Wednesday, November 3, 2010

It's Like They Plan it This Way

I've noticed that when there's trouble with one of the addicts in my life, there's bound to be trouble with the other either simultaneously, or following in short order. It's like they plan it this way. 

I imagine Roi and Kyd getting on the phone with each other and collaborating on timing. 

"Ok, Briar seems to be relaxing a little, getting some sleep, catching up on everything just enough that she can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  It's time to pull the rug out again, whaddya say?"

"Sounds good to me man.  Let's see, I've got an opening on Friday.  What do things look like for you?"

"I'm good the following Wednesday. Got the whole day free for some delicious self-destruction and finding a way to blame everyone else."

"Awesome. It's a plan dude."

Kyd had an appointment today so per the usual I drove an hour to get him, and an hour back so that he could make it to his appointment. On the drive home last night things were going well. Kyd was talkative, in a spastic kind of way, but it looked like his mood was good. 

Then we took a wrong turn. Or rather, I didn't take a turn that Kyd thought I should have taken, and suddenly the conversation drove straight into dangerous territory. I was taking a back way home, not a shortcut, but a route with less traffic. Kyd was positive the way I chose was MUCH longer, and it didn't make any sense to him why I would go that way. 

That would have been fine if when Lexi and I explained how it wasn't longer and had less traffic things were settled. They weren't. He started calling us insane and crazy and pointed out that we were women so obviously had no sense of direction. He kept at it even though we tried laughing through it, telling him we'd settle it with a map when we got home, etc. He got progressively louder, insistent, and rude, and eventually Lexi got pissed off. 

That's when Kyd started banging on her seat and then heaved himself out of the car at a red light, flailing his arms around and cursing.  

The rest of the night he babbled heatedly about how awful we are, how he hates coming home, how we make him depressed and angry, how it's OUR fault he acts this way. 

It was clear he was not in his right mind, and I was thrown right back into full red alert mode. Is he having a psychotic break? Is he ON something? Is he coming down OFF something? At what point do I call the police? An ambulance? Where is the hotline for help on this kind of confusing mess? I've done it all. Therapy, meds, neurofeedback, neuropsych evaluation, detox, rehab hospital commitment, all resulting in the addiction folks saying he has mental health issues and the mental health folk saying he has addiction issues. 

It's painful and heartbreaking and I feel so helpless to do anything.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Victim Blaming, Codependency, and the Analogy

Here's how I view this idea that the pain I feel in my relationship is "my fault", and stemming from "old wounds" or due to my "codependency".  

Let's say when I was three I fell down some stairs and broke my leg. And let's say that I fell down those stairs because someone bigger than me, someone who was supposed to care for and protect me, pushed me. 

Let's also say that as a three year old I couldn't get myself to a hospital and no one brought me so my leg never healed right leaving me with a bum leg that I could eventually walk on, but not quite right. In fact, my whole skeletal structure became compromised because I had to favor one leg over the other causing all sorts of other things to get thrown out of alignment. Back problems, neck problems, muscle problems, etc. But I learned to live with it, and I was functional as best I could be. 

Years later I meet a man who loves my quirky crookedness and we fall in love. He is kind. He is attentive. He makes me feel good. But then things start going a little awry. Then one day, with not a whole lot of warning, man walks up to me with a baseball bat and nails me on the bum leg, breaking it again. 

So I've got a broken leg, a re-broken leg, and I go to the hospital. 

Here are two possible scenarios. 

What should happen: 

At the ER the doctor takes some x-rays and comes back to tell me what's what. "You've got a pretty hefty fracture and we're going to have to set the leg and then put a cast on. After 8 weeks in the cast I'm going to want you to do some physical therapy. What I'm concerned with is that you also appear to have an  old fracture that didn't heal right, and we're going to have to fix that too. The good news is that the new fracture is on the same line, so by fixing the new fracture, and with intense therapy, you'll be almost as good as new, in fact better than you have been for years. I'm sorry this happened to you. We'll give you something for the pain for a few days, and after that the pain will be bearable enough for you to handle on your own, but you'll be coming in for regular check-ups so we can be sure you're healing properly this time. Also, I think you might benefit from a self-defense class so that once you're healed you'll have a much better chance of keeping yourself safe from harm. Good luck and we'll see you in two weeks." 


What happens in the codependent/co-addict model:

At the ER the doctor takes some x-rays and comes back to tell me what's what. "You've got an old fracture and that's what caused this new one, so really it's your fault that your leg is broken. As for the pain you're feeling, that's also your fault. Clearly you are focusing on the pain too much and if you could just detach from it you'd realize there's really nothing to fuss about. You're bringing up your old pain and that's simply not the correct way to go about this. You say you were hit with a baseball bat? Obviously you put yourself in a situation to get your leg broken again because you're addicted to getting your leg broken. Look at how many times this has happened to you? Given your history, it's likely your leg is always going to be getting broken, but if you learn to realize that the pain your feeling is just wrong thinking, and as long as you go to a support group for the rest of your life, you'll be able to learn how to not worry or feel pain when your leg is broken. We good here?"

Monday, November 1, 2010

Lovely Bones, Lovely Manipulations

*Spoiler alert

In The Lovely Bones, the evil guy manipulates his victim through using social/relational norms.   Those rules that we humans tend to follow and expect others are following because those rules are encoded in us both genetically and culturally. In fact, as social animals, our survival has depended on these rules.

When evil guy makes initial contact with the victim he utilizes the rule of "respect for adults" and plain old friendliness that demands return. Though Suzie doesn't really want to talk to him, she is compelled to because he is talking to her and he is an adult. It would be rude for her to not converse back on at least two levels.

Then when she politely refuses to come and look at something he's made, evil guy manipulates social/relational norms some more. He suggests that other kids in the neighborhood are going to like it, which peaks her curiosity, AND offers her an opportunity to feel special by being the first to see it. He also uses guilt, the suggestion that she is making him feel bad/sad because he was excited and she's rained on his parade. We all know, as Suzie does, it's not right to make someone feel bad when they were being nice and generous.

When evil guy has Suzie in his trap, she experiences increasing anxiety over the situation and him, and wants to leave. At that point he pulls out all stops and directly says to her, "Be polite!".

And every single time I see a situation like this, every time I read about how narcissists, psychopaths, sociopaths, etc manipulate their victims, I think of addict behavior. Because really?  It's the same.

Addicts use the same tactics to protect their active addiction. Are they as evil as evil guy? No. They are more a victim of their own addiction, and the part of their mind that is willing to break all the rules to keep getting the high.

Those in society who need to break rules, either because they're evil or ill (depends on your perspective), find it most effective to break those rules without getting caught by manipulating others' adherence to those rules, as well as manipulating our deep belief that we are all operating by those rules more or less because we are human. It's in our bones.

