The Suck

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

I’m fighting the voice in the back of my head that keeps saying,

“I suck”

I’m working with a sleep specialist. Bedtime is a normal thing for me now.

I understand the night time lull vs. the actual bedtime.

And so I’m getting to sleep much quicker once I lay down.

But waking up is still a hassle.

I’m now sleeping through an alarm that you aren’t supposed to be able to sleep through.

It’s reminiscent of my childhood.

The giant Garfield clock with the giant bells on top, bought somewhat in gest, but mostly because my mom was sick of waking me up 10 times for school each morning.

It didn’t work after a week.

I would sleep through the bells clanging until my mom turned it off because it annoyed her downstairs.

So now the alarm goes off at 12 and I wake up much later, unless Wonder Woman gets annoyed and wakes me up sooner.

I wake up earlier in the morning, but it feels like too early.

Fall asleep at 3 am and wake up at 7,

no, I’d like to try for at least 9,

and then I wake up at 8,

no thank you, 9 please,

and then it’s 1230 and the alarm has been blaring,

unheard.

“I suck”

I refilled my med sorter this morning.

So many medications.

So many medications to still feel this shitty.

If only I did this and that and this,

I’d feel better.

I haven’t left the house in days.

I’ve been cooking (go me!).

But haven’t cleaned up a damn thing.

The kitchen is covered in pots and pans and things that couldn’t be disposable.

Yesterday I did yoga (another win!) on a floor covered in bits and pieces of paper and other misc. pieces of whatever.

My desk is chaos (but I know where it all is).

“I suck.”

Even crafting, my escape, is hard right now.

I can’t stay focused.

I work on one piece of one card and I lose 30 minutes into facebook,

berating myself the whole time.

I want to be creating.

I have ideas for things I want to do.

I’ve designed cards in the software.

But the physical activity of creating them feels like too much.

“I suck.”

Wonder Woman just reminded me that we’re going out later today to pick up some orders I’ve made.

Replenishing craft supplies with money from sales (that’s the constant goal).

I’m sitting in front of my happy light while I type this,

since I couldn’t bring myself to sit on the front porch,

or go hammocking.

I am doing things.

Maybe not all of the things.

But I’m doing what I can in this moment.

And I’m trying to give myself permission to push as much as I can,

while also being gentle.

Finding the balance.

I can push, without being an asshole to myself.

Encourage but not berate.

I can treat myself like I’d treat a friend.

Self love.

Self compassion.

It’s so so hard.

Especially when I sleep in too late and feel exhausted all day.

Or, when I look at the mess around me.

And I feel my joints ache from sitting in this chair so much.

Or feel that anxiety at the idea of stepping onto my front porch.

Or see half finished projects and cut pieces of paper sitting around unassembled on my desk.

It’s so hard to be gentle when I know I could be doing more.

Or, theoretically I could.

If I felt well enough I could.

Again, it’s finding the balance.

Balance is important.

Maybe I don’t suck.

Maybe things just suck right now.

A.5

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

TW: Mention of exercise, body image, suicidal thoughts, fitness.

Brains are assholes.

My brain is one of those brains that constantly moves from one thought into the next, constantly creating connections between all of the different thought trains.

It’s one of the reasons that I am so insightful about my mental health,

I’m always looking for the connection.

But, it’s not always a good thing.

Overthinking isn’t a great trait.

Especially when it’s mixed with depression and negative self talk.

My thoughts move relatively fast, and they are

always

always

going.

Mindfulness helps,

and I’ve learned to catch it when its going down the wrong path and redirect instead of spiraling,

and I don’t always get sucked along with the trains, they slide by behind the scenes more often than not anymore.

But this particular train has changed and morphed and while I realize it’s completely illogical, the way it got to where it is now, makes perfect sense.

“I need to get more active again.”

“I was doing so well, and I stopped.”

“I remember telling myself I’d never get back to where I am now, and I’m definitely back here”

“I always end up back here.”

“I can’t follow through with anything.”

“I’m never going to get it right.”

“I need to just die.”

At that point the alarm bells go off and I realize what train I grabbed onto and I let it float away instead of spiraling with it.

But over the last couple of weeks, the thought process got shorter.

“I should do yoga this morning.”

“I can’t follow through with anything.”

“I need to just die.”

