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?

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.

Old Houses

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

I’ve been dreaming about my dad a lot.

The dreams always take place at his old house, the one I helped him build, the one I spent every other weekend at for most of my childhood years.

We made a lot of memories in that home.

I was sad when he sold it.

I remember climbing on the roof putting shingles on.

I remember him throwing a priced pencil set across the room because I didn’t put it away.

I remember playing in the giant hole where the foundation was dug out.

I remember being called Butch when I got my hair cut short for the first time.

I remember laying bricks, learning how to put just the right amount of mortar on.

I remember realizing Dad was racist, when he was talking about his brick layer.

I remember playing on “Mt. Tina,” the giant pile of dirt where they dug the basement out.

That’s the house I envision when I envision my father.

I only visited him a handful of times at the Florida house.

So that’s not where he is in my dreams.

I dream about him every few nights.

Dreams that take place after he shot himself, but he’s still alive.

A weird dichotomy where I know he’s dead, but I know he’s alive.

The dreams don’t really upset me, most of the time.

But, he tried to kill me in one of them and I screamed out,

scaring Wonder Woman who was sleeping beside me.

I’m pretty upset that I dream about him so often.

In the three months since he’s died, he’s shown up in my dreams more times than Parker ever has.

And she’s been dead for four and a half years.

This wasn’t what I planned to write about today.

I planned to write about pulling out an old hobby.

A friend gifted me a small diamond painting and it reminded me of how many hours I spent doing them a few years ago.

I didn’t realize I missed it until I started doing it again.

Relaxing in a meditative sort of way.

An activity that I get completely immersed in,

focusing on matching each symbol in turn as I work my way around the canvas.

It’s a silly activity.

One that will leave me with giant canvases full of plastic “diamonds.”

Art that I will never do anything with.

But it occupies my mind and my hands.

It gives me something to do on these long winter nights while Covid keeps me trapped inside.

I texted my cousin this week.

Told him I was ready to come back to work a few hours a week.

When he has something for me to do.

It feels like an achievement.

Like I’m healing.

Like I’m getting my life back.

It’s about time.

Day 21

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

TW: Mention of suicide, mention of gunshot, mention of gore.

I skipped a day again.

But missing 2 days this month isn’t really all that bad, and I don’t really have something to write about every day right now.

I slept till almost noon today.

Didn’t even do my wakeup at 7am to roll over and go back to sleep.

I just slept.

I feel bad for sleeping so much. I’m in bed by midnight at the latest, and sleeping at least 12 hours almost every night.

Partly it’s the sleeping meds.

Partly it’s depression.

Partly it’s still healing from trauma.

It feels like it’s taking so long.

I’m shaming myself for all the things I can’t do, and it’s hard to focus on what I am doing.

For all the things I can’t do, yet.

I keep trying to remind myself that it’s okay that I’m not back to where I was.

I’ll get there.

Apparently, it’s just going to take more time than I like.

My therapist said yesterday that this may not be as much depression, as it is shutting down from the trauma.

Still blocking emotions out.

I feel so flat.

Even things I normally enjoy are just,

flat.

I don’t want to get out of bed in the morning because there’s nothing to look forward to.

It’s nice not being suicidal, but I miss,

living.

I was living my best life, and now I’m just struggling to get out of bed each day.

And I’m trying to be gentle with myself, while also pushing enough that I keep progressing.

But honestly, it’s hard.

It’s hard not to feel like I’m failing.

It’s hard not to feel like I’m letting people down.

It’s hard not to feel like I’m letting myself down.

Healing is exhausting.

And I’m still angry.

Fuck him for taking my stability.

Truly, fuck him.

It’s quiet in the house right now.

I keep forgetting to turn on music but yet, the silence allows the intrusive memories to come.

Fuck him for making every memory of that week turn into a gunshot.

Into a gory image of him in a wheelchair with blood dripping from his face.

Into an image of blood caked on the front of the wheelchair.

Into an image of my sister scrubbing the remnants out of the carpet.

Fuck him.

I’m having bbq, bacon wrapped, shrimp for Thanksgiving.

Wonder Woman hates seafood, hates the smell of it, so I only really cook it when she’s out of town.

My dad used to have seafood for holiday dinners.

It was nice because I’d have a traditional holiday meal at my mom’s house,

and then I’d go to my dad’s and have a seafood feast.

He always made the bbq bacon wrapped shrimp.

I miss it.

It’s been years and years since we’ve had a meal like that.

Years and years since he said “Dad is great, dad is good, lets thank dad for this meal.”

Years and years since he screamed at me for not cleaning fast enough before my sister got there.

Years and years.

I don’t miss him.

