Still Fighting

So it has been quite a hot minute since I last wrote anything here, huh?

Well, I’m still alive.

I’m still anxious. Still depressed. And still ADHD. Those thing have not changed, and I don’t think will ever change. I think I’ve finally come to terms with that and have decided instead to take each day as it comes.

That said, I’ve been really busy with school, mostly because I am a such a slow programmer that the last time I had a Data Structures assignment, it took me an entire 2 weeks to finish programming it when it took my friend less than an hour to do the same thing (then again, C has been coding for a year more than I have, and he spends at least 60 hours of coding a week. While I spend maybe 10… Or less…). So really, my busy-ness is merely due to my lack of skills, and knowledge.

Due to that, I haven’t been able to log in to WordPress to write or read anyone’s blog. 😦 I’ve missed the mental health community here in the blogverse. I’ve been wondering how everyone’s doing – especially Q, This.Shaking, skinnyhobbit and PaperDoll. I think about these wonderful people often enough.

Not writing in my blog makes me miss my advocacy work – I have recently been way more active as a Peer Educator but since a lot of our programs lately have been on sexual health, and sexual violence, I haven’t really been talking about mental health as much. Also, I’ve been feeling guilty about my recovery progress – of the times when I’ve slipped up and regressed, of the times when I’m less than a model Peer Educator, or the times when I don’t seem to embody the message I want to share.

Other times, I feel guilty for being better. I think I feel that way because then it’s like others see me as somehow “more successful”. But then again, I’m pretty sure I’m just projecting.

S and I have been continuing our work, and lately, I’ve been getting paranoid about termination, merely because I feel like I’m getting better, so that must mean I don’t need therapy anymore. The child is still in there, still scared. Despite realizing that she has the capability of being strong, and moving on, she’s still scared. She still wants S.

On that front, therapy has been going well enough. I am still dealing with the aftermath of the divorce, but it has been months since I’ve cried over the ex. It’s also been a while since I last spoke to him. I cut all ties with him some months ago (I don’t even remember when!) but from time to time, I still think of him, of the things that have happened, and of some of the better times we’ve had. Yesterday, I stumbled upon an old album that had all kinds of photos of us and for the first time in months, I broke down and cried seeing it. Then, after seeing it and feeling all at once angry, hurt, disgusted, and sad, I deleted all the photos that had him in it. It was painful to do it but the more I deleted, the easier it was to face the pain. This incident merely reminded me of the fact that this rip in my heart will probably never fully heal. There will be scar tissue, which means that I’ll probably always hurt whenever the scar tissues get aggravated. Thankfully, they don’t get aggravated all that often.

I’ve also been working hard in group therapy. Ever since I spoke up and told people how I actually feel about them, I have not been able to stop. It is almost like an addiction now – to say, “To be honest… This is how I feel…” and just say my mind. It feels great every single time because of how liberating it is not to have to keep secrets. The response from my group members have been positive, and it has helped me see that conflict, when avoided, often brings pain when not resolved. And that despite how uncomfortable it is to confront someone about something, it’s also equally uncomfortable to hold it inside. I have also learned that if you tell the truth, and give people the chance to tell their truth, and then both of you decide to give each other a chance, then things will work out.

T, the co-facilitator, told S of my progress in group. According to S, he expressed his awe, and admiration at my courage, and how hard I’ve been pushing myself in group. He also told me in person in the last session how excited he is to see my progress, and how happy he is every time I open my mouth to offer my opinion. He asked me if I now feel burdened by this – my answer was yes. I feel some pressure to perform – to be courageous all the time. To always be vulnerable, to always face my fears. It is stressful because now that I know I can do it once, I know I can do it again – but I don’t always want to. And that is another uncomfortable feeling I have to live with.

On the more personal front, my relationship with Cherie has been going well. We had our first huge fight recently that felt very scary and threatening to me due to how I always blame myself whenever a conflict arises, and how fearful I am at a loss of connection. Instead of letting the conflict tear us apart though, we were able to work things out. It is becoming clearer to me how much I love this woman, and how much she means to me.

I sometimes freak out though because of how I just don’t know how to do relationships – so being in a stable, and mature relationship with Cherie unnerves me because I don’t really know how to be. For 8 years, I was a certain kind of partner but that is me at my utmost dependent, weak, and whiny state. Now that I’m with someone who works hard on her mental health, and is a strong independent woman, I keep doing things that I find to be annoying such as being whiny, child-like, and dependent. I drive her insane sometimes because I can’t stop asking her if things are okay between us. I push and push and push because I feel insecure.

