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I have big meeting in the morning.  I’m exhausted from working a 17 hour day yesterday.  I didn’t get most the things I wanted to do done tonight because I either needed another set of hands, or an implement I didn’t have.  I am cranky, miserable, mean and PMS-y. I want to be asleep.  I wanted to be asleep an hour ago.  But it’s storming crazy hard outside and I’m still freaked out from storms after last year’s floods.  I struggled to find an mp3 of ‘white noise’ for relaxation on my music player that didn’t contain rain sounds (I’m trying to blot it out with Monastery Garden right now).  I took Klonopin, but it hasn’t kicked in yet.  So I’m just sitting here tense, miserable and a little freaked out.

Okay, I was just about to say that writing was helping, but then the tornado sirens started going off and apparently I live much closer to them now and they are very loud. Ugh.  I’d really like to at least be curled up on the couch, but no, I don’t have a couch.  Straight line winds are hitting just south of here and

Okay, ten minutes have passed since I wrote that last bit.  It looks like the worst part has just passed over us.  Tornado sirens and emergency sirens everywhere.  85mph winds.  Still have power.

(ten minutes passed) Trees down everywhere.  A friend lost a big one over power lines a couple blocks away. Supposed to be just lesser rain and wind, that is to say, crazy storm but the tornado warning is passed.  Emergency sirens in every direction.

Posting, going to check in with folks as I can via text.

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It’s all about perspective, folks: a story in three parts.

(1) I went out for a post work beer with Oak last night.  He texted mid-day and I was dirty. Like should have showered before bed and decided to wait til morning, and then, you know, hit snooze 7 times.  I rushed home, washed and blew out my hair, realized I didn’t know exactly where my make up was packed, decided I didn’t care and set out to meet him. Which was huge, right, no make up? It actually made me feel way more confident to realize I looked pretty good and came across as some one who just didn’t care.

It wasn’t awkward exactly.  We just talked about work and moving and job hunting and my apartment and my family.  Come to think of it, mostly I talked.  I offered to walk in afternoons with him, as we often did when I dated. I left with a sense of having enjoyed his company but not exactly with the sense of longing that I anticipated.  I actually feel like all my saying I don’t want to get back together isn’t lip service, which was more of a relief than I expected. However, I can’t say exactly why, but I think maybe he isn’t as opposed to the idea as I am.  So I guess that could get weird, but I’m not going to worry about that unless it presents itself.  All in all it was pleasant and I think I’m very glad he’s moved back here.

(2) Hawthorn came into my office this morning and offered to borrow a work truck at lunch and bring his chairs over to my house.  He said he wasn’t trying to dissuade me from borrowing them, just he didn’t want them sold or ground up for mulch.  I pointed out I wouldn’t do that and reluctantly I agreed to let him lend me his chairs. 🙂  I actually feel vaguely paranoid that he is reading this, but I suspect it came more from my very vocal complaints everywhere about not having anything to sit on.  My incredibly adorable, wonderful landlord is putting up shelves for me today, so the end result should be TV and place to sit, which is pretty exciting, I think!

I’m actually only annoyed about the chairs now because last night I was thinking about writing up a post about how angry and bitter I am about Hawthorn and I swear every time I start feeling like that, he shows up and does something nice.  It’s kind of frustrating.

(3) Through an odd and really random set of circumstances, I reconnected with one of my closest friends from high school yesterday.  I have actually literally been trying to track him down for years but even my very powerful google-fu hadn’t been able to unearth him.  Yesterday I stumbled across some key info (the city he lives in and the industry he works in) and was able to pull him up pretty quickly.

We’ve passed back a couple emails in the last 24 hours and what really strikes me is what becomes important when trying to sum up that past 20 years. Like in that perspective my divorce, now 11 years past, is still a looming spectre, but the entirety of my relationships with Oak and Hawthorn barely merit a mention.  Rose gets props (24-ish years of friendship!) and Dahlia gets lots of time and storytelling on being the best/smartest sister/kid one could have.  Travel matters, both past and future.  When I talk about my current job, I realize I like it even more than I thought I did and recognize how much I’ve hated most other jobs I’ve had.  Anxiety gets mentioned under the guise of the oral surgeries and the robbery, because it’s still a focal point but even it puts things in perspective for me now.  All in all it was a good and interesting exercise for me.  I don’t know how long I can hold onto the feeling but I feel lighter and more positive about things, although my entire lack of future plans stands in sort of sharp contrast to the past years of my life.

Life really does sometimes feel like I’m being offered a flower from a chipmunk.

I woke up today thinking about chairs.  Partly because I have none.  Well I have one, but a cheap, well used rolling office chair doesn’t exactly make for good home comfort.  Ironically one of the first posts I made elsewhere after moving in with Hawthorn was about having a space with a chair to sit in that was all my own in a comfortable place.  I guess I’m still trying to get to that place.  Space at my new house is limited and it is my intention to buy three chairs (something like this, for use for sitting both at my desk and not at my desk, and two dining chairs for when I get a table) and a couch for maximum sitting comfort.

When I got divorced a decade-ish ago, we had a couple used couches and a love seat and matching chair from about the 1940s.  The love seat and chair set were given to us by a friend when that friend’s mother went into long term care and sold her house.  When we separated I took the chair and left the love seat.  It was a big over stuffed armchair in fuzzy deep green fabric (something like this but not leather). At some point my ex-mother-in-law decided she needed to complete the set for display while showing and selling the house my husband and I had lived in.  I refused to give up the chair.  I took nothing in my divorce but my own clothes and this chair.  It didn’t belong to her family (I left thousands of dollars worth of china and furniture that were given to me by my exhusband’s paternal grandmother–not as a wedding gift or anything, but given specifically to me, as a gift, before we got married–I left it because it belonged with his family, heirlooms as it were), it wasn’t worth much, had no sentimental value, she just wanted it because it matched.  I had many horrible, mean phone call fights after my divorce, mostly centering around that chair.  I refused to give it up unless it was replaced with a similar or better one.  No one had any more specific claim to this chair than I did!  This many years later and I actually have no idea what happened to that chair, but I have for years wished I still had a similar chair.

