I sometimes think I live my life to a soundtrack. Almost every event, person, action, feeling, anything, I can put a song to. I think it is why I am so often earwormed. Lyrics flow through my head as easily as any random thoughts. I can hear a song in my head as easily and perfectly as I can relive any of the events that form my life/nightmare of the past several years, and frequently they are related. It’s easier to walk through the darkness if you have a steady rhythm to step to, and words that understand the pain. They rarely take me deeper, they just make it easier. They give me something to concentrate on. And sometimes my ear worms fail me, and I am left in silence. That is the worst.
I’m a vocalist, so lyrics have always played a big part in music for me. My enjoyment of a song depends almost entirely on whether or not the lyrics touch me, be it emotionally, comedically, anything. It just has to *mean* or *do* something to me. Add to that something that I can *really* sing along to, something challenging, and I’m completely won over. There is so much joy in singing, and if I can break through the darkness enough to sing, I can usually get back to lightness pretty fast.
I have some songs that I choose to think of at certain times, to ride the feeling, or to force a break out of whatever I want to break out of. For example, if I am inexplicably earwormed by a song I HATE, I can almost always rely on The Thing, The Musical to take over with something crazy and witty and stupid and clever, something that gives me a chuckle almost without fail.
I’m writing this tonight because there is the darkness, and the silence. The song I want to be earworming, I can think of immediately. I know exactly what it is, exactly how it sounds, every nuance in the voice, and I can emulate it perfectly when singing. I can’t keep it. When I am not deliberately singing it in my head there is only silence. I even have it playing right now on repeat, but it’s just noise. It doesn’t combat the sadness. Music rarely fails me, yet tonight it is only fail… My chosen song for the soundtrack of tonight is one that speaks of aloneness, coping and hope. It speaks of more, but this is what I need to take from it tonight, the resonation with what I feel and the coping and hope. I’m writing this post to remind myself of how well music works for me. How well it should be working right now.
The song that generally matches tonight, may it sink in soon. Out Here On My Own by Irene Cara, Fame soundtrack. In the interim, I’ll see if a shower can wash away this taint. This sadness. It can at least mask the tears, even if it is only from myself.
Today I have been making mini cheese cakes. Since I figure that if you’re going to do a job, you may as well do it right, I have made no less than five different flavours! Lemon, coffee, strawberry, dark chocolate and white chocolate. In order to do these, I made up a double batch of a basic cheesecake recipe, then split it five ways to add in the flavours.
Someone on twitter asked me for my recipe, so here we go (single batch lemon cheesecake recipe):
1 packet marie biscuits, crushed. Alternatively, half a packet and approximately same again in desiccated coconut.
enough melted butter to mix through the biscuit mix and dampen/darken the lot.
1 block of philadelphia cheese at room temperature.
1 punnet cream (300mls-ish?).
1/2 cup sugar (I use raw, best to use raw caster if using raw, otherwise it requires a LOT of beating to melt down the sugar! Alternatively, create a syrup with some hot water to melt it).
1/2 cup lemon juice.
1 tbsp gelatine melted in 1 tsbp boiling water OR for a pure vegetarian option use agar agar (my preference, although more fiddly as needs to be boiled for a while).
Mix the crushed biscuit with just enough butter to darken or dampen all of the biscuits (add a little at a time if unsure), then press hard into the base of a cake tin (or whatever you’re using to make the cheesecake in). Refrigerate.
Using an electric beater, beat the cream until stiff. In a separate bowl, beat the philly cheese until reasonably soft and no longer blocky. Add the sugar and beat for a few minutes. The longer you beat it, the smoother and creamier the end result will be. This is the stage that needs even longer if using raw sugar. Add in the lemon juice and beat for a few minutes. Fold in the cream. Prepare the gelatine or agar agar and fold this into the cheese mix. Pour over biscuit base and refrigerate.
To make the different flavours I add approximately half a cup per batch of flavour – strong brewed coffee, pureed strawberries, melted chocolate, etc. I will usually use chocolate ripple biscuits to make a base for the chocolate versions, and this also works nicely with coffee.
