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‘If you’re going to complain about being upset or triggered by a blog you sought out, do a better job of managing yourself.’

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Roller Coasters....

One thing the struggle with depression has left me with is a relatively low tolerance for what I think of as the 'roller coaster ride'.  Emotional states that fluctuate - up, down, up, down - it's all really exhausting.  I had another painful experience at work earlier this week.  Higher ups had to come in and help settle things.  And no, it wasn't me causing the pain.  Incidents like these keep happening with one person in particular, and I seem to be a lightning rod for them, unfortunately.  It has been such a problem that I have actually been planning my exit; granted that would have been quite a ways away because let's face it, I'm not rich.  And yeah, you read that right - I said 'would have been'.  Because I had a very encouraging discussion with higher ups that helped give me a second wind in dealing with this situation.  So now I feel pretty good about work again.  And silly me is fighting the dread.  Am I the only one who is afraid of feeling good?  There's really no way to explain the special kind of dread that can creep up on good feelings - like gliding, and then you hit the wrong pocket and suddenly you're dropping a few feet with your heart in your throat.  It's only a few feet, but when you've fallen all the way to the ground, it can be harrowing.  This whole situation has been teaching me a valuable lesson, though.  I have a very strong tendency to internalize things, personalize them, and blame myself.  Even when situations or events don't involve me in any way, I somehow still feel like I messed up somewhere.  That thinking has made it particularly toxic for working with this particular person, because that person is highly critical.  My natural tendency is to blame myself even when I'm not at fault, and they tend to criticize everyone and everything.  It's a toxic lose-lose for everyone.  And because of my personality, I tend to attract that attention without even trying. The roller coaster is getting more than a little exhausting, but I am starting to get positive feedback and support from others, and I am starting to learn how to distinguish when things are not related to me at all.                      

20YearsandCounting

20YearsandCounting

 

Writers and writing....

Writers gonna write, write, write, write.......   LOL, me trying to be cool is hilarious.  Trust me. Once again, it is only 15-20 minutes until I get dressed and leave for work, and here I am blogging.  Not procrastinating at all, nope, not me. I have been working on a fanfiction mashup of the Doom movie (2005) and the Supernatural series.  I just put a deleted scene out on my chosen platform from the new mashup. Deleted because I felt like the direction I took wasn't realistic enough, so I posted a scene from that as a 'one shot'.  I haven't heard anything back yet from any readers, but I only posted it yesterday afternoon, so it's early days yet.  I've really enjoyed writing fanfiction for Supernatural, though I'm not really comfortable sharing my ID here because I'm not sure how what I've written will be received or impact people, or if they will even care.  I've taken a hiatus of sorts from writing about Castiel Novak and Gabriel Novak, and John Grimm, and Dean Winchester, and even from writing about the straight Supernatural fanfiction.    I wish I had a picture, I guess I'll have to work on editing one  together.            

20YearsandCounting

20YearsandCounting

 

The Fun Never Ends....

I seem to have lost a blog post, several PM convos, and the ability to start new PM convos..... I smell a glitch.  I can't even find any record of what I did yesterday in my activity feed.  It's all gone, I guess.  Bummer.  Par for the course for me lately.  When I wrote my last blog post, I was feeling pretty suicidal - but don't be alarmed.  I know that sounds antithetical, but I've lived with suicidal thoughts for many years now.  They are not constant anymore, and I have frequent periods where I feel pretty much what 'normal' must be.  So I'm making progress.  It's still a moment to moment, narrow thing.  The short of it is that I am pushing 50 and my youngest is in her senior year in high school and has moved in with her boyfriend's family.  It's a long story as to why.  My middle one just moved across state to live with my mom while he gets his degree.  My oldest lives a short distance away, but I"m lucky to get over to see her and her family about once or twice a month.  So, they're all gone.  And all I can think about is what I messed up and what I didn't do.  It was really bad this weekend when we met my mom halfway to drop my middle kid off.  Well, I guess I can't say kid - he's in his early to mid-twenties.  My oldest is nearing thirty, and my youngest is already 18. Anyway, that's the struggle.  Breathing. Working. Repeat.  Breathe. Work. Repeat.  Breathing is astonishingly difficult right now.  I don't know how I'm going to manage work.

20YearsandCounting

20YearsandCounting

 

One Foot In Front of the Other....

Does anyone else hear that phrase as sung by Kris Kringle and the Winter Warlock in the old claymation movie 'Santa Claus Is Coming to Town'?  I dearly love that scene- it makes me bawl like a little baby every. single. time. And no, I'm not spreading Christmas cheer - my attitude towards the holidays is more like 'so it begins'.  I love Thanksgiving, I have a ton of wonderful family memories from Thanksgiving.  And Christmas too. But Christmas comes with a virtual obligation of gift giving, and I can barely keep my family fed in the good months.  So Christmas becomes a reminder of 'oh, look 20YaC at how badly you are failing!'  So yeah, not excited about Christmas, nope. Things blew up a little Thursday at work.  I can't really say much more than that - I just erased it all and thought better of it.  I was going to put this blog entry out Thursday and decided not to.  That's where I'm at right now. I hate it when work is like this-walking on eggshells all the time and waiting for the inevitable explosion. Because I feel like who I am and how people perceive me means there is a target painted on my back, regardless of my behavior.  It triggers my anxiety and panic into overdrive.  I hate feeling terrified so much of the time.  And the crazy thing is, that it is only in the last couple of years that I am figuring out two basic things most people already know :  a) it's not always my fault or about me and b) work shouldn't feel like this.    
 