Nope, not the answer, lets go somewhere else brain.

But it keeps getting shorter.

Now the thought process is . .

“Yoga? ::Gunshot sound::”

And then I have to get off that train, which means I stop thinking about yoga, because yoga makes me think of shooting myself.

But it’s not actually yoga (or intentional movement) that’s making me think of suicide.

It’s the hopelessness, and the shame, and the overwhelm with the shape I’m in now.

But my brain doesn’t take to time to go through the whole process anymore.

“Walk around the block? ::Gunshot sound::”

I’ve spent the last couple of years training myself to let go of suicidal thoughts.

Since my last hospitalization, I’ve gotten pretty good at it.

When that thought crosses my mind (it happens more often than most people would be comfortable with), I’m able to redirect, mostly without thinking about it.

It’s just habit now.

But because intentional movement and suicide are paired right now, I’m also immediately redirecting from that concept.

Which means multiple times a day I’m thinking I’d like to do something active, but before I can put that thought into action I’m running from the suicidal thought that’s paired with it.

So today I spent part of therapy going “how do I fix this?”

And the current plan is to make the distraction process more intentional again, so that I can actively start separating those thoughts.

So

“Gym? ::Gunshot sound:: Um, no, how about we go to the gym first?”

It’s going to take time, but I’ll get there.

One thought at a time.

Read the room dumbass

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

Today I remembered what it was like to be in Middle School again.

Or Elementary School,

Or High School.

They all blur together.

Someone posted something,

I don’t know them very well,

but I thought they were hurting.

I misunderstood the post.

I’ve never been very good at reading a room.

I also don’t do small talk.

I don’t connect to people over “Hi” and “What do you do for a living?”

I connect to people over really real shit.

So, I thought they were hurting.

And I reached out, to say things that felt right to say in the situation.

From the little I knew.

From the bits and pieces I’d seen come across my page.

Nothing specific, but just generic, heart felt, ramblings.

It’s funny, it was about how we are all both the hero and the villain in a situation depending on who is telling the story, and how that is okay.




It turned out their post was actually about the cat that was pictured.

And not a vague book with a random cat photo attached.



And I quickly became the villain in their telling of the story.

And in their friends telling of the story.



And that is okay.

I know that I did what I always do.

I tried to be really real and open and honest and heartfelt and vulnerable.

And I got reminded why it’s dangerous to do that around people you don’t know well.

And how it can be unsolicited advice.

And how it can seem like I’m standing on a soap box.

And how it can appear that I’m being overly intimate.



When the situation was over, I told myself, and those around me, that I was fine.

I understood.

It was no big deal.

But I wasn’t fine

I had reached out.

I had been my big bright shiny self.

And I got my hand slapped.

And the second my hand was slapped I checked that persons facebook to see who our mutual friends were, who was I going to be embarrassed in front of.

And I fought back and forth between dirty deleting and leaving it there.

And I started questioning all of my good intentions and wondering why I wasn’t normal like everyone else?

Why I can’t just see a cat picture as a cat picture?

Why do I talk to strangers in grocery stores and have us hugging before we leave the line?

Why do I have deep conversations with Lyft drivers?

Why do I have no conversational boundaries?

And as the day went on I shrank further and further into myself.



It isn’t a big deal, most likely.

I was out of line, I didn’t know this person and it wasn’t my place to help even if they were hurting.

I was too wordy and had no idea what I was talking about.

I was butting my face where it didn’t belong.

I know better than to comment on posts, I don’t do it often, because I’m afraid of that embarrassment when I read the “room” wrong.

I often read the room wrong.

Its why I’m super quiet in a group,

but talk non stop one on one.

It’s harder to have that large scale embarrassment if only one person is there to witness your fuck up.

So, today I remembered why I’m both quiet and loud, depending on the situation.

Today I remembered why I try so hard not to be too much.

And I’d love to say that this doesn’t bother me and I can move on,

but that’s not the case.

I learned my lesson.

And, before someone reads this wrong, no one responding to that post did anything wrong.

I came out of left field with some big emotional response to something where it wasn’t warranted, and there was a reaction of “WTF” and, because they don’t really know me, “Who the fuck”

But, it was still a stark reminder that I am not like everyone else.

And sometimes that really really hurts.



Quiet

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

It’s quiet.

