Tag Archives: keep going

Defragmentation of drive…

The system will now defragment the drive. This process may take a while. Do you wish to proceed?

I’m kinda wishing there were more warnings about this process. I wish I had more of a choice…

I’m disliking the concept more and more. I can’t seem to function under pressure anymore. I’m getting incredibly flakey in general, but add on any stress and I can’t keep track of details, I fluster easily, I lose my words… it wouldn’t be so bad if I didn’t have to be competent at anything I do, but that’s not the way life goes. Instead of anxiety switching on a backup system that allowed me to do what needed to be done, now anxiety wipes everything. I forget the basics of what needs to be done at work, the things people tell me fly out of my awareness as soon as the words leave their lips… my chest constantly feels like it’s caving in on itself.

This sucks…

Can I go back to airtight containers for everything?

I’m tired of the panic over nothing. I’m tired of the flashbacks. I’m tired of the overwhelming emotions that have no basis in the present. I miss being able to function…


Updates and an art journal WIP

I haven’t had much to say lately. Therapy has just been… therapy. Nothing major or very deep… or maybe it has, but hasn’t been overly memorable? We talked a bit about the topic of touch, but not too much. Dr C loaned me a book on the topic (A Very Touching Book, by Jan Hindman). It’s written mainly with kids in mind, but works for adults as well… it’s actually kind of cool, breaking touch down into 3 types: good, bad, and secret. I like that delineation. It makes inappropriate touch easier to understand and explain that way.

Other than that, just plugging along through the days. I’ve been working a few more hours, which is nice. The holidays were uneventful. I hadn’t done much art lately, but picked it up again these past 3 days or so. Dr C and I had talked more about masks and layers of self. She asked if I would want to do some art around it, so I’ve been trying to work on that. I’m not quite sure where I’m going with it, but it’s going…slowly. Mostly at the moment it’s covering layers I dislike because I wasn’t really sure where I was going with them. I wish I had taken more progress shots, but I wasn’t expecting to cover quite so much of each layer at the time I went to add more to them.

This is the current top layer, though it will be added to/covered some more after it dries:

image

It’s actually a 2-page-spread layer I had taped onto the original page. I will be doing the back side of this page, adding another 2-page-spread layer taped under this one, but to the right side. The top most layer will represent the life I have now: the love, the success, the life that I built for myself. The middle layer will be a more translucent layer. It will be that murky, uncertain, muddled layer that will represent the symptoms that were so confusing out-of-context. It’s the confusion around whether all of this is just in my mind, or actually true. The bottom layer will be the ickiness that hides in the past: the abuse, the assaults, the trauma stuff…

So far I only have that top layer done. It kinda feels like 3 or more art journal pages rolled into one project… and it’s daunting. I miss my art friends who helped so much with inspiration and ideas. I’m substituting them with an endless stream of YouTube art journal tutorial videos. They are mostly just going on in the background, but they’re good for sparks of ideas.

Here’s the only other “wip” shot of this page, and two stamps I carved yesterday for a change of pace.

image

image

image


pushing through

trying not to let my emotions get the best of me today and cause a total melt-down (though I do agree a release of emotion would be beneficial). I let myself tear up a bit earlier (thanks SG for the pep-talk/butt kicking!), but I have not let other things allow me to fall apart.

there are quite a few barriers to this move still, and trying to get them resolved serves to remind me how much I’ve screwed up in life… but I’m working on it. I kept making calls (after a brief pause to collect myself), and I didn’t let that voice that told me over and over again how hopeless and worthless I am win out.

sure, I want to head out to the store, buy a 12-pack of beer, some limes and coconut water, and drown myself in margaritas and beer, but… well, I don’t have the funds. so going to “drown” myself in my art shortly. plugging in my headset, cranking my ipod, and going to breathe through the rest of the day.


5 am, we meet again.

It’s 5 am. I’ve been awake since 3:30 after having fallen asleep around midnight… this has been a trend for about 3 weeks now, interrupted only by me remembering to take benadryl a few nights here and there (when I don’t have to function at all the following day). This insomnia is certainly not helping my depression or functioning.

