It’s Not Okay

I shouldn’t be drinking wine (or any form of alcohol) when I’m on my own.

Yet that’s exactly what I’m doing. There’s a sense of rebellion in it, and for some reason, tonight, that feels good.

You see, I told my therapist I wouldn’t, yet here I am. I lied to the one person who has been my rock during a very confusing, overwhelming, and difficult period.

I’m struggling with this whole living alone thing. I’m so done with it. I always thought that’s what I wanted. But it turns out I need that knowing that someone else is around. I want to be alone, together… If that makes sense to anyone else. I have been getting out and spending time with my best friend every now and then, but I’ve found it’s getting harder and harder to leave and face the world. When I’m out there I just want to come home. But once I’m home, I’m relieved, but alone once again.

I have reminders set up for everything, because without them I tend to get lost in some or other world. I have a few special interests, and once I’m “in the zone” with them I struggle to get out of it. I’ll be working on a website design project and before I know it, 6+ hours have passed and I’ve forgotten to eat, go to the bathroom, sleep, etc. I don’t realize I’m hungry or haven’t eaten in 10 hours until I feel dizzy and nauseous. So, as you can see, reminders are a necessity for me. When living with someone I basically follow their lead, and am reminded and more motivated to take care of myself and do the basic things.

The whole pandemic thing doesn’t make things any easier. Everything feels messed up and out of sync in the world. And personally as well.

So, therapy. Had my session today and told my therapist about a dream I had where she was pregnant. I then asked her whether she was, but wasn’t expecting the answer to be “yes”. I had meant it more as a joke than an actual question. It felt as though I had just walked in front of a truck, and I have no idea why I had such an intense reaction to that news. I think I tried to make a joke about how my mom always had this thing where when she would dream someone was pregnant, it would turn out to be true, and that maybe I got that from her. I didn’t want my therapist to know that I had just become extremely uncomfortable. But obviously she noticed. She told me that she hadn’t told any of her clients yet, that I was the first, and she was open to any questions I have. I asked her whether she would adopt me. Seriously. So weird I know.

I didn’t really ask any questions, other than things to make myself seem as though it didn’t affect me. Of course, I did have a couple of very quick tearful moments. She mentioned something about how she’ll still do online video sessions with select clients during her maternity leave. I told her she’ll be too busy with the baby and she’ll wear herself down. “Babies sleep.”, she said. And then I went on about how new parents quickly realize that babies are exhausting and she’ll probably be too tired. As if I have experience with that (which I don’t, other than being obsessed with babies, baby books and magazines when I was a teen). I think it was near the end when I asked her whether she was happy about the baby, and her answer and expressions warmed my heart. I’m happy for her, I really am. So then why do I feel so messed up about this? I’m guessing there’ll be more conversations and emotions coming from this. It shouldn’t matter anyway. I’ll be moving to Sweden probably still this year, and we will be switching to online sessions while I adjust anyway. But it feels like it does matter.

Since our session, everything makes me want to cry, and for a few seconds every now and then, I do. But mostly, it’s just sitting there, wanting yet resisting expression.

I didn’t realize until last week just how much my family moving to Sweden is actually affecting me. They’re over there having a great time, constantly out and about, living the good life. I feel like I’ve been left behind. Abandoned. Another big struggle has been my relationship with M (the lady I used to live with for those that don’t know). For the past few months I’ve been the only one initiating contact, and every time I’ve tried to arrange to visit her, she’s had some excuse. She also confused me so much. Her words and actions never lined up. The few times I got to visit and spend time with her and doggy, I would leave confused or hurt. She would go on about how great the guy who moved in after me is for her. I felt replaced. I felt that she was comparing us. So I tried so hard over the past few weeks to pull away from her. Not letting her know when I was going to be in the area. But I would slip up, only to have my call go unanswered and no contact. It was making me feel like shit every time, so both my therapist and myself thought it was better for me if I just saw our relationship as one that was only supposed to last a “season”.

