Things are Hard

That’s what she said.

TW: SUICIDAL THOUGHTS

I’m typing this on my phone while trying to fall asleep because I feel really shitty and I just need to talk about it. I talked about my ex in counselling today and have been sad ever since. It’s been 11 months since the breakup; when will this end?

I feel like I’ll never feel better, and I’ll always be in this much pain. I know my recent restriction is playing a role, so I need to stop doing that, but ugh.

Maybe I’ll feel differently after a couple days of eating more, but I don’t really want to live right now. There’s so much pain and it never ends. Everything is pain. But death is nothing and that’s scary so we won’t do that. But it seems like a decent deal from where I am.

I’m sorry for this depressing post.

Sarah

My Childhood

I really don’t want to read about inner product spaces, so I have returned to write another post.

I am aware that writing about my childhood as it relates to my mental health is very cliche, but it’s been on my mind recently and I am hoping that writing this post will help me to better understand it.

The thing that confuses me most about my early years is that nothing horrible happened. No traumatic, catastrophic event ever occurred. And yet, I am still profoundly impacted by the things that did happen.

Firstly, I have memories of being anxious as far back as I have memories at all. At 3, I was pulled out of ballet because as soon as my parents left the room, I would sit in the corner by myself ignore everyone. At 4, if someone brushed up against me on my left side, I would purposely brush up against someone on my right side to “even it out”. I got so terrified of the dark that I had extra appreciation for the morning, because it’s the part of the day furthest from the next night. My point is, I’ve always had some issues, whether they resulted from genes or poor parenting before I can remember, or both, or something else entirely. So I am not “blaming” all my problems on things that happened in childhood.  I just believe that these things were one of many factors.

Again, nothing horrible happened to me. I wasn’t abused. I wasn’t kicked out. I wasn’t neglected. I keep stressing these points in my endless preamble because I feel so guilty. I’m sitting here, painting my parents as abusers when they love me and they tried their best, and I’m trivializing the experiences of those who survived much worse circumstances.

Now that we are all on the same page, my childhood:

Things were relatively uneventful for the first few years I can remember. I had minor issues that can be tied to mental illness in retrospect, but nothing that set me apart from my peers. Things were fine.

My parents got divorced when I was 8 years old. I wasn’t too upset, because they had been fighting for a while, and I thought having two houses would be cool. The divorce was fine; the main problem is what came afterwards. But from the beginning of the divorce, I felt the need to protect my sister who was only 2 at the time. I was now the only one living with her every night, so I wanted to provide some stability and protection.

Anyways, when my dad moved out, he immediately started dating a woman named Michelle. I didn’t mind this relationship, as I enjoyed spending time with Michelle’s two daughters, who were 13 and 14 at the time. Within a couple years, my dad and Michelle were living together, along with Michelle’s daughters, and my sister and I. I think this is when they started treating us poorly. My sister and I would be yelled at for making a mistake while doing chores we had never done before, not greeting people properly when we entered the house, and other things with that level of importance. Beyond this, it’s hard to even remember individual events; I just remember how I felt. I remember that I wanted to talk to someone, anyone, about what I was experiencing. But I couldn’t begin to explain it. Again, nothing terrible was happening. At one point, I remember wishing they were beating me, so I could describe what was happening. So I could explain the source of my pain in terms that people would understand. I wasn’t being beaten, but I would dread the days I spent I spent at my dad’s, and felt extremely relieved when they were over.

At one point, I hated being at my dad’s house so much that I told my mom I didn’t want to go back. But still, I couldn’t explain what was happening and why it was affecting me so much. And my mom knew my dad would be furious if she essentially got full custody. I’m tearing up as I write this because I remember the horrible, horrible feelings I had at the time. My sister and I were being treated poorly, and neither of our parents were doing anything to stop it.

I had a dream once that I was in a bookstore with my dad, and a man was attempting to kidnap me in order to rape me. I screamed for help, in full view of everyone including my dad, and nobody noticed. The way I felt in that dream is how I felt at this time in my life.

I know I must sound dramatic, especially since I can’t recall many actual events that took place. But I can remember the feelings like they occurred yesterday.

When my dad said he and Michelle were breaking up, I cried tears of joy. So much dread and anxiety was lifted off my shoulders. But five seconds later, my dad met Sue.

