Where To Now?

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For most of my life I’ve had this sense/feeling of not fitting in. Of not belonging. All I wanted was a place to call “home”. A stable base where I could be myself, and feel safe and secure.

When I moved in with my friend M last year (at her insistence), I thought I had finally found that. And for a little while, I had. We get along great and have fun together. At least, we did.

I moved in a few months after her husband passed away. In December things started changing. She seemed different. I started feeling awkward, getting the sense that something was wrong, but not knowing what it was. Since the beginning, we had a deal. If either of us had an issue with the other, we would bring it up and talk it over. I asked her a few times if everything was okay with us, and she would tell me that it most definitely was, that she didn’t have any issues or problems with me, and that she likes having me around.

Last week Tuesday she told me that she needs to speak to me. And with those words, I instantly knew what was coming. She told me that she needs me to know that there’s nothing I did or didn’t do, and that it’s not personal, but she needs her house back. That she needs to grieve properly, and has realized that she can’t do that with someone else living there. I told her I get that, because I really do. Throughout our conversation I found myself trying to make her feel better about her telling me this and the situation, while inside I was breaking apart.

What makes it so hard is that in January she told me that I can continue staying with her, and must never worry about not having a place to stay. And now I find myself in that exact situation. I can’t move back in with my dad and step family as they’re renting a small place until they leave for Sweden in March/April. I can’t go with them immediately, as they first need to settle down, and I need to find a job that side since I’m an adult and over 30. They can help me find a job in Sweden once they’re there, but it’s obviously going to take time.

My business has stalled in January and this month. I have a couple of clients who have put their website work on hold for personal and occupational reasons. I applied for a few regular jobs outside my design work that I felt I could handle, but they didn’t pan out. The one I was really hopeful and positive about that I didn’t get was a quite a big disappointment. So I don’t have a stable salary every month, and it’s just thanks to my dad and step mom that I’m able to cover all my monthly expenses. I hate that I’m dependent on them for that, and I am trying to put an end to it, but my attempts so far at becoming more independent just keep falling short or falling through completely. I feel useless and stupid.

So, I don’t know what I’m going to do and where I’m going to stay. My dad can’t really afford to help me out with even more money, as they need to prepare for relocating and aren’t earning an income now either since selling the business. M said it would be great if I could move out at the end of this month. My therapist is away for 3 weeks, and I’m only seeing her again when she gets back in the first week of March. Had an appointment with my psychiatrist last week Wednesday, a day after the conversation with M, and he told me that I can tell her that it’s too soon and I need more time. That I must wait until my therapist comes back, and they can help me sort something out. I only got the courage to tell her this on Saturday. She didn’t really say much, other than “okay”.

What breaks my heart is that it feels as though our relationship is broken. She knows me so well. She could always tell when I’m anxious or becoming overwhelmed. A few times even before I realized it myself. I never had to tell her when I’ve had enough in a social situation or in public, because she said she can see it in my body language, my hand movements. She picked up those little things, and would give me an out. No one has ever been that attuned to me before. I’m not mad at her, as I understand it from her perspective, but the disappointment is overwhelming.

The worst part of this for me might sound strange to a lot of people. But the biggest, most intense emotions were related to the thought of losing M’s dog. I have a very deep bond with her. I’m one of those people who bond easier and stronger to animals than people. When M first went to meet and pick up doggy, she completely ignored M and ran straight to me. Jumping on me and licking me as though she’d known me forever and just hadn’t seen me in a while. M said I can still come visit them and take doggy for a walk, but it’s not the same. She won’t be there to comfort me the way only she can. Make me laugh every day. Lay on the bed with me or on my lap while watching a movie or reading. She’s a very special dog. Strangely, a lot like me. She startles easily. Is shy and introverted (while still being friendly and gentle), but when she knows you and is comfortable, a total goofball. So not being around every day for her is especially painful to think about.

I’ve also had a couple of dreams where M gets hurt and I’m not able to get to her in time to help her. She’s in her seventies, and like me, really clumsy. It’s a running joke between her friends that the two of us should be wrapped in bubble wrap at all times. So I guess a part of me is worried about something happening to her when she’s on her own. I know it’s not my responsibility though.