But the “pull” I feel towards her isn’t that easy to ignore. And I gave in again today. I thought I couldn’t feel any worse than I already did, so what the hell. I called M, and she actually answered and we arranged to meet at our favourite coffee shop. She genuinely seemed happy to see me. But I’ve gotten that wrong with so many people before. So I could be wrong. And even though she also told me that it’s nice to see me, I found myself doubting her words. She brought doggy with her so I could see her too, which I was really glad about.

Today seemed to be a day of shock news. M told me that she’s engaged to the guy who moved in when I moved out. It happened on Monday, and again, I’m the first person to know. They’re 30 years apart in age. Not that I care about age, love is love. But it was the last thing I ever expected to hear. Her husband passed away two years ago, and her son in March. I once told my therapist, months back when the guy first moved in, that I think M has some unconscious process going on. Her daughter, who’s name I share, passed away a year before M asked me to move in with her. Then, she told me she needed to live alone, so I had to move out. Then shortly after that, this guy moves in with her, into what was my room. His name is the name of her son. So I thought that maybe she was “using” us on a subconscious level to try to fill those holes. It was the only thing that made sense to me at the time. When I saw her a couple of months back, she told me that this guy reminds her so much of her late husband. And now she’s engaged to him. She said she’s happy, and I want her to be happy, but I’m just worried. I didn’t tell her about the worried part, and am not sure whether it’s my place to share my concerns with her.

I think I’m having a bit of a mental health breakdown. I even sent my previous therapist a message last week asking whether she was angry or disappointed with me. That’s something I haven’t done in such a long time, so that’s a definite sign that I’m not okay. I’m not okay. Not even a little bit. My therapist will be taking a week’s leave in two weeks time, and we’re arranged a check in. She offered to do a video session during her off week to keep that stability there for me, but I don’t feel that’s right. She deserves a break, so I said we could just do a 5-10 minute phone call instead. I know she’ll only be gone for a week, but with how I’ve been, I don’t think I would survive a whole week without hearing her voice. Hell, it feels like I’m barely surviving as it is.

There’s just been too many changes. And for someone who takes months (and on a few occasions in my life, years) to adjust, it’s just too much.

Nothing feels okay.

Sleeping Sun

Things are changing again. It’s supposedly a good change, so why am I left so confused? What are all these feelings?

A heaviness has settled deep inside my body and soul.

The words are lost in my head; explanations and sense hidden.

Why does it feel like my time is coming to an end?

Don’t know what this is supposed to be. Just messed around.

Change, Life, Work

I want to start blogging more regularly again. I’ve been going through some lengthy sort of phase where I think that my blog has become boring (for others) and I feel kind of narcissistic writing about myself all the time. Why I feel that way now, and why it didn’t bother me all that much before, I don’t know. But writing here has been so helpful to me in the past and I want to have that back, so I should at least try again.

I’ve been staying with M for the past week, and it’s been good for me I think. That intense hopelessness that’s been hanging around for so long has somewhat lifted. It only shows up for a few minutes before disappearing, which is a welcome relief from the persistent version. I haven’t quite got my new routine right (my working hours have also changed) which causes anxiety, but I’m getting there. Once again I’ve realized how strongly change affects me. Even good change. That’s where well-established systems and rituals that are time and place independent really help to make things a little easier.

This has been a busy and overwhelming week work wise. So it was a huge relief on Friday evening when I could finally cross that difficult client off my list. He settled the final payment, job done. Another positive, I had a meeting with a potential client on Monday and received the go ahead and deposit on Friday. So even though it’s been stressful and there were lots of crap moments, over all it’s been a good week.

I’m going to be staying with M for a while, just not sure exactly how long. She suggested a few months, but my therapist knows me well and said I should start with two weeks, see how I feel, and take it from there. So that’s what I’m going to be doing.

