It really is this good.

This is a Really Real Relationship post.

I’m all about radical vulnerability. Being wide open, and raw, and honest.

And I realized that while I’m showing all of the sides of mental illness and widowhood, it feels like I’m offering a Facebook version of my relationship.

And that’s not who I am.

It’s not what I’ve ever meant to do.

And honestly, I want people to know that things CAN be good, even with shitty mental health and a shitty traumatic past, and even with a relationship that’s just, almost, perfect.  I deserve good things, and things don’t have to be perfect to be good.

Wonder Woman and I have a really great relationship.

Over two years in and we haven’t had a single fight. We haven’t raised our voices at each other or said harsh words to each other even once. We apologize almost immediately if anything has even seemed passive aggressive. We even apologize if we’re grumpy or in a bad mood.

We really are sickeningly sweet.

But.

We have hard talks about hard things. We have some areas of our lives and our relationship that are really hard to work through. We are polar opposites in a few areas.

We are gentle with each other about those areas. We are respectful. We are understanding.

And, we get help with navigating those areas from a couples therapist, because the view from the outside is much clearer than the view from within.

It helps, and we always come out of our sessions with ideas about how to move forward, together.

I think there’s this view that couples therapy is for couples that are falling apart.

That it’s a last resort.

It was one of the first things we went for when we realized we were hitting road blocks in some areas of communication.

Don’t get me wrong. We have GREAT communication. But some areas are just HARD when we are so different. Different histories, different traumas, different preferences.

Different ways of communicating.

So I’m writing this post for two reasons.  One, is because I realized I was offering this “facebook reality” of my relationship, and I just don’t like that. And two, is to help with normalizing couples therapy, because really, what’s wrong with getting an unbiased outside perspective?

Vacation

This is a Really Real Widow Post.

But also a bit of Mental Health thrown in there.

We never took vacations.

It’s one of my big regrets from Parker and I, but also from Kidlet’s childhood.

There was the year we traveled from Maryland to Florida to see our families.  That was our only family vacation in the 8 years we were together.

I think once we came from Florida, to Maryland, tagging along with my mom.  I guess that was a vacation. During that trip we managed to go over to DC for part of a day. Parker had never been to D.C. and she absolutely loved it.

A few years later when we were living in the homeless shelter up here, we met her family in D.C. for the day while they were on their vacation.

But vacations weren’t really on our radar.

Keeping the lights on, paying off the rent before the eviction notice expired, stretching the food stamps by making it to the food pantries on time. Making it to countless doctors appointments.

Those were the things we worried about.

But not vacations.

Wonder Woman and I leave for vacation tonight. I can’t count the number of overnight trips and vacations we’ve had in the 2 years we’ve been together. This is a belated anniversary trip, something we wanted to do, but couldn’t quite afford to do in September, so we were able to put aside some money and make it happen a bit late.

We’re going to a cabin in the mountains. The mountains are Wonder Woman’s place, she loves the cold. Mine is the beach and the warmth.

We’ve done lots of beach trips, it’s time to hit the mountains. I guess I can bundle up for a few days.

We have a fireplace in our cabin, and there are fire pits in the resort.

I guess I can handle that.

I still have great memories of going to the beach over Christmas on our first vacation. Hanging out in front of the fire together.

I look forward to repeating that.

I still feel weird taking vacations. I still have to remind myself that I deserve nice things. That I deserve happiness. That I deserve to travel and have these experiences.

That I deserve stability.

I’m so used to struggle that it’s hard to settle into stability.

It’s hard to feel comfortable with packing for a trip. It’s hard to avoid overthinking it.

It’s hard to find the balance between “bring absolutely everything you might need” and “if you forget something you can just buy it.”

It’s hard to find the balance between over planning/letting anxiety win and waiting for the last minute/letting anxiety win.

It’s hard to find the balance between being thankful for what I have now, and grieving what I didn’t have then.

We never took vacations.

I deserve this life.

Love

This is a Really Real _____ Post.

Widowhood. Life. Relationship. Mental Health.

This is one is going to cover all of it.

Today I got messages from a few different people, telling me how amazing Wonder Woman is, and how amazing she is for me.

They weren’t telling me anything I didn’t already know.

I love the way she loves me.

I love the way she’s always there for me without ever trying to fix me.

I love how she makes me laugh whenever I take life too seriously.

I love the way she loves me.

And.

I love loving her.

