Another milestone … or just a stone?

I sold my house today. I got a good price. All in all, it went well (even if my anxiety was off-the-richter-scale high before the auction). I *should* be jumping for joy, right? Probably, but I just feel really sad (and really tired, after weeks of cleaning and showing my home off to a bunch of strangers each week!).

I’m guessing it’s sadness, anyway. I’m not very good at *feeling* the feelings, although PNT is teaching me. There’s a kind of pulling at the corners of my mouth, likes a sad ‘smiley’ face. And I feel heavy inside. And I’d kind of like to lie down and cry, only I’ve had an all round busy day and haven’t been able to do that.

So why am I sad? Well, I love this house. I know it’s only bricks and mortar, but I love it. I love the location, the house itself, the neighbourhood, the little park around the corner, the coffee shop around the other corner. I *even* like my neighbours. It’s the house I always wanted. Seriously. Ok, sure, it didn’t buy me the happiness or self-assuredness I think I thought it would, but it’s still the home I’ve always wanted. The proverbial ‘dream home’. Pretty much.

I know I’m selling it for practical reasons. The house is totally IMpractical for Mum and I. It’s too small. There’s no storage. And don’t even get me started on the steps at the front which make me constantly worried that Mum will fall and break a hip or something. We’re moving to a place that’s bigger… by half. I’ll have two bedrooms and a bathroom ALL TO MYSELF!!!! It’s in a similar location, in fact only 450 metres away. It’s closer to the river, which is also a lovely park. And I can easily still walk to my coffee shop.

All good, right? Wrong.

I feel like I’m giving up part of myself. This house was my dream. And it was mine. Slowly slowly, bit by bit, I feel like Mum has taken things away from me. I know that sounds ridiculous, and I don’t mean to be awful. But that feeling is there, just the same. After she moved in, I slowly lost a whole lot of stuff. I lost some of my independence. I lost a whole STACK of time. I lost my second bedroom. Now I’m losing the house, and soon probably my car (as Mum needs something with higher seats). I know these are all just possessions – meaningless possessions – but it feels like they’re an extension of me, or something. 😦

Confusion

I faced a dilemma this week. One I’m not sure I resolved. I have a friend, a kind of special friend, the kind that come with benefits of the …. beneficial kind, if you know what I mean. 😉

I could write for hours about how all this started. About how he opened up to me and told me how long he’d been attracted to me. Mentioned times at a friend’s house, BBQs and parties, years past, and him remembering all this time what I was wearing and how I smiled or flicked my hair. About how nervous he was. About how much I learned from this, about him and about men in general. Their vulnerability in the face of … vulnerability and emotion. And how much I learned about s*x and how it can be decent and warm and loving. But those are other stories, for other times.

The last couple of times haven’t been so great for me. Sure, physically, there’s something, but inside I’ve felt like a piece of meat, and sometimes come out the other side feeling like this. We had a date for tonight, but for days I’ve felt really uncomfortable about it. A knot in the pit of my stomach that I couldn’t work out. I’ve done it before, so why the knot? Why this time? Was it body image? The flashbacks that crept in last time? Pure laziness? My recent dance with depression? All of these things? Eventually I realised I didn’t want to feel like that again, despite the attractions of s*x and a night of intimacy. And despite the pull of past messages and past behaviours about doing what men tell you to do.

I woke this morning feeling pretty clear that I didn’t want to do it. Or didn’t want to feel like a piece of meat and have all that come up again. So I cancelled. For a minute or two I felt good about having a modicum of self-respect. And then other stuff came up that’s left me even more confused. I started to feel guilty for cancelling and letting him down. I felt stupid for some reason, I think for thinking anything would happen, or for thinking he would care that I cancelled (he didn’t) or something. I’m not really sure. And a sense of panic that I’d done the wrong thing. An internal pull between wanting to feel loved, and not wanting to feel like sh*t afterwards. I can only assume this is more old messages, though I’m not sure where they come from or what they mean.

It’s too confusing. Why does everything have to be so complicated and messy and confusing? Why can’t one thing in my life just be simple?? 😉

Moving mountains

Why is it that depression and anxiety leave you feeling like the smallest things are like moving mountains?

