On Edge

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

I just took an Ativan for the first time in I’m not sure how long.

I had an anxiety attack at the after party this evening but I didn’t take one then.

Probably because I never think of them when I’m in the middle of something like that. I’m just thinking of getting the fuck out of whatever situation I’m in.

In that case the situation was ending up at a table full of people I didn’t know because the choice was unknown people or sitting at a high top table, and I have a hard time sitting on those chairs.

#fatpeopleproblems

So I had an anxiety attack and walked out.  Eventually someone I know happened upon me and talked to me long enough that I calmed down and was able to go back in.

I felt like an ass.

But, I didn’t take an Ativan then.

I made it through the after party.

I got a coffee that looked really, really, good.

Because apparently I like making myself more anxious.

And because maybe I’m a dumb ass.

So the whole ride home my anxiety showed up as paranoia. I could see car accidents with every move Wonder Woman made.

And the whole ride home my anxiety showed up as anger. I started finding reasons to be upset. Started thinking up things that could bother me.

I was silently seething while knowing if I opened my mouth a bunch of undeserved rage was going to spill forth.

But I couldn’t reach my purse, so I couldn’t take an Ativan then.

I just kept quiet for the hour ride home, ruminating over all of the things that don’t typically bother me but become perfect targets for my brain to zero in on when I need a reason to be angry.

But when we came into the house I saw all of the things I’ve left undone and started directing the anger towards myself.

The dishes in the kitchen are piled from the sink to the stove. Dinner dishes from last night were just pushed aside so that I could make more dishes this morning.

The trash can is full, with a second brought in for backup.

My kitchen has a mountain of dishes.

My kitchen has a mountain of trash.

I directed the anger inwards and felt myself ready to explode in all directions. I envisioned dishes flying. I could feel a scream building in my lungs.

I just took an Ativan for the first time in I’m not sure how long.

Today was a long day.

Lonely, I’m So Lonely, I Have Anxiety, So I’m Not Alone.

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

Today, I ended up being just like that kid sitting all alone in the corner of the party.

You see, I won’t skate anymore. I fell 8 months ago, or so, and got a bad concussion. It wasn’t my first concussion on skates. I’m not stable enough and my weight plays a large part in that.

I can’t risk knocking my head around again this soon. It takes the brain a really long time to fully heal.

Besides that, I just want to be smaller and stronger the next time I get up on 8 wheels.

Anyway, this made me just like that kid sitting all alone in the corner of the party.

There were other people at the party that didn’t skate, but they weren’t there from derby, and they seemed to know other people at the party.

The only people that I knew at the party were from derby, and all of the derby people, including Wonder Woman, were skating the whole time.

At least Wonder Woman skated up to the wall to say hi to me every once in awhile.

But I was still just like that kid sitting all alone in the corner of the party.

I couldn’t bring myself to walk up to one of the groups of people I didn’t know. And by the end, when derby people started taking breaks, I was so wrapped up in my own anxiety that I couldn’t even walk over to talk to them.

I had started to feel like I was back in grade school. Always on the outside of the crowd. Always left out. Always alone except for the thoughts in my head that wouldn’t shut up.

I convinced myself they didn’t want me around.

I decided I was just like that kid sitting all alone in the corner of the party.

Oh no . . . That’s today.

scientific calculator ii

Photo by Kaboompics .com on Pexels.com

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

Mentally, I still feel like shit.

But a little less like shit then I felt yesterday, so that’s a plus, I guess.

The difference between, I really want to die

and

I just don’t want to live.

And for those who have never been here, there’s a distinctive difference.

Today is a good day for that difference, because today I have a final exam to go take for my health class.

A final exam that I may not have shown up for yesterday, but today I’ll at least show up.

I all but aced my English class.  Two points shy of a perfect score.  I’m still waiting on a few grades to come back from health, but I think I’ll pull at least a b, depends on how I do on this final that I didn’t study for.

Yesterday was rough. I spent most of the day in bed with covers over my head. I got up to cook but didn’t clean and my sink is overflowing with dishes.

We had dill pickle chicken wings for dinner which were both amazing and time consuming. Even though I baked them, my house smells like fried food, which is kind of annoying.

When I’m depressed like that I’m also super triggery, although I hate the word trigger. But the wrong sound from a video game or the wrong scene in a movie will go straight through me and I’ll need to run and hide, or I’ll want to fight back against it. But I can’t find my words to ask Wonder Woman to turn the TV down or that I can’t handle that movie right now. Sometimes I’ll put headphones in so that I’m not a bother, so that I can just zone out into my own world at the computer.

Other times I run away to the bedroom, into my safe space. Under my down comforter with the covers pulled up over my head. Just enough light filters through that it’s not completely dark in there. The sound is muffled like when there’s a few feet of snow outside.

I feel safe.

