Tired

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

I’m tired.

I started to write out a list of all of the things I’m tired of, but it’s really hard to articulate.

I’m tired on a physical level, we still haven’t quite figured out what’s making me sleep so damn much.

But I’m also tired of the world.

Tired of the news.

Tired of COVID.

Tired of politics.

Tired of feeling like this country is going to explode over the coming weeks.

Tired of being afraid.

Tired

of being tired.

Tonight, I’m endlessly scrolling facebook.

Knowing I should put some effort into being creative.

Knowing I should

do

something.

But I’m tired.

We had to get up “early” this morning.

Early for me.

Clearing out the spare room and loads of old furniture and boxes in the basement.

Finally turning the spare room into an office.

Something that should have been done months and months ago.

I got so much done in the last 48 hours, but it has left me tired to the bone.

Worn out.

In pain.

I used spoons that weren’t really available to me.

Taking them from tomorrow, and probably the day after that.

I’m tired.

I have family that is so wrapped up in the MAGA lies.

Conspiracy theorists.

I’ve found myself pulling further and further away from them.

Backing away slowly.

Trying to maintain the peace while also maintaining my sanity.

It’s sad.

We were once close.

And now I can’t even be my true self to them.

They don’t get it.

And they have no interest in getting it.

And I’m sad.

All in all, I’m doing really well.

The dishes are done.

The stove is clean.

The trash cans are empty.

I’m not really

depressed

but I still don’t feel like I’m

living.

I’m stuck in this web of exhaustion that is taking over my entire body.

We’re decreasing my nightmare med, hoping that helps.

Trying to walk a fine line, keeping me nightmare free,

while hopefully releasing me from the grips of this exhaustion.

I’m tired.

I’m ready for this phase of my life to be over.

I’m ready to move on to where we can see each other again.

To where my calendar isn’t blank for days and days.

I’m ready to have enough energy to return to some sort of work.

I’m ready to make my own money again.

I’m ready to see what’s next.

I’m tired of what is now.

I’m tired.

He’s a human

This is a Really Real Trauma post.

I had more dreams about my dad last night.

I’m doing some serious processing around his death, how he died, how he lived, etc.

In these dreams he was actually human.

Like, he actually admitted he was fallible.

He admitted that he had fears.

He made a mistake in the dream, and my whole body tensed.

I was waiting for the explosion.

I was waiting for him to find some reason to blame it on me.

But he didn’t.

He laughed it off and said it was a silly mistake.

We’d just start over.

That night he had gone to bed without taking care of his hair.

I have no idea what that means, really,

but he woke up with a head full of frizzy hair that was standing on its end.

He said he’d have to shave it to fix it.

I told him I had shampoo that would help make it curly again.

He said “The only thing more fearful than shaving my head, is using weird shampoo.”

My dad used the same soap and shampoo for as long as I can remember.

When his old style herbal essence (in the green bottle) was being phased out, he bought a case of it, and was very grumpy about switching to their new product.

He used Zest, but only until the bars were half used. Then they ended up somewhere in a drawer to be used in the shower, or something.

Maybe just to fill up drawers, they were everywhere in his house.

When someone around me gets hurt, I laugh.

Not because I’m being an asshole,

not because I think it’s funny,

but because I’m anxious.

It’s a nervous laugh.

I’m waiting for the explosion.

I’m waiting for the yelling and the screaming.

I’m waiting for it to be somehow blamed on me.

He was such an abusive asshole.

And he never realized it.

He treated everyone around him like shit, to the point that I know I’m having a dream because he’s acting human.

Instead of acting like a monster.

But monsters are fictional.

And he was really, really, real.

Looking Back

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

And a Really Real Trauma post.

And a Really Real Growth post.

I look back at year after year of “this past year” posts that I have made.

Those where I was struggling to hold on through extreme poverty.

Those where I was homeless,

where I was staying with others,

where I’ve had my own place.

Those where Parker and I were holding on to each other for dear life,

as the world threw everything it could at us.

Those where I broke free from codependency,

where I learned to stand on my own two feet.

where I learned I could do anything.

Those where I learned it was okay to lean on my community around me.

This year all of those lessons were necessary to get me through.

I started off the year working for the first time in longer than I can remember.

I felt accomplished.

I felt like I had overcome so much.

This year I put my feelings and my abuse aside,

I went to care for my dying father.

A father who didn’t really deserve that care.

But I did it for me.

