Authentically Me.

This is a Really Real Identity Post.

A few months ago I wrote Defining Myself, an identity crisis post where I was having a hard time figuring out what to write in a dating profile.  I wrote out all of the things I’m not or didn’t do wholeheartedly, but it was hard to describe who I am. A few people on Facebook told me I should put just what I wrote.

I never did.

But lately a few people have told me how amazing it is that I’m not afraid to be my authentic self.

I was taken aback every time I heard that.

I hadn’t described what I do as being my authentic self, and I definitely was, and am afraid.

I just wear the clothes that appeal to me. I dye my hair the colors that I love. I write my story and share my truth because it’s cathartic, and also because it educates and helps me commiserate with other people.

It took me hearing other people say it for me to realize I am authentically and (mostly) unapologetically me.

I still don’t know how to describe who I am, but I’m realizing I do live my truth.

There’s a meme that floats around “Be so authentic that it inspires others to be themselves.” Or something like that. I have a hard time believing that is who I am.

But others tell me that they are learning to speak their truth and live their truth because they see me doing it.

And I have to admit, the more I live my truth, the bigger and brighter my smile gets.

I’m still anxious, almost constantly. Way more anxious than I think a lot of people realize.  Being true to myself is hard in a world that doesn’t quite get people like me.

There’s another meme, “Speak your truth and see who sticks around. Those are the people who get a spot in your blanket fort.” I posted that once and was privately told that they didn’t get the point in sharing that, because, duh. (I’m paraphrasing.) I explained that for most of my life I didn’t realize that was how this worked.

I was worried about fitting in with everyone, being liked by everyone, not standing out and blending into the crowd so I wasn’t really seen.

I’m just now, within the last 3 years, realizing that life is too short to be anything but who I am.

It really sucks that it took her death to make me realize this.

But now I’m surrounded by people who get me and want to be around the real me. I am surrounded by more and more people. I have a supportive group of friends that is unlike anything I’ve ever known.

I’m not like this to inspire others. I’m like this because hiding, blending in, and being anyone other than myself was part of a slow suicide that happened for years.

That said, I do appreciate hearing the stories of people who beginning to live their own truth. It takes bravery to stop blending in.

I’m glad I get to be a part of that.

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.

Stop holding me back!

This is a Really Real Health post.

I’m in NY visiting one of my closest friends.

Yesterday I woke up with a backache that didn’t want to calm the fuck down.

Today I got a migraine that’s kept me confined to the house.

This is annoying.

I remember times when these kinds of things would keep me housebound for weeks at a time. I remember my health being so bad that I had a home care nurse. I remember when I felt like I couldn’t live with the amount of pain I was in, day in and day out.

I remember when this was more than annoying, it was debilitating.

Now it’s just annoying.

Now I know it’ll pass and I’ll be able to keep moving forward.

It feels like my chronic pain “stuff” holds me back sometimes. The reality is, I push through it more often than not. I’m in pain daily and I work around it. I try to give myself credit for that. But when I’m out of town trying to do things with a friend, it’s frustrating that this kind of stuff acts up.

It makes sense though. I’m out of my normal routine. I spent hours in a car getting here. I’m sleeping on an unfamiliar surface. Making a trip like this takes a whole lotta spoons, but it’s worth it.

I remember a time when a trip like this would have been unfathomable.  It wasn’t that long ago, really. Just three short years ago, I was still working leaving the house on a regular basis into my routine. I couldn’t have imagined that I’d come this far.

Today I’m working on treating myself with kindness, recognizing that I don’t have control over when and how my body will rebel. This isn’t an ideal time or place, but it could always be worse.

Hopefully I’ve gotten my pain for this trip out of the way, I’ve got a few days left here and I’d like to be able to fully enjoy it.

Be Still

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

I didn’t want to get out of bed this morning.

But I did.

First I woke up Wonder Woman and asked her to hold me and remind me that it was just depression and that I really did need to get up and go to the gym.

(I realize how lucky I am to have a woman who doesn’t get mad at me when I wake her up for those sorts of reminders. She even threw a “You’ll feel better afterwards” in there.)

And then I packed my bag with clothes for DBT and I went to the gym with Bat Woman and I did the things.

(And Wonder Woman wasn’t wrong. I felt a bit better afterwards.)

And then I went to DBT and participated fully.

And then I sat reading chapters and articles for school while waiting for mobility.

But I still feel like I’m just going through the motions.

I still feel like I’m walking through a fog.

Now that I’m home I want to go take a nap, and I can’t tell if that would be great self care, or if it would be giving into depression. It really could go either way.

I guess it depends on if I get up when I wake up the first time, or if I lay there for 3 hours wallowing in self pity about how this depression

just

won’t

let

go.

