Tag Archives: living through this

I Am An Adult Now- Misery, Whimsy and a Dash of Hope.

I have a lot of moments where I think, fuck it, this is too hard, I’m sick of this, I want this to end, I want to die.

What is ‘this’? It’s having to look after my body, to self-care. Sometime’s it’s the realisation that I need help, and I don’t want to have to admit that, so I want to run away/ hide/ put the happy face on. ‘This’ is having to be alive, contained, having to keep on going when I feel like I missed out on getting a copy of the ‘how-to’ manual, when I don’t know what’s around the next corner, and whether or not I can cope with it. ‘This’ is living with uncertainty, being vulnerable and open to life rather than killing myself.

I spend far more time thinking about death and dying than I do about life, both current life and also what I want to do in the future. I talk about the future, big things like finishing my degree and having kids one day, and smaller things like I’m going to a music festival with a new friend and it’s going to be awesome. But I don’t really feel committed to it, like I’m always carrying around the thought of, ‘well I don’t want to invest my energy/ time/ emotions in X because I’m going to be dead soon anyway’. My mindset is not, what’s going to be next and how do I get there? It’s more, at what point this week/month/ year am I going to pull the plug?

I feel so out of control and overwhelmed by the things that have happened to me that I want to reclaim some tiny little bit of it by saying, I am the one who gets to choose when and how I die, I can choose to do it at any point. But conversely, what is stopping me from spinning that around and instead putting energy into choosing to live instead? What if I’m not really happy with only having choice in death, no thanks, I want more than that. Because I do want more than that.  

I want to be more than the scared little kid who had no choice about what was done to her. I want to do more than play to the roles of ‘peacekeeper’ and ‘sacrificial lamb’ and ‘good girl’ and all the other things I had to do just to survive in my family. I want to do more than just survive, damn it. I spent the whole time surviving and thinking, today she really is going to kill me, and always being on edge and waiting for it and it never came, but that was always the feeling, I’m going to be dead soon, either she’s going to kill me or I’m going to suicide to get the fuck out of here. And I’m nearly 24 now, not ten or twelve or seventeen, but I still slip so easily back into that mindset.

I am an adult now. I did survive and now I am here and it’s my life that I have control over, not my death. I think I’m still waiting to be told that by my parents. Hey, thanks for copping all that shit, sweetheart. You can get on with your life now. Knowing that my parents won’t, can’t, ever do that is really hard. I feel like screaming at them, You didn’t help me! You just LET her do all those things! And now I’m alive and I don’t know how to be alive as an adult because I never got the space to even think that I would be still be here!’  But what would that achieve? I’ve kinda missed the boat on the ‘being an angry teenager’ phase, and they missed the chance to intervene, to nurture and protect me. They still want me, or need me, to be that person I was, that quasi-adult, good-little-girl, not making a fuss, not questioning, taking the crap, no boundaries. Looking to them for nurturing, understanding, acknowledgement is like looking for fish in a desert- not going to happen, I just get hot and frustrated and ultimately sick, waiting and digging.

So I have to commit to being the adult now.  I have to find other family figures, role models, mentors, friends, people to support me. I have to learn to trust people. I have to learn to look after myself rather than continuing the hurt. To write my own stories, my own future, instead of trying to adapt myself to theirs. To be authentic and true to myself. I’ve talked before about it being like walking in a black maze with only a tiny spark of light, only really seeing the tiny space in front of you but having to keep going anyway.

It’s scary. So scary. No certainty, lots of worries. Anxiety dreams and lots of nights laying awake thinking I can’t, I can’t, what if…? And then sunshine and moments of happiness so wonderful that even the Negative Voice gives up and admits, hey, this is pretty sweet. And the extraordinary everyday mashup of life, each day in between those hard nights, and I never think I can do it no not me not ever surely not- but hey, would ya look at that, it’s already mid-Feburary.

Now, my dear reader, well done for getting through that ramble of misery, whimsy and a dash of hope. Watch this awesome short film! It is full of six-year-old wisdom and beautiful imagery. And cookies! 

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Pick A Colour, Any Colour…

The head noise- the constant, loud, always critical Negative Voice that runs through my mind- was incredibly loud today. I didn’t want to leave the house because it involves scary shit like getting dressed (side issues- being naked, looking in the mirror, having to choose clothes) and being in public (more side issues: taking up space, being looked at, potentially being attacked because of my body size) and doing all these things against a booming inner monologue of YOU SUCK, YOU’RE UGLY, YOU’RE FAT, YOU SMELL is really hard. Too hard, I decided, I’m going to hide in my room all day.

But my friend T called and asked if I could come and hang out in a cafe with her while she studied. We’d had this very conversation the day before- she’s currently finding it hard to focus on her study alone at home, I’ve been finding it hard to leave the house and be in public, so we pledged to help each other out sometime this week. As loud as the Negative Voice is, the part of me that believes in honouring promises and being a good friend won out and I agreed. Also, I suspect T was also trying to help me by metaphorically dragging me out into the world. But that didn’t stop the screaming voice in my head from being just as loud.

Over the past week or so, because of how low my mood is and to keep a eye on my safety, my Wise Woman has been giving me extra support via a daily text message check in (yay, a therapeutic use for i-gadgets!). I feel incredibly ashamed and intrusive for needing extra care but that’s a separate post. The point is, the texting has been really important in keeping me going and today’s was particularly helpful. I was freaking out about being in public and she gave me techniques to use to try and keep me tuned in my body senses and out of the grip of the Neg Voice. Feel the ground under your feet, feel the wind on your face, notice what can you see and hear and smell, pick a colour I’d say red or yellow and see how often you can see it around you.

I’m no stranger to sensory grounding ideas and I’ve tried to use some of them before. But THE COLOUR THING! It’s new to me and it actually works! Focusing in on noting the yellow around me- road signs, a hat, construction worker’s vest, the ticket scanner on the tram, shop signs- got me from home to the cafe (and then through the rest of the day) without me a) thinking about body shit 100% of the time or b) getting run over. I’m serious about being run over, because I’m usually so disconnected from my body that I have daily near misses with cars/ trams/ bikes/ alarmed pedestrians. It also forced me to acknowledge that even on grey days- and it was a pretty miserable winter day in Melbourne today- there is colour and brightness to be found if you look for it.

Once I engaged with my friends, my mood shifted up a bit, as it usually does if I can just make myself get out and do it. I got to do some things I really enjoyed toady- talking to people, having good conversations about life/ the universe/ everything, walking, drinking copious amounts of tea, participating in a circus class- that wouldn’t have happened if I’d given in and hidden at home. And every time I started getting dragged back into my head, I focused on colours. It didn’t necessarily eradicate the noise, but it turned it down enough for me to cope.

That’s how I got through today, which is what my life (and this blog) is primarily about right now. Getting through each day, surviving the nights, dealing with the head noise, trying to get up the courage to do it again tomorrow. Anything that makes that even a tiny bit easier is helpful. So pick a colour, any colour…

Sincere thanks to the Wise Woman, T., L., and the many other people in my life (that includes YOU if you read and comment on this blog!) who are helping me live through this. You’re all awesome and I hope you know it.  

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