A Big “Fuck You” Kind Of Day

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It’s a beautiful day.

The sun is shining, the breeze keeps it cool enough to wear pants, all the animals are curled up and snoozing, and I have a large break from university.

I just want to scream at the world and hit inanimate objects and swear at the sky and flip off the butterflies.

They’ve done nothing to offend me, I’m just having a big “fuck you” kind of day.

It’s one of those days where I feel itchy inside my own skin, as though it’s wrong.  It’s one of those days where my elbow aches and my stomach won’t unclench and I have a permanent unimpressed bitchface going on.

I’ve done some woosah.  I’ve listened to my relaxing music and done my best to let it sweep me away.  I’ve done some stretches to ease my sore muscles.  I’ve stretched my back.  My last port of call is going to be a few minutes out in the sun.

Even though I’m doing all of these things, and they’re not quite working enough, I’m not fighting the feeling of almost manic anxiety and frustration.  Not fighting it takes conscious thought and effort, because we naturally want to push away the bad feelings and not feel them.  Unfortunately, that makes the bad feelings worse, because fighting them is also a negative feeling.

So when I’m having one of these days and I notice myself getting pent up trying to fight off the bad feelings, I take a big deep breath and relax my stomach as I exhale.  I take another deep breath and relax my stomach further, then work on my shoulders, my neck, and lastly my face.  I make ridiculous faces as I stretch out my muscles from their scrowl and reset my eyebrows, the muscles around my eyes (which always pinch when I’m stressed), my mouth and my chin.

And I just do this every time I notice I get pent up, which is every few minutes.

It’s interesting how much of an impact your facial features have on your mentality.  Or the way your body is, how clenched your stomach is, how tight your hips are.

Mental state is tied intrinsically with body state.  They influence one another, and a change in one produces a change in the other.  So it stands to reason that in order to relax the mind, one must also relax the body.

There are many methods of relaxing the body.  I find using music helps, as it gives me an external thing to focus on while I work my way through my muscle groups.  I also find lying in the sun helps, as the sun warms tight muscles and helps them relax.

It’s difficult to not go boneless like a cat in the sun!

 

Photo by W A T A R I on Unsplash

The Power of Music

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I’ve been having a bit of a crappy weekend.  Things went, but things never quite went well.  I was tired, technology wasn’t working, there’s too much clutter in the house that I just don’t have the energy or motivation to sort out, and I’m feeling a bit sulky because I feel like I’m the only one who does the dishes.  Which is partly true, and something I’m slowly working on.

I’m supporting a friend through a particularly rough period involving a narcissistic friend, and it’s bringing a lot to the surface because of how we’ve both been abused.

I mistakenly watched “Abducted in Plain Sight” and watched a narcissistic psychopath paedophile seduce the mother, sexually abuse the father, and then horrifically sexually abuse the daughter, all the while abusing and manipulating everyone.

I think my amazing human is a wee bit depressed – he’s holing up a bit.

Then It messaged me.  I just about backflipped.  I was not in a headspace to interact with It at all.  I could feel myself beginning to escalate into an anxiety attack.

I decided I didn’t have time for that and went straight to Youtube where, bless their algorithms, they had We’re All We Need by Above and Beyond on my front page.  After the first 20 seconds of letting the music flow over me, I was in a wonderful state of relaxation (okay, there is probably also a lot of emotional repression going on) and able to manage the less than pleasant interaction.

I’m still a bit antsy, it’s one of those days, but I’m a lot more relaxed than I was.

Processing Trauma In Dreams

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Dreams have long been touted as insights into your deep psyche, with a myriad of sites and experts claiming they can interpret your dreams and tell you … well, what you’re thinking, how your life is panning, and possibly even your future.

And it’s not all bollocks.

I’ll often find myself dreaming of spiders when I’m overly stressed.  Or that my car’s brakes don’t fully work – they sometimes slow the car down but never quite stop it, and sometimes they just don’t work at all – when I’m feeling like life has swept me up and I can’t slow down.

Last night I had a series of dreams.  There were five distinct ones.

In the first, I was loved and cherished, and I improved people’s lives by going full aspie on a water spirit who had people in its thrall (it’s not like there was a negative impact on them, just that they’d waste a lot of time in its thrall splashing around in its waters because it wanted the company).  It was so flattered that I was taking an unreasonably intense interest in what it was doing and what it was that it stopped the thrall and we sat and talked for hours and it realised it liked conversation more than splashy company.

