Fear of the Dark

My friends (who also happen to be my coworkers) invited me out for a night of camping today. 

I am glad I came out because I am enjoying myself, not because I like the humidity, the bugs, or the sleeping on the ground, but rather because I got to spend time with people I see often at work but don’t get to socialize much with. 

I wish we could do this without having to subject ourselves to the weather and the outdoors. I’m just very convinced now that I’m not an outdoorsy person. In fact, now, I’m very glad that I never completed the selections program to join the Malaysian military because I think I’d have a horrible time. In retrospect, despite how broken I was by the decision that got me cut from selections, I am actually not upset that I now live a more comfortable life. 

Anyway, besides realizing that I’m not an outdoorsy person, I now also confirm my fear of the dark. As a child, I was terrified of it. As S and I explore my past and traumas, I’ve learned that I’m afraid of the dark because I used to be punished as a child to sit on a stool in the middle of a room and I remember multiple instances where I was all alone in a dark room. Just writing of this trauma itself chills me to the bone, even now as an adult. Now that I’m older, I can tolerate the dark enough and maintain some bravado, but I am still extremely uncomfortable in it. 

Right now as I’m typing this, I’m sitting by the campfire with my friends. And for a little while, I was afraid. I also feel afraid for later tonight, when I have to crawl into my tent and sleep in it by myself. In the dark. In a tent. In the outdoors. Goodness, I hope I don’t induce a panic attack on myself from thinking about being in the dark. 

I’m also starting to feel depressed again. I often get that feeling when I’m around a lot of people. It’s that sense of disconnection that I get. 

I also received a message from JS (Hubster – I need to change this to ex at some point) that reminds me that I’m no longer the focus of his attention. What it made me feel is unimportant. Even if he tells me that he still cares for me, I find that hard to believe. I want to believe him but I just can’t. He is frustrated that I don’t believe that he still cares for me but as a person with severe abandonment issues, I feel abandoned. Even if that’s not what’s happening, I can’t help how I feel. 

I’m just afraid, I guess. I need S. Speaking to his colleague, J, was helpful last week. But ultimately, it was not the same kind of experience. I feel desperately alone and afraid. 

I think of how I have to move to a new place in a few days and I haven’t even packed yet. I think about how I’m going to be all alone in that basement. And how dark it’s going to be down there. 

When I used to be afraid of things in the past I knew who I could turn to. I used to have someone I could depend on to help me through but I’ve lost that now. And lately, I’ve been trying to reach out for help and support but it’s been difficult to get what I need. I feel my loss even deeper now. It’s very distressing. 

Maybe I just need to stop thinking. Maybe that will help me not feel so much. 

Weathering The Storm

I have a post that I wrote last week that hasn’t been published because it’s only halfway done. It’s probably the only hopeful post I have because since then, my life has taken a turn downwards. 

At this time, things are looking bleak for me and its hard for me to not wallow in the filth of extreme sadness, loss, and negativity. 

My adult self knows that I will get better and knows that I’m strong enough to weather this storm, but my teenager and child selves are terrified, sad, grieving, angry, and bitter. 2 against 1. It’s hard then for me to get back up and stay standing. 

The adult has been reaching out for help and support. She’s trying to show the young ones that they can do it. That I can make it past this seemingly perpetual pain. It’s an uncharacteristic move for me – to allow myself to be vulnerable and to ask for help. It’s also uncharacteristic because my tendency is to always withdraw when I’m in anguish – like the dog that’s injured that hides away to deal with its wound by itself. 

Thankfully, people have been reaching back and supporting me. If I didn’t have this support system, I don’t know how I could still be here because if I’m still struggling so much when I have support, imagine how much worse I’d be without… 

I wrote a group wide message to all my coworkers at the restaurant to tell them what I’m going through. I wanted to be transparent with them and I wanted their help and support because they’re the people I see the most. I was not surprised by the people who did respond and who wrote me kind messages because I knew that I’ve found a group of people who are loving and caring. I was touched by their words and their kind gestures. 

One of my managers even gave me a hug the next time I went to work and gave me a heart-to-heart talk. He assured me that he has my back and that he truly thinks that I’m an amazing person who is strong enough to get through this rough patch. One thing he said really stuck with me. He said, “It speaks volumes about your strength that every single shift I’ve worked with you, you’ve never once showed anyone that you were in any way struggling because you’re always so positive.” 

There it is again. Strength and resilience. Multiple people have told me that I have it. I believe them now. I know I have it. If only the younger selves could recognize that too. 

