Conflicting

Really Real Mental Health Post

Or at least, it sort of falls under mental health but I sort of think everyone does it.

I have this really bad habit of trying to wait till the perfect time to bring a difficult discussion up.

Like I’ve said before, conflict is really difficult for me.  It goes back to my childhood when conflict didn’t happen without some form of emotional explosion.  I see things in super bright colors so even minor yelling seemed like fireworks and arms waving seemed like pots and pans flying.  I can’t tell you how bad it actually got because in my head it was all horrible.  And I don’t know how much of that horrible was different from what other children experienced.  I don’t know how much of it was just me being “too sensitive” and how much of it was a really toxic environment.

And as an adult I became the yeller and I dated and later married people who were really good at keeping up with the yelling and the arm waving and we made our own fireworks.

And now, I’m so afraid of those fireworks that when something bothers me I hold back.  And I know I’ve written about some of this before, but processing isn’t a once and done, so here we go again.

I hold back because the person has something difficult going on in their life, so I won’t talk about the thing bothering me, because it might be too much on them, and therefore make it more likely to explode, so I’ll wait.  And then I wait because there’s another stressful thing, or because I’m not in the right mood and I’m more likely to become upset.

It’s a really hard lesson for me to learn that hard conversations don’t have to mean fights.

I think, It’s an even harder lesson for me to learn that I’m allowed to be upset about things.  To me, being angry or upset means I’m going to yell and scream because that’s what anger looks like.

To be frustrated and stay calm means some sort of passive aggressiveness or plotting or silent treatment.  It can’t mean I’m angry and I understand, I’m frustrated and I’m okay with that.  Except now, that’s exactly what is does mean for me.

Even separating those feelings, anger, frustration, upset. . . . and the underlying anxiety that I feel because of them,  they all have little nuances that I was never able to figure out because I was too busy reacting instead of reflecting.

But knowing this stuff also means that I’m even more likely to hold back because I work through the emotions and decide that it’s not worth acting on or even talking about.

Finding the balance, working through these emotions while still verbalizing what’s bothering me without waiting for the perfect time, is really really hard.

It creates its own type of conflict, an internal one.

I’m relearning a lifetime of unhealthy skills and it won’t happen overnight.

But it’s happening.

What’s Real

My brain spends a lot of time telling me lies.

Anxiety is my brain telling me there is danger when there isn’t any.  It causes my entire system to react as if there truly were a danger.

Suicidal thoughts cause my brain to think I really want to die, and at times I’ve attempted to act on those thoughts because they seem so real.

I spend a lot of my time trying to work out which thoughts are real, and which aren’t.  I have to work out what is anxiety and what is intuition.   Sometimes it is easy to get too wrapped up in my own head.

When your brain spends most of its time telling you lies, it becomes very difficult to trust yourself.  Sometimes that goes too far.

Now that I’m trying to write this out, it’s hard to put it into words, so try to follow along.

Sometimes I start questioning not only how others feel about me, but how I feel about others, and if my brain is playing tricks on me.

If my brain is capable of perceiving danger that isn’t really there, if people really do care about me and my brain is lying to me and telling me they don’t, then maybe my brain is lying to me about my feelings about other things and people too.

Do I even know how to love people?  Is this really what love is?  And not even just romantic love, or friendship love.  I felt this way as Kidlet was growing up too.

Maybe I don’t really know how to care about people.  Maybe it’s me who doesn’t care enough or know how to love and maybe what I feel isn’t really love and maybe I don’t even know what love actually feels like because my brain has been lying to me all along.

I start over analyzing all of it.

How many times does someone have to lie to you before you start questioning everything they tell you?

What if the person that lied was your own brain and it lies about your own thoughts?

How would you begin to trust yourself again?

What if as soon as you started trusting yourself another round of bad anxiety or suicidal thoughts happened again and you had to convince yourself not to trust those thoughts?

It takes a lot of energy to untangle this overthinking, and a lot of that energy is spent just sitting with the thoughts and letting them run as background noise.

I’m thankful when they can stay relatively quiet.  I’m thankful when the people in my life understand.  I’m thankful when I don’t have to work so hard to untangle what is real and what isn’t because none of it matters as much.

