The First Night

The quality of the sound is different, somehow.

The sound of the absolute silence of my house, for this, the first night of me officially living alone.

OnlySon moved out on Monday.

And EldestDaughter left with her horde today.

I’ve had days & nights on my own before, sure. Plenty of them. OnlySon went practically every weekend to his father’s house. I’ve had summers without the kids since the divorce.

It’s not like I’ve never had the house to myself…

But it’s never been this official.

And a part of me feels as though I’ve been set adrift. 

Unmoored, I am not sure which direction I’m headed in now.

I no longer have children to raise.

I have no spouse or SO to share with or answer to.

Some might think this is a reason to celebrate, to cut loose & go all “Yay Me” all over the place.

But, that means…they don’t really understand who I am at my core.

I am a caretaker.

I like and thrive on having people I care about around me to share my life with, be they children, an SO, Chosen Family, you know…loved ones.

When I’m alone… 

There’s no one to care for.

And there’s no one here who cares for me…so…

What’s the sense in staying?

Time to figure out how to get gone.


The Pendulum Swings

Yesterday was…awful.

Mom called in the morning while I was at work, & told me that Dad’s best friend had passed away. This man was someone I’ve known for practically my whole life. His daughter & I were best friends and nearly inseparable from kindergarten through 5th grade. (The following summer of 1981 we moved to ND)

He and his wife were like second parents to me, as I spent almost as much time at their house as I did my own.

But, he was also the father of the boy who molested me when I was a teenager.

After Mom told me of his passing, I attempted to go back to work at my desk, but couldn’t concentrate. My head felt heavy, & I could hear a buzzing, ringing, in my ears as everything else around me started to fade out.

Then, the panic attack began.

I told my supervisor I had to go home, & bolted from the office before I went into full-meltdown mode. I didn’t want them to see me like that, couldn’t let them see me like that.

It was my worst panic attack yet, save one I had while separated from my first ex (whole other story). 

Tears rolled down my face the whole drive home, but I held my shit together till I got in my front door.

Then – game over.

If you’ve never had a real, full-blown panic attack…you have no idea how frightening one is. I hope you never have to experience it, because it’s…well…I’ll try to describe it.

As soon as my front door closed, the trembling started. I’m not talking about just “feeling shaky”. I’m talking – my whole body went into earthquake mode.  Someone just watching would have probably thought I was having a seizure, or that I’d just gotten out of ice-cold water, I shook so violently. I had to sit to take my shoes off, & struggled with the zippers because I couldn’t keep my fingers still long enough to grasp them.

The cold set in. My house is generally warm, as I can’t abide being cold. I usually have the heat set at 76. But, yesterday, I couldn’t get warm. I wrapped one of my fleece blankets around me as I stumbled through the house to the fridge for my water, & it still wasn’t enough to warm me up. It took 2 blankets & my 2 cats (curled up with me in the chair) to finally warm me.

After taking another dose of my anti-anxiety meds to try to quell the panic attack, it went to the next level. Hyperventilating.

I almost blacked out, so it’s a good thing I was already in my chair when this hit. It dragged on for what seemed like forever, swinging between hyperventilating & hitching sobs. Coupled with the shaking trembles, it most likely would have looked like a grand mal seizure. 

Finally, the meds started to kick in, after interminable seeming hours, and I started to calm. It was most likely just a handful of minutes, but time stretches out unceasingly when in a panic attack, your brain screams fight or flight!! And there seems to be no end, no exit, no rescue. 

And when you’re dealing with this alone, with no one there to comfort you, there’s no surcease of the pain until your body, quite literally, shuts down. The adrenaline of the attack does eventually run out. It has to.

But when you’re panicking, it doesn’t feel that way.

When you’re in PA mode, all you know, all you see, is the black, horrific, panic. It’s a heart attack, stroke, earthquake, flood & mental apocalypse, all rolled inside of your head & body.

It, quite literally, feels like the end, while you’re in it. Logic has no place there. None. It’s not a matter of “just breathe, you’ll be fine”.

You can’t “just breathe”, when every breath has to be fought for.

You can’t “just calm down”, when your heart is racing so fast you feel like a jet engine is going to bust through your chest.

For me, tunnel vision set in, & all I could see was whatever was directly in front of my eyes, but my brain wasn’t truly processing even that. It was in overload.

Once the attack finally crested, & I started to come down, it was like falling off a cliff.

I crashed. 

I slept, weighted under 2 blankets & 2 cats, it was more like falling into a coma, in that I didn’t dream at all. It was just – black sleep.

Today, I am out of PA mode. My anxiety is still very high, but I’m watching it. Keeping quiet, avoiding going out, & taking meds as needed. 

