It’s human I guess…forward, backward or the same…

It feels like everything is almost at a standstill right now, I can hear the tick tock of the clock in the hallway which tells me it isn’t but as I look out at the garden from my window I am aware of this moment and yet my mind keeps flitting into ‘go’ mode; what next, what should I be doing now, how do I make the most of this time and where am I headed in the future. It’s ridiculous, the mind chatter. I have learnt to be in the moment a bit more and yet I struggle at times to keep the chatter at bay still, it takes practice, persistence and patience.

Realistically, things are almost at a standstill. I am still recovering from flu and a long depressive bout, heartbreak, soul search, life transition…what am I expecting of myself? My life?

On the up side I met with my company yesterday, my boss and the inevitable HR rep. They were for the most part very welcoming and understanding and we are working on a time frame. It was at times difficult to answer some of the questions without feeling a lump in my throat but I have come to accept that I am still slightly more emotionally heightened as my mind and body tries to regulate and find ‘it’s groove’.

There seemed to be a concern at why I did not choose to go back on medication, as if that would be the answer to all my woes. I am used to this. The lay person and medico’s alike are all for it..with gusto.

I guess that is a common human response these days, if there is a quick fix, a magic pill let’s just do that and get on with it. Who has the time or inclination to do the work on self, unmedicated, why would you?

I do not, agree. My choice is right for me, I know it and if it takes time and the ride is difficult I don’t care the effort is worth it I am already seeing that. There is an undercurrent of strength there that I recognise had not been there before even though I had been told many times I seem like a strong person, I had never believed it until now. That is a big thing for me. Those that have questioned their value in this life will understand that.

So, even though I am forced to semi standstill at the moment I can be conscious of what I need to do to keep going forward and keep working on strengthening my mind and body. I have been invited out to Friday drinks, a farewell to an ex colleague many companies ago. A couple of the girls I stay in touch with and know we probably always will. I really want to go but the antibiotics (yes, I did cave on that one but it was necessary in this case!) have not quite kicked in and I want to be well enough to go back to gym as soon as possible, it is important for my mind.

I will probably have a glass of good red this afternoon and put some good music on, I need my music, it feeds my soul. I did ask the pharmacist and he winked at me and said a glass of red wouldn’t hurt.

‘He’ (Joe the narc) used to say to me that my ‘partying’ (meaning drinking) would be a contentious issue between us. He had very specific ideas on how I should behave and what I should do I came to realise, part of his need to control every aspect. I don’t ‘party’ often. I did not drink at all for the many months we were connected because of his issue with it.

Ironically it did feel good being alcohol free for a long period of time, it helped my mind and body and it also proved I could be. But I now make the decision for myself  and try to self regulate. There is no point in fooling yourself.

I have felt slightly reflective in the last day or two about a number of things including him. But one brought a bit of sadness, a dear friend I have known since I was 8 years old was just married for the first time. We are both 49. They had the ceremony in Koh Samui, Thailand. I love Thailand and Koh Samui.  I have seen photos it looked amazing. She looked beautiful and happy. And I am so glad she is happy, she deserves it.

Somehow, our friendship is not what it used to be. I felt sad that I couldn’t be there with her, she was my maid of honour at my wedding many years ago. I am long divorced. We had some crazy times together as kids like trying to catch fish using canned sardines for bait! Obviously without success!  Over the years I was so involved with my sons especially my eldest and what his neurodegenerative disease would do to him (he was priority and trying to keep my depressions hidden from the boys as they grew up and function on high at all times was difficult but necessary) and she was never really there for that and equally just over a year ago she lost her mum from breast cancer and I wasn’t there for her or really seeing her son (my godson) as he grew up.  I regret that, hers was a friendship that meant alot to me. We still support each other from afar via Facebook with the odd ‘like’ and comment. I am so happy for her she has found a partner for life, I hope it will be for life.

I have come to accept there are things we can’t change, it is past. Friends grow apart, our lives go in different directions, c’est la vie.

In the future I hope to rekindle some of the old friendships that I treasure and perhaps put more into it than I have been capable of until now. Time will tell. Right now an almost standstill, but that is not so bad when you need it…..

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Look within..sometimes not the best place to be..serendipities..

In a half sleep in the early hours of this morning, after coughing and spluttering, I heard my little bell go off. The little bell sound on my smartphone which indicates I have email on one of my accounts. These days it is all wordpress, and I am thankful for that, it tells me about the marvelous people who have taken the time to read my waffle and other things, but that bell used to tell me ‘he’ had written again and it took me ages before my heart would stop reverberating in my chest at that sound, anticipation…excited it was him.

Finally, I no longer feel those sensations and response that had become diligent and in it’s own way a ‘little bell’. The body and in particular the brain is so amazing. How it adapts, new neural pathways develop constantly, our responses like fight and flight, it’s ability to regenerate after onslaught, mind boggling.

I am still only a quarter of the way through Susan Anderson’s 2 books, I keep falling asleep after reading for a while because of this damned flu, but the more I go into them the more I say ‘AHA!’. Sometimes you are drawn to the things you need by coincidence or little serendipities that somehow take you there, little happenstances.  I came across her writing by reading blogs. As often happens you read and then you see a link or an honorable mention and you click on it and things just unfold there before you. What an amazing time we live in, worldwide access to information instantly.