Lost Time...

Somehow I've managed to lose a couple of weeks.  Crazy, I know.  I don't know where they slipped off to, and now it's too late to use them.  Like expired coupons.  I would like to be able to keep a journal every day, and failing that, at least three times a week.  And yet here we are with the first thing in two weeks. I feel like it's been a rough two weeks, though. We did our first 'Photo Walk' and got to see my dad. My dad had knee surgery. My step sister had surgery for breast cancer.  My oldest had her second child, we helped get the house ready for that.  My boss and co-worker went on vacay the same week, so it's been just me and the part-timer.  It sort of makes me mad, though, that my boss went on vacay this week. She actually changed her plans. Initially she was going to be back the day my co-worker went on her vacay - which my co-worker goes on vacay the same time every year.  Then the last week of September my boss changed her plans to be gone this whole week, knowing my co-worker would be gone and knowing we had a program this week, too.  Thankfully the program ended up cancelled for unrelated reasons.  What makes me mad is that my boss did this, yet would not let me take a day off before our local charity group (that works closely with the library I work at) had their annual book sale last month. She was going to be there that day, and my co-worker and the part-timer.  So there was really no need to deny me a day off I requested.  So I feel like that is 'double standards' in action.  Our bosses' boss wanted me to tell her about these types of incidents, so I am debating doing that.  I've realized the last couple of days how really burned out I am.  I've thought it was just physical exhaustion, but it's deeper than that.  I am so burned out.  I really don't care anymore. I'm the only one paying bills, so I keep going in to work.  But I really don't want to be there anymore.
 

Procrastination....

Is it still procrastination when you cannot afford to do something you need to do, so you put it off?  I'm not sure. I'm really good at procrastinating, though.  I've been putting off a dental visit, because of difficulty getting away from work and mainly because I don't have the money for a copay. I find out today if they will take my insurance. Everyone says yes they will because everyone takes that insurance, but I have to know for sure.  Because it's my normal luck that they won't. So I've been putting off having a tooth pulled since about August, and it's finally getting to the point where its making me sick.  I start antibiotics this week in preparation for my appointment next week. I hope it helps me feel better. I feel beat up and achy and exhausted, and I can't sleep well because my hips hurt so much.  Here are a couple of pics, because I need cheering up already....    
 

Just Another Fangirl....

I'm just gonna fangirl about Karl Urban a minute. Not long.  I'm actually really tired right now. I'm thinking about how my newest fanfiction will go. I've already got a good start on it, but I"m only just now getting to the part where directional decisions will need to be made.  I really love writing.  It really helps a ton with my anxiety to be able to direct all those restless thoughts into a direction that has a result.  And I really devoutly wish I could get my hands on Almost Human. It's really not fair that they cut it short.  Like, Firefly. That wasn't fair, either. (Browncoats, unite!)  I really love watching Karl Urban, no matter what role he plays. I've seen Doom about four times now, just for him and my new fanfiction.

20YearsandCounting

20YearsandCounting

 

DefCon & Cliffside Dwelling....

