Here We Go

Really Real Mental Health Post

I slept for 12 hours last night.

I normally get 6.

I want to cancel everything today and sleep more, except the tickets are already paid for and I know that at some point I’ll regret it.

It’s the last day of Ren Fest, I haven’t been all season and a lot of my friends will be there today.

I’m trying so hard to get excited about it.  I know the joy is in there somewhere.

There’s this sound I hear in my head, it’s a buzzing, almost like a fan but a different frequency.  It’s almost constant when I’m anxious or depressed or both and it is so loud right now.  It almost drowns out the fans that are actually on in the background.  I don’t even have the desire to hit play on music to drown it out.

It feels like a penance I’m supposed to pay for existing.  This awful noise that doesn’t end, white noise on the TV left on past midnight when the station ends for the day.

I don’t want to die so much as I just want to stop being.  But only for a little while.  I still know that in a few days this will pass.  I hope my meds are working well enough that it doesn’t get any darker, I hope I stay where I’m at and don’t get worse, this time.

I’m cold and I don’t even have the energy to find warmer clothes or shut a window.

Again, it feels like penance.

Hunger goes unfed, dishes pile up while I beat myself up inside, hating myself for not keeping up with the only thing I do that has any worth around here.  It’s not like I go to work, at least I could keep the house clean.

I’m sleeping so much, and I’m so so damn tired.

It’s exhausting feeling like this.

Second Chances

Really Real Love Post

The other day I apologized for saying “I love you” too often.  I try to tell her frequently when it crosses my mind.  And I think “I’m in love” or some variation of it, many, many, times a day.

I also tell her how beautiful and cute and she is, because if I think it 20 times, I’m going to tell her at least half of them.

And when she does something that makes me feel amazing, or cared for, or loved, or something I appreciate, I tell her those things too.

And sometimes I think I tell her too many things, and like it might sound like I’m trying too hard.  Except I’m not trying to do anything, I’m just telling her what I’m thinking.

The other day my doctor was running late because she had to cover for another doctor and she said “I would have scheduled my time differently, if I had to do it again.  But that’s how it always is, in hindsight.”

I have a second chance that I never wanted.  In hindsight, I wouldn’t have held back.  Loving is easy sometimes, and harder sometimes, but maybe we don’t verbalize love enough all of the times.  Maybe we think they know, or think if we say it too much it’ll cheapen it.

But how does telling someone how you feel, more often, change the meaning behind the words?

I wouldn’t wish my loss on anyone, but I wish everyone could learn what I’ve learned.

I’m so completely in love, and I don’t want a moment to pass where she would doubt that.  I want her to know that I love her when I’m grumpy and when things are great, when I’m sad and when I’m happy, when we’re fussy with each other and when we’re having the best times.

I don’t want there to ever be a moment that we leave love in question.

Take the time to tell those around you that you love them.  And if it’s out of character for you, maybe that’s something you want to change?  Maybe not, and that’s okay too, but it’s worth thinking about.  What if your loved one died tomorrow, would they really know?

I love that you all take the time to read what I write.

But not the same way I love my girl.

Cause I really do love her, so much.

Nightmare

I had a nightmare a few nights ago.

It wasn’t about death or dying, not about monsters or zombies.  There were no fires or motorcycles, no vampires or witches.

It was about Wonder Woman and I, fighting.  Screaming and yelling at each other.  We were fighting the way I’ve always fought.  In a way I haven’t fought with her yet, the way I hope I never do.  The way I’ve tried so hard to walk away from.

We were fighting so badly that I woke myself up yelling in my sleep.

I rolled over and held her, telling her I never wanted us to fight like that, that I couldn’t take it.

And then I laid awake thinking about how, to me, fighting equals screaming and yelling.  I’m afraid to talk about what’s upsetting me because I’m petrified of it starting a fight.  The concept of a fight being civil doesn’t cross my mind.

In my past, fights and disagreements were always highly emotionally charged events, and even if we were both fighting for a common solution instead of fighting against each other, there was yelling and screaming followed by silent treatments and tension.  There would be a week long event of clashing where nothing seemed to go right in the relationship, and nothing would be resolved, but it would pass, and then we’d have weeks of everything seeming fine, even going back to being amazing, before we’d repeat the same cycle again.

I don’t want that ever again.

But the idea of it is causing nightmares.

I’ve never had a relationship where there wasn’t some degree of those types of fights.

Actually, that’s not true, because I’m in a relationship now where none of that has happened.  And I honestly don’t see us allowing it to happen.  Neither of us would stand for it.

But for now, when I think of fighting with someone, or even disagreeing with someone, that’s the image I see.  I can’t see any other way of disagreeing.  I bend over backwards to pacify everyone around me because the slightest deviation from their norm could turn into emotionally charged tension.  It could turn into screaming.

