Weight for it

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

TW: Weight, weight loss.

I’m fighting an internal battle.

I’ve gained back every bit of the weight I lost since Parker died.

Actually, I’ve gained that plus 5 lbs.

It’s heart breaking.

But I’m stuck.

I’m stuck where I don’t have the drive to get up and walk.

I have every excuse.

And I can’t get back into the gym because it doesn’t feel safe.

I’m really trying to love my body as I am.

But my body hurts so much more at this weight.

It’s hard to go up the stairs to my apartment.

It’s hard to move in bed.

I get out of breath walking the shortest distances.

I feel gross.

It’s hard to love my body when it won’t do the things I want to do.

When I lost the weight after Parker died, it was almost effortless.

I enjoyed the journey.

I was also on a migraine medication that helped, a medication that stopped helping as my body got acclimated to it.

And there were cognitive side effects that were more than annoying.

I’ve been through this before.

The drastic weight loss.

Followed by inevitably gaining it back.

It doesn’t feel good to move right now.

It doesn’t feel good to walk.

It doesn’t feel good to move my body in any way that would help.

Because it hurts.

I’m embarrassed because I get out of breath so easily.

I feel like I’m eating better.

I feel like I’m making better choices.

I feel like I’m not eating quite so many sweets.

And yet the scale keeps rising.

I’ve had multiple people tell me lately that I’m glowing.

That my smile is amazing.

That I seem to be doing so well.

But I’m not taking pictures of myself.

Even though I feel that pictures are so, so important.

I see the extra roundness in my face.

I see the pictures from last year and the years before that and I’m so heartbroken.

I see the pictures from before Parker died.

The pictures that I looked at and said “I never want to look like that again.”

And I look like that again.

Maybe with a brighter glow this time.

Maybe with a bigger smile.

Life isn’t like it was back then.

But yet, the weight still came back.

I’m just not there yet.

I’m not ready to

do

anything about it.

But I need to.

I was afraid of starting before the holidays.

Afraid that it would be too much to keep up with and I’d fail.

I’m afraid of starting around new years.

New years resolutions never work and I don’t want this to be that.

I’m afraid of failing.

I’m afraid of beating myself up more.

Again.

I’m afraid.

I keep waiting until I feel like I can do it.

But what if that time never comes.

Why can’t I just push past this block?

Why can’t I just

do it?

What am I waiting for?

Time flies

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

Has it really been almost a week since I’ve written?

The week has flown by, while also dragging along.

There isn’t much, good or bad, happening in my life right now.

It’s hard to figure out what to write about when that happens.

But writing is good for me.

I’m not really depressed anymore.

But, I’m bored.

PHP is over and I’m not working yet and one day just runs into the next.

We leave the house a few times a week just to keep getting out.

I craft.

And craft.

And craft.

And sit around thinking about things to craft.

And scroll facebook,

which I’m trying not to do as often.

I got used to having something to work on around the clock.

Holiday cards and holiday gifts.

All made with love.

They are finished and in the mail.

A few wrapped presents sitting on my desk waiting for a socially distant meet up with local friends for an exhange.

Trying to decide what to make for Wonder Woman.

I want to give her something, but she sees everything I make.

I’m not really sure what to buy her either.

Holidays are hard for me.

I want to give the perfect thing.

I’m afraid the stuff I make just isn’t good enough.

I grew up in a family where we got more, More, MORE every year.

So much,

Stuff.

Not that I didn’t appreciate it.

I had fun playing with everything that was given to me.

But I remember the year that my friend basically hung up on me as I was going through my list of what I got.

She was tired of hearing it.

I was too young to realize not every Santa brought that much.

I had to fight that urge when Kidlet was growing up.

I wanted the presents to overflow under the tree.

But that just wasn’t feasible.

And he didn’t need that much

stuff.

I still remember the Christmas where Toys For Tots was all he got.

I remember the Christmas when everything he got was donated by friends.

I remember the Christmas where everything he got was hand made by my father and I, in my father’s shop.

I remember the Christmas after Parker died, trying to get him the perfect gifts to make up for our loss.

Finding those same gifts years later, still packed in the bags that he brought them home in.

Never used.

Never played with.

Those were hard times.

But we managed to find reasons to smile each year.

We had a good life.

A hard life.

But still a good life.

I’m still sleeping too much.

And I can’t figure out why.

I try so hard to get up in the morning,

sometimes I even succeed.

But I can’t keep my eyes open and end up back in bed.

I’m working on it with my therapist and my pdoc and we haven’t found the reason yet.

I’m working on having another sleep study.

