Posts Tagged ‘loneliness’

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Saying goodbye to the biggest piece of my heart.

October 15, 2015

i’ve talked before about how i believe the world works the way it is supposed to.

i’m having more than a little trouble understanding it at the moment. i know we aren’t always going to understand- and it may take time to see the big picture. But quite honestly, at this moment in time, i don’t want a big picture, i don’t want the future to come with answers, all i want is to turn back time.

September 12 was one of the worst days of my life. And i am trying to constantly remind myself of the year and a half of magic that led up to that day.

You see, 2013 was a year of ginormous changes in my life. They were good changes but hard ones. They happened in a way that i wasn’t emotionally prepared for and the depression monster became my closest frienemy. But in December of that year while i was struggling to make it through each day i learned that there might be a light in my future in the form of an emotional support animal.

i have always had a connection with animals- dogs especially. Growing up in the household i did my dogs were my protectors, my confidantes, and the greatest source of love. In college i had a pet fish who died, some friends wanted to know what would make me feel better as i sobbed. All i wanted was my dog. They couldn’t give me this so they went and bought me one of those electronic dogs that was so popular for a bit.

i spoke with my doctor, she agreed this was a good plan and something that would help me. And at some point in January of 2014, i started seriously looking at Petfinder to see who was out there. i saw so many faces and stories that touched my heart and then one night i stopped. i saw a face looking at me and i knew. i knew with no doubt i had found the answer i had been looking for.

On January 14 i drove about an hour and a half, it had snowed recently. Usually i am terrified to drive on slippery roads, i’ll avoid it at all costs but it felt like the middle of summer to me that day. When i pulled up to the shelter my heart was pounding in my ears, my mouth felt dry. i was anxious and excited. i started panicking that someone had come for her earlier that morning.

i walked in and let them know which dog i was there to see and the woman said, “Are you sure?” She went on to tell me how this dog was too wild for all the people who had come for her before. How she had been at the shelter for over 6 months- had had a major surgery. She finally let me know she would bring her out and i could see what i thought, she had a look of doubt and amusement on her face. Like she knew once i saw this animal i would turn around and walk out the door.

They brought her out and she jumped up to sniff me, i sat on the ground and she crawled into my lap, rolled on her back and looked up like she were saying, “rub my tummy and let’s go home.” And that’s what we did.

In the car she was nervous at first, she didn’t want to explore anything but the floor of the passenger’s seat. And then i started singing along with my music. She crawled up to the seat and started licking my face, she would stop and stare when a song changed and when i started singing more kisses. She started watching the other cars on the road- she loved them. Even when we stopped to pick her up some new treats and toys she wanted to stay in the parking lot and just watch the cars driving.

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The next day i gave her a bath and she fell asleep in my arms while drying off. i knew that this was the best relationship i had ever opened the door to.

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My Maguire was named after Robin Williams’ character in Good Will Hunting. Those of you who have read my previous posts know how much that movie means to me. Sean Maguire says things that hit my brain in ways other words have never been able to. And since she was my emotional support dog she was like a little therapist herself. i thought it was fitting.

The difference in my well being was astronomical. There are so many people who can tell you this. Not only did i have someone constantly beside me to face whatever demons crawled into my head but i had someone there who i knew i had to be there for. i had to get up each day to get food and water and trips outside. i couldn’t hide away the way i could before.

When i tore my ACL Maguire would greet me like normal but when it came time to snuggle she would rest with her head on my knee like she was protecting it from anything else happening. We practiced jumping through a hula hoop while i was recovering from surgery so she would still get exercise and fun while i wasn’t able to do as much.

She loved her aunties. One day one of them came to visit and i kept trying to do other things so Maguire would spend time with her. It wasn’t until i sat down and she was able to fully greet me and make sure i was okay that she went and crawled into someone else’s lap.

She refused to sleep without touching me. In the winter she was under the blankets curled up right next to me and in the summer when she got warm, she would stretch her paws so they were touching part of me and then fall asleep.

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To say i was in love would be an understatement. My heart has never been filled with the love and magical-ness of anything like this before. At my college reunion people commented about her in the same way i asked and commented about their children. i was so proud. My Girl Scouts would ask to see pictures. And almost everyone i ran into at work mentioned her. She was my world, my light, my heart.