If we weren’t in the process of referring out and termination, I probably would have reached out to TM about the increasing lack of sleep. Now? I dunno. I can’t get over feeling like there’s a boundary there I need to keep to. We are ending. Reaching out for anything other than scheduling feels like a big “no-no”…

I keep coming back to frustrations around a lack of support. I’m guessing the IOP will not work out due to finances. I don’t want to ask TM to extend our sessions until I leave merely for support. She’s got limited availability as is, I don’t want to keep wasting her time… that leaves me with trying to muddle through on my own.

I’ve thought about reaching out to friends and family for support, but I feel like a huge bother. There were a few times I wanted to talk about stuff with L, but she’s got so much on her end, it’s not fair to bug her with it (and I’m not totally sure how to talk about it). I had tried to process Wednesday’s appointment with TM, but she quickly switched back to talking about whatever was going on for her that day. I didn’t attempt to revisit. I know, my fault. I should be more assertive in wanting to talk, but I feel so defeated and overwhelmed, I’m not going to beg anyone to sit through my struggle to articulate things; not TM, not L, not anyone. It’s just all pointless.

Part of me wants to call insurance today to see what can be done in terms of accessing additional support, but I really don’t like asking for favors. I don’t want the hospital program to do anything out of the norm for me. I don’t want to bother TM with anything. I don’t want to ask for more. I’ve taken plenty already, I should be good with all this… only I’m not. I’m coping on the outside and crumbling on the inside. My internal resources are running dry again. Bed is looking more and more inviting 24/7/365… there’s other things that are yet more inviting, but they are not an option despite being on my mind all the time…

I just have to get through this move, then I can worry about what to do up there again. I gotta get through this move…


Fake it till you (don’t) make it

I’ve been a good little girl. I’ve been trying to keep myself distracted and balanced and breathing and everything else positive that should be helping. I’ve even done some cleaning and organizing in prep for the move… only I still feel like I’m breaking apart.

The second the distractions slow down, I’m overwhelmingly tearful and hopeless. I’m so tired of this…


almost didn’t, but I’m calling it a win

I was so close to giving in today. I was so close to throwing up my hands and resigning myself to the fact that I am hopeless and will never change. But something propelled me to keep trying…

If I don’t do the dog nails first, no one will do them any time soon. I might as well at least do that…

It was quite a physical feet. While my dogs were relatively easy to do, mom’s dog was a handful. Not only did he not want his nails sanded, but he was going to try to get away the whole time. Lemme tell you a secret buddy, it goes a lot faster and easier if you just let me do it… But no. He didn’t want to stay put, he didn’t want to lay down and be pinned (he thinks he’s the boss after all), he wanted nothing to do with the pedicure. I was more stubborn them him though. He was placed back down every time he tried to get up and run. He got pinned and dealt with it. I stayed calm despite his frantic efforts to get away. Eventually, he submitted. The cardio I got from it though made up for anything I may have lacked last week. Picture a 65lb lanky, muscular dog who is also really good at squirming away…

Anyway, I won. I finished the mani/pedi’s for all 4 dogs. And it gave me the release of pent-up anxiety I so desperately needed.

My thoughts still float towards self-destruction, but they are not as desperate and intense as they had been earlier this afternoon. I almost left TM a defeated message saying I had failed a mere 20 hours before I would be seeing her again. I’m glad I didn’t. As I told L a bit ago, if you never change how you react to stress, nothing will ever change. Don’t get me wrong, I so wanted to give in and shred my body. I wanted to OD on everything I could get my hands on. I wanted to relieve the stress and anxiety in any way possible. I even contemplated giving the crisis line a “courtesy call” saying that I was pretty much going to cut, but that I had promised TM I would reach out first. I was going to tell them I had no idea how they could help me, or even that they could help me, but that I was simply going through the motions (keeping my word to TM is very important to me). I actually probably would have if doing the dogs’ nails hadn’t taken so much out of me. I’m kinda glad the puppy was such a jerk about it. If he had been easier, I would be admitting to TM that I failed…

Anyway… yeah. So, I battled all those crazy-intense self-destruct thoughts. I even gave myself permission to give in to them after first doing the mani/pedi’s for the dogs. But in the end, I won against the thoughts also.

