And So It Ends…

Jasmine and I are done.

We had met up for coffee last Sunday. The first in months… Ever since Elizabeth and I started dating.

I thought things had gone quite well. We were even talking about my plans for my birthday next year, with her telling me she’d be there. After the meet up I sent her a text telling her that it was nice seeing her again, and asking how she had felt about it. I didn’t hear anything back from her until Wednesday/Thursday (can’t remember exactly) evening.

Her message was blunt and to the point. I’m not going to type the message out here (for anonymity’s sake), but she told me that we shouldn’t see or talk to one another again. I replied to her text, saying that I understand and will respect her decision, and wishing her good things for the future. But then I discovered that she had blocked me… my message didn’t go through. She had blocked me on Facebook as well. I get the whole “it’s over” thing, but am I a criminal that I needed to actually be blocked?

That’s when I felt it. “A slap in the face”, were the words used when Elizabeth was trying to help me give words to what I was experiencing/feeling in that moment. She was spot on with that one.

A slap in the face, followed almost instantly by that feeling of shock that numbs the pain of the sting. The rest of that evening I felt that sense of “what the hell just happened?”.

Waking up the next day, and even up until now, I feel nothing. The fondness and love I felt for her isn’t there anymore. The weirdest thing is that I can’t even remember anything about our time together (both as a couple, and then later as friends). I can’t seem to access the memories. There are no emotions. It’s as if she never even existed.

And this leads me to question whether I exist at all. Whether anything does.

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Death Wish

I didn’t spot you there in the shadows
Until it was too late
You’ve descended upon me once again
And I’m left wondering…
Where did you come from?
Why are you here?

Your presence is uninvited
But you don’t care, do you?
You just want to make yourself heard
No matter the agony you cause inside
Throwing as much darkness at me
As you can.

You’re my death wish.

Suicidal ideation has overtaken me once again. Driving to a business meeting earlier today, I suddenly thought of Jasmine and felt an ache in my heart. I miss her. So fucking much. I don’t know what’s more powerful… The anger I feel towards her, or the hurt.

As “luck” would have it, once I had settled into my seat at the coffee shop, my business partner told me that she had met up with Jasmine for breakfast over the weekend (they’re friends), and proceeded to tell me about it. I felt the tears come, and I tried my hardest to hold them back. But it didn’t work. I managed to stop pretty quickly at least. She’s one of those people who are uncomfortable around emotions.

It’s not just this whole thing with Jasmine. It’s work. It’s my financial and living situation. Life is exhausting.

I know I can talk to Elizabeth, but I don’t want to bother her. She has a lot on her mind at the moment what with work and studies, and I don’t want to add any more stress to her life. This is my problem, I need to deal with it alone. And one way I’m doing this is by writing here. I hope it’s enough.

Self-Doubt and Insecurity

On Monday night I was gripped by an ice-cold feeling of fear.

There was a thought:
“What if Elizabeth’s feelings toward me have changed?”

At the time I couldn’t put my finger on where that thought, and the resulting fear, had come from. I only became aware of the cause once I had calmed down somewhat. I say “calmed down” because that fear had turned into panic, and I had to put all my available resources into action in order to prevent a full-blown panic attack.

Elizabeth had let me know that she was going to go watch a show with one of her best friends. I had just come back Monday morning from having spent the weekend with her. Just as an aside, I have no problem with her having her own friends and activities away from me. I like that she does. As I mentioned before, I don’t want to be one person’s everything again. It’s exhausting.

It wasn’t the fact that Elizabeth was going out with someone else that upset me. When she told me, I reacted (and felt) the same way I always do, “that sounds nice, enjoy!”. It was only a while afterward that I started feeling the fear. But why? For some reason my mind fed me the lie that I’m not worth spending time with. I wasn’t thinking about it in the way of Elizabeth, but rather my own friends. I was also reminded about Jasmine, and the fact that we’re not in contact anymore. That made the fear stronger, and for some reason I got it into my head that maybe Elizabeth’s feelings toward me have changed as well.