S and I have been talking about this a lot too – we discovered that I have such deep separation anxiety that it makes me so clingy. However, S has been reminding me for the past 3 weeks that I need to be kinder to myself and not immediately call myself names like, “Childish”, “Weak”, “Loser”, but rather recognize that uncomfortable feeling of being in conflicts, or the uncomfortable feeling of feeling like something’s wrong in the relationship when there really isn’t, and embrace that; hold the pain in my mind, and sit with it.  That has definitely been happening a lot more for me than it has ever been. Whenever I am aware of my issues, I try to sit with whatever uncomfortable feeling it is that have brought me the issues.

I really miss posting here because this is a space where I can word vomit, and not be judged for it. I can provide as much context as I want. I can speak freely and express my thoughts and feelings. It helps me process my feelings, and situations. I think not being able to write here has been detrimental to my progress because I haven’t really had a way to express all the pent up analysis that goes on in my head – and when I share the thoughts with Cherie, it often ends up at a point where I get super clingy. This blog is my space to just blah, without any expectations that anyone is even going to read it. And that’s fine because I think this blog keeps me sane.

Anyway… Overall, I’d say that I’m well enough. I might still have suicidal ideations but at least, the degree in which I’d act on them have definitely decreased. S is keeping an eye on my mental health. Cherie, and I are also doing the same. My group members have been supportive, and while I still have trouble in school, I am feeling a little better about programming because I feel like I’m slowly starting to understand some things. Unless there’s a huge trigger, I am usually feeling much better than I have been 3 or 4 months ago.

I think I’ll visit here more whenever I can. It really does free up a lot of mind space in my head when I write all my analysis, thoughts, and feelings down. So I hope all of you reading are well, as well, and I hope that I can have some time to check out the things you guys have all been up to as well then.

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39 thoughts on “Still Fighting

  1. skinnyhobbit says:

    I hear you! I’ve been wondering how you are. I feel that gutting separation anxiety with my own therapist as well. 🙂 I’m glad things are going well in therapy and with Cherie. Having a stable, loving, consistent partner can really help our healing. Fights are scary right? You and her can work things out. It’s especially hard if we abuse survivors get triggered but I promise you that as we heal, we bounce back from triggers more effectively.

    Liked by 1 person

    • JL says:

      Hey skinnyhobbit! I’m so happy to hear from you! I hope things are going well for you too. You’re right, having a stable partner (though she does have her own mental health issues as well – but not as severely as I do) really helps! She’s often telling me to breathe, or to tell my mind to stop spinning. She also recently told me, “Consider the possibility that everything is fine”. And I’ve been able to repeat that to myself whenever I feel anxiety over our relationship.

      And yeah, being abuse survivors definitely suck. And then feeling like everything’s our fault. Yeah, I definitely do feel like those who have survived trauma come back more resilient than ever!

      Liked by 1 person

      • skinnyhobbit says:

        Things are going alright for me. I’ve been heavily considering writing more in my private blog and making it public on WordPress but not google searchable. Loneliness and internalised biphobia is so kicking my ass.

        You and Cherie sound so healthy together, really! Reminds me of me and my Bear who is an abuse survivor too (he’s the one with less severe MH issues), and I’ll definitely be happy to share suggestions, hear you out, encourage you. 🙂 I believe that post traumatic growth is real, but it’s OK if not anyone can reach there. You don’t have to be a ‘good’ survivor for your pain to matter. And I’m glad you feel survivors are resilient! We definitely are, no matter how much we struggle. Sometimes surviving itself is enough

        Liked by 1 person

      • JL says:

        That’s good. And yeah, I remember the last time we talked, you’d been considering publishing your blog. As I said before, I will definitely be interested to read it and to get to know you more!

        Yeah, Cherie is pretty good at calling out my bullshit (whenever I don’t want to accept that I’ve been blaming myself, or just letting my head spin around the same issue relentlessly, etc). I think my issue is that I never allow myself to feel like just surviving is enough. That it’s okay for *others* to feel that way, and that I affirm it in others, but can’t seem to affirm it in myself. S said that I’m too harsh on myself, and the words I use are so unkind. Cherie would say, “Stop bullying my girlfriend! She’s a nice, and sweet person, and she doesn’t deserve it!” – somehow being told in a third person makes me more likely to stop.

        Liked by 1 person

      • skinnyhobbit says:

        It’s so hard to affirm and be kind to ourselves when yet it’s so easy to be kind and affirm others! I think that’s a side effect of abuse.

        In my therapy(schema therapy), we say my harsh words come from my Punitive Caregiver or Demanding Caregiver sides. It’s a way of externalising the inner critic and inner self hatred. Haha, adopt what Cherie does 🙂 it feels strange and weird at first when you try thinking that way, but for me it does kind of help. Because it’s like a part of you that you want to shrink but not completely you. If that makes sense 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • JL says:

        Yeah, that makes sense because every time I’m critical on myself, I hear my mother’s voice. Or I hear my ex’ voice. And there have been so many times during this current relationship that I had to tell Cherie that what she said was upsetting because it reminded me of my past – and then we’re able to work it out. Which was something I was never given a chance to do in my previous relationship. Yeah, it makes sense. I have been a lot better since she has told me to write down notes on Post-Its and then reread them in times of distress – things that I could affirm to myself, that are positive. They’ve been helpful!