No one ever said anything to me, but I knew. When I started dating Wonder Woman, people wondered if Parker was being replaced.

They didn’t want anyone trying to stand in Parker’s shoes.

And the thing is, no one can ever fill her shoes. I wouldn’t want anyone to.

Wonder Woman fills her own shoes.

There’s no comparing the two. Parker loved a completely different version of me.

Parker was great at loving the version of me that didn’t know how to stand on my own two feet. Parker was great at being the other half of me when I didn’t know I could be whole by myself. Parker was great at surviving utter chaos with me.

I loved the way she loved that version of me.

And I loved loving her.

But now I’m an entirely different person.

Widowhood does that.

Wonder Woman is great at loving this version of me.  I can’t imagine ever being anyone’s “other half” ever again. I’m too busy being my whole self. Wonder Woman is a great partner in life. She’s great at showing me I can stand on my own two feet when I forget how capable I am. She’s great at supporting me in being the best person I can be.

And the best person I can be is constantly changing. I’m regularly discovering bigger and better things I can accomplish.

I’m looking at job postings and not freaking out at the idea of applying. (I’m even working on my resume.)

I’m working on new and deeper DBT skills.

I’m getting better at riding the waves of bipolar.

I’m working through trauma and learning how to navigate the world without so many triggers. I’m also learning how to navigate the world of triggers when I need to.

I’m really enjoying my life as I push forward.

I love loving them.

I love loving my life.

I love.

I feel good!

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

I feel good.

I. Feel. Good.

I’m euthymic.  I’m not manic, not depressed, not suicidal. Even the passing ideations are leaving me alone.

It’s been over a month since I’ve had a mood episode.  I almost never get a whole month free from this shit.

It’s nice to see who I am when I’m stable. When I can separate my personality from my diagnoses.

I keep questioning, am I actually hypomanic and just not seeing it? But I’m still sleeping, I’m not spending every last cent, I’m not cleaning my entire house in a frenzy.

Yeah, this is the middle ground that I spend my life looking for.

The medication comes with side effects, but I’m learning they’re worth it for the benefits.  I actually had a pdoc appointment where we didn’t change anything.

This is one of a handful of times that’s happened in the last 7 years.

Life is good.

Life. Is. Good.

It’s nice to see that. I can see both the positive and negative aspects of my life right now, and I’m fine with them. I’m working to change the negative where I can.

I’m not sure there’s a huge point to this post. Maybe it’s just that I share all of the negative with everyone and I’m making sure to share all sides of the story.

I deserve love.

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

I’m surrounded by love and I deserve to be. That’s a profound statement coming from me, especially the second part.

I. Deserve. Love.

Sometimes I can’t remember that.

Sometimes, especially now that I’m “living my best life” I wonder how I deserve any of this.

“You deserve happiness, we both do.” Wonder Woman and I mention that (or some variation of it) to each other on at least a weekly basis. I need the reminder when things in my head are dark.

I look for the other shoe to drop whenever things are good. Things can’t be this good, not without something going wrong.

And the thing is, when I’m doing well things still go wrong. Deciding not to have surgery threw me for a loop. I sobbed in Wonder Woman’s arms, I sobbed in the shower, I sobbed while writing the post about it.

But I kept moving forward.

And now it doesn’t seem that bad. It was a blip on the radar in an otherwise great life.

I’m surrounded by love, and kindness, and caring,

and I deserve it.

I have an amazing fiancee. We communicate better than I could ever imagine. Our relationship is so gentle and calm. I love her and feel loved in return. I still look for things to fall apart. I still wonder what thing I’m going to do that will drive her away.

I’m surrounded by love, and kindness, and caring,

and I deserve it.

I have a derby spouse . (It’s a derby thing.)  They are one of my closest friends. We check on each other on a regular basis, sometimes daily, sometimes weekly. We encourage each other constantly. They are exceptionally kind to me and I am kind to them. I still wonder what I’m missing. Are they just pretending to be my friend. Am I really worthy of a friendship like this?

I’m surrounded by love, and kindness, and caring,

and I deserve it.

I’m in a new relationship. It has flowed together so smoothly. We are spending lots of time learning about each other and our lives. I care for her and feel cared for. And I still look for the other shoe. I’m waiting for someone to get upset with this polyamorus situation and call and end to it. I’m waiting for her to to decide that I’m not right for her.

I’m surrounded by love, and kindness, and caring,

and I deserve it.