Now Hawthorn has a couple midcentury Danish modern chairs (something like this).  I am quite sure that he told me, when we started dating, that he bought these at an antique store immediately after his divorce and was waiting to have a house to put them in (they were in his office at work for a long time).  He has sat in one of these chairs exactly one time since I moved in with him (they are awkwardly placed in the far corners of the large living room of our old house).  When I was preparing to move I asked if I could borrow the chairs, just for two weeks or a month, until I got a couch and had else where to sit.  He agreed that would be fine.  Since then I have been treated to several discourses on how those chairs are the only thing he got in his divorce and how he gave up the chair he wanted and how important and sentimental those chairs are to him.  1. Our house was filled with pie-safes, wardrobes, an expensive sofa, several antique tables and a huge TV, all of which he had when he was married, all of which he took with him after his divorce.  2.  I’m not asking for them as a gift.  I am a careful, conscientious person who has just had her whole fucking life turned upside down by this guy and all I want is place to sit for a few weeks until I pick out and get a couch delivered.  I’m sorry I didn’t get right on the incredibly expensive couch thing, but I did have to outfit a whole entire household and pay extra rent and a deposit etc. (Yes, I recognize there are thrift stores, but I’m really allergic to animal hair and paranoid about bedbugs and I just want new upholstered furniture, damn it, everything wood can be bought used, but not if it has stuffing.)  Anyway, suffice to say, Hawthorn never said he wouldn’t lend me the chairs, yet the chairs are not at my house and he keeps offering to bring over some of the shitty dining chairs to sit on.  Man, I have a shitty chair, which for my present purposes is still preferable to your rickety dining chairs.

So, I woke up thinking about chairs.  My recent (pre-Hawthorn break up) desire for a good one, my need for one now, my exhusband’s mean-spirited chair fights and now Hawthorn’s chair dickery.  If the absence of desire is the end of suffering, let me tell you, I am suffering over chairs. Grrrr.

I have been thinking a lot lately about listening and paying attention.  This post (especially the comments) identified a lot of things I’ve felt about being a woman.  I think men often hear only what they think I am going to say (and this isn’t limited to men, I think my mother does this to me too).   With Hawthorn I have long felt like he was never listening to me.  Much of this, I know, is because he would ask me 3 or 4 times in an evening if I wanted to do something, as if he never listened to my answer before or he assumed I’d change my mind.  I’m not sure which but it was VERY frustrating.  Indeed it would have killed our relationship eventually, although hopefully in a less dramatic and shitty fashion than it did end. This post on communication with partners has had me thinking a lot too.  I often have no freaking clue what Hawthorn is talking about.  Like he’s using some shorthand that is all words and cues that I just don’t get (or he starts in the middle of a thought, I guess unaware that I can’t read his mind) and now that we’ve broken up and spend even less time together it seems to be getting worse and worse.  And then today Tiny Buddha told me that love means attention.  And let me tell you not being listened too and not understanding sure does feel like a lack of attention.

This is all to say, I guess, that I’ve long recognized the signs of why things would  never work out with Hawthorn in the long run. And perhaps most my hurt over all of this is his hideously terrible timing on the break up and his seeming disregard for me and what I am going through in relation to be rejected at just this time.  Also if he was really listening to or paying attention to me, he would know that lending my his damned chairs would go a long way toward repairing my anger about his assholishness.

Almost everything is moved into the new place (like almost as in, I’ll go back for the coffee table when I have a couch to put it in front of, you know?).  I am pleased at how much got done, without incident. Got up early Sat. morning, moved a couple loads myself, went with Hawthorn and got a truck, friends came, loaded the truck and unloaded it. Rowan came and mostly distracted me while moving (he helped too, but I think he helped keep me on an even keel while we did the hard parts). Then there was some fuckery (resolved, don’t mess with me when my blood sugar is low) with the truck return, then Hawthorn and I stopped for lunch.  His choice of place for helping move and the place was packed (and on a good day this place is slow).  Cue Star Chickadee meltdown.  Hawthorn asked if I wanted to go somewhere else. I snapped that by the time we figured out where else, go there and ordered, we’d have food from the place we were already in.  While we were waiting for our food I leaned on him and just started crying.  I don’t do well on low blood sugar, it had been a long day already, plus the added emotionally charged crap of the move.  I called Violet and asked her to come over and help me get the rest of the stuff in our cars.  By the time she arrived I’d eaten and pretty much recovered (also taken the only Klonopin of the weekend).  We got the last bits packed up and out.  Calantha came over and unpacked and pushed things around for me until I hit the limit of needing to be quiet and alone.

Sunday I shifted boxes around a lot.  Made curtains for the front windows.  The landlord came and fixed and did lots of things for me (like new grounded outlets, rather than the scary old 1940s outlets).  I went back to the other house to pack up the kitchen stuff.  I managed to get there while Hawthorn was out and be nearly done and ready to leave just about the time he got back.  He tried to get me to take a few more things, saying he could just buy new ones, but I took pretty much everything I wanted and got out as quickly as I could.

I canceled my regularly scheduled therapy appt for today on the assumption I’d be way more interested in unpacking and being at my house, which was probably a good choice.  Especially if I can manage to get out of work early to go shift more boxes around. The real question is why did I even come to work? Why didn’t I just plan to take today off.  SIGH.

Oak moved back to this city yesterday.  He got in some time late yesterday afternoon.  Moving has kept me busy and tired enough not to have given this too much thought.  I assume I’ll see him some time this week.  Probably in some neutral location.  I guess I’ll worry about that then.  Although my vanity is making regret not having gotten my haircut last week, but I’m sure I can pull it together to look decent for this inevitable social event.  Still to that end, here is a poem for Oak:

Clenched Soul by Pablo Neruda

We have lost even this twilight.
No one saw us this evening hand in hand
while the blue night dropped on the world.

I have seen from my window
the fiesta of sunset in the distant mountain tops.

Sometimes a piece of sun
burned like a coin in my hand.

I remembered you with my soul clenched
in that sadness of mine that you know.

Where were you then?
Who else was there?
Saying what?
Why will the whole of love come on me suddenly
when I am sad and feel you are far away?

The book fell that always closed at twilight
and my blue sweater rolled like a hurt dog at my feet.

Always, always you recede through the evenings
toward the twilight erasing statue

Happy kitchen is happy and my new kitchen is as happy as this one!

Okay, I don’t know how much down time I’ll have in the next 2 days.  Here’s hoping everything goes smoothly and quickly and leaves me leisurely unpacking.  In the mean time, think of me schlepping things into the cutest little attic apartment ever, moving on toward home, finally.  Hope everyone has a good and amazing weekend!

