Sunday, August 11, 2019

May 4 2019 You Know Who You Are

Having pulled a third 55 hour week in a month, which my body hates and is not likely to forgive, I’m trying to sleep.

Like, right this moment, sitting cross-legged in bed with a laptop sitting on my calves, I’m trying to sleep. I know the whole sitting up thing is kinda contraindicated for sleep but when I put away the screen or the book or the music or whatever device I use to wind down to sleep (shut up you*, wasn’t talking one of those devices) that’s when my brain attacks.

It’s getting better. I’m no longer trying to prevent my brain from flying to pieces or driving me into the panic attack from hell. Which is appreciated. It’s easier to sleep when your chest doesn’t hurt and you aren’t fighting a stomach full of angry snakes.

Except now? Now it wants to dissect me.

Look, bitch. I have a therapist. Shut up when I’m trying to sleep, okay?

See, I was lying down. Had hung out with Little Man for a bit, took my morning meds, and a couple of non-ambien type sleep aids, and was all ready to snuggle under my mandala blanket and snooze.

Except...

Anyone remember the movie 28 Days? No, not the zombie one… the Sandra Bullock one… where she was in rehab?

See, it started out with me randomly thinking we need to have an Alan Tudyk Appreciation Day. His body of work is incredible… from Wash in Firefly to Sonny in I, Robot to Wat in A Knight’s Tale (I will fong you) to the freaking voice of Hei Hei in Moana, Steve the Pirate in Dodgeball, Simon in the British version of Death at a Funeral who mistakes acid for valium) and then I thought of Gerhardt in 28 Days and that’s when my brain decided to be a bitch.

Brain- Oh, hey, do you remember how Gwen had to wear a sign because she wouldn’t ever ask for help?
M- Trying to sleep here.
B- You know all those times when life would start falling apart and you’d pull away from everyone and hide behind that “everything is at its usual level of insane so let’s laugh our way through” thing?
M-Sleep. Need some.
B- So, back to Gwen. The refusal to ask for help was pretty compulsive, huh?
M- And?
B- That’s you.
M- And we can’t do this after I sleep because why?
B- You’ll find something to do to keep you busy and this is the only time we get to really talk.
M- Piss off.
B- Just saying, you should probably watch the movie again. You can ignore the formulaic crap because the message is pretty solid. You know. 
M- Piss. Off. 
B- Also, I still remember how to sing the entirety of American Pie in Pig Latin.
M- Gorramit

Anyway, that’s why I’m probably going to fall asleep watching 28 days today.


*You know who you are

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Put Down the Dragons and Grab the Quill

Finding it hard to close my games and open writing apps.

It's easy to tell myself I'll just play for a "few minutes" before doing other, more grown-up things... But we all know a few minutes is bull and most of the truly engrossing games being marketed to the public aren't meant for only a few minutes of play. They're designed to suck you in for hours.

Not that I'm complaining... they're perfect for escaping reality and that's one of my favorite things.

Still, this computer wasn't meant to be used for gaming. I've got a phone for that. What? You use yours for calls? 

Amateurs.

All the anxiety about writing again and about making this a new (again) habit is pointless. Now the hard copies of the old blogs have been found I can remind myself it read like aimless babbling until I found my footing then too. It's neither necessary nor likely to sit down after several years and write a breathtaking essay. When you don't use a skill for many years, it takes a bit to get it back. No, you never forget how to ride a bike but most people, after not doing it for years, are pretty freaking wobbly when they first get back on two wheels. 

Telling myself "I'll do it when it's not so intimidating" is also pretty freaking pointless... if not the single biggest lie I ever tell myself. Waiting until I'm not afraid or anxious is permission to avoid things in perpetuity.

Which, seem like a great idea until the avoidance itself is a source of anxiety. Having dropped myself into this chasm between a rock and hard place, it's time to decide what I'm going to do to get out.




Let's hope I can skip the part about cutting off my own arm.


