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Friday, November 25, 2016

I started this blog a long time ago because I needed a place where I could be honest. I think even when I was trying to be honest, though, there were times when I censored myself. People were reading, after all...

But that was years ago. No one really reads anymore unless they stumble here by accident. So have no more reason to worry about how my words might upset someone I know. So raw honesty today. Because I really, really need to say this.

I am angry. There has been a series of events during the past few years from which I have not recovered emotionally, and for some, also physically. I feel broken, unable to function, and defeated. And it makes me angry. It seems, no matter how far I climb upward, there is something that will knock me right back down. How many times can that cycle happen before one says, "This is crap. I think I'll just live here at the bottom, because no matter how ugly and uncomfortable it is, it's better than believing I can make it to the top when I know I really can't. Something will stop me."

I am bitter. I wanted so badly to believe that people in this country - MY country - would never elect a man who espouses everything that terrifies me, personally. This goes beyond the political terror he inspires; his discussion of deploying nuclear weapons, his insult to international communities, his inability to become a public figure with any semblance of dignity or decency. This is personal. This is a man who will disparage a woman because of her appearance, her reproductive system, her gender. One has only to lack a Y chromosome to be in his line of fire. This is a man who will not defend my right to be safe. If I am groped, attacked, raped, surely, he will say, I deserved it. This is a man who does not respect the boundaries of marriage. From his own lips he has said he takes what he wants, married or not, because he has money. In my eyes, this man is evil. And now he is my president-elect. And I feel bitter that they people who elected him disregarded all the things that would cause me to feel unsafe in my country and my home. I wanted them to care about the things I care about. They didn't.

I am alone. This is my own doing. Tolkien Boy said, "I don't know what more I can say or do to make you feel more welcome." I don't know either. But it's not him. It's EVERYONE. I can't be with anyone anymore. I'm trying like crazy. I'm working so hard to combat the PTSD symptoms that tell me:
1. No one wants you, Sam.
2. No one is safe, Sam.
3. No one will protect you, Sam.
4. No one cares, Sam.
Those things aren't true. I know they're not true. But they're still there. WHY ARE THEY STILL THERE???? And so I do the dance of placing myself in positions where I spend time with people I love, but my stomach is sick with stress and my brain feels like it's exploding because it's constantly arguing about whether or not this is a good idea. And sometimes that condition is more deeply lonely than actually being alone.

I am sad. I can't seem to bounce back. Nothing feels happy right now. And for me, this is such foreign territory. I have had the luxury most of my life of naturally gravitating to happy, regardless of my circumstances. Not so now. Part of this is that I'm living in a garden level apartment and my sunshine exposure is minimal, especially in the morning. Part of this is that there has been too much difficult everything without adequate recovery time. Part of this is that I know I'm messed up, but I don't seem to have the energy to put myself back together. Part of this is that I'm living in a circumstance that I chose, but I chose it because it needed to be chosen, not because I wanted it.

I feel guilty. Things that make me feel guilt:
1. I don't want to live with my father-in-law. I never have. I'm doing it because he needs to live with us. But I do not want it. I have no relationship with him. I don't want a relationship with him.
2. I haven't gone running regularly for the past two weeks. I didn't go running last week because I was in Laramie and the weather wasn't great and I am a wimp. Also, I didn't want to pay $8 a day to go running at a gym. And I've only gone once this week because, since returning from Laramie, I don't want to do anything. Not running means I don't have the emotional stamina to manage PTSD which means everything I've talked about in this blog feels worse. And I know I need to do it. I just haven't.

I feel helpless. Which is stupid. I'm one of the most capable people I know. But even doing simple things makes me feel overwhelmed. Cooking dinner, making my bed, taking a shower-- everything feels like it's too much. I have developed so many different skills and healthy ways to cope with stress and difficulty. But it feels too difficult to use any of them. I know what to do. I just don't do it.

I feel confused. Mostly about people. I don't really know how to talk to them anymore. My brain can't seem to make room for what they want to say. I've lost my ability to listen and care. All I can think while they're speaking is, "I need to get away and hide somewhere." This is not like me at all. Who have I become? Am I so wrapped up in myself that I can't make room for people I love? I don't even know me anymore. I hate this person I now am. In addition, I don't feel I know people anymore. People I've spent incredible amounts of time with now feel like strangers. There's no connection when we're together. Just a big, huge, confusing barrier which I somehow put in place all by myself. Why would I do that? Who am I?

I have been in touch with Therapist. A lot, actually. He says things take time. That just makes me want to lie on the floor and weep. What do I DO during that time? Therapist says I'm doing it. I'm letting myself feel what's happening. I'm recognizing that I've been wounded. That also makes me want to lie on the floor and weep. Therapist says a step forward would be to seek healthy touch (my stomach just tried to throw up), take time to myself (REALLY?? Did he forget that I'm never alone?), do things I enjoy (I don't even know what those are anymore), and try to connect with people I love (I think I've lost that superpower forever). I finally told him I'd be making an appointment in the future, but right now I can't even find the words to talk about what's happening to me. And I can't. Not even here on my blog, so I'm going to stop now.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

A week away

I spent the week in Laramie. That was weird.

I didn't contact old friends or try to meet up with people. I don't know why. Maybe I'm overwhelmed.

I have a friend who tracked me down anyway. Laramie is a small town. She insisted we have lunch, so yesterday we did. And I'm glad we did. I love her. But I think I'm overwhelmed. Possibly other things besides overwhelmed, too.

