Thank you to all of you who have started following my blog since the post “Flying Ford Anglia” was posted. I’m glad you all enjoyed the post and started following, but a fair warning…you may not know what you’ve gotten yourself into.
I like to write, and I like to imagine myself a writer, and sometime I manage to come up with something that is witty or curious or just off the wall enough to make someone laugh. However, this blog isn’t all full of crafted phrases and thought out ideas; it isn’t always something that deserves a thumbs’ up or a LIKE. It is full of angst and swear words; crabby responses that can’t be voiced in front of a real person; minor ponderings of a soul gone astray. It may interest you, it may not; but I wanted to let you know right off that it is ALL over the place.
But primarily, this blog is about my struggle and/or ease finding happiness in a crazy mixed up world. This world is so chaotic now – what with random terrorism being more common place than shocking, and children mowing down their playmates with semi-automatics. I don’t really know how anyone manages to go through this life without an occasional panic-attack, but I’ve been assured by some that they’ve never experienced one.
Not true for me. In fact, lately I’ve been having all kinds of anxiety. My heart pounds in my throat, and I can’t sleep through the night. I’ve developed dark circles under my eyes, and l have a haunted face that I wear around the house. You probably can’t tell this when I’m at work; I try hard to keep a stiff upper lip and carry on. I smile and laugh and offer friendly service. I go out of my way to help or nag, and sometimes complain about people that annoy me. But inside lately is a belly of acidic juices churning to the beat of grumpy music. Inside I’m a bucket of nerves that are like little live wires cut free from the electrical pole, squirming around, sparks a’ flyin. I walk around looking like a normal (albeit odd) adult human being, but inside I’m raw and just a little thing. In fact, I’m scared to death.
I sort of suspect that this is because of the third grade. For those of you new to my scene, I have multiple personality disorder, and I’m struggling with working through that rather large can of worms. Presently the worms are all coming from third grade, I think.
Third grade is an elusive situation. I can’t really remember anything. I have pretty much blocked the whole year out, and know only primary basics; like we lived with my grandmother that year, and my older sister chose to sleep and hang out in the garage, up in a pile of boxes that were stacked on top of each other reaching almost to the top of the garage ceiling. We had moved out of a house we were renting, and whatever we could stuff of our belongings went into my gran’s garage, and my older sister buried herself in there like some kind of little mouse nestled in wood shavings. And I only know this fact because she recently told me about it.
The stuff I know from that year in my life is that I was sleep walking a lot, and the next year I developed an ulcer, chronic headaches, nose bleeds, and asthma. And the fact that pretty much the whole year (minus one or two vague memories) is obliterated from my memory makes me think something was pretty scary at that time in my life.
So all of that to say, right now – with my heightened anxiety over nothing, or little things – I sort of think that third grade personality is wanting to come out, wanting to deal with her stuff.
And it’s freaking me out. I’ve spent my whole life squishing down bad memories and scary monsters. I’ve spent a great many years lying to myself that there are no skeletons in my closet, and bolting it up just to be sure. I am scared to death of the memories of a little nine year old girl making their way into my life, and making a shambles of my existence.
But I guess, to be who I need to be, and to embrace the beauty of the darkest side of my soul, I must.
So hang on if you want, follow if you dare, the ride may be bumpy, I just don’t know…
today has been …. interesting. right now the wind outside is fierce and howly, the sky dark and foreboding, and the trees are shaking so much they look like villains in a horror movie. but it’s been a lovely, melancholy rainy kind of day.
it didn’t really start out that way at first. i had a trigger this morning.
usually a trigger that makes me switch personalities, or go into a post traumatic type of mindset is fairly upsetting; a violent scene in a movie, or a killer with an axe is a sure bet; loud, thumpy music that invades my home via the neighbor’s car; smells i can’t avoid. all these things can trigger me and send me into a panic, or switch me right out of my current personality and into something/someone i’m not prepared for.
today, however, it was a cartoon! just lounging around the house today as my sister got ready for work, and she had on old cartoons. i love the Flintstones, so i was surprised when i became anxious while watching an episode, and so distressed i had to turn the channel. then i was just flipping out for a while. something about this particular episode triggered me – one of me anyway – and it took some fresh air, a little rain, and Jimmy John’s to make things right in my world again.
damn dangerous cartoons!
