Tuesday, August 1, 2017

New Chapter

It is my birthday.  My fortieth birthday.

I started this blog as a way to get out how I was feeling so I could keep on going, and to help me see where I a and where I've come from.

I've stumbled with it for a few years, because I feel like I should continue it.

Not that I wanted to continue it.  I thought it'd be a good idea.

Its my fortieth birthday.  Ad that still shocks me for several reasons.  The first can be found reading earlier posts.

But now... now... why do I want to write in this blog so much?

Because I'm still making it out of a lot of negatives.  But instead of dumping out the negative like I've done with the past, something that I needed to do... now I need to start acknowledging the positive, let things be positive, let my life starting now be working towards something again.  And that is becoming more and more important to me now.

Because, well, I know you don't know, its my fortieth birthday.  For many its an "I'm getting older" moment.

For me, its a way for me to say, "That chapter has ended.  Let me open another."

Because, I say this to you , to me, to whoever or whatever is out there listening-

I WILL NOT UNDERGO SUCH A HORRIBLE TIME AGAIN.

I'm done.

And I'm going to be writing in here for at least once a week for the next ten years.  Maybe long, maybe short.  Maybe the definition of a word, or something else that caught my fancy.

Or maybe a long long passage on the past, the present, the future.

For the moment, its freaking hot, happy birthday to me, I have leftover Indian food and pineapple upside-down cake to eat, and a little pile of presents to open.  Lets party.

Stay tuned.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

overwhelm

Three days into the new year, and I am sitting down to write something in this blog... and I have to run off to the restroom...

OK.  Back.

I already tried to start this posting on my smart phone, one that I'm afraid has gone senile, because it just won't let me spell the words I want.

I got fed up, and got up off of the couch that I've been lazing about all day.  Went to my computer, which immediately does its freeze and the-center-cannot-hold sounds, and I get anxious, and get ready.  To quit.  Another posting another time.

I turn on Itunes, play Sara Bareilles.  Brave.  Kind of on the nose.  But OK.  I like other songs on this album.

Three days into the new year, and I'm discouraged.  I want my own place very badly, so that Steve and I can grieve and find out how our lives work on our own.  I also want a job, one that I like and is a good job, and that will take more time than I want to give.  But I am determined not to crash and burn.

So I am waiting for all of the steps Vocational Rehabilitation is putting me through.  Putting my trust there, in a man that surprised me in his earnestness, in the love of his job, and his passion for helping, and the conversation with me that took around four hours.  They won't find the perfect job.  But they'll give me focus and drive, and possibly, a new direction to my life I hadn't yet considered.

Those are big changes, which I wish were just here so I can move out of this transitional phase.  This phase where I've fallen off my exercise and food regimen, something I'm trying to build like a sandcastle at low tide.  Smarter, Jacob.  You can do this.  Just be smart.

I just don't feel smart.  I feel like I'm slipping backwards.  Like I've gotten a vision, or more of a feeling, of who I am, and then its being pulled away from me.  Am I going to let it slip past, drop back into patterns, or push again into good things, into understandable weeks that are strongly planned for health, and for goals to be met...

Or maybe things aren't going to be the same as they were.  What works now?  What is less of a resolution, but more of a little by little, one foot in front of another, strengthening those legs so that they are ready to jump when the time comes?

I had a pizza today.  Two cokes.  Been eating pretty badly for a while now.  And I tell myself "now is the last time.  Now.  Now.  no, Now..."

Now is the time to just stop the cycle.  I'll have another pizza some time.  But not tomorrow, followed by burgers and other crappy food.  I'll clean up my food, starting with breakfast, then lunch, then dinner.

I'll do a lot of things.  Things that I don't need to list.  Things that may or may not be changes.  I mean, I'm sitting here, writing a blog post.  Unexpectedly.  Because my mind is swirling around so many things, starting to show the hard edges of 'should be' cutting into the flesh, and creating big wounds of guilt and shame.  Enough.

I'm changing.  I'm being me.  I'm allowed to do it.  My intention is not to hurt anyone.  My intention is to stop hurting myself.  Something I'm still learning how to do.

Now I'm on Manhattan.  This played on the way back from my mother's house in Waldport.  Just Steve and I, and its like it was like the first time I heard the song.  And it just hit me as what he might be thinking or feeling, and how dare I, how dare i, just like my mother told me, how can I leave him after the cancer, and the suicide attempts?  How could I do that him?

