Writing again

So I’m taking this training this week, Intentional Peer Support.  It’s basically about re-examining what we think we know about language, connection, relationships, our world views, etc.  Good stuff.  Anyway, it of course requires intense self-examination – which includes lots of story writing.  Thought I’d share a bit of what I’ve been writing on here. Please note that all assignments have some space limitations, and in-“class” ones have time limitations as well, so they aren’t polished, are often shorter than I would have liked, probably have some odd grammar and/or word choices – though I personally feel that that sort of thing makes it more powerful to read.

In class today, we had an assignment to tell our stories (whatever kind, though I used the short version of my mental health journey) first using “medical” language and then avoiding it. It was harder than I expected, since I’m actually quite used to and comfortable with medical terminology, but I noticed some interesting things when I was writing the second story, some shifts in my focus and noticing things I hadn’t previously.

My first story:

In middle school I began to think that I had a mental illness, perhaps depression. This feeling grew stronger through high school and early college, until I was diagnosed with depression at the age of 19. I spent the next 15 years going in and out of therapy and on and off of SSRIs. I hated the meds because they made me feel “crazy”, but I assumed they were the only option. 6 months ago, I was rediagnosed as having bipolar disorder, and switched from SSRIs to mood stabilizers. The new meds made me feel better, finally.

My second story:

When I was about 12, I began to believe that my emotional responses were different from other peoples’, and that I was sad and hopeless more than most others were. I also had periods of intense anger, agitation, restless, insomnia, etc, but assumed they were related to PMS, “growing pains”, etc. My struggles with my emotions continued to grow stronger until by 19 I was flunking out of college. My mother, a psychotherapist, told me I had depression. I felt that the treatments for depression were not helpful, and that the medications I was given left me feeling more angry and agitated, and even more hopeless – I would become suicidal, which only happened when I was on the medications. I felt powerless to communicate to my therapists and doctors that I was not feeling better – they just said that it was teh “right treatment” and that it was helping. 6 months ago I got a new mental healthcare team. They listened to my experiences, and re-evaluated my mood struggles. I was told now that I had bipolar disorder and was put on new meds and given new treatments – and now I am an active participant in my own care and recovery.

Tonight’s assignment was to think about our “house” – using house as a metaphor for our lives (physical, emotional, both, whatever).  I actually only had a vague idea of what I was going to say, and I was a little surprised at some of the things that appeared on the paper. (it was technically asking for “your first house”, hence the first sentence).  It did not ask about changes, just about the house, but once I began to see it, I also began to see where I’d made changes.

I don’t recall all the way back to my very first house – but I had one that was fairly consistent through my life.  The basement was cramped and filthy, packed full of my mother’s manipulation, my father’s temper, my classmates’ (and sometimes teachers’) bullying, with deep, haunted corners where the darkest shadows of my sexual abuse lurked, ready to snag any unwary thought that passed by.  The first floor was dim due to its tiny, unwashed windows.  Boxes of distrust and heaps of shame left only narrow pathways to the faded, uncomfortable furniture and the tiny, unkempt kitchen.  The tiny patch of yard was full of dead grass and sparse, straggly weeds.  The paint was faded and colorless, the shutters crooked, and the roof needed patching.

I’ve been working hard to renovate it.  To open up the ground floor windows to the sun and air.  To let some confidence and strength clear out the clutter.  Slowly sorting through the basement storage, and working to get some lighting in there.  I have plans to paint and patch the outside, and am plotting out a truly splendid garden to be put in – sooner or later.

Protected: You. Have got. To be kidding me.

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Protected: Fool

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

The Inevitability

I really do try to warn people when I feel like we’re getting close.  They don’t always believe me.

Don’t believe the mask you see.  I am not what I appear.  In the long run, you are going to find me too needy, too clingy, too sensitive, just generally too much.

Looks like I did it again.  Overstayed my welcome in the first place, and then attempted to get my needs met which I always do HORRIBLY wrong, and looks like I may well have blown it once more.

