Archive for December, 2011

Old friend update

Pretty sure Old Friend is in fact back in the hospital.  Haven’t heard anything from her since Monday, and she usually blows up her facebook with music videos when she’s around.

I’d be relieved if I thought it would do her any good.  I’m afraid they’re probably just pumping her full of drugs like before.  If only it worked out like in the movies, where a doctor takes a keen interest in a patient for purely altruistic reasons and they make sure the patient gets the care and attention they need.  These days doctors don’t have time to take keen interest in any of their patients.  Especially in the hospitals.


New friends, old friends

Today was an exercise in helplessness.

A new friend (the guy I’m seeing/banging) is just at the beginning of what could become a bitter custody battle with his ex.  I grant, I only get to hear one side of the story, but in my opinion if a couple separates and both adults are self-sufficient, gainfully employed, not abusive, drug addicts or criminals, each should be entitled to 50% custody of their progeny. That is, assuming both are interested in the progeny.  In this case, they are.  It sounds like his ex is trying to find a way to prevent him from having reasonable access to his child — for reasons unknown to him.  I think maybe she’s trying to punish him for whatever pain she’s in which may or may not be related to their breakup/separation/pending divorce.  By all accounts he appears to be a warm and devoted father.  No apparent history of violence or intimidation.

But as I said, I only hear from him.  And I’m somewhat biased, because I like the guy a lot.

update on that whole “herpes and us” thing: turns out he had HSV-1 already. like most people (*coughmy ex cough*), apparently, he didn’t really associate cold sores with “herpes”; what ARE they teaching kids in health class these days??  In any case, we’re free to fuck each other silly, which pleases me to no end.

The most difficult thing for me is that I know I can’t actually do anything to help.  It’s not my problem, it’s really none of my business except that I prefer when he’s happy and not stressing out over something jerk-hole-ish his ex said or did.  So there’s helpless scenario #1.

#2: a woman who has been a friend of mine for over 10 years, whom I have tried to love and mentor as something of a sister, has had serious psychological/emotional issues for the last 5 or so years.  We’re talking in and out of hospitals, psych wards, wherever they could pass her off to, they did.  Off medication, on medication, stuck at her parents’ house, kicked out of her parents’ house, she’s just never been able to find her feet.

I remember visiting her in the hospital a couple years ago, staying for hours because she begged me not to leave.  Her moods were all over the place, pleased, childlike, tormented, sobbing, pained, fearful, bitter, depressed.  All in spans so brief I wouldn’t have been able to believe it if I hadn’t been there.  Her mind was all over the place, undirected, then fixated, distracted and distractable.  She couldn’t, or wouldn’t, support herself standing for very long.  We’d take short walks, just down the hall, and she would have to stop and sit for a few moments.  She clung to my hand as if, somehow, my presence could take away some of the indescribable suffering she was living with.

For about a year she’d actually been doing ok.  Living with her parents was wearing her down, she had issues with her mom and (i think) some anger issues in general, but she was off the anti-psychotics, on a regular antidepressant and trying to raise her 3-year-old (but that’s another story).

A month ago her big sister, her actual sister, was killed in a hit-and-run late at night. No witnesses.  From then the whole family broke down.  The house, which was already claustrophobic, became like a hell (for all of them, I’m sure).  Everyone was grieving, everyone’s fuse was a little bit shorter, and my friend’s anger became less rational and less focused.  One night she called me, saying she’d been in an argument with her father and he’d stormed out. Her mom told her she should probably be gone before he got back.  I tried to suggest she stay, apologize, try to work it out.  The service for her sister hadn’t even been held yet.  When she continued to insist that she had to get out, I admitted to her that I couldn’t, or wouldn’t, come get her.  I didn’t have the energy to take care of her.  And I couldn’t afford to bring her negativity and illness into my home.  It was selfish, but I can’t say I regret it.  I knew then, as I know now, that I can’t do anything to help her.

I’m not sure what happened after that.  I was certain she had ended up back at one hospital or another.  The suddenly, a couple days ago, my phone rang and it was her number calling.  I didn’t have the nerve to pick it up then.  What could I expect at the other end of the line?

We met for coffee today.  Or rather, I picked her up from her parents’ house and bought us coffee at a Starbucks nearby.  I knew — because I had seen what previous her hospital stays had been like — that her experience over the last few weeks had surely been unpleasant.  Beyond that I wasn’t sure what to expect.  We conversed relatively normally at first, but it became clear and clearer that she was not as functional as she had been before Thanksgiving.  She would interrupt, take over the conversation with no allowance for input.  She would tear up and express how much she loved me, how she didn’t know what she would do if I weren’t around.  When she began emoting in broken Japanese — we had both picked up just enough from watching anime that she could create simple clauses and I could more or less understand her meaning — I realized how bad off she must be.  That time a few years ago, when I visited her in the hospital, that was one of the things she did regularly.  I almost cried right there beside her when it hit me.  At the end of the visit I dropped her off at one of the hospitals nearby so she could pick up some medication or another that she said she needed.  Her parents would pick her up, she said.

