Survivor and Overcomer

Greek yogurt with raw honey and fresh cut strawberries – that was me doing something nice for myself, something kind to myself tonight. I just spent the last hour on Twitter reading posts from #rapeisnotokay and #sexualassaultsurvivor. Before that I attended my first group therapy meeting for survivors of sexual assault. The group wasn’t as intimate as I had hoped it would be. Instead of the 6 – 8 women I was expecting to see, there were 12 women and two female facilitators. We went over the group guidelines about confidentiality, respect, and setting boundaries. Then we introduced ourselves. We went around in a circle and I volunteered to go first. I said what I was hoping to get out of the group, which is healing, and that I was terrified of showing up today. I wasn’t the only one who was scared. Other women shared my sentiment.

It was amazing to see how these women, one by one, opened up about their sexual assault and sexual abuse stories, as discussions were held after the introductions. Someone is in trial to lock away her offender. Others have never spoken about it before, this being the first time. When I introduced myself I managed not to cry, but the next person did and then so did two people after that, as we went down the line. I lost it. I cried too. There were tissues readily available on the tables. We all sat in a circle. It was so sad to hear everyone talking about their stories. There are young women and older women. Every story of sexual abuse you can imagine came forth between these 12 women, including me.

I had kind of an emergency therapy session with my individual therapist yesterday in the middle of the day. I took time off of work to go. I was experiencing panic in relation to the therapy group I attended tonight and he was able to reassure me that ultimately, this will be healing, and that other women are surely afraid as well. He reassured me that he will help me, the subtext being that he will not leave my side and that I am not in this alone. He will monitor my mood and my progress throughout the weeks and I will try to pay attention to how I am doing as well. I am seeing him again tomorrow night and I am so indebted and lucky to have an individual therapist that I get to see. Many of these women in the group are on waiting lists to get into individual therapy. I am so goddamn fortunate.

Sad news came into my email inbox last night and I have been feeling disappointed and let down. I received a message that I was not selected for the group interview at the MFT graduate program which I was hoping to attend. “Everything happens for a reason,” a couple people told me in sympathy. “They are missing out on having someone great in their program” another person said. He was sorry for them, not for me. It was good to have another perspective to brood over.

This must just be a bump in the road. I studied for the graduate record exam for about six months. It was very challenging and I invested a lot of money into the prep courses. It looks like I will not be attending a state university. It was the most competitive program to get into and I thought I had a good chance of getting in. In fact, I was confident they would accept me into the program. Instead, the email notification said I can try to apply again next year.

There is a private university which has a 24 month program with year-round admission. One has to pay up front for each class every month and I believe each class is around $2,500. I suppose that is what loans are for. It’s significantly more expensive than the state university’s program, but not the most expensive. Other private universities are offering the same degree at a cost of $50,000 in tuition alone per year. That’s $100,000 for a two-year program. This field that I am going into is not a high-paying profession and if I were to be that much in debt, well, I have no idea when I would be able to pay that off. It looks like I am just going to have to start my MFT program later in the year. Maybe I wasn’t quite ready to start; May is just around the corner. Perhaps that would have been too soon.

I’ve written about having difficulty with getting motivation to shower. Last night I was supposed to shower, but after the bad news of not getting admitted to the program which I had been counting on, I went to sleep abruptly on the couch because I didn’t want to deal with the sadness. This is day number three that I haven’t showered and as much as I would rather not shower tonight, I have to go to work tomorrow and it doesn’t look good (and it’s not normal) to show up to work with greasy hair. Damn it. Damn it all. I’d like to end this blog post on a positive note, but life just isn’t all that sometimes. I just have to focus on what needs to be done in the immediate future: shower and then study, sleep, go to work, attend therapy, write out my feelings in another blog post, study, sleep and do it all over again. Luckily I am seeing my therapist more than once a week these days.

 

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Attachment

My TalkSpace therapist has suggested, in other words, that I may be too attached to my main therapist. He is on vacation this month and I have been distraught at not seeing him. Literally, in tears, a mess, depressed, unwilling to get out of bed on the weekends. In my defiance and I suppose as a way of punishing myself for feeling this way, I say, “fine. If I cannot see him then I won’t live. I won’t get out of bed. I won’t do anything until I get to see him again.” Who does this hurt? Not my therapist. It hurts me. But that’s just what I’m used to doing: hurting myself and punishing myself.