I don’t miss the forced phone calls that I tried to make each week because he was an old lonely man who had no other contact with the outside world.

I don’t miss the overwhelming anxiety when I would go for a visit.

I don’t miss the sound of him screaming because I didn’t do things the way that he wanted.

I don’t miss him.

Fuck him.

Fuck him for setting me back so far.

Day 19

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

Two steps forward.

One step back.

I cancelled almost everything today.

I showed up late to PHP, and was thankful when we ended both groups early.

I cancelled meeting up with a friend.

I cancelled my doctors appointment.

I barely made it out to the store to pick up a medication I had run out of.

Part of it is that I’m flaring right now.

Every joint hurts.

A burning pain that makes me want to cry.

But I don’t.

Honestly, I look just like I look any other day.

I just,

deal with it.

Silently.

But inside I’m screaming.

And, it was also depression.

I could feel it gripping at me, holding me back.

Holding me down in bed this morning.

Holding me back from leaving the house.

Some days it’s releasing its grip enough to let me function almost normally.

Whatever that is.

But today it held firm.

I pushed through some this afternoon.

Staring at my design software I stopped scrolling Facebook long enough to work on some cards.

I kept having to push every step of the way.

I would make a few edits and find myself mindlessly scrolling again.

I would cut a few pages and catch myself mindlessly reading post after post.

Eventually I’d get them put together.

I managed to make 12 cards today.

I was wading through the thickest mud though.

Even writing this,

I’m forcing myself to stay on track.

I keep getting distracted by everything.

Zoning off into the distance.

Two steps forward.

One step back.

I’ll move forward again tomorrow.

Day 17

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

Today has been productive.

It feels good.

I had PHP this morning.

I over slept.

I almost didn’t go at all.

But I did.

Afterwards I had coffee with a high school friend. Someone I probably haven’t seen since we graduated.

Or maybe in my Denny’s days right after high school.

Conversation flowed easily, and my ever present anxiety was quiet for a change.

We sat outside.

The cold wind threatening to blow our drinks over.

But it was nice to be around someone as worried about safety as I am.

We talked a lot about Covid.

About how our lives have changed.

And how it will never go back to the normal that was.

There will forever be a new normal.

It felt nice to socialize.

When I got home I was worn out.

The smallest things do that now.

But the coffee kept me going.

I spent this evening filling envelopes with already created cards.

I’ve made 64 so far.

I need to make another 33.

I’m having so much fun with them, so much love is going into these pieces of paper.

And I’m surrounded by so much love.

I remember being in school, horribly bullied, with no idea what was wrong with me.

Or what I was doing wrong.

Now, I’m surrounded by a support system bigger than most people have.

All of you that read my posts.

Some silently.

Some reacting.

Some commenting.

The people inviting me out for coffee and walks.

The people keeping me company over zoom or at bonfires.

It’s nice to be so loved.

It’s nice to be able to feel that love.

Instead of being surrounded by a fog that won’t let it in.

I’m feeling better every day.

I’m sure rough times will come again, but I’m also sure I can handle them.

For now, though, I’m going to enjoy the clear blue skies.

Day 16

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

I skipped a day.

Nothing was really happening and I couldn’t figure out a topic to write about, so I kept waiting for inspiration.

And thought about it one last time as I was dozing off.

It gets boring for me to write “day in the life” posts day after day with no real content.

No real direction.

Especially when each day, looks like the day before, and the day before, and the day before.

Quarantine life is so damn boring.

I’ve taken two naps today, short naps, but still, laying down and dozing off.

I’m just not feeling 100%.

Partially its still depression, partially it’s that boredom of every day feeling like the last.

Today was a good day though.

I had PHP this morning, and group therapy was really productive.

I love when I end a group feeling like I have more insight than I did when it started.

After PHP I went for a walk with a derby friend. Someone who I haven’t seen since last season.

There hasn’t really been a season this year.

We walked slowly, stopping often for her dog to sniff around, and just talked.

We stayed distant from each other on the path, giving each other air hugs from 6 feet away before we left.

This new normal is odd, but finding safe ways to socialize is important.

I have coffee with another friend tomorrow, and then we’re repeating today’s walk on Thursday.

Sunday, Wonder Woman and I are having a friend over for another bonfire.

Quite a socially busy week for me, and it feels so good.

It feels good to have interest in this again.

It feels good to push myself not to cancel, because depression and anxiety want to get in the way.

But I’m not letting them.

I’m worth the fight.

I’m working on making socially distant plans with friends for next week.

I’ll be alone for a few days, and while I’m looking forward to the “me time,” I also don’t want to open myself up for the thoughts to creep back in.

Quiet is good, but getting myself stuck in the house isn’t.

I also have plans to turn up the music and get some serious cleaning done around here.

