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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Oh my goodness! I need to fold laundry!

Therapist once told me when I got to the point when I stopped "collecting" people, and allowed them to stay in my life as long as they chose then pass through and leave while I wished for their happiness, I would know the dependency I was so afraid of was gone. I let his words remain unanswered because I was unwilling to discuss the topic at the time. But here is what he doesn't know:

1. With possibly one exception, the only person on whom I have ever been emotionally dependent is Darrin. I have worked through that, I'm in a much better place and I don't believe it will ever happen again. I'm just not the type of person to feel comfortable depending on anyone except myself. I'm not saying it won't happen, just that circumstances would have to be unusual and I would have to be considerably weak in order for that to take place, therefore--unlikely, leaning toward impossible.

2. I've never asked any person to stay--ever. I may have said I wished they would, or I loved having them in my life, but I have never coerced them in any way. Emotional blackmail is not my thing. I much prefer telling people what I think or feel, and letting them know what's happening in my life to avoid misunderstandings and avoid regrettable situations. Not everyone I love reciprocates these things for me, but people deal with life in their own ways. In fact, I would have to say that when any person has indicated our friendship (or other "-ship") has become uncomfortable, I have suggested it might be time to do something different. The last thing I wish is for someone to remain in my life out of social habit, a misplaced sense of obligation, or pity. We both deserve better.

3. If I "collect" people, it's by choice not compulsion. People fascinate me. I like them. I like to find out what makes them happy or sad, what they're interests are, what foods they like or dislike, what they see when we're both looking at the same thing...I don't just find someone because I need an emotional sponge or I'm dying for a new audience to tell all my secrets. Most people would say they don't really know that much about me unless we've been friends for at least a year (or more). There was once a person with whom I spoke sporadically--I considered him my friend. But fairly recently he was having some difficulty and I was trying to help. I mentioned my love and support for him. He baldly stated that he didn't even know me. Good point. The fact that I love him is obviously suspect. Not everyone understands that I love haphazardly and I rarely consider that other people actually like to have some sort of relationship before they love someone. Point taken. I don't tell him I love him anymore--in fact, I don't think I tell him anything anymore.

4. I always want happiness for the people I love. And I allow them to define what happiness means to them without input from me. And if they find it, I will be the first person to be happy for their happy. As for letting go, I practice it all the time. I prepare for it. I try to discuss it, but I find most people are unwilling to talk about it--which I do not understand. It's a fact of life. If we could talk about it, think about it, get ready for the time when we're no longer as important to each other, it wouldn't hurt so much when it happens. Unfortunately, logic does not seem to penetrate emotional situations. Most people think I'm trying to encourage them to leave (I'm not), or they're insulted that I even suggested it might happen (ridiculous--it always happens--even in marriages there are times of closeness and distance, children are born with the idea that one day they'll leave, friends...well...anyone who talks to me knows how I feel about the staying power of friendship, or rather, the non-existence of such a phenomenon).

So why am I afraid of dependence? This is the last thing I haven't told Therapist: I'm not afraid of it. I am afraid I'll depend on the wrong person. Co-dependence is highly unlikely to ever be a problem in my life. Misplaced dependence is definitely something I fear. I indulged in it once and ended up getting raped more times than I can count. I think I can be forgiven of that--I wasn't yet twelve, and adolescents don't always have enough knowledge to make good choices. But I'm not twelve now. And I don't believe I'll ever be in a situation where I'll be that vulnerable again. But I still wonder about dependence. Part of me is dependent on Darrin--he's my husband--that's appropriate. But someday we'll be separated by death, and I have a feeling I'll be the one left behind. What to do with that dependence then? I have no idea.

Perhaps I'll put this on my list of topics to discuss with Therapist in May. Then again, perhaps by that time I'll no longer care. Good thing my list is written in pencil.

