Thanks For The Memories?

Isn’t it funny what we remember and what we don’t? I can remember a conversation I had last month that wasn’t all that significant, but I don’t remember someone’s name I met two days ago. I can quote a stupid rap song I wrote for a guy in tenth grade, but I can’t remember something said in a work meeting yesterday afternoon. I can beat myself up over something I said (or didn’t say) to someone last week when that person probably doesn’t remember talking to me at all.

I always feel the need to “set things straight” which is fine if there actually is something to set straight. I can’t seem to let things go to the point where I feel the need to say something “for the record”. Problem is, the other person usually either doesn’t remember what was said or doesn’t see it as an issue. If I bring it up again, it *becomes* an issue.  Which it did.

I got into this discussion about a week ago with a work friend who happens to be much younger than I am. Despite the fact that he’s less than half my age we were fast friends because we seemed to think the same way with the same type of humor. Plus he reminded me of an old friend who was like a brother to me. It got started because I brought up some things I’d said to him earlier that week that I’d already apologized for. There were so many things he said that made sense that I should have responded to, but I was doing what my sister and I called a “Daddy”-when it’s obvious someone is intent on yelling at you, don’t interrupt them. Sit down, shut up, half-listen (enough to answer a direct question but not enough to take it to heart) and do whatever it is you have to do to let them get it out of their system. This usually works. Usually.

Now I really wish I hadn’t done this. I keep going over the conversation in my head and think of what I *should* have said but didn’t. Sometimes it was because I was just letting him talk but other times it was because the messages were coming faster than I could answer. Even if I had time, I couldn’t find the words. I’m not going to bring it up again because a) it was over a week ago, and b) I probably won’t see him for a while. I’m on leave. For me the awkwardness is still fresh because I have things I want to say but the time has passed.

He said that people are saying that I’m jealous of the time he spends with one of our other work friends. I don’t know where he got this idea from. While it’s true that I mentioned I’d like to be included in some of their outings, that was because our friend told me that *they* had been talking about inviting me but didn’t because they knew my husband wouldn’t join us. Plus, the stuff they did was fun. I did not ask; our friend just told me. They didn’t have to mention anything at all. That was months ago. They also seemed to think that I would be upset that they went back to a place we’d been avoiding without me, but I don’t care. I never did. This isn’t a slumber party and I’m not 10. But I didn’t say it. I told them so at the time, but not in this conversation.

I do remember one time saying that I wish he’d have talked to me about something, but that wasn’t out of jealousy. It was because we were discussing a larger pattern of behavior where something just didn’t seem “right”. I’ve been there. The idea that he had bipolar was floated*. If that’s true, guess who else has it? Ooh, ooh **jumps up and down with hand in air** Me! Guess who was about his age when it started? Me again. Guess who’s had every medication side effect in the book? Also me, and none of the others. So yeah, I wanted him to talk to me. But I didn’t tell him that, because I didn’t have the words.

Also, people have told me that I have a way of making people feel better without even trying. I’m told that one of my strongest gifts is the ability to draw people out, validate them and know what to say to help them without realizing I’m doing it. Even people who aren’t normally “talkers” will talk to me. If this is true, I wanted to use this “gift” to help him. But I didn’t say that. It wouldn’t have mattered anyway.

The only thing I ever wanted was to have a fun ‘coworker’ relationship-the type of friends you talk with at work, text cat videos back and forth and occasionally go to IHOP at 1 am when you all get off, but that’s it.  But I didn’t say it-not to him, anyway.

He thinks I was trying to forge some sort of super-close relationship like a sad old lady (my words). All I was doing was looking for someone to get coffee with me. But I never told him that because I didn’t get the chance.

If I had thought of what to say at the time, I could have avoided all of these misunderstandings and I wouldn’t still be thinking about it. But I didn’t, so I am. I can’t remember what it was we originally argued about, but I remember this. There were definitely some things I needed to hear, like about how my nerves can put other people on edge and cause them to talk about me. That makes sense. I probably won’t remember it, though, because I’m too busy running the other things around in my head. That’s the way my brain works, or doesn’t work.  I’m not sure which. I’ll let you know.

 

*Normally I’d avoid this kind of “armchair psychiatrist” stuff, but I wasn’t the one who said it there. I’m not saying it here either, just “if…”


Deep-Winter Bleakness

I had another anxiety attack tonight-the worst in a long time. I’m not surprised at all. It’s been a long week with a lot of pressure about Valentine’s Day. We’ve been having a lot of meetings because this is one of the busiest times of the year in the restaurant industry and management has been more high-strung than normal. I’ve been working more shifts in a row than I’m used to. I was at the end of my rope and was really hoping to be able to come home tonight and relax before having to go in again. I was in pain and had not slept much this week, but still had to stay and work because one of my coworkers-one who is also a good friend-simply didn’t show up.

