Only Forever

It’s been a while since I’ve been here on WordPress, both in reading other’s posts and writing.

I’ve been absorbed in my business. Trying out different things, reaching out to people who I think might need a website or branding, creating, setting up “practice” websites. Because when I’m in design mode, the world doesn’t exist.

A couple of hours ago, I got hit with the realization that I’ve probably just been wasting my time. I’m doing all this work on my business, but for what? I haven’t had a client in so long that I’m not sure I’ll even know how to talk to them if any show up. It feels like things won’t ever change. So I’m just over it. Over everything.

My move to Sweden is still not happening. It was moving forward a little over a month ago, but it’s stalled again. It seems I’m blocked any which way I go. Limbo is a strange place to be in.

I saw the interim therapist twice again, even though I said I didn’t want to. The last session we had felt like we connected in a way we haven’t before. Haven’t seen her in a few weeks now though.

Am seeing my regular therapist next week Wednesday (which we booked a few weeks ago), for the first time in what seems like forever. I’m not even sure whether I still want to see her. I’ve been feeling indifferent towards her for a while now. I also don’t have my hopes set on that appointment. It might get canceled. So not placing any “bets” on it.

I promised her in an email more than a month ago that I wouldn’t bother her again. And I have this thing where if I make a promise, no matter how much it hurts, or how hard it is, I refuse to break it. I’ve been the victim of too many broken promises throughout my life and vowed to never do that to anyone. A part of me thinks I’m taking it to the extreme. But the other part won’t back down. She has a baby now anyway, so I’m not important anymore. If I ever really was, as far as the therapeutic relationship goes. Everyone has their own lives, that I just don’t feature in. And I’m not owed that. The world doesn’t owe us anything. So it’s fine I guess.

I haven’t seen any friends, or anyone for that matter, in weeks. I guess I’ve been numb for so long now that I don’t even know whether I’m capable of any genuine emotions anymore. But whatever.

Online “connection” feels so fake to me lately. I know it isn’t, not really, but to me lately it feels that way. It’s just not good enough. Social media, people “liking” and “commenting” on photos and video’s. It just seems so superficial. It’s like, what’s the point of anything, you know?

At least I’m not drowning anymore. I’ve learned to breathe under the water. It’s dark, no sunlight reaching the depths. It’s quiet. There’s no struggle. I’m just floating around. It’s not a bad feeling. It doesn’t feel like anything.

Wish I could write an inspirational post for a change (been meaning to for a while), but can’t seem to get there.

I don’t know what to do with myself. The hours are looming before me, so just going to take my meds now and go to sleep.

Nightmares & The Dark

I’m having a hard time with my sleeping routine.

I’m naturally a night owl, so go to bed quite late. I try to go to bed before 2am though. Sometimes I manage that, other times not so much. I usually wake up sometime between 10 and 11am.

At least that’s how it used to be.

I’m craving the blissful state of non-existence for a while, but instead I’m bombarded with nightmare after nightmare. The really bad ones wake me up in a panic and it takes me a couple of hours to be able to turn the light off again and go back to sleep. The dark is deafening. Terrifying. I’m acutely aware how alone I am in those moments. At night the monsters are lurking in the closet, under my bed. Sitting on the edge of my bed, watching me. Waiting.

My longest continuous sleep time over the past two weeks has been 3 hours. This broken sleep is obviously making things worse. Sleeping until 3pm, because I was up for hours, too scared to go to sleep. Or having fallen asleep and woken up after yet another terrifying dream. So many people from my past in some of those dreams. Lies, betrayals, violence, death. So much blood and death.

Saturday and Sunday were two of the worst days I’ve had in years. I honestly don’t know how I got through it. Maybe I didn’t after all, and I’m not actually alive right now. I wanted to go into the clinic, but couldn’t get there. I didn’t know where to turn. Everyone seemed to have abandoned me. Unanswered messages. Cancelled visits and meetups.

New complications with regards to my uncle. I just want him to come out of this already. He has to. I can’t lose him, I just can’t. I had spoken to him a few days before he went into hospital, because he had sent me money for my birthday, which was so appreciated (more than he could ever know). I need to hear his voice again. We need him.

I need my mommy. There’s that. Even though everytime I’ve been with her, there’s never that mother-daughter bond and feeling, more like just a friendship. But she’s my mom, and I love and miss her. I’ve never been able to cry in front of her. But still, I long for that comfort of not being alone when I cry. When I’m not feeling good. The reality is never quite like the imagination, is it?

Remembered on Wednesday that my therapist had told me that I could email her while she’s gone if I need to. So I did just that. I wasn’t writing from a very present state of mind and it wasn’t a long email. I told her I was angry with her for reasons I can’t quiet think of. Told her I was thinking that maybe she wasn’t coming back. That she didn’t feel real anymore.

