Wake Me Up

When I get scared or angry or even sad, I freeze. I dissociate or depersonalize (derealization?) or simply become so numb to all emotions and experiences that the void of emotion creates a suffocating darkness. Then, I retreat. I isolate and ruminate, seek out silence to soothe my fears and calm my emotions. This may sound counter-productive to some, but this process is beneficial for me as a highly sensitive introvert. The time I take to retreat allows me the space to re-balance my energy and find peace of mind again. Nature hikes, meditation, yoga, and creativity, all give me that space.

I sincerely believe that every aspect of life is directly affected by our spiritual well-being. We are after all a spiritual being of light (energy) taking on the material manifestation of the physical body (matter), having a “physical” experience (life). Looking at it from this perspective, it only makes sense that we would need to take time and space to re-energize. What exactly do you call sleep if not a period of rest or restoration and relaxation? Meditation has helped me immensely to tame my troubled mind into blissful slumber, yet I’ll admit that hypervigilance has made sleep much more difficult for several months, now.

I had most of this post written out prior to the events of the weekend. With Saturday morning’s argument still on my mind, today’s edit makes this a much lengthier post than I intended. Consider it a “mind dump.”

I can understand why KR is so angry all the time. I can, but his refusal to take responsibility for his own actions and behavior that influence our relationship is the caveat that prevents me from trusting him completely and may very well be the deciding factor that ends our relationship once and for all. Unfortunately, I’ve considered this possibility for the last 3 years. It was the driving force that sent me back to counseling.

In all three long-term relationships I’ve been a part of as an adult, I haven’t given up on those relationships without a fight. I’m loyal. However, at some point, even I have to admit defeat when the relationship becomes too toxic to warrant saving. KR and I are at that point. Our paths are diverging. He’s on a path of self-destruction and entitlement — one that demands more of me than I have to give. He refuses to acknowledge the beauty in life or the spiritual connection that is quite literally fueled by our emotions and our physical existence for such a brief moment in time. He would rather avoid emotion altogether until it’s at a breaking point and avoid self-reflection to a point of blind denial.

KR wants me to change who I am to suit his needs, never mind my own. His perspective is that he has been the one to make all of the sacrifices while creating a “stress free” environment for me to work through my issues. He can’t even see that his behavior and attitude are precisely what cause me so much stress and discomfort. KR’s behavior has only become increasingly hostile and aggressive despite my very best attempts to defuse the situation and be emotionally supportive. I fully recognize, understand, and admit my personal responsibility for my own behavior and reaction to triggers where I struggle to cope.

I fail to see how to compromise in our current situation. Maybe that’s my own blind spot, but our differences seem too great to reach a mutual balance.

My experience described in the first paragraph is becoming increasingly apparent, like awakening from a nightmare only to drift off asleep again. So much of the time I feel like I’m coasting through life, watching a movie rather than living my life. Too often I’m triggered into this state, triggered out of this state, then, triggered back again without any awareness of how I got there. Or, maybe, I’m triggered deeper into this state rather than out of it. I’m struggling to remember a time when I didn’t feel lost in the fog. The vague awareness of events beyond my control and even life’s mundane day-to-day complexity only seems to fuel the hazy mist.

Other than brief moments of clarity when I’m either jolted back into the present moment through intense emotion (like Saturday’s argument) or curious awe (mindful hiking), I’m not so sure I have any control over this at all. I’m not even sure if I could learn to “be” any other way. This has been my experience of life since early childhood. I learned by age 5 that the only acceptable way to approach emotion was through independent suffering — unless it’s joy or happiness, then, by all means, share away.

It’s like layers and layers of emotional distress compartmentalized my brain as if by changing the channel on a TV. I know it’s a coping mechanism, but I don’t know how to recognize the moment it happens or how to bring myself back to being fully “awake” — if ever there was a time I was.

KR hates that I’m like this, doesn’t understand it at all, refuses to accept me for who I am and how I cope with life. His resentment is a little too obvious even in this dazed awareness. These past few months have been difficult. Anytime my mental health declines, I stop expressing myself to others. My natural inclination to retreat and lick my wounds, so to speak, prevents me from seeking help from others. I’m at a point of resignation. My own fatalistic attitude these days provokes a sense of helplessness that steals my confidence on a good day, let alone after (at least) 5 months of despairing depression.