Gotta warn ya' it might get a little weird in here.... And a little spiritual, too.... so forewarned if Deities aren't your bag........... >>>> >>>>> Well, here we are on the cliffside.  I've managed to find a little shelf of sorts, and have camped out here a little, resting up.  I may be here a while.  Climbing the cliffside is equivalent to me finding motivation and attachment to this body and this world. Reaching the top of the cliff would be achieving that goal.  I'm not sure I'm up to that particular fight - it's a long one; like, 48 years long and counting.  Attachment for me comes and goes.  I regularly feel the strongest attachment to my husband, and then my kids, and then a couple of DFers I work with, and then my family. I just can't seem to grab hold of this life like some people do.  It feels so much like water when I try to do that - it just squeezes right between my fingers like it was never meant to be squeezed like a toddler clutching grapes. I have to find a way to cup my hands and hold it gently, offering it up to God.  Okay, here's your warning if you are allergic to Deities or spiritual talk..... Skip down to the pics if you want.................... >>>>>>> >>>>>>> The only way I've found to hold on to my life is to let go of it and hold onto Christ. Sounds paradoxical, but that's how it works for me.  I have been through points in my life when I honestly could not have given two flying f**k* about God in His Heaven.  But I've always loved Christ with my whole heart.  I can't help it, it's like my soul just cries out to Him, resonates with Him. I don't know how else to say it.  And the only way I know to connect with this life is to connect with Him.  Okay, spiritual talk over. Maybe. Here's your pic if you're actually looking and still reading..... The man looks good, does he not?  And now, because this is me, I'll swing to the other end of the spectrum, sort of, from spirituality. Physicality. That's how I think of it, anyway.  I have to admit I am a fan of men.  I really am.  Sorry if that's uncomfortable.  I can't really say more because this is a public forum.  (wink) And I'm a fan of one man in particular. I don't think my husband realizes how often I fangirl over him every day. And really that's entirely my fault.  I want you to know every time you see a Karl Urban pic, or a Misha Collins pic, I'm secretly comparing them to my hubby and they're actually falling more than a little short.  Mainly because for me, Karl and Misha are paintings on the wall.  Pretty to look at, but I have absolutely no desire to take them down and admire them up close.  He's the one that's up close. He's the one that's been in the trenches with me, bled for me and bled because of me, fought with me and fought for me...... I love him so much I can't even................     You know?  So there he is, walking through the kitchen like f**k**g Mr. America in his ratty tee shirt and do-rag and sweat and motor oil and cologne, and he smells so good and I just feel so freaking unworthy guys.  I'm nothing to look at - literally. When I was younger I was plain at best.  Now the kindest word to describe me is Matronly.  And he is aging well, I have to say.  So I need to gut up and let him know how awesome he is.  Because he is.  Really. Awesome.  And he's struggling so badly right now - he's a Classic Work Hard American Dream Man who can't work right now & can't quite retire. His dreams were so simple - sometimes I want to punch God in the Ever Loving Jaw for letting such simple dreams die....  Because he did everything he could to keep them alive.  Should I tell you one of his dreams?  Maybe you can help me figure out how to put the pieces together into something new for him.  One of them was to work at the same place for 40 or so years and retire.  He really admired that about the men he looked up to.  See what I mean?  Simple dreams.  Shattered. By greed. The company he worked for was sold to another company who put dozens of Hard Working Men out of work here in Oklahoma so they could ship it all down to Mexico and save a few bucks.  Those simple dreams are part of the reason I love him so much.  He's everything good about me, and more. Right now I'm carrying the Load of Primary Wage Earner. And while he's proud of me because of it, I know that he's also Traditional Enough that he's castigating himself a little for not being able to Be The Wage Earner.  I don't know how to tell him that he holds me together, that he's the sun in my sky and earth under my feet and the reason I feel like I can Get Up And Do This Shit All Over Again.  I'm glad to do that for him - he's worked so hard for his whole life, and gotten nothing but sand kicked in his face for his trouble.  So if I can be some Small Blessing in his life, if that's my purpose, then I"m more than elated to Bleed For The Cause and give my all for it.  I just wish I had more to give.            

20YearsandCounting

20YearsandCounting

 

Coming Down....

Things are normalizing, thanks mostly to the anxiety meds and situational stuff cooling down.  But I'm going into a very hairy time of year for me - typically October, November, and December are not good months for me. At. All.  I really do not look forward to the holiday season.  I'll put a meme down here that really hits it for me.  Oh, and an update on the whole Supernatural/Doom fanfiction.  There is. Nothing. About Doom anywhere. There is the game, and game history, such as it is. There is the movie, and one lonely half hearted Wikia.  So it looks like the path is clear for me to start a Supernatural/Doom fanfiction. TBH, I wanted to start an AU (Alternate Universe) Supernatural so I could write something light hearted about Castiel and Dean in a library, but apparently I don't do light hearted.  It's morphed into something else entirely.  And now hubby dearest is telling me I have to include Duke Nuke'Em, too.  So there's that.  Oh, here's my holiday meme. So here's Karl Urban again, because why not?   

20YearsandCounting

20YearsandCounting

 

Buggin' Pretty Hard...

I'm on a new (to me) anxiety med, Atarax.  So if you know anything about Atarax, lay it on me.  I might have to start a new thread for it, I couldn't find it on the boards. I'm supposed to take it several times a day, so I'm still working on dosage timing.  I'm struggling to hold my anxiety down to a very strong 2.5 pushing 3 very hard.  My meds oughta kick in soon.  I think they already have some, since I can type this without too many shaky fingers or even discuss the general need for anxiety meds without being 'triggered'.  I'm going to have to push off and get ready for work soon.  Just recording this since I'm trying to make 'journaling' a regular habit.  It seems to be easier to put a brief note here than it is to write pages and pages in my journal.  As a writer, that stumps me a bit, call me thick, I guess I am.  Anyway, here's Karl Urban.  I'm currently thinking about a John Grimm/Doom fanfiction, but there is so much to the Doom universe to catch up on, not to mention the games (I can't play video games, it's not pretty when I try).  So I'm thinking of taking the easy way out and maybe trying a Priest fanfiction, not as much material to catch up on.  If you have any advice for research on either of these, lay it on me, man.     

