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Where do I go from here?

I’m creatively constipated. I can’t even write privately these days. I have ideas floating through my head, but as soon as I try to actually put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, I freeze.

Just sitting here typing this at the library of the university my friend is attending, waiting for her to finish class, so we can go walk her doggies, I’m tearing up. I haven’t even been able to read what others have written, when it used to be one of my favourite ways to spend time with myself.

I have always loved writing. I started using LiveJournal back in about 2001, and have had a blog since then. Prior to that, I wrote stupid short stories and other random pieces for myself. I’m not lacking in encouragement from outside sources; several people have told me I should start writing again. What I’m lacking is the confidence in myself as a writer that I had for so long.

I feel so much shame and anger in myself, it’s hard to admit. I find it embarrassing that I am usually such a vocal supporter of mental health, and am having trouble admitting that I have actually been presented with two new potential diagnoses. I am still unable to present those right now, for reasons I hope to explain later.

So, where does this leave me? How do I get over this crippling fear I have of opening myself up again?

On Hating and Hurting

There haven’t been many people I’ve ever hated, but consistently I’ve hated myself, to different degrees. Rarely ever have I hated myself as much as I do currently, to the point that I have multiple daily thoughts of disappearing. Erasing myself. Ceasing to exist. Killing myself.

I haven’t tried to kill myself because I don’t want my friends and family to have to deal with that (even though sweet release is so tempting). I don’t ever want them to have to deal with an attempted (or successful) suicide again, but I am at rock bottom. I am past the bare earth and am clawing at bedrock, tearing my nails and screaming with pain.

I have a mental health assessment appointment scheduled to confirm my major depression diagnosis (I think I might be bipolar, but obviously I shouldn’t use Dr. Google to confirm), to reevaluate my medication, and to find some therapy options. The appointment was originally scheduled for mid-April, and then was moved forward to this past week, and then the day of, it was postponed because the intake counsellor was sick. Less than two more weeks, which feels like a lifetime, until the rescheduled appointment now.

I have this fucking cycle going on where I start missing the stupid Pirate, blame myself for ruining things and not going to counselling when things were getting bad in all areas of my life a year ago, and then hating myself even more for getting upset over a fucking breakup that happened more than half a year ago. Then I get mad that it’s been so long and I’m still grieving him and hate myself EVEN more for being a drag on my friends and family. I don’t want my nephew’s first memories of me to always be me crying.

In my mind, I am fully aware that just because I thought he was my forever and that we were partners who would work through everything together and that I’d liked him since I met him at 15, doesn’t mean he felt the same. Things change, people change, feelings change. I was desperately unhappy living in Vancouver. I know I’ll never be able to afford a house there, there are too many people, I hated my job, I was drinking and smoking too much pot, and on and on. I wanted a baby with him so badly, but could never explain it properly. I wanted everything with him.

I feel like I’m a failure. I hate looking in the mirror. I hate having to get out of bed in the mornings. I hate having to talk to people every day, to fake my way through another day. I hate that so much of my hurting is caused by one person’s feelings for me, and it hurts so much that I am so weak and pathetic. I hate me and being me and the fact I was ever born in the first place. I have cancelled my travelling plans because I’m so unstable. I know that things will get better, that I’ll get past this, that I am just going through a down time, that my medication will get adjusted, that I will eventually date again, but all I can think about is how I don’t belong anywhere and have no home. That I ruined the best thing that ever happened to me. That I am unloved and unloveable. That I will never be satisfied and happy. That I’m going to forever blame myself and forever regret losing him. That I will forever hurt and forever hate myself.

I don’t know how I can continue living even for a few more weeks like this, let alone decades. But, I will try, even if it means just taking life one fucking painful moment after another.

Being an Aunt

I love being an aunt.

I don’t know what being a mother is like, and I’m ok with that.

Having this wonderful, amazing, beautiful, friendly boy in my life, it makes me want to get better more than anything.

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Low

I’m feeling low.

Low in energy, low in sleep, low in joy, low in enthusiasm, low, low, LOW. Near the bottom low.

I started the new year with good intentions, and have so far managed to pretty much stick to them. I’m not writing as much as I wanted to be though. 

I’ve not been proactive enough in dealing with my depression the last year and a half or so. I know that. I need help, and I can’t keep putting it off and I can’t keep avoiding it. I don’t have benefits right now, since I’ve only got a temporary position with the city, which means I’m paying out of pocket for my treatment. My pills are already really expensive, now I’ll be adding the cost of a counselor and probably a gym pass on top of that.

I want so badly to go to Germany this fall, but I don’t know if it will actually be financially feasible. One of the biggest things my thoughts cycle around is money, which is true for a lot of people I’m sure. I am currently fixated on how much I will need to spend to see a counselor, instead of thinking about how awesome it will be to start working really hard towards positive changes.