This is why I have a problem with the concept of codependency. I'm not sure how much I can buy into this hogwash (which there is little to no clinical evidence for, and has been critiqued as having such a broad range of symptoms that it is rendered meaningless). The concept of codependency is that we were just as sick as the addict coming into the relationship, and that's where I'm stopped cold.

Because to believe that is to ignore my instinct that it's wrong, and that is the very same thing my addict wanted me to do - ignore my instinct. And I no longer trust anyone or anything who demands me to "be polite" and listen to them rather than myself.

Maybe in the end I'll find out I'm dead wrong, but as far as I'm concerned I can no longer toy with this one life I have and I'm just not about to spend a bunch of time sitting in a room where I'm told that being lied to, manipulated, mind-fucked, deceived, gaslighted, blamed, shamed, and told I'm crazy/overreacting/illogical is a) somehow my fault, or at least 50% my fault and b) something I can make peace with and c) something I shouldn't feel resentful/hurt/tired/etc over.

Because no matter what angle I look at that from, it stinks so bad of victim blaming that I have to sit on my hands and bite the inside of my cheek so hard I see stars to keep myself from standing up and loudly pointing out "THE EMPEROR IS BUCK NAKED FOLKS SO LET'S ALL STOP PRETENDING!" I'm just not going to swallow this fucked up, Bill Wilsonified, version of my experience.

This doesn't mean that I don't think I have to learn new methods, because regular methods don't work with this shit. It also doesn't mean that I don't fit some of the criteria for the faux designer disease of codependency. Low self-esteem? Right here. Self-doubt? Yep, me too. Thinking I know better than the addict and can fix this whole mess if I just find the right way to explain it? Here. Have a tendency to end up in relationships with men I can feel morally superior too? Guilty.

But this is also true of many people in relationships that are working and where addiction is NOT present. In fact, if you've ever studied the DSM (and I have) the first thing you realize (and it's both comical and disturbing) is that you can easily diagnose every person you come in contact with with a major or minor mental illness.

But please, let's just lay this out in the open. The stuff that addicts do is destructive and it hurts and changes those who love them.  It is confusing, and the skillful manipulation makes it all the more confusing and crazy-making. We are not wired to comprehend that another human can break social rules with such facility, so it is much easier to believe we are wrong, because we know something IS wrong. And if you spend enough time in a crazy-making situation, guess how it makes you feel? Crazy. And it doesn't take a dramatic low self-esteem to get caught up in this web. It takes only the smallest willingness to question yourself when the addict demands you question yourself even though something about it doesn't feel right.

And really, when you think about it, it doesn't even take low self-esteem to feel compelled to follow the social rules when someone tells you to "be polite" so that you'll sit still just long enough for them to get away with murder.

Are We Both Crazy?

No, not Roi and I. 

A few nights ago I finally got together with a friend from college. The two of us had been going at phone tag and friend-date postponements/cancellations for months. 

This woman (and I'll call her K) and I had met through mutual friends and hit it off instantly. We've had little opportunity to spend time one one one, so though we've hung out a few times we've never gotten to know each other on a more personal level. Yet we knew we needed to. 

Turns out she's living with a recovering alcoholic after being in a relationship with an active alcoholic (and possibly sex addict) for the 12 years previous. Waddya know? It's like we codies sniff each other out. Sort of like gaydar but for codies.

And as we said our goodbyes (or tried to) on a street corner just down from the cafe we had stayed at until closing, we suddenly found ourselves discovering this previously unknown commonality. She being with an alcoholic who has been sober and highly active in recovery was not nearly as beside herself as I was. I don't have friends I can talk to about this. I have recovery friends and they are unbelievably awesome, but I don't have friends who are in recovery. I feel the need to qualify that with two or more paragraphs, but you know what I mean. 

Anyway, K doesn't do Al-Anon. She tried but said she found herself really resentful that it was implied that she was doing something wrong by merely being in relationship with an alcoholic. 

I get that. I get that too well. When I'm at a meeting my intellect gets in the way. Because here is what I see at every meeting. 

People doing well. And those well-doers have either broken ties with their addict, or their addict is in active recovery and sober. 

People with circles under their eyes and tissues pressed to their noses as they sniffle and sob. Those crying messes are still in close contact with active addicts.

And for the latter, it doesn't seem to matter how many years they've been in program. Active addiction doesn't seem to ever stop hurting. And so they bleed openly, and I watch them as they open their eyes and ears wide trying to see and hear what they can change to make the hurt stop. And I watch as they nod vigorously and I can't help but see that they are trying to believe something that just doesn't make any damn sense at all.

As I walked away into the light drizzle of the night, I thought about K's words. How she just couldn't buy the program-speak. Not for Al-Anon anyway. She gets that she's codependent, and so do I. But we both smell something a little off, how it seems like the party-line of Al-Anon is about accepting unacceptable behavior.  And I don't feel any wiser. I don't feel any closer to answers. 

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween

And by "Happy Halloween" I mean "another holiday ruined by addiction". 

It's technically past Halloween depending on where you live, but I've been thinking about this for days. In that abstract, unconscious sort of way. And since I can't sleep since the pinpoint pupils made their comeback, I figure writing is as good as sitting here in the dark staring at the fire. 

I met Roi a month before Halloween and when the holiday rolled around we had a swanky party to go to and I dressed up in a hot, but not trampy, outfit and we drove off into the dark. I was full of awe at the way I was feeling with this new relationship. Giddy and reckless with budding love. 

And I loved Halloween. It was possibly my favorite holiday. Christmas and Thanksgiving are great, but there's always family drama. Halloween was awesome-sauce on steroids. Fun for kids, fun for adults, exploding with creativity, and full of irony. So I was busting with excitement over this party, hosted at an amazing house with turrets and nooks and statues. A house built by a hippy collective, full of odd-ball enchantment. Just made for Halloween.

Roi was attentive at the party. Showing me around and introducing me to people, holding my hand as we walked through the crowds. Toward the end of the night we were standing together talking, and he took my face in his hands and kissed me. A woman made a bee-line for us from across the room and gushed, "I just had to tell you, that was the most romantic kiss I've ever witnessed". 

I blushed. 

The next three Halloween's were progressively horrifying. 

Halloween #2 Roi wore a costume on which he wrote his phone number and informed me as we were on our way that we should mingle separately. This was a sign of a "healthy couple". 

Halloween #3 we were on shaky ground after my recent discovery of a major SA acting out. I was still in shock. Didn't want to go with him, but didn't want him to go without me either. I felt like a rabbit who wasn't yet fully aware it had been skinned alive.

Halloween #4 a holiday I now associated with trauma and fucked upness, I went to the party against my better judgement but had made clear my boundaries. No matter, we lost sight of each other briefly and I walked into a room to find him leaning against a doorway with an attractive woman standing about a foot away looking up at him in that unmistakable way. Head tilted slightly down and to the side, looking up through eyelashes, looking away and smiling then quickly looking back. He feigned absolute innocence over the whole thing. When I got upset, he threatened me physically for the first and so far only time in our relationship, and said something so heinous and awful I've never had the strength to write it down anywhere.

