This holiday season has been so rough. Sometimes I think it’s been better than in the past, but tonight I don’t. I’ve been unable to sleep at all – very unusual for me actually. Though I struggle with sleep, my usual pattern is fall asleep quickly, then wake up in the middle of the night. I don’t recall ever trying to sleep for four hours, unsuccessfully.

I’ve been going to the gym despite the issues it causes me. Today I went. I did the same small routine I’ve been doing for weeks. It helps with depression and hopelessness but plunges me into a kind of anxiety sometimes. Like today I suppose. I spent a lot of the rest of the day trying to feel things, because the exercise blocks feelings, and so makes me anxious. Why does it do that for me? I never hear this happening to others? It is part of my self-care and to have it backfire like this is beyond frustrating.

Last night (tonight) I went to a 12 step group, because I’ve been so very lonely. I guess it didn’t go that well. No one speaks to me, and two people I made remarks to cut me dead. I wonder what I give off, when I’m in this exercise anxiety blank state. I think it’s something that scares people. Of course, I try and talk to the wrong people. One old guy, because I’ve seen him many times, and I think I kind of know him, and he’s been friendly a few times. But the last two times I saw him, he’s turned away when I said anything to him and started talking to other people. Maybe I trigger him.

So I also am triggered. I am so afraid I am emanating some kind of vibe that makes me scary to people. The other woman I just made a remark about a coffee shop being closed, and she kind of ran from me. I know she’s very vulnerable and likely I trigger her also. Both of these people, I’m going to remember not to bother speaking with since they seem so freaked out.

What else bad has happened. I went to an interview last week for a short contract. It seemed like I was basically a shoe-in for this role based on my resume, but once the manager saw me she decided she needed to interview other people, and I did not get the job. It was a day where unexpectedly I was overwhelmed with depression and sadness. For some reason I couldn’t control it, though of course I put on a professional face over top. I think when something is that strong, a lot of interviewers will pick up on that. I am disappointed.

I am out of a job this holiday season, as I was two years ago also. That is discouraging.

My one friend whom I usually see a fair amount of has not been calling me, even though she’d said we’d spend some time together over the holidays. I called her once and we met, and she was in a very bad mood. I know she is pining for an internet date gone wrong and is likely made more unhappy by it’s being the holidays. Perhaps she doesn’t want to speak about it, since it’s been going on for years, and her friends have told her she needs to get out of the situation, but she cannot. I would listen and not judge I think, but I guess she doesn’t trust. In any case, she has others she can be with, while I have few others.

I’ve been worried and grieving about my son. He is completely disabled, he may be getting worse not better, he collapsed a few weeks ago and was taken to hospital in an ambulance, yet tests find nothing wrong. My opinion is he has both something physical but also emotional trouble. He doesn’t connect with anyone, and only speaks to his father and myself. I have been reluctant to go and visit him because I feel I’m only just holding my own head above water. It’s draining to see him and makes me sad. I wonder how much is my fault. The way he will not speak with anyone might be my fault – maybe I did that to him to some extent, though not on purpose. His childhood was pretty bad. I was in a bad situation, I was deeply unhappy and felt trapped, and overwhelmed by motherhood.

Then I fell out with my family. I try not to think about it. It was worse this year than last. I did feel some peace thinking about not going back to family events in the future. Like I was setting a boundary to protect myself rather than get back at them. But it hurts a lot to give up even the illusion of a family, people who’ve known me all my life, people who would help in physical kinds of trouble, to an extent.

Then my ex phoned me two days ago screaming at me about his internet/phone issues. He is older, and cannot understand how the technology works. He doesn’t understand he can google problems. I try to help him, but he is so frustrated, he feels it’s fine to unload all that anger onto me, especially when I don’t immediately have the answer for him. I felt quite battered and upset when I ended the call. I’m going to ask him not to call me in future about his tech issues. He’s no longer my problem, and I don’t have to help him. I want to be helpful, but not to an angry fuming impatient person.

My ex can sometimes be supportive, so him turning like this right at this time was one more blow.

Then my T is away. I was appreciating not being triggered by therapy, but now I’ve ended up in this state where I can’t feel anything. I’ve decided to keep my appointment next week. I’m not going to try hard with the therapy. I just need some kind of supportive person so I don’t fall apart like I seem to be doing.

