Monday, August 30, 2010

Sleep is avoiding me again...

I've exhausted my brain - no more thoughts; no more feelings. Empty. Or maybe it's the atavan I took tonight. Last night I didn't sleep - sporadic moments of unconsciousness but mostly anxiety-riddled aches and pains - my arms fell asleep, my hands went numb, my legs twitched. It was so uncomfortable that I sat up on the edge of my bed and cried - many times during the night.

When I did manage to drift off, I was filled with dreams. Last night it was a moving truck (tractor-trailer size) parked in the driveway of a house I recognized from my past. I pulled my car sort of around the side of the truck; sort of underneath the truck, and went into the house. It was very dark and cavernous - a dimly lit stairwell on the right and an even darker hallway heading into the back of the house. There was a 14 year old girl sitting on the stairs. I pulled her up into my arms. I was crying and told her how sorry I was that she was moving again. I was so upset but the girl didn't seem the least bit fazed by it all. She just stood there, limp, arms hanging at her side. I gently put her back down on the stairs and went to use the bathroom. It was a tiny room wedged under the staircase. I got totally uptight being in there and woke up.

I want to sleep tonight. Reason #1 for swallowing the pill. Warning Label: Ativan can lead to addiction if misused. I think those days are long gone - the one misuse I concern myself with is with my son and apparently AA is addressing that issue.  I had no idea how god-centric AA is. It feels cult-like.

I'm going sleep.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

I tried but it just isn't okay yet

I wanted to clean up my son's room today and I tried, I really did. About 15 minutes into the cleaning, I broke down and cried. By tearing apart his room and making it my office, I am telling him (and me) in no uncertain terms that he isn't coming back. I don't want him back. I can't live with the verbal abuse, or the lies, or just the know-it-all attitude of a teenager. I've endured enough and he made his choice. I would not have thrown him out but now that he's gone, he needs to stay with his father. Guilt. I have lived with way too much guilt and still I have more.

And then there's my love -- the greatest source of hurt and frustration in my life today. If only I could deaden my desires and live life without him, I would be so much calmer. When and if that moment in time occurs when we reconnect and declare a healthy respectful love for one another, life will be as close to perfection as I have dreamed. But I'm not holding my breath...well, just a little for a little longer. Why? I believe there is something special between us - we've just lost our way. Maybe we'll find our way back together...maybe too much time will pass and the separation will deepen to a chasm we can't climb out of.

I hope not.

Friday, August 27, 2010

My love is suffering

My love is depressed - deeply drowning in misery and hopelessness. It has been suggested that he give antidepressants a try. Raise your bottom line is what I was always told. He's suffering with untold anguish over his career, his current employment, his lack of lasting success, his failed marriages, his absent children, and his overall place in the world right now. It's too much to cope with and he spends most of his time beating himself up over what he didn't do, what he tolerated, all the emotions he denied and ignored...and now it's all come back to weigh heavily on his emotional state. It's bad. He exists in a place of doom and gloom and tells me that if things don't change soon, he'll be dead within 10 years. But I'm not willing to let him go. The very sad thing about depression is that it strips away from your psyche all the creative and wonderful experiences you've had in your life and all the people that have meant something to you. Attention is exhaustively focused on your misery, darkness and failures -- almost as though you are incapable of feeling anything "good" in your life anymore.

I get annoyed with him for wallowing in his misery but then I remember back to my own days of deep depression and suicidal ideation. It's not something that you just "snap" out of. It takes work -- deliberate, pain-stakingly difficult emotional work -- to overcome.  And a little medication definitely gets the ball moving in the right direction.

I cried to him today that I missed him -- that I needed something, anything from him.  He was silent. After I ended our conversation, I thought about my years of combatting severe depression and how he would say to me, "you have to give me something back. I can't exist on nothing." I would get so angry with him because I was really working to feel better. It just didn't happen fast enough and he tried. He held me and loved me and tried desperately to cheer me up. He didn't get it and then he would get angry and act in ways that hurt me.

I have to be patient. He didn't know back then how to deal with my depression but I do know now. Anger doesn't make a difference - it just makes you withdraw. When you're depressed you feel bad enough about yourself without listening to someone who purports to love you, condemn you in their words and actions for being depressed.

I wish he could just "snap" out of it. I miss him terribly but I will try to remember what depression does to a person and fill my heart with compassion.

somedays...

I just want my old life back.

somedays...

I just think it would be easier to live what I know.

somedays...

I just think it would be easier to not know what I now know.

but most days...