Today, I made mini cheese cakes using mini party pans, and I used chocolate ripple bases for some and marie bases for others. I separated the cheese mix into five batches once the sugar was beaten in to it. To these fives batches, I added: 1) a shot of ridiculously strong fresh coffee; 2) the juice of one small lemon; 3) one third of a pun net of strawberries, pureed; 4) quarter of a cup of melted white chocolate; 5) quarter of a cup of melted dark chocolate. Once the flavour was mixed through, I added 1/5 of the stiffened cream to each batch, then the gelatine/agar agar, then poured them into their corresponding party pans. I topped the lemon cheesecakes with candied lemon (lemon peel sliced finely and cooked in sugar and water or lemon juice, like toffee), the coffee cheesecakes with coffee beans, the strawberry cheesecakes with more strawberry puree (recommend using whole or cut berries as it looks much better!), and the chocolate ones with shards of chocolate.
Photos from today:
Some of them look a little melty, but that’s purely because I got a little too excited and over-filled the pans. Not a problem when using a cake tin or the likes, or just sturdier cake pans. These were flimsy paper ones.
I have always been an avid dreamer. I dream in colour, and I often remember in extreme clarity. I don’t just dream, I live the experience. Completely. I see all the sights, I smell the smells, taste the tastes, hear the sounds, feel the feelings. Right down to the light breeze on my skin.
Probably about thirteen years ago, in real life, I had this boyfriend. Let’s call him Cornelius for lack of a better pseudonym. He was an incredible nag, and was constantly at me about money, and my motorcycle. Even though he also rode a motorcycle. “if you do *this* you will never be able to afford a house” or “If you do *this* on your bike you will die”. Non stop, never ending, oh-my-god-you’re-worse-than-my-mother-for-my-entire-childhood-and-adolescence type nagging. I had the following dream about him, and I’ll spare a lot of the details that are still clear in my mind:
Cornelius had dropped me off at my old university where I had studied for my undergrad, for some reason, on my motorbike. He said he would be back in about an hour to pick me up. I removed my helmet, waved at him and watched him ride off over the hill. Moments later, there was a massive CRASH sound, followed by an incredible plume of smoke not dissimilar to a mushroom cloud from an atomic explosion. HUGE! I knew in my heart that it was Cornelius, and my heart was already breaking as I dropped my helmet and bag and broke into a sprint to get to him as soon as I possibly could. As I reached the top of the hill, I could see the accident scene before me. My bike was sliding off down the road, one of the tyres removed and following closely behind. Smoke and flames everywhere. Over to the left, on the verge, lay Cornelius. Completely naked and curled up in a foetal position, bleeding profusely from his testicles. Headless. And his head was rolling down the road, leaving a trail of blood in its wake. I died a little, I was completely heartbroken. Still, I knew that his head should be with his body, and it was up to me to retrieve it, so off I went. Running down the hill, chasing this runaway head, and I finally caught it. Breathless and devastated. I picked it up and cradled it to me as I walked slowly back towards his body, crying, repeatedly saying his name, my tears streaming over his lifeless head. Then his eyes opened. He looked at me. He turned his gaze to take in as much as he could see, then he looked back at me. THEN the nagging started. “See, I told you so! This is exactly what I told you would happen if… ” bla bla bla. It felt like it went on for hours. Like it took me hours to walk back to where his naked body lay, still bleeding. Constantly being nagged at about how dangerous my motorbike was. Never ending. And by the time I reached his body I had completely forgotten my devastation, I wanted to kill him again! Well, maybe not quite that drastic, but I was SO ANGRY!!!
And it was so real. Every detail filling all of my senses. Even in the midst of all that gore, you have to give me full points for creativity.
I woke up and knew that I needed to break up with him, yet I didn’t do it. A few weeks later, I had another dream. Not so violent, it didn’t involve any pain to anyone or anything other than my eardrums (and probably his lungs due to not shutting up long enough to take a breath). This dream was about money, and was equally annoying and imaginative. And so, so real. Again, I woke up KNOWING that I needed to break up with this person.