It was such a relief when I pulled away.  And heartbreaking, too.  After all these years, she’s still fighting the same demons, the same pain, the same lack of reason whose source I don’t know.  And she wants me to help her, to cure her, because she associates me with warmth and comfort, because I did what I could to comfort her during her awkward “tween” period (I was in high school at the time).  I know that there is nothing I can do for her.  My presence isn’t enough to chase away the demons.  Soothing words won’t clear her sky of dark clouds.  I honestly don’t know if there’s anything that can help her.  Persistence and family, I would say, if I thought her family capable.  But time and again they have shown me they are not.  I don’t know what her future is.  I’m afraid she will find herself back in hospital very soon.  Even there they don’t seem to do much for her.  And in her illness she is unable to determine what she needs herself.

By comparison my life, my little chronic depression, is a blessing.

Patterns I recognize

Today may not turn out to be as productive as I’d hoped.  The high I woke up with is giving way to uncertainty, insecurity.  Fear.  I don’t want to be one of those people who constantly looks for reassurance.

I have to remember to be gentle with myself.  The last couple days have been huge and overwhelming and exhausting.  It will take more than a couple nights’ sleep to really come to grips with it all.

Right now, to him, so much depends on the test results, but he can’t even get the test for at least a month.  Maybe with a month’s passing things will be different.  In one way or another.  A month feels like a very long time to wait.

I need to do some meditation exercises so I can feel this pain but not let it own me.  I hope I can.

He came over to my place last night.  The first thing he did was give me a hug.  I could have cried.

I don’t know where we’re gonna end up.  But it was super nice just cuddling with him.

My World, Upside-down

Oh my god it’s been a whirlwind couple of days in both the best and worst possible ways.

I’m coming to grips with a reality I have been avoiding for the last 4+ years.  This is something that will be a part of me for the rest of my life and I have to start accepting that.  Acknowledging it.  After the little epiphanies I’ve experienced (and documented in prior entries) I guess I am more capable of dealing with it than at any point before.

I have genital herpes.  It’s HSV-1, the one most commonly associated with cold sores. I’ll let the reader work out how I got it.  Let me just say it involved my boyfriend-at-the-time and a very intimate moment.

I knew he got cold sores. What neither of us realized was that it can be transmitted even without the presence of a cold sore.  So here I am, one sexual partner into my life and I have a disease with such an outrageously strong stigma (disproportionate to the facts, in my opinion) that it can make or break relationships in some cases.  Which wasn’t a problem when I was with the guy who infected me.  I didn’t have to think about it or face up to it.  So I didn’t.

Then of course I broke up with him.  Moved out, got my own place, I’m flyin’ high, living the single life, getting myself together.  I’m so shy and not into social scenes that I figured it could be years before I met someone I was really interested in, and who was really interested in me.

Not so, apparently.  In a matter of a couple days hanging out with a relatively new acquaintance we seriously clicked.  Sense of humors mesh, physical attraction, check, witty banter and engaging conversation, check.  He’s even an atheist.

It was honestly the first time in my life I had the experience of wanting someone who also wanted me. It blew me away.

Here’s the kicker.  I slept with him.  We were hanging out at his place and I was enjoying it so much I guess I really didn’t have room for anything else in my brain.  It all happened so fast (literally a matter of days) and I wasn’t expecting to have to bring it up that soon.  I just didn’t think about it.  So then I had to tell him.  I feel so guilty about it; it’s a huge breach of trust and if someone did that to me I don’t know what I would do.  I’m pretty much done crying for now, I’ve “come out” and talked with a couple people who have been very kind and understanding and while it will still take a lot of processing to get over the fact that I did the biggest, douchebaggiest thing I can think of to someone I could potentially have really really come to care for, I do believe that I will eventually be able to forgive myself. And I will learn to accept this disease as a fact of my life.

He’s actually being really nice about it.  Of course he’s disappointed.  And he’s bummed too, because he really likes me.  He still wants to be friends, which shocked the hell out of me.  I don’t know if I could have been so generous if our roles had been reversed.  I am extremely grateful though.  And maybe he’ll get to a point where he feels “ok” enough to try a sexual relationship. Or maybe we’ll cool off and drift apart because it’s just too weird. Or maybe we’ll just end up good friends.  I just know that I can’t undo what I have done.  I can’t undo getting infected, I can’t undo not telling this new flame when I should have.  I have to keep moving forward because looking back and treading water won’t get me anywhere.

Fully medicated reflection

God, yesterday was so miserable.  This morning I felt like a completely different person.

But now I find myself up against a different wall.  Why is all this coming to the surface all at once??  Maybe I’m ready for it, and my subconscious knows it.  I really, really hope so.