There are certain times when things seem a lot louder, brighter, more claustrophobic than normal. There is just so much noise in such a tight space that you feel like you have to fight to get anything done. Everything and everyone is in your way, and you just want to get out. When you have a lot of side work you’re not used to doing that takes you longer than everyone else to do it can feel stressful to anyone, but in the past my coworkers had teased me about being too slow to do things. It’s been a really long time since anyone said that, but it really hurt my feelings. So when I heard “is anyone still here? Is <river in Ireland> done yet?” it made me think that people were bitching about it again. I have this sort of paranoia that makes me think things are about me when they aren’t-that people are saying or thinking things when they probably aren’t. Or, if they are, it’s not as big of a deal as I think it is. It’s like I accuse people of saying or thinking things. Luckily everyone knows that I have bipolar and anxiety, but there have been times when I worry if it will be “the last straw” with someone.

For instance, this past Christmas I got into sort of a row with a good friend of mine that made me wonder if he’ll ever care for me or talk to me again. It was another case of paranoia that blew up in my face, assuming something was about me when he was dealing with crap of his own and had been distant to everyone-not just me. It was suggested that I had a crush on him, which I doubt. Either way, I thought I had lost someone I had a connection with because I couldn’t control my dumb ass mouth. I can’t say I feel as close as I did before, but I don’t know if that’s just my perception. Tonight I thought of saying “Now you’ve seen it, I told you it was awful. Still like me, or am I the psycho hose beast I’ve been telling you about?”

It’s just so ridiculous that I could go from laughing to sitting in my car listening to music and singing along with it to calm myself down. Even if people know I can’t help it, that it’s my disorder talking, I can’t begin to explain how embarrassing these things are. I wonder when people will get sick of it and say screw her, no one likes her anymore. What will be the last straw, if I’ll have anyone left if this keeps up. And it will keep up. That much is certain.

I need to sleep.

 

 


This time of year can suck it…

This time of year has always been hard for me. I think it’s partly the cold weather, partly the short days and partly the gloominess that tends to settle over everything. I find myself being a lot more sensitive to things people do or say than I normally am. Or, I’m not as good at hiding it.

Where I live it doesn’t really get or stay as cold as it does other places, so I guess I’m not as used to it as some people.

I don’t get to see my family hardly at all. We are all spread out, with my parents in North Carolina (8 hours away) or Virginia (10 hours away). I moved this far away to be with my husband and I don’t regret that but I’d really like to be able to go up more often. The reason I can’t is partly my job and partly the cost it takes to drive up there. It’s not like my job is even that important-I’m a server at a restaurant-but my husband does tech support and can only take so many off days. While we don’t suffer financially here, we wouldn’t be able to afford the sheer amount of gas it would take to get to and from, well, anywhere. Plus he hates being without me.

Staying home or not, I’ve always been kind of standoffish. I spent a lot of time by myself growing up because I was a huge nerd and didn’t have many friends. My sister had a lot of problems that took my parents’ attention. I didn’t know any of this at the time, but she had bipolar disorder and got into a lot of trouble with drugs, alcohol and older guys. When I was about ten she went to California to live with one of my aunts. There was a special school/rehab for teenagers with these problems, but I did not know this. All I knew was that she and my dad argued incessantly, we had financial problems and that they’d gotten to a point where they couldn’t take it anymore. I thought she was being sent away because she was bad and my parents didn’t want her anymore. I was afraid that if I wasn’t perfect, I’d be sent away too.  I almost was.

Shortly after my sister came back home, she told us she was pregnant. I wasn’t there to see my dad’s reaction, thank goodness. It upset me so much that my parents were being so tolerant of her while getting onto me about stuff like bad grades. Getting pregnant was much worse than getting a C, right? I don’t begrudge her anything, but I just didn’t understand why I suddenly couldn’t do anything right.

I got failing grades in some of my classes and wasn’t adjusting to sixth grade very well. My mom asked me if I wanted to go somewhere else to live because I seemed so unhappy at home. Looking back, it was a stronger version of the usual tween-angst crap that a lot of kids go through. That might have been when my depression set on; there’s no real way to tell.

When I heard my dad telling my older brother about all the money problems and how they nearly went into bankruptcy taking her to doctors and getting her help,
I remembered all the times they seemed upset when I asked for things that cost money-school trips, cheerleading leagues, flag corp uniforms, senior-year and graduation stuff etc-I felt like I’d done something wrong. I’m not sure if this would be different if I had been told what was going on, but it might have. Even now, if I ask for something from my husband and we can’t afford it, I feel like I’ve done something wrong simply for asking and needing anything.