I’m learning to trust that I can disagree with Wonder Woman, that I can tell her I’m upset, that I can have difficult conversations, and that it won’t devolve into fights.  It’s taking time and patience.  Her patience, my patience with myself.  More time than I feel it should take.

I feel like I should be able to just snap out of it.  Be “normal.”  Stand up for myself and have disagreements like a “normal” person.  But years of, trauma, is it even trauma, I hate to use that word for it because I was a part of it for a lot of it.

Years of unhealthy bullshit, have left me where there is a trauma response to the concept of fighting.

And now I’m having nightmares as I process my way through it.

PTSD is hard shit, and it doesn’t always come from expected places.

Do Your Job!

Really Real Mental Health Post

Trigger Warning:  Mention of Suicidal Thoughts (I’m safe)

My medications are doing their job right now.

Yesterday evening I had a realization that was a huge trigger for me.  Mid dinner, I lost my appetite, I pushed my food away, stopped eating, packed it up in Tupperware for later.

My brain was immediately pelted with suicidal thoughts.

I remember thinking I was too dumb to live, too much of a fuck up since I’ve had so many chances to get it together and I keep making the same mistakes over and over again.  The spiral was closing in, except it wasn’t quite as dark.  There weren’t quite as many “you gotta die to fix it” thoughts thrown in there.

And as I was sinking into the cloud of that kind of thinking, I was also able to think my way out of the cloud.

I was still moving forward towards getting ready for derby.  I was still thinking about how I was going to speak out about what was going on in my head.

On my way to derby I spoke up.  I told Wonder Woman what was going on, what triggered me.

The darkest part of the cloud passed.

It lasted less than 20 minutes.

I went to the gym after derby.

It went even further away.

I’m still really fragile right now.  The trigger situation is still there.  I’m gonna be wobbly for awhile, but the medications are doing their job.  I can see my way through the clouds when they come.  I’m not able to fixate on the suicidal thoughts and they can’t take over.

Then, this morning my Brita filter on my sink broke.  Water spraying everywhere.  I took it off, tried cleaning the gaskets, cleaned out the screen.  Put it back on and sprayed more water around the kitchen for fun.  It’s the actually filter and some weird design flaw because it’s been 2 years and the thing is a piece of shit. . . and of course we just ordered a 3 pack of filters and that’s how this stuff works.

And of course we’re about out of water bottles so this means I need to get to a store today or I won’t have filtered or bottled water to drink and how the fuck does that work.

First world problems, but I’m really fragile right now and this is the kind of stuff that would tip me over the edge on days like today.  “I can’t afford to replace this right now and fuck my life is so horrible and why me” and and and and and!

And I’m still pretty upset, but I’m able to hold onto the truth which is that, we will figure it out.  It’s not actually the end of the world, in truth it isn’t that big of a deal, and the filter didn’t break just to piss me off and ruin my day.

I know things are rough because I currently have this blog post and 2 more drafts written and ready to be posted.  I have plenty of things to write about right now.  But I’m learning to follow my signs better.  I’m learning to be gentle with myself and go back to basics on days like today.

My meds are doing their job.

Friends

Really Real Life Post

Yesterday I had an intake for a therapy group that is starting next week.  I’m super excited about this as I’ve been trying to find and get into a Dialectical Behavior Therapy skills group for a few years now and it’s finally happening.

These groups are a mix between an educational, skills based group, and group therapy.  I’ll learn how to work through negative thought patterns, intrusive thoughts (like my suicidal thoughts tend to be), extreme emotions, and also how to cope with trauma.  Lots of mindfulness and living in the moment kind of stuff.  The group facilitators are specifically trained in DBT skills and overall it tends to have really good outcomes.

It’s a 42 week commitment, once a week, 2 hour groups.   Bring it on!

Anyway, that’s not really what this is about though.  One of the intake questions was about my friends.  “Who are your most supportive friends and family?”

And I realized that, in person, I have a lot of people, but that my closest friends are all online and spread around the globe.  Most of them I met online first, even if I’ve since met them in person.  Most of them I’ve never met in person but I’ve known online for more than a decade.

The biggest part of my tribe are my online friends who I reach through a screen.  They are my best and closest friends even though they are so far away.  They are part of my chosen family, even though I’ve never sat in the same physical space with them.  They are the ones I can’t wait to tell the newest and greatest news to, even though I will only hear their excitement through the words that show up on my screen.

It’s not that I don’t have any in person, people.  But most of them I haven’t known as long, and those friendships have changed drastically over time.  Friendships wax and wane and it seems that online, it’s easier to handle that change in dynamics.  The difference in communication makes it a bit easier to deal with life changes as well.

For whatever reason, there’s a specific group of friends that I’ve known for about 18 years and we’ve been through thick and thin together.