Back in the old days – by which I mean the seventies and eighties, when I was a kid – we didn’t have the selection of television we have today. Today you can watch TV 24-7. You can turn on the tube at 4:00 in the morning and catch a movie or a cooking show or sports updates. You can watch primetime TV whenever you want, if you DVR it. In my day, back when there weren’t cell phones and iPods and we’d just invented butter, there was still a wacky annoying signal at around 1:00 in the morning, when the television would stop playing EVERYTHING and just show you bars of color and yell at you. Or sometimes it showed the head of an Indian, I think, or some other symbol. Or maybe that was my stint in Oklahoma; maybe that was a local symbol. Anyway, you couldn’t just watch whenever you darn well wanted to.
And the selection was severely limited. News at night. 3 channels worth of drama, soap operas and sitcoms. Saturday night movies. Cartoons in the morning and Saturdays. The end. Oh yeah, PBS. J Now there are whole channels devoted to cooking, or the weather, or *FOOTBALL* (we have NFL Network on all the time)
So my recent happiness is this: Lie To Me (which isn’t a recent happiness, really. I’ve been in love with it and slightly obsessed since the show came out. A. Tim Roth is DELICIOUS in this show. could the man have more intense sexuality and charm? hardly possible. B. It’s fabulous, fascinating, funny, charming and witty. ) and then recently The OCD Project. For obvious reasons, but if you’re new to me here’s a helpful hint: I have OCD.
I can’t recall having ever seen a show that specifically talked about people with OCD. Movies, like the Aviator and Dirty Filthy Love, have broached the topic. But I can’t remember ever seeing something on TV myself that dealt with this issue. This show was fascinating. And disturbing. I certainly don’t have the condition to the severity that the people on the show did, but I could appreciate what they were going through. One girl is afraid of killing people when she drives. Her father was killed in an accident when he was a pedestrian (I think; I missed that episode) and now she is terrified she is going to kill someone the same way. When she drives up to a busy intersection she gets nervous, panicky and has to circle around the block a couple of times to make sure she didn’t accidentally mow someone over without noticing. It sounds like she developed OCD just after her father’s death. Another girl developed it after her fiancée died of cancer. She flips light switches on and off about a jillion times, and does this with the water faucet as well.
On. Off. On. Off. onoffonoffonoffonoffonoffonoffonoff.
It gets tiring being this way. But I was glad I got to see this series. I had the chance to see these people calm themselves down. I missed the episode where they teach the OCD’ers how to gauge to what degree they are freaking out, but they all talked about “levels”. “What’s your level right now?” And someone would say 100, or 85. Level of crazy discomfort, I know, but I have to find out how they determine what the numbers are. The interesting thing about this whole condition seems to be that it is built around trying to stave off emotional disturbance. These ticks, or habits, or “rituals” – as the doctor on the show calls them – develop because the person is trying to avoid something. A situation, a memory, an emotion. And to avoid that fear, the person develops little things to occupy their attention. And then those things develop a life of their own and sort of take over, like The Blob. As these people learn to deal with the panic they are feeling about whatever issue they are working through, they start to ride through the emotion instead of run away from it. In one episode a girl who was attacked by a stranger struggles to keep her sanity while the doctor puts his hands on her face. She has a fear of men, and intimacy, and touching now that she’s been attacked, and he walks her through what is called an “exposure”. Exposures force you into the thing you are afraid of. So she sits and cries and cowers as he holds her face in his hands. And at first she is so tense you can feel it in YOUR stomach. But he stays there. And after a while her “levels” start coming down. And you can see she’s doing better. It’s a slow process, but you can tell her face is calmer, her body is less rigid, and she isn’t about to explode.
This was so helpful for me, as an OCDer. And also watching an episode of Lie To Me, where they had an ex-soldier who had Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. They did a similar thing with him, walking him through an old upsetting memory, until he had recovered it more accurately and could then determine why he had the erroneous belief that everyone was trying to kill him. (it wasn’t everyone, just one guy in particular) I, too, struggle with thinking people want to kill me, because there have been several people in my life who have threatened to do so, or tried. But hey, not EVERYONE wants to. So these shows have been showing me how I can walk myself through these situations. I’m trying to learn that what I’m feeling will pass, and the panic will subside. I’m trying to get past the hammering of my heart, and the way my legs go out from under me when certain situations make me feel vulnerable or insecure. There is a particular situation that does this to me every time, and my knees buckle, till I think I’m going to land my ass on the floor, and my heart is about to jump the confines of my chest, and my head is dizzy and the blood is pounding in my ears. I wonder what level that is? But I guess the thing to do is ride through it, and hope my heart doesn’t explode as I do.