I dream all night, waking up on and off as each dream comes and goes.

Sometimes falling asleep right back where I left off.

I talk in my sleep.

I scream out in my sleep.

I don’t think I’m sleeping deeply enough.

But I’m not sure how to fix that.

Overall,

things are pretty good right now.

Things are pretty good.

Cabin in the Woods

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

This is the first time I’ve been on my computer since Thursday.

We’ve used our phones to keep up with the world, and Wonder Woman has kept up with her Animal Crossing chores on the switch, but mostly our phones have been used for streaming music and taking photos as we’ve had a relatively unplugged weekend.

Sitting in the cabin working independently on crafts or reading.

Cozy in a very small space together.

You might think, being enclosed in two tiny rooms, with one comfy chair between us, that we would start tripping over each other.

But it hasn’t happened.

We work so well together.

I enjoy working side by side, but doing our own thing.

Wonder Woman has been working on her loom, learning a new style and quietly listening to podcasts.

I’ve read more than half of a new book written by a friend.

I’ll probably finish it today.

Other than hitting the grocery store for some last minute essentials (and birthday cupcakes) we haven’t left the area of the cabin.

We’ve taken a short walk around the lake, looking for trails that the owner mentioned but not finding any.

Mostly we’ve just been content to sit quietly.

We’ve played a game or two.

We’ve eaten great meals.

I’ve spent more time cooking and doing dishes than I can explain.

But I’ve enjoyed it.

We planned to order food out tonight.

A birthday dinner from a restaurant that came recommended.

But, we found out too late that they’re closed on Sunday.

Most of the town is.

But we’ll eat left over chili, that spent our first night here simmering in a crock pot.

We’ll do a birthday dinner once we’re home again.

We plan to take the long way home.

Doubling the time our trip takes so that we can go across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel.

The water is my happy place and I haven’t been across that expanse of road in many many years.

I didn’t get to a beach for my birthday, the rentals near the water were too expensive, even during the off season,

but I’ll get to spend some time surrounded by water.

A 6 hour road trip to finish off my birthday weekend.

Slow and relaxing with a cute little dog settled on my lap for the drive.

She’s such a good travelling dog.

This weekend has been a great way to reset.

A good time to start figuring out what’s next.

Now that I’m done with PHP and I can’t quite start working again.

Time to figure out what to do with my days, time to decide who 40 year old me is going to be.

This has been a great weekend,

but I’m also looking forward to going home.

Flashback

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

TW: Gunshot, completed suicide, some gore, violence on TV.

This is one of my longer ones.

I’ve been having horrible flashbacks the last few days.

Remembering the moments and hours and days after he died.

Remembering that first post I wrote.

Gunshots are less of a bang and more of a pop.

And the thing is, that sound is so loud that it sucks the rest of the sound out of the air.

Like a vacuum.

Emptiness where the everyday sounds of life were existing a split second before.

That pop is no longer so loud in my head, but the silence afterwards is there.

I remember the police swabbing my hands.

Just a formality, the calm, gentle woman in front of me had said.

I’m remembering the next day,

my sister scrubbing brain matter and blood out of the carpet.

The carpet cleaner bringing in a jug of chemicals especially meant to remove blood.

I remember him asking if Dad had fell, prying for information about what happened.

The mess could have been worse.

Much worse.

And the flashbacks have been coming more and more.

Yesterday, while trying to distract myself from them, we drove to do some errands.

Some window shopping.

We went through an area of the city that smells like oil.

But in my brain the strong smell reminded me of gun powder.

The way that smell filled the entire house a few minutes after he was gone.

Wonder Woman has been watching a violent drama on TV.

We share a common space, with my back to the black square with moving pictures and loud sounds.

I mostly block it out.

Sometimes I wear headphones.

Lately I’ve been getting sucked into the drama.

I really don’t like this show.

But the storyline is interesting and it draws me in.

Yesterday there was a scene where a character was shot at close range.

The screen blacked out the moment the gunshot happened.

Luckily they didn’t show the aftermath.

And the gunshots don’t sound at all like the one that ripped through the air the last moment he was alive.

I don’t think the TV can capture that sound anyway.

Or that absence of sound after the shot rings out.

I wonder if the TV show is contributing to the violence I see in my head.

But we share a common space.

We spend a lot of time coexisting in the same area.

It’s hard to ask her to pick something else when there wouldn’t be much time to binge this particular show.

There isn’t much alone time in these covid times.

And I’m not sure I really want her to watch something else.

There’s comfort in the normality of the types of shows she watches.

In that background sound.

