When Announcing the Death of a Family Member…

A few years ago, I discovered one of my cousins had died via a Facebook post. Last night, I was told an aunt passed away through a text message from my sister. I understand the fact that these forms of communication are a part of present-day, popular culture; BUT (and this is a huge BUT) when it comes to the death of a family member — no matter how close you are to that family member or if you haven’t seen that family member in quite some time — I think it is positively inappropriate to find out in this way. Whether it’s through social media, text message, email, or even a voicemail, impersonal methods of communication like these are NO substitute for speaking to someone directly on the phone or in person! Am I wrong here??

This wasn’t a complete shock. I at least knew that this aunt was taken into hospice care the day before yesterday. I knew she was at death’s door; but still, it feels wrong to be informed of a death through such an impersonal form of communication.

I’m thankful she’s no longer suffering. I loved her dearly despite not having seen her since my own mother’s death. This particular aunt was one of the most soft-spoken, beautiful souls I’ve ever met, a true Christian through word and deed (and I most certainly don’t say that about many people nowadays). My heart aches for her family as she will be greatly missed.

Anyway, when announcing the death of a family member, take the time to actually “speak” with your immediate and extended family members. That’s simply good manners. Most if not all will appreciate the time you took.


RE: “Trump admin considers using social media to deny you benefits” A Rant

An article popped up in my news feed on Facebook today from Mashable, titled “Trump admin considers using social media to deny you benefits.” These days I do my best to avoid anything Trump related. I despise that man and what he represents. I avoid current news because it is divisive and fear mongering. I use Facebook mostly for funny memes and cat videos and the ridiculously infectious laughter of babies, as well as to keep up with friends and family.

The title of this article caught my eye because it’s personal.

That already happened to me.

They’re already doing this, have been for a long time. It’s not just Facebook that the SSA uses. It’s any and all internet usage — social media, blogging, photo sites, gaming. Whatever you do online can be skewed as “proof” that you’re not disabled.

I once dated a private investigator (from 2002 – 2006) who often investigated disability claims. The internet was a common tool used in those investigations. I lost my own SSDI benefits in January 2013. In that decision letter, it made note of the fact that I was “able” to blog and use social media and therefore, no longer disabled.

For me, blogging, photography, art, and other forms of creativity are instrumental in my healing process and coping with the symptoms of PTSD, Major Depressive Disorder, and social anxiety (the reason I was disabled in the first place). I was unresponsive to medication, and therapy only offered minimal to no relief. In many cases using the more typical methods of mental health “treatment” only made my symptoms far worse. Without the coping tools I discovered on my own, I know I would be dead. I was just beginning to figure out how I could possibly financially support myself in the future by using those tools and my creativity to create an income for myself.

Given a little more time, I wouldn’t have needed SSDI. However, upon losing SSDI prematurely, my ONLY source of income at the time, the worst of my symptoms were triggered once again, causing my life to spiral out of control. Six years and 5 more hospitalizations later, I’m still trying to regain control of those symptoms. I still can’t work a full-time job due to inconsistencies in my mood and chronic fatigue. I managed to keep a part-time job for 5 months last year; but even then, my physical and mental health took such a hit that I fell into one of the worst suicidal depressions of my life.

The point I wish to make here is:

If you are applying for SSI or SSDI or if you already have one or both of those, there is no privacy online. Period. It’s not going to matter what your privacy settings are.

The only way to protect yourself is to unplug completely.

Hospitalization #15

My life is super confusing, overwhelming, and stressful right now. I’m feeling too much pressure to find a job and pressure to make decisions about a number of things that in the past 10.5 months I’ve failed to make decisions on. I’m once again frozen, unable to take control of my life and do what I know I need to get done. Everyone is losing patience with me — my sister, KR, my treatment team.

I had an appointment with my Vocational Rehabilitation counselor this past Monday. I had only met with him once before. I contacted voc rehab about a month and a half ago for help since I was struggling so much to make myself find a job. That appointment last Monday did not go as planned.

