Daily Archives: December 23, 2015

Feeling Acccomplished

On a day when I haven’t done much more than sort socks, I finally get the news that my short story “Freedom to Breathe” is online at http://www.newsoutherner,com and should be out in print in two weeks.  So I am feeling accomplished after all.  I’ve sent off a bunch of stuff off at the end of the year that I probably won’t hear from until March, so I dont’ know how successful I’ll be in  the coming year in placing them, but at least I am trying.

Otherwise, my oldest is making Oreo treats for Christmas, my middle one is cleaning her room, and the youngest one is building a Lego cruise ship.  All busy in their own ways.  WE go to see my family tomorrow on Christmas Eve and my husband’s family on Christmas Day. So we will see how well all that goes.

 


Under construction..maybe

I have decided to not say anything until 2016. I have let my blog sit way to long without any love or words. Its my fault. I’m so wrapped up in bullshit I don’t see the light, hell the tunnel for that case.

Please be patient and stick around if you want. I promise I’ll make things better.

This blog can help so many, but i’m letting it slip…

 

ps. someone STOLE my URL so stay tuned for that as well

 


single player in a multiverse

I’ve lost count of how many posts I’ve started and then abandoned lately. December was going to be tough anyway, even before the advent (ha not very ha) of clozapine. Adventures and misadventures with clozapine are dominating me so hard right now; I hate it. They’re not the worst side effects I’ve experienced, and they’ll … Continue reading single player in a multiverse

96 Hours

Wednesday 23rd Dec.

Wow, how many times this year have I been told to recognize my triggers? It’s got to be.. well, a lot. And how come, every time, despite knowing the theory of it all, in practice I never can?

Slept badly, waking often through the night inside a long vivid dream full of colour and overall goodness. And walked into town in the morning, stopping off at a large supermarket that was doing a good impression of the Sacking of Rome. But was I stressed? No, not one bit; in fact I was calm, and taking no notice of the carnage going on. I actually noticed this, just as I’d noticed the disturbed sleep.

But did I recognize my triggers? No.

And then later, this afternoon and suicidal in the bath, listening to the one song I always listen to when I’m Mixed. No.

Well, actually it was then, finally that I did. But by then I’d had 16 hours of this and that’s how long it took me to finally – finally! – recognize my triggers. And they’re so damned obvious, so damn recognizable that.. how did I miss them? How did I miss them, yet again? Doh!

How did I miss them the past 4 days, come to that? Sunday: two things happened.

My.. delusion.. well, my main one.. That I had a near-fatal accident some time back, probably whilst driving. That something very very bad happened to us (me and my son). And that now I’m either in a coma or catatonic; either way, I’m lying there and all this.. THIS.. is in my imagination. Not real. It kind of blurs with the solipsism I’ve flirted with unintentionally since my teens.

And on Sunday it was worse and I got stuck in a loop of really, really believing this delusion. And I got scared, and panicked a little because it meant..

well, it meant something BAD. The worst. And I can’t even say it because saying things can make things happen. And this is why I have my obsessions and compulsions; it’s a barrier; totems. So Sunday I got all OCD in the midst of this. THIS.

But that wasn’t the only thing. The other thing was I started smelling things. Really strong things, and I asked other people if they could smell them because the smells were really, really strong. And no-one could smell them. Then the next day, Monday, I could still smell them.

And last night, when I woke, I could smell them.

And now, four days later, it’s finally hit me. Finally suck in. The triggers! Only now we’re way past that, and whatever triggered whatever has bedded-in and left me with.. well, what they triggered.

Ninety-six hours and I’ve been triggered all over the place. Up, down, mostly both. And now I’m thinking that 2 months on the meds.. they’re not entirely working, are they?


Lilith Meets Erdogan: Neo-Sultanism Arises

Oh yes! Oh yes!! Thank you for sucking my brains out of their sloshy pans and taking them on a ***magic carpet ride*** I needed that…

Hyperion Sturm

Dracul Van Helsings

Lilith Meets Erdogan: Neo-Sultanism Arises

Click on the heading to read more of The Vampire Novels

Renfield R. Renfield was down at the Set Enterprises lab trying out a new experiment with Michelangelo the Psychic Lobster.

Renfield had recently written a movie script about a secret U. S. Army experiment whereby the Pentagon tried to get soldiers to develop their psychic powers by looking at pictures of Playboy bunnies (Renfield intended his movie to be a sequel to the 2009 film The Men Who Stare At Goats. He called his movie The Men Who Stare At Playboy Bunnies).

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How to Spoil a Vacation in Two Easy Steps!