We can be more connected than ever and yet there is also a huge disconnect in some ways as we sit eyes focused on our screens. It’s at times mesmerizing, yet isolating. We need to be connected as human beings, we need our clan to provide all the moral, physiological, safety and belonging, love and support.

Often when you are recovering from a broken heart or other relationship breakdown people will say you need time to heal, space and time to look within find who you are and love and nurture yourself.

But I have found that we too often end up turning ON ourselves and internalizing, we blame ourselves for the breakup or why failures in our connections have happened; why did this person not find me worthy of loving, why didn’t I just do more, I don’t blame him for not wanting to be with me, I should have handled things better, should have tried harder…it goes on.

Self esteem, self worth? Yes, but often it’s more than that. We operate out of learned responses from life, like an automaton we react according to the storage of experiences we have consciously and subconsciously and we do what we know and are familiar with and if that comes from a place of many wounds there are layers and layers of data in our brain and body that makes us react to any circumstance that may create more wounds often exacerbating what we are trying to avoid in the first place. Self defeat, self sabotage.

I don’t know if this makes sense to others reading this but it does to me. After what I have just experienced I need to grow and learn and change somewhat (not everything, I have come to like certain things about myself, finally). I know I need a comprehensive approach to lessen the sting and heal the wounds I have carried for my lifetime so far. Re build those pathways, learn new good habits and responses be aware of my ‘triggers’ for depression, be aware as I take on new connections in my life and stop turning inwards on myself and isolating.

I have missed so many wonderful things because they have coincided with a period of depression or I have not had the courage to follow through because of my mind and body’s learned responses. For example flight..I have walked away from good relationships because I’ve felt inevitably it could never work and they would leave me so I’d better leave them first. I truly feel that some of my depressions have been triggered by the inability to cope with what I feel is the inevitably that I will be left on my own again so I go inward and eventually my lack of self worth envelopes me and I no longer feel of use to this world.

I guess I am over simplifying to an extent, but as my mind starts to recharge and I gain more clarity as the days go on I see so much more than I have seen before and I can chose to work with it or go back into auto mode back into the way things were ready for another bout when it happens.

I am grateful for the lessons learned this time around, it was worth the pain.

Tomorrow I meet with my boss about a possible return to work.  I am no longer fearful of going out there and doing that, I am looking forward to it even though I know it will not be a long term prospect. When my contract ends I will hopefully be ready to go it alone from a work perspective, doing what I really want to rather than have to, we shall see.

Days gone by for women my age there would not have been as many options as there are today. Our only limit is ourselves and I’m seriously working on that! Then I am going to the Doctor because I think I may unfortunately need antibiotics to clear up this horrible yuk I am experiencing with this flu as it is not clearing, and nowadays to me any medication is a very last resort. Our minds and bodies are marvelous vehicles that can do incredible things if we treat them right, with respect and kindness.

I have been reading some of the wonderful blogs out there and it has made me realise the amount of talent there is and how much I don’t know about digital publishing and writing but I am coming to really love it and want to learn more. Many are so creative, beautiful poetry and prose, exquisitely produced graphics, photos and written word, it is a joy. And those that are just sharing their stories of survival and moving forward, care for others, inspirational. We can learn so much from each other.

I want to go for a run outside in the sunshine but physically that is impossible right now…arrgghh..mind and body; respect and kindness to equals better health and more smiles!…..Patience grasshopper….:)

Through the looking glass…things are not always as they seem…

As per usual I am finding that my patience with this flu is non existent, I hate being sick, it is a colossal waste of time. If I have to be horizontal it needs to be for the right reasons! I’m sounding like a man, they usually are ten times more whiny when they have flu or some other affliction..haha.

So what do you do when you are forced into lock-down when you have only just started to re-engage in life? Aside from sleep which is a necessary side effect of this blasted thing, you read. Well I do because daytime television sucks, there is only so much Dr Phil and mid day movie you can watch before you become even more depressed. I shouldn’t joke, depression is a serious thing, I’ve just had a guts-full of it.

So I picked up the second of a number of books I’m reading concurrently, two of which are by Susan Anderson; “The journey from abandonment to healing” and “Taming your outer child”.. She is an American Psychotherapist with over 30 years clinical and groundbreaking research experience in helping people overcome abandonment and the subsequent patterns of self sabotage.

You see, I have come to realise that whilst for many years I saw myself as a victim, the flow on effect of all the shite that happened within my life (and if you have read some of my old posts you will know what I have alluded to and some of it is pretty shitty but not detailed in public) was often due to choices I made such as the partners I chose to accept into my life often extremely poor choices that had the inevitable heartbreaking end whether due to mine or their actions. Depression and all the accompanying rubbish can be as a result of many things including heartbreak, a trigger.

Heartache after a breakup is normal you say, well, yes it is. It is part of life experience that most will come across at some stage of their lives. And as Susan A says it is not all bad. We can see it as an opportunity for growth and change. Each experience makes an imprint on us and it is how we react and what we do with it that matters. I have never handled it well.