I’ve been fighting a sense of desperation and state of despair for more than 2 months now. This, of course, began over a year ago when KR broke up with me, became worse after my mother’s death. The overwhelm I felt while working that part-time job for 5 months was only alleviated after I quit. Around the end of August when I planned and had a yard sale to begin selling off my mother’s belongings, all of it came back with a vengeance.

Hopelessness, despair, desperation, powerlessness, helplessness — all of it overwhelms my ability to cope; but cope I must. I’ve managed the resulting suicidal thoughts as I always have and kept myself alive even when I didn’t want to. I distract myself. I self-soothe. I wait them out. Or I indulge them for a short time just to appease that part of myself who feels the need to obsess about death and dying.

I’m doing the best I can.

Anyone who knows me should know that my suicidal ideation is as much a coping mechanism as any other. It’s been a constant companion for more than 20 years as much as the chronic fatigue and chronic depression. The voc rehab counselor doesn’t know me well enough to understand that. Like I said, that appointment last Monday did not go as planned.

He did most of the talking. I was numb, shut down from the get-go. I couldn’t get past my feelings of hopelessness that morning and frustration with myself. That frustration grew into frustration with him as well. Something he said or did triggered a reactive state. Flashbacks to PI (the guy I dated off and on from 2002 through 2006), oddly enough.

The VR counselor’s “plan” for me is to do W.R.A.P. somewhere and work with the Goodwill Industry’s job placement service. I looked into that years ago when I lived in Clarksville. Back then, it was menial labor for pennies on the dollar, not even minimum wage. All of my creative, technical skills I have honed all of these years, not to mention my very personal insights into psychosocial development, would be wasted.

Again, I asked him, “What am I supposed to do in the mean time?” I tried to explain how dire my financial situation is. I can only receive SNAP benefits for 2 months through the end of November unless I have a job or volunteer 20 hours per week. I felt so overwhelmed and frustrated. My flustered attempt to make him understand caused me to speak without thinking, without my usual carefully chosen words.

Instead, I blurted out something to the effect of, “When I’m freakin’ sitting there thinking about hanging myself or slitting my wrists because I’m so scared over finding a job or having no income, what am I supposed to do?” I didn’t yell. I didn’t even raise my voice at all. I said it a little too dead-pan-faced calmly for even my own comfort.

He paused for a moment, looking a little scared, before saying, “Now, I’m worried for your safety.” I immediately regretted having said it, especially after he asked me to wait a moment while he checked on something and quickly left the room.


After about 5 or so minutes, he came back, looking nervous but attempting a “business as usual” approach until, you guessed it, 2 cops showed up. He told them what I said. They asked me a few questions. I burst into tears and panic as I attempted yet again to explain my desperate circumstances and overwhelm. They escorted me out of the building to an awaiting ambulance which took me to a local hospital’s ER.

Fucking hell!!!

Even more so than panicked, I was pissed! Stripped down to socks, underwear, and paper scrubs, I was left in an equally stripped down ER room under video surveillance for 29 hours with only minimal human interaction, isolated with only my thoughts that grew to such a state of rage by around midnight that I erratically grabbed a blanket, left my “cell,” determined to find a darker, quieter place to sleep.

Irrational sure, but those bright ass lights and all of the noise of the ER completely over stimulated my senses — I mean over stimulated to the max, like what I experienced as a child in Kindergarten kind of over stimulation! The ER was locked down. I couldn’t get out. I remember hitting the doors with my palms, crying out of frustration and mental exhaustion.

They threatened to give me a shot of Ativan. I’m seriously thankful for the security guard who took a more fatherly approach, speaking calmly and more soothingly, validating my frustration, coaxing me back to my room. No shot, thankfully. That threat from a terse ER tech left me feeling so helpless and powerless that I felt I had no choice but comply or be abused.