20YearsandCounting

20YearsandCounting

 

Defcon 3 and holding.... maybe

Yeah, I'm not dramatic at all.  That's how it feels, though.  If anxiety and panic were rated on Defcon levels, like US national security, Defcon 1 would be all the normal stress you might have in life - have bills to pay, feel a little sick but have to go into work anyway.  Defcon 5 would be a panic attack that is so bad it feels like a heart attack.  The situation I am so panicked about really does not merit more than a 2, but I cannot seem to help how bad it feels.  I have been a solid Defcon3, frequently edging into Defcon 4, since Wednesday.  That abated back to a 2 for a while on Saturday when I was able to make today's doc appointment to see about getting something for anxiety.  Then I replied to an email from family, and spent less than 10 minutes typing about it.  It was enough to put me back into a solid 3 again.  I've been at 5 before. I had spent the entire weekend at 4, and Monday morning it got so bad I thought I was having a  heart attack.  We were on our way to the hospital when it started to get better, and that's when I realized it was panic.  I'm actually a lot closer to the edge this last week than I would be if I were struggling with even the darkest depression.  Something about anxiety and panic really weakens me mentally and emotionally.  I have more trouble fighting s*ic*d*al thoughts when I'm consistently anxious or panicked than I do when my mood is so black that I can see shades of it. So my fingers are a little shaky hanging on to the tenuous little finger holds I've found on the side of my little cliff here. But the doc appointment is today, and that means a life line, a rope from the cliff top I can use to pull myself up.  I'm using my coping techniques, which might be a little different, but they are the most effective when the anxiety is this intense.  Normal calming techniques just do not register when my emotions and resulting anxiety loops are this intense.  So I have developed a system of 'substitution'.  I can only use it when I get home; if I'm at work, I have to bury everything anyway, for several reasons.  Which means cramming it all in a suitcase and stuffing it in the trunk and hoping the suitcase doesn't pop open.  My most effective technique utilizes obsessive tendencies.  Basically, when I am at this level of anxiety, I use one of my obsessions and focus all my mental energy into that for a certain minimum period of time, while doing my best to push anxious thoughts to the side a little. Generally I need to keep the focus up for nearly the full length of a movie when it's this bad.  So while it may seem counterintuitive to watch something so intense when I'm this anxious, I need something that can match the level of intensity I'm already feeling, so I can switch things out.  Kind of like Indiana Jones and his little statuette. Currently Karl Urban is pinch hitting for Misha Collins because Supernatural is too triggering to watch, and I can't find any other Misha on Netflix.  I've only watched Doom twice now, and I really would like to watch Almost Human.  They both are pretty heavy on Karl Urban, and Doom has the bonus of intense action but no emotional scenes. 

20YearsandCounting

20YearsandCounting

 

I'm Trying to Hang On.....

I'm trying to hang on.   I only have one reason to stick around, really, but it's pretty big. My reason? It's that I refuse to do that to my family.  I have seen how s**c*de affects the people left behind, I have experienced it firsthand. And I refuse to do that to my family, no matter how convinced I am that they would be better off without me. Right now, I'm the only income my family has.  I'm little more than a pack mule right now, and that's been okay so far. I can't carry my load very far or very well, but that's what is needed right now.  I'll carry it as long as I can. [I'll add a trigger warning in here. It's gonna get ugly, but please don't worry. ] > > > > > > It's just getting so hard to carry.  It's getting so Heavy.  I remember I first heard the song 'Heavy' by Linkin Park just about a month ago. I know it came out earlier than that, but it took me that long to listen to Chester's pain. It really resonates for me.  It really does get very heavy sometimes. Sometimes life feels like a burden, like a prison sentence. Hence my username, that's what it refers to.  https://youtu.be/5dmQ3QWpy1Q I've fought this battle so many times. And it never gets easier. It's a near thing. Every. Time. And feeling so disconnected all the time doesn't help as much as you'd think.  It makes it harder -nearly impossible - to find something to really 'attach' to.  You know what I'm referring to, don't you?  When you lift yourself out of that, you have to find something about life you can cling to. You have to switch your hold - like Indiana Jones stealing that little statuette, and subbing a bag of sand for it. And then you run like hell when the big boulder comes rolling after you.           
 

Anxiety....

I'm terrified of work again today. That's really more than I should say, but it's not nearly enough.  I find myself wishing that something horrible would happen to me so I can't go to work, then scared that the horrible thing will actually k*i*l*l me.  Geez, me, pick a lane already. My life feels like so much more than I can handle, and it's felt like that for a long time now.  You'd think I would adjust or something. I keep wondering why I'm putting myself through this. I keep wondering if it's really all worth it.  To keep k*i*l*l*i*n*g myself to make money and provide for my family, and never have anything leftover for them.  Work swallows up all my effort, and I hate it.  I hate it that it feels like there is nothing left of me when I get home.  I survive at work, and I survive at home.  When do I get to enjoy life?  When do I get to spend my time doing something that brings me meaning and fulfillment?
 

I Hate Mornings....