I also had this overwhelming need to contact Elizabeth right then and there. I wanted to say “I’m sorry I’m not enough”. I wanted to say “I’m sorry I’m too much”. I felt panic rise up in my chest. An urgency to do everything I can to have her stay with me, and not leave me. It felt as though she were standing right in front of me, breaking up with me. This feeling was so intense, so painful, that my thoughts turned to self-harm again, which is something I haven’t done in a while. It was a fight to resist, and required a lot of different coping skills.

My mind was in utter chaos. My thoughts turned to how useless and worthless I am, with “proof” of this “fact” at every turn. This had been coming on the entire day, and I had now reached the tipping point.

The wedding photography business I had started with my business partner isn’t really going anywhere. The photography industry in general is so populated. These days anyone with a D-SLR thinks they’re automatically a professional photographer, and advertises as such. How do you compete with those offering their services for next to nothing, in an economy that’s struggling as it is? It’s so fucking frustrating! I feel like a failure in the photography industry. That I’m just not a good enough photographer, and that’s maybe why we aren’t getting any business.

A couple of weeks ago I got a request from someone to design and print her cards for her new business. I jumped at the chance. That job gave me the idea to start my own website and graphic design business. I’ve been using Adobe Photoshop and making websites since my family got our first computer when I was in high school, so I’ve had a lot of practice. I always did these things for family and friends, and I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of turning it into a business before. Better late than never though. A few days after making the decision to start this new business, I overheard a contractor who does work for my dad’s business, wants to have a website made for himself. I managed to get him to hire me. So this new business has started off well. I’ve also secured the job to make the website for the lady I did the business cards for. But she wants to wait until the new year.

While working on my own new business website, and doing all the other setting up tasks, I’ve also been doing two online courses in Photoshop (Diploma) and Digital Marketing. So I’ve been busy. I’m building my knowledge and getting a qualification under my belt, so I should be feeling empowered right? Instead, I still feel like I’m not good enough. That I’m a failure. So much self-doubt and insecurity was plaguing me on Monday, that I guess by that evening, it all just came to a head.

By the time Elizabeth let me know that she was back home after the night out with her friend, I had calmed down a little. The insecurity was still there, but it had dulled somewhat. The most amazing thing happened then. She sent me a voice note letting me know that she had wished I could have come with. That she misses me. That she loves me. I hadn’t sent her that message I had been aching to. So she had no idea how I was feeling. Her words were made even more powerful because of this. All the insecurity I had regarding myself in this relationship, and the relationship itself, just vanished. I hate that these things happen. That I suspect abandonment where none actually exists. That I need regular reassurance that I’m still wanted, important, and loved.

Today, even though I’m still struggling with some feelings of self-doubt, I’m able to meet myself with more compassion. I’m working hard. I’m trying to create a better life (and future) for myself. That must count for a lot, right?

Riding The Waves

I found myself starting to feel irritable this morning, but can’t pinpoint exactly when, or why, it started.

On the way to a meeting with my business partner, my irritation only grew. There had been an accident on the road, and the cars were barely moving. Sitting in traffic amps up my anxiety for some reason, so the combination of the two emotions caused havoc. Usually this would result in rage directed towards the cars (people) around me, but today it just brought me to tears. Crying, but with no clear idea why.

One thing that really frustrates me about my business partner is how much she relies on me to do things in our business. Most of the responsibility is placed on my shoulders. Why? Her excuse is that she doesn’t know how to do these things. Well, I didn’t know how to do some of these things either, but I made the effort to learn. She’s retired and has nothing but time, and I’ve shown her how to do some of these things before, so I don’t accept her excuse. Write it down for fuck sakes! The worst part is when she gets irritated with me because she feels I’m doing something wrong, or not getting results quickly enough. This is supposed to be a partnership, but most days it feels as though the failure or success of the business rests solely on me.

I know the best thing to do would be to talk to her about this. We get along great, and she makes me laugh. I’m scared of ruining things with her.

That’s one of my problems. I’m afraid of conflict. I leave a lot unspoken. This isn’t ideal. All these annoyances and thoughts stay inside me and simmers, turning into resentment. Which isn’t fair to the person, and it obviously has a negative effect on me too. So far the only two people I’m able to be completely open with in that way is Elizabeth and my therapist. But even with them, there are times where I’m still a little wary. The difference is, I eventually end up speaking to them about it quite soon anyway. With others, things are left buried for months or even years. Sometimes forever.