I wouldn't trade one single moment of my days now for any moment in my old life.

understanding boundaries

I met with Dr. B last night. It was stressful, of course. We discussed my son and the surrounding drama, and my daughter and her transitions and all the effects this has had on me.  A few minutes before the session was to end I timidly asked her about boundaries and my love.  We touched very briefly on it last week and I needed some clarity. 

It's not my boundaries that are being infringed upon by my love but his own.  He does not leave any space between my sufferings and his pain - he's taking everything in (his pain and mine) and meshes the two together. Of course, he's overwhelmed. Who wouldn't be.

Dr. B called it merging. She said it will not really be controllable for him until he learns to take responsibility for his own pain/suffering and heals from it. That is what he's working on. I think that for most of our relationship he was not dealing with his own pain and suffering which is why he could connect so intimately with my pain and suffering. It's not a good mix for any relationship. I do imagine it made him feel very close (too close at times) to me because he really did feel my pain. But it makes it very difficult to be supportive when you so completely absorb someone else's trauma and then feel traumatized yourself. Deny that trauma and it's trouble, for sure. Hence, the necessity of boundaries.  Without boundaries, it's difficult to feel empathy and be supportive.

Nothing is quite so cut and dry but it certainly played a major role in our relationship. I believe it is frightening for us both to change these roles but it is something we so desperately need to do.  It is what underlies those roles that is so disturbing to delve into.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

coping with the guilt

Why do I feel guilty that I am emptying out my son's room and turning it into my office? Because it becomes so final. No, my son, you may not EVER come home again.  But is that really how I feel?  Yes and no. I am still reeling from what he did and how he did it.  He is still lying, I think. It's hard to know because the information that is being fed to me is coming from his father - a most notorious, pathological liar. He had the balls (oh, I hate that expression but sometimes it just works) to tell me he was a good father and he had nothing to feel guilty about. I almost choked. Perhaps choking him would have been more appropriate.  So now my son is doing everything right - he's with his perfect father living a perfect life. Such bullshit. Oh, I still sound so angry about it all.

Time to move on, maybe. Defintely. How do I just forget him?  It's not all or nothing. I'm still here for him should he wish to talk to me again. It's a strange transition for me. You can see I am still not sure where to be emotionally. All things take time to heal.  Good thing I have therapy tomorrow.

I slept 9 1/2 hours last night and dreamed dreams that encompassed many aspects of my life throughout my life. Amazing. It's comforting to know that I can sleep!  Life is changing every minute for me. 

Who will I become? How will I evolve?  Looking forward to this new journey of self-discovery.

Monday, August 23, 2010

stepping outside myself

I went to a wedding last night with my love. He was gracious and accepting in the end and didn't give me a hard time but he wasn't happy. I think only I knew this; everyone else thought he was delightful and charming, etc. We danced - well he danced; I looked a bit like a two left-footed spastic on the dance floor but I had fun and who really cares anyway?

But that's not my point. I got dressed up and wore makeup. Not my typical motif; normally, my love sees me in jeans and tee shirts with no makeup except for smeared globs of mascara around my eyes. I purchased lipstick and eyeliner and spent well over an hour trying to figure out how to apply the eye stuff.  I didn't purchase makeup remover (who knew you need that too?) so my eyes got quite red from rubbing the stuff off over and over again until I got an acceptable application. I thought I looked beautiful and when I picked up my love, I waited for the compliment but it never came. Oh well.  He said my dress was nice. Now, I may be a nitpicker but he didn't say it looked nice on me. Maybe that's what he meant but I'm not so sure.  He, by the way, looked very handsome and I was sure to tell him so.  He didn't want to go - I guess that says it all. He's not a happy man. I'm not a happy woman. Does that make us a great couple? I don't think so.

I am trying to break out of my shell. It is not easy for me. I am much more comfortable dressing schlumpy with minimal makeup and wild hair and fading into the background unseen.  But I don't want to be that person anymore. Coming from a family of intelligent, creative, highly competitive, loudmouth show-offs, I learned to withdraw very quickly and hide. Been doing it all my life.

Well, the new "me" is emerging, slow buy steady.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

It's a new era

What a bittersweet day I had. I packed up my son's stuff and delivered several boxes of his possessions to his father's house. What remained was sorted through and stowed in plastic bins. Again I cried. I just felt this undeniable sadness as I re-experienced the mementos of his childhood and our past together.

