The universe and its plans…

I always thought the universe had a sense of humour, but this is crazy…

I have been in reaching distance of happiness, of having a life that should move, and been terrified to embrace it. I will be happy- I’m trying to grab it now. There’s been such pain with ending thing with J. I have hated myself and been shackled by guilt and agony, but I am trying not to be like that.

The clear path? I’m not sure I’m brave enough to talk about it yet. Things are still stormy and I don’t want to provoke the hornets’ nest again.

All I can say is that for two years, it’s been just out of sight, at arm’s length, beside me or with me when I didn’t have a clue it was there myself. It’s holding me tighter than ever.

I’ll explain in better detail soon, I promise. For now, just know I’m safe, I’m happier, and I keep seeing rainbows everywhere.

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Crashing down.

So the inevitable crash came. I’m sorry I didn’t blog properly in so long- truth be told, I’ve been struggling since before the new year began and I’m so exhausted. Nightmares or lucid dreams plague me and I toss and turn, and wake up almost every hour to check if the door is still shut and he’s not bursting through it.

I went to therapy yesterday still trying to pretend to myself I was ok, when my Moodscope scores have been saying the opposite for a while. No scores have been above 50 this whole month. I’m drained and I need rest. Dr K has been concerned about me for the past three weeks and she let me just cry yesterday in her office. I sobbed almost the whole time I was with her and that hasn’t happened since the early days of therapy when all I could do was cry. I felt so dissociative and I told her so, and I told her that I felt a lot of the time like I was pretending again. I read a blog post recently from Shedding Light on Darkness (thank you so much for writing that) that said something about lying to yourself. I’d been telling myself that I was fine with working straight after therapy on a Thursday and that I was processing it all, when really it comes out in dreams and I saw one of the weird shadows again, plus I hear the voics more regularly at the minute. I was falling down out of the sky with no parachute and trying to pretend I was flying.

It’s like all the stuff I’ve been trying to work on, to process through my system, has been being neatly unpackaged for an hour a week, given some thought, and then I’ve tried to stick it back into the box and leave therapy. Problem is, the minute you give memories and feelings like those any attention, they gain a life of their own and come crashing through your system, so I’ve had some horrible dreams recently, some horrible bad day, thoughts of self harm and suicide. I’m rambling in my speech again, and I can’t always think of the word I need to describe something important. I called the hall table the ‘ front desk’ the other day. Nobody thought it was a warning sign, they thought it was funny.

This is still a huge problem. I wrote a ‘How to Handle your PTSD-stricken daughter’ letter to my parents. I think Dad is getting it but the problem is he works a long way away from home all day, so basically it’s mum who takes care of me and she has no clue what she’s doing. Despite that letter, despite all the things I tell her on a day to day basis about PTSD and abusive relationships, despite the sliding scale I drew of my moods…

Yesterday after therapy, Dr K and I were drawing up a plan of action. She was worried about how unwell I was and how thin and gaunt I’d become. She wanted me to have a rest, but I knew how that would go down (and in fact, how it has gone down,) with my mum. When I left therapy I was daunted by the size of the task ahead: tell my mum and sister just how bad things were, ask for a week off, try and get a lock put on my door.

I told mum how bad I felt in a heartfelt cry for help, tears running down my cheeks and a huge pain in my chest. She blinked, looked at me, and said, “well I’m teaching now, and you will have to teach your second class.”

Then she walked off.

She wasn’t even going to bring it up that evening. She was going to try to jolly me along and make me smile again so I could go back to being the smiley smiley girl everyone wants to see.

I couldn’t deal with that. So me, my dad and her had a conversation about what the problem was, and I’m still getting nowhere with her.

It’s the same sort of stuff all over again. “Working makes you happy. Working gives you a purpose. Not working makes you depressed. Work is a distraction. Work is not what made you crash last time. Believe in yourself.”

So many problems with all that.

Working like I am doing at the minute does not make me happy. I hate it. I hate Mondays with a passion. I hate Tuesdays more. I drag myself through the working week like I have no legs and I can’t walk. I don’t sleep well Wednesday nights then I’m forced to get up on Thursday to get to therapy, which is the only highlight, and then basically I’m slamming all the tough emotions and feeling straight back into the box to teach again.