This year I learned that sometimes,

we get punished for a good deed.

My world was shattered with a single gunshot.

But,

I survived.

I’m coming out on the other side.

Slowly.

I learned that I can make really hard decisions.

That I can save my own life.

I learned,

again,

that I have an amazing community around me.

I learned,

again,

that I am loved beyond measure.

This year was hard.

Harder than most.

Covid was only part of it.

The lack of in person socialization.

The struggle to find safe ways to stay connected.

So,

much,

Zoom.

Bonfires.

Flames keeping us warm while we stay 6 foot apart.

I learned that it’s easy to fall back into old habits.

And hard to climb back out of them.

I learned,

again,

that love will get us through.

Don’t try this at home.

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

I did something that I always tell others not to do.

You see, when I was in the trauma unit, they started titrating me off of a medication.

They said I shouldn’t be on it with the diagnoses that I had.

They said it was a bad idea.

They sent me home with instructions to continue titrating off of it with my pdoc.

So my first appointment I asked her if we could lower it.

And my second.

And my third.

And,

you get the picture.

She sees the drug reps from this particular medication, once a month.

I wonder if that has something to do with it.

So last week I stopped taking it.

I was already on a pretty low dose, and I was tired of asking her to follow the instructions that were given to me.

That were given to her in the paperwork that was sent over.

So I stopped.

Two days ago I cleaned up the landings outside of our apartment.

Gathered the empty boxes and rearranged what was left.

Put things back on shelves and in the basement where it belonged.

Things that we just didn’t feel like lugging down the stairs at the time.

It had gotten unmanageable.

The perilously balanced ecosystem tumbling down whenever we needed a roll of toilet paper.

It didn’t take me long.

Yesterday I cleaned the spare room.

The spare room that’s been used as a makeshift office since this all began.

It hadn’t been cleaned in all of that time.

Trash had built up on the floor.

Random bits and pieces of discarded

things

that had never been put back in their place.

It was a disaster.

I’ve been looking at it for months and saying I’d get to it,

one day.

And yesterday I cleaned it.

It didn’t take me long.

Today I folded my clothes.

Clothes that had been living in baskets since this all began.

I put them away.

I threw away things that were stained or otherwise unwearable.

There’s a semblance of organization, even though I can’t use my drawers and such in the spare room.

I can find things again.

I uncovered shirts that I’ve been looking for, for months.

It didn’t take me long.

Today I washed the mat that sits under my dish rack.

The one that was covered with grime and gross

things

that grow in standing water.

I scrubbed it and bleached it and left it to dry.

I organized the spices that had been spilling over onto the stove.

Random bottles of exciting things that no longer had a place.

Wonder Woman helped by putting up the spice racks I had bought.

The ones that had been sitting in the box since they were delivered,

months and months ago.

I could see my stove again.

The stove that was covered in grease and bits of random food that had fallen down into the burners.

The stove that I wouldn’t even touch with my sponge because it was too dirty.

Soapy paper towels,

more and more,

until it was white again.

A magic eraser took care of the baked on stuff that had been left, burned into the enamel.

It didn’t take me long.

I’ve felt this blanket of depression sitting on me for months and months.

No matter how good I felt I still felt

off.

The medication was supposed to be helping with my depression.

But the trauma unit didn’t feel that it was.

I’ve wondered for quite some time.

I feel much better.

Even though I’m still sleeping most of the day away.

I feel like I can accomplish things again.

I feel more like me.

It has taken too long.

Weight for it

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

TW: Weight, weight loss.

I’m fighting an internal battle.

I’ve gained back every bit of the weight I lost since Parker died.

Actually, I’ve gained that plus 5 lbs.

It’s heart breaking.

But I’m stuck.

I’m stuck where I don’t have the drive to get up and walk.

I have every excuse.

And I can’t get back into the gym because it doesn’t feel safe.

I’m really trying to love my body as I am.

But my body hurts so much more at this weight.

It’s hard to go up the stairs to my apartment.

It’s hard to move in bed.

I get out of breath walking the shortest distances.

I feel gross.

It’s hard to love my body when it won’t do the things I want to do.

When I lost the weight after Parker died, it was almost effortless.

I enjoyed the journey.

I was also on a migraine medication that helped, a medication that stopped helping as my body got acclimated to it.

And there were cognitive side effects that were more than annoying.

I’ve been through this before.

The drastic weight loss.

Followed by inevitably gaining it back.

It doesn’t feel good to move right now.