I’ve been involved in a number of dangerous and life threatening situations. I’ve had someone choke me. I’ve had someone threaten to slit my throat open with a knife. I’ve been pinned to the wall. I’ve been hit in the face. I’ve had the aforementioned axe incident, where I was attacked by a man swinging an axe at me. I’ve been accosted in a public place, and THEN pinned to a wall. I’ve been pinned to the ground and assaulted. And all of this by different people, so it’s not like I got a handle on who was the consistent, reliable perpetrator. Soon, EVERYONE was a possible perpetrator. And eventually I learned not to allow my back to people. Because now my fear is that I will be attacked. It’s not like a conscious fear I’ve been aware of. All of these situations happened before my adult life, so I developed an undercurrent of thinking that involved people wanting to kill me. Because it seemed like that was the big thrill everyone wanted to get in on. So I became afraid of sitting with my back to people in a restaurant. I became nervous riding full busses. I heightened my awareness and threw up a bunch of walls, and tried to be sure I could see everything around me when at all possible. At least this way if some giant of a man comes at me wielding a sharp instrument I will be ready. This time I will be prepared to die.
Even with all of this vigilance, I haven’t been able to necessarily fend off the death threats. I’ve had two people talk about killing me while I was at my workplace. And several stalkers in my time. And now I’m being asked to sit at my obviously inferior workspace and allow the world to come and slit my throat from behind.
So I’ve been having numerous meltdowns. I cry all the time. I almost fainted at work when I showed my sister my horrid little hovel. My heart rate has been incredibly off the charts for days now. I’m twitchy and nervous and fearful. I hyperventilate when I’m brushing my teeth in the bathroom. And lying on the couch. And making a sandwich. I’m soft and sullen and wounded. I have a perpetual woeful look on my face. Or I think I do…I haven’t been looking in the mirror a lot, but the facial muscles I’m using FEEL woeful. Yes I know, they’ve told me they will work on it. It is hopeful that I will be able to turn my desk a different direction, even though I was told this was NOT possible the day they told me about this whole situation. So maybe it won’t be as bad as it was presented to me. Maybe after a while I will realize that the situation isn’t horrible at all, and I just worked myself up into a lather over the idea of imminent death, when the Death wasn’t really knocking at my door at all. It was just the Avon lady, maybe, with my order of frizzy hair control product.
Still, for the past five days I have been a bundle of nerves. Which just makes me have to run to the bathroom to get sick. Oh yeah! This might be one of my alters, and I don’t know if I’ve mentioned her or not yet. Nervous Nellie. Hi, glad to meet you. If you couldn’t tell, Nervous Nellie has had plenty of things to be nervous about, and now she gets to go to work in this state of anxiety and tension, and try to perform menial tasks and duties, like walking and getting a drink of water.
On the positive side, I have been wanting to learn to let people in to my life, my world, and my heart. I wasn’t planning on doing that by becoming a vulnerable, messy, wreck of a human right in front of everyone I work with, but there you go. Now the poison’s out of the bottle, it’s not like I can shove it back in.
So here is my Exposure.
They are moving my working area. And while this has happened before (actually, I think I’ve been relocated four times in the last year and a half) I have never had the situation provoke these emotions from me. I can’t think of a time when I’ve had such a tense work environment. First there is the negative energy that flows around the whole area I work in. Inner-department rivalry, bitterness, anger, and fairly open hostility have all gone unresolved for untold years. Complaints are abundant, and negative talk is fierce and rampant. For someone with my psychic awareness this is a difficult situation. But coupled with my trio of acronym illnesses (DID, PTSD, OCD) I’m fairly screwed. Oh sure, they all cover it up with sarcasm and passive aggressive mumblings. Still, it’s not the most supportive work environment I’ve experienced.
And now I’ve been shoved into a corner of the department that has been designated for broken objects in disrepair. I’ve been given a shitty table as my counter space, no computer for my work, and no shelving, organizational tools or anything to make my space workable or personal. While other people have private, decorated cubicles full of personal and luxury items, like coffee makers, extra furniture, tapestries and pictures of their kids, I have a busted table and boxes of shit underneath this table, so that I can’t even scoot my chair in all the way. I’ve been told we are ‘working on it’. Everyone else in the entire department – the entire FLOOR of the building has a nice unit, or at least a nice desk. Not me. They “might” be able to clear off one shelf for me, on their bookcase full of crap. If I’m nice. And good. And don’t bite anyone in the next three weeks. Which means I’m screwed again, because I’m definitely feeling a bite coming on…
But the bigger issue is the placement of the horrible table.