Some people told me that everything I’m feeling right now is valid. That I should allow myself to feel those feelings because like S said, “the path to healing lies through the anger, and all the negative feelings”. He explained that if I just side step the feelings or suppress them altogether, I will keep myself in the depression. So, I’m going to let the teenager and the child feel what they need to feel – the teenager with her angst and anger, and the child with her pain, rage, and fear. 

I’m expecting things to get worse for me in the next few weeks. I already hurt so much that I can’t imagine hurting anymore but I know it’s going to get worse. So many things are changing for me. It’s difficult to try and grasp on to anything because I constantly feel like I’m slipping but I’m trying. 

I’m trying. 

While I Was On The Figurative Ledge

I just had my first official second session with S today – I had to go in at his walk-in hour though because we couldn’t find any other time. Because I was so overwhelmed and in quite a lot of danger to myself for a while there, he let me sit there and sob for a while.

Our session ended up being nearly 2 hours long. It was about an hour and 54 minutes and has to be one of the most overwhelmed I’ve ever been.

Last night, after being triggered by something pretty painful, I thought that this was it. This was the day that I was going to take my life. I was convinced that I was going to do it…. Except…. I couldn’t get out of bed.

I was crying very hard and wanted badly to escape this existence. But I had no energy to get up out of bed to do it. I couldn’t convince my legs to move. I finally cried myself to sleep because the next thing I knew, it was morning and I knew that in a few hours’ time, I was going to see S. I couldn’t miss that. My time with him is precious and I couldn’t miss that. So I didn’t try anything that would harm myself.

When I saw him, I could barely contain myself. I nearly burst into tears just seeing him. I was so distraught and distressed. When I sat down, after a brief uncomfortable chuckle that I always let out when I’m feeling overwhelmed and emotional, I went right to work.

We had a lot to talk about. Stuff I need to expound more on later when I’m at a proper computer and not typing on my phone. But I needed to write this because I needed to talk about how important today’s session had been for me.

For once in a very long time, all the parts of me broke down together, cried together and felt thoroughly sorrowful together. It was the pain of rejection that we finally united on.

S said, “Hey, I know it’s not the most positive thing to unite over… But, this is at least something. It’s something all the parts of you can agree on! That’s a huge step!”

He was right because for once, it was quiet in my head. Nothing but the sound of sobs from all the parts of me. Everyone agreed that I was in a tremendous amount of indescribable pain. And that’s huge.

“You’re making huge progress! I’m excited that you’re able to start to integrate your parts. When you were able to identify these parts of you, I was very excited for you because I knew that you were reaching a point where you’re really pushing through and pushing hard!”

Of course, because of just how overwhelmed I was, I was feeling like I just can’t go on. I told him that. I told him that I have the desire to die, and though I don’t have a concrete plan that I do have the means. In a broken voice, I said, “I have the means, S. I have access to the means to kill myself. I want to. I can’t do this. I can’t take anymore….”

And he talked me down from the figurative ledge, “Do you think you could look inward? Have the adult ask the teen for her strength? For her energy? And then ask the teen to look to the adult for her compassion? All parts of you need each other right now, Jules. They need to come together to protect you…. Do you think they could do that for you?”

I think that was what worked. The teen said to the adult, “We can do this, can’t we?”. The adult was still despairing, “Can we?”

There was silence for a while and S said, in a very firm voice. “You can. I believe you can.”

I was silent. I was exhausted and felt extremely worn out. I didn’t know if I wanted to go on.

“Are you sure I’m not just better off escaping this pain?”

“Absolutely!” S said, with no hesitation at all. His gaze didn’t waver from me. He held his gaze on me the whole time we talked. It was reassuring and comforting. I felt cared for. “You know… When we first met and we started working together, I thought that we just had a good match. But as we worked together more, I realized that it wasn’t just that. It was because you are very easy to connect to. D (the receptionist) has positive feelings about you. All the people you’ve ever interacted with here, the staff here, has often told me how easy it is to talk to you. You may think that you’re not easy to love, but you are. We will absolutely not benefit from not having you around anymore….”

I started crying again when he told me how much I connect with people, just innately being able to do that with others. Hearing that I’m valuable and that others cared for me, made me bawl again.

“I think for now…. At least for now…. I’ll believe you. Because I trust you… So I’ll try.” I said finally.

“Good… And I’m not trying to make things concrete or anything but I just thought to myself… You’re someone with so many passions. And we connect on shared interests as well. Civil War is coming out in a couple of weeks and it would be such a shame for someone like you who loves so many geeky things to miss that…”

I let out a laugh then. My psychologist just used the nerdiest way possible to talk me down the figurative ledge. I felt, at that moment, so much affection for him. I felt very fortunate to have him as my anchor right now.

“You know…. I really appreciate you, S… I really do…” I said, finally feeling myself calming down.

