Depression has welled up for me once again. I’ve actually not been having a bad time. I know loneliness is an issue for me in the holidays, so I’ve been taking care to see friends and go out. Just being with people is good sometimes, even if I don’t feel that close to them.
I’ve realized I’ve stopped writing about what is really happening, and haven’t emailed Ron either though he said it was fine to do that. So here I am.
Christmas Eve I went to my parents’ for their Christmas dinner. I was feeling guilty, so I went early to try and help my mother. It was too much. I was there around 3 pm, and didn’t leave until 10 – too much family time for me.
My mother makes such a complex meal….two kinds of homemade pie, organic turkey (which had to be picked up that day from the market), complicated stuffing, many many vegetables. There were just constant tasks that needed doing. It becomes all about the perfection of the meal, and there is no energy left to be with other people.
A bright spot was a short walk. I went with my brother to walk around a few blocks. I’d say I can count on one hand the number of times I have had a conversation alone with my brother. We chatted – no deep confidences. I felt kind of excited that he would talk to me. Which I know is pathetic. My brother is six years younger than I am, so he was either not born or a baby when the sexual abuse happened to me. I think in my mind he is therefore not involved. Yes, he is in the family dynamics. But not involved in covering this situation up. Is how I seem to think of it.
Then unfortunately, because he was walking fast and we walked for over half an hour, back at the house I got into my post-exercise difficulties. I felt massively tired, and shut down. So I went off to an upstairs room and laid down for an hour. It was OK. I was fighting off dissociation though the rest of the evening.
Around dessert time I started making sarcastic type comments. Not on purpose to hurt, but I think my mother is hurt by this. It’s all about the tea. My mother’s habit is to ask each individual about their precise wishes for tea or coffee. Would they like coffee? Decaf or regular? Or half and half? Tea? Black, decaf black, green or herbal? Which kind of herbal? There’s camomile, orange, peppermint, roibus….Multiply this questioning by the number of people (ten this time). Then you’re in the kitchen with ten seperate wishes to fulfill. Needless to say, getting tea and dessert on the table takes about an hour.
By dessert time, I always really want to leave. But I stay.
So I say, ‘If it was up to me, there’d be two pots of tea, that’s it. One herbal, one black. Make do people!’
And when the pie questions come up – ‘Apple, blueberry, or both? With ice cream or without?’ Then cutting two ‘tiny’ crumbly pieces of pie, as of course everyone wants both, balancing on the plate, then the ice cream…or not…
I pipe up ‘If it was me, there’d be no two kinds of pie on the plate. One kind. Decide. Apple or blueberry, that’s it.’
My mother ignores me, which is her response to almost everything. And of course she’s been labouring all day to bring this meal about. I should be praising her. I did say the food was good. But by the end of the day, I am so lonely, as no one wants to talk to me it seems, and so tired, and I’m fighting off the dissociation…..Well, I’m not at my best.
I am sitting next to my mother on the couch at the end of the evening, looking at the fire and drinking tea (um, green). My mother has said nothing to me all evening, and continues in silence. Usually I feel a kind of energy coming off of people. With my mother, there is nothing at all. It’s as if all her energy is turned inwards. Or there’s none left, I don’t know.
We have always been in this struggle I think. Me first trying to be ‘good’, to conform, to be ‘nice’. Failing. Then frantically lashing out, trying to get some response. Which makes my mother retreat even more, looking out at me with uncomprehending eyes.