This Halloween we went far away to visit a friend. No costumes, no parties, no decor. Nothing. I wanted to erase the whole bastardized, stinking, rotting, holiday from the calendar. Run as far away from it as I could.

I want my holiday back.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Hey Universe, I'm Happy! Cue the Addict Demons.

I blogged about it, and tonight I even dared to utter it out loud to my best friend on the phone. I was feeling happy, secure, at peace. I wasn't even getting the usual niggling self-doubt demons gnawing at the edges of my consciousness.  I was happy damn it, and I was going to stay that way. 

I wasn't going to speculate on what Roi might or might not be doing. I was not going to worry about what Kyd might or might not be doing. I was going to take the approach that they are addicts, and addicts lie. It's part of addiction. I was just going on the assumption that shit was probably going on. Not in my court. 

But despite my best intentions to ignore the shit out of that shit, there it was looking me straight in the eye. Pinpoint pupils. 

Roi had locked himself in his office the last two nights, "working late". The work part is true. But it was also well-timed with his prescription pain killer pick up two days ago.  He didn't tell me about that. He told me he was going to pick up a futon. That's how he rolls. He doesn't fabricate tasks in order to feed his addiction, he seizes the opportunity of the natural flow.  I had asked him to pick up the futon, and because the futon was near his doctor's office he saw an opportunity.

Isn't he a clever little addict?

He came downstairs around 10:00 p.m. and was standing near the fireplace.  The living room had one small lamp and he was in shadow. No mistaking those pinpoint pupils. When I asked if he was taking pain killers again, he said, "yes, my once a month break". 

Which we had discussed at length. Which we had decided together was not ok. Which he had agreed didn't really constitute sobriety. 

And with all his years of "recovery", he stood there and calmly said he hadn't "lied" to me, he just hadn't told me. Followed by his telling me that it was "ok" that we disagreed about how important lying by omission is. Followed by him telling me that he'd been so happy lately and if it really bothered me he wouldn't do it. 

If it bothered me.

Yes, it bothers me. And we had already ALSO agreed that it DID bother me. 

He began again, "I don't want to jeopardize..."

You know what motherfucker? If you don't want to jeopardize, then don't jeopardize. Because right now shit is in jeopardy. 

And you know what I'm most angry about? That I brought him dinner, delivered right up to his office because I didn't want him to go without eating while he was working so hard.  Even though I have work backed up to 2033 myself.  


Hang on. It gets better. He came back to the living room with a plan to talk some sense into me, because clearly I'm overreacting. 

"Remember when you said you quit smoking, and when I asked you if you had been smoking..." 

I had lied by omission to him about my sneaking cigarettes. And oh yes, I GET that addiction is a back-alley bastard of temptation, and it will make you lie to your mother, your best friend, your lover, your priest, strangers on the street, and sometimes even your cat. So therefore he was clear, right? Couldn't I see how I had done the same thing?

But I hadn't mindfucked him, and it's that fucking with my reality that really annihilates trust. I had absolutely lied by omission, but I was also really clear that that's what I was doing, I was really clear that it wasn't ok, and I was completely prepared for consequences and that they all belonged to me. I was addicted, I was falling into that black hole, and out of shame of my own weakness I wasn't admitting it out loud to those who were proud of me. So when Roi asked me if I was smoking again, I said yes, I apologized, and said nothing else.  I didn't try to tell him how he should feel about it. I didn't tell him how he should react. I didn't tell him it wasn't a big deal.

It was all just another addicty tactic. He was deflecting. So in order of appearance, in the space of 20 minutes, there was minimizing followed by denial followed by blame-shifting followed by deflection followed by a guilt trip ("all I can say is I love you but if that's not good enough").

This arsenal of addict tactics, it's like an anti-hero car pimped out with weapons and defenses when there isn't even a battle. Everyone shook hands before the race, the rules were clear, and then Super-Addict shows up with his car that LOOKS like a normal car, but really the minute the race starts there will be oil slicks and tacks on the road and blades coming out of hubcaps and illegal turbo boosts.


Monday, October 25, 2010

Dare I Say It?

I knew that the home I was living in, and the financial pressures of running that home by myself, were making me miserable. Kicked while on the ground, would rather have five teeth pulled with rusty pliers, I'm not moving from this couch until the universe just stops it already, MISERABLE. 

I knew it well enough to tell all my friends and family from the time I moved into ye ole hell-hole up until the very moment I left that thin-walled, low-ceilinged, wretch of a house. Kyd and Lexi and I all agree that structure was cursed. Not in a demonic way. No. More in a sad, wet blankety kind of way. More like sucking you into a quicksand of despair kind of way.

But even I didn't know how much a contributing factor it was.

Since moving in with Roi I've been like a new bride all aglow with future. Only it's this new space, this new house that I'm in love with, not the person I moved in with. Though to his credit, Roi's been giddily happy too, and our individual happiness is starting to rub off on each other. 

In fact, if I didn't still have nightmares, trigger-fests, and all manner of invading thoughts about things he's done, it would be quite possible to fool myself into thinking I trust him again. 

I don't. Not for a second. 

But this house...this house I'm in love with. An 1800's brick colonial with paned windows, a working fireplace (that I could practically stand up in just to say, "look! I can stand UP in this thing, it's HUGE) with heaping piles of free wood to burn, a quirky kitchen with the perfect window for growing herbs, an enormous enclosed porch perfect for a three-season breakfast nook (ok, maybe two seasons), land extending back and back until it reaches the river, tall thick ancient trees standing all around, a sunny bedroom with floor to ceiling built-in bookshelves on THREE walls (excuse me while I faint from happiness), weathered but still shining proudly wood floors in every single room. 

And all I can do with myself is cook and clean and cook and bake and decorate and fuss and buy flowers and loll about in front of the fire. 

Pinch me please, because if this is a dream I'd rather know. I haven't been this peaceful and content in such a very long time. With two addicts running amok in my midst I don't know how long it can last, but I'm going to squeeze every last ounce of happiness out of this house while things are good.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

What's My Point?

So it's pop and not totally obscure and original and all that, but Sarah's "Building a Mystery" is still hands-down the best song in my arsenal to describe Roi (and a few other "beautiful fucked up men" I just couldn't seem to keep myself away from). 

Besides, I had a major girl crush on Sarah back in the day despite my rebel self - not a rebel against girl crushes obviously, but against all things in main stream media.  I really tried to resist Sarah for the longest time, she of the being soooo overplayed on the radio what with Adia and Arms of an Angel. But she was hot, yo! And she had all kinds of dark and beautiful lyrics on her albums that rarely got radio time. 