Since yesterday, there’s been so much confusion in my mind and many different emotions all vying for attention, that I feel physically sick. Focusing on anything for longer than a couple of minutes is hard. I see it’s taken me half an hour to actually write this. I feel like a computer. My mind keeps going into sleep mode, then booting back up and continuing right where it left off. And this is where I’ll end tonight. Sleep sounds so good right now.

Celebrate Small Wins

I just read a short but valuable article on the TED blog, titled “How to make your small wins work for you”. What Mehrnaz Bassiri says in these couple of paragraphs is so true:

“The problem, says Bassiri, doesn’t lie in the puniness of our accomplishments but in the outsized nature of our expectations. Whether in the news media or in our friends’ and family members’ social media posts, we’ve gotten habituated to seeing major successes — the video from an unknown musician that goes viral and scores them a spot on Beyonce’s tour, the unhealthy person who loses half their body weight and completes the Ironman, the company started by college students in a garage that gets sold for an eye-watering amount.

These stories “have programmed our thoughts and desires to want and expect the same kind of results in our own lives,” says Bassiri. “We’ve started to measure our progress on an oversized scale.” So instead of recognizing our small triumphs for what they are, we view them as failures.”

If we set goals for ourselves, instead of only recognizing our progress when crossing a specific point, or after a major “win” (which sometimes feels like it will never come), we should rather celebrate the small milestones we make along the way. Because it’s those small milestones or steps toward our goals or dreams that take us closer to them.

I’m most certainly one of those with super high expectations of myself, and get discouraged quickly and easily if I don’t see any major progress in a goal, project or  change I want to make. I become blind to the small bits of progress I do make, because it’s just “not good enough”, or “it doesn’t count”. But it is good enough. It does count. And I’m going to take note of all my smalls wins, as the article suggests.

I highly recommend giving this a read:
https://ideas.ted.com/how-to-make-your-small-wins-work-for-you/

Want

I recently came across something I wrote years ago. This was before I started therapy, and it’s beautiful to see how things have changed. I still struggle with most of these things, but not to the extent I used to. It’s become easier to reach out and open up. To be honest about my feelings, needs, and wants. I’m still a work in progress, but then again, aren’t we all?

Want

You want to reach out. Instead, you keep it inside.
You want to know whether they care. But you don’t ask.
You want to be seen. Instead you hide.
You want to be heard. Yet you silence your voice.
You want to feel real. So you hurt yourself again.
You want to tell someone you want to die. That you can’t imagine living one more day. Instead, you smile, because you don’t want to be a burden.
You want to cry. Instead, you hide behind humour.
You want to open up. Instead, you put your shield up. Afraid you’ll be rejected and cast aside once again.

Longing For The Feeling Of Comfort

I can’t sleep. I’ve been trying for a while now, and even though I’m exhausted and can barely keep my eyes open, I feel unsettled and unable to drift off. Usually my night-time meds have me fast asleep within 5 minutes of my head hitting the pillow, so this is quite unusual. I struggled with insomnia for as long as I can remember, but since being on this medication, it’s no longer been a problem.

“Experts” say that we shouldn’t expose ourselves to electronics before we go to sleep, and I did everything right prior to going to bed. I couldn’t sleep, so decided to rather get up and write. Maybe it will help.

Life feels off-kilter. A lot has changed and I’m struggling. It’s not just the therapy change, but things here at home as well. My uncle who used to live with us then moved out, moved back in again. Then my step-brother who had run away to go live with his girlfriend and her uncle, also came back. So for a while it was a full house. Then last month my uncle moved back out again just when I had gotten used to having him around.

I’m back at group again, but it’s all new faces. I don’t know why this affects me so much, but it does. It also doesn’t help knowing that I can only attend a few more before I’m done with the program again. So I don’t want to become used to it. Every time I go I question whether I really should be going. It’s confusing. So many things are confusing and unsettling me these days.

Even having Jasmine back in my life feels strange. Things are different. So is she. But I know that’s normal. People change. Relationships change.