  This clip shows Lucy’s canine calm before her storm. Once she was released from her leash, my collie ran around in circles nearing the speed of light, jumping up every few feet in wild abandon!   How to Spoil a Vacation in Two Easy Steps! 1/ Hang out with your children (who each recently had garden variety … Continue reading How to Spoil a Vacation in Two Easy Steps!

I hate everything today

It’s pouring down rain and dark as hell out at 8:15 a.m. I haven’t gotten dressed yet and I am expected to pack my kid up and be at Mrs. R’s in 45 minutes. But I had another hellish night of sleep and wake, and when the alarm went off, I hit snooze no fewer than ten times. Because I have mega uber cramps that go right through to my spine and it hurts and I just hate fucking everything.

Public Service Announcement: EVERY TIME YOU NUKE A BLOG, AN EWOK DIES.

Just saying. Not digging the email box full of posts leading to a nuked blog YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE. Not judging. Just fucking bitchy. And ewoks are cute.

I also have my awesome sinus drainage hacking going on, which mrs R will surely take to mean I have ebola. I’m stressed about how to keep Spook out of the way, she does not do “quiet alone time”. Period.

I wanna go back to sleep. I want to live in my damned pajama pants.

I want to know why everyone else is “depressed” yet a thousand times more functional than I am.

I want lithium so I feel nothing and don’t care if the person next to me is in flames and sets me on fire too.

I want to be an orphan and not deal with my icky family.

Yes, I am irrational and grumpy and in pain and I suck.

Tread carefully. Or the slaughter-o-matic will visit you for Christmas and hack up all your new toys.

I’d say shoot me and put me out of my misery but most of the tribe polar are forbidden to own guns.

Fuck it. Today’s pissed off anthem.

 


Losing My Mind

There are times I swear the people around me are trying to gaslight me. Yeah, paranoia and notions of persecution can accompany bipolar and anxiety issues. Just…how many times can your brain be batted around like a cat playing with a mouse,by those who supposedly love you, before it ceases to be mental instability and more “why are you fucking with my head?”

I talked to my dad tonight and I was gonna stay silent but…Not my strong suit. I asked what the point of the card addressed only to my kid was, to be rude.

He informed me it was done so Spook would receive a piece of mail all her own and feel special.

Well, gee, you stupidfucks, had you given me a heads up NONE of this anger and hurt on my side would have happened. I’d have totally been on board. But they don’t tell me shit and I am left to draw my own conclusions. Perhaps I am wrong to assume the worst, but after stepmonster hanging up on me last week…

Trust is not easy for me. Break it once, and I will forever view you as a rattlesnake out to strike and poison me.

It’s just so much bullshit. IF they’d just mentioned their intentions in passing…

But, nooo, let’s not say a word so Niki jumps to the wrong conclusion and acts all wonky, one more thing we can use against her when she cracks up and we can take Spook away.

Sound nuts, don’t I?

I don’t even know what I am anymore.  I’d about sell my soul for some lithium numbness right now. Because I seriously feel like these people are TRYING to do things to hurt or anger me so I respond incorrectly and look like an unfit parent. Why else keep secrets and slam down phones and criticize my parenting and send a card addressed only to my kid as if excluding me from the family?

Am I too sensitive? Maybe. Or maybe they’re just insensitive asshats with all the intelligence of a braindead rotting squid. Just give me a heads up, for fuck’s sake.

But hell, I’ve been battling their surprise visits for 15  years and no amount of “could ya call first” has done a damned bit of good. Just every weekend waiting for them to pop in at any given moment (usually when I am trying to cook). I even showed them a note from my doctor asking my former landlord to call before showing up due to the panic. And my own family can’t show that much empathy or respect.

Kinda makes me wonder why I even still give a fuck what they think.

Maybe because they adored the donor and thought he walked on water right til he walked out on Spook. I have little doubt they’d swing back to his favor were I unload my true feelings about them cos loyalty ain’t really a skill set my family has. It’s pretty much “kiss my ass or be shunned if not maligned.”

My biggest fear is anyone coming between me and my kid. And since apparently even in my own family’s eyes I am barely a fit parent…It’s a scary place to be. Could be bipolar distortion, hormones, helliday stress…

I don’t even give a fuck. I just want back on Lithium. Ha, words I never thought I’d say again. First thing I told the “new” shrink was, “Lithium, never again.” Hard to believe that was just eight or so months back. Now I’d cut out a kidney and donate it just to have some level headedness going on. It’s much harder for people to gaslight me, and unlikely for me to misconstrue, when the lithium is dampening all the spinning thoughts and anxieties and the screaming depression.