Sue was fine. She didn’t really interact with my sister and I, which was a huge improvement but was also awkward. Before my dad even found somewhere to live that wasn’t my grandparents’ house, he decided to move in with Sue. He asked me if I thought it was too early, I said yes, and he proceeded to tell me why I was wrong. My dad, sister and I moved in with Sue and two of her daughters, and we all managed to live together for 2 years and yet remain strangers to one another. My life was much better during this period, and Sue caused no problems, but my dad’s unreliability started to become a big issue. He had already broken many promises at this point, but now I was hanging out with friends and sometimes needed to rely on him for a ride. Many times, he would agree to give me a ride and then live his life as if he’d never said anything. He would have to work, and would get angry with me when I pushed the issue. I know this sounds particularly frivolous, but when you have very limited ability to take public transit, transportation is very important. Anyways, at some point my dad and Sue broke up as well.

After two failed common-law relationships, my dad promised me he wouldn’t move in with another woman until I graduated high school. I was in grade 10 or 11 at the time. After I turned 16, I told my dad that I wanted to live with my mom full-time (at 16, I gained the legal right to decide this), and he got very angry. We agreed to have coffee to discuss it further, and he was even raised his voice in that public setting. He wasn’t listening to me; he was just explaining why I was wrong.

My dad actually bought a house for just him, my sister, and I. When I first saw the house, I vividly remember thinking, “We’re not going to be here long.” And then we lived there for 6 months. I think my dad started dating Shalaina around the time we moved out of Sue’s house. Apparently Sue and my dad had been secretly broken up for a few months but remained amicably cohabiting while they figured out new living arrangements. So my dad insisted he had really been taking things slow when he began to date immediately upon moving.

I was incredibly skeptical to meet Shalaina, but it happened eventually. And she took the opportunity to buy my affection with designer purses and trips to the nail salon. It worked. When my dad wanted to move in with Shalaina, I was happy, despite the addition to the broken promises pile. Apparently, my grandmother tried convincing them to wait to move in together, and my dad didn’t speak to her for two weeks. So anyways, we were soon living with Shalaina and her two children. They were/are actually pretty cool people, and my sister was close in age to Shalaina’s daughter, so we were all pretty happy.

At some point, Shalaina no longer felt the need to buy or otherwise obtain my affection, and she started being mean. Not Michelle’s brand of mean; there no yelling or confrontation of any sort. She was much more passive-aggressive. Often, she and my dad would agree they were mad at me, but she would send my dad out to play bad cop while she remained innocent.

In 2011, they went on vacation together. They came back and told us they had gotten married and the trip was their honeymoon. My grandma and uncle were invited; none of the kids were. I didn’t express my feelings about this to my dad, because I knew he couldn’t undo anything.

Long after the marriage, Shalaina would also frequently take her kids out and leave my sister home alone. She claimed to want quality time with her children, but a) I’m pretty sure you’re supposed to treat step-children as your children; and b) It’s not like my dad ever had the time or desire to take my sister anywhere. My dad and Shalaina were just generally selfish during this time.

One day, I got in a fight with my dad, so I packed a suitcase and went to my mom’s house. I finally made the decision to live with my mom full-time. To catch you up to what my mom had been up to during this time, she had a couple short relationships, then met my stepdad, and he moved in with us after they had dated for a couple years. My mom hasn’t been a perfect parent, but she has been a parent. This is why she isn’t heavily featured in this post.

At this point in the story, I’m about 18, so we’ve reached the end of my childhood. I did live with my dad full-time a bit later after thinking he had changed, but I won’t get into details about this time. I will, however, list a few shitty things my dad and Shalaina have done, because I’m still angry about a lot of them.

-They prevented my sister from getting diagnosed with ADHD for years, claiming they didn’t want her to be labelled or to be on medication, then randomly decided one day they were fine with it (During this time, my sister had essentially been diagnosed after an extensive process, and she wanted to access resources for ADHD as she was struggling in school)

-They would make up rules and change them frequently; one day, they decided there can’t be any shampoo bottles or loofahs around the bathtub/shower, so we had to take them out every time; Shalaina would get angry when I left my loofah hanging to dry before putting it with my toiletries

-When I was anorexic and frequently cold, I would close some of the windows that were often open during weather cold enough that the heat was on; I asked my dad once if we could keep the windows closed because I was cold and he looked at me like I was the biggest brat on earth; my stepmom began passive-aggressively keeping all the windows open, even though the heat was on, because that’s who she is; I got to sit under a blanket in my room all day

 

This post started out quite serious and has grown increasingly whiny; for that I apologize. The main thing I wanted to talk about was the time when my dad was dating Michelle, as I think that has really impacted me. I also wanted to describe all the moving and instability, but cared less about the details during the Sue and Shalaina eras, respectively. Apparently at some point, I decided to use this post as a place to vent anger I was never allowed to express about things that have happened more recently. So, it hasn’t really turned out the way I planned, whatever that was. And I really wanted to communicate how much these events hurt me, despite the individual events being so insignificant, but I don’t know if I did that. But anyways, here it is.