It doesn’t feel good to walk.

It doesn’t feel good to move my body in any way that would help.

Because it hurts.

I’m embarrassed because I get out of breath so easily.

I feel like I’m eating better.

I feel like I’m making better choices.

I feel like I’m not eating quite so many sweets.

And yet the scale keeps rising.

I’ve had multiple people tell me lately that I’m glowing.

That my smile is amazing.

That I seem to be doing so well.

But I’m not taking pictures of myself.

Even though I feel that pictures are so, so important.

I see the extra roundness in my face.

I see the pictures from last year and the years before that and I’m so heartbroken.

I see the pictures from before Parker died.

The pictures that I looked at and said “I never want to look like that again.”

And I look like that again.

Maybe with a brighter glow this time.

Maybe with a bigger smile.

Life isn’t like it was back then.

But yet, the weight still came back.

I’m just not there yet.

I’m not ready to

do

anything about it.

But I need to.

I was afraid of starting before the holidays.

Afraid that it would be too much to keep up with and I’d fail.

I’m afraid of starting around new years.

New years resolutions never work and I don’t want this to be that.

I’m afraid of failing.

I’m afraid of beating myself up more.

Again.

I’m afraid.

I keep waiting until I feel like I can do it.

But what if that time never comes.

Why can’t I just push past this block?

Why can’t I just

do it?

What am I waiting for?

Time flies

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

Has it really been almost a week since I’ve written?

The week has flown by, while also dragging along.

There isn’t much, good or bad, happening in my life right now.

It’s hard to figure out what to write about when that happens.

But writing is good for me.

I’m not really depressed anymore.

But, I’m bored.

PHP is over and I’m not working yet and one day just runs into the next.

We leave the house a few times a week just to keep getting out.

I craft.

And craft.

And craft.

And sit around thinking about things to craft.

And scroll facebook,

which I’m trying not to do as often.

I got used to having something to work on around the clock.

Holiday cards and holiday gifts.

All made with love.

They are finished and in the mail.

A few wrapped presents sitting on my desk waiting for a socially distant meet up with local friends for an exhange.

Trying to decide what to make for Wonder Woman.

I want to give her something, but she sees everything I make.

I’m not really sure what to buy her either.

Holidays are hard for me.

I want to give the perfect thing.

I’m afraid the stuff I make just isn’t good enough.

I grew up in a family where we got more, More, MORE every year.

So much,

Stuff.

Not that I didn’t appreciate it.

I had fun playing with everything that was given to me.

But I remember the year that my friend basically hung up on me as I was going through my list of what I got.

She was tired of hearing it.

I was too young to realize not every Santa brought that much.

I had to fight that urge when Kidlet was growing up.

I wanted the presents to overflow under the tree.

But that just wasn’t feasible.

And he didn’t need that much

stuff.

I still remember the Christmas where Toys For Tots was all he got.

I remember the Christmas when everything he got was donated by friends.

I remember the Christmas where everything he got was hand made by my father and I, in my father’s shop.

I remember the Christmas after Parker died, trying to get him the perfect gifts to make up for our loss.

Finding those same gifts years later, still packed in the bags that he brought them home in.

Never used.

Never played with.

Those were hard times.

But we managed to find reasons to smile each year.

We had a good life.

A hard life.

But still a good life.

I’m still sleeping too much.

And I can’t figure out why.

I try so hard to get up in the morning,

sometimes I even succeed.

But I can’t keep my eyes open and end up back in bed.

I’m working on it with my therapist and my pdoc and we haven’t found the reason yet.

I’m working on having another sleep study.

I dream all night, waking up on and off as each dream comes and goes.

Sometimes falling asleep right back where I left off.

I talk in my sleep.

I scream out in my sleep.

I don’t think I’m sleeping deeply enough.

But I’m not sure how to fix that.

Overall,

things are pretty good right now.

Things are pretty good.

Cabin in the Woods

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

This is the first time I’ve been on my computer since Thursday.

We’ve used our phones to keep up with the world, and Wonder Woman has kept up with her Animal Crossing chores on the switch, but mostly our phones have been used for streaming music and taking photos as we’ve had a relatively unplugged weekend.

Sitting in the cabin working independently on crafts or reading.

Cozy in a very small space together.

You might think, being enclosed in two tiny rooms, with one comfy chair between us, that we would start tripping over each other.

But it hasn’t happened.

We work so well together.