KR’s attitude for the last few months, my inability to meet his expectations, the pressure I feel to “change” who I am and how I relate to others despite painstakingly doing my very best to be good enough, let alone the recent obvious triggers of the election, the Gatlinburg wildfires, and this argument with KR — all of this interferes with my ability to accomplish anything other than surviving.

What I need from him is patience. What I need is his compassion. What I need is KR’s understanding that I am coping to the best of my ability and don’t always have enough energy left-over at the end of the day to help him cope with his seemingly miserable life. I’m doing the best I can just like KR is. I’m sorry I cannot fulfill his every sexual need and desire; but sometimes, a lot of the time, I need extra space and time to soothe the broken parts of me.

Reflecting on these past 3 years, as my current counselor prepares to relocate, ending our time spent working together, I’m struck with the opportunity to start over again. I don’t say “opportunity” lightly. Worry and fear are facing early life abandonment issues while sadness and disappointment are mourning the loss. And anger, well, anger isn’t even available at this time. She’s off pouting in the “quiet space” of my brain — a beautiful, picturesque scene of my creation that maybe I’ll explain in a future post.

Getting back to my counselor’s departure, I realized during our last session, I immediately avoided what he told me and changed the subject entirely. After realizing what I’d done (this so rarely happens), I managed to bring the conversation back to him leaving. He explained more and scheduled my next appointment with a new counselor; but right before I left, he told me, “You’re going to be fine. I know this. All the many personalities in your head know this.”

I shut down — I mean really shut down. I didn’t even have the presence of mind to say, “Goodbye,” or to thank him for his time spent working with me.

Why do I do this?

This particular instance was partly triggered by the prospect of a major change in counseling and losing a trusted counselor, but also that phrase, “All the many personalities in your head.” With great care and conscious effort, I’ve avoided referring to the complex parts of myself as “personalities.” Despite internal arguments to honestly explore the depth of compartmentalization that separates traumatized parts from functional parts of me, prior counseling experiences taught me to guard the language I use to describe my experience with mindful diligence, i.e. don’t draw too much attention to my fractured psyche or its influence over my life except in its most abstract form.

I regret not saying, “Goodbye,” or “Thank you.” It would be a good opportunity to practice closure if I were to ask for one more appointment with him. I’ve had very little of that in my life. Too often I either run away when a counselor gets too close or the counselor gives up out of frustration. After 8 counselors, you’d think I would have figured this out sooner.

My case manager did, however, text me to let me know I could continue seeing my counselor at the facility where he’s relocating (in nearby McMinnville) which is roughly the same distance away from me as the facility where I receive treatment now. I hadn’t thought of that possibility.

Why does it seem like all roads are leading me to McMinnville these days?

Starting last year, every time I tried to drive to Savage Gulf Natural Area or Stone Door to go hiking, I got lost and ended up in McMinnville. This happened at least the first 3 or 4 times I went to either place, either getting lost on the way there or lost on the way home. Recently I discovered a yoga center in McMinnville that I visited for the first time on January 7th. More on this in a future post as it was a spiritually significant find for me. Not meaning to sound too hokey or New Age-y, this visit to the Isha Institute inspired a renewed “hope” that I haven’t felt since I lived in Hawaii. And then, finally, my counselor relocating to McMinnville.

Coincidental, synchronistic, or causal connection? Whichever way I look at it, I most certainly cannot deny that the Universe is trying to get my attention.

At this point, though, I worry indecision will leave me paralyzed in fear of making the wrong choice or unable to make a conscious choice at all, which too often is the case. I’ve given the matter of choice in how I respond, choice in how I behave, and choice in which emotions to feed a great deal of thought and come to realize and recognize the importance of me taking back my “choice” in determining the healthiest manner I can possibly cope.

I would really like that to include a more conscious and efficient use of my time.

 

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.

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.

Heartbroken

On Tuesday night KR confirmed my suspicions that he has been having “flings” (his word, not mine) on the side.

After dinner, we stepped outside for a cigarette. KR asked, “Can I tell you something without it starting an argument?” Thinking to myself, “Yeah, that would be great,” since we really haven’t talked much lately, I simply said, “I’m tired of arguing with you, so yes.” He then proceeded to tell me that he had a fling about 4 years ago; and she recently contacted him to tell him she contracted an STD, trichomoniasis. (Red flag — 4 years ago?!)