I don’t really want to teach for life. I’m not interested in examining dance any more, and I want to write as a career now, more than anything. I’m done with teaching already but I need it to be able to fund the set-up of a life with J maybe, or the start of my massage business. Not working does not make me depressed- I feel that actually having time to process all the tough emotions that happen to emerge after therapy HELPS. I’m more productive afterwards if I’m able to feel bad and curl up in a ball with the dog. Work is a huge distraction- so big that it takes up my whole fucking life and leave me with nothing else at the end of the day. I still have a limited amount of energy, and it’s all wasted on work and not on self-care. I’m so drained at the end of a day that I can barely muster the energy to call J.

Work is precisely what made me crash last time. I am so on edge and exhausted, and I feel like working has heaped strain on my head harder than not doing so would. I don’t mind if my mum used work as an escape, but I don’t want to do that any more because that’s what sent me into hospital last time. I’ll be there again soon if I don’t do something about it.

All the self-belief in the world will not help if I commit suicide (or attempt again) because I am simply doing too much to process what I’m digging up in therapy. I’m not going to lie to myself any more and pretend I can compromise and just nod my head and go along with whatever anyone says other than me because that’s what I did with him. Now look where I am. Mired in severe PTSD, exhausted, and nearly without options.

I want to be with J more than anything. I miss him so much, and I need his reassuring presence. Even just having him in the room with me sometimes improves my mood. I want sleep that heals, not that fills me full of nightmares. I want no voices in my head any more, they’re scaring me again. I also want to be listened to- still not having the lock put on my door because I self-harmed in the past, and regardless of the fact that several times I actually self-harmed in public with no locked doors, I still don’t get my wishes respected. I need a lock. I need to feel safe. I hate having to change in my room because there is no lock on the door and I feel vulnerable, and it doesn’t matter how many times I ask mum to knock, she will still barge in uninvited and pretend she is surprised when I’m literally just out of the shower in a towel. I have no fucking privacy- I hide all my old journals, because she’d read them without a second thought despite the fact I’m an adult woman.

This all needs to change or I will keep crashing down and someday I’ll burn out, and there will just be a shell left of me.

Dr K and I are working on all this and I think that we need to have a meeting with my mum at some point. She’s scared and cynical of Dr K. She says Dr K is planting the idea that I should never work in my head. Mum actively tried to get me some work last night with MY massage business that I haven’t even set up yet!! She was trying to book me an appointment to massage somebody on Saturday at two! I teach all day on a Saturday, and the massage business is MY business, not hers. I am so tired of trying to do what I want only for it to get subverted by my mum. The lock is a sticking point and so is this. I told her I couldn’t deal with any more work, yet here she is trying to set up more. It’s not just to build a future for me, it’s so I don’t feel any messy emotion near her and I’m that happy smiley FAKE girl ALL THE TIME. JUST LIKE HE WANTED.

Enough is enough. I’m taking the week off this week or I will end up in hospital. I’m exhausted and just need space, and I need to be understood.

Otherwise, I’ll end up back on the mental health ward again and it will be another three weeks before I’m allowed out.

Home again, emotional flashbacks, and holiday withdrawal.

Oh GOD I miss J. Seriously, like a hole inside. If not for my puppy I’d be a lot worse than I am right now- I’d be a crying wreck! He’s so calm and logical- after my last post, I went outside to the pool where J and my mum were. J was already in the pool, cooling off, and mum was enjoying a nice beer.

I had a panic attack trying to get in through the door where my dad had installed a very loud alarm- my brain entered that flight state and I started shaking and crying immediately. All that rage and terror came out in tears, but mum and J were there being awesome immediately. Mum came over took me away from the doors and hugged me til I felt better. J was there, shocked, but calm enough to tell me everything was ok, baby, and to put on my bikini and come in the pool with him to relax. Mum agreed, so I did. It worked. Tears faded, shaking stopped, and within FIFTEEN MINUTES (gotta be a new record there!) I was completely fine again, calm, and making jokes with the family and cuddling J in the cool water.