So when i got home on September 12, i didn’t know that my world was going to change. Maguire greeted me like always- we had our mom just got home from work talk and snuggle in her chair and then came to snuggle more in bed. About an hour or so later everything changed. i knew something was wrong, i thought maybe she had a tummy bug. We went to the vet and by the time we arrived she had gotten even worse. After way to much time waiting and running tests they suggested i take her to the emergency vet. We sped out there to find that no one had any answers. She was deteriorating more and more and i was trying to be strong but i couldn’t stop crying. We decided to try a course of treatment and see what happened. A few hours later i got a call telling me that she had only gotten worse. The doctor said she had never seen anything like it in a dog. Whatever was happening was in her brain and it wasn’t stopping. My heart was breaking- i’ve never felt anything like it. And i said yes when she asked if i wanted to stop her suffering. i drove out in a blur of tears and they brought her in on a table, she couldn’t walk anymore, she was blind in one eye. She was trying to dig into the air as they put her on the ground and told me i could have as much time with her as i wanted. i curled up next to her and started talking while the tears poured out. Her paws stopped and rested on my tummy. i apologized to her for the day and for anything else i might have done to cause her suffering like this. i told her how much i loved her over and over and over again. i gave her kisses and i hid my face in her neck and sobbed while begging her not to leave me. i don’t know how long i was there- it never would have been enough time. i got up to get the doctor and she started digging again. The doctor came in and i curled up next to her again and held her while the shot was injected. i held her after. i didn’t know if i was going to be able to let go.

And now there is nothing. No clicking of nails on the wood floor. No protective barking when the neighbors get loud. Everywhere i look is a reminder. And all i can think is, why? Why her? Why me? Why in that way?  Because as whiny and cliche as it sounds, it isn’t fair. And the truth is, i need her. i still need her so much.

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Sometimes i have a good day, or hour, or few minutes, and then something reminds me and i can feel my heart being torn all over again. It never stops hurting.

Some people don’t understand, to them she was a dog. She wasn’t a dog to me. She was everything. You don’t ask someone who has lost a spouse or a child if they are going to go find a new one but they ask me that. i can’t look at a picture of any dog without making comparisons to Maguire or cursing it for not being her right now- i know that in time my heart will be open again but right now it is grieving and i don’t know when my next step in that process is.

It’s taken a few times sitting in front of this screen to be able to get this far. It has been a daily struggle to deal with the world and my own brain. i don’t have a pair of paws jumping onto my tummy in the morning to force me out of bed. i don’t have eyes looking at me or a body getting comfy on my head when i want to reach for a sharp object. And thus far i’ve been able to avoid those objects but i worry about how long that will last.

i’ve been shutting the world out, shutting people out. It isn’t so much that i want to be alone, though that is the only way i know how to put words to it. It is more like none of the world is Maguire and i don’t know how to talk about everything very well yet. All the words and the emotions feel like mush and i don’t know how to take that mush and turn it into a conversation or a moment in time with another being.

i’ve talked in the past about fighting this monster- there is a part of me, right now, that thinks. . . what’s the point? Because the things and people i love all just go away. Everybody leaves, my heart is always going to be crushed over and over and over again. So why try and fight? Why ask for help when i’m just going to end up alone anyway?

i’m lucky to have people in my life who don’t let me listen to that very long. But it’s a struggle. It’s hard work to fight while you feel so defeated. And hard to push through when you don’t see anything at the end to be fighting for. No amount of hard work or fight will bring Maguire back.

So i struggle, every single day. And this along with my fucking uterus has made for one of the most mentally and physically painful months that i can remember. i’ve been trying to take each day one moment at a time- that’s all i can do right now. Grief takes time. Our society doesn’t allow for that. We hear time and time again that you can take as much time as you need, and that in time things will feel better but there is no magic Delorean out there providing this time for us. We are expected to take that time around the schedule of everyone else- grieve as long as you want, as long as you don’t miss work and perform to normal standards. Grieve in your way, as long as you are still a functioning member of society. The pressure is enormous and makes my head want to explode.

i’m not saying this to call out any particular person or group. But it is hard enough to deal with mental health bullshit every single day. There are still so many taboos and fears. When you add a traumatic experience on top and are made to feel like those things don’t matter- that you just aren’t strong enough or trying hard enough it’s a recipe for disaster. i know this, i’ve eaten disaster more times than i’d like to remember.

