I am noticing how hard it is to sleep when L is working overnights. Been watching 5 hours of Grey’s Anatomy because it’s just not the same sleeping without her… we can grow so accustomed to things that, when they change, we are thrown. It’s amazing that the things we complain about (between L and the dogs I have about the space of my pillow to sleep on) become so familiar that we don’t know what to do with ourselves when things change. The dogs are sleeping on her side and I still find myself watching tv all scrunched up because that’s just how I’m used to doing things. We, as humans, certainly are creatures of habit.
Why is it that something genuinely supportive and helpful comes off as condescending and invalidating? What lens do I put on that turns all the nice into hate? I know my stress is skyrocketing, and that the depression is creeping back in. I guess that’s the lens right there: depression. I had reached out to someone in hopes of finding support, but all I read from their response was how wrong I was doing things, how deliberately miserable I am, and how inadequate I am. In actuality, their response was uplifting, supportive, positive, and understanding. My head instantly turned that positive into disparaging. Even as I recognize this, my head is battling itself. There’s the side that is berating me for being inadequate and stupid. Then there’s the side of me that is taking the response at face value and trying to convince that other side that it’s reading into things. Depression will do that to you. Self – doubt and self – loathing become a way of life.
So my eyes will read “you’ve had so much success until now, you need to focus on that” and my brain will understand “you worthless piece of shit, you can’t even get recovery right. I told you you’d never amount to anything more that a useless waste of space. People tell you all the time to focus on the positive, but all you do is choose to be miserable. You’re a horrid person. You deserve everything you get and then some” (note here that a simple line of text has been translated into a tirade of the self…).
I’m writing this and the voice in my head is reminding me how stupid I have become. This is all stuff I should already know. It’s not supposed to be such a revelation… when I try to change the voice, it gets louder, then more sly when the loud doesn’t work. It rationalizes the negative self-talk and starts whispering little doubts “you have been really off lately,” “you’re such a flake , the driving is getting bad,” “pretty soon you’ll be completely worthless in everything”… it makes the negative sound like logical conclusions. It plants seeds of doubt “everyone can see you’re crazy. It’s written all over you. Why do you think you can’t get a job?” “Even if you did land one, they’d notice the crazy and find a reason to fire you if you don’t end up walking out first because you can’t take it”
We went to a volunteer meeting tonight at the nature center. We got hugs from people we hadn’t seen in a while, and all I could think was that they were pity hugs. Like they knew I was crazy and wanted to pat me on the head for making it out anyway but figured a hug would be less condescending… I know they are all about the hugs anyway, but my head screamed at me that they knew and just felt sorry for me.
Mental illness, self-doubt, and self loathing have a way of turning even the most positive interactions into something terrible. I wonder how much of my therapy is viewed this way. I know the obvious ones, but what about the things that don’t necessarily hit my awareness? What about everyday encounters? What if everyone is really a wonderful person and it’s all just me that views them as hating me? I know I really dislike spending time with G. L pointed it out that my disdain for him was very evident earlier today. I tried to be nicer when we got back home, but I have a lot of work to do on that front. He may be a perfectly wonderful person these days (ok, that’s an exaggeration. He may be at least tolerable), but I only see him through these angry glasses. Everything he says and does I interpret to be mean and hateful so I respond in kind. Then I feel bad for being an asshole. The cycle begins again. I’m once again battling the translation of simple words. I’m twisting what I’m saying to prove to myself how worthless and horrid I am. I just don’t know how to stop it. There’s only so much arguing one can do with oneself before a splitting headache ensues. I think it’s once again time for sleep.
so, despite my nagging fear, I “came out” as having a sexual assault history on fb… I had posted the progression of my picture to give to De, and someone kept asking about it until I finally came out with what it’s for… it’s buried in the comments of that one photo, but it’s there for the world to see. Eek! I was thinking of explaining the piece once it was done, and I may well still do that, but I didn’t expect to say anything before hand. Oh well…
another risk I took came in the form of a response to someone else’s blog. Pride in Madness did a blog on her responses to the questions asked in The Vagina Monologues. I responded in the comments section of that blog, but part of me feels the need to expand on some of it.