So, yeah…I would have totally been cool with the card thing if they’d given me a heads up. I don’t think it’s being unreasonable but therapy as already instilled in me..I will never get validation of any sort from these people I have blood ties to. It’s not in them.

My spine has started to ache,. viva cramps. And genius me, I agreed to go help Mrs R clean her house tomorrow. She has an outfit for Spook for XChristmas and she said after we clean, she’ll send me home with a big bottle of velvet red wine. Which I will most definitely need for X-mas eve. I can’t bail now and she said it’s okay to bring my kid long as she will stay out of the way. I’ll let her play on my tablet, that will occupy her five minutes. But mom and them are busy, busy, busy with the move and shopping so what am I gonna do. Oh, shark week, just give me another day or two before you attack with the snapping spinal pain and doubling over ovary squeezes…

(Which reminds me- I HAVE to get back on Lithium for I will be pms-y for the child support hearing next month and the way the donor and his lies trigger me…NOOOOO.)

I did fuck all today. Well, I fixed spaghetti for supper. Bathed spawn and myself. We put up a small tree. She was only semi auto Uzi child today so I’m not melting down like I was last night.

I am not remotely prepared for Xmas eve. Haven’t even seen mom’s new house yet. (Going to unfamiliar addresses for the first time freaks me out.) I need to wrap their pictures of Spook (yeah, they all contributed to buy them but uh, I bought frames, you barely deserve that  much, ass goblins.) No doubt all the non family bums will be there.

Which I got to hear allll about today when I talked to my mother. How “B” has been so helpful to her and my sis, doing laundry and helping pack and move and blah blah blah…It’s not jealousy, at all. It’s just “don’t turn down my help then praise someone else as a saint and try to make me feel bad.”

I got a burning stress stomach ache earlier. Thinking about the holidays. Cos I mentioned how stepmonster was kinda being shitty to me and mom snarked, “See, you should have sided with your real mom, I’d never turn on you.”

Um…she called me a fucking bitch in front of my kid.

I shut her down and said, “I didn’t choose sides because it wasn’t my divorce and I won’t have my kid put in the middle the way I’ve always been.”

She didn’t hang up on me at least.

If you want an idea of just how crippled I am by the depressive inertia and anxiety…I have an Amazon gift card and a Walmart gift card and could easily shop from home…But I don’t feel like I will have the clarity needed to choose wisely until AFTER I survive this family shindig. At this moment I might be tempted to order a chainsaw and have it overnighted. (J/k, chainsaws terrify me.)

I will breathe Thursday night once it’s all over.

I can’t even wrap my brain around the holidays being anything but stressful. Not because of money but because of my ass trash family and all the tension and “mom v dad” and “who spends the most loves Spook the most”.  This shit sucks.

What would be the best thing ever for my relationship with my family would be me and Spook moving far far away then flying into once a year to visit at the holidays. Limited contact. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Stop drinking the poison, don’t get ill.

Cleaning first thing in the morning. Was I stoned on Restoril when I agreed to that?

Just think of the yummy anxiety numbing wine, Morgue.

Don’t judge me.


Star Wars Edition

So we went and saw the newest Star Wars movie.   Very well made in my humble opinion.  A lot of elements from the original series and of course reprises of the roles by the original actors was very gratifying to someone who saw  the original at age six in 1977.  The old chemistry was there between them all and gave the movie some of its original magic.  Of course as steeped as we all are in this family in the original books written after the movies, it was hard to see all that ink go down the drain.  And if you weren’t steeped in all of that, I can see where the light backstory done would be frustrating.  But it was a movie I wouldn’t mind seeing again, and this is from someone who generally hates movies.

We were up late last night with the girls staying over and so we’ve all been tired today.  But going to the movie was a good thing.  We also hit another milestone today–our youngest got her ears pierced this morning for Christmas. So that was a bit of a big deal for her.  She’s wearing birthstone studs for February, whatever.stone that is. WE will see how it goes.

I’m having more and more days where I don’t even think about bipolar disorder.  THis was one of those days.  WE finally got in the last of our Christmas gifts and wrapped them when we got home from dinner. Maybe the day will come when I no longer have to think about it except when I take my meds.  I hope so.

 

 


Self-Care Tips For Folks Who Struggle With Codependency

Please note that I am not a mental health professional – just someone with a hell of a lot of lived experience – and this advice should never act as a substitute for professional medical advice.

codependency

I put every egg I had into one basket: My tumultuous relationship.