And I can always put on headphones.

But I feel like headphones put up a wall between us.

It’s hard.

When the flashbacks come I try to box them up,

tape them up tightly,

stick them up on the shelf inside my mind.

It helps.

Yesterday when they were particularly strong, I wrapped the boxes in brown paper.

I stuck them on the highest shelf.

I padlocked the closet door.

They stayed quiet just a little bit longer.

But in the back of my mind,

I still see that coagulated stream of blood,

hanging off of the front of the wheelchair.

Images that don’t want to leave.

Images that won’t leave me alone.

Seriously,

Fuck Him.

Chicken Caprese

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

I made Chicken Caprese tonight.

I’ve been cooking more often but it’s been quick oven meals, slow cooker meals, or dump and go instant pot stuff.

None of the really good food that I used to make.

But this week I menu planned, and added back some of the yummier stuff that we’ve always liked.

I’m still in this weird period of flux where I’m doing

so

much

better.

But at the same time,

I’m not.

I woke up at 830 this morning,

fought and fought to get myself out of bed.

Tried to bribe myself with activities or coffee.

Pushed and pushed and pushed.

And woke up at 930 when my alarm went off, signaling an upcoming appointment.

I snoozed.

I snoozed.

I snoozed.

And then I begrudgingly rolled out of bed.

After my appointment I wanted to climb back in,

but we had other things scheduled for today.

I can’t figure out why it’s so hard for me to wake up.

I’ve cut out most of my sleeping meds.

The only one I’m still taking is my nightmare med,

which shouldn’t make me that tired.

Because I’m not taking the sleeping meds, it’s taking me a really long time to fall asleep.

I typically get up after an hour, and try again an hour later.

But I’m still not going to bed all that late.

I just need

so

much

sleep.

But tonight I cooked Chicken Caprese.

I stood at the stove and mixed the fragrant ingredients, setting timer after timer to keep myself on track.

It was hot and miserable, but still fun and enjoyable.

I miss cooking like that.

I like that I’m getting my old self back.

The one that finds enjoyment in life.

But I wish it would happen quicker.

Give me my life back, damnit.

He showed up in my dreams again last night.

I can’t remember most of it.

But I remember him standing there, rigid and stern.

The look he got when he was about to lose his shit.

The look he got when I messed up,

again.

Today when I was cooking,

and really when I do much of anything,

I fear messing up.

I fear the disappointment,

or the wrath that might come.

But it’s not coming from anyone near me anymore.

I’m surrounded by love and light.

People who accept me for me.

People who love me as I am.

People who love me,

even when I mess up.

It’s hard to internalize that love though.

It’s hard to recognize that I don’t have to be perfect to be lovable.

That sometimes, people even love me because of the times I mess up.

Unconditional love is hard to understand,

when I grew up feeling like I was only loved when I was perfect.

When I met someone else’s standard of being.

But I’m learning to give myself grace.

To love myself even when I mess up.

To love myself.

Sleep

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

I feel so so much better.

Except I don’t.

I’m sleeping too much.

Way too much.

And I’m having a hard time getting myself into the shower.

But my dishes are done.

Meals are planned around food we already had in the freezer.

I’m cooking more often.

My kitchen still isn’t clean.

Clean pots and pans are stacked on a stove that is covered in crumbs and spills.

But the dishes are done regularly, and that’s a big deal.

The spices sit all unorganized on the counter instead of in the cabinet (where they no longer fit anyway).

The bottles are spilling over onto the stove.

The kitchen is kind of a disaster, honestly.

But I’m finding more joy in my activities.

I’m leaving the house regularly.

I’m brushing my teeth.

Things that I shouldn’t feel like I deserve an award for, but I do.

Because they are hard.

Hard, hard.

I feel like PHP is at the end of its usefulness.

But I also don’t feel,

healed.

But I’m not sure I’m going to continue healing in PHP.

I’m not sure I need that to keep moving forward anymore.

I’ve come a long way since the day the silence was broken by a gunshot.

I’ve healed so much.

And now it just feels like the

normal depression is still holding me back.

But I’m not sure what to fill my time with if I’m not doing PHP.

My boss isn’t ready to bring me back to work, he has his own stuff going on that needs to be straightened out before he can rehire me.

I don’t want to look for another job because I need the flexibility that came from working for family.

I need the level of understanding that came with that job.

The ability to take a day off here, and work extra hours there.

Or just take a day off without making the hours up.

I need the boss that checked in to make sure I was still doing okay.

That there wasn’t too much piling up

(even though there normally was).

I miss working, and I’m ready to go back.

