release me

i am cold and tight, i am yearning. it seems facile to say that the ache inside me is never dispelled, but. it isn’t.

in therapy we continue to work with a great chasm; really there are so many more than two sides, and as many motivations as people involved, but i guess it works to notice the two sides. i know i maybe shouldn’t talk about this stuff here. it’s not like our blog is that hard to find. we’ve erased our real name from the site, but it was present years ago, and members of our family knew of the address. but i just can’t, i don’t know, i just can’t be silent because i don’t want to give away what i’m working on. maybe i do make it harder for myself. and i guess it needs to be negotiated one piece at a time, we can’t just say we’ll say everything or nothing. right now we need to not be silent.

so the chasm is between ones who want to do and ones who want to be. i like that way of putting it better than saying “functional/dysfunctional”. but it all comes down to functionality, always, of course. we are obsessed with work lately. every moment we work is a struggle, except on the rare instances we get the right person out and break free for an hour, and get quite a bit done. it’s easy to experience setbacks. i discovered a bug in some code i wrote that meant i reported wrong scores to my co-workers, meaning i reported that the technique i developed was helping when it really wasn’t. and it has been hard to let that go, hard to get over the shame, it will be harder to start work tomorrow because of it. but it’s not much better during non-working hours. then we worry about the next time we have to work, we try to fill our time, always emptily, we cast about for anything to cope with, and most things are inaccessible recently. all art and music seems to be barred. leaving the apartment is very difficult – and we’re nearly out of food, we are wholly out of allergy meds, and are supposed to start another new med we can’t go to the pharmacy for. computer games are hard to sustain interest in. about half the time, or a little less, we can read, which is a great help – but it eventually becomes impossible to concentrate. it all seems to hang and center on work, and i am bored with myself for my obsession. in vain the voices tell me that i have it easy, that i have many accommodations and should be grateful, that i have to sustain concentration for such a little time, and that it isn’t so easy to mess up so what am i complaining for.

i know such “self-talk” isn’t really helpful. but it’s not really me, just ones inside who are charged with keeping us functional. ones who need to succeed and achieve and be self-sufficient.

anyway, something our therapist said that felt a little novel was that we push ourselves to one side of the continuum by trying to go to the other side. so by trying every moment to work and function, we strengthen the ones who need us not to. and perhaps the only way to function is to give in, as we mostly have. but it never stays steady. if we give in to the inaction with the goal of action, well, once it succeeds it becomes intolerable again. so there’s no real rest or hope knowing it. and i don’t know that we’ve been able to really challenge much of anything inside for months now. i do feel that the only way through has got to be with acceptance. with release. and somehow even that is cold and hard.

we’ve been seeing a doctor for physical pain (headaches and fibromyalgia) and he got us to agree to buy a dumb book on cognitive therapy and try the “method”, even though we’ve had scores of experiences with cognitive therapy. because we didn’t use the exact paper format, he wants us to try again. and the book he told us to buy is about depression, not pain. i want to be compliant, i agreed to try, and i did do the stupid exercise today. but it made us so angry. the book made us so angry. it was patronizing and dismissive and infantilizing and wrong (on some points, for us anyway). it triggered some inside so that they raced away to self-harm. i know we probably shouldn’t keep trying it, but i don’t want to tell him i didn’t give it a fair shot, even though he doesn’t know squat about multiplicity. i guess i’ll just keep trying to find ways to do it on my own, as matt. it’s sometimes hard to tell my voice from others’, but i have been so heavily influenced by a fog of depression that i certainly do have distorted thoughts. although challenging them probably just enrages people inside. i’ll see how it goes. it’s silly how far i go to be compliant. and i’m ashamed for others to read this, because i know that my therapists and friends would all tell me that it’s probably not the best idea when it just makes things worse for us. still, it feels like something we should do, like we’ll get in trouble if we don’t.

i got a little triggered this evening because i read something in an article about ritual abuse that was validating because it matched an experience i had. it’s so strange and dreamlike to think that this really happened. intellectually i know it’s far more likely than not, in fact may be the only reasonable explanation for my experience. but it is strange to start to feel that it might be real. i think it was a good trigger. it was a clean sharp stab of pain to my chest, and a stimulating grief.

i am trying to endure this. some days lately have been a little easier. some haven’t. i know that things must change eventually. but i feel too tired to wait for it.

reduced

things have continued to be very difficult. i have realized how very much i have lost, and how i keep blaming myself for it, and trying to force myself to be better at doing therapy, and trying to force myself to get by in so many dimensions. life has become very basic, stripped down. there’s very little art or games or music or cleaning or hygiene or going out or shopping. (there’s been some reading, pretty much the only recreation still open to me. that and watching tv with edges, but i can’t watch tv alone.) and it’s been the case for long enough that i realize i am not just weathering a crisis until i Do The Work and get back to where i was.