What ravages of spirit
conjured this temptuous rage
created you a monster
broken by the rules of love
and fate has lead you through it
you do what you have to do
and fate has led you through it
you do what you have to do ...

and I have the sense to recognize that
I don't know how to let you go
every moment marked
with apparitions of your soul
I'm ever swiftly moving
trying to escape this desire
the yearning to be near you
I do what I have to do
the yearning to be near you
I do what I have to do
but I have the sense to recognize

that I don't know how
to let you go
I don't know how
to let you go

a glowing ember
burning hot
burning slow
deep within I'm shaken by the violence
of existing for only you
There's still a certain someone I think of when I listen to that song -- and my heart breaks exquisitely each and every time. 

So what's my point? 1. That I'm allowed to love Sarah, don't judge me and 2. Roi is beautiful, but he's fucked up and sometimes the pain of loving and hating someone simultaneously wears me the fuck out.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Triggers and Nightmares

Roi woke me this morning a little before I was ready to get up. As I lay there wrapped in hypnagogic bliss he started telling me all about how interesting the woman is that he'll be presenting with at an event tonight. This kind of talk in the past has held far too much other meaning.

Somewhere in my skull a domino was knocked over, a cascade of chemicals was released, and as I fell back into sleep I entered a nightmare.

Roi and I lived in a rickety old tall thing of a house.  It was grim and grey -- a WWII looking factory building turned "house". We lived in one little corner, the rest being too much to convert over. 

People were gathering in our shabby living room and tiny kitchen for a speaking event while I was upstairs discovering that I had an alarming bald patch across my scalp. As in waking life, I had been sick with a mysterious illness, but here in dreamland it was far more horrifying. Pain coupled with disfiguration.

Now, this bald patch was awful for many obvious reasons, but it was causing me excess worry because Roi was downstairs with a boatload of women who were fawning over his interesting mind, disarming quirkiness, and handsome hard body. 

I fretted in front of the mirror, panicked and on the verge of tears. How could I possibly face the situation downstairs looking like this?? Where would I find the strength to suffer more humiliation, to tolerate Roi's lack of compassion or comfort? 

I crept down the stairs to pull him aside and tell him about it -- the bald patch -- and nearly collided with him at the bottom of the stairs. His face was shining, stretched taut, the molecules of his fragile ego vibrating from all the attention, his addict mind whirring with possibilities and fantastical scenarios of hedonistic pleasures.

Just on the other side of the door behind him I could hear laughter and ice lazily clinking against glass.

I felt like a troll under the stairs, ruining everyone's happiness simply because of my own misery. I decided to wait to tell Roi. He would only say something monumentally stupid anyway.  Instead I sulked my way to the living room. That's when I realized it wasn't just a lot of women, it was ONLY women.  And several of them seemed to already know Roi intimately. They bobbed around him, their eyes fat with self-satisfaction, their gestures and words familiar and intimate. 

As in waking life, he was as delighted as he was "innocent". He laughed at nothing, laughed at what was obvious and true -- his way of banishing responsibility and the discomfort that accompanied it. 

No time to talk, no time to lose myself, so I sat down to wait for the presentation. It was then that I noticed the woman behind me was lounging on her side -- naked. She might as well have been pouring wine down her voluptuous throat and chasing it with fat purple grapes for all she was smug in her comfort. 

When I stared with dismay she locked eyes with me and said, "what? You know you want to touch it."

"No", I said firmly, "No, I really don't", and turned back round to face forward, stiffening with resolve hoping that this would keep me from flying apart. 

Thankfully I woke up.  I told Roi about the dream...he laughed.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Let it Stick

Roi thinks he's dying. This is not the first time. 

There was the time his heart was skipping a beat, or adding a beat, I forget which, and he ruminated endlessly over his impending death. He got scared, he gripped my hand in the dark of the car as I drove him to the ER and told me he loved me. 

Then he found out he was fine, just fine. A little heart irregularity that a little pill could smooth out. 

A day later he treated me like dirt. Sat eating with his back to me. 

He doesn't remember this. 

Then there was the time...oh, never mind. 

Today he thinks he has cancer. He's got a couple of weird symptoms that don't really match any cancer symptoms I can find on the big wide Google, and yet he's convinced himself. 

It's not that I'm not concerned. It's just that he's bouncing from "woe is me", to gripping me in the dark telling me he loves me and he's so sorry for what he's done. 

This would be tragically romantic if I hadn't already lived this moment with him a couple of times already only to find out he's fine, not even sick at all, healthy as a goddamned horse. And that in itself would be good news except that once he finds out he's not sick he instantly reverts back to being a wanker. A healthy wanker.

And I'm trying to figure out what to do with this. You know? 

I'm being cheery, caring, and gently soothing his fears with rational facts about what this could be and what it isn't likely to be.  It's a little taxing, but it's coming naturally.  That isn't the problem. Nor is the problem the possibility that he's really sick and maybe, possibly, he's right and could die soon. That would be sad, but when I think of the potential grieving I see an end - a relief. 

Death is solid. There's no wondering. It's done. Finis. 

It's the idea of him finding out he's fine and how he'll behave then. Going back to the push and pull that always keeps me, US, on edge. 

I do hope he's fine. But I would be lying if I didn't also say that I hope all of the realizations he's having right now stick this time.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Deep Breath

*Deep breath*

Now that most of the major boxes are unpacked, Kyd is not wreaking daily havoc on our lives, I don't have to worry about my lights shutting off or having a roof over our heads or where the next meal is going to come from...

Now that I've been able to catch up on some major paperwork, now that the pain in my body has subsided (temporarily or permanently I'm not sure yet)...

I'm finding that I can't relax. 

That swarm of angry worries is still swarming around up there in the closet I shut them into. No way I'm throwing that door open, but I also know they're not going away on their own.  Obviously suffocating them in the dark didn't work. 

I keep saying this, it's time for me to go to a meeting, and it's time for me to sit my tush down on the cushion and meditate. 

These two things are like calling in an expert worry exterminator, except instead of pumping a toxic gas through the keyhole (that's how I'd try to handle things), he's somehow able to coax each worry wasp out from under the door one by one, and then whisper something in their tiny little ear.  After, they transform into dragonflies with iridescent and colorful wings, and light upon the windowsill just once to sit in the sunlight breathing before flying off to find a flower on which to perch prettily.  

Meetings. Meditation. 

Do it.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Inner and Outer Pain

I'm not sure what to title this post yet since I'm not really sure what's going to come out of me. Of course, when you read this there will be a title, so already I'm rambling. 

Yay me. 

Let's see, I'll start with why I've been absent for the past week or so.  During the move from The 'Ole Hell Hole, I noticed the ring finger of my left hand was hurting. I didn't pay it much attention since the whole experience was painful. A minor pain in one finger was barely registered on the radar. Nevertheless, there it was, this annoying pain for which I had no explanation, so I shrugged it off and picked up another box. I WAS moving after all, knocking myself into things, tripping over boxes, and doing loads and loads of lifting. Surely I must've tweaked it somehow. 

But then the pain started radiating to other fingers, and into my other hand. Then I noticed I couldn't get my ring on or off anymore because my knuckles had swollen. 

