trapped.

I haven’t really been able to write much or talk since Friday. As far as I know nothing happened then to change anything… But Sunday in particular onwards I’ve been in panic and flight mode. Right now everything says I need to push everyone away and hide.

This evening I forced myself out to dinner for a friends birthday. Knowing it was important to them helped me dig my heels in and actually make it. It didn’t stop the urge to run (and I mean run) from kicking in a bit further into the evening, despite being surrounded by people I KNOW mean no harm.

Sunday I spent just feeling panicky and with butterflies in places there shouldn’t be butterflies… Monday I felt useless and a complete failure by the end of the day and gave up and went to bed at 8.30. Today I felt like crawling into a hole and just laying down and waiting for someone to find my skeleton years later. The thing is I can’t tell you why. Even I don’t know??! Its like I hit a block when oi try and think about it. I’ve tried writing about how I’m feeling and what is behind it a few times, and nothing seems to come out… I try and talk and its like I’m struck dumb and I feel like I’m suffocating.

I’m scared I’m going to cut myself off. Not only from everyone, but from myself too. I’ve done it before spo its definitely possible… Thing is, its the LAST thing I want to do. But I’m not sure I have much choice in the matter. I can feel myself getting numb. The pain decreases, but so does everything else. I’m not sure I can take that. Even if it means breaking just to know I still bleed and feel.

 

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Experimentation

I’ve been quiet for a few days, and it’s been an interesting few, in the Chinese sense, anyway…

Last week I spent in bed, pretty much. I couldn’t get up, and I couldn’t do anything. Body and Mind’s way of telling me enough was enough I guess. Last weekend I roleplayed and enjoyed it for the first time in ages, did art for the first time in a longer time than that, surprised myself, cried, laughed, hugged and generally just was. I’m now conducting an experiment, where when I’m thinking I write it down. I think I’ve said before that my brain goes QUICKLY. Like happily thinking about four or five different things at once quickly. I need to slow it down. So instead I’m writing it down, which is hopefully going to mean that I distract myself enough to only have one two or maybe three things in my head. It does mean I’m doing a lot of writing in the meantime though, which is why I haven’t really said that much on here. I will probably sort the thoughts out into some sort of coherency and stick them on here at some point.

There’s a fair bit coming out though, and that has to be a good thing overall I think, so we’ll see how this goes. Ultimately I need to work out how to slow my brain down and focus on just one train of thought, as that will probably help. I’m also wondering what the ’empty thoughts’ I have are more and more. By this, I mean the times I know I’m thinking about something and there’s stuff going on, but I couldn’t tell you what I’m thinking about, just that the process is happening. It’s like there’s a part of me I just don’t have access too, but sometimes I’m aware of it.

Does that make any sense? It’s one of these things that just seems a little bit crazy, but that’s the best way I can think of to explain it, although I’m not sure it’s a common thing or not….

I also need to get back on top of the whole diet and exercise thing as well… I have a bunch of swimming passes to use though, so that should kick start quite happily, and I’m planning that for next week onwards I have ten swims to use in 6 weeks, so hoping to average twice a week. Then I need to get back into the kinect stuff. Just need to kick my butt really, and also take up the kind offer of some workouts I can do at home. Overall though, this is already shaping up to be an interesting year, and I think big things (for me, at least) may be afoot.

A box full of the past.

I was looking for my box of fabrics last night, as I plan to try and make a case for my drum this week. I’m quite looking forwards to this – since completing my GCSE textile project (a shadow quilted aztecan themed tablecloth) aside from making a few cushion covers for others I haven’t really done anything like that, so it’ll be nice to use those skills. I knew I’d put the box in the one of the cubby hole cupboards, so went and moved some other things to get to it, and found a box which didn’t really have any real indication to it’s contents.. So I put it to one side, found the fabric, and went back to writing what I wrote yesterday.