I can’t get rid of this longing for the feeling of comfort. I’ve tried all my usual self-soothing and comforting tricks, but nothing is working. Instead it just seems to be getting worse. I don’t know what more to do. I just want things to feel “normal” again. I want to feel normal.

Anyway, I’m going to try going to sleep again. I’ve been having a lot of disturbing dreams the past while, and a recurring dream from my childhood has also popped up again. I’ll write about that one sometime. In the meantime I’m hoping tonight will just be 8-9 hours of blissful nothingness.

Goodnight.

Healthier Perspectives

On Wednesday I had a therapy session with the psychologist I was seeing while an in-patient at the clinic. I’ll write more about what’s happening with my therapy once I’ve had a session with my usual therapist, who is currently on leave.

When I got to the clinic, I ran into one of my roommates (who is still there). It was lovely to see her again, and we spent a few minutes catching up before my appointment.

In our session I told the therapist everything that I had mentioned in my previous post. I was worried that I’m disconnecting myself from people. She told me that she doesn’t think that’s the case. Especially since I’m still keeping in contact with my friends and family, and have made plans with two of my closest friends for Sunday (today), which I’m looking forward to. She saw me interact with my roommate before our session, and with the OT I used to have sessions with (she walked by and I made a joke with her). When the therapist told me all this, I knew she was right. I’m not pushing people away.

Since my time in the clinic I’ve developed a healthier view of connection. It didn’t start in the clinic though. I believe it’s been happening for a while now, and the breakup with Elizabeth also played a big role towards pushing me toward that healthier perspective faster.

I’ve been feeling so strange, because I’m not used to this new way of being. Over the past few days it’s starting to feel more normal. I think I’m settling into my “new” self. I’ve been practicing mindfulness every day, and am starting Yoga tomorrow. I’m taking much better care of myself these days. I’ve been learning what my limitations are. How to listen to my body. To my mind. I’m working on myself from the inside out, and I can feel my self-compassion and confidence grow. I’m also less compromising on my boundaries.

On Friday I went for a job interview. It’s for a half-day position, which is perfect for me. The interview started off well, and I was enjoying talking with the lady who was interviewing me. Then, the general manager of the company walked in and took over the interview. I wasn’t expecting this at all. My agent told me I was only meeting with the accounts manager. It was also a last-minute interview, so I didn’t have time to prepare beforehand. His questions, and the way he asked them, threw me. I felt a panic rise up inside, and the urge to run. In that moment, I mentally took a step back and allowed myself some time before I answered one of his questions. I told myself “It’s okay. Just do the best you can. That’s enough. It’s not the end of the world if you don’t get this job.” That helped calm me down enough to put on a confident face again and continue on with the interview.

I was so relieved once it was done. I had been there for almost an hour… One of the longest, most intense interviews I’d ever been for. As I was walking back to my car, the old familiar voices started coming. “You blew it.”, “You can’t even interview properly.” etc. As soon as I noticed these thoughts, I started reframing them and talking back to that critic with words of compassion and love. After the interview I was convinced it was a failure. But after some self-compassion I realize that it wasn’t a complete disaster. There were good points too. Within 10 minutes I started feeling better. I bounced back quickly, and felt pretty good the rest of the day.

Last night I felt sad for a while. That my relationship with Elizabeth didn’t work out. We shared a lot of good times together. I miss our early days, and even some of the more recent moments. I miss her touch. The way she used to look at me. I miss her. But this wasn’t an overwhelming sadness. It felt more of an acceptance type of sadness. It didn’t work out. And that’s okay. I hold no resentment or bitterness toward her. She did what was best for her, and it was also the best thing for me. She’s coming through to my place tomorrow to collect her things, and I don’t know how I’ll feel when I see her again. But I’m ready. I don’t know if we can still be friends, but I’m not making that decision yet. There’s no rush.

All in all, I’ve been well. And I’m grateful to be alive.