I enjoy working side by side, but doing our own thing.

Wonder Woman has been working on her loom, learning a new style and quietly listening to podcasts.

I’ve read more than half of a new book written by a friend.

I’ll probably finish it today.

Other than hitting the grocery store for some last minute essentials (and birthday cupcakes) we haven’t left the area of the cabin.

We’ve taken a short walk around the lake, looking for trails that the owner mentioned but not finding any.

Mostly we’ve just been content to sit quietly.

We’ve played a game or two.

We’ve eaten great meals.

I’ve spent more time cooking and doing dishes than I can explain.

But I’ve enjoyed it.

We planned to order food out tonight.

A birthday dinner from a restaurant that came recommended.

But, we found out too late that they’re closed on Sunday.

Most of the town is.

But we’ll eat left over chili, that spent our first night here simmering in a crock pot.

We’ll do a birthday dinner once we’re home again.

We plan to take the long way home.

Doubling the time our trip takes so that we can go across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel.

The water is my happy place and I haven’t been across that expanse of road in many many years.

I didn’t get to a beach for my birthday, the rentals near the water were too expensive, even during the off season,

but I’ll get to spend some time surrounded by water.

A 6 hour road trip to finish off my birthday weekend.

Slow and relaxing with a cute little dog settled on my lap for the drive.

She’s such a good travelling dog.

This weekend has been a great way to reset.

A good time to start figuring out what’s next.

Now that I’m done with PHP and I can’t quite start working again.

Time to figure out what to do with my days, time to decide who 40 year old me is going to be.

This has been a great weekend,

but I’m also looking forward to going home.

Flashback

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

TW: Gunshot, completed suicide, some gore, violence on TV.

This is one of my longer ones.

I’ve been having horrible flashbacks the last few days.

Remembering the moments and hours and days after he died.

Remembering that first post I wrote.

Gunshots are less of a bang and more of a pop.

And the thing is, that sound is so loud that it sucks the rest of the sound out of the air.

Like a vacuum.

Emptiness where the everyday sounds of life were existing a split second before.

That pop is no longer so loud in my head, but the silence afterwards is there.

I remember the police swabbing my hands.

Just a formality, the calm, gentle woman in front of me had said.

I’m remembering the next day,

my sister scrubbing brain matter and blood out of the carpet.

The carpet cleaner bringing in a jug of chemicals especially meant to remove blood.

I remember him asking if Dad had fell, prying for information about what happened.

The mess could have been worse.

Much worse.

And the flashbacks have been coming more and more.

Yesterday, while trying to distract myself from them, we drove to do some errands.

Some window shopping.

We went through an area of the city that smells like oil.

But in my brain the strong smell reminded me of gun powder.

The way that smell filled the entire house a few minutes after he was gone.

Wonder Woman has been watching a violent drama on TV.

We share a common space, with my back to the black square with moving pictures and loud sounds.

I mostly block it out.

Sometimes I wear headphones.

Lately I’ve been getting sucked into the drama.

I really don’t like this show.

But the storyline is interesting and it draws me in.

Yesterday there was a scene where a character was shot at close range.

The screen blacked out the moment the gunshot happened.

Luckily they didn’t show the aftermath.

And the gunshots don’t sound at all like the one that ripped through the air the last moment he was alive.

I don’t think the TV can capture that sound anyway.

Or that absence of sound after the shot rings out.

I wonder if the TV show is contributing to the violence I see in my head.

But we share a common space.

We spend a lot of time coexisting in the same area.

It’s hard to ask her to pick something else when there wouldn’t be much time to binge this particular show.

There isn’t much alone time in these covid times.

And I’m not sure I really want her to watch something else.

There’s comfort in the normality of the types of shows she watches.

In that background sound.

And I can always put on headphones.

But I feel like headphones put up a wall between us.

It’s hard.

When the flashbacks come I try to box them up,

tape them up tightly,

stick them up on the shelf inside my mind.

It helps.

Yesterday when they were particularly strong, I wrapped the boxes in brown paper.

I stuck them on the highest shelf.

I padlocked the closet door.

They stayed quiet just a little bit longer.

But in the back of my mind,

I still see that coagulated stream of blood,

hanging off of the front of the wheelchair.

Images that don’t want to leave.

Images that won’t leave me alone.

Seriously,

Fuck Him.

Chicken Caprese

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

I made Chicken Caprese tonight.

I’ve been cooking more often but it’s been quick oven meals, slow cooker meals, or dump and go instant pot stuff.

