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holiday

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.

 

 

 

Wanted to wish a happy holiday and Merry Christmas to all my blog readers. And a super shout out to all the commenters here for your insight, empathy, shared stories, likes and encouragement. You are all special and so appreciated.

I’m off to meditate and try and salvage a bit of peace at the end of this day.

 

I meant to write a Christmas message, and now need a venting type post. Sorry to be discouraging.

Year after year, Christmas has been a difficult and depressing time for me. I start feeling blue at the start of December and get worse from there. This year was different though. I was very triggered by therapy, which took me two weeks to get over, so that took me to mid-December. Luckily there’s a therapy break of a few weeks. I do not really miss it. I especially do not miss the massive triggers and lengthy recovery periods.

I went back to some depression books I’d found helpful in the past – one called Unstuck, and the Mindful Way through Depression. Stuff in those books really helps, and none of it involves looking back to the past. I’ve been going to the gym every other day for the last week and a half. This can trigger me, but it also helps a lot with the depression. Then, I spend some time calming down after exercise, just taking the time to try and feel whatever I feel, and that seems to help.

I also went for acupuncture at a community acupuncture clinic, which is half the price of regular, so I feel I can afford to go. It seemed very low key, but it brought up a lot of sadness for me again, and it took some days to feel better. But then, I felt as if I may have let some old feelings surface and dissipate.

So by today, Christmas day, I’m physiologically not that depressed. A miracle. I’m not super cheerful, but I feel like I can cope.

The parts of Christmas that were nice:

  • my tree – a real pretty one
  • Christmas service last night – I enjoyed belting out the traditional carols, and the candle ceremony where we each held a candle appealed to the kid
  • Christmas lunch with my ex and my son at my house. My ex cooked and brought food, while I provided a tidy space and cleaned up.

The crappy part:

  • dinner with my family today, which I walked out of.

And here I am at home alone at eight o’clock. My family is awful. You might think they’re fine. They don’t yell. Everyone is ‘polite’. But they don’t give a shit about me. It’s just so hurtful. I have known this. But I have been hoping I’m ‘too sensitive’ and ‘too depressed’ and really, I just need to be more self-confident and look at it differently. And now, I no longer think that. I don’t think it’s me.

My siblings and my mother are very focused on cooking the perfect meal. There are five different kinds of veg, plus three salads. Turkey, stuffing, gravy, cranberry, many kinds of wine, two kinds of homemade pie.

So I go late afternoon to try and help out. I feel guilty – I bring a veg, but I know they’ve been cooking for hours. Turns out my sibs were down the day before cooking also. I chop things as directed. No one ever talks to me. There is discussion about the food. I ask some questions, but no one responds much, so I give up. I try talking, but no one responds to that either. I wonder – am I boring, or is something I said really embarrassing, or what? I feel uneasy. I feel jumpy. I decide everyone is just tense from the pressure of cooking the perfect meal.

My father’s friends come – all university people. My sister’s friends come – ditto. My father as always refers to my brother’s job, the university professor. The only people who don’t have academic pretensions are my mother, who is almost completely silent, and my uncle and cousin, who both leave early, before dinner, having waited hours for this perfect meal. I know my uncle is also uncomfortable with the focus on university and nothing else.

At dinner, I feel so depressed. No one talks to me. I sit there silently, no longer up to making any effort. Yes, all the dishes are delicious. I couldn’t care less. I finish my plate quickly and leave the table to read my phone in another room. And then, I leave before dessert.

I feel so furious. Maybe I should have said something, but it gets difficult to know at what point to do so. My father is such an asshole. Maybe it’s awful to say it. He must continually control, to show in every way that you must be an academic to be worthwhile. He really does do that. He has never said a word to me on these occasions. I’m never worthy of a comment or any concern.

I’m still seeing red. I hope I get it together to never go back to one of these big family type holidays. They’re all about perfectionism and my father’s controlling ways. I start to feel smaller and smaller until I’m incapable of speaking.

It would maybe have been better to have the fight instead of leaving without a word. I tell you, it’s hard to deal with passive aggression, with mean spirited childish behaviour that goes back many decades. When everything is an omission. My T has pointed out I can still say something, but I find it difficult. Especially maybe with so many relative strangers at the dinner, who are all fitting in with my father’s agenda, and really, just trying to have a Christmas dinner they don’t have to cook.

They have gotten worse these last two years. I understand they are very stressed out by having my disabled son live with them. I cannot help that and would if I could. I know that’s why these rejecting behaviours have escalated, back to the scale they where when I was younger. My siblings just play along for different reasons. I don’t care. I will not keep doing this to myself.

I hope I never see my family again. They can go to hell.

Sunday night and yesterday were better. At the end of day Sunday I forced myself out to get supplies for a barbecue Monday, then talked with a friend for a long time, a lot about her issues but also about my own. Monday morning I headed off for a walk in the park – so unusual for me to head off in the morning. It was to get warm, so I wanted to walk while it was still cool. Nice walk and rest under the trees. I was mostly back in a grown up state of mind, while also taking care of V who loves walks in nature and taking pictures.