As if life isn’t exhausting enough, just getting up in the mornings and getting to work leave me feeling like I’ve run a marathon – mentally as well as physically. Of course, being at work is another Olympic event altogether these days. Of course, there’s the hammering I’m getting from the bosses, but also all the “little” things I struggle with each day, like talking to colleagues, making phone calls, attending meetings, getting my brain to function in a manner that vaguely resembles how it would normally … they’re all like climbing Mount Everest.

Don’t get me wrong – most of my colleagues are just delightful, and there isn’t a group I’d rather work with. I guess it’s just my tendency to Hermitville and feeling like every little thing is an assault in every possible way that leave me reeling. I become so focussed on the assaults that I forget the grounding stuff; the being ‘in the moment’ stuff; even the breathing thing, which I know just compounds it all.

I’m trying to remember to “celebrate” the small steps forward – like the getting up and the getting to work parts; even talking to other people can be a milestone. But for a medal-winning expert self-flagellator like me it isn’t easy. Sigh.

My plate overfloweth

Hello Blogosphere, I’ve missed you. I mean really missed you. I’ve no good excuses. As my friend Strangename said in my last post – my plate is full. It’s more than full. It’s overflowing and I’m officially drowning.

I was keeping my head above water (if only just) until a week or so ago when I found out I may not have a job in a couple of months. That was the proverbial straw. I was already slightly depressed and that was enough to tip me over the edge. Again. It triggered a whole lot of old messages about being “not good enough” and a “complete failure” (“not just a partial failure?” asked the PNT, a little facetiously. 😉 )

I’m not sure how but I ended up in that dark place many of us find ourselves in every now and then. I’m a lot better than I was, but still grappling with the idea that I’m a waste of space. Every evening I find myself battling the Judy Garland Trail Mix, mentally at least (although the image of me actually fighting some giant pills is kind of funny LOL) and drinking just a little too much so as to dull the pain and the incessant chatter in my head. It’s not good, and I’m sick of it. I’m due to go back to work tomorrow so we’ll see what new joys that brings.

Living with my mother is having its ups and downs. One of the ups is that her physical health is better than anyone would have predicted. It’s still not terrific, but I don’t think the doctors thought she’d be here now. But, as most of you predicted, living with her – or her living with me – is not good for my health, emotional or physical. And probably not my mother’s either. I know for a fact that I drive her crazy sometimes. She loves to remind me. She also loves to criticise and speak negatively about just about every damned thing. It’s what the WT once called “wading through honey”. In the circumstances, though, I wouldn’t have it any other way. We are looking for a bigger house in the hope it will give us both some much needed space. Even that is a bigger ordeal than I expected. We seem unable to agree on anything. Mostly it’s my mother who can’t agree and is acting like she wants a pony. Regardless, I am close to giving in to just get some SPACE. I know this probably isn’t the best decision for me, but more on that another time.

I know I’m stressed. I don’t think I really understood what stress does to me until now. I’ve developed a lovely skin rash that flares when my stress levels rise, and I’ve started getting migraines. At first it was “just” the aura – a kind of kaleidoscope of visual weirdness. But last week, after the news at work, it developed into the full on head-splitting migraine. Lucky me. I’ve now had two in the last ten days and they’re leaving me a little worse for wear. 😦

I am hoping that getting back to blogging might help me deal with things. Along with eating well, getting lots of rest, exercise, breathing and all that usual sh*te people tell us about. I know they’re right, but when getting out of bed is the most complicated thing you can tackle in a day, chances are the rest of it will go to hell, too.

Talking about talking

Wow, starting with a new therapist is harder than I thought. I’d forgotten about all the “ickiness” that comes up; the squirming and the shutting down. I’m three or four months in with PNT and am just realising that all that ickiness doesn’t go away. I’ve caught myself a couple of times with her – almost saying something and then someone or something inside stopping me. The fact that I notice this and recognise it is probably a good thing – may be there is some progress, after all? It seems I still have trust issues, though. I’m sure that’s not really surprising – in fact, any one of you could have told me that! It did take me a little by surprise, though. I’d almost forgotten what it was like to sit huddled in the chair, studying the carpet or the paintwork in depth, wishing the floor would open up or the clock would tick over and your hour would be up. Uh huh, that’s still with me.

