Saturday, July 22, 2017

Why I Don't Talk To You

AUTHOR'S NOTE: It is recommended you listen to "Bring Me to Life" by Evanescence while reading this post. Please see the PS at the end of the post to see why. Thank you.


Just about any time I write a more honest post about how I feel, I get lots of offers from very kind of loving people to talk if I need to, and to know that they're always there for me. I always appreciate these messages. I look at them, appreciate them, feel a flutter of shame at what they know about me, and resolve to thank them later when the post isn't so fresh on my mind. And then of course I forget that I didn't actually respond. But I do that in a lot of situations.

I don't know how serious people are when they say they're there to talk of I need someone. I don't doubt their sincerity, I just feel like they underestimate the tornado they would be welcoming into their home, so to speak.

When I am having a bad day or having a panic attack or have a manic phase or anything like that, I do not sound like my blog posts. Maybe that's what it is. I'm not at all coherent or logical and I can vehemently and wildly deny anything I want to while swearing up and down that my own idea of self is absolutely true.

Right now I have two friends I talk to when I am in those moments, and I feel worse and worse and worse about it every time it happens. I talk to them because I trust them and because they make me feel at least a bit better, or at least like I'm not so alone. They don't panic (to my face, at least), but just kind of...accept it, and do what they can. They are rather amazing people.

But I don't just have a crisis every once in a while. I've been in a constant state of crisis for the past week, and even though it finally seems to be normalizing, just the events of the week have left me terrified, exhausted, and guilty.

In those moments, I am terrified and my first instinct is to find someone, but then I remember that people have their own lives and that just a few hours ago I was feeling the same way and bombarding people with my issues. And already, here I am again, doing the same thing to the same person.

The more honest I get about my feelings, the harder it is to stop talking about them. I've almost always had them bottled up. I have rarely had someone to talk to about any of it, and the only way I could handle it would be writing it all out here, on a shitty blog. Having actual friends be with you turns out to be pretty different.

Plus, there are some things I cannot bring myself to write about on here. They may be huge sources of stress in my life, but they're also about someone else who certainly doesn't want their problems (or my problems with them) to be out in the open. It would be cruel to write about it.

I believe that is the main reasons my two friends have had so much to deal with lately. There are so many little things going on in my life that I can't vomit out into the world, but I have to get it out of me. But, being me, I don't even know how to have a normal conversation. So I skip around the subject because I don't want to whine or insist we talk about me, which results in a nonspecific depressing pity party hosted by me.

I consider myself a very open person because I like to talk about my problems, if only because they are real issues in the world that other people face as well. Some people will not speak out for themselves, and don't ask me why I feel that I have to do it for them. I feel responsible for being a voice, however soft and quivering.

But I also don't like to talk about me. I don't like to talk about my problems. If people ask specific questions and prove that they care and are interested, then yeah, I have no problem. I actually like that. It makes me feel human.

But if no one asks, then I feel vain bringing it up. I whine and I pity myself and force my "problems" on other people who surely have their own things to deal with. And so many times people have not told me their problems just because they knew I had too much going on. Even though I understand, it hurts. I don't want to be a friend who always needs help but never helps. I want to know how people are doing and if there's anything I can do.

So to kind of bring this back to where I started, there is a reason why I don't reach out to many of you beautiful people when I'm having a crisis.

I don't want to ruin anything.

I don't want to lose a friend when they realize how fucked up I am. I don't want to overwhelm a friend with all of my problems when I have no idea what they're going through at the same time. I don't want to turn a friendship into a one-sided therapy session.

Every single time, I try so hard not to reach out to those two friends. It used to be I would force myself to talk to someone because that's what you're supposed to do. You're supposed to ask for help. But I think in this perfect world, there is somehow always the best friend group where there will always be one person who somehow has a perfect life and is always able to help.

But it's not. I have two whole friends I trust and love and who I can count on to make me feel better (even if it's a little delayed). And I hate myself just as much when they are there for me, because am I ever there for them? Do I even have any idea what their lives are like right now? I want to. I want to know so badly. But then I start wondering if they'd even want to talk about it with me. I'm a "if they want to talk about it they'll bring it up" kind of person (even though obviously I don't bring shit up when I need to talk about it), which means I rely on vague "How is your day going?" questions.

