That doesn’t happen very often. We had a fantastically grumpy early day. Then from dinner on the day was gleeful and awesome. A friend came over to dinner. He is a balloon twisting artist. I don’t know when the girls and I have laughed so hard or so much. It was ridiculously fun.
He made mermaids and aliens and a heart scepter and a whole bunch of swords so we could have a (non-ouchy) battle and a bow and arrows and a spear and a few other things.
It was so fun. We laughed hysterically for just about an hour straight. He’s really funny and good at the performance aspect. He’s been practicing for ten years so he’s got it down.
I feel so lucky to know the people I know. They will come over to my house and talk to me and tell me stories. They have fantastic stories. I love stories.
Sometimes I feel kind of weird that so many of the people I introduce my children to are people I met through “Alternative Lifestyle Communities”. They are big perverts.
But they are big perverts who are completely uninterested in children and who only do things with consenting adults. I watch them intently and their behavior with my children is rigorously correct. They are probably more worried about slipping up and seeming inappropriate than I am.
I watch my kids. If they hear something inappropriately verbally I can help them process it. But nothing will physically happen to them. I don’t worry that much about keeping their pristine little ears protected.
If the most racy comment of the night is “Who is the size queen here?” (He made a sword for himself out of the much bigger style of balloon. It was kind of funny, really. We would trade off who was fighting with it and tease just a hair.) I can live with that.
My kids are going to grow up in America. If they don’t learn that some people are obsessed with size… then they’ve missed a vital part of the culture. Give me a break. Helllllloo Texas.
(Hey all you Texans. Neiner neiner neiner Alaska is bigger and I’ve been there too.)
I think it is hilarious that in preparing for Easter some of the moms have offered to bring food potluck style. Some dads are coming on their own. They haven’t offered to bring anything.
I see this pattern and try to convince myself that I’m not a failure as a mother because I’m shitty at brining stuff for potlucks. I’m the asshole who shows up with a bag of chips.
Like you do.
I feel unusually upbeat this morning. I’ve been kind of whiny and sad in my head lately.
Oh man. I was talking about some tv character being annoying because he/she/it was annoying and freakin Shanna turned to me and said, “Well you should like her/him/it because you are whiny too and you should like people who are like you.”
Oh man. Kid. Oh man.
I squinched my nose at her then realized… She’s being sincere and literal. No teasing is happening.
Then I burst out laughing.
I like that my kids don’t really tease me. They haven’t learned teasing. We do very little of it in this house. Once in a while we will tease in a tiny way and then will follow that with a clarification that we mean it with love. Noah and I are both on the paranoid side. I get the impression that he is a lot more ok with teasing than I am but he has worked to talk to me how I want to be talked to.
Teasing is really hard for me. It feels like lying. If I feel like someone is lying to me then I get really really angry and hateful almost instantly. People tease trying to be friendly and share affectionate feelings. It will make me turn on you like a viper. Don’t fucking tease me. I’ve been fucking taunted enough for one fucking lifetime.
I think that ones overall response to these things largely depends on how you grew up with teasing. My family teased me constantly. They may even have meant it lovingly sometimes. I don’t think my family hated me as much as I kinda think they did. But they did show me contempt constantly. And no one was willing to believe me that I was being horribly abused. So their teasing felt more like turning the knife than making a joke.
I hate teasing. I try to do very little of it. Once in a while I tease because I know that other people bond through teasing. I can generally force out a sentence before I start apologizing and making it clear that I wasn’t serious.
Sometimes my kids say things to me… and it sounds like a tease… and I can feel my body start activating the threat response system. Then I realize that they aren’t teasing. They are saying what they literally perceive. They aren’t mocking me. They are making the connections that they see out loud because I have modeled not having an inside voice. I think tactless things out loud all day long. My kids live with that.
It is really interesting to have to work so hard on calming down with them.
I talked to my shrink about my current hypervigilance about my hypervigilance (I’m a cluster fuck of fun) and she agreed that it might be a worthy process but yeah I’m going to be so exhausted I can barely breathe for a while.
Trying this hard to be aware of unconscious processes and change them is really exhausting. I’m just living on the prayer that it will be worth it in the end.
I have stopped going to most of the forums I used to frequent. I’m feeling like I have nothing to spare but frustration and snottiness so I’m shutting up. If I am impatient with where someone else is on their journey… that’s my problem and I don’t need to be a cunt. Just shut up for a while.
I go up and down the spiral. Sometimes I am way more functional than I am at other points. I really have no room to judge anyone else. It may feel like Uncle Bob’s death was a long time ago but it wasn’t. I was not competent at all to do the basics of caretaking for a good solid week.
I don’t have any right to judge where other people are. I know that my seasons of pain come and go. Sometimes I can function and be out in the world and sometimes I can’t.
But sometimes where I am has nothing left over for other people. I don’t need to be mean about it. I just need to take care of myself. Less typing is good anyway.
I feel like I’m being avoidant with the kids. Not terribly so. They still aren’t spending much time alone. They still ask me questions every ten minutes all day long. But I am mentally checked out more. I’m creating more walled rooms in my head that I can step into when I can’t handle focusing on them.
I get so tired. It isn’t their fault. They are probably what you might call “spirited children”. Which is a nicey nice way of saying that they have a lot of energy and willingness to just do shit in frequently destructive ways.
Kids do that. You have to be patient. But I’ve been reading a lot. I just reread the Stieg Larson Millenium trilogy that was originally intended to be a ten book series but the author died. Damn him. I can see the foreshadowing. I can see him laying tracks in the first book for stuff that won’t happen till the seventh or eighth book. Lisbeth’s sister was going to be a big deal.