This morning I looked in the box and found various things – a tub of postcards I’d collected from places I’d been to on my travels in the UK, another tub with some chip beads I’d bought with the intention of making bracelets and never got around to (and had decided recently I would pass on to someone who may have use for them… when I found them!) There were also a couple of books, and finally a yellow folder I thought I’d lost.

I’ve always been quite open about the fact that I had a difficult time when I moved away from Sheffield. Everything that happened was my fault, because I’d chosen the things I had, and had made the decisions I had, and quite frankly, I was getting everything I deserved as a result. I was alone and cut off from everyone else, where I could cause no more damage, and had a chance to prove that at the heart of everything, I might not be solely to blame for all the things I had experienced to that point.  I didn’t know how to even be social, let alone go and make friends, and even if I did, I would have been too afraid for a long while. I had Jack, whom I’d known since Uni, and we’d been really good friends, his housemate, and then my lodger, Yves, and someone I knew from a long time since, Amy was also in Newcastle.  Another friend Paul had decided to move up around the same time I did as well, so I at least had people I knew about, otherwise things may have turned out differently. It was when Yves had changed that I realised that I hadn’t escaped or made a new start… things were beginning to happen all over again, and I had to be the problem.

So, I went to see a Psychotherapist called Frances for a while. She was actually really good with me. I remember sitting and not being able to say anything because I felt if I did something really bad was going to happen. But she managed to get me to be able to talk, and we started to piece a picture of things together. She was the first person to really know what had happened, not just parts. She was also the first person to  tell me that no matter whether I thought it was my fault, that what had happened was  in fact long term systematic abuse, and that was wrong. I still don’t like using the term now, but it is correct.  When I ran out of money for my sessions with Frances, she tried to get me a referral for a charity to be able to do some longer term work, but this wasn’t successful, so she recommended several books to work though.

The yellow folder contains the ‘homework’ I did with Frances as well as where I’d started working through the books. I had a look as I was taking out a couple of the random things which had ended up in there as well, and had to stop because it’s upset me.  The thing that did it was a letter that I’d written as me aged 8 or 9. I’d clearly managed to get to the younger me’s head, because my handwriting matches me at that age, and the language is right. If I didn’t *know* where it had come from I would have said it was written by an 8/9 year old. But the thing that has gotten me is the acceptance in that letter that everything happening was ‘normal’ that this was it, there wasn’t anything wrong about it. That the things I believe now were already fully incorporated into me back then.

It’s going to be a huge climb, but I *will* do it. And what’s more, I’m going to restart the books.

 

what happened next…

I would be remiss if I didn’t post about the weekend soon, as in a few ways, its been an important one, even if I don’t really realise the why’s and wherefore’s fully yet, there are things even I can say were important. I’ll also apologise now for typos and bad grammar, I’v’e part written this from my tablet, and it isn’t fantastic at doing what I type.

Friday saw me get through work, and then head to tutoring, and race home to get sorted for a friend coming over for the evening. She and I have been saying we’d do this for a while now, so it was good to finally get together. We were both incredibly tired, so we watched some YouTube videos, had some food, and a couple of drinks, I introduced her to professor elemental, which as I’d hoped, she loved, and after converting the futon we went to bed pretty early.

I woke Saturday with a bit of dread about the meal that I had organised and planned, as I knew there was a chance that one of the people to have caused issue and raise questions could well be there, along with a couple of others I didn’t really want there, because they unsettle me., and my instincts tell me something is wrong when it comes to them. That doesn’t happen that often, so I do tend to listen when it does!