Why would I feel the need to punish myself just because I cannot see my therapist? Maybe it’s the defiance. That if he won’t let me see him then I won’t do anything. I don’t know if this makes sense to another rational being but it makes sense to me. Perhaps I feel like I am already being punished by not getting to see him, so that I need to continue that punishment further.

By the way, he did reach out to me, after five emails, two text messages and three voicemail messages later, on Monday during business hours, and I am seeing him this week. So, I do feel relieved. He is on vacation but in town and I desperately feel the need to see him. I know I have a very strong attachment to him, and also that I depend on him to be there for me every week so that no matter what emotional turmoil the week may bring, I always have him as my balance and equilibrium. He is my zen. He is my safest of safe places and I can cry and smile and do whatever I need to do in order to be fully me. He accepts all of me, non-judgmentally. There is no other person like him in this world. No other person has the sort of connection with me as he does. No one can replace him.

I know it will feel nice to see him. It’s two days away but that couldn’t be soon enough. I know I should probably apologize for all of the messages I left him to schedule this meeting but somehow I just know he is okay with it. He can handle it. He can handle anything when it comes to me. And yes, I do believe that I am special, when it comes to him. I am special to him and he is special to me and we have a very special relationship. The relationship is complex and I have gone in and out of various levels of dependency on him. I have been angry, upset, sad, mourning, in grief, happy, okay, content, suicidal and everything in between. My therapist has seen it all, has dealt with it all, has helped me through it all. For eight years. How could I not be attached to him? I won’t always be so needy, but I realize at the moment, it’s just where I’m at. I need him and that’s it.

Other people, to soothe me, have said, “you don’t need him.” “You are strong enough on your own.” “You can manage.” But the thing is I don’t feel as if I can manage without him and feelings are like facts sometimes. Feelings are very real and they are not unimportant. They carry great weight in the decisions that I make. I make most decisions based on feelings rather than facts. If I feel good about something, then I can do it. If I don’t feel good, then I know it’s not a good idea. My therapist always validates my feelings.

I used to be so hurt from the pain of my former abuse that all I could manage to say in a session is “I hurt” over and over again. I couldn’t put any other words to it. And my therapist, he would just sit there with me and listen, and make eye contact, and just never go away. He has always been there for me. Other times when I wasn’t able to utter a single word, I would motion for a pen and paper and I would write “I hurt” on the paper. Other times I needed to do sand tray therapy, creating a scene of the bad wolf eating the helpless baby chickens, to express my feelings because I was mute, unable to talk. It’s just that, he has always been there for me. I cannot imagine a time in my life without him. I cannot imagine ever parting from him, although I know there will be a time that I won’t need him so much. I don’t know. I just know that I need him now.

Have I made my point? Did I feel the need to justify my thoughts and actions? I suppose I did. I don’t like being told that I’m wrong, and if someone suggests for me to do something differently, like attach myself to someone in my personal life rather than to my therapist, I feel as if they are telling me that I am bad, that I am doing something bad and wrong, and that feels awful. I need to take things at my own pace and not be led to think that I am bad, because that is where my mind goes a lot of the time. I am not bad. I am just a swan with a broken wing, and that wing is mending, and before long, I will be able to take flight with the rest of the flock.

A different kind of life

I wanted to take the time to write. Just write. Writing is healing, writing promotes reflection, reflection promotes deeper thoughts and contemplation, and sometimes contemplating feels good.

I spent the last week with family. It was a time of celebration and a time for silence and mourning and mutual support. I got to bond with my youngest cousin who is almost three years old, and that time spent was healing to me and a positive distraction. The fact is, as I must tell myself, I have family. No matter how much I feel as if various family members haven’t been supportive, they actually care. They occasionally send me reminders of this by reaching out to me, a text here, and email there. It’s hard to reconcile. Most of my family members, actually all, live far away, some further than others, and I didn’t grow up knowing them intimately. We’re all not that close, but we get along. I have family. I must remind myself of that when I am feeling lonely. I have work and family. They keep me going. Must hold onto this… hope.

