Current Mood: Unknown

This week has been great.  I have worked many hours, completed student loan repayment applications, kept up with household chores, and generally felt well mentally.  This has all happened for the first time in months, and it leaves me wondering where my mood has been.  I feel good right now.  I can concentrate again, and life doesn’t seem so overwhelming.  I’m grateful for whatever shift has happened.

The one dark spot in this is that I have obviously been having mood issues without being aware of them.  I’m usually good at picking up on mood symptoms and dealing with them before things get bad.  The recent manic episode must have split what has been a months-long depressive episode.  That’s all I can think of.  Depression causes that soul-sucking overwhelm and inability to concentrate.  I didn’t particularly feel depressed, but apparently, my mind was acting in depressed mode.

Whatever it was, I’m just happy it has passed.  Does anyone else out there have mood episodes that you only see in hindsight?

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Trapped

Life has turned in to a comedy of sorts right now.  Probably more like a horror, but the extent of events heading one in to the other is mind boggling.

It all started Saturday night.  My best friend and I went out looking at Christmas light shows in the area.  Whilst travelling on a crowded motorway at 70mph, my best friend noted that the car was becoming hard to steer.  Safely ensconced in a car park under a light near security cameras, we looked under the bonnet to find the power steering fluid reservoir empty.  That seemed an easy fix, given the shop where we were parked sold power steering fluid.

Upon retrieving said fluid and pouring it in to said reservoir, I cranked the car and reversed out of the parking spot.  With much difficulty, as the car still didn’t want to turn.  And the battery light came on.  And a sound like gravel trailing behind the car could be heard.  I somehow steered us in to another spot and phoned for a tow truck.

Sunday, the day of my major work deadline, I awoke feeling a bit under the weather.  As the day progressed, I got worse and worse.  By late Sunday/very early Monday, I could barely breathe from the congestion.  Mid-morning Monday, I phoned the mechanic to see how things were going with my car.  He told me it would be Tuesday before he could finish it.  As my doctor is located approximately 50 miles from my house, that was right out.  As I was still choking whilst trying to breathe, what’s called here an ‘urgent care clinic’ was in store.  I was diagnosed with flu, given medication and sent on my way.  That part is improving.

Next it was Tuesday and the day my car was to be complete.  Except that, whilst he was tightening the new part, my mechanic noticed another part fall off.  And now it will be Monday before the car is finished.  It will, in theory, be a much nicer car to steer after this.  It’s just costing hundreds and leaving me in debt.  No idea how I’ll make my bills next month, and no idea how I’ll cope with the claustrophobia of having no way to get out of here without my car.

So that’s the plight of December so far.  I wish I could say I knew it would only get better.

Sparkling

My sister was born 29 years ago today.  I can’t imagine her at that age.  I wonder at what she would have become.

Today is always an odd day for me.  Part of me wants to celebrate her.  To make the day all about the things she loved.  I want to colour unicorn pictures, listen to silly pop music and eat chocolate cake with loads of chocolate frosting.  All the things we did on her birthdays.  Her last birthday was no different.  It was a day spend focusing on her and a day spent trying to catch that special smile I’ll never forget.  Her blue eyes sparkled when she smiled, lighting up the little freckles on her eyes and nose.  She was so beautiful.

What I will do on this day will likely counteract that.  This year, there’s work keeping me busy.  Most years, though, I feel drawn back to her last day.  Not her last birthday.  The last day of her existence.  That day, too, was perfectly ordinary until I found her.  On this anniversary of her birth, I’ll struggle not to think of her death.  I hate that her life seems to be defined by that now, but I can’t pull it away.

My goal for this day is to perform some unexpected act of kindness, just to bring the light my sister brought to my life in to the life of another.  A way to honour her.  If you are at all able, share your own act of kindness today.  You will honour the life and memory of a beautiful child who left us far too soon.

Thanks.

 

Fight!

That’s exactly what my therapist chanted at me as I left her office this afternoon.  The past few days have been terrible, with nightmares and gruesome flashbacks every day.  I’m exhausted, annoyed that it seems I have to choose between mental and physical health, and becoming paranoid.  It’s a lovely combination.

She told me that her goal for me this holiday season is to fight against my emotions.  That might seem odd, coming from a therapist, but I take her point.  My emotions aren’t always rational.  This sense of foreboding doom and paranoia comes out of a nightmare.  The thoughts of self harm that keep cropping up stem from the flashbacks.  None of these things are ‘normal’ events that spark ‘normal’ emotions.  These are the emotions I need to guard against.  My therapist says sometimes we have to lead our emotions rather than following them, and I know exactly what she means.

We’re coming upon the dates for my sister’s birth and death, trying to cope with the more recent loss of my best friend’s brother, and generally fighting to keep from spiralling out of control as the various emotions come up against each other.  But, I will fight.  I will fight to get through my sister’s death anniversary without shutting down.  I will fight to get through the holidays without bowing to grief.  And I will fight to be present.  To enjoy the holidays, even when what I want to do most is cover my head and forget to exist for a while.

Still Pluggin’ On

That’s one of the best American phrases I’ve ever heard.  It means moving forward, even at a slower rate than one might want and against any odds.  That’s how I feel about work right now.  I’m still pluggin’ on toward that deadline looming not-so-distantly in front of me.  This means blog posts might be short or nonexistent this week.  I’ll do my best.  You have my word, dear readers, that I won’t take another seven-month break this time.

