Comfortably Numb

After a couple of weeks of intense emotions, I’m drained. As if we don’t have enough going on with Covid, South Africa has also been experiencing unrest due to political crap. All the personal stuff I’m dealing with has also been overwhelming.

But numbness set in when I woke up yesterday.

I can usually reach this state voluntarily by drinking. But since alcohol has been banned in this country again weeks ago, I’m grateful that my mind/brain has stepped in to take over that job.

So now I’m just going through the motions. Doing what needs to be done. Except with regards to my eating habits. Food has been an issue for a month now. I just don’t want to do it… too much of a mission. I have to force myself to eat when I realize I’m starting to feel sick or before having to take my meds, but I don’t enjoy the experience one bit. Meal replacement shakes have helped a lot during this phase. I’ve gone through these phases every now and then over the course of my life, so it’s not unusual.

I can’t control those things that are negatively affecting me. And I’m out of ideas on how to improve certain circumstances I find myself in. There comes a time when you realize that the only thing left to do is to let go. When this sense of not caring anymore sets in.

I know though that it’s not that I don’t care. It’s that I can’t feel it. Void of the emotion that makes us human. Anger and sadness at injustices taking place. Fear. Love. But being alive is hard, so it’s a necessary state sometimes.

Getting Back Into It

The hardest part of writing is knowing where or how to start.

This has been one of my biggest challenges. Not only in writing new blog posts, but business emails, text messages, and social media updates as well.

It’s not that I don’t know what I need to say, or what I want to write about. It’s in organizing those thoughts in a coherent and logical way, and then finding the words to begin.

I’ve been having a particularly hard time with this lately, which is why I haven’t posted here in a while. My brain power has been going toward business emails, proposals and calls, which has taken a lot out of me mentally. One day when I can afford it, I’m going to hire someone to do those aspects that I struggle with. But for now, I’m on my own.

So, yes, I have two new clients (thanks to my therapist), and two more potential ones lined up. All of them psychologists—my ideal market. It’s been great to have work again and that sense of purpose.

I also got an unexpected cash deposit from an old pension fund I was a member of in my first “real” job many moons ago. It’s a long story, but I’m glad I got it now and not when I was supposed to earlier in my life. I would have wasted it back then as a lot of us do when we’re younger. It came at the perfect time and was very much needed.

Therapy has been going well. My therapist came back the day after I wrote my previous post, just like she said she would. She’s technically still on maternity leave, but working a little here and there. The first day back I got to go to the practice. I was anxious and wary. The first while I couldn’t even look at her, and didn’t want to take my mask off, even though that’s the first thing I usually do when sitting down (I hate wearing those things—but they’re great for hiding behind). The thought of taking my mask off felt like I would be getting undressed in front of her. Eventually, I started feeling more comfortable and my walls slowly came down.

It was a good session, and I’m glad I got to see her in person the first time back. She had come in about 5 minutes after I had arrived, and left to go home after me. So I was the only person she saw that day. I think that fact helped me feel closer to her again, and like I do actually matter to her. Since then we’ve had two in-person sessions, and the rest has been online.

There have been a few frustrating and sad things happening in my life too, but I’m just grateful that some good has come as well.

The past three days have been difficult. I think I pushed myself too far, and over-did things. I tend to jump into work in an almost manic way. Not giving myself much time to rest or relax. So I burn out. There was also so many other things to do and places to go. A lot of anxiety. It’s only now settling down.

My startle response and sensory system had gone haywire the day before yesterday. The smallest thing made me jump. Even those things that are a regular occurrence, such as the fridge making it’s “settling” sound every now and then. Everything was too bright, too loud, too rough or too soft. I’d hear the lady next door talking to her daughter, or the man speaking on his phone, and I’d be both irritated and fearful (every slight voice level above what it’s been and I felt the same fear at the anticipation of a fight).

So now I’m in a mental place where I can’t do any of my work. Even forming words to reply to voice notes or talk to anyone out loud just isn’t happening. Spent most of yesterday sleeping. I’m in shutdown mode. Good thing it’s weekend so I have an excuse to stay in bed and not do anything.

I need to learn how to balance things better, and protect myself from reaching this point.

Maybe I’ll get there one day.

It Just Is.

I’ve reached a point where I just can’t fight anymore. With anyone in my head or against anything. I don’t have the strength for that anymore. It’s also just a waste of time.

Decided that I need to let go of a friend who keeps hurting me and did something behind my back that felt like a huge slap in the face. I held on to that relationship because I’m so damn desperate for connection that I was willing to put up with her behaviour toward me and some other people in my life. I can’t do that anymore. I won’t.

I seem to have regressed to my childhood and adolescent ways of coping. Daydreaming and being content in my own world. I can control everything that happens there. And I’m actually okay with that. It feels like a good thing. It’s comfortable and warm being there. Familiar. It got me through rough times, so while some might think it’s not healthy, to me it is. I’ve realized that I’m better off by myself, and will just keep doing what I need to. Let the world go on around me. That’s how life works after all. We go with the flow. If someone wants to meet up for coffee or whatever, I’ll obviously go along with it. But no more reaching out myself. It’s been pointless 99% of the time after all.

Not sure when I’ll see my therapist again because of the maternity leave. But I’m okay with that now. I’ve also decided to not see the interim therapist again. Need a therapy break anyway. Managed fine without it for most of my life, so at the moment therapy feels kind of pointless. Don’t want to run the risk of forming an attachment with the interim therapist as well. Attachment is too complicated and painful.

Probably going to start packing today for yet another move on Thursday. Will be moving into a much cheaper place. I’m usually super anxious with moving, but been numb since yesterday afternoon when it seems I finally settled into this state of not really caring. It’s a comfortable numbness.

So I’m okay.

Thanks to all of you who read and comment on my posts. 🙂

Too Much

Too much pressure.

Too much pain.

Anxiety. Worry.

One shock after another.

One of my friends recently told me that I seem to have the worst luck. Ha!

I try so damn hard. I try to be positive. And for what?

For everything to blow up in my face anyway? For things to continually go wrong? What’s the lesson? Is there even one?

It shouldn’t be this hard. All. the. time.

Why can’t I give my life in exchange for that person I love who’s fighting for his? People need him. They don’t need me. I don’t want to be here anymore.

It’s like shouting into the wind. No answers. No comfort. Just emptiness and silence.

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.