Saturday, May 4, 2019

Here's Your Sign


Having pulled a third 55 hour week in a month, which my body hates and is not likely to forgive, I’m trying to sleep.

Like, right this moment, sitting cross-legged in bed with a laptop sitting on my calves, I’m trying to sleep. Sure the whole sitting up thing is kinda contraindicated for sleep but when I put away the screen or the book or the music or whatever device I use to wind down to sleep (shut up you*) that’s when my brain attacks.

It’s getting better. I’m no longer trying to prevent my brain from flying to pieces or driving me into the panic attack from hell. Which is appreciated. It’s easier to sleep when your chest doesn’t hurt and you aren’t fighting a stomach full of angry snakes.


Except now? Now, it wants to dissect me.

Look, I have a therapist. Shut up when I’m trying to sleep, okay?
See, I was lying down. Got home from work, changed into a t-shirt, hung out with Little Man for a bit, took my morning meds with a couple of non-ambien type sleep aids, and was all ready to snuggle under my mandala sheet/blanket and snooze.

Except...

Anyone remember the movie 28 Days? No, not the zombie one. The Sandra Bullock one… where she was in rehab?

See, it started out with me randomly thinking we need to have an Alan Tudyk Appreciation Day**. His body of work is incredible. From Wash in Firefly to Sonny in I, Robot to Wat in A Knight’s Tale to the freaking voice of Hei Hei in Moana, Steve the Pirate in Dodgeball, Simon in the British version of Death at a Funeral (who mistakes acid for valium) and this is barely his highlight reel...


Not even a representative sample but now I need to know more about this shirtless, tatted Alan

Brain- So, hey, do you remember how Gwen had to wear a sign because she wouldn’t ever ask for help?
Confront me if I don't ask for help

M- Trying to sleep here.
B- You know all those times when life would start falling apart and you’d pull away from everyone and hide behind that “everything is at its usual level of insane so let’s laugh our way through” thing?
M- Weren't we thinking about Alan Tudyk?
B- You're doing it again.
M-Sleep. Need some.
B- You're. Doing. It. Again. M- Hold up. No. Wanting to stand on my own feet financially isn't the same. You know how far I've come just in the last 6 months. The car thing is a setback but will ultimately be the best thing.
B- This isn't about the car.
M- Wait, what?
B- So, back to Gwen. The refusal to ask for help was pretty compulsive, huh?
M- And?
B- That’s you.
M- Don't care. Sleep. B- You need a "confront me" sign.
M- And we can’t do this after I sleep because why?
B- You’ll find something to do to keep you busy and this is the only time we get to really talk.
M- Piss off.
B- Just saying, you should probably watch the movie again. You can ignore the formulaic crap because the message is pretty solid. You know.
M- I will FONG you.
B- Also, I still remember how to sing the entirety of American Pie in Pig Latin.
M- Gorramit

Anyway, that’s why I’m probably going to fall asleep watching 28 Days.


*You know who you are
**We totally need an ATAD

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Meh

I've had my nice little Chromebook for 2 weeks now. Until now, haven't written more than a tweet or two.

What have I done with the lovely little computer that I've told myself for years was the key to getting back to writing? Games. Games, a little browsing, and a lot of imagining... but no writing.

Okay, there has been some decorating with vinyl stickers...
See? What more could I need?
But still, no writing.


After 4ish years, getting back into writing is going to take some real work.

It's funny... I never stopped composing essays, stories, and rants in my head... I simply got into the habit of shutting them all down the moment I considered putting them in print.

It's not much but maybe, just maybe this can be my new start to writing again.

To be perfectly honest, my recovery and sort of sanity depend on it.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Bah Humbug

I hate Christmas. There, I said it.

I. Hate. Christmas.

I know, you love Christmas. The masses of you who had your trees up the day after Thanksgiving; lights twinkling away for passersby on the street. You love to shop for just the perfect thing. You play your Christmas music with such joy. All you want is to share your joy of the season with others.