The second one involved a frisbee, a stolen prototype helicopter, monster robots and a toy world warehouse.  There was a lot of screaming from me, and a lot of very creative piloting (of the suddenly small enough to fit between toy boxes and through open-backed shelving helicopter).

The third involved bears.  I couldn’t get the door shut and locked, and there were bears.  I finally got the door shut and locked properly (it required a huge shove and a perfectly timed key turn), then ran around making sure all the windows and doors were locked and the blinds were pulled so they couldn’t see in.  This was actually related to a conversation about Alaska and Canada and the bears and the fact that I won’t be able to go tramping out there without a big fuckoff gun because bears.

The fourth and fifth … well I’m not entirely sure which order they came in.  One involved It.  I’m starting to realise that a lot of Its behaviour, especially around sex, was abusive.  In this dream I told It he could take his blue balls and wank off, I wasn’t responsible for it.

The other … the other I’ve just realised is me speaking back about my sexual abuse to my abuser.  It and Thing (as that person will now be known) are two different people.  Very similar people, but definitely two different ones.  They were, in fact, best friends.  They suited each other well.  Both were self absorbed, showed little empathy for others, and were largely sexist.  They joked, they said they were joking, but their actions always said otherwise.

Mind you, I never realised this until this year.

So this part of my dream.  This final, crucial part of my dream.  I was at work.  I wasn’t at my current work, I was somewhere else … not entirely sure where, but I was in an office and I was working.  There was a loud male colleague over the other way, a real jokester, and he’d leer at me.  I got up to do some work at one of the benches.  He got up and came past and stood behind me as he reached for the printing next to me and ground his crotch against me.

This is what Thing did.  At parties we had at our house, he would get drunk and then pester me to give me a massage because he “gives great massages” and later because I “loved his massages”.  I’d already been conditioned by It to agree, to do what I was asked to do, to do what I was told and to not make a scene.  I’d inevitably agree.  We’d then go to the room I shared with It, I would lie face down on the bed, he’d insist I take my top off and try to convince me to take my bra off (that one never worked), and he’d give me a massage.  The first few were actually really great massages.  It was only later that he started to press his erection (in pants) against my ass and rub while giving me a massage.  I would wait a few minutes (so as not to be rude, how laughable) and then say ‘that’s great, thanks Thing’, and I’d put my top back on and we’d go.  Much later, he’d grab me by the waist during parties and sit me on his lap and grind his erection against my ass.  I’d escape pretty quickly then.

He breathed heavily.  I still panic when there is a male heavy breather around.

So back to the dream.  This ‘colleague’ ground his crotch against my arse and then sauntered back to his desk with his printing.  I was furious.  I held the end of the bench, then I went and sat down, and then I thought, no, I’m going to tell him that what he did was inappropriate and if he did anything similar again I would report him for sexual assault and pursue him to the full extent of the law.

So I did.  I got up and I went over there and I leaned on his desk and he smirked.  I told him that what he did was unacceptable and if he did anything similar, I would report him for sexual assault to HR, and then I would file charges against him.  And he started laughing and making light of it and started turning his chair away from me to laugh with his other colleagues and make a big joke of it.  So I grabbed the back of his chair and spun him around to face me fully, and told him in a much louder voice (which always carries in an open plan office) that he did not get to laugh this off, or make light of it.  That grinding his dick against my arse was sexual assault, and I would pursue him to the fullest extent of the law, and I would make sure he was locked up.  That what he did was serious and absolutely inappropriate to do to anyone.

His little beady eyes glared up at me as I woke up after delivering my grand and impassioned speech.

It’s been on my mind all day.  I’ve been turning it over and over again, trying to understand what it was.  It was only this evening that I realised that dream was me confronting Thing and not allowing him to dismiss his actions, to dismiss his impact on me, to minimise what he did or make light of it.

Once It is no longer a part of my life and I am fully in the clear of It, I will no longer have to pretend to like Thing should I ever see him again at mutual friend functions.  I will be able let mutual friends know that Thing and It have traumatised me and abused me – probably not the details, but I can let them know in no uncertain terms that these two creatures have seriously harmed me.  I won’t have to pretend.  About any of it.

