About That Date Last Night

Really not ready to date yet. I did it anyway.

I met up with some friends downtown for the annual turning on of the Christmas lights. I don’t care for crowds and getting bumped can trigger me so I generally avoid this kind of thing, but I figured why not? Client’s Brother decided that was a great reason to meet up with me rather than wait for Sunday, so we ended up on a spontaneous date. We grabbed some beers, watched part of the game, took a picture with the most epic ugly sweater ever (the guy also had Christmas ornaments hung in his long beard) and made out in my car for over an hour.

My post-trauma dating history is terrible. My ex did damage I am still trying to recover from, I have gone out with psychopaths (clinical) and guys with severe attachment disorder and it has all left me not wanting to date again, because I am tired of picking the bad apples. I’m pretty skittish.

But, you know, what the hell.

Bone Deep and Mind Breaking

‘Tis the season for joint pain.

Pain, you make me a believer.

I’m a summer girl, if for no other reason than hot weather doesn’t cause me joint pain. I inherited the family curse of old bones in a young body, and I can sit around with mature members of society and chat aches and pains with the best of them. They never believe someone my age can know how they feel, but since I can predict weather changes based on my elbows and hands and predict the overnight temps based on my knees, they eventually come around to accepting me as one of the wise. Or at least one of the chronically inflamed.

Add the prospect of months of constant deep joint pain to my neurological disorders and you get someone who hates winter. Me.

I finally broke again yesterday. I hit my limit of stress and went over the edge into nausea, dizziness and headache. Am I getting sick? No. I have PTSD, and the stress overload I’ve experienced in the last two weeks sent me over the edge again. The nausea is not completely new, the dizziness was. Thankfully I was able to hold it together to work with a couple of clients, and my mom and my brother kindly drove me where I needed to go. I was not about to drive in that state. Could I? Yes. Was that the best thing for me and everyone else on the road? No.

It would have been better if, when I got off work and got my hair cut, then grabbed some crafting supplies for a project I’m working on for a charitable organization, I had popped a Xanax and gone to bed. Just be done with the day and the stress and sleep it off. But I am so determined to not let the negative part of my brain control my life. So I texted a friend to see if I could catch a ride with her to Bible study and she gracefully didn’t hesitate. That support network? It’s everything on the days I can’t.

I took my knitting because it helps me stay present in group discussions, and knitted my way through tackling Jonathan Edwards’ writings on Charity. It was challenging, and it was good. The woman who hosts us in her home had made a spiced tea and cookies, and she has such a calm, loving presence. Toward the end we shared prayer requests, and I opened up about my struggles, about trying to come to terms with my new normal, that there are always barriers to living the life I want to live, that I have realized I will never be healed and I will live with this for the rest of my time on earth.

I live in pain. Every waking moment is hell because I have no hope that this life will ever be what I want, that what has happened to my brain will subside and I can live free from the demons in my head. I expressed that, and was received with love. One of the women in our group said that what I was saying was exactly her daughter’s experience. I found so much comfort in that, that someone understood. Those that didn’t understand met me with love and compassion.

That moment of vulnerability? It opened up so much love for me. It added women to my circle and to my team in struggling against and with what I’ve been dealt. I have gotten really ignorant responses from church people about my condition and what I do to try to heal. Last night was not that, and I was so comforted.

It is so fucking hard to be vulnerable when the person you were is ripped out of your hands and you’re trying to find your way again. But damn is it sometimes worth it.

And Client’s Brother messaged me all evening, showing a lot more interest than I expected.

When you live with chronic pain it can be hard to be thankful. But today I am so, so thankful.

Week One Off the Meds

When they all seem to conspire against you…

I’m not going to post about this every week, but I have made it through the first week of coming off my medications. It was hell. And I’m still full of synthetic chemicals. 

The situations and circumstances around me were the real issue, not my response to quitting my first prescription. I’m ok. Maybe a little more grumpy, a little more intense and a little more looking for connection. There’s also a slight internal shift I can’t put my finger on yet. I might have a little more ability to push through? I think I might also be slimming down a tad. Or it was the 6 hours of playing ball on Wednesday…

Between my family, my friends and my job, the week was bonkers. I’m not sure who called who to sabotage my sanity this week, but they did their damndest. I don’t hate people any more than usual though, and I successfully ran a meeting full of strangers, so… Maybe that was a test? I guess I passed? 

I reckon it’ll be January before I’m completely off everything. That’s a bit ambitious, but I’m nothing if not ambitious. And if this goes the way I’m planning for it to, I’ll be much better off by my birthday. 

Making Friends From Total Strangers

A few tips from an anxiety pro.

I’m at a conference, making friends and connections and finding people who can send work my way. It’s finally time for a break before dinner, and do I need it! I was up late last night knitting my contribution to the silent auction (you won’t see me procrastinating on a craft project again!), up early to finish knitting and get to breakfast, and it is not the easiest thing for a person with anxiety to sit through a lot of sessions…which is why I mostly skipped them this afternoon. I’m here as a professional service provider, not as a learner (yup, may sound over confident but I am really good at this business and I come for clients), and it’s a challenge for me to not be completely exhausted a few hours in. Plus it’s cold and wet and dreary and I’ve had no coffee, only a cuppa Earl Grey early. I’ll sleep well tonight!

One of the things that helps me in these situations now is that I remember while there are a lot of friends and a few cliques here, there are also a lot of people who are here by themselves, who would be glad to not sit by themselves and who are here because what we do is also important to them. In a room full of strangers, I have a lot of potential friends, they just need to see me be friendly. So I am, and it works really well. As much as society has been seduced by the Modernist Utopia of efficiency, speed and mechanization, what we really want is connection and relationship. So I do that.