Yeah...random title. I have a knack for choosing words which have nothing to do with the topic at hand.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Tomorrow will be Friday

It's been a tough week. As my work week is six days long, we're now on the downside and I have only two more days before I can rest. What made it difficult:

Monday:  For whatever reason, my dad decided I needed to spend the day working in his office. I had scheduled two hours. I saw a bunch of clients, finished tax returns, did some bookkeeping and listened as my father discussed the value of buying toilet paper in bulk. Then my mother decided to let me know just how difficult it is to tie shoes while one arm/hand is in a cast--which made no sense whatever because my mother rarely wears shoes with laces. She also found a number of Christmas gifts she had hidden away three years ago and offered me mine, which I opened and thanked her for. It was a pair of pajamas...size 1X. She mentioned they might be a little large because she was unsure of my size and wanted to be sure not to get them too small. For any reader who is unaware of the sizing of women's clothing, they start at size 0 and go in even increments to size 22 or 24, I believe, at which point they start "big" sizes at 1X. I believe those sizes end at 3X, but I don't know for sure. I wear a size 4. Do the math. She bought me pajamas eleven sizes larger than I wear. Eleven. I'm still blinking in disbelief. I'm thinking I'll make quilt blocks out of them.

Tuesday: One of my work sites was down for most of the day. I made up for it by working extra hours at another job. One of my rehearsals was a complete waste of time. I'm pretty sure at least one person was sight-reading her part (inexcusable--we've had the music for two weeks). I left half-way through and told them it was unfair to charge them for a complete rehearsal when they hadn't adequately practiced. Tabitha swore her homework was finished, had a friend stay for dinner and a movie, then informed me that she completely forgot an assignment--which she worked on for 90 minutes, then lost because her computer froze and she hadn't activated the autosave in her Word program.

Wednesday: My office is in our garden level basement. I was trying to work, but a cat kept hurling itself at my window. I shooed it away, but it came back and began launching itself once again. I don't know about anyone else but for me, hearing a cat body thump against my window at regular intervals is a little bit stressful. I finally left and went for a walk and it was gone when I came home. Tabitha and Adam got home, relaxed for about fifteen minutes, then began screaming at each other. This never happens. I blame the cat. I decided to go for another walk, instructing them not to draw blood and to be hugging each other when I got home. They weren't, but Tabitha was doing homework and Adam was making dinner when I returned which is a step in the right direction.

Thursday: I went to bed early last night but woke feeling exhausted. The thought of work makes me want to throw up so I'm blogging instead (however, I was up at 5:30, so I've gotten in three hours all ready). In forty-five minutes I'll meet my rehearsal buddies who have let me know they've repented and practiced and are ready to pay me (which is good since they perform next week). Darrin said I look exhausted and made me breakfast. When he wasn't looking I ate cookies instead. I was supposed to work at my dad's office yesterday, but got derailed by the cat and my kids--two long walks ate up my finance work time, so I'll try to get some of that in today. If I can't, I'll do it tomorrow and Saturday. So I sort of feel drained and weepy today. Maybe I'm tired.

The problem, possibly, is that I haven't really spent time with anyone or anything except work for awhile. I know I talked to Tolkien Boy on the phone sometime last week (I think it was last week--possibly the week before), and Brozy has caught me online several times lately (Thank you so much!), but I've had no time for conversation with Darrin or any other responsible adult (I don't consider the toilet paper conversation with my dad or the pajama fiasco with my mother responsible adult conversation). The funny thing is, five years ago I didn't care. I'd just immerse myself in a book or take another walk. Now I sort of feel like something's missing. Does this only happen to me? I wish I understood why things are different now.

On the bright side, tonight I'm experimenting with sweet potatoes, plantains, hot peppers, coconut milk, and red curry. I might add some chicken (feeling a protein deficit today). Should be fun...want to join me for dinner? It will only cost you 25 minutes of conversation interspersed with insane giggling. And I might ask you to stir something.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Apparently only woman lives by bread alone.

There are times when I like to pretend I don't have low blood in, I like to pretend this every moment of every day. So last night I decided it would be okay to go work out at seven and eat dinner when I got home. I have no idea why I made dinner so late. It's not like me to do that. When 5:00 rolls around, we're busy making food, but that didn't happen last night. I blame President's Day.

So Tabitha and I were being buff and lifting tons of weight and working our abs and arms and legs and behinds and trying not to whine that it hurts and makes us a little bit cranky, while at the same time feeling powerful and not noticing how the large man in front of us is whining less while lifting three times the weight (except in the leg press--I did just as much weight as he did because my thighs are freakishly strong which only makes the rest of me feel wimpy), and after about an hour my blood sugar dived.

