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.

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.

I Am Loved

This is a Really Real Love post.

I’m home!

I spent 5 days up in New York visiting one of my closest friends and her children. This is a trip I do a few times a year but this time I drove. I needed the long drive alone, something I don’t get to do very often.

I’m still not completely used to the relationship I have with Wonder Woman. I didn’t have to ask permission to leave town. I just told her I was going and made sure it was during a time when she could take care of the pets. We are so deeply in love, but we are our own people.

I’m used to codependency. We’ve been very careful to avoid anything like that. This is, by far, the healthiest relationship I’ve ever had.

And we still constantly and consistently show each other love, in our own ways.

Music is Wonder Woman’s thing. I have a few favorite artists that I play in rotation, occasionally throwing in a generic playlist on Spotify. Before I left she made me a mix tape, or actually the modern day equivalent, a Spotify playlist just for my road trip. It was the perfect mixture of her music, my music, and our music, including our song. I listened to it on repeat for most of my drive there and back.

Seriously, she made me a mix tape. I never would have thought to love her that way but I felt so loved by her with every song that played.

We texted daily, we talked on the phone at least once, but mostly, we just lived our lives while I was gone. I missed her (and she missed me), and by the time I left New York I was ready to be home and back in her arms. I’m looking forward to cuddles tonight.

I’ve missed them.

I am so completely loved in this relationship and I love her completely. But we are our own people.

It’s nice to be loved this way.

Tonight while I’m writing this she’s playing her guitar in the room near me. She’s doing her thing and I’m doing mine. We love that we can be in the same room working and playing, together but apart.

It’s nice to still be my own person while being completely in love. Two years in and I’m still not used to this.

Two years in and I’m still waiting for the major change. I’m waiting for us to stop cuddling every night or to forget to give kisses and say I love you every day. I’m waiting for the day that we stop showing our love through actions.

Two years in and I’m still waiting for our first actual fight. I mean, we have hard discussions, but it never turns into anything more than talking calmly and lovingly to each other.  I’m still not used to that.

I am so very loved, and I love her so very much.

It’s 3am

This is a Really Real Widow Post. With some Really Real Mental Health mixed in.

It’s 3am. Coffee too late and a touch of hypomania means I’m still awake.

I don’t want to be awake.

I have a full day tomorrow.

This morning (yesterday morning) there was a Michael’s ad in my email, and there was a pumpkin with Parker carved into it.

Parker isn’t the kind of name I normally see in random places.

I’ve been missing her today. I’m especially missing her at 3am.

I always miss her in small ways, but sometimes that comes to the forefront. Sometimes I can feel the old pain in my chest.

“I miss her tonight.” I send the text to our son.

I wish the ball in my chest would grow big enough to let me cry. Maybe then I could get some sleep.

Lack of sleep always brings a rough day. I wish I could rewind and undrink the coffee that seemed so appealing 8 hours ago. I wish I could rewind and take those pills out of her hand.

I wish I could rewind and change things so that I stop seeing that morning play out in slow motion.

I wish I could rewind so she could see my life now. I wish I could rewind so she could still be breathing.

I just wish I could rewind.

He texts back “Yeah, I do too.”

Then he asks if I’m safe. You know, because every kid has to worry that they might lose another mom that way.

It’s totally normal.

I joke because facing the reality of our fucked up life is made easier when I add some humor.

Life isn’t all that bad now. I have the space to be annoyed when I’m awake at 3 am. I have the spoons to type this out. I have a roof over my head that isn’t going anywhere.

I’m not suicidal right now. That makes life extra good.

I miss her tonight. That ball is still in the middle of my chest. Not quite large enough to let me cry this out. I want to be held and comforted, but it’s 3am, self soothing will have to do.

There’s no real point to this, no profound realization, no life lesson for me to pass on.

I can’t remember the sound of her voice anymore. Not all of the time. I was laying with Wonder Woman the other day and the thought hit me “Will I remember your voice after you die?” I’m engaged with full knowledge that I could become a widow again.

Life happens.

Death happens.

I’ve been watching her sleep more often lately. Making sure she’s still breathing. I even watch the cat and the dog now.

It must be on my mind how fragile life is.

Watching for the slow rise and fall of her chest. Panicked if I don’t see it right away. Relieved when she makes some small noise.

We listen to The Mountain Goats sometimes.

“I hope you die.” “I hope we both die.”

