Nice things, and why we can’t have them.

Britard woke up wearing last night’s pants, and the sweat of last night’s booze. It had pooled in the folds of her skin while the sun sang her to sleep.

Mornings like that were not so common for her anymore and hers was a sad, angry shame-awakening, for the second weekend in a row.

This one was going to be fairly bad if her first flashback was anything to go by. It was the computer. YouTube. Two friends on the spare bed next to her, one trying to sleep, the other suggesting songs that Britard was going to ignore.
The music was at a terribly loud volume for Morning Suntime but it wasn’t as loud as her voice, concerting its way through the neighbourhood, creating what had to be the world’s worst Human-Rooster Duet.

Groaning at the memory, Britard reached onto the cluttered table beside her bed, her fingers blindly stalking its surface to avoid exposing her sandpaper eyes to the harsh, evil air of sunshiney reality.

The next flashback came courtesy of her fingers’ inability to locate her phone. With a heavier heart than the one she’d been carrying last night, she gritted her teeth, and prepared to face a day of disappointing treasure hunting – a game called “Oh Shit. I did that last night? I did. Shit.”

In an unprecedented turn of events, today’s game was multiplayer, and as a result, Britard took less of a health hit through Guilt Damage than she usually did in this game.

… until she realised that her phone was not the only missing person from her entourage – She had also lost her glasses – a week before attending the ballet with her family for an event called “Combined Birthdays in a City Eight Hours’ Drive Away!”

“This is why we can’t have nice things, Britard”, said Britard, squinting into the distance.

Seven days later, staring through a new pair of glasses, she sat perched in the middle back seat of her parents’ car, twenty minutes into the eight hour trip home.

Her fingertips traversed the floor of the car, in search of her phone.

“This is why we can’t have nice things, Britard”, said her partner, five minutes later, hanging up the call he’d made to her phone. “Your brother will post it back to you tomorrow. Along with your wallet. And your handbag”.

Advertisements

Complex PTSD. Well that sucks balls. I swear a lot in this. Don’t care, either.

I’m trying to find some information to give to Sid, to my family, to help me explain .. me.

Words from my own mouth have never been able to do it. I trip and stumble on them because I can’t ever define what I feel or explain where it comes from. Once I start to, it’s like it turns into a giant cloud of explanation, and it starts to suffocate me, and my brain goes “fuck it. forget it. don’t worry, this is so fucking confusing you don’t even know what you’re talking about. Literally – what was the fucking question?”

I had my psych appointment on Wednesday.

C-PTSD, not PTSD.

The difference being prolonged exposure to trauma where I felt I couldn’t escape, as well as additional trauma created by decisions I made while affected by the initial trauma.

I’ve been online, trying to find a PTSD Specialist to start seeing, because during my psych appointment – my first in a year, and the first since I actually accepted her diagnosis – she said “Ok, excellent. So what do you need from me?”

Lady, are you kidding me? I need ONE medical profession in my lifetime to NOT make me tell them what I need – I don’t fucking know what I need, that’s why I’m here to see you! You’re the goddamn expert on this shit. I’m the one who can’t trust her brainfeels and is really fucking shit at making the right decisions for herself.

So I’m looking for an expert, most likely in Sydney, where I can hopefully attend monthly or fortnightly clinics on my RDOs.

In my research, I came across this page – Out of the Fog – a website for carers of people with mental illness, particularly personality disorders.

It’s been a really big few months for me – all this self-awareness that I’ve been having, after years of WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH ME!? It’s exciting, and exhausting, and terrifying… and seeing myself described so goddamn accurately – for the first time in my whole life, reduced me to tears.

Sad tears, happy tears, thankful tears.

I’m sad that I’m so ruined for human interaction. Mostly sad that I hated myself for things I didn’t understand about myself.. and they weren’t my fault.
I’m relieved that it’s not because I’m a monster.. not naturally, anyway.
I’m happy that there – in black and white – is a description of the turmoil that goes on inside me – the shit I’ve never been able to put into actual explainy words – A way for my close ones to see that I can’t help it – I don’t mean it – I love you, I just go away in my head sometimes and sometimes I have no feelings at all about you.

