I apologize straight away for the appearance of the blog. I have much to share and just want to get on with it now that I finally have time and manageable thoughts. I would rather the text be to the left and the images to the right; but one of my most glaring and limiting shortcomings is my inability to understand computer language. Computers came into normal use just as I was finishing college and I was quite relieved. It is painfully clear to me that computer classes are in my future if I wish to really recover from mental illness and emotional injury. Trying to escape technology has been limiting and destructive to achieving a self-sufficient and full life. As in the case of a simple blog to share my struggle out of depression, based on anxiety from neglect, with a dash of trauma; my fears are front and center pointing out my obvious inabilities. I can CBT my way through my technological underachievements later; I want to share what I DID figure out and the SUCCESS of my day.
As an adult child of dysfunction, I have trouble with emotional regulation (by the end of this post I am undone and unable to leave to my apartment). I can have trouble with time management (I was ok today until I could’t understand something then I gave up on my plans and decided to just write it all out). I have no routine at home, and the smallest of problems can really stump me. Today my dried up laundry soap finally got my attention as well as bugs and white sticky goop on my favorite plant. I can’t have this. I have things to do!
For almost a year now I have been making my own laundry soap. I hate money literally going down the drain. I can’t afford high-priced laundry soap. I hate running out and not being able to wash until I get paid and buy more. This is a problem as I were uniforms for that paycheck. Life became easier and less expensive by making my own laundry soap http://www.thefamilyhomestead.com/laundrysoap.htm. Now another problem I have is maintaining normal things in life. I suspect maintenance and routine are challenges to other people who were never valued as people, who lives didn’t matter to those to whom they should have, and for those whose lives revolved around other people’s addictions, dysfunctions, and limitations. Basically I learned that; “You and your stuff doesn’t matter or at least mine matters way more.” If I am not focused, I still do this to myself. The poisonous pedagogy of self neglect keeps me trapped in co and counter dependencies with others just like me. I didn’t keep my soap covered and moist so it dried up! I did have the time today to boil and cool a half-gallon of water to add to my soap crystals to be able to whisk it to liquid again and do laundry. It is a small silly thing, but very indicative of my pattern of neglecting my basic needs. I was also fortunate to stop procrastinating when everyone was gone, as my building of 30 or so residents is sharing ONE washing machine.
Breaking it down, I am doing well with limited funds by making my own laundry soap. Score! I am doing well keeping products on hand to make it, rolls of quarters available, and I didn’t cheat and use ready-made when I found a problem. Score, score, score!
Two areas to improve on. One, don’t let it dry out RISKING not being able to liquefy it IN TIME to have clean uniforms. Two, don’t RISK that the ONE washer will be available on demand. I created unnecessary stress by my lack of attention to my soap. Small, but important to an overall pattern of inattention.
The next photos are a mix of pain and joy. My few plants have mealy bugs. These are tiny white bugs that make a white sticky mess on my green babies and can kill them. This is painful because I still hurt from the deaths of my cherished green babies as wrapped in the trauma of the last roommate situation providing the catalyst for the Crash of 2013. Anger nearly overwhelms me when my new plants are sick because I remember the old ones whose deaths I caused by moving in with that bitch who didn’t give a shit that I was trying to do something with my life. That couldn’t understand that breathing is not optional and that a person needs a roof over their head. It’s all my fault Oscar died and I miss him. I was irresponsible and it cost Oscar his life.
Yup. A little crazy, I know. I have learned that trauma is cumulative. That anything and everything can get associated with a traumatic event. Two and three-quarters of a year later, a small thing like white goo on my plant can send my thoughts racing back to a traumatic event that was part of an unfortunate situation, that endangered something deeply important to me, and did result in a loss, and the sensation of that loss can lay me out here and now. Amazing memories my body has.
I have learned that debilitating anger and or overwhelming anxiety is a huge danger when there is even the slightest trigger like dealing with goo on houseplant. I can get overwhelmed at having to deal with ANOTHER THING.
I now know that expectations get me into trouble. I can’t expect anyone other than someone trained in trauma to have a clue about my chaotic insides and my basic needs. No one knows that my needs were too overwhelming for my caretakers so they weren’t met and now even I can get overwhelmed by trying to meet them. Especially when I’m tired.
I know for sure that rewiring my brain is an ongoing process of finding problem areas, identifying what they truly are each layer at a time, decoding how these problems actually manifest sometimes changing with the layering, cooling myself off, re-coding a healthier response, recording all of this work, especially the thought process into the problem and the thought process for a better way, and hoping for healthier transmissions the next time. I generally do this for even the minutest problems I encounter on daily basis because it takes so much freaking practice. This post is essentially what I do all day, everyday, on as many problems as I can. I have noticed that many people don’t stick with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or even the steps of a 12 step program because it is so hard and time-consuming. I understand that, but for me at least, these two approaches work especially when combined and based on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs providing the motivations. In 2010 I had chemotherapy. I literally accepted poison pumped into my veins to kill cells that could continue to multiply and in so doing, over time, take my life. So far I am cancer free and the support and care from those around me keep me fighting the battle for good mental health. Co-dependency and addictions are also lethal dis-eases. Stick with me here.
