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(I wrote this entry two weeks ago but never posted it. sorry, y'all)

Monday in the middle of May, I had what's called a UP3 surgery, plus additional tonsil removal.

I felt TOTALLY out of it afterwards, even though I was doing everything normally. I blame the narcotics.

I like to look at happy pictures when I'm sad but sometimes I'm scared to look for them because what if I run into a sad picture on the way?

These are happy pictures of brides seeing their bride on a wedding day

When I'm depressed, the enormity of life wears me down. I pare down the activities I participate in, the people I agree to see, the obligations I used to enjoy—trying to get rid of the thing that's making me feel bad, but then there's nothing left to lose... and life still forever remains exhausting in its emptiness.

I've mentioned to a few friends that I want to start scheduling myself some writing time in the mornings. An hour, roughly around 10am, for my brain to just let things go.

(Aidyn curled up on the floor, on a blanket, on the electric blanket with cords delicately wound around his feet like he or they were a species of vine. If I were to pet him, he would be soft, he would welcome it, but his nose twitches that tiny little bit and I know he's asleep, dulcet dreaming, and I don't want to disturb him.)

I find myself doing anything—even organizing my email—instead of writing. What's so hard about it? What am I avoiding? For avoiding it I am, and evidently with some real deftness.

Writing is like meditating. I know I need to do it regularly to feel at my best, I know that I feel better when I do it, but actually doing it feels about less appealing than scrubbing the kitchen floor.

Thoughts about people who give and give, and why it's counterproductiveCollapse )

Originally posted at Dreamwidth. Comment there (comment count unavailable), or feel free to comment here.
Long drive for a family funeral where everyone's eyes overwhelmed with essence of ocean at the same time, the first few notes of Taps.

Surreal. Flashing in and out. I stop listening when they start picking at me, all isn't that enough lunch for three people? I say nothing and eat it all as quickly as possible, though it's seemingly composed of nothing but starch and grease. So then I can escape.

Laura (no, she prefers JJ, after her head injury), meeting her—her delicate twin of a mother, my aunt, but Laura's spark and love and tumultuous necessity—that was worth it, if that were the only thing.

We talk on and off through the four days I'm in Colorado, and I do some deep breathing with her before the service. It's her father, and she was his favorite, and now he's gone, and I have no idea how I would feel but I can't imagine breathing would really help—but it does.

Eventually she tells me the nasty details because I can't contain my inner curiosity cat any longer—oh yes, well, it was a gang initiation that made the head injury worse... and permanent, if it had just been that patient attacking me then I might have been fine—calm as I am when I talk about how desperately I wanted to die.

I pick up her son's cat and she says but I don't mind telling you because I like you with an air of surprise, and I nod and say I won't make you do the part where you have to reassure me about how it really wasn't that bad when it's your shit to begin with.

She appreciates it and gifts me with some plants to take home. Her father is gone and she's adrift, but our chilled digits have kept their grip by some miracle and we're holding each other. We've held hands through the infinite night of her shipwreck—adrift, but tethered, should there be the opportunity to come back.

Originally posted at Dreamwidth. Comment there (comment count unavailable), or feel free to comment here.
Scenes over the last few weeks:

Thank god for spring.

Content warning: not giving a fuck about suicidality.Collapse )

A few days ago:
My head hurts. It's the steady ache of my days, separating dream from reality. Lucid dreaming's a snap when you have chronic pain; if I'm in reality, then I'm in pain. The ache in my head is unrelenting, though modest, a steady drumming thrum of plucked strings and high wires.

My heart hurts: it aches so deeply that I experience "heartbreak" as so much more than a word. Maybe it's impossible to convey, that searing agony that forces me to my knees and desperate tears to my face, denial already on my lips, like a punch from a cannon into my sternum. But—but—it passes. It dwells within me and then escapes, only to come back at the oddest times to remind me of the pain, to make me think "Oh god, I will die. I'm dying right now."

You say [Hername] went with you on that hike, and I wonder what else you're keeping from me. I remember how you said, "I think it's for the best," it plays over and over in my head, underscoring that——I don't know what's for the best anymore.

The last section speaks to the fact that while under unimaginable emotional stress, Josh broke up with me for a few days.

I told him, fine, move out, but I'm keeping the lease. I rallied my support system, and played "So What" by P!nk a lot, but I was okay, fundamentally. That surprised me more than anything else. Afterwards, he said he was proud of me for telling him to get out and asserting myself like that.

"What would it look like if it weren't that", my social worker asks me.