None of the really good food that I used to make.

But this week I menu planned, and added back some of the yummier stuff that we’ve always liked.

I’m still in this weird period of flux where I’m doing

so

much

better.

But at the same time,

I’m not.

I woke up at 830 this morning,

fought and fought to get myself out of bed.

Tried to bribe myself with activities or coffee.

Pushed and pushed and pushed.

And woke up at 930 when my alarm went off, signaling an upcoming appointment.

I snoozed.

I snoozed.

I snoozed.

And then I begrudgingly rolled out of bed.

After my appointment I wanted to climb back in,

but we had other things scheduled for today.

I can’t figure out why it’s so hard for me to wake up.

I’ve cut out most of my sleeping meds.

The only one I’m still taking is my nightmare med,

which shouldn’t make me that tired.

Because I’m not taking the sleeping meds, it’s taking me a really long time to fall asleep.

I typically get up after an hour, and try again an hour later.

But I’m still not going to bed all that late.

I just need

so

much

sleep.

But tonight I cooked Chicken Caprese.

I stood at the stove and mixed the fragrant ingredients, setting timer after timer to keep myself on track.

It was hot and miserable, but still fun and enjoyable.

I miss cooking like that.

I like that I’m getting my old self back.

The one that finds enjoyment in life.

But I wish it would happen quicker.

Give me my life back, damnit.

He showed up in my dreams again last night.

I can’t remember most of it.

But I remember him standing there, rigid and stern.

The look he got when he was about to lose his shit.

The look he got when I messed up,

again.

Today when I was cooking,

and really when I do much of anything,

I fear messing up.

I fear the disappointment,

or the wrath that might come.

But it’s not coming from anyone near me anymore.

I’m surrounded by love and light.

People who accept me for me.

People who love me as I am.

People who love me,

even when I mess up.

It’s hard to internalize that love though.

It’s hard to recognize that I don’t have to be perfect to be lovable.

That sometimes, people even love me because of the times I mess up.

Unconditional love is hard to understand,

when I grew up feeling like I was only loved when I was perfect.

When I met someone else’s standard of being.

But I’m learning to give myself grace.

To love myself even when I mess up.

To love myself.

Sleep

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

I feel so so much better.

Except I don’t.

I’m sleeping too much.

Way too much.

And I’m having a hard time getting myself into the shower.

But my dishes are done.

Meals are planned around food we already had in the freezer.

I’m cooking more often.

My kitchen still isn’t clean.

Clean pots and pans are stacked on a stove that is covered in crumbs and spills.

But the dishes are done regularly, and that’s a big deal.

The spices sit all unorganized on the counter instead of in the cabinet (where they no longer fit anyway).

The bottles are spilling over onto the stove.

The kitchen is kind of a disaster, honestly.

But I’m finding more joy in my activities.

I’m leaving the house regularly.

I’m brushing my teeth.

Things that I shouldn’t feel like I deserve an award for, but I do.

Because they are hard.

Hard, hard.

I feel like PHP is at the end of its usefulness.

But I also don’t feel,

healed.

But I’m not sure I’m going to continue healing in PHP.

I’m not sure I need that to keep moving forward anymore.

I’ve come a long way since the day the silence was broken by a gunshot.

I’ve healed so much.

And now it just feels like the

normal depression is still holding me back.

But I’m not sure what to fill my time with if I’m not doing PHP.

My boss isn’t ready to bring me back to work, he has his own stuff going on that needs to be straightened out before he can rehire me.

I don’t want to look for another job because I need the flexibility that came from working for family.

I need the level of understanding that came with that job.

The ability to take a day off here, and work extra hours there.

Or just take a day off without making the hours up.

I need the boss that checked in to make sure I was still doing okay.

That there wasn’t too much piling up

(even though there normally was).

I miss working, and I’m ready to go back.

But what do I do if I’m not working, and I’m not doing PHP.

I did that for years, and I can’t remember what it was like.

I feel like it’s existing without purpose.

It’s a big deal that I’m not ready to go back to nothingness.

It’s a big deal that I need something to occupy my time.

For years I was happy existing with no structure.

No ebb and flow to my days.

Nothing but doctors appointments that seemed to never end.

But now I’m afraid to leave the program behind without having something to take its place.

I have grown so much over the years.

And that day the silence was broken by a gunshot knocked me down a few steps.

But I feel like I’m finally climbing up to the top.