Jealousy

Saturday morning, I woke up triggered, paranoid, too. I must have had some pretty bad nightmares that night judging by my mood and the alarm bells going off in my mind, voices yelling demands. They told me to lock the bathroom door while I showered — argued about locking the bathroom door. “Keep him out.” “He’ll break down the door.” The argument went. In the end I must have left the door unlocked despite thinking I locked it. They told me to be cautious of KR despite the fact that he wasn’t even awake or out of bed yet.

I awoke Saturday morning to KR rubbing my back. “This is code for ‘he wants sex.'” I vowed I wouldn’t have sex with him again after he told me about his “flings.” I broke down over a week ago and did. At least he used a condom. Touchy subject, sex.

We spent Thanksgiving day with friends of his. How do I write about this without naming names? I’ll call KR’s friend C, C’s mother SH, and SH’s on-again-off-again boyfriend AT. Hoping this doesn’t get too confusing. The day after KR told me about his flings, I read his emails on Facebook. I’m not proud of this, and I know it breaks all kinds of boundary issues to do so; but for my own peace of mind, I needed to know more since he really wouldn’t open up about it. There were at least 5 or 6 women he was conversing with, even sending pornographic photos of himself to, just on Facebook. I don’t know for a fact that he had sex with any of these women, but the conversations were certainly disturbing enough given their content.

One of these conversations was with SH, his friend’s mom whose house we spent Thanksgiving. She’s the same age as me, friendly, yet not someone with whom I would wish to have a close relationship. It’s an instinct I picked up on the first time I met her — fake. Rational or irrational, I don’t know. Given the extent of what I read in the conversation between the two, my caution is very much warranted. On Sunday, KR told me that SH told him that AT was asking if anything was going on between KR and SH. KR played it off (not even sure why he would tell me any of this) as if AT is the jealous, paranoid one, acting as if it was absurd to consider it a possibility.

Oh my god, writing this out makes it sound like petty high-school bullshit! Drama I want no part of. Drama I didn’t even tolerate in high-school, let alone at 43. I really hate nonsense.

Yet, I have the exact same suspicions as AT — for good reason. I no longer trust KR. I feel no emotional connection to him. He severed it. My suspicions of KR and SH having a couple of one-night-stands together are the primary reason why I desperately did NOT want to go over there for Thanksgiving dinner. The fact that alcohol would be present was a secondary reason (No, I didn’t drink). “Why did you go, then,” you ask? Honestly, I was curious how they would both handle it. Hell, I was curious how I would handle it. Also, I went because it was expected of me — expected to go, expected to be polite and courteous, which I was despite that gnawing urge to go all Madea on their asses.

Given SH’s avoidance of me throughout the day and even KR’s avoidance, my suspicions increased 10-fold. Why would she have even invited me?

What made Thanksgiving even worse was the fact that November 26th was mine and KR’s 9 year anniversary which KR didn’t even acknowledge.

That tells me this relationship is over, that and a thousand other things.

refuse to feel jealous. Really, I’m not jealous, not even in the slightest. I choose not to give in to that emotion. Never have. Never will. Jealousy is a weird emotion. Rather than feel it fully, as soon as I notice even a tinge of jealousy, I move right into indifference because, well, this quote from the movie Anna Karenina sums it up best:

I consider jealousy to be insulting to you and degrading to me.

Jealousy does neither party any good.

Crazy Dreams and Fly Paper

I got to play a “real” piano today, a first in many, many years! I should go to the daytime NA meetings at St. Michael’s more often just for that incentive. I woke up feeling like I needed a meeting, even though I didn’t speak up during the meeting. I had some crazy dreams last night. Didn’t I just say a few nights ago in IOP that I never remember my dreams? I should have said, “I rarely remember my dreams.” Last night’s dreams were “user-friendly,” meaning I dreamed about using drugs, not alcohol but cocaine of all things, something I haven’t touched for more than 11 or 12 years. Why on earth did that pop into my subconscious?

I don’t really remember the specifics of the dreams last night, just lots of people around using the drug itself, me as well, standing outside of my body watching myself as I so often am in my dreams. The act of using is what actually woke me up, startled and confused. I’ve heard others in recovery talk about this sort of thing, so I’m guessing it must be fairly normal. I seriously didn’t expect a dream to leave me feeling so vulnerable, though.

In other news, last night I was determined to reorganize the living room. The clutter gets on my nerves worse this time of year for some reason, probably because I begin considering placement of a holiday tree. That determination was soon lost after I caught my hair in fly paper while trying to remove something from a high shelf in the spare room. My hair is very long, like 27 inches long. The fly paper literally ripped a chunk of my hair out! My scalp still hurts. Plus, I had that gooey, nasty glue all in my hair!