Because the only thing that is important is the emotion I am experiencing right the fuck now. Not that I know what it is. I just feel – a thing, and your presence is annoying at the moment for some unidentifiable reason.

but in 5 minutes, just wait – i’ll be in there with my arms around you and a big kiss on your face.

http://outofthefog.net/CommonNonBehaviors/CPTSD.html

The worst part of all this is seeing the damage that my own behaviour – which I didn’t understand and couldn’t control – has done to others. The very same behaviours that I was exposed to for years as a child, I have exhibited in my relationships.

I’m sad about that – but now I understand it. There’s a name for all this shit that I do – all these things people hate about me.

Because I didn’t know why I did it – I just knew that it bothered people and they were tired of me, and I was a burden – and they will say that I’m not, but rolled eyes, audible sighs, the ‘here we go again’ – you’re not subtle guys… I understand because I actually annoy myself, yet I can’t stop myself.

So this is why I need someone who can help me undo this. It can be done – this is one of those personality disorders that can be somewhat cured, or at least.. managed – with an absolute shitload of therapy. So why the fuck does my psych ask me what I need from her?

Guidance, answers, help to STOP harming the people I love with the effects of shit that isn’t even their baggage to deal with. It isn’t enough that I recognise the source of some of the feelings I have. It’s cool and all, but I need real help undoing this shit.

I don’t want to be this person. And I have no idea how to stop doing things that are in-built reactions. Compulsive responses to .. who the fuck knows! I do shit I don’t understand, it hurts people – then it hurts me – and then I resent those people I hurt because I didn’t mean to hurt them and they are angry with me.

And now I’m angry that for 22 years I’ve had a stranger inside my head, pulling the strings, pressing buttons that I was unaware of, forcing me to try and explain why I did or said things that I didn’t really do or say. It’s kind of like being drunk. I can’t explain it/don’t entirely remember it, but if you say I did it, I did.

No, I have no idea why. I’m sorry, I know that doesn’t help you. And now I’m angry, so go away. I don’t care about your feelings. I will later, but not now – mine are too big for yours to exist.

ugh. it’s ugly. selfish. i am a horrible, horrible person. stopping this behaviour isn’t a matter of deciding that i want to be different. I do want to be different – I always have – I just have no fucking idea how.

Um, clearly I need to see someone about this. And although this is basically me just brainspewing all over this blog, I don’t give a shit and I’m leaving it here.

Not quality writing – so apologies for that – but fuck it… this is the closest I’ve come to being able to explain my feels, so it’s staying.

Sharing, Relationships and Facebook’s destruction of traditional human behaviour.

Sharing.
It’s a word that is now more synonymous with self-marketing on social media platforms, rather than the sentiment of the act itself.

I come from a group of people who began their internet use in the early to mid 90’s.
I spent most of my time from 1995 to 2001 on mIRC, chatting with my group of likeminded friends and occasionally physically meeting up with them for awkward fun times in the line outside HMV, waiting for Marilyn Manson’s signature.

I had an opendiary from the age of 16, a livejournal from the age of 18, and a myspace, about a year or so before Facebook became the juggernaut that it now is. “Sharing” is something I’ve done since the internet first entered my world.

All of these online hangouts cultivated a genuine sense of community, of togetherness, rather than the self-marketing narcissism that we now encounter on Facebook. Behaviour I am guilty of displaying on a daily basis.

Until Facebook, the internet felt fairly safe. Small, yet full of possibility. It felt like the things you said, the pictures you posted – all of that was yours. It was under your control. And it was very easy for you to see who had access to view such things. There was a sense of fairness and transparency that doesn’t seem to exist anymore – not just on the internet, but in the world in general.