 

There is a fact: I like attention. I think everybody wants to have attention from another person in some form. We are social creatures and those interactions we have with other people mean that the other person is paying attention to us. But, I got used to an unhealthy kind of attention. I used to have to act out and do extreme things just to get the approval and attention of my ex. It got worse as the years went on. He was so self-absorbed in his own life, separate from me, that I was not nurtured with any sort of loving attention. It was very unhealthy.

Over the last few years the type of intensive attention that I got was from doctors and nurses every time I tried to hurt myself. It feels very wrong now, not hurting myself, because I am lacking that attention from others. Of course I can’t afford to have medical staff tending to my every need each day, but that is how it used to be. And I got accustomed to it. It was my modus operandi, my way of being. Part of the emptiness I feel is getting used to not receiving that kind of attention. If I express suicidal ideation and send messages out to people they usually want to put me into a hospital. I can’t help it, when I feel suicidal I just do, and I have to wait until it goes away, and it’s very difficult to live through those hours, sometimes days. When it’s over, it’s a big relief. I haven’t been suicidal for a week now. I am in recovery.

It’s uncomfortable, sometimes, letting the minutes pass by. I really enjoy silence. I don’t like music to be playing and I don’t like watching television. I like just sitting in silence. Sometimes when I get to work I think, how is this day ever going to pass by? But sure enough, the end of the day always comes, and that’s how it is, day in, day out. Although I spend the vast majority of my time alone, I’m not always comfortable being alone. I find ways to distract myself from the awkwardness by writing a blog or watching a video online, or eating food or sleeping. Those are my main distraction techniques. For the most part it works, although it still leads to a bit of an empty feeling inside. I don’t feel complete. There is something missing in my life and I cannot fill that space with self harm like I used to. What to do then?

A lot of times being with someone, spending time with them, can feel overwhelming. If it’s someone I don’t know well, I am constantly worrying about what I should say next to keep the conversation going. I worry about what I’m going to wear, and then while wearing it, worry about how it looks, always thinking I should have worn something else. I constantly am thinking that I don’t have enough clothes to wear, though that may be typical of women. I have to remind myself that it’s okay to have silence in between conversation, and often there is. Sometimes I worry so much about what it will be like in anticipation of seeing someone, that I end up canceling the get-together at the last minute. That never feels good or reflects well on me as a person.

I have a whole weekend coming up. I could be out in the sunshine, going for a walk or a hike, eating a nice meal out, getting coffee. I could go to the mall and people watch, or make a purchase, or go to the movie theater and watch the latest production. I could do laundry and go to the grocery store. I could shower. I could eat food. But chances are, I’ll be in my bed, sleeping, pretending that the day isn’t happening, holding my stuffed animal for comfort, in my pajamas, not eating a regular meal, not treating myself to a cup of coffee, not really wanting to live, because an empty existence full of not doing things is pretty “blah”, not good, bad. It’s not the vision I have for myself and my life but it is what my life looks like right now. I don’t have much going on in my life outside of work and because of this I don’t feel motivated in my life to do anything. I still don’t like waking up every day for work and wish I could just stay in bed. Although I am relieved when my paycheck comes in every two weeks. I couldn’t do without it.

I am in recovery but I feel rejected by myself and I don’t give myself credit for all of the progress I’ve made. All I see is the negative, and envision what I could be doing but not having the courage to do those things. I wish I had more fun in my life, more reason to live, more something. I don’t exactly know what is missing, but I do enjoy taking care of others, so a dog could be a good answer. I just don’t feel that I’m responsible enough to take care of a dog, and it would be home alone all day while I’m at work. I could pick up a volunteer job and do that on the weekends, or an actual job for which I have to get up. But I don’t act on those possibilities. I don’t know what to do with myself. Time just keeps on ticking.

Feeling better

Weeks go by. I try to recognize my thoughts and feelings as they are happening. Days inch by slowly. I ride the slow waves of up and down. Hours go by and I live from moment to moment.