We headed down to Starbucks in town, which was the agreed meeting point as this was close to the restaurant, and gave time for people to arrive without too much stress. We ended up a little late due to football traffic, so hadn’t been there that long when everyone had arrived, including the other party. I ran to the bank to pay in cash before it closed, and came back, at which point I was asked what the plan was, so I confirmed that nothing had changed and we were still eating at 1.30. I was then quizzed about the restaurant policy and whether children would be allowed in without eating and a whole bunch of stuff I had pushed back on the previous day, when they intimated they might come, as it was pretty easy to call/pop in to the restaurant. I said that I didn’t know, as I’d said that they needed to look at that. Then a hissy fit, and a scene and they marched off. Quite honestly, I was torn between just walking out and going home, or sitting down and bursting into tears. Both involved wanting furiously to disappear, as people had turned round and all sorts. As it was, I did neither. I pushed it to one side, so that others there wouldn’t be unnerved and panic, and we went and ate. I kept up the appearance that I was fine so as not to spoil anything and it worked. I won’t even deny that I had some fun, in spite of feeling absolutely horrible. And I knew that later, there would be a consequence to failing to deal with it there and then, but I did what was best, and it paid off.

I spent a fair amount of time thinking about and replaying things over in my head after that, wondering if there was something I’d missed, or could have done to have avoided that whole thing happening, and actually, I’m not sure that there was anything. I hadn’t shouted, or raised my voice, I simply stood my ground where previously I probably wouldn’t have. So I can’t really punish myself for starting to treat myself as I would treat someone else. And that is probably the first thing that stands out to me as being important.

In my head, I come at the bottom of the pile when it comes to things. I’ll do everything for someone else, but I don’t deserve to put myself first. I am not allowed to be selfish. That’s what the tickertape in my head tends to say anyway… There are other things it says too, but that’s one. So to have actually made a conscious decision to not try to please everyone but myself, even though I was still trying for the best overall result, it’s a step forwards. And I’m told it’s a big thing.

This leads on, to finish the story, about a decision I have come to after the week as a whole. Coming to the realiisation that I have been working my arse off to maintain friendships because I feel obligated to the other party for whatever reason, when actually they are quite happy to forget I exist unless I can be of use has meant that I have made the decision to step back from these people. Things have changed, and what once worked no longer does. And now I see that, I’m not sure it’s something I can continue. Again, I would, and have, said this course of action would be the best one to take if it were someone else in this situation. I know that it won’t be easy, because not only does it mean I’m accepting the change in them, I’m accepting that it can’t be fixed. But I have to believe that this is for the best. Now the battle begins to not cave in to the shitstorm it’s currently causing. I feel guilt that I didn’t do enough, and that maybe it could have been saved. Or maybe I did something wrong? I also feel guilt because I feel there’s a debt to be repaid. Guilt is a horrible emotion, truth be told, and one I wish I could eradicate. But then, I would truly be a nut case… This decision is the second important thing from this.

Thirdly, whilst talking through stuff, I think there may have been a start to destroying another phrase on the mental ticker tape. I was trying to explain why I feel obligated and generally act the way I do when it comes to why I put up with so much – jump through hoops, go many extra miles, beyond what is apparently expected of me, and it just came out. I don’t know if you ever have one of those moments, where you say something and as you say it you realise that what you are saying is TRUTH at it’s basest level. (Whether it’s actually true is another debate entirely) but you know you’ve reached the root?  Bottom line is that I will do all of that, because as long as I am useful and of some value, then people will keep me about. I need to keep being of use and value because otherwise people will see the truth that I am useless (and worthless – which is what I didn’t say, but couldn’t actually voice that word) and that would leave me being abandoned and left alone. I have a few ticker tapes like that, but this one, after a bit of a stern (and neededly so) talking to is hopefully beginning to be broken. It’s not pleasant, and it’s damn painful, but it’s necessary. I’m not sure that these are things I have the strength to break on my own, as loathe as I am to admit that. But if it’s going to take people who are worth their salt to be firm and blunt then so be it.  I’ve chosen to walk this road, along with everything that that entails. The ugly, the entrails, the hurt, and hopefully the better things at the end if I make it out of here. In some ways this is the biggest risk I’ve ever taken. I know I may not get to the end, and ‘m not sure I can do it alone, so I’m trusting my instincts that this is the right time to do this, and I’m trusting that there will be someone there to help me when I inevitably  get to the point where I stumble, whether it’s a helping hand to pull me out from the water, or a kick into the fire. That’s a big deal for me. Because it’s me choosing to go against EVERYTHING I believe about myself, and a lot about the world in the hope that there is something better at the end of it, and that it, that I am worth that….