You see, it is hard being me. Or anyone like me. It is exhausting to exist when most things around you are hard even for more able people. So, this morning, after a 16 hour workday yesterday, a 12 the day before, and three 12s prior to that, when ANYONE would be tired, (oh, and not my normal shifts either); dealing with sick plants was almost overwhelming. Another thing that stumps me is when one thing leads to another. Often one has to do one thing, to do another, then the next and the next and so on. This is hard for me when I am tired, my apartment is a mess, and I have too much to do in general. ADD or narcolepsy set in and I am toast.
To deal with too much in my head and being too tired I scaled way down. Like really way down. All I might do today is this plant, laundry, write, and go to group. Upon doing HALT, I found I was starving, so I made myself a good meal. My meals need to be high protein, low sugar, lower carbs and well-rounded. I am upset, so I need to eat well and not have food contribute to imbalance. I sat in the sun with a hot cup of tea after I ate.
After that, the anger at “the bitch” had subsided, the sorrow for Oscar was more to the truth, and gratitude for my current life and apartment flooded me. Sometimes other people fail me because they fail themselves. Other people suffer as I do and it is my own responsibility to manage my own life such that I can navigate the frailties of anyone’s humanness. Yes, very shocking things occurred and set me back a few decades, but now I know that I am that frail. Stay Safe. Remain in Gratitude for Today.
Oscar was like a pet that I loved and that passed away. I have other fur babies. I will have other green babies. I will take time out of this mad world to attend to the most basic things about myself. I am learning to care about what I care about. This is crucial to my recovery because no one can do it for me. Infact, someone might even tear down what I care about or impede me from caring about what I care about.
I care that I am safe. I decided to have a quiet day, not aim too high. The roommate thing brought up a lot of fear. I have learned to keep myself safe from harm from myself and others by consistently managing my money better. Enough money settles my fears about being mistreated or discounted ever again. I sat in abject amazement staring at the computer screen. I have a lot of money today. Not a lot to others, but a lot to me. There was plenty for this weeks bills and a good amount in savings. Much to my surprise and true happiness I found I was right on budget not just for the month, but for a two-week period. Right on target to the dollar for right now today. This is momentous for me. Even though my goopy plant triggered feelings of betrayal, being cast out, like I didn’t matter, or that I should be needless; sufficient funds to take care of big important needs helped me feel safe from others.
CBT time. Reality check. Markers of progress. I firmly believe that a major part of my recovery is tracking successes. Not just that I had a success, but HOW I GOT THERE. I also firmly believe that I have to feel in my gut, in my bones, in as close to the moment as possible, what GOOD FEELS LIKE. I have to be able to feel the difference between good, safe, comforting behaviors that I have going on now, and how icky things used to feel. It isn’t enough for me to know the difference, I have to feel the difference. This to me is positive reinforcement. Positive feelings beget positive feelings. I just noticed that I am less impulsive than I used to be. I am more confident in my ability to meet my own needs. I can wait for something to fit into the budget now because it feels good to get something the safe or right way. I feel less immediacy and more patient as long as I have my comfort items. It took me a long time to build up those positive comfort items so now I fight to keep them because they are symbols of safety by value for myself.
This time last year I was not making it to my next paycheck. I always ran out of money even for food, and gasoline. I faced my electricity being turned off and unbeknownst to me, my car insurance had been terminated. In the history of my current cell phone carrier, I rarely paid my bill on time due to the timing of the billing. I was in collections for the Cosmos only knows how much and my car was going to totally break down soon (it finally did in July). My notebook was going to crash (my laptop was long deceased) leaving me without IT at home. And, if anyone recalls, I posted that I had .23 on June 1st due to a vet bill for a pregnant chinchilla.
That very large (for me) sum of money and knowing that payday is almost here really grounded me. Usually this kind of comfort pushes me to do my ADLs or activities of daily life. I ran to the laundry room tossed my laundry into the dryer and sprinted back down. I would look up homemade recipes about how to kill mealy bugs, treat my plants, do dishes, shower, go to group, come home and get ready for tomorrow.
Yes, I made a soap based anti-bug spray http://homeguides.sfgate.com/soapy-spray-rid-mealybugs-plants-28835.html and I photographed the process and the plant I was treating and I downloaded the photos to WordPress and got them on the blog.
This is where things went awry. Then I had a brief meltdown over not understanding computers. Then I decided heck with it, I’ll do what I can, post, shower and go. I’d have to hurry and maybe be late and not stop for coffee or a shake (my normal thing). Then I realized I was super upset about the instructions on WordPress about image alignment or wrap or something around text or vice versa. Then I realized I could barely even read the words. It was like I was trying to read a different language than English.
Then I felt crazy.
Okay, my personal careplan for crazy is to not leave the house if AT ALL POSSIBLE. My thinking went something like this; “If I leave in this state, it’s a problem because I am hungry (again). God, I’m tired. I have to hurry. I now hate to rush. Crap, I don’t have time to stop anywhere along the way! I hate that!” In addition to protecting myself when I am in a fragile state, out of respect for others and my new dislike for being in a rush, I have taken to staying home if I am going to be late going somewhere.
Then the realization hit me that I would still be deeply upset at not even remotely understanding an explanation of something I should be able to do, written in my language, in my own home on something for fun. And finally, the likelihood to being sideways the ENTIRE TIME I was gone would be 100% Damn it! One brush with a crazy making task and I can feel that deep dark place. I feel suddenly crazy rattled, then helpless, then rage-full, then a threatened shut-down, then a shrieking tenacity, then a warning to walk away.
And now that it’s out, I must sleep. Anxiously.