She replied that same evening. That didn’t feel real either. I wasn’t expecting a reply, since I wasn’t all there when I sent it anyway. There had been genuine moments during the day where I was so confused, believing that I had made her up the entire time. That nothing was real. That I wasn’t alive. Or human. The next morning I had to make sure that it hadn’t been a dream. She is real. She actually sent me an email. An email that let me know that she’s proud of how I’m managing, and encouragement to keep going even though it feels tough. Letting me know that she is coming back and we’ll have our video consultations soon. I don’t deserve her.

I don’t want to be alone anymore. Being bombarded with messages and photo’s of people finding new jobs, starting families, new relationships, it seems that nearly everyone I know is moving up in life. And I’m just here. Stuck. Trying to keep my head above water. Trying to build a business that’s just not going anywhere, no matter how hard I work, how many things I try. Seeing all these new businesses in my field that have sprung up with sub-par work, yet they’re the ones getting all the clients, using techniques that aren’t working for me. I’ve been trying for years now. Am so tired, and feel like a failure. A fraud. Maybe I’m just not good enough.

So far away from everyone I know. Longing for a hug. A warm hand to hold. If only for a day.

A Lifeline

Last week my therapist cancelled our session due to a personal loss.

My heart went out to her.

It was a strange experience. Usually a cancellation would trigger my abandonment issues. But this time all I could think and feel was an intense sadness for her. What this cancellation means to me didn’t even enter my mind (at least not consciously). For the rest of that week I carried on with life as normal.

Of course, I thought about my therapist often, and experienced those same feelings of sadness for her situation. Along with a deep sense of care, and hoping for comfort for her.

Something inside me shifted on Monday. Certain frustrations in my life intensified, and I received some bad news regarding my emigration (a new plan has since been made however). I was feeling extra intense pressure from my dad and everything starting going haywire inside my head. I felt overwhelmed. To the extent where I just wanted to end it all, just wanted to make it stop.

And then the panic set in. The desperation. I wanted my therapist. She would understand. She always does. She was the only one I feel safe with emotionally. Our session was a couple of days away, but what if she cancels again? What if she doesn’t come back? What if our relationship changes due to her loss? Yes, now the attachment demon had arrived. Now it was about me again.

I felt ashamed by these new thoughts and feelings. How could I be so selfish? That’s when the self-hatred kicked in.

On Tuesday came the message I feared. My therapist was cancelling our session this week too. This brought back the memory of another attachment figure, my OT, cancelling two of our sessions back to back, and then sending an email weeks later terminating our work. The reason for the new cancellation was also a trigger. The memorial service was on the day my session was supposed to be. My therapist had said that she would be back in the office this week. So the thought that she was going to be seeing some other clients this week, but not me, felt devastating.

In panic mode all I wanted to do was beg her for a time, any time this week, even just a 10 minute call, which we had done before. I wanted her to know how badly I was taking this. The effect it was having on me. I felt like I had been on the edge of a cliff since the previous day, and now I was slipping. But despite the frame of mind I was in, I resisted my urges. Because I didn’t want to make things harder for her than they already were. Because I care about her.

But I knew I needed to do something because at that moment I didn’t trust myself with myself. I knew I needed to talk to someone. A professional. I thought of the therapist who I had two sessions with when my therapist was on leave. While I had been comfortable with her, I wasn’t comfortable enough in this situation. I didn’t want anyone that was even remotely connected to my therapist. I wanted A. Other than my current therapist, A knows me best and knows how to work (and deal) with me. We worked together for more than two years after all.

I reached out to her and asked whether we could schedule an appointment for sometime this week. I was worried that she wouldn’t have time available. But thankfully, she did. So we scheduled a video session for the next day. And even though I was in a horrible place for the rest of that day and evening, there was that little sliver of hope peeking through. Keeping me going. Keeping me safe.

Still, leading up to our session, fears that she would cancel as well, kept showing up. But she didn’t cancel. She showed up. It was like coming up for air.

We’ve had contact since we stopped working together when I moved over to my current therapist in 2018, but they were just text messages here and there. She still reads my blog. This has all been enough to keep our connection strong.

I didn’t know what to expect after such a long time of not seeing her. I thought I’d be nervous. That it might be weird. But it wasn’t. It was as though no time had passed. It felt familiar. Comfortable.

For some reason, my distress of the past few days and hours fizzled out as soon as I saw her. We caught up a bit. Some nice moments.