Slightly off topic, the next day he phoned me at work and somehow gained information from me that I had purchased dishwashing detergent. Keeping in mind that he wasn’t living with me at the time, and I have NO idea how he even knew, but he went completely ballistic at me for buying this detergent when it was my housemate’s turn, and this is why I would never be able to afford a house. I hung up on him, jumped on my motorbike, went to the nearest display village and walked into a house. The salesman walked up to me and I told him “I’ll take it”. He said that I should look at the house next door as it was bigger and only $5000 more, I told him I didn’t need to, I’ll take this one. He told me that the house next door had better wall space for putting furniture against and that he really recommended a look. So I walked into the house next door and said “I’ll take it”. I signed up on the spot, and had chosen my house, land, even had the finance approved then and there. I bought a house. I got back on my bike, rode back to the office, called him and said “I bought a fucking house, now fuck off”, and ended the relationship then and there. I was 24 years old. Being pushed always made me stronger and more able to stand up for what I knew was the right thing to do, even if it meant buying a house out of pure revenge.
Skip forward to now, in my broken state. Where I have been pushed and pushed and pushed and pushed and had the ability to fight back withdrawn from me. To my psychiatrist assessment a couple of weeks ago. He asked me if I dream.
I told him that I barely sleep. And when I do, yes I sometimes dream.
What do I dream about?
Most of the time, now, I don’t remember. I seemingly always used to remember my dreams. The times that I do remember, I try to forget. It’s my life. It’s what I have become. I dream about being who I am now and losing everything I ever wanted to be. I dream about the events that transpired to put me here. I feel it. Deeply. I taste the bile. I smell the fear. I can hear how fast my heart is beating. I see nothingness. A deep, unending void of hopelessness and futility. And I see everything I saw and hear everything I heard as I was going through each event. And when I wake from this, the boundaries between the dream and the reality are blurred because I live it so often. Or relive it. Awake or asleep is meaningless, there is no difference. When I fall into a state brought on by my triggers, I relive it. Not always everything that has happened, but certainly the highlights. Like it is happening again. It leaves me floored. Breathless. Wishing for the nothingness. Or Alyssa, my only light and all that is good in the world, the only thing I could do right.
Thankfully, that “so often” is now only upon my triggers. These happen far less often. Before my hypnotist was involved, I spent almost a full 12 months in this state, where that WAS my permanent, near full time reality. Periodically going over everything I have been through. Trying to formulate in my head how I could have made things turn out differently, which paths I could have taken and what impact they would have had on life around me. On Alyssa. Feeling lost and alone, and full to overflowing with nothing. And, although I was sleeping a maximum of an hour per night for so much of that period, there was very little to differentiate between when I was asleep or when I was awake. Then, during sleep, was nothingness or memories. Much like my many, many waking hours. I was still working. Barely. And Alyssa was always a welcome reprieve, and my only happiness. When she was with me. Until she was asleep and I was again faced with the reality of my thoughts and my memories and my misery and my life, unless I stayed by her side and held on to her.
On the nights where I do manage to sleep, I rarely dream now. When I do, it is still the despair. I’m torn between wanting my colourful and creative dreams back – even the gory ones – and fear of what I now have learned to expect. Even removing the expectations using hypnotism hasn’t modified what happens to me when I have my PTSD triggers, although it has removed the untriggered nightmares. Hypnotism has removed the untriggered everything. It has given me back a lot of who I was, although it is still a LONG journey. It hasn’t yet given me back my dreams, creativity, imagination and inspiration.
I haven’t dreamed of anything amazing in years.
Today, I posted a letter. It has left me absolutely, utterly, incredibly exhausted. Emotionally and physically. I came home from posting this letter and collapsed in bed for a while. Actually, I have to admit that I stayed in bed until midday today just trying to avoid having to go and post it, despite yesterday’s promise to myself. There is still time to catch up, so I’m mostly ok with this.
It’s not the fact that I posted a letter. It is the contents of the letter. The fact that I have been procrastinating on this for so long, and it needed to be done. It has been an emotional strain on me for months now, and it is done now. The process of actually taking it to the post office and sending it on its merry way was significantly more taxing than I would have hoped. I feel weak. I am strong about so many things, but in this matter (and all things related) I feel weak. I am weak. The filling out of the forms within was incredibly emotional, and now the wait for the result. It should have been posted a couple of months ago, and then this wait wouldn’t exist. I wasn’t capable of filling in the forms then.