Family

Looking through the window, you would think you were watching a family.  Two people are playing video games.  A baby is walking about with toys, showing his cars to everyone who will look.  Folks are gathered around the table, still strewn with dishes.  All of the people are related by blood or marriage.  Family.

Then there’s me.  The lone person in the room who isn’t actually attached to anyone.  This is the Thanksgiving celebration of my best friend’s father and family.  To some extent, I feel out of place.  A Pagan vegan amongst diehard Christian carnivores.  I used to think of myself as easy to throw away.  No divorce needed.  No separating the family in to factions.  They could just point me toward the door and send me on my way.  Little by little over this past nearly two decades, I am changing.

This year is different.  This year, I am trying to connect.  I’m trying to drop my well-honed guard long enough to let these people in.  And I am bloody terrified.  Immersing myself as part of the family feels dangerous.  The more people you love, the greater chance you have of being hurt.  The greater the chance for betrayal and pain.  Is it worth it just to be part of a family?  I’m still trying to answer that question, but I’m leaning toward ‘yes’ these days.

We have plans for most weekends in December.  Family plans, and it’s just assumed I’ll be there.  These people don’t consider that I won’t be part of family situations anymore.  It’s so odd.  I have no biological family, but I seem to have acquired a great deal of family somewhere along the way.  I sit surrounded by these people, terrified that they’ll see whatever it is in me that those who hurt me saw.  And then my best friend’s father nearly crushes me in a warm hug, telling me he loves me.  Part of me loosens a bit inside.  Part of me enjoys that.  Who would have thought a girl with no family coming from a history of SRA and garden variety abuse would find herself surrounded by the love of a family someday?

So t his is my struggle this holiday season.  I want to be present in the celebrations, rather than so mentally-guarded that I miss out on things.  I want to talk with people, even when I feel they’ll just judge me anyway.  I want to function as part of the family, comfortable in the knowledge that that’s how they see me.  I want to take this chance for once and hope things don’t come crashing down.  My past says this will end in heartache and loss.  My current mindset dares to hope it won’t.  Here’s to trust!

Even Now

My best friend and I, as I have mentioned before on this blog, text every night.  Between 8:00-10:00-ish, we talk about our days and anything else that happens to come up.  It’s a great time, even when the subject matter is dark, because we are together.

Tuesday night was different.  Tuesday night found me unsure of his feelings toward me and terrified that I’d done something to push him away.  He wasn’t joking around about anything.  He wasn’t laughing, so to speak, via text.  He was simply answering me in terse phrases.  I was scared.

I asked if he was ok, and he answered in the affirmative.  A few texts later, I told him I felt like I was texting an acquaintance.  He said he didn’t know what to tell me.  Through the rest of the conversation, he had to assure me time and again that he was fine with me and fine himself.  I’m sure it tested his patience, but he stayed right with me.  I love him for that and many reasons.

This conversation makes me angry, now that time has passed.  Within the confines of the cult, I learnt that no one would like me other than my ‘family,’ those responsible for my training.  I was taught that the people who profess to love you would leave any time they wanted.  I avoided getting close to anyone, because I knew they’d leave anyway.  And it was always me.  I wasn’t good enough, strong enough, fast enough.  Or I was too good and punished for showing up the others.  Whatever the reason, love brought pain.

Now, many years later, I find myself falling in to that trap of not trusting people.  Trust is so hard.  For a while, it was impossible.  I met my best friend in January 2001.  Almost 17 years later, I had such a hard time trusting him that, in one conversation, I assumed he was ready to end our friendship.  This is SRA.  The systemised method of breaking down your natural sense of trust and rebuilding it with a sense of suspicion toward anyone you were not programmed to love.

I often wonder what happens next.  Will my lack of trust run off my FOC sometime?  Will I ever be able to relax enough to accept that they truly do accept me?  SRA is so damaging on so many levels.  Even now, some 17 years after escaping, I bear the scars, and I am devastated to know these scars affect the ones I love the most.

Talking of Bipolar Disorder

Into A Pearl by the esteemed Justin Currie reminds me of what it’s like to live with bipolar disorder.  It’s not likely the inspiration for his song, but it really struck me.  The aspect of a ‘stranger in your world’ that ‘only you can smother’ speaks to me.  Justin is by far my favourite singer.  The front man of Del Amitri (my favourite band), he has a flawless solo career.  I’ve had the pleasure of seeing him twice in concert and would follow him all over the world if I could.  I never tire of hearing him.  Anyway, give the song a listen.  You might just relate to it, as well.

The Machines Are Out to Get Me

I have a work deadline looming.  This is a project that will be several weeks in completing, and the deadline draws ever closer.  What this means is I completely lose the ability to pay attention.  Yes, there are reports to generate, but there are also shiny objects just across the room.  Those are much more important, right?

Today was supposed to be different.  I actually had my notes out and was ready to go.  Then, when I turned on my laptop, it required updates.  This isn’t typically so bad.  However, it took almost two hours this time.  I finally got ready to work on this stuff, and the laptop decided that was not to be.  I know the importance of  updating Windows, and  I always install these updates.  This was just the master of bad timing.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have reports to generate.  Or blog posts to write.  Or shiny objects to stare at.  Who knows?  scowl