I always quietly hope that Wonder Woman will eventually come and check on me even if I can’t quite tell her all of what is wrong.

She is part of my safe space.

I also hate that I just walk away without telling her that I’m going. Words are hard when I feel like that. I want to shrink into my own skin.

I don’t want to admit that I need to hide from the world and speaking it out loud makes it too real.

Makes it too noticeable.

Makes me feel like I’m over reacting.

Like I’m being a drama queen.

But today is better. Today the sounds aren’t quite as loud and I don’t need to run.

Today I don’t want to die.

I’m just not quite sure I’m ready to live.

I Can Feel It Coming In The Air Tonight

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

It all starts with this feeling.

In my gut.

In my chest.

In the back of my throat.

Behind my eyes.

I start to notice.

Things that would evoke empathy cause me to become annoyed.

I want to lash out.

I want to be willful and uncooperative.

I feel like a tantrum is about to explode from my body.

But it all starts with that feeling.

That feeling scares me.

What will follow.

Can I stop it here, before it goes any further.

Can I stop the spiral before it truly starts.

Wonder Woman asks if I want to talk and I spend a few minutes on the phone walking in circles in front of the library.  It’s helpful to hear her voice.  She’s the calm to my chaos in times like this.

I remember a time that 17 year old me would spend hours on a payphone in front of the college library.  I was grounded from the phone at home so I’d skip my college class to spend time on the phone with my boyfriend or my girlfriend or maybe both.

I remember that I got this same feeling back then.

It started the same way.

I remember seeing the same cycles, instinctively knowing when they were going to get worse but not knowing what to do about it.

I’m no longer that 17 year old kid.

I have a lot more skills, a lot more tools.  I have a much better support system and I no longer have to hide at a payphone to reach them.

I can feel that feeling.

In my gut.

In my chest.

In the back of my throat.

Behind my eyes.

But it doesn’t mean I’m going to spiral again.

It just means it’s a good time to practice my skills.

Watching Me Fall

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

Trigger Warning:  Talk of past suicidal thoughts

I’m thankful that I started writing my story like this, and I’m thankful that I share my journey on Facebook where every day it reminds me where I was a year ago.

A year ago I was on a very quick spiral downwards.  I was in a very dark place and it wasn’t getting better.

I’ve been watching it happen, through my memories, day by day, since early March.  Post after post about suicidal thoughts, holding on, trying to decide what treatment option was best.

I forgot about the fear though.  I felt that the wrong move would certainty end in death.  I felt like I had to choose the right direction because I wouldn’t have a second chance.

I forgot how deep and how dark it was.  How much control it had.

The suicidal thoughts haven’t gone away.  I get periods where they are less severe and I’m able to easily flick them into the background.  Then there are periods when I thought they were still just as bad as they had been a year ago.  However, reading the post today I realized that there isn’t as much fear as there was.

I’m able to see a future even while I want to die.

I’m able to see mutliple options and I don’t feel as trapped.

A year ago I wrote that during the worst of it, I couldn’t even see far enough forward to imagine someone finding me and worrying about what that would do to them.  I couldn’t see past death.

Now, I’ve realized, even while I’m wanting to die and working out plans, I worry about what will happen when Wonder Woman finds me.  What will happen if it doesn’t work.  What will happen past the attempt.

I think about the future even while I’m thinking about the finality of death.

My therapist kept saying I was future oriented during my suicidal periods and I understood what she meant, but this makes me remember how much I wasn’t future oriented a year ago.

It makes me realize how far I’ve come.

And while my suicidal thoughts are still dangerous now, it makes me realize just how dangerous they were a year ago.

I can remember being there.  I can still put myself in that place and feel that emptiness and that desire to just be gone.  I remember the longing for wellness and the desire to stop fighting for it.

I remember how tired I was and also how driven.

I remember the terror of making the wrong choice.

Sometimes I think I’ve lost all of my progress when I spend a night fighting my own brain.  I think these skills I’ve learned are useless and I’m not fighting hard enough or learning fast enough.

And then I see a post like this and realize how far I’ve come in the past year.

How even in the worst of the darkness, my growth shows.

Every Body Remembers Part 2

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post

The continuation of a Really Real Trauma Post.

This is the reason we had story time.

Back to today.

I’m eating lunch in my college cafeteria.

People in police uniforms start filing in, more than 20, maybe more than 30.

My stomach clenches.  I can’t tell if I want to freeze in place or if I need to get out of there quickly.

See, our school houses a police academy.  Normally when I go in for lunch, they are already there and sitting down.  Normally there aren’t so many.  Normally it doesn’t bother me.

I pack up.  I walk over to throw my trash away.  Two of them are using the microwave next to the trashcan.  I contemplate crossing the entire cafeteria to use the other trash can.

I ask myself why I’m reacting this way.

