That headache…

I woke up with a headache this morning. Not just any kind of headache, one that tells me a migraine is coming. It’s been a while since I’ve had one of those.

Sometimes when I have things to do, okay usually, I’ll take a couple of tablets and see if that’s enough to deal with it. That only works in the early stages. I searched and couldn’t find any headache tablets here, so rather than buy some I thought I’d follow it and see where it came from.

You see, migraines don’t threaten me for no reason, I know they’re usually stress related. It was a mystery to me, as I don’t really feel stressed. At least that’s what I told myself. I tried to spend the day listening to my thoughts.

Sure there was an email from my son last night before I went to sleep, a standard, anger filled missive. Anger sent back with love and polite reply sent. Job interview tomorrow. I’m okay with that. Trip to Queensland this week to swap cars and collect some warmer clothes, paperwork, etc. Mmmm, woolen socks. My toes can barely wait. Work on the weekend in Brisbane. That’s always fun. Enrollment for a course I want to do… but what if I enrol at that campus and can’t find work or somewhere to live nearby? Two tyres for my car… Has my car been serviced as promised by my father? Will he pressure me make reasonable requests for me to stay in Queensland longer? Will I be paid for work on the weekend?  Oh. I see. What if I can’t get back to Sydney?

It was interesting to watch the different reactions in my body to my thoughts. To feel the shoulders tighten, twitches here and there, the belly goes acidic, nausea kicks in, headache worsens. The last thoughts were enough to send the pain in my head skyrocketing. That was when the headache reached the point I had to vomit.

After that the headache came and went. Thankfully, it never reached migraine stage. I knew what was at the heart of it.

Every time I felt the pain returning I’d take a deep breath and remind myself that the fears are based on events from the past. I’m not that person who would have been pressured to stay anymore. The fears are groundless and have no place in the present. Worst case scenario… I won’t be paid on the weekend and I’ll need to borrow some money or wait a week. Even that’s not the end of the world.

Even though I do understand that the rest will take care of itself, the uncertainty of my situation is a little harder to shake completely. Work, study, home… the three will come together as they’re meant to. I know that, just wish I could really know it.

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Fear and learning from the past

Dodging the bullet from the pastThis post ended up being a pain in the neck to write. Seriously. The feelings I could deal with. Mmm, so nice to be able to say that. It was the tangents my mind wanted to run off on. Snipped and snipped sooo many times. Then I deleted the lot and started over. Then I deleted it all again.

I’d been hit with a fear about being on display the other night. Something seriously wrong with that fear… I’m not looking for a relationship! It would be a complication in my life and as long as I see it as a complication, I’m far from ready. This I know. So there’s no risk of it happening. Still I felt the fear that night. Sure I get that it’s connected to the memories and feelings from the time after my son’s father, still I dislike feeling I’m taking steps back and that’s what it felt like.

I thought I’d dealt with my feelings from that time. Understood what I did and forgave myself. Really all I did was give myself a good kick… you suck! and locked it all away. I didn’t understand why I ended up in that relationship. I didn’t understand why I didn’t walk away earlier.

When I met my son’s father I had two main problems. Well, I’m not sure if it can only be called two. My own self-worth was skewed, so I had few boundaries. I was a pleaser by nature. If something was wrong, then I was the one at fault. I was the one who had to change to fix it.  That is what I believed.

When we have boundaries, we’re accepting that we’re human, that we’re all human. We’re not pretending to be super strong, or super brave and at the other end of the spectrum we’re not pretending that everyone else has the answers.

We can take an attitude of looking for the good in everyone and when it all goes belly up, we blame ourselves, we ask ourselves… why did that happen to me? Or we accept human frailty. None of us are perfect. That’s not to say we look for problems, it means we have our own eyes open. If something isn’t right, or doesn’t feel right, we can take appropriate action. In the case of my son’s father, I could have walked away before the universe put my back against the wall to make me listen.

When we set boundaries I think we’re saying… this is our worth. We allow ourselves to know what is acceptable and what isn’t. Having boundaries isn’t enough, more importantly… we need to act on them.

My lack of boundaries back then meant I walked into a relationship that wasn’t right for me. I stayed in a relationship that was toxic to me. I then blamed myself for this relationship when we both acted as our own inner programming told us we should. And because I didn’t really understand why I did the things I did… I spent the next 20 years detaching and hiding from the world to avoid doing the same things again.