I’m thankful when I can just be.

 

Look At How You’ve Grown

I talked to Kidlet for over an hour today.  We were both taking long walks, on our respective sides of the country, while talking over the phone about our current lives and our past, various relationships and friendships we’ve had over the years.  We talked about religion and politics and food and memories and finances.

So many different times throughout the conversation I was amazed by his maturity, and how articulate he is.  He’s always been well spoken but the breaks between our conversations make it more noticeable.  He will always be my Kidlet, but he’s not a kid anymore.

Our relationship has changed drastically.  Not in bad ways at all.  I no longer need to offer advice the way I once tried to, but he still calls just so he can hear me on the other end of the line.  We are still as close as we always were, but in a totally different way.  In some ways I think we are even closer.

Hours spent walking with a restless infant in my arms are now replaced by hours walking and talking on the phone.  The 18 years in between seem like a blur.

 

 

Change

When Parker and I first got this house we got a few cheap cube units, and along with the cube units we ended up getting a decorative box that became our change box. It was on clearance and it kind of looked like a treasure chest.
 
Pretty quickly the buckle broke off, and I saved it for a long while, saying I was going to glue it back on, but of course I never did, so it was this plain brown box covered in pleather.
 
Countless times we raided the change box for money for cigarettes or a soda or to get something to eat because the bank account was in the negative and the stamps were gone.
 
Bus fare, mobility fare, a few dollars for Kidlet to get something because he’s a kid and should have some money for something.
 
We never could keep quarters in the thing and we knew we were doing well if we threw a few dollars in there for safe keeping.
 
Kidlet knew he could raid it when he needed something and I knew he raided it occasionally just cause he wanted something but he never took enough to cause any major harm.
 
So many times we’d be completely broke but at least we could scrounge up enough change to get one last pack of smokes so that we didn’t lose our minds that night, maybe it would keep us going just that much longer.
 
Life seemed so much different, priorities were different.
 
I’m still shit with money, being so so poor for so so long means I don’t actually know how to save because I’m afraid of it. Bipolar adds another twist.
 
But I keep cleaning out my purse and throwing money in the change box and the other day I was moving it and noticed the hinge had popped.
 
It had gotten too heavy to hold all of the weight.
 
This has never happened before. There had never been enough time without needing to raid the change box that the amount of weight was able to reach that level.
 
Last night I threw the box away and switched everything over to other containers.
 
Today at PHP I broke down over the change in my situation and how she is not here to see it. How it may never have happened if she was here.
 
We would still be counting change the day before a holiday to get enough cigarettes to make it through. Wondering if the lights were going to get shut off on a holiday day, or if they had to wait till a day later. Wondering if a heat wave was enough to make them leave the electric on.
 
But at the same time I’m afraid that nothing really has changed and that at any moment I’ll stop being able to cover the bills, that I’ll lose the help I have, and that the lights will go out or I won’t be able to fill the fridge or that I’ll be scrounging through that change box.
 
It’s horrible when every single positive has this ghost of the past hanging over it, this fear that at any moment it could all be taken away. That everything could change again.
 
I know I would survive it if it did go back to how it was. I’m a survivor, it’s what I do, Resilient as Fuck, and all, but I don’t ever want to go back to that. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.
 
Change is such a hard hard thing to deal with. It’s incredibly heavy sometimes.

Crying on the sidelines

The next 48 hours are officially cancelled.

I can’t count the number of times I’ve cried today and it’s not even the beginning of the trigger day.

I’m sitting off to the side at derby because the idea of focusing long enough to participate seems foreign.  I know I just need to get through 48 hours and then I’ll be okay, for at least a little while.

Today at PHP I felt like my parenting was called into question.  In hindsight it may have been in my head, it may have been nowhere near as bad as it seemed.  I may have overreacted and blown it out of proportion, or, years of being told that was what I was doing could mean that now I’m minimizing what happened today.  But either way, things today were hard and bad and as it ended I walked away from the building in angry, defeated tears.  And I don’t want to go back, but self care means going back because self care isn’t always bubble baths and pretty things.  It’s the hard fucking work that means healing and making it till tomorrow.  

