The Therapist

My new doctor hooked me up immediately with the local mental health practitioner. I’m so grateful.

I get the vibe she isn’t meant to be a long term counselor. She travels up from another town to help people closer to my area. She recommends many of the programs and things available I should take advantage of. They are even further than getting to her but I am making a true effort to take her advice.

In the meantime? She has met with me more than once. She encouraged me by saying I am making more progress than I am giving myself credit for. And she told me to make another appointment.

Toby reminds me of my favorite counselor back in Winnipeg. I have difficulty connecting enough to be truly open but Toby makes me comfortable. I didn’t quite accomplish the things she asked me to attempt, but I made a real effort. Today I am checking out the programs she told me about.

I was anxious about returning to a session without completing tasks. But she made me feel like I had other realizations and accomplishments that were equally worthy. She set me on the path to keep trying. I told her about my current situations that were causing stress or anxiety, and how I am coping. She gave me a sense that I am on the right path.

She gave me her email address (which isn’t on her usual business card) and told me I can connect with her there any time because phone calls are difficult for me.

I haven’t had ‘counselor’ care in so long. This feels like such relief. Even when she has to move me on to someone permanent? I trust her to help me find someone who can really help me.

 

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Coping With Late Night Anxiety

The coming day is going to be a high anxiety day for me.

My social anxiety is at an all time high right now in my life. I’m grateful to finally have a doctor and other support in place. I was able to talk to my therapist yesterday about how anxious I am about today.

I have two different situations where I will need to tell strangers personal things about my life.

First is going to a place called the SOS. It’s a secondhand store. I actually love the store when I am going to shop. The money raised there goes directly back into the community for so many programs.

One of those programs provides free rides to and from medical appointments for people who don’t drive. That would be me. So I need to go in and fill out a form and tell them about my financial and medical situation. I know this will help me. It’s really the only guaranteed way I can make it to all my appointments. I will have a lot of those now that I am back under doctor care.

Another program helps people of a certain financial disadvantage. I meet the requirements. They top up use of the food bank with grocery store vouchers for the local store of your choice so you can get fresh food. It’s not as often as the food bank but my therapist suggested when I sign up for the ride program I should  ask about this one as well.

One last program I am going to check out? Smart Recovery. The ‘no higher power’ AA. At least that is what she described it as. Meetings are too far away for me to attend and quitting isn’t on my radar at the moment. But cutting back is and Toby (my therapist) suggested they might have some ideas how I can cut back. She also suggested it would be a good place to make other friends. Who don’t have alcohol at every situation. We’ll see about it. But I will check it out.

That’s a lot of talking to strangers about very personal issues today! And if that isn’t enough?

My ex has an appointment at the same place today. He has a ride ready. We have final things to take care of in our separation such as getting him off the bank account and repaying him some money I owe. The bank account part requires us to go together to the bank and sign paperwork, etc.

He graciously offered that today would be a good day to take care of it because he has a ride to SOS and we could stop at the bank. I really want this all done so I accepted.

But now I have anxiety. Because I am facing all of that talking to strangers while having to spend a couple hours with my ex (that is how long it is between drive and appointments). And I am grateful we have a ride as well, but it’s not from someone I will be comfortable around. They’ve never wronged me or vice versa but it’s a tense situation nonetheless.

I can’t sleep right now because the intensity of anxiety is keeping me awake. It will leave me tired today but maybe that will work to my advantage!

I’m hoping that will help me get in the car, put on my headphones and doze for the driving part. If I get done at SOS before my ex does? I plan some secondhand store shop therapy! The bank will be on the way home and just a relief to have that taken care of. Then more dozing until I get dropped off.

My day begins five hours from now and I feel the anxiety building. My plan to get through it until I get picked up? 1. Writing. I have a couple more things I think I can spill about. 2. Self care. Beyond just a shower I want to make sure I look fantastic if I am going to be in public with this level of anxiety. 3. Music. I have it playing right now and will let it keep on 🙂 4. An elaborate breakfast. I could make avocado asparagus with back bacon and eggs on a toasted english muffin. I I even have an aged cheddar I could melt over the top. It would take time but, hey, it’s time I’m focusing on a healthy breakfast instead of my coming day.

Those are my current anxiety coping mechanisms based on the situation.

Learning My Trailer

I found motivation the other day! It snuck on me slowly over the course of a week. Some of it was forced.Some of if it was out of boredom. Then it flowed because it was about my home.

First, I really know nothing about owning an RV. Every new issue is a new challenge. I kept that in mind when I decided to buy it, but sometimes those new exciting challenges come when you least expect and can’t afford.

My toilet had a plugged up issue. I’m super careful about what I put down it. I’m not that naive about my living situation. I also empty the septic regularly. So the plug was a surprise. I sought some advice and was told if I filled my grey water tank (which normally runs straight into where my septic drains) then drain the black and grey at the same time? The suction should help pull anything in my black water tank loose and drain it. Sounded reasonable to me.

