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I’ve been reading this post and answering the questions to myself for a while.  I’ve addressed the first few here.  Now I think I’ll take the last three together.

4. What if what I need is already here?
5. What if I didn’t have to figure it all out?
6. What if exactly what I need is happening already?

These are all really hard for me.  Like Zen koans or maybe just something I can’t quite wrap my head around yet like “letting go.”

I know everything I need is already here, in my mind, in my body, in my life. But it’s like I can’t quite access it in the right way.  Much like I know I need to let go of my jealousy and desires to end suffering, I get it, I’m just not sure exactly how I do it.  When I let go of my negative emotions instead of clinging to them, when I forgive myself, will I suddenly be free to access all the power and good that is inside myself?

The last two questions seem like subsets of four.  Or maybe I just answer them in similar ways.  I know I don’t have to figure it all out, how could I?  But how do I know I’m even seeking the right answers?  How do I know I’m on the true and moral path? How do I figure those things out? Do I not worry about answers and just do what I think is best?  And surely what I need is happening?  I am healing, maybe too slowly, maybe just right.  How could now be anything other than what I need? Even when it’s bad the idea that right now is providing less than I need is incomprehensible.  The idea of it seems past some line of abject misery, far into despair.

Hmm, I’m trying to address these as I did the others and I can’t. I believe this is because I’ve already reached some level of release with these.  I don’t need to learn that I’m all I need, that every healing tool is inside me, that the future is unknown and seeking answers leads to insanity, that I need to be in now, that the answers from now will reveal themselves later.  The initial questions:

1. What if there was nothing I needed to fix in me?
2. What if I didn’t have to punish myself to get the lesson?
3. What if I didn’t have to apologize?

still hold some stumbling blocks for me, but I think, overall, I’m doing better with those than I was even a few weeks ago.

I did make my dentist appointment.  One more step along the path of recovery of my full self!

One of the best thing about having a website is tracking the search terms people have found your site with. Some of these are obvious but many are serious what the fucks.  I kind of want to write a post themed around these, together or individually.

Search terms that found me here:

images of bridges burning
prince charming
last night i fucked your boyfriend russia
chinese symbol for mental health recovery
flammarion
oxbow lakes
lonely girl in rain
birthday chipmunk
healing with the fairies trust
better than any drug
feeling blue proverbs
emotions mouths
i dreamt i cut out my toung
doesn t respect my boundaries
peacot
its everything nice.tumblr
bluestarchickadee
sleepy wombat
i wish someone would take care of me
i am very dangerous don’t get too close
cherry petals wind
vajíčka
which one is harder, “the rock” or “the hard place
if something starts to angle it?
why does facebook give me the option to like my own status. of course i like my status, i’m fucking hilarious and sexy.
hit at sternal angle code blue
astrology and chickadee
background of thinking lonely
alley in southern spain
my safe bedroom with teddy bear
do not mess with blue
charming prince with flowers

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I’m back from a short vacation.  I always imagine that every trip I take will be life altering.  And I guess it is, just not necessarily in an immediate, choirs from heaven showing me the answer kind of way.  This trip, while fun, was exhausting both emotionally and physically.  Despite have spent all of yesterday evening doing nothing I find myself still wiped and barely able to think.

In a way the best part of my trip was going to breakfast with Dandelion before she took me to the airport.  It was really good to connect with her again.  You know how some friends can drift on an out of your life and some when you see them, not matter how far between, you are instantly back at a point of mutual understanding an love?  It was like that.  I gave her sort of a short run on down on the past couple years (and didn’t have to explain a lot of background because with good friends it’s just like that) and the only really painful emotional response I had to talking about stuff was about my teeth.

I spent a lot of the weekend meditating on that. So while I know a lot of my suffering over Hawthorn is about me feeling I’m not good enough or not feeling the confidence I once had and some other things that are purely about me.  I wonder how much of that is actually tied into my health and my view of myself after the accident where I lost my teeth.  My mouth hasn’t been comfortable since then, I worry about it a lot, I have terrible dreams about losing my teeth and I still suffer some pain, both from the original problem and the surgeries and solutions after.

So I am resolved to see a dentist this month and find out how much it will cost to get my teeth fixed. Really fixed, like the underlying problems, my bite problems and the cosmetic issues.  I will try and figure out how much I can get insurance to pay and I will borrow the rest.  I think if I can get past the dental anxiety (which is great, I’m crying just typing this up) and get to a place where my smile is pretty and I’m confident that I won’t just be losing teeth or physically suffering that that will go a long, long, long way towards getting me back to myself.

That’s my plan for August, to at least make the initial appointment and find out all the work I still need done and how much it’s going to cost. And spend more time with Dandelion and my other friends, as I will surely need as much support as I can possibly get through all of this.

Spurred on by the success of several friends and multiple recent conversations about needing to meet people I tried online dating.  Or I guess I should say I considered online dating.  I got as far as creating a user name on a dating site and looking through 15 pages of tiny thumbnail pics of guy in my age range near my zip code before I deleted my as yet uncreated profile and cried for an hour.

So either I’m not ready to start dating again, I’m suffering from worse social anxiety around meeting new people than I thought, or the potential dating pool in my area is really distressing.  No lie, the very first guy that looked halfway decent, clicking on his profile immediately produced “I have three cats” and “I really want kids.”  It’s like my own personal dating hell, unmarried 40ish guys desperate to procreate, fat guys who think they deserve a supermodel, self involved pseudointellectuals who are more interested in appearance than actual intelligence, and guys who seem convinced that their love of jesus will make you want them.  *shudder*  Yeah, I don’t think I’m interested in jumping back into the dating pool.

And here it is Friday night.  I haven’t called any of my friends to go out, or gotten dressed to go out on my own to a regular haunt.  Instead I’m sitting around in my underwear, in my too hot house, watching crappy straight to video romantic comedies and being irritated with myself for not working on any of the multiple creative projects I have strewn about, half done and languishing.