So this morning kind of sucks.  I'm trying to make journaling a regular thing, and for some reason it's easier to do here than my little notebook.  I'm trying not to freak right now, since lunch yesterday.  My bosses' boss wants to talk to me this morning.  Of course, I'm 95% sure I haven't done anything wrong.  And you have to understand the victory in my being able to say that.  There was a time, even several years ago, when I would automatically blame myself for anything wrong, regardless of whether I had anything to do with it or not. I would wind up in horrible anxiety spirals over basically nothing.  Now, before you think I'm egotistical, it actually comes from a very deep seated conviction that I mess everything up, and am not capable of doing anything right.  So for me to get to a place where I can look at my behavior and actions at work and say 'okay, I wonder what this is about, because I know I haven't done anything wrong' is a pretty big step for me.  I think I may know what it's about, but I'm working on keeping my mind off that subject, so I don't get into anxiety circles/spirals.  I don't often wish I had someone to touch base with  - my husband is my soulmate, and my best friend, I could never wish for a better person to share my life with.  But sometimes I just wish I could touch base with someone who understands the stresses of even a happily married life - spouse, kids, being the breadwinner, even just holding down a job while struggling with depression and anxiety.  And not even talk, just sort of say 'hey' over the backyard fence or something.   (hey, @gandolfication   @Natasha1   )  Just to, you know, wave and say 'okay, I'm not the only one struggling with this type of burden'. , just made myself cry a little. Well, crap.  Here's my thoughts for the  morning.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                
 

Leveling Up...

I don't think I can 'Level Up', even if I had to.  It's taking all I can muster just to make it through where I am now.  There are signs on the horizon that I might be in a position to be asked to take on greater responsibility in the next few years. TBH, I'm not up to it, and haven't been up to it for years now.  I'm too broken in too many ways for that now.  Unfortunately, I don't know when to quit - really, I don't.  Many years ago, about twenty in fact, I was involved in a project that would help me put away money for college. I struggled greatly with it, and to put it simply, I s*cked at it, big time.  Most of the way through my allotted time there, I had a severe accident, putting me out of commission for a while.  The powers that be told me I could use my 'accident' to leave the program early with the college money I had earned thus far.  Only I couldn't see that at the time, so I bulled through, was never able to finish my hours, and ended up with nothing at the end.  At the time, I could not see that God was giving me a way out of something that was literally tearing me up inside.  I can feel that I have been in the same place, for ages now.  I am not fit for what I may potentially be asked to do in a few years, and I hope that they ask someone else.  The signs are shaping up that someone in particular will be asked, and I think that person would be a much better fit than me.  I hope every day I'm reading the signs right.  One person in particular wants me to be the one to take on this responsibility, but that person seems to be in the minority, and is not as well received generally as they think they are. As I type this, I begin to think that maybe I am here to shepherd that other person to where God wants them to be.  They really are a fantastic fit for that 'greater responsibility', but there are a few things they need to learn personally and professionally.  I am beginning to think that I am there to help guide them through, and that is fine with me.  Whatever I might have been, the potential for that has passed now.  Now, I am too broken in too many ways.  But the idea that God may have put me here to shepherd this person through, to help this person learn what they need to learn in order to take on this responsibility - that actually gives me hope. 
 

It Hurts Again.........

I've been trying to track my emotions and mindset, so I can see how I'm doing. It's been easier to put things here, in general terms, than to write in my journal.  Why is that? I could be more detailed in my journal, but then I only make an entry a couple times a week.  Here I've been able to put something down practically every day. Maybe the lack of detail helps, who knows?  Today sucks again.  Really bad.  Like looking over the edge, and the 'bottom-doesn't-look-so-scary' kind of bad.  I guess I'm 'lucky' that my depression and anxiety are all balled up into one part of the day - well, one and half really.  Mornings, and then when I go to bed.  Because when I go to bed, I know my next memory will be waking up again - to this Hell, and a new day I"m not ready for, a new battle I'm not ready for.  It feels like a Hellish version of Groundhog Day, only I haven't been able to figure out what I'm doing wrong so I can get the days to move forward like they're supposed to. I would say I need a purpose - a higher purpose - but I have one.  It's just that I'm exhausted and burned out, I guess. My purpose right now is to provide for my family. I can't even take care of them in basic ways, but I can make sure the lights stay on and they have food most of the time.  And I'm so burned out about not being able to make progress, and not being able to do the things I love like travel to different places.  I can barely keep the lights on, I can't afford to go anywhere, even if it's free. At this point, I think the only thing pulling me through is the disconnection that comes.  But even that is getting hard to handle.  I don't know how much longer I can go on feeling like an alien in a human suit.  I don't know if anyone out there really understands what it's like to spend most of your life feeling that way. I really wish you would leave me a note if you do.  It has never bothered me as much as it has the last 8 -10 months. But it's gradually getting worse - the disconnection feels worse each time.  Like 'I'm tired of being stuck here watching these humans, please let me go home' kind of feels worse. 
 

Shaking...