It’s so hard when I’ve finally allowed myself to hope that, JUST ONCE, things might be different.  And I really tried not to, because I know that hope only ever ends in despair for me, but it crept in around the corners.  You saw me at my worst (or so I thought) and handled it.  And of course, me being me, I still managed to find a way to drive you off.

This is the inevitability of my life.

(and yet people wonder why I don’t date? when things “just” with friends go this badly for me?)

Decisions, Decisions

So I have a huge opportunity here.  My dear friend is going to be opening up a birth center of her own sometime in the next couple of years, and has offered me the chance to help run the postpartum program and be in on setting it up and all.  Sounds like I’d essentially be her lieutenant.  We’ve talked about tons of what we like and what bugs us about the one we are at now, and we agree on everything we’ve brought up so far.  This could be an amazing chance for me to actually have some career advancement, get a better income, etc.

But she doesn’t want to do it here.  Which I get – there are a ton of midwives in Portland and a plethora of birth centers.  It would be a battle for clients, and she wants to go to an underserved area.  She’s thinking Eastern Oregon – Pendleton, La Grande, Baker City, somewhere out there.  They are desperate for midwives, she could do a ton of good.  She’s not expecting me to move – but if I want to, the choice is there.

Overall, I’m fine with it.  Honestly, I don’t see my friends more than every few months anyway, it’s only a few hours away, I could come back every month or so, stay the night, see people. (because in theory I’d have enough of a better income that I could get a more reliable car)

The piece that had me in tears from the moment she brought it up?  Leaving Diana.  Leaving my studio.  I love it there.  She has become one of my touchstones.  I see her several times a week.  I spend tons of time at the studio.  It’s my second home.  I love my girls.  I love my teachers.  I adore Diana.  She’s seen me through so much.  And sure, I can probably drop in on a class here and there when I come to town to visit – but it’s so not the same.  She’s a part of my daily life in a way that pretty much nobody else is (other than online).

None of this is happening anytime soon.  It will probably be next summer at the earliest before anything happens.  But that doesn’t matter to my emotional processing, of course.  It’s been picking at my heart since she first told me, a few days ago.  Went to a competition today, and as often happens, I got several chunks of time when I got to spend time with Diana.  I love that.  Also, I was there for about 15 hours and I’m exhausted.  So yeah, I was BAWLING on the way home.

This could be what it takes to turn my financial life around.  And I DON’T WANT TO LEAVE DIANA.

Decision to be made later.  Crying to happen for now.

Coppertone, Baby

So, I’ve been tanning recently.  Never in my life thought I’d ever see the inside of a tanning booth (unless it was on TV, like that episode of Nip/Tuck), but I think I’m glad I changed my mind.

Backing up – work has been really bad of late.  And by “of late”, I mean all of 2012 so far.  I only had 41 hours in January, all of EIGHTEEN in February, and had stalled out around 40 in early March.  I’ve been hunting for a second job I could do part-time and getting absolutely nowhere.  Add in the weird weather and the fact that I still have a hard time with the short days and total lack of sun in the winter (coupled with how much less UV is in the sunshine even in the summer) and I was losing my mind.  I mean that fairly literally – I was one very short step up from suicidal a couple of weeks ago.  I was starting to wonder if tanning would help – it does boost vitamin D and serotonin levels and stuff, and it’s useful for Seasonal Affective Disorder (which is one component of my depression).  During the week that I was spinning so violently out of control, I happened to be discussing it with Diana, and out of the blue she turns to me and says “Okay, I know it’s horrible for your skin and you prefer natural things and such, but have you ever thought about tanning?  I think it might help…”.  Kind of blew my mind, having this come totally out of the blue (I hadn’t told ANYONE I was pondering tanning).