I have been the sober friend trying to talk to a drunk, self-destructive, mentally ill person. While I would of course do it again, I don't want to make anyone else do that for me.

Sometimes I wish I could make them hate me, or admit that they don't like me or that they don't care, because then maybe I wouldn't care either and I could make myself stop talking to them.

I get so sick of friends, close or casual, telling me how amazing I am and that I'm cool or whatever. I sometimes believe those two friends. Sometimes. I never believe anyone else, because they don't know me. They read my blog and think they do, or they've gone through all of college with me and think they do, or they've had a few conversations with drunk Dexter (who is far more entertaining than sober Dexter) and think they do.

I guess now is where you could get philosophical and ask, "Well do you ever really know someone?"

Look I don't shit about that. But every time someone says I can talk to them, I think to myself, "Can I? What would you actually do if I called you crying mid-panic attack, or in the middle of the night when I'm drunker than I've ever been and have a knife, or if I'm in a manic phase and beg you to do something with me only to cancel five minutes later because I've fallen through that cloud like a brick? If I called you and just asked you to come sit in my house with me while I read, would you actually? If I showed you just how pitiful, dysfunctional, and fucked up I am, would you really still want to talk to me?"

I can guess that the answer would be yes. But I guess it's also something you have to see to believe. And no one's seen me in a very long time.

Out of sight, out of mind. I have always been rather forgettable (I grew up with a boy who I met for the first time at least ten times, so you really can't argue with me here).

I laugh and cry at the same time because I'm starting to look like Sally from The Nightmare Before Christmas.

It's suffocating to wear long sleeves to go buy milk.

It's terrifying to have to find a cardigan before answering the door.

It's nauseating to visit an empty campus to go look at that little courtyard where you were date-raped because you are finally trying to get that story out of you and turn it into something artistic, to be that quivering voice for all of those other people who will talk to me but no one else.

I had planned a far more coherent post, but that just kind of proves my point, doesn't it.

I am a lot crazier than you think, and I'm afraid you will leave when you figure that out. Or that you will leave when you try and fail to "fix" me. Or you will leave when I do start feeling better and don't "need" you anymore.

I am so afraid of being alone that I'd rather just be alone.

-Dexter




PS. Evanescence just came on my Spotify and the angst is just too much to resist.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

The Updated Trauma Patient's Story: Four Years Later

She thought she’d forgotten it. Of course, just the thought that she’d forgotten it meant that she hadn’t. The fake pleasure of not thinking about something doesn’t actually bring any real comfort. The centipedes in her stomach didn’t stop their hourly trek around her insides and her lungs didn’t fill any easier. But there was a certain fog in her head, letting her pretend that it had never happened and that she’s fine. If it happened to come to mind she would put it out of her mind, one way or another. As long as she didn’t have to think about it and acknowledge the bugs in her stomach and the guilty shame haunting her head.

But being in the psych ward really makes her think, especially when a psychologist sits down and starts asking her about her life. He pulls at the strings until she unravels and the story is out. She’s never told a soul before and reliving the moment makes it seem so much realer than she remembers. Will the doctor be mad at her? Tell her all the things she’s done wrong? But as she finishes her story, she frowns a little, ending with a quiet, “I guess it wasn’t my fault after all.”

No, the psychologist answers. Not at all. I’m glad you can see that. He tells her to think about it more and not be afraid of thinking about it. She promises she will.

Later on she sits in the dayroom, watching her fellow patients and dutifully thinking about that night. It’s hard to remember the details and it’s even harder to confront the emotions that come with them.

Confusion, worry, fear, disgust, shame, guilt, terror.

It was almost pleasant, feeling hands slide up her calves, then back down, then back up, then back down. But behind the pleasure is confusion: something is not right. Those hands are not supposed to be there, and she really doesn’t think she likes it anymore. The hands slide higher up her thighs and she starts to get a little worried about what is happening, but she can’t open her eyes to look around.