I’ve found some mental health support groups that my roommate has offered to attend with me when my schedule permits, plus she’s helping me figure out my options in regards to a counselor.

I know myself well enough to know that I’m spiralling down, and if I don’t get more help soon, I’m going to be in trouble. I can’t go back to a me who cries daily, who doesn’t eat, who sleeps all the time.

I don’t want to look back at my life and only see periods of grey and black.

An Idea

Back in the early 80s, my mom’s younger brother moved to England.  He married a German woman, and had two sons. My uncle died in 1988ish, and apart from a visit they made here around that time, I never got to know these two cousins of mine until we were grown ups. We never had the money to travel overseas like my mom’s other brother’s family, nor did they.

About 10 years ago, with the wonders of the internet and German cousins getting good jobs and being able to afford to visit, I finally met these two men and found that they were amazing. Well, obviously, they are related to me, after all.

They have been over to visit several times now, and every time, they ask me when I’m coming to see them.

I’m in a position now where I’m not worrying about school, I’m not floundering in debt with little to show for it, I’m not being held back by some guy who is broke or won’t fly (the fact that I may or may not be seeing someone is irrelevant. More on that another time). Their mom has offered over and over to let me stay with her.

I came to Edmonton with a personal understanding that I would stay for one year, minimum, to see how I like it. My job is only a temporary one (no benefits with expensive medication sucks), but it pays quite well. I can apply for a permanent position, but I’m not too worried about it. The job is scheduled to last until August of this year. Right around my 1 year trial period of this new city.

I mostly like it here, though my social circle is quite small. Being able to watch my nephew growing and learning is just so amazing, he is a joy and I’m so lucky to be able to share in the love that he radiates. We found out this weekend that he will be having a baby SISTER join him in the spring. I am paying down my debt faster than I thought I would, and I’ve narrowed down some grad school options.

I am feeling a push though. A push to explore more. I can apply for a youth mobility visa (free work/travel visa for those aged 18-35), to quite a few countries. I have started researching all I would need to do to obtain this, and it’s feasible. I haven’t yet talked to my aunt or my cousins, because I want to be sure it’s what I’m planning, but right now, I’m hoping to move to Germany for a year, this fall.

Fingers crossed I don’t chicken out. The biggest thing I’m worried about right now is money. Can I afford to get there, find any sort of job, travel, tour, support myself, then get home? There are these two men who are part of my genetic makeup who are aware of my struggles and have promised to help however they can, and an awesome aunt who has invited me many, many times.

I almost feel like I can’t pass this opportunity up.

Give Me a Break

I quit facebook today. I have been comparing myself to all these filtered lives, and it’s making me hate me. I don’t know how long my break will last. We’ll see how I feel in a little while.

I also realize I just need to give myself a break in general. Just because I’m 28 and haven’t traveled a ton or decided on a Master’s degree yet, does not mean I am a failure. I have survived, and considering how badly I’ve hurt in the past, that is an accomplishment in itself.

If my best friends, my brothers, my parents, so many people I value and love, still love me and support me, then maybe I should pay more attention to what they are telling me. I am funny, friendly, compassionate, excellent with children, fairly smart, strong, creative, quirky, imaginative, a good friend and Auntie, I have a cute butt and a giant smile. I love to read, play Settlers of Catan, be surrounded by trees, ski, camp, hike, and go on road trips. I love coffee and cheese and spinach and garlic. I’d rather read the book than watch the movie, preferably while sitting in the bathtub. I am quick to laugh, and get along well with other people with twisted senses of humour. I am affectionate, and thrive on physical contact, except when I’m trying to go to sleep. I have a tiny bladder which means drinking beer is more comfortable for me at someone’s house, but I’ve been known to enjoy several beers in a local park in the evening. I will never tire of the sky at night.

My depression has had a strong hold on me this past year. I am taking the time to figure out what works best for me, and rather than spending my downtime at work randomly surfing the internet, I have lofty goals. Read more books. Research grad programs. Teach myself with the resources I have at hand. I want to spend less time on social media, and more time being social or spending quality time with myself.

I hate making New Year’s resolutions. I always fail miserably. I am not so much making a resolution as trying to set myself up to be open to the offers the universe is presenting to me. I need to give myself a break, not be so harsh and critical of myself. This is my life, my life to live, and I need to remember that. I’m sure I’ll have those times of despair and worry. That’s just how I’m programmed, but tonight, right now, I want to choose to believe that I will be happy, that I am growing to accept myself and all of my failings, real or imaginary. I want to cut myself some slack. I would never treat a friend the way I’ve been treating myself, would never tolerate anyone treating someone I love this way.