From months of staying at home, to long stretches of depression, my house is worse than it’s ever been.

I plan to get it back under control while she’s gone.

Organize my space to organize my mind.

I feel so much better though. I feel like the meds are working, I feel more like,

me.

Day 13

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

I almost forgot to write today.

I spent the morning in PHP, followed by leaving the house for some errands, and then jumping right into crafting.

It feels good to be productive.

I had a phone appointment with my pdoc today, she said I’m still not my normal chatty stuff.

Partially it’s because life is boring right now.

I don’t leave the house often as it is, but now I’m even more worried about going out.

Numbers are spiking.

And there are still people who don’t believe in this virus, I have a hard time associating with them.

They are putting the lives of themselves and others at risk, and they don’t care.

I’m going to be alone for Thanksgiving, and I’m okay with that.

I’m not going to go searching out a friendsgiving, maybe I’ll meet up with some people via zoom, but I’m okay being in my own little bubble where I’m not taking a chance on making the numbers higher.

There are two people in my PHP who lost loved ones to Covid. Two people out of the 9 or 10 of us there.

One woman became a widow, another lost a child, younger than me.

Because of a “fake virus” that people aren’t taking seriously.

It breaks my heart. It scares me.

It scares me.

I’m more depressed being at home all of the time.

I miss derby.

I miss gatherings.

I miss going out without fear.

But that doesn’t mean I’m going to go out more.

I guess this post wasn’t all that much about mental health, but at the same time, this is affecting all of our mental health.

This is a slow sort of trauma for all of us.

Or at least those of us who are taking it seriously.

Grief

This is a Really Real Trauma post.

TW: Completed Suicide Mentioned. Gun Violence Mentioned.

I was just laying in bed, starting to doze off, mind still wandering.

And I thought of my dad.

Now, this isn’t strange anymore. The latest brain trains have lead me down a road where I think of something about caring for my dad.

Transferring him from bed to chair, or him screaming “Mom” wanting to get out of bed in the middle of the night, or cooking shrimp for him in a way that I never would have thought of.

And that thought is followed immediately by a “pop” and a blurry image of him dead in his wheelchair.

I think of him a lot. Sometimes it fucks with my brain, sometimes it’s just a passing intrusive thought.

But this time was different.

I thought of my dad back when I was young.

The dad that I worshipped.

This time I thought about the times in between the abuse.

I thought about the times that we went crabbing.

The times that I really looked up to him, like when they called him in to teach navigation to my boating class.

The times when he was so proud of me, like when I passed that exam.

The times when we would sit behind his friend’s Florida time share, when he would grill hamburgers (until they were flat, dry, pucks of meat) and heat beans up in the can.

That time that he took me on a plane to some random airport, just to turn around and fly back home, because I had never been on a plane but I always watched as either he or my adult sister would leave on a flight.

I have lots of good memories with him.

And then I realized. I’m not grieving the loss of him. I don’t care that he’s gone.

I remember having a conversation with my sister. We both wondered out loud how we would react to his death.

I was ready to walk away from my relationship with him, but I felt I would regret it when he died and I didn’t want to feel guilty for another death (heh).

But I figured, no matter how little I felt towards him when he was alive, I’d grieve him when he was gone.

And obviously, as time would tell, I felt a great deal towards him. Otherwise I wouldn’t have done what I did.

But still. I’m not grieving the loss of him.

A very, very, horrible, person is no longer in this world. He can no longer treat me like “less than,” he can no longer treat anyone that way.

And he treated everyone that way.

Now, don’t get me wrong.

I am grieving the lost of my stability.

I am grieving the addition of another trauma to my history.

But I’m not grieving his death.

Even those good memories ended by the time I was 14. Once I had an actual mind of my own, my opinion was no longer tolerated. It wasn’t about building a relationship in between the abuse anymore.

It was just about shutting me down and reminding me to stay in my place.

Maybe not directly.

But by judging me so harshly, and making sure I knew it.

By calling me “butch” constantly when I cut my hair short, even though I had no idea what that meant. (I wonder how he felt when he realized he was right.)

By pointing out every thing I did wrong. Making sure I remembered it.

By making sure I remembered how often he was right. And it didn’t matter what the truth was, he was ALWAYS right.

By throwing things and yelling when I stepped out of line.

By doing the same just because something around us went wrong.

I don’t grieve the loss of him.

Actually, I celebrate it.

And I almost,

almost,

feel guilty for that.

But, fuck him. He spent long enough hurting me.

He hurt me with his final fucking action.

With his final selfish thought.

He doesn’t get to hurt me through grief, too.

Our goal is to live so someone actually gives a shit when we die.

And very few people give a shit about him.