Don't try it with me.

Christmas is nothing but triggers and panic and shame.

I understand, as a Christian, I should find this a celebratory time.

Nope. Nope. Doesn't quite work that way.

Oh, I can hear it now… I'm missing the point. I'm too self-centered. If I can't think of someone other than myself at this time of year, what good am I?

"It's not about you, Marisa."

I know. Truly.

I have 2 good Christmas memories. One was my 8th year, and yes, it was the gifts I received… not simply because I loved them but mostly because they'd been painstakingly handmade by Mum & Dad. The idea that handmade items are special because of the love in their creation is something I've believed my whole life. They were tangible expressions of something I craved to the exhaustion of everyone around me. Playing with raggedy ann was as good as the rare hug. The wood of the doll cradle reminded me that my hard working Dad had love enough to take the time and effort to make something for me. The cradle kept me company when he'd be away for a month or more.

The other good memory is the only time the kids and I ever surprised Charlie. That's a story for another day.

Not a lot of Christmas cheer for 49 years of living.

Too much of the holiday is cloaked in a suffocating blanket of shame. Not enough. Not grateful enough, not good enough, not considerate enough, not quiet enough, not reverent enough, crappy gifts, too needy of attention, and somehow not enough and too damned much all at the same time.

I was never able to give anyone around me the joy I wanted them to feel because it's hard to give something you don't have.

Never giving what was wanted. And I don't just mean gifts.

And let's not forget the sheer number of times I ruined something by just being me.

Never enough. Too much. Entirely unable to find a neutral zone between the two.

Honestly thought I could give the kids enough good memories they'd cover over those of my childhood.

I can be so naive.

Pretty sure they're just as fucked up by it all as I am.

I'm sorry will never be enough.

There are fleeting moments, usually in a song, where I feel for a moment or two that joy that's otherwise so lacking. But then the song ends… or becomes an ear worm that entirely sucks the spark of joy right out of existence.

Yes, I'm a Grinch. My heart is 2 sizes too small at Christmas.

Sure, maybe I should let myself off the hook. It's also possible it's barbed and I wouldn't survive the extraction.

Better not chance it.

*Edit*
Thinking a little less emotionally, there are other good memories. Less Christmas Day moments but rather events of the season. Family moments with Charlie and the kids and grandkids.
Still, the visceral reaction to Christmas remains unchanged.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Begin again... Again

11/1/2018

Went to the All Saints Day mass tonight. It's the first time I've been to Mass since the end of September, just before everything fell to pieces.

Father Joseph wrapped me in a rocking back and forth, happy bear hug and reminded me I'm loved. Not going to lie, I can't remember the last time someone in a position of church leadership suggested I was loved with an attitude that matched the words.

After mass, he reminded me to call if I ever have need. I haven't known him long enough for him to have an understanding of my very complicated relationship with pastors and church leaders in general… but he knows enough to know I don't let people in. I'm sure he saw the flash of fear in my eyes at the offer.

Told him I'm learning to reach out again and will learn to pick up the phone too.

For now, the words of support are enough and I'm grateful for the gift.

11/2/2018

I truly miss sitting at a traditional keyboard, headset in and rocking out to Classic Rock while I write. Writing on my phone is tremendously awkward but I can use voice to text. That's going to take getting used to.

I did try it last year and managed maybe two or three Tumblr posts that way before I stopped trying.

Today marks my second day of journaling this way and I like the idea of not having rules for it. There are no expectations other than to write.

I'll transfer things to the blog as I'm up to it. There will be no pressure. No shoulds. No expectation. Fortunately, it probably has no actual followers anymore and I can drop the pressure of trying to impress with my words. It can be enough to get it out of the cat 5 storm in my head.

I don't know, a lot of my blogging days were encouraged by those who read and commented. The interaction and the encouragement helped me to continue on. There was a small village in that blogging community and within that village I had a tribe.

