Still Learning

Trigger warning – Assault (in a dream)

These are my thoughts from the middle of the night. They may not make sense to you but I’m going to be processing a lot more here again going forward as I disconnect from someone who has been supportive but where the relationship has now become codependent. Its grief inducing and I have to, to get to that healthy life.

I had an awful nightmare tonight. I was working at some car lot and a male employee was having struggles. Later I’m in a bath and he rises up from the water underneath me. I choke him, but eventually let go because I don’t want to hurt him, and then he hurts and violates me. I woke up in so much distress.

And I want J. I wanted the weight of him, the comfort. I remember waking up in his bed from my fake nightmares and him soothing me. The soft sounds of his shhhh and his hair stroking and his checking in.

Its been an hour since my nightmare and I still want him. So I looked inward. Why. Why do I want him? My husband is right beside me. If I woke him up because I was crying he would be here. He loves me. I don’t wake him up because I know I can handle this so why, why then do I want J?

I close my eyes. I take deep breaths. I am visualizing a baby. I’m trying to lean into these feelings, to understand them and realize that I feel abandoned. I feel like I had something bad happen (the nightmare) and the expectation is that J will be there when I need him and help keep me safe. And when he is not, when I cry out and he is not there, I feel angry and abandoned.

“I wish I had some sort of bat signal for these very dark moments”

I texted him that yesterday.

These feelings mirror those of attachment to a parent. I’m fundamentally acting out my attachment issues in real time with someone who is not my parent. Which means these feelings and this need and longing are inappropriately misplaced and I need to move away from them. But I don’t know how.

I wanted to message him this morning. But what do I say? “I had an awful nightmare and when I woke up, I wished you were here to hold me.” It would be the truth, but that doesn’t mean it’s something that a) needs to be said or b) is appropriate.

I don’t know what to do with this. My adult instinct says space. My attached part says that’s the worst thing we could do. He’s already moving away. It’s time to stop. But all I can think about is what we will lose. The grief. Is this what it felt like when my parents weren’t available to me as a child?

This morning’s lightbulb moment:

💡⚡ He is the emotionally unavailable parent and I am the child desperately vying for scraps of his attention ⚡💡

I create scenarios with these men in order to what, try to course correct? Get what I couldn’t get then?

I suddenly feel very fiercely protective of myself. We are done. I’m not desperately prostrating myself at his feet anymore.

But I want to be held by him again.

Reflections

Hello!

I write this in an unusually good mood from the airport lounge while I wait for my flight back home from MO – which, for those of you new here, is what I call where I grew up/my parents house.

I have some reflections on this trip. I came home because my best friend had her new baby and was overwhelmed and so my whole desire was to spend that time with her. But it also overlapped with some family time.

Traditionally being here has been a challenge for me. The last time was easier and as I learn to identify what is causing me stress from this day and time versus what is emotional leftover scarring from the past, it’s been easier for me to react appropriately. And as I begin to trust the signals my body is giving me as to what it needs and to intuitively respond, I’ve been more able to set boundaries or remove myself from situations.

I have four main reflections/accomplishments from this trip.

1) I spent the whole time here sober. THE WHOLE TIME. As of right now I’m 10 days sober and counting, but five of those were here. Its traditionally been the hardest place for me to be sober, with the free booze flowing, me finding it hard to deal with others while they’re drinking, and the emotional memories that pop up for me here. Its been stressful previously. But I’m honestly over the moon. I can do it. I can be sober in what is my most challenging situation. I truly did feel that this shift had to happen or I was going to give up on myself, and I did enrol support in the form of three best friends. But at the end of the day I feel so accomplished and that’s been really good for me.

2. I have learned to let things go and move on instead of dwell. My brother asked to have a conversation with me and it was a bit of a shock, I can’t elaborate but essentially it’s something I previously would have reacted to in anger (but also something he would have previously not handled well). He has come leaps and bounds working with his therapist, clearly, in that he wanted to have the conversation face to face and seemed genuinely contrite and concerned about how it would affect our relationship. But because I was sober I was able to recognize these things and respond to something that would have previously sent me spiralling, with grace.