 

It’s hard to conceptualize time. It’s ever constant, always passing by. I don’t always like that it continues and time is not always my friend. I tend to see it as my enemy, as a pain in my back that nags with a dull sensation mixed between fear, anger, hate and dread. When I am laying in my bed doing nothing but spending monumentous amounts of energy just to stay there, I toss and I turn and check the time every hour or so. Time is not my friend. It’s against me. It mocks me. It wants me to run for joy but I run for fear. What is it that I am afraid of? I am afraid of living my life is what it boils down to. Because I’m still, still, still not used to a life without hurt and pain. It has been three years since I put that dreadful existence behind me, started new. But what does it all mean? Why am I here? What is my purpose in this life?

Since I wrote that last paragraph, I have been on a new medication called Wellbutrin. Within a week of starting this, I felt as if a cloud had been lifted from my being, and that there is some positivity to my life now. It is a drastic difference. And as much as I hate my living situation, I managed to go see a unit for rent. I applied. It’s a huge step forward. The place is not as nice as what I have lived in before, but it is suitable and it would work. I just want to live away from here and feel like I am independent.

I met a nice man. We are becoming friends, I think. I just hope he continues to be nice and doesn’t try to make any moves to move quickly before I am ready. I want to take this very slowly.

I can’t believe I am supporting myself, paying my own rent, going to work, possibly going back to school soon. I can’t believe it. It’s so much pressure so succeed and to keep going and at the same time it is amazing.

 

A better me

My grandmother who lived overseas isn’t alive any longer. Sometimes I think of her, and what a long, full, rich life she had. Her life was filled with people who loved her and who would help her. I want to be half as loved as she was. Sometimes I forget that I am loved. I spoke tonight with my Poppa, who isn’t my real father, but someone who adopted me as his daughter several years ago, took me under his wing. I had no idea that someone in his own family has depression. I did not realize it. Anyway, he reminded me that he loves me, and it was nice to hear. He has four sons and no daughters and it’s nice to think of me as his sometimes-daughter. We’re both not great at keeping in touch – he had to move away out of state. But the once-in-a-while phone call is meaningful.

I went to my support group tonight. As much as I think I’m okay without it, and not going, it does help to go. It helps to hear about other people struggling the same struggle that I have, and it helps to see familiar faces. And I get to see my therapist tomorrow night. It has been several weeks since our last meeting and I am very much looking forward to it.

No existential thoughts tonight.

New What?

I haven’t been around my computer for a week so I haven’t written a much-needed blog until now. It’s the new year and I’m not feeling new anything. I didn’t celebrate the holidays. I just stayed in bed. It’s what I do. I stay in bed. And I hate my life. I hate living. I wish I could just die somehow peacefully in my sleep. Yet, my mom fought so hard to give us a good life. I couldn’t do that to her. So what now? Go to work, a job that I hate, a job that I can barely tolerate to do what? Earn another days’ wages so that I can live independently and not off the state? It’s too hard to get government assistance anyway, and it’s not enough to live off of. Certainly not if I want to eat in restaurants.

I don’t know what to do with my life. That has been my conundrum for the last six months. Do I go back to school and do something I’m really interested in? I hate where I live. Do I move in with a 55-year-old male roommate who believes the 1930’s depression is going to hit again soon? Like this year. That’s who I recently interviewed with. I don’t know. It’s bad in my current living situation so I’m almost wanting to move anywhere. I don’t even have to be on the lease, which is good, because I recently filed for bankruptcy and getting on a lease would be hard. But then not being on the lease means I’m there not legally and he said nothing has to be in writing. That’s not good. I don’t know what to do! Help me!

I don’t like living. I don’t like being alive. It doesn’t matter where I live. I still won’t like living. So what do I do when I am feeling like this? How do I keep living when I just really don’t want to? I can’t lose my job so I’m just going to go to work tomorrow, Monday. And the next day. And I get to see my therapist. Things have to get better, right? Today I am asking a lot of questions because I don’t have the answers.

I feel oppressed. I feel the weight of the world on me. It’s too difficult to drag myself out of bed. So I spend my days off in it. I don’t have any hobbies any more. I don’t work out at the gym, except once a month. I’m not an interesting person! No one would want to spend time with me. And those that do, it confuses me why they do it. What is wrong with me? Help me. Just help me. I am in despair and I cannot seem to pick myself up.