Here’s to changing even if the change is excruciating.
image


Where secrets live (it’s about the journey, not the destination)

Didn’t really have a direction for this piece when I started other than wanting to try some techniques I’d seen in a tutorial the other day (I spent the better portion of a morning watching various YouTube art journal tutorials. There are still several more I would like to try, but I have to figure out how to MacGyver some supplies because I just can’t afford to go out and buy them).

This piece wasn’t working out as nicely as it had for the YouTuber that posted the tutorial, but I was able to make it my own.

I picked up “purple” distress paint yesterday (woohoo for 50% off coupons and the honoring of competitor coupons). I thought it would be more purple… it’s really mauve. Oh well, live and learn. Anyway, I picked it up and got to work on the base coat. I still have to learn how to work with it better, because I wanted a different background texture but it dried too fast in some spots and way slow in others. I also have to figure out how these distress stains work with the paints. The stains come out super dark on paper, but not so much when used over the paints (should have remembered they have a “resist” effect on the stains). It’s ok though, because the stain I used muted the horrifically bright background.

image

It took a bunch of digging around, but I finally landed on a decent silhouette from which to create a mask (reverse of a stencil) for the figure on the right. [Useful tip: those plastic page dividers work well for stencil-making. I would suggest ones that are slightly thicker than the ones I snagged from the dollar store though, because these are pretty floppy and flexible. Just trace or draw out your design and cut with an XActo knife]… I started by tracing around the mask with charcoal, but it didn’t stand out enough. I tried to fill with gesso, but then disliked how light it was. Finally I covered it in black paint (ahh… so much better!). By then though, I had gone outside of my lines quite a bit and it looked like the black sludge creature from the first season of ST:TN that killed Tasha Yar… yes, I’m a huge Trek geek, but that wasn’t the look I was going for. I put the mask back into place and decided to try to give the woman a “glow” (or in this case, a shadow?). I painted over the edges of the mask with am antiqued bronze color. I kinda wanted her to look like she was draining light rather than emitting it (like a black hole). Again I lost the definition of the figure, so once the paint was dry I outlined her in white charcoal. She kinda ended up with a glow, but it reminded me of backlighting, so it worked.

image

I added the drips and spats. I added more washi tape (new-found appreciation for the stuff), and then I added the words. I was limited by what was on the stickers I have. It took me about 40 minutes to settle on the ones I did use, but then I ended up disliking what it said, so I covered over it. First I tried writing other words over the stickers, but I didn’t like those either. Finally, I settled on ink drops to totally obliterate the words while keeping the boxes… I kept the words inside the silhouette, but had written over them as well, then removed the writing. You can still see both the original words and my own if you look at them hard enough.

image

Much playing, tweaking, and waiting-for-things-to-dry later, I ended up with this. I try to be lighter in both color and content sometimes, but it’s just not me. I also found I really am not feeling this mauve color much. I’m sure L will end up being the one to use it more than I do… branching out in my art just doesn’t work with me when it involves stepping out of my color-pallet comfort zone. Oh well.

Aside: I think I write so much about the process for these journal pages not only to remind myself it’s often a frustrating and imperfect process, but to show that, while pieces don’t always turn out the way you want, they can still end up decent. One of my biggest challenges is dropping the notion of needing “perfection” from my work. I tend to have a picture in my head that I want to create. I’m slowly becoming ok with the result being different from that picture. One of the things that the woman who teaches the journal workshops always reminds us is to just keep going. Even if you think it’s ugly, just keep adding and tweaking. Eventually you will love the result… it’s more about the process anyway.

