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Reaching out and asking for friendship obviously didn’t work, so I’m at a loss and feeling more alone than ever. 

I was missing a friend of mine, and was encouraged to reach out and tell her I missed her.  And I got the following, “I’m still around, and I know you’re having a rough time, but I’m too wrapped in my own drama to deal with yours.”  Ouch.

I wasn’t asking to be “dealt with” or even to cry on someone’s shoulder.  I’m not a damn project that you have to have energy to deal with.  I am not my mental illness.

What I was asking for was just to talk like we used to, to joke around and take our minds off our dramas for a while.  I’m a really funny person (at least I think so) and I know how to joke around and be “normal” even if I don’t feel it.

What I was asking for in my last post was just…validation from total strangers.  How arrogant to think I deserved any encouragement from people I’ve never met, when people I’ve known for years couldn’t do it.  Message received. 

I get discouraged when I try to reach out and hear nothing or get trivialized as a project.  And I get not having the emotional spoons to spare for anyone else, so maybe I’m not being fair?

I am hurt, though.  I am a person.  Who needs friends.  And not only am I not making more, I’m losing them daily.

It hurts and it sucks.  Why bother?

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I’m barely holding onto the strings of sanity. I’ve been the caretaker of someone else, losing precious sleep, ignoring my own needs, and getting angrier and angrier.  Today I feel like the anger will snap.

I am at the end of my rope.  At the end of my patience and when I try to communicate this I’m ignored.  Or worse I’m met with an exasperated sigh and “oh not this again” or the old standby “you need help”.

Yes, yes I do need help.  I need to be taken care of, as selfish as that sounds.  I need to be listened to.  I need more help than typing my words into the blankness will ever provide.

But I don’t want to pay someone to sit there and judge me.

I want my mom & dad.  I want my sisters.  I want a friend. I want connection.  I just want a hug.
I’m crying in the bathroom at work, shaking and afraid and alone.
I want to know that it’ll be ok.

Someone please, tell me it will.  Even if it’s a lie.

I have been out of the habit of writing, and have only taken to the page/screen when my emotions are too difficult to handle.  I should write more often instead of waiting until the bubble is about to burst on my brain.   Though I should eliminate the word “should” from my vocabulary all together.  Let’s try this again.  I should It would be better for my sanity to write more often. 

A friend of mine who has been reading my blog sent me a message that said “Sometimes I think you should just come home”.  I know that it most likely wasn’t his intention, but It made me think that maybe I come off as completely miserable here in London with my husband.   So let me be clear, I’m only miserable inside my own skin.  That makes it harder to bear sometimes because I “should” (ugh, that horrible word) be happy.  I “shouldn’t” be depressed because people are envious of the life and things I have.  On top of feeling depressed, I feel guilty for not being able to just “get over it”.  I see the good and wish that I could turn off my depression by simply appreciating the things that I have.  But it goes much deeper into the depths of my brain, and I feel like I’m trapped in it. 

It also makes me afraid to talk to anyone about struggles I have being married.  It’s harder than I thought it would be, and sometimes I get so frustrated with living with another person.  I don’t tell anyone because I don’t want people to think I made the wrong choice by uprooting my entire life to move here.  I don’t want people to think that I don’t love my husband.  That has never been a question in my heart, I wouldn’t have chosen to be here otherwise. Sometimes, however,  it frustrates me when I can’t communicate effectively how I’m feeling.  I take it out on him, and that sucks the most. He’s the person I lean on the most, and when I’m pissed off at him, who am I supposed to talk to?  I’ve shut out everyone else and I don’t have any safe coping mechanisms since I gave up smoking. Last night when I couldn’t cope,  I shut myself down and went to bed.  I fell asleep craving the comfort of nicotine instead of dealing with the issues that were making me so upset.

Does this mean that I should just pack it in and come home?  Should I seek out a geographical solution to a problem that clearly isn’t?  No, that is clearly not the answer.  My reply to him was “What does home mean anyway?”  I wish I could find that feeling inside my own skin.  I don’t know that I’ve ever felt that way, no matter where I’ve lived.

But see this?  This is why I can’t write. My brain goes everywhere but in a straight line.  I don’t even know what the point is even trying to navigate or make sense of it.

Once a month, I am painfully reminded of my emptiness.  It hurts everywhere, not just in my empty womb.  I mourn for the loss that never was and never will be.

When I was little, my mother asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up.  It’s a common question posed by adults everywhere.  At 8, my standard answer was that I wanted to be a writer and a mommy.  Most adults, parents included, laughed and told me that wasn’t really a career path.  They always encouraged me to think bigger.  I stopped answering the question after that.

