A few years ago Tabitha was going through some terrible times. She would have breakdowns every day - sometimes more than one a day. I never knew when those would happen. I could make no plans because I didn't know when the school would call me to come get her and take her home (or to the hospital, if necessary). I lost a job because I was so stressed I could no longer concentrate. I was making mistakes. I couldn't do the work. My life was no longer my own.
I remember waking up one morning and thinking that I wanted Tabitha to just end her life, not because I didn't love her or because I wanted her dead, but because I had reached the end of my ability to cope. I was too tired to continue, uncertain whether she would be alive in the morning, unable to work or schedule my own life because I never knew what would happen each day. In short, I was exhausted to the point that I could no longer feel empathy for my child nor could I think logically.
That experience put a barrier between my daughter and me. Even now, while I love her with my whole soul, I'm unable to feel that love as deeply as I might otherwise. Therapist says that when we are in situations such as the one Tabitha and I lived for over a year, the effects are similar to those of abuse. It will take time to heal.
There has been a gnawing fear inside me, as I've gone through the stress of the last couple of months, that I am becoming a Tabitha in the lives of the ones who love me. That one morning they will awake and think, "I wish she would just take her life and get it over with." People can't live with constant stress without being affected by it. I know this. I'm pretty strong, but the type of stress I was enduring with Tabitha brought me to my knees. The stress I currently experience has driven me to the edge. I've shared some of that with people close to me, sometimes asking for help or support. But it worries me.
I wonder, how can the people who support me be unscathed? If they truly love me, how can they not feel the trauma? When this is over, will it have destroyed any past or future closeness? Will they feel about me the way that I feel for Tabitha? Will they love me and be happy that I'm making progress away from the place I'm currently in, but be too tired of me to want to spend more time or deepen relationships? I know that no one has stress-free interactions with the people they care about. But I've been the one who has needed help for so long. And unless I'm able to change things soon...
I don't know how to finish that sentence. I'm pretty sure there's a second half to it. I just can't make my brain figure it out.
Tolkien Boy tells me that it's a two-way street, and I help other people, too. I have difficulty seeing that. He and I had a misunderstanding recently over some chat messages. As I go back and read the conversation, there seems to be nothing there that would be upsetting to anyone. But I didn't say the things I was feeling. Things like, "The questions I'm asking you are important to me. I need some answers. And asking you is really difficult for me. It makes me feel vulnerable. The fact that I'm not being taken seriously when I've finally found the courage to ask is really hurtful. I'm frustrated. I feel angry that I asked in the first place. And now I feel afraid."
But if you read the words I said, it seems that I'm mildly put out, but not really affected by the conversation. There is humor in the few attempts I made to ask my questions. In the end, there is a large pause followed by my messy attempt to express what I felt. It was ineffective. I was upset about the whole situation for three or four days. Now I just feel stupid about it. And I feel like it was completely my fault. Tolkien Boy has never volunteered to be the person who answers my questions. It's nothing to do with him if I feel vulnerable asking. And chat is not always a good way to ask anything that makes me feel vulnerable. In short, I messed up. Again.
Josh has been wonderful about trying to contact me, and responding when I write stupid things in my blog about how bad my life is. But our timing sucks. I don't think we've had one conversation in the last four months that has lasted long enough to talk about anything. We like talking to each other. We laugh a lot. But he's had a lot on his plate lately, and I've wanted to ask about so many things. I just haven't been able to because of the timing of the conversations and because I've been distracted by myself. In short, I messed up. Again.
I attempted to contact an old friend with whom I've not spoken for a couple of years. The lack of speaking happened not because of any friendship rift, but because our communication largely happened online, and he became a bit scarce as he worked on some career and schooling things. And I wasn't in any shape to call him. I guess he felt the same way. But I texted him and set up a time to talk online. And I invited mutual friend, Tolkien Boy, to join us. And then I sat back and watched them chat. I had nothing to say. Before Tolkien Boy joined, my friend asked how I was doing. It seem inappropriate to say, "Crappy. My life sucks. I'd like to die pretty much every day. Thanks for asking." So I changed the subject instead. But I never did talk to him. In short, I messed up. Again.
AtP asked me if there are any flowers here yet. There aren't. I think, maybe, he wants me to tell him fun things, let him know that I'm okay and I'm happy. But I'm too tired to do that yet. I want him to think I'm better, though. Knowing someone you care about is not doing well is a stressful thing. And I'm the person who's older. I'm supposed to be fine. "There are no flowers. Maybe next week." And the conversation dies. Because I messed up. Again.
If I sound scared and frustrated, I am. If I don't, clearly I'm still having difficulty saying what I feel. I'm so tired of feeling this way. I'm so tired of feeling like a life-sucking, joyless person.
Yesterday I smiled at a little girl I do not know, and she told me she loved me. I'm thinking maybe I just need to smile more and talk less. It feels nice to be loved by someone who doesn't understand that I'm not really all that lovable.
Done feeling sorry for myself. I have a rehearsal in three minutes.