        Liked by 1 person

      • skinnyhobbit says:

        I’m so glad you and her are able to work things out. A healthy relationship! Yay for affirming post it notes 🙂 Creative idea!

        Liked by 1 person

      • JL says:

        Yes! I told S yesterday about the Post-It and he was very interested to know that when I write things down, it helps me more than any of the other mindfulness exercises that he’s taught me. I told him that it’s because it’s something tangible. I can see it, touch it, and read it. I’m just glad that it works. And that it helps!

        Liked by 1 person

      • JL says:

        Yeah. I can’t focus well enough with the meditation stuff because there’s too much noise in my head with the ADHD. So mindfulness techniques have never really been all that helpful for me. But a piece of paper is external so it’s easier to focus on something external. 🙂 I’m glad mindfulness has helped you. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • skinnyhobbit says:

        For peers with trauma, I recommend mindful activity rather than sitting meditation. Basically being mindful and focused as you do a task. ADHD sounds very hard to live with. Hugs!

        Liked by 1 person

      • skinnyhobbit says:

        Ps, can I ask what do you usually tag your posts as? I don’t know what tags I want to use for my blog. I specifically want to support and be supported by the childhood trauma community

        Liked by 1 person

      • JL says:

        Ooh! I didn’t see this!

        I tag them with tons of stuff like:
        mental health, mental illnesses, childhood trauma, sexual abuse, sexual assault, depression, anxiety, adhd, ptsd, trauma, stress

        Liked by 1 person

  2. skinnyhobbit says:

    I’ve so many thoughts but alas I’m on mobile so it’s hard to type because I can’t refer to your post! It’s OK to not always progress. It’s OK to not always be courageous. It’s OK to not always be a good peer educator, our peers benefit when they know we aren’t perfect! And I hate your ex and the pain GE caused you. Hopefully in time the emotional scars doesn’t hurt so much

    Liked by 1 person

    • JL says:

      Hahaha… Yeah, I know the feeling. Sometimes I send my comments AS I am reading the posts. Haha… You’re right. Sometimes, I just need to hear it from other people y’know? So that I can rest and be accepting of the fact that yes, things don’t always have to be perfect. It’s almost like I need permission from people to feel okay. I think that’s why I push people so hard sometimes – I can’t feel okay by myself. It’s like I can’t give myself permission to. >_>

      I hope the emotional scar won’t hurt as much too. I think it’s a great enough progress though because of how much less it’s hurting now. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • skinnyhobbit says:

        Mhm, I can definitely be part of the chorus reminding you that you don’t need to be perfect. That being compassionate to ourselves gives others room to feel OK to be less hard on themselves too. And hey, self care and community care is definitely needed to keep us sustained 🙂 Celebrate your progress, and may that scar be a badge of courage

        Liked by 1 person

      • JL says:

        Thank you, skinnyhobbit! I definitely need to be kinder to myself. And I’m thankful to have a community of people who keeps reminding me of this. S has not been saying it as often anymore though. I think I’m definitely getting better at it than I used to be so he probably trusts that I not only can remind myself from time to time, but that I also now have a good support system that will. 🙂 That’s part of the reason why not being here in the blogverse has been so hard on me – I sometimes feel like the people around us who deal with us daily will have gotten sick of us being a certain way, and hence, getting feedback from others can be a way around that – giving the people around me a break in a sense.

        And thank you! I’ve never seen the scar as a badge of courage but that is definitely an intriguing point! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • skinnyhobbit says:

        Always good to expand your support networks 🙂 I’m glad S still reminds you to be kinder to yourself, even as he trusts the progress you’ve made.

        Liked by 1 person

      • JL says:

        Yeah. I think it’s great that he has been so supportive and so helpful. It’ll be 2 years come end of April. How insane is that?!?! I can’t believe we have been working so hard for so long now! He tries to remind me that recovery isn’t a straight upwards progress and that it’s okay to revert back to the normal habits that I used to have. I just need to remind myself of that too.