Most artists (people) don’t admit the blunders and frustrations of the process (life), they simply show the (happy) end result. Art (life) is rarely that neat and tidy. There are lots of bumps and dips and spins along the way. Projects (goals) start out one way and end up totally different sometimes. That’s just how it goes. We need to remember that. And that it’s ok…


Smiling for the outside world, and all it’s drawbacks

Many of us are taught to “smile” and “put on a brave face” when dealing with the outside world.  We are taught this by our family of origin, by friends, heck, by the internet (I can’t even count the number of “inspirational” posts I came across this morning on Facebook that mentioned something along the lines of smiling on the outside even when you’re breaking on the inside).  Even clinicians will tell you to focus on the positive.  There is merit to this.  It can be helpful to pull one out of a depressive plunge, it can balance some of the more negative concepts that may be floating around the murky waters of our thoughts.  The problem comes however, when we are so worried about showing any hints of cracks in our armor that we wall it off without ever showing anyone our weakness.

I know this is a big problem for me much of the time.  I function with a smile on my face and genuine concern for others even when there’s an enormous black hole in my chest.  I do it so much, I have a lot of trouble showing that “weakness” even when I am supposed to be allowed to do so.  I don’t know how to express the level of emotions I feel because I am so used to suppressing them.  When I do attempt expressing the intense level of chaos going on inside, no one gets it because they rarely see me in that place (some people have never seen me in that head-space before, so they are confused by my seemingly “together” presentation as I tell them I’m falling apart. I also get a very big grin when truly nervous, something I have no control over. If my anxiety is high, and I need to say something disturbing, it is said with a stupid, huge, and anxiety-filled smile that tends to throw people off, making them think I am lying or being manipulative. In reality, it’s just a weird reaction to anxiety).  I have yet to figure out how to be able to tell people that despite the calm I may be exuding in the moment, when I fall, I fall hard, fast, and completely. I can say those words to a clinician, but unless they have seen the drop off the cliff, they don’t quite understand what I mean. Even when my wife or former clinicians try to express it, no one gets it unless they have seen it in person (and then they get scared).  My perfection at appearing competent while crumbling really throws people for a loop.

Of course, my ability to express myself also gets hindered when overwhelming emotions hit.  I’m very used to pushing things down and keeping a lid on the limit of what I allow myself to feel.  When any of that spills over the quota, it gets incredibly overwhelming.  I suddenly become helpless without any access to my knowledge of how to handle it all.  I say I don’t have access to it because, when I am not overwhelmed, I have a pretty good theoretical grasp on how to handle said emotions.  The problem with them being overwhelming is that I suddenly find all my effective and safe coping skills are buried under miles of turmoil.  I lose the ability to effectively ask for help. I lose the ability to speak in the moment about what my needs may be (I’m horrifically ashamed at having any needs at all, and I was finally able to figure out with De why some of that is).  I desperately seek safety in any form, even if it ends up being outrageously uncomfortable.  There’s a level of comfort in certain uncomfortable things (another thing I was able to figure out with De this past week).  I’m slowly practicing finding safety in truly safe situations that are not also at once very traumatic in their imposition of safety (ie: an inpatient stay at a “regular” psych unit).  I’m learning to keep breathing.  I’m learning to reach out before things hit crisis levels.  They are difficult lessons.  I still stumble sometimes, but I’m learning it.  One part of that is not always smiling for the outside world.  I think that may be that hardest lesson of all…