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i’ve taken some steps to get help through all this and i’m trying to be proud of myself for that. i know Maguire would be.

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Surrounded by way too many people but still way too alone

August 18, 2014

Questions and doubts are the only things that seem to be playing in my head. Trying to remind myself that this is just all part of the game the monster likes to play with me and then questioning whether i believe that or not. Wondering if it is actually worth making connections with people when i know i will never be good enough for what they deserve. And wondering if, in standing up for what i believe if i feel better standing alone right now or not. 

 

i don’t want to see people. Because i don’t want to have to pretend to be whatever i’m not right now. And we say it’s okay to not do that. We say we can be honest with people. And maybe that’s true, behind the closed doors of your home with a close friend. Or whispered with one person who you might be able to trust but you aren’t sure because trust is kind of for suckers anyway. i can’t be how i am right now around people without every wrong question being asked, look being given, hearing every sigh or seeing every eye rolling. And maybe even if that wasn’t the case i wouldn’t want to see people. i don’t know. Right now i feel broken. Not “unfixable” but kind of like a chain that falls off on a bike sometimes. i don’t want to be around people when i’m broken. 

 

The questions roll on and on and on, is it really that i don’t want to be around people or do i doubt that people want to be around me? Am i scared of what they will think of me when they see me broken?  How do people muster up the energy to speak to other people? Why can’t i just fake it for days and weeks anymore? Was that really better? Why can’t i have brain chemistry that works? Why is it so wrong to want to relieve all the pressure? What would people think if they knew how many hypothetical questions i asked and then googled? Should i be worried about those questions? Do i even deserve to be asking those questions? Why can’t someone who cares more than i do right now be doing this? 

 

i want to say this writing thing is worthless but i know it isn’t. i know it helps me. i know it is something solid for me to grasp when nothing else seems graspable. But right now, at this moment, it feels worthless. It feels like something no one cares about, something i do because someone else suggested it was a better thing to do than my other coping mechanisms. It feels like words that i am standing at the top of a cliff screaming and no one is hearing. And it isn’t a matter of page views or comments or anything like that. It’s just a matter of writing these stream of consciousness things and then still feeling like i’m standing alone at the top of the cliff. There’s no immediate relief. The monster can burrow into every crevice so quickly but needs all the time in the world to find its way out.

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An open letter to the monsters in my head

August 15, 2014

Dear Depression Monster,

Lots of people are talking about you right now. And i’m glad. Except i hope it doesn’t stop this time. i hope they keep talking long and hard and loud. You lie.  i can only speak for me but you trick me. You trick me into thinking that all those people who told me to call them when i wanted to pick up a razor blade don’t actually mean it. You trick me into thinking the razor blades are my friends. You trick me into thinking that everything will always have that haze over it and it will hurt to even try to get out of bed. You make me think i am alone and you make every negative voice in my head scream so loudly that i want to just make everything stop. You make my head hurt and my stomach hurt. You make me feel like i am out of control in every aspect. i can’t focus, so you remind me how poorly i am doing at things which will lead to my eventual failure. i can’t explain why you are there so you let me know what a terrible friend i am when people just want to help. You don’t even let me form words sometimes because you like to taunt me with just how worthless all of mine are. You tell me to push people away when i need them most. 

Well guess what? Fuck you.

Because i felt you creeping up this time. And i asked for help. And i let someone know. And i didn’t let you keep my mouth shut. i looked at the blades and then i curled up and let the love of my life and she rolled on her back and stuck her paws in the air and waited for me to rub her tummy and then she licked my face and curled up on my tummy and reminded me that she loves me NO MATTER WHAT you say. That doesn’t mean i win this round or any round. You will probably always be stronger than me. But if i can hold on until you decide to move on then i at least get points. 