As I get too old for these things, I mourn.  I know there are woman everywhere that don’t feel the need to have children, and I wish I could be like that.  I know for some women they are also physically unable to.  They are still beautiful amazing women, they still have a purpose. So why can’t I let myself off the hook?

It’s getting harder every month.  With more and more of my friends becoming parents and my parents strongly hinting at grandchildren as they watch all their friends become grandparents.  They’ve had 37 years of marriage and aren’t getting any younger.

But is this desire for children really my own?  Is it societal?  Hormonal? Pressure from family?  We aren’t even trying, because other than once a month, I’m convinced that it would be a bad idea to pass on all my fucked up genes.

I’m struggling to find meaning for my life.  I’m struggling to find a purpose for why I’m here.  It sounds overdramatic and whiny but I’m in so much pain, physical and emotional that I’m typing this out on my phone on the bus just to get the words out. 

My body feels like it’s punishing me for my failures.  And moreover, I feel like I deserve it.

Last night I had one of the most vivid dreams I’ve had in quite some time.  Each time my alarm went off, I fought wakefulness and kept returning back to the same place, aching to grasp the threads of the dream again.  Shadows of it are still haunting me, even though it’s mid-afternoon.  I wish I had a way of transcribing my thoughts while I’m on the bus, because I had more to say about it then.  I seem to lose a lot of clarity in the time it takes for me to write things down.

I dreamed about someone who I haven’t spoken with since my dramatic departure from her life in 2004.  I spoke of this toxic person in an earlier entry and outlined some of the reasons I have for never speaking with her again.  We have a few mutual friends, but I’m careful not to ask about her, and have cautioned them about telling her anything about my life.  It sounds harsh, but it seems the harder I tried to push her away, she’d always find a way to prey on the love I had for her.  She’d find a way to make me feel sorry for ever leaving, and make me feel like I was the only person who could save her from herself.

In the dream, I drove the three hours to her wedding, which was in Pennsylvania (I guess in the dream I lived in Ohio).  I missed the ceremony, but went to the reception, where I sat alone and picked at the decorations on the table.  I was sulking and unsure that I should be there at all.  She was there dressed a wedding dress much like the one I wore for my wedding.  Her husband was nowhere to be seen, but she looked radiant as she greeted all her guests.  She looked happier than I’d ever seen her.  A mutual friend of ours came to my table and asked me what was wrong. I told her how I was feeling, and she nodded but then walked away.

At this point, my friend came to the table and sat down.  There were no hugs.  There was no fake gushing about how good it was to see each other.  We just faced each other.  She said to me, “You may not want to, but you are going to call me tomorrow.  I need to hear from you.”  I couldn’t meet her eyes, and said, “I don’t think I can do it.  I don’t want to face you, because you reflect back at me that person I was during that horrible time.  That person was a bad person.  I hate that person.  I don’t want to feel that ever again.”  She laughed and said, “You know I love you to bits, but I feel the same way about you.  I still think  you’re going to call me.”

I woke up at that point, but I still can’t wrap my head around what it means.  She did email me about 8 months ago, and said basically “I’m sorry. For all of it. For everything.  I know I can’t undo anything, and you probably won’t respond, and that’s OK. I just wanted you to know.”  I didn’t respond then, and I don’t think I should even now.

Is this some way of my brain dealing with the loss of my best friend from high school? As if I need to cling to those ghosts because I don’t want to lose the memories of who I was?

I have fought the urge to email this person so far.  I got some great advice from people much smarter than me about why I should keep this person out of my life.  But I feel like there’s something I need to do about my dream.  I feel like my subconscious is telling me something, and I’ll be damned if I know what it is.

“Stay” by Lisa Loeb and the Nine Stories has always been one of my favorite songs.  In the summer of 1994, I was on top of the world.  It was the summer before my senior year, I had an amazing best friend, a car, and no job.  That song was the theme of the summer for us.  We listened to it constantly, singing along at the top of our lungs as we cruised the streets of town.  That summer we were invincible and we conquered the world together.

I heard this song on Sunday and thought of my high school best friend.  I went on Facebook to message her and tell her that I was thinking about her.  We had drifted, since I moved away when I dropped out of college and life moved on.  We spoke on our birthdays and holidays just to catch up.