I don’t think about my own story from so many years ago.

When I’m driving and a cop is behind me, I immediately want to pull of the road.  I immediately start thinking of how I’m supposed to react if they pull me over.  What’s the least likely to get me in more trouble.

Even when I’ve done nothing wrong.

I remember how, literally overnight, 3 year old Kidlet went from wanting to talk to every police officer he saw, to hiding behind me when he saw a cop car and even screaming in terror if one came close.

“How were you so calm when you got pulled over?” I asked Wonder Woman the night she got a ticket.  I was in the passenger seat all but shaking.  It wasn’t until halfway through that I realized I had my hands in my pockets and then I was petrified to take them out.  “What am I supposed to do if they talk to me?”  “How am I supposed to react to keep us both out of trouble?”

Today as the police academy students filed into the cafeteria I immediately started looking for a way to keep myself safe.  I immediately questioned that reaction because I’ve never been hurt by a cop.  I even said to myself “What has a cop ever done to you?”

I don’t think about that part of my story.

It was so long ago.

I’ve been through so much since then.

It barely seems like a blip on the radar.

I was halfway across the campus before I remembered.

“That’s what a cop did to you.”

But my body doesn’t forget.

Not even for a second.

My stomach clenches.

My thoughts spin.

I go into flight or freeze and would never consider fighting.

Trauma is hard.

And, now that I recognize it, I can work on healing it.

 

Every Body Remembers Part 1

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

More specifically, this is a Really Real Trauma Post.

Trigger Warning:  Violence, Police Violence, Mention of Drugs

Story time.  This is long, one of my longest posts in awhile.

When I was around 22, my son’s father and I were dirt poor and facing homelessness.  It was the first time my mental health prevented me from working and he wasn’t able to get or hold a job either.

I found a mental health program that would pay our rent for a year if we could find a place under $400 a month.

We looked and we looked,  not finding a single thing.  The offer was about to run out and we were desperate.  Finally we came across a beat-up, slumlord owned, row home in one of the worst areas of the city.

We moved in.

We put our living room in one of the bedrooms on the second floor because bullets were less likely to come through those windows if shots were fired (and they were, leaving a hole in the car I was borrowing at the time).

We were the only white family for blocks.  I got pulled over regularly and learned to carry not only my licence, but my utility bill and even a copy of my lease.  The only people that looked like us in that neighborhood were driving through buying one of the many types of drugs that were sold from most corners and in front of the abandoned houses.

Our time there wasn’t all horrible.  We made friends with the neighbors, both the ones trying to “clean up the streets” and the ones selling the drugs.  We stayed out of the drama and got to know them all as individuals.  We got to know their stories and why they ended up where they were.  We cried real tears when someone we knew well, who just happened to be in a feud with another dealer, was shot in the head and died.

They also looked out for us.  They knew we stood out and could become easy prey so I was often escorted from my car to my house if I had to park far away.  Once, in a miscommunication between us and roommates, our front door got left wide open while no one was home and someone from the neighborhood watched our place for almost 12 hours.  Of course part of that is the fact that no one wants the cops to show up on “their street.”

But one day the cops did show up.

I had just gotten Kidlet out of the tub.  I can still see where I was standing, with my tiny 3 year old, wrapped in a towel, on my hip.  I heard breaking wood and the front door slam open and “This is the police” and countless footsteps stomp through the house and up the steps towards me.  Guns were drawn and pointed at my face.  At my 3 year old’s face.

At My 3 Year Old’s Face.

After demanding to know What The Fuck was going on, my sons father was cuffed and slammed against the stairs.  I remember seeing him, defeated, sitting on the bottom step.

They brought people I’d never seen before in from out front.  People just passing through?  Someone they thought was involved with whatever they thought was happening at my house?

While sitting on the sofa with my still mostly naked son, strangers from out front cuffed and on the floor around me, cops watching me, they threw random clothes at me and told me to dress him.

I asked for a warrant repeatedly.  Hours? later they produced one.  Something about having to remove the judges name being the reason for the delay.  I’m honestly not sure.

They said they saw us dealing drugs through our front door.  Said they had been watching us for years building a case.   My son’s father said it was because we were white, because we could only look like us, and be in this neighborhood, for drug reasons.  They said they had no idea what race we were.  Those two facts do not go together.

My sons father and I smoked pot at one point.  From what I recall we didn’t have any actual marijuana leaf in the house though, we hadn’t smoked in quite some time.  We couldn’t even keep the lights on.  We weren’t getting high.  They found a box of seeds and stems and some paraphernalia.  They threatened to arrest us for that if we didn’t just sit still and shut up and drop it.

A little while later they took what they found and left.  Broken door still sitting wide open with no way to close it.

We never heard another word.

There’s a point to me telling this story, but this is long enough, I’ll tell the rest in a part two.