Undoing the hurt

My breath is garlicky because I sprinkled garlic powder on my avocado halves before devouring them with a spoon. My medicine did not go down on the first “Schluck” (this approximately means “gulp” in German) so, for a few seconds, I had that nasty chalky taste in my mouth when the pill starts dissolving and disintegrating on the tongue instead of in the stomach. I have recovered. Sometimes it helps to focus on the details of things, to distract the mind from the pain.

Right now I do not have pain. I remember the days in therapy when the only way I could express myself was to say, “I hurt” over and over again, far from the ability to be able to come to an understanding of its effects on me and of its origination. I do still have feelings, however, my understanding of those feelings has shifted. I am much more aware of my body than I used to be.

I wobble back and forth from feeling mildly anxious, to peaceful (still too rare), to focused, to feelings of loneliness and emptiness. For example, I was feeling anxious about finishing the chapter I was reading in my text book whilst it slowly kept getting later in the evening, yet I was feeling peaceful about being curled up on my couch near my reading light and with lukewarm tea sitting to my side. At work I was focused and the day seemed to pass by quickly. The contrast to my peacefulness tonight was the feeling of starting to feel empty, as soon as I had finished reading the chapter and there seemed to be nothing else that I must do tonight, though there are plenty of options. For the next hour before bedtime I have no more obligations.

On weekends, if I allow myself to stay in bed all day, the feeling of emptiness transitions to shame, guilt and anger, and then I feel more anxious and a bit distraught. But staying in bed also gives me a reason to feel angry with myself, and when I feel upset, my default mode is to want to punish myself somehow, instead of perhaps being gentle, kind, empathic, and understanding to myself. Before last year, I had gotten accustomed to the drama of being suicidal, and, shall we say, excitement of being rushed to the hospital and being picked up by the cops, and getting all kinds of negative attention because people around me were concerned with keeping me safe.

Being at peace is not as exciting as the negativity. But it can be. I could embark upon an adventure of finding out just how peaceful my life could be, and every day that this is accomplished, reward myself with positive self-talk, maybe a chocolate or some tea or something else pleasurable, which enhances my life with positive waking (as opposed to sleeping) experiences.

Not going to the gym these days feels good. I do feel a little pudgy, but I am okay with it. It’s not a bad thing. And it’s not as if I even own a bikini. Not planning on going out to the beach any time soon. Just the idea of working out makes me feel exhausted. The stretching I do before going to bed is enough physical exertion for me.

I am eating relatively well. For lunch I had sauteed vegetables. For breakfast a protein powder shake. For dinner I had a yogurt, then an hour later an avocado and some tortilla chips and hummus. I’m not hungry any more. All in all, I am taking care of myself.

I already have plans for Friday night. It’s Passover and I’m invited to my friends’ house to celebrate with her and her 9-year-old son. Saturday is also completely taken by school projects. Sunday will be my day for sleeping in and rest. See? I’m already thinking ahead. That’s what happy and “normal” people do, they plan things in advance. Life can be spontaneous too, but too much of that living from day-to-day can also indicate less coping ability, as in my case.

Reaching out to contacts on my phone tonight was unsuccessful. I have a group of people who are also in recovery from mental illness and we keep in touch, mostly via method of text messaging. I did not get much response and was therefore not able to feel connected. That had been my point of reaching out. Yesterday I was able to feel connected because I went through some old photos and sent them out or posted them onto social media and got appreciation that way. Feeling connected with others, I think, may be one of my greatest challenges.

My relationship with my therapist has probably been unhealthy in my neediness and dependence on him in the past. But we recently re-established the professional boundaries when I found out there were consequences for having broken my promise of not self-harming. I found out that he is not my friend. He’s not there to be my friend. He is my therapist and never will be anything more or less. That’s it at face value.

I have gotten all positive and encouraging supportive reactions to the sharing of my henna tattoo, other than a cousin who replied that it was “weird”. Strange that I got it or how it looks? I don’t know but it also doesn’t matter because I am focused on the positive support I’ve gotten. I suppose if someone didn’t approve, like my mother for instance, that those people chose to stay silent and not pass judgement.

I am waiting for my 84-year-old grandfather to call me, because he wants to talk with me. I gave him some options of when I am available after work, what days and time, and he wrote it down, because he writes everything down. Everything has to be ‘just so’. I have no idea what he wants to talk with me about.

I will conclude by summarizing that today was a good day, and that it felt good to write out my thoughts on digital ‘paper’. I appreciate those who take the time to read my writing, to find out how I am doing, to gain insight, or just to give them something to do. I’m sure someone wouldn’t keep on reading if they did not think that my story was worthy of their time. So, thank you for making me worthy enough of a public form of expression via blog. At the same time, I hope that I am helping some of my readers too.

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