The warmth of the hands seep through her jeans as they go all the way back down her legs, then all the way back up. They skim her hips and go up her sides, then all the way back down. Back up, back down. She settles into the discomfort of the dream, feeling helpless to escape and not knowing what to do. Her own hands won’t respond to push the stranger away.

At some point the hands go to other places and fear starts to take hold. Her sweater isn’t thick enough to hide her breasts and she cringes in her sleep, trying to twist away but finding it alarmingly difficult to move. The hands go back to her ankles, then go back up. This time they find the space between her thighs and she instinctively closes her legs tightly, whimpering. She desperately tries to wake up, desperately tries to convince herself that she is still asleep.

Someone is telling her to wake up. Yes, yes, I want to wake up. I want this to have been a dream. She finally gets her eyes open and look up to see him looking at her worriedly. She asks how long she was asleep. He says he didn’t even know she was. This scares her for some reason.

She wants to tell her boyfriend what happened and why she is worried. But she feels dirty and guilty and ashamed. What if he is mad at her for letting someone else touch her? Because she did let him. She should’ve been able to stop him, to realize what was happening, to wake up. Her already weak self-esteem and strong self-hate die and blossom in kind. How could she have let it happen? She decides to never tell a soul and locks the memory up inside.

Back in the psych ward the memory has been unlocked. She is finding it hard to breathe and the centipedes in her stomach are running rampant as if trying to escape. She can’t handle the people around her and she can’t handle the feeling of those hands and the overwhelming sense that she’d never been asleep. She finds the nurse.

The psychologist tells her to write an unsent letter to the man who touched her, to confront her own feelings about what happened. She does so after a day of telling herself that she is brave. In her letter, she tells the man that she cannot feel guilty anymore and refuses to blame herself for what happened. She says that she will never let him touch her again in any way, casual or otherwise. She will stand up for herself and say no. She will be brave. She later reads the letter to her psychologist and says she is going to tell her boyfriend about what happened. The psychologist approves.

She is still scared, but she is determined to be brave. The memory is unlocked and dealt with, out in the open for a trusted few to understand. She will no longer let her fear and self-loathing consume and limit her. Instead, she will be brave, raise her head, and walk on.

Years pass, and she is still scared and still trying to be brave. She still remembers, still ducks instinctively when she sees a shock of white-blond hair. She scans every face in the room just to be sure. The nightmares are still there. The paranoia has become a way of life for her, such that it doesn't even feel like paranoia. It just is. She still feels guilty, still feels ashamed, still feels like a dirty slut.

Yes, she will be brave. She has been brave. She is brave.

If only she didn't have to be brave just to exist.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Not A Hero (Not the Video Game)

For what seems like forever, I have been in a seriously deep pit of depression. A bottomless pit, and yet somehow that's where I am: the bottom.

This particular forever I suppose started during my last period. It feels stupid and shameful to admit, but periods are incredibly rough on me. Usually they aren't bad physically (though this past one was debilitating and I actually felt like I was dying), but they affect me mentally more than they should. It's like one solid week of me not being on my medication, that's the easiest way to explain it.

I don't know if I would go as far as saying I get suicidal, because my cats if nothing else keep me going because I know Palmer doesn't like anyone else and he would be upset if I were gone. I don't get suicidal, but I do get reckless. I'm less careful, I do things I shouldn't, I ignore the warning labels on my medication.

My period ended around my 23rd birthday, which was a very depressing day. I certainly was not expecting a surprise party with fifteen hundred people (that would have been terrifying, actually), but all I really wanted was to see someone. But no one could or wanted to. Okay, shout out to the one who did bring me Canes at like, midnight. But I just got really depressed and lonely and drank too much and watched a really bad movie by DW Griffith.

It didn't get much better as time went on. I made the terrible mistake of trying to read Fifty Shades of Grey simply because I wanted to see if the writing really was as bad as I'd heard. Sometimes reading really terrible writing can be fun and humorous and good for the self-esteem. I was not, however, expecting to have a three hour panic attack complete with crying and shaking. I have meds to take for anxiety attacks, but I've only ever taken half of one. I took two during that episode and went super numb and can't really remember what happened after that. I passed out and felt like shit the next morning.