The sum total of my many years of depression, abuse experiences and just sheer crap is what lead me to believe there had to be some other way of looking and responding to all this, why I can’t seem to function like most people or so it seems, and this time the overwhelming desire to weed out the rubbish once and for all, deal, learn and try to make what ever changes necessary to my life in order that the remainder of my life is not an unholy mess but an enjoyable experience, as best as it can be. Simply put, I truly have had enough of the shit. The past must remain the past and no longer affect my future.

I want to know why there are patterns that have repeated throughout my life including the depressive cycles and what I can do to break them. I want to help myself by using whatever resources there are available to me (except medication, been there done that, does not work for me). No offence to the psychologists here in Australia but I am almost certain there is a severe lack of knowledge, research and training into the myriad of mental illnesses out there growing in prevalence and occurrence. There is NOT ONE SIZE FITS ALL. I have said this before and it is a source of frustration for me, our government has not the capacity to realise that if we don’t deal with these issues (lack of knowledge, training and funding for mental health) it will become a crisis of epic proportions in time…if we do not have our sanity it effects our health and productivity and we then have nothing.

Anyway, off my soapbox. I digress, but this means alot to me. There are many people suffering out there, alot in silence and very much alone. It is incredibly sad. But I need to fix myself before I can help others.

So my take on this is to read the extraordinary wealth of experiences, research and theories we have access to via the internet and in print and take from each what resonates with my own set of circumstances, become aware of and try to apply what works, for me.

When I looked at the ‘what is abandonment’ list,  it is not always as it seems at face value and the examples are many and varied of our everyday life experiences but she describes  it as ” a wound at the heart of human experience”…a wound.  It is something that we bring into the way we handle things including a broken heart and how we recover from it. The most basic example is the birth process where we are all of a sudden wrenched out of a safe, warm, familiar, connected and encompassing environment into one filled with bright lights, noise, cold and foreign touch, for a time disconnected from the source of warmth and safety and that is just the start of our human experience.

It is impossible to really impart the wisdom she shares but I have to say it makes so much logical sense I only wish I had come across her books sooner. She offers some tools to use going forward but like anything you must put the work in and not expect a magic pill to fix you.  A New York Times best selling author John Bradshaw describes her work as “An enormous help to anyone looking to let go of past disappointments and self recrimination and get on with the essential work of healing, building boundaries, and acquiring the skill to reach your goals”.

Things through the looking glass are not always as they seem. I feel better right now, aside from this damned flu, better than I have in many months.

I did think of Joe when I woke this morning, first time in a while because for many months he was my first thought when I woke and my last at night. It was a very difficult thought habit to break.  I’m not sure why, I still sometimes wonder what the purpose of us reconnecting after 30 odd years was, and why did things happen the way they did. I guess that will always be there somewhere. I let it come when it does and then let it flow right out again and it doesn’t hurt anymore.

I recognise in me the need to try fix things, my relationships etc and that stems from childhood issues. But I have realised you can not fix that that does not want to be fixed. You can not control other people, you can only work on healing and loving yourself. And you should because you are well worth it irrespective of other’s opinions.

Ohhh damn, I need to have a really good cough up….YUK

The view from here….all in good time?

So all weekend I have been pretty much bed ridden again not in misery as such but because I somehow managed to catch a watered down version of the Flu (it felt like the flu but I did have a flu vaccination when I got back from the States so I’m quite baffled about that) and I have been spluttering from almost every orifice…YUK.

I am still unwell with the lurgy but I don’t feel sad or down anymore about things (I was in a clinical depression before but that started to change to just profound sadness and disappointment, there is a difference), pensive but not sad. It almost feels as if my body knew I just wanted to start running around like a crazy person doing stuff (!) and it said ‘no you don’t, you just need a tad longer to recover’! My work meeting is Thursday and I am going to be better by then…grrrhh

I have always operated with the switch on high when I am functioning, that has been a habit of a lifetime and when I look at things now I realise that you can not do that for long periods of time without the batteries needing a recharge or the body rebelling. I have asked all my psych’s if I am bi-polar and the answer was No, I don’t have the extreme’s that are classic and other markers that conclude a diagnosis of bi-polar. And up until my first case of post natal depression I had never suffered from depression either; 29 years without it (although I did keep buried a pandora’s box of crap that needed dealing with, eventually). Then they put me on the anti-depressant roundabout and things were never the same. I am still grateful I am off them now, for me it was the best thing to do.

This time has been a massive drain on my mind and body but the amazing thing is that I can see things now that I just couldn’t before.

I watched a Aussie show called One plus One the other day and they were interviewing Rick Springfield; Actor, singer, writer. He was actually Australian and then he moved to America in the early days of his career and had a reasonable amount of success. Songs like “jessie’s girl” and he was a long loved character on General Hospital that well known long running soap opera. I remember having a bit of a crush on him as a young girl, he was hot!!  He was asked questions about his past successes and his life in general and he disclosed that he had long suffered depression (he nicknamed it Mr D) throughout his life. Going through it with a sense that he was never really good enough and a profound sadness that rarely leaves him. I saw it in his eyes as he spoke, I felt what he was feeling as the words came, I understood. An incredible talent and a lovely human being but with little faith in himself or joy from the world around him. He felt that this was always going to be a part of his life, that he just needed to deal with as it comes.

