’ll self-destruct. I’m afraid of letting others down. I’m afraid of growing out of some relationships. I’m afraid of gossip and ridicule. Most of all, i’m afraid of mania. This is fertile ground for my Little Miss Maniac to wanna come out and play. But the work i’ve done has provided me with not only this foresight, but also the tools with which to handle her, should she suddenly appear.

I can and will handle it, if it happens, to the best of my abilities, and if i stumble, i will do what i have learned is perhaps my best and most admirable quality.

I will pick myself up, dust myself off, survey the damage, make recompense wherever possible, and get back to work. You just watch me.
No seriously, i mean it. Watch me. Anyone who reads anything here that i have posted – know that you matter to me. You’re a great help to me. Knowing you’re reading, relating, empathising, witnessing. You’re tremendous, and i thank you.

Always,
~H~

Inside Out

As we leave behind our last Chinook and move into more frigid weather, my fibro has hit harder. My pressure points are hardest hit from shoulders to wrists, and today my forearms feel heavy and hard to rotate, which is making typing somewhat difficult. The thing which i haven’t told anyone, is that my Carpal tunnel syndrome is returning. When i was first diagnosed with moderate CTS in my right arm around 12+ years ago, the man who gave me the news very kindly (/s) informed me that if i wasn’t super-morbidly obese, my symptoms would likely disappear almost entirely. When i lost all the weight i discovered he was quite right, and i’ve had only small bouts of numbness since.

Until recently that is. It’s been more than 10yrs since i was profoundly overweight, but this last year i’ve noticed the numbness happening more often and for longer periods. Typing right now i can feel it. I sincerely hope it progresses slowly and doesn’t impede my writing. I’ll handle it of course, but just… GEEZ, y’know?!

My days begin and end with routine, and as i mentioned, i’m increasing my activity level; more things to do and and more focus on the tangible. I’m decluttering, seeking order. I’m working towards accomplishing things that can be observed by anyone. I’m maintaining the relatively healthy functioning of my brain and its thoughts, but also pursuing goals that, once achieved, would be obvious to anyone who was looking. Less esoteric – more skin deep.

It’s time. The foundation is strong now. I’m like a renovated house and it’s time to start making the outside reflect the inside. It’s hard, scary work, but i am committed.

Nothing wrong with a pretty facade.

Body work is tough for any survivor.
I didn’t have a weight problem until i was around 8yrs old. My mother’s relationship with my father was over, as was her association with his people and his activities. She had a major psychological breakdown, was committed, and i was thrown into the system. When i was finally returned to my mother, i quickly packed on enough weight to make me the chubby kid, and then slowly packed on a few pounds here and there until i married 20yrs ago. I’d lost weight twice in that time, and both times i was just inside healthy range, but i put the weight back on within short order. I did so many things unconsciously; i wasn’t present in my body so i neither took much notice when i lost weight, nor when i gained it back.

Marriage caused my thoughts and emotions a tremendous amount of stress. I was freaked out that someone appeared to really want me, and subsequently terrified that i’d lose him. He’d find out that i was a phony, that i was actually an awful human being and he’d leave me. It set us up for years of push-pull behaviour by me. Come-here-i-need-you-fuck-off-i-don’t-need-anyone. I felt more vulnerable than ever and i put up a massive wall, one made from pounds and pounds of fat. I ate to numb the fear, fear of being known and fear of being rejected. When weight loss surgery became an option, i took it and the weight fairly fell off me.

I had no bloody clue the chain of events that would set off.

The first thing that happened was i got a lot of attention. It’s not just straight men who are more gratuitous, either. Everyone is nicer to attractive people. I think it’s mostly unconsciously done when someone is not sexually attracted to you, per se. It started out being wonderful but it quickly unsettled me. You know, not so’s anyone as unconscious as i was would notice. Heh. All kinds of things were going on inside my brain, though. The outside wall had come down and while that appeared to everyone around me to be a purely positive thing, it had unforeseen and unanticipated consequences.

My inside wall came down, too.
I didn’t realise i even had an inside wall.
There were people living on the other side of that wall.
I saw them, and they saw me seeing them.
It would not be histrionic of me to say that all hell broke loose.

MORE TOMORROW