My Struggles With Codependency

I’ve never talked about this publicly before – maybe because it’s just so highly stigmatized in our society – but I have struggled throughout my life with entering into codependent relationships.

Codependency has been defined a lot of different ways (and often in ways that further stigmatize people with mental health struggles).

I prefer to define it as a relationship in which a partner becomes a substitute for healthier coping strategies. By being an individual’s sole source of support and caregiving, they interfere with their partner’s ability to be self-reliant and adaptive in the face of stress.

It creates a dysfunctional dynamic in which one partner is seen as “rescuing” the other partner. Love between those partners ultimately becomes defined on the basis of either providing or receiving assistance/support. Psychology Today has a great article about it if you want more information.

My therapist once described it very simply as “putting all your eggs in one basket.” 

When I was sixteen and struggling with bipolar disorder and anxiety, I put every egg I had into one basket – a tumultuous relationship with a boy I went to high school with.

My (untreated, undiagnosed) mental illness was running rampant in my life. I was experiencing extreme highs and lows, dissociation, panic attacks, self-harm, and suicidality.

And descending from the heavens, in my mind, was this guy who loved me despite it all and carried me through.

I not only perceived him as being the one who saved me from myself, but I saw him as loving me when I was inherently unlovable. This created a dysfunctional dynamic in which I relied on him to help me adapt to my illness, rather than seeking out adequate treatment, expanding my support networks, developing new coping strategies, and creating a practice of self-care.

If I was depressed, anxious, upset, you name it – I was calling him with the expectation that, no matter where he was or what he was doing, he would talk me through it. I became so dependent on him that I didn’t know how to survive without him.

Similarly, he also struggled with depression, and sometimes these roles would shift. I would become his one and only support. I would drop everything to be there for him. I would sacrifice my own sanity just to give him something or someone to lean on.

At some point or another, I realized that I had lost touch with nearly every friend I had because I was so invested in this one relationship. And worse yet – when I realized this, it hardly seemed to matter.

And thus our unsustainable, chaotic relationship became both our saving grace and the very thing that drove us mad. Because without adequate coping strategies and resilience, the burden was placed on our relationship.

Towards the end of our relationship – an end that we both could see coming from a mile away – he told me that he had considered, many times, breaking up with me, but felt that he couldn’t.

When asked why, he simply said, “I couldn’t break up with you. You would go off the deep end.”

That was my wake up call. I ended the relationship immediately, never looking back, and I made a promise to myself: Never again did I want to be in a relationship in which my partner felt manipulated, unintentionally or otherwise, into staying with me out of fear that I could not survive without them.

I’m not ashamed to say that codependency is something that I struggled with and, at times, still do. It makes perfect sense that, in the face of trauma and difficulty, I adapted the only way I knew how. It’s completely understandable; I have a lot of compassion for myself in this way.

But now that I know better, I work diligently to ensure that my relationships are healthy, and that I’m able to take care of myself instead of using my relationships to avoid confronting my mental illnesses.

By no means should we shame ourselves for the coping strategies we created when we didn’t know better – every one of us, especially those of us with trauma, has created maladaptive ways of dealing with stress.

But we owe it to ourselves and the folks that we love to work on it, especially because codependency can do real harm to both ourselves and our partners (and some of these relationships can become abusive – a real risk that we must be honest with ourselves about and be accountable for).

For me, my healing process began with self-care.

 

How Self-Care Helped Me Shift Away From Codependency

A practice of self-care can be absolutely radical for folks who struggle with codependency as their coping strategy. The idea that we can rely on ourselves to deal with stress and trauma runs completely counter to everything we’ve learned to do over the years.

In my community, we talk about a “radical practice of self-care.” It’s the idea that an intentional effort to nurture and affirm ourselves can be immensely helpful for our mental health, transformative in a world that tells us that putting ourselves first is a selfish act, and psychologically necessary as we endure the injustices of this world.

It’s pretty fucking awesome if you ask me.

But too often, we don’t acknowledge that for some of us, self-care is not only radical – it’s actually tremendously difficult and even painful if our only coping strategy involves, quite literally, the opposite of self-care.

For folks who struggle with codependency, I want to acknowledge and validate that this shit is hard for us. Self-care goes against everything we know.

So let me say it loud and clear: I get it. Codependency comes from a place of hurt and fear. Carrying that around day in and day out is not easy. And so I validate that, completely.

It’s not just about learning to take care of ourselves. It’s not just about reading a good book when we’re sad, or taking a walk to clear our heads. For us, dealing with stress is never that simple.

Self-care for people with codependent patterns is also about unlearning these maladaptive behaviors that, for many of us, have developed over the course of years and even decades.

