Floundering Inc

Which way is up?
Why are my eyes leaking?
This sigh!

I cannot smile for myself. How can I smile for anyone else?

Doing nothing can be the best way to sit out a funk. Or in this case a sit in. I hope it doesn’t last long. I cannot see an out. I know in my logical part of my brain that it won’t last forever. I know that. But. The loudest part of me cannot see that. It cannot fathom that. It despairs. It doesn’t see why I should bother trying. Why bother? What’s the point? Lie down. Give up. Stay down. You’re not worth it. You’re down right ugly. To the core.

I just want to hug myself and grip tightly and stay like that until the tears stop rolling own my cheek. Saying nothing. There are no words that comfort me. I just need to feel constricted and warm, cocooned. I don’t need unnecessary sounds of ‘there, there’ that’s just condescending. Shut up already.

Scratch that. I want to hug, not be hugged. I want to feel comfort, not be comforted. On my terms.

I cannot see myself clearly. I cannot see myself honestly. I am lying to myself. I am hard on myself. I am downright cruel. I would not treat an enemy as I do myself.

Fear grips me too. Fear to move forward. Fear of success. Fear of failure. Fear of being laughed at, ridiculed. Fear of being vulnerable. Fear of being me. Fear to try. Fear. Simple. Fear.

I can’t deal with fear today. That’s too hard.

What’s the worst that could happen?

It will never be as bad as you imagine and it won’t be as good as you imagine. It’s usually somewhere in between.

I can talk myself out of trying. Easily.

Being sober. I am clinging to that. It is my life raft. I don’t have a desire to drink.

I drank to give myself moments of peace from the negative voices in my head. I drank to take a holiday from myself. It was my way of coping with being me.

I am living with fear. This fear I want to shake off. It is crusted and mouldy, there are layers upon layers of fear. Peeling layers replaced with glossy new ones. It is suffocating me.

Trying to open a window for my soul to breathe. But the window frame is painted shut. There are nails that need to be pried out. There are cobwebs. It is filthy.

I want to have a long soak in a bathtub. I cannot do that at the moment. I have a cast on my lower leg. A bath is out of the question. God I miss having a bath.

I have plugged the leaks of my eyes. In its place a headache has surfaced. Rest.

Rest.

I am so sick of resting. The simple act of taking a walk. I would love to do that. I am going stir-crazy from a month of rest. Damn this broken foot. That is the truth of it. This will pass.

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For whom it may concern

Why do we do the things we do?

For ourselves? For vanity? For someone else? Or without thought?

Do we dress/act to keep up appearances, to keep to another’s standard?

What is that standard? What is your standard? Does it change?

Do we present ourselves to society and the world as our true selves? Do we even know who we really are? Are we merely a reflection of whom society chooses for us? If we see a photograph of ourselves who do we see? What do we observe about ourselves within the photograph? When we look into a mirror who do we see? What version of ourselves do we see or allow ourselves to see? Is it our true self? The one in the photograph, the one in the mirror, the one who lives in our bodies?

Do we change who we are depending on the audience in front of us? A wife, a daughter, a mother, a boss, an employee, a customer, a friend, a complainant, an advisor, a protector, a child?

Becoming sober let’s one choose to question with a clearer mind. The answers may not be any clearer but at least you remember the next day what you thought about the day before.

The discovery of self is a life long quest and some days feel like a leaden plod, and others a hop, skip and a pirouette. That being said I would still rather be my true self on a rotten day than an imposter with a painted on smile and crying on the inside. I would rather I cried real tears and really felt them without embarrassment or shame. Being human has a range of emotions. We have to let them in, to experience them, in order for them to pass through and out the other side. This nothingness or flatness I feel today I have embraced it reluctantly. A stiff hug for sure but hopefully it’ll be gone tomorrow.

3:59pm Good Friday

Just to be extra clear: Don’t feel like drinking alcohol. Never really have since I stopped. Maybe once or twice in the early days because I didn’t know how I was supposed to feel. Nobody does. It wasn’t hard. It wasn’t the end of the world. It was the beginning.

Today and this week or month I have been feeling out of sorts with myself.

Not drinking allows me to see, find and be myself in the raw. I am finding it hard just to get out of bed these days. Why? Don’t know. Change of season?

I have gotten out of the habit of self care or care in general. How did I get this way so quickly? I have no idea.

In no way shape or form does the idea to drink enter my head. For that I am grateful. I don’t feel ever like taking that route ever again.

Depression is settling in. I have let it in somehow. I recognise it and yet I feel helpless to help myself. I feel like a witness to something happening yet it is me it is happening to. A witness observes and is impartial to the event, yet it is me that it is happening to and I feel immune to do anything about it to improve my situation. I can see it happening. I can feel it happening. Yet I do nothing.

I cannot help myself. The desire is there. But the effort is not there. The house has gone downhill. It is chaos. My cleanliness is doubtful. I am not eating my best meals. My cats are looked after better than me. I put them first. There is no neglect there. Just neglect of myself.