If I'm at home reading or working at my computer when this happens, it's an easy thing to just go get a snack and ignore the fact that I feel simultaneously faint and nauseated. But at the gym, lifting stupid weights, feeling cranky and whiny, if my blood sugar dives--well, let's just say a quick exit is preferable to trying to explain how I can possibly lose consciousness while working out, and with my luck I'd somehow end up hurting a vital part of me while crashing to the floor.

So Tabitha and I opted out of our usual run which we do during the second hour of our workout, and got water and Gatorade and drove home to eat. And Adam laughed at us because he doesn't have low blood sugar and I don't love him right now but I will tonight when he comes home from school.


We'll try this again tomorrow night, but for now, I have a date with some running time. Bye!

Monday, February 21, 2011

"I too have known joy and sadness, and, on the whole, I prefer joy." ~Ashleigh Brilliant

There is still sadness but it's not new. Periodically I feel it pushing at my soul, reminding me that there have been inexcusable abuses--but it's old. Oddly, I can feel that these are not emotions from the present. They reek of loneliness only a small child can feel, or intense, consuming anger conjured by a teen, or confusion and loss felt by a terrified, aching adolescent. I was sad. I'm not sad now.

Still, the tears come. It doesn't seem to matter that I'm all right now, or that I'm safe, or that life has become joyful. I must still weep for those long past feelings and experiences. I must feel the emotions too large for me to endure when the experiences occurred.

Long ago I believed someone would save me. Bitterness and cynicism became my best friends when no savior came. I have laid them to rest. Bitterness hurts my heart, and I have had enough pain. Cynicism cankers my soul, eats away all that is beautiful about Samantha. The losses, if allowed, will devour my future joy and bring me nothing, continuing the cycle of destruction and pain which grew monstrous in my youth. But I am an adult now. No matter how great the required effort, I will choose to contain the monster; I will choose my life; I will choose joy.

Therapist says the sad feelings are important. Eventually, I will understand and embrace them for they are my personal responses to the painful, unacceptable situations in my life. He believes the sadness might return periodically throughout my lifetime, but I will recognize it, allow it, and move on without becoming overwhelmed by it. He says to feel nothing, to ignore the abuses, allows them continued power. As I weep for my losses, for the hurting child and subsequent aftermath throughout my teen and adult life, I allow those things to heal without disregarding their importance, without denying the existence of events which intensely harmed me, and with that acknowledgement I take control of protecting myself in healthy ways. I begin to understand where the guilt and blame lies--and it does not lie with a vulnerable child, ever. And someday I will be able to say, "This happened. It makes me sad--it should sadden any person who knows of it because any time a child is abused or molested, humanity suffers. But while it happened to me, it is not who I am. It has harmed but not consumed me. It affects but does not control me."

Therapist believes that while I might feel pain in varying degrees caused by my past, throughout the rest of my life, he also believes that learning to share that pain with people I love does not harm my loved ones, but rather, helps them to bear my burden and increases the love and caring they feel for me. I don't understand this yet. It seems that a person who is repeatedly bringing the same problem into conversations, or who can't seem to overcome her past, would be someone to run from. People like to help, but only when they can see that their aid is effective. If a person keeps saying, "Hey--remember last month when I was sad and I asked if I could tell you about it? You know, like I did the month before, and two weeks before that, and every day the previous it okay if we do all that again for the millionth time, because I'm sad again?", it just seems prudent to avoid that person and allow them to wallow in their chosen pain alone.

Did I choose this?

That's the question Therapist keeps asking. Then he reminds me that I don't really wallow. The past doesn't change but I do. I keep searching for new ways to manage the aftermath of a horrendous situation. And he says that I might keep talking about the same things, but my sole focus is not to find pity but support as I seek for ways to grow and find happiness. That, he says, is much different from someone who just wants a complaint audience. He also reminds me that I do similar things for the people I love and I don't resent it nor do I wish to run from them. He says I need to give people credit and allow them to love me--believe they are capable of loving me--just as I love them.

Sometimes Therapist lectures. Usually what he says is right. Always, I bristle and argue and feel misunderstood. And in the end I believe him--which doesn't mean I can magically do what is difficult but helpful, but does mean I will try.