Everything is so tangled up in hidden terms and conditions, or language so convoluted that you need a degree in Contract Law to understand even the most basic transactions. I think most can be summed up as such: “You, the consumer, are getting screwed, and paying for that privelege”.

In Facebook and Google’s case, you, the user, are not the consumer, you are in fact, the product, which means that Facebook only gives enough of a shit about you and your rights to keep you using their service, so they can keep selling your behaviour to marketing companies.

Fine. They exist to make money, like any other corporation, and they haven’t exactly lied about the fact that it’s you who makes them their money. It is what it is in this day and age.

My problem with Facebook is what its dominance of society has done to people, and is doing to entire generations of people who know no other way of life.

Around two or more years ago, a very good friend of mine decided to delete her Facebook. Her reasons behind it have always stuck with me.

“I realised I was using my friends as my own personal Entertainment Roll”, she explained.

She found herself getting annoyed if a usually-funny friend was mediocre that day, or was posting something serious and depressing. She was seeing them not as her friends, but as objects that existed to entertain her in the way she expected them to, and she was not engaging in their lives, merely watching as an outsider, liking here, commenting there.

I’ve found myself either being treated in that manner, or absolutely hating people I barely know, based on their Facebook posts.

Beside that point, humans, naturally, as they age, lose friends. Our social circles shrink to allow us the mental, emotional and physical space to raise families and focus on careers, or whatever it is that is most important to us. Facebook forces us to acknowledge and interact with people we didn’t even interact with when they existed physically in our lives, even if the interaction is just a mental one – acknowledging that they are on your friends list, and whatever you say may offend them. You may not really care about offending them, but that anxiety is there, in the back of your mind.

The problem is that with such social pressure to add people, we end up sharing things with the people who would least like to know that information. People like our families and coworkers.

There are certainly solutions to the problems outlined above. We can always remove people from our friends list, and then deal with whatever social fallout may come of it. We can create filters, and spend hours arranging our friends and family members into groups, which will further allow us to pick and choose what we share with whom.

But all of that is a lot of work, and quite frankly, it takes up time that could be put to much more constructive uses than maintaining unnatural relationships simply because “that’s the way the world is, now”.

I can’t deny that Facebook has given me positive things, including wonderful connections with people I didn’t interact so much with in my former, face to face life with them.

Unfortunately, I just feel that Facebook is now taking more from me than it is giving, and it is encouraging me to take a back seat in regard to the manner in which I maintain my friendships.

Most of what it is taking, I’m not even entirely aware of.

Facebook’s ability to reach large numbers of people with your message is only as effective as the audience with which you share that message. I may have 370 Facebook friends, but unless I actively engage with each and every one of their personal pages on a constant basis, or vice versa, my posts will disappear from their NewsFeed. If you Facebook solely via your NewsFeed, you are only interacting with the same, relatively small number of people – people with which you are most likely to already share common opinions on most topics.

So what’s the point of sharing on Facebook?

Is it to get a pat on the back for being one of the first to show it to your friends? Is it to generate that warm feeling of “I’m right. A lot of people are agreeing with me”.

It certainly made all the sharing of ideas I did in the run up to our recent Federal Election rather pointless – everyone who actually spoke about it on my NewsFeed all had the same opinion as I did. I wanted to reach those who were indifferent, or those who wanted to vote Liberal. I wanted to be able to at least provoke thought or discussion. Unfortunately, most of the discussion that was provoked was “Facebook is not the place to discuss politics”, or “I wish the election would just be over, I’m sick of hearing about it”.

Thankfully, that same person who deleted her Facebook a few years ago is still very much a large part of my life. In fact, she is the person who taught me that true relationships are about engaging. They are about being honest, even when it’s going to hurt someone’s feelings. They’re about having integrity. And they’re about you, going out of your way to make the effort to share your life with someone else.