We add our own line “at the same time.”

I miss her tonight. Both of them. I miss the one who isn’t breathing anymore, and I miss the one who’s hopefully still breathing in the other room.

I need to go check again.

Maybe this time, I can fall asleep beside her.

Day Three

(These are a series of posts I hand wrote while I was inpatient on the crisis unit)

Trigger Warning: Suicidal Stuff.

August 18, 2019 7:05 pm  Three Days on the unit.

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

Today feels better.

The thoughts have settled into a dull roar instead of screaming in the back of my head.

The unit is still loud.

I can’t get a moment of silence no matter where I go.

Twenty-five beds, filled to capacity, eight people came in overnight.

Everyone has their own brand of crazy.

Some of them are easier to ignore than others.

I try not to judge. I try not to judge the people who are judging.

I try not to judge myself.

Today feels better.

I’m talking more, interacting more. I ask Wonder Woman for one of my skirts. I want real clothes.

I feel human.

I’m still so tired. Mental illness is exhausting. I’m not quite there yet. But,

Today feels better.

 

The Second Morning

(These are a series of posts I hand wrote while I was inpatient on the crisis unit)

Trigger Warning: Suicidal Stuff

August 17, 2019 7:00 pm  48 hours on the Unit

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

Mood slowly rising but thoughts still whisper in the back of my head.

Safety surrounds me but plans still try and take shape.

It’s how I know I’m not ready.

Walking the halls, endless laps, straight lines, dead ends,

turn around and start again.

“2 south B it’s time for morning goals group.”

We somberly make our way to the activity room. Some of us doing the shuffle of too many meds, not enough sleep or simply lack of motivation to pick our feet up off the ground.

Depression is exhausting.

“My name is Tina my mood is a two I don’t have a goal.

The words come out in one rushed sentence.

“Why is your mood so low?”

“Because the thoughts won’t go away, my brain won’t cooperate.”

They move on to the next person.

Count down to the next meal. I’m eating too much in here and I know it, but there’s nothing else to do. Nothing else that I really get control over.

I need to get control over that though.

Maybe this isn’t the time to worry about weight. Maybe I can let that go for right now.

Visitors after lunch, the highlight of my day. One hours where I get to see a familiar face or two. And it starts and finishes with a hug.

I miss touch.

Even after just a few days I miss the comfort of cuddling with Wonder Woman. I miss hugging my friends. My brain is trying to kill me and I can’t curl up beside the woman I love.

But my brain is still trying to kill me.

That’s how I know I’m not ready.

Anhedonia

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

Trigger Warning: Past suicidal thoughts and plans. Past self harm thoughts and plans.

Completely flat affect.

Complete absence of feeling.

Nothing.

The world wasn’t black because the world barely existed.

I felt no connection to life, no reason to keep living.

I couldn’t feel love.

I wasn’t afraid of dying.

I had plans and didn’t care if they worked or not.

Didn’t care what was left behind.

Didn’t care what mess was left to clean up.

I can’t remember a depressive episode like that before. I’ve had dark times where I felt like there was nothing, but there was still a feeling of dread within the nothing, I was still sad. This time, there was just

nothing.

I could tell that Wonder Woman was scared, but I couldn’t feel it.

I knew, somewhere, that I had to care, that there was a reason to care. I knew logically that she loved me, and I knew I logically that I loved her, but I couldn’t feel the emotion called love, I couldn’t recall ever feeling it, or what it might have felt like.

Maybe death would make me feel something.

Maybe sliding out of the car door and rolling down the highway would make me feel something.

Maybe sliding a knife across my skin would make me feel something.

Could anything make me feel something?

I knew that was a dangerous place for me to be, possibly the most dangerous place for me to be.

I didn’t care if I died, didn’t care that I was suicidal.

I got an extra appointment with my therapist. She asked that I not be alone for the weekend, asked that I get myself to the gym, stay busy, push myself to keep going until I saw her again, until I saw the doctor.

And now the weekend has passed.

Things aren’t so empty now.

I can see color again.

I see the world again.

I can feel fear again.

I feel love again.

I smile again.

I’m not sure what made me hold on through the absence of feeling. I’m not quite sure how I managed to reach out to others when I couldn’t even stay connected with myself. But I’m glad I did.

I’m glad I’m still here.

I hope I never experience that again.

Feeling depressed is better than not feeling at all.