At first, KR tried playing it off as something that if he has this STD, he (and “she”) probably got from me, another remnant from the rapes in ’98 or the promiscuous years that followed. The problem with that theory is when I was diagnosed with HPV (Human papillomavirus), a direct result of the second rape, the doctor tested me for everything. HPV was the only positive. Also, shortly after I moved in with KR, I had my GYN doctor test me again because I was worried that my ex-boyfriend might have given me something since he had been having an affair. Those tests were also negative, though I can’t be certain for which ones that doctor tested me.

All of this rapidly went through my mind Tuesday night as I tried to comprehend, then, process what he was telling me. I made these same points to him; yet he seemed unfazed, telling me that this STD is extremely hard to test for, going so far as saying it is really hard to diagnose trich in men and he would only get treated if I came up positive. When I called yesterday afternoon, the local health department told me that these were lies. It’s an easy test; yet unless there is an active infection, the test could be a false negative. The nurse I spoke with told me to urge KR to come in to be tested and treated as well.

At first, KR refused to tell me with whom he had this fling. He finally told me a name, whether or not it’s the truth, I can’t know for sure. Obviously, I can no longer trust him. I also asked him how many of these flings he’s had since we’ve been together. He wouldn’t give an exact number, only admitting to more than one.

I managed to remain calm during this entire discussion — never once raised my voice. After we came back inside, he asked, “So you’re not mad?,” I guess because I was so calm about it; but in reality, I think I was simply shut down mentally and emotionally. I replied, “I’m more hurt than mad; but yes, I am a little angry.”

NO. There’s no “little” about it. I feel positively livid deep inside — enraged by his lack of commitment — this infidelity that shows no loyalty to me whatsoever. I feel infuriated by his disrespect and fiercely bitter of his deceitfulness. I’m utterly disgusted to think of what all he has exposed me to — all while guilt-ing me into feeling like I was at fault for trying to cope with my past to the best of my ability. Yet, I am also hurt, humiliated, and disappointed in him for the very same reasons.

And I’m scared.

I’m scared because ALL of this is triggering the same insanity and fears that I struggled through with both rapes and the break-ups of both my marriage and my last relationship. I’m scared because it takes me back to that dark place….

My counselor was correct in stating this is a toxic relationship. It’s felt “toxic” for a while, now. I had no idea just how toxic until Tuesday night. KR endangered my life by exposing me to STD’s, an act of betrayal like no other. This is precisely the type of behavior typical of addicts. I recognize it as such because it’s that same careless attitude of indifference I experienced during the most dangerous phase of my own addiction, while working at the beer bar and dating PI. No excuses. I was as selfish back then as KR has been these past 4 years! He can’t love me because he’s too caught up in his sex addiction, let alone the drugs and alcohol he’s been using to numb his guilt.

Maybe, it’s Karma.

I suspected KR’s infidelity for most of the last 2 years. I “chalked it up” to irrational paranoia, caused by PTSD induced flashbacks, nightmares, and anxieties. Maybe, it was the other way around. Maybe, my gut instinct was telling me “something’s not right,” and the PTSD symptoms were triggered as a result rather than the cause. That compulsion to shower immediately following every time we had sex and my aversion to sex, in general, makes me wonder, now, just how powerful the subconscious really is.


 

My appointment at the local health department to be tested for STD’s was this morning which meant I had to face yet another fear — my fear of doctors.

I tossed and turned in bed from 10 pm until 6 am, barely drifting in and out of a restless sleep. I got up an hour earlier than planned exhausted. By the time I arrived for my appointment and the nurse checked my blood pressure, I was in such a panicked frenzy that my BP was 166/95! I was also on the verge of having a severe panic attack, gasping for every breath. The nurse was so sweet and kind. She tried to calm me prior to checking my BP again by saying, “Go to your happy place. Take a few deep breaths.” It lowered a little, 152/?, but still much higher than normal.

I am so glad the nurse practitioner I saw is female. I told her everything from why I was there today to everything about rehab and my mental healthcare to my past experiences including the rapes, HPV, and Lupus. I just kind of blurted everything out, unable to stop myself after I began. I apologized. TMI. She said, “No, no. It’s helpful to know.” Or something along those lines. I really liked her and felt comfortable in her presence. I’m so thankful for that.