Yes, I have stuff left to pack, like, oh, um, clothes and bathroom stuff and, you know, everything that didn’t already get done.  Yes, I’ve basically been working my ass off since I got home from my workday.  My car is fully loaded with most everything fragile that I don’t want in the truck.  I’ve been packing boxes and moving stuff around.  I’ve asked Hawthorn to do exactly one thing: hold a shelf while I unscrew it so it doesn’t fall on my head.  And yet, what else he is doing is following me around turning off lights I need on (since I’m not staying in one room and trying to carry things through the house), critiquing where I leave stuff (yes, I know the headboard is on the porch, yes I know it’s raining because the door is open and I am standing right here), and now as I’m filling the washing machine he says, “Oh, I was gonna take a shower in a bit.”  Well could you do it right now, please? Or wait an hour?  Because no, I’m not moving dirty clothes. No, no, no, no.  Boys do gross things like that, I do not.  Also, Hawthorn, no I am probably not going to hear a band with you tonight.  I don’t know if you’ve noticed but the house is filled with boxes because I’m moving out in the morning because you broke up with me.  I don’t need you to be helpful but if you could stop hindering and annoying, that’d be fucking great.

Update: Yes, he asked if I wanted to go out THREE times before he left.  When I quizzed him on what he was doing (the band he wanted to see started 20 minutes ago, wasn’t he going?) he asked if I was trying to get rid of him. Yes, I fucking am, omigod, I am going to do you bodily harm if you don’t start either helping or fucking leave.

Ugh ugh ugh.  I am full of stiff, painful tension everywhere.  I went to bed early last night with possibly a migraine, possibly a combo barometric pressure/tension headache (nausea, light sensitivity and but a weirder pain than I’d previously associated with migraines–bilateral and tight). I am going to make my physical therapy appointments next week.  Remind, okay?  I was talking to a coworker this morning whose wife works at a branch of the clinic I”m going to and the conversation reminded me of mow much better this will make me feel.  Also my regular therapist has started pointing out how much my shoulders bunch up when I talk about some things. Yes, I really need to get on the physical part of treatment.

Of course moving day is tomorrow too and I’m hoping to have some relief of tension once that is done too.  And I think at my next doctor’s appointment I’m going to revisit the medication thing.  I was thinking about it driving home last night and yes, I really do feel way better than I did 8 weeks ago, but better does not equal good or even level and normal.  So once I’m moved and settled I’m going to revisit the SSRI question.  I’ve had three people tell me int he last week how much Cymbalta has helped them, so I guess I’ll ask my doctor about moving completely out of the class of drugs we started with.  I admit I am still somewhat resistant to the idea of medication at all, but I’m afraid I might have hit a peak of feeling better and I need to keep improving, I can’t level off where I am right now and be as effective in life and at work as I need to be.   Also I don’t know for sure that I notice if I feel better or worse when I take the St. John’s Wort, but I think I feel better when I forget to take it.  I guess with that and the Lexapro and the Zoloft I’m wondering if whatever the serotonin factors are with that stuff isn’t what is making me feel so fuzzy and removed and unclear in my thinking?  So if it’s going to be drugs, the more I read and talk to people about it, the more I definitely feel it needs to be a different kind of drug.

Exercise and physical therapy are definitely the two key points I’m missing as well.  So post moving means getting back into a routine again, instead of the chaos life currently seems to be.

Work, with the new position, is ramping up to crazy stressful pretty quickly, so I definitely need to get everything else in hand so I can manage life.  I came in today already in trouble for not having done something right.  This is something I couldn’t have known, and the person that has to talk to me about it knows I couldn’t have known, but I hate making mistakes and I have so much else to worry about.  Plus I need to revisit some of my work habits and get into a different kind of planning mode.  I’m overwhelmed.  I know how to do everything being asked of me.  I have confidence in my skills at work (why can’t I be this together in my personal and emotional life?). I’m glad to have the position I do, but it is a lot to think about and organize when my head is already full.

Miles to go before I’m me again.

Blerg.  Dreaming you’re pregnant is dreaming about change, right? (I’m too lazy to actually look it up.)  Last night I dreamt I was with Hawthorn and I was sick and getting sicker.  I finally told him and he took me to the hospital.  When I got in with the doctor and looked down, my hand was incredibly swollen and misshapen.  She gave me some pills and told me it would fix and it wouldn’t harm the baby.  I stood up and I was six months pregnant.  The doctor sent me off with a nurse to make sure everything was fine with that.  Then I had two of the cutest little babies ever.  They had huge eyes and were very flirty and charming and kept laughing and pulling on my ears while I was trying to nurse them.  I was really sad that I had to give them up for adoption, but there was no other way to deal with it, because I was already pregnant again.  Then I was in Chicago with an old friend and Hawthorn.  We ran into a bunch of people that She and I knew from the west coast who were now in a famous band.  For some reason Hawthorn left  and my friend and I decided to go see the show but the jerky lead singer was trying to make us pay for the tickets which were really expensive.  So we went somewhere else instead but they wouldn’t serve us drinks because I was 6 mos. pregnant. Then we found this 4 year old black kid dressed in gang colors and made some epic trek to return him to a neighborhood we really shouldn’t have been in, all the while discussing the merits of long term jail sentences for weight loss, exercise and quiet space to recover from our lives, vs. actually continuing to live our lives the way they currently are/were.

I woke up really missing my friend and feeling incredibly bloated (as I’d been huge in both dream pregnancies).  I’m not sure I want to even take a stab at interpreting this.  Some of it seems really obvious but much of the dream was dark and creepy in the details and I actually don’t want to think about it too much.

I’ve been thinking a lot about therapy earlier this week. I really do think I am much better.  I was trying to express to my therapist that I’m managing to seal up my pain and move past my anxiety to function well enough, but that I really felt I needed to continue therapy because surely sealing it up was only temporary measure and that in a few months or years or whatever I’d be in the breakdown place again and that’s intolerable.  However I just don’t have the emotional resources yet to be able to deal with directly confronting and trying to pull out what ever the blackness inside me is.  Perhaps once I am settled in the new place, and have a place to safely be.  I’m not sure how clearly I expressed this and it’s been tugging at me.  Because I really do think I need to be in therapy, but I’m definitely having trouble digging down to the rough parts.  And I think it will be hard to push myself to that point.  I’ve been really seriously thinking about my past Buddhist practice and how I can return to that in a less intellectual and more emotional way.  Thinking about mindful living and letting go.  I think that focus of my energy on that will go a long way to keeping the anxiety at bay.  But somehow it seems at odds with digging in pulling out what ever is rooted in my chest that periodically grows and makes me so miserable.  Indeed the entire thing, my entire future life is about balance.  I’ve been meditating on balance and finding in aspects of my life (work vs. personal, planning the future vs. living in the moment, &c.) but I think I need to put a lot more thought toward finding the balance in making myself seem safe and secure and relaxed and working at extinguishing the root cause(s) of what undermines that sense of stability for me periodically.