That tribe is still there. Some on Twitter, some on Facebook, some on Instagram but they are still out there. We've just sort of scattered to different villages.

It may be that longing for things to be as they were is part of what's gotten in the way of writing now. While in the hospital and in talking with my new therapist and friends I'm finding that simply speaking what's in my heart is helping. I don't need to recreate the same village, or always rely on the same tribe.

Maybe over time it will be possible to add new family to the tribe that exists. I have seen that happen a lot on Facebook with l long time diary friends getting to know lifelong, offline friends and family. Watching those relationships grow is a privilege and a joy.

I don't want to be a leader. I hate the idea of leading. When I was in the position of leadership as the admin for the diary site it didn't take long to spin into another major depressive episode. Leading worship always ended the same way. Same as lead admin of a blogging site. Even in radio, the pressure of being an… example to others always spun me out. The idea of being nothing and a burden and more trouble than I'm worth would push me to self sabotage and falling apart.

I don't exactly know why or what specifically triggers it but until I understand it learn to break patterns, being in a leadership position is not what I want.

That said, my role as Mom, to anyone who wants or needs one, and Grandma and Survivor and minor Twitter influencer continues to show that I lead whether I want to or not.

Writing has kept me going most of my life. When I started writing stories and keeping a journal at 14, filling those pages with everything that was happening in my head helped to keep my feet on the ground. Helped me hold onto reality.

The last 4 years since I completely stopped writing at all beyond tweets, it has become habit to not express anything. Since Charlie’s passing, I don't talk to anybody.

Not talking to someone about the stuff swirling around in my head. If I'm honest, I didn't talk to Charlie much about things in his last couple of years. We knew he was dying, though we pretended not to and no one wanted to burden him further. Really, it's no wonder the cheese slipped completely off my cracker.

Talking to my phone is a new thing. I've used voice to text before but to log things, chronicle things. To speak to this phone as if it is my diary is a weird thing. But all new things seem strange and different until we get used to them. I think I can get used to this.

11/2/18

Reading over my earlier post, I honestly don't remember it being today. One of the frustrating things… the absolute most frustrating thing right now is feeling like I'm not entirely here.

It's a combination of changing medications, physical and emotional exhaustion, and trying to give the Crew space to be again.

It's more than that. I have worked so hard over the last few years to blunt anything I don't consider to be a light-hearted emotion. You can't live like that. I don't know where the expectation comes from other than always knowing that, for most people… specific people... I feel too deeply, express too much. I'm too open, too blunt, too raw, too honest, too loud, too silly, too irreverent, too visible, too needy... Too. Much.

Shutting myself down makes me more acceptable. So I believe... but it comes at a cost that is more than I can afford anymore.

When all the humans in the household are away for any length of time during the day, the seven dogs do whatever it is they do now we've mostly convinced them not to eat the house. When we get home though, more than 400 lb of dog tries to burst through the front door at once to barrel into all of us and demand our attention.

When I no longer have the strength to pretend everything is okay, to keep all those “too much” emotions hidden away and denied, they come tearing through my skull like 500 lb of dog ready to trample me.

It's no wonder I'm confused.

PS

Sitting down with Father Joseph tomorrow. Might even talk with him about more than theology.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Those Days

Ever have periods of time when it seems you're living entirely at the mercy of Murphy's Laws? If it can go wrong, it does. If it can break, it does... and if it can wreak havoc upon your life, it most certainly will.

That sums up most of the last month or so around here. It may sound a little defeatist but... meh... that's kind of the ruling emotion at the moment.

Even reminding myself emotions often lie doesn't help.

I have a special gift for using thoughts like that as a tool for self-flagellation... "Silly woman, letting emotions get to you! Punishment.. That's what you need." Bah.

One of the issues to rear its ugly head these last few months is, what seems to be, an all out war on my body and mind by PMDD.

Without getting into massive amounts of TMI, PMDD is to PMS what a shark is to a tuna. Not only is everything bigger and nastier, it simply lasts longer... and it really packs one hell of a bite.