I relived 14 years of his 19 in his room today. I picked up stuffed animals and books, camping gear and weaponry, homemade pot pipes and many, many little nickel bags that once held some illegal drug. Today I traveled his life from sweet wide-eyed boy who loved meercats to an angry drug-abusing teenager. It was almost too much to handle.

I called my love and left a message..."Please tell me you love me." He called back a short time later and told me just that. He was very sweet.

Yes, children grow up and leave the nest but my son did it such a cruel and nasty way that his departure was and still is fraught with sadness and hurt rather than joy.

But I don't want to cry over the past. I did the best I could.  One day hopefully he will understand what I tried to do.

I'm entering a new era. I ran into a woman this afternoon who worked with my son. She said now it's time for you to live your life.  Amen!

Friday, August 20, 2010

funny what makes you cry

Thinking back on my teenage years makes me well up with tears. It was just so sad - laying on the cot in the middle of my empty room upstairs in my empty house, praying for death. I didn't want to commit suicide; I just wanted to be dead...to cease breathing, to stop existing. It's a theme that has ingratiated itself into my life for as long as I can remember. If only I could die, if only...be it cement mixer, or accidental-on-purpose drowning in the ocean, or being ripped to bloody shreds by a wolf. Life was too painful but life was also too painful to admit to its torment and suffering. So I lived on, day after day, year after year, denying it all yet never not suffering.

So today it was a little article in a local online newspaper from the town I spent my teenage years in that brought on the tears.  The local diner owner, Jimmy the Greek, was retiring after 43 years. It was a staple in our little town and an early place of employment for me -- actually, my first waitress job.  But it wasn't a particularly joyful experience. But why would you think it would be? It's my life after all.  Jimmy and his Greek relatives and buddies would make bets as to whether my friend and I were wearing panties under our uniforms. And they would stare and be loud and obnoxious. It was embarrassing. I hated it; my friend thrived off of it. I didn't work there but a few months; she stayed for a few years. It was another instance of sexual abuse. Another theme in my young life...

to fear or not to fear

When I think about moving, I become almost paralyzed with fear. I am comfortable where I live and I feel safe. I have apartment neighbors I trust and can turn to for help or laughter or a cocktail -- whatever's needed. The idea of isolating myself and having to make friends all over again by myself is, quite franky, terrifying.

But I had a few revelations last night about living alone.
  • I can walk around naked.
  • When I clean my kitchen in the morning before work, it will still be clean when I get home. Yeah!
  • My electric bill will dramatically decrease - no more three computers running non-stop, lights or televisions...
  • No one interrupts my naps or baths.
  • My phone never rings.
  • There are no mounds of laundry waiting to be washed.
  • There are no dishes left around the apartment or shoes on the living room floor.
I guess there are advantages to living alone.  It's just that the creepies sneak into my sleep at night and wreak havoc.  I have yet to figure out how to achieve any form or moment of tranquility.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

choices...

I like this photo I took of the bird blind. It's not that it's a particularly good photograph but I like looking through the four windows -- different aspects of life -- four stages of life -- four approaches -- four perspectives. Whatever. Choices, I suppose, or what do I want to focus on? Mountains and blue sky, lush greenery, swampland, or water. Do I have choices?


We all have choices to make. We've all made choices and are living the consequences of those choices. I made sucky choices most of my life.

No more dissociation

I've been so distressed and weary. How much can I endure? I suppose as much as comes my way. I'm certain some of my exhaustion is still the time change from coast to coast but it's way deeper than a three hour time differential.  The fatigue embodies me from my cells to my thoughts. It sluggishly pumps through my veins and into my joints and organs, ultimately slowing my brain to a mush of incoherent thoughts and irrational emotions. I can't wake up in the morning. My mind won't rise or shine - she cries to me, please I don't want to deal with the day...just let me sleep until everything is normal again. Let her take care of it all. I have to chuckle -when has it ever been normal? I tell myself that she has long since departed. There is no more dissociation.  What it is, it is and I have to deal with it. Shit.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

no stability

"Nothing in your life is stable at this time. You need to find strength and stability from within. Your finances are crashing; you're losing your home; your children are suffering and trying to find their ways; and your long-term relationship with your love has fallen on uncertain times. You have nothing to hold you up except  your own inner strength."

Dr. B laid it out my reality for me...no sugar coating. Life is going to be trying and difficult at best and I can't try to change everything at once. One piece at a time. Oh, I know about overwhelming myself - I freeze and can do nothing. So, what's most important? I considered the question for just a moment and said my finances. I need to find more income to survive so that will be my focus. I was looking for a place to live but I think I can exist for a couple of months before becoming homeless.