The first two days I felt like a wreck and stayed away from M as much as I was able to. It felt like the smallest word or something happening would break me completely, and so my brain went into protective mode. The dissociation and numbness set in. I tried to reach out to my other friends, but they’re not the type you can count on for support. And so the shield has gone up. M flew up to go visit her son for awhile (he’s sick), so I’m alone here now (doggy is with me though), and I’m glad. I need to be on my own. Especially right now.

Maybe one day I’ll find my place in this world.

Struggling To Write

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I don’t know why I’ve been struggling to write on my blog for the past few months. There is so much I can write about. So much I want to write. But I’m struggling to find the words in written form. Writing has helped me through so much, and especially on here. So I don’t understand why I’m struggling so much to write about those darker aspects of my mind and life, the way I used to.

Maybe weekly therapy sessions have a hand in it. Anyway, I’m going to keep this blog up, but without any pressure to post. It will come when it comes. And it’s nice to know it’s still here for me.

I came across this song the other day and it hit me hard. It says so much that I just couldn’t find the words for. This band is an old favourite of mine, and some of their songs have gotten me through some difficult times, so “rediscovering” them has been great. This song reflects my current inner world, and feelings regarding life, humanity, and the world.

The Ending Of Another Year

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Christmas is over. Thank heavens! It’s almost the end of 2019. Wow, the year flew by.

This is the time of year where I’ve usually had enough and can’t wait for everything to calm down again. The holiday season and I just don’t get along. It’s far too busy and noisy (I’ve written about my aversion to Christmas music in a previous post here).

There are so many social conventions during the holiday season, and for a lot of us, we struggle with this. Suddenly our routines are disrupted. We’re expected to be around people, environments, and in situations, that make us uncomfortable or overwhelm us.

What also makes it hard are the memories and missing loved ones. Memories of all the lost and “nearly” families that have been part of my life. Then there’s my mother. I’ve spent less than a handful of Christmas holidays with her and my younger sisters. I haven’t seen them in more than two years now, and I miss them so damn much.

This year, I decided that I don’t want to be miserable again. So I took naps where needed and did my own thing more often. Stayed home and away from the shops. Etc. And I had all my little gizmo’s that help me stay calm (or at least sane). This all helped me get through this period easier, and made certain things more enjoyable as I had more energy that wasn’t wasted on being overwhelmed and anxious.

It’s been a roller coaster of a year, but overall it was a good one. The highlight was moving in with my friend M, and us getting her new doggy a few months later. My business has picked up from last year, which I’m so happy about. My mental health has also improved, and I have a better sense of self than ever before.

I have no idea what 2020 holds, but there are a few things that I want to achieve and prioritize. It’s the start of a whole new decade and that’s pretty exciting!

Have a happy New Year everyone!

A Different Hierarchy of Needs

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A few weeks ago my therapist sent me this image, which she said reminded her of me, and it “hit the nail on the head”. It follows the same format as Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, which I found quite cool.

I’ve taken this “Enneagram” personality test before and my results pinned me as a nine, so this image was even more interesting to me. I never take personality tests seriously, as there isn’t any scientific validity to the majority of them, but they’re fun to do anyway.

Running Away

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I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of “running away” lately.

Before I get into that though, I want to provide some context. Earlier this year when I moved in with M, my uncle moved back in with my dad and family as he lost his job. A few months ago he decided he wanted to go to live with a friend in another part of the country. My dad paid for his bus ticket there. Then, my uncle discovered it wasn’t all it cracked up to be, and because he had no where else to go, he had to move yet again to a different part of the country, to live with my aunt. My dad them had moved into a smaller place in the mean time, so he couldn’t stay with them.

He was there for a couple of months. Then last week my dad got a call from my aunt telling him that my uncle had taken his stuff and left a note, telling her that he heard about a place that helps people struggling to find work and provides them a place to stay. That he had to find his own way. No one knew where he had gone, and he had shut his phone off. He had the whole family worried and in a panic as we couldn’t get hold of him, and what made it even worse is that he’s sick and on a lot of medication. A few days later my aunt got a call from him saying that he made a mistake and wants to come back. So once again my dad and aunt had to pay for a bus ticket for him to go back as he had gone to the city he went to the first time.