Even with the music playing there’s an underlying quiet to the night.

She’s already sleeping.

My brain is slowing wandering,

not racing,

just gently moving from one thought to the next.

Gentle,

but not kind.

I’m trying to counter each thought as they come.

I got up early this morning,

got out of the house.

I had plans after.

Errands that needed to be run.

Instead I slept.

After waking up early, I figured a nap was fine.

But that nap didn’t want to end.

Wonder Woman picked up the groceries,

and brought them in,

and put them away.

I barely registered that she was home.

Eventually she let me know that there was dinner.

I dragged myself out of bed.

I feel like there’s so much I’m not doing.

I’m blaming myself,

as if its some character flaw.

If only I tried harder,

pushed myself more,

I’d pull through this.

I had more I wanted to write.

Counterthoughts to these thoughts.

But I’m yawning.

My eyes are heavy.

Time to go back to bed.

The Days Before

This is a Really Real Widow post.

A few days ago, the last picture I ever took of her came across my TimeHop.

A couple of weeks before that was the video I took right before she went in for surgery.

The surgery that technically had nothing to do with her death.

But stress adds up.

For a long time, I wanted to blame it on the anesthesia.

It felt like she was off from the day of surgery,

but I also think desperation was setting in.

Who knows.

It won’t change the outcome anyway.

It’s only the 6th . . .

her actual death day isn’t until the 8th.

Or the 7th if you consider when she actually took the pills.

These final few days before the yearly anniversary of her passing are so so hard.

They drag out slowly.

Little memories popping up here and there.

Emotions running on high.

I know the actual day will feel like I finally let out the breath I’ve been holding for the past week.

It always does.

I talked to Kidlet about having a virtual get together with friends.

Friends that knew her.

Maybe even friends that wanted to get to know her through our stories.

When I brought it up to him it felt like the most important thing in the world.

For him, the day doesn’t hold as much weight, but he wanted to go along whatever was most healing for me.

I don’t know what I’ll end up doing that day.

Right now the gathering doesn’t seem as important.

Honestly, each year I feel like it’s not a big deal this year.

And then I find myself holding my breath anyway.

This year I keep trying to relax.

Trying to unclench my shoulders.

Trying to stay in the moment.

Trying to remember that these days are important where I am now.

That it’s far more important than wrapping myself up in the emotions of the past.

Today I stood quietly while the vet administered the medications that allowed Trillian, the grumpy old lady of the house, to peacefully drift off.

I don’t think I’ve ever been in the room for that process.

I wasn’t sure I’d be able to be there for this one either.

But I stood there beside Wonder Woman,

rubbing her arm and reminding her that I was beside her while she pet her sweet kitty through the whole process.

I wondered if Parker took her last breath that peacefully.

I wondered how different it would have been if we had been able to offer my dad the same humane way to end his not so gradual demise.

Death is inevitable.

It’s the only thing we know for certain will happen when we take our first breath.

It still comes as a shock on the day it arrives.


Ouch

This is a Really Real Chronic Pain post.

Most of the time, pain is just a part of who I am.

This slow current that runs just underneath my skin.

It spikes and sparks in different locations at different times.

But it’s just there.

I take my daily medications and go on with my life.

I try to do things that will help,

and I’m not always great at keeping up a routine.

Some days, the pain becomes unbearable.

The quiet hum beneath the surface becomes a constant roar that takes over everything.

I can’t get comfortable.

Everything just hurts.

Today is one of those days.

My body is screaming.

I use various meditations and coping mechanisms.

I spend time trying to just sit with it,

ride it out,

bringing my focus back to my breath or the project at hand every time I start to focus on the discomfort..

I take medications of varying types.

My narcotic that is only used for extreme situations.

I use my medical marijuana/cbd,

normally taken at microdose levels that just take the edge off.

Today I’ve increased the dose to intoxicating levels.

Even the calmness that comes with being high doesn’t keep the pain under the surface.

I use topical creams.

A heating pad.

I distract with various activities.

I constantly shift positions,

laying down,

sitting up,

walking around the house.

Its one of those nights where as much as I want to let it just be,

it feels unbearable.

I want to yell,

“Make it stop.

Please.”

I take an anxiety medication,

maybe if I can just calm my brain a bit.

Everything hurts.