J can spot my mania immediately, and it’s impressive. Bradley has given me a great tip to manage it now I’m home again (boo, being home is not as nice as being out there with J and my family) and I’m going to start it tomorrow. I’ll set alarms on my phone that will remind me to check in with myself, and to stay calm.

So far, I’ve had a tough ride already. I’m aware that I drank too much whilst I was on holiday, so alcohol consumption has gone down a lot. Tonight, I had a cup of tea (fruit tea, orange smoothie tea!) and a glass of water as my beverages of choice. I’m doing this because when I’m manic, as I suspect I’m heading that way now, I do have poor impulse control and drink is usually the first sign of it. I’ve already had some very depressed moments, but that’s not the bipolar speaking.

That’s something else.

I’m in the midst of a bastard of an emotional flashback right now. For the past few days, I’ve felt unreal and dissociated, and horribly depressed, but the depression waned in the evening. Today it got so bad that I began acting unlike myself- snappy, withdrawn, moody, and exhausted. I even yelled at the puppy- at this point, I’m glad she’s deaf! A long sleep this afternoon fixed a lot of that, and I emerged with a better take on the world. I still didn’t understand why I was feeling like shit, but I was ready to give my day another try.

Dancing was fun and went well, and when I got home, I went upstairs to get changed. Pulling my favourite pyjama/lounge type pants on, something in my head suddenly shifted into place and I got it.

I understood that when I was with my ex, I was used as a fix. Because he was jealous of my family spending an unadulterated two weeks with me, I was often subject to derision and scorn when I got home. He’d cold shoulder me, blank me, and finally fix up a meeting with him sometime or place that was impossible for me. I’d inevitably cancel, he’d throw a fit, and then break up with me. I’d be alone, blaming myself and hating myself for nearly two months, and then he’d need his fix again. He’d pretend to relent, he’d tell me he ‘forgave me’ (er, bullshit sir, I believe you finished with me for no good reason) and we’d be back in the honeymoon phase again. Lovely.

So naturally my poor beleaguered brain still think I’m in for some horrible punishment for having fun. I’m reacting like a beaten puppy and I’m shaking in anticipation of a blow that will never fall.

J’s already been on Skype, commending me for my smarts in realising this. I’m pretty chuffed too… BUT GOD I miss him!!! He knows that, of course.

Another remarkable milestone I’ve achieved whilst away is that I’m better able to do real couple things now. I hold hands with J a lot, I’ll go for a cuddle when I fancy one, and, best of all- I was so tired one night I felt drunk, and slipping off into sleep I told J twice that I loved him. He said it back, and I heard the tenderness in his voice alongside the amused chuckle at how sleepy I was. When I asked him about it the next morning, he said I had indeed said I loved him twice and he hoped I remembered that he said it back to me.

Of course I had.

Stuff will be hard now I’m home. I’m trying to take more responsibilities this year, and I’m hoping I don’t overload myself- apparently, therapy this week with Dr K will be the start of lots of tough things for me. I am very aware there are still big issues I need to face. For instance, whilst I was in America, I had night after night of nightmares and J had to hold me to calm me down one night after I told him I was frightened to sleep. Hopefully, I will get these discussed with Dr K and she will help me become less afraid.

There are bonuses, though. I’m taking on more work so I can fund myself to get to America to see J quicker (I hope), I’m finally meeting a good friend I’ve talked to for a long while, I have a snoring puppy next to me and I’m planning dance numbers for a show. There are definite goals to achieve.

Fingers crossed that this year is the year that I get stuff solved, and not another year where I wrestle incessantly with the contents of my own head.

Nightmare.

Apparently, PTSD sufferers experience nightmares. I had been wondering for a while whether I have PTSD along with whatever else I have, and I’ve written about that before.

Now I’m fucking positive.

Last night, I had a nightmare that’s still on my mind now.

I dreamt I was being the bigger man again, like I always was, and trying to patch it up with me and my ex-boyfriend. I was attempting to be friends with him again and he had agreed. I dreamt I’d gone to visit him in his flat, the one he said was perfect for us both, and I was trying to be friendly and not act as if we were still together. He was the opposite: talking about how he thought we should be together again, that it hasn’t been quite right since I left, that he never really meant to let me go like he did. He then told me he wanted to marry me, and that I should say yes and we should start talking about arrangements, and that I could just move straight in with him and it would all be fine. He was repulsively close to me, and kept touching my arms, grabbing my hands, kissing me. I kept turning my head away from him, trying not to let him kiss me, trying to move away.

