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.
Forgive me my scattered approach to what follows… This is one of the things keeping me awake tonight. Just one. Of many. Also, this was written entirely on my iPhone while laying in bed hating that I’m not asleep. It is now 4:24am.
One of the hardest things, for me, is renting a house. It carries so much meaning, and signifies so much loss.
On the surface, renting means I can’t just fix the problems with this house. The squeaky, spongey floorboards. The wiring. The bathroom floor which isn’t remotely sloped according to the Australian building code of practice, thus causing flooding with every shower and not draining without being squeegeed.
The fact that my four year old felt I needed a squeegee for my birthday. She calls it a squidgey.
I fix the things I can. The things I’m allowed to fix. And some of things I’m not. I’ve repurposed a rubber strip from elsewhere to create a lip on the bathroom entry to prevent the shower from flooding the kitchen. I’ve installed cabinets to create storage. I’ve patched the gaps in the walls. I’ve covered over the cracks in much the same way I cover over the rest of the cracks in my life. There are so many things wrong in both, I couldn’t begin to explain it here…
So I fix what I can. Still, there are things I can’t do. Or things I think don’t or won’t matter. Until they do. Things like the smoke alarm that goes off every time the oven is used. Is the smoke alarm too sensitive? Is the oven just dodgy? Is it worth further complaints to the owner over the oven when they have already had it looked at so many times, and I so hate the intrusion? What does it really matter?
Why don’t I leave?
Because I don’t have the energy. Because the next house may be worse. Because I have built a support base for myself in this neighbourhood. Because because because because. Because, somehow, this house makes a great analogy for so many other things.
Why do I stay? Because I just don’t have the energy to do anything else…
Sometimes, because I just don’t care anymore. But then, that in and of itself makes me care even more. Because, ultimately, this is about my child, and if I stop caring then I lose everything that is important. Still, sometimes I just don’t care. Sometimes I can’t.
What does renting mean to me? It is everything that I’ve lost, prepackaged in this little house I’m supposed to call home, constantly reminding me of how my life as I knew it was destroyed. It should have been a sign of freedom and hope, and instead came to signify my despair.
All the things I can’t fix, I could if this house were my own. Including the feeling of home.
My daughter. My world. My reason for everything. Every single thing. She has not long turned four. All of her birthday parties are in her father’s house (this house is far too small). She has just received her first passport. She is of an age that we need to start putting her name down for school enrollments. There are a bunch of things going on, all of which require a permanent, fixed address. Something I feel I do not have. Because I am renting. Because her father owns the house that we built, that will be hers. Because I made the decision that all important paperwork should really have the more real, permanent address. His address. It makes sense. My decision. Yet, every time we do this it feels like giving away even more of my child. More of my soul. Losing more of the only thing that really matters to me anymore. And it reinforces how weakened I am that I have allowed this to happen. That I watched, as if it were a slow motion train wreck, as I allowed a group of people and processes dictate my future, my sanity (or lack thereof), my self-belief, confidence, ability, my relationships with everybody else, my relationship with myself, my world. My depression. My Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Every time I squeegee the bathroom floor, it’s a reminder of what I have lost or given away. Every time the smoke alarm goes off, a slap in the face. Every time another light globe blows (how many times has that happened there now?), rubbing salt in the wound. The rattling windows. Even the location and constitution of the rattling windows. All the things that would be so easy to remedy. All the things that were always right when I owned my own home. All the things I had control over. For twelve years.
Every night I spend alone here, a reminder that this is no home. I have no home.
I have no home. If I am without a home, how do I provide one for my baby? I fail. I am failure. Personified. And when Alyssa is away, even that doesn’t matter. I can’t care. I am a mother without a child, so I am nothing. I barely exist. I can’t care. And then I hate myself even more because I NEEEEEEED to care. For her. And then I hate renting even more. I hate my weakness. I hate my hate. I hate the circles.
Yes, I allowed this to happen. Don’t think for a moment that I didn’t fight it. Every step. Until I lost the will to fight. Until I allowed myself to be broken. That took years of constant battering, torture, traps. And therein lies the deepest guilt – that I allowed this to happen. I took all the steps I could to avoid it, but I failed. I let myself become trapped. Paralysed. Broken. Unstable.
And now they want to trap me even further. A story for another time, perhaps…
I’ve previously mentioned briefly about the overheating of my lenovo laptop, and how it frequently just shuts down and will not allow a restart for an hour or so while it cools down. I’ve also mentioned that the last time it shut down, I have had NO video since. The machine sounds like it boots (or goes someway towards doing so), but no display. Nothing.
