I have tried so many times to get myself to start this post. Early August was the last time I managed to write something here. There’s been this sense of futility and utter boredom clinging to me that’s made damn sure I wasn’t even going to open the page.
I am bored with myself. I’m sick to death of my own tedious words, my inane whining, my endless repeating of the same old stuff. Every time I’ve thought about writing, that’s what has come up. So today I thought I’d write about how pointless writing feels. Ironic.
The past few months have been something of a slump for me. I hit a low just before J’s last break and haven’t pulled myself back up yet. It wasn’t the therapy break exclusively. It was an overdose of family contact. Plus a horrible, triggering event.
Since then I’ve been swirling in the self-loathing. I don’t have the energy to fight the destructive part. She’s getting what she wants; I’m getting isolation, self-harm and starvation.
J was back for a few weeks, and we did have some good sessions. But this week I had more of those dreadful ‘before the break’ sessions that leave me drowning in all kinds of attachment angst. On Tuesday, the protective, angry part was on full throttle. Despite the little parts desperately wanting to feel close to J before her holiday, that teen part wasn’t going to let up. I was irritable and resistant and came away feeling frustrated and furious with myself.
Our online session was a bit better yesterday, but then it’s never as connecting as being together. I was less defensive, but pretty much cut off emotionally. It was 30 mins of small talk, interrupted by a friend unexpectedly coming by my place and me needing to go and get rid of him. Not the best, but at least we left on terms that felt warmer and a bit more comfortable.
Aside from therapy breaks, some big stuff has happened since I last wrote. First, I sold my brain to science. I took part in a study looking at how serotonin reacts in depressed brains. It meant a day out in London having lots of scans. The downside was them putting in an arterial cannula, which was truly nasty. Upside, I was given a large dose of pharmaceutical speed. That was awesome. I wrote a poem about how awesome it felt, because I really wanted to capture it.
A big shift has taken place at home lately too. My wife has gone back to work after being around for six months. It’s good news, because money has been really tight. And I’m mostly coping with it, but I am also getting manic in my desperation to avoid getting sucked into the contents of my head. I often end up in this exhausted, frantic, anxious state; trying to get a million jobs done while she’s out. So usually the time flies by, but I’m not sure it’s doing me much good.
The other big thing is that I’ve got involved with a charity that lobbies for better treatment and support for vulnerable women and girls. They’re small, but they seem to be getting some impressive work done. They get requests from the media for people to share their ‘lived experience’, so I ended up writing a piece for a magazine about the impact of childhood sexual abuse on my mental health.
It was a tough thing to do and I hesitated before saying yes. But it’s anonymous, and I’m used to writing that stuff here. I’m just not quite so accustomed to having it published somewhere thousands of people will read it. There was a familiar sense that I shouldn’t be sharing this story; a feeling I’ve had in the past around betraying my family’s secret. That came alongside anger that I still feel a need to protect them and not reveal our identities. Sometimes I want nothing more than to shout about who my abuser was and for him to have to face people knowing what he did.
I think doing that difficult writing, combined with all the time I spent with my family over the summer, has made all those relationships feel very raw. I don’t feel as though I can keep myself safe around any of them right now. It seems to only take a text message from one of them for me to go headlong into all the old, painful emotions. So I’m avoiding and denying. I am ignoring their messages and calls, and where I absolutely must – giving vague, noncommittal answers to questions. I feel bad about it. But I feel bad about a lot of things, so what’s one more?
What I don’t need to withdraw from is this community. There is no sense in cutting myself off from connecting with the kind, intelligent, interesting people I find here. Especially during the therapy break, when I feel even more alone than usual.
Image credit: Debra Roby, Creative Commons.