So I started looking around at different salons.  Attempted to google, first, and discovered that NOT ONE SINGLE TANNING SALON will EVER put their prices online.  It’s bizarre.  And there is a HUGE range in prices – and in pricing structures.  So I started schlepping around to see what I could find.  First place I went is literally around the corner from me, $38/month unlimited tanning… but is basically a nail salon with a few tanning beds.  I wasn’t super confident that they really knew much about tanning.  And heaven knows that I don’t, so I really need them to!  Still, gave me a baseline price to refer to.  Went to Islands Tanning next – and learned more about the “typical” pricing structures.  Different prices for the different beds, different prices based on how long of a contract you sign up for, and a high-pressure sell. *sigh*  And he didn’t listen to me AT ALL.  I made it clear from the start that I was looking into this as a way to help combat my SAD and boost my vitamin D and such, NOT for color or “spa time”.  He tried very hard to sell me on the other amenities (hydro massage bed, sauna thingy, infared bed, this hot body wrap thing to help you lose weight, etc).  And he tried even harder to push me into the higher-priced plans (of course) by going on and on about how the high-pressure lamps give you more color, and faster, than the basic bed.  Um, hi, what part of “I don’t care about color” are you not getting?  *sigh*  When he finally got that I DON’T HAVE THE MONEY, he started trying to push me into a longer-term contract instead.  Which I kind of get, because the longer the term, the lower the monthly payment.  When he found out that I was looking at the place that charged $38/month, he undercut them.  Took the plan (which should have been $49/month) down to $30, which I loved – but for 18 months.  I can’t guarantee 18 months of enough hours to pay an extra $30/month.  You can freeze your account – but that doesn’t stop the payment.  Just that you can’t tan during that time, and the time is tacked onto the end of your plan, so you don’t lose out if you can’t tan, or just don’t want to, for a chunk of time. 

The cool thing is that he did give me a short free session.  I’m glad it was short – it was in one of the beds with stronger lamps and I have NO pigmentation at this point in time (and there are parts of my body that have NEVER seen the sun).  Also, I’d applied my body butter that morning – which I’m thinking is a no-no when it comes to tanning.  Because, you know, oils…  They intensify such things.  I didn’t burn, not even close, but my skin did get that kind of tight and tingly feeling you get when you got just a little too much sun.

Aside from the physical though – holy CRAP it felt good.  Physically too – it was a little too warm, and I don’t usually respond well to being too warm, but it felt so amazing on my skin.  And *I* felt better after.  Could be placebo, but I find it unlikely since I did not expect to see any emotional results for about 2 weeks.  But I found myself feeling more like, well, myself – able to have some hope, able to put things in better perspective, more giggly, more positive, not suicidal…  Good stuff.  It was amusing, though, coming out of the salon into the snowfall.  My body was very confused – “Wait, weren’t we just at the beach?  And now it’s snowing?  WTF?” Went to dance on Thursday night – don’t usually go to that class (being on call and all), but it was the last time Diana was teaching until after spring break (she left early), so I wanted to see her and do the dance we’ve been learning (which is super awesome) and stuff. She starts out her warm ups with “Alive Again”, and I found myself laughing a bit inside. Feeling alive again, in very deed. I hadn’t realized how much it was affecting me, to still be so down during dance class, when I’m used to dance being what pulls me out of that state. Being there and NOT feeling like I was drowning… it was huge.

Since I got the free session, I figured I’d wait on exploring other salons until a day or two later, just in case I got any more free sessions. ;)  Heard there was a labor on Thursday, so didn’t go anywhere, plus wanted to give my skin time to heal.  Went out Friday (after using lotion instead of body butter, lol) and checked out Tan Republic.  You don’t *have* to be on a contract with them – but holy crap, if you’re not it’s nearly EIGHTY BUCKS a month for the most basic bed.  Longer contracts of course give you cheaper monthly fees, never went below $49 – and again, I DON’T want a contract.  I want control of what months I go and what months I don’t, since I don’t plan for this to be all the time, just in the winter.  Less of a high pressure sell there, but still focusing on how the higher quality beds give the most color – and again, I don’t care about color.  Nice place, but way too pricey for little me.

At that point, I was starting to think I should just go with the place around the corner, because they were all going to require contracts and stuff, but figured I’d keep going – I had one more to check out seriously, plus a coupon for some free tanning at another that I was sure would be too pricey, but hey, can’t beat free.  Last serious stop was SunsUp – and I am so glad I didn’t skip them.  They do a “membership” instead of a contract – per month fee like the place around the corner, but it renews automatically.  You can freeze it ($5 fee) if you don’t want to tan that month, or cancel any time (no cancelation fee) with a written request.  By far the cheapest, only $22/month for unlimited in the basic bed, and I was far more impressed with their knowledge and such than the first place.