Logically, I know this will pass.

I know this is just a period in time,

I know I’ve been through worse,

and I know, I’ll probably go through worse again.

But, in this moment it feels unfair.

I don’t deserve this.

I sit in the quiet house.

The white noise of fans all around me.

Right now,

this is what is.

And maybe,

writing this,

will make that a little easier to cope with.

Anger is Uncomfortable

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

Anger is uncomfortable.

I’m not good at it.

I’m good at rage.

So very good.

That feeling that bubbles up and explodes forth from my mouth.

Covering everyone around me.

And then,

it dissipates.

But anger is harder.

That anger when you have been wronged,

betrayed,

hurt.

The anger that needs time to work through.

Anger is uncomfortable.

And sometimes,

things can’t just be fixed.

Sometimes it takes time

Sometimes it takes a lot of processing.

And I never learned how to be okay with being angry.

It’s always been black or white.

I am angry and you will hear about it until it is fixed.

Or,

I am angry and I am done.

Now it’s,

I am angry,

but over time this will be okay.

I just haven’t learned what to do during that time.

How to be angry while still living a loving life.

Anger is just hard for me.

Anger is hard to sit with.

It’s hard to allow myself to be angry.

Anger just kind of sucks.

All of the things

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

I started a new form of crafting last week.

A tiny little stamped cross stitch project just to see how I liked it.

After finishing that one, I went to Walmart and got a larger one, as well as a printed embroidery project, because honestly I didn’t notice they were different.

I can see myself doing both of these on a regular basis.

One more calming meditative skill to add into the rotation.

I love that this one is so portable.

I sat on the front porch in the sun the other day working on my current project,

I haven’t been able to do that since my chainmailling days.

I’m sure that particular craft will come back around at some point as well.

There’s still a bin of supplies in the basement.

The house feels foreign and strange.

While Wonder Woman hasn’t been deeply depressed for our entire relationship, there’s always been some level of it there.

And she’s never had energy or motivation.

That’s different now.

Even positive change is stressful.

Right now it’s entirely possible that she’s running a bit too high, medication induced hypomania,

but she’s been so low for so long that it’s honestly hard to tell what her new normal will look like.

She’s working closely with doctors, and it’s a process I understand very well from going through it on my own.

But the change in household energy and dynamic is hard.

I’m used to directing every little thing.

Or at least waiting until the last minute for it to be done.

I’ve always had this quiet anxiety in the back of my head about things that were her responsibility,

but that I could see her putting off till the last minute.

Sometimes they didn’t get done at all.

We spent this first 3 years of our relationship making sure that we didn’t overstep boundaries.

Those boundaries were drawn with red sharpie, keeping my problems and responsibilities separate from hers.

I didn’t realize how much I was emotionally dancing on her side,

while not saying anything.

Now, all of the things are being done.

Household tasks are handled without my input,

or at the very least, without any hesitation.

She’s working through her own paperwork and logistical stuff,

only asking for my input when it is needed.

And it’s strange for me.

In every relationship we have roles that we play,

and often those roles are comfortable, even if they are dysfunctional.

Our roles are changing.

Change is hard, even if it’s good.

We, as individuals,

and also as a couple,

are unfinished projects.

Over time things are going to change and become more clear.

There is no final picture.

We will keep adding to it,

going back and removing stitches that aren’t quite right,

incorporating new colors.

Each time there is anxiety as we wonder what the next version of the picture will look like.

We are not the same people we were during those first conversations on the internet.

That’s a really good thing.

But learning, and relearning each other is a process,

one that will hopefully be repeated many times over the years.

Change is hard and uncomfortable,

even when it’s positive.

Discomfort is part of growing.

It’s just a matter of learning to sit with it.

So Many Trains

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

My brain is full of thoughts running in so many different directions.

But it’s a calm chaos that I’m not used to.

I’m cleaning the house.

Deep cleaning that hasn’t happened since she moved in.

Deep cleaning that has been especially needed for the past year or more.

Staying home around the clock has been horrible for both of us.

It’s all been falling apart for awhile.

Should I have seen how bad things were?

Should I have seen the storm that was brewing?

I knew things were hard,

but I didn’t know how hard.

My life is spent talking openly about my struggles.

I shine light into all of the dark spaces.

I talk about the things that are hard to talk about.