I sat up all night, staring through the observation window in that all too familiar detached, catatonic state with pure fury bubbling beneath the surface. I may have had a short cat nap sometime around 5 am, but I didn’t sleep for longer than a couple of hours, restless sleep at that, during those 29 hours I spent there. Finally, at around 4 pm the next day (Tuesday) a female police officer arrived to transport me and another girl on a psych hold to Ridgeview Psychiatric Hospital in Oak Ridge, TN. Thankfully, she didn’t handcuff us or anything; but it was still humiliating. That police officer was actually pretty cool. She blared the radio (good music) the whole way and even stopped to allow us to smoke a cigarette before we got there.

Ridgeview is a completely locked-down facility, much like the state institutions. It’s older, circa 1978. It smelled of a strong cleaning solution and stale cigarette smoke (it just became a smoke-free facility about a month ago, so no smoking either). It was cold and drafty, but fairly clean. The intake process was lengthy with the usual strip-down search (a rape survivor’s worst nightmare), physical exam, and saying the same thing over and over again to half a dozen people.

I was as adamant with them as I was with everyone at the ER that I had no desire to be there and felt the VR counselor completely overreacted. Still fuming, I barely slept at all that first night, partly due to anger, fear, and anxiety and partly due to the fact that they didn’t turn the lights out at night. It was so bright! I didn’t have anything with me, just the clothes on my back. They gave me a couple of hospital gowns to wear while I washed my clothes and to sleep in as well as a pair of slipper socks, but I had no other underwear. Talk about feeling vulnerable while they were in the wash!

Wednesday is kind of a blur. I think I must have been dissociative, especially considering all the flashbacks I was experiencing while there to other involuntary commitments. I know I met with the psych nurse practitioner on Wednesday for the first time. He actually spent a lot of time talking with me, taking down my psych history and even asking how I would “treat” myself if I was in his shoes, like what meds or treatment or whatever. He said he wanted to consult with another physician before making a decision on medications. Later that evening, we met again and he prescribed Trazadone for sleep and a low dose of Effexor XR (37.5 mg), both I’ve taken before with no real positive outcome.

I slept a little better Wednesday night, probably a combination of complete physical exhaustion and the Trazadone, but still woke up several times throughout the night. Even though the dose of Trazadone was extremely low, I still woke up groggy, dizzy, and nauseated. The next morning, I woke up to the med nurse by my bedside handing me a cup of water and the Effexor. In my groggy state, I took it without even thinking.

I spent most of Thursday in that state of detached derealization, thinking I woke up in a nightmare or previous state of consciousness. Everything felt so unreal. I had one of those intimidating meetings where the entire treatment staff/team met with me in the boardroom style interrogation. I hate those. They make me paranoid. They make me feel small and vulnerable.

By the time I met with the psych nurse practitioner later that day, I was edgy and aggravated as the realization hit me that I was stuck there another day. That meeting with the APRN was brief as I think he sensed my aggravation. He did manage to coax me into signing myself in voluntarily, but I vehemently stated I was given no choice in the matter of being committed and felt powerless over my autonomy.

I spent the rest of that evening losing myself in a puzzle another girl and I began earlier that day. I didn’t take the Trazadone Thursday night. I regretted that decision by 3 am when I got out of bed for a drink of water and still hadn’t slept at all. If I got any sleep whatsoever that night, it was that twilight resting state where I kept waking myself up with a jolt just before entering sleep.

In front of the med nurse the next morning (Friday), I popped the Effexor in my mouth but didn’t swallow it. Out of sight, I spit it out in my water cup and threw it away because that was literally the only thing I felt I had control over.

Thankfully, I was discharged from Ridgeview Friday morning. Again, thankfully, my car was still parked at the DHS office where I left it Monday morning during my voc rehab appointment.

During the cab ride back to my car, I realized that the autumn leaves had already changed colors in the valley between Monday and Friday, meaning the leaves in the mountains were past peak. Had none of this happened, my plan and intent for the remainder of my day Monday after that appointment was to take a drive through the Smoky Mountains to Cherokee, NC, for some much needed rest and relaxation. I’m fairly certain the leaves would have been at peak at that time; but obviously, that never happened. I took that drive yesterday anyway because I needed to feel free, get out of my head, and escape the rage that I’m feeling over this hospitalization.