Also, I think it wasn’t until I started talking about it in therapy that I realized just how traumatized I still am by last year’s flood.  I watched this trailer for a film someone made about it and ended up in tears.  I wonder how many people there are in this city who feel a devastated about the whole thing as I do, who didn’t lose homes or have major property damage and thus think that their post flood trauma isn’t as real or as valid.  I think we all really suffered mentally, even without losing a home it was weeks of living on what the edge of war or apocalypse must feel like: will we still have water, what happens if all the utilities fail, if the infrastructure is gone, how will we manage?  Plus, I can’t be the only one who had a back to back series of other dramas, emotional and physical, happen rapidly after the flood.  Even now as we move toward tornado season, I find I have a smattering of fear about the weather, wondering if those rains will come back.  It seems impossible the encroaching spring could feel so threatening.

Sleep is still uneven.  I think the 5-HTP is helping although I find I’ve been waking up a little before my alarm and feeling restless and not quite awake but unable to go back to sleep.

Moving in 3 days!  I’m, um, I guess as ready as I need to be at this point.  Tomorrow I’m going to sell my wedding ring and buy me a TV. Heh. I don’t know why it never occurred to me to sell it before, but Hawthorn just sold his and I’d I can get half what he got I”ll be happy.  I need 30 Rock every week every week way more than I need a reminder of a marriage than ended a decade ago.

Packing, furniture refinishing and all seem to be moving apace.  I’m completely scattered though.  I keep having these mini bursts of deep thoughts that I mean to post here but by the time I sit down they are gone from my brain.  I can say that I am feeling better over all.  I know because I find my desire to interact with people is dramatically increased.  And I’m really feeling this need to reach out to my friends, not just for support, but just because I want to enjoy them and being around them.

I got a promotion at work.  Which is awesome recognition of my work, but chaotic and more work.  And maybe not the raised I”d hoped for, but still YAY MORE MONEY!  And I’m negotiating for a fancy title, you know for future job stuff.  But it’s all a little stressy on top of my current stressiness. Still, soon to be moved and then at least I’ll have a calm place, yeah?

I’m in a good place with the apartment and work.  I feel like they are both things I deserve and have worked for.  For a long time even when good things happened I felt like I was waiting for the other shoe to drop, but not right now with these these things.  It’s fairly refreshing not to worry about needlessly about stuff like that.  However I keep repeating the line from Tales of the City where Mouse says that you can’t have the trifecta of a hot job a hot apartment and a hot guy, that one always ends up being a compromise.  For now, I guess I’m glad to not worry about the guy, but mostly I find I have to convince myself that that isn’t true.  Someday I’ll have al three, yeah.

Really, what I want most is spring time.  I’m spending way too much time thinking about spring clothes and winter ending.  The weather here is gorgeous right now, but I am certainly waiting for the other shoe to drop on that.  February, she can be cruel.  And March has that whole lion/lamb thing.

Ugh. I feel wrecked and overwrought. I think I would feel better if I was taking the time to dilligently and thoughtfully write here, but it doesn’t seem to be in the cards right now. In moving week you prep for moving, plan for moving, freak about moving, relax and let it go, freak again, prep some more, do some more, blah blah blah. And I feel this way after having paid someone to come pack everything! (Seriously all I have left to deal with really is clothes, toiletries and a handful of kitchen things and framed pictures. Hooray!)

Therapy is weird right now. I feel like maybe my therapist isn’t convinced I need therapy because I seem to be doing okay, so I spent today trying to explain that I simply cannot do the deep emotional work I need to until I get moved and get through this part. I just can not rip open those wounds until I have a safe place to go lick them after. And then I tried to explain about how everything has been back to back to back to back to back for the last couple years and I need therapy but I need to just talk and be calm in a safe place too. I don’t know. It was good, I think, but weird.

Then I came home and was PISSED OFF at Hawthorn. I can’t say exactly (yet) but basically he told me something at work (last week) that was unprofessional for him to tell me, he shouldn’t have told me and I wish I didn’t know. It’s been seriously stressing me out. So after packing was done tonight I told him that he owed me and apology and that he’d seriously fucked up. He said he didn’t know what say except sorry and I said that was enough. We both went about our business and later he came back and told me that I was very right to demand that apology and I surely deserved it and he suspected there were a few more apologies he probably owed me. I said that for now understanding that apology was enough and we’d worry about the rest later. So that was good.

I have nothing in my head, it feels like that isn’t moving or decorating related. I’m tired and I’ve definitely been over taxing myself. Still taking the St. John’s Wort and I think I’m going to start adding the 5-HTP back in as that really was helping with sleep before all this medication hoopla.

Oak is moving back to town the day after I move into my new apartment. I don’t think I’ve at all processed what this means to me or what it will be like to have him here. I feel like I really need him as friend right now but I can easily cross a line with him where he thinks I’m asking for too much, or he misunderstands my intentions.  I suspect it’ll be wobbly for a while

I had a pretty good weekend, although it says something about my mental state that the high point was discovering that a mini/half-size pair of pants I made (an experimental design for baby pants but made very small) fit my teddy bear from childhood. Then I took a picture of my teddy bear wearing pants and sent it to my mother. Also the pants the bear used to wear fit my hippo so now everyone has pants. This development is way more interesting to me right now than my emotional problems.

Happy Valentine’s Day. Have a picture of a puppy.

I swear, I’m really not falling down on the job of my commitment to post every day. I’m going to keep up with it. Just, you know, moving, working extra hours, having two jobs, plus Surprise! houseguest (thanks, Hawthorn) and, um, well moving. Will try and keep up this week, and then settle into a better habit when I”m better settled.

For my own reference to talk about here, soonish: flowers and why; mindfulness and spirituality; ceremonies for yourself; frienemies (like the feline one); reconnecting; why it never would have worked anyway.