I miss Parker so much right now.  Normally, I want her back in this world, while also realizing I’ve grown to a place where we would probably not be a good match, knowing we would not work the way we were.  I love her as part of my past which doesn’t conflict with where I am now.  But right now, it’s this feeling of wanting her so badly to be here with me now as part of all of this.  I don’t want to go back but I want to bring her here without losing what I have now including my current wonderful woman, my Wonder Woman.   How do I reconcile that in my own mind.  Not that I have a choice to make any of that happen.     

And then Kidlet and I talked, I feel my thoughts spinning, tattoo ideas, memorial ideas, how can I properly mark the fact that it’s been two years.  I know that it’s going to spin past and I will be fine but first I have to survive the next 48 hours.  I started crying on the phone with him for the first time since he left and my kid was telling me how he wished he was here so he could console me.  

I just want to live in the moment but that’s impossible when I’m worried about everything I did wrong yesterday and everything that could go wrong tomorrow.

Today, they had us do some worksheet and list 3 challenges we overcame.  I just wrote out, hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.  But when we were sharing, she asked me if I could list somethings that I’d overcome,  I asked where she wanted me to start.  I wonder when people start thinking I’m full of shit.  Too much trauma, None of it has really been overcome though, it all still haunts me.  I just survived the actual moment of it.  It could still kill me.

Then we did three things I’m good at, One of them is getting back up over and over and over again, because I’ve seen the alternative and it leaves so many tears behind.  

Parker didn’t end her pain.  She passed it on.  Today at PHP I stood up for Kate Spade when someone was upset about her leaving her daughter when she died by suicide.  She had no idea what she was doing to her daughter, her daughter either wasn’t on her mind or she thought she was doing the best she could for her.  Depression is a hell of a liar and creates a black hole that you can’t see out of.  Parker didn’t do this to our kid or me, it had nothing to do with us in that moment, she just wanted to end that blackness.

Unfortunately, what happened is that those of us that are still here are picking up the pieces of what she left behind.  That means the pain she left behind as well.

Now I have to figure out how to heal it and live with it or live in spite of it.

And it isn’t easy.  But I’m doing the best I can, and sometimes, that means crying on the sidelines at derby.

23 Months

Widow post , Grief post,

Today is 23 months since Parker died.

We met on 8-8-2008 and were together for two months shy of 8 years, 3 of those were married.

On May 8th 2016 I had no idea that it would be the last time an 8th of the month would make me smile in the same way.

Eventually I’ll stop noticing them, I don’t actually try to notice the date.

I am kind of amazed at how much I don’t remember from two years ago. And also how many things blur.

“Was that before Parker or After . . . . ”

And as a cute side story to that . . . . One of my favorite memories of Parker, Kidlet and I was when we had been together for 3 years or so . . . . it was actually the winter before we gifted her the title of Mother (I know because I remember the house we lived in) and we were discussing something and Kidlet said . . . . “That was Before Parker, so it doesn’t count . .. nothing happened BP, before Parker . . the only things that count are things that happened AP”

Its amazing how much the memory blurs in 2 years. How much you realize doesn’t matter, and what actually does.

I’m actually okay today . . .more okay than I have been in a few weeks.

I miss Parker. I love her and as much as I love my life now, and do not want who I was back, I miss her light in this world.

The right kind of gay for this.

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At some point in the past two years, between Kidlet, Mickey and I, mostly around fashion. “ I’m the wrong kind of gay for that” started getting thrown around.

Mickey and I were shopping for makeup for her niece… “I am the wrong kind of gay for this shit”

I would ask Kidlet for fashion advice (seriously… when you are dressing to impress other people, you have no fucking clue what looks okay). “Mom… wrong kinda gay for this”

I’ve started settling in on my style. It started with pink everything and then I found more and more of what fit me exactly.. the kind of shirts and skirts I liked, etc. Now I’ve found a style of makeup that suits me….

It turns out I’m exactly the right kind of gay for this…

Except I prefer the term Queer, it fits better because it’s less restrictive.