Thus far, I’ve experienced 6 involuntary commitments and 9 voluntary to psych hospitals. What “good” has any of it done? I didn’t choose to go to the hospital this time. I was forced against my will. It has to feel like my choice to be there or else it’s re-traumatizing. I’m doing the best I can. It’s going to take me a while to process this past week. I don’t ever want to go through again what I did this past week. It was horrible and terrifying — all because I said something stupid, all because one voice in my head spoke out of turn. I know better. Topic off limits. I’m as angry at myself right now as I am at the VR counselor and the whole situation. I don’t know what to do with all of this rage and fury.

I don’t know what to do about anything in my life at this point.

Update: Worse still, I’m now in debt $3,803.17 just for the ER visit. A Tennessee grant program called the “Behavioral Health Safety Net of TN” covered the actual hospitalization at Ridgeview (so thankful for that), but apparently not the ER visit. I don’t recommend Tennova for any type of ER visit, especially anything relating to a mental health crisis. The manner in which my own mental health crisis was handled by Tennova played a critical role in my decision to leave mental health treatment altogether and move back to middle Tennessee rather than remain in my hometown.

You Are Good Enough

— Whether it was my family telling me I’m too sensitive or that my efforts to manage my life were somehow lacking

— Whether it was CF’s unrealistic expectations of me to manage a household, care for and raise our son, AND work a full-time job

— Whether it was my rapists taking my choice away from me, reducing me to nothing more than an object for their self-gratification

— Whether it was PI telling me I was worthless and pressuring me to keep a job despite how badly I was struggling

— Whether it was KR’s intimidation and aggression fueling my triggers to all of the above, pressuring me to change who I am to suit his needs

— Whether it was PMHC or any other psychiatric facility minimizing my struggles and trauma to some arbitrary method of dissecting personality traits and behavior as flawed mechanisms of survival that must be changed to be a “good,” “compliant” citizen

— Whether it was the 12 Step Program telling me that I suffered from character defects that made me morally bankrupt, only savable by some mythical higher power

— Or whether it was any other religious institution that blatantly tells its followers how weak and pathetic they are

With ALL of this against me, telling me, for all intent and purposes, “You’re not good enough,” is it any wonder my faith in myself was shaken? In my mind, it is truly a miracle that I believe in myself at all.

If you’re not lifting someone up today, don’t bring them down. Words hurt as much as actions. Choose both carefully.

You are good enough just as you are.

We were born neither inherently good nor bad. Every day we get to choose how we treat others — and how we treat ourselves. Make that choice count by believing YOU have the power within yourself to positively influence your own life as well as the lives of others.

How do you motivate yourself to do what you don’t “want” to do?

Life isn’t nearly as terrifying or exhausting as it was 8 months ago. For those reasons alone, I’m eternally grateful. I’m incorporating a new practice into my journal habit. I’m including a daily goal and 3 positive affirmations each day, not necessarily of the “I am worthy” or “I deserve to be happy” variety, though those are perfectly acceptable if I honestly “feel” them to be true for any given day, but more so the positive moments from each day that bring me joy or things for which I’m grateful. I lost that somewhere along the way. I’ll include those here whenever I have the opportunity to write.

I came up with 5 for yesterday rather than just 3.