I know I’m lucky to have the support network I do.  My girlfriend, my derby friends, my other local friends, my family who all support me in different ways no matter if they are local or far away.  I think one of the most significant differences the past 2.5 years has been the support network I’ve built around me.

But don’t discount online friendships, they’re as real as anything else, and I know during some of my worst times they have been a lifesaver, and during some of my best times, they have cheered the loudest.

Sticky Wheels Don’t Turn

CN:  Really Real Mental Health Post

Here we go again.

My brain is stuck.

I’ve been home from NY for an entire week and keep putting off meal planning, finding one reason or another that we can just make due with what we have and piece together this or that or grab meals on the run.

I know it saves money and makes me feel better when I cook.  I feel a sense of purpose when I plan meals out and put the time and effort into feeding us.  It makes me feel amazing to take an idea, put it on the calendar, list the ingredients, buy them, make it into great food that I’d spend 10 times as much for in a restaurant, and have us eat it without pants on.

I swear that being able to eat without pants is the best part!  Who wants to put on pants (or a skirt) for great food!

But my brain is stuck.

I have the meal ideas but I can’t find the motivation to put them on the calendar and plan out the ingredients that we need and go to the store.  I know that once we have everything here I probably wont have a problem doing the actual cooking.

I’m not depressed, I’m not even getting depressed from what I can tell.  This isn’t really laziness, I’m getting things done in other areas of my life, I’m doing more difficult things with my time.  I want to do this but it’s like this mental block where I come up against it and my brain detours to something else.

Lets clean the entire basement instead.

Lets organize the spare room.

Seriously, two things I decided to do BEFORE meal planning this weekend.  I easily could have put them off because planning meals is an important thing.  It’s not laziness.

It just dawned on me, that I know what works.  Right now I’m looking at it as one big job.  If I plan out the calendar for the next week or two, I have to make the shopping list, and grocery shop, and and and. . . .

What if I just plan out the calendar and start there, with permission to stop after that.

I know that there’s a good chance I’ll keep going, and if I don’t, that’s fine too, step one is done at least.

Brains are screwy sometimes.  I know what works but when I need it, I can’t always remember it.  It seems like it happens to the best of us.

Time to go fill out my calendar with some meals for the next week or two.

Who is coming over for dinner?

Hello

CN: Really Real Widow Post

I think Parker is singing to me.

I keep hearing Hello by Adele.

Specifically, one verse.

“Hello from the outside
At least I can say that I’ve tried
To tell you I’m sorry
For breaking your heart
But it don’t matter, it clearly
Doesn’t tear you apart anymore”

Grief has come around to visit again.

Lots of little things keep happening.  I went to move a box and came across something with Parker’s handwriting.  It was like being punched in the gut.  It’s been awhile since I’ve seen the way she forms her letters.  It was just one word, but I knew it was hers immediately.

Today she got mail.  Do you think she wants to open a credit card?  At least her credit is now good enough that she’s getting preapproval letters.  That’s also kind of scary.

And I’ve been talking to a friend online.  She’s relatively newly widowed.  And we talk a few times a week.  It’s reminding me what it was like in those early months.  All of the varied emotions that constantly rotated through as I learned how to function without Parker by my side.

And that song verse has lots of meanings for me, which i why my brain won’t let it go.

I know Parker never would have intentionally hurt me like this.  If she could have stayed, she would have and I can almost hear her saying how sorry she is.

And then at the same time I look at the life I’m living now.

I look at the fact that I truly feel like I’m finally living my best life.  And just like in those early days of grief I wonder if I grieve enough over losing her.

Was I sad enough, hurt enough, devastated enough.

Why didn’t it destroy my life to lose her.

Where is my black veil and why aren’t I still wearing it?
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And then I stop writing to let the sobs rip through me because holy shit . . . I miss her like mad fucking crazy.

It does still tear me apart.  There is still a Parker sized hole in my heart, but the edges are smoother and I learned to live around it.  My heart grew big enough to hold the hurt and still hold an amazing life around it.  I learned to cover it up with love and life and living big and bold and beautiful.

It still hurts underneath it all.  It still hurts big sometimes.

I miss her, I love her, that won’t ever change, but I give myself permission to live my best life anyway.

We’re both worth it.

Missed

Really Real Mental Health Post

It’s 12:03 AM and I’m currently eating 2 packs of trail mix even though I’m not actually hungry.  But, those 2 packs of trail mix equal the 350 calories I need to eat with the Latuda I take to control my depression.  I normally take it with dinner, but we just got home and I didn’t have it with me.

Latuda isn’t like some medications, it won’t just bother my stomach if I don’t eat with it.  It won’t work at all unless I have enough calories with it.  Luckily I had a doctor that explained it to me.  A lot of people are just handed prescriptions and sent on their way.  I bought these packs of trail mix knowing that sometimes I’d need something quick and easy for right before bed, if I didn’t take it with a meal earlier in the day.