The barbecue was pleasant, with my ex and my son. My ex made two salads and a veg, so I only had to do meat and dessert. And all was tasty.

Today I have taken the day off. My plan was to go down to the lake and walk in the morning, however, it is difficult again. I am just overcome with anxiety about my health and my upcoming medical appointment. That anxiety had receded as my week went on, and for some reason started coming back last night, and today is back full force.

I’d gotten an appointment letter in the mail Friday when I got home from work. This letter was from my surgeon’s office, and only listed a follow-up appointment in six months, not the anxiety producing one next week. So I jumped to the conclusion there’s maybe been some kind of mix-up, and I’m not supposed to have this new appointment next week.

That was a nice thought and very calming. However. Monday was a holiday, so now I called this Tuesday morning to clarify. I called the surgeon’s office. You only get an answering machine there, not a person. I might get a call back tomorrow. And I suspect my voice sounded anxious, because I was petrified to call, but I felt I had to. If there’s a chance there was a mix-up, and I don’t have cancer, I want to know sooner rather than later.

Now I’m hoping for a call back, though I know they are unlikely to call soon. If the secretary is taking an extra day because of the holiday, I won’t get a call back for days. And I went back to the letter, and noticed it has a print date of when they called me to book the six month follow-up, days before someone else called me to book next weeks’ follow-up that is causing my stress. So. They likely just didn’t get this in the mail right away, but it was printed before I got the other appointment, so likely this means nothing. I still have cancer, likely.

So that is depressing. And I’m just afraid. Man, I’ve battled back from being overwhelmed by a younger part, and now I have to deal with medical stuff as well. Life is just difficult.

I had this fantasy that they’d phone me back and tell me it was all a mistake, but now I’m thinking that’s just not going to happen. It’s hard.

 

First of all, a happy holiday to readers, commenters and blog writers. Hope all are well and happy if possible. I appreciate you all. Fellow blog writers are part of my daily life, as I read blogs every day, and it’s almost like having company, or just like having a window into someone else’s life. It’s a good feeling for me.

At this moment I feel good. I spent the afternoon and evening with a friend, and it was low stress and pretty good overall. My friend is suffering from a relationship which went wrong, and after a movie and a drink, she didn’t want to be alone, so I went over to her house and we watched netflix together. I really know what it’s like to want company when you’re suffering, not to talk it all out, but just because it helps to have someone there. I like being useful. Plus it’s nice to watch TV with someone else – it is less lonely.

I think I’d be able to heal faster if I was less lonely. If when things are bad, I had somewhere to go, somewhere to not be entirely alone with it all. But I really don’t.

Christmas I had two dinners. On the 24th I went to my family’s Xmas dinner. I volunteered to bring a veg, so I made green beans and off I went. All day I’d dreaded going. The dinner wasn’t that bad, but I can’t say I felt much connection to anyone there. I’m not going to describe in detail because I want to stay out of the depression and pain for a while. One way of looking at it is it wasn’t bad. I left fairly early, and that was that.

On the 25th, I cooked a meal. I’d gotten a Christmas tree a few days before, and decorated it on the 24th, so that was done. I’d planned, bought the right groceries, so that helped.

A problem I have struggled with is my tendency to shut down, and this has been in full force the last few days. By shutting down, I don’t mean just that my emotions shut down. I shut down entirely – I have to lie down, and I either stare out the window, or doze. I feel enormously tired and unable to move. That’s a problem when you have people coming for dinner that you haven’t started yet.

This shutting down problem is what I need to tackle in the coming year. I need to find a way to stay conscious. Because with me shut down so much, I don’t get much done.

Anyway, dinner was good. I cooked lamb, rapini, and apple crisp. I bought a really nice wine to go with it. My ex and my son came over. We had a pretty decent time – much nicer than with my parents.

This year I sent Ron an email wishing him a Merry Christmas, and thanking him for all his care in the past year. I worried about whether it would be intrusive to send over the holidays, and ended up sending it boxing day. Then I shut my email down for the night, because I didn’t want to worry about whether he would respond or not. It didn’t need a response. But the next morning, I saw he’d responded within a few minutes – wishing me also a merry christmas, and saying it was his pleasure. So nice. I did feel warm and fuzzy with this exchange. I am grateful to him, and it felt good to express that, and then getting a kind email in return felt good too.

I went off to my 12 step group on Boxing Day. That day, I was feeling down, and I feel like my share there was over-wrought. I don’t know. It all depends how I want to look at things. I wish I was calmer – my sharing just wasn’t at all calm. Why can’t I talk about things in a calm tone of voice?

One thing I did at the meeting was I let a younger part be there for much of the time, also reassuring her that it was safe. This part, B, loves being with people, so having her sit there, while telling her all was well and she was perfectly safe, felt really good and healing.

I’m hoping to stay on a more even keel for the rest of my holiday – all next week. Some good things have been happening, but I’ve also felt really down and unable to move around – the shut down problem I guess. But tonight I feel good. I’m glad I have my tree, and I have work that’s going pretty well overall, and I have one friend at least.