Sarah

 

 

Lonely

I’ve been dealing with constant feelings of loneliness since my breakup last September. I miss always having someone around, someone to give me cuddles and buy me ice cream when I’m upset. To this day, I call my ex repeatedly in desperate attempts to feel anything close to those feelings, but she never responds.

And I should clarify that while I feel lonely, I am not alone. I have good relationships with my mom, my stepdad, and my sister. I’m thinking about distancing myself further from my dad, but that is what it is. I recently ended 2 important friendships, but I am still friends with people from school and have acquired a gaggle of gays to hang out with. There are people around me. I just don’t feel like they see me.

It has now been longer since my breakup than the relationship actually lasted, but it still affects me. I imagine I’ll have abandonment issues to work through for years to come. I am having fun going on dates, but when I think about having a girlfriend, I only want Jenn. Not even Jenn though. There were a million things wrong with our relationship that I ignored because I was in love. So I imagined a Jenn that doesn’t exist, and I still do that today. She brought a lot of negativity into my life, but for one brief second, she made me feel less alone.

I don’t think this post has any real thesis. Usually, when I sit down and write, my thoughts form some sort of coherent structure, but maybe that isn’t the case today. I guess the point is that I’m lonely and I miss Jenn and those things are very much related. I’m in a writing mood, so I might post again later. Until then,

Sarah

Sad

I know my blog is filled with negativity, and for that I apologize. These days, I actually am happy a lot of the time. But the motivation to write a new post often comes from feeling so miserable that I desperately seek some form of connection with other humans. So here I am.

I don’t know what it is. I haven’t been waking up (i. e. taking my meds) at the same time everyday, so maybe it’s that. I found out today that I might not be able to take a course I want to take next year. My sister went to the ER with suicidal thoughts last week. I have almost fully cut two close friends out of my life, so I am lonely af.

I probably feel so shitty because all these factors have culminated in a perfect storm of loneliness and misery. I have two peripheral friends that I am trying to get closer to, and I don’t really talk to anybody else. For a while, I was inexplicably okay with this, but I’m starting to feel so alone. And I feel the worst when I’m already miserable, because I just want to curl up in someone’s arms and have them cuddle me and make me feel better. I have called my ex as recently as last week, even though she never ever responds and I do not want that relationship back in any form. I just need someone. Anyone. I’m trying to be strong on my own but I am getting so tired.

Toronto Pride is this weekend, so I might meet new people. But I think I probably won’t. And I’m perceiving a pattern where people get to know me, realize how annoying I am, then leave. I can’t tell if it’s real, because it sounds like a classic social anxiety distortion, but the evidence is fairly convincing.

Sorry. I don’t even have the energy to write. I am just done. In a figurative sense. (I’m not in danger of harming blah blah blah)

Sarah

Grumpy

You know the stereotypes you always hear about women on their periods?

I am that stereotype. She is me. We are one.

I actually had an amazing day. Things have been going really well for me lately.  Well, except for the episode of Game of Thrones playing out in my underwear and the godawful cramps. But aside from that, I was happy as a clam with my hot water bottle and my chocolate bar.

And then one stupid thing happened and I’m complaining to everybody at once because I want validation for my anger. Now.

I got high with a guy friend the other night, and at one point he said something about me being a tease. It made me really uncomfortable, but I didn’t say much. I texted him today, hoping I would mention my discomfort and he would explain that he was kidding or whatever. But he was weird and gross and like “Ok. Not going to happen. I get it.” I HAVE BEEN TALKING ABOUT BEING A LESBIAN ON THE DAILY SINCE I MET YOU. DID THAT NOT HELP YOU GET IT? Anyways, so now I get to toss this good friendship in the garbage because I don’t feel comfortable hanging out if he’s thinking of me in that way. And this is the second time this has happened this year. I’ve started telling boys I’m gay as soon as I meet them, but apparently, even that’s not enough.

Despite all my male friendships going to shit for this reason, there are ZERO women revealing their romantic feelings towards me.