Still, I thought, it had to be from the move and the heat. 

Then the pain got worse, and worse still.  I noticed it was worse in the mornings. Making the bed or squeezing a pillow to pick it up became torture. 

Strange things started happening. Like the day I was driving Lexie somewhere and my hands were hurting like they did every day by then, and then like a little fire the pain suddenly and rapidly spread all the way up my arms.  My SKIN hurt. 

That made me pay attention. 

Over the next few days the pain just continued to spread.  Every day would add a few joints and some other random spots just for fun. Finally, when I woke up and every single thing from my neck down hurt I went to the ER. The doctor poked in various spots, squeezed others, all while he listened to me prattle off the progression of what had been ailing me. He threw out a couple of possibilities and then ordered some blood tests. Six tubes of blood later I was released with a prescription for a hardcore anti-inflammatory. 

A few days later, the pain receded as quickly as it had progressed.  Each day I had a little less pain, a few more joints I could move without wincing.  Some of the tests are still out and I see a doctor Thursday to go over them. Candidates on the table are Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lyme, Lupus, or Fibromyalgia.  

Not a fun diagnosis in the bunch. 

In the midst of all this, Roi and I had a pretty substantial fight, and Kyd stopped in to stay over for a night. The upshot of both of these events is that I still don't trust Roi a bit even though there have been few signs in months that he's continued with dishonesty, and Kyd has boarded the Midnight Express to Bottom. 

Kyd was irritable and spacey while he was here. Almost every conversation sent him into a froth in short order so we didn't have many conversations at all. He tried to swindle me into giving him more money than the $40 I was already doubtful about giving him (for food). He complained about dinner, he was contrarian about everything anyone had to say, he left blankets and pillows all over the living room, and nearly took my head off in the morning because I didn't know where the iPod car adaptor was.

In short, he was a mess. 

He DID say thank you and hugged me good-bye when he left in the morning. I added that to my mental gratitude list and left the rest alone. 

Friday, September 17, 2010

Filling in the Blanks

As promised.

I've not heard from Kyd. From what I can piece together he is living a few towns away with a young guy that he parties with. And when I say party, I mean Raves. They're back in vogue it seems, pacifiers and all.

The truth is, and this is where it gets scary in my head, I'd rather he was at a Rave than a basement drinking party. But it's the lesser of evils and I hate that my thinking looks like this. Because I'm more than aware about Ecstacy -- the HAPPY choice drug of Ravers -- and the devastation it can have on a healthy mind, never mind the quick mess it can make of a mind already teetering on the bleeding edge of chemical imbalance.  And we won't even mention the risk of sudden death.

So I make a choice every day. The choice to not think about what Kyd is up to too hard. I do this so I can come back from my own dangerous edge. I do this in hopes that I can salvage the tiny slice of what's left with my time with Lexi and push her out of a reasonably stable nest.

Jeezus, I'm living a warped version of Sophie's Choice.

I got a call the other day from his probation (for a drinking related incident) and I had to relay the message to him. He was short on the phone and clearly not interested in checking in or casual chatting. His responses were short and tight. 

When I hear that, when I think about how far away he is from me and from sobriety, my stomach shreds and dissolves and drips down into my feet and I just want to lie down in the middle of the road.  Anything to stop the ache and the worry and the helplessness.

So I throw my head into a box and unpack something, I make lists and check items off, I laugh about something with Lexi while I cook her a healthy dinner. I push away the black swarm of worry-wasps, push them back into a closet in the back of my skull and stuff towels into the cracks and hope they'll just suffocate in there.

But they won't, and so now that I'm unpacked well enough for satisfaction I need to go to a meeting. Stat.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Settling Dust

How long has it been? Weeks?

A lifetime can happen in weeks, so I'll give you the synopsis and fill in the blanks over the next few days.

* Finished the big move into Roi's house, by the skin of my teeth.
* Discovered that this pain in my hands, the swelling in my joints, etc, it likely Rheumatoid Arthritis. That on top of psoriasis on the sole of one foot and other symptoms over the last couple of years since I was bitten by a tick is making me worried.
* Have been on several bike rides. One of the saving graces of this new place is that it is comfortably close to a vast network of bike paths. I love biking and I had missed it.
* I'm discovering just how needy and negative Roi really is.
* Kyd came and stayed for a few days to help, but it ended badly. I haven't heard from him since.
* Lexi loves the new place.
* I haven't had enough time to catch my breath, never mind figure out how I feel about all this.
* I turned 40 and realized that what bothers me about it is not so much the adding of another year, but the subtraction.

Be back soon with more details. Promise.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Partner Wanted

Today is "move" day, meaning the rental truck will arrive at 4:00.  Things are more or less ready for loading, but I'll be leaving shortly to head over to the Hell Hole to take care of other stuff.  

I woke up this morning to a phone conversation Roi was having a few feet away.  He was making lunch plans with a friend. 

Lunch plans. LUNCH plans. A get together to leisurely chat with a friend. 

On move day. 

What am I missing? Am I wrong to think that this is kind of inappropriate? Am I wrong to expect that partners share the burdens equally?

His reasoning for such things run along the lines of, "well I have to eat anyway", "I haven't hung out with this guy for a while", and "I've helped a lot and I'm paying for a lot". 

So let me just take a moment and thank Roi for all that he's done so far. Let me let it be known that I acknowledge all that he has done and that I am indeed grateful. It's taken me a few days to figure out what is bothering me about the "non-helpy" parts.

It's that he's still acting like all of this is a favor. He doesn't see that, but I do -- to which he would respond that I was only seeing the negative, which is partly true because I'm DEPRESSED. He sees that he's doing "a lot" like making me smoothies in the morning (which he makes anyway, so it's not like this is an extra in his life), and he cleaned out an office space to be converted to a bedroom, and he's carried a few things, and he's driven the van over a couple of times for loading. That he cleaned the extra bathroom for his use so that Lexi and I could have the big bathroom to ourselves. 

These are all nice and helpful things, and I'm not ungrateful for them, but if I bring up that it doesn't feel like he's really helping, he brings up those things as proof that he is. 

And I'm depressed, and still sick, and definitely exhausted, and I'm probably PMSing too. So it's hard for me to sort this out. 

But these things don't feel right to me. 