After the meeting, driving home, I felt the dark cloud of depression settle over me. And I’m still in it. I’m not even exactly sure what’s causing it. I know it’s not just the situation with my business partner though.

I know this feeling will pass. Emotions always do. All I can do is ride this wave and treat myself well. So with that, I’m off to bed and going to watch an episode of Frasier (a great feel good show) before I go to sleep.

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Life

The writing block I’ve been experiencing has lifted. It happened on Thursday after my therapy session. I had this desire to write a poem, and it just flowed so naturally again. And damn did it feel good.

During our session I could actually feel some mental block crumbling. I managed to express myself relatively well, and talk about some of those things I haven’t been able to even write about yet.

There are a few things I want to write about that I hadn’t been able to. I still have processing to do with those topics, so I’ll definitely be writing as I get around to it.

As most of you already know, I’ve been having a hard time since stopping the medication (Lamotrigine) that’s been serving as a mood stabilizer. I don’t believe that the decline in my mental health has just been due to that. There were other factors involved as well. I think that just made these other things harder to deal with.

My step-brother ran away from home again. Once again without so much as a hint to me that he was going to be doing that. I’m disappointed and hurt because he promised me after the last time that he would tell me when he’s planning to pull that stunt again, and let me know that he’s safe. But he didn’t. And once again, his phone was off for a few days. He eventually let us know that he’s moving out. He’s living with a girl friend and her uncle. He asked me whether I would help him take some of his stuff to his new place, so at least I know where he’s living (I’ve promised not to give my dad the address though). This whole situation has caused a lot of family conflict and issues. Things are tense here at home at times, and plain weird at other times. My heart sinks every time I walk past my brother’s room and remember that he’s not here anymore. I’m going to miss seeing him every day. Things just aren’t the same without him.

I’m also worried about my eldest younger sister, who my mom is convinced is back on drugs again. All the signs are apparently there. It’s hard living so far away from my mom and sisters. It’s frustrating, especially at times like these.

Then there’s Jasmine. I haven’t seen her again since the time I wrote about in my post “Elizabeth, and the Dilemma“. I’ve sent her messages from time to time asking how she’s doing, and letting her know that I’m still around and here for her. It takes her a few days to respond. Last week I sent her a message saying that I think it’s about time that we get together and talk this whole thing through. She agreed to meet on Friday, but then sent me a text telling me that we won’t be meeting up anymore. It’s Monday, and I still haven’t responded to that message. This is the first time I’m “ignoring” someone. I’m angry. Hurt. At this stage, I’m not even sure whether it’s a good idea for us to remain friends. That maybe it will be better to just cut ties completely. That idea hurts. But it feels better than this feeling of being in limbo, and not knowing when or what is happening or going to happen, and knowing that there’s a possibility that she’ll end our friendship anyway. I mean, if she’s not even able to meet up with me for coffee, how’s it going to be when she meets Elizabeth for the first time? Is it going to be awkward? Probably. I just don’t know what to do. I don’t want to do anything I might regret, so I’ve decided to rather just step back. I’m not going to reach out to her anymore. The next move (if there is one) will be hers. I’m done.

Another little update. I’ve started a new medication, Dopaquel (Quetiapine). So far so good. No side effects as far as I’m aware, other than the obvious drowsiness that this med is known for. I take it in the evening’s, and it helps me sleep… It’s glorious. I’m hoping this one will be it for me.

And I’m Back

Is going to group a habit now? It seems that way. Yesterday was a public holiday, and with me being in the dissociative slump I’ve been in today, it would have been understandable had I forgotten it was group night. But no, I found myself there buying a cappuccino. One minute with my laptop on my lap in my room, the next buying a cappuccino at the clinic coffee shop. Well done! I’ve figured out why I was still able to get to group and be responsible with my mental health upkeep while not fully being “Rayne”, but that revelation is for another day… And maybe just for my therapist, I haven’t decided yet.