That is the echo that seems to scare away my self confidence.  And hell, I even said it just a few paragraphs ago.  Its about me.  But I know I don't do this in a vacuum.  And I have hurt him.  Real bad.  And I am never going to be able to make up for it.  And we are still living together, so...

Not easy for either of us.

Three days into the New Year, and I wish it had happened the way I saw it before I passed under the gate of 2015.  Something magic, then suddenly, my space, super fit and off my meds, working at something meaningful.  Making enough to stand on my own two feet.

Now I'm on the other side of the gate, and the idealistic me is hugging the metalwork at the side, smiling, waving his hand, blind to the work that is ahead of me.  I turn back, look down at the keyboard, and continue to find a way to wrap this all up...

I think its about as wrapped up as its going to be...

  

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Take it as it comes.

I have been overwhelming myself trying to figure out how to bridge the gap between now and my last posts, to create some sort of continuity that would , in effect, just make me feel like I'm doing what people want me to do.  And that's the shit that got me in trouble in the first place.

I mean, right now, I am already thinking that this better be a long post, full of readable substance to keep you going and feeling like you should give a damn about me.

Hell, I don't know how long a post it will be.

If I were to be as truthful as I can, I'm writing this because I need to write.  Its back to the title of this damned blog.  I need to speak in whatever way I know how.  And right now, that is in writing.

Which I am going to do whenever I can.  Right now, feeling overwhelmed, so more will come.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Change-y



Change fucking sucks. 

Especially when its me who has to bring it about.

You know, that’s not even true.  It sucks when it just occurs without my input, too.

I want to delete all that I wrote, and write something much more pleasant, in the tune of cocoons and transformation, and growing pains and bullshit like that, but no.  Change fucking sucks.

Its like I started feeling better, woke up, looked around, and said “Wait a sec.  Things aren’t done yet.”  And then I see the laundry list of things to be done or to be overcome.

The first is that I’m going to lose my therapist.  Something built on complexity dealing with breaking down barriers and telling things I have never told anyone to him, and getting the weird balancing act of how to love someone within the confines of a therapeutic relationship.  And I don’t want more than that... I just don’t want to say goodbye yet.  I’m not well.  I’m not fucking well, and as much as I know that it is my responsibility to get there, I feel like my map is being taken away.  I mean, how do I even deal with the last sessions?  I already am a clock watcher, wanting to get the most out of fifty minutes, and it drives me nuts that he doesn’t share my paranoid babble that goes nowhere.
I’m going to miss him.  A lot.  And am afraid that its going to be too big of a loss.

So there’s that.

And there are other things… things that I don’t want to think about, so of course, I spend all of my time thinking about.  things that are huge and monstrous, and I have to deal with as they come.  And unlike the letting go of my therapist, I have to start the ball rolling.

And it fucking sucks, just thinking about it.

At this point, I do the check in, the I-am-still-having-a-hard-fucking-time moment, because I look back at what I say, and wonder if it comes off as bellyaching, as some poor lil white boy with his privileged lil depression.

Fuck it.  Maybe I am.  I have always been paranoid that I’m just a selfish little brat, the youngest child, so you know what that means, right?  In all of my relationships, I have this insecurity, and the fucked up thing?  There is an element of truth.  Its not that I haven’t worked hard, but maybe I’ve just been too emotional at jobs- tried too much- became despondent when I thought no one noticed, or felt like they capitalized on my efforts, wanting me to do more. 

So, I quit.  Other than contract jobs, I have quit every job I have had.  And the longest was this last job at New Seasons, about two and a half years.  I look at job stuff now, and know I can’t do much because of the anxiety, and then look at my skill set, which is primarily in customer service.  What can I do to change?

My idea- write more.  Send out stories, get that started.  Nice.  Very sort of privileged outlook- a few stories will pay the bills.  Maybe eventually, but what about now?  What about something more stable, more…

And here’s where I get into trouble.  Here’s where I jump from laissez-faire to everything-right-now.
Doesn’t matter what job, take it.  Self worth is involved- you can’t even hack it in real life- you can’t even pay your own way, you fucking loser!

So, middle ground(DBT would say wise mind) is lost.

Like I said, now is time to change.  time to reach the middle ground and go towards something so terrifying to me, so frustrating, so… just so fucking hard. 

Towards me.

Change is a fucking bitch.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

able

I haven't posted all week, so I have to post now.  It's important to me.

Its an odd bit of judgement I've got, because I stopped myself from writing "I didn't have time."