Still, it's nice to know I'm on the right track. And I'm grateful that finally I can encounter the ancient sadness without wanting to lie in a corner and bleed to death. In fact, I'm at the point where, when it comes I think: This is sad. I wish it hadn't happened. I wish I could change things--but--I'm still here, and I'm happy. I haven't stopped loving life or people or me. So I think I'll just take a moment and cry a little bit, and then if friend is online or nearby I'll talk to them for a little while because that helps me remember I'm loved. And if no one's around, maybe I'll take a walk or sing or dance or turn a cartwheel--because I can. I'm not destroyed, I'm very much alive, and this feeling won't last forever.

It's a long thought process and someday I think it will reduce itself to a simple acknowledgement. I'll notice the sadness fleetingly, remember its importance, and continue whatever it is I'm doing. But for now I need a little time. I think that's okay.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

I have zero time because I'm supposed to be at a family gathering...

I've been thinking a lot about DJ.

I know it's good that he's independent, living on his own, and happy. Adam says DJ inherited my naturally happy genes. I'm not sure that's genetic. I love that I'm feeling the happy again. It's wonderful.

But I miss DJ. It's not like I don't see him--he comes over for dinner a few days weekly and he'll be going on a mini-vacation with me next month. It's just that he's not here anymore. I can't kiss him good-night, or make sure he's not eating junk food, or help him with his laundry, or listen when he needs to talk.

And I miss that.

I miss him.

I'm very good at letting people live their lives without me. I'm very bad at not missing them.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Good night

There is an incredible lightness inside of me. I've not felt like this for nearly two years.

No flashbacks for nearly seven months. No more depression. My Wonder Woman boots are alive and well.

We had a pink moon in the evening sky a couple of nights ago. It was beautiful.

For a long time I yearned to share what I saw with someone else who understood. Now I think it's okay if no one ever understands me. I know who I am again.

If I have leaned on you, metaphorically or otherwise, during the past couple of years--thank you for allowing it.

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Plumber, revisited

I posted the video clip in my previous post because we actually were visited by a plumber Thursday. He arrived in the morning around nine and stayed until 2:30 p.m. He replaced our kitchen faucet and fixed leaks in the sink and shower in our master bathroom. The kitchen repair went quickly and smoothly. The bathroom repair did not. Shortly after noon Plumber's pager began making noise which continued periodically for about ninety minutes, at which point he left and came back with reinforcements. Between the three of them the drippy sink and shower were finished in an hour.

So now I have a new kitchen faucet and formerly drippy bathroom near my bedroom is no longer keeping me awake. I should be completely happy--and I am--except...


And don't tell me this is not a big deal because it is. All three sets of faucets now turn on and off differently from how they did previously. And it's not consistent. It's not like Plumber just reversed everything. That would be logical and I'd get used to it in a day. But no--he had to go and be creative. Every set of faucets is directionally unique and it's frustrating!

Darrin says I'll get used to it.

Darrin says it's not a problem--you're just turning the water on and off.

Darrin says he could probably change it back to the way it was, but maybe that's the only way Plumber and Friends were able to stop the leaks in the bathroom and then we'd be right back where we started from.

Darrin says, if I'd like him to, he'll quit his job so he cans stay home and be the person who turns the water on and off for me when ever I need it. That way I can stop shrieking and cursing poor Plumber.

Sometimes Darrin is a bit beastly.


When Adam was very young we recognized that he was a creature of habit. He became agitated if things were not in a certain order or if something that was normally in one place was moved to another. When he was about two years old his collection of Duplos had grown enough that it needed a larger container, so I switched the Duplos into a container more accommodating to their number and placed it on the toy shelf.

Later that day, Adam decided to build something. I heard a whimper come from his bedroom and went to investigate. He was standing in front of the toy shelf looking unhappy. The whimper increased to a howl, at which point he sat on the floor and wept. I couldn't figure out what was wrong. I asked Adam what was bothering him. He ignored me. I placed toy after toy in front of him, hoping for distraction. When I picked up the Duplo bucket Adam's weeping became a full-blown tantrum. Adam never had tantrums.