I immediately jumped in the shower, trying to wash it out. I spent the better part of half an hour to 45 minutes washing, crying, re-washing, still crying, rinsing, crying more, conditioning while combing under water, all cried out — until the water began to cool. I conditioned it again this morning, but it still felt weird. I was scared I would have to have it cut off. I stopped by to get my hairdresser’s opinion this afternoon. She reassured me that I got the worst of the glue out and that my hair looked fine. She trimmed it up (minus 2 inches) and recommended a good leave-in conditioner to help tame the area that is damaged (right in the back).

It took me 10 years to grow my hair this long! Long hair is a spiritual practice in my mind. Perhaps a holdover from my childhood Church of God days, but more so a Native American tradition I admire. My hair is one of the things I actually love about myself.

Needless to say, no organizing got done last night! I seriously doubt I could make room for a holiday tree anyway even if I tried. It’s been a weird couple of days, but I’ll take weird over drunk or suicidal any day.

~ 100 Days Sober ~

I’m kinda proud of that! 😉

Sunshine, Meditation, and Journaling

Something that has helped me more than anything else I can think of to date is a newly acquired morning routine that I began back in July. Each morning, after I shower and dress for the day, I head outside to sit in the sunshine and journal (weather permitting, of course). I usually sit out there for at least an hour or longer. It’s like my meditation time prior to throwing myself into all the things I need to get done for the day. The journal practice, itself, is enough of a benefit that even on rainy days when I can’t journal outside (we have no covered area outside), I still get to start my day in peace and calm. Sunny days are the best, though, because I get the added benefit of warmth and nourishment from the sunshine and fresh air that I so desperately need.

Once the weather gets colder, I’m not really sure how to keep that up; but I’m going to keep doing it for as long as I possibly can because it truly does help.

Just thought I would share a tidbit of positivity. 🙂

Retreat

Is it wrong that I simply want to retreat? Winter hibernation is calling my name. I’ve been on the go — busy, busy, busy — for the past several months; and I’m physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted. This is not an exaggeration. Long before New Leaf or even CSU in July, I felt like I was ready to collapse from the bone-tired-weariness I’ve felt for the past couple of years. I’ve challenged myself more this past year to ignore my instincts, confront my fears, “do” rather than “think about doing,” and act like a more normal human being.

Normal is a setting on a washing machine. My “normal” isn’t the same as everyone else’s “normal.” I can only compare what is normal in relation to myself rather than to others. None of what I’ve been doing for these past few months is normal for me. It borders on chaos for me.

I went from having about 40 hours per week of alone time to about half that due to attending at least one NA meeting per week, IOP 3 times per week, peer support once or twice per week, and all the driving time (half an hour each way, more than that to the NA meeting I prefer). Granted, a lot of my alone time is spent running errands, keeping the house clean, doing laundry, and all the other daily chores I have to get done; yet I still have to accomplish all of it and hope for maybe a couple of hours per week of downtime to do what I enjoy — draw, play piano or guitar, blog, game, or hike.

AND I still have to make enough time to find a damn job and work outside my home if I’m ever to be taken seriously! Honestly, I don’t even want to think about that. I really don’t. The disability advocate still has yet to return my phone calls, so I can only imagine that even he doesn’t think my case is winnable. “Grow up. Just get a job.” That internal pressure to conform is enough to drive me mad.

On the plus side, it has gotten easier to be a bit more social and leave my house regularly. It’s just exhausting and overwhelming at times, finding myself a bit more short-tempered. When I first wrote this post last Thursday, I was so overwhelmed and exhausted that I was ready to call it quits on everything and isolate for the next few months — till spring. I know I can’t do that (why not?) but I also know my time in IOP has to be close to an end. We’re only allowed a certain number of group sessions, and I’m close to if not right at that limit. Once IOP is over, I worry that I might fall back into my old routine, isolating myself from everyone and everything simply because of the weather and that need to hibernate for the winter, not to mention it’s simply my default position.

I’m a loner. Period.

I can’t tell a difference in my thinking or any other aspect of myself on this medication other than the negative side-effects. Past experiences on other psychiatric medications were much the same. One complication of accepting medication is that I feel like I compromised a belief in myself by second-guessing my own judgment. After only a week and a half on the Latuda, the NP already raised the dose from 20 mg to 40 mg — precisely the type of behavior that drove me away from treatment in the first place! My mind is in chaos. The medication makes me feel physically groggy, mentally dull, and emotionally numb.

After I began the 40 mg dose, I fought a blasted headache that bordered on a migraine for 3 days straight. Not to mention the paranoia has increased 10-fold due to my fear of the medication doing more harm than good and the fear of gaining weight, especially given the 350 calorie requirement. I’m obsessing over food, counting calories, weighing myself nightly. In order to maintain my weight, I know I need at least 3 hours of digestion time prior to going to bed; but when the medication makes me so sleepy that all I want to do is go to sleep, I find myself fighting to stay awake for another 3 hours!