Um, I would answer this in my own blog, but I’m not sure… hoping it gets lost in the comments section of yours… but I’ve got a slightly different take on things:
If your vagina got dressed, what would it wear?
barbed wire and razor blades… but for my wife, a lacy black thing to make up for the need for barbed wire and razor blades…
If your vagina could talk, what would it say, in two words?
yes! no! (or: I hate you! please don’t go…)
horrifically triggering most months… it all brings about body memories of being assaulted or violated. Cramps often feel like the sensation of being assaulted. it triggers emotions that I am not always aware of until afterwards. It can send me into a tail-spin before I know what’s happening. Even when I know I’m going to get my period, it takes me a few days to figure out why everything feels like it’s crashing. It wasn’t always this way. There was a time while I lived up north that the triggers faded and I could get through months without having flashbacks, but I guess places can hold memories too… Like De said, the house screams all the time, especially with these memories.
What does a vagina smell like?
What does your vagina remind you of?
a lot of the time these last few years, it’s reminded me of being assaulted and violated.
What’s special about your vagina?
it’s been through hell and back, but it’s still ticking… it holds pain and pleasure in equal parts. I have a love-hate relationship with it. It’s betrayed me more than I’d care to remember. it has also been wonderful at times. I want more wonderful back though.
Not quite sure what to write, but I feel like I have not posted anything meaningful in my own words lately… Things are… um, I’m not sure. Had some ups, but mostly downs or leveling out.
We were talking about something else in session this week, and De described this house as “screaming” every day, all day. She used it in reference to the memories and triggers that are a daily reminder here. She also meant it literally (no amount of saging the house seems to be able to lift the anger that exists here). I have always pictured these two houses (I grew up just down the street, this house belonged to my aunt and uncle before they passed) with huge, heavy iron bars on the windows; not to keep anyone out, but that keeps me (us) trapped here. It also traps all the negative energy. The house screams silently itself while those inside scream for real. It’s angry and sad and tortured. The dogs can feel this very palpable presence. They all jump and start and fright at the slightest trigger. The cats seem miserable (4 have moved out and refused to return over the years, 2 live most of their time outside). In all the years of having been away, I somehow forgot how much of a black hole this house is… I feel trapped again. L feels trapped again. We need to change that somehow, but we are not sure how.
I’m still trying to work on that piece for De. April is coming up fast. I’m on “take 3” and I think I may finally like this one. I got the girl to a point where I’m happy with the way she turned out. I’m also liking the way I managed to paint the adult. I just have to finish the adult’s arms, and the pieces she is picking up. I was going to do a background, but I am not sure I will push my luck with this one.
I had a post all written out, then I accidentally got rid of it by reloading the page when all I meant to do was add a picture… oops…
I don’t really feel like re-writing it, so I will just upload the picture. It’s the third take on my picture for De. April is coming up fast, and I want to get this piece in to her. I just have to finish the arms of the adult, and the pieces she is picking up… I was going to have a background originally, but I don’t want to push my luck with the piece. When I’m finished with this one, I will put up all three versions (all different in a few ways) and explain the different meanings.
Last session, De had described this house as screaming (with memories of the past, and flashbacks…) I added that it literally screams with anger most days. I really connected with her description, and I wanted to record that… It had been better-written in the first version of this post, but like I said, I’m not in the mood to write all that out again. Things are all churning in my head, but I am not sure how to communicate what that really means. The past is screaming at me. The house is screaming. My fears of what the future will be like are screaming, and it’s all very loud right now. I’m trying to work it out through art, within myself, and figure out how to process things with De. It’s all just a jumble right now. Hopelessness is sneaking back in, but I am not supposed to indulge it. I’m a bit at a loss with how that is accomplished, but I’m trying. L and I both have a lot of stressors brewing, but I feel like I can’t talk about mine because I feel like I only ever talk in circles about it (and because I don’t really know all of what it is). It has kept me from writing much, from reaching out, and from communicating. It’s really difficult to communicate when you have no idea what you are trying to say. I know a lot has to do with finances. Some has to do with work (or lack there-of), G coming down in 2 days for a 7 day stay (please shoot me?), and my judgements/fears/hopelessness around having to utilize disability… Part of me really wants to say I’m good to go back to work right now, but there’s the doubt yelling loudly. It tells me that things will never be ok for me, I will never again be able to hold down a job, I will be worthless and useless the rest of my life. It whispers my failures over and over again. It points out how things always go wrong shortly after they go right… It beckons me to throw up my hands, curl into a little ball, and fade from life… I just wish I hadn’t ruined life for so many people. I’m sorry…
I think it’s time to go to bed (not that there’s much relief there. I die in my dreams just about every night. Sometimes multiple times a night. ugh). Anyway, I’m shutting up. Sorry if you actually read this far. It was rather a poor post…
just trying to remeber this….