I’m fairly certain that my current wave of self loathing is brought by hormones and work being really stressful.  Sadly I was just discussing in detail how much my wild mood swings bother me earlier today.  It’s like I set myself up for it to happen.

Friday and I’m probably just going to finish writing this and go to bed.  I need to figure out how to make my weekend positive.  My plans were to go to the flea market with Hawthorn, then clean my house and go grocery shopping and finish a web project I promised a friend and hopefully work on something satisfyingly creative for myself.  But it appears the plans with Hawthorn have derailed (by the inclusion of his 18yo son and said son’s friends, which just seems like it would make the flea market awkward, tedious and really uncomfortable for me).  So that leaves me with chores, more chores, some other chores and hopes that I can pull it together to do something I enjoy. As a weekend prospect, that seems pathetic event o me, who would usually rather be left alone at home. And yet I am not at all motivated to try and make a new plan and get out and do something.

I spent part of the week mulling over how I felt after Cedar was here and how I felt while I was back home.  My conclusions were that I need to meet more people, socialize more, find some friends who share my interests (who aren’t Hawthorn).  I also decided that I feel like work is my secret identity.  It’s my Clark Kent costume of middle aged, practical, uncoolness.  It’s just that I seem to be that person all the time lately.  I need to unleash my inner superhero.  I need to dress up and go out and be awesome.  To remind other people how amazing I am and to display it enough to myself so that I don’t forget again. And yet here I find myself with 60 hours stretching in front of me, with which I can do anything I want and the best I can manage is pouting about the monkey wrench in the lame plans I had and going grocery shopping. As I said, unmotivated.

Maybe my expectations are too high?  I don’t want to waste my time going out because it won’t be worth it? Anxiety has something to do with it, but not as much as, uh, fear of failure, I guess? I need to go out and have fun in a low-key, stress-free, low expectation environment.  I’m not even sure how to do that.  Instead I’m going to sleep and hope the wild mood swing is in the POSITIVE position when I wake up.

I should mention, I guess, that this is an excellent outlet for my rage, anxiety and personal misfortune.  But I am having a perfectly lovely evening.  Got lots of chores done, ate a fine dinner, bathed and am listening to Bob Dylan and answering person emails.  I feel calm and at ease in my house.  (No storms is probably going a long way to that end.)

I do actually feel better over all.  Last night being the exception to the rule, the panic attacks are drastically reduced.  I find I can often deal with everyday things with out a thought about it being effort.  I can manage cumbersome awful tasks, like having a chunk of flesh cut out of my vagina to be biopsied (results were god news on that front, not exactly all clear, but positive news).  I do feel however, like the more aware I am of how much better I am doing, I am also more aware that something is wrong with me.

I have the worst PMS imaginable.  Well I’m sure many ladies have it worse than me, but it’s bad.  Basically about TEN days beforehand I get crazy.  Like swinging between rage and depression.  And I can actually separate myself from it enough to know what’s causing it, but the emotions feel, er, ARE real , so it mostly sucky.  I also kind of sick, like morning sickness, from the hormones for a couple days.  Then I have about 6 days of feeling bloated, fatigued and lethargic, then bleeding.  It’s fun being a girl.  Anyway, I have a lot of intellectual rage tied up in this because I fel like so much of what goes on with women medically is written off to us being crazy or it just being a mystery.  The number of times I’ve been told, “well, it’s just like that for some women,” is infuriating.

In addition to being sent off for biopsy, I was diagnosed with mucosal vitiligo and ovarian cysts (that was the pain that sent me to the doctor in the first place, it’s been going on for a while, but it’s been getting worse, “coincidentally as the PMS stuff has been getting worse).  So I did some research and while I recognize the dangers of diagnosing oneself on the internet, it turns out there’s a few endocrine disorders that aren’t life threatening but symptoms include vitiligo, ovarian cysts and an interuppted insulin cycle that causes pretty dramatic mood changes rotating with a woman’s cycle.  So I’m working on getting into an Endocrinologist for a battery of yucky blood tests (easier said than done, but I’ll make it happen) because I’m really tired of being told that my womanly workings are mysterious and nothing can be done about them, because while it’s mild comparatively to many diseases it is affectly me and I really feel like something is wrong with me.  And who knows, maybe it can be cured with a better diet and more exercise or something, but I really need to feel better all month long.  I also started taking iron supplements a few days ago and I actually think they are making me feel more focussed and energetic (not in a speedy way, just in a feel more normal way).

I can never remember how much of any of this I’ve talked about here (I have an aversion to rereading past entries, it just seems like asking to be upset), so I might be repeating myself on a lot of this, but man, I’d like to be getting better already, you know?

So I’m reading along in my happy blog list this morning, all the lovely folks who make me laugh and think and I come across this post by The Bloggess (who is generally hilarious and clearly crazy) and I’m nodding and agreeing all the way through it. Especially when she gets to the part about needing to be told that it’s going to be okay.  I feel like right now I am really, really lacking in lots of positive it’s going to be okay statements from folks around me (and from my own self).  And I find myself in an awkward space where someone does just need to come over and drag me out to do a photoshoot with wigs and fake cigarettes and make me have fun, but depending on how that’s presented and who is doing the presenting, I might be offended, annoyed or even more reticent to socialize.

Here are some of my problems that might or might not benefit from a surfeit of it’s going to be okay:

1. I still feel completely invalidated by the Hawthorn situation.  Like if we assume I made all the right choices, or the very best choices I could make given my circumstances and feelings  and the information I had at the time, and assuming that he is not cruel, intentionally malicious or out to get me then what? I mean, really, what? That means I’m just here, still feeling completely invalidated, like everyone either thinks I shouldn’t have known better or that he’s a horrible person.  I can wind the thread out and say, well I am in a better place now and I couldn’t have gotten to this place with out all the prior events.  But, BUT! So? I still feel like I need to be reassured that I did make the only choices possible, that they weren’t bad choices, that I didn’t do anything wrong, or anything to make the situation worse.  I don’t know who I am supposed to get this validation from, myself, I guess, but I suppose that doesn’t happen in any way but just letting go and I’m still too hurt to let go.