She was killed in a car accident in December.  I didn’t notice that it had been so long since we’d spoken.  I’m still devastated when I think about it, but then I feel a little selfish too.  Do I have a right to grieve even though we weren’t close anymore?  I feel for her sisters and her fiancé who are still struggling every day to deal with that loss.  Her facebook wall is a tribute to her life and all the people whose lives she touched.  And I said something on the wall, as if she could check it, as if she could still see it.

If I had a last moment to talk to her, I don’t even know what I’d say.  She was like a sister to me, and though we fought over the dumbest crap, I loved her more than I probably ever told her.  She was there through the really awesome and the really shit times.  High school was tough for me, as I didn’t really fit in with any cliques. It all changed when I met her, and we became our own little elite clique with a few other friends.  We claimed a table in the the lunchroom, had inside jokes, and protected each other from the meanies that made fun of us.  I felt invincible when we were together, because she was always so strong where I was weak.

I will miss you bestest friend of America.  It’s been 15 years since I hugged you goodbye, and I’m sad I won’t get a chance to do so again.

 

 

—-

Yes I realize, It’s been a long time since I’ve felt strong and inspired enough to write.  I have had a billion thoughts in my head, and each one disappears before I get the confidence to commit them to the screen.  I feel like I should put that as a disclaimer here “Posts infrequently due to lack of confidence”.

Now that my lovely skin situation has returned, I’m finding myself up at times when I should be sleeping because I can’t bear the pain of lying down.  And it’s perfectly fine during the daytime, but as soon as I try to fall asleep, it creeps up on me and I’m unable to think about anything else.  Maybe by focusing on these thoughts I can make my skin feel better or at least ignore it for however long this takes.  So while I may ramble, maybe it’s the best thing I can do to force this out of my brain.

I compartmentalize my life into segments based on where I was living at the time.  I can carve out chunks of my life in 4-5 year increments as that’s how often we moved when I was growing up and in my adulthood I patterned my own life on that nomadic behavior.  It’s easier to deal with those periods of my life because they feel like other lifetimes to me.  I know that they happened.  I remember them happening.  But I can just as easily pretend that they were a story I read once.  I can pretend that the things I remember aren’t real or that they were dreams or manifestations that my brain created after I started having seizures.  It’s a coping mechanism, albeit a bad one.

There are touchstones to the past that I can’t completely avoid.  There are the physical manifestations – the scars mostly, that are constant reminders of the person I’ve been.  But there are also the people – my sisters, my parents, friends that have been there across multiple lifetimes. When I can’t deal, I shut them all out.  I can’t face the me that they reflect back.  There are versions of me that I can’t stand, and those people have known me through all of that.  When I get panic attacks about the past, I can’t cope with these people. I can’t call them even though I know that some of them still want to talk to me even after all I’ve put them through.

At the core is this belief that I am a horrible person.  It’s been suggested that my Catholic upbringing had a lot to do with this.  I have spent my whole life terrified of dying and being damned eternally because of things I’ve done (or didn’t do).  I feel like I’m scared that I’ll be defined by the things I’ve done in the past.  I’m scared that I’ll spend a lifetime (or many lifetimes) trying to atone.  Terrified that one day people will “find out” who I truly am, and never talk to me again.  This is the fear that wakes me up crying in the middle of the night.  This is the terror that I feel when I have a flashback to something from my past.  It’s catching up, running alongside of me, and I can’t avoid it too much longer.

The dark terrible secret? I have always felt guilty that I’m alive.  I have felt ashamed since I was a little girl.  I’ve felt ashamed of being fat, of having epilepsy, of being shy, of not being perfect.  I justified that shame at a young age.  I made a choice that I must have done something wrong for God to make me this way.  And that He made a mistake when he saved me.  Guilt and shame are like old friends that wrap around me, and I don’t know how to shrug them off.

Attitude is something that I’ve seen discussed a lot lately.  It’s not as if I can just suddenly “get over it” or “change my way of thinking”.  There are 34 years of guilt and shame that are not going to go away by looking at a picture of a kitten hanging off a tree limb telling me to hang in there.  Having bariatric surgery – a surgery that would effectively amputate a healthy part of my body just to “make me healthier” is not going to make that go away.  And I’m so afraid of reaching out to talk to someone else because I can’t take the rejection.  I can’t take the leap of faith and trust someone else with my feelings and have them just abandon me.  So, I don’t make the phone call to go get help.  I don’t respond to efforts to reach out to me.  I’m scared that if they really got to know me, they’d leave me too.