I want to climb back in bed now and sleep. I feel like I could sleep for weeks. Part of me thinks it’s a great idea to get that sleep when I feel like I can get it because I never know when I will be able to or not. Another part of me thinks I made a promise to myself and I need to keep it.
So… Off I go to pull apart Alyssa’s crafting cupboard and drawers and clean it all out.
My house is chaos. Sometimes it is clean and tidy, but it doesn’t take long to become chaotic again because the underlying mess is always there. I sometimes decide that I’m going to get my life back under control, clean my house, pay all my bills, open all of those unopened letters…
All those unopened letters…
There is a table in my hallway. It has drawers in it for storing things such as keys, shopping bags, stationery, hats, gloves, umbrellas, and unopened mail. The unopened mail drawer is full, so now I have a massive pile of them sitting on top of the table. They taunt me every time I walk past. Sometimes I stop and open some, realise how completely useless they are – mostly advertising materials, some bank statements (then I get annoyed because I’ve requested NO paper statements from my bank on numerous occasions) – then I leave the opened mail sitting on the table next to the empty envelope and the stack of unopened mail, feeling that I have utilised all of that energy on opening something that has wasted my time, and I just can’t deal with the rest right now. I always try to open my actual bills when they arrive, but they frequently also get left in the pile until such a time as I start getting reminders. It’s not that I can’t pay them, or even that I don’t want to pay them (well, as much as anyone doesn’t want to pay the utility bills). It’s just that sometimes it’s hard enough dealing with just breathing in and out, adding further complications seems like pure folly. There is also the fear that any one of those anonymously sent letters may also be a trigger for my PTSD, so add in another layer of extreme procrastination to the unending pile of oh my god i do not want.
And it all feels endless. When I do clean up the house, regain some semblance of control, it takes five minutes with Alyssa home before it’s all in the same state again. But she isn’t solely to blame… She will pack her things away, now. Under protest, and only with help, but we do manage to get most of her mess packed away between plays. She is not responsible for the great piles of laundry sitting on the dining table. The fact that I can’t even bring myself to take the clean clothes from there to our bedrooms and pack them into the drawers. I fold them, put them on the dining table, then lament the fact that I can’t even invite people for dinner because the dining table is always such a mess. Then I leave the clothes there, and do more loads of washing. They also get folded and left on the table, until the table is too full of clothes and un-put-away-shopping-items that I have to leave the clothes on the drying rack. Then the next load gets washed and there’s no room on the drying rack, so it stays in the washer until it gets smelly or mouldy, then I throw away clothes that can’t be salvaged or have to rewash the load. Several times. Not to mention the un-put-away-shopping-items. I don’t know how much food I have wasted through letting it sit on the table and rot because – well, I don’t know why…
I feel like my life is just a constant clean-up work. And it is. Because I only ever manage to clean up the surface – put away the things that I don’t want to see, or are too hard to see, or at least put them out of sight. This doesn’t clean up the underlying issues – the backlog of other things that have already been put out of sight that makes it so fast for the buildup to occur again. The things that would have been put AWAY PROPERLY in about the same amount of time as it took to hide them.
I spend money needlessly because if I can do *this* it will make my life easier and I will feel more in control and everything will be fine. Then what I have spent the money on usually sits there unused for forever. And I feel even more guilty (and more broke!!) because of this genius idea to fix up my life. Like having an extra book case is all it will take to right all the wrongs of the past few years. In that particular adventure, I bring it home and assemble and it is suddenly too small to be able to contain all I want to put in it so I don’t put anything in it because why bother.