I got an email from my friend Dandelion last night asserting that she’s sorry she’s been absent (due to things in her own life) and that she’d like to be more present.  Of course I replied with love and welcoming of her renewed presence.  This is, surely a good thing.  Part of what had happened in the last year or two was a split from my long time best friend, which was not as hurtful maybe as everything else, as it was long time coming and I don’t feel like I bear any responsibility for the fracture of that relationship.  Still I lost a close friend which has made navigating some of this healing stuff harder than it would otherwise be.  However, I do know that I need to process and decompress the dissolution of that relationship and Dandelion is one of the few people I could have that conversation with who would really understand what had happened (Wisteria is another, but that will include processing it for both of us, which is, I think, different).  Also Dandelion was present for a lot of the stuff that led up to my break down period, so even even if she wasn’t around when it all went screwy, I think renewing friendship with her and talking about these things with her will be really helpful for me as I know her to be a good and fair listener and I don’t have to waste a lot of time explaining the background to why I feel the way I do.

This also got me thinking about how some people just give you what you need when you need it.  When I need to vent and or relax and feel strong female energy I call Violet and Calantha.  If I need to feel like someone loves me no matter what and won’t judge me I call Rose or Wisteria (and our long time tight knit group of friends) or Rowan.  If I need to laugh and remember there’s magic and humor in the world, I call my sister Dahlia.  I am glad to have these people, and all of you, and everyone around me in my life.  I am slowly recognizing that I need to be relying on my friends more and more, that they will not reject me, that they are already giving what I need without my asking and that I simply need to be present enough to see it.  Present.  In the moment.  And Mindful.

For anyone following along closely, here is the full text of the email exchange with Oak from yesterday mostly for my own recording and to note that even when I think he isn’t paying attention, or replying to everything, I know he’s noticing every detail, I just don’t always know what he’s thinking about it: click to see the boring details

I have a bad attitude today.  Everything single thing Hawthorn is doing is really irritating me.  Despite that he’s gone out of his way to be nice and helpful, even his nice and helpful is annoying to me today.  I’m tired, despite having gone to bed relatively early and slept in late.  I slept restlessly, had disturbing and distressing dreams and generally don’t feel rested at all.  It’s ‘normal’ insomnia for me, I guess, but it feels worse maybe because I haven’t been experiencing it as regularly.  I’m still taking the St. John’s Wort, but I haven’t taken Klonopin or anything to help me sleep in, uh, I guess three days.  I imagine tonight I’ll take something as I can’t take another day of feeling this rough.  I’m a sort of punching, kicking, mood to burn bridges mood.  The snow, ice and single digit temps aren’t helping, although Hawthorn did drive me to work so I didn’t have to overwhelm myself attempting the terrible road conditions.

I have in my inbox an unread email from Oak.  I’m not sure why I’m resisting reading it.  I realized the other night that it had been a few days since I’d heard from Oak and that our last few interactions had been brief and unsatisfying.  I decided that he probably had thought better of maintaining friendship with me and that was okay.  I mean really, I broke up with him, destroyed both our future plans, reset both our lives and then expect him to be supportive caring and helpful to me now? It does seem like too much to ask.  Of course with in an hour of me deciding this he called, just to chat and check up on me.  So last night I made my post about wanting to go home or having a home to go too and after I email Oak a poorly thought out email on the same subject.  Trying to express how both my relationship with him and my breaking up with him were related to my need to have a home, or a place to feel safe, and how sorry I was about how it had turned out but that maybe it was for the best that my emotional melt down hadn’t happened after he and I moving across the country together to someplace where I had a much smaller support system. And thanking him for being so kind and so good to still be supportive of me and to let me lean on him now, even after everything that happened. And how glad I was he was moving back here, giving us a chance to start over as friends.  Anyway, I can’t bring myself to read his reply.

Gmail lets me see the first line: “StarChickadee, I think it’s going to be a great thing  for you to have your own place. It’s…”  Oak is subtle and full of minute cues that you have to know to watch for.  Our names start with the same letter and when we were dating  we addressed each other in email only by first initial, capital for him, lowercase for me.  I recognize that for him this was a special part of our communication, a secret code between us.  But I started it and when I started it it was partly because I often simply sign my emails with my lower case first initial and it seemed right to give him the upper case, simply to distinguish.  So now I continue to sign emails as such, but he goes out of his way to sign his first name in email correspondence with me, and generally doesn’t address me by name or initial at all.  So the fact that he started this reply with my full first name is meaningful, though I surely won’t be able to tell you exactly how until I read the email. It is for this reason, I guess, that I’m simply dreading opening this email.  I have relied heavily on him in recent weeks.  He has been a kind, generous, king among men to allow me to do so. And yet, our current status, even as friends is very precarious and strange and undefined.  I often find myself wondering if I’ve crossed an unrecognized line since, as I said, he is very subtle and sometimes his cues can be missed. I wonder if my continued signing of emails with my small initial irritates or upsets him and yet I continue to do it with defiance since it is mine choose how I represent myself no matter what and I want to keep that signature as mine and not only representative as something we shared.  And I recognize how silly it is to be so stubborn about a little letter, but I see it as indicative of how tenuous our current connection is.  I am sure that once he gets back here and we can talk in person I will feel better about the whole situation, as then I can read him easily and do not have to worry about small cues in language usage alone.

There is not enough coffee int he world for em today, it seems.  Lunchtime already and I feel slow, sluggy, lethargic and worn down.  Maybe I’ve just once again hit my ‘too tired emotionally to deal with anything’ limit.  I keep forgetting how close that limit is and knocking up against it until we’re both bruised and battered.

Nine days until I move, surely I can keep it together until then, until I can get home?

The weather is seriously wearing on me. It took forever to get home tonight, snow was falling fast and heavy and people were driving like idiots. I get it, we shouldn’t get much snow in the South, and nobody here can drive anyway, but, yeah, wearing me down. I’ve been mostly keeping busy. Painting furniture, preparing to move, working. Blah blah blah. I’m feeling okay in general, I guess. I need more focus. No, I need, uh. Well maybe I need to focus less. It has only been two days, but I have been taking my therapist’s words to heart and trying to be more in the moment. At least for some moments. At least so I can see the amazing sunrise I saw today and not forget it. At least so I notice how delicious the dinner I made tonight really was. Still I find myself without any real long term plans for the future, and yet mostly focusing on next week, on the week after, like whatever happens some time in the future will make me happy, or, fix something, or, I don’t know, just be different.  And I guess it will be different, but what if I’m still thinking like this after I’ve moved out of Hawthorn’s house? And yet, I feel like I just have too much going on. Like, maybe I’m not waiting for something to happen, but waiting for things to slow down? The last two years feel like they’ve been this endless collision of back to back to back to back to back things, bad things, good things, hard things, confusing things, frightening things, things, things, things. So I am looking forward to moving, but perhaps so I can finally have a calm place to just be. Is it a paradox that I’m waiting for this thing to happen in the future so that I can stop waiting for the future?