Now that I’ve put these thoughts out to the universe, I want to hold tight to them. I know it will be hard, but I will not fail me.

Quiet Lately

I have been very, very quiet lately. I’ve had no desire to write, and nothing really to say. How often can I write about being confused about where I want to be and what I want to do and what I want to be when I grow up?

So, some stuff I’ve been up to (most of these have been posted on Instagram/Twitter/Facebook):

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I went to a show, Walk Off The Earth, with some old friends and my roommate, a couple weeks ago. Check out their cover of Gotye’s “Somebody I Used to Know” and watch all 5 band members play one guitar, which I tried to get a picture of.
I had forgotten how much I love live shows with good music and good friends.
 

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I’m trying to embrace my natural curls more often. Sometimes it works.

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My older brother’s girlfriend made him an assorted-beer advent calendar.
My mom had me buy him 30 beers to celebrate his 30th birthday, the same day he got these. I’m sure he’s been enjoying them!
Happy birthday, big brother. I am so lucky to have had you as my protector growing up, and still.

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The roommates and I headed to a local little hill for a recent evening of cheap skiing (snowboarding for them. What can I say, I’m old-school). It had been a couple of years since I’d gone, but I was pleasantly surprised at how well I did (no falls!). I was worried my legs would be burning after just a couple runs, but nope! Granted, it was just a little hill. Oh well, it reminded me how much I love it.

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This past weekend, I went back to Vancouver for 3 nights for a visit. It was great to see my Mom, my stepdad, and several friends, but I was again reminded that Vancouver, as much as I love the city, its surroundings, geography, multiculturalism… it is not home.  Living in the Fraser Valley or Squamish again, might be ok, but not in the city again. Not unless something monumental happened, like housing prices drop and I find an amazing job that pays 6 figures. Heh. 

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Wayne likes to sneak in for kisses (ick, I try not to let him actually lick my face)…

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…and Flappy likes to cuddle my butt.

I finally finished watching the whole series of Lost last night. I can only handle so much tv at a time, so it took me ahout 3 months to finally finish all of it. I’ve started watching some Buffy but so far I’m not as engrossed.

I’m looking forward to the next couple of days. My Dad is here for 5 days, and we’re babysitting my nephew together this afternoon. I’m hoping I can convince him to take me skiing again. I am on my fourth of six 5 am shifts in two weeks (today and the previous three days), which make me very, very angry and unhappy (literally. I get out of bed in the foulest mood when I have to work this early), but luckily the next two shifts are not in a row.

Back to Me

Words haven’t wanted to come lately. Not here, not in my mind, not in any of my paper journals, not on my laptop. I am still trying to find a safe resting place.

Physically, I am safe. I am settled into a pretty comfortable routine with my amazing and loving roommates. I am working, although it’s not at a job I want permanently. It pays well, and while I’m technically part time, most weeks are closer to fulltime hours, though the randomness of shift work.

I think I have stopped losing weight. I’m down 10-15 pounds from my normal weight, but I’m trying to make myself eat. It’s only noticeable in my jeans, I think. My belt needs to be done up two notches tighter. I’m sleeping better, too.

Mentally, I’m starting to feel a lot better, but I still want to find a counsellor or depression support group. I have made a pretty concerted effort to not talk to the Pirate the last month or so. I messaged him for his birthday 3 weeks ago and haven’t spoken to him since. It’s hard. Harder than I thought it would be, but I know it’s what I need to do.

I still have horrifying moments of panic when I just feel utterly devastated that we are no longer together. Then I remember his hurtful words, and his hurtful actions, all while simultaneously professing that he is a nice guy. No, dude. Nice guys aren’t manipulative jerks who only look out for themselves. I’m trying to keep that thought to the fore when I feel the worst, when I just want my friend back.

I still feel like I’m searching for where I belong. I don’t think Edmonton is home, not where I want to settle, but I’m trying to make the most of it. My cost of living here is a lot less than it was in Vancouver, and I’m making more money. I’ve had a couple slips with money lately, like buying a fancier phone than I actually need when my last one died, but generally I think I’m doing pretty well. I have a little bit of money saved-not nearly as much as I’d like, but it’s a start. I have been making additional payments towards my debts, with a vague hope to be debt-free by the end of 2013. I am serious about traveling when my debt is paid off.

I have recovered a bit of my inherent girlness and am nervously looking forward to a hangout with a dude I have planned for when I’m in Vancouver visiting in two weeks. No plans to move back there at this point, and he knows that, so I think we’re both waiting to see what happens when we hang out. I am terrible about not worrying about things, so of course I’m probably making a bigger deal about it than I need to.