I've read about menopause, the perimenopause years and what to expect... But no one mentions that PMS or PMDD symptoms can grow drastically worse in the years leading to true menopause.

In my case, this is pretty unfortunate news. My history of suicidal behavior and self injury during that particular time of month is well documented. It's what led to a diagnosis of premenstrual dysphoric disorder in '03 or so.

When the symptoms of perimenopause became consistent about 3 years ago, I dealt with it as humorously as possible. It's a normal part of life. May as well accept it and look for every possible opportunity to lighten things up.

Ah, Maxine. So many of us relate to you.

The last 3 months have brought with them a 3-4 day period each month where I'm stuck in my room or otherwise isolated and crying while trying to decide if I should have myself committed or research self-hysterectomy. Yeah, that bad.


Now take PMDD, a crazy making issue all its own, and add the physical changes that occur before menopause and suddenly my sanity is delicately balanced on something so sensitive a breath could tip things.

No, wrong analogy... It's like I've stepped on a Bouncing Betty and if I don't stand perfectly still until it's disarmed, I'll be scattered 200 feet in every direction along with any loved one unlucky enough to be close by when it goes.


On the upside, 3 months of watching and paying attention to my body more than writing or the distractions of the Internet has given me some vital information. I can now predict which days are the worst, which days to prepare for or plan to fight migraines and which days to ensure I can focus on self-care so as to minimize the control this currently has on my physical and emotional health.

Interestingly enough... the rash which sent me to the ER in the wee hours 4 weeks ago started again last night. Instead of waiting for it to spread everywhere, I attacked with mass quantities of antihistamines as soon as I recognized the signs and managed to wake up mostly hive free today.

I haven't checked the dates but either my body is overreacting to allergens at a specific time each cycle or I'm more prone to expose myself to possible allergens... I tend to think it is likely the former rather than the latter but will have to add that to the list of things to watch out for.



The net is filled with cute to biting satire about menopause... whether in cartoon, meme or essay form... it always seems to be about Menopause... well here's a reality check: MENOPAUSE ISN'T THE NIGHTMARE! It's the preceding years that kill you... or make you wish they would. Menopause means the hormonal roller coaster from hell is over. You are finally at a stage of life when you're free of the second (and worse) puberty you weren't properly warned about and can get back to living a life not controlled by a monthly cycle.

Every story I've ever heard about "The Change" refers to menopause and not PERImenopause... which is when the actual changes and occasional breaks with sanity occur.

I know I'm not alone... there is myriad evidence others have it as bad or worse than I do right now... a friend mentioned it was during this particular period of life when her mom pulled a knife on her. It's both scary and reassuring to know feeling dangerous is not an abnormal part of the package.

Anyway...

I'm currenly back on the upswing and hoping to make good use of the time, both around the property and the writing.

Yesterday, the kids and I cleared out the largest of the sheds making room for a car, present storage and a full quarter of the space for whatever creative or messy project I might want to do in shade and shelter.

The shed is a huge deal, if for no other reason than having an area where I could spin around with my eyes closed and not slam into something. Clutter and crowding have worn on my patience for months and it's nice to see a little more headway being made.

Usually, I'll get an area cleared only to have it fill up again before another area can be addressed. A frustrating cycle that leads to nightmares of being featured on a Hoarding intervention program.

In addition to the shed, we've made headway on the yard and garden. I'm working on custom orders before adding more items to the Etsy shop.

As much as I cried and beat myself up last week for only growing further behind in life, the evidence doesn't bear that out. We are taking care of things. It is getting better here on the land. The collective and individual dreams of our family are not out of reach and, you know... all that "I'm okay, you're okay" bullshit.

Also, bought a domain name. That Maya Angelou quote about bearing an untold story... it's here in me and in pieces and parts online and off... but it will be told.

But first, a little more decluttering of life... I don't want to have to run hide in a shed for room to breathe.