How to feel normal

What is my normal? I suppose right now it’s feeling slightly off. Lately I’ve been proud and possessive over my suicidality. Imagine if everything in my life doesn’t feel okay, and I’m unstable, but the one remaining factor in my life that is constant is that I sometimes want to kill myself. Then I would hold on to that fact. No one can take that away from me. It’s mine to have.

Someone from my support group recently went into the hospital. Last year I spent the holiday inpatient in the hospital. It’s no fun. I feel for her. I feel unstable, especially with a long drive coming up and at the prospect of seeing my family for a few days. I don’t know what to expect and I don’t know if things will go okay. My brother is very compassionate and understanding about my situation, where I am in life, and of my mental illness. Some things that I do depend on his approval, like his urging to have me get the oil changed in my car. Instead of being a $50 expense it was an unexpected $500 expense because there were several other fluids that needed to be changed. I guess those things cost a lot although I could have easily been talked into something that wasn’t necessary. I don’t know anything about cars.

I’m writing at work right now. I cannot go into my WordPress site at my work computer because they track every page you go to, and do periodic reviews. I don’t want my workplace to find out about this blog, because everything is public. I will post this at a later time, though generally, other times I post things immediately.

It’s hard to explain what I feel right now. I have this general vibe of uneasiness, stemming from my near-future obligations. I told a friend I would house sit for her, but that feels very upsetting and now I’m wondering why I was so quick to say yes to her. I only feel comfortable in my own environment and I don’t want to be in someone else’s home. I need my own bed and my own blanket, and my teddy bear. I don’t even like where I live, but that’s been said before. I have thought so many times about moving, but just haven’t found the right living situation yet. And where I am, although not ideal, it’s comfortable, for now. Ideally I would find my own apartment, a studio, where I could set up my piano keyboard and have peace and quiet from having to be around other people. Of course, when it’s raining outside like it is now, I’m just glad to have a formidable roof over my head.

I have to find ways to make myself feel good, which is my ideal sense of what is normal. I watched a movie at a friends’ house last night, and it was a scary movie, which contributed to my current state of uneasiness. But being over at the friends’ house, if even for a couple hours, felt good. We shared pizza and talked about his latest escapades, about our lives, about me not getting out of bed on the weekends and a little about the abusive past that I lived through. He says I am a strong person, but that is something I find difficult to acknowledge within myself. Why is it that I cannot see the good in myself? I need someone to reflect that for me. That is why, finding a healthy partner and relationship would probably do wonders over a long time period. I would like to find a sense of stability, a sense of wanting to be in my own skin, and wanting to live the life I am living. Stop fighting it! See, it has to do with acceptance. I still find it hard to accept that I am independent and that I support myself through having my own job. Each day that I go to work is a day closer to my ultimate goal of one day having a family. I know I can do it, if I find the right person.

There is hope, and I have all the time in the world to find peace with my life. Coming to a place of acceptance can be a difficult challenge for anyone, mental illness or not. I don’t like to think of myself as mentally ill, because it’s not my fault that I have depression. However, staying in bed all weekend, although it didn’t feel like a choice, was indeed a choice. My therapist tries to teach me that it’s probably just a bad habit, that I choose to stay in bed. I don’t even get up to pee, that’s how bad the staying in bed is. And I certainly don’t get out to eat anything. I need to find a way to motivate me to do something different.

Me

There are so many things going on in my mind. How to start? Where to start? What angle to take? With whom will it all resonate? Will anyone read my post? Scream. My mind screams at times. And then I just have to take a deep breath. Everything is going to be okay. At least, I can tell myself that and if I say it enough times I might begin to believe it.

Self care. It’s not going very well. Better, today. I showered. I somehow get away with showering twice a week. Thursdays and Sundays in the evening. I’m going to try to make it more. I tell myself I need to shower. But, seriously, people, depression kills the will to do anything. Depressed people sometimes have a hard time showering. I don’t know what it is, but I know that I’m not alone. It’s not that it’s a difficult task to do, and it was the one thing I set out to do this weekend, and what did I do? I stayed in bed all weekend. Literally. I got up to pee twice, once a day Saturday and Sunday. “Your poor bladder” was all my friend could say. It’s true. My poor body.