I’ve FINALLY found the time to book it in for repairs. While on the phone, the lovely gentleman on the other end of the line told me to remove the power cable and battery, then hold down the power button for 20 seconds. Apparently this resets some bits and pieces on the board. After which, upon plugging the power back in I was able to semi-reboot my machine (it froze at the ubuntu splash screen, but I’ll work on that another time).
It is still going in to see if they can stop it from overheating – probably just needs to be opened and vacuumed, but warranty stipulates I cannot do this myself.
So… I didn’t know about the 20 second deal. I thought maybe this could come in handy for someone else with a lenovo that won’t boot. I don’t know which models this works for.
stab stab kill kill
I HATE YOU!!!
I think the video card in my work laptop finally overheated as much as one cares to overheat. I now have NO graphics. Ever. Although it sounds like everything else is reasonably happy.
Looks like I purchased the new desktop **just** in time!!
Lenovo warranty repairs, here we come
Newer versions of Ubuntu (and debian?) are now using libstdc++6 instead of libstdc++5, and the repositories no longer contain the older version. There are still a number of applications available that depend on libstdc++5, with a typical error message that you might see looking a little like this:
dpkg: dependency problems prevent configuration of <insert name of attempted install here>:
<insert name of attempted install here> depends on libstdc++5 (>= 1:3.3.4-1); however:
Package libstdc++5 is not installed.
A google search takes you to any number of how to fix it guides, with many people offering a version of libstdc++5.so on their site. Personally, I’d prefer to get it directly from one of the distros…
If you need to install libstdc++5, downloads and repos are available direct from debian here: http://packages.debian.org/lenny/i386/libstdc++5/download
After much ado about FINALLY having a stable 11.04, today we cannot boot again into anything other than low graphics mode…
I give up. 10.04, here we come
If anyone is reading this blog from an “interested in starting working with Samba development” perspective, I should probably list what I’m running on.
If you want to know what Samba is, http://samba.org is an amazing resource for all sorts of information.
I am currently running three machines. I have an old desktop due for replacement (at which time it shall be repurposed as a mythtv server), an eeePC running easypeasy (eeebuntu) and a Lenovo W500 laptop (which is my work laptop, supplied by my employer).
I run Ubuntu on all of my machines, although have a partition on the desktop running ‘doze as a gaming platform (something I have very little time for of late).
My work laptop is the machine of most interest, as this is predominantly where I will be doing my Samba development tasks from until such a time as I manage to find the finances to replace the desktop machine. It has 4Gb RAM, not nearly enough disk space, and a 512Mb video card that frequently overheats and puts my system into a complete crash – so if I’m going a bit slow for other people’s liking it’s probably because I’ve tied myself up to avoid throwing the laptop through the window.
I am running Ubuntu 11.04 on this laptop. This was a BIG mistake. A few weeks ago I decided to completely rebuild my machine, get rid of an old SLES64 partition that I was using for an old project, and reclaim some disk space to enable more space for virtual machines. I installed 10.04 and had everything running quite smoothly and happily, including any work requirements such as Lotus Notes. I then decided to upgrade my OS to 11.04 and have spent two weeks attempting to stabilise it since.
11.04 does not get along so well with my ATI Radeon video card. I should have just reinstalled 10.04, but had just spent so much time on the new install that it felt like a waste to start over. As such, I kept at it until I stabilised my system. Stupidly, I did not document this process. My recommendations would definitely be to stick with 10.04, or not spend days getting your system configured and working with all required software before trying 11.04. Make sure that 11.04 works satisfactorily before you spend too much time getting everything else on to your machine so that you don’t feel as though you have completely wasted all of that time when you have to blow it all away and start again in order to get back to the stable 10.04 environment. FWIW, I installed 10.04 first due to a glitch with U3 based USB memory sticks that will not run the 11.04 install.
I am NOT running “Unity” desktop in Ubuntu. Why, oh why they ever decided to put that in there as the default is beyond me, and has me more than disgusted. Unity is the devil. And worse. To avoid Unity, you need to select the desktop manager at the login screen. I have gone with “classic”.
I currently have my machine in a state where it will run for approximately 6-8 hours before crashing, so it’s not *so* bad. For a while it wouldn’t start at all, or would only start in low graphics mode, and would crash within 5 minutes of boot. That’s 5 minutes to trawl through dmesg or remove and purge video drivers and find something else, with a required 10 mins cool down in between each attempt. Slooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooow going.
My next post will go over what software I have installed that is actually pertinent to my work with Samba. Our team does a lot of work with paired programming, and I will also be documenting a lot of the how to in getting this working.
I’m assuming that you have been a linux user for some time, and therefore are able to suitably modify my version of “what I did” to your own preferred flavour of linux, but if you need help please post in the comments and I’m sure I (or someone!) can get you a reasonably suitable answer