These coping mechanisms can be so ingrained that it makes us behave and react in ways that we find difficult and even impossible to control. For us, the stakes with self-care are much, much higher.

If this is your struggle, I’m here to say that I totally know those feelings. And I want this conversation to be a safe space in which I can encourage you to take baby steps towards shifting away from codependency and, instead, developing a practice of self-care that can work for you.

Self-care has helped to empower me to take control over my own mental health, my own happiness, and begin to find new tools to call upon when I’m encountering a stressor in my life. It’s helped to bring more balance into both my own life and into my relationships.

And best of all, it’s helped me to feel confident that I can survive on my own. My well-being no longer depends on whether or not someone is there to support me or rescue me. I have been able to let go of the fear that everything will fall apart if my partner isn’t there.

That peace of mind – the assurance that I will be okay – is the reason why I believe that we need conversations like this. No one should have to live with the absolute terror that their world will fall apart unless that certain someone is there to take care of them.

You can take care of you. And while friends, partners, family, and community can be a part of that care, they aren’t the only tool that you have. It’s empowering to know that you are in the driver’s seat of your own healing.

 

My Self-Care Tips For Folks Struggling With Codependency

This is, of course, just the beginning of a larger conversation. But I want to offer some quick tips that you can walk away with, right now, to begin your practice of self-care.

 

1. Seek out a therapist.

I realize that this isn’t accessible to everyone, but if it’s possible, a counselor or therapist can be absolutely invaluable in helping you to cultivate resilience as you unlearn codependency.

 

2. Bookmark this self-care guide and USE IT.

If you get nothing else from the article but this link, I’ll still be happy.

I love this guide because it feels conversational. It’s exactly like having a friend or partner there to walk you through what you need to do to be well, except it requires no one but yourself to actually use.

It’s basically an interactive quiz that gives you advice on how to react to stress. By using it often, you gradually learn healthy ways to respond when you are struggling with a trigger or episode.

As far as I know, the only time it involves another person is if you indicate that you are lonely, in which it encourages you to reach out. All the other advice can be put into motion on your own. This is great for those of us who are working towards being more self-reliant.

I keep it in my bookmark tabs so I see it every time I open my browser. And I use it. Often. Like, literally every time I’m upset.

 

3. Create a Self-Care First Aid Kit

I encourage anyone, codependent or otherwise, to get an old box or container of some kind and put together a “feel good” kit for those inevitable shit days.

Some suggestions on what you could include: A bottle of your favorite scented lotion or bath product to lather up with, a favorite upbeat album to dance to, a favorite movie with a bag of microwavable popcorn, a stuffed animal to cuddle with when it gets rough, a book that makes you laugh when you read it, a box of tissues for when you’re crying, a super soft pair of socks that make you feel cozy, a candle or incense you could light, a crisis hotline number if you feel you might hurt yourself (even if you don’t think you’ll need it, please include it), and a list of phone numbers for three friends or family members that you can call (not including the partner or individual you have a dependent relationship with).

You don’t have to go out and buy these things – they can be items you already have on hand or you can ask if any friends have items they might donate. The idea is that if you keep these things in one place, they’ll be easy to access and you’ll be more likely to use them.

 

4. Seek Out More Resources On Self-Care

I personally believe that you can never have too many articles, print-offs, and videos on self-care. The more ideas and suggestions, the better!

I wrote another guide that talks about self-care for folks with anxiety, which included my favorite video on self-care by my lovely friend Melissa Fabello (seriously, watch the video, it’s required). Everyday Feminism has another great self-care guide if you’re looking for more general guidance.

If you struggle with mental illness or with your mental health in general, print off this list of affirmations. I wrote them just for you and I want you to read them. Often.

Lastly, there are entire communities online dedicated to radical self-care. Some are specific to fat folks, queer folks, people of color (fun fact: radical self-care originated from women activists of color), etc etc.

My favorite place to find these communities happens to be on Tumblr, but you can find them on many of your favorite platforms. Don’t be afraid to investigate and find a community that works for you!

 

5. Realize That Unlearning This Takes Time

Be gentle with yourself. For many, codependency emerged as a survival strategy in the face of neglect, trauma, or illness. It is important to be compassionate with yourself and honor the journey you are on, however slow the pace may be.

It is a tremendous thing to be self-aware in the face of codependent behaviors, and to choose another path. That is an incredibly brave thing to do.

I believe in you and I’m proud of you. Please know that healing from the trauma that comes with codependency is not only possible – but it’s something that you are absolutely worthy and deserving of.