For those of you who do have anxiety & have experienced PA, you know the aftercare, & what I’ve been through. I know another attack could happen, so I’m being careful. Doing all the things I do to relax, soothe & comfort. Reading, to keep my brain occupied on something other than the situation. Wearing my comfort clothes to feel good against my skin. Burning candles and/or incense as needed to use aromatherapy to soothe. Staying away from caffeine, as that can trigger another attack while in heightened stress moments.

And blogging. This helps me, almost as much as the meds. Because this is my emotional outlet, my “scream into the black” of the internet. My way of getting the words out of my head, onto the “page”, & away from my emotional distress.

The worst has passed, and I’m still here…but the pendulum swings. And the moments are tentative & tenderly susceptible to another PA. Hang on, we’re not out of the woods entirely, yet.

Some Days I Want To Die

Because somedays I don’t see the point of being here, anymore, and my brain lies to me and tells me that- I’m really not making a difference in any way, and that, while my family (chosen family included) would miss me, sure, they’d learn to live with it, & it’s not like I really make a difference there, either.

Yes, I know these are lies my brain tells me when I’m depressed. And I’d never suicide, because I know how horrible that is for those left behind, but the depression still holds me down, head under water, emotionally, until I feel as though one long nap would be the end of it, & it could be peaceful & less noisy, & very little mess. 

It’s the same as the lies my brain tells me when it fills me with anxiety about anything and everything it can dredge up out of the depths of my id. 
Don’t go out, something will happen, & you’ll end up embarrassed, or hurt, or made fun of, & then you’ll just want to curl up & cry. Stay home where nothing can hurt you.  This kind of thing never ends well for you, anyway.

Oh, and remember that thing you said to that person? How stupid was that? You would’ve done much better to say…this. Or to just keep your stupid mouth shut, cause then stupid wouldn’t fall out of it.

And did you hear what that woman at work said to you today? Oh, you thought it was a nice compliment? Really? Did you really hear what she said & the look on her face & the tone of her voice & how she was talking to one of the other women later & just…stopped…talking when you walked by? Yeah…let’s discuss this some more, shall we?

And remember that thing you did 5 years ago? Let’s dissect that into all its tiniest meanings over the next 7 hours while you’re pretending to sleep. Oh? You weren’t pretending, you were actually trying to sleep? Well…not anymore. Good morning, Sunshine!

Oh, there’s a man interested in you? You know he only wants one thing, right? And you’re not getting any younger, so forget about getting that “happily ever after”, cause they all leave, eventually. Why would they possibly want to stay with you? An aging, anxious, depressed, overweight, grandmother. Yeah, there’s the brass ring. Take what they give you, because that’s all there is anymore, Chickie. You aren’t going to get what you want.

And the ride never ends, with subject after subject being over-analyzed & subjected to the highest-powered microscope possible.

So, yes, some days I want to die.

And some days I feel as though I’m just a passenger in my own skin, & I watch the automaton doing the work thing, & the talking to other people thing, & the taking care of the animals thing, & I marvel at the wonders of modern science that could create such a life-like robot that can carry passengers who watch the day go by out through the eye-windows.

And I’m glad on those days that I could just lie back & let the robot do it all, because the depression had me under water again, & the anxiety told me that if I struggled, I’d snap my own neck for sure and then where would I be?

And some days, there’s just no up…only sideways…and it’s all I can do to hang onto the cliff’s edge with my nonexistent fingernails, & shift to the left, digging for another foothold.

So, some days, I dye.

Yes, black hair.

It was time to go dark.

After all, it’s been pretty dark on the inside lately. Time to let it out.

Fine

I’m fine.

Except when he calls. Because I won’t answer, I let it ring, silently, while I attempt to get ready for my day; putting on the mask I have to wear for the next 8-9 hours, so no one knows there’s anything wrong. But I know it’s ringing, even when it’s laid, facedown, on my sink. I know it’s ringing, 3 or 4 separate times, because he simply – Won’t. Stop. Calling.

I’m fine.

Except when he texts, because I refuse to answer during the day, trying to remain focused on what I have to get through at work, knowing that he’s furious & accusatory; pleading one minute and threatening the next…I can’t even look to see what he’s sent most of the time, but then…have to look when I take a break, because, like a train wreck…you just- have to look. And then the shakes start. And I have to remember how to breathe, and when to smile, so no one knows there’s anything wrong. Doubling the anxiety meds some days just to take the edge off to appear “normal”.

I’m fine.

Except late at night, when I have to put my phone on vibrate, so it doesn’t ring in the middle of the night, when he’s frantically trying to get me to answer him – due to the time difference between here and there.

I’m fine.

Except that I can’t block the communication completely, my lovely phone plan not allowing me to block, but only to “auto-refuse”, which means I don’t see the calls coming anymore, but it doesn’t stop the texting, or the emailing.

I’m fine.

Because I refuse to tell people around me that he – Will. Not. Listen. To what I told him. That I’m done, I can’t take the broken promises anymore, and I need to focus on the life I have going on around me, instead of some long-drawn-out and never-manifesting wish I had that I could be happy with someone, that I could be loved by someone responsible & honest & someone with integrity & commitment to me in his heart.