sorry I have not been around so much. or reading. or contributing. I find I do this less when I am more occupied with real life and less with my inner dialogue. Have (no?) fear, I will be back more often. I am trying to do more about my art, and to process some stuff with De (well, I hope to), then be able to write a bit about it. I have to admit, I have been trapped in my head more today for a few reasons; #1 is that monthly emotional roller coaster that comes with being a woman. There’s something that has been on my mind that I would love to get more outside feedback on eventually, but I need to overcome the shame attached to it and be able to talk to De about it more before I do that. In the mean time, keep an eye out for more art… and hopefully I will be able to pay more attention to everyone else too. Sorry I havn’t been keeping up with you all… I suck…
The vertigo has finally subsided. A friend clued me in to the Epley Maneuver, which is simple and effective to help vertigo pack its bags and leave. I have a much greater appreciation for the lack of awareness of the earth’s perpetual motion…
I’ve been doing a ton of art the last few weeks. I hope I’ll get around to finally editing and publishing the post that has much of it (been sitting in draft form for a while now). I’ve been ahead of the week for the last few days, I’m always thinking it’s a day later than it actually is. My mom has had the same problem. I feel like I have a ton to say to De when I see her on Thursday and I think that plays into things. I don’t actually have much to tell her, but there’s an anxious anticipation to meet. When this has happened in the past, there had always been something to tell her. I have no idea what that is this time… Maybe it’s just that I want to show her what I’ve done with art? I don’t know. It’s a little kid excitement. I also feel like I have more money than I actually do. It’s very weird. Everything is off and surrounded by excitement. Am I missing something?
The insomnia is back, but it’s due to this unexplained excitement. Nothing but art had kept my attention lately. Even that is done while watching tv, being online, and playing the games on my phone. I think I need to consciously slow myself down. Time to reinstate the 5 minutes of silence again… Maybe I can get myself up to twice a day,or even 15 minutes in one stretch?
This is stuff from the last 2 weeks or so. Most recent is first. I’ve been obsessed with spirals lately. And watercolors. Tonight’s (Monday’s) is the bug-thing, which is a huge departure from my normal style. It started as an eye and grew from there. The frog does not do the reference photo justice…
ink pen on mixed media paper
ink pen on mixed media paper
ink pen on mixed media paper
added definition to this one… watercolor and market on mixed media paper
this one kinda reminds me of The Giving Tree. watercolor on mixed media paper
I have a thing for spirals… watercolor on mixed media paper
more spirals. watercolor on mixed media paper
whatever. watercolor on mixed media paper
watercolor on mixed media paper
watercolor on mixed media paper
this was supposed to be lips, but I messed it up. watercolor on mixed media paper
Valentine Cards. papercutting, chalk and acrylic paints
Valentine Cards. papercutting, chalk and acrylic paints
Grumpy Cat Tastes the Rainbow (it was aweful). perler beads
Last night, out of nowhere, I was slammed with really intense vertigo. It kept me up most of the night. It’s better today, but still present. It feels like I’m constantly in that state of dizziness right after you get off the tea cup ride at Disney. I feel like I’m turning right all the time. It’s annoying. Nothing really helps it, though I have yet to try the suggestion a doctor friend of mine made (going to try that in bed in a bit).
It ruined the brunch I was supposed to go to today with family that was here from far away. They left for a cruise and I didn’t want to get them sick for it (didn’t really have any clue what was wrong early this morning, just that I was still pretty dizzy). I did get to see my aunt and uncle for a bit yesterday because they came over for a few hours. I was supposed to see them again for brunch, but that didn’t happen…
Anyway. That’s what I’m dealing with today. I slept most of the day (till 5pm), was up for 5 hours, and now back in bed.
Well said on this too. I recently had to re-orient my brother on the nature of addictions… he may know a lot about a lot, but I know my addictions (personally and professionally. doesn’t mean I can’t learn more, but I can work to break your false ideas of it). People want to be right and better than the poor soul who stumbled very publicly with addiction. We want to know that our worst fears (that we are all mortal and susceptible to the same demons) are at arm’s length. We want to convince ourselves that we cannot possibly fall to the same fate for whatever reason we spout making them different from us… The truth is, misfortune can strike anyone at any time. We all have the possibility of stumbling and blundering in our search for inner peace…