Here’s a story for you from a few lifetimes ago.  I was best friends with someone who was an emotional vampire.  It’s easier for me to picture her as the bad guy, but the truth is far more complicated.  I was her willing victim, you see, because I always went back.  I would cut her out of my life, and finally gain my strength.  With one phone call she could get me to drop everything and go to her.  She knew my weaknesses and could always coax me back into her life because she “needed” me.  Some of my happiest memories revolve around my friendship with her, but without too many details, she is the star of one of my defining moments.

The worst summer of my life ended on Labor Day.  I’d taken heavy pain meds the night before, and woke up that morning in a stupor.  I stumbled downstairs and the house was far too quiet.  There was an empty hollowness there that I couldn’t explain.  She and the person I was dating were gone. And there was a note that I will never forget.  “I’m leaving, and I can’t say that I will miss you all that much.  You are so fake, I don’t even think you know when you’re being real.  You are a horrible person and I’m happy that we will no longer be friends. Please take care of (the person she was dating), I just couldn’t stand it anymore.”  I kept that note for years, just because they were the physical manifestation of everything I knew myself to be.

I don’t know why I’m sharing that, maybe so that I can’t edit it out of my life.  It feels like a nightmare, but the words I know are true.  And even though the note is gone, the words are still etched on my heart.  It’ll be 10 years this September, but it feels like yesterday.

I’m always waiting for the other shoe to drop.  I’m always waiting for the note from the people I love to tell me that they’ve had enough.  I’m afraid that they’ve had enough of my depression, of my crazy, of my inability to just be happy and change and be perfect.  I’m afraid of people telling me that they’re worse off because they’ve met me.  Or afraid that these people will just disappear because I’m not worth even responding to.

So that’s my secret.  Too ashamed to live.  Too afraid to die.

A foggy monday morning in London

It has been a while since I’ve been able to write, even though I have so much to say.  My emotional energy is completely depleted.  I feel like I’m walking around in a fog, and I can’t possibly see the way out.  I’m going to attempt to use an analogy to explain how I feel, but please forgive me if it’s not perfect.

In my mind, I’m trapped in a room with six sides, and on every side of the room are full length sheets of one way glass.  Most of the time, I’m not able to see out, but I am completely aware that there are people on the other side of the glass.  I know I should notify them that I know of their existence, but all I keep seeing are the images of myself, and it makes me turn away and look down because I can’t face my own reflection.  I feel so lonely, but it’s a trap of my own design.  It’s what one of my best friends calls “hermiting”.  I shut down and shut people out because I can’t even face myself, let alone anyone else.

And then there are the times that I desperately need to reach out.  There are those few bursts when I finally can’t take it, and I need to feel connection.  In those moments, I feel like the glass is the other way around.  I can see everyone interacting and having a good life, but they can’t see me through the glass.  I bang the glass and make as much noise as I can and want to say “hey, notice me!”  But why would they keep trying to interact with me when I clearly don’t know how to interact with anyone else?

I’ve probably taken that analogy a bit too far, but it’s the best my foggy brain can come up with.

I still have the notebook filled with ideas about things I want to talk about.  I’m too afraid to share all the thoughts I have, as I’ve mentioned before. I see the words reflected back at me and they aren’t perfect.  I feel that they’re rubbish and that no one wants to hear them.

So I’ve not written, and I’m suffering for it.

I’m extremely bad at arguing.  That’s not entirely true, I think that I’m really good at it as long as I can keep my head.  But if I let the anger and rage overtake me, the gloves come off and I don’t fight fair.  However, I make it really easy for someone else to fight unfairly as I have been always open and honest about myself.  Those who know me best know where my soft underbelly is and where my weaknesses are.  If I push them far enough, they know the place where they can inflict the most damage.

Image

I call this the Trump Card.  If someone plays it when arguing with me, they will always win.  Because they can shut me up with the following words, “Well at least I’m not crazy like you”.  It’s like the fatality in Mortal Kombat.  I can hear the words in the background “FINISH HER”!  Those words finish any conversation and make me completely retreat and shut down.

My best friend pointed this out to me when I was telling him about an argument I’d had with my sister.  He told me that it always worked because I honestly believed it was true.  How can I possibly argue with something that I hold as my truth?

Real or imagined, I’ve always felt like the “crazy one” in my family.  When I was 14, we moved again to what felt like a completely different world.  I didn’t know things were so bad that we had to move, I just knew that I was ripped from a life where I had friends and was moderately popular into a school that was 4 times the size in a very strange place where no one seemed to care.  My sisters made friends so easily, and I cried every single day. 