God it sucks bad this morning.  I'm nearly shaking with it.  I feel sick with fear and dread, trapped, like someone going to the gallows who isn't ready to die, much less die by hanging.  I was going to say I'd rather feel disconnected, but it's already starting. I guess that's a blessing, right?  The fear and dread recede, not because I'm using positive self talk or facing it, but because my mind can't handle it and is disconnecting me again.  The panic and sickness becomes a low ominous hum in the background, like the scary part of a movie where the music is building and telling you something horrible is about to happen.  But at least it's in the background, instead of flooding my veins.  I wish I could control it, the disconnectedness.  It just happens, though.  Sometimes it doesn't happen though, and I end up in a weekend long panic attack culminating with an attempted trip to the ER (which is aborted when I start to feel better almost immediately).  It's getting so freaking hard to hold on, but I'm scared to let go.  And I really shouldn't let go, there are people who need me, people who love me for whatever weird reason, and I have felt what it's like on the other side of su*c*de, and I don't want to do that to my family.  So here I am, hanging on.  This is what it's like,every day, to be 'strong'. I know this point will pass, like a tidal wave that rushes in then recedes again.  But each time the wave rushes in, it feels like it will never stop.  I'm going to get through this. I just have to keep telling myself that. I'm going to get through this.
 

Reaching....

I keep reaching for someone that's not there. You know how that is, right? For that split second, you forget... ...that they aren't here anymore ...that it hurts where they used to be ...that you somehow have to find a way forward now. Except for me, it's not a family member, who would no doubt leave a larger hole. It's just Chester. Who gave voice to the songs and pain that helped me heal. And now, when I reach for those songs, all I feel is his absence. Still. The songs he gave voice to were mile markers for me, on the journey to healing. I still have so far to go, but when I look back and see beacons of pain instead of beacons of hope, I lose my place in the landscape of my mind and have to stop for a minute and figure out how-to-re-orient-myself-again.    
 

Missing Someone...

I bumped into grief a little bit ago.  I really should have been paying attention to where I was going, but of course my mind went 'down the rabbit hole' and there I am like a moronic Greyhound, chasing it blindly around the track.  Then..... BOOM. It was Facebook, I should know better.  A simple vocal only compilation of bits of popular songs - just the most recognizable parts.  And there he was, beautiful, emotional tenor with amazing range, and the longest scream in rock (an incredible 19 full seconds, no breath points, found in 'Given Up')... Chester.  Bennington.  My face is dry, but my heart is weeping.  I know we are coming up on a year, next month.  It took me until nearly Thanksgiving last year to be able to listen to Linkin Park again, and even then I could only  handle a couple of songs at a time, every few weeks.  I know, it sounds stupid.... He was only a musician.  He was only a singer, artist.... But when he sang, he said what was in my heart.... When he screamed, he screamed my frustration and anger.... His voice pulled me through so much...... Even though it's been a year, I still have trouble listening to more than 3 or 4 Linkin Park songs at a time.  I only have 3 full albums and two Transformers songs, but they really are the songs of my heart in a lot of ways.  All this had made me realize he left a bigger hole in my heart than I realized.... I can't imagine what his family (band family and actual family) must be going through...     [warning, I was bawling by the end of the song, it's the first time I've listened to it....]      
 

I'm Ready to Go Home

Yeah, here's your trigger warning...     I'm ready to go home.  And I'm terrified to go home.  Just to clarify, as a Christian I believe 'Home' to be the 'afterlife', 'heaven', whatever spiritual term you prefer. I am so tired these days.... more and more tired.... and less and less terrified.   Don't get me wrong: I'll keep hanging on, because I've experienced first-hand what suicide does to those who are left behind.  Like Sherlock says 'Your death is something that happens to your loved ones.'  That really struck home for me.  My death is not something I will experience, oddly enough.  It is something my family & loved ones will go through...     ....But I am so tired, guys.    I am tired of feeling like an alien in a human suit.  I am tired of feeling like a spectator in a 3D movie of my life. I am tired of feeling 'far away' from my loved ones, and not knowing how to 'get back'.  I am tired of feeling like I don't belong anywhere. I am tired of feeling like I have to hide who I am in order to avoid the inevitable ridicule and arguments about what I believe.  I am also tired of sometimes feeling like everything is 'too loud' or 'too close'.  I'm tired of it being one or the other.  I'm tired of not being able to recognize 'normal'.     
 