Not knowing what to do, I cleared a space for Adam and left the room, thinking the tantrum would wear itself out eventually, which it did. About five minutes later Adam appeared at my side, glaring at me. I asked if he wanted a snack. Sullenly, he continued to glare. He mutely followed me through the house. I was cleaning, but I figured if he was quiet, I'd keep going. We went to the kitchen and I began to empty the trash can. As I pulled the overflowing liner from the can, Adam made a very odd noise, ran to me and attempted to pull the bag away from me.

Adam was not a naughty child. He was often in trouble because he climbed and ate everything in sight and believed that Tabitha was his personal belonging, but he didn't make messes and he was generally very compliant. I was at a loss, watching him mutinously pulling at the trash bag I was holding. I decided if he wanted to look at our garbage before I took it out of the house it wasn't really a problem, so I put the bag on the floor and opened it towards him.

He reached inside and dug a tiny bit while I cringed and longed for him to finish so I could wash his hands, then emerged, grinning, holding the former Duplo container. I said, "Is that all you wanted? Let's go wash it and you can play with it." I washed his hands and let him stand next to me on a stool as I washed and dried the container. I handed it to him and he disappeared happily into his bedroom where I could hear him playing with toys and jabbering to himself. I waited about fifteen minutes, then went to check on him.

The new Duplo container sat empty in the corner of the room. The old one, now over flowing with Duplos, was back on the toy shelf. Adam was happy.

He hasn't changed. Now a teen, Adam still has methods and rituals and a certain order in which things must progress. When family members leave for more than a day, Adam becomes stressed. If they're gone more than three days, he he begins calling them every couple of hours to make certain they're okay. His daily routine rarely varies. Each of his shirts has its own day on which it is worn. Piano practice always follows a specific order. The route traveled to and from school each morning never varies.

Darrin blames me. He says he has no similar habits and my neuroticism over the change in faucet direction supports the fact that Adam's quirks are learned or inherited from me. I'm not arguing. I definitely have certain habits that are similar to Adam's. And I'm allowing Darrin his delusion. I'm not pointing out that he has to have his tools stored in a certain order, or that he has to brush his teeth before he can wash his face before bed, or that he sits at the table before every meal and moves his fork from one side of the plate to the other, or that he cannot pass a pot on the stove without stopping to stir it, or that when he's dressing he has to put on his socks before he'll put on his underwear...

Poor Adam. There's no hope for him.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Some amazing person who has actually read both my "Samantha" blogs for the past five years sent me this today. My phone number is nearly identical to that of a local plumbing company, so I often get wrong number calls asking me to help with some plumbing problem. I'm thinking of changing my occupation, as I already seem to have clientele.

This clip, however, got me started watching other clips from the Electric Company series. I think the writers were on drugs, but I also think I want to keep watching the show. I sort of wish it was still being made.

Here's one more for your viewing delight. I think I'm in love with Electric Company:

Monday, February 14, 2011

"For thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings That then I scorn to change my fate with kings." ~Shakespeare

Today is Valentine's Day. Much has happened in the past week.

Darrin has his blood tested every three months. I do it annually, partly because I think it's good to have an idea of what's happening inside me and for a baseline comparison should anything go awry, healthwise, and partly to keep Darrin company. We went to have our blood drawn two weeks ago. On a whim, because I had heard there is a link between low levels of Vitamin D and depression, I had them take an extra vial of blood to check my levels. I also noticed my blood was not the dark purplish color it normally is, but rather a lovely shade of bright red.

My tests came back, showing me to be one of the healthiest people on this planet--except for a couple of things:
1. I'm anemic.
2. My Vitamin D levels are alarmingly low.

And so I have been prescribed a daily dose of Vitamin D which I'm certain is toxic. I was told I should feel a difference in a number of odd symptoms I've been experiencing within a couple of days. I felt a difference in a couple of hours.

For the past five days I've had such a drastic decrease in depression that today it has become difficult to remember how it felt. I've been experiencing muscle cramps for nearly a month which have now become non-existent. I'm finding it easier to focus and concentrate. Today I'll begin taking ugly iron doses which will leave me feeling nauseated and sort of miserable, but if I continue them consistently and alter my diet to include more foods with Vitamin D and iron, in a month I should be completely healthy.

Which reminds me...