Eventually I just took a huge step back from him and told him I had met someone in the States that I cared about more than anything, and if he wasn’t prepared to be friends we would have to part the ways.

Well, after that he went crazy.

He turned from being kind and caring and sensitive to violently angry and contemptful. How dare I think of anyone but him! I was a complete slut for going and hooking up with some arrogant prick in America, and how dare I shame him and his family by coming here to beg for friendship he didn’t think I deserved. How could I even look him in the eye!? What a bitch I was!

He started throwing things, not at me but at the walls, and pacing around. He yelled in my face. I argued straight back with him that my new boyfriend wasn’t an arrogant prick, he was all the amazing things a boyfriend should be- completely unlike my ex. He shouted back that I was a complete whore, going over there and putting myself out for him.

I started grabbing my stuff and trying to get out, and he was yelling at me and calling me a slut over and over again as I headed for the door.

Mum woke me up, and I literally thought I was still trying to escape him, and that he was nearby, insulting me and J and making me feel terrified and small again.

This is the impact the sorry fucker has had on my psyche. I hate him so much for it.

One of the other nightmares I have had about he and I was when I dreamt I was living with him, his mother and stepfather, his grandparents and sister. He was being his usual abusive self, and I had decided I had had enough. I told him we were over as a couple and I was moving out, and the whole family apart from his sister started laughing at my scars, belittling my mental illness, and tormenting me. They made it nearly impossible for me to pack, I was crying so much, and I had to put my belongings in a taxi and let the driver take them to my parents’ house whilst I walked my dog the long way home. For some reason, he was in the dream too, only he had also been living at my ex-boyfriend’s house. It was getting dark, and I was concerned for my dog because he’s old and pavement walks hurt his back legs.

After that one, I woke up in tears.

I re-live my assault in my dreams too, and they get more and more graphic. The last one had me being picked from a line of girls to be the victim of a serial killer- he was supposed to choose one girl to kill and another to assault. Lucky me, I ended up with both. I woke up as the knife was plunged into my chest.

 

I still haven’t heard a thing from the psychiatrist. I think they don’t care. I suspect this evaluation is not happening quickly enough because I’m not a screaming lunatic on a street corner.

Be careful what you with for, mate. I am attempting to re-start my dance career, giving it one last go, and if moving back to the Company proves a trigger, then that may be exactly what you get.

Especially if I keep having these fucking nightmares.

Future?

Hi all…

Basically, I am still struggling with my future. I want to know what I should do. I feel like I am at a crossroads in life.

The problem is as follows. With my head in the state it is in, and the enormous pressure of the dance world, I am seriously worried about having another breakdown. I am finally feeling more stable- my mood score for the past two days has been 66%, which is a read achievement for me. I am frightened the stress of moving away from home again. I am frightened of the huge whirl of the world of dance and the cutthroat world of auditions outside of the environment of the company I was in. I have been told I can go back to them, but I don’t want to cut. I don’t want to be offered the temptation of being alone and unmonitored where the voices will literally scream at me to commit suicide, and they won’t be happy without my pain.

Mum is incredible, and says I can try it out and if it doesn’t work, there is no shame in coming home. She is right, of course, but I am really frightened that I am making a mistake.

What if I don’t have the head for this any more? What if I do have to come home after trying to dance again and I’m a wreck and I have to start all over again? I’ll have wasted time and money and I will have got nowhere…

I love the company. I love dancing. I love my friends down south. I want to see them all again and I want to dance… but I don’t know whether I can do it.

It is tearing me apart.

I have other things that I know I would find completely fun and really rewarding to do. I have plans that I want to fulfill and there are so many things that I have realised I enjoy doing that I could make a career from. So am I making a mistake in going back, or am I really doing the right thing here by going back to try again?

I feel like I should make a decision soon. I feel like it is part of the thing that’s been upsetting me and triggering me over the past few days.