at an opposite pace

While I have fallen back into being up north during this brief vacation, L and I are glaringly at very different paces.  I feel a frantic pressure to see everyone and do everything before my departure on Tuesday morning.  L is taking her time, getting back into the groove of things, and planning for the coming weeks.  I feel bad unintentionally putting all this pressure on her.  I want to be able to go out and visit friends, eat at our favorite restaurants, and check out my “old stomping grounds” in this very short 4 days we have left.  I hurried trying to settle the car, I am making plans with friends and putting it on the calendar.  The pressure is rubbing off on her.  I don’t feel like just sitting around doing nothing.  The nap we took today (while very much-needed and appreciated) felt like a waste of time.  I need to be engaged and actively doing things because I want to cram SO MUCH into these few short days.  Like I said, I feel bad about pressuring her.  L is working on the time-table of remaining here where she can see friends and family as she pleases.  If it doesn’t get done this weekend, it can happen next weekend.  And I think she might be trying to slow time.  Neither of us is looking forward to my departure… I hope the interim months go by quickly and we can get things settled so I can move up.   As much as I love the semi-tropics, the beach, and the friends and family down south, I really miss here also.  I miss the mountains and the hiking with the dogs.  I miss seeing our friends and getting together just to hang out for a few hours.  I miss seeing the kids. I will really miss L when I go back. In the almost 6 years we have been together, we have never been apart for more than 2 weeks, and even that was peppered with brief stays at home between my myriad of hospitalizations.  This is the first time we will voluntarily and “healthfully” be spending time apart.  It’s a little daunting.

In preparation for the return, I have been eyeballing houses with “for sale” signs on them in hopes we can swing a “rent-to-own” situation with one.  The prospect of settling once again is appealing. I like the idea of trying to get our lives back on track.  The thought of having to work again full-time is a bit nerve-wracking, but this whole environment is generally healthier for me, so it should be doable.  The memories are quieter here (they did not originate here).  I find it easier to fall back into a groove of trying to be productive.  My head and heart feel lighter away from all those triggers at home (the physical environment).  It feels emotionally easier to breathe, even if it’s just because I’m only visiting at the moment.

Anyway, it’s glaringly obvious that our heads are on different schedules.  We will make it work though.  I keep trying to remind myself to slow down, and L is very accommodating about my urgent need to do everything all at once.  I know we will get through these changes in one piece.


Holding my breath

Today will be our last session with J. I’m not looking forward to it (neither is L). The week has been emotional hell. One of the dogs is pretty sick. Yesterday she fell from the bed and popped some joints out of place. The vet was moving them around and they seemed to go back into place because she was able to walk much better after the exam. It was really scary for a few hours though, because she kept falling over and walking in circles. She is doing much better today. I hope it keeps up.

The whole J thing… Ugh. I just don’t know. I had wanted to write her a thank you letter or something, but the words are not coming. The walls are up, so the feelings have been quarantined. I know I’ll regret it if I don’t say a proper goodbye though (I always do). Inside I’m heartbroken for so many reasons. I’ve locked it away. I don’t know exactly how to access it anymore to make this goodbye meaningful. It sucks. Can I crawl back into bed for the rest of the week (…month, year, life…)?