2. It’s really excellent, so good that I’m no longer in a nearly constant state of hyperoverdrive panic.  I can talk myself down or take a pill and generally deal with what’s immediately in front of me. But my social anxiety is still pretty high (though it has been for at least a decade) and I continuously don’t immediately recognize that need downtime when I’ve overextended myself socially.  But I also feel like I need validation for this.  Like I need to be told that it is okay for me to want to spend evenings at home alone.  Like I need affirmation of my legitimate need for alone time.  Someone (me?) needs to recognize that I’m not being a bitch, or a hermit, or weird and isolationist, rather I can only deal with, only manage so much, before I need to pull back and regroup.  Someone needs to tell me that it’s fine to take as much time as I need, when ever I need it.

3. I often feel weepy and it’s not just teary but like abject misery.  Some of it is okay, I think, given everything in the past few years, given the immediate emotional situations I’m still dealing with.  I’m certainly still trying to identify and define all it’s sources though and I think some of it might be hormonal.  Like not just oops, PMS is making cranky hormonal, but really problematically imbalanced hormonal.  I’ve been tracking it against my cycle and it is about 80% worse around ovulation and about 175% worse in the roughly 8 days before my period, and the first 3 of my period.  This means, surely, a trip to the doctor, who will tell me (or not) that it’s okay.

4. I can’t go to the doctor or dentist.  I’m just so blocked on this that I can’t even pick up the phone to make the appointments.  I can’t really articulate what I find so upsetting about this.  If it’s possibility that something might be really wrong with me, or some conviction I have that something is wrong and won’t be able to deal with whatever procedure is required to fix it.  Or if I’m worried about money.  Or if it’s some huge jumble of all of these things.  Surely hearing it’s going to be okay from both the doctor and dentist will go a long, long way towards making me feel better.  And like actually making me feel better, like with less pain and discomfort.  I’ve been trying to reach out to ask people to help me with this, but I guess I’m not persistent enough or making it seem dire enough because I can’t seem to get a stronger response than, “Have you made that call yet? Are you going too?” And I think maybe someone needs to make the calls for me and take management of the appointments in hand for me until I get past this.

And annoyingly much of this comes back to being single. Just not having someone to lean on.  Having ‘lost’ 2 romantic partners and my best friend in the last couple years I am left feeling distinctly without someone to lean on.  I know this isn’t exactly true, that many friends will pipe up and say are there for me and they want to help, but it really isn’t the same.  And I don’t know how to address it exactly, or resolve it.  A friend was recently complaining about a car repair place asking if she wanted to leave it for a couple days and she was dumbfounded, why would any one do that? How would they get around? But of course the ‘normal’ assumption is that you have a husband or partner to pick you up or take you around or take up the slack.  The world assumes that.  Single and independent does have it’s perks but realistically most everything is easier when you have some sort of partner to help you, someone to take care of and to lean on in return when you need it.  Someone to tell you it’s going to be okay.

Full blown panic attack, around 11 am this morning (still on-going).  Not sure what set it off, but it’s perhaps the first one in two weeks.  Which is good over all, but barely able to resist the urge to flee my office right now. Gah.

Update (around 12:30): Email full of happening-right-now vacation photos from Cedar made me feel a little better (how do you not love a guy who sends you pictures he took of himself underwater and then refers to them as ‘Cedar-sea-monster’ pictures?).  Trying to choose something for lunch for Hawthorn to pick up and bring me reduced me to tears. Klonopin time.  It’s been weeks since I had to take it during the day, but I can’t possibly be any less effective than I am right now.

Update 2 (around 3pm): Klonopin and fried chicken helped immensely.  Still feel heart-racey and out of sorts, but calmer and like I’ll live through the day. Canceled movie night in favor of a long walk in the park after work.

I had a great visit with my cousins.  It was fun to get out and do touristy Nashville things again. It was really fun to get to hang out with them. I talked A LOT. I talked a lot about me.  I was roughly 16 when they were born and so it’s only recently that we’ve been close enough age to really socialize, so I told them a lot about myself at their ages and things I’ve done with my life.  It was an interesting exercise to review and remember how many awesome things I’ve done (especially from their roughly 23yo perspectives).  It was sort of a confidence building experiment for me.

There was a lot of anxiety in the visit for me as well.  It’s hard to have house guests.  I worry too much over things I can’t control, even things that shouldn’t be worrisome. Plus there were huge storms and tornadoes here during their visit so some of my worry wasn’t even unnecessary.

I’m still very much struggling with how to find the balance I need to continue to get better.  I feel so much better than I did four months ago, but recognize how much further I still have to go.

I’ve been meditating a little on this post from Tiny Buddha.  I find I feel like I’m still missing some piece of where my anxiety is coming from.  I wonder, perhaps, if too much of my attention on it has been focused outward, on the robbery and the dental troubles and the break-ups.  I haven’t been looking at the internal stuff, much of which I think is the same as the article author’s: high insecurity and excessive need for validation, plus a hard time recognizing who I am, rather than who I was, and no clue who I want to become.

Despite the joy and love and fun I’ve had for the past few days, it’s also been excessively weepy for me as well.  I can’t say if just emotions feel heightened in general, or if it’s backwards motion in my quest to feel better, or if it’s simply ongoing hormonal yuck with the heavy period I’ve been having.  Or some combination of all of those.