That is the heart of my fear from the other night… lack of boundaries. Will I fall into a bad relationship? Unlikely. Will I see it if it is bad? Possibly. The fear is gone now, or at least I’ve been wearing jewellery everyday since without being hit with that fear. I’ll put the experience down as something that floated up from the memories and feelings from the past. Even though it’s a valid concern, I’m not that woman anymore. And I am working on my boundaries.

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Image: Boaz Yiftach / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Instafriend! Just add smoke and mirrors

Ilo and I at the apple farmT, from the Deafening post, was a year older than me and the youngest child of an apple growing family. I think I was still 13 when we met.

My first horse had been a drought foal and it was suggested sending her out to grass for a year or two, so she could catch up on the growth she’d missed as a youngster. Somewhere with good feed, the vet said. In other words… no drought!

We sent her to a friend of a friend in apple country. While Canberra and the surrounding areas floundered in drought, Batlow and surrounds thrived, grass to the knees and green in every direction you looked. It was a stunning sight to someone who grew up in Canberra, which would turn green for just a few months of the year.

Okay, thinking back on the Shh… posts, I was in my drinking spiral from 13 to 14. I was pretty screwed up. For the month before we delivered Ilo to the apple farm, my mother would tell me over and over… she’s a good girl from a good family, behave while you’re there. Blah, Blah, Blah. Don’t cause trouble. Blah. Really, the only thing of importance that registered was that I was going to Hate Her.

We walked down the long drive and out the gate with Ilo. Two sets of parents watched T and I walk away. We swapped maybe half a dozen words on that walk. I found her… sullen. Oh Great. This was going to be fun. My own sullenness mirrored hers.

I turned and looked back as we passed out the gate and with not a parent in sight pulled out a cigarette and lit it. Oh yes, I thought, that look of shock on the snotty girl’s face as I lit up was worth every cross word I’d be getting for the next 6 months.

Then she said… Can I have a drag?

My subsequent look of shock must have mirrored hers.

We stood there staring at each other for a long moment as it dawned on us what had just happened. We both burst out laughing and were talking over each other as we told each other almost the exact same story of the last month! She’s a good girl from a good family! Both sets of parents were hoping for the same miracle from this friendship.

Damn fear! Stop driving!

Sometimes it just looks dangerous.It’s far to easy to let fear stop me from living, as in stepping out and extending myself into my life.

Sometimes it really looks like something bad will happen, but it doesn’t mean it will. PK in the photo didn’t fall off the tank, or fall into it and the fish was pretty oblivious to the danger he was in. It all worked out.

Looking back through my photos I wondered… can’t we all be like kittens at times? Oblivious to the dangers and giving something a go anyway? Trusting in life?

My last post was about my son and whether I should let go or not. Again. I did let go when I decided I wouldn’t be sucked into his girlfriend’s Vortex of Chaos anymore… and wouldn’t live with her.

You see, I could have decided… I’ll live with them anyway. I could have justified it in my mind… V needs the support, I can help settle things down. I could you know. I’d calm things down and they’d talk and all would be well again. But this isn’t what she wants. Hmm, I should say this isn’t what her illness wants. It wants chaos and for everyone to hurt as much as she does. I made the choice to step back and let go of her behaviour, to get on with my own life instead of getting stuck in hers. I chose a life without someone else’s Chaos.

Now my son wants to go to Sydney to be with her. The last three months should have shown them that they aren’t in any position emotionally to live together. She’s convinced him that things will be different… without me around. They will be different. My son will have no one to turn to, no one to listen to him when she’s in one of her fits. How will he cope? He’ll learn real quick or fall over even faster. That scares me.

Fear.

I always justify doing things because of fear. How much of this fear is genuinely about him and how much is about me grabbing onto a reason to not live my life. Telling myself that I need to help him live his. I need to live my life. He needs to live his life. It looks bad, real bad, but it doesn’t mean the worst will happen.

Letting go hurts. Trusting hurts. I feel like I’m running against the current of my life by letting go of that control. Yes, I have control issues. Not the kind where I need to control everything, but it’s more that I don’t want to be in control. I don’t want to be in the driving seat of my life. Fear’s been the one driving for most of my life. I’m working through my thoughts and feelings on control. Yes, there is a draft on it, which will show up one day.