You know what bothers me the most? I would have understood. Yes, I was ten, but I was at a higher level academically and otherwise than other people my age. No one ever had to give me grandpa-died-because-God-needed-more-angels or whatever other things people tell little kids because they were straight with me-he got sick and died. I was six. I can understand why they didn’t say anything-perhaps my sister didn’t want them to. They didn’t want to burden a ten-year-old whose biggest problems involved boys and being made fun of at school. I totally understand this. I probably wouldn’t have given the full story either. But it seemed odd that my dad would tell all of this to my brother who he hadn’t seen in twenty years (looooong story) but wouldn’t tell someone who was there for it all.

I have no ending for this, but there’s still a lot I don’t understand about the way I react to things. Maybe I’ll figure it out, or figure out that there’s nothing to figure out. Anyway, good night.

 


Own It

I was thinking of a conversation I had the other day.

I’ve found that one of the best (and sometimes only) ways to keep people from using certain negative traits against you is to own them yourself. Obviously no one *wants* to be thought of as crazy/a bitch/air-headed/having “issues” etc. I’ve been called these things and they can be pretty hurtful at times. Even so, I’ve found that trying for a joking or “Yeah…and???” attitude-even if I have to fake it-forces people trying to insult me to do one of two things-they either have to shut their mouth or come up with something more interesting to say. They usually pick A.

This doesn’t always work, but I wish I’d thought of this earlier in life. I’m definitely going to temper how I refer to myself out of care for those who love me, but hopefully one day I won’t have anything *to* own. Until then…


Done

I am *done*.

Done with people who are mean just for the sake of being mean.

Done with having to push and shove my way through the line and scream to be heard. Sometimes I get claustrophobic when I am in a very tight, loud space.

Done with misreading people’s motives and getting upset when I don’t need to.

Done with people misreading *my* motives and getting upset when *they* don’t need to.

Done with having Slater get on my lap at the most inopportune times and, when I want to pet him, he runs away. Typical man, can’t make up his mind. 🙂

Done with projecting my bullshit onto other people.

Done with history repeating itself, if only in my head.

Done with having to backtrack and think of things to say to attempt to fix the problems that wouldn’t be problems had I not said anything to begin with. People say they’re not hurt or that they can ignore the things I say when they can see I’m cycling*. I’m not so sure.

Sometimes I think I’d love to go away somewhere-a hospital, the beach, some random place where I can’t hurt anyone and they’d be safe from my “whatever”. Problem is, I’m extroverted, so that would probably just make things worse. I should probably settle for a sign on my back saying, “Warning, prone to anxiety attacks, sudden crying and talking about my cats.” Maybe if I can pick a cute enough cat picture it will distract from the rest of it and people won’t be creeped out. Not that they are now, but things change.

Done with starting drama when I don’t mean to and having it go in the same vicious cycle over and over again. Most people know I can’t control it, but I want to find a way to control it. The first step would probably be to duct-tape my mouth shut, but that stuff really hurts to take off. In fact, I think I still have some left over from last year’s New Year’s Eve party when I had to tape my boobs up because I couldn’t wear a bra. Don’t ask. 

I need to find a therapist. I have a doctor for medications, but not as much talk therapy as I need. I thought of going the online-therapy route, which would be easy for me to afford. Trouble is, I don’t have a set schedule so I wouldn’t be able to commit. I’m afraid I will lose focus and end up playing games on my phone instead of, ahem, finishing posts I started months ago. It will soon be a new year, with a fresh Health Savings Account from my husband’s job. That will make it easier. I hate having to ask about things that cost money-especially expensive things like talk therapy on top of my other doctors-but I’m not sure I have a choice.

 

 

 

 

*Bipolar-speak for change of state-manic, depressive, mixed etc.


Something I Can’t Quite Explain-Some Late-Night Drivel…

I was talking with someone the other day who describes herself as an atheist. I say “describes” because it sounded as though she wasn’t sure *what* she believed. She’d been exposed to religion all her life but, for some reason, it didn’t ring true to her. She just went through all the motions while people around her talked of things that made no sense. She was frustrated and challenging me to “prove” to her that there was a God. I knew where this was going.

When I asked her why it bothered her so much that I believed she said that it didn’t offend her so much as that she had a hard time believing that such a smart person could believe in something that can’t be proven true. She didn’t want words-she needed hard evidence. She’s a “science” person, which I guess goes with the territory.