I wasn’t always this way… My friends, mostly interstate, who remember who I was before, they know this. Most of my friends here just expect that my life is chaos, because most of my friends here have only known me since I’ve been so broken. It is quite astounding and amazing the depths to which depression will go to ensure it keeps you in its grasp, the ways in which it has you working against yourself to ensure you can not escape, always entangling and pulling you further under until you just give up the struggle and go with it. Drowning. In a raging sea of your own making. The more it piles up, the bigger it becomes, the harder it is to find a starting place, the greater the guilt, the longer it takes, the more it hurts, the deeper the depression. It’s a feeder. It’s not just an endless loop, it’s a massive downwards spiral plummeting and spinning at an alarming rate, fed by the weight of my guilt and procrastination and exhaustion.
A couple of weeks ago I had a long conversation with a good friend who was visiting from Canberra, and she stayed at my house. We talked about the feeling of “why bother”, and the reasons why I should, and she offered to help me clean my house then and there. It was probably not far past 5am at the time, and I opted against the idea, preferring instead the conversation and tea, and not wanting to place this burden on her shoulders. I cannot express to her how much it meant that she offered, however. She reminded me of who I was, who I AM, and put this idea in my head that I really can break through this mess, and when I do it will set me free to deal with the bigger issues in my life.
This post marks another period of control. Today, I WILL get the laundry under control. I WILL put the clothes away, I WILL hang out the load of wet clothes currently in the washer, and I WILL even get Alyssa’s linen washed. Tomorrow I WILL go through her craft supplies and throw away any empty or dried up paints and such, work out which pieces of art are required to remain and which should be photographed and discarded – in time for garbage/recycling collection day. Wednesday I WILL go through her toys and work out which ones are no longer used or needed, and give them away to someone who needs them more than I need the mess. Thursday I WILL sit down with my pile of mail. Friday, Saturday, Sunday I WILL reward myself with a guilt free weekend of awesome with my beautiful daughter. Next week I will clean up the remainder, and I WILL keep going this time until it is done. This time, there will be no guilt. It will be done. This is a promise I make to myself, and to Alyssa. She deserves a better mummy than she has, and I need to give it to her. This is one of the small ways I can help with that.
Just as soon as I stop writing this…
Over the past however many months, I’ve been seeing two separate counsellors. Both have been wonderful people, and both had told me very similar things and had given very similar advice and exercises. Both listened to my story. Both gasped, shook their heads, swore at the injustices, teared up at the pain, were upset for the loss, and angry that this had happened. That it was allowed to happen. Both recommended legal action, and both gave me lists of lawyers that I had promptly “lost”.
Both told me that my depression was typical of the extremely intelligent and strong when robbed of their sense of self and/or self worth. Both told me that most people in my position wouldn’t still be standing at all, wouldn’t be here to talk about it, wouldn’t be cracking sarcastic jokes and seeking the humour because if they didn’t laugh they may never stop crying. Most couldn’t deal with it the way that I could. Hardly anybody is so strong.
I always thought it was them trying to build me up so that I would still be here, doing all of these things.
Last week I had my first psychiatric assessment with a clinical psychiatrist. I had to go over my story again. What happened to me, the impact it had on me, how it changed my life and the lives of those around me.
He was astounded. Amazed. Disappointed. In much of what I told him. He couldn’t believe that I had gotten by on as little help as I had.
He visited my entire medical history – didn’t take long. I’m very boring, in all the right ways. Surgery? Twice – tonsillectomy at 16 and D&C some months after Alyssa’s birth to deal with retained placental tissue. And wisdom teeth extraction if that counts. Alcohol? Rarely. Drugs? Never. Smoker? Not on your life, or anyone else’s. He visited my childhood and everything thereafter seeking a time I may have been depressed. Nothing. Until these events that have brought me here. To this place of despair and frequent self-doubt. We talked about so much, and yet we talked for only an hour.
He basically told me that I am very, very broken, and these events (and the people involved) are very, very responsible.
I could have told him that…
I told him that I have watched it all unfold, like a slow motion train wreck. Like a choose your own adventure book where all choices are completely dire, and you just have to keep choosing that which will keep you alive for now while at the same time playing the long game and ensuring that which is bad now has the greatest chance for ok later. I made the only choices that I could make. At the time.