I have some work that I agreed to take home over the weekend.  It’s a relatively small thing, just a 4-page mailer (front and back of one 11″ x 17″ sheet, folded in half) to promote some new products that will be available for one of our segments at the start of the new year.  I have a spreadsheet with the necessary data, I have my notes from the brief discussion I had with my boss about it, I took home some samples and the digital camera.  I just have to take a few pictures and throw it all together in a Publisher file.  I keep finding reasons why the conditions aren’t acceptable for working on it.  The light’s too low (admittedly true), the screen’s too bright.  Having a cat who wants to stand in front of the keyboard and butt his head against my hand when I’m trying to edit the pictures doesn’t help.

What gets me, though, is that the same feelings from yesterday have come creeping back while I have been struggling through the work.  It’s as though my defenses are pushing back.  Maybe I’m stretching a bit, but I feel like my subconscious had some silent alarm that went off when I tried to sit down and do Work at Home.  Home Work.  Homework.  The thing I stopped doing, period, when I was 11.  I wish I could better describe how clearly I can feel this analogy.  I wasn’t even thinking about it as “homework,” but my memory, my defense mechanisms weren’t fooled.  And they are pushing back with all these horrible feelings that just cripple me.  It’s the only weapon they have.  To steer me on a safe path. On the path I want.  Right?

Maybe 20 years ago.  These defenses are still in place, trying to steer me to a way of living that has no relevance in my life anymore.  They are screaming out, DON’T DO THIS!! as loud and as frantically as they can.  At one point I was almost on the verge of crying, that sense of loneliness was so overwhelming.  The feelings of rejection.  Everything that wrestled me to the ground yesterday was back, albeit in a lower dose.

It’s so strange to look at it in this way.  To feel it, as I am now, but also to observe it from a distance.  To observe it mindfully.  Knowing that this is not a real feeling, that it is only triggered by a mechanism in my psyche that’s been in place for 2 decades, does not make the sad and lonely feelings go away.  But it does help temper it.  My defenses are like a great snake, hissing, afraid, ready to strike.  I think I will sit mindfully for a few moments and try to be kind to it.  Just pushing back is no good.  I have to welcome it, invite it by the fire, pour it a cup of tea and serve it as a guest.  I can’t resent this part of me that is just trying to protect me in the only way it knows how.

I must love it.  And in loving it and accepting it for what it is, maybe we can work together to develop a new, more relevant function for those energies.

I exhale deeply.  This is huge for me.

Why I stay indoors

I just got rejected.

Not really.  Not in reality.  But in my head, it feels like rejection.

Basically, I had told New Friend (a while back) that I would be interested in pursuing a “more-than-friends” type dealie if he was.  Honestly, I didn’t feel anything for him at the time and I still don’t now.  In fact, were it not for the couple of things we have in common we probably would not hang out at all.  If he gets a girlfriend to spend lots of time with, I’m off the hook.  What I mean is, I don’t think we really enjoy each other’s company that much.  He’s horrible for conversation, which is one thing I absolutely must have, and his taste in movies is mediocre at best.  I’m not saying all these things just to make myself feel better — though it is helping — these are things I have been aware of all along.  But because being around a single man who is moderately attractive kind of stirred up some of my hormones, I made that declaration back when.  I have many times wished to rescind it.  Actually every time we hang out I think, “man, would it be rude to take it back?”

Today he texted me and said “blah blah blah, you said you were interested back when, I value you as a good friend” (what? if we’re good friends he’s seriously hurting for actual good friends) “so I want to let you know I met this girl, yadda yadda.”  The good thing is, it gave me the opportunity to say, “nono, you misunderstood. it’s ok. srsly.”  The bad thing is, my body is shaking (only a little) and I feel a bit like crying.  I feel rejected.

What do I do with this?  I know it’s irrational, I know I didn’t even want him.  So I don’t really understand why my brain is creating these unhappy responses.  I DO NOT want to talk with my therapist about this.  I suppose it’s not really worth it for me to keep paying her if I don’t feel comfortable talking about things like this.  The things that illustrate some of my core dysfunctions.  I think it’s not so much that I don’t feel comfortable talking with her about it.  I don’t want to. I don’t want to develop an action plan.  I just want a hug.  I want a friend, dammit!

I guess maybe that’s part of it.  I knew NF and I weren’t compatible, that I don’t even really like his company all that much, but if he were interested in me that would be at least something.  It would have meant I was valuable to at least one person other than my mom.  Valuable enough to call up and say “hey, let’s hang out” every now and then.

I’m a little fucked up today anyway because I forgot to take my meds yesterday. Woke up depressed.  Had breakfast, took meds.  Started to feel a bit better.  Cried a bit. Felt a bit better.  Then I started to feel dizzy and nauseous.  Haven’t gotten a thing done today because I ended up having to lie down for a bit.  When I woke up I felt like a had a brick in my stomach.  Still do.  Did I mention I’ve been shitting weeks’ worth of feces this weekend?  Let’s hear it for chronic constipation.  But I felt a little better emotionally, at least.  Then NF sent me that text and I’m…. well, not back where I was, but still.

I think I can’t really trust my reaction today.  Emotions started off wrong, body’s all fucked up.  I’ll try to reanalyze tomorrow.  Today I just want a fucking hug.