It’s like that when you suffer depression. When you are in ‘it’ nothing gives you joy. You feel ‘why am I here. why can’t I feel the joy of life like those around me’, you feel as if you are failing as a human being, it is the worst feeling.

What I found so sad about what he said was the feeling that he would have to live with this as part of him for the rest of his life. I have heard many who suffer from it say the same thing and Doctors even. As if it is a disease that will always lay dormant and then activate at times and if you are lucky enough not to become suicidal and succeed in taking your life then you live to see another day and the roundabout will continue again at a later unknown date.

I have no idea about others, I see it, hear it, feel it however I do not wish to entertain the thought that that would be the case in my situation…I cannot speak for others…but right now the thought of ever going through another bout is just unacceptable to me. I will do whatever necessary to break this chain that has bound me for many years. Whatever work or practice is required I am prepared to do it because this insidious thing has already taken up so much of my life, has robbed me of joy for long periods of time and there is only so much of my life left…I WANT TO ENJOY IT, I INTEND ON ENJOYING IT, I WILL FIGHT TO ENJOY IT as much as I can.

There is a difference between sadness and feeling low and depression, it is a profound difference. There are different shades of sufferance, everyone has their own experience. There will always be times that we feel sadness and even things that may seem hopeless. It is NOT like the profound sense of hopelessness you feel depressed. But being sad is a part of life, to expect otherwise is ridiculous. How can we experience joy if we have never experienced sadness?

I do still at times at the moment feel, certain days a sense of “what now?”. I still struggle at certain times to be able to visualise a bright future…if I take into account my current circumstances, age and a number of other factors. I had a cab driver only last week tell me at my age I didn’t have alot of choices without a man in my life to love and support me! I just looked at him and felt sorry that he felt so capable of passing that judgement on someone he didn’t know (in the same breath he did tell me I was beautiful (smarmy bastard!)). Times like that, I would usually feel like retreating back into my isolation where it is safe. But I knew I was recovering based on my inner response to that ignorant bastard and I smiled to myself, quietly. The fight is back. The want to live is back. I don;t want to exist in fight mode all the time it is exhausting so I need to find much more inner peace and this journey has allowed me to start looking at that…putting things into practice. There is a long road ahead…but it’s worth it….x

Out of hibernation…moving on…the date

I can’t believe it’s been over 3 days since I last wrote. Finally, I am out of the hibernation. I’m not sure about the timing of it as I look back thinking about it, when the change came exactly but it has. And this time it feels more permanent than the few false starts I have had previously. It feels real.

This has been a bastard of a depression. Over 3 months of extreme black, misery and nothingness felt at full force because I did not have medication this time. I’ve been determined not to, it took alot to get over them after 17 years. I went from having my heart demolished to completely breaking down everything that has ever effected me in this life so far. There was work to be done. I am grateful that this time my strength is coming back in such a relatively short space of time, it’s a miracle really. I keep wondering if it will last…but that is self defeating talk…IT WILL LAST…

Only very recently did I finally get an apology from my mother for what she failed to protect me from as a young girl and for leaving me with my tormentor. That was a part of the way towards healing, I needed to hear it…sorry can sometimes be a very powerful word when it is heartfelt.

There have been many things I have been working through this time, things that were never properly dealt with but bit by bit I have been facing the demons, their strength dissipating slowly. There are things you will never forget but you can make the choice to not allow them to conquer you from now on. It’s hard but you can. Like anything, you have to want to, to find the strength in your core and not give in on the fight. I understand that for some that can be quite impossible. I think about some of the famous faces that have gone in the recent past like the marvelous Robin Williams and feel a terrible sadness that he felt compelled to just let go. But I do understand where you have to be to get there.

‘He’ (Joe) no longer has control of my mind either. Finally the chords that bound me to him and all that happened are severed. I have to mention him now because this has been a large part of what I went through. But as I write I feel nothing for him. I have detached. Finally. Hang on a minute…..nope, nothing. I hope it stays that way, I am still a little dubious about this new found sense of freedom I feel. It kinda feels like learning something for the first time.

Maybe it has a little to do with my date night Tuesday. I did accept the invitation of an evening out with my younger man. I am so glad I did. There is something to be said for dating a younger man (oh yes indeedy Demi had it right all along! Well at least for a while:P).

He has more class in his little finger than Joe will ever have and there was no facade (believe me after what I just went through my senses are on high alert for BS, but I will not let that ruin my ability to eventually let another man into my life, if the right one comes, in time, I’m in no rush).

Joe was all facade the tough seemingly successful outer was a cover for a weak, insipid and confused man underneath, quite sad really.

My date was wild and fun and just what I needed. He makes me smile and laugh. He’s quite intelligent, a good conversationalist, open and honest. Has a good career, but not over the top focused or obsessed. Quite an impressive young man, balanced. I know it won’t go anywhere because of our age difference, which is kind of sad but we agreed to enjoy each others company for a while. Even last night he messaged me to say ‘that was a very good night! Thank you’. Yes, It was. He had me thinking of the qualities I really admire in a man which funnily before all this I had never really thought about, really thought about. Strange at my age but true.