Ugh.

Sarah

Let’s Talk about Death

Last night, I was in a really strange mood. After listening to hours of Kimya Dawson songs, I started feeling abnormally peaceful. I’m not a person who feels peaceful unless something is horribly, horribly wrong. So that was weird.

When the peace began to subside, I started desperately trying to figure out how to bring it back. I didn’t need it back right away, I just needed to know how to access it again. I wrote the following note in my phone:

peace

Kimya Dawson
Everything has made me who I am?
One with the universe?
Song writing?

It looks like a mason jar and a Lululemon bag (the ones with the “inspirational” quotes) made a love child, and it was this note. Essentially, these were my ideas of what had caused that peaceful feeling.

I just listened to a couple Kimya Dawson songs again. And I might have figured out what it was about her songs that made me feel so calm.

She talks about death.

She sings about the death of her friends, the death of her loved ones, and alludes to her own eventual end.

I think about death all the time. ALL. THE. TIME. And not in a suicidal way. Okay, sometimes in a suicidal way. But mostly in a “We’re all going to die one day, so what’s the point?” way. It makes me feel depressed. Which sometimes makes me feel suicidal. And terrified to die. Simultaneously.  It’s all an exciting whirlwind of death and sadness. That would be a great title for my future memoir. Anyways…

I think I’ve been depressed since I was 13, but my depression became severe just after I left Christianity. I knew what happened when we died; I knew what my purpose was; I knew why the world existed. And then I didn’t. I watched a bunch of documentaries on the origin of the universe, looking to Stephen Hawking to tell me why I existed. But it turns out, that’s not really that guy’s job.

The point is, I’ve spent a lot of time since then contemplating death. And life. And the meaning behind all of it. And the lack of meaning. But I think about it in my head, because otherwise I bum people out.

As a society, we’ve decided that even though death is the one thing we all have in common, we are not going to talk about it. I will die. You will die. Everyone we love will die, and we’re supposed to go on working out and studying and paying bills like that isn’t true. And when somebody we know does die, it’s impossible to comprehend. It fucks us right up, because people don’t die. People are here and we know them, and they can’t just not be here anymore. What the hell?

So I guess there was something relieving in hearing someone sing about death. It made me feel like it’s okay that everybody is going to die. That sounds morbid, but I mean it feels okay that everything is temporary. We can spend the time we have connecting with others and feeling inspired and talking about how fucking weird it is that one day, we won’t exist. And when that day comes, the world will go on. Unless you die in some sort of Armageddon-style end-of-the-world situation, in which case it won’t. But the matter and the anti-matter will do whatever it did when… okay I didn’t pay enough attention when I watched those documentaries. I digress.

The point of this post is that, as it turns out, talking about death brings me incredible peace. And I think that as a species, we should do it more. I’m so fucking weird.

Sarah

Recovery from Social Anxiety Disorder

Today was my last session with a counselor I’ve seen for over a year and a half. So that’s a bummer. But it was actually a really good session, and it helped me focus my goals as I continue my mental health treatment.

I have been aware for a while, albeit to varying degrees, that social anxiety is among my most pressing mental health concerns. I was only diagnosed with SAD around a year ago. Until that point, I attributed my social avoidance to not liking people. And the times I knew I was anxious, I assumed my Generalized Anxiety was to blame. But when I was finally diagnosed with social anxiety , it shed some light on my struggles, and on what I can do to overcome them.

I believe that my Social Anxiety Disorder is currently contributing to around 85% of my mental health problems. And I have many diagnoses among which I must distribute these 100 percentage points. So that says a lot. But my social anxiety causes me to isolate, which makes me incredibly depressed, and which can make it difficult to succeed in my life. It is also difficult for me to find employment, as customer service roles are currently out of the question, and the thought of ANY job greatly heightens my anxiety. But I think that SAD’s contribution to my depression is the most damaging.

The thought of conquering my social anxiety fears makes me want to retreat into a hole forever. It feels so impossible to face these situations over and over until they no longer scare me.

But there was a time when recovery from an eating disorder felt impossible. An age when I could not imagine ever loving my body at a healthy weight. And I accomplished both of those things. I took risks that terrified me and that felt horribly wrong, with the hope that I would eventually find something resembling happiness. So I need to do that again.

I am completely terrified, and I don’t remotely have the support I did when recovering from my eating disorder. But I need my life to be different, so I need to do the work. Here goes nothing.

Sarah