  • #1 I am so thankful I found CEASE (a domestic violence and sexual assault support center in the Hamblen county region of TN). I contacted them about 3 weeks ago. After a long phone conversation with a victims advocate there, I met with her yesterday for the first time. She’s the one who told me to create a “Pros and Cons” list of all the positive and negative aspects of mine and KR’s relationship. The cons far outweighed the pros, by the way. She also suggested the journal addition of “positivity” in the manner I described. It feels good to finally be able to talk about everything so freely with another woman. We “clicked,” and that’s a good thing.
  • #2 I’m thankful for Al Anon. I never thought I would say that about any 12 Step program, but this particular group of individuals is far more accepting and non-judgmental. I don’t feel the pressure to conform to the spiritual aspects of the program as I did in prior 12 Step groups. Yesterday’s meeting only solidified my “surrender,” I suppose is the best way to put it, as the discussion was one of the most intellectually stimulating yet emotionally validating experiences I’ve had in this program. These are good-hearted, thoughtful people who I look forward to seeing each week. Even if I don’t say a word, my take-away from these meetings is great; and I’m so grateful for each and every person there for their unconditional understanding.
  • #3 I stopped by Music Outlet in Sevierville (something I wanted to do for a while now). I got to play a Roland electric piano for a few minutes. I should probably add to this one that I committed myself to learning how to play the acoustic guitar I bought 10 months ago. For the last 2 weeks, I’ve successfully practiced daily; and I am thoroughly enjoying the learning process.
  • #4 I’m thankful for talking with a friend from rehab last night. Unfortunately, she relapsed and is still drinking. She was one of my favorite people from New Leaf, so my heart goes out to her. I’m thankful for the talk because she’s a reminder to me that sobriety is freakin’ hard and to never take my success (or failures, for that matter) for granted.
  • #5 I’m grateful I’m sober, 320 days, now.

With all of that being said, I want to delve into where I’m actually struggling at this time and pose a question for (hopefully) some feedback. There are no less than 3 areas of my life where I struggle more than any other: employment, food, and relationships. Why? Why don’t I -want- to deal with these things?

Employment is complicated. The obvious reason I struggle so much to keep a job is that I associate being employed with being raped, being stalked, harrassed, sexually assaulted, and otherwise touched in ways I didn’t ask for because ALL of those things have happened to me at one job or another. There’s also the factor of time and the excruciatingly long, time-consuming process of coping with my overwhelm and over-stimulation from daily struggles, let alone the additional stress of a job. Also, working full-time, or even part-time, leaves me very little time for practicing all of my creative talents, especially when I come home from work so physically and mentally exhausted. The problem of finding a good job that’s a good fit for me — that keeps me creatively and intellectually stimulated yet works well with my mental health issues and sensory problems rather than against them — and that pays enough to survive is the crux of the matter.

Food is a power struggle, control issue — one that came up in every single relationship I’ve ever had, including that with my parents and that with myself. The over-the-top power struggle with KR over food and his shows of aggression related to food preparation only made this issue much worse than it has ever been, save for ’97 — ’98. Food, also, is a time-consuming process; so the above reasons related to time also apply here. Lastly, I’ll be the first to admit, when it comes to food, I’m just freakin’ lazy, hating every minute of the food preparation, eating, and clean-up process. That’s the main reason why I refuse to work in the “food” industry. It’s literally a contemptable disgust, a revulsion that only applies to one other area of my life — sex. (Sex is not an issue at this time because I’m not having it, haven’t had it since September, and I don’t miss it — AT ALL.)

Then, there’s relationships. My problems relating to other people began in early childhood. That much is obvious to me given my behavior, personality, and early struggles to work out other people’s motives and actions as well as to communicate my needs and wants to others. That hasn’t really changed much in 46 years. Now, I have the added baggage of trust and abandonment issues that prevent me from forming secure attachments to other people or any close connection that allows me to maintain a relationship with either family, friends, or a more intimate relationship with a significant other. Too many times in my life I’ve been taken advantage of, victimized and traumatized by the actions and behavior of other people who, whether consciously or not, meant to harm me. Once, I was far too trusting for my own good. I could only see the “good” in other people. Like a dog who’s been kicked enough times, though, I fail to see how that “faith” in humanity ever did me any good. As a result, I’m cautious to a fault, I would rather isolate than interact, and the social anxiety I feel often borders, if not surpasses, paranoid delusion of other people’s ill intent.

I know my reasons “why” I don’t want to do these things. My biggest question at this time is: “How” do I make myself “want” to do these things — get a job and keep it, cook “healthy” meals for myself, connect with other people — to motivate myself to actually accomplish these goals? How do you motivate yourself to do something you don’t want to do?

Sometimes Beginnings Aren’t So Simple

I’m a highly sensitive person. I was born this way.

