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.

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.

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.

Calm before the storm.

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

Things feel calm.

Like, I’m slightly hypomanic, but nothing major. I’m right where I like to be.

It’s been like this for a while, it’s hard to say exactly how long, minus a rough few hours here or there. And I pull back out of those rough hours before they become rough days and weeks.

But I’m scared.

Will this last or am I just experiencing the calm before the storm?

Will the other shoe drop?

When?

I don’t fool myself, my mental illnesses aren’t something that will ever go away. I’m going to have rough days and weeks no matter how well I use my coping skills. I’m going to be on medication forever and I’m fine with that.

But these nice calm periods, when it lasts long enough that I’m ready to call it stability, leave me fearful, wondering, waiting.

Is it the calm before the storm?

Will the other shoe drop?

When?

But, I have a lot of coping skills and mostly, I’m good at them. As long as I don’t hit full blown crisis before I can put those skills to use, I have ways to ground myself and even myself back out.

I know what to do.

I know how to do it.

Wednesday is my last day of PHP, I’m so ready for that day to come. I love the program I’m in, it’s my goto when I need care like this, but being there when I feel stable is boring, tedious, and I stop getting much out of the program.

I don’t know what to talk about in group therapy because I can’t pull up the feelings that existed when I was in crisis.

They don’t want to be thought about.

They don’t want to be felt again.

But I was afraid to leave.

What if this is the calm before the storm?

Will the other shoe drop?

When?

Working it out

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

With some Really Real Widow stuff thrown in there too.

I’ve been feeling really good. Even my bad days don’t last and don’t get as bad. I’m using a lot of coping skills to pull myself off of any emotional roller coasters I end up on. Part of me thinks this is too good to last, part of me thinks maybe I’ll be okay for awhile.

I went back to the gym today, first time I’ve been there in over a month. I’m thankful that Mickey has been gently reminding me that the gym still exists, but has also been understanding that I just don’t feel like I have the time while I’m in PHP and school.

Today I took the day off from PHP, so I went to the gym and it felt really, really good, even though we took it easy.

I’m tired of PHP. My empathy feels broken and I’m restless when I’m not doing something with my hands, so groups are both boring and difficult to sit through. I’m not in crisis anymore, so the educational groups feel redundant, I’ve learned most of this stuff before and I know how to use it until I hit my skills breaking point. Then knowing it doesn’t really matter because I’m too far under to use it.

PHP is incredibly helpful for me when I’m in crisis, but I’m learning that when I’m stabilized it isn’t the best place for me. And I have over 2 weeks left until I’m finished. If I stick around to finish out my time. Nothing is making me stay.

It felt really good to be in the gym. It felt really good to have my normal routine back today. It felt good to avoid the emotional exhaustion that comes after a day at PHP.

I’m really torn.

And on another topic.

The thought crossed my mind a few days ago that widowhood isn’t that hard right now. That’s one of those thoughts I hate to have, because inevitably after that thought comes a difficult period of grief.

Right now it’s just a quiet hum in the back of my brain. I miss Parker. I wonder what life would be like with her still here. I wonder what the world is missing out on with her gone. I wonder how she would react to my latest crisis. I wonder if we would still be married. I wonder if we would have been able to pull ourselves out of survival mode.

And, I also love my life as it is. It’s one of those things that will always be difficult to reconcile. I want her back in this world and I don’t want to give up what I have now.

Luckily it’s not a choice I’d ever have to make, she’s gone and nothing will change that.

Something came up for me in PHP a week or two ago. Blaming myself for Parker’s death is one way of wishing I had control over something that can never be controlled. If her death was my fault, then doing things differently means maybe I can keep another loved one from dying.

Believing that her death isn’t my fault means realizing I had no control over it. It means realizing that I can’t control the life or death of other important people in my life.

It means I’m helpless to save them.

That’s a hard thing to process.

I miss her. I wish things would have been different but I realize I had no control over it then, and I have no control over what happens now.

Anyway, hopefully I can spend more time in the gym working this shit out. It’s been such a great form of therapy for me these past 3 years.

Can’t tell the sweat from the tears.

 

Music Blaring

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

Normally when I write, I have soft piano music playing through my headphones.

Not today.

Today I have the computer blaring my “Top Songs of 2018” playlist. It’s not a soft piano music kind of day.

It’s a loud music with no headphones kinda day.

It’s a dance around my living room to bring myself down kinda day.

I’m angry.

I’m sad.

I’m frustrated.

I’m even somewhat suicidal (but safe).

I have to make a decision and each option has it’s pros and cons.

And my brain’s answer to feeling cornered is to tell me it’s easier to just die.

Unfortunately, it’s not likely that my brain will ever stop reacting that way. All that can be changed is the severity of the thoughts. Right now they’re mild, but they are there.

I’m dealing with meds with shitty side effects, including empathy dulling, but those same meds keep me from wanting to die.

Mostly.

It at least stops the thoughts from getting a tight enough grip to kill me.

Hopefully.

I’ve fought my ass off to get stability and I don’t fool myself that it’ll be easy.

But damn it, why does everything have to be this hard.

Being faced with a tough decision today was enough to take the entire day from me.

And yes, I’m vague-booking, because the specifics don’t matter.

The difference between stability and chaos is a few words. But I have enough coping mechanisms to bring myself back to center, sometimes.

Sometimes that coping mechanism is music blaring while I write. Drumming on my keyboard to the beats in the song. Wondering how long until neighbors get pissed (fuck em, I don’t know what empathy even is right now, yay for med side effects).

I just want peace, and I want to make a decision free from strings.

But there are strings.

And I can’t make a decision.

So today is a loud music kinda day.

And tomorrow I’ll really figure this out.

 

 

Too big, too much

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

I’m having the absolute hardest time sitting still. I need to be doing things with my hands, working on projects, twenty things at once.

In groups I’m fidgeting with a fidget cube or stress ball. Chewing ice. Rocking my leg.

Must.

keep

moving.

It’s not as noticeable at home, I don’t think, because I’m working on things and I’m moving anyway. But at PHP, in groups, when other people are talking, I can’t just sit there and focus.

Today one of the groups got large.

Really really large.

We ran out of chairs in the room.

So I left.

There’s no way I would have focused through that.  Too many people moving, chairs shifting. Too big, too much.

And I can’t sit still.

I don’t know why.  Is this because of the increased dose of one medication.  Is this because we’re discontinuing other, redundant, medications.

Or is this because my brain is trying to run from the healing.  It’s too uncomfortable to sit with these emotions, literally.

Ants in my pants and I can’t sit still.