What Has Helped Me Fight Depression

Some have asked me what helps me in the struggle against depression.  It's taken a while, but I put together some things that have helped me.  I'm not sure how much use they will be to anyone else, but just in case they are, I'll put them out here. I've tried to put them in order of how they helped me, but some are really basic psychological precepts, and even though they may be lower down on the list they are still very important.  1.  Find someone to talk to; a friend who can understand and support you without judgement, or a counselor, therapist, psychiatrist, or psychologist. It is important to know that you are not alone. It is important to have someone there you can count on to help you see clearly when you cannot, and to help you recognize patterns of thought and/or behavior that you will not be able to see.   2.  Learn to recognize and turn away from unproductive negative thought cycles.               >Learn how to recognize negative thought cycles;                 learn how they affect you physically, mentally, and emotionally.                 Have a friend or counselor help you recognize them if necessary.              >Be forceful, consistent, and persistent.                This will not be easy; it will be an uphill battle, especially at first.             >Negative thought cycles can be like a rut, and difficult to get out of.                Either find a way to get out of the rut your mind gets into, or               be ready to replace the negative thoughts with positive ones.                        >>I use metal music I know the lyrics to. I focus on the loudness, intensity, & the lyrics.                             I let the music sweep me up, and focus only on the music and the lyrics.                             Any time the negative thought cycle tries to start up again, I renew my focus on the lyrics.                             I actually made a mix track of Chester Bennington’s scream tracks from different                           Linkin Park songs that has been very good for this purpose.   3.  Look beyond yourself. I highly recommend pursuing spirituality, or a relationship with a Higher Power. If you cannot embrace a sense of spirituality or the concept of a Higher Power, I recommend focusing on the earth: as a whole, as a collection of intricately interdependent ecosystems, and in its place in the overall universe.              >If you cannot embrace the concept of a Higher Power, I’m not sure how effective or helpful                this step will be for you.  It may lead to negative or discouraging thoughts.               My personal sense of a Higher Power has been incredibly important to my fight against depression,                and is strongly related to the complexity and individuality of life on earth, and the intricate                 interdependence present in ecosystems, how those ecosystems interact with each other,                as well as the earth’s rather minor place in the universe as a whole.   4.  Practice genuine gratitude – not reluctant gratitude, but true thankfulness. Be genuinely grateful for what you can – it is important that this sense of gratitude be genuine, and not have undertones of anger or bitterness.                  >Be aware that this may be a trigger point for you if you are struggling                     with a lot of anger or bitterness in your emotional life.                   >Do not look at what others have or do – if you do, look at it with a healthy sense of                      skepticism that all is not as ‘rosy’ as it looks.  If you find yourself struggling with                      jealousy over someone else’s supposedly ‘easy’ life, remind yourself that you are                    not seeing everything about their life, that they have struggles you know nothing about.                    >I am a skeptic at heart, so this is not something I struggle with. I’m not sure what to                     tell you to help you get past any anger or bitterness you may have.                   All I know is that I do not believe what I see on the surface of  other people.                    When I look at someone, I do not believe the presentation I am seeing;                  I know that there are secrets and struggles that person does not allow others to see.    5.  Focus on what you can do, on what you can accomplish. Give it extra emphasis, & deliberately spend time feeling positive about whatever you have managed to accomplish.  No task is too small to include here.               >Do not allow yourself or anyone else to degrade you or ridicule you for any small task you put here.                  Trying to focus on your accomplishments will probably trigger negative thought cycles.                  Fight those negative thought cycles.            >Be forceful, consistent, and persistent with this.  You will have to give these tasks extra emphasis for a while,              in order to make sure you become ‘aware’ of them on a deeper level.                           > >I still have difficulty with this, as it is related to my struggle with unrealistic expectations.                                 My spouse used to get upset with me for leaving the clean dishes out on the counter,                                and not putting them up in the cabinets once they were done.  When I explained to him                                 that leaving clean dishes out on the counter was my way of reminding myself I had                                 achieved something, he was able to look past it and it doesn't bother him anymore.                                  So now I leave the clean dishes out for a while before I put them up.   6.  Help others as you can.  Volunteer somewhere that has meaning for you. Learn to make things you can donate for others to benefit from.  Pray for or meditate on behalf of others you care about.  Be aware of how others are struggling, and think about any small action or word you can use to either help alleviate that, or let them know you care and that they are not alone.   7.  Be self-aware; be aware of ‘Cognitive Distortions’, and which ones may affect your thinking.   Be aware of how your life experiences shape your perception and your way of seeing and reacting to the world around you.   If possible, work through what life experiences left you with these distortions, and how you can overcome them.  It would be helpful to have the guidance of a counselor, therapist, psychiatrist, or psychologist.   8.  Remember that depression and negative emotions don’t actually last forever.  This can be impossible to remember while you are enduring them. You may even have to take this concept on ‘faith’ until you get to a point where you can see it in your own life.   Journal or track your emotions throughout the day.  Have a friend help you, so you can learn to recognize altered moods when you feel them.  This point may be very important at first, especially if you have struggled with a depressed mood for an extended period of time.   Recognize that you may no longer be able to see when and if your mood lifts, and recognize that you may have unrealistic expectations of what it means to ‘not be depressed’.    9.  Develop small goals or achievable tasks that you can do or work toward each day.               >Be aware of how cognitive distortions & life experiences may cause you to                develop unrealistic expectations of yourself.                            >>This was a problem for me several years ago, and it took years for me                             to overcome my tendency to develop unrealistic expectations.                             In fact, it is something I still struggle with on a daily basis.                              It takes a lot of effort for me to fight this tendency,                              but I have seen progress and that helps me keep up the effort.                                                                                                                                                             
 

Death of an acquaintance

Someone I know committed suicide this afternoon. I only barely knew him.  I saw him regularly when he came to my workplace as a customer.  He was a familiar fixture in my workplace.  Cranky, ornery, grumbling old man in his 70's.  But that cranky old man shared his monthly food box with us..... and donated many popular items we have available for customers to use... It might surprise some people in our community to know that he will be missed here.  It always makes me pause, when I learn someone in my community has committed suicide. To me, it almost feels like I've lost a fellow soldier in the fight.  Another soul lost in the battle against the darkness. Another light snuffed out by despair and hopelessness. I feel like all I can do is remember, and keep fighting.    