I’m avoiding editing. After Easter I don’t really have a choice. I have less than six weeks until I send it to my editor. Get crackin’.
Noah is making more progress on my shit than I am. I feel pretty guilty about that.
In general I feel the need to point out how much I appreciate Noah. Not many people in the world are willing to consciously adapt to me. Noah showed me what that could look like and I don’t think I will ever be ok with losing this now. Noah makes me feel like I am ok. There is nothing terrible about me. I have some annoying preferences, but who the hell doesn’t? Whatever. No big deal. Easy to accommodate.
It is only in seeing how he fails to live up to what I expect that I see how contemptuously I expect people to treat me. I’m pretty sure I project a lot of contempt. To be more clear: I think that I assume people feel contempt for me when they don’t. I have contempt for myself and that’s enough for me to assume other people share the sentiment.
It is incredibly hard to learn how to accurately perceive the world around you. You see the world through your particular little lens. Maybe you think the world is essentially good because you have had mostly positive experiences. Maybe you think the world is terrible because you have had mostly terrible experiences.
The world is neither. The world is mostly indifferent. I struggle with seeing that and understanding it. I struggle hard with being able to believe that the world doesn’t actually care that much one way or another about me. At least not until I have gone out and done things that the world can judge.
Then some people will like it and some people won’t and mostly people won’t care. Move on.
You can’t be doing it for them. You have to just do it for yourself. Because you have to manifest in the world what you want the world to be.
Despite the ever changing sea that is my emotional experience of the world, other people perceive me differently.
The nice 90 year old lady at the Post Office thinks I’m just great because I helped her cross the street when she was scared.
I think the world is a place where all the people around you would be potential allies and help if you just could figure out how to ask for your needs. Does everyone care? No. Frequently you can’t find the right way to appeal to people. Sometimes your basic position in the world bothers people and they will avoid you if you make clear your needs.
I think this is what is keeping me away from the PTSD forum right now. Everyone else is in the bunker-down-nobody-loves-me-everyone-hates-me-guess-I’ll-eat-worms stage. Or at least those are the threads being posted.
No, your PTSD is not some terrible secret you have to keep or everyone in the world will reject you for being terrible and disgusting. Yes, you will have to do a lot of self advocating and specifically requesting the kind of contact you want with people. Yes, it’s hard.
Ok, I try not to talk about neighbors. Here’s a thing that is coming up. I go to other peoples houses and more or less invite myself in. If I don’t do so for a while then people feel like I am rejecting them and I don’t like them anymore.
I go home and think WHY THE FUCK DO I HAVE TO INVITE MYSELF OVER?! YOU NEITHER WANT TO COME TO MY HOUSE NOR INVITE ME. WHY THE HELL SHOULD I DO THIS?!?!?!
But I get passive aggressive emails telling me they miss me when I don’t invite myself over.
I think everyone is shitty at relationships and when people know you have PTSD they are frequently more timid because the risk of social discord is high. They don’t want to hurt you again. So they don’t know what to do. So they do nothing. And that feels like rejection.
But they are sitting in their house feeling sad about me not being there. It’s a whole cluster fuck.
People. Oh man.
“I wish this person loved me enough to chase me for a relationship. Since they don’t love me that much I won’t bother them.” And thus the world goes ’round.
I think that the main reason my thinking on this has shifted to the current location is because of all the writing I do. People feel brave enough to tell me that they want me to keep writing for many decades. Until they die or longer. They want me in their lives. But time and distance and complications of life mean I don’t see these people much. But they want me to continue.
I don’t think that the average person with PTSD has people reaching out to tell them that they need to keep on keepin’ on. And that is sad. I am very lucky to have the people in my life I have.
I feel sad that most people seem to have the experience that telling people they have PTSD results in really negative relationship shifts. I find I experience more positive shifts. Yes, I have to do a lot of work because people are timid. But they do try hard with me. People give me space for some of my weird reactions that I can’t help that much. I have not been uninvited to all the parties just because I cry from stress at the parties. I go do my thing and calm down and come back when I can and people are cool with that. I take care of me and I’m still welcome to be part of the space when I’m ready.
At some point I will have spoons to share and I will try to be more motivational like with them. Not right now. I’m tired. I’m trying to figure out what I need to do. I can’t talk about my process while I’m figuring it out. Big shifts are hard.
Changing the hypervigilant behavior is really really hard. I’ve been working on it for a bit. I don’t know how long I will last in this phase. I suppose it would help if I articulated a goal to work towards. And metrics for success. That way it won’t become just a way to grind myself down.
Specifically, what have I been working on?
I am trying to stop counting how many people are in rooms. I’m trying to stop reorienting myself towards exits every few minutes. I suppose I’m trying to stop the behaviors that seem the most irrational to me. They aren’t helpful and they aren’t even all that related to my trauma. They are just things I started doing to cope with the anxious feelings. But they use a lot of tracks of my brain and contribute to my feelings of always being in danger.
I’m not sure I am specifically addressing other behaviors right now. Trying to be conscious of when I start to engage in those actions without thinking is really draining and hard.
So I started them to cope with anxiety but they create a different anxiety of their own. Kind of like pot. Harm Reduction. Less harm. That doesn’t mean that the next choice is a good choice… just a slightly less bad one. If I had “good” options I might take them. I don’t. I’m doing the best I can. Just like everyone else.
Or maybe they aren’t. I can’t really judge.
Today is entirely unscheduled. We will probably do the inside decorating. I’ll clean up the garage. Again. It always needs to happen. Oy.
Maybe I will spend a big chunk of the day sitting on the couch with the kids. We can read. That seems like a really good day right now.