I look out the window, so that’s nice, but my back is to everyone that walks by. This is maybe not the worst thing in the world for some people, who would like nothing more than to turn their back on their fellow man. But for me, it’s a nightmare. Tune in tomorrow to find out why….
I’m still alive.
Maybe that should be my motto in life.
What I mean is that I’m still alive, even though I haven’t been blogging lately. Not because I don’t have anything to say, or get off my chest, but because I haven’t had the strength to do it. To write about it. To expose myself.
And even there I’m wrong, because I have the strength, I just haven’t had the energy. It seems that many things have come on me at once, and I have had to face many dark and ugly skeletons in my closet all at the same time. I’ve talked on here about building a fortress for myself, like I were a little Rapunzel come to life from the fairy tales. Lately, it’s as if a herd of giants have bombed my fortress, while a devastating earthquake hit, while the draught ate up all my vegetable garden and the wicked witch stole off with my prince charming. And while I love my interesting, tragic, colorful life (because it makes for awesome poems and deep emotional writing) it is sometimes tiring and draining.
I shan’t reveal all my secrets here, because I imagine I can drag out my dramas for at least a few good blogs, but I feel I must at least lay down the basics of my current drama, for myself, and I guess to explain my absence to any stoppers by who have become regular visitors and were wondering if I’d finally gotten around to shooting myself. And no, because guns are loud. Knives are shiny and prettier. Also they can act as tools if you lock yourself out of the house, though I suppose you could bash in your window with your gun, so that argument doesn’t really hold much.
Several weeks ago, maybe months ago at this point, my mother came to visit, and I haven’t fully recovered from that. Not because of HER, exactly, but because parts of the visit brought up some very dark, very difficult realities in my life. There will be several blogs related to this issue when I am able to deal with actually talking about it all, but the whole thing has rattled me and made me vulnerable and nervous. Because of my condition – both the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and the Dissociative Identity Disorder – I can’t always remember things. So this visit reminded me that my life was, in fact, horrible when I was young. And I guess this realization also tainted some of the reality I was choosing to believe.
I’m also having insomnia horribly bad. I’ve had insomnia since I was in about the third grade, so it’s always been a constant issue. But until recently, it’s been something that I can manage or deal with. It’s been hard, and frustrating, and exhausting throughout my life, true. But recently it has become physically unbearable. I’m so tired I ache. My head hurts, my body hurts, I’m nauseous and no matter what I do, I haven’t been able to sleep much lately. I burst into tears from the pain of the non-sleep. I stagger around, because I’m no longer just tired, I’m sleep deprived. Drinking has been helping the situation some, but hey, I have enough problems in my life, adding alcoholism to the list is not something I’m keen on. There are reasons for this upsurge in my sleeplessness, which again will be revealed when I can manage.
And I’m trying to open up to love, which is challenging, nervousy, worrisome and feels potentially threatening. It’s not like I haven’t been in love before; but I haven’t ever really opened myself up to people in general. I’m doing a great deal of work to make myself ready for the kind of relationship I deserve, and long for. But the whole process makes me have to look at myself, and my inner demons, my insecurities, and my feelings of un-worth. If I give my heart, will it be trampled? If I open myself up, will I have to mend my heart back together in the long run? I’ve conditioned myself to be protective, evasive, and funny. I skirt the difficult questions with a charming smile and a flippant answer. Asked recently what my father did for a living, I said, “Oh, you know…he’s a criminal”. Which isn’t entirely true, but somewhat. There are more honest and forthcoming answers, but I never truly believe that people want to hear the truth from me, which is conditioning both from my family and society.
