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.

Bonfire of the Sanity

I’ve never been a believer in the “bad luck” of Friday the 13th.

However…

Today, could have been the exception to that belief.

Men…can be so thoughtless, hurtful and cruel. (Yes, I’m sure women can be too, but since I’m not bisexual or gay, my romantic relationships have never involved the feminine gender)

Everything seemed to go up in flames today.

The man I’ve been talking to for 3.5 years? Well, on New Year’s Day, I told him that I wasn’t going to wait anymore. That I was tired of always coming in last place on the priority list. I’d told him months earlier that if he couldn’t make me a priority & actually keep his word by the end of 2016, that I was done.

The time lapsed, he still hasn’t decided that I’m important enough to merit meeting face to face, so…I ended it.

At least, on my side.

He…won’t stop texting & attempting to call. He’s furious that I’m actually sticking by what I said. 

He’s blaming me for the situation.

Every decision he’s made, he’s made on his own, for his own reasons, & tells me about them after he’s already decided & taken that step. How is this my fault?

So, I threw my phone in my purse & ignored him for most of the day.

I hate confrontation & arguments.

Cue the next thing.

Another man I know, who I dated in the past, starts sending me mixed messages. He’s never wanted the “forever” thing, so I never bothered to bring it up, knowing it was a moot point, & would never come to pass. I’ve never let myself say the “L” word with him, because I do want monogamy, commitment, & marriage again, someday. 

But today, in the emotional turmoil I was experiencing with E, I start getting messages from this other man, that sounded almost romantic & sentimental. (I say almost because I don’t know what to believe anymore with this, whether it was meant as a “haha-funny”, or if it was supposed to be taken for real).

I’m so messed up in the head right now.

PLUS, (yeah, there’s more)…

I sent an email the other day to a man I knew a few years ago, who I dreamt about, & felt compelled to contact. We were emotionally close at one time, and confided in each other a lot of personal stuff. We were close to seeing if we could “make a go of it” romantically, when he suddenly backed up & disappeared.  It destroyed me for a long time, & I’ve never completely gotten over the loss. Not just as a romantic prospect, but as a dear friend, & someone I’d come to think of as Chosen Family.

I didn’t expect a response at all, as he was pretty clear about not wanting any kind of relationship with anyone, ever. (Miles of bad relationship road behind him, & a fear of getting hurt again)

He responded, & wants to talk as soon as he returns from a work trip he had to go on.

Flaming unicorns on pogo sticks.

My sanity won’t take much more.

My brain is on fire, my heart is in pieces, and I can’t see the point of continuing with much of anything right now.
So, after I finish this post…

I’m putting down the phone, face down, so I don’t have to see it’s mocking screen…and I’m going to pour myself an adult beverage.

Or six.

No, I’m not laughing as I write this.

I’m completely fucking serious.

And I’m seriously completely fucked.

No Home

Something I figured out tonight… something I’d thought about before, wondered why many times…but never had an answer until now.

Why don’t I feel as “grown up” as most of the other 40-something’s I know? Why is it, that I feel so abnormal, so out of place with my peers?

Most of the people I know my age, talk about their jobs, their kids, their gardens & recipes. They talk about their spouse, & where they’re going for their next vacation, or about how the car “just isn’t running right, so I’d better take it in”. 

I hear them discussing things like regular adults, day to day stuff, “grown-up” stuff.

So why am I still stuck contemplating my navel, & why my relationships always seem to turn to shit?

Grief.  It’s grief. And the fact that most of those other adults don’t feel it all the time, as I seem to be.

Sure, I know it sounds odd, so let me explain my reasoning.

Grief – is Love with no place to go. It’s Loving, but not being able to give that Love to someone. Not having a “home” for it. Grief is having so much love, & never being able to show it, or having the one you love throw it away. It’s Feelings so strong you seem to crack at the seams, and they leak out of your face, sliding down your cheeks, only to fall to the floor. It’s the desolation of knowing that the Love you have, has nowhere to land, either because the one you love has passed, or simply left you behind.

Grief – is Love, lost and confused, spinning back on itself in the hope of finding resolution, only to discover there’s no doorway back to how it was before.

And these other adults, the people I watch, they don’t have to worry about Grief in that way. 

Because they have their purpose, they have a place for their love to go. They have their SO, their contented life, balanced &, for the most part, fairly whole. Grief, when it does strike, doesn’t consume their whole world. They’re able to get through it, because they have that balance, that Love with a Home to go to.

So, they talk about their gardens, and their weekends, their jobs & kids & pets & what they’re going to make for dinner.

And me?

Well, I know my home is not here. 

Not anymore.

Where it is, I don’t know. 

Someday, maybe, I’ll find a Home for my Love. Until then…

I am Grief.

Only on the blog will you find me this open. 

Out in the “Real World”… I’m fine.

Taking a Moment

I learned some very sad news today.

My father’s best friend, a man I’ve known my whole, remembered life, has only a year to live.

And I can’t seem to wrap my head around it.

I want to cry.

I want to rage at the sky.

I want to curl up and sob, uncontrollably.

And I’m not allowed to do any of those things.

I’m supposed to be strong. I’m supposed to be support for my parents, understanding, compassionate, supportive.

With everything that’s been going on in my life right now, this is going to sound extremely selfish, but I just want to go home, lock my doors, curl up on the floor, and Not. Feel. Anything.

I’m tired of being strong for everyone else.

I’m exhausted, standing on my own, with no one to hold me, tell me that they have me, and I can crash for a while.

Fuck this.

Ask for honesty, and get silence.

Tell someone you care about them, and more silence.

Why do I care about anything, anymore?

It only brings pain, silence, and distance.

So, I’m taking a moment to grieve.

To grieve for this family friend.

To grieve for my Mom and Dad.

To grieve for myself, and my own losses.

Friends.

Family.

Affection.

Honesty.

The possibility.

Delete, delete, delete…

How many times will I do this?

How many times will I tell myself “never again”?

How many times?

Obviously, I’ll never learn this life lesson.  I’ll return in my next life, fresh-faced & naive, and face this lesson again. 

And again.

And again.

Because, somewhere, down in the bottom of my heart, even after all the times it’s been fractured & pinned back together…

There lies a shred of hope.

And I can’t seem to kill it.

It’s not done with me, yet.

Whatever is going on, the wrongness I’ve been feeling lately, it’s still there.

My anxiety & depression have been riding me for days, holding me under water, not letting me sleep.  And I’ve been trying to restrain from posting here, since I know I have a tendency to word vomit and regret it later.

I’ve been trying to shake this off, but it’s not working.

And I don’t know what else to do, but retreat.

*delete, delete, delete*