Healing Isn’t A One Time Thing

As my recent posts have shown, I haven’t been in a good place emotionally. My issues and demons have re-surfaced in a huge way, causing me to doubt all the healing that I thought had taken place within me over the past few years.

The other evening I stumbled upon a performance (which you can find at the end of this post) from Demi Lovato. It was a case of the right place, the right time. I wasn’t sure how I was going to get through the night. I just felt utterly and completely broken. This video is the most powerful live performance I’ve ever seen. I felt it down to my core and have never connected as deeply to any other song as I did this one, and with the emotion channeled into it.

My therapy session on Wednesday was a raw, emotional one. From the beginning my therapist pointed out that I seem very emotional. I just didn’t want to hold anything back. I didn’t have the strength to either. Turns out the emotions I’m feeling around her pregnancy are partly jealousy that this little baby is going to have her as a mommy, and the situation has also opened up all those old wounds around my own childhood. Memories and emotions I just couldn’t hide or run from.

This performance wasn’t just relatable to me now, but fit as the anthem to my childhood and adolescent years too. The words are almost identical to my own countless pleas, especially when I was a teen. If I hadn’t burned all the pages of my diary back then, it would be littered with it. “Please send me anyone.” “Is there anyone?”, “No-one’s listening”, “can anyone hear me?” So that evening, the lyrics went down deep into my soul. It perfectly captured what I was feeling. I completely broke down. The story behind the song is just as powerful. She wrote it a few days before her overdose. Her story is actually very inspiring.

We all have demons that we are battling. We have relapses. That doesn’t make us weak. It doesn’t mean healing hasn’t taken place. It means we’re human. And even when it seems like we won’t be okay, that we won’t make it through, we can and we do. She’s still here. I’m still here. You’re still here.

“Reach out to somebody”. We see and hear that message so often. But it isn’t that easy. Sometimes we don’t want to burden others. Other times when we do reach out, we get hurt, or end up feeling worse or made to feel guilty for our feelings and thoughts. But we all need and deserve to have someone truly listen to us. To hear us. And it’s okay to reach out. It’s also okay that sometimes we reach out to the wrong people. It doesn’t mean we made a mistake. It just means that the other person maybe doesn’t have the ability/capacity to be a support. That’s something that I still struggle with. Blaming myself, feeling ashamed, feeling like I’m the entire problem when a cry for help goes unanswered or ends badly.

The suicidal ideation is still there. The darkness still huge. I’m not out of the woods. But I wanted to write this post anyway. For me, and for others also struggling right now who may be reading this.

A Long Day

Today was one of those days where everything that can go wrong, did. I had a few errands to run, and one of them had a deadline and was critical to get done. I’m aware that I sometimes make things hard on myself. So I can’t blame external forces for everything. I was the one who put this off because I didn’t feel like I could deal with it at the time. And it got to the point where I had no choice but to deal with it now. The last day. But it’s done now, so that stress and dread is off my shoulders.

The rain made things so difficult and I was soaked more times than not. But safe and warm in my pj’s in bed right now with my weighted blanket, the sound of the rain is so beautiful and soothing. Funny how something can so quickly go from being a curse to a blessing. Perspective really is everything.

I need a new script for my medication, and because Psychiatrists are so expensive, I can’t afford to go see mine. So I did what I normally do, I called to make an appointment with my GP. The receptionist told me that she’s no longer working there, and moved to another province. My attachment issues have been worse lately than they’ve been in a long time. So this felt like yet another bullet. I had no idea she was leaving! I felt she could have let me know (she knows my issues). Whenever I’d walk into her office, she’d greet me with a huge smile (and sometimes a hug) and an enthusiastic “one of my favourite patients!”. I liked her so much, and she was so good to and for me. I wrote a post about her a couple of years ago (you can read it here). Now I need to find someone else, and that caused my anxiety to spike. I think I’m going to ask my therapist if she knows someone I might be comfortable with. That’s the only thing that seems doable right now.

After that phone call I just wanted to call my therapist and make sure she wasn’t leaving me. I was so scared that I was going to lose her too. It felt like I was losing everyone I love and care about. I resisted the temptation to call her though. That’s quite an achievement.

I don’t feel so overwhelmed, irritated, or anxious tonight at least. All that’s left is exhaustion and a deep sadness. But it feels good to be writing here again.

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.

Time to Recuperate

I’ve been in my own place since Friday, which I’ve written about in a post that’s currently sitting in my drafts folder as I just haven’t had the energy to complete it.

I’m at the point where I’m too exhausted to care about anything. The things that have been causing me anxiety and so much anger lately have now dissolved into apathy. Things have been overwhelming and busy over the past week and I think my mind has now finally had enough. I had so many plans and things I wanted to do during my first week here, but hadn’t counted on this happening instead.

The only self-care I’m able to do at the moment is allowing myself to sleep as much as my body and mind needs. Today has felt like a write-off but I couldn’t care less. I feel like I have to go into hibernation for a while, and fortunately I’m on my own now, so can do just that and not have to worry about anyone or anything.

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. ❤

A Country In Chaos

People are getting restless.
People are getting bored.
Anger rising more and more each day,
With each abuse of power,
Each senseless regulation,
And corruption growing worse.

The poor are suffering and dying,
Not from the invisible threat,
That’s gripping the world,
But from the lack of governance,
And utter disrespect.

Watch out, the people will rise.
They will come for you,
With no place to hide, no place to run,
You’ll realize, too late,
Just what you’ve done.

Article On Trauma Background & The Current COVID-19 Crisis

Just wanted to share an article by psychotherapist Annie Wright, that I found valuable and insightful.

The Gifts Of Coming From A Trauma Background

Even during the worst of times, beauty can be found in the simplest of things. This image gave me a sense of peace amidst all the chaos going on around me.