She didn’t actually test for trich. She said that since I was exposed to it from a known infection, it was best to simply treat it with a megadose of the antibiotic metronidazole just to be on the safe side. After we talked for a while, the NP ordered blood work and a urine sample to test for Hepatitis C, HIV, Syphilis, Gonorrhea, and Chlamydia, as well as the thyroid panel to check on that issue. She postponed the Pap Smear for 2 weeks in order to give me a little more time to get used to the idea and hopefully less stressed out about it. That was very kind and understanding of her. That will also give the tests time to come back so she can discuss them with me.


For so, so long, I felt like I deserved all the bad stuff that happened to me, so worthless, like sex was all I was good for. Last night at IOP after telling the group about all of this, my counselor told me I deserve better. Do I? Do I really? I don’t know how to believe that, but I would like to. He spoke at great lengths about self-worth, asking each of us how we determine our self-worth. Honestly, I don’t know how to answer that right now. I just know that before I can figure it out I need to feel safe, and I no longer feel safe with KR.

And that breaks my heart.

Temptation

KR came home from work last Friday night (yeah, I’m a whole week behind here) after his usual run into town to the liquor store with a huge bottle of Jack Daniels, 1.75 liters, $48.50 later — my drink of choice. I told him, “You suck!,” half-joking, half-serious. He said, “What? It’s what I wanted.” He went on about how just because I went through rehab doesn’t mean I couldn’t have a couple of drinks if I wanted to, asking again, “So, what? Have you sworn off alcohol altogether?” I told him the weekend prior that I wanted to remain sober for as long as I possibly could, if not for the rest of my life. I meant it. I recognize that I do, indeed, have a problem with substance abuse even if he cannot.

From the time I began drinking alcohol at around the age of 19, each time span of total sobriety grew shorter and shorter as each period of time I binged on either drugs or alcohol grew longer and longer. The last year prior to rehab was one of the longest, most regular and routine bouts of substance abuse I’ve had. I know from experience my life was far more manageable during those sober periods.

I told KR he just doesn’t get it. If I have one drink, I want more and more to keep that high going. One drink easily turns into 6 to 8 or more! That is NOT how I want to live my life. I don’t want to feel sick and hung over or waste my time and energy or money on something that can have such a detrimental affect on both my physical and mental health, something to which KR seems oblivious.

But still a part of me desperately wanted all of it, just for that high, to be out of my mind, to forget for just one night. Prior to going to bed last Friday night, KR asked, “Are you sure you don’t want a shot to help you sleep?” <sigh> I resisted despite that craving to have just one shot, an urge so strong it made my mouth water. INSANE! Reading the note KR left me the following morning increased that urge 10-fold:

IMG_20151003_135020_932

So yeah, there’s that, too. Sex is such a huge issue between us that it has me questioning my sexuality, something I’ve questioned from time to time since like 5th grade; but that’s a post for another day (I’m seriously beginning to wonder if I am asexual or demisexual). I’m left feeling crazy, like I did prior to going into rehab. I understand, now, why they told us in rehab to change everything because I just waltzed right back into the same insanity I was trying to save myself from.

When KR finally woke up Sunday afternoon (a week ago), we went to Lowe’s. I happened to notice the odor of Jack Daniels on him while we walked around the store. Whiskey has a distinct odor. I even asked him if he had taken a shot before we left the house because it was so strong. He said he hadn’t. Thankfully, I drove us around to run our errands that day. We grabbed a bite to eat right after Lowe’s, prior to doing the grocery shopping. About an hour or so after we got back home, he told me he was going to go hang out with a couple of friends at a bar. KR still wasn’t home by the time I finally went to bed at 2:30 am. I have no idea what time it was when he finally came home. I just know when he came to bed, I woke up briefly due to him stumbling around, talking loudly to our cats, telling one to get out of his spot because he was too drunk to stand up.

He drove home in this state. 

He jeopardized the lives of others on the road by driving while intoxicated as well as his own, risking a DUI or worse, not to mention the fact that he went into work on Monday with a hangover! This past Friday night, he came home with two bottles of Tequila. Tonight, he’s back out at a bar with friends. His behavior is out of control. There’s no way for KR to see how insane all of this is until there are consequences that actually affect his life, his attitude, or his health. I’m scared for him. I’m scared for me, too.

The denial is strong in this one.