She nearly interrupted me when I started talking, a preemptive apology for phrasing it badly—that's how I know she was either embarrassed or I make fun of people too much for weird phrasing, but I interrupted her right back and said "No, no, it stuck in my head."

I'd been rambling about how I worry, like usual, that I'm not helping anyone at work and that I'm a major burden, but she had said that and it felt ... like a splinter, like the tip of an iceberg that would drench me in cold water once I'd worked it out.

So I thought about it, pondered in my mind what that meant to me, her words, because I can never resist a challenge.

What would the opposite of your fear look like, perhaps. And I had this feeling, concurrent with a stumbling inability to put emotions to words that I've recently discovered as a barrier to discussing the most important parts of me—a decent yellow flag if you think of it that way—
I felt like "the opposite of my fear is what's in reality."

As in, if I fear that I'm a burden at work, the opposite of that would be a valued contributor who pays attention to the moment and plans for the future, is rooted in reality.

In reality.

Yes, I am a valued contributor at work, says the evidence. But I'm not looking for the shadow of the mountain of evidence, I'm not listening to the appreciative thanks that land in my ears, I'm not running my fingers over the embroidered deeds and words and support I've been happily and easily given, so I don't know it.

I fear that Josh is tired of me and sickened by me, and the opposite of that is that he loves me and wants to be around me more often than he wants to be around anyone else. Again, I think that has evidence for it.

But how can I know what being a valued contributor would look like, or being really appreciated as a partner, because I've never had those experiences before or if I did, they came along too fleetingly for me to understand them, underscored by the long uncomfortable punctuations of being hurt instead of heard?

(Hurt instead of heard: a small flippancy to the dreadful experiences that I hope you'll forgive me.)

This has the flavor of the uncomfortable perspective shift that always accompanies epiphanies for the first few days.

If I don't know what it is, if I haven't defined it for myself, then I won't ever know it even if I do encounter it.

If I don't know what it is, I wouldn't recognize it were it right in front of me. Yet being with Josh, and working this last month, I've had the very strong feeling that these experiences are distinctly different from others.

However, when it was only with Josh, and me not seeing this effect in other areas of my life, perforce unique, entirely, to recognize that he values me. Adding to that when I got this job and they value me too, it wasn't as shocking and it also meant——hey, this isn't just a fluke.

Somehow I find this revelation comforting, even affirming. It says to me "yes, Virginia, there is hope. These things do exist, and may even be in your life right now, but you haven't learned to recognize them." Now I know I haven't learned to recognize them.

As Archimedes said, give me a lever and a place to stand.

The opposite of my fear is what's in reality also has another meaning to me. I think sometimes I... react to my fears like they are reality. Even often, I do that, perhaps. Certainly more than I want to.

The epiphany of these last few paragraphs serves to move my world view a few degrees, and here I am, rotated into seeing my life differently with that arc of space.

Many times I fear things that may not or probably won't happen and act as though they must BECOME reality at some point. For whatever reason: a fertile imagination, past bad experiences, playing too many video games——that last was a joke.

I don't want to waste my energy like that anymore. I have better things to do.

Originally posted at Dreamwidth. Comment there (comment count unavailable), or feel free to comment here.
I got a job.

Not only that, but I'm working in a mental health field as a peer.

More details to come in a locked entry, but I just wanted everyone to know... after 7 years out of the workforce, a new chronic illness, four surgeries, living with my parents for 5 years, being declared disabled by SSA---

I'm working. I get up, I go to the center, and they're overjoyed to see me. My feedback is valued, my foibles are tolerated with compassion, and any accommodation requests are filled with alacrity and met with immediate acceptance.

I can't explain how much the opportunity for meaningful work means to me. It's revitalized my hopes for the future.

Originally posted at Dreamwidth. Comment there (comment count unavailable), or feel free to comment here.
panda's mother died. My heart breaks for her. She's grieving. I don't want to call her or show up because I want to respect that she's also upset with me about unrelated things. But what horrible timing I have.

I'm seeing a new psychiatrist today. 90 minutes of appointment hell. They will judge me. I'm updating the timeline of my life that I made for my last therapist-agency-change. That particular therapist glanced at it once and never again.

It continues to snow. Cold. Bitter. Josh argues with me about going to bed instead of editing word documents and wondering whether I should take off my nail polish.

Nail polish off: can re-do nails, can keep nails naked, looks cleaner than chipped polish. But—— chipped polish may convey that no matter how well I present myself I'm not all there.

It's a thing. It's not a thing that makes sense, but it's a thing.

Originally posted at Dreamwidth. Comment there (comment count unavailable), or feel free to comment here.