I’ve been feeling the lack of closure with Hawthorn.  I can’t decide if it would be easier if I didn’t have to see him every day or if I stopped socializing with him.  I keep wavering on just pushing through, because eventually I have to come out the other side of this, or asking to step back, and taking as much of a break from him as I can manage.  But I do have to work with him and I do like him, and honestly I think it’s easier to push through and do the things I want with him and bear the parts that are less easy.  This morning he brought up having the port-mortem relationship talk because of an interaction we had yesterday (he was asking about an album he wanted and I gave it to him, but pointed that having listened to it every day for a month after our break up that the sound of the album was the shape of my broken heart) and still I’m not sure I’m ready to have that conversation.  Or maybe I’ll just feel better if I just get it done with.

I have really be reaching to socialize with people I see less often and get just get out and see people.  It’s been hard too, as people do disappoint and worry that my expectations are too high.  But then it seems sadder to expect less of people. I have lots of visitors and parties in the next 45 days and much of my own traveling after that.  I am going to make a concerted effort to spend the next 10 or so days being a little more introspective about my own anxiety and what I think I need to do to keep healing.

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.

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.

Now I have to wonder if it’s any coincidence that I’ve been mostly fine (physically and sometimes mentally) in the evenings and gross, ill and sludgey in the mornings when I take the SSRIs right before bed (since taking them in the morning made me sick all day).  3 more days and then another week for subsequent side effects to wear off.  Ugh.  Seriously though, I was fine last evening.  Cheerful even. And then I slept really poorly last night (mostly from stomach upset and weird dreams). And now I feel wobbly and headachey and just YUCK. And I have a very long day ahead of me.  Alas.

I spent some time talking to my friend, Aloe, last night too.  She and I have had a rough go of it for a while and I’m not even sure we’re solid enough to be called friends.  But she is good to talk to about anxiety &c. and she’s strangely easy for me to open up too.  She made some good suggestions and was generally supportive.  Also I saw the friend that I sent yesterday’s ‘mean’ email too and they were utterly relaxed and understanding about it.  So there’s you go, tell someone who cares about you what you need and they will deliver.  Unheard of!

Oak did his nightly text check in to make sure I haven’t jumped off a bridge or run off with a Saudi prince (I don’t know that that’s why he’s checking in, I just assume).  I was so charmed by part of the exchange with him that I immediately after it happened thought of sharing it here.  And then I second guessed and started worrying that this space is for talking about me and I shouldn’t just be recounting text exchanges with my ex-boyfriend.  But then again he’s a huge piece of how I ended up here and has been really supportive of my recovery, despite me having left him for another man.  So after fair bit of mental back and forth I decided that maybe Oak is what I should be talking about in therapy this coming Monday.  That said, I want to record the conversation for myself:

Oak: Are you doing alright?
Me: I’m actually feeling almost good tonight.  Filling on a short shift at [my restaurant].
Oak: If a handsome man comes in and tells you he’s moving to Ireland someday, be nice to him. (this is essentially how we met, although I was aware of him long before that)
Me: I think that was a once in a lifetime lucky chance on my part.
Oak: You may be right, but maybe someone who wants to move to Ohio or New Jersey.
Me: I don’t think so.
Oak: Good call.
Me: I’m thinking small apartment, space and time to myself.  Plus I’ve heard a rumor that there’s a handsome man moving to town who might occasionally meet for a friendly beer if I get too lonely.
Oak: That sounds like a good plan for 2011.

The entire thing set me to thinking, not unhappily about how we met and how I can remember so many details of our pre-relationship interactions.  This is significant because I have fairly spotty memory for such things usually and rely mostly on my friends and family to keep track of the the more exacting parts of the history of our relationships.  But with Oak I can remember it all clearly and play it back.  Secondly, in this exchange, even though it’s text, I can see exactly what he’s doing and how he looks as he makes each comment.  His wry half smile when he thinks he’s clever, how he runs his hand over his head, &c.  I have said here before that my intention isn’t to get back together with him, nor does that even seem like something sane or rational to entertain at this point.  But I think about the history of it a lot and I think maybe I need to write it down. Not necessarily here, but map out everything I remember so I can save it and maybe use it later, fictionally.  Or not.  Maybe it just stays somewhere, marked down, so I don’t ever forget what a subtle, yet beautifully charming romance it was as we got together.

I feel like therapy is going to be a long, hard row to hoe.  I am, in my every day life, trying to take the above advice and dwell less on, “What is wrong with me?” and focus more on where I am going and what I am going to do and who I am going to be.  But I find I am getting a little apprehensive of about therapy as it isn’t necessarily focused on asking what’s wrong but it may end up much more directed toward the past.  And I understand that with Saturn 4th House transit and all that I need to work through that as part of my move forward, and, theoretically, once it’s dealt with, it’s done and I do move forward. But, yow, is it just me, or does that seem like a lot of teary, yucky work?  I’m up for it, I guess, but today I feel kind of exhausted just thinking about it.

I have a long, long workday ahead of me.  And then some much needed, hopefully achieved rest and then a weekend out of doors with Violet and yoga with Moonflower.  I feel better just thinking about getting through today to the good parts.

I know it’s probably not true, but I swear everything would feel easier if it would just stop snowing.  This is the South!  I’m not supposed to be learning how to drive in terrible winter conditions here.  UGH.  One could easily argue that my desire to stay in bed isn’t anxiety, depression or related to my problems at all, but simply that it’s too gross to go outside.  Spring better come seriously early this year.

On the other hand my yard was filled with probably a thousand birds this morning, fluttering, hopping and talking and singing about the snow.  Rushing from branch to branch to make sure everyone knew about the snow.  If it hadn’t snowed I wouldn’t have been able to stand in the grim, slim sunrise light and watch them fill the dead trees like living leaves.  Thousands and thousands more swirled in huge clouds on the edge of downtown right before I got on the freeway this morning too.  I took the time in the freezing cold this morning just to watch the birds and breathe and remember that “it pisses God off when you walk by the color purple in a field and don’t notice it.”