I finally put on a clean shirt tonight. I had been wearing the same shirt to bed and its’ time had long since expired as a shirt one should be wearing, at all, period, end of story. So it’s in the hamper and I must say, it feels and smells great to have on a clean shirt. Amazing what difference it makes. I cut my finger nails. They were getting long and I always have them short, as short as possible. I can type better now. I don’t know how anyone does anything with longer nails. That’s just my opinion. Women have long nails all the time but I could never do it. Men, just imagine how handicapping it would be, trying to work around even three millimeters of extra nail in daily tasks. No, thank you.

I cried in group tonight. I was the last to go. I wasn’t sure I wanted to talk, but in the end, I wanted to be heard and to be cared for. The people who are in the support group are validating and caring, and I was with the right people this time. There are two group rooms, and sometimes I think I end up in the wrong room. I went at the end, and people were having to leave and although logically I told myself that people were leaving because of the time, I couldn’t help but think, was it something I said that made them leave?

Baby cuddling. I need to do it again. Whatever it takes, however long the application process takes, I need to do this again. It brought so much meaning to my life when I was doing it five years ago. Literally, you go into the NICU and they have one baby cuddler on shift and you find a compassionate nurse who knows that her babies need to be cuddled, and you cuddle babies for four hours straight, once a week for six months or however long you can commit. I did it for a year and a half and it saved me. It was such good therapy. I need it again. I met some amazing babies… very young human beings. New life is so precious and it needs to be cherished. I hope to bring new life to the world one of these days.

Mondays are always with mixed feelings for me, because I don’t like going to work, and I don’t particularly like the work that I do, but it gets me out of bed and I spend my weekends in bed. I don’t like being in bed all day and doing so makes me feel worse about myself. I could at least get up for an hour and read a book, go to a coffee shop, do something, but no, I stay in bed and it is disheartening to watch myself do this weekend after weekend. But somehow I manage to go to work every day, even though the thought passes by without fail, that I could call in sick today, or even quit my job and stop going. That would be terribly irresponsible, as they depend on me in my assistant position to be there, and I get paid to be there to answer to the client needs and demands. We get some interesting, angry clients calling in every once in a while and whereas it makes the day more diverse task-wise, it’s actually not fun.

I just wish I would stop sleeping all the time. I seem to need the sleep at times, and then other times, it’s just too much sleep. I don’t sleep well at night because I sleep during the day. My therapist says, from what I understand, that it’s because I’m trying to assert myself, somehow. My sleeping and staying in bed is a way of screaming, “I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to do!” and there is a part of me that still doesn’t want to live, or do things that living people do, like getting out of bed and showering and doing laundry. I don’t want to be told what to do but then I think about being in the hospital where I can be taken care of and they would definitely tell me what to do in there. But being in the hospital is expensive and I don’t need it any more. I’m still not quite used to that. I used to need to be in the hospital because I was suicidal but I am not suicidal any longer. I don’t want to kill myself. That’s a huge step forward in my life. But I am in recovery and my last episode was just a year ago. I want to be better. I want to get better. I want to feel better. I want to be a better me and I want to be loved and cherished and respected and safe. Everyone deserves those things.

I think it’s time I got a boyfriend. I tried that a few months ago and I wasn’t thrilled at the prospect of having to force myself out of bed for the man. He was attractive but I didn’t like that he snored and there were some other aspects that I wasn’t okay with. I’ve been toying with the idea of asking this guy out who works in my office building. It’s not for the same company, so that’s okay. But he’s not that attractive to me. He’s just so polite and respectful and charming! Maybe. There was a man at the grocery store who was attractive too, and I wanted to ask him, are you single? I keep running into these episodes of wanting to ask someone on a date, so one day, I might actually do it. I’ll keep thinking about it and I’m sure there will be future posts about it. With that, I say, adieu.

Finding a groove

It’s probably good that I wasn’t home tonight to have wine. No, it’s really good. When I was at work today, all I could think of was bed. I wanted to be in bed. I wanted to be able to crouch down and curl up and hide under the covers of the familiar surroundings of my blanket and pretend that I wasn’t at work. I wanted to sleep at my desk in the morning. I felt sluggish. The pace of my productivity was marred by the need for solitude and being alone, hiding out I’ll say once again. Because it is hiding. By afternoon I was desperate to run out of the office building, to my car, away from that desk and computer and office surroundings. But I didn’t. I stuck to it. I stayed at work, only took an hour for my lunch break instead of more, stayed until 5:35 PM. I got there on time and I left after eight hours. Eight hours of uninterrupted being at my desk, periodically and too often staring off to the side of my computer, taking mental breaks. I need a lot of mental breaks when I am at work. It helps me get through the stress of the day.