There are so many difficulties, and I can’t see that I have anything much at the moment. No deep connections to anyone. An off-putting manner that people shy away from. So many small supports taken away over the holidays.

Well. I have a place to live. I have enough savings that I am not immediately worried. I like that exercise helps with depression, if I could work it out that it doesn’t put me into this blank shut down state. I am able to learn from books, and have checked out a bunch of self- help from the library. Changing my thoughts sometimes helps, though I suspect for today it’s also pushed me into this blank anxiety state. Something about the denial of feelings. There’s a fine line between focusing on the positive and slipping into a damaging denial that makes things worse.

These are my thoughts. I wonder if I’ll sleep at all this night.




  1. This sounds incredibly difficult – I’m sorry you’re in this place. It’s good you’re keeping your appointment next week, and this sounds very reasonable, “I’m not going to try hard with the therapy. I just need some kind of supportive person so I don’t fall apart like I seem to be doing.” I think that sounds reassuring, that Ron can be a safe and supportive person for you. Sending you warm thoughts and I hope you are able to sleep.

  2. Rachel said:

    Oh Ellen, I am so sorry. This sounds really really hard. I wish I could come over and keep you company myself (not our of pity, but because I think you are smart, funny, interesting, honest, and would enjoy your company). Glad you are keeping your appointment, and I agree that human connection (albeit imperfect, possibly not entirely what you’d wish for) will be helpful. Really hoping you find some peace soon.
    And also your son’s situation sounds really heart-breaking to deal with.

    • Ellen said:

      I would like it if we could have tea. 🙂 Thank you.

      Yes, my son’s situation is not at all good. I try not to obsess on it as that helps no one.

  3. This sounds so difficult to deal with. And I’m going to go out on a limb and say that it is likely not you that is emanating anything. Sometimes people in my life trigger me or upset me simply because they remind me of someone else who hurt me. That isn’t their fault – it’s about me and my past. So logic would follow that these other two people aren’t running from you or turning away from you but it’s that they can’t differentiate yet. And that’s not on you. Although it must feel incredibly lonely.

    Life sounds really overwhelming and difficult right now and I send you all the support and wishes for peace. I genuinely wish I could be there for you, because although it’s the internet, I consider us friends. You have always been so kind to me. And I am so grateful for you.

    • Ellen said:

      I know that I trigger people – they don’t actually know me, so it’s not me. As well, people in these groups are often struggling with major issues, and so are more likely to be triggered than others might be. I think sometimes I emanate a kind of black depression that scares people. I mostly don’t go out when feeling that bad for that reason.

      Thank you for the support! I think we are good blog friends.

  4. Grainne said:

    The two who turned away from you at your support group …. sounds hard, I know, but try not to take that personally. It’s quite likely they were in a bad place themselves and connecting with anyone would have caused the same reaction. The guy who turned to talk to someone else…well, maybe he’s just rude or, maybe he sensed the conversation with the others he was talking would stay light and superficial, which may be what he needed at the time. I don’t know, of course, because I wasn’t there, but you don’t seem to be off putting in any way. Even if you walked around voicing the things you write about, I don’t think you would be putting out something weird that scares people. Some don’t like the truth and prefer to stay ignorant, particularly of other people’s suffering, but the reaction you’re describing just seems to be coming from something inside THEM, not you.

    You’re not toxic, Ellen. You’re hurting and struggling to find your light again. Some people may not want to help you on your way, but if they’re turning from you, they’re not the sort you need around you anyway. You know? **hugs**

    • Ellen said:

      I do not take it super personally – just at the time I wrote this, it was one more bad thing. I just make small talk at the group, except when I’m sharing, and I don’t share that much. So it wasn’t that what I was saying that was scaring these people. But I do think I can exude a deep depression that scares people sometimes. I don’t mean to.

      Thanks for the encouraging words Grainne, I appreciate them.

  5. Tough place to be in. Holidays do make it harder. Every year I try to do a little better. Not so good this year. I hope your next session has a calming affect for you. Hugs.

    • Ellen said:

      Holidays can be so rough. Sorry yours were not the best this year Ruth. Thanks and Happy New Year.

  6. so sorry ellen. If I could I’d come over to keep you company. Loneliness is hard. The holidays can be so hard for survivors of any trauma. I hope your son will be ok. Thinking of you. xoxoxo

    • Ellen said:

      Thank you Many, you would be welcome. Happy New Year.

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