Best of all?  The gal at this place LISTENED TO ME.  Once I mentioned SAD and vtiamin D and stuff, she flat-out told me that the higher price beds won’t make ANY difference for that kind of use, so she was only going to talk about the basic beds with me unless I wanted to know about the others (which I didn’t).  Gave me a very low-pressure pitch, and also offered me a free session.  This one was a bit longer, but my skin didn’t mind it – probably because a) lower power lamps, and b) no oil on my skin.  Still felt AMAZING.  At that point, I didn’t even bother going to the last place – it’s further than I’d want to drive anyway, and based on their name and website and stuff, seemed safe to assume they would be more expensive.

She was of course talking up their lotions as we got my account set up – but again, once I told her that I couldn’t afford it, she stopped.  Never any high pressure sales from her.  I have a friend who also has an account with SunsUp and she’s had the same experiences, at an entirely different branch.  They’re just a nice, laid-back place.  They’re open 7 days, while a couple of the others are closed on Sundays.  Being on call on Thursday and Saturday, i love the idea of tanning on Sundays, it’s very relaxing.  They bill on the 15th, which is so much better with my pay structure anyway, so I got this month pro-rated.  You have to buy goggles, they don’t provide them (though I got some disposables for my free session, of course), but that’s a one-time thing – still cheaper to pay $22/month plus a one-time $6 than $38/month with goggles provided.  Plus I don’t have to worry about how well they’ve sanitized them.

Still feeling more like myself after yesterday’s session.  Looking forward to going back tomorrow.  Planning on every other day for the time being, until I’m a little closer to functional.  Figure I’ll go regularly through April and then see how I feel.  Don’t plan on going in the summer, especially if I can actually *gasp* get myself outside to do some reading in the sun, but then pick it up again in the winter and see if I can stave off the worst of this.  Thing is, looking back, I have been having just a little harder time every winter.

I’ve been reading about Vitamin D today.  It regulates so many things, several of which (inflammatory conditions, asthma, blood pressure, weight gain) have been slowly getting worse since I’ve been up here.  Makes me suspicious.  I wish I could get my levels checked now, before I’ve really gotten started, then compare them in a month or so, just for my own curiosity.  I wonder how low I’ve gotten.  It would be really nice if I could get off of my inhalers again.  It does seem suspicious that Vitamin D has been implicated in asthma, and my asthma has been sub-clinical up until now, when I’ve been up here for 7 years – maybe it took that long for it to make a difference.  I’m sure there are a ton of other factors too, so who knows if anything will really change, but it will be interesting to find out.  For now, it will be enough to not be in such total despair and on the brink of suicidal ideation.

And yeah, it would be nice to get SOME color.  Even if that isn’t the primary goal.😉 (especially in my legs – it’s to the point where I’ll shave them and it won’t even look like I did because the skin is so pale and the hairs are so dark that the hair below the skin surface looks like unshaven stubble)  I never knew I was *this* white – living in California, I always carried a bit of a base tan, even when I thought I was all winter-pale.  Had to stop using my foundation, even before I got into more natural things and less makeup-happy, because my skin got several shades paler.  It’s WEIRD.

Memo to self, need to get some more lotion.  Haven’t bought any in ages, since I’ve been making body butter and such, but no oils in the tanning beds (it’s bad for the acrylic surface too).  But not dropping another $60-80 just on a small bottle of lotion there – gonna get something cheap at Rite-Aid.😉

I am a freak

I can’t even believe that this is taking up so much of my attention at this point in time, given everything else that’s going on.  But I can’t stop thinking about it, so I’m going to post about it and see if it helps.

I don’t think I’m as straight as I thought I could be/have been trying to be/etc.  If you don’t want to know, then read no further.