Regardless of the fact that KR grew up with an alcoholic father and step-mother, he just can’t see it. And I think that is the most baffling part of all to me. I’m lost in the irony of it all. A few months ago during an argument, KR said to me, “I’m just going to become a drunk.” As if that was his solution to all the relationship problems we are going through (not just he or me, WE). He obviously meant it. Before I went into rehab, KR asked me, “You don’t expect me to quit drinking do you?” I had to answer “no” because unless he quits drinking alcohol of his own volition he would only grow to resent me for telling him to quit.

Today marks 60 days sober for me. I’ve had no urges or cravings to drink this weekend despite alcohol being present. IOP group has been cancelled for next week due to the counselor being out-of-town, so I kind of feel like I’m in limbo right now. I have plenty of things I could be doing, just nothing that holds my interest for very long. One day at a time, right?

Where I’ve Been…

My last post was quite a bit darker than I would normally care to share. I thought about doing a little damage control by rewriting it or completely removing it, but that post is an accurate description of how I was feeling at the time. The following week of July 12th through 18th is difficult for me to describe. None of my usual distraction methods or self-soothing practices were making a difference. The panic/fear I felt escalated to a point of feeling so out of control that I didn’t think I could trust my judgment. I was suicidal and paranoid. I went back to the crisis stabilization unit (CSU) Thursday, July 16th, and allowed them to admit me for 5 days.

I’m glad I did. Regardless of anything I’ve said in the past, I do feel a certain amount of safety and trust in the facility where I chose to get treatment. Trust is not so easily secured in my mind, so even the slightest amount of trust is something for me to celebrate.

Thankfully, medication wasn’t forced. That’s a huge relief. An attempt at a bedtime anxiety med was made; but after only one night’s dose and an incredibly groggy day followed, I needed no other reminder of what “my medicated days” were like. Medication causes me more anxiety than it helps. Period.

Like last time, this visit to CSU was a chance to STOP, catch my breath, and calm down a bit — something I was struggling to accomplish (incapable of accomplishing) at home. As it was an impulsive decision to drive myself to CSU that day, I didn’t discuss it with KR first. I feared his reaction, knowing his disapproval of mental health services, let alone being hospitalized. I left him a note telling him where I had gone and called him from CSU the following Saturday to “gauge” his reaction. As I predicted, he was angry, telling me that this, me going to CSU, was the reason he couldn’t talk to me about anything because I choose to run away.

During that phone call, I found myself apologizing again and again. I couldn’t hold back the tears as he reprimanded me for not dealing with my problems. Me crying only seemed to infuriate him more. It didn’t take long for KR’s criticisms of mental health services and me, in general, to turn to the topic of sex and how his “needs” are not being met. As I sat listening to this all too familiar tirade, while on a telephone at a crisis stabilization unit, my only thoughts were, “It’s always about sex. It’s always about sex. IT’S ALWAYS ABOUT SEX!!” I couldn’t defend myself. All I could do was cry and apologize. After I finally managed to get off of the phone, using the excuse that we were limited to brief phone calls (he had already kept me on the phone for more than 15 minutes), I recounted as much of the conversation as I could remember to the med nurse who offered an ear and gently encouraged me to talk through my panicked sobbing. I kept repeating (keep repeating even now), “It’s always about sex,” like some kind of screwed up mantra, because honestly, I feel like sex is all KR cares about — whether or not he is getting laid.

Last week, July 19th through 25th, was tense. After I returned home on the 20th, I half expected KR to kick me out; but he simply ignored me for the most part. Other than casual conversation about the garden, work, the video game he’s playing, or the latest depressing factoid going around on Facebook, we didn’t have any “meaningful” conversations. He’s still sleeping on the couch, refusing to touch me or show any form of affection. Finally, yesterday morning after KR woke up, I asked him, “Are we ever going to talk?” He agreed that we needed to; so we discussed several of the issues we’ve been having for a little over an hour, prior to him leaving for work.

Other than the common theme of sex (seriously, he’s got a one-track mind and obsesses over it), we did manage to talk about a couple of other things. For the past month, I felt like I was being punished for no other reason than being who I am. I kept asking myself, “What did I do to deserve this silence, lack of affection, and coldness?” This treatment triggered a lot of the same emotions and reactions in me as so much of the childhood confusion I experienced from my family when they did the exact same thing. That same thought, “I must deserve this,” continually filtered through my mind and thoughts. How is it possible to feel so lonely, so alone, around someone you love, who says he loves you? I have cried more in the past month than I think I have in the past 10 years. The pain is excruciating.