The weekend also brought the recognition that my brain is heading into overdrive again as well. I’ve never had a quiet brain, it never really stops, and is always busy doing something, even if I don’t consciously know what it is I’m thinking about (yeah, I know that sounds weird… although my description sounds even weirder…it’s almost like there’s someone else there, thinking about something, and I know that, but I don’t have any access to that thought, or who is doing the thinking. Although yesterday I did have a bit of a theory start to form about that too… and maybe it’s not actually that far fetched… but I digress) At least half of the reason I have trouble getting to sleep when I do (and I mean getting to sleep, not the night terrors, or nightmares, or stuff while I am sleeping)  is because my brain won’t quieten, won’t shut up, won’t even slow down. I’m usually always thinking about at least three things, connecting different things together, or considering options, or mulling on ideas . I seem to be thinking harder and faster and longer of late though, and it’s actually making it a bit more difficult to mull some of this stuff over than I would like, especially when I’m trying to talk about it. I’m having to wade through five or six layers of stuff to get to what I want to say. Partly a defense mechanism? Possibly, I suppose. If I have other stuff I stop thinking about the things that hurt?  Makes sense in a child’s logic kind of way, which I know my brain is partly wired on in some aspects. Take, for example now, I’m writing this at the same time  as planning out meals for the next two weeks, listening to music, working on an idea for some fiction and debating where my other box of fabric is…. and it doesn’t really stop or quieten and somewhere in the midst I sleep.

It’s always been really hard to turn my brain off, and short of unconsciousness the only thing I know of that actually kind of works is having my head stroked. Unfortunately it’s not something I can do to myself and have it work, and until  they make a pillow that can do that and release it commercially I’m out of luck. And sometime even that doesn’t work fully.  So this is something I need to look at, somehow… not sure how, so feel free to make suggestions. One thing has been suggested, which I am willing to try and I will see if I can get that sorted.

It’s not necessarily a question of focus either… because I can do that, even if it takes a concentrated effort. On Sunday I went to the Shamanic Drumming workshop being run from time to time. I was feeling a little apprehensive as I knew I wasn’t feeling great – I’d slept badly the night before, not getting to sleep until close to 6am, and then having bad dreams, and was still torn up over what had happened this week, and didn’t want that to spill into other people’s experiences, as my energy was not that great. So decided to focus on putting everything else to one side as much as I could. Two things happened through the afternoon. During one drum, we’d set off the beat as reindeer, and then moved to the wolf. Sometime in there I’d managed to gain that focus, as I began to smell the pine forests, and could taste the air – it was the same as when I used to run cross country in the middle of winter through the woods, when your lungs kick up a level and convert more efficiently.  It’s very VERY rare that I get sensory input like that, anymore,  even in my nightmares, with the exception of pain, and very occasionally tactile sensation (like in my recurring nightmare, I know I’m locked in a wooden trunk because I can feel the grain of the wood) so that in itself was a really good odd thing. When I was a lot younger, I could completely immerse myself into other places, with full senses going, but that all stopped when I went into hiding, and until yesterday it’s not something I ever thought I’d experience again. Another reason to keep walking this path…. even if it would be easier to just stop fighting with myself, throw all my defenses up to maximum and keep on keeping on. Instead I’m choosing the harder road. And keeping my defenses down, until I can disassemble and rebuild them, and also to chip against the walls. From inside and out.

cracks appear in the well worn veneer.

I’m very very used to being able to go about daily life and not have anyone notice when something isn’t fine. So when I find that to not be the case, it raises questions for me.  Does this mean that the mask is wearing thin? Is it getting too much for me to be able to disguise? Or is it actually that I mostly get away with it because people don’t look that closely.