I had lunch yesterday with my youngest son for his birthday which is actually on Saturday. We had Japanese food, Sake was involved, well for me it was, my very responsible young son (I am so proud of him) said he was driving back to Uni so he just laughed at me whilst I got progressively Jolly! We always have the best and often animated conversations. I’ve decided that I am going to enjoy myself over the next week or so prior to having the meeting with my boss about a return to work. I only have  another 3 or so months left of my contract of which as I have said I am very surprised that they are looking at having me back for after these long months away. I am baffled, but thankful. And whilst I am finishing those last months I will work towards putting things in place again for the business I was about to start B.J (before Joe). All in good time.

I went on and had drinks with a friend after lunch yesterday and she told me I had to still be patient with and kind to myself. That had come after I commented that I’d hoped I had not had too adverse an effect on my sons over this period. I have always shielded them from the reality usually but this time it was there out in the open. It is hard not to feel selfish about it. I also think that life is very different now in that we get to see more of people’s reality ‘live and on air’ with the internet etc.

I do however feel there are many conversations that need to be had, issues in the open in order to de-stigmatise and bring more compassion and acceptance of the very real experiences that have for many years remained buried. I don’t think my recovery would be anywhere near as effective without the outlet and connect that this blog has afforded me. I admire so many of my fellow bloggers for their courage in sharing their experiences, how else can we really know and relate to one another. There is a strange kind of solidarity.

I did make it to the gym after the Doctor Monday and it felt so much better, not thinking about him so much. I will honor my commitment to continuing it. That and I have recently been adding a change in diet and adding vitamins and high strength fish oil of all things which I had read helps the brain function immensely. My eldest son has been on them for years as part of the ongoing trial of his health. I started them nearly 4 weeks ago, I am truly wondering if they have played their part in my minds recovery also, it seems as if they may have. You need to do whatever you can to move yourself forward, to help yourself.

Today I am feeling very grateful for the many blessing I have in my life…life beyond him…

It would be easy to standstill….stay away from the zone

So this morning after a very restless night and crazy dream filled sleep I’ve been thinking about how easy it would be to remain in this holding pattern because it feels safe and it’s pretty much what I have known for the last few months. After what turned out to be the best weekend I have had in a very long time (my Aussie rules football team had a great win late yesterday, I watched the game and overall the weekend had me feeling genuinely pleased about things for a change!! Sounds trite I guess but these months have been tough) I find I must keep away from the zone and try get out and make plans, move forward but that feeling in my gut is hovering. As much as it is discomfort you have to push out of it…when you can…

It is probably hard for many to understand, when you’ve been so low and depressed for a period of time and you become estranged and isolated from the real world only participating minimally the anxiety and fear you feel about re-engaging can be very real and debilitating. But what happened on the weekend was a grand step and a confirmation that I have turned that corner and I can do what I had feared I couldn’t; rejoin life properly with a future in sight. It’s important to remember there is no magic switch.

So the challenge is to keep moving. Today I have to see my Doctor anyway and I have decided to take my gym bag with me and visit the gym after my appointment. I know that exercise is important in my recovery and I must do it, regularly from this point on.

I emailed my boss this morning and told him we should meet soon, there was trepidation as I wrote it but I have to keep pushing forward. I have no idea after all this time what the meeting outcome will be, perhaps they have held off releasing me from the job because they did not want to make a bad situation worse and add to my situation. They have been amazing throughout this time, I am very blessed to have been associated with such an organisation.

No matter the outcome there will be a way forward I have to hold that in my mind. It feels like I may be trying to run instead of walk but I need to set achievable goals and take the steps now so that I don’t go backwards. Even if small steps.

Perhaps soon will be the time to start the business I was on the brink of starting when I met HIM again for the first time in years and things all changed and I put it all on hold after he initially was in such a rush for me to go to him….that was in the manic love bombing days (one day I will write more of his many words which now I realise were quite full on but I think need to be covered for sheer humour and ridiculousness…it can be related to by many who have ever had anything to do with a narcissist in the early days where they are hyper-vigilant and on some strange high about their new supply), I had come off anti-depressants and it all seemed like some beautiful gift from the gods.

In one conversation 3rd week in when he asked me if I knew he had always been there inside of me he said “I have imagined what I will say as your plane lands I will say to myself ‘my girl is home'”. At the time it was a romantic wonderful thing for him to say but months later when I did eventually arrive I am almost certain he was not thinking that….he had already started the cycles of devalue.

But I can’t re-visit that right now, I mustn’t. In time I will be able to perhaps but not now.

I have been asked out tomorrow night by someone I met the other night and I am seriously thinking about it. He has messaged me regularly since then, it has been a nice and flattering distraction. Perhaps too soon. But once again I need to just do things and keep moving until it all becomes natural.

It is my youngest sons birthday Saturday and I want to do something nice for him perhaps a dinner….

Oh wow…on cue he has just text me….I need to sign off for now….