        Liked by 1 person

      • skinnyhobbit says:

        Haha, two years with a lot of healing done!! 🙂 Recovery is lots of ups and downs, remember it’s OK to slip and also not to discount your progress 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • JL says:

        Thank you!! 😀 Yeah, and at the first session, I had thought to myself, “Pssh. Talk therapy…. As though talking solves problems…” XD I am always a skeptic until I’ve experienced something. And yes, you’re right. It’s okay to slip!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. skinnyhobbit says:

    Regarding programming, it might help to focus on the logic rather than writing the code. You can draft pseudo code as you work out the logical steps needed for the program to do a function. Programming is sooo hard for me as I never learned how to break it down into logical tasks

    Liked by 1 person

    • JL says:

      The logic is definitely super hard for me. I think that’s why I get so overwhelmed. I’m consumed by ALL the things you have to do in a program. And if you miss the one thing, you could have bugs. For someone with ADHD, it’s especially hard for me to focus, and to keep the thing I need to do in my mind. I write them down, but then my stamina is also quite low and so I take breaks frequently. But the moment I leave the desk, I don’t remember what it is that I needed to do despite the notes… Sheesh… Yeah, I definitely need my friend to help me with the programming…

      Liked by 1 person

      • skinnyhobbit says:

        ADHD definitely makes things harder ((hug)) Maybe focus on one function at a time rather than the entire program? Like instead of thinking forest, you focus on building a tree. Bug fixing can be done after you craft each portion ^^ I hope your friend is willing to tutor you

        Liked by 1 person

      • JL says:

        Yeah. My friend told me the same too. She’s like, “Just ask yourself, what does this part do?” – my problem (just like emotionally) is I never slow down long enough to ask myself that i.e. I let myself get carried off by the feelings and emotions. I hope I can go slow – I think the anxiety also comes from not wanting to be too slow (since like I said, I’m already a slow enough coder)…

        Liked by 1 person

      • skinnyhobbit says:

        Hugs. I dropped out of Comp Sci so I relate a lot to struggling with coding. Sometimes we don’t know how to break something down into parts. Mindfulness can help with slowing down, but it definitely takes practice and is likely hard with ADHD. Maybe it makes sense to tell yourself that slowing down helps you get started with writing code. It’s like focusing on writing a sentence at a time rather than fleshing out the entire book in your head. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • JL says:

        Hugs. What did you end up doing? CompSci is definitely super demanding. I got into it because of the money but Cherie keeps telling me that I need to think about what I want to do and not the money. She said that she doesn’t care if we’re poor – and she knows at least on her part, that she won’t be making barely anything because she’s going to be a pastor. And she tells me that it’s obvious that I don’t really care about CompSci but I told her that it’s too late for me to change my mind. I’m already halfway through – plus, I can’t keep changing my mind. I don’t know what I’d really want to do anyway. I figure, heck, maybe if I can plow through, get a good job that pay me well, maybe I can go back to school again when I do have the money to do other things. XD I don’t know. She tells me to stop thinking about the money, and to just do something I *really* want to do. Sometimes, I wish I hadn’t switched and had just stayed in Interior Design. But that really was getting very trivial to me – I kept getting A’s, and it was so easy to as well that I just had to go and find trouble by enrolling into something way way too challenging. Haha…

        Liked by 1 person

      • skinnyhobbit says:

        Interior Design is demanding, wow… What do you truly want to do?

        I ended up entering the workforce since I had a diploma in multimedia. I did graphic design for a while. Then now I do IT where I really wish I had a Computer Science degree because I’m struggling lol.

        Money is good in Comp Sci? I didn’t know, haha. I believe liking what you do helps you not burn out. But then I’m biased and wish I had the skills for interior design. I hope to go back to school one day, definitely! I believe whatever detours and mistakes me make help us in the end however we end up. It sure is confusing right now though! Maybe you can get two degrees… both interior design and computer science!

        Liked by 1 person

      • JL says:

        Yeah, if you’re a programmer, you can expect to start at at least a minimum of $70K a year here. And more if you’re in California (I hear of junior developers making $100K a year starting pay).

        I don’t really know to be honest. Part of me wishes that I had stuck it out in Interior Design (which pays a measly $30K a year – which sadly enough is what I make as a server with no skills) because I was very good at it. I mean, I had gotten 4.0s 2 semesters in a row while in Interior Design. I guess I had a knack for it. But a part of me also wishes that I’d gone into the Master’s of Architecture instead of deciding on a second Bachelor’s.. And then now a part of me wants to finish the CompSci degree and become a web developer or a UX Designer because I want to combine my love for art, and my artistic skills, with my technical skills… So I really don’t know. Haha… you’d think I’d have gotten life figured out a bit better now that I’m 31 eh? Haha…

        Liked by 1 person

  4. This.shaking says:

    Jules: I was just so glad last night to see that you are still on the planet! And now I see you’ve been making progress by leaps and bounds! YAY YOU! TS

    PS Please don’t feel you have to write! Do as you feel! Slap me five! TS

    Liked by 1 person

    • JL says:

      YES! I’m still here. I’ve managed to escape my suicidal thoughts for now. 😉 I’m thankfully a lot more stable than I have been for a while now. I think it helps to have people like you who constantly show me how you care for me! I know I shouldn’t feel like I have to write but I really do think it helps me to voice the crazy thoughts in my head. Haha… *High five* 😀

      Like

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