My retired professor friend met with me tonight right after work. He is such a sweetheart. Just down-to-earth and real, genuine, honest, fun. Yes, he’s even fun. He always has a good, innocent story to tell. And we are friends. It’s not therapy. We both talk about our lives. Sometimes he gives me advice about my life, and I don’t mind it. He’s there to help me and to listen to me and to provide kindness in my life. We met at our usual place, Starbucks by the Barnes & Noble bookstore, then went to the food court at that mall and he treated me to a Thai tea with a side of baklava, which was very messy with honey dripping all over the place. I wasn’t hungry for dinner because I had had a big lunch. I returned the $100 bill that he had given to me as a loan, just in case I needed it since I had filed for bankruptcy and my money was frozen at the bank for a few days. That was scary. I couldn’t even buy groceries and I didn’t have any cash on hand. He saved me that day by lending me the cash. Thank goodness for friends, and smart friends at that. One should always carry cash, just in case.

I feel pretty good. I didn’t go home and crawl into bed, which is what I had wanted to do. I went out and had a productive, friendly session with my teddy bear of a friend. He also gives the best hugs. They’re not too tight, and I hang on for longer than would be normally comfortable in a social situation, but he doesn’t mind, he just takes it in and waits until I’m done hugging him. He walked me to my car. I got to message him when I got home safely. And I even showered tonight. Showering has been a challenge since my depression surmounted me and I know I have to go to work with clean, not greasy, hair. It just looks better when it’s washed. I do my best. I shower two or three times a week, as little as possible. Maybe one day I will enjoy showering again. My female friend and I talk often about this, and she encourages me to shower. After doing something I don’t like I have to reward myself, so I am writing this blog. Writing almost seems like a reward. The reading a chapter of the book I have could also possibly be a reward, however, there is a murder mystery element to the book and I don’t want to go to bed thinking about red blood and gory murders. I don’t need the reminder. I wish that wasn’t part of the book I picked up but unfortunately it is, and I still want to make it through to the end of the book, just so I can have the accomplishment of having finished a book. I need to add positive experiences to my life, and having goals to reach, accomplishments, is a positive experience.

I have an interview this Saturday for a new roommate situation. I’m looking forward to it because it’s in a good neighbourhood. The rent would be expensive, but the person I’d be renting from is willing to wait the couple months that I need, and I think she wants to find the right person. I am that right person and I hope it works out. I have been over and over again and again on the verge of needing to move. The pressure to move is all self-induced. No one is making me leave where I am right now but ever since I moved in here ten months ago I have not liked it. I don’t like the people that rotate in and out of the rented rooms. I don’t like the owner, who lives here too. And I definitely don’t like not having my own bathroom. I have tons of anxiety about moving, but I also know that there are professional movers that help with that sort of stuff. What better way to alleviate stress than to hire someone who does it for a living, packing and moving. All I would have to do is the unpacking. I can do that. For sure.

I have stopped going to my support group meetings. Me and a friend agree that being around people who are unwell and share in suffering of mental illness can also be a depressant, and possibly hold me back from living a well-rounded and healthy life. Another friend said, as I have mentioned before, just go for the entertainment of it. People talk about their problems, we listen, and then listen to the feedback from the group members, whilst I play with play-dough in my hands, which they provide as an anxiety-coping mechanism to help alleviate stress while sitting there. But going to group is not always helpful, and as I’ve gotten to know a couple people in particular, there are some individuals that I’d rather stay away from and not subject myself to. So I haven’t been for the past two Mondays and I’m feeling pretty good about it so far.