I’m convinced this is a major contributing factor for why I developed PTSD later in life.

I have a number of gifts: my creativity as an artist and a musician, my empathy, my intelligence. I have a greater number of weaknesses: a slow wit (it takes me much longer than most to process events, conversations, and emotions) and an emotional developmental delay. I struggle to communicate, although writing is easier for me than verbal communication. I have no concept of time (past, present, and future all feel as though they are one moment). Relationships with other people confuse me to the point of paranoia, such severe social anxiety that I would rather isolate. I easily lose focus and get derailed by distractions, and I lack the discipline to maintain the motivation necessary to complete complicated tasks.

The work I’ve done to understand myself has taken me all of my 46 years and was met with resistance by any person involved in my life, whether that be couselors or therapists, coworkers, family, friends, or significant others. The number of times I’ve been told to grow up, just get a job, you’re lazy, you’re worthless, you’re not special, you’re not unique, you’re selfish, or any number of other criticisms that attack my sense of “self” far outweigh the encouragement and emotional support I’ve received over the years. Too often the harsh and critical voices within my own mind were validated by others while the quieter, more positive voices were ignored.

I’ll continue repeating this as long as I have to until someone finally listens.

Today, as I sit reflecting on my life, I have no problem seeing how much I’ve grown as a person. I’ve gone through more than my fair share of trauma in this life. I survived even when I thought I couldn’t, even when I didn’t want to survive. I found the strength to wait out the suicidal ideation just one more day even when I so desperately wanted to give in to the darkness. I continued believing in myself despite all of the emotional abuse and bullying from others. My inability to communicate how badly I struggle is as much a reflection of my own weakness as it is an unwillingness of those I trust to actually hear and comprehend what I’m trying to tell them. Humans are simply hardwired to avoid pain at all costs as a matter of survival, and consciously looking at another person’s pain, let alone our own, is oftentimes too much.

These past 7 months have afforded me the opportunity to gain a little peace and clarity. My mother passed away on December 17, 2017. I returned to my childhood hometown the following day. I’ve been here ever since, living in my mother’s house while my sister and I prepare to sell her belongings and the house, pending the completion of probate. The tremendous sense of sadness over the loss of my mother was compounded by the sadness and disappointment I was already feeling over the loss of my 11 year relationship (18 year friendship) with KR. I have no plans as of yet for what to do after the house sells and all is said and done. I’m feeling a lot of pressure from both my sister and KR to make up my mind and “do” something.

I was on a combination of Lithium, Zyprexa, and BuSpar for several months; but they did little to ease my symptoms of depression, anxiety, and PTSD. At the point they began affecting my thyroid, cholesterol and blood sugar levels, I had to make the decision to stop taking them. This was the same reason I quit taking medication back in 2008: the risk of taking medication outweighed the benefit. I did manage to keep a part-time job for 5 months, but I quit that job when the entire management team and several other employees quit. That entire situation still confuses me because it was so sudden, but the level of toxicity in the workplace I dealt with for those 5 months was comparable to what I experienced with KR. It’s one thing to put up with that from someone you love, but for a job? Hell no.

KR recently told me I abandoned him, our cats, and my responsibilities to them by coming here. That hurt. Not only did it trigger the past trauma of my break-up with my ex-husband, but also my abandonment of my son — each of my sons, if I’m really honest about it. Talk about stabbing a knife into an already festering wound. Those cats have been my world for the last 11 years in the same way that my son was my world for the first 4 years of his life (the last 4 years of my marriage). I never meant to abandon anyone, either time. Both then and now, I was only thinking of the least disruption to the innocent party’s life whether that was my son or mine and KR’s cats. I caught myself screaming at KR over the phone in my triggered state in much the same way as I did back in 1998 when I sat in this very living room at my parents’ home screaming at my ex-husband over the phone after he told me the same thing.

I “caught” myself screaming at KR. I took a deep breath. I calmed myself enough to finish out that hour and a half long phone conversation. Days later, I apologized for screaming at him. I was in the wrong for that.