“Thank you… I appreciate hearing that too…”

We sat for a while before I mustered up the courage to ask him a few questions.

First, I asked him if he realized that in just about a week, we would have worked together for a year.

“Yeah! I was just curious at about the 10 and a half month mark, I looked up the first day we ever met… So yeah, I know we’re nearing the one year mark! And I think we’ve done a lot of very hard work. You’ve done a lot of hard work in here…”

I then asked him a couple of more personal questions. Questions that I told him I’ve had for a year now. He was surprised. I told him that I’ve never had the courage to ask but now that it’s been almost a year, I felt like I can finally ask him. Maybe because I’m now better at asking. Maybe because he and I have connected at a deeper level. It felt good to have the questions answered – especially since he’s very good at deflecting my questions and answering questions by asking questions.

“I feel like you’re much calmer now. Would you say that you’ll be able to be safer now?”

I nodded. “Yeah. I think so. I think I’m going to try at least…”

There are obviously a lot more I want to talk about that I’ve learned from therapy today but I’ll post that later. I just needed to get this bit off my chest for now. I wanted to reflect on how even at my most difficult point, that S was there for me. That he was figuratively holding me as I was wrecked with overwhelming pain. His intent but kind gaze on me through it all really helped.

I’m so very thankful. If I had given in to my desires to escape, I wouldn’t be here to reflect on how much this meant to me.

Relentless Wave

When will I ever learn that when I’m feeling extremely down and depressed that I really should go to bed?

Instead, I often fall into the trap of rumination and listening to sad songs on loop while trying to make myself cry in hopes that that will fix things.

It was my first day back to school since spring break and I’ve really only got about 6-7 weeks left before the end of it. I’m beginning to get things and things are only now starting to feel like I can cope. I thought that after my less than stellar weekend, that I’ll finally pick myself up again.

But no. I get hit with another wave of depression and I’m back down again. It’s relentless.

More Of The Same

Today is more of the same.

Still stuck in rumination and negativity. The worst part was how I know that just a few weeks before this, I was finally on the mend. But then, I let life get to me again and now I’m finding it harder than ever to get back up.

I’ve been dissociated and withdrawn all day today. I didn’t want to message my friends and I didn’t want to talk to anyone.

In many ways, I feel ashamed and the shame is not allowing me to forgive myself or to let go of the poor choices I’ve made. So I end up making more poor choices.

I’ve been taking care of myself physically lately – I was finally able to start exercising after coaxing myself to do so for the past year. I also cut down tremendously on sugar, carbs and empty calories. So physically, I’ve been feeling better and it’s been helping me battle this depression. If I wasn’t as physically well as I am now, I think I might’ve succumbed to my depression even more. That said, I’ve been making some poor diet choices today – I indulged in more carbs and sugar than I should’ve and more food than I should’ve consumed in a day.

It’s terrible how easy it is to slip back to my old self. All those months of hard work with S feels like wasted time and energy. Last week, he assured me that it’s ok to slip up because recovery can sometimes be a one-step-forward, two-steps-back kind of process but it’s hard for me not to feel bad.

I feel bad about everything and I can’t let go. I’ve been trying to do a mindfulness exercise that S taught me for precisely that purpose and it hasn’t been helping.

I’m definitely stuck in a mental rut and a part of me is comfortable with that. A part of me doesn’t want me to ever leave that rut. I was better for a few weeks and have never felt as good as I had but the part of me that wants to keep being depressed was terrified when I was better. It’s such a battle.

I’m just so tired. Last night, when I told my friend that I was tired of this pain and I want to leave this life, she told me that the answer is to remove the pain and not myself. I see her point but saying that is easier than doing it.

So this is what my blog has become for the part few entries – a place for me to ramble and a place for me store all my negative thoughts. It’s a wonder that anyone even reads this at all. It’s nothing uplifting. It certainly isn’t positive.

Anyway, I just needed to vent and I’m glad that at the very least, I have this blog to do this in.

My Cry For Help

Between it being very close to my time of the month (and thus rampant unbalanced hormones) and my inability to think outside of my immediate stressful situation, I find myself in a situation where self harm was the first thought that popped to mind.

An hour ago, a table of 5 that someone else had taken cared of since 3.30pm just left the restaurant. The group had been sitting in my section for 7 whole hours. I had gotten them from 6.30pm onwards when the previous server cashed them out and informed me that the table was still going to sit there and chat. She also informed me that they just needed one final round of drinks so I obliged. We closed at 10.00pm and at 10.30pm, this group of people finally got the hint as I had been sweeping around them. I had, up until this point, been without a single table for an hour and wasn’t about to wait until 11.00pm or more before I finished my cleaning duties. These people had taken up a table in my section for 7 whole hours – definitely a record if I’ve ever seen one.