Lexapro dose gets reduced to a quarter tonight.  Still lethargic and fatigued, still feeling the intestinal effects of it, though those things are all reduced since the last dosage reduction.  After last night’s crying jag I spent a while wondering if I shouldn’t just ask my doctor for another round of yet another drug, but I think I am going to wait a while.  I have terrible PMS right now.  It seems to be getting worse with each passing year (my mother told me this happened in her late 30s too).  My period only comes about every 38-40 days now but it comes with about 7 days of pretty rough emotional stuff.  Like my hormones just destroy my ability to manage my emotional reactions to things. So given that, I think I am going to stick with my plan of no SSRIs for a little bit.  If I’m still feeling like I did last night after I stop bleeding (if it ever starts, argh!) then I’ll reconsider this.  Too many factors right now to make an informed decision.

I just remembered that I dreamt about Oak again last night.  In it he’d given me a list of very specific things that needed to be packed in a certain sized bag.  I spent most of the dream trying to find those things and figure out how they fit together.  Finally Oak showed up with a similar bag and we set off into the snow.  It was clear we were going somewhere really, really far away and maybe walking?  We stopped at a pub and there was some really famous person about to play there, to me, Oak and about six other people.  He was saying that he loved her music but wasn’t sure why she’d do that to her hair. That’s when I woke up.  Perhaps brought on by this text exchange with Oak right before bed:

Oak: How are you doing?
Me: I feel burnt out, broke down and wiped out.
Oak: I know that feeling.
Me: I’m sorry you do. No one should ever feel like this.
Oak: It comes from not knowing your place in the world.

Yes, indeed, man, it surely does. But how does one start finding their place they already feel this worn down?

HAHAHAHAHA! A bit too much indeed.

I feel wobbly, nauseous and gross this morning.  I’m 90% sure it’s the Skelaxin, so no muscle relaxants for me.  Sad.  Will call my doctor today and update her.  Was an hour late for work because I feel like I only slept for about 3 hours and was too wobbly to drive earlier.  Yuck.

So for a long time I’ve been struggling with this idea that I need someone to take care of me. The very concept is anti-feminist, anti-my generation, anti-my own identity.  Of the endless loops in my head, “I wish someone would take care of me” is among the top three. And maybe it isn’t so hard to accept if I can really pin down what being taken care of means to me.  This morning it would mean driving me to work, picking me up later and possibly holding my hair back while I barf.  Most days it would be about supporting me in my crazy endeavors, about showing an interest in what I’m creating, about cooking for me, making sure I eat and just sort of paying enough attention to know when I need extra care and affection even if I’m not asking for it.  Maybe that’s a tall order, but it doesn’t seem like it should be.

From an email from my mom yesterday:

When you told me about [breaking up with Oak], you cited  how he wasn’t psychically supporting you in what you’d been going through.  And you said that what [Hawthorn] was doing was offering you comfort and support…which I don’t think anyone has done a good job of offering and carrying through for you. That’s likely a consequence of looking more together than anyone else around.

I have so much to say about this, I don’t even know where to start.  I guess it’s what bothers me about Hawthorn’s change of heart. I really had hoped I’d found someone to support and care for me.  And I feel really betrayed that that’s been ripped away from me.

Honestly I doubt it would have worked out between Hawthorn and I no matter what.  And weirdly I don’t really care why.  I mean I could make a list of reasons but I don’t care too.  This is weird because ever since I broke with Oak I’ve been telling myself stories over and over and over and over all the ways it would eventually have gone wrong between us anyway.  How it never would have have worked.  Every possible scenario that would have somehow broken down our relationship.  Every excuse possible to make it okay to have ended it.

And it is true that I didn’t feel like Oak was emotionally supporting me, it’s also true that I never asked him.  I always presented a front to him of being together, in control and in charge.  I never said I was scared and needed comfort, I never asked him for help of any kind. I told him it was okay to go when I wanted to ask him to stay.  I told him I was fine when I wasn’t and then I got hurt when he didn’t notice how much I needed him.

Perhaps all of this goes back to not being able to get my words out when I need to.  Maybe part of it isn’t valuing myself enough to think I deserve help?  I don’t know, I don’t even really think so.  I think maybe it’s more about being afraid of what people will think of me.  And I am no where near being able to start with what my problem is there.

The increasing anxiety and bizarreness of the past year has often left me wishing to be rescued rather than simply taken care of.  And maybe Hawthorn rescued me and is releasing me now.  But I do know for sure that I need to be taken care of. And I know that can mean whatever I want it to.  And I am going to learn how to ask for it because anything else is far too lonely to contemplate.

And, oh, Brezny-scope, I love you so:

FREE WILL ASTROLOGY
Week beginning January 20
Copyright 2011 by Rob Brezsny
http://FreeWillAstrology.com

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): I find many of you Tauruses to be excessively self-effacing. It’s a trait that can be both endearing and maddening. Even as my heart melts in the presence of Bulls who are underestimating their own beauty, I may also feel like grabbing them by the shoulders and shaking some confidence into them, barraging them with frustrated exhortations like “Believe in yourself as much as I believe in you, for God’s sake!” But I’m guessing I won’t be tempted to do that anytime soon. You appear to be due for a big influx of self-esteem.

Ten millions years ago, when I got married, I was standing in a small dressing room alone.  Big puffy white dress on, hair all done up, gloves, fancy make-up, 200 guests waiting to participate passively in a momentary expression of love.  All I could think about in that moment was what Rose has said to me several days before: “You’re only getting married because you said when you were 14 that were going to marry him and you’re so stubborn that you have to follow through.” (Not perhaps verbatim what she said, but pretty close.)

I was thinking about those words because I knew as I stood there that I probably shouldn’t be getting married.   Maybe not to this man. Or maybe just not this young.  Or maybe just not.  But I was all dressed up and everyone was there.  And I am stubborn, but often that means I can make things work.  And how hard can marriage be if one commits to it?  I could do this.

