The cracks have turned into jagged breaks and I’m ooozing out all over. All the thoughts, feelings, impulses… messy, messy, messy… that I’ve been holding down for so long, are bursting out in an ugly tangle. I guess that’s what happens when you give yourself permission to start feeling everything again, it begins to be impossible to unfeel. All the masterful control I thought I had all these years seems to have been bulldozed away in a matter of weeks.
I hate it. I hate not being in control. Even if that control has been revealed to be an illusion, it was comforting when I thought I had it. It would be like starting over, except that I don’t know what that starting place is supposed to look like. Do I just ooze all over with my messy emotions and my bursts of neediness and attacks of flamethrower anger? And am I really feeling all these emotions, or are some of these the ones I’ve convinced myself I’m supposed to have because I’m so enlightened and poly and mature and advanced? Or because I should be angry because other people should know better? And so on.
I can look back and see my depression behind me, I know I’m not in it anymore, but I seem to be teetering on the edge. I haven’t moved far enough away from it to feel safe. Because of that lack of balance, I am desperate for stability. I want predictable schedules, I want to know where my people are, I want my things to be in the same place I left them. I want a chance to move off the edge of depression and onto solid ground and not have to deal with big life changing stressers for a bit, but that doesn’t seem to be possible. Well, maybe it was possible, but that’s not what happened. So I’m feeling all the more brittle and out of control.
I had a rough day Sunday, Mother’s Day. My wife was out of town, visiting friends in her hometown and taking her mom out for brunch. There was nothing out of the ordinary about the day, but maybe that was the problem. See, I’m an introvert and our 3 year old is an extrovert. I woke up with a headache and couldn’t shake it, except for brief moments, all day. The times I felt it loosen its grip were when I had a moment or two without my daughter’s incessant demands for attention — a 40 minute nap, an hour outside weeding while she watched a movie, a few minutes here and there. I started snapping at her right away that morning, yelling at her to just stop for a moment, to just wait to just… it was awful. I was awful, she was normal. I really missed having my partner there to help absorb some of that demand. We all got through the day intact and we even managed some good moments. I just need more space and quiet lately and I was not getting much at all Sunday. High points of the day were grilling cheeseburgers for dinner and making tator tots (my choice) and using our portable fire pit to roast marshmallows and make s’mores. An extreme low point was me stomping into the bathroom, slamming the door shut and listening to my hysterically crying daughter scream about me leaving her. I just needed a time out.
I think maybe I should warn my friends who are contemplating therapy that they should be prepared to fall apart even more than they currently are. It’s as if someone pulled on a loose thread and the whole fabric of who I am started falling apart. Not so much the gender part of me or the sexual part of me or the artistic part of me … those are the outer parts built on top of the inner mechanism. It’s the inner part of me that seems to be unraveling. What I’ve always seen as strengths are starting to look like weaknesses. Correct responses now seem questionable. I don’t know what to anchor myself to anymore. I have ‘drifty’ days and on those days Roxy reminds me to feel the ground beneath my feet and she reminds me that everything I’m feeling is real and that the sun will come up tomorrow. I am doing a better job of reaching out to friends, who have all responded wonderfully to me, giving me reassurance, being fierce, being protective and letting me know I’m not alone. And, oh man, even when I know I have all of you, sometimes I feel so alone in the midst of the my internal wasteland.
“How are you doing?” has become my most dreaded question. How am I doing? Do you have an hour, or two? Do you really want to know? That’s OK, I don’t really want to go there so the answer is “Fine”, or “I had a great ride to work today” or “Good, how about you?”
Truth is, I’m struggling, but I’m still alive, the sun keeps coming up and I keep muddling my way through. I am keeping my anger and hurt to myself and away from those who’ve triggered it, as best I can. Everyday I wake up and hope for a better day, an easier time with my emotions. And stability. I know I am the very picture of doing a million things at once, but right now, I need the world to slow down a bit, to allow me some moments of stillness. It feels like if I could just sit still, in a quiet space, for enough time, I could figure it all out.
Hmmm… and since that isn’t going to happen, I guess I’ll keep doing it this way.
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