  • Last weekend he went to an NA camping event.  Not because he's in danger of using (at least not that he's expressed) but because his friend needed him. His friend who ended up being high when he went to pick him up and Roi ended up coming home early because it was raining and left his friend there. The one who needed him so badly that he couldn't help me for two days -- one for packing, one for driving to and from.
  • A few days ago while I was at the Hell Hole by myself, sick and moving heavy things around, he called to give me a "pep" talk. "Just power through it. I've just come back from the gym, going to the farm stand to pick up some fruit, and now I'm going to take a nap because I'm tired."
  • Yesterday he went to the beach to swim. His hip is bad and swimming helps it. But this is also the same beach frequented by college students and I've been right there to see him staring so long and hard that he's not even aware I've just said something to him. He tells me I'm exaggerating and I need to get over my resentment about his frequent trips to this beach because he's not going to stop. Swimming is important to the health of his hip. Never mind that 80% of the time he goes there he doesn't actually swim. Or that there are pools he could go to that would take far less time.
There are more examples, but I don't need to beat this horse to death and I've got to wrap this up and get back to work. All I know is that this doesn't feel like two partners sharing a burden. This feels like me carrying the brunt of the hardest parts, him taking care of himself, and with what time and energy he's got left he'll do me some favors that render any resentments or complaints I have as silly, overblown, and selfish.

So last night when I went upstairs to have a good cry, he just didn't understand why.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

She's Gonna Blow!

There are so many complicated things going on that I have neither time nor energy to explain, but the anxiety is rising to dangerous levels. 

Today when I was cleaning the basement of the 'Ole Hell Hole (this is what the house I'm moving out of shall be forever referred to as from now on) I started to weep. I hated that house, and cleaning it out is only a reminder of how I lived in it for far too long. Every swish of the mop a reminder of how I got depressed there, how Kyd really lost his shit there, how Lexi got anxious there because I was a moping shadow moving around taking care of what I could, which was not enough.

How the landlord mistreated me but I couldn't see it because every core person in my life was mistreating me. How I learned of Roi's addictions one by one in my time there. How everything that happened was another crushing blow pummeling me further and further into depression. How there was no single room in that house to retreat to for silence and relaxation because the walls were paper thin. How the walk-in basement always smelled musty no matter what I cleaned it with and it permeated the rest of the house. How everything was always just shy of non-functional. How things got broken in one of many of Kyd's drunken tirades. 

How I came to hate the neighbors for just being there and witness to Kyd's antics. I was embarrassed and ashamed all the time. 

How much I paid to live there leaving me nothing left to pay off my student debt. How the space was just so uninspiring. How Kyd moved from room to room claiming an empty space as his own so he could trash it to the point he felt he needed to "switch rooms".  

How my lawn-mower broke last year so I couldn't mow the lawn and had to pay someone to do it with money I didn't have, and not often enough. 

How my new space with Roi has so much potential for beauty and I love that, but can't see how I'm going to live with him long-term and not wanting to invest blood and tears and sweat into something that I just can't conceive as permanent.

How the mustiness in the basement was probably a sign of mold and that would explain why we got so many chest colds and sinus infections while we were there.

How that Hell Hole is so much a reflection of my state of mind, and my state of mind was reflected in that Hell Hole. 

Not a Drop to Spare

I am exhausted beyond belief, and yet have 2-3 more days of work to complete this move. I've no idea from where I'm going to summon the energy for it.

I am way too tired to write the post I want to write. So for now, just send me a little energy if you've got a drop to spare.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A Ball of Mess

Since I wrote last much has happened.  Let me see...

A few days into packing and freaking and packing, we had a major storm which caused some flash-flooding. Got some water in the basement and garage where most of the boxes to pack were being stored. FUN. 

Kyd came home to pack up his stuff and promptly came down with a nasty cold. Still playing the you-don't-want-me-but-I'm-entitled game he acted as though asking me to go get him some medicine was going to result in a smack-down but then two days later was a total schmuck about helping with anything that wasn't his. "Maybe if I still lived here...", he shot.  

Makes my head hurt. 

But on that first night he was sick, he slept on the couch and watched kids' movies. I lay there in my bed listening to the upbeat musical score and silently wept. My heart was aching to go back, to just rewind time so I could have my sweet Kyd back. The one who chased butterflies, who looked after his little sister, who made us laugh, and who was so so so so sweet you just wanted to put him on a pink cloud wrapped in bubble wrap so nothing could ever ever hurt him.

Only there's no bubble wrap in the world that can protect someone from themselves. He's crashing, and fast. I heard through the grapevine that he's been calling around looking for E in its purest and most powerful form (I'm not "savvy" enough to remember the name), and he forgot his court appearance on Friday and instead was heading to a party in New York. He didn't "remember" until he was halfway to New York. In other words, he didn't remember until his lawyer called. 

And I...I am alternately terrified of what's next, worried sick about him, but terribly angry too. His recent attitude gets right under my skin in less than 5 seconds. He calls only when he wants/needs something, acts put out when anyone else wants/needs anything in return, is playing the trod-upon victim whose mother "doesn't want him" and who's backed into a corner without options because life has been so cruel. He's doing next to nothing to improve his situation or relationships, unable to own his own stuff, and instead is focusing all of his energy on finding the next Rave, his latest kick.

When I talk to him it is hard to feel sympathy. It is nigh impossible to detach. And it only makes me more frantic because I know that attitude. It is the attitude of an acting addict. 

It is crazy, nonsensical, and unreachable. 

I'm trying in the best feeble way I know how to detach from all of this with love, but no matter what I do or say in regards to Kyd it never feels right. If I get angry I feel awful that I'm not more understanding. If I'm more understanding I feel awful that it goes unnoticed, changes nothing, and is met with attitude and then I just feel walked-on and weak.

How do you do this? HOW? How do you watch your beloved child, your only son, methodically destroy their lives while nothing you do or say saves them? HOW do you sort the difference between enabling and supporting? How do you not get angry at the awful ugly selfishness? 

This is killing me. This is killing him. This disease is killing us both.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Back in a Few

I'll be back in a day or so.  Just been packing, freaking out (I mean SERIOUSLY freaking out) about this move, and then got knocked flat with a killer sinus infection.

FYI, the neti pot is the secret enemy of sinus infections.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Boxes and the Buzz in My Head

As I pack the boxes, seal them with tape, and write their contents on the outside with a large black marker, there is a constant buzz in my head. 

I mostly try to ignore it. I know what it is. 

It's all the worries I've got up there, buzzing around like an angry wasp infestation. 

The many worries about Kyd. 

The worries about all the things I've let go for too long. Lack of resources is enough to bring most people to their knees, but add to that crises and the truth is I should've toppled long ago. 

And then there are the worries about my next move. I'm backed into a corner now and the only sane thing to do is to move in with Roi, but I can't say that I like this option. There are a lot of what ifs involved, and a whole lot of history to back it up. 

Roi is delighted at the prospect. I am less so. He see's a bright future. I see the past. He is optimistic that THIS is the change that will change "us". I already see the signs that not one thing is different enough to rest my hat upon. He's envisioning our future. I'm envisioning an opportunity to get on my feet enough to...escape. And I'm not even sure anymore that I can get better. 

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Give Me Strength

Universe, please give me the strength to do the next right thing. 

Please give me the strength to call my landlord tomorrow and tell her that I've no choice at this point but to move out. 

I can't sleep here, and because I can't sleep I can't work, and because I can't work I'm not getting paid, and well, you know where that leaves me. 