It has cost me most of myself, although I still have my beautiful daughter. Half the time…
At first, I invested all of my energy into trying to fix myself. Find myself. Be who I am, who I was, who I can never be again. I wanted my passion back. It was a constant fight, and I lost my strength. I was beaten into submission until all of the fight left within me was gone, and anything that did survive was redirected in to making sure Alyssa was ok. I was completely weak, but for my child I had the strength of a thousand superheroes. I had to. She had to be ok, and it was the only thing that kept me alive for a time.
I had the mental breakdown I had to have. I saw it coming, and in the end I welcomed it. I figured that the sooner I reach the bottom, the sooner I could begin the climb back up. I’m still climbing, and there is still a long, long way to go…
And right here is one of those moments of massive tangents, losing where I wanted to go when I started writing here. But writing is cathartic, so I guess I’ll just keep going and hope I manage to come back to it at some point.
The tangent in my head is about social phobias. I hate being around people. I feel like I’m nothing except Alyssa’s mum, and who would be interested in that? I feel awkward, and I can’t wait to get back to the sanctity of my house. Away from the world, to hide away again and pretend that my life is awesome from behind my keyboard. The psychiatrist asked me about these things. I told him I’m able to do the grocery shopping, and that I force myself out into social situations at times. I can do anything if Alyssa needs it. I’m trying to do more of what I need. It wasn’t this way before… Anyways…
He also asked me about sleep. What keeps me awake. The thoughts that race through my head. The memories. Reliving the events as they happened. Trying to see what would have been had I chosen the alternate paths. I still can’t see any better endings. I can’t see anything that doesn’t leave me in this same broken state of nothingness and nobodyness. Or worse. Aaaaaanyways……….
I think I wanted to write about strength. How being strong means everyone expects from you, but nobody believes when you need their strength because you’re meant to be the strong one. About how I didn’t believe my counsellors about me being so strong, thinking it was them just trying to give me something to hold on to, yet add in the psychiatrist who couldn’t believe I went through all of this soooooo alone, and I feel validated. Having been told by him that what I already knew is truth, I feel vindicated. That what I am doing is the right thing, and for the right reasons. I feel stronger. Lighter.
Yet, it has also killed almost all ability to sleep. I keep going back there even more. It doesn’t feel as hard when I feel stronger. I still wish it wouldn’t happen at all…
I’m hoping that posting this will allow me the peace to sleep before 5am… Sorry for getting so lost in this one.
In addition to my friends and family, my support network has variously included my GP, a few psychologists, hypnotherapist, physios, massage therapists and a bowen therapist. These last three are to deal with *some* of the physical aspect of what I go through. There were some periods of time where I would see a massage therapist every other day, bowen and/or physio once a week or the likes. I haven’t been back to a physio since I started bowen therapy.
When my brain or my heart or my soul hurts, my entire body tenses up. Almost instantly, and frequently to the point where I can barely move my neck and I gain a wonderful 5 day massive headache (which is ALWAYS fun during my time with Alyssa). My very first response to anxiety is generally nausea, followed up very quickly with huge amounts of tension. The rest builds from there.
Even when I’m not having a tense time, I still visit my bowen therapist regularly for maintenance. Based on the state of my body – and before she even puts a hand on me, she can tell me if I have had any triggers for my PTSD, if I have had to deal with ANYTHING about my ongoing legal issue. Once she puts her hands on me she can tell how bad. The phrase “oh, wow, I don’t think I have ever seen your shoulders this tight” or something similar are only uttered after direct contact with the other party. It isn’t just my shoulders, though. It’s everywhere, and she digs around everywhere to fire off trigger points that would allow it all to loosen up a bit and begin healing. From the top of my head to my toes, concentrated around neck, shoulders, sides, stomach, arms, legs and hips. Yep, concentrated on pretty much most of me!
I’m down to seeing her once a month at present, usually with two or three massage appointments between, and a good massage swap thing going on with a friend who has neck and shoulder tension due to computer work. I’ve never needed so much body work in my life, and used to think it a luxury to get the old “I’m a computer programmer and have a stiff neck” massage once a month. Massage is no longer a pleasure, and is now merely a way of reducing the headaches at an annoying expense.