Ohh dear…at least the sun is out and I’m smiling…

I did it. I got my sorry arse out of this place and went out. My first social gathering in a fair while. After how I felt when I last wrote yesterday I didn’t know if I could do it but a dear friend messaged me to say he was thinking of me and sent hugs and kisses and then he said ‘I hope you go to the party’. She is a mutual friend of ours and he is lives far away and plays in a band in the north of our huge state so couldn’t go. He said say Hi to her for me. I know he was saying’ you must go’. He and I were at high school together, two different ones over those years. I treasure our friendship. Just as I treasure my friend whose party it was last night and why I knew I had to take ‘myself out of the comfort zone’ to quote my psych.

After these last months, it wasn’t easy but I am so glad I did. My beautiful friend’s 50th at a Pub. There was a band playing (I happen to know the lead singer, not well, but my band was around when his old band was one of the best in Perth. He’s a great performer) lots of people were up dancing…including me.

It was very strange when I first got there. I got there early because transport from where I live at present is not good on the weekends and its a long way and I don’t drink drive. I thought I would have something to eat while waiting, in the restaurant and have a glass of wine. Then I sat in the bar area with my headphones on, the bar was pretty busy and it was very loud in there and when you are not used to it it takes a while to acclimatise.

I remember feeling kind of strange. I looked around and people were happy and chatting to each other it was like a lost world to me for a while.

Then two young men came over and wanted to share my table and I said sure. They started chatting to me. As I describe it it seems weird but it was really nice to engage like that again. They were funny and lively. One had only just that day got off a flight back from 6 weeks in Europe (Aussies love to travel). I could see he was still adjusting to the time difference and running on adrenaline. When you first arrive back from a long haul flight it also feels a bit surreal and it takes you a while to adjust. You still feel a bit ‘high’ from your trip. Although arriving home from the States a few months back was a sad affair for me it took me a while to adjust.

His friend kept looking at him and then look at me and shake his head. His friend was so animated. Cheekily he asked me for my phone number to catch up another time. I’m 20 years older than him! It was funny and flattering and kinda obvious. But I switched on. Finally, I engaged. I talked and laughed and bloody well enjoyed it. And all of the things that had me tied up in a sad..depressed ball faded away for a while. It was a good start.

Then I went over to my friends party. They had a special area designated with balloons etc, near the stage where the band was. My friend was so happy that I had made it, she kept hugging me and I her. It’s funny the warmth you feel in a hug from a good friend, its like a beautiful warm coat wrapping you up enveloping you from the cold.

It was a great night. Kinda crazy but really lovely and special. I’m a little tired and hungover today but I am still smiling. I am genuinely amazed at what I am feeling right now but I am glad and grateful.

I did think of him at certain times of the night. Especially when certain songs came on, great classic American songs. I still somehow relate so much to him but it didn’t hurt me this time, I just felt a tad sad, for a small moment. One of the girls at the party also went to our old high school and we chatted about mutual people we knew and wondered what they were doing now. I’m so glad I went.

So now I have to keep this up. Do what I can to stop sinking into that familiar place, build upon it. Today I feel like its impossible not to go forward. I just got a text from another friend. I’m going to answer back now….

The sun is out and I’m smiling…

Where it really comes from…timing…do I go?

For a while now I have banged on about my most recent experience with my narc. And this morning I woke and that yuk feeling was still there. But I have come to a point now where I can no longer just relate my current inability to move forward on that situation, it goes much deeper and I have touched on it but never brought it fully out in the open. Not even to my psych (although with her I have mentioned it only minimally). But I am sick to the stomach about it and many other things. I am tired of trying to deal and how long it is taking. I am sick of repeating myself and feeling the way I am feeling. It has to stop. My writing  will probably be disjointed this morning I am in a strange place….still.

My father is here in Perth right now, he is here for a number of hospital appointments which at the age of 93 most is perhaps normal. To this day I have stayed connected to him even though I have fought and held down the real pain and psychological trauma he and to an extent my mother caused me when I was a child. You don’t talk about it because nobody wants to hear it. When you are a child you believe that what is happening is normal and you learn to adapt accordingly. You do not want to walk through life being labelled. Keep away from her she is damaged goods, poor thing. It is uncomfortable and should not be discussed or out in the open. It is human to want to take a wide berth from anything that causes us discomfort or brings us down. I’m not alone in my experience but alot is hidden and there is so much worse.

Yesterday I watched Dr Phil (it was a rare situation but I felt drawn to it), who had a woman on his show Michelle Knight who was kept for many years imprisoned, raped and tortured by Ariel Castro in Cleveland Ohio and this is an extreme and horrifying situation much worse than my own I know. She has written a book and there is now a movie. She is incredible considering her situation. What she went through defies belief. As I watched her speak her speech was inclusive of humour and a kind of acceptance but I could see in her eyes a detachment and a distance.  I know it well, we learn to function and adapt almost at times as if we are out of body. She had managed to detach from the situation and seems to be doing so well but I still recognised that in her mind things will never go away and I felt some of her pain and other emotions things that will always be a part of her. I know a little of it. Not to the same extent but a drop of it. My experience was my own and I can not diminish the impact of it…I have to acknowledge it to be able to move forward…I need to.

I watched a TED session today by  Dr Nadine Burke Harris, it was on my Facebook feed. I rarely go to FB lately but this morning I happened to have a quick look. It’s funny how the timing of things seems to sync with what we are going through at the time.