Facebook makes it easy for us to tell a whole bunch of people something. It generates conversation. But it’s all surface bullshit. It’s the narcissistic mask that the user wants to share with the world. It’s always on that person’s terms.

This morning, my non-Facebook friend sent another article she found interesting to the mailing list she has created of her friends and family with whom she frequently discusses well, anything, actually. That email generated real sharing amongst relative strangers who have come to know each other through our mutual friend’s stories, and through our own Reply Alls.

We come from very different backgrounds, with very different life experiences, which creates such a large picture of what are usually society’s most complex issues – everything from gender equality to mental health, fitness plans and pop culture. In that tiny little environment known as our inbox, we are throwing ideas, opinions and observations at each other, opening each others eyes to pieces of the puzzle that would never have occurred to us otherwise.

We are sharing knowledge and experience and it is exciting. It is meaningful. It engages our thoughts and interest for more time than it takes to click “like”, and I feel far more gratification from these email exchanges than I’ve ever felt from any response to my Facebook posts.

I’m not threatening to leave Facebook right now, though I am definitely considering it.

Besides, I’m too old to have 270 friends. As if I can be bothered writing that many “heartfelt” birthday messages when my NewsFeed prompts me to…

Mourning the loss of my nation’s dignity. Also: this blog is now a legitimate news source.

Well.

Don’t I feel like the parent whose kid just threw a giant tantrum because someone told them their well-functioning shiny toy was a piece of shit? And I feel bad, because I’m not just ashamed of my kid’s tantrum, I’m ashamed of my kid for being such a dumbass that it can’t even see how good this toy actually is.

Australian Media, I am golf clapping the fuck out of you right now. You won. You 1984’d the shit out of people who are too busy living their lives to spend the time required to sift through each and every news story – from each and every news source, in order to determine facts with which to make informed decisions.

I mean, clearly the Australian people can’t obtain facts from its media. Our media is, in essence, just a bunch of opinion blogs. Only the opinions aren’t those of the writers, but of the corporations and affiliated political parties that keep the blog.. I mean newspaper.. afloat.

When I was in High School, my English teacher gave me a 9.5/10 for an essay I wrote on Australia. She said she never gives out full marks because everyone can always improve, but my essay was so brilliant, she gave me as close to full marks as she could.

I felt like a cheat when I got those marks. I had written that essay in 20 minutes, and hadn’t even worked up a mental sweat to do so. That’s because the essay was about Australia. What I loved and treasured about this country.

I’d be really hard pressed to write that now. I just wouldn’t even bother. What I love about this country disappeared a long time ago, when the people of this country stopped fighting for the underdog and started whinging about being poor because they could only afford one plasma… When they wanted to get rid of a Prime Minister because of the way her voice sounds.

Meanwhile, if the citizens of this country were judged on such superficial matters, they’d all have been put down at the pound.

We are about to see some very dark days in this country, and all those people, those low to middle-income earners who, incredibly, believed that Tony “I am really Satan” Abbott was going to give them a lifestyle that included more income and less taxes, will very quickly realise just how easily they’ve been duped.

I won’t sit back and say “I told you so”. I will tell them to get angry.

My fellow citizens, the election is over, but this is where the work begins. In time, the I told you so moments will arrive, the curtain will fall, and the Great and Powerful Oz will show its true self. It can’t go any other way.

I’d like to be proud of this country again, if possible, so how about we all start demanding from our politicians what our employers demand of us? What about a job-trial period? What happens if they don’t meet their KPIs? What if they don’t use the bathroom code to log out of their phone when they leave their desk?

What makes us accept less of our politicians than is expected of us? We roll over and let our private corporate bosses ram the dildo of “company policy” up our arse on a daily basis – how about we hold our politicians to the same standard?

Our leaders should reflect the values that we of a nation hold to the highest importance. Right now, it appears that our values are: the continued persecution of the world’s most vulnerable people, the continued discrimination of homosexuals, women, and anyone who isn’t a mining/media magnate, and aspirations to have the world’s slowest internet, evar (which is basically like aspiring to get the wooden spoon in the footy tipping comp – clearly, you’re shit).