You played a part in taking someone who meant something to me. i never met him. i most likely never would have. And maybe it sounds silly but my heart was full of love for him. And it hurts now. More than i ever thought the death of a stranger could. And i hate you for playing a part. I hate you for lying to him and everyone else. And i hate you for making people feel so ashamed because they know you. 

i’m not ashamed and i’m ready, with backup, to punch you in the face. 

me

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Yes, cement trucks. And why i apologize a lot.

April 19, 2013

We all have things we fear. There are those tangible things- for me it’s thunder and lightning and cement trucks. Obviously there are different levels of these fears. Some people are so scared of flying they can’t even go to an airport. Others just need to take an anti anxiety pill to get through it.

 

The harder things, for me anyway, are the not so tangible fears. i have a serious fear of abandonment and i deal with atelophobia (the fear of not being good enough or imperfection.) These play so hand in hand it is ridiculous. i am so constantly scared that if i don’t say things exactly right or do things exactly the way someone expects them to be done that i will lose that person. i can see that these things aren’t logical. i get that while i was in college if i would have spoken in class and answered something incorrectly i wouldn’t have been laughed at and thrown out of school but i was terrified of that.

 

Sometimes i am so scared of people leaving that i will hold onto unhealthy relationships because at least it is something, at least i’m not alone. It’s not easy to sort out the knowledge and hard evidence from the kudzu like fear that covers everything.

 

i know and completely understand that people have bad days. i obviously have bad days, why wouldn’t anyone else. But for whatever reason, especially if i really care about someone or respect them and i can’t put a finger on why (and not in a nosy type way) they are having that off day the gears in my brain start turing until i am convinced that i did something to cause it. i want nothing more than to go and apologize. i want to fix it. i read into things that probably aren’t there. And it will repeat over and over and over in my head. The tears will start at any given moment. And i feel so defeated because if that person has me feeling like that it means that i’m not, at that moment, in a position to push that person away myself to avoid getting hurt, i already am.

 

i will start making lists of all the things that are wrong with me, that i screwed up in one way or another, things i did that i shouldn’t have and things i didn’t do that i should have. Things i said that were the wrong words or the wrong time. Every little thing.

 

So while i’m sitting there crying or trying not to and fearing that i will lose this person because i wasn’t good enough in some multitude of ways, i start to get angry at the same time. At myself. And i don’t always know how to deal with that anger. i know how i want to deal with it but i also realize that i shouldn’t reach for the blade. And then there is this whole spiral of a melt down. i hate myself for cutting, i think that if i was good enough at dealing with emotions and life that i wouldn’t need that. i think about what a failure i feel like when i succumb to to the desire. i think about how i don’t deserve people in my life to begin with and how i will inevitably fuck up every relationship i have in some way. i think about how scared i will be if i don’t have people in my life and try to figure out how i can be perfect and not lose the people i have. Then how i will never be perfect and i hate myself for that.

 

It’s exhausting. i feel like Sisyphus. i’m trying to write this out so maybe i can come back and see how preposterous all of these thoughts are. i’m trying to get better at talking about when i feel like this though that one is still really hard. i’m trying to remind myself that a step forward is a step forward no matter how small or how long it takes to make.

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Seeing what is in front of you is harder than you think

April 16, 2013

A few weeks ago i was g-chatting with a couple of my favorite people. We talked briefly about how we react when people ask us how we are. At work recently it has been decided to take that phrase out of our lexicon because it isn’t personal and it just acts as a filler statement.

 

i agree with this. And i’m completely guilty on both sides of the matter. Throwing out a, “Hi, how are you?” and then just accepting, “Fine, how are you?” as the response. i’ve given more “fine” answers than probably anything else.

 

But i started thinking about it. About what things might be like if we answered honestly when people asked us those questions. And if we didn’t ask them as a time filler when we passed someone in the hallway but as an actual question of interest while sitting down with someone ready to have a conversation. What if we had more conversations in general? Real ones. None of us want to be put into a box or labeled because of one thing about us. That makes sense. It makes sense that when you meet someone you don’t go up to them and say, “Hello, i’m so and so and i’m a vegetarian.” Or a whatever. But what if we did? What if we stripped off all masks and walls and whatever elses that we hide behind and show up for life scars bared? Each of those things that you could put into tiny boxes make up who we are. Wouldn’t it be sort of nice to dump them all out and hand the people in our lives a giant bowl of mixed experiences and characteristics and what not and have them understand that if they pick one thing out of that bowl that they won’t be looking at you, but if they step back and look at the ridiculous tangled mess of stuff and how it fits together that they might actually see you.