That eating food part is problematic. I haven't been doing that very well lately. In fact, I would have to say the weight loss experiment was a complete failure. Two days after posting about it I was no longer able to manage the stupid anorexia on top of the PTSD and depression. All the weight was gone within a week, plus a bit more (my target date for completing the weight loss was tomorrow). Sigh... Maybe I'll try again next year.

However, I feel better--so much better! Panic symptoms are still alive and well, but those are annoyingly familiar and I know how to manage them.

And so today I just have to say a few things about love:

About three years ago one of my friends accused me of being insensitive to people who are single on Valentine's Day. He said that randomly sending wishes for a Happy Valentine's Day only magnifies the fact that they have no one special with whom to celebrate. I have always loved Valentine's Day. I loved the mushy decorations, the cookies and candy, the grins and the blushing. I loved making elementary school Valentine boxes and signing cards to put into them. I loved the class parties. I loved giving silly cards gifts to my high school friends. But mostly I loved this holiday because it was one day out of the year when my mom selected a card and wrote me a note saying she loved me.

I knew the card was hand selected just for me. She always chose one with a cute brown-eyed girl and a poem about a daughter. And I have kept every one. For just one day I would pretend I was loved by my mom--that the words in the card were absolutely true--and that tomorrow when the abuse began once again, I would have a tangible reminder that just for a moment my mother loved me.

When I became a teen, naturally the cards seemed like hypocrisy and became one more reason for me to hate my mother. But a part of me buried deeply inside, clung to the hope that she really did love me even if it was only one day out of the year, and I still kept each Valentine signed with love from her.

Every year for my entire life my mother has made special cookies for Valentine's Day. They're like a sugar cookie, but the dough is extremely fragile and flavored with butter and rum and vanilla. It has to be refrigerated and kept cold while rolling and cutting with a special heart-shaped cutter. The cookies can only be baked four minutes or they're overdone. Then an amazing pink frosting is sandwiched between two of them, they're frosted on the tops and sides and rolled in coconut (sometimes tinted pink, sometimes left white), and allowed to sit for a day, during which the cookies soften and meld with the frosting. My mom calls them "Valentine Cookie Cakes" which is apt, if not imaginative.

I love these cookies.

When Darrin and I were engaged my parents wanted us to get married as quickly as possible. I think they were afraid we'd have sex before marriage or something. Obviously they didn't know me at all. Sex before marriage was the last thing I was likely to engage in with a man--fiance or not. However, to humor them, we said we would choose the first three-day weekend during our spring semester of college. It fell on President's Day in February, which also happened to be Valentine's Day. And so as luck or coincidence or fate would have it, I ended up getting married on my favorite holiday (no, not President's Day--that was just a matter of convenience).

I asked for those cookie-cakes to be served at my wedding, and I've made them every year since. I deliver them to nearby friends. I also give some to my mom. She always laughs and reminds me she's made dozens all ready, then hands me a plate for my family. I don't care. I make them for her anyway.

Valentine's Day for me, has never been about boyfriends, or lovers, or romance. It's a day of love. One day throughout my life when I believed I was loved, when I received tokens of love and friendship. One day when I feel free to share that love with everyone who owns a piece of my heart. One very special day...

So if you're offended by my wishing you a Happy Valentine's Day, remember, I'm not being insensitive--I just love you. And if that's a problem for you, you're going to have to discuss it with my heart. It has its own ideas; I just go along for the ride.

I hope your day is filled with love, and if  you know me, know also that I love you.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

It's cold today.

I'm thinking of taking a break--from blogging, but also from everything else. More than one reason exists for this pondering, but the largest one is that for the first time in my life I'm battling debilitating depression. There. I said it.

Apparently it's not normal to cry all the time, nor is it normal to wake up sad and spend entire days waiting for a moment when you won't be sad--except that moment doesn't happen so you go to bed sad hoping to wake up less sad--only you don't, so you spend another day waiting for the sad to go away...and another day...and another...

There are times during the day when I can't decide whether to cry again or just throw up, which adds variety. That's something.

Ambrosia, Tolkien Boy, and AtP chatted with me briefly yesterday, which was helpful. The distraction of having someone talk with seems to buoy me up when I'm feeling like I'm drowning. Honestly, I'm not really trying to be so melodramatic--that's just how it feels.