My last therapy session, I left feeling really connected to Ron, which was really fortunate, going into the holiday. I think at the end of the session, I was talking about missing him, and then B took over and I think talked about missing Ron also. And I said something about what an odd situation therapy is, where you feel close to someone, but they’re not really in your life, apart from one hour a week anyway. Talking about this made me feel closer to him I suppose, in a nice, warm way, not a desperate craving type of way.

 

Well, I’ve been lonely today. I feel as if I can’t describe how things are, so likely I need to make the effort to communicate, even if it’s just to my blog.

It’s been about a week and a half since my last therapy session, and so parts of me really miss Ron. I wish I didn’t feel this way. I’ll see him for an hour tomorrow – not long. Maybe at that point I won’t even want to talk. Maybe the conversation will go no where much. Still, it feels important.

Work has been swinging widely up and down. At least, my feelings about it have. For the first part of the week, I was wishing to quit altogether. It seemed the project I was hired for had evaporated, mysteriously, and a different project which I’m not suited for was in place instead. I’ve been struggling again with my client, E. He cannot seem to plan a project, and it’s very frustrating for me. He has good intelligence and lots of knowledge, but his way of dealing with the people involved is so haphazard. If he likes them, and doesn’t feel threatened by them, he’ll talk to them and invite them to meetings. If he doesn’t like them, he avoids dealing with them. You just can’t manage a project on that basis.

The other problem was I had nothing to work on, so was back to clock watching, which I find depressing. The second half of the week, things finally started to become more interesting again. There were meetings to try and set up this new project, and it was engaging. I enjoy working with people. As I am so alone so much of the time, I guess it becomes a way for me to be with others, and I know I really need that. And E’s very positive qualities emerged – he is not critical, he is interested in my ideas, he is interested in trying new things, as long as they don’t involve tackling difficult people.

I took today off. We have a two week mandatory holiday at Christmas for contractors. No way do I want two weeks off at Christmas – it’s cold, dark, lonely and depressing then for me. So I’ve asked if I can take some of that time in advance instead, and I can, so today was the first day.

It was an OK day. I felt tired and sad, so that part wasn’t great. I can’t seem to sleep in, so I get up still tired. I bought fish for supper, went out for tea, and in the afternoon went for a longish walk in the nearby park. The park was beautiful, but empty and lonely also.

I know I need to work on having more people in my life. I did go to my twelve step group last week, and it was helpful. It’s hard though in general to find friends while depressed. I tried asking a co-worker to go for coffee, and that was OK, but he did not have much interest really. I’ve asked this person a few times, and he’s come with me twice, but he’s not really a breaks type of a person. If he doesn’t initiate, I may ask him once in a while, but not more.

Sometimes I feel B taking over. The whole feeling of myself changes – I become less anxious, but often very sad. But then, as B, very little things can cheer me up, like happy music, or seeing squirrels….

I wonder if this loneliness is really coming from these young child parts. It feels so basic – as if people should be here, and it’s not OK to be by myself. It is OK for an adult to be alone, but less so for a very young child.

 

 

Ah…had a good day. Just for a change, I’ll write down something more hopeful. I went down to the beach for a walk, sat on a wall, looked out at the lake. Yep, it’s still there. I met a friend for ice cream. I hadn’t seen her in months, and it was fine, chatting a bit. Came home and cooked stew for the rest of the week. It is so lovely to not feel exhausted. And I don’t feel guilty. Usually I feel so guilty about not managing to visit my son. But that happened this week already, and it’s OK for me to relax and do other things.

I read my YA novel, The Red Queen. I do lie down and just do nothing for almost two hours. I feel things pressing in on me, and usually I go to sleep when that happens, but I didn’t sleep, just lay there. It seemed OK. I’m spending time just allowing stuff, not desperately pushing it away. It’s not coming clear, and I’m fine with that. I made the time, so, it feels OK. I’m not going to go digging around for what doesn’t need to emerge.

I’m am still pretty tired. I can’t do all I wish to do. I didn’t clean much or at all. I did wash my bedding, which desperately needed it. I will have sweet smelling nights now for a bit.

I really need to clean the bathroom – I should still be able to do that.

I’ve been ignoring therapy as much as possible. It’s a confusing situation and I deserve a break from thinking about it.

I got my balcony planted. You can tell I’m in parts if you look at my planters – I have two large ones. One is for the kid. It is bright! Pink and yellow petunias, silver leafed things, and a blue spire like flower. Then, at the corner of my balcony, my second planter. It’s so calm – more for the adult. Dusty blue petunias, a golden leafed plant, and a cascading white bacopia. Soothing and sophisticated (says I).

I need another bag of potting soil for some leftover geraniums, but basically, it’s done. The kid part of me loves the flowers on the balcony, so now every time we go out there, it’s like a little hit of happiness.

I wish I didn’t have work tomorrow. Child parts do not like work. I have issues with it also. I didn’t think much about work on my break, luckily. It’s hard putting in the time when there’s not much to do. However. Maybe there will be something tomorrow.

I am promising myself to take at least three more days at the August long weekend. That’ll give me something to look forward to. I was worried I would just get sad on days off, but that didn’t happen. I need the time, and I make use of it. Time off. So great.