I would like to find my home. I would like to find a place I enjoy and stay put for longer than a year. For now, it’s Edmonton. I have committed to myself that I will give it a full year here before I leave. I am pretty sure that I want to live in the B.C. interior somewhere, but I have yet to commit to that.

In a lot of ways I’m still taking it one day at a time, but more and more days are tear-free. More and more days have giggles and a mind that seems clear of fog. Now I’m mostly only having bad moments and not bad days, weeks.

I’m finding my way back to me.

November

November has historically been a bad month for me. Before I took down all my archives, I have several posts from Novembers over the years, all related to the sad that I experienced in November. I don’t think it’s seasonal, exactly, as more timing. November always meant projects at school were coming due, and there were constant reminders of Christmas, which is admittedly the “holiday” that I care for the least.

I’ve had a pretty bad last month, what with finding out the ex is back together with his previous ex, and that he didn’t bother to tell me (even though I straight up asked him to, and he agreed he would) until I found out through the powers of the internet (I hate you, internet) (you hurt me real bad, Pirate. So bad I’m reconsidering all the sweet words you said to me during our romantic relationship). I managed to help piss off a friend and former coworker in Vancouver. I’ve lost my appetite and while losing some weight was on my to-do list, losing it unsafely due to depression is not how I wanted to go about it. My netbook screen has been wiggly, warning me that something is happening to it. My phone has a cracked screen (which is luckily still working), the USB connection has to be propped just so to charge the phone or transfer files, and the power button is not responding properly (it’s also the phone-lock button). I bought a plane ticket to Vancouver for 4 days in December, only to find out the next day that I had had an unpaid cell phone bill from 2011 sent to collections (I don’t even know how that happened). My work screwed up and didn’t pay me last Tuesday, and the emergency cheque they were cutting for me wasn’t going to be ready until Friday–2 days after rent was due. There was a fire in my building that saw me and the roommate’s dogs evacuated for an hour and a half, and I didn’t have a winter jacket yet (the humans I live with were out for the evening).

There have been some positives in this last month as well, that I’m trying to actively focus on. Every day that I work, I say to myself over and over that today will be a good day, as I walk to the train.

So, the things I’m grateful and inspired by right now, in no particular order:

-putting over $1000 towards debt repayment in October
-consolidating some consumer debt with a lower interest rate earlier this year, and the delight I get watching it go down every time I make additional payments
-my trip to Vancouver in 5 weeks to see my mom and step-dad, my Turkey, and various other Vancouverites (and the plan to not see my ex while I’m there)
-nearly daily emails from another former coworker encouraging me to take some time for myself to heal and adjust to a new city, a new job, a new living situation, a new life plan
-the fact that this former coworker and I are friendly-flirting, reminding me that even though the ex said some extremely painful and disparaging remarks about my attractiveness and girlness, not every guy in the world feels the same way
-we have plans to have a beer when I’m visiting, and I’m really looking forward to his quirky sense of humour
-my acceptance into the editing certificate program (sadly, the class they suggest I take next is only offered in-class, in Vancouver right now, so I’ll have to complete them out of order)
-my hilarious roommates who have made me so welcome, give me hugs or tough love when needed, eat the slop I cook, bake for me, give me rides when needed, and don’t mind when l occasionally crawl into bed with them and their dogs to cuddle (it’s a pretty full bed and I do it as a joke)
-my amazingly beautiful, smart, hilarious nephew and the fact that he’s going to be a big brother in the spring. And that his Daddy is an amazing role model of a big brother
-banana pancakes
-learning how to sew with my new sewing machine
-that my work moved as quickly as they could to cut me an emergency paycheque and gave me a coffee gift card to apologize
-the ebooks a friend gave me for my Kobo before I moved out here
-my Daddy planning to visit some weekend this month
-my new life plan of paying off debt, saving as much as possible, and going travelling in two or so years (this depends on money though)
-plans to go see Frank Warren of PostSecret, tonight (with a friend of my roommate) (it was 80 bucks last time he was in Vancouver, 35 here is affordable for me!)
-the buses in Edmonton are all running wacky because of the snow, but I only need to catch a train to work and can walk to a grocery store
-walking a dachshund in ~6 inches if snow. He bounces like a bunny!

Whole Heart One Day

This sweet little boy and I have been hanging out a fair bit lately. His silliness and his happiness and his growing into his own person are such a joy to be around. He is an amazing, glowing ball of energy and love.

I have been going back and forth between doing well and doing terribly. I am still hurting so bad, so bad. I really don’t like how worthless and angry and hurt and used and just flat-out depressed I have been the last couple of months.  I just want the never ending heartache to ease. I feel like I’m just going through the motions every day, but I know that every day that passes, my heart heals a little. One day, I’m sure without realizing it, I will wake up, and I will have a whole heart again.