Despite the fact that he was the one who broke up our relationship, KR said he expected me to come back to him and for us to “work out our differences.” When he broke up with me last September, he made it very clear to me that his sexual needs are more important than my sanity, safety, and security. He justified his behavior, in his own mind, by blaming me and anyone else for his problems rather than face his own addiction issues and rather than taking responsibility for his own actions. The only thing that has changed since I left him is that there is 133 miles of distance between us.

Also, as of today, I’ve been sober for 311 days (this time around). I quit drinking alcohol and smoking pot the day KR broke up with me. I did it on my own without the help of AA, NA, a therapist, or any other type of emotional support. In fact, I’ve had NO emotional support system whatsoever here in my hometown since I came back. That’s been incredibly difficult. After that heated phone conversation with KR, I made several phone calls to find support; but like back in September, my desperate pleas for help have gone mostly unheard. I do have an appointment with a counselor at a local domestic violence facility on August 9th. I’ve gone to 3 Al Anon meetings in these past 2 weeks. I have yet to make myself actually talk with anyone in Al Anon, though.

My sister shows little understanding of what I’m going through or what I’ve experienced throughout my life. She’s too busy with her own life and responsibilities to lend a compassionate ear. Her words from years ago when she told me, “I don’t want to hear your sob story,” echo through my mind with every attempt to confide in her. Our last phone conversation a few days ago was no different. I attempted to talk with her about that phone conversation with KR only to be met with her disdain, telling me, “Well, if you’re not going to take your medication, then maybe you should try essential oils,” as if that would be the magic cure all for decades long depression. After getting off the phone with her, all I could do was laugh at the absurdity of her suggestion. I know she means well. All I really needed from her was for her to listen, to acknowledge my pain and sadness, and validate those emotions, not criticize or try to “fix” me.

My depression is warranted in this situation. I’ve lost a lot in this past year – a trusted counselor, my relationship with KR, my mom, even the emotional support of my pets since I can’t have them here with me. I completely uprooted my entire life to stay here and help my sister with this house. The majority of my belongings are still in Sparta, TN. I don’t have the space here for them since this is a fully furnished small home, not to mention I still have no idea where I’ll end up after the house sells. I don’t have internet here, so I didn’t even bother bringing my computer with me. I don’t even have that as a distraction method. Sure, I have my phone’s internet; yet that’s cumbersome, at best, infuriating, at worst. Using my phone’s internet is a nightmare. It’s as time consuming as dial-up and oh, so frustrating.

Shock and disappointment are two of the most difficult emotions for me to face. No other emotion except rage causes me to dissociate faster or leaves me in that state longer. I managed to journal throughout most of this with only minor gaps versus in the past, I stopped writing in my journals altogether. With fewer distractions here in East Tennessee, I’ve had more time to just sit and think, write, and even go back and re-read all of my past journals — something I’ve never done before. So much pain, sadness, and suffering within those pages….

Rather than bring my piano keyboard, which I dearly miss, I only brought my acoustic guitar. A counselor at New Leaf a couple of years ago said learning a new instrument can be beneficial in the recovery process, so I decided it was high time to finally learn how to play that guitar. It’s soothing my broken spirit when nothing else seems to work. A full 25 years later after leaving my hometown, I never expected to come back to East Tennessee. I never even really wanted to come back here, but I suppose it’s only fitting to go back to the beginning when trying to heal the end.

Sometimes solutions aren’t so simple.
Sometimes goodbye’s the only way.

Sometimes beginnings aren’t so simple.
Sometimes goodbye’s the only way.