Add to all of this my work place, which has become a strain. Since I also have OCD, I certainly don’t want to neglect that area of my crazy brain. So I’ve given myself a task in my workplace: go through intensive ‘exposure’ situations with an entire department of people to watch you. The reality of the situation is hilarious – I’m just having to move my desk to another department, a different location. But this particular location sets me up for a whole windfall of emotional issues and Post Traumatic wig-outs, and OCD management techniques. Again, I will share what I can in the future, but the bottom line is that at work, and in front of all of my co-workers, I will basically be confronting one of the worst and scariest fears and phobias I have as a human. And I feel as though I’m on a reality rehab show, and have to expose myself in front of the world, and air my dirty laundry to everyone around me. Which is quite different than typing on my laptop at home and sharing my dirty laundry with complete strangers. These people have to look me in the eye the next day, and try not to laugh at my stupid irrational phobias. I am ashamed, and fearful, and worried. I’m having panic attacks, and hyperventilating, and shaking. I’m crying, and feel faint, and worried that I’m going to fall apart in front of people that don’t understand me and probably don’t give a shit about my life.
So I’m tired. And small. And not much of a writer lately. I don’t have the ability to make things sound pretty, or interesting, or poetic. I’m just me. And it’s ugly. And raw. And very very vulnerable. But real. So what else can I do, but live through it, and stop and look at the paths ahead of me, and ask myself: which path are you going to choose, Denelle? LOVE? Or Fear?
it’s early in the morning, and i am afraid to go back to sleep. afraid i will dream again.
i’ve been watching a TV show, which is now off the air. my sister watched the last few seasons of the series before it went off, but since i’d missed the first few, i told her i’d wait and catch the episodes later. so here we are, working our way through the storyline, DVD after DVD. it’s an amazing, addicting, fascinating show. and surprisingly difficult for me.
this show is all about war, and survival. the end of the human race. and maybe you know it, but i’m afraid to write the name down. because it is such an amazing show, and i’m feeling so very besmirched by my own dark side, i wouldn’t want to sully it. because the show’s intensity, and fear, and tension; the dire circumstances, the threat of death at every turn…it all reminds me of childhood. it reminds me of home.
i dreamt a horrible dream last night. a dream where horrible things made me take flight. i was lucky enough, because in this dream the horror wasn’t happening to me, which was not true in my childhood. but i blew the whistle on the situation, and then the flight was mine, and the fight as well. i drew attention to myself, like i’ve done too many times in my life. i don’t know why i can’t just shut myself up. and because i was trying to protect someone else, my life was suddenly being threatened.
so i raced down the hall, knowing that my life was in eminent danger, and tried to bury myself in a room, as if locks and doors could keep away those in power. i ran to the windows to try my way out, but the two in the room were the tiny, slanted windows you find in basements. they were long, foreshortened, narrow and opened up at the top, while staying hinged at the bottom.
and in the dream, it is just like it was in real life: the hard beating of the heart as i try to squeeze my body into a tiny space. the heat of my skin, as my body revs up, preparing itself for a fight to the death. my head pounding, vision unsteady, eyes betraying me and wanting to cry, while my breath is ragged and forcing itself out of my chest. my hands shaking, as i try to do some task – take the screen off the window, HURRY! – while my brain is racing twelve steps ahead, and my body feels like it is running through a field of molasses. i’m wild. i’m feral. this is the place i call “scritchy”. i could claw someone’s eyes out. i could climb myself out of a cavernous pit, just using the chewed-down nails on my fingers to pull myself up with. i’m so goddamned determined to live.
it would have been easier if i’d just laid down and died. in the dream and in real life. it would have been an easier outcome if i’d just ended the whole journey somehow. but in the dream, as in real life, i truly manage to get out the window. and in the dream, as in real life, i still can’t manage to get away in time. i’m caught in the back yard of the house, thinking i will be able to be free finally, of the nauseating scene from inside the walls. but i find this woman outside. she’s one of the bad people, and it doesn’t seem she expected me, but i don’t think she cares. i think she’ll be happy to kill me, surprised or not. so i take my long handled scissors, and plunge them into her.
THAT i never got to do in real life. and thank the gods, because it’s messy. and reminds me a great deal of the TV show i am watching. somehow this show seems to capture it. the horror. the fear. the intense anger. the craziness of it all. and then the need to proceed on to the next day, where it will all start over again, and you will have to continue the same fight, with the same players, and pretend that you have the strength for it, and pretend that you aren’t so tired that if you blink too long you might stay asleep forever. so you pick up your weapon, wipe the blood off of it and your face, and you have yourself some breakfast. corn flakes, perhaps, because those are nice and predictable.
and when you think you are crazy enough, you try to go back to sleep, and tell yourself this time you will dream about marshmallows and dancing colored teddy bears, instead of the life you lived so long ago, that you’ve been trying so desperately to avoid.