Four years later, my parents were bailing me out financially and helping me re-establish my life after we filed for divorce.  This would not be the last time they had to bail me out of such a situation (including my current impending move from Hawthorn’s to where ever I end up).

In some weird way I feel like I’ve been standing in that small dressing room of 15 years ago for all of 2010.  There’s been some sense of doubt in my mind every step along the way, and yet I’ve plodded forward anyway.  I started thinking yesterday about what I should have done, but cut myself off pretty quickly.  What difference does it make now? What is important is what I do from here on out, right?  Still I have this overwhelming sense that I continuously chose the path of least resistance through out 2010 convinced that I could make it work out alright. And hey, I’m not dead, so presumably it will work out alright, just in a different way.

I think therapy was good yesterday.  I cried a lot about Hawthorn making his clean break, then realized that was the first I’d cried about it to anyone, though in my defense I did tell almost everyone by email or text message which is less emotional (and thus my preferred communication).   I don’t know that there were huge revelations in therapy yesterday but I did realize that after Oak and split I stopped making plans.  I mean I’ve always had some sort of vague plan, possible map for the future and I haven’t had that in nearly a year. Surely that goes a long way toward explaining why I’ve felt so untethered.  And right now I feel scattered and confused and still anxious but I definitely need to start making a plan.  I will do it slowly, and I will do it with counsel and support from friends as I’m not sure I trust my choices when left to my own devices right now (a very hard thing for me to admit).

The first thing I need to do is figure out where I am going to live.  Hawthorn and I had a serious talk last night.  I expressed my need to KNOW that I had secure place to live there until I found something else.  He seemed dismayed that I didn’t trust his previous assurance that I could stay through August, but I pointed out that he’d already made a serious one-eighty in relation to me and that I didn’t think I could take another one and still manage to get better.  He said he hadn’t become a bad guy, that everything was still the same, just we weren’t romantically entwined in the long term.  And yeah, I guess he isn’t a bad guy, just insanely selfish and certainly a disappointment.

We have agreed that I could stay through August but probably will try and move around April 1 or May 1. I had some pressure yesterday from friends and family to move right away and honestly I just can not face that.  I mean even if someone else did the moving for me, I just don’t think I feel safe living alone right now. And despite all his other disappointing characteristics I am certain that Hawthorn will still look out for me and chase away things in the dark.  Ultimately however (in a couple months) I think my choice will be to live alone.  In addition to needing someone in the house right now, I also would really like to have the time to find a place to live that I want to be in, that I like, that I feel comfortable in, that isn’t just the first thing available in my price range.  My therapist set me to slowly making a list of what I would need in a home to feel safe, comfortable, and, well, at home.

The Lexapro continues to be okay.  It’s not without side effects but I think it’s within the realm of tolerable so I guess I’m going to fill the prescription after I talk to my doctor today (she gave me samples before).  Today might be the day I skip the Klonopin and try the Skelaxin again as the muscle tension is pretty unbearable.  My lovely friend Moonflower called yesterday and offered to come help me set up a restorative yoga practice at home (she’s a brilliant teacher of yoga), which will hopefully help a lot as well.  I am going to ask Violet to help me overcome my new place anxiety and go walk the track at the community center so I have that as an option on dark cold evenings.

And that’s it for me for plans for now. Yoga plan.  Walking plan.  Thinking about what I need in a home.  It’s a good start, right?

I dreamt about Oak last night.  I have been having very uneven tense dreams lately. For years most of my stress dreams have revolved around moving.  Like most folks have the naked in public dream, or the I’m at the final and realize I never attended any classes dream.  For me it’s always moving day and I haven’t packed and it’s raining and the truck isn’t there. After so much discussion of it yesterday I fully expected to spend the night trying to fit things in not enough boxes in my dreams.  But no, it was Oak instead. No story, no stress, just the physicality of him. How it feels to touch him, to smell him, to feel the heat of his skin.  I woke up  half expecting to find him in my bed and feeling a deep sense of loss.

I had my first therapy appointment today.  She encouraged me to continue writing here as much as possible and said that it’s hopefully equally as useful as therapy.

I have spent a lot of time thinking, “what is my problem?”  I have spent hours trying to guess at the mystery that makes me act the way I do.  I left therapy today and went shopping (I needed pillow cases, and, um, a clearance ceramic tray glazed with chrysanthemums as my reward for not chickening out on therapy) and wandered around thinking the usual, what is my problem.

It is no stretch at all to say that everything wrong with me comes from bottled up emotions.  I can’t talk about how I’m feeling.  I can write about it, to some extent, but when I’m in direct conversation it’s like the words form in my brain but never make it out of my mouth.  This extends to asking for help when I need it, for support, for attention and for affection.  In a relationship I am much more likely to write you a long letter than to spill my heart to you.  I have often been accused of withholding when it’s really more like an unintentional blockage.

As I walked around looking at cheap things made in China that I could probably make myself, I thought about what keeps my words locked inside me.  Here are some reasons:

  • I am uncomfortable asking for help.
  • I don’t want to upset anyone with my problems
  • I am afraid of what people will think of me.
  • I fear honesty will cause people not like me
  • I feel too exposed.
  • I hurt all the time and I don’t want anyone to know.
  • I do not want to be rejected.
  • I do not want you to see how lonely I am.
  • I am afraid of making you angry.
  • I don’t think I express myself clearly and do not want to be misunderstood.
  • I don’t want you you to think I am being mean when I am just being honest.
  • I fear you will think I am stupid.
  • I have no familial history of talking about feelings.
  • I do not want to appear weak or vulnerable.
  • I am by nature a private person and I haven’t figured out the bounds of safety for talking when I need too.