I told KR that I felt like I was being punished for something, but I didn’t know what. His response was, “This past month I’ve been basically… you. This past month I have been you. Doing the bare minimum to keep going.” I broke down in tears, sobbing, apologizing profusely to him because I never meant to make KR feel the way I’ve felt for the past month. And the truth is, I don’t even realize I’m doing that; but he’s right. I get stuck on auto-pilot, coasting through life, hoping for a few moments of happiness along the way. Otherwise, I’m merely surviving because I don’t know how else to “be.”

Even though I think I’ve put forth every effort in my available resources to work through many of my fears and insecurities, nothing has helped, according to KR. He sees everything I do on a daily basis as trivial and insignificant. I clean the house. I take care of the cats. I take care of all the finances — writing out monthly checks, making sure all the bills are paid, keeping a budget, and keeping track of everything we spend money on. I do all of the shopping, sometimes having to go to as many as 3 to 5 different stores just to find everything he wants or needs. I run all of the household errands. I keep up with my appointments. I do all the laundry. I run the garbage off in the trunk of my car rather than bother him to take it off in his truck. I help out with the yard work. I’ve even been cooking more to try to lighten his load some.

All of this while still trying to run 2 blogs, practice my photography and drawing skills to keep them up to par, get a few minutes of piano time in, journal daily, research topics of interest and read, practice self-care whenever I’m feeling overly anxious and triggered, and if I’m lucky, go for a much-needed hike every once in a while.

Long story, short and what I told KR — I don’t feel appreciated. I don’t feel any appreciation for all of the efforts that I do put in. I don’t feel like anything I actually do makes a difference because I constantly feel criticized. After bringing up this issue and adding how much I crave even the smallest amount of appreciation, just a simple thank you, or a hug — right there, with the mention of a hug, he stopped me, interrupted me, saying, “I’m afraid to touch you anymore,” without so much as an acknowledgment of what I was telling him I needed.

It’s the last 5 or so minutes of this conversation — which I’m choosing not to write out — that has me most upset, triggered, and wondering if perhaps, it is time to let this relationship go, not only for my own sanity but for KR’s as well. I’m not sure if two emotionally unhealthy people can have a healthy relationship. I’m not convinced that KR even wants to work any of this out. Maybe it’s too late. Maybe too much damage has been done. Or maybe these are echoes of my past that I’m projecting onto this relationship. The fact is, I don’t know; and I don’t know what else to do. Neither KR nor I know how to fix this.


 

In an attempt to figure out exactly when all of this began, the obvious answer is KR’s meltdown a month ago triggered the current wave of panic, anxiety, helplessness, and despair. But this has been going on for years. Losing SSDI most certainly threw me for a loop. Reapplying for SSDI is literally reliving that experience all over again — all of the uncertainties, the insecurities, the stress of having no financial means to support myself, feeling like a burden, not only to KR but to society as a whole, and the pressure to get over the traumas I lived through yet struggle every single day to process and recover from. The upcoming hearing date precisely one week prior to the anniversary of one of those traumas is just icing on the cake.

Excuse me while I have a complete nervous break down!


A few helpful links about PTSD:

Until this last visit to CSU, I don’t think I quite understood the impact that PTSD has had on my life or in my relationships. Prior to now, I thought, “I’ve already talked about that, dealt with it.” I had no idea that this shit would continue to affect my life so adversely, possibly for the rest of my life. Yeah, I’m becoming a bit bitter. If I ever get in touch with my anger, I’m going to ask her, “Where in the hell have you been?!

Rape. The gift that just keeps on giving!

 

 

 

 

Better Off Resolved

If anyone dared to truly listen, their horror would be as great as my own….

I wrote 3 or 4 different posts this week. I shared none. Deleted all but this one, deciding to rework it and try to make sense of how I’ve been feeling this past week. I’ve been too caught up in the negativity of my mind to gain any insight from writing lately. I rationalized, “I would only be repeating myself if I shared these thoughts and criticisms of myself with the world yet again. Complaining doesn’t change anything.” Living in constant fear and paranoia doesn’t either.