I've been trying to channel my energy into positive things. I spent a couple of hours at the gym with Tabitha last night. We lifted weights for about an hour, then ran for an hour. I was hopeful this would be a healthy fix which would leave me feeling better emotionally. It didn't, but Tabitha had a wonderful time. She was still feeling happy about our time together when she got up this morning. I love that girl.

Last night my Therapist-prescribed bedtime hit and I just couldn't go. Darrin was working late and I didn't want to be alone. I checked my chat list. Thankfully, Jason was there. Sometimes I hail him at inopportune times. I'm really glad last night wasn't one of those times. Lonely and Sad is a more unpalatable combination than just plain sad. We had this conversation:

Jason: So, I saw you've been having panic attacks.
  That's no fun at all.
 me: They're stupid. They make me very cranky.
 Jason: With good reason!
 me: I told a friend I was experiencing panic attacks. She said, "I never would have guessed--you're so normal!" I don't even know what that means.
 Jason: It means you're fun and delightful and say clever things and smile a lot ;-)

Except, I'm not fun anymore, I rarely say clever things--I rarely say anything--anymore, and I don't smile anymore.

I could come up with hundreds of logical, valid reasons why I'm feeling depressed right now. It is unhelpful to know whether or not depression is reasonable. Reasonable does not make depression go away.

So I'm thinking it might be time for me to just spend some time away from everything; concentrate on work, maybe, and do some reading in my down time; just have some alone time to see if I can get on top of things again.

I don't know. There doesn't seem to be a correct answer. Maybe there isn't an answer. After all, I don't remember asking a question in the first place.

Anyway, I'll be back when I feel better. Talk to you later.

Monday, February 7, 2011

If you eat a frog in the morning, it's the worst thing that will happen to you all day.

There are times when I feel guilty posting about my inner angst--which is completely silly given that this is a blog and I'm really bothering no one by putting those things here. It's just that in person, I'm a lot of fun. I laugh and trade banter and have great conversations. I've been known to act like a teenager when I'm turned loose in an amusement park. I dance and turn cartwheels and climb trees. I play board games and card games and sometimes I win. I smile most of the time--lots of people smile back at me. I'm not a sad person.

Today, though, I feel sad. I'm recognizing this happens as a matter of course after a day of high stress or panic attacks. I've also realized that I've somehow learned how to put those things off--in the same way I used to put off reactions to flashbacks--and when I have down time, or I'm in a safe place, my subconscious finally allows those things to happen. Yesterday was panic attack day.

It didn't begin until about 4:00 p.m., which is nice because I enjoyed my morning. So when the attacks began, I cleaned and made cookies and took a walk and paced and cleaned some more. The panic was still hovering at bedtime and at that point I was cranky, as well. I told Darrin I didn't want him to go to sleep because I would be the only person awake in the whole world. He stayed up with me for awhile. 

I didn't awake feeling sad this morning. I love mornings. I got up with my kids at 5:30 and worked for awhile. After they had gone to seminary I felt the sadness begin. It's grown into sadness and loneliness. I've been trying to work but I'm finding it difficult to concentrate--and so--here I am--writing about something I can't seem to manage.

Last night I asked Darrin to say all the ways he believes I've become "better" over the past five years. I fell asleep while he was talking, but I know he listed quite a few things. And he's right--I've worked through many difficult things and I'm handling life in different, more healthy ways. I just can't feel that I'm making progress, and I've been tired for a long time.

Sad makes me cry now. A long time ago I didn't know how to cry. There are advantages to that. I'm fairly certain the tears are a reaction to the panic attacks of yesterday. That doesn't make me like them.

And now it's time for me to go back to work. In an hour I will go running. Later I will meet with tax clients, work on their returns, do more work, and then teach piano lessons.

Two weeks ago Darrin suggested I needed to do something that will take me out of the house--something I enjoy. So I purchased a limited membership to a fitness club. Tabitha and I will go there for a couple of hours tonight while Adam is at class. She hugged me this morning and told me she was really excited to go work out with me. I think that's odd (teenage girls are not supposed to love spending time with their mothers), but sort of wonderful. I'm looking forward to it, too. house is full of cookies. I think, however, I need to make some more before I go back to work this morning. If you want chocolate-chocolate-chip cookies, you know where to find them. :-)

Update:  Cookies made...and now I need a new cookie dough scooper...oops...