I didn't have time?  I'm on disability!  That means I have all the time in the world, right?  From the outside looking it, yes. 

I remember when I was applying for disability, the thing my therapist cautioned me about was that many mentally ill folks actually get more depressed when they are finally on it.  Makes them feel worthless.

I get that sentiment now.  I am so fucking paranoid people are judging me, thinking I'm just gaming the system.  And I do find quite a sad lack of what I am capable of right now.  I mean, hell, a month ago, and I was barely able to pull together something for dinner, much less write on a blog.

But now I am maintaining a restricted diet for some other health conditions, I am exercising twice a day, and I spend every day of the week going to therapy, classes, or other medical appointments.  All of which we all could do, I bet, if we had the time.

Comes back to that judgement.  One of the health folks I met was an osteopath, who pushed me with questions like "so.  What's the plan for getting off disability?"  I was upset with that, and did my usual simpering routine, doing my best to make everything my fault.  Because I should be getting off it, right?  I mean, here I am, putting words together in cogent sentences, which obviously demonstrates that I'm functional enough to go down to the local McDonalds, and flip some hamburgers?

Right?

The tendency on disability is to start overacting your sickness, just to prove to everyone that you still have a valid reason for having it.  Think about how that affects mentally ill folks.  Like me.  Depression.  Must show the world that I'm still depressed... maybe look more depressed than I am... and now I'm feeling more depressed than I am, because if I go outside, if I make too many social media comments, if I laugh, if I smile, if I do anything but lie on my bed curled up in a little ball, then I obviously am just a lazy asshole who doesn't want to work.

And there is truth to a bit of it.  I don't want to work right now.  Because any job I get I'm going to either get fired from, or leave in a blaze of a nervous breakdown.  So I compensate, by filling my day with stuff... and I want more supportive stuff, too.  More community based stuff, just people who are like me.  And not necessarily mentally ill.  Just some more places to feel safe, and to connect with people.  In a real setting.  Social Media may happen again, but I want to do it when I want.  I'll just type on this blog until then... squeak through with the folks who read this.

Thank you for reading.


Sunday, September 28, 2014

The blog voice.

There are times when I feel this tongue in cheek blog voice at the ready, capable of flowing everything together, and making everything seem important, if not meaningful.

I tend to pick up my metal bat and BASH HIM THE HELL DOWN, and write.

I guess I have a fear of sounding clever or slick on this blog, because I am neither, nor do I feel like I'm either.  I am a pretty decent writer, though, and would rather that be the case then be pushed into the masses of sitcom-episode blogs out there, that have poignant, yet meaningful messages to pass on to today's lost souls.

Actually, I don't think I've read any blogs like that.  Maybe they're not real.  And, well, its not like anyone is really reading this blog.

I guess I could throw hands up for solidarity among the lost souls.  I AM ONE OF YOU!!!  But then we'd just all wander off.

I look back at what I wrote and wonder: is this how a hipster is born?  Nah.  I'm not ironic in anything.  Pretty real.  And I am not an expert in anything either.

But on to current news...  I have started a therapy program called DBT.  That stands for Dialectical Behavior Therapy, and I am still on the fence about it.  Mind you, I've only been to two classes, and one of them was orientation.  But this therapy group was a long time coming for me.

It was the suggestion of my Psychiatrist during my second stint in the psych ward(in May).  Actually, he really didn't give me much choice in the matter, and I had called my therapist to talk about it.  Because of a voicemail snafu(Thank you ever so much, T-Mobile!), I heard that my therapist had agreed with the treatment before even talking to me.  The truth has a way of sitting at the side, waiting to be brought on, though.  And I never brought it on.  So DBT became synonymous with "I have no control over what happens to me."

But I signed up.  And there was a SIX MONTH WAITING LIST.  Because that's how mental health works.  It goes dormant for six months, and only shows up when they can see you to treat them.

That's not fair, I know.  People work hard, my mother being one of them.  Its less about the people actually helping, and more about the people sitting behind desks, wondering how mental health could be more profitable.

So, I am waiting, and it turns out, another snafu.  Not T-Mobile's fault this time.  Turns out no one actually sent Portland DBT my materials!  Weeks of figuring it out, and I am registered.  And I get a call that I am registered.  I am offered an early class without a therapist.  That would come later.

And only at that point do I realize that once I am in the main program, I have to give up my therapist... the one who started seeing me a few months after my radiation treatment, up until now.