It was another very strange week. Something happened on Tuesday that I cannot write about online. It has nothing to do with me or KR; but it triggered something in me that left me filled with a fear I cannot describe — on top of all the uncertainties I’m facing in my relationship with KR right now. Terror? Horror? Not only for myself, but for a family I know only as an acquaintance, who is obviously struggling, yet making all the wrong decisions. I don’t feel safe enough to write about the details of Tuesday’s events here. I fear for my safety should I disclose any of what I witnessed, and I fear for my freedom for not having reported what I unwittingly walked into.

I’m paranoid.

I’m wondering, now, if I have good reason to feel this paranoid or if I’ve seriously nose-dived off the deep end into psychosis.

It wouldn’t be the first time.

How do I know if what I’m feeling is real? My counselor said that sometimes “feelings” lie. Is that true? How do I know if everything I’ve been feeling and experiencing for the last 2 weeks isn’t just some really screwed up flashback, triggered by KR’s meltdown? The better question is what do I do if it is?

“Maybe I should be medicated.” That thought has crossed my mind more times over the past two weeks than I care to admit. In addition to fearing KR’s reaction, I chose not to stay at the local crisis stabilization unit because the person I spoke with told me that medication would most likely be a requirement of me this time. She went on and on about how the “right” medication could make all the difference in the world. I tried finding that “right” medication for 13 years (Medications I have tried so that no one thinks I’m exaggerating here. This may not even be a complete list. These are the ones I specifically mentioned in my journals: Prozac, Paxil, Trazadone, Wellbutrin, Zoloft, Lorazepam, Effexor, Seroquel, Celexa, Abilify, Lexapro, Remeron, Risperdal, Adderall, Lamictal). It was sheer hell! None helped. My counselor and I also discussed this a bit on Monday. He asked if I would be willing to at least consider speaking with one of their psychiatrists.

I don’t know anymore. 

I feel like I am in crisis.

History feels like it’s repeating itself. I feel like I’m stuck in a never-ending loop that has me questioning reality again. “Am I already dead and stuck in purgatory? When did I die? What if there is no reality at all? What is this then?” Time feels like it’s moving backwards, like my adult experiences are what influenced my childhood fears. A Benjamin Button moment. I know, it’s a “crazy” thought; but I have a hundred flavors of “crazy” in my head — all as plausible, in my mind, as the next. I feel like I’m losing my mind. I feel so lost and confused. If I’m not ruminating, I’m completely disconnected from my thoughts, an eerie silence that is truly maddening.

When I’m around KR, I’m disconnected from him, too. We’re not communicating. He’s still sleeping on the couch. I feel like I’m walking on eggshells around him. I feel like a ghost in this house, so far displaced from my mind that I feel beside myself, out of my mind — literally — watching “me” close as a hawk, go through the motions of daily routines, whispering, “Get up. Let’s get a shower. You’ve been sitting a while; let’s move around. Time to start dinner. Careful with that knife. Watch the oven door; it’s hot.” Or I simply sit, doing nothing. This is more than the inability to feel pleasure and lost interest in usual pleasurable activities. It’s like being frozen in time, completely numb to my emotions and surroundings.

need peace and quiet. I need safety and stability. I need to feel secure in my surroundings and relationships with other people. This depression has offered very little relief over the past 3 and a half years. The anxiety is relentless. Last night, I tried to make myself attend a free movie night at one of our local history museums; but somewhere between here and there, panic took over. I parked my car outside the ER, waited 15 minutes sitting in my car, then turned around and went back home! WHY do I do this crap?!

All the times I’ve ever considered taking my own life, I thought, “This world would be better off without me.” Somehow, that thought has changed to, “I would be better off without this world.” I can change nothing. Maybe I am in the midst of psychosis and not thinking clearly; but I’m resolved. I have nothing left to give. I am emotionally, physically, and mentally exhausted. I cannot continue expressing my despair and hopelessness with the expectation that someone, anyone, might save me from myself. Ultimately, I am the only person who can save me. I just don’t want to. I want to give up, relinquish my right to live. The emotional pain is too unbearable. I’m numb from fear and terror. I’m out of my mind with loss and grief. I’m imploding in anger and rage. And isolation holds me captive in despair. There’s no escaping this cyclone of emotion that drowns me, suffocates the life right out of me. This physical body is all that’s left to purge….

And yet, I continue to hold on despite it all.

I think I may need to be hospitalized.

I think for the remainder of the night, or at least until KR gets home (if he comes home tonight) I will learn to play this song on the piano. I desperately need a fight song.