It was easy to open up about everything going on. And it felt so good to be able to talk to someone about this situation with my therapist. Especially with someone who is a therapist herself, and at the same time, knows me well. She provided different perspectives. Possibilities. Got me to list the evidence for why I can trust my therapist and know she cares about me. This exercise was extremely helpful, and not something I had been able to do, or see, in my distressed state.

What was also helpful was when A told that I’ve grown since we worked together, and pointed some of it out. It helped because I’d been feeling like a failure. A therapy and personal failure. Like I had regressed completely. It also felt really good when she said that it was nice to see me again. A much-needed boost to my self-esteem.

Ever the ethical professional, she asked whether I would be okay with her contacting my therapist to let her know that we had a “emergency” session. I actually really appreciated this because like she said, she doesn’t want to interfere in my work with my current therapist. Feeling protective though, I asked her to rather send her that message next Monday. I want to give therapist some “space” this week. She doesn’t need to be thinking of me right now. I’m seeing her on Monday (still struggling with the fear of yet another cancellation), so then we can discuss it as well.

This session was exactly what I needed. It felt like a warm, comforting hug. It was as though I had been stuck in a pit of despair and negativity, but had been pulled out of it. Of course, this doesn’t mean I’m completely okay. I’m still struggling. But I’m coping.

We do what we have to in order to survive.

“You Don’t Really Want to Die, You Want Connection”

Maybe my therapist is right.

After all, why am I still here? Why am I still holding on? What exactly am I holding on for? Part of it is because I don’t have the courage to try to end things. The fear of failing and coming out alive but in a worse state terrifies me. Then there’s the handful of people who I know it will affect. Even if in the moment I feel no-one will even notice, or if they do, they’ll get over it quickly. But what my therapist said also made a lot of sense when she said it. It resonated.

The way a hug from someone special (and I don’t mean just with romantic partners) has the ability to snap me out of the suicidal space in my mind and put me on a high. The way a simple touch of the hand can make me feel warm and safe. Now, thanks to humans messing with nature, we’re in a time when even a quick hug is cautioned against.

As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I’m really struggling with this whole living alone thing. The days are okay. It’s the evenings that are the worst. That’s when the loneliness and bad thoughts peak. I’d give anything to have someone here, doing their own thing, or us doing something together. I just want to feel another presence here.

I miss living with M. It was so good for me. She was good for me. I miss having her and doggy in my every day life. And when M was away for a week or two, I still had doggy, so wasn’t truly alone. What I want more than anything is my own dog. Sometimes it feels like that’s never going to happen.

Earlier this evening, the tears that had been building and threatening to escape for weeks finally made their way out. It was excruciating. At one point I felt like I was going to die. I had to keep mentally saying to myself that no one has died from crying before (as far as I know). That went on for quite a while, and at some point I knew I needed to speak to someone right then. Obviously my therapist was out (we had a video call check in this afternoon – which I’m grateful for since she’s actually on leave). I also considered A, my previous therapist, but that was also not an option. The only other person that came to mind was M. It was after 8pm, so didn’t know whether it was appropriate to call her then, but I took the chance anyway. She didn’t answer at first, but she called back almost immediately and we spoke for over an hour. Those who know me, know I hate talking on the phone. But I really needed that. She made me laugh, talked about doggy, and just random stuff. Her daughter in law is staying with her for two weeks, but M said that I must come spend the weekend once she leaves. And my favourite part was when she said I should come say a quick hi to her tomorrow and meet her daughter in law, and then I can take doggy for the day. I haven’t been to the beach in months, so am planning on going for a long walk with her there.

I’m still very emotional, but at least I have something to look forward to tomorrow.

It’s been a tough few months. I feel like I’m in limbo. Stuck. There’s no certainty about when I’ll be moving to Sweden, other than the plan is before the end of the year (if the borders open up by then). So I might be spending Christmas alone. It’s all so unsettling.

Everyone around me seems to be moving forward. Getting engaged, falling pregnant. And then there’s me. Longing for that someone special, and feeling like that’s another thing that will never happen for me.

But hey, I’m still breathing.

In A Different World

Life feels strange these days. The world, a different place. It seems we’re all just trying to survive and not really living.

I’ve been trying to keep a semblance of normality in my own life, but it’s not that easy when most things have changed.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I’m now staying on my own in a bachelor style self-catering flat. My family has officially moved overseas. I’ll be joining them as soon as our borders open up and I can get there. We don’t know how long that is going to take though. They got an expatriation flight which is why they were able to leave. And because I’m not seen as a “dependent” in the eyes of that country, they couldn’t get me to go with them initially. Even though I technically am dependent at this stage of my life, I’m not viewed that way due to my age. In the meantime my dad is supporting me financially from afar. I’m getting some money in here and there from my business, but not enough to be able to support myself. Things are tough all over. We’re living in uncertain and weird times.