And I guess it’s all those reasons together that’s gotten me where I am, but I’m not sure exactly.  Someone once told me that of everyone they knew I had seemingly the least number of reasons to be insecure but was in fact the most insecure person they knew.  And hey, I will gladly speak up righteously and loudly on your behalf, I just haven’t ever felt comfortable asking for anything for myself.  It’s hard to say that I value others more than myself because I think I’m fairly selfish, but perhaps my own sense of self worth keeps my words down? That seems almost too easy.  And yet how does one go about valuing oneself more?

Last night I dreamt that someone tried to cut out my tongue.  The blade only made it about three quarters of the way through and I was choking on my own blood, keeping my hands over my mouth and then I woke up.  I told my therapist this and she was fascinated that I would dream about losing or trying to keep my tongue the night before I started therapy.  I’ve actually had this dream once before a couple weeks ago.  In that instance my tongue got cut out and my mouth filled with blood and I was leaning over and trying not to get any on my white shirt.  I don’t usually make any effort to understand or interpret my dreams, but I gotta say, the tongue/talking thing is kind of trippy.  And creepy.

When we were together I never managed to say any of the things I needed to to Oak.  Now I want to call him and tell him everything, everyday.  I have been mostly resisting this urge as I don’t think, given the circumstances, that it’s fair to him.  I have been communicating with him, some in email or texts but I’ve trying to limit it.  I just need to be really clear with myself about why I want to tel him everything, why it’s okay to be so open now.  Possible reasons include being still in love with him, feeling safe because he’s far away, feeling safe because he’s pretty much already seen me at my worst, because he asks good questions and listens, and, I don’t know, other things.  I love Hawthorn, but the idea of walking into the other room and talking to him about all of this seems impossible. The idea of calling Oak and talking to him about all of it seems like a relief.

I seem to be tolerating the Lexapro okay so far.  The queasy grossness from the Zoloft is gone and I guess I feel a little weird and spacey, but pretty much okay.  I’m going to give it a few more days before I say for sure.

Now I am going to go shower and get dressed for a party.  Let’s see if I can manage this without sedating myself first.

Yesterday as I drove to work the news on the radio was grating as it usually is so I randomly punched a button and got the college station playing Eastern Orthodox liturgical hymns in Russian. It was so surreal and unexpected that it seemed like a sign of something. It was also incredibly calming so I searched out the station website to find out what was playing. Of course there was a playlist for every episode of that particular show, except for today. I guess it will remain a mystery. Though I might go through some of the back playlists and try and find some of the pieces. I could use some sacred calls to God right now even if, no especially if, I can’t really understand them.

Work was work, in it’s long, boring, but excellent source of escapism kind of way. I came home through icy streets and took a long, long shower. When I got out, Hawthorn was home. We talked about our days. We had a long conversation about my new medications and side effects and how I was feeling.  And then he took a deep breath and said, “I’m just not sure I can sustain a long term relationship. I’m not sure how serious I can be about us.” Yeah, you fucker, I know, you keep telling me. So I said, “Can it. Just take a deep breath and let it go.” He tried to reiterate that he loved me and it wasn’t me &c. but I cut him off and said, “Seriously, take a deep breath and let it the fuck go. I don’t even care enough about this right now to talk about it.”

And you know, I don’t. I mean I do care. I want to work it out. I want everyone to have space to breathe and regroup and revisit it all in the future, but oh my fucking good goddamned hell, I can not keep having the same fucking conversation about it. I have been telling him since the beginning that the pressure for long term, consolidated, expressly planned relationship is all in his head. He acknowledges that I have never pressured him, nor even brought the subject up. He asked me to move in with him. You could go so far as to say he pressured me, or perhaps just badgered me until I said yes. And now, 11 months after he started seriously courting me, he’s just not interested in following through? Fucking fucking fuck. I still feel it would unfair of me to scream, “I gave up my whole life plan for you, you fucking selfish asshole.” Since I do want to own my choices and I made the choice to be here. However, I can safely say that I didn’t necessarily make it in my right mind, and I won’t go so far as to say I’m being punished for that because I don’t think the universe is vindictive, but enough already. At least this time I can hopefully dig myself out of one hole before I fall right into the next one.

I actually feel good about being that angry about the whole thing. I mean, I still need to get him on the train about how right now is about me and unless he’s expressly going to talk to someone (else) about his crap then I am not interested. Because I tell you what, I certainly am not getting better listening to his fucking midlife crisis.

All that said, my current plan is to stay here, in this house, in my own room, with my own things, through April. I will at that point assume plenty of student and musician vacancies and try and find something for myself. I have support in the interim. I know if it gets really bad, some friends have a guest house up the street they will certainly let me use. But really I just need some time to get the rest of me together, I do not want to move right now. And if that means shutting Hawthorn down every time he tries to put his unnecessary worrying on me, then I’ll do it for the sake of cheap rent and at least not feeling isolated and alone. I really do not want to live by myself right now, it doesn’t feel at all safe. And while the entire Hawthorn situation has a bunch of emotional baggage that goes with it, I’d really rather be here.  I’ll take his bullshit, since it comes with genuine hugs and many very solicitous gestures (surely born of guilt).

I don’t know what will be different next week, but I just keep repeating to myself that I need to get through this week. Like that is a big enough goal for me. I think I’m going to take some sick time Friday afternoon so I don’t have to go back to work after my therapy appointment. Saturday I’m hopefully going walking with good friend, Violet, so I can fill her in on all of this and feel like I have allies in this city too (my reasons for being less open with her about this are mostly because I kind of can’t stand sympathy, so I really needed enough distance to be able to deal with people reactions).

Last night I got a decent night’s sleep and as always when that happens, everything seems much less dire today.  Also I seem to be tolerating the Lexapro much better than the Zoloft.  Less stomach ick and dizziness and all.  I’ve decided to hold off on the muscle relaxants for 3 or 4 days until I’m sure of how the other drugs are making me feel.  Although I really, really am looking forward to not having the muscles in my shoulders feel like they are made of metal.

This morning I accidentally found listings for hotels for sale in Spain, so I will pepper my workday with fantasies of being a hotelier in the Pyrenees.