Since then, I've been having panic attacks more frequently, though none as bad as that one. That shitty book just awakened all these things that I hadn't thought about in a while, that I hadn't had problems with in a while. Then suddenly they're all back and it's overwhelming and just plain sucks.

And now I'm here. The past two or three days have been absolute hell. I've been depressed for no discernible reason, super panicky. I haven't been grocery shopping in a very, very long time. Right now I'm living off of Ritz crackers and peanut butter, trying to conserve the cans of not-so-great-soup I have in my cabinet. Part of it is that I'm genuinely worried about money because I'm about to move and I need deposit money and rent money and all of this stuff, and I won't start getting paid by the University until probably September.

But part of it is that I don't want to leave my house, and I certainly don't want to go to the store. I don't want to have to make decisions about what food to buy, and I don't want to have to exchange pleasantries with the cashier. I don't want anyone to look at me.

I've had a few good moments. I took out the trash the other day, which is really rare for me because I'm terrified of my creepy neighbor who always tries to talk to me and says creepy things. I've packed a very small bit for the move to Florida. I have done a few small things.

But I haven't really been eating, which kind of bit me in the ass yesterday when my body started shutting down and it was hard to go up and down the stairs and I felt like I was going to vomit and was really shaky and all of this stuff. I did eat, eventually, and miraculously felt better.

Yeah, eating is important. I'm not good at it.

I think I might've mentioned that I'm basically mentally disabled, and that certainly affects feeding myself. It makes me feel absolutely pathetic and pitiful. I am fully capable of feeding myself, and yet...can't always do it. It's stupid.

A few nights ago I drank too much again (have I mentioned that I'm becoming an alcoholic? Trying to nip that in the bud before it gets too far...) and took my anxiety meds that you're absolutely not supposed to take with alcohol. I found my old knife and played with it too much. I wasn't outright trying to kill myself, but I admit that I was hoping I just wouldn't wake up after taking my anxiety meds and going to sleep for the night.

I don't want to die, not really. There's a lot going for me right now. I've somehow gotten into a really competitive and amazing graduate school and somehow gotten a really nice apartment and somehow have friends who still love me even though I constantly make them worry that I might be dead. I want to go to grad school. I want to experience life and read books and get more cats. I don't want to die.

But when everything hurts so bad and you can't find something to blame it on, you end up turning on yourself. If there's no external source for your misery, it's got to be coming from you, right?

Useless piece of shit who only likes to complain and make herself miserable and draw attention to herself by telling all of her friends she's worried she's going to hurt herself.

These are lies. I know this. I know this very well. I know I have an illness that, while treatable, will probably never fully go away. I know that I will have better days and that every day will not suck like the past few weeks have. I know these things.

But it's still so hard. And then I get on here and try to write inspiring things to help other people who also struggle.

But don't you see? I'm just a massive hypocrite who is spiraling out of control and has no grasp on her life.

I'm not a role model.

I'm not an inspiration.

I'm not a hero.

I'm literally just a psychotic twenty-something girl (who apparently looks seventeen according to the entire population of Florida) who just so happens to know how to write well.

I am certainly glad that people know they aren't alone in their struggles. And I am certainly glad to talk about it and to be there for you (as long as I myself am not about to go over the edge, cause then I will not be much help). I am certainly glad that this blog somehow helps people, whether it's to understand others or themselves, or to know that they aren't alone, or to know that surviving hell is possible. I am certainly glad that you are still here and you are reading this.

But I'm just me. And that's nothing special. There are countless people just like me, who go through what I do and who do it better.

I read through my old blog posts recently, and there's one about me wanting to inspire people but knowing that I'm too much of a hypocrite to do it properly. So this is a follow-up post, saying that I don't know if "inspire" is really the proper word anymore.

I also had a good post about hope and encouragement that I'd completely forgotten about. Funnily enough, my own post made me cry and promise to keep trying for just one more day.

Okay so maybe I am inspiring. Whatever. Shut up. Leave me alone.

I have no idea where I'm going with this. But I'm not a hero and I'm not trying to be. I'm just a person, just like you. And, you know, you've gotten just as far as I have. You're still here too, and that's important.

If I'm a fucking hero, then you sure as hell are too. Don't forget it.

--Dex