Saturday, February 5, 2011

"The hardest battle you're ever going to fight is the battle to just be you." ~Leo F. Buscaglia

It's been about two weeks since I've written anything here. During the first week I didn't even think about it. I was having difficulty navigating almost every area of my life and blogging did not occur to me even once. This is a little bit odd since, for the past five years, I've used this as a place to unwind, look at things rationally, spew self-pity and melodrama, and record ideas and experiences. Writing has been a coping device. Two weeks ago, I forgot it.

The level of disinterest in people I love and in my life, in general, has increased dramatically in the past fourteen days. I've been trying to "fake it", as instructed by Therapist (Faking it = continuing normal interaction with those closest to me including initiating conversations and allowing physical closeness, and pretending I like and have interest in both those things). I've been trying to be honest with those closest to me. This is what I've learned from doing those two things:
1. Faking it makes me cranky.
2. Faking it makes me stressed.
3. Faking it causes intense panic attacks.
4. Faking it is increasing the non-interest and numbness I feel toward people.
5. Faking it is a very bad idea.
6. Most people don't like it very much when a spouse or parent or best friend is being honest and says she doesn't really care about them anymore.
7. Most people are sort of stunned/hurt/angry when such honesty is imparted.
8. Most people don't really know what to do next when I honestly tell them what is happening with me and they don't address it ever fact, they don't really want to address anything with me anymore.
9. Honesty, in this particular case, might possibly fall under the auspices of Too Much Information.
10. Honesty might be a very bad idea.

I'm doing those things anyway, bad ideas or not, because I don't know what else to do.

I talked for a long time with Tolkien Boy a couple of weeks ago. I have to hand it to him. He allowed me to rant and argue and try to explain all the reasons why I just need to give in and let this happen (translation: stop fighting this overwhelming disinterest and apathy toward people I'm supposed to be in love with). Then he told me how he felt about my current emotional state. Funny, I forgot that he might feel something about this situation. By the end of our very long conversation I felt almost "normal" (my normal, of course, which is still wildly abnormal, but I was feeling like maybe I could have deep feelings for people again without internally combusting).

But then I didn't talk with anyone again for awhile.

And I spent tons of time alone.

Although, I do have to admit, I tried to contact people. Apparently my social availability schedule does not coincide with anyone else's.

Thursday I decided it had been too long since Jason and I have talked, so I called him. I didn't want to, but I rarely want to do anything lately--nothing new there. And I told him about the newest developments inside me. This time though, I didn't feel concern about offending him with my "I don't really care about anyone--you're included in that global feeling, or lack, as the case may be), as I had when I talked with Tolkien Boy. And it had nothing to do with Jason being someone different--it's just that that's how far the numbness had progressed.

Thursday night I finally talked about this with Darrin. He just stared at me and didn't say anything. Finally he asked what I wanted to do about it. I said nothing. He said that didn't seem fair to anyone who cares about me. Sigh...  fair...

Two days ago I realized I haven't checked the email address connected with this blog for more than two months. So I did. And I found a lovely comment for my blog that needed to be published (thanks, Debbie), and some personal emails from people I've never met before who have visited me here. 

This morning I decided that regardless of how I might be feeling, it's rude of me to not respond to emails, so I sat down and read them again. And I wrote back. 

I'm not sure what happened during that process. It could be that I realized some people have difficulties exceeding my own; or maybe I realized that one sweet wife loves her SSA/abuse survivor/PTSD husband so much that she has spent months reading my entire blog, hoping to find answers that will help sustain their long, beautiful marriage; or maybe a bit of the love those writers have for the people struggling in their lives made its way into my own struggling heart--I don't know. 

What I do know is that I found myself weeping, understanding the hurt and the loneliness, recognizing that people who love me would probably express similar words about wishing they could help me, strengthen me, comfort me--somehow guide me through the latest stress that is turning my life upside down. And something inside me reminded me that I'm not a spouse, or a mom, or a friend because people just grant those things freely. I've worked with the people closest to me to build relationships, to grow love, and to learn how to receive it (still working on it). 

I'm not ready to lose that. I'm not willing to give in. I'm not going to just not feel.

Sorry PTSD. You lose.