I’m more angry with myself for breaking a vow to never take psychiatric medication again, knowing that it increases the paranoia I feel, increases the suicidal and self-harm thoughts, and my impulsivity to act on them. I feel more paranoid and suicidal than I have in a very, very long time. I haven’t felt these aspects of my mental illness this strongly for as many as 9 years. Even though I struggled with all of this regardless of being in treatment or not, I have to wonder if I was better off during those 5 years I gave myself a break from treatment.

It’s not been all bad this time in treatment. I have to remember that. But so many parts of me are screaming at me to just quit taking the Latuda.

The Things I Can’t Say

I keep trying to make sense of the last couple of weeks to no avail. With everything KR told me and then the unfavorable Social Security decision, I kind of lost it — paranoia and suicidal thoughts that bordered on serious “plan-making.” This resulted in another 5 day stay at the local crisis stabilization unit. After 7 years of refusing psychiatric medication, I finally broke down and allowed them to try me on a low dose of an antipsychotic medication called Latuda. This is the first medication I’ve ever taken in which I have to eat at least 350 calories. More stress over eating and food. I’m still panicked with every dose, paranoid about the thing that’s supposed to help with the paranoia, not to mention I feel like I’m simply substituting a prescribed medication for the self-medicating effects of alcohol. I thought the goal of sobriety was to actually “cope” with reality “sober.”

I’m told it’s not the same.

Yet, nothing feels “real.” This feels like some crazy nightmare from which I cannot awaken or like I’m reliving a past nightmare because truly I am. History is repeating itself. I still feel lost. My emotions are raw. I fluctuate between feeling perfectly capable of handling what I need to get done and doing it, one moment, and feeling like an emotional, helpless mess, the next, or worst still, contemplating every possible outcome should I make one choice or another to the point of feeling frozen in fear to do anything at all. All the while, everyone’s asking, “Are you okay? How are you doing?” And all I can answer is, “I’m fine. I’m doing good.” The funny thing about pretending everything is okay is that once you’ve mastered it, there’s no turning it off. That mask goes on without even thinking about it.

Grow up.” Why is this so hard? Why can’t I just “human” like everyone else? KR made this observation. So many people over the past two weeks talked to me about going back to work. “Just get a job.” Of course that’s the answer. I’m not stupid! I know I have to get a job. I know I have to support myself. My irrational mind says that I would rather starve to death and be homeless than work a job that I felt wasted my time. My time is my most valuable asset. I can’t imagine having enough time to work a full-time job and do everything else I do on a regular basis. Memory serves to remind me of the sheer chaos of working even a part-time job and trying to manage the rest of “life” at the same time. This is precisely one of the reasons why I’ve had 4 suicide attempts in my past! Maybe it is petty and childish, but the thought of working again fills me with dread and despair should I consider compromising something I find so dear — my time. Yet, I feel I have no real choice in the matter, as if proving I can face this fear and handle it all is my only option, regardless of the outcome.

Choice — my counselor said I never took back my “choice” after the rapes. I would argue I never had a choice to begin with. Choice implies one has the conscious ability to make good decisions, and I don’t think I do. I only have brief moments of conscious awareness. I’m lucky, very fortunate, if I can remain present long enough to make a decision or accomplish anything more than what I routinely do. Forcing me to remain present longer than I’m able only creates more dysfunction to the detriment of  my “self.” My personality seems to morph into whatever the person in front of me needs, like some screwed up mirror. Half the time I don’t know whether or not what I’m feeling is mine or the other person’s “stuff,” the dilemma of overly sensitive empathy. Again, why can’t I “human” like everyone else?

Is it any wonder why I value my time alone?

My fragmented “self” seems to capture bits and pieces of each interaction with others. Every part of me is in constant chatter, differing opinions making it very difficult to concentrate. Some screaming at me, some tantruming, a few encouraging, others pouting, singing, or carrying on conversations of their own — it’s all I can do to keep from yelling back at all of them, “Shut up!” I recognize that their anxiety is my anxiety, and it’s best to treat each with the same care and compassion that I would another “real” person. Stress in my life makes this much, much worse! Yeah… all of this is going to make working a true pleasure <sarcasm> — just like last time. 

I know the risk in sharing with anyone, especially anyone in the mental health field, about such things as this. “Do you hear voices?” is a common question I get asked, one that I never know how to answer. When I think “voices” I imagine hearing a voice, audibly, outside of myself; so in that respect, the answer would be “no” because most, if not all, of this takes place inside my mind. When asked, rarely do I give too much detail because, well… stigma. I don’t know what’s “normal” for other people, but this is my normal. Part of my fear of medication is that it will take away these voices, for lack of a better word, and take away my creativity along with them.

That’s why I guard them with my life.

And then, there was tonight. My counselor said I remain in this relationship with KR because it’s the easy thing to do. I guarantee you there is NOTHING easy about staying! The past 3 years of this relationship have grown intensively worse (obviously the past 4 years for KR); yet I don’t feel like I have a choice but to stay, frozen in fear of leaving because I know how bad it is to be homeless with no way to support myself. I’m fucked no matter what I do. There are no easy choices here, and I resent anyone telling me otherwise.