I’m fine. 

Don’t worry.

I’m fine.

Because I will get this behind me, somehow, some way. I will do this on my own, because I refuse to be a burden or an obligation to anyone, and this is my responsibility to handle this fucking mess. I don’t want pity – I hate seeing it on anyone’s face.

So I don’t tell.  I don’t talk.

I’m fine.

Almost There

I’m almost there.  

Isolating myself has been easy…almost too much so. Pulling away was silent, unobtrusive, unnoticed, unmourned.

The walls get thicker, more soundproof every day, as I brick up the path behind me. The only sounds I hear is the ticking of the clocks, the wet slap of mortar as I trowel it onto those laid before, the dull “squish” as I set the next brick into place. My defenses will not be torn loose so easily again. 

And I nod to affirm that silent declaration.

Silence is an amazing weapon of self defense.

Interactions with the outside world are accomplished masked, outwardly pleasant, and brief out of necessity. The mask smiles, even laughs on occasion, tending to the daily needs, before retreating back into silence once removed when safely behind the bastion’s walls.

And no one notices the difference.

No one in the everyday sees behind the curtain.

Not anymore.

Only those trusted most, the secret, hidden, Chosen few know that which lies, frozen in silence, floating in Purgatory, until the day that comes bringing freedom.

I’m almost there.

Waiting in Silence.

Not Today

I just can’t hold onto the positive hopes.

Not today.

Because a couple of days ago, I told him that 3 1/2 years of waiting was enough. 3 1/2 years of late-night conversations, daily texts, occasional phone calls…but never a face to face meeting, was enough.  That 3 1/2 years of broken promises, one after another, was enough.  When words are only words, and never become deeds…how do you continue to believe in tomorrow?

Not today.

My heart is torn into pieces right now.  I know, everyone says…”It’ll change. You’ll find someone. Someone will come along and just sweep you off your feet.”

Not today.

Today, I mourn.

It’s over.

And it never even started.

This…THIS is why I have defensive walls so high and thick it takes a mountaineer to climb them.

Fucking men with their habit of ghosting, benching, promising & breaking, blowing me off, calling me “psycho” when I get upset after they refuse to live up to their word. Disappearing because of their own fears & insecurities, then laying it off on me as my fault because they can’t handle relationships & monogamy.

Goddess…I’m so tired of this.

I just want one man. One MAN, who can be an adult, is willing to commit, and can see that I’m worth more than just being a friend with benefits, or a hookup. I don’t want the games anymore.

And I don’t want to spend the rest of my life alone.

I’ll be just fine.

But not today.

 

Honestly…

I value honesty so much.

In fact, it’s one of the keystones of my personality.

Without honesty, there can be no trust. There can be no friendship, and no love.

And I’d rather be disappointed by the truth, than comforted with a lie.

If I tell you I have feelings for you (didn’t say I was in love, for fuck’s sake, just that I had feelings, even I wasn’t sure what they were at that point), & you don’t reciprocate? The truth is much less painful in the long run than “playing along till you can escape”, then ghosting me, hoping I disappear. At least with the truth, I can say “Ok, that’s not going to go anywhere, so I’ll let it go, lick my wounds, & move on to, someday, find someone who will appreciate me”; Instead of being confused by silence, hurt by being treated as though my feelings don’t matter at all , & angry at being ignored.

Without honesty, what’s the point?
I actually sought out some advice, honest & blunt, from an ex-boyfriend today, knowing that he would be just as completely & totally truthful with me as I was seeking. And I wasn’t disappointed.

I knew that, no matter what I said, or asked, “A” would tell me the absolute truth as he saw it.  And it was a man’s perspective I was seeking, so he was just the one to ask.  No pulling punches, no tactful, biased by our previous relationship, answers – just his honest opinion. He wouldn’t back me up if he didn’t truly feel I was right in my thinking, he would’ve called me a twit (or a reasonable facsimile thereof), & laughed at me.

But, he didn’t laugh.

And I really appreciated it.

And in my questioning, I realized that I was right about thinking that someone else’s words & actions were inconsiderate, rude, thoughtless & hurtful.  

Not living up to your own word, shows that your words can’t be trusted at all.

“You do that/act like that because you’re a female”. 

When I told “A” about that (supposedly joking) comment, he rolled his eyes, and seemed to be offended, as I was when I heard it myself. It shows, at least to me, a complete lack of respect for women as a whole, to label us all with one broad stroke of a tarred brush.

When I told him about the refusal on the other party’s part to even discuss the breakdown in communication I had with this other man, he basically called it childish.

“A” and I may not be in a relationship as “boyfriend & girlfriend” anymore, but at least we can communicate. No matter what, he’s always remained the same in that regard.

And, that honesty I value.