3. I mentioned I was here to visit my friend who had a newborn. Historically, I’ve been very wary of becoming a Mom. Worried about my capabilities, worried about being my Mom. Worried about fracturing my life and relationships. But as I held this 21 day old little boy and he sighed and snuggled in and slept in my arms – I was the most peaceful I’ve been in months. It was so calming, so lovely. And I was able to confidently pick up a newborn and change a diaper and get him back to sleep and above all his Mom found this so helpful that I got to do it for hours each day. And with each passing minute that tiny baby taught me that I’m capable. My best friend says that this was a gift to her, that I showed up to help at the right time. But really, it was a gift for me too.

4. Finally, the conflict between my husband and brother and husband and mother that has been a main worry of mine for months (especially around having kids). My mom has mentioned she doesn’t care about if they talk again, as has my brother, as has my husband. So why do I care so much? I have decided to stop making it an issue, to do what I want, and either my husband can get on board and show up or not be there. I can have a healthy relationship with my family without him. Does it hurt? Yes. But is it something to divorce him over? No. Is it something I’m going to keep “what iffing” on? I am going to try not to. Its not worth it for my sanity or my health. I don’t care who is right anymore, I just want healthy relationships with them all.

So there are still hurdles in my life. Staying sober, for one. Managing work stress. My sex life sucks pretty badly. And I feel gross in my body right now. Also, everytime things get good I massively and royally screw them up because that feels more comfortable.

But for now, let’s raise a La Croix to a good trip, to strides being made, to self awareness and to not being (as) scared to be a Mom.

Love,

PD

A brave little post about drinking

TW – suicide, addiction

Dear future me,

Listen. I know that you want to drink wine right now. Or maybe vodka. Or whatever is ‘free’ and at hand. I get that, I do.

But the myriad of reasons you come up with (cells you overwrite) to justify your choice isn’t going to change what happens after.

One of two moods will emerge.

You might get sad. This happens 80-90% of the time that you drink. The normal passive suicidal thoughts of “I’m not particularly attached to life” will escalate and become louder, sometimes active suicidal desire.

Or, you will start to think other people can fill the hole that trauma dug within you. This is that other 10-20% of the time. Whichever man you have attached to, whichever person you feel can currently fix you, will become your obsession while you’re drinking. This is where fake emails and Instagram accounts are made and messy texts are sent because the rational brain is offline trying to help your liver and your emotional brain is having a free for all.

Note than not even one percent of the time would we classify drinking as a mood elevator, or fun.

And that’s because you can’t stop while it is fun. You have said to yourself over and over again – I am only going to have half a bottle tonight. But the glass gets filled up. And again. And then you’re surprised you have some left. And then you feel sick (sick!!!), a signal your body has had enough, and you don’t want to waste the rest of it. So you finish it.

Some nights, that’s two bottles.

These are sad truths. They are hard to read and hard to come to terms with. But you have to hear them. You have to hear them from 5:45am on a Saturday you, who feels sick and has a headache and a stomachache and can’t get back to sleep. Who had plans to do things that got turned into watching four episodes of television while mindlessly drinking a pink beverage alone. And who will now spend Saturday trying to feel better.

It makes you tired. It makes you cranky. It makes you sad. It makes you suicidal. It jeopardizes your marriage.

It is not worth it. Say it out loud. It is not worth it. It will not ever be worth it.

And you know this, and it’s a mental game now. Because you have known this every other time. But you’ve broken your word to yourself enough times that other people don’t believe you can do it and you certainly don’t believe in yourself.

Alcohol is not going to help that. Alcohol makes you self deprecating, it steals time and energy. It fucks with your relationships. It starts a minimum three day emotional spiral.

You are not defective because of this. You are not alone in the struggle that is chasing sobriety. And you need it. Because you’ve been stuck here since December 2nd 2016 when you blacked out and rode the train around and realized there was a suicide note on your phone the next morning and that you were so close to jumping in front of a train that instead you just rode it for hours. We still don’t know how you got home.

There are lots of nights you are lucky you got home.

You can do this. Cry, have a bath, reach out to solid non-enabling friends, Google staying sober and sober celebrities and stories. Promise yourself you will stay inside. Write. Sleep. Eat. Eating is huge for your triggers. Shut down your phone and the noise from the world.

Do anything you need to do that isn’t drink.