I guess, really, that I’m just tired. I’m tired and I want to go home. I’m tired of having places to live and not feeling like I’m home. I just want the next part to start now, it’s okay to be waiting for it and not in the moment, because it is going to be better, because I am going to make it home.

I had a rough day.  It’s hard to even say why.  I went to therapy just feeling exhausted, worn down emotionally and pretty much unable to deal.  I spent most of the time talking about things I am worried about, but are mostly a deflection from my own problems.  Then we talked about faith and that was good.  Mostly I left with her telling me basically to live int  he moment a little more, and, you know, stop and smell the flowers.  Notice the color purple.  I actually left therapy feeling really uplifted.  I don’t know that we did any “work” on my actual problems, but I left with a sense that I had some tools and some goals of who I want to be.

Of course it was snowing when I left.  I’m so over this miserable winter.  I drove in the snow to the paint store where they were really nice and really helpful to me.  I got a great discount on the paint for my apartment (the painter had a contractor’s account there and my neighborhood is kind of like a small town in the way that people will take your word for it on stuff like “he said it’s okay to use his account”).  Then I dragged Violet out to help me make one small choice about wall color.  We were going to go out after but we both kind of lamed out, which was fine as I think we both really had other things we wanted to be doing.  I came home and put the last coat of primer on the sewing table and the first coat on the side table.  I am seriously obsessed with refinishing all my furniture to exactly the way I want it.  I guess maybe it’s because it’s something I can exert my will over, some small amount of control and I know it’s going to toward making a home for myself that feels like it’s really filled with MY things.

Hawthorn invited me to see my favorite hockey team play our team here in town.  I declined on the basis that the timing is bad based on my moving schedule and that this game is essentially an anniversary of our first date (same teams playing) and that it didn’t feel appropriate to go relive our first date the day before I’m moving out of our house.  He replied, “I understand.  I am sorry for having upset you on so many levels, but I know it is best in the long run; I will talk about this (us) at whatever level you want to, if you want to, but I don’t really know what to say about it unless prompted…”  I spent some time thinking about that this evening while I painted and I think I really do need to talk to him about all of this.  Just not yet.  After I’ve moved and settled and we can literally do it on my turf.  He’s right, it surely all is for the best in the long run.  Just I need to get over my sense of being abandoned, of being rejected, past how raw the hurt is.  Until then I’m gonna go along with our somewhat superficial companionability and focus on my furniture and my moving plans and wait for the right time.  There’s been enough bad timing in this whole thing already.

Right now I will breathe, and be thankful for the world.  I will think about mindfulness and I will be glad to be alive.  Even when it sucks.  I will go to sleep thinking about handsome princes, fictional and real.  I will dream about butterflies and fairies.

Ugh, I went looking for this picture to post (the Japanese Garden in Seattle, taken Sept. 2009) and what I stumbled into was a folder full of pictures of Oak and I together.  I am still determined to dream about butterflies and fairies, even after that surprisingly jarring experience.

Oak keeps telling me to just keep busy, to distract myself until I can get moved and settled.  So after yesterday morning’s pity party, I absolved myself of all my planned responsibilities for the day, except getting my hair trimmed and meeting with the painter to get he estimate on painting the new apartment.  I oped in bed and read for a while, then I went and messed around at the new apartment, met the painted, washed new kitchen stuff and put it away and just generally was present in the new place.

Picked up Violet from the airport and took her to get a drink and cheeseburger for me.  Had a lovely time, felt emotionally restored after.  Went home, read some more, slept.  Today I watched some crappy TV for a bit, sanded some furniture and then went and worked my ass off at the new apartment (one of the biggest problems with renting is that other people’s standard of cleanliness isn’t usually as high as mine is).  I got the kitchen very clean, except one last little gross part which I was just too tired to do.  I sanded and primed the parts of living room that needed it, in anticipation of the painters coming.  And I spent a lot of time just wandering around and looking out my windows and feeling how much I like the place.

Both the painter and Violet said the place just felt good to be in.  I agree.  It needs a name, as I have named all my homes.  I can’t decide if it’s get’s a proper name like fancy old manor house or if it will be something else.

Hawthorn helped me by getting me a lot of power tools today so I can finish up the rest of my furniture projects before I move.  Violet and I had a nice conversation about my choices made in good faith and Hawthorn not being a bad guy, just doing what he needed to do and simply having bad timing.  I feel better about the world in general.   I am tired though.  Good hard work tired.  MOre furtinture work tomorrow.  For the keeping busy.  It seems to work.

I think maybe I’m running on cycle of: Feel fine > do too much > break down > reset/recuperate > feel fine > do too much > &c.   I slept horribly last night.  I feel weepy and overwrought this morning. I have a million things I mean to get done in the next 36 hours, but I think I’m in the rest/recuperate part of the cycle.  Or moving toward it from current or impending break down.

What I really need is someone to come cuddle me up and stroke my hair and tell me I’m pretty.  Alas there’s no one in this time zone that I’d feel comfortable asking to/letting do that.  So I guess it’s hard focused determination to have a positive mental attitude and fucking suck it up and move forward.  Because sometimes that’s all there is.  Some days there just isn’t touchy-feely loving healing available.  It’s not bad though, sometimes part of the process is burning it down and building it back up, right?

Well I’m rather pleased with myself that I’ve managed to keep up with this blogging thing for a month so far.  Eleven more to go!  I tried to do an emotional inventory or progress report on myself last night.  I’m not sure if I was doing it because I had insomnia, or if I had insomnia because I was doing it.  So we’ll start there.

Insomnia: This has actually been a lifelong problem for me.  I have clear memories of my sleep troubles from when I was eight or nine.  It does seem to come in cycles and it does seem to be vastly amplified by stress.  The muscle relaxants definitely exacerbated it the couple of times I tried to take them (might experiment one more time with taking them during the day). The Lexapro actually seemed to help with the insomnia, but left me dull, fatigued and lethargic during the day (plus the intestinal problems made it a no go anyway).  I think that now that I am off the SSRIs, I will add the 5-HTP I was taking back into my regimen as it really seemed to help before and I believe it shouldn’t have ill effects with the St. John’s Wort (indeed they are often recommended together).

Sometimes I think if I could just get the sleep thing together I’d be much better off over all.  Possibly that’s true, but there’s so many other factors that I don’t think I should give too much sway to the power of sleep (though it is healing a and good).