I closed my grey tank and ran my kitchen tap to fill it. I decided to walk up and check my garden in the meantime (I was told filling it would take a couple hours).  When I returned in 45 minutes? My tub was overflowing. I shut off the kitchen tap but when I went to find the pliers so I could open the grey tank (it’s handle is broken, thus why it remains open)? I had neglected to remember my ex had them. He told me he would bring them but, well, that’s my memory.

Regardless, tub overflowing, I rushed around to find a neighbour with pliers. None to be found, I got creative and used the end of my hammer like I was pulling a nail. It worked. I pulled the black tank at the same time. I used something to give it a poke at the same time as flushing and voila! Plug resolved and tub drained.

Holy hell! That was a lot of forced everything for me. Learning about how to deal with a plug. Interactions with neighbours to ask for a favour (even though no one could help). Eventually finding my own solution and resolving it!

So with that under my belt I had my next bought of forced motivation by having to finally clean my disgusting bathroom floor I have been avoiding forever. Overflow had to go!

Being that close to my toilet prompted it getting cleaned as well. Tub? Overflowing from the sewer? Yea, that got cleaned before I’d be able to set foot in it again.

All of that? Inspired me to keep going a bit. So I did some major cleaning in my trailer! There was a smell in one closet I could never place and the floor just looked awful (I just kept anything off it except a little tool box). I sucked it up and went in.

I was smart enough to figure out the source of the problem. There is a box in the closet that surrounds where the propane goes outside. The cold moisture in the winter makes condensation build up and mildew builds up and it smelled. funky.

Additionally, something in the little tool box drained out on the floor. I took the tool box out and cleaned the floor. Sprayed it with bleach and water. Wiped it and sprayed it again lightly before letting it dry in the air while keeping Sami out!

Long term solution? I need to insulate that small part around the box. There is no moisture getting in anywhere else.

So, two small issues. But I learned things about an RV and how to deal with those issues. They were forced learning when I didn’t want it ,but in the end, my home is a better place and I am more knowledgeable!

Days Of Darkness

Darkness. Depression. Despair. Despondence.

Call it what you want. When it goes on for days that turn into weeks, you begin to feel hopeless. Hopelessness turns to helplessness and you spiral down.

That’s where I am right now. Down. I’ve been in hiding. My attempts to venture out have been met with my own anxiety and have driven me back to hiding in my trailer. The avoidance of things, lack of motivation and general lethargy have left me in a deep sadness. Crying on my couch for days at a time. My sign out letting everyone know to stay away. Lack of eating and self care.

I wish that being able to see all of this happening to me could help me change it. I try. I leave my place for moments only to come back in tears because I can’t handle even simple hello’s from others.

It makes me feel stupid  Trying to go out and do things, but failing, makes me feel even more helpless and want to hide more. So I stop forcing myself, don’t do anything, and then feel like even more of a failure for not trying.

BUT? I made it to my appointment with the mental health practitioner the other day. It was my first appointment with her. She gave me two tasks and a next appointment. I haven’t completed the tasks but they are easy enough that I can do them before I see her again.

She gave me information for resources that I know will help but I haven’t called yet. Phone calls are hard for me. Anxiety makes me feel like as soon as the other end says “hello” I am entering conflict. Even if that isn’t true. I often hang up, cry a bit and try to call again.

I haven’t made any progress since speaking with her. Just making it to that appointment felt like progress this week. Epic fail on the progress. More like regress with a ‘still can DO’ attitude that isn’t even warranted.

So that is where I am at. In a very dark place. Really trying hard to see light. I know it will come. I know it always does. But right now it is very very dark.

Glamour!

Yes, I live in a campground. Some people might think that is a level below trailer park. To me? It’s a quirky combination of living and camping. I’m told there is a word for it.

Glamping.

Glamour Camping.

So I choose to consider my life?  GLAMOUR!

Are you kidding? I live on the edge of the forest (with a built in community trail in my back yard to hike said forest). I live at the foot of mountains. I see them at every turn. I am seconds from the ocean. I can be there in minutes to have the calm waves wash my soul.

So I’m thinking I have all the GLAMOUR I can handle. I live in paradise. Others strive their entire life for the existence I stumbled into. My life is the most glamorous experience I could hope for!

 

Gay Pride

June is the traditional Pride month for all gays worldwide.Today is the Pride Day in Winnipeg. My hometown. Where I lived my first gay prides.

Here is my shout out to PRIDE!

Winnipeg is where I was raised. It’s where I was taught everything about me is evil.

The bar where I live has all kinds of calendars, from other establishments and whatever, hanging all over. It’s a redneck biker bar so those calendars are a lesbians dream.