But sometimes, people don’t know how to reach out.

How to put words to the struggle that is brewing within.

“I’m fine, this is fine,” has been a running joke in our house for as long as I can remember.

But it wasn’t a joke.

But, that is her story to tell, if and when she is ready.

My story in this, is that I was caught off guard.

I have craved stability for most of my life.

I keep finding it and losing it again,

crisis after crisis ripping the rug out from underneath me.

It’s hard to talk about that part.

But, supporting someone I love,

understanding how hard this all is,

being there as she finds her feet again,

doesn’t mean my difficulties with the situation aren’t valid.

Many people have supported me through my own struggles,

especially her,

and being on either side is hard.

But I can’t speak to her side of this.

My side is valid too.

I’m saying that to reassure me, not only to remind you.

Sometimes,

it feels like every time I find my own feet,

something pulls the rug.

This time I’m not falling down.

This time I’m creating my own stability in the middle of chaos.

I’m finding ways to control what I can.

Organizing my space, our space, to organize my mind.

Things will be okay on the other side.

Sometimes, you need a wakeup call to realize it isn’t working,

but that’s just an opportunity for change.

An opportunity for growth.

Sometimes, the rug being ripped out,

just shows you that you shouldn’t have the rug there in the first place.

Family

This is a Really Real Extended Family post.

This is a post about being estranged from birth family.

This post contains politics, differing beliefs, pain of loss.

Today, my Facebook and photo memories were full of pictures with my niece and nephews.

Without planning it, my sister, the kids and I, tended to get together around this time every year.

I had 3 pictures in a row of me holding my first nephew. Each year around his birthday I was lucky enough to see him, and get a picture as he aged.

I had 2 pictures with my niece, a year younger than her brother.

One picture with the youngest, a year younger than his sister.

The last time I saw them was just over a year ago, before the pandemic was even a thing.

We would regularly talk over video chat. My sister lining all 3 kids up in high chairs at the table and sitting the phone where I could talk with them all.

My sister and I have very different beliefs. She is a conservative born again Christian, super into a her MLM essential oils and anti science including vaccinations, and I am super liberal and queer.

We managed to coexist. We avoided those topics. She didn’t seem to judge me for my life and the way I lived it.

As the election got closer, she began posting more and more about her beliefs.

She posted an article that someone connected queer folk to pedophiles. She posted articles against transwomen, and trans rights. She became more verbal with the beliefs that directly hurt me.

I distanced myself more and more, unfollowed her so that she would no longer show up in my feed. I’d occasionally check her page for pictures of the kids. I enjoyed watching them grow.

It’s been 6 months since a video chat. She had the kids call me shortly after my dad died, to give me something to smile about.

She posted and texted me around the time that Trump was getting banned from various social media outlets. Telling me that because of something she posted, they were shutting down her Facebook in 24 hours and I could contact her via text.

I didn’t respond, I knew that Facebook doesn’t give you warning, she was just feeding into the political bullshit.

A few weeks later she was back on Facebook, I knew because she was reacting to my posts again.

I realized I was censoring my posts, not wanting to start family drama, not wanting to alienate anyone, not wanting to call her out on her bullshit.

I added her to my restricted list, she can no longer see what I post. At the same time I did the same with my youngest sister, and made sure my mom was still on the list as well.

I’ve slowly gone no contact with the family I lived with for the first 17 years of my life.

I didn’t make some big announcement, I haven’t addressed any of it with them.

I last heard from my Mom on Christmas, we exchanged 2 or 3 mundane texts. Before that it was Birthday wishes from her.

She’s even further down that rabbit hole of QAnon. Her beliefs aren’t just against who I am as a person, they are downright scary. She jumps from one conspiracy theory to the next, I had to tell her point blank to stop sending me messages about them. It took her awhile to listen.

My youngest sister is doing well, as far as I know. She doesn’t advertise her beliefs so I have no idea where she stands, but she’s so involved with the other two that it just feels safer to distance myself there as well. Every few months she messages to see how I’m doing, but rarely responds to what I say.

It’s painful. The memories are painful. The fact that I have to sacrifice the relationship with my niece and nephews is hard, probably one of the hardest parts of this.

But, I have an amazing chosen family. I am surrounded by people who choose to love me for who I am.

And I’m thankful for that.