i cannot control where i am, i cannot will my way out of my pain, i cannot do right. i’ve had to relax all requirements of myself and stop expecting the next day to be better. and there is a relief in being very small, very spare, very shrunken. like being crouched in a very close cave, with a little light that doesn’t extend more than an inch, reading words on a page one at a time. i’m not sure that’s the image i wanted, but it was the best i could do. there’s relief, but i can’t trade on it, can’t use it, can’t solidify ground with it. every time i do that things become worse than ever. so i’ve had to let go of the unnecessary and some of the necessary. and life feels very simple.
i’m neglecting things i can’t neglect, like bills, but for now i have to.
so i’ve reached a place that’s fairly passive. which may be a good thing for me, for matt. because my therapist keeps saying matt needs to not be the one to do the work. that i get in our way when i try to move things or see things, inside. it’s very hard for me not to feel like i’m the only one who will do anything about anything, that all responsibility is mine, that nothing will happen if i just wait for others. so maybe my hand needed to be forced, until i shrunk and shrunk. i am a dry little husk of myself, with no power to move anything; so the movement that comes will have to come from those who can help. or, supposedly. i can’t get too hopeful or they shut me down.
i’m trying to allow absolutely everything. whatever people inside need or want to do, i’m trying to just observe, rather than control.┬ápeople inside have been really drawn to other mentally ill people online lately, particularly the ones who are on disability or who can’t work. i know part of it is that we are longing to not work. but there’s other aspects too. i don’t know. we were reading some about social anxiety and realized that we have far more anxiety symptoms than we were letting on to. so reading about them made us recognize something. i also know that reading blogs and things is one of the few things we can do at any time, but especially while we are supposed to be working. i haven’t been trying to stop myself. for everything, i have been trying to forgive, allow, step back from trying to control. in a way my depression is forcing me to be more mindful. i don’t know. i don’t know what’s going to happen next.
it is hard to be okay with myself, thus. hard to be okay with cutting, with not leaving the house, with not exercising, not eating well, not being creative. i think to myself that all these things will help all of us, will improve our mood, will make the next step easier. but every time i fight myself, challenge myself, i just feel worse. so i am trying to taste at least the freedom of being helpless.

nothing good to say

with depression, lately, every way is worse.

sometimes the despair is sharp enough for us to self-injure, punching bruises in our thigh, taking to the bath for the empty, fleeting warmth of water and blood, winding up shivering in lukewarm water, unsoothed but maybe a little more dissociated than when we started. that’s a hard and empty thing, nothing but unkindness and silence, too momentary. and cold, it is always too cold, although it is about escaping the cold. the winter is too cold, i guess.

sometimes we get in the bath to cut and don’t, which is even less comforting, but less shameful too. those baths aren’t as long, so they aren’t as cold, but we come out of them in just the same state we got into them. and it is hard to pass the time after, because for the moment we don’t even have the hope that we could cut.

sometimes our despair is too dull and heavy for the kind of energy or passion needed to get any relief. there is a kind of stupor, we know in our bones that there is no relief, no end to this, it is the kind of despair that is sustainable and therefore drags on and on, sliding sideways across a nadir of hope and light and motion. we can’t seem to occupy ourselves, and the boredom is almost as terrible as the malaise. but there is no motivation for anything, even things that should require no motivation whatsoever, games or tv or just anything.

sometimes we can find distraction here and there, but it is terrible too because it is made of guilt. usually this is only when we are supposed to be working.

sometimes we can do a little cleaning or a little hygiene, not often; for longer stretches we can’t stir ourselves to do anything for ourselves or our living space. neither helps.

sometimes we find a little hope for the future, which usually goes with a lower intensity of despair, so it’s more sustainable and can go on without change until we start to realize the hope is stupid and futile and empty. and it’s so fragile that when we feel any hope at all, we are afraid to move, afraid not to move, we can’t decide anything because of the likelihood of driving hope away. and we feel guilt for the relief, because we are not contributing to anything that will help us in the long run, we aren’t getting much work done for our job, if any, we aren’t staying clean or being creative or musical, we aren’t enriching ourselves, we aren’t sustaining or feeding the hope. we feel such a constant guilt for being so down, anyway. we owe it to ourselves and to everyone to get better. we just can’t and we don’t have the energy anyway.

so they’re all worse, and we are so unable to cope with our pain that we start envying anyone who isn’t in our exact situation, which is everyone, which is ourselves last year, last season, yesterday, ten minutes ago. i know that there is no comparison, that it doesn’t help anything, that it is impossible, but i still feel a constant ache of envy.

we’re not mostly suicidal, lately. but all that means for us really is that we have no right or access to extra care, to crisis support. that we are stuck with this pain and there is nothing we can do. that there is no change and no escape. i’ve noticed we’re not even switching that much, because it seems to take too much energy to get anyone out who isn’t crushed under this depression.