Grief

No bombs were dropped by De in session today, though I did have a few panicked seconds when she started out a sentence with “my supervisor is all over me about…” (heart stalled and breath caught mid-exhale) “…asking you if we can keep your piece for further use” (resume breathing and pumping blood). I didn’t know what to say. I guess they really liked it. I asked if I could get back to her about it. De said that it will be displayed for the month of April, but that they would like to keep it to put up in the building. I’m not opposed to that, but I’m also really attached to the piece. I think if I leave it there, I will ask that my real name be used. Might as well get credit for it.  I also told De that I had been toying with asking for it back so I could tweak it because I had a million other ideas since I handed it in. She laughed and reminded me that was why I had given it to her when I did, so I wouldn’t mess with it and end up getting frustrated when it didn’t turn out how I pictured. She’s right, because I would over-work it and feel that I need to start all over again.  I don’t think I would have a fourth rendition in me before the beginning of April. It’s good I don’t have my hands on it anymore.
We spent the rest of the session talking about the pending move and how I will need to grieve the loss of the house and such, but that the overall result will be positive (the house does hold many negatives, as does this state. But it also was a “home base” for so long, a safety net if I need it. Hope I can get some sort of other safety net from it. I’m not going to hold my breath for that though).
I’m still adamant about not crying in front of others. She was trying to convince me that it would be ok, but all the judgements and fears around crying screamed in my head. I did tear up a few times with her today but refused to cry. I really don’t think I would have been able to stop if I had actually started. So I moved the conversation along (much like I keep my head moving all day and night so I don’t crack with tears). I had wanted to ask her to focus our work on the assaults and history with DuckBoy. I just didn’t find an appropriate way to slip it in to the flow. I needed more time to explain the rest of the week. I don’t think I expressed my distaste for loss in any meaningful way. I don’t think she gets how hard that is for me. I tend to stuff it all down, so it’s easy for people to miss the little hints. I just don’t do well with loss. A whole lot of loss is coming up real soon. It’s panicking me a bit, but I’m sure it will all be ok in the end (isn’t it always?). There’s always loss. There’s always change. Just gotta learn to go with it… don’t open your heart too much to prevent excessive pain with the withdrawal of whatever it was that you let worm its way inside.
The session flew by before I knew it. On the way out I asked if they had a shredder so I could get rid of the last pictures I found of DuckBoy yesterday. She suggested “making a moment of it” and that we could do it next week. I gave her the pictures to hold on to till then (I certainly don’t want them)…
(Strangely appropriate song just came on my playlist: Goodbye My Lover by James Blunt… covers the feel of all this.  It works for the house, the history, and everything else).
Is it weird that I miss my best friend from high school so much lately? I found some pics of her and of us the same time I found the DuckBoy pictures… one relationship I’d rather forget, and one I wish was still going. But I guess loss and grief are the themes of the moment (sadly there’s only the loss of DuckBoy for which I’m relieved, the other losses just hurt). I wish I had the gumption to track her down and show up at her door. I wish I had been a better friend. I wish I had fought harder when she ran away. But what do you do when a friend ceases wanting to be your friend? …I still have the mug she gave me for Christmas one year. It’s my favorite one. I really miss her.
The loss of this house means the loss of that last connection to a bunch of positive stuff. There will no longer be a safety net here… it sucks…


going. going. going.

just keep going.  if I don’t stop, I don’t think about the chaos that will likely happen in a few weeks.  Setting up a garage sale, sorting through 20+ years of household junk… just keep going and forget the impossibility of the coming move across country with zero money, the lack of living space to land at, the need to re-home so many animals… just keep going and don’t fall apart into a blubbering mess.  yeah… just go.  and maybe medicate for sleep.  but not too much because I have to be at the shop for the tint guy to remove the films from the 4 doors on the car so it will be legal in the new state.  Going to take some cash so I can at least tip the guy for the free work he will be doing…

then there’s couple’s therapy tomorrow.  I’m pretty sure I will cry then because there is no choice about sitting down to talk there… and I may be a tad pissed at her because she is safe to be pissed at right now.  if I were to get pissed at myself for my lack of planning, well, I don’t have the best emergency coping skills on the planet (or anywhere)…


Finally a good night’s rest

I actually slept last night, roughly 7 hours.  I felt good today, not tired, not overly hyper… AND I accomplished a monumental task (at least it has been since we moved here): I cleaned all 10 snake cages in one day!!  For the past year and a half, I’ve only done 2 or 3 at a time, and it was generally weeks before I got the drive/energy to do more of them.  I even ended up taking a break in the middle, going to get groceries for dinner, then finishing.  That’s TOTALLY unheard-of in my world.  If I ever take a break from something, I don’t go back to finish it (unless it’s art, and even then it’s a huge ordeal).  I can;t believe I did it.  I’m totally proud of myself.  I also took pics of 7 of the snakes (3 were either too stressed or hiding too well).  I miss playing with them.  I need to do it more often.  I’m just really glad my energy came back today.  I actually enjoyed what I was doing.  😀

We also perfected the stromboli-making technique (well, ok, L did that while I finished the last cage).  They came out really good and evenly distributed.  Last time we had huge wads of dough at the ends while the toppings were all smooshed into the middle.  This time there were toppings all over the place.  L did a great job.  (And I ate WAY too much for one night. I feel like I may explode).

Anyway, it’s amazing what a good night’s sleep can do to a person.  I hope I can get another good night tonight.