I came across a new app developed in locally in New Zealand called Groov. It’s an extension from their parent app, Mentemia. It’s been helpful to keep me grounded. I’m going to see if I can try these activities that they recommended.
Serendipitous find on Instagram that I think has been very helpful at articulating thoughts and feelings that I would not be able to find words to describe for myself.
Would I ever see the end of my recovery journey? Or is this it? Is the mere existence of me still living, going on with life, taking things a day at a time, worth living? I’m so tired. I wish things would just be easier, without needing to drag myself out of the mud time and time again.
I have just re-engaged with therapy last week on Friday after taking a break from it to focus on psychological work with a clinical psychology for the past 11 weeks. I am still on a temporary schedule for the next three sessions while waiting for a more permanent slot when it comes up.
When I requested for a session with the therapist, I wasn’t in a good space. I could feel the depression descending and as it always does, it filled me with dread and hopelessness, that this is what the rest of my life is going to be like. I went to bed restless, with my mind, having a field trip of tormenting me. I did eventually fall asleep, albeit a restless one. Somehow, I managed through the next four days at work, with only moments of despair and dread. Only during therapy did I realise that I have fallen back into the habit of coping through numbing and busyness. I wouldn’t have realised this if I did not have a therapy session. Therapy was a good reminder that I need to be mindful to move towards switching to helpful coping styles when I am falling back to old habits of numbing, ambivalence and busyness.
On a good note though, I am starting to enjoy work much more. Anticipatory anxiety every night before bed time is still in the fore, making sleep quite restless. There is a lot of psychological preparation that I need to make to calm myself down and not go into a panic every time I need to facilitate a group. I am not sure when this is going to be less prominent, but, I am hopeful that with time, and lots of practice with grounding skills, it will get easier.
For as long as I can remember, I have always felt sadness. This feeling of sadness is like a fog that transcends and envelops me, like a thin veil, always there, always looming, waiting to swallow me whole. Growing up, I was a tenacious kid, curious, playful, always longing for my mother’s attention and love, but never quite getting enough of it. Play with my neighbourhood friends and books, were my way of escaping the sexual abuse that was disguised as play time by my brother, and the emotional and physical abuse that I endured from my mother, every time I pushed the limits of my curfew, so that I could stay out playing with my friends, just a little bit longer. Despite knowing that I would be punished for staying out too late and breaking my curfew, I continued to stay out late because the joy and freedom I felt, for being a child, savouring each play time as though it would be my last. It was bliss before the storm – the pain endured after was worth this playful freedom.
In my teens, play time naturally ceased as my mother’s academic expectations of me skyrocketed. There was no time for play. My mother was relentless in keeping me on a strict study schedule around the house chores that was expected of me. Also, sexuality was confusing for me as a teen. Sex was to me, a form of brotherly sisterly love, and this was all I knew. I felt his love being stripped away when my brother suddenly stopped ‘playing’ with me. As my girl friends in school talked about boys with such fervour, I on the other hand, did not shared those proclivities, and because of this, I was quite the outlier that way. Books then were still my best escape from this sadness that I don’t quite understand and when I read, I felt free to explore the worlds that are so eloquently described. I devoured any book that I can get my hands on, be it in the school or public libraries or books that I rented out with food money that I saved. I hardly bought books fresh from the shelves as I never had enough money to do so. Nourishing my mind and soul with words were more important than feeding hunger. Sadness became more pronounced as I tried to numb myself from the gnawing loneliness that I felt and frequent masturbation became a substitute for the lost of brotherly ‘love’, to fill the void inside me.
When I turned 17, I flung myself into my first romantic relationship with a boy that showed me interest because I wanted to drown away the sexual attraction I had for my best friend in school, who is a girl. I wanted to cure my ‘homosexual tendencies’, per say and this boy was my get away ticket. I clung to his love like my dear life depended on it. The relationship lasted 7 years and finally, he could no longer love me, as I have put all my hopes and desires to be loved onto him and did not notice that I was suffocating him with my neediness and my need to squeeze every drop of love from him to substitute the lack of love that I never got from my parents. When our relationship ended, a part of me died with it as I was convinced that I was and never will be loveable and the sadness became all consuming.
In my twenties, I cling to any affection that I can get from anyone that showed me any flicker of romantic interest. I was open to dating any guy that wanted to date me and I would be sexual with them, if that is what it takes to feel wanted and loved. Ironically, it only left me empty and when it is all over, feeling of shame and guilt would wash over me. Paradoxically, I continued to plunge myself into these relationships, knowing fully that it would only end up hurting me even more. It was like an itch that needed scratching.
Being in my early forties now, I am just in the beginning of my journey to lick the wounds of the past. I am only just beginning to put the pieces together and make sense of my life that has passed me in a blur. It is hard not to grief the lost of time and what could have been. This sadness that resides deep inside me will always be my most loyal companion. This sadness pops it ugly head with each day that I take, totally out of my control. Because of this, I let myself ride its wave. Somehow, there is a morbid sense of relief that I know, the option of suicide is possible, it is something within my control, that I can bear to continue living in this sadness, just knowing that I have that option.
Since being back at work full time in Dec of 2019, I have not been able to sit and write as much as I would like to. There is so much going on that I’ve had to prioritize my mental capacity to focusing on getting through work and juggling part time study as well. At times I am aware that I keep myself so busy because “being busy” has been my go-to coping mechanism. I have taken some time off work early April by working lesser hours. It does help take some of the pressure off. Ideally, I would like to just stop working and just focus on being a student and on my recovery. It’s a luxury that I can’t afford at the moment with credit card debt to pay off (I’ve written about this in my earlier blog post).
I’ll try to write more because it helps. Till the next time. Thank you for staying tuned.
“Maybe buying this new iPhone would make me happy!”
I am sure I am not the only person that has ever uttered this rationale to themselves, whenever they feel the need to perk themselves up with a new gadget, a new car, a new bike, a new laptop, a new anything. But, I am not going to write about everyone else. I am going to write about my inability to control these impulse purchases, whenever I feel depressed, and I never seem to learn from the credit card debt that I get myself into, over and over and over again.
It is a compulsion. It is like I am compelled to purchase stuff because I feel it is justified. So I could compensate from all the stuff that I ever wanted, from the ‘deprivation’ of getting things that parents would buy for their children when I was growing up. There were things I coveted growing up, mostly, toys and books. Lego sets, game consoles, a Gameboy, a Nintendo, action figurines, a telescope, Enid Blyton’s books… Books! Not even books! I never could understand why my parents would not get me books. Till this day, I still cannot make sense of why would any parent not buy their child books when they ask for them from time to time.
I am in my third credit card debt situation. Fortunately, the amount is not as bad as the previous two times. I have been avoiding this debt since my concussion Dec 2019. Being off work in the early months of the concussion, caused a reduction of money I made each month. As the months passed, my could only work part time as the recovery took a long time. Then, when I finally could go back to work full time, a major depressive episode knocked me down again and I could not function. I have been off work for so many weeks now, that I have lost any sense of time.
I am going back to work tomorrow. I am not ready. But, it is the right thing to do. Today, I was reminded of my credit card debt. It did not feel good when someone reminds you of your incompetence with managing expenses. There is only so much you can hide from yourself before someone points it out to you. However, it does not mean this reminder did not hurt. I am struggling to crawl out of this self-loathing, it’s just pathetic. “One step at a time, one day at a time”… I tell myself. But, really?? Am I really taking one step at a time? If I am, it does not feel so. I feel stuck, stagnant, surrounded by muck and mud.