I understand how difficult and dissatisfying it can be to believe in something you cannot see or touch, but I have felt what is without a doubt God’s presence in a way I cannot explain to someone who is not already inclined to believe in such things. Some people are more spiritually-minded than others, and that’s fine. It’s just like how some people like art while others don’t. Like how my sister is into sci-fi but I’m not a fan. Like how some people like math while others would rather drink a bottle of Pine-Sol than sit through a calculus class.

It’s not that bad, by the way. The original and lavender flavors are pretty odd, but the lemon’s okay.

I know I can’t explain my beliefs and feelings away by science, but there are a lot of things-love, friendship, compassion-that are not quantifiable and are yet some of the most important things on which we base our lives. If someone truly cannot see this-or at least, see the value of it-well, I feel sorry for them. I’ve gotten a lot of solace from the idea that there’s something else “out there”, even if I didn’t know what it was. For me, coming to know Jesus was finally putting a name to something I knew was there all along.

I guess I’m more of a “heart-led” person than a “head-lead” one. That doesn’t mean I don’t think things through so much as I understand that there are some things I just won’t know in this life, and that’s okay. The fun isn’t in knowing the answers so much as asking the questions to begin with. As long as I’m able to do that, I’ll be fine.


A Rambling Realization

I keep thinking of how I’ve screwed up my life. I’d say I’m having a midlife crisis, but people who have those have actually done something with their lives when I can’t think of anything. I do not have children, I don’t really have a career unless you count waiting tables, and I don’t write as much as I could because I can’t focus. I have a billion unfinished stories in my head because I have a hard time finishing what I start.

I feel like I totally missed my calling. I remember a good friend of mine felt similarly but went back to school for nursing. I don’t know how she did it, but I’ve asked myself if I would do the same thing and go back for psychology if given the chance. Today I came to the realization that I don’t know that going back to school would help when what I *really* want to do is go back to that time of my life. Back when I felt normal, excited.

I’d love to have dated a guy like C in college, my workplace crush from several years ago. He’s a lot younger than I am but I felt so drawn to him that it was almost as though we would have been a couple had we met when we were in the same stage in our lives. I’m told he liked me too.

Now, I want to make it abundantly clear that nothing happened between us, and nothing was ever going to. Truth be told, I wouldn’t have wanted it to. He was a lot like my husband, so in a sense maybe it was a way to have been with my husband a lot earlier. I think a part of that was how, around the time C was working there, I worked an obscene amount of hours and didn’t spend much time with my husband. I had more and better conversations with coworkers because most people aren’t good conversationalists when they’re asleep and that’s the state I saw him in the most.

A lot of the frustration I have is about sex, which is probably why so many of the stories I make up involve it. Oddly enough, the partners I have in my head all look like him-who I easily could have loved-and did. That’s not to say I want to sleep with him, just that my mind holds certain images and puts them wherever it wants to. He is a good bit like my husband, except for some reason I don’t get the butterflies with my husband. Not always, anyway. He loves me more than anything and I think I have the type of marriage my parents had-where they were each other’s best friends. That’s what I always wanted, and that’s what I have. But I still think about sex all the time.

Now, about that. Sometimes I think that the issue is that I’m not as physically attracted to my husband as to other people. Meaning, I thought that having an issue with having sex *meant* I wasn’t as attracted. I’m just a lot more, um, demonstrative in my mind than in real life. I’ve had boyfriends I had a lot of passion with, but looking back I’m not sure I’d still have that today. I was a lot younger and more fit, just like I am in my stories. But I also wasn’t on five million meds (okay, not that many, but a lot) that have side effects in that area. And no, not taking them is not an option.

You hear so many things about what a healthy marriage looks like in that way. I had a lot of anticipation when I got married because then I could *finally* share that aspect of myself, even though I don’t know what that would mean. I thought the sexual side effects of the medication would go away now that I didn’t have that psychological “block”.

I’d thought I’d learn more. I have no idea how to do anything because most of my experience before was allowing things to be done to me. The time when most couples would be finding their way was cut short by an F-150.

You know what? It’s probably not about C or my husband or anyone else-it’s probably the fact that having a crush and knowing that the person crushed on me too makes me feel attractive again. I also realized that all those magazine articles about what a relationship “should” be like are not talking about people who spent years not being able to do much because they got in a wreck. They’re not talking about people and/or their spouses who have other health problems that affect every aspect of their lives. They’re talking about…well, not me. I’m trying to remind myself that my life is my life-meaning, I’m not everyone else, my husband isn’t everybody else’s husband, my friends aren’t everyone else’s friends. It doesn’t matter what everyone else has because I’m not them and they’re not me. Plus the grass might not actually be greener. Like I said, my husband is my best friend and I wouldn’t give him up for anything.

I know I can’t go back but until now I’ve never said these things out loud…it’s amazing how much that helps. Now if I can only finish this post…


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