Living by myself has been… different. While I enjoy having my own space and not having to answer to anyone, it’s also been challenging. Turns out I’m not that great at adulting the “normal” way. It’s a long story.

South Africa is now in lockdown level 3, and I’m frustrated with the way things are going in this country. The so-called government is a joke. Not only do we have to deal with the virus that’s sweeping around the world, but with incompetent and corrupt fools. Farm murders getting out of hand, and our “president” and everyone else in charge keeps pretending it’s not happening. Government members stealing money that’s supposed to go to those who need it. Making and enforcing nonsensical regulations. Stupid bans that don’t do anything other than causing more problems and anger.

The one I’m having the most difficulty with is the tobacco ban, which has been in place since the lockdown was first announced (March). I don’t smoke cigarettes anymore. My e-cigarette helped me give those up more than two years ago. But I still need my nicotine. And stupidly (and incomprehensibly), even the sale of vaping products and nicotine is banned. That hasn’t stopped many people though, and the sale of tobacco products and the like has now become a big underground business. Which means the prices have skyrocketed, and those of us who have been unable to give up on our nicotine fix are struggling, and are criminals in the eyes of the government. They will enforce that ban in any way they can, but completely ignore the real crimes going on in the country. There are no words.

One of my aunts recently passed away (not from the virus), and I had to watch her memorial service over live-stream. A strange experience. Since then I’ve been in my own world for the most part. It’s as if I’m not connecting with the real world. Like I’m walking around in a dream. Moments of “what’s the point of life?” and tons of existential questions. My aunt looked a lot like my grandmother did in her final weeks, and so it’s opened up that old wound as well.

Seeing the people who were at the memorial service, family members I hadn’t seen in years… It was hard. People that I was once close with in some ways. Seeing how much the children have grown (and some are even adults now), how old the rest have gotten. It was just very sad. The sadness is lingering. Time just feels so cruel right now.

I had a dream about my previous therapist and the entire next day was one big “I miss her”. We have a different type of connection now of course. One that that day just didn’t (and if I have to be completely honest, some other times too) feel like enough. I miss seeing her. But that’s life. I guess I’m just having a hard time connecting and with wanting to connect. I want to be alone, but at the same time I’m struggling alone and missing so many people.

This is one of the songs they played at my aunts funeral. I had this version of the song for a while, but now it’s taken on a new meaning for me. I’ll always think of her when I hear it.

Getting Through Challenging Times

This past week has been a difficult one for me. There was another episode with the dad, one that left me feeling terrified and paranoid for days. My body and senses on high alert.

The current state and chaos going on in the country and the world didn’t help with the paranoia. As the lockdown continues and so much uncertainty remains, each week that goes by seems to get more and more challenging. It seems harder to find and hold onto hope and positivity. To keep going strong.

I can’t control what’s happening in the world. In my country. But I can control my actions. And once again I’ve allowed myself to become absorbed in, and consumed by the negativity taking place on social media. I know the effect it has on me, and I also know that there’s a lot of misinformation out there. When I’m already feeling angry and anxious, reading certain posts, the comments, and commenting myself, increases that ten-fold. I should know better, yet I allowed myself to ignore the warnings. That’s on me. And so, yet again, I’m making the decision to step back.

The breakthrough came in, and after, my therapy session. Leaving the house and driving to my appointment filled me with anxiety. The thoughts that I was being watched, followed, and would be pulled over and hurt, felt overwhelming. The thoughts and feelings followed me into my therapists office.

After a while I started feeling more contained. I’m so fortunate and extremely grateful that I get to see my therapist in person and have that safe space to go to each week. It’s been my saving grace so many times. So has she. Therapist has a calming effect on me, and I really needed that this week. She basically reiterated that I need to do what makes me feel contained, safe, and regulated, no matter how “weird” it may seem to myself and others.

So I’ve doubled down on my self-care and using my coping and emotion regulation tools. I’ve let go of all the expectations and pressure I’ve been putting on myself. There’s a time and place for that, and now is not that time. Thankfully the paranoia I’ve been experiencing has slowly faded.

What really helps through all of this is the connection I have (and feel) with my therapist. Physical distancing is hard on all of us, but knowing that there are people who care, even if it’s just one person, goes a long way. I had a lovely dream about my previous therapist, and sent her a message to tell her about it. And as usual, she replied. It’s so nice, and healing, to know that our connection is still there. That she’s still around, still cares, and hasn’t forgotten me.

This is such a challenging time. But we are resilient and can weather the storm. We’ve got this. ❤