My relationship with him has changed. He lied to me too often and broke so many promises that I don’t trust him at all anymore. I tried to be there for him as much as I could, but it got to the point where I was the only one he was speaking to and it was always filled with so much negativity and darkness, that I was a wreck after speaking to him on the phone. Every day. Sometimes more. M, and my therapist, saw what it did to me and they both told me that I need to take a step back. That I wasn’t responsible for him and needed to think about my own mental well-being. I could still be there for him but have firm boundaries in place and communicate them to him.

This event with my uncle dredged up old feelings. When my first step-sister ran away, and a week after that, my step-mom leaving. When my step-brother ran away from home about two years ago. While he came back eventually, the others never did.

As a child I longed to run away. I would make the decision to do so and pack a backpack with everything that I thought I would need. I never knew where I would go. I didn’t think that far ahead. After about an hour or two though I would get scared (the world is a scary enough place even for an adult) and go back home. My parents never even knew that I had attempted to “run away”.

There are still times where I want to just disappear. Just leave everything and every one behind. There were times where I went as far as starting to plan it. At first it would fill me with excitement and feelings of possibility. But when I really started considering all the variables, reality set in. Sure, some problems wouldn’t be problems anymore, but there would be new ones to deal with. And the biggest thing of all, is that I wouldn’t be able to escape from those that originate from within myself. You can’t run away from yourself.

Running away doesn’t solve all our problems. Taking some time away is valid and even necessary sometimes, but it’s not fair on those who care about us to just disappear and not let anyone know where we’re going. There’s a difference between running away and just taking time away. Time away can give us a better perspective on things.

As for my uncle, he has finally agreed to see a professional. That was one of the conditions for him going back to live with his sister. While I’m still a bit angry with him for a number of reasons (I’m working through it), I can also understand and empathize with him. I just hope that he will get to a better place within himself eventually.

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Time & Space

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Time seems to be going by so fast. In a few months time it will be that dreaded time of year again, the festive season, and a couple of months after that, I’ll be another year older.

While time goes by, I seem to lag behind. I’m nowhere near where I want to be in life, but at the same time I have no idea where I want to be in life. It’s a confusing and contradictory mess. But I have a better sense of self now than I’ve ever had. Maybe the rest will come in time.

My mood has been relatively stable, and I feel like I’m in a state of limbo. When I’m in such a place, I find myself reflecting on a lot of things.

It’s been almost one and a half years since I stopped seeing A, my previous therapist. I started this blog while working with her and she was such a huge part of my life. There are days where I still miss her (she’s at least only a text away). But those moments aren’t as intense as they used to be and don’t last as long. The first 8 months were agony, but I made it through with the help, care, and patience of my current therapist. I’m not seeing things from the lens of extreme attachment anymore. When I think about A, I smile (no more tears) now. There’s a fondness there that will never go away. She can never be replaced. Even though our time together, the work, feels like it belongs to a different lifetime. As if I’m a different person now. Perhaps I am.

Therapy with C is going well. It’s safe to say that she knows me better than anyone else does. Her stability and calmness, no matter what’s happening, provides a space where I feel so safe and contained. When my life and mind is chaotic, she brings a much needed sense of peace. She’s my guiding hand, and has helped me see that I have worth and value. That I’m not broken or damaged goods.

It’s been about 6 months since I left home and moved in with my friend M. It’s been quite a journey. But just like a bad habit, there are times when I feel like I want to live at home again. When I want to go back. To my dad. Wait what?! I know, it’s strange, when all I ever wanted was to get as far away from him as I could. My relationship with him has been so much better now that we’re apart. When I visit them I get to leave whenever I feel I’ve had enough. With space I tend to forget all the bad and just see what I’m “missing”. It’s the same way when remembering my ex and those who came before her. All of them have made an imprint on me and that’s something that time and space can’t erase. But I need to remind myself to have a balanced view. There are valid reasons that they’re either not a part of my life anymore, or have limited contact.