I’ll sleep even harder when I get home.

Wreckiversary #4

A 5k, lobster rolls, popcorn for dinner and some stroke-inducing college football.

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Four years ago today I lived. Since then I have done little beyond survive. I think that was ok, because I did survive, and now I get to start living.

I ran (hahahaha I mainly walked) a 5k with a large group of friends. Three of them placed (they actually ran), and we had a great fun time, kids, strollers and all. I missed my usual bagels since they had sold out by the time I got there, and the bagel guy told me that if I message him next time and let him know I’ll be late, he’ll keep a couple back for me. This is why I like to know the people who make my food! What a kindness!

Bagels a no go, I grabbed a couple lobster rolls from a food truck and headed home for pajamas and college football. I knitted, I ate popcorn for dinner, I am almost having a stroke over this game.

While it sounds nice – and is nice – these times usually bring up unresolved issues for me. I still struggle to find a peaceful lack of churning thoughts. Even last night I was very concerned about a payment that hasn’t made it into our mailbox. This morning I had a note from the client letting me know the check had been misplaced, but was now found and in the mail. I spent a good half an hour trying to fall asleep last night but wide awake over an issue that had resolved itself. It’s not just sleep, it’s any time I’m not “busy”. And those churning, anxious thoughts drag me back to previous coping mechanisms and conjure back up previous issues.

I’ll write more about it later, but I have a bunch of boomerangs in my life. People who come, leave, then come back, always on their own terms. I never know when they’re in or out, never know if they’ll respond or not, and when they will or won’t pop back up with an unexpected text message. I had one pop up last week, he’s already gone again.

WHY???

I invest emotions, energy and time into other people, so every time this happens I don’t just drop it, it affects me and it takes a few days for me to let it go and move on. You would think that since I know that about myself and know this about them that I would “know better”. Sure, except that I often want people to be better than they are, and I want them to treat me better than they do, but I don’t demand it because for years I was told in so many ways that I don’t have value. That has stayed with my subconscious, and I am just now learning why this is such a challenge for me to just cut people off. One more thing for my brain to churn on. And 4 years later, I am so proud that I can say that and look forward to a day when that and many other things are not so damn hard.

Don’t Make Me Hurl My Queso At You

I don’t often experience rage with anxiety, it usually comes from being triggered.

It’s TRIGGERED day 3, and I’m about to go grab some tacos with a friend, which means queso will happen, which means my simmering rage will have a possible outlet of hurling queso at an unsuspecting citizen. And I really like queso so it’s not like I say that lightly.

I’m about 2 weeks away from my Wreckiversary, but since I didn’t have trauma anniversary anxiety last year I was assuming I wouldn’t this year. I have been going into rage mode every evening for the last three days, including today, under completely different circumstances, so I’m a little stumped. I don’t often experience rage with anxiety, it usually comes from being triggered, which has seemed to be happening fairly frequently lately (to the point that I’m marking a calendar).

When I say “rage”, let me explain: all the emotion of rage and desire to verbally spew what is in my head (rage at everything and everyone without a specific target or circumstance that I can identify), and none of the action. As my therapist has noticed, I am very controlled. Plus I don’t want to be mean or hurt someone else. And it would shock the hell outta people because I don’t exhibit anger. Again, I’m very controlled.

I have been out and about in the evenings a lot lately, and I tend to stay home because I find it more comfortable. I’ve had obligations, and one of my homework assignments is to not take care of others, but rather to spend that time taking care of myself since I frequently compromise my well being to do things for others (I am not the person you have to remind to be nice or kind or help out, I am the person you have to tell to leave others to their own problems and stay out of it and don’t bring food because there will be plenty anyway).

I thought maybe my busy schedule, social and otherwise, was the culprit, but being at home tonight wasn’t keeping the growing rage at bay either, so I did the only thing a girl can do. I called one of my friends and went out for tacos and a long chat. It worked.

That Oblivious Friend

Bitch, please.

At what point do you grab your friend by the shoulders, shake her and say loudly, “YOU’RE THE PROBLEM!”?

A month ago I wrote a post about my friend dumping her boyfriend for no good reason. I was pretty compassionate at the time. I’m much less so now. A month after dating for 4 months, she is still acting like this just happened. She doesn’t want to get back with him, but wants to be friends like they were before they started dating.

Bitch, please.

So the rest of us are being dragged through her need for attention (now that she’s not the center of his), which is expressed through:

  1. Inserting herself into every conversation and trying to make herself relevant to it (this gets noticeably weird, and often)
  2. Using dumb excuses to be around him and talking very awkwardly about it
  3. Blaming everyone else for her failures and lack of maturity in the relationship

She’s clearly not aware that some of us are annoyed (I’m the closest to it, but by no means the only one who has noticed, I’ve found out), and I’m not sure whether to ignore her bad behavior or call her out on it. We went to her ex’s rec league basketball game last night then to dinner with another friend, and her ex and I shared plates. It was satisfying to have her pout over a simple thing, honestly. He and I wanted tacos AND pancakes, sorry she isn’t more imaginative with her dinner choices. We also talked through scenarios in which he could work for me that excited he and I both, and it was nice to carry on with my friend without her being able to jump in on our future goals (which have zero to do with her, especially now that she’s dumped him).

So maybe ignoring her pettiness is the answer, and going on like it doesn’t happen. I’m not sure that ignoring the bad behavior of oblivious people is the answer, but it’s an answer that for the moment doesn’t drag me into being responsible for it.