Because you’re slowly killing yourself with this. Inside and out. Your motivation, your emotional balance, your SAD. Your relationships. Your money. All of these things are jeopardized.

I don’t want to wake up in the middle of the night anymore thirsty and depressed. Right now, you have the power to stop that.

Love us the way we weren’t loved before. Continue to do this. Because you’ve come so far – you’re sober 70% of the time. You’re just scared of the 100% because it’s a final and concrete and solid change. And that type of change is scary. Doing different is scary. And there’s nothing wrong with you for being afraid – that’s human.

Read this as many times as you have to. Ask for help if you need it. Don’t put yourself in compromising situations. Drinking is putting yourself in a bad situation.

Drinking is going to be the reason you spend your life constantly wishing you had done more.

Drinking messes with your boundaries.

It steals your time.

It is not your friend. Be your own friend.

Now, take 5 deep breaths and do something that isn’t drink. And if that doesn’t help, read this again. And again. Until you’re sure you’re ok.

I believe in you.

Love,

Middle of the night you who knows she will forget what being middle of the night you feels like.

I’m not doing well

I am not doing well.

I was, doing well. Over the holiday break nothing could get me down. My job was great, my relationship was great, my friendships were solid and family relationships were stable. I was sober 80% of the time.

Now I’m back to secret drinking and over planning my time and waking up in the middle of the night feeling sick because of the secret drinking.

I am reaching for inappropriate people to help me (i.e. men who are not my husband or in this case, a man) and my best friends are so over it (totally fair because they’ve been hearing about it for a year).

I’m drowning in grief and anger and sadness and there’s nobody really to talk to about it.

My nose has been bleeding in one form or another for like, a week, and I wake up with my heart racing and every time that happens in the middle of the night I hold myself and apologize for treating my body poorly and commit to being better with my health and sobriety but that sticks until something triggers me again.

I’ve been permanently triggered this month since accidentally overloading myself by reading the book How to be Alone by Lane Moore.

First of all, great book.

Second of all, don’t read it if you’re not ready to be completely overwhelmed. Not saying it will be the same way for you but for me, it made me feel completely seen while cracking a part of me wide open.

I had grief dreams for days, it triggered my drinking, and it feels like nobody understands in my regular life how I feel but this woman who authored this book does. And everything feels pointless and overwhelming.

I need to get back to sobriety. I need to get back to my routine. I need to work out. I need work to be a safe place, which is a much harder one because my direct report is the man I was talking about earlier.

I got back into my habit of lying earlier last year and roped him in to caring for me. I eventually confessed all the lies in December and told my husband last April about the inappropriate part of our relationship (we weren’t doing anything physical outside of me being held… but I did sleep over at his house while my husband was out of town). I’m not proud of any of this but trauma makes you do weird things.

So now, in the depth of this grief and despair I just want to reach for him because I’ve attached to him. But I can’t because it hurts my marriage. Not to mention he has a girlfriend now, and naturally is not ok with things the way they were before (like most normal people…).

So he’s drawing perfectly appropriate boundaries and I’m over here losing my mind like a toddler whose been told their favorite toy is taken away. I go from begging him to hang out (which feels completely pathetic) to asking him to leave me alone, to deciding no contact at all is the right decision. That’s where I am now.

But I see him every day! At work! And now my emotions are getting in the way of me being a good boss, which ethically I’m striving to be.

I need distance, and I don’t want to work with him anymore. But I’m finally in a job I love where I can pay off my debt and that I’m proud of. I can’t ask him to leave because that’s unfair, and I’m having trouble not reaching for him. Everything is a mess and I’m sad.

So I’m here, and I’m writing, because I don’t know what else to do. I don’t want to hurt myself and I’ve expanded that definition to include hurting my most important relationship – my marriage, or hurting my career by trapping my employee in a boardroom and asking him if he wants to work in a big project that will give him experience, and then as soon as he says yes saying “but I can’t work with you so nevermind”.

The disorganized attachment on display is quite impressive and reflective of how triggered I am. I don’t know how to calm down.

I need to get back to basics, because I didn’t expect this and instead of being sober I’m drinking, secretly. Instead of taking care of myself I’m over planning. Instead of facing things I’m running away. And all the good things that were helping have stopped helping.