At the moment, I think it’s probably a little of everything… but the biggest truth is is that I’m getting tired of fighting. With myself, with others and with the world at large. Everyone has demands of me, up to and including just to be myself. That’s the one I probably find hardest I think. People think I am all these things, and I probably appear that way, and in some cases it might even be true. But there are things I am not. Or maybe just that I’m realising that I don’t *have* to be those things.  But then if I don’t have to be then what does that leave??

I know I’m talking vagueries again but I’m trying to actually express something that isn’t verbal in my head… so maybe it’s better to start at the beginning and see if that helps..

Last week I came to the realisation (with some help I should add) that I have friends who are not really friends. They are happy enough when they want something, or I can do/give/be something for them, but at other times they really don’t want to know.  This was proven and cemented when I had an encounter with them for the first time in a pretty long time and within an hour, I’d been asked for a favour. I wasn’t even asked how I was or why I’d not been about in the previous time.  Me being me, I did it, and it took having to hint majorly to get even a thank you.  In the past, this one sided “friendship” was acceptable for me, and I would quite happily be the doormat, because it was better than the alternative.  And it meant at least I had ‘friends’.

The changes over the last year though have made me wonder if maybe I am actually capable of better, and there have been better people come into my life who are showing me this is possible too.

So after this last week, and very clearly deciding that actually being treated like that isn’t acceptable, if only because I wouldn’t allow my friends to be treated like that, and I would never treat them like that, came last night.  Another person tried to assert their…will…I guess over me, and I fought back. I know that I did the right thing in denying them, especially when the daggers started to fly, and yet I ended up feeling completely guilty over doing it. This person I’ve known for a very long time. around 10 years in fact. They’ve been exceptionally important at times in the past, especially when I fell apart and no-one noticed.  It was actually this person who stopped me from bottoming out irretrievably. Thinking about that now though, it was purely because they happened to turn up and catch me completely defenseless. But, to their credit, they dropped everything and to some extent saved me from the abyss. Which may actually be why I feel so guilty. I feel like I owe them something I can’t actually repay.  I’d never thought of it like that until just now. But I think they may also know how I feel, because they know me well enough to know. And know it’s something they can use to keep me at their whim. Except they tried last night and it didn’t work.

I don’t know. But I know that I ended up feeling close to breaking point last night.  This is where it sounds odd. I could feel the pain, physically, but knowing that it wasn’t physical pain, but could feel the knots and wounds twisting and pulling and generally trying to tear me apart on the inside.  Something that however I try, I fail to explain. I do wish that the ability to transfer feelings existed (I think it’s star trek that has something like it.) Just so when someone who does notice and asks ‘what’s wrong’ instead of failing utterly to try and explain I could instead just take a hand and press it into that and let them feel. Because I don’t have a way to explain it.

That pain scares me though, because I know it’s trying to get out, and even though I know it would be easier to not fight and let it go and ride it out, I’m not sure I can. I’m pretty sure that I will fight and fight until I *can’t* because I don’t want to feel like I failed. I already feel that way to an extent, because it’s *that* which I try to keep hidden. From myself as much as anyone else. Myself because I’m afraid of it, and from others because I don’t want to be a burden on them, or to make them run or push them away. And I’m finding it harder and harder to keep it hidden. Even I can see it in my eyes from time to time without having to look hard to see it.

I think the hardest thing though is coming to the realisation that maybe it’s OK to let someone else see, and that actually, it might not terrify them, make them run, or just decide they can’t be bothered. That’s been my hope for some time now, but the idea that it might actually be realised is in itself unsettling. I am however grateful beyond words to the people who have been teaching me that friendship – real friendship, is *not* what I have mostly seen so far. Although that brings it’s own challenges, because I don’t want to fail or disappoint people who have been there for no discernable reason, and want nothing in return.

Even trying to explain this and write this, I can feel the ‘thing’ making itself known. It’s more like snakes writhing as opposed to knotted tummy and simple anxiety. Maybe because while I’m shielding it, it retains a hold. I forget too often, that a wall can be built to keep things out, but it also keeps things in. Maybe it’s time to take the wall down…  I just know that I’m tired. And I’m not sure I want to fight anymore. And I’m not sure I want to make the effort to hide.  Whatever that means…. whatever that may bring.