My freshman year of high school consisted of school, swim team, and crying.  At one point, my dad staged an “intervention” with me in front of everyone else.  I remember sitting on the brick fireplace where they explained that they couldn’t deal with me anymore.  And that if I wasn’t careful they would “send me away”.  I wasn’t sure what that meant exactly.  But I knew that I was branded the crazy one evermore, and I had to learn how to hide it better.

I could go down this road for hours, exploring the ways I should have made my life better instead of retreating into “crazy behaviours”, Not only did I have the crazy, I inherited my dad’s short fuse and bursts of anger.  Punching the walls was too obvious, so I stopped doing that and started carving things into my legs just so that I could stop the pain inside my heart.  My parents decided to tread lightly with me but soon became preoccupied by the birth of my baby sister, so there was no longer any talk of “sending me away”.

Maybe I am too honest.  I share more of myself here than I do with many people, and it’s not like I’m making any attempt to hide it.  Maybe I feel more comfortable pouring my heart out to strangers than I am trying to foster normal relationships.  It all goes back to the fear that if people knew who I really was they would go away. 

This is me.  I’m the crazy one.  How do I start changing that reality?

 

I get inspired at the oddest times – mostly when I am nowhere near a computer or any sort of writing implement.  I come up with what I think are amazing ideas and can’t wait to get somewhere to jot them down.  But by the time I can actually sit down and write, the thoughts are gone and they’re replaced with an all too familiar feeling of dread.

I’ve never been a confident person.  It’s not to say that I don’t think that I’m good at things, but I’m constantly comparing myself to other people.  I’ve always found people that are better and smarter and more talented than myself.  The conversation in my head goes like this – “Hey, you’re really good at x, you should do that more!  But this person Y is a lot better at x than you, so why should you even try? You’ll never be as good as Y”.  And lately it’s gone even a step further “Furthermore, Y probably thinks that your work is crap and that you’re a horrible person for even attempting to do something like that.  Why bother?  You’ll just fail or quit like everything else”.  With that battle going on in my brain, the confident part of myself becomes smaller and smaller, shrivelling up into apathy.

The rational part of myself recognises this battle but doesn’t ever step in to call shenanigans.  I can see it going on and since the confidence is gone, I feel absolutely powerless to stop it.  I have to keep fighting every single day to accomplish anything.  This takes perfectionism and polarized thinking to an entirely different level where I’m afraid to enjoy my own life. I’ve blamed the depression for the fact that I can’t enjoy things I used to love.  And while the wonky chemicals in my brain probably have a lot to do with it, I think my confidence level is probably the bigger culprit.

Sometimes is never quite enough
If you’re flawless, then you’ll win my love

Be a good girl
You’ve gotta try a little harder
That simply wasn’t good enough
To make us proud
~ Alanis Morissette “Perfect”

If I trace the journey that my life has taken thus far, I’ll see many forks in the road where I made a choice to quit because I was scared.  I was scared of not being perfect, of not being good enough.  Fear has kept me from trying anything outside my comfort zone.  And I’m afraid to even pat myself on the back for the times when I did leap.  I trusted enough to fall in love.  I moved across the ocean to follow my heart.  I went for a job I didn’t think I’d ever get.  I am strong, but not confident in my own strength.

I used to love writing.  I did it all the time, scribbling on any spare piece of paper I could get my hands on.  When I got my first computer, I was banging away at the keyboard pouring my heart out to the empty pages.  Then I found Livejournal and started sharing.  Sharing feels like it was the worst thing that could have happened to my writing.  I started limiting what I said based on what I thought other people would want to hear.  I started over-editing and over-analyzing every word. I tried to brand myself as an interesting and funny person.  A good friend of mine (at the time) told me that my writing was crap, and I wasn’t an actual writer at all.  She said I was a fraud who would never succeed, certainly not enough to make a career out of it.  And as a result of that critique, my confidence weakened and I stopped.  I stopped sharing.  I stopped writing all together. I only wrote when I had to, when the words were so powerful they were ripping through me.  But I stopped sharing those moments too.

I’ve been reading a lot of blogs by strong and brave activists lately and they have awakened in me those same longings to share.  I’ve started keeping a notebook of things I want to blog about.  There are currently 3 or 4 pages of bullet points of things that are important to me that I feel like I need to share.  Topics that are important for me to explore for my own good, and maybe inspire someone else into seeing things in a different way.  I’ve been mad at myself for making excuses as to why I’m not actually WRITING about them.  Today’s topic was not on the list.  But if I can’t conquer this fear, none of these ideas will ever be anything more than bullet points in the spiral notebook in my handbag.