20YearsandCounting

20YearsandCounting

 

Disconnected

If you struggle with depers/dereal, you might find this triggering.  > > >   4/2/17  Sunday             Do you ever feel like you really, manifestly don’t belong in this life?   I feel like I spend so much of my time trying to fit into a world that doesn’t really seem to want me here in the first place.  I feel like I spend so much of my time trying to stay tuned in to surroundings I don’t really care about.               So when I find someone I feel like I can connect to, that’s really precious to me.  It’s difficult for me to feel connected to people face to face.  I try to connect to family, my spouse and children.  I’m not sure how often I succeed.  Sometimes it feels like a real struggle, though.  If it wasn’t for them, I’m pretty sure I would have given up on connecting to this world at all a long time ago.  It’s so freaking hard, I really don’t want to try anymore, you know?              I don’t mean give up on life.  I mean I’m so freaking tired of trying to very hard to connect to a world that doesn’t seem to care about me or value what I have to offer, or care about what I value.  Why am I trying so hard to clue in to people and things I don’t really care about at the end of the day?  Money and paying the rent and providing for my family don't seem like enough of a reason anymore.  I'll keep trying, for them.   Sometimes I really wish I could just give up.  It really hurts, in a way I'll never be able to explain, this sensation of never quite feeling like I'm part of this world or this body I inhabit.  It chafes, it bruises, it leaves cuts I can't feel.   It feels like always being on the outside, even with those I want to let in.  It feels like always being the stranger, even with the people who are like my second skin.  It just hurts, and I'm so tired of it.             

20YearsandCounting

20YearsandCounting

 

Going Down In Flames....

Well, you know how the saying goes- ‘No good deed goes unpunished.’ I really wanted people who choose non-belief to have a place in the religion forum where they could speak their experience and and opinions without being attacked. It just went down in flames. And do you know why? Because some members would rather snipe at each other and troll and flame each other when they disagree than show respect and compassion. TBH, most members on that thread were respectful to each other. But it only took a few members dedicated to the proposition that no one should be safe to **** it for everyone. It only took a few members dedicated to the idea that and vitriol should be spread as widely as possible, to **** a thread that deserves to have a place. I’m absolutely heartbroken over it. I don’t necessarily share those opinions, but I can still understand where they come from, because I’ve had some of those questions myself. I just happened to come up with different answers. I respect the fact that people are thinking and working through things for themselves. And people have a right to voice those thoughts and opinions and experiences without being bullied for it. And I wanted to protect that ability. Because I truly believe that everyone deserves a voice, and that everyone deserves a chance to be heard. Apparently, though, I’m in the minority thinking that.  

20YearsandCounting

20YearsandCounting

 

I'm just tired, you know?

I'm not even sure that I'm really tired.  I'm not really sure of much anymore.  My last post, 'Faces', really seemed to suck a lot out of me.  Do you know what I mean?  When you finally admit to something huge about yourself and the act of expressing it feels like running a marathon and digging your way out of the rubble of a bomb blast.  It just empties you somehow.  And that's kind of the way it is.  I feel emptied.  I feel like I have to hide so much of myself when I go to work everyday.  I guess it's a good thing that I live with depersonalization so much.  My co-worker & boss are both highly critical of others, and highly suspicious of those they deem different than themselves.  They talk about their own med prescriptions (mental health meds)  and yet they can't wait to tear down others who struggle with mental health issues.  They are always the exception to their own rules for others.  Instead of seeing a bit of themselves in others, they seem to see only people who don't measure up.  One never stops criticizing everyone and everything around her, and the other is so compulsive about being liked that it approaches psychosis.  In short, I feel that hiding much of who I am is a virtual work requirement. 
  Much of who I am does not fit in well with society on a good day.  I'm in my mid 40s, and yet I really like anime, action movies, and martial arts movies.  I really hate chic flics, and I'd rather have my hand stomped on than watch some sappy rom-com.   :-/   I genuinely do not enjoy interacting with others, mainly because I cannot do so on my own terms and at my own level.  For me, just sitting in the room with you would be like a simple conversation.  Actually having a simple conversation with you feels like telling you my life story.  It feels much too private, like I'm being made to let you peek in the windows of my house.   All the while, I feel like an alien in a human suit, desperately trying to 'pass'.  And yet, that is what I must do to provide for my family and try to keep my head above water.    When I think about life in terms of 'what should I do to feel safe', the answers are so far beyond anything that have the freedom to do right now, it's just not worth thinking about.  And probably never will be.  I have my first counseling appointment with a new pdoc next week, and I'm really hoping he works out.  I could never get straight answers out of the other place about cost, they weren't covered on my insurance, and on top of all that, I was only able to talk to the pdoc via teleconference. Call me crazy, but if I'm talking to someone, I like for them to... you know... be there.   :-/  ('Entering Mordor' by Monolith Art Team, found on Rogue Telemetry website)          

20YearsandCounting

20YearsandCounting

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