Problem is, I don’t know if I will make the right decision.

Seasick.

Last night I dreamt that I was back in Florida. I dreamt that I was with J. The dream was so fantastic, and it continued in the same vein as the holiday- chilled out, relaxed, fun… with my family involved and this incredible feeling of support. I felt the same horrible choked up feeling in my dream as I did in real life, when I knew that I had to leave and go home. J was just the same in my dream as real life. I woke up expecting to be next to him on the couch, before kissing him goodnight and heading up to bed. I almost cried when I woke up and realised it was actually a dream.

What has happened to me?

I was terrified of physical intimacy. I was terrified of being naked. I was horrified by the thought of getting close to anyone again… Now, I’m clinging on to memories that make me shiver in happiness, and yearn for the sound of his voice or his touch. Thank gods I have his music to listen to, or I would be stir crazy by now.

Today, I had my friend K over again to visit. I love her. She is so patient and kind with me, and she actually got to spend time with me when I wasn’t having a panic attack or being plagued by voices. Yes, they do still speak to me whenever they can, but I managed to spend the majority of today and last night just laughing NORMALLY with her, like we used to, and just chatting about inconsequential random crap. That’s what I have missed- that normality, that stability.

Having said that, I haven’t exactly had a week of sunshine and roses. I worked very hard for two days at the start of this week, trying to earn some money to get back to America to see J. That was ok. The day after that, when I was supposed to be chilling out and recuperating from my early starts, I had a very aggressive attack of the voices.

The dark passenger has been beyond pissed off that I have been doing better and earning money. It hates that I am trying to recover.

I was standing in the laundry room, sorting out the washing, and they went for my throat like hounds at a fox. I was fine one minute, the next shaking and sweating and craving the knife to slice furrows into my arms. I could see the shock in my family’s faces, and I could feel the blood rolling down my arms as if it was real. They were screaming at me to do it, telling my my life was worthless.

I ran upstairs, wrote in my journal, and it still didn’t let up- so I rang J. He made me calm down just by answering the phone. He told me to remember they are not real voices- they are thoughts in my head that make me think awful things, and they have merely been manifested into voices that frighten me and upset me. These thoughts were planted there by my ex boyfriend, and they are now voices. Thinking like that, hearing him speak to me, feeling safe… this made me calm at last and made me feel like I wasn’t going crazy. Again, I had the control to say no and put the voices down. Also we ended up discussing the miscarriage, and somehow he gave me peace with that as well.

J told me I could ring him at any time, that I could be sure he would pick up the phone, and I had to stop apologising- it’s what he does for me.

I felt like crying again.

Tonight has been stressful too. I have been panicking recently about what the hell to do about my future. I feel like my head is in a strange half-better place, where I can think just enough about the future to panic about it, and not see a solution. I broke down in tears in the kitchen today, trying to make tea with my mum. I’d finished chopping up the green beans with scissors (not allowed knives because of the trigger issues) and I just asked her what do you do when you don’t know what to do? She knew I was worried because of my tone of voice, and asked me what did I mean.

Out came the worries about whether or not my head is stable enough to cope with a dance job. Also, the fear over whether I would be able to cope with one if I had one, plus all the inherent money worries that go with it. I was so upset about not having something to cling on to for stability- I have earned quite a bit this week just from working for a staffing agency, and I have really enjoyed being able to earn my own money for once. It has been quick and easy to earn, and I have found myself wondering if I really am in the right job. I have always had an interest in private coaching for able children who want to audition for full time dance schools, and I have always had and interest in massage and physiotherapy. I genuinely enjoy helping others, and I often see the potential in others that I can’t see in myself.

Mum is so wise. She told me that I should try going back to the company I was with before I broke my back and giving it one last try, to really see if dancing is want I want to do as a career. I am going to try again and see if my head can take the immense pressure, and then I am going to focus on other things if I find that I’m slipping again. I have spent the last year, pretty much, in a void, and I am so sick of not being able to cling on to something to make me feel whole, worth something, real.

Thank gods I have my family, my friends, my sister and my boyfriend. I need to be anchored. I am so seasick, and I hate this floating in the middle of nowhere.