But it’s okay, because his daughters are pretty hot, and his party members have sex appeal.

Onya, Straya.

I said I wouldn’t go into detail, but then this happened. Trigger Warning.

You’re 8 years old and looking forward to school. You spend recess playing Witches, lunch time playing dolls, unless you talk too much in class and Mrs P makes you stand against the wall.
One day, Mrs P brings a new girl over to you, and asks you to show her around the school, asks you to be her friend.

You smile at the new girl and introduce her to the other girls you hang out with. She’s so cool with those Maui shirts you can’t buy here, that cool hair cut and that whole “just moved here from the city” air she exudes.

Within a short period of time, everyone is under her spell. Her confidence has soared, and very suddenly, everything changes.

One day you turn up at school, all smiles, ready to play with your friends.
Instead, She has gathered your friends around her, and they are whispering, staring at you.

With no explanation, you are cast out of the group – by all of them.

You beg them to tell you what you’ve done wrong, but there’s no answer, just a wall of silence and that girl, who has suddenly become a giant, her shadow looming across the playground.

You can see in your friends’ eyes that they don’t really know what’s going on either, but just like you, they are also caught under her spell, despite being held in the warmth of her regard – at least for today.

They are scared – of being you.

It shakes everyone, but in that moment, all her work is complete. She has exerted complete control over us and is fully aware of it.

The next day, as though nothing has happened, she is all smiles and asking why you didn’t hang out with them yesterday – as though it was your choice, your fault, as though you imagined her sidelong glares, the things she whispered behind her hands and the way she teased anyone who sat with you.

Very quickly, this became the pattern of our little lives.

Every day was Russian Roulette. Would you turn up to school to be an outcast, or would you have to be mean to someone you cared about, to protect yourself?

In time, it just became life. That’s just how it was, and it felt that there was nothing you could do about it.

Of course, for her, that became quite boring, so every now and then she’d cast out one girl in the morning, and swap her over at lunch time. You were never safe. Never secure. Never, ever certain.

We tried turning to each other, but out of desperation to remain in Her good books, your confidante would turn informer, and you were left alone – physically, mentally and emotionally – it wasn’t safe to trust anyone at all. Especially not your friends.

Your parents knew something wasn’t right, they also knew who was responsible, but every time they threatened to get involved, you would melt down and beg them to stay out of it. If they got involved, your already hellish life would be far worse. You were already Stockholm Syndroming all over this girl – the worse she treated you, the more you needed her to love you.

Every now and then, you’d all get fed up, and a couple of you would brave her wrath just so you could spend some time together – alone. The problem was, she had forbidden us to spend time with each other outside school – unless she was there.

Like women having affairs, at 9 and 10 years of age, we were spending the night at each other’s houses in secret, then returning to school paranoid that she would have found out. If you’d dared to enjoy yourselves together, it had to remain secret.

When you really had enough, and started saying no to her, she would push you around the playground. Poking you in the chest as she ranted into your face. And nobody came to your aid.

If you did better in your studies than she did, you had to pay for it. Some of us were deliberately putting the wrong answers on tests to avoid her anger.

We weren’t allowed to have anything of our own. Especially not if it was something she wanted.

I had a crush on a boy in year 2. In year 3, he confided in her that he had a crush on me, but I knew that she liked him. I said I didn’t want to be his girlfriend. She told me I had to, or she wouldn’t talk to me.

When he bought me a gift, she told me I had to break up with him. I did.

She would accuse us of having secrets from her and we tripped over our tongues to explain that we didn’t. But we were paranoid… we did have secrets. The secret was, we hated her, but by then, we weren’t even allowed to have our feelings. They were wrong. She was the only thing that was right, and it changed more than the wind.

For five years, this was our daily life.