Panic attacks: These had increased dramatically for me in Oct, Nov and Dec of 2010.  Now I am mainly back to having them only at night.  Which doesn’t help the insomnia much but is better than getting them while driving or being out socially.  The Klonopin does wonders for the panic attacks.  I have mentioned (to folks for sure and probably here) that I understand the dependency possibility with benzos like this but you can pry my Klonopin from my cold, dead hands because this stuff is MAGIC.  I think currently I am most relieved at the lessened panic attacks.  This makes all my other problems seem less insurmountable.

Therapy: I think it’s only just beginning to dawn on my how much long, hard work therapy is going to be.  It’s a bit intimidating but I think I am up for it.  Planning on continuing it until I think I don’t need it.  I do hope that this isn’t a forever thing.  I’d like to start setting limits and guidelines for it.  Like can I overcome my hysterical sobbing at the idea of going to the dentist? Can I learn to ask for help with out feeling like I’m doing something horribly, terribly wrong?  Can I create a relationship with my mother that feels good most of the time instead of half of the time?  Can I verbalize what I need out of relationships and set guidelines for continuing my trend of increasingly healthy ones (yes, I know recent events make them seem sucky, but both Oak and Hawthorn are Prince Charmings compared to previous dating history–I think I have already been making strides here and I’d like to continue that).  So within the bounds of all that, I can’t guess how long I’ll go to therapy, but I’m glad to have it as an outlet and a support and I think it’s been helpful so far, at least in showing me that there is a path and there is help.

Blogging: Writing in this space has been incredibly helpful to me.  I feel like it’s given me a place to order my thoughts and shake some of the chaos out of my head.  The vague anonymity of it (I mean I know you’re reading and I know you know me, but I don’t see you) has freed me from feeling judged about what I’m writing and I think I’ve done an excellent job of not self-censoring.  Ordering and writing down my thoughts here has really helped me with being able to later verbalize feelings and opinions on my health and my situation when I am talking to my friends in real life and I think has actually facilitated me being comfortable being much more open with people in person (therapy has helped with that as well).  So even if I am sort of parroting myself in person, I at least am using my own assessments of myself and feeling less confused and more likely to talk about how I’m feeling.

Medication: Clearly it’s been up and down.  I think my decision to make the leap to go on medication was the right one.  I don’t think it worked for me and I glad to find myself in a place to start trying more natural remedies.  However I think there’s a psychological impact of simply having taken the drugs.  I feel better. Period.  I doubt the SSRIs made me feel better in 8 weeks.  Maybe they did, but perhaps just the choice to have taken them, the asking for help and the actively starting to work on my problems is what’s making me feel better.  So sort of placebo effect as it were (with terrible side effects).  It hasn’t been easy, but I am glad to have the Klonopin and I am glad to know I have other options if I get to feeling where I am not doing as well as I’d hoped.

Relationships: Well, what can I say?  I feel confident that my inability to deal with things and see things for what they are (my anxiety and mental illness, basically) caused the demise of my relationship with Oak. I’m sticking by having made those choices in good faith while I was looking for safety and comfort.  I feel that at the time Hawthorm was genuinely offering what I thought I needed.  I did originally seek help not only for own sanity, but because tiny cracks had started to appear in my relationship with Hawthorn and I thought if I could get better I could save the relationship.  Clearly that didn’t matter since Hawthorn had the bad timing to accidentally coincide his break down with mine (or his precipitated mine, or something).  Despite their tragic ends, I think both relationships were good for me and I hope both were signs of a continuing trend toward someday having a strong healthy relationship or toward feeling free to not have one at all and still be happy.

Driving:  I don’t think I’ve talked about it a lot here, but I used to love driving.  Every instance of getting into the car, even to go to the store for milk was an act of freedom, was the possibility that I could just keep driving and go where ever I wanted in the world.  I loved the control of it, the power and that raw, open sense of possibility.  In the past two years I’ve had one car totaled while I was in it, been pulled out of another at gunpoint and forced to the ground, and stopped 18″ shy of dying in a really horrific accident that happened around me like a tornado but somehow left me unscathed.  Even taking an easy, low traffic surface street route to work was becoming cause for increasing panic attacks and incredible tension in my body.  I often wanted to cry when I got into and out of the car.  Recently I’ve noticed that my confidence is coming back while I drive and I feel much more comfortable and relaxed doing it.  I can even feel the sense of freedom and possibility starting to tickle at the back of my brain, like it’s getting ready to come back too.

Moving:  I think this is going to be huge for me.  It has sort of happened rather more quickly than I had planned, but so far it seems int he realm of doable.  Yes, getting my own space to heal and be in is good.  On the one had living with Hawthorn post break up hasn’t been a party but it hasn’t been as toxic as it could have been.  However, I HATED our house.  Of all the ones we looked at I wanted it the least.  Hawthorn chose it for the porch, the location and the architectural details.  I hated everything about it.  Nothing was functional, it was clearly remodeled for looks when it was flipped and not at all for functionality.  The landlord is a lazy jerk and repeated dealing with water POURING in from the ceiling, from light sockets, from door jambs and window sills has been severely anxiety inducing all on it’s own.  The interior colors actually make me angry in some rooms, the space just doesn’t feel psychically clean, either.  I was talking to a coworker (who as far as I know knows nothing about the Hawthorn situation) about moving to my new place today and how it seemed good even though I just moved six months ago.  And my coworker commented that she was so glad I was moving because she felt like I hadn’t been well since I moved into that house.  And it’s true, my allergies have been awful (as have Hawthorn’s), I can’t sleep for the noise the neighbors make, I fret about the ceiling falling on me, and besides the dust, age and other problems, I’m fairly sure the inside of the walls and airducts are crawling with mold.  So here’s hoping that the new place is just healthier all around.  It has a new roof–so no leaks, it has a brand new HVAC system and new ducts–no mold or dust, no past or future pets in the house at all to aggravate my already delicate allergies.  The only health concern really is that the new landlord has a pest service come once a month and I don’t know what kind of chemicals they use.  However since the trade off is no mice, no poisonous spiders and no roaches, I’m very willing to take it as a risk.

Body health: So far I am failing in this category. I’m giving myself a pass because there has been so much stuff going on (all my recovery efforts plus the unplanned break up and moving additions) that it’s been hard to add even more to it.  I have been walking more and doing a little yoga.  My future plans include much, much more exercise: walking, swimming and yoga and maybe hula-hooping?  I really need to make a physical therapy appointment and get going on that.  Just, you know, time and planning &c.  I am probably going to wait on the PT until moving is done.  I will get going on the exercise thing definitely (the community center and neighborhood gym is three block from my new place, no excuses).  I will try not to beat myself up on this and rather congratulate myself as I get going with it.  I know it will help so much to have less pain in my body.  I know it will help my mental health so much just to get the exercise.  I know it will help my outlook to look and feel better.  I could only just get so many duck in a row at once and I’m still herding these little wild running exercise and body health ducks.