The Abuser Returns

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I am quite fortunate in that my abuser now lives in a completely different country.  This means I don’t have to worry about It (I’ve decided to call my abuser It from here-on-in) ‘being in the area’.  I don’t have to worry about It bumping into any of my friends in our city of birth.  I don’t have to worry about bumping into It when I’m in the city, either.  This keeps my stress levels relatively low.  I can have my own life, and feed It very select bits of my life.

It’s going to be in the country.  It’s returning for a brief period of time.  Even though It will be half a country away, I’m in a state of dissociated panic.  I am under no illusions that It can find where I live with only a cursory look, were It so minded, and I am not so far away that It could not “visit”, despite It only being in the country for a few days.

I am really hoping Its narcissistic arrogance, and the fact that in order to find my address, It would have to access a website that has more negative implications for It than for me, will prevent It from looking me up.

I do not want It coming near me or the life I’ve made for myself.  I still have to ‘make nice’ with It, and I don’t think I could face-to-face.  I think I would just start screaming, and I’m pretty sure that’s not considered a ‘suitable greeting’ for someone you are supposedly ‘amicable’ with.  I had nightmares last night about It.  For the first time in months It was in my dreams again, tormenting me.

I will need to be very careful to get a lot of sleep over the next week or so, and do nice things that involve staying inside and basically hiding.  Whenever I’m outside I’m going to be on extreme high-alert for It, so distraction is going to be key to surviving the coming week.

Settled In Fluoxetine

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I’ve been on fluoxetine (prozac) for about 6 weeks now (maybe 7).

The first week was amazing and weird – I felt like I was high all the time, and I fell asleep less than an hour after I took it.  I decided to take the fluoxetine at night so that I could sleep through the worst of the side effects, if there were any, and it seemed to put me to sleep really quick.  It was a good choice for me.  That first week I felt what it was like to have no anxiety or depression, and it was incredible.

The second week was okay.  I had a clear mind, I was more awake and alert, and overall I had more energy.  I just didn’t want to do anything, and that was fine.

The third week was pretty shit.  I had all that clear mind and awake and alert and a shitty brain.  My thoughts were very negative and anxious and I couldn’t shake the mood.  It didn’t impact my body the same way it normally does, though, I didn’t feel completely exhausted and wiped out.  I still wanted to be an amorphous blob, but I at least had the energy to do what I needed to do.

I did discover, part way through the second week, that my sleeping patterns were turning to crap and I wasn’t getting solid sleep (thanks Sleep Cycle), and I was tired.  I wasn’t achingly tired, but I was wired and tired.

Fourth week I realised I was getting back to me, the sassy little sasspot I used to be before I was wrapped up in narcissists.  I was no longer desperate to please people and to be non confrontational.  One of the people at work said something passingly racist about one of the people I work for, and instead of doing my usual pinchy-smile and feel uncomfortable, my first reaction was anger, and I let it show.  I couldn’t vocalise it, but I could at least show it in my face.  This was a huge moment for me, because I hadn’t done this in almost a decade.  I have been conditioned and abused hard to just not.  People please.  Make no waves.  Submit.

It was at the start of week five that I switched my fluoxetine to morning – I did a 6 hour step each day for two days to shift my medication taking the full 12 hours.  My sleeping patterns began to improve, although they are still not quite back to my usual solid sleeping.

Fifth and sixth weeks have been good.  Really good.  I’m much happier, I’m much sassier, I’m much more honest with myself and others about my needs.  I am more able to say ‘I just need to check out a bit’ when I’m in a situation that is overstimulating.  I am more able to say ‘no’ to people and situations that are not good for me.

I still have anxiety.  I still have depression.  I still have PTSD and panic attacks and meltdowns, but they’re more manageable.  I have enough headspace to take action to make my severely anxious days … less shit.  The depression doesn’t suck the life out of me.

And I will say this:  I wish I had been on prozac a decade ago.  

If you are thinking about medication, talk to your physician about it.  Organise your life so you have absolute minimal to-do for the first couple of weeks.  Go to absolute bare minimum, and let people around you know what’s happening so they can check on you.  And then take the plunge.  You may need to try a few different ones – everyone is unique, and every drug affects people in different ways.  Talk to people about your side effects, any quirks you’re having, and take their input on board, and give your physician honest feedback.  Don’t be afraid to say, after 3 weeks, ‘this isn’t quite working for me, can we please try something else’.

You are worth enjoying your life.