How much better would life be if this was the path you walked home from work?

I am not having a good day.  I assume it’s the medication switch up.  Last night instead of my usual Zoloft (and occasional Klonopin), I took Lexapro several hours after taking Skelaxin for the locked muscles in my neck.  I woke up just after midnight feeling fairly wide awake, although dizzy and disoriented.  I know I went back to sleep but I don’t really feel like I slept at all.  This morning I am shaky and a little queasy (although less nauseaous than I was with the Zoloft). I have a weird migrainey headache that is sporadic but leaves me feeling like there is a wide open hole running down the side of my skull.

Last night I commented to Hawthorn that I’m not really pleased with taking SSRIs at all.  I do want to get better, I hope this is a way towards feeling better, but right now they are making me feel YUCKY.  It seems like some regimen of Klonopin, physical therapy and psychological therapy should be enough.  I functional enough most of the time, I guess, but I definitely have moments where I wonder if I should be driving at all (even when I’m feeling clear headed) or doing anything besides laying on the floor hoping it all passes.  Hmm, re-reading this I sound like I’m way over dramatizing it. I guess I just don’t like feeling like my body is full of chemicals.  And I was already feeling like my mental stuff was out of my control and presently the drugs don’t yet seem to be changing this.  So I feel anxious, crazy and now nauseaous too.  Wheee!

My plan for right now is to just get through this week. Hopefully with lessening side effects. And while I will surely keep documenting my stupid love life and drug reactions here, I’d like to use this space to keep track of the good things too. Working toward a more positive focus as a way out of the anxiety. We’ll see.  Just this week, gotta get through this week.

I had a breif exchange with Oak last night.  He said he was feeling lonely despite enjoying time with his friends.  I suggested that the upheaval of the past year (being overseas, his family problems, our break up) might have left him feeling a little disconnected.  He said that yes, spending time with two happily married couples who seemed to have it all probably was contributing to his sense of loneliness. And you know, I’m pretty sure it was a fairly off hand comment on his part but it hit me like a ton of bricks in the chest.  Oak back tracked and said it was no big thing, just an off night for him.  He admonished me to keep busy, keep distracted and promised that if I could get through this it would get better.  “This” I suppose means either move out and away from Hawthorn, or piecing it back together with Hawthorn and settling down.

The two giant, leafless trees outside my window are filled with hundreds of little birds fluttering between branches and telling each other about the snow.  Tiny winter birds of happiness. Today I will make them an omen to help me remember that spring is never that far away.

I think my weekend away with my mom and sister helped me feel less trapped and freaked out.  I spent a whole day with my mom who was really sympathetic about the PTSD (though she later chastized me for not talking about it sooner and I know talking about stuff is something I need to work on, more on that in a minute).  My mom was relatively unresponsive on the Hawthorn situation.  She was sympathetic but pretty much just said that I should try and work it out with him and if it becomes clear that it isn’t going to work out, then just find myself an apartment and move on.  She wasn’t callous about it or anything, just matter-of-fact. But all of it feels less dire after talking to her about it, so that good.

Then I spent an entire day with my little sister, Dahlia, who has her own heap of life drama, so I did my best to be understanding and helpful and not add to her burden.  She felt like my anxiety issues really explained a lot of my behavior in the past year.  She had no commentary on the Hawthorn situation, except to say that if seemed he was going to get my name tattooed on him I should break up with him because that’s just weird. Heh.  No risk of that happening.

Finally I spent some time with my oldest friend in the world, Rose, who suffers from agoraphobia and anxiety and had a really good long talk with her.  She made me feel less crazy and more supported.   She thinks that I should sever it with Hawthorn and beg Oak to take me back. With the caveat that I shouldn’t be making any decisions right now, at least until I start feeling like I’m on an even keel again.

I went to the doctor today and we agree the Klonopin is excellent and helping.  The Zoloft not so much.  Dr. was really unhappy with the side effects (dizziness, nausea, blurred vision, stomach upset) and that it seemed to be making me more jittery.  She didn’t think the side effects would go away if they hadn’t already and really didn’t want to increase my dose, so she switched me to Lexapro, which I’ll start today. She also got me into physical therapy for the tension and pain in my neck and shoulders and gave me muscle relaxants.

The weather here at home is bleak and wintery.  I know some folks love snow but it feels desolate and oppressive to me.  I am, I think, maintaining a fairly positive outlook, given everything, but I’d just assume see that sun while I’m trying to get better.

Friday is my therapy appointment and I’m very much looking forward to it.  I know I have trouble asking for help and I certainly need to get over that.  But I also just have problems talking sometimes.  Like it really is easier for me to write it all out than to say it out loud.  I find often there are things I want to say but the words sort of stick inside me, like there’s some unidentifiable thing forcing me to keep to myself.  Also I really value personal privacy.  I’m unlikely to share a lot of myself with anyone, even a lover or a boyfriend, but it’s never been to the extent where I felt like I couldn’t even if I wanted too.  So I am really going to try and work on being more open (in therapy, not just wishing I would be, but like actively working on it). I want to dissolve whatever blockage is holding in my words and my feelings.

I did talk extensively with Rose about how I feel fine talking to Oak about things. And maybe it’s not just my comfort level of talking to him, but I actually feel like he’s listening when I talk, which is something I don’t experience with very many people. (This is what prompted Rose to suggest I should get back with Oak vs. Hawthorn, not some personal preference, just she thought I should be with someone I could really talk to.)

I’m not homesick like I thought I’d be.  I did have some very nice moments with my family and I’m hard to preserve those as memories I can reflect on on a rainy day.  Something I need to do more of.  I’m considering cataloging some of it here, but some of it feels too personal to even put on paper.  Not because I don’t want to share it, but because speaking it or writing it might somehow diminish the magic of it.

A good trip over all.  I feel more supported and less isolated, but perhaps no less confused than I was before.