Time may be an illusion, a construct, but it has meaning. Value. I have no idea what’s going to happen tomorrow, or even an hour from now. I can’t manipulate time. It moves with or without me. And that’s both terrifying and fascinating.

Can’t The World Just Forget I Exist For A While?

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It’s been a frustrating and horrible two weeks. It seemed like everything that could go wrong, did, and I feel like I’m running on fumes, ready to explode. Again. I just need a damn break.

The first difficult client I had, wanted an update to the website I made him. He opened another restaurant in a new area. Good for me, because it’s work (every little bit helps). But I forgot just how stressful and frustrating it is working with him. I really should charge him double my hourly rate due to this, but of course, I can’t.

At the same time I was going through a bit of a medication mix up, which I’ll write about at another time. I was also redesigning a website for my ex business partner, as I wasn’t happy with the first one I made her, which was the first website I made when I started my business. She’s also a lot to deal with, and there were so many issues (with her server) with putting this website up that I thought it would never happen. I actually told her last week that she lacks impulse control and needs to work on that, because she makes people (me) anxious. Her website is sorted out now and it’s the first website that I’m actually really proud of. It reflects my style so much better. So I’m happy with that.

I was supposed to join her this weekend for a photography meetup, but canceled yesterday because I feel I just can’t cope with that right now. Being away from home, with a woman that stresses me out and is way too loud and over the top, as well as being with a group of people I’ve never met for a whole weekend, was making me panic. If I hadn’t been struggling so much these past few weeks and wasn’t feeling so overwhelmed, I probably would have gone. I was planning on sleeping in today, but that didn’t happen either.

Last night was the first night in a while that I actually slept through. As I already mentioned, I had planned on sleeping in as much as my body needed today. But I was woken up by M who had a hair appointment and needed me to take her. I’m so irritated and pissed off, but I know it’s not her fault.

On Wednesday she fell at home and banged up her face, and fractured a rib. It happened while I was at therapy, and instead of coming home straight after like I usually do, I decided to go buy some stuff that I needed. When I got home I was greeted by a bloody mess and found her in a state of shock, white as a sheet and shivering uncontrollably. I’ve been through enough medical emergencies with people throughout my life to know what to do in situations such as this. The strange thing (and which I’m so grateful for) is that during times like this my mind is clearer than usual and I remain completely calm.

She could move and talk, but with great difficulty and a lot of pain. But I knew it was safe to get her into my car so I can take her to the hospital. I didn’t want to call an ambulance because I don’t trust them to come quickly enough. I called one of our neighbours who is always at home, so that he could help me get her into the car because there was no way I’d be able to do that on my own. It was only once she was in the hospital, having x-rays and a CT scan done and I went outside, that my body and mind started feeling the effects. Shock, fear, adrenaline. I only went back inside once I could compose myself again.

M came back home with me that night, as her CT scans came back clear. There wasn’t a reason to keep her in the hospital overnight as they can’t do much anyway when it comes to fractured or broken ribs except for pain management and rest. She got some stitches in her face, but other than that she’s fine. She can’t drive for the next few weeks, so she has to rely on me for that. She’s a very independent and tough old lady, so I know that’s not easy for her. Before I found her, she had been lying there for almost two hours waiting for someone to come!

I feel so guilty. And I’m trying to make up for that. If I had come home straight after therapy, she wouldn’t have had to wait so damn long! I was also angry with her (but I didn’t tell her this because I don’t want to make her feel worse than she already does). I’ve told her before to always make sure she has her phone with her. What would have happened if I hadn’t been living there? So that’s another reason I didn’t go to the photography weekend. I’m scared to leave M alone again. I’m hyper alert (and overprotective) every time she moves through the house or goes outside.

The thing is, I’m struggling to take care of myself at the moment, and now this added responsibility just feels overwhelming. I feel selfish for even thinking like this, but denying I do doesn’t help either.

There’s nowhere to escape to at the moment. I feel trapped.