On the bright side, Alyssa is AWESOME if she knows I’m unwell, and is even becoming quite an amazing karate-chop-style-massagerator! When I fail as a parent, she picks up the pace as the best kid I could hope for. Just a shame she has to
My memory isn’t what it used to be.
I used to be able to remember everything. Every meeting, every phone number, all the birthdays, anything. Work things. Personal things. All the things. My memory was awesome, it rarely let me down. Throughout my degrees I have never sat in an exam for more than half an hour, be it a two, three or four hour exam. By the time they unlock the doors to allow people to exit, I was ready to exit, among whispers of “wow, she must have really fucked that up!”. Despite this, I had a high distinction average. Even for my masters which I studied part time while working two full time jobs, one of them lecturing at the university within which I was studying. I rarely studied. I rarely needed to. Lucky, because I rarely had time to. I never really appreciated it until more recently.
Another one of the impacts of the PTSD and depression has been on my memory. I’ve mentioned the scattiness before. It is extreme. I will actually be in the process of doing something when I will get distracted by something and completely forget what I was up to, or even what I was doing all together. Even the things that I REALLY want to do.
Just a few of days ago, I received a message from a friend who lives interstate. He said that he and his boyfriend would be in town, and that he really wanted to catch up. I was SOOOOO excited! I even sent an SMS message to someone to say how awesomely excited I was. My interstate friend is someone I love dearly, and has been one of those people who i would count as quite important in my support network. Someone who I know I can trust, and who I feel comfortable talking about anything to. He gives the BEST hugs, and sometimes the best advice (usually on carpeing the fucking diem). I would be approximately as happy to miss out on a chance to catch up with Avi as I would to miss out on breathing. Approximately.
Yet, today, I forgot. I completely forgot.
I generally have to put most reminders and things in my calendar these days, and I need to do it immediately. Just the simple process of SMSing my friend about my excitement meant that I then completely forgot to set a reminder. I wanted this SO MUCH, and yet I forgot. I never would have forgotten this in the past. Before the PTSD.
Sometimes I really hate my brain
Sorry Avi. I do love you. Really xx
Sorry to everyone that I have let down. You all deserve better than this. All I can say is that I am sorry, and I AM getting better. It’s a slow process. I will do better.
In my previous post on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, I mentioned that I have various triggers. I have, just now, set some off with those prior posts. My triggers now contain anything and everything to do with *working with tech*. This means I can’t do my job. If I try to, I get sick. REALLY sick. I turn catatonic. Nausea, sometimes vomiting. Dizziness. Headaches. Stomach pain. Shaking. Twitching left eyelid (this is really disturbing!). Sometimes freeze/panic attacks (I haven’t reached this one today, YAY). Then there are the thoughts that race around inside my head, the ones that tell me I’m now useless. Everything I ever wanted to do, everything I ever wanted to be, twenty years of education and experience, community involvement, etc, it’s all gone. I have the friends, but they’re no longer my peers. The one thing that is clear to me now is that I can’t do it anymore.
This is the base behind the thoughts that the only thing I’m really good at now is being Alyssa’s mum. I completely ROCK at being Alyssa’s mum. She is my best friend and partner in crime, and she constantly amazes me with how fast she is growing and learning, and that I’m actually doing a pretty good job of things.
I *know* that I’m highly capable. Intelligent. Useful. I can do anything I *want* to do, anything I set my mind to achieving. Anything except that which I have spent my life working and learning for. Losing that, it’s like losing your identity. Sense of self. Who and what I am. From where I sit, my future no longer lies in information technology. i’m no longer a linux kernel hacker – what use is a linux kernel hacker who can’t even look at code for fear of having a mental breakdown? While my life was falling apart, I was put onto technical documentation for the Samba project, and even that sets me off now. Even just *posting* articles that I had written long ago and never published. I want to cry. I want to throw up. I want to cut off my own head to cease this throbbing.
I want to be useful and be able to contribute to society. I WANT to work again and feel that amazing sense of accomplishment that I know so well. In something else. I don’t know what or where. I need to reinvent myself.
For now, just for right now, I’ll work on distraction instead.
Today is a good day. In just a moment, I get to pick up Alyssa. I can distract myself with my best friend.