How can I write I have been wondering, if I cannot help myself? Ridiculous thoughts really. I should realise that it the depression talking and not the real me. How have I fooled myself so many times?

Lately (this year) I have felt so strong with dealing with depression, noticing when it comes on and how it comes in. I felt more knowledgeable about depression. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. I might have gotten cocky. It appears so. I have been put in my place. Depression isn’t to be conquered, it is to be dealt with and lived with. It is not to be treated lightly and with superiority. Depression will put you on your arse swiftly if you mock it or think light of it.

I am on my arse.

Today I felt able to write about it. That is something. Perhaps things are on their way up after all.

Day 51

Being sober is the easy part. The decision to become sober was difficult. Finding what to do next and how to do it is the struggle. More the “how” really.

I am sober but the habits that surrounded the alcohol are still with me. Tidying and cleaning, basically housework in general is not something I excel at. Our home looks lived in. It is not a show home. It has books and comfortable couches and day beds. It has things scattered on the floor. It is not ready for visitors or guests. That’s okay for now.

I used to strive for perfection. Then I realised that it was ridiculous. I still try but not to the extent I used to do. I overdo things and need a gentle nudge to stop trying to do everything at once. I am finding more peace with dropping perfection, guilt, paranoia and regret. These things I dropped before becoming sober. Anxiety is still with me but in a much weaker form. Depression is with me too but I recognise it, accept it and have learnt to live with it better. Fear is still with me. Fear is holding me back. I know this. I recognise this. I aim to challenge myself and make the fear smaller or contained. First though comes care. I need better care before I can face fear.

The past two years I chose to face things. Facing something is scary. It is easier to postpone, to look elsewhere. It is difficult to face something but once faced it removes a brick in the wall that surrounds yourself. It allows you to find lightness, makes it easier to breathe.

Facing something allows you to move on.

Insomnia is taking a hint and edging towards her packed bags at the door. I am managing to get to sleep by about 2am. Huge improvements for me. I took a bath with Epsom salts, 2 cups worth and soaked while reading a book with tea and a nice candle. It was relaxing. I had forgotten the magnesium in Epsom salts. Magnesium sulphate, of course. One source of increasing my magnesium.

Accidentally kicked my Epsom salts glass jar in the bathroom a few weeks ago. Sober. Glass and salt everywhere. Yikes. That stopped my habit dead. I want a replacement jar for it but something unbreakable. Zip lock bag will have to suffice for now. The jar was in the corner out of the way I thought but my foot found it regardless. Clumsiness is still with me.

I made it to the gym once this week. I did mini habits twice. I am eating better. I am enjoying homemade toasted muesli and adding more fruit and vegetables to my life. My weight is going down. The scales are showing me numbers that I haven’t seen in months. A healthier me is beginning to show.

Reading is my rock. Non fiction, fiction, doesn’t really matter. My list of books to read is getting longer and my tangents are dividing as I explore further. Learning and leisure is for everyone.

Progress made. Half way through this week I got lost but I found my way back again. Onwards.

January: A Calm Start

2019, 34 days sober

After the Party writes about a calm start to the new year.
Couldn’t have said it better myself.
I feel hopeful for the coming new year. I don’t have any regrets for things I didn’t get around to doing the previous year. I’m not beating myself up about it. It didn’t get done, so what! It didn’t get done.
Breathe.
Forget about it.
Breathe.

I feel calm. I feel peace. There is no guilt. There is no anxiety. I feel content.

At the same time there are dishes piled in the sink, the dining table is half covered in stuff not put away. There is dust on the surfaces. The bathroom sink plug hole needs cleaning. I am living in chaos. The bed is made and I had a bath yesterday and washed my hair. The toilet is clean. A load of washing was done yesterday. There are clean sheets on the bed. Small steps to being better organised. I am still in my pyjamas.

I used to be better organised on the surface but was chaos underneath. Now I am calm underneath and chaos on the surface.

I don’t plan to have our home perfect. I want it to look lived in. It certainly does look lived in. it looks like everyone left in a hurry and were frantically looking for things and bolted out the door.

I am not on top of the laundry pile. It is high. I have made a start. One load at a time. The house didn’t become chaotic overnight. I shouldn’t expect it to become clean and tidy overnight either.

Blame the depression. I was watching a film the other night, The Quake*, and was seeing the lead actor living through a breakdown. I saw the piles of mail unopened on the table. I saw the piles of plates in the sink. I saw the untidy room and thought that looks spookily familiar. I can see what has happened. I am through the other side but it feels hard to pick up the pieces.

I used to feel shame and embarrassment. Now I feel calm and accepting. I’m not saying I’m not bothered by the mess. I accept it as it is. It is what it is. A mess. I plan to move on from it. Improve the chaos, one dish, one T-shirt, one wipe at a time. My life is a work in progress.

I really want to get back to sketching and painting. I want to make time and space for this. This is a priority this year.

*The Wave and The Quake are Norwegian films on Netflix. Watch The Wave first. The Quake is the sequel.