I have very little basis for determining much of anything, and I don’t know where to start.  I had a very brief relationship in college – all of 3 months, of which nearly a month’s worth was the two of us away at home over the holidays.  It was during that time that I figured out how bizarre our relationship was and decided to break up with her.  Yes, I said her – it was with another woman.  I was at a women’s college and it was actually a fairly accepted part of the culture, unlike out in the “real world”.

Backing up a little further – I was sexually abused as a child.  Initially by my mother, later by an older boy.  I find it interesting (if very odd) that I tend to feel safer with women, since my mother was anything but safe – but I also had to believe that she was perfect for the vast majority of my life, in other to survive growing up, so I assume that’s related.  Who knows.  Being “awakened” at the age of 8 or so was unfortunate.  It’s far too young to realize how incredibly different it feels to be touched by someone other than yourself.  I wound up with this lovely complex – a craving for sex, terror of giving in because I was too young and would get “in trouble”, a terror of intimacy, a craving for the taboo (since my “awakening” was in a situation where I felt trapped, powerless, and disgusted, and that all got wired together)…  It’s a mess.  Oh yeah, and TONS of shame around anything even remotely involving sex.  But only as it applies to myself, of course, or I could never do postpartum care.😉

I spent most of my life single and untouched.  Had that girlfriend in college, but that was it for there.  Turned fairly slutty in my late 20s, but at a remove – messing around with people, just no relationships.  Men and women both in that time frame (and at the same time, once or twice).  Continued this a little bit after my move, but mostly went celibate again.  Became a Baha’i at one point, and they have strict rules – no sex outside of marriage and no homosexuality at all, period, end of story, so I figured “well, I’ve messed with both, and I’m equally slutty either way, so it should be no problem to play it straight”.

Had a VERY brief fling with dating through an online site – which I suspect may have played a role in my anorexia rearing its ugly head last year.  Somehow, the only guys I met were all still living with their mothers, which is very bad considering the state of my apartment and how I’m ashamed to have anyone here – and frankly is a little scary in our 30s.  I did quite like the last guy I was seeing, we dated several times and I enjoyed being with him – but we had NO chemistry.  And there were some specific issues I had, but it did make me wonder a bit.  But I was busy being anorexic, so I didn’t do much more thinking on it at the time.

In the past few months, it’s been much on my mind.  I already really don’t consider myself to be a Baha’i anymore – though I haven’t discussed that with any of my Baha’i friends.  Because I’m a big giant chicken.  Sigh.  One crisis at a time.  What I have been noticing of late is a definite trend in my fantasies – when I fantasize about men, they are always faceless, and at the *ahem* peak of the fantasy, I have a major rush of shame and the fantasy dissolves.  When I fantasize about women, they can be women I know (no, nobody who reads this, so don’t get all freaked out, I am not flirting with any of you), and there can be fantasized conversation and cuddling after – and while the inevitable rush of shame still shows up, it’s slower and weaker.

So what does any of this mean?  Who knows.  How much is related to my actual sexuality as opposed to my messed up emotional state.  Who knows.  I still don’t *want* to deal with the social ramifications of having a girlfriend (though that’s less of an issue in this metro area than in many other places), and of course I really don’t want to try to explain ANY of this to some of my Baha’i friends (though some won’t care at all, after the initial startlement).  Recently kind of came out to a friend of mine.  Mostly by accident (didn’t double-check all of my pronouns before I clicked “send”).  She recently turned standoffish – and I can’t help but wonder if it’s related.  Who knows; in the meantime, I also started completely losing my emotional balance, which she does not tend to handle well, so hard to know what was a factor and what wasn’t, and what is just me overreacting in the first place.  But none of that really matters because neither my current financial nor emotional states will even begin to permit me to pursue anybody of either gender.

But seriously, if I could, how does one even start?  “Hello, I have no idea if I am or could potentially be attracted to you or your gender in general, I’m just experimenting, even though we are now many years out of college – want to be my science project?”.  I think my pick up line needs work.:/

How the hell does everybody else figure this stuff out? (of course, for starters, they don’t wait until their mid 30s to make a START)

Previous Older Entries

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.