I screwed up with a bunch of other medications today.  I forgot to take my morning meds when I got up, and we almost immediately left the house and have been gone since then.  I figured it out pretty quickly, but by then it was too late to turn around.

I used to carry a full days worth of meds in my purse, but at this point it’s been a year since I’ve gone more than 2 weeks without something changing and it was hard to keep the purse medications current.  I was afraid of taking the wrong meds if I ever tried to rely on them.  I’m also really good at following my routine of morning meds when I have my coffee, and night meds before I lay down.

Except I didn’t have coffee before I left the house this morning.

That meant none of my anxiety medication was in my system while we were at a very crowded public event.  None of my anti-inflammatory was in my system while I was sitting in a car for a 2 hour ride each way, or standing and walking for a good portion of the day.  By the evening I was feeling a significant amount of psych med withdraw.  I was generally grumpy, overly anxious and just felt mentally ick and physically “off” for the last half of our day.

Withdraw doesn’t just happen from narcotics or addictive substances.  A lot of psychiatric medications have some amount of withdraw effects of varying severity.  It’s a definite, quick, incentive to remember my medication each time.

I mean, if staying emotionally stable,

and alive,

wasn’t incentive enough.

 

Validation

Really Real Mental Health Post

I like being validated.

Everything from likes and comments on these posts to the words my therapist says to the validation sticker for the parking garage.

Yesterday in therapy I was talking about the way I write about my situations now, versus how I used to write.  I felt that when I used to write I was whining, and looking for pity, and complaining about how my life was worse than everyone and looking for someone to fix it because I couldn’t figure out how to fix it myself.  And now, I’m writing for me but also, I’m  writing to show people that this is what is out there, this is how I feel and what I’ve been through and am going through and I know others have been through it or are going through and maybe we all need to know we aren’t alone.

What I didn’t realize was that I thought that my way of interacting before, wasn’t as valid.  It took a good long while in my therapists office, and lots of me trying to fill the silence when I couldn’t answer her questions, before I realized just how much I was judging myself for where I was a few years ago.

As much as I’ve grown this past 2 years, and as much as I talk about where I am now versus where I was then, what I tend to miss is that I’m spending a lot of time putting down and invalidating the experiences of 2 and 3 and 5 years ago, me.

Oh look, here come the tears while I’m writing, I guess I hit on something I needed to work out.

My way of interacting with the world, my cries of HELP ME, this is HORRIBLE, were absolutely valid and real.  My reality was more than I felt I could bear, because really, we were living in a constant state of everything being on fire and we couldn’t figure out how to put out the fires and we had no idea how to climb out of the flames to even start.

It took Parker dying for me to get numb to the flames around me so I could climb out of them.

I spend a lot of time wondering if I’m doing this right, because I spent so long doing so much wrong.  But, I really think I’m just judging myself against the wrong set of standards.  I talk about survival mode a lot.  I’m judging myself then, against what I know now, and invalidating who I was then, because of who I am now.

I’m so afraid of going back to who I was, but honestly, I was still pretty amazing.  I did not have things easy but I always got back up.  I always went back to finding reasons to smile and find the best in people and situations.

And that’s one of the things that has stuck with me throughout everything.

Thanks for hearing me.

Lucky

Really real life post.

I’m lucky to be a widow.

That’s a really strange sentence to type out.  A really strange thing to say, but yeah, I feel lucky sometimes, for one reason.

My perspective.

It’s said in the widow community, we wouldn’t wish this on anyone, but we’d wish our perspective on the world.

I’ve realized how few things are a life and death situation.  Sometimes my brain and my mental illness hijacks the process with anxiety, but mostly I’m able to step back and see that a lot of things truly don’t matter.

I spent a lot of time getting upset over little things.  I start to get upset because someone didn’t hold up their end of the bargain.  A receptionist didn’t do this, or someone didn’t give me the right information, or someone didn’t put something away right and dammit look at how that put me out today.  I’m honestly a judgmental, grumpy old person stuck in the body of someone who tries not to be all judgy because that just doesn’t look good.

But mostly, when given a bit of time and space, I let it go.

Because if they died tomorrow, I wouldn’t care about that stuff.  If I were dying tomorrow, I wouldn’t care about that stuff.

Life is too damn short.

Sometimes it’s harder than other times.  Old habits are ingrained and become pathways that the brain naturally follows.  Sometimes I have to remind myself to breathe and let it go, that it wasn’t that big of a deal.

But the benefit of being a widow is that I know the outcome for all of us is death.  Some sooner, hopefully later, but none of us get out alive and do I really want to spend time in my life upset over stupid shit that isn’t going to change anything.

Perspective is a wonderful thing, even when it’s put into slightly morbid terms.

Let it go, let it go . . . .