Trigger Warning & Discussion Guidelines

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kitten 1I am devoted to this blog being about healing, not abuse porn. That said, sometimes to talk about healing I will have to talk about hurting. Please consider this sticky post a trigger warning for every entry for childhood abuse of all kinds. If you are having a difficult day, this blog will still be here tomorrow! Consider looking at this picture of a kitten, instead, for now. Be kind and compassionate to yourself.

Also, be kind and compassionate to ME. If you want to stroll by and attack me when I fuck up (which I’ve done, and I write about it) or because you don’t like queers or what-have-you, or if you want to fight about the psychiatric profession or EMDR or anything else, please know that I screen all comments and I just won’t let them through. This place is not a debate page. It’s a personal blog, and I’m blogging for connection and support.

Happiness?

tumblr_mf6ifkpVcP1r53z3lo1_500This Monday at therapy, my shrink asked me: “Can you imagine yourself happy?”

I could tell by her expression that she already knew the answer.

“Of course not,” I said.

The thing is, I didn’t start therapy to get happy. I started therapy to stop yelling at and hitting my kids. And so far, outside of one or two spectacular failures in that area, I’m managing this: plus in general speaking in a kinder, more relaxed tone, and other parenting wins besides.

Isn’t that enough? Is happiness, beyond a few brief hours here or there, truly attainable? What does it even look like?

She said: “You know what I mean: a sustained, steady, general sense of happiness.”

And honestly, I just don’t. I don’t even understand what she is describing.

I felt bad about this, and a little hopeless, on the way home. And her question and my response keeps ringing in my head as I fruitlessly try to sleep at night.

Why should it? I don’t think I know a single fucking person who is basically happy most of the time. Why on earth should I set such a ridiculously high bar for myself?

Father’s Day is hard.

dadhugToday, I am home alone while the father of my kids goes camping with our little guys because I had a TON of freelance to do (blissfully, it is at least temporarily done. This batch of it).

I’m thinking being alone for Father’s Day is better than grimly trying to focus on my son’s father while silently grieving, or 11 years out is easier, or something.

This year, I’m finding joy in my friends’ posts about how great their dads were.

Mine was far from perfect. He failed to protect me from a shit ton of abuse from my mom. He drank too much. But I also believe that his unconditional, boundless love is the reason I am able to attach to people. I believe his steadfast adoration is the reason that I am able to be a good friend to people, and the reason that I am the only person my shrink knows with an ACE Score so high that has a firm, wide, loving, and dependable support system.

He may have been unable to protect me from what she did to me. But he certainly gave me the skills to eventually come to terms with it, through vast oceans of simple, basic love for his kids.

He died far too soon and too suddenly, and that always makes my heart hurt on this day. But he also saved my life. And made me who I am. And today, shouting down the pain I feel, is a tremendous, deep gladness that I was so lucky to have this man as my father, even for such a short time.

He lit up every room he entered. He was always the last to let go of a hug.

On refusing to distract myself

Firefly_class_shipSo. I tried an experiment.

[Name redacted] helped — our local NPR affiliate host for mornings. Her ideas and questions are so inane it’s like she’s trying to be dense on purpose.

Having no A/C in my ancient car helped — I wanted the windows open on the highway, so listening to a podcast was out.

I turned off the radio, and I just . . . let myself exist, with no distractions other than driving. It’s a short commute (especially when I’m a little late), so I only did this for maybe 20 minutes or so, but I just DROVE. No music. No podcast. No talk radio, no nothing.

And you know what’s been hiding?

Compassion for myself.

NO, REALLY.

By the time I got to work, my wandering mind (to whom I gave NO prompts) had told me the following:

  1. You are a compassionate, empathetic person who cares about people.
  2. You are trying so hard, and you are sad a lot of the time, and you have work to do but really. You are already, right now, doing good in the world.
  3. Nothing else beyond that, in this life, really matters.

And then I became so overwhelmed with love for my partner that I gasped, and I don’t really know how that’s related except that maybe she sees this person all the time and I just see glimpses of myself this way?

Anyway this morning I have too many deadlines and didn’t get enough sleep and my inbox exploded and yet I feel very peaceful. Right now, in this moment, I have serenity.

PS I do not have asthma; as a matter of fact I have a lung capacity of 104%, which people who know me in person will find hilarious and apt.

Family Traditions

Also, I just filled out a form online for my doctor’s office (I am going in to be seen for a health issue that has been bothering me since my late teens: exercise- and allergy-related asthma GO SELF CARE), and entering in all the family’s alcohol addictions and mental health issues was so fucking depressing. Especially writing: “sister: possible BPD,” and: “son #2: depression. Son #3: anxiety.”

WELCOME TO THE FAMILY, KIDS! HOW GODDAMNED LUCKY ARE YOU?

I am completely exhausted.

ripVanWinkleMonday was all re-evaluation and revising of goals instead of EMDR during therapy session.

You’ll all be as delighted as I am, I’m sure, to hear that I have moved from severely depressed to moderately severely depressed.

I have been doing this for nearly three years.

Today is one of those days I wish I could run away from all of my responsibilities and connections and even my joy to hide under a bush and fall asleep for 100 years.

I wonder if I would grow whiskers? I am an Irish-American and I’ve seen some photos of old Irish fisherwomen with some tremendous goat beards, blowing in the breeze.

I’ll wrap my beard around me close and sleep some more. I will be nice and warm.