It struck a chord with me and as I watched it my body started to feel very uncomfortable. A mixture of fear, stress, anxiety and illness. Sick to my stomach as I have said. Because I was reminded of things that still effect me and that I have not fully dealt with. Part of it is because of societal expectation, we must function, we must be normal and do normal things and look happy doing it. Ignore, be strong.

He called me yesterday, my father. He wanted me to go see him and comfort him and give him sympathy. Like a child needs warmth and comfort and security and love. I could not do it. I was very cold. And as he reeled off all the bad things that had been happening to him I felt nothing but disdain. I have continued to accept his phone calls and at times can behave as if nothing has happened but then other times I feel like I am in collusion with my tormentor and that I am a very sick and twisted person.

For a person who usually feels things so deeply and empathises more than usual I could not feel anything for him, but pity. He told me my cousin is flying in from another state to spend time with him and I wanted to scream out “she is a fucking ignorant idiot” because she has no idea what this man is really like and what he did to me as a child.

But I packed the ill feeling away again after the phone call ended and distracted myself by missing Joe even more. By missing yet another man who hurt me, whom I trusted and loved. But what Joe did was nothing compared to my childhood.  I shared with him the story of what happened in my childhood something I had not shared with anyone. I trusted him. Even my childhood friends, I could not tell the full story because…I just could not…I still struggle with it because to recall I feel as if I will lose what little sanity I have left and yet I know if I do not…I will remain STUCK.

I will not go into detail now, it is impossible, the reality includes; abuse sexually, psychologically, control in the extreme, alcoholism and more.  I would be writing for days and this is public, but even writing this and acknowledging it there is much to deal with I know I will go there now bring more of it into my psych sessions. I have only scratched the surface so far…him being here..my remaining stuck and sick and the TED talk and a number of things running through my head tells me it is time. Time to really go further and rid myself of this insidious shit that has held me down for so long.

Right now my thoughts are slightly jumbled. But I am feeling a strange sense of relief in even writing this much. Perhaps it is because I have learnt to pop things back into the box. For later.

Tonight a friend I cherish, is having a birthday party at a pub. Her 50th. She is a good girl and a very good and loyal friend. She collected me from the airport the day I arrived back from the States, shellshocked. She stayed in touch with me before I flew back and as I was struggling in the days after I walked out on him and still had 3 days left in Arizona heartbroken, confused, alone. I have traveled the world often on my own but I will never forget how alone and awful I felt in those days.

I had got to a point where I felt like I was going to go tonight. I wanted to go, to share her special night. Now I have that avoidance feeling creeping in again. I have avoided many functions with friends over these last months. How do I do it? But I need to go I know….

Come out of the comfort zone she says…brave or stupid…

It is highly unorthodox to be going through all of this and expose it so publicly, but that is the way the world is going with the internet everything is there for all to see, (particularly Kardashians! Yes I have a bee in my bonnet about them and how they make millions from selfies, nudity and just being themselves openly and publicly. I still can’t quite wrap my head around the concept, although I am getting there!).  However, I think in some ways it is helpful to be vulnerable. It opens you up to complete honesty with yourself.  It holds you accountable. Exposing fear allows you to reveal and feel it and then the strength of it dissipates and you feel freer. Most of the time.

It was good to see my psych yesterday, I find I am able to discuss some of the deepest darkest issues with her and she puts things into perspective in a rational way. I am completely irrational about certain things at time. Especially lately.

The morning started off OK, I woke feeling good and no fear about having to go out the door and amongst people. There was no pining or remembering shithead…D’OH, just did, in thinking I hadn’t thought about him I did think of him arrrggghhh but I got over that quickly. Unfortunately, this morning he is back, but I think I know why and will explain later.

I had time to kill before my appointment so I had a late breakfast in the cafe near her office and found her there with her colleagues, no problems, we gave each other a big wave and smile (later she told me that that was a good thing, that she has been sitting at the cafe before and her client having seen her there has gone out of their way to go to another cafe because they have felt uncomfortable seeing her outside of the session…how weird is that? She often tells me she’s seen much worse than what I can throw at her. That I believe!). I went and sat at the back of the cafe and read my book “Taming the outer child” by Susan Anderson and ate. Feeling more normal is starting to come bit by bit.

It helps knowing that my psych has been there. In a bad place, she has revealed and I know it’s true because she can express an understanding of certain feelings that only someone who has been there knows. Empathy means alot. It was something Narc shithead had absolutely NONE of. To this day I can’t fathom that there are people who are incapable of empathy, what are they, Robots?

Unfortunately my feeling normal only lasted into the first 5 minutes of my session with the psych and then for some reason stuff came tumbling out again. Perhaps because I hadn’t seen her for a while. I had felt strong and without tears at first and then I bawled, about all of the issues that seem to be tormenting me concurrently often and still.

I expressed a confusion to her, why? Was I again all of a sudden back here. I had been feeling ok the last couple of days. She said it was normal, I had broken everything down and was systematically trying to clear things out completely and it was still going to take time to rebuild. Particularly with new constructs. A new way of thinking. It’s a process.

But I needed to come out of my comfort zone in every way. In addition to going through this, this time without the aid of anti-depressants after 17 years of use she felt was incredibly brave. I said “Brave or stupid?”. She simply said “you made a choice and you have stuck by it”.