There are other important friendships, people I have known for years, people that supported me through Parker’s death, best friends, close friends, those friendships that can’t be defined.

I am surrounded by love, and kindness, and caring,

and I deserve it.

There’s my family that loves and supports me, sometimes by telling me hard truths that I need to hear, sometimes financially, sometimes by loving me in the best way they know how.

I am surrounded by love.

And I deserve it.

You deserve it too.

It’s Not Fair!

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

and a Really Real Health post.

I worked my ass off and got approved for bariatric surgery.

My final appointment is at 10am today and I will schedule surgery.

Except, I’m not going. I sent a note in last night cancelling my appointment and dropping out of the program.

My therapist never wanted to write my recommendation letter, even though she spent 5 months trying to.  She finally had a long detailed talk with me about it late last week. She didn’t think I was really thinking about this, she thought I was only looking at the outcome I wanted and not the actual challenges.

She thought as much as I’ve grown, as far as I’ve come in the last 3 years, this would be a huge setback to my mental health.

I wanted to ignore her, especially since I’d just spent $200 getting the recommendation letter from an online therapist. I called my older sister, the voice of logic in my life. I wanted her to cheer me on like she’s done in the past.

She pointed out everything my therapist did, and more.

I have worried that my therapist is just against the surgery in general, but I know my sister isn’t. She’s been a major support to me since the first day I talked about it 7 or 8 years ago.

I’ve come so far with my mental health. It’s fucking amazing the growth that has happened in the last 3 years. I sit here as an entirely different person.

But

I still can’t keep myself on a healthy eating routine.

I still can’t keep myself from binge eating.

I still can’t keep myself going to the gym.

I still can’t keep myself focused on school work.

I still can’t control my spending.

Basically,

I’m really good at starting stuff, I’m really good at that initial push. And I still have zero follow through.

Right now, falling off on healthy eating sucks.  I gain weight back and I feel like a failure.

After surgery it could put me in the hospital.  Surgery isn’t going to magically give me the follow through and the willpower to succeed.  Surgery isn’t a quick fix, it’s just a tool.

Also,

As much as I fight it, food is still a coping mechanism for me. I react to stress, to depression, to boredom, by turning to food. I fight it, but it happens, often.

What happens when I completely remove that avenue of coping because it’s physically impossible? What happens to my mental health? What do I replace it with?

What happens if I can’t replace it with something healthy?

What happens if I can’t cope without it?

I’m not typing this all out to convince anyone else, I already know I’m not getting the surgery. I’m typing it out because I need to see it in black and white. I need to type it and grieve it.

I’m sad.

I feel defeated.

It isn’t fair that, yet again, my mental illnesses are getting in the way.

 

 

 

Rolling with it

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

(Trigger warning: Talk of suicidal thoughts)

Today was a no good, horrible, very bad day.

When the proverbial first punch caught me off guard, I reeled.  It took my mood down a few notches while I stood there almost helplessly.

I wanted to lash out. I wanted to overreact. I wanted to throw a temper tantrum.

But I wasn’t helpless. I vented, I spent some time cuddling with Wonder Woman, I reminded myself that there were other options. I started taking proactive steps towards a better solution.

I was proud of myself because I didn’t get sucked under.

And I was still wobbly when the second punch caught me.

It wasn’t fair. It wasn’t my fault. No one would listen.

I still have to pay for it.

It sent me sprawling across my bed.

The thoughts crept in, slowly at first, with very little power.

A plan formed.

I clung to my bed while letting the thoughts wind their way through my brain.

I kept reminding myself, “life is still good.” While my brain screamed back “it always comes back to this.”

I told myself “this will pass.” Meanwhile I heard the telltale gunshots going off in the back of my head.

I drifted to sleep while at war.

I woke up and it was still so dark, but I saw a patch of light somewhere off in the distance. I crawled my way out of bed. Tried to find the good. Kept looking for something to make that patch a bit bigger. I wanted to rip the darkness wide open.

I distracted myself.

I fed myself.

I let the thoughts pass through quietly.

I took their power away.

Silly thoughts, I’m just frustrated.

Silly thoughts, I’m just overwhelmed.

Silly thoughts.

Silly thoughts.

I’m glad I’m in a place where I have a fighting chance. It’s a war that will never go away. The thoughts will always be there, waiting to strike.

Silly thoughts.

Silly thoughts.

You won’t win today.