I still see A, I’ve made plans to see her twice next week to digest some of this. Our relationship is in a good place.

But I’m scaring myself right now with how out of control I feel, and I know the alcohol isn’t helping.

So health and sobriety. I’m going to write here because I feel safe in this community and honestly guys, I don’t feel like I have much of anyplace else to go right now.

I know healing is circular and I’ve been triggered and I don’t have to have all the answers but I feel very discouraged and very alone right now, and I’m tired of crying in the middle of the night because everything hurts so much.

Fuck Attachment Pain

Fuck Attachment pain.

That makes no sense, I want you I don’t want you, I know you’re bad for me and wrecking things but I can’t escape you pain.

The push-pull.

The “I can’t hang out with you” followed by the “please hang out with me” followed by the complete temper tantrum when boundaries are drawn and the word ‘no’ is uttered.

I’m a fucking 30 year old woman for fucks sake.

I’m so hurt right now by you. A part of me realizes and knows it isn’t your fault. But another part of me is so angry and betrayed.

You said you’d always be there. It’s your job to be there. Why did you promise if you’re not going to follow through? People say those things so flippantly – I’ll always be there – I knew this would happen and I trusted you anyways.

It’s my fault.

I had to fight to not run in front of cars today, to not jump in front of trains, I had to put my hand on the freezing cold railing to remind my adult brain that we want to be alive and just because you don’t want me or don’t want to be there for me doesn’t mean life isn’t worth living.

I need to disconnect from you. It’s getting dangerous.

You don’t want me. And that makes me feel sad and lonely. My inner child screams why doesn’t anybody want me? What’s wrong with me?

“You have all you need to be loved inside you”

Fuck off Jen.

Please note, I’m okay. I’m in this seemingly endless cycle of grief and sadness I know I need to work through. It is part of the healing. I just needed to get it out in a safe way, in a safe space. I’m not at risk, just fighting to keep the adult mind in control while the other part of me calls out for something that can’t be replaced, something she missed a long time ago, and something I have yet to figure out how to give myself.

I might be back

I’m thinking about coming back.

I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting on my year, and I feel like I need a safe place to lay these thoughts down.

I feel like I need to explore these feelings and thoughts and emotions somewhere where I can process them without judgment.

And here, and you guys, feels like that space.

Love,

PD

It’s Been A Hot Minute

I’m at the airport, waiting for my flight, drinking a glass of pinot grigio that is outrageously priced, and thinking of how long it has been since I’ve written here but also, how long it’s been since I’ve caught up with all of you.

I separated from this blog at the right time for me, and I know I disappeared and apologize if that brought any sort of trauma or worry to anybody – but I think of you all, often.

I’m not healed, but I’ve stopped believing that that’s the goal here. I read this snippet earlier and it captures how I feel, perfectly, so I’ll copy it here:

You do not heal ‘from’ trauma.
You simply come to know yourself as Life itself.
And you turn towards the wounded place.
And you flush it with attention,
which is love. 

And maybe the wound will always be with you.
Maybe you will always walk with the hurt.
But now, you hold it. It doesn’t hold you.
You are the container, not the contained.

– excerpt from writings by Jeff Foster.

I’m on my way back to MO (where I grew up, if you’re new here) for my brothers wedding. It’s a ridiculous state of affairs, once again a situation where hypocrisy runs rampant and the standards that have always been held for me are not held for him.

I’m more at peace with it than normal, though.

I’ve decided I’m going into this treating him exactly how I wish I was treated around my wedding. I’m not going to cause problems. I’m not going to make snarky remarks or statements (out loud, of course, in my head I’m smug AF cause I know my wedding was better). I’m going to love the shit out of them and then return to my balanced life where routine and healing take precedence.

The weirdest thing about this trip was packing for both a funeral and a wedding. My grandma is quite ill, and there is a chance she may pass when I’m home, so I can’t be without proper funeral attire.

It’s essentially a wedding and a funeral.

I’m okay with that.

I’m okay with a lot more than I used to be.

I’m here, I’m growing, I’m better than ever, and I’m at peace with the fact that this journey doesn’t end. There will be good days and bad days. But I’m starting to believe I’m worth it, and that’s new – and huge.

Update me, let me know how you are.

All my love,

PD.