This is the way life began for me. This is where I learned how to be a person. These are the building blocks on which the rest of my days have stood.

And when I turned 15, I went and chose a boyfriend who was not at all dissimilar to her.

The one I’d had before that had asked another girl out on the bus because I wouldn’t have sex with him. When she said no, he asked me out again. Clearly, I was aiming high.

History repeated itself not only in the things I tolerated, but in the obsessive way in which I couldn’t even breathe if he was threatening to leave me. I hated him, but I needed him, because nobody else would ever want me. When he threatened to leave me, I wanted to die.

When he spat in my face for asking if I could go to my friend’s birthday party, I felt I deserved it.
When he called me a whore in front of my friends for being out of the house without his permission, I went home.

To the internet. To the only friends I had ever chosen who had not hurt me.

Oh, my family loved me. My family told me I was amazing. But they’re your family, and they have to. None of the people I had personally chosen wanted me for me. They wanted me to be only what suited them.

It seems that my survival instinct is to become whatever someone needs me to be, but inside, I rage. My emotions go on and off, like a switch.
I love you, I love you so much I can’t breathe, and it’s so genuine that you’ve never felt more loved in your life. Later, I hate you. With just as much ferocity and sincerity. Sometimes, I am completely indifferent, and treat you as though you don’t exist. Which is even more cruel.

Do I confront you? No, not really. Only on surface things, like the tone of voice you just used. Serious, big issues get locked inside because if I say them, things might get worse.

Serious, big issues only come out when I am fuelled by alcohol, and self-destructive. I drink to kill. To destroy every single part of my life. Sometimes, that has included my physical life.

I drink to not feel. I would do anything to not feel. To not think, wonder, analyse. But I’ve known there was an answer in my past that needed to be found. And so my entire adult life has been spent looking back. Just not far enough.

This is not a new story. I am not a unique case. I am just one girl, who, until a couple of weeks ago, had no idea that her actual brain had been wired to self-destruct.

I feel very disconnected – from friends, from family and from myself. I feel like there is something very wrong with me.

I’m a great liar now. I’ve been doing it since I was 8 years old. I am the greatest actor you’ll meet, and a total chameleon – I am whatever you need me to be. Isn’t that my role in life? To be what everyone else wants?

I can’t help it, it’s my instinctive, self-preservation tactic. And what you don’t know is that I believe every one of my own lies. 

I don’t even know who I actually am.

The more years that pass, the more people you have to be different for.
I guess I couldn’t keep up. I wasn’t consciously aware of what I was doing, I acted on emotion – the emotional reactions of an 8 year old girl with a 30 year old woman’s experiences.

And in doing so, I passed on a lot of hurt that other people now have to wade through. I inflicted emotional and mental pain onto other people, who did nothing more than try to care for me.

The ones who don’t deserve my love are the ones who always get it. The ones who are worthy are the ones I hurt.

None of it is intentional. I simply am incapable of making a decision because even though you tell me I can choose whatever I want, inside, I am still that 8 year old girl who only wants to be loved, not hated and ignored and left alone for no fucking reason.

I want everything. I want everyone to love me. I want to love everyone.

Two weeks ago, when I realised that the compulsive hair pulling I’ve done since I was 9 has a name, and that it has a high overlap with PTSD, I recalled that my therapist had said she would be happy to diagnose me with PTSD, a year ago. I had dismissed it out of hand because it seemed ridiculous that something so old could possibly be why my life had spiralled out of control.

Sure it wasn’t that boyfriend? Or ones that followed, or preceded him?

Was it the boyfriend who held a shotgun to my head and laughed, because he knew it was broken but I didn’t?
The one who told me as an April Fools joke that he’d cheated on me with my cousin – who went along with it?
Or the one who threw a baseball bat at my face because I laughed when he tripped over his bed?

After all of those things, how could it possibly be the mean words of a little girl that are the reason I am so crippled?