 

So many of us go through life feeling alone for so many reasons. We find solace in song lyrics, movies, art, and the pages of books. We are amazed on some level that someone has spoken or expressed what we are thinking or feeling. i do it all the time. But the truth of the matter is we aren’t alone. We get so caught up in our own heads that we can’t see what is around us. We go blindly through life and occasionally we ram into someone that we connect with in some way and it’s awesome or awkward or horrible. But how many people have we passed along the way?

 

i’m not good at showing people what is behind the walls i’ve built up. i’m really not good at talking. i am so scared that the words i say won’t be the right ones. That i won’t make sense. Or that what i say will be used against me. That it will push people away. That if i have those real conversations they will end with me being more alone than before. i have have reason to fear those things. They’ve all happened. My words and my experiences have been used against me by people i thought cared about me. However, i also know that those fears have caused me to miss a lot of opportunities. i don’t want to miss out on making connections with people because i’m scared. It’s a challenge. It’s an every day, every minute challenge. Constantly surveying for a space that feels safe enough to be real in. i hope that if i can create a space around me that is safe for other people that it will reflect in the same way for me.

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only about 3,793 minutes to get through

March 17, 2013

i will warn you right now this may be full of ridiculous nonsense.

 

i keep getting told, and to be honest, i keep telling myself that i need to write through this. i need to take all the bad negative thoughts and memories and ideas inside my head and spew them out all over whatever paper or screen i have. i’ve been trying. i have pages of possible nonsense written out from the past few days. Things that i wish i could take back and hold inside again. Because once it’s there, on paper, in front of me on the screen it’s there. i could crumple it up and throw it away. i could light it on fire, i could delete the file completely. But there’s something about it at the same time that i don’t want to let go of and that’s part of the problem. Part of it is the fact that those are my words, i don’t want to just push them aside. i may be able to take them and reshape them into something later. And the other thing is it’s a lot easier to say let go of something than it is to actually do it. i can try to let go of something and even if i’m successful at that part i’m left not knowing how to be without that thing i’ve been holding onto for so long.

 

i’m trying hard to make an effort to reach out to people. To not be so alone. This is not always so successful. There are people who are amazing and supportive but that i don’t feel safe enough with right now to let everything pour out. There are people i might feel safe enough with but they live states and states away. i don’t have that person or people that are close enough for me to call and say, i need you. i don’t think i can be alone right now. The phone is a great invention but sometimes i don’t want to, sometimes i can’t talk. Sometimes i just need someone there in the same room. i don’t need them to talk. i just need to know that someone cares enough to sit in silence with me or won’t think i’m crazy when i can’t stop crying and i’m panicking about everything and nothing. i miss living in the dorm with people who knew me so well that if i said i was “fine” they would call me on my bullshit before the word even hit the air. It’s different now that we’re “grown ups.” We all have our own lives and things to worry about, we have husbands and wives and kids to take care of and sometimes those meaningful intimate moments amongst friends disappear. But the thing is i still need those moments. i am desperate for them.

 

i hate loneliness. i hate how it creeps up and wraps its arms around you so at first it feels like a place you want to be. . . snuggled in bed with a book or a movie not worrying about going out or anything else. And then you realize all of the sudden that you can’t get out of those arms. i sit at work laughing and enjoying the company of my co-workers and feeling like it wouldn’t matter if i wasn’t there. i saw people the other night that i haven’t seen in years. People that mean A LOT to me. Who i could probably sit with for days reminiscing and laughing and talking about nothing and everything. And i sat there feeling so out of place, wondering why i was sharing a table with them because they all seemed so comfortable with one another and when i tried to open my mouth nothing happened.

 

i have an appointment Wednesday. Getting to that point is step one. i have been reminded to take things each minute at a time and i’m trying.