I appreciate the fact that my moods have stabilized on my current medications, however, I kind of miss the hypomania breaking the monotony of the depression.

The other one is, I definitely don’t miss actual crises occurring in my life. I’m so glad I’ve had this past year or two where I haven’t spent most of my time in therapy putting out fires and have instead been able to spend time healing from all of the trauma. But, I miss the rush of crisis mode.

I miss the adrenaline and emotional response that was needed to survive that sort of thing.

Maybe that’s part of my depression. Maybe I was just so used to living in crisis mode for so long that now when I stop, when there isn’t something to fix, a fire to put out, something to be reacting to . . .

Maybe I’m still learning how to just

be still.

I’ll get there.

One Year Ago and Today

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

Today my Facebook memories reminded me that one year ago I wrote a big, long, really real mental health post about suicidal thoughts I was having.

It was hard to go back and read those dark words from that dark space.

It took me back to that time where I got a message from a friend at just the right time to help me.  A message letting me know that she was thinking of me, even though she had no idea I was in such a dark space.

This is one of the reasons I do what I do.  So that a year from now I can see these words and remember where I was.  I can see my growth and my progress.  See the dark and also the light.  I can also see how far my writing has come in that time.

Today I’m fighting depression, but the dark, suicidal thoughts are mostly quiet, only peeking their heads out but not taking hold.  I have a plan to handle the pain that I’m in, which will hopefully give me some relief through the trip this weekend.

I still fight suicidal thoughts sometimes, nothing has really changed there, they still get really dark, really fast and I’m still learning how to sit with them without them becoming so dangerous.

I think I’ve gained a lot of skills in the last year, through my time in partial, and my time in DBT, but at the same time.  I handle the flow of my moods a lot better.

Things may not change as far as my moods shifting and the suicidal thoughts coming, but how I handle them has changed and will continue to change and get better.  I’m growing and learning and doing better.

And I still have amazing support around me, for which I’m quite thankful.

Thursday Question of the Day!

Today’s Question:  What is something you feel is missing in your life?

For me right now, it’s local friends.

I have tons of online friends.

I have an amazing, fulfilling, relationship.

I have my derby friends who I see at roller derby events and scrimmages.

I have my best friend who I see on gym days, and really almost every day.

But it would be really nice to have other people to do things with locally.  I’m an incredibly social being and I love the idea of just having people I can call up and say “let’s grab lunch” or “let’s go to the mall” and I’d love a variety of people to do this with.

I’m working on getting out more to places where making friends is possible, but it’s hard because most people I meet are very busy and I’m pretty busy, so finding time in the calendar is difficult and eventually people give up.  Plus, with mental illness in the way, sometimes I’m not the most in touch friend.

What about you, what are you missing?

Gone Too Soon

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post
but it’s one of those that is
also a Really Real Widow Post.

TW:  Mention of death by suicide.  Mention of suicidal thoughts

I check my Facebook memories every day.

I’m looking for old conversations, or pictures.  Those hidden gems from Parker or Kidlet.  Memories of Wonder Woman and I first meeting.  Signs of my growth.  Patterns of my various labels, mental and physical.

Today there was a note that a friend had sent to me 5 years ago, saying wonderful things about Parker and I, and how we were raising the Kidlet, and how amazing he was.  Parker and I met this friend while we were living in the homeless shelter.  She was a younger girl, sweet as could be, with a bright light in her eyes.

She was going to change the world.

I remember the day, it was only 5 months after she posted the note on my page, I saw people start posting on her page that she was gone too soon, and that they couldn’t believe she decided to go out that way.  I remember how hopeless I felt that she had died, and that it had been so long since we had seen each other.  She lived so far away and transportation was such an issue for us.

Gone too soon.

I thought of her after Parker died.  Wondered if they ran into each other up there.

Parker had just started a college semester.  Just that day her last book had been bought.  She had picked a new major and was excited about becoming an X-ray tech.  We were finally starting to see some light at the end of a very very long tunnel we had been in.

Gone too soon.

When I’m in the depths of my suicidal thoughts, I can’t hold on to the feeling that Parker and our friend left this world before their time.  All I can think of is getting out.

Right now that seems so foreign.  I can’t imagine wanting to walk away.  There’s so much left to live for, so much left to do.  I have degrees left to get, I have words left to type, lives left to change, words left to be heard.

There are sunrises and sunsets that still need to be seen.

But then the clouds obscure my view, and all I can see is the pitch black nothingness.  I just want to escape, just want to make the pain stop, I just want to free myself, and everyone around me, from the burden that is my life.

I have so much love left to give.  There’s so much love left to receive.  I don’t want to walk away.  It’s not my time, it’s not the end.  I won’t let myself be

Gone too soon.