The PNT is almost nauseatingly keen on talking about all this. I foolishly sent her an email before today’s session saying I’d like to “talk about the talking”. Silly me! Well, silly because she’s onto me like a rabid dog and doesn’t let me get away with my usual avoidance tactics LOL. But also not silly because it helped me clarify that this is fundamentally about trust, and the fear that she’ll hurt me. Irrational fear, of course, because she can’t really do any such thing.

She prompted me to think about how I resolved this with the WT. I’ve found it hard to remember, but of course, I did have trust issues with the WT! The solution? Time, of course, to get to know her (and her me) – her approach, her likely reactions (or non-reactions), her (therapeutic) heart. And a spoonful of sugar, by which I mean a giant – and I mean GIANT – leap of faith. I remember the first time I realised I’d have to put my faith in the WT, how hard that was. How it felt like inching towards the edge of a cliff and then stepping off, not being at all sure what was over the edge, if I’d need a parachute, or if I’d have one. Please tell me I don’t need to do that again??? If you believe this guy, then yea, I do need to do that again. Sigh.

Of course trust, in my view, needs to be earned. I’m not sure what the PNT has done  to earn my trust, if anything. Of course she gets a level of trust and respect by being another human being, with a heart. And she ticks all the basic boxes – she’s reliable, maintains confidentiality, etc – but I need something more than that. I don’t know what, but may be I do need something from her. I remember the early days with the WT – she made an effort, it seemed, to get me to trust her. Things like  going the “extra mile” with appointment times, out of session contact, etc. And of course there was all that weirdness about her not thinking I was a “freak” – that probably engendered some trust. I’ve not had that same experience with the PNT – perhaps because I’m still seeing the WT, so there’s been no real reason to trust her?

And what am I afraid of? Sure, being judged, even though rationally I know she won’t really judge. Feeling like a failure. Feeling not good enough. (Who said there’d been progress? Phooey!) Better to just keep quiet, right? 😉

Coping with stress

My stress levels have been progressively increasing over the last few weeks. To the point, now, where they’re at intolerable levels. I’ve been mildly unwell for weeks, and now have what the specialist thinks is eczema spreading like wildfire. I’m grateful that the rash isn’t some horrible disease, but I’ve never had it before and can’t help thinking it’s stress related.

I’m quite sure spending the last few weeks packing up my mother’s house hasn’t helped my stress levels. Nor has having her officially move in with me. She’s been living with me for months, but now it’s formal and proper, or getting that way, and my once cute little house is filled with her stuff as well as mine … there’s barely room for either of us to move. And there’ still more stuff to come! Then there’s work which is busy and pressured. I like the work, I like the people I work with, but I’m finding it incredibly difficult to keep all the balls juggling in the air. The one for me; the ball for my life pretty much dropped long ago. Which is another obvious source of intolerable stress. And then there’s therapy – that’s a whole other chapter, just there. I’m learning a lot at the moment, but the PNT is also pushing me in ways I’m finding really difficult, and it’s all just adding to the stress I feel.

Take today, for example. It was raining when I woke, and I immediately had a little party inside, thinking it was the perfect day to loll about and potter and do not much. Of course that didn’t happen because I ended up running errands for Mum, and trying to put some of her things away, and tidying up my own mess, and catching up on chores… and when I finally did get to sit down this afternoon, I turned the TV on to watch my favourite show and do some knitting (a new thing, it’s great… but more on that later). My mother had barely said a word all day and yet took this opportunity to prattle on about every little thing, and seemingly nothing at the same time. I’m ashamed to say I lost it once or twice and snapped at her. But, for god’s sake!!!!! All I wanted was 30 mins of quiet time with my favourite TV show. Is that really too much to ask?

Everything feels so crowded. I have no space. Not physically, mentally or emotionally. I feel muddled and messy and streeeeetched. And squashed in on all fronts. I just want to run away. I’ve learned from PNT that I excel at the flight thing, so I guess it’s logical for me. Will that help? Probably not, but I can’t think of anything else to do. I’ve looked at my schedules and there’s just nothing that can give, time wise. I’m trying to sort the house out, but that will take time. And short of gagging Mum, I’m just not sure what to do with her. And then there’s work. And therapy.

It’s all too much. I’m at wits end.