It’s Pride Month so I made the comment i should bring my Picky N Gloria calendar to put in the ladies room for June. That didn’t go over so great.

But TWO men cornered me outside as I was leaving. To tell me of people they know in the community. One has a son who is gay. The other has a stepchild who is trans and going from Elizabeth ‘Beth’ to Eli!

I’m proud my casual commentary helped two men share with me they don’t know exactly how to be supportive but are glad people out there are! THAT is what Gay Pride used to be about. Overcoming stereotypes and adversity.

Today, I am proud!

Losing A Sister

When I met my sister-friend we connected instantly, unusual for both of us.

In the social situation we were thrust into? We were both uncomfortable. We bonded over our own social anxiety as we hid out in my tent drinking whiskey.Turns out we came from very similar religious backgrounds as well. We even had the same school program,  A.C.E.

In several crisis moments of my life she has been there for me. Tangibly! Not that fluffy ‘I’m thinking of you’ kind of being there. Allowing me to stay in her home whenever I was in her city for as long as needed. Or helping me financially in emergencies. She’s not a letter writer but made the effort for me.

However, lately? She’s been silent. It was a month or more of silence before is asked if things were okay with us. She told me yes but she was going through her own things. I accepted that. I still tried to interact with her online by commenting on the things she was posting about what she was doing, etc.

It seemed she reacted and responded to everyone but me.

Yesterday I called her on it because it has been hurting me. That was hard to do.

It was over a month ago I asked if we were ok. I know that you are going through your own things. I see it, because I react to it online. I like your info. I react to it. I comment

Even since I mentioned this a month ago? You have not participated in my life online. Not even to like one thing I’ve posted. Not to even read one blog.

So? I’m unfriending you. I’m sorry. But I need to have people in my life who participate in it. I’ve liked and commented on your stuff. When you and your ex split? I checked in. I asked how you were, often.

You haven’t. Not once. And you have your own issues so? You won’t.

I need more than that. I think of you as my sister and I am feeling abandoned. And I can’t deal with it at the same time as losing my marriage.

I love you. And I hope your dog gets better and your snakes are healthy and that you find peace in your own situation.

But I need to let go of people I thought I could depend on emotionally but just… can’t. For their reasons or mine.

I love you. I hope things go great for you always!

Her reply was so heart breakingly honest.

I do have shit going on, and I’ve pulled away from almost everyone. I’ve tried to respond to those who reached out to me, and you’re not the first friend who’s told me to pull my pants up. So I understand.
And I’m really sorry that I went into such a dark place right when you needed me. I am only just now beginning to come out of it, I think… I hope.
Then again, I have thought so before. I guess I’ve just been unable to cope with anybody’s pain including my own, so I’ve avoided it entirely. I don’t mean to make excuses or look for sympathy, I just hope I can explain enough for you to know it was nothing you did.
And I completely get why that would feel like abandonment from where you’re standing, so I have no hard feelings towards your decision. I really am sorry for bailing.
I love you too. I wish the best for you too. And I know it’s better if people aren’t depending on me. I have been completely unreliable and selfish, and I know my actions have consequences, and you have to look out for you!
I’ll never think of you as anything other than wonderful. Take care Shaunda. May we meet again… and may we both find better health.

I let go of a few people recently. People I was giving so much emotion to that weren’t giving it back. It’s been draining me. So I let them go. This one was the most difficult.

No More Sitting

Okay, I’ve been sitting and dwelling on things that aren’t healthy, doing nothing but being morose on my couch, for about three weeks now. There have been brief moments of motivation but mostly I am drawn back to the couch and just sitting. Enough is enough!

Today I made some conscious decisions that will help!

I cancelled my Netflix. Just for one month until I am not using it as a crutch. If I really want to see something I can find almost anything on YouTube. But I’m less inclined to do that. I know this about myself. I use YouTube as a music device, mostly. My playlists are there and they are what I have chosen for my entertainment.

I’ve decided to go with less help in my yard and start doing it myself. It will be a challenge at first because I am OUT OF SHAPE! But I was very out of shape when I left Winnipeg for Alberta. And I spent months clearing trails in the bush by hand!

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I’m capable of doing my yardwork. I’ve been using my health as an excuse. And to a degree it is. But not the degree I can’t do things, just that I need to take it at a very slow pace. All I have is time. I can take all the breaks I need. I also have help for things I need help with!

So starting this afternoon? I am borrowing the necessary tools to start clearing my own yard! I want to hang my hammock this week and the area needs to be cleared. I also want to clear  the area I am planning to put my potted, shade hardy plants.

Getting rid of Netflix as encouragement to get off the couch was smart. I put my music on and danced to it for the first time in a while. The sunshine is calling and I think I’m back on the path to healthier choices.