Bed time. Must force myself to go to bed now because it always takes me a while to fall asleep after I’ve turned off the lights. And I have to remember to take my medication. Every night I have to remember that I have medication to take. It’s difficult, sometimes, emotionally, for having to take it, but if I try to make it part of my going to bed routine, maybe it will become easier. I’m finally going to see a doctor in a month to see if I need to get my medications updated, or if I can finally ease off of medications all together. That would be ideal. It’s a hassle, but also, philosophically speaking, as my therapist put it for me, I don’t want to take medications in general because I believe in trying to cope without them. But there’s something to be said about body chemistry, and coping with the help of psychotropic medications. Depression definitely has a biological component and is affected by diet, weather, stress, and certain pills.

Love Life

I am doing better. I am doing better than I was. I am better, more strong, more determined to live, more sure of myself than last month. And the month before that. I am doing so much better. With each passing month I gain more control and sense of certainty over my life. I know what I want. I know what I don’t want. Everything is under my control. I can choose to spend time with some people, and no time with others. What I want is within my grasp.

I cut myself on the plastic hummus container. It’s one of those hairline cuts that’s a millimeter deep and long but with the cold on my fingers and the dry air on my skin I can feel it and I keep wanting to nurse it by bringing it to my lips and instinctively slobbering all over the wound to keep it clean and protected.

I went to Trader Joe’s for dinner tonight. The bananas I bought at Costco are still too green, so I bought some reliably yellow ones at the health food store, along with a frozen pasta dinner. Frozen pasta is the best, because the sauce is already on it, it’s in it’s own disposable container so you don’t have to get a plate dirty, and there’s no mess in cooking it. Five minutes in the microwave oven and it was done. Brie and asparagus over shells of pasta. Ingenious, yet someone came up with the wicked idea which prompted me to open a bottle of a generic red blend, whatever I had on hand. Thank you very much.

Work was tolerable today. It’s always tolerable. Somehow I make it to lunch, then half the day is over, then two hours are left, and then, it’s time to go home. I don’t know how I do it every day. Luckily it’s a busy season, and there’s too much going on for me to finish all that I need to do in one day. I’m self-directed meaning that no one hovers over me. My work is driven by client demand on the phone, and by inquiries and tasks that I assign myself, as well as constant mailings that I have to manage. Right now, rather than a mass mailing, it’s individualized, one-by-one and tedious. Already, I’ve had a whole paragraph to talk about work which is more than most days.

I’m on my second glass and I’ve done plenty in one night. Right after work I had my therapy session. My glorious, thankful, rejuvenating therapy sessions which help me gain different and perhaps broader perspectives on my life, and what’s currently happening in it. Often, the content of my sessions are repetitive, because it takes more than thrice of repetition to really sink in a point. The fact that I’m okay right now, I’m going to repeat that to myself. I am okay. I am okay. I am okay.

I talked to my professor friend who called me while I was parked in the grocery shopping parking lot. I spent a full hour text messaging back and forth various supportive people, sharing my thoughts and a selfie. I look boastfully gorgeous in the photo that I took and I suppose it’s one of my few good moments whence I actually appreciate myself. After dinner I read a chapter of the seductively scary paperback that I picked up at work from the library of hand-me-down novels, right before I turned on my computer to type up this diary.

I am okay. I am doing better than I was last month, six months ago, a year ago. I am gaining more control of my life every day. I choose to go to work and I choose to sleep in on the weekends, and until I’m done with that, I’m going to continue to do that. But I know that going for walks, taking myself to the bookstore or a movie theatre, or to a restaurant, a coffee shop, even a museum, it’s all out there. It’s all waiting for me. Just waiting to be experienced. Maybe this weekend I will bring a towel to the beach (yes, I live by the beach and don’t go there enough) and my book and lazily dip my bare feet in the sand whilst I read outdoors. There are so many things I could do rather than sleep in on the weekends.

I still want to stay in bed every morning, call in sick, say I can’t make it, close to quitting my job. But I can’t do that. It’s under my control whether I keep my job or not. It’s under my control how I feed myself, how I conduct my day, who I spend time with. how I choose to live. I need to keep living. With all of my might, no matter how difficult a day might FEEL or SEEM, it might not actually be that bad. I have to keep perspective in mind. I have to keep fighting to live, because for too long, for far too long of a period in my life, I didn’t want to live. I didn’t want to make it to the next day. And I was desperate to die. And now? I said out loud to myself in my car, “I love myself.” I think that says it all.