Alone Again, Naturally

While on my Facebook profile this afternoon, I noticed my relationship status looked different. KR’s photo wasn’t attached in the little square beside my status, neither was his name. Confused, I checked his profile and saw this:

Imagine finding out your relationship is “officially” over in this manner. I had, at least, some level of awareness that our relationship is over due to conversations over the last week; but until I saw his “Relationship Status” today, it didn’t feel “real.” Eleven years of devotion, loyalty, faithfulness, commitment, and love (at least, on my part) and 17 years of friendship casually thrown away with the simple change of a status update. I feel like I’m in shock. Even the voices in my head are 95% silent at the moment. It’s an eerie silence given their higher than normal level of activity and considering some have been obnoxiously screaming at me for weeks. These past few weeks have been rough, like suicidal risk Level 4 rough. I’ve coped to the best of my ability; but I remain frozen in fear, unable to remain “present” or focus on anything long enough to find a solution to my present dilemma.

This all started a couple of weeks ago on 9/11. It finally came to a head on 9/17 when KR finally had his meltdown in his usual raging alcoholic mindset of “How dare you deny me of my needs!” He was due for a meltdown, so I was somewhat expecting it, just not so soon. I was guessing the middle to end of October given his usual tendency to become enraged closer to his birthday. For the next week, he behaved like nothing happened which is pretty much the norm until his next blow up; however, he did suggest that we seek couples counseling which gave me hope that he still wanted to work things out.

Things only got worse over this last weekend. On Saturday, 9/23, KR made it very clear that our relationship is over. He told me our sexual differences are too much. He said neither of us are at fault for this but he needs his freedom to basically have sex with whomever he pleases and explore his sexual fantasies with others since I’m unwilling to “compromise.” He said he doesn’t want to be seen as a “cheater.” Afterward, he left to go overnight camping with his work buddy who is also having marital problems. Seriously, I think they’re fueling each other’s misery like men so often do.

Early Monday morning around 4:00 am and after he had already drank several shots of Tequila (he was still so drunk after he woke up that he had to call out of work), he reiterated all of this, telling me about their camping trip where they met up with a couple of women they work with to share an evening of “hanging out without the pressures of a relationship.” He talked more about his past affairs (which he still claims were mostly one night stands), but he admitted that these have been going on since the beginning of our relationship — so the entire 11 years we’ve been together. I was stupid enough to stay with him after he told me about a couple of these in October 2015, only after one of these women contacted him about contracting an STD.

Why did I stay?

At that time he told me he wanted to work things out, and I was terrified of being homeless again. I was and still am financially destitute. I’ve spent the last 2 years since his first admission of this in mostly a dissociative state, disconnected from him and everything around me. Fear of the unknown, fear of being homeless, fear of my own suicidal tendencies when I feel this overwhelmed forced me to stay.

These are the same fears I’m facing today in addition to a state of confusion that feels new. This level of dysfunction is comparable to what I experienced in 2005. My mind feels like a jumbled mess. I can’t think straight. I don’t know how to put “this” into words.

I really don’t.

He said he wasn’t going to be a dick about it and kick me out, that he would help me however he could; but I have to get out — the sooner, the better. I have no choice but to make an attempt to try working again if I can actually find someone willing to hire me after a 12 year absence from the work force and willing to somehow accommodate the severity of my illness. I called Vocational Rehabilitation this past week and left a voicemail with the person I was told to speak with, but no one called back. So many phone calls and pleas for help lately have gone unanswered and ignored that I’m beginning to believe that I’m supposed to die by suicide.

Wait it out, just wait it out.

Everything feels hopeless right now, and I’m fighting that familiar dissociation that prevents me from doing anything. Like so many times before in my life, history is repeating itself. This feels like a flashback — a really bad flashback; and this time I have no strength left to fight for my life. I wasted all the strength and energy I had left in this last attempt at finding supportive mental health treatment. I’ve got nothing left. Since I was discharged from treatment, I don’t even have that support system to help me through this. I screwed that up like I do everything else.

I do have an appointment on Monday with another facility, but I feel so lost at this point that I don’t think anyone can help me. I’m worried about this weekend. I’m so exhausted. I’m so tired of the pressure. I’m so tired of fighting to survive. I’ve called and texted with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and other crisis lines more times this past couple of weeks than I have in a very long time. We’re told to “reach out for help” when in crisis. Why does actually getting help have to be so difficult? It’s no wonder so many people die in this way.