But, like a bushfire, once that small spark was alight, I couldn’t put the flames out. It wasn’t just mean words, it was mental and emotional torture.

I suddenly realised the impact on my life, I realised that every decision I’d made over the course of my life, every life event I had experienced, had all been clouded by this.

I didn’t know.

I didn’t mean to hurt anyone, I had just been trying to live my life as best I could. People told me to get selfish. To start taking control and stop putting up with unhappiness. I thought I was doing that, but I wanted so many conflicting things. One day I was certain that this is what I wanted, this is what I needed. The next day, it was the opposite.

I am exhausted by being me.

The one thing you can’t turn off is your own headvoice. And mine hates me. It hates you, too. It hates everyone who has ever hurt me, and it hates me just as badly, for hurting others. The only difference is that I know I didn’t do it with malicious intent. The problem is, that makes no difference. All that matters is my actions, and the fallout thereof.

I have done to others, what has been done to me.

I can’t take back any of the hurt I’ve caused, but I can make sure it never happens again.

I thought I was doing ok with this PTSD stuff, but obviously there’s a lot of work to be done to straighten out the crazed pathways my brain has been following.

That is my responsibility and no-one else’s, and if I don’t do it, this is never going to end.

I do hate that little girl who, for her own reasons, took my life and shaped it to make hers seem better. I hate myself for allowing it all to continue. But now I know why I never left any of those abusive relationships – because they employed the same tactics that she had done all those years ago.

They did the wrong thing, and then told me I was imagining it.

Each and every one of us is accumulating a lifetime of hurt. A lifetime of scars. A lifetime of shitty, painful memories. These shape who we become, and they shape the ways in which we deal with conflict, or even love.

I don’t deal with either of them very well because they both place demands on me that I’ve been unable to live up to.

Either, I let myself down, or someone else gets hurt.

If I hate that little girl for the impact she has had on my life, then it follows that I must hate myself for the impact I have had on the lives of others. And I do.

Who is to say that she isn’t sitting at home right now, devastated by the things she did, the things she said?

The past needs to go away now. It needs to be dealt with, but not fondled. Not taken out and looked at. I have my answers now. I am crazy. I am a complete mental fucking mess. But I know why.

And that means I can do something about never letting this happen again.

All I have left to me is a future. The past is a locked door that holds nothing but pain – for me, and for others.

For better or worse, I have to leave it behind, and only time will tell whether it was the right choice. But that, too, is life.

And it’s my life. I have one of them – god knows I wouldn’t want another. So with what’s left of it, I am going to allow myself to be angry, to be sad, to be hurt.
But I won’t continue to allow myself to be so emotionally selfish that I simply ignore the fact that other people are also in pain. Particularly when I may be the cause of it.

Being a human is really difficult. But I’m not ready to throw in the towel. I have a lot to make up for, and one day I’m going to make myself, and others, proud.

The new, shiny leaf on which I now sit

Hello everyone.
It’s been awhile, hasn’t it?
The three of you who read this have most likely stopped checking your reader for my posts, so… surprise! I’m not dead!

In fact, I’m more alive than I’ve been my entire life. A very, very lot has happened since I last wrote and it will be a real task to condense it, but here goes!

Almost a year ago, during The Giant Breakdown of 2012, my psychologist said she would be inclined to diagnose me with PTSD from childhood bullying.

I, of course, thought that was a load of horseshit because I’m not a soldier, wasn’t in an horrific accident, and I wasn’t bullied – I just went to school with a mega bitch.

Fast forward 12 months through the absolute mess I made of my life, and I found myself in deep contemplation over my past, my future and the stress that was my present. What I discovered was a small fire that was lit under that concept she had mentioned.

I began to believe her. And then I began to remember.

There is little point to rehashing the torment that bully put us all through. It serves no-one but the curious. Suffice it to say, she came to our school when we were 8 years old, and she turned our happy group of girls into one whose members spent every morning almost vomiting before leaving for school, stress and anxiety working its way through tiny little bodies and minds far too young to understand what was going on or how to deal with it.