My son needs to live his life and make his own choices. At times they’ll be the right choices, at times they’ll be mistakes. His path. His life. Still, it’s hard to do. As parents we’re not here to live our kids lives for them. We’re here to support them and let them live their own lives.

Trust.

… and time to let this subject drop for a while 😀

Crunch time?

Is the grass greener?J sent my son money to buy plane tickets. To go visit her in Sydney for 10 days. What The Fuck??!! I won’t ask you to excuse my language as that’s my honest reaction. WTF??!!

Am I totally missing something?  Did something change in the last few days since she got on the plane? Is she no longer the girl that had pushed him too far on the weekend? Has there been a miracle? No. There hasn’t. Nothing changed.

My son wants to be with a girl whose parting shot was… I want to burn this house down because everyone in it deserves to die!

Oh wait, I can’t really remember if that was before or after she called us all C*** Suckers and said she’d leave ‘gifts’ in the flat downstairs. Either way, she’s a fun girl to be around and my son wants to be with her. Yep, I must have missed the miracle memo.

I told him it’s too soon. I asked him what has changed in these few days? To think about being alone with her with no friends or family close by to support him. Totally isolated. Just her, her sister, brother and mother. All three make her angry almost daily. And he wants to be there for 10 days. Just the five of them.

I know I need to trust again. I know I do. He’s 18, I can’t stop him from going. I can tell him going this soon is a bad idea, but I can’t stop him going. Can I? I feel like it’s crunch time. I need to decide do I just let him go, or do I fight him going. Sigh.

She hates her family. She hates my son’s family. Notes she wrote on the weekend wished me dead for crying out loud. When she’s with my son she feels she has someone to stand with her against the world. Until the anger inside builds up and she takes it out on him. And he wants to be there. With her. With her anger. With her illness. Alone with her.

I have to let him walk his path, don’t I? And trust that it will all be okay and he’ll come back to the coast ready to live His life instead of Her life. The talk I’ve overheard is of this 10 days becoming permanent. I have to let go and believe everything will be alright. Don’t I?

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Image: anankkml / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

#reverb11 – Questions?

I joined #reverb10 last December thinking I might learn something about myself and that this knowledge would prepare me for the new year. What I learned was that I was pretty screwed up. Alright, I already knew that. Anyway, every day a writing prompt was given and I attempted to dig inside myself for answers. Not always so easy, but I had made the inner commitment to respond to each prompt and respond I did.

In the end the experience was a gift as it made me look inside and… talk about it. Sure I rebelled at times. I couldn’t answer some prompts and some… silence might have been a better choice. Even so, I entered 2011 wanting to continue looking within and writing about what I found. It was the key to unlocking my words.

In January there was a treat from the reverb10 team and I posted to a prompt they sent out on twitter asking whether we were focused on our word from the 1st December prompt. Oooo, a prompt??!! I was thrilled, even though it took me weeks to finally answer.

The other day a new treat arrived in the form of an email from the newly named #reverb11 team. They have asked…

One month into 2011, what question(s) are you living? Are there any prompts/questions that arose during #reverb10 that are still resonating in your life? Are you living new questions?

I’ve found that certain things I touched on back in December have been a focus so far this year. One has been fear. Why do I fear living? I don’t mean living as in breathing, but living, enjoying and stepping into life.

Although self-esteem, my view of my own worthiness to live, has a lot to do with this, certain kinds of situations have always brought a big dose of fear running through me.

The Shh… posts I did were a search for understanding why I isolated myself so much. Fear. It grew over the years and I would put myself into situations that would enforce the beliefs I had about life. Those situations justified my fear in my own mind. The posts showed me that fear ruled my life… and I would do what I could to avoid changing it.

Prior to writing this I went back and read all my reverb10 posts and the most interesting thing I found was that I didn’t really talk about the fear. I found it mentioned in the 11 things prompt. Let’s call it an almost avoidance, lol.

So, the main questions I’m living now is about getting rid of fear. How do I rid my life of this fear that has controlled me for so long? How do I take control again? How do I live my life? Understanding my past helps, but insight alone isn’t the answer. Action needs to follow insight. The initial steps have been taken, changes are being made to my life and the journey within continues.

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Image: renjith krishnan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Shh… Into isolation.