Please give me the strength to bear her angry words and accusations. You know how she is. 

Please give me the strength to deal with the unholy mess my son created in the basement and garage. 

Please give me the strength to actually get all this done in the little time I'll be given to do it. 

But seriously, most of all, just give me the damned strength I need to talk to that toxic woman because the most saintly landlord would have a hard time with me waiting 'til this late to inform them that my miracle didn't come.

So just that one thing tomorrow. Please.

Inevitable Horrors

I was working at my computer when Kyd walked in the door.  We had spoken earlier on the phone because he needed money, but he didn't tell me he was going to stop by.  

"You scared me!" I said. 


I got my wallet, pulled out a twenty and handed it to him. 

Is this enabling?  He has to eat. 

"Do I have any clean laundry here?", he asked.  

I went and got him a small pile of clean clothes that he had not yet taken with him.  He chose one t-shirt out of the pile and left the rest.  

"Is that all you need?", I asked. 

"Yeah, I just need a different shirt.  This one's too tight.", and he grabbed the front of his t-shirt to illustrate.

We walked back to the kitchen and toward the door.  Things were awkward.  I could tell he was feeling unwelcome at the same time he was feeling entitled -- neither was true.  Both are common errors in the thinking of addicts, or those who are mentally ill. Despite my years of experience, I still cannot find magic words that will correct this thinking, flip it on it's head.  

"Have you talked to your Dad?", I asked...tentatively.  Kyd's father recently had a minor heart attack.  He's 41. 

"No, but I need to talk to probation."  


"I'm thinking about going up to work for Dad."  

Oh god, oh god, please no.  

"I'm not sure that's a good idea", I said. 

Kyd got angry. His flat affect immediately switched to agitation.  His voice rose and the cursing started.  I tried to calmly reason with him, remind him of all that had gone wrong the last time he went to stay with his father.  He shot the reason down with a string of circumstantial excuses that wouldn't be a problem this time. 

I took him outside. Lexi was home and I didn't want to expose her to anymore of Kyd's anger, and I didn't want her to start butting in -- it would only cause a more rapid escalation.  

Divert. Protect. Diffuse. Intervene. 

Nothing I said helped. He walked away loudly proclaiming, "I try to do the ONE thing I can! I have NO other options! I'm trying and do I get any support from you?! NO!!"  

The urge to yell back was strong. The urge to point out all I had done, the money I had just given him, the place to sleep two days ago when he had nowhere else to go...

I stood on the porch and watched him go, again. 

Inevitable horrors.  If he goes to live with his father, each of them a ticking time-bomb.  

I didn't sleep until 4:00 a.m.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


I don't sleep much these days.  Did I mention that?  

I had finally fallen into a fitful sleep close to dawn when my body felt a noise, a slight vibration in the house like when our front door slams. A jolt of adrenaline and I'm awake in the dark, heart knocking in my chest and that familiar vice-grip clamped all the way down on my stomach.  

I lay there, every cell awake and rigid and waiting for another clue. Had I dreamed it? Were there footsteps? Is it Kyd come home to throw a drunken temper tantrum because his life isn't what he planned and it must somehow be my fault? Or some new threat? A stranger?

It was Lexi getting up to use the bathroom.  

She went back to her room, but I still needed to check.  

Turn the lights on one by one, check each room, check the lock, peek out into the driveway, the front yard, and listen. 

Finally I was satisfied enough that my rational mind could get in a word edgewise and tell me to go back to bed. It was nothing. It was Lexi. Even though it felt like the front door, it couldn't have been.

Then it dawned on me. THIS is why when my anxiety or depression is peaking I sleep on the couch. I had been beating myself over the head for this while simultaneously coming up with good reason to do so -- I fell asleep while reading or it was too hot in my room. Secretly I thought I was just being a bit of a depressed bum who couldn't get up off the couch and sleep in her bed like a normal person.

But as I stood there in the living room listening I realized that this room was the best vantage point for maximum awareness of what was going on in my house. From the living room I can hear the front door and the side door, I can hear what's going on downstairs, and down the hall. I can see the road, the side drive, and the back driveway and yard. And suddenly I was outside myself, seeing myself standing there in the dark and how I resembled an animal who's just heard a twig snap, or caught the slightest hint of scent and freezes -- listening, watching, sniffing the air.

Night is when the trauma had always come to my house.  

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Ever since my Dooce binge the day before yesterday, I can't shake some feeling in the pit of my stomach that I think is (gasp) jealousy.

At first blush, who wouldn't be jealous?  She's semi-famous!  And she has Chuck.

But I'm not prone to coveting after other people's lives.  No really.  Don't ask me why not, I SHOULD be considering the mess mine is in, but I just don't.

Not my city-dwelling artist friends.  Sure, the thought crossed my mind, "that would be a cool life", but it was pushed out by the realization that I would HATE living in the city and hanging out with artistes. I don't like noise and I'm kind of allergic to pretentiousness.

Not the hippies who hang out in the local cafes sporting dreadlocks and patchwork clothing.  They seem carefree enough and I admire their mobile communities, their ideals, and their commitment.  But no, I like to comb my hair and have no interest in raising hula-hooping to a fine art.

Not the cookie-cutter upper middle-class families who surround me on every side. They've got SUVs and pure-bred large dogs and housecleaners and memberships to the gym. Their kids all have braces when they need them, tutors when they need them, after school sports and fridges full of Whole Foods.  They have r o u t i n e.  What I feel for their lives is not jealousy because just the IDEA of living like that makes me break out in a cold sweat and instinctively reach for the nearest vessel I can hurl into in case the room doesn't stop swimming.  But the wish for wanting, that makes me ache.  A deep, deep ache that if only the Universe had used the same cookie-cutter to create me, my kids would be much better off right now.

Not the super-wealthy.  I've seen their eyes, and that's no place I want to go.

But Dooce?  She's living my dream. To be quirky and creative and just a little fucked up enough to need meds, but still get the house, the dogs, the adoring soul-mate, the beautiful kids, a close-knit family, all topped off with the opportunity to create on a daily basis.  That's like, my utopia.

Yes, I know what you're going to say. "I'm sure things aren't perfect over there," and I KNOW that.  I'm not imagining she's got a perfect life, just the kind I want.

Except Utah. She can have Utah.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

More Props to Roi

Together Lexi, Roi and I have managed to clean out all the cupboards in the kitchen, find all my scattered tools, fill up at least three bags of stuff to go to the Goodwill, threw out three more bags of stuff, cut down an errant tree and right now Roi is out in the yard wrestling with the bushes.  

Two days in a row he's done exactly what he said he was going to do, and mostly he's being really nice about it. He's just finished repairing a hole in the wall that Kyd made during one of his crazy-drunk episodes.  

He's not being perfect.  I can see the judgy look in his eyes as he assesses the task he's about to tackle because the universal personal defect of addicts is lighting on any hint of personal defect in others so they can have a moment of relief from their own self-hatred.  