But what do I do if I’m not working, and I’m not doing PHP.

I did that for years, and I can’t remember what it was like.

I feel like it’s existing without purpose.

It’s a big deal that I’m not ready to go back to nothingness.

It’s a big deal that I need something to occupy my time.

For years I was happy existing with no structure.

No ebb and flow to my days.

Nothing but doctors appointments that seemed to never end.

But now I’m afraid to leave the program behind without having something to take its place.

I have grown so much over the years.

And that day the silence was broken by a gunshot knocked me down a few steps.

But I feel like I’m finally climbing up to the top.

Old Houses

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

I’ve been dreaming about my dad a lot.

The dreams always take place at his old house, the one I helped him build, the one I spent every other weekend at for most of my childhood years.

We made a lot of memories in that home.

I was sad when he sold it.

I remember climbing on the roof putting shingles on.

I remember him throwing a priced pencil set across the room because I didn’t put it away.

I remember playing in the giant hole where the foundation was dug out.

I remember being called Butch when I got my hair cut short for the first time.

I remember laying bricks, learning how to put just the right amount of mortar on.

I remember realizing Dad was racist, when he was talking about his brick layer.

I remember playing on “Mt. Tina,” the giant pile of dirt where they dug the basement out.

That’s the house I envision when I envision my father.

I only visited him a handful of times at the Florida house.

So that’s not where he is in my dreams.

I dream about him every few nights.

Dreams that take place after he shot himself, but he’s still alive.

A weird dichotomy where I know he’s dead, but I know he’s alive.

The dreams don’t really upset me, most of the time.

But, he tried to kill me in one of them and I screamed out,

scaring Wonder Woman who was sleeping beside me.

I’m pretty upset that I dream about him so often.

In the three months since he’s died, he’s shown up in my dreams more times than Parker ever has.

And she’s been dead for four and a half years.

This wasn’t what I planned to write about today.

I planned to write about pulling out an old hobby.

A friend gifted me a small diamond painting and it reminded me of how many hours I spent doing them a few years ago.

I didn’t realize I missed it until I started doing it again.

Relaxing in a meditative sort of way.

An activity that I get completely immersed in,

focusing on matching each symbol in turn as I work my way around the canvas.

It’s a silly activity.

One that will leave me with giant canvases full of plastic “diamonds.”

Art that I will never do anything with.

But it occupies my mind and my hands.

It gives me something to do on these long winter nights while Covid keeps me trapped inside.

I texted my cousin this week.

Told him I was ready to come back to work a few hours a week.

When he has something for me to do.

It feels like an achievement.

Like I’m healing.

Like I’m getting my life back.

It’s about time.

Happy Thanksgiving!

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

I haven’t written in a few days because I just haven’t had anything to write about.

I don’t want to just post a day by day accounting of my life.

I like the posts that have substance,

meaning,

direction.

I’ve been dreaming a lot about my dad recently.

Weird dreams that take place after he died, but he’s still there talking to me.

Dreams where I’m giving him advice that I am trying to give to myself.

Telling him it will take time for his antidepressants to work.

Telling him he needs to slow down with spending money.

Also telling him how he traumatized me.

How he inconvenienced my sister and I.

How much work it’s been since he died.

I keep trying to look at the positives that will come from his death.

I no longer have to force weekly phone calls that are boring and uncomfortable.

He’s no longer making people miserable.

He’s no longer degrading me and telling me how I’m not good enough.

And, he may be buying me a house.

But that seems like such a foreign concept to me.

The idea of owning a house.

I don’t feel like I’m adult enough to own a house.

I still have a lot of research to do about my benefits,

my disability and my health insurance.

I have to make sure they won’t penalize me for actually owning something.

God forbid someone starts to pull themselves out of poverty,

I have to make sure they won’t rip the rug out from underneath me.

But at the same time I’m excited.

And it feels good to be excited about something.

It’s still months away before I can really start looking.

Probate takes forever, I’ve learned.

But I’m browsing on Zillow, looking at Real Estate websites, searching for homes within my price range that have pictures.

Starting a mental list of what’s important to me.

Of wants and needs.

I know I’m hyper-focusing,

I know it may end up never happening.

And I know I’m anxious even thinking about the idea.

Because I’m not adult enough.

But what if?

What if?

What if I don’t every have to worry about being homeless, ever again?

What if I never have to worry about someone taking my home away?

What if I never have to worry about being kicked out?

What if?

Maybe, just maybe,

something good can come out of his fucked up death.

Maybe he can give me some sort of financial stability.

Maybe he can take away some of my worries.