There is so much that I could say right now. So many things running round my head, so much that my brain is currently beginning to give language to.

I know that probably sounds weird, and I agree it does, but I don’t always think in words. Or language. Sometimes it’s simply too quick for words, and it’s just flashes. At other times it can be a feeling, a colour or a sensation.

I know, and have probably known for a while now, that I’m coming to one of those points in life where EVERYTHING could change. But I also know that to do this properly will mean stripping back everything. And by everything, I mean everything. It’s dangerous and quite frankly, I’m beyond terrified. I also know that this NEEDS to happen. Even if I lose what shreds of self I have. But I think it’s a jump that I’m going to have to make, because I’d rather not survive than continue as I am. Especially now that I’m in a position where I am able to objectively look at those closer to me and see what I see with everyone else with them but I can’t ignore it any longer. I can no longer justify being treated the way that I am by some in my circles.  It’s not something I can stand seeing others be put through, and based on that basis, I shouldn’t be either (regardless of anything else I may think)

This weekend, I voiced something that only one other person has ever heard (my psychotherapist and that took over ten weeks to be able to actually define it into a coherent thought) and at that time there’s no way I could have done anything more with it, but now, I’ve put it out there, and I’ve made it truly real by getting it out of my head. I can no longer ignore or pretend it isn’t there.

I’m not in the position to post it out in the public domain. But I can try and explain in a more vague turn, and hopefully not fall into the world of psycho-babble.

There is a belief (as a belief is stronger than an idea), which I perceive to be a fundamental truth in my head. Everybody has those, that’s entirely normal. The problem is when it’s wrong. Because you build your view of everything around that fundamental belief. And to accept that that might be incorrect, and that everything you know is potentially not true is terrifying in a way that words cannot describe. Not only because the consequences could at worst mean destruction, but the fear that you don’t talk about. That you find out that the thing you’ve spent your life trying to disprove is actually correct.  Because *that* is the one thing you can’t come back from. And it doesn’t matter who tells you how many times that that isn’t the case. The FEAR will exist while there’s doubt.

A big long conversation about hope was had over the weekend – what it is, how it’s used, how it’s expressed, internally and externally. Hope is to fear what darkness is to light.  You can’t have light without darkness, and equally you can’t have hope without fear.  And by eradicating the fear you destroy hope with knowledge, for better or worse. I’m not saying that it’s always a bad thing, but as someone who has built themselves around hope, if that’s destroyed what is left to build on?

In other news,  I sorted out my bag o doom at silly o clock this morning as well. I ended up out on Saturday night unexpectedly and there were a couple of things that should have been there that perhaps weren’t. Work in progress but needs doing, especially with the weather being what it is now. I always have my onesie in there (if needs must and temp REALLY drops can always wear under clothes) as well as socks and travel wash bag, what I need to do now is make sure I’ve got a change of work ready top in there at all times (and trousers if it’s a weekend) and find my other USB plug. That way I’m fully prepared for everything, whether it’s weather related or other.

I’ve got a couple of little projects to get on the go as well, and potentially another money earning one which looking ahead could come in handy when tutoring drops off over the summer. I’ve had to hurriedly work out how much I’d charge though, and will need to sound my costings off as well – justifying being competitive enough to make some pennies, but not underpricing myself too much, as this is quite likely for me.

It’s these little things that are keeping me from completely losing it at the moment in all honesty, I think, as I’m not spending a lot of time really ruminating consciously on everything, and while it does leave me busy, it also gives me a better awareness – I know it’s coming, I’m not ready for it to happen just yet.  It’s something that I know I can’t stop, and I’ll be perfectly honest, I don’t want to stop it. I can’t make it come any quicker or slower. I just want to be able to go forwards. Whatever that means and whatever that entails. Even if it means my worst fears come true.