What she did to us, if it was done to a spouse, would be considered domestic violence; mental and emotional torture.

She bullied the way only little girls are capable of.

I thought I had made it through unscathed, in fact I stood up to her a fair bit and could be quite the defiant little thing when I needed to be. What I didn’t realise was that the things I was experiencing were wiring my brain in such a way that as time progressed, those feelings would constantly reappear despite the present circumstances being completely different.

I’ve always known there was something wrong with me. Something wrong with my brain, something that made me confused, constantly, about my own feelings – something that alienated me from even my closest people. I thought it must have been mental illness of some description, but I was looking only at the symptoms, never even considering that the source could be something from those days in primary school.

Well, the good news is that I now know where my brain started going a little bit wrong, and it seems that that’s all I really need to know in order to take control of it.

My psychologist explained that PTSD doesn’t make you feel like something in the past did. It feels exactly the same now as it did back then, only it’s a totally different scenario and thus, my reaction can be entirely inappropriate – and confusing as hell for everyone involved.

That explains my entire life, from high school to today.

To today.

That’s the big thing here, guys. It seems that simply acknowledging her diagnosis was all I’ve needed to do to give myself back the power I relinquished to that little girl all those years ago.

I don’t hate her, I don’t even blame her. She must have been going through something terrible herself to need to force people to like her, to play with her, and to control their every move, even their thoughts. She was also 8 years old, and clearly too young to process her own troubles.

In a short two weeks, I’ve managed to acknowledge that diagnosis, and as uncomfortable and weak as it makes me feel to be almost 31 years old and still deeply affected by being picked on, I don’t just acknowledge it, I accept it.

I’ve begun to remember things, and not only remember them, but find the connection between that feeling from then, and the present day scenarios in which that feeling repeats itself. It’s like finding a skeleton key to all the locks in the city – all those secrets, they aren’t secret any more. I finally understand myself.

Already, with reactions that I’ve had for years, while they still rear up instinctively, I am able to put them in their place as a “then” feeling, not a “now” feeling, and in doing so, I am finally able to say what I want without the crippling fear of it being the wrong thing, and the reason I get left alone on the seat under the tree.

To me, it finally feels that I am allowed to have the future I’ve dreamed of, but not felt worthy or capable of attaining.

I was a beaten down 8 year old’s emotional mind, trying to navigate an adult world. A world in which I created even worse problems to overcome. PTSD tends to lead its people into abusive relationships.

I once had the opportunity to date a man who spent his time at art shows, surrounded by long-legged women in slinky dresses and heels. With people who didn’t have trouble talking, people who knew how to exist amongst others. People who were worth his time and his attention.

People who weren’t worthless like me.

I was conditioned to accept abuse and mistreatment, disrespect and violence from people who claimed to care about me. Strangers, even enemies have treated me better than the people I actively chose to bring into my life.

So whose fault is it? I was the one who chose them, and the one who stayed.

Well, thankfully I don’t think it’s my fault any more. I also don’t think I’m worthless.

Which is why I am now able to envisage a future in which I really am a mother, a driver, a wife, and maybe even one day, a writer.

Until recently, these were all things that I wanted, but felt that I didn’t deserve, or that I could never pull off. Now I know better, and I’m finally taking the physical steps required to make life happen.

It’s never going to be smooth sailing, and there will most definitely be obstacles for me to face, but for the first time in my life, I feel capable of doing just that. The fear of failure is gone. It’s actually okay if I make mistakes – it isn’t going to see me left alone under that tree.

I will never be left alone under that tree again.

And this time I didn’t run from a man who was promising me the world I’d glimpsed in my dreams. This time I am walking alongside him, not trailing behind, letting him do all the hard work for both of us in case I fuck it all up.

No. This time we’ll fuck it all up together and he can hang out with me under that tree playing Mario Kart.