I think once the chaos of moving dies down I am going to start working devoting a (certainly boring) paragraph of each of these entries to details sleep, exercise, panic attacks and the like, just so I’m keep better track of it and little more accountable for it.  Seems sensible, yeah?

Astrology:  While I give only limited value to astrology, and at that only as a descriptor not as a predictor, Free Will Astrology has always done wonders for me.  Even if it is just words that tell me how to frame my current thinking, it’s helpful.  This week for me we have: Taurus Horoscope for week of February 3, 2011 — I’ve found that even when people are successful in dealing with a long-term, intractable problem, they rarely zap it out of existence in one epic swoop. Generally they chip away at it, dismantling it little by little; they gradually break its hold with incremental bursts of unspectacular heroism. Judging from the astrological omens, though, I’d say that you Tauruses are ripe for a large surge of dismantling. An obstacle you’ve been hammering away at for months or even years may be primed to crumble dramatically. Yeah, I’m definitely feeling this!   Thanks, Rob Brezsny!  I will also continue to consult my father, who is an astrologer, about things like this Saturn transit of my Fourth House, as I’ve said, I feel like it gives me a framework to work in and understand things and I’m glad to have that.

I have spent seemingly every spare minute in the last few days either shopping for, planning for, measuring, or carrying things to the new apartment.  I’m exhausted, ya’ll.  I stayed home sick from work yesterday for the first time since this all started.  Tuesday night I had panic attacks, diarrhea and a terribly heavy period.  I got no sleep and opted out of work.  I’m glad I did too because I was barely mentally or emotionally functional when I got home late Tuesday evening, even before all the badness started.

I was thinking then that I needed to be careful still with my own self care.  I am feeling better.  I swear the two sunny warm days went a long way towards that.  And even with the work and money it’s taking, moving is helping too.  It gives me something to focus on and be excited about.  But still, I am a long way from being better.  In therapy on Monday when we started to touch on the deeper part of my problem with asking people for help I could sort of see the long painful future of digging this out and making myself whole.  I have definitely overcome the first high hurdle of asking for help, from my therapist, from my family, from my friends.  I think I am dealing well with either recovering from, or sidelining to deal with later, the break-up stuff.  I think I have made a mental space for myself that is safe and is about moving forward and healing and growing.  And I feel really, positive about all of  it.

However, I need to keep reminding myself that my emotional reserves are still at 0% and that some things are still taxing for me physically.  Just because I’m sitting in a sunny meadow and can see a clear path ahead doesn’t mean I am out of the woods.

Normally I’d take on moving as a herculean task that required my monitoring and management at all times and required as little help as possible, but this time I’ve asked for as much help as I can get.  For people to come pack for me, and help me do things.  I’m hoping to make it as stressless as moving can possibly be.  I’m trying to focus the worry away and keep my eye on the space I’m creating and how warm and safe it will be.  I’ve been successful in this thinking, but still I feel almost as if I need a little fairy on my shoulder reminding me to breathe and slow down and that it’s okay to take some time and cry or just rest.

Last night I started the St. John’s Wort in place of the SSRIs.  No comment on it yet except I seemed not to ave stomach upset or insomnia, so that’s a vast improvement.  We’ll see how it goes along.  I’m being better about my regular schedule for vitamins and fish oil too, so hopefully that combination will prove to be helpful.

I have cramps so bad that I feel like I might die.  My period was 12 days late and it feels like 12 extra periods worth of cramps.  The lady at Target cheerfully told me to have a nice day.  I just looked at her balefully as I walked out clutching 3 boxes of tampons, a box of pads and bottle of ibuprofen. Gah.

So I signed a lease yesterday on my own small apartment.  Now I can redirect all the energy devoted to being anxious, depressed or otherwise upset toward freaking out over getting packed and getting moved.  To my own space, which I am very excited about.

Therapy yesterday started with cheerful glee over getting the apartment (I found out about ten minutes before therapy) and then we talked a lot about Hawthorn.  I mentioned a few days ago that I have gotten over any guilt I might have and am pleased that he seems to be owning the consequences of his actions.  He has been very supportive of my move and of finding this apartment even though it’s detrimental to his financial situation.  I was really prepared to stay in our house through April if that’s what it took to find a good place, but now, having found a place, I think I will heal much faster from this situation than I otherwise would.

Calantha came over for a celebratory glass of wine last night and a catch up evening of girl talk.  She said I seemed really balanced and reasonable about the whole Hawthorn situation.  And I guess I am.  Don’t mistake me, I am still mad as hell that it came to this point.  I am hurt and while I am functional there is certainly a lingering sense of rejection, of being abandoned, of even being discarded.  I think once I’m settled in my own space and don’t have to be confronted daily with his (very much) unintentional slights, then I can start to work on my other stuff and maybe even eventually repair my friendship with Hawthorn.

After I felt resolved with the Hawthorn situation in relation to therapy we talked for a while about what I want out of therapy and I totally broke down over my utter inability to ask for help when I need it most.  I guess next week we are going to delve deep into recreating the feeling black hideous dread that consumes me when I find myself in that situation. Sounds fun.  No really, I can’t wait at all.  But I need to get past the things that are blocking me from talking openly, from asking for help, from feeling comfortable in situations I should be fine in, so this is good.  This good. This is good.  Therapy is good.

Overall though, I do feel mucho better-o, despite cramps of doom.  No more SSRIs.  I feel more upbeat and like myself over all.  I’m trying to keep it slow and in relaxation/recovery mode as much as I can still.  I’m waiting a few days for the SSRIs to clear my system and then I’m switching to an herbal anti-stress remedy (no, not pot) and St. John’s Wort to help keep my mood stabilized over the next couple months.  I’m curious about how this will feel and work, but I am definitely feeling good about the prospects for it.  Panic attacks have certainly lessened, although aren’t gone and there is this weird looming sense of anxiety just out of sight when I turn my head.  But I feel like I’m a good way toward shaking off the black depression parts, and the bloody nightmare stories in my head.  I don’t know that necessarily feel more stable, but I feel more capable and the possibility of feeling normal does appear to be just over that hill, if still out of sight.