Continued from here. Finally! Let’s get this show done…

B changed our number and made it silent. Within a week she dragged me to the doctor for help. I was going manic depressive. My moods were swinging wildly. Sometimes hourly. I could barely sleep. When I slept I was having nightmares. The doctor put me on antidepressants and made a follow up appointment.

The antidepressants. They created what I can only describe as a bandaid effect over my emotions. I felt nothing. I slept 8 hours. Seriously, there was no waking me up before that 8 hours had gone. Follow up appointment the doctor asked how I was feeling… I feel fine.

This was a new doctor. My old doctor had moved to a new medical centre. This is all she ever asked at every appointment. How do you feel? I always answered… I feel fine.

For months things seemed okay. Except for the whole not feeling anything and the sleep of the dead thing going on. Then my moods began to show up again. I still had this ‘band of nothing’ over my emotions but I would go manic above it, or drop below it. There was no warning. I felt nothing. I was high as a kite and could climb every mountain. I felt nothing. The world had just fallen in. One night I tried to drive into oncoming traffic. Each high and drop would be higher or lower than the one before. B said something was wrong, but I was incapable of thought. I was almost incapable of anything.

Until. One night. I stood in the doorway of the bedroom my son and B’s daughter shared. They were both sleeping. The room smelled that wonderful smell young children have. I stood at the door and watched my son sleeping. His angelic face at rest. His little limbs stretched out in his cot. And felt nothing. I didn’t feel that surge of love that used to overcome me when I would watch him sleep. I noticed the absence of that love. B was right. Something was wrong.

We went to the doctor the following day. B did most of the talking. I was numb. A psychiatrist. We wanted a psychiatrist who could prescribe medication and oversee my state of mind. Someone who knew what to ask, what to watch for. An appointment was made. Appointment kept. New prescription. My condition levelled out and my depression eased. I wish now that I could have kept seeing him back then after my depression had come back under control. Yeah I know, if wishes were dollars and all that crap. I’m getting somewhere now. Better late than never.

We didn’t extend the lease on the house we were sharing. Besides having the neighbour from hell who I should write about one day, B had entered a new relationship and would live with him. I wanted to go back to my parents and rest. A few months later, the day before my birthday, I was offered a cute unit to rent through the government. In a suburb they had originally told me I would die before a unit would became available. Fate?

I signed the contract on my birthday. It felt like fate. V and I moved into what would become our new home for over 10 years. My number was silent. I didn’t change my address on the electoral roll. Family had strict instructions to NEVER give my phone number out. They could only take a message for me to call whoever back. This was what caused many of the conversations between my mother and S. He didn’t like not knowing where exactly we were. He didn’t like that I would call him back from a silent number. I had found my safe haven. I had gone into hiding. It was the beginning of my isolation.

Oh my. Finally! I so need to get a hang of doing short. I do understand what drove me into isolation. It was the fear that would take control of me each time S made contact. He would talk, trying to connect as we had originally. He would make suggestions… always reasonable suggestions. He would take a more direct approach… forcing me through guilt or similar emotions to do what he wanted me to do. I couldn’t do it anymore. The day I left him, when I saw all the ways he used to get me to do as he wanted… *shakes head* I couldn’t do it anymore. Later, every time he tried, it was like alarm bells going off in my head. I couldn’t explain it to myself. All I felt was fear. Fear that one day I wouldn’t say no to him. Really, I didn’t trust myself.

But. I wanted to be fair. I wanted him to have a relationship with his son. I wanted him to have the opportunity to be a father. To know this wonderful little boy that he helped create. I was always good at kidding myself. All I ended up doing was giving myself reasons to fear life.

At some stage I’ll write about my isolation, my attempts to come out and the effects these attempts had on me. But. Not yet. Little steps. Although putting all the Shh… posts out there… pretty big. Getting the words out. I’ve found a lot of the Shh… posts have been kind of dry. Facts as opposed to thought changing things to write. In other words I’ve yet to do the ‘inner’ work on myself about the fears I still carry. To integrate the experiences. I’ve also been thinking a lot about insight, understanding and what part it plays in healing. It plays a part, but isn’t the solution. Action and change needs to follow. So many things I want to say! One at a time.

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Image Credit: © Carlos Sanchez Pereyra | Dreamstime.com