I was dissociated for the first one and a half hours, and then slowly started to become grounded during the last half hour. Last week I had left group just after the break, because I started dissociating quite heavily and was unable to ground myself. For some reason I thought it best to go home before it got too bad, but in hindsight, it would have been better to stay. I can’t remember anything after having gotten up and walking outside the clinic toward my car, and before finding myself eating my supper in bed. Having lived with this kind of thing for as long as I can remember, I know to always check the time once I come around and realize I’ve lost time. So I did drive straight home from group.

I need to get to bed now, but will write more about this tomorrow if I’m able to. My posts of late have been a bit cryptic, and I think I’m now able to write about what’s been going on.

Oh, and I had an amazing (almost-completely-dissociation-and-mental health crisis-free) day with Elizabeth yesterday “celebrating” our first month together as a couple. Despite my mental health being what it has been lately, our relationship just keeps growing and getting better, and I truly feel lucky.

Withdrawal

I’m not doing as well as I had been over the past few weeks.

I’ve started the process of tapering down my mood stabilizer, Lamotrigine. The side effects started to outweigh the benefits (one of the side effects was especially worrying)… Which I’m not happy about, because it worked so well as a mood stabilizer. I was on 150mg, which was the therapeutic dose for me. When I went down to 100mg, I was still okay. I stayed on that dosage for about 3 weeks, and then went down to 50mg early last week. That’s when things started going downhill. I started getting headaches. My mood started crashing and suicidal ideation made a few small appearances. I felt drained, and still do, and have been struggling with a lack of focus and concentration. My co-ordination had also been a bit off for two days… I’m naturally a clumsy person, but this was off the charts. This symptom is gone now thankfully. The headaches are also getting a bit less.

I’m hoping that the next move, coming off it completely, will be like going from the 150 to 100mg… No withdrawal symptoms. I was hoping that it wouldn’t be this drug, so I secretly hoped that the side effects wouldn’t go away. But they have, in a large part, with only a few mild one’s still existing, but in a lesser capacity. So it definitely was the Lamotrigine. I can’t imagine how much worse I would have felt if I had gone cold turkey. It was only on Saturday evening that I made the connection to how I have been feeling, and the possibility of it being withdrawal from my meds. When the thought entered my mind, I did some reading from multiple sources, and saw that everything I’ve been experiencing could be related to withdrawal. Since I had no symptoms when I first started tapering my dosage, I didn’t think I would get any as I continued down. I can’t wait for this to just be over.

Just because I’m feeling this way now, doesn’t mean I’m going to go back to how I was before I started a mood stabilizer. I have more skills and tools now, and a better support system. So I’ll give it a few months, making sure that this medication is out of my system for a while, so I can more accurately judge what I think might need to be done. Whether I’m okay without a MS, or whether to try another one. I hope I don’t… Don’t want to go through all that trial and error bullshit. And I could also do with the money I’ll save. My finances are also having a big effect on how I’m feeling.

Elizabeth stayed over on Sunday, and went back home yesterday (Monday’s are her Sunday’s). I had to go into work yesterday morning, so she stayed at my place and did some studying. We’re both drained. She had a very stressful and busy week, so she also didn’t have much energy. So our “over excited” mental state whenever we’re together wasn’t completely present. But we loved this state of being together as well. It doesn’t always have to be this intense “alive” thing every time. It won’t be. So it’s good to see this side of one another as well. The quiet, tired, and low side. We had a movie night, which is our first time watching a movie together. I love having a TV in my room (which I hardly ever use anyway as I mostly watch Netflix on my computer when I want to watch something).

It was soothing having her around when I wasn’t feeling emotionally strong. I didn’t need anything from her. She didn’t need to do anything. Just being in her presence was enough.

Elizabeth had invited me for drinks with a couple of her friends last night, but completely understood that I’m not up for it. When she first invited me, I was already feeling a little low, so I told her that I’ll think about it and see how I feel. I didn’t end up going, so she went alone. I don’t think alcohol is a good idea for me for a while. I also haven’t met these two friends of hers yet, and I didn’t want to have to fake anything, especially since first impressions are so powerful. I just wasn’t up for it. And that’s okay. I just needed to be alone last night and deal with this storm going on in my head.

I feel a little bit better today, even though I’m still super stressed about my finances and my business that doesn’t seem to be taking off. Adulting is hard.