It's depressing. I cried inside and out at Dr. B's tonight. Life can be so unfair. The people in my life can be so cruel. Dr. B said I was a good person with a good heart and a good mind. I am. I forget when I carry so much guilt and blame for everyone's misery (in my life anyway).

This will be a life's transition I won't soon forget.

Be strong, my love, and hold steady.

Oh, and don't forget to breathe...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

why is it so hard to grow up?

My beautiful, frightened daughter just phoned. She was fraught with anxiety about the possibility of moving out of our home and into the city. She said, "But how can I live without the dog? I love him." We both agreed it was a silly excuse to stay put. She is, after all, riding the downhill slope into 30. Long past the time to becoming a grownup and finding independence. I was already a mother of two on the verge of divorce at her age. Ah, but life isn't what it was. Thank goodness.

It isn't easy keeping a calm demeanor when talking to her. Her fears tug at my heartstrings and I want to gather her up in my arms like a small child and tell her everything will be okay. But it wasn't okay growing up and I didn't keep my promise then so why would she believe me now. I allowed her, too, to be sexually abused. I didn't protect any of my children. How blind you become when you exist in a state of chronic dissociation.

I lost my house key and my garage key - the only one I have.

I didn't have the heart to tell her that I am terrified to move; heck, I'm afraid to live alone which is funny because I've always felt as though I lived alone (but with little children).  My last experience of truly living alone was as a teenager and I wound up with my first husband, the physical abuser and rapist. Poor choices - not fun.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Home again, home again, jiggity jig...

I returned to my life at 9:30 a.m. after disembarking from one of those long, dreadful redeye flights. I didn't sleep on the first leg at all -- too stressed and my right foot was aching. I couldn't sit quietly. My foot was frantic. That sounds strange but that's what it was - it wanted to run away from coming home. I slept on the second one hour leg. Not enough sleep to keep me going all day at work. I shall probably depart here soon while I can still drive safely.

It was an introspective and eye-opening vacation in so many ways. I reconnected with an old friend who met me at 19. She filled in many of the missing pieces for me. I did the same for her. How can I remember her life and not mine? I remember things she did but it was more dreamlike than reality - I don't remember being with her, I just recall her circumstances.  She told me ex-husband #1 was an angry, mean man, especially when she came to visit us down south. I don't remember the visit at all but I do have a photograph or two from the drive we three took back up north.

My mind is too fuddled to write anything insightful.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

you can't escape your troubles

I am feeling totally overwhelmed.  Yes, I'm on vacation but it doesn't keep my anxieties away. My son just called - I thought things were calming down between us but they're not. He's as nasty as ever but in tone not words. I cried. I'm so tired of crying - over my children, my love, my life.

I asked my love for a favor that he doesn't want to do. He didn't actually say no...he just wrote me about how he has spent his whole life doing what he doesn't want to do. Well, he doesn't do that with me.  In the past year or so, he does little, if anything, with me. Having him attend this event with me is important to me. I don't ask much of him anymore at all.  Maybe I should ask nothing then I don't run the risk of rejection over and over again.  Geez, I better stop complaining.

The sun is shining this morning which is a very pleasant change. I think I'll head out for a hike around the island. My hosts are both working and this break is calming. I need the quiet.

Time to think about what path I may choose to follow.  My own hopefully...

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

thoughts, observations, and other things

Tonight he sky was filled with fluorescent orange crusted clouds; inverted reflections of a vibrant sunset.

It's not exactly claustrophobia that caused my Sunday night panic in the tent but a deeply rooted fear of aloneness with a little suffocation tossed in to guarantee irrational fright.

Friday's night sky was crisp and clear as I watched a star shoot across the Milky Way and dissolve into the darkness. I cannot remember the last time I saw a shooting star.

The soles of my feet hurt when I walk. My entire body is so stiff that every shift in movement brings forth aches in all the joints.

The family reunion is still being processed and emotions sorted out. There are roles that everyone follows and they haven't changed from when I was a child. My aunt barking out orders from behind her walker; my mother refusing to help her make her way across the rocky terrain. My brothers competing for leaders of the pack. My sister holding firm in her position as mother nurturer to all. And me? I still just sink into the backdrop, quietly taking it all in, having the occasional conversation.

I cried tonight in the car with my love talking about sexual abuse. I can't manage it. I hope it is not too late for us.  I fear it might be.  I would be heart broken.

Going to sleep now.