If they hadn’t been rude to me and other customers, I dont think I would’ve been so angry or stressed out. Unfortunately, they were rude. They not only kept putting their dirty dishes on clean tables around them but sat in such a way that my two other tables could not be sat for the rest of the night. I went from having a 5-table section to having only 2. When we finally squeezed some folks on those two tables, this group would loudly and obnoxiously talk and laugh. I caught one of my tables shooting them dirty looks each time they loudly laughed.

When they got up at 10.30pm, they knocked over silverware from two other tables which meant that I not only had to clean up the mess but also reset those tables and rewash all the silverware. Again, this would all have been fine had they not have been rude to me all night.

I like my job enough to do a really really good job. In fact, tonight, a customer went up to my boss and told him how great of a job I did. He wanted my boss to know that he had a great worker in his team. I was pleased. So, clearly, I am not writing this just to be mean. I can never be mean to people without first having a reason to anyway.

To add insult to injury, the guy who paid left me a $4 tip on $40, after taking up my table and preventing me from using it to make some money tonight for 7 whole hours. It felt like a purposeful stab at me. It might not have been but it sure felt like a dick move to me.

I made 50% less than everyone else around me because my section could not be utilized and my tables just couldn’t turn. All night, I walked at a decent pace because all I would have was one or two tables at a time while everyone else sprinted around the restaurant because their section was full.

At 10.40pm, when I was done cleaning up, I waited for my husband to pick me up from work. As I waited in the office, I thought about the incidents of the night and tears sprang to my eyes. I had to pretend like I was yawning and that I was particularly interested in a chart on the wall so I could turn away as someone walked into the office just then. I wiped away the tears as I can never cry in front of coworkers or friends. The only people who have really seen me cry have been S, my husband and my parents.

I contemplated suicide as my husband drove us home. When we got home, I contemplated the X-Acto knife in my art box. I wanted to cut because I was so overwhelmed by negativity, anger and sadness. I felt a strong sense of injustice as I thought about the events of tonight. Long gone were the positive affirmations from one of my customers tonight. Instead, all I can think of (still as I write this even!) is how I had been mistreated by the group of 5.

“Do people not realize that their words and actions have consequences towards others?” My mind angrily asked. “Do people not realize how much it hurts someone when they treat them with such contempt?”, “Do they not realize that had I been less stable, that their very actions could’ve caused me to die by suicide?”, “Why do people not care?”, “How can anyone go to a restaurant, sit for 7 hours and not even leave a 15% tip?”. I make $2.13 an hour plus tips. It’s a horrible industry to work in and I’d much rather get a decent flat rate and have the tipping system abolished. I don’t need the contempt from customers.

Anyway. I was angry. I was upset. I was irrational. I was not able to get myself out of that stress. I feel weak as I am unable to fight the stress in a positive way. My struggle with self harm is not always a struggle because most of the time, I give in to the urge to cut. I didn’t tonight but I’m still awake so it means that there is still time for me to reach for my knife and cut. I want to cut. I want to.

Maybe that’s why I am writing this instead. Maybe it’s my cry for help.

Update:
So after I wrote this post, I took a shower and had a very long cry in it. I cried and cried and cried. I couldn’t control it and didn’t even really know what I was crying over after the first 30 seconds or so.

Well, the good news is that I didn’t self harm. Now I’m just exhausted after all that crying. So I’m just going to go to bed.

Interestingly, my eyes and nose didn’t get all puffy and weird the way it usually does when I’m crying. I guess crying in the shower helps reduce facial swelling from crying? *shrugs*

How Can I Deal With Stressors?

What do you do when all you are feeling is hopelessness?

How do you cope when you feel like you can’t talk to anyone – either because you don’t want them to worry or because you feel that no one understands or because you feel bad that all you talk about with people are negative things and you’re scared that they’re sick of you?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m feeling better than I have in weeks, but I still am stuck in this cycle of hopelessness and keep feeling like I’m on the verge of quitting everything. I am definitely thankful that I was able to talk to S again after our session but I still can’t cope with stressors.

He said to me, “Baby steps” as I left his office and I recognize that I am still not that far into therapy to be able to figure everything out. Yet, why do I keep blaming myself for when I can’t cope with things?

I don’t feel sad per se. I feel more lifeless than sad. Sad is easy to fix. Sadness is not my depression. Mine is the loss of the will to live and the loss of vitality. I don’t know how to stop my self-sabotage.

UPDATE:

My coworker who struggles with depression himself saved me today. All he did was ask me how my birthday was and he was open to hearing my answer. Just one person can help pull you out of the pit of negativity sometimes. I really don’t think he knows how much he’s helped me.