If you haven't read my blog before(welcome!), I have trouble with any sort of healthcare personnel.  It took me months with him to start trusting and opening up, even a little.  But with that trust comes that super strong mentally ill adhesive, that, if pulled away, leaves quite a bit of pain and suffering.

This was a big part of psych ward stay #3, as my therapist knew that he wouldn't see me during DBT, and DIDN'T TELL ME.

That's the drama.  Its quite a bit of mistrust, and a whole hell of a lot of anxiety.  I haven't decided where I land on the whole thing, but I'll give you updates.

One solemn promise is that no matter how brainlessly converted I come to this program, I will not fill up these posts with DBT crap.  I want it to be helpful, but I don't like shoving anything down anyone else's throat.

In other news, I didn't just see an ex-coworker, but she sat down on the train with me.  Stacey.  Thank GOD it was Stacey.  I was so fucking anxious, but she was very accommodating, and even ignored how much I was overamping.  I was trying way too hard, stuttering over everything.  She was surprised this was the first time I had bumped into a coworker on the train.  I am too, but so damned thankful.

I take transit everywhere.  And people get confused, ask me "I thought you were anxious around people?"  I am.  I just blast my headphones, and curl up on a seat.  Usually, I am OK.  I don't drive... and certainly would not want to drive even if I could, and I can't afford much except for an honored citizen's bus pass.  That's right.  I'm an Honored Citizen.  A bit like being a part of the Special Peoples' Club.

I think I was the only person who saw Welcome to the Dollhouse.  Heather Matarazzo?  She's now a lesbian, living in New York?

(insert hipster joke here.  Before you post) 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Another post... already

I had a difficult time frame to deal with on Monday.  I had an appointment at eleven AM in East Portland, and then an appointment at four PM on the west side, south of OHSU.

This left a four hour gap.  I had to keep myself occupied and not freaking out for four hours.  I had to eat lunch, which I brought with me, and I also was going to call my brother.  And... walk, I guess.  A good friend got me a kindle for my birthday, and I figured I could read that- had the next Terry Pratchett on there, so why not?

(Aside from loving the Discworld series, I have found Terry Pratchett to be one of the few things I can just pick up and read right now.  Reading has become frustrating and difficult, and Terry Pratchett isn't.  Sort of a coping mechanism.  So I started at the beginning of the Discworld series, and am going through all of it... I believe there are over 30 books.  And I'm on 13, or close to that.)

So I finish my first appointment, and go walking, looking for a place to sit down and barricade myself.  I found myself getting closer to the house of a writing mentor and hero of mine, and remembered being a part of his writing group.  That reminded me that there was a Zupan's up the street.  I walked up there, and the place was deserted.  Fantastic.  I bought a kombucha, and went to one of the outdoor tables tucked up against the outside wall.  I laid out my lunch and read while I ate.

It took me quite a long time to realize that not only was the outdoor seating barely used, it was only used for a few minutes while people stopped to smoke and fiddle with their smart phones.

This was going to be the place that I talked to my brother.  But I decided that walking and talking was a good thing, too.  Just had to find quieter neighborhoods.

So I'm wandering, and I'm mostly focused on the phone.  Which is a good thing, as there are fucking leafblowers everywhere, and people that I could get anxious around.  I just kept talking and walking. 

So I am going down this street, talking pretty loud to my brother, completely oblivious, when out of the corner of my eye, I spot someone I know.  Now, I could not be completely sure, but I believe it was an assistant manager I worked under at new seasons.  I couldn't make out features, but the hair was right, and I immediately went into panic mode.

Here is one of my greatest pools of paranoia- that people I know will see me, and get confused, or even angry or hurt, because they see or hear me in without the required aspects of illness.  I mean, anxiety, right?  Why am I outside?  Depression?  Why am I talking so animated?

The paranoia is worse for anyone from my old job.  If I could go back I would.  But that environment is just too stressful, and I'd break down.  And I've been left with this feeling like I've betrayed them.  So, for her to see me, looking like I'm fine, just makes it worse.

I rallied like mad with my brother.  I don't think he knew- covering up my stuttering and drop into a low mutter for a bit.  And that moment is still with me.  How she might be telling everyone now "Yeah, I saw him.  He's fine.  What the fuck?"  

And I'll jump ahead of folks by saying yes, I know that paranoia isn't real.  Yes, so much of this is illogical and ridiculous. 

And yet, here I am. 

(And if you noticed that now I'm paranoid of what you think.  Oh, mental illness, you cheeky bastard!)