Sound familiar?

Here's the Part Where I Fell on the Floor

October 8, 2008. 


That date is branded onto the inside of my skull.  Sometimes it glows red and keeps me up at night.  

It's not the memory of the two traumas that came at me, one from the left, and one from the right in a 1-2 punch to the temples.  They were pretty awful.  The call in the middle of the night, the rush to the hospital, the needing my partner more than I had ever needed anyone only to discover a heinous betrayal wrapped up in a package of lies and topped with a one-big-mind-fuck bow.  

Imagine...never mind, I can't even think of an analogy that comes close.  

But it's not the memories, it's what came after that haunts me.  

My mind packed it's bags in the middle of the night and left me.  No "Dear Jane" letter to be found in the morning -- just an empty closet, a couple of wire hangers, and one lonely cobweb with a rather menacing spider lying in wait.  

I spent the next two weeks in the same spot, wearing the same clothes, and having the same recurring urge to break a window and chew the glass.  That part's not a metaphor, except I think I did actually manage to change my clothes two or three time -- painfully, and I did move a few times to take care of things that were urgent.  Then my hair started falling out in great big tufts. Maybe it was pissed at me for not brushing it, or maybe like my mind it just decided that my skull was uninhabitable.  I just don't know why it thought the floor was better. 

If I had experienced any emotion at all, I would have been terrified for my life.  And I probably wouldn't have been too pleased with the prospect of being bald.    

I should tell you, I didn't chew on any glass, but I did rub half of my left eyebrow clean off.  It took me a year to stop that habit.  

It was Lexi that saved my life then.  She has no idea that she did, but the one pesky neuron I had left firing had one message, "you can't leave her".  

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Just for Today

Fine idea that "Just for Today".  But what happens when you want to punch today in the face?

Just wondering.

Personal Defect #1

I come from a family of hoarders, though it didn't set in with my parents until we finally bought our own house when I was 17.  After that, it took several years for them to fill up almost every room, the attic, and the extra attic with boxes of stuff.  My grandmother, bless her heart, lives in a small little house and while she keeps it clean, she hoards.

It's not as bad as, you know, that show, but it's bad enough.

In October 2008 I had a nervous breakdown (more on that later) and since then I've been in a limbo that would probably be diagnosed as depression if I would only get myself to pick up the phone and make an appointment to see somebody.

Since that time, little by little, stuff has been taking over my house.

Today I let Roi come over and help me start the process of hurling stuff out.  And it's hard.  It's hard to let him in on this process.  Because the universal personal defect of codependents is that they like everyone else to be wrong so they can get some relief from their own self-hatred.

But even if I wasn't codependent and he wasn't an addict who I can't trust, it would still be hard because I'm embarrassed that I let depression take me this far down.

Meet Roi

So, first of all I spent the better part of an hour catching up on Dooce this morning.  I probably could've spent my time better by chewing on some glass.  At least then I could've multi-tasked and gotten the dishes done too.  Chewing glass is a hands free, eyes free activity.  

If you don't know Dooce, first of all you've been living under a rock for the last several years.  Here's the short version.  She starts blogging way back when blogging was new, gets fired from her job, drinks a lot, finds and marries her soul-mate, has a kid, checks into the psych ward with a nasty bout of post-partum, tells the world about every detail, and ascends like a skyrocket into the heavens of professional blogging fame.  Published book, photo shoots, major sponsor deals etc etc.  

Now Dooce and her little family have moved into a giant, gorgeous house, all funded by writing about her crazy life.  And it's not that I'm not jealous about that.  I am.  It's that shit went all kinds of wrong in her life, but everything that DID go wrong was just a test leading her to all kinds of awesomeness.  


I had a nervous breakdown too.  I just ended up in the poor house with everyone around me angry and disappointed in me.  As my sister would say, "fuck that noise".  

But where was I?  

Oh yes.  Meet Roi.  

Last night I broke down in tears in front of Roi, my partner.  And he was all, "I had no idea things were this bad!", and I was all, "then you must be blind".  So this morning he called me all cheery-cheeked and full of plans about how he is going to be the best boyfriend EVER starting RIGHT NOW.  

Props to him for trying so hard.  Just too bad that he doesn't remember how he said this last year.  And six months before that, and six months before that.

And if that seems bitchy and pessimistic, then you haven't tried loving an addict before.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Where I Am

Personal history is both brief and infinite.  Each moment a butterfly effect.

Today I am in Program recovery though I don't go to enough meetings, nor consistently enough.  Somewhere along the path of trauma, desperation for hope gave way to a folded-in numbness.  To get oneself to a meeting does seem to require a felt sense of need.  That will to survive that kicks in whereby we drag ourselves across the desert with parched lips to find that drink of cool water instead of just laying down to wait for death.  

I am in the latter category.  Mind paralysis.  Limbo.  Waiting for death but perhaps secretly somewhere deep and buried within, the wish for water to come to me.  I have dragged myself across that desert one too many times only to find there was no water.  

Spending years trying to save a child, the extended torture of watching their self-destruction and feeling powerless to stop it, it leaves a primal tear in the will to live.  Nearly the whole woman is designed and wired to carry out the care of her off-spring and in failing to do successfully, what is there left?  

That concept may rankle some women (maybe men too, who knows).  We are, after all, an evolved species aren't we?  With as much desire for independence and purpose and personal creation as to make babies?  Don't women who choose to not have children find fulfillment?  I don't know that I want to wrestle with the argument of life's purpose.  What I know and believe is that what we are biologically wired for is inherent with tension in opposition to personal happiness. In other words, our happiness is often in opposition to the function of the species. We start out life being driven by our primal needs -- needs that are not meant to ultimately serve the individual, but rather the survival of the species.  We continue to be driven by them into adolescence and adulthood, largely at an unconscious level.  

Eventually, for some, not being satisfied with the results, if we're lucky we find ways to transcend the wiring.  

Sorry for the clumsy lesson in anthropology/biology.  Where was I? 

Oh yes, lying in the desert somewhere.

I don't think I'm literally waiting to die, that's just a metaphor.  But in some ways that's also the truth.  I've been helpless to reverse my automatic response to trauma after trauma, which is a gradual shutting down and shutting out.  The allowance of thought, any thought, can too easily lead to anxious thoughts.  

It's not that there isn't plenty of life out there beyond these dunes.  And since this is a metaphor and not real life, I do actually do some stuff.  I'm writing this blog, I take photographs, on a good day I might go for a swim, and I drag myself despite myself to social events if I've been expressly invited.

It's just that with this hole in my heart the size of Texas, the primal tear in the fabric of my purpose, I haven't yet figured out how to derive joy from other things.  Everything has gone flat - like I was dropped through a worm-hole and landed in a 2-dimensional cardboard universe.  Few things cause the scenery to flesh-out.

I figure my only way back is by learning how to grieve with grace.   Or possibly medication.

One of those.