I remember, when I was younger, he would threaten me with taking me out of the will.

He planned, for the longest time, to give me less than he gave my sister.

And he made sure I knew.

He didn’t want me to get his money when I couldn’t take care of myself.

I didn’t deserve the help, he felt.

Well, fuck him.

Fuck him.

And it would be nice if one day I can say,

fuck him,

while I’m sitting in my own home.

Day 21

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

TW: Mention of suicide, mention of gunshot, mention of gore.

I skipped a day again.

But missing 2 days this month isn’t really all that bad, and I don’t really have something to write about every day right now.

I slept till almost noon today.

Didn’t even do my wakeup at 7am to roll over and go back to sleep.

I just slept.

I feel bad for sleeping so much. I’m in bed by midnight at the latest, and sleeping at least 12 hours almost every night.

Partly it’s the sleeping meds.

Partly it’s depression.

Partly it’s still healing from trauma.

It feels like it’s taking so long.

I’m shaming myself for all the things I can’t do, and it’s hard to focus on what I am doing.

For all the things I can’t do, yet.

I keep trying to remind myself that it’s okay that I’m not back to where I was.

I’ll get there.

Apparently, it’s just going to take more time than I like.

My therapist said yesterday that this may not be as much depression, as it is shutting down from the trauma.

Still blocking emotions out.

I feel so flat.

Even things I normally enjoy are just,

flat.

I don’t want to get out of bed in the morning because there’s nothing to look forward to.

It’s nice not being suicidal, but I miss,

living.

I was living my best life, and now I’m just struggling to get out of bed each day.

And I’m trying to be gentle with myself, while also pushing enough that I keep progressing.

But honestly, it’s hard.

It’s hard not to feel like I’m failing.

It’s hard not to feel like I’m letting people down.

It’s hard not to feel like I’m letting myself down.

Healing is exhausting.

And I’m still angry.

Fuck him for taking my stability.

Truly, fuck him.

It’s quiet in the house right now.

I keep forgetting to turn on music but yet, the silence allows the intrusive memories to come.

Fuck him for making every memory of that week turn into a gunshot.

Into a gory image of him in a wheelchair with blood dripping from his face.

Into an image of blood caked on the front of the wheelchair.

Into an image of my sister scrubbing the remnants out of the carpet.

Fuck him.

I’m having bbq, bacon wrapped, shrimp for Thanksgiving.

Wonder Woman hates seafood, hates the smell of it, so I only really cook it when she’s out of town.

My dad used to have seafood for holiday dinners.

It was nice because I’d have a traditional holiday meal at my mom’s house,

and then I’d go to my dad’s and have a seafood feast.

He always made the bbq bacon wrapped shrimp.

I miss it.

It’s been years and years since we’ve had a meal like that.

Years and years since he said “Dad is great, dad is good, lets thank dad for this meal.”

Years and years since he screamed at me for not cleaning fast enough before my sister got there.

Years and years.

I don’t miss him.

I don’t miss the forced phone calls that I tried to make each week because he was an old lonely man who had no other contact with the outside world.

I don’t miss the overwhelming anxiety when I would go for a visit.

I don’t miss the sound of him screaming because I didn’t do things the way that he wanted.

I don’t miss him.

Fuck him.

Fuck him for setting me back so far.

Day 19

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

Two steps forward.

One step back.

I cancelled almost everything today.

I showed up late to PHP, and was thankful when we ended both groups early.

I cancelled meeting up with a friend.

I cancelled my doctors appointment.

I barely made it out to the store to pick up a medication I had run out of.

Part of it is that I’m flaring right now.

Every joint hurts.

A burning pain that makes me want to cry.

But I don’t.

Honestly, I look just like I look any other day.

I just,

deal with it.

Silently.

But inside I’m screaming.

And, it was also depression.

I could feel it gripping at me, holding me back.

Holding me down in bed this morning.

Holding me back from leaving the house.

Some days it’s releasing its grip enough to let me function almost normally.

Whatever that is.

But today it held firm.

I pushed through some this afternoon.

Staring at my design software I stopped scrolling Facebook long enough to work on some cards.

I kept having to push every step of the way.

I would make a few edits and find myself mindlessly scrolling again.

I would cut a few pages and catch myself mindlessly reading post after post.

Eventually I’d get them put together.

I managed to make 12 cards today.

I was wading through the thickest mud though.

Even writing this,

I’m forcing myself to stay on track.

I keep getting distracted by everything.

Zoning off into the distance.

Two steps forward.

One step back.

I’ll move forward again tomorrow.