I've never really had a "Mom". Someone who noticed when I wasn't doing well physically or emotionally. My mother had other children. If I was sick, I had to tell her. When my children were sick, I knew before they did. If I was sad, I became invisible. When my children were sad, we went for a drive together. If I was nervous, afraid, or angry, I went for a run or a long walk alone. When my children were nervous, afraid, or angry, we talked about why and discussed ways to cope. Sometimes they went for runs or long walks, but usually not alone. If they were alone, it was because they felt it would be the healthiest way for them to sort through whatever was consuming them.

Since I've become an adult, I've had friends who have sometimes noticed when I was not at my best and reached out to me. I've not always known how to respond to them. Often their gestures were met with suspicion or panic.When you don't really have a Mom, you're not taught that sometimes people reach out, or notice when you're sad or lonely, or just try to help when they think you could use a hand. Sometimes they just do it because they love you. When you're not taught this, the gestures is foreign, intrusive, and scary.

After years of practice, I'm still not good at seeing things for what they are. I question motives and affection. I still don't always respond well. But I also kind of want people to notice and reach out when, for some reason, I'm feeling less than happy. It's new for me to wish for that and something that has developed in the past five years. Prior to that, I did everything in my power not to allow people to know if I wasn't doing well. It was what I had learned was proper. People don't really care. People don't really want to know. People don't really want to help.

So today, I'm in the middle. Or, perhaps more accurately, I'm more confused than ever. Spending a week with my mother was not good for me. She has a way of asking about my life, then twisting it to make it all about her. I don't respond well to that. Also, all the confusion of what makes authentic interpersonal relationships has risen to the foreground. She's the person who raised me, after all. She still has sway even when my boundaries are secure.

I believe I might be feeling depressed. There's certainly a lot in my life that would bring on those feelings right now.
1. I'm living with three other adults in a two-bedroom apartment.
2. I'm living with my father-in-law who does not always respect my boundaries.
3. I've been the sole source of income for our family for the past three months. This is not strictly true. My father-in-law offers constantly to help financially. And he lives with us. I don't know why it's beyond my ability to accept help from him.
3. I don't have a "place" anymore. No prairie or mountains to go running. No room of my own. No place. Always, people.
4. I am not doing well with the person who has been elected to lead our country, for obvious reasons.
5. There is too much change in too little time for me to process it successfully.

Okay. That's valid. I might be depressed.

But what has happened since I moved, is that all the paranoias that I used to ignore are consuming me. When someone I love calls me on the phone, my first thought is, "Oh, I'm so glad they called. I REALLY need to talk to someone." Then the paranoia says, "Um, no. They want to talk to you. Shut up and listen." So I do, unless I have a complete panic attack at which time I talk really fast, thank them for calling, and hang up without even finding out why they called.

If I'm with someone with whom I feel safe, I think, "Oh! I feel safe with him/her. I need to spend some time and let this ball of anxiety relax a bit so I can live." And then the paranoia says, "YOU might want to spend time, but he/she does not. Your person is busy. There is a life waiting for them (or a spouse or a different friend). You need to do your business and go home so you aren't bothering them." So I do. And then I practically run away so I won't be a bother.

Needless to say, the need to talk is increasing and the ball of anxiety has begun to gag me.

So, Samantha, you have a therapist...

I do. I have a therapist.

Is that all there is? Run away from the people I love and talk about it later with my therapist?

Monday, November 14, 2016

I've been doing better as the week has progressed. Until today. Now I'm back in complete panic mode. One of my students was targeted because he was gay. A threatening note was left on his car. It referenced his homosexuality, a racial slur, and Trump.

He is a music professor.

He's not even a U.S. citizen. He's a visiting artist from Brazil. A visiting artist and a music professor. What kind of threat does that pose? And when he took a photo and posted it on Facebook, trolls suggested he made it up (HE MADE IT UP?????) to get attention (seriously - he's a performer - he gets all the attention he wants - he doesn't need to pretend to be a victim), and then they hijacked the comment threads on his YouTube channel to the point that he has felt the need to shut it down. Which means no one's listening to his music tonight. Maybe I'm the only one in mourning, but it seems that listening to someone play the piano is so much better than calling names and ridiculing someone who has just been threatened because he's not white and not heterosexual.

And I would like to blame Trump. Well, in all honesty, I do blame Trump. But the truth is, he simply fanned into flames an ember that has resided in the cesspools of our society forever. So as much as I want to say to Trump, "You started it!" I can't. Because he didn't. He just took what was already existent, no matter how slimy and nasty, and ran with it. U.S. citizens provided the ammunition. He offered an opportunity for those who have lived beneath the rocks to crawl out and show their true colors, and they chose him as their leader.

Their leader. Not mine.

And so tonight I want to go find all those potentially targeted people who hold parts of my heart and hug them. I want to make sure they're safe. I want to say I can protect them even when I can't. I want this to be better.

I can't make it better.

So I am grouchy and panicky, and I picked a fight with Darrin because I feel picked-on and helpless. Because that was productive.

And now I don't know what to do. But I want to call Tolkien Boy. And Josh. And AtP. And Mr. Fob. And everyone else who has ever walked through my blog and stolen my heart (If I didn't list you, it's because I don't know if you still go by your blognym. Also, I'm guessing no one reads here anymore, so it's probably okay). Because you do not deserve to live in fear. You do not deserve to be targeted. You deserve to be safe.

I want you to be safe.

This sucks.

I'm going to go have another panic attack now.

If you see me tomorrow, will you please hug me?