the ones who shut us down

in therapy monday we tried to work with ones who want to shut it all down. i get the distinct feeling that they are the key to beginning to unwind out of this awful, tight, contorted place we have gotten stuck in. we’ve had a major return of some symptoms that had been so greatly soothed and calmed for years, mostly severe depression but also fear and anxiety. we feel less stable in every way, less able to trust our thoughts and feelings because of it, we have less of a rudder and less of a compass. we are always trying on new ways of looking at our life in our head, dozens a day, in the slim hope of getting some relief. many perspectives, if we are able to gain them, bring gates clanging down to trap ourselves in with the smoky depression. it is hard to see inside, we experience it as black fog fairly literally. there are ones inside who seem to be in charge of closing these doors, sending despair, pain, self-hatred, thoughts of suicide and of self-harm, every time we get to feeling too okay, too much like life could be possible.

so we come back down in here as often as we are able to get out, back to our small closed mind-space, back to the thick, soupy despair. and yet we feel that we must find a new perspective. that our only way through involves finding the one angle where our resistance to each other falls open, falls away, without effort, without strain, but just as a natural consequence. i think there must be such an angle, such a path through life; we may be different people, but we have the same vested interest in whatever life we end up leading. i think there is a deep, body-level will towards health and fulfillment, that we share absolutely. we have different ways of getting there, but with our heads pooled we must be able to find a way together. that’s the theory behind even trying to do therapy, anyhow. sometimes we have to take it on faith and sometimes we can’t believe it at all. but that’s to be expected, our minds are sick, tired, befogged, belief is a strange tough tenuous thread.

so we didn’t do the memory clearing work we have come to think of as “real” therapy, as tangible therapy at least, because these ones needed us not to. and they have tremendous blustery powers at their disposal, they are very good at convincing the fronts that there is no hope and that we are bad. but i hope we did do some work that leads somewhere. they at least were able to communicate that they intend to always shut us down. they said that our being in despair is the only way they/we can rest. our therapist responded that we could let them rest, that we could have both work and rest, that they in particular could be rested inside. but the way they see it is more and less holistic than that. it’s a problem we’ve always had. said nobly, it would be that none of us are free while others are oppressed. in practice, it means that it is very hard to use our complementary strengths or compensate for our complementary weaknesses. it doesn’t feel like rest if it isn’t all of us resting, or at least if the body isn’t resting. there is no rest for them, they say, if we are not all resting. i don’t know whether this is a truth or a fallacy; i suspect it’s a little of both, but sometimes it makes healing hard.

there are plenty of us who like to work. we are interested, stimulated, it seems as though if we could take gentle care of these other parts and keep them safe and warm, we’d be able to work, we’d be able to pursue our interests. but every time anyone who can work gets close, the gates come clanging down again. the noise starts and does not cease.

a return to the past, or a new beginning?

slowly, over time, without really noticing, i have been substituting private word repositories for public ones. i’ve been writing three pages a day for the better part of a year; but i show it to no one and rarely read over it. i keep all the information i feel i might want or need in evernote, as well, another private tool. this site used to be so very central to me, so very important, so much a part of my identity. i guess i mourn that. i want to reimmerse myself in my own words, but my mood is so fragile that i fear doing so, as well. it would be very easy to become very depressed; well, i am depressed, but it would be very easy to extend my sentence, to deepen my despair. i am fragile, i could be toppled with a breath. the hard thing is finding something that doesn’t make it worse.

i don’t know if anyone still reads this; i suspect there are one or two, no more. that’s all right. in a way maybe that would make it easier. maybe i can quietly start speaking again, and choose eventually whether to try to get people to see me. oh, hell, i don’t know. i don’t know if i can stick to this. i don’t know if i want to. i know i am missing something.

it was a hard year. in june we lost our job; in august we found a new one; everything has gotten worse and worse. i don’t know if the new job is the problem. i know it is part of the problem. i do not think it is most of the problem. i do know that i can’t seem to get my feet under me. i spent a week in the local hospital, which is all i have insurance for. i have lost a vital thread that kept me connected. i have new ones, i have been working intensively in therapy, i am still trying to do my best for myselves, just more privately.

i don’t know what is left for me or for us. i want to see the atrophy of our journal as an opportunity to start anew, rather than a chance missed. but mood makes it hard to see anything with hope. it makes me need hope more than any other thing and it makes it more elusive, with one stroke.

in some ways we’ve stopped conversing with each other the way we used to when we had this journal.

i’d like to see what i can do here again. but i also need to go slowly and lightly.

bye-bye, twitter

we decided to stop having our tweets show up as blog posts. it was blocking us from ever using the journal at all. they’ll still show up in the sidebar.

“i actually think the awkwardness itself is a help…

“i actually think the awkwardness itself is a helpful touchstone” ~ @lazyqueer

i hate myself for not going to group last night. b…

i hate myself for not going to group last night. but i also don’t know how i would have managed to go to work today if i had.

not ready for work today. it’s somehow so much wor…

not ready for work today. it’s somehow so much worse because i don’t have any tasks to do.

so i guess i’ll try doing today 5-10 minutes at a…

so i guess i’ll try doing today 5-10 minutes at a time. more is too much.