I keep waiting to prove myself right.

So after the session and I was feeling and looking worn again she said to me ‘Don’t go home and to bed. Do something nice for yourself, get a massage, have a nice lunch, go see a movie’. I knew what she was getting at but when you feel that way you just want to curl up into a ball, in bed and shut everything out.

But I didn’t. I went out. Had a meal and some wine (yeh, I know!) and had a lovely long conversation with an elderly lady for a while that I met along the way. I love the wisdom older people impart. Their view of the world and things, often ignored these days sadly.

Her simple view about many things, including him I so wished I could follow. How does one’s thoughts and mind become so complicated and chaotic. Simple seems so good to me, I want to grasp that.

It was ok, the day. But then I had more wines and later had a talk to a dear friend (my guardian when Joe and I met) on the phone and because he knew ‘him’ I started to tell him more about what happened when I was over there and then bawled again. My poor friend. He was so patient. Even he could not work out how different this man had been from the one we met years ago. He could not work out why he did the things he did, behaved the way he behaved and could so nastily cut off. I needed to talk about it although I hate to keep reliving it but somehow this experience has really worn me down and cut me to the quick. It is 3 and half months and I still can’t let it go, there are so many unanswered questions and it is that that does not allow me any peace. Although I am working hard to try forget it, remove and cut it off.

No closure. It is torture. I so feel for people who are still imprisoned in their narcissists world. It is very hard to get out even when you do get out….I have to stop writing now…I’m feeling Yuk…

Come to me, meet me halfway or don’t bother…mercy f#%k..

Ahhh. The sun is shining in the window, I look out at the day and smile (It’s a good day when I smile into the sunshine). I am in the middle of a text parry and thrust (comedic) with a man who seems keen to see me again although I haven’t seen him for a while. I haven’t seen anyone for a while, by choice. He was someone I tried as a distraction when I first got back from the States. I was so desperately heartbroken I tried everything to try relieve my mind of that blood sucking vampire including mercy fuck (Can I write that here? Too bad…outer child just had a tantrum).

He is a nice man. Nice is such an insipid word. But he is nice and funny. He wined and dined me, was a proper gentleman. But ultimately as seems to happen in this day and age (of tinder etc, swipe left, swipe right..not that I’m on tinder!) we did the horizontal mumbo far too soon. It was mutual believe me, after waiting 9 months (and some 30 years previous!!) for “I’ve got the body of a 35 year old (not) and I will make love to you all night (he wasn’t capable)” yada yada BS BS BS…delusional narcissistic freak).

Anyway. He made a mistake this time (the distraction). He said maybe I can find my way to his place (if I don’t want to meet for a meal and a night out) and I laughed and thought “there is no way on god’s great earth that I’m doing that shit again”.  So I messaged back and said “Re: ‘find my way’ to yours I don’t do that anymore. You come to me or meet me halfway or forget it, I’m worth more than that…”. I flew half way around the globe to see the Devil and look where that got me, not going there ever again…EVER.

To his credit, he laughed and joked about the mouthful I gave him first thing in the morning, because he knew where I was coming from, he wanted to talk about my trip etc in the days our friendship started even though I didn’t want to at the time and he was amazing, but I cut him off after a little while because I wasn’t well and I wasn’t ready. Still not. His first name is the same as the devil’s, and he is Sicilian as well and there are other similarities and that does my head in.

But something keeps telling me I have to get back on the horse, or I will never ride again.

I need to re-engage with the world. I need to start going out again and living. Force it, until it starts to come naturally again. I’ve been completely broken.

Funnily enough, I got a delivery today of a book I’d ordered a while back (one of a few). It had to come from the States because realistically there is a severe lack of good knowledge here about mental health, or maybe its just got to do with funding and research and the lack thereof here in Australia. And let’s face it, crazy is on a much larger scale in the U.S! DON’T get me wrong, I love America, I could live there and I definitely will return for holidays there on a regular basis because it is awesome in every way, so diverse. The people still say please and thank you there and ‘Yes, maaaam’…love it.

The book is by Susan Anderson. It’s called “Taming your outer child; overcoming self sabotage and healing from abandonment”. She is a psychotherapist with more than 30 years of clinical experience and research work with victims of trauma, abandonment, grief and loss and a host of other stuff. I have her other book coming “The journey from abandonment to healing” as well. She is based in Manhattan. I love Manhattan. I’ve walked the entire length of Manhattan, what an amazing melting pot of experiences……I digress.

I have been fighting many years of depression, and rotten experiences and circumstances. I found after hitting bottom this time I was the root cause of my problems because I have allowed myself to be led by my circumstances. No amount of psychotherapy by someone else will help if I don’t try to help myself and work from within. To wait for others to fix me I may as well get back on the antidepressants and wander around like a zombie for the rest of my life and stay mediocre and accept everything everyone else throws at me and don’t bother ducking for cover. Just give up. I can’t do that, I won’t.

I want to get to a place I know I can. Break down whatever barriers to entry there are and for fuck sake DO and LIVE and do it and live it well. There’s a girl, there is a fight in the belly again…now to keep it up..keep going forward. Thank god I have a psych appointment tomorrow haha….:)