I made it.
Discovered a big yellowish/green bruise on my leg today. I have no idea where I got it but it made me remember something: I used to have blue, black, green, yellow bruises all over my legs – all the time and I could never figure out why. Well sometimes I had a vague idea of maybe falling down or stumbling into a chair but still. Lots and lots of bruising. And now they’re gone. I even remember thinking that maybe I had leukaemia because I was always so tired and bruised easily. Jesus.
JESUS, I MEAN REALLY? That was my hypothesis? That I never slept, constantly tipped over and hit tables with my knees and lived in a contant hang over wasn’t a more plausible cause? GODDAMMIT. I should get one of those <- I’m with stupid t-shirts and give to my husband who had to listen to my “I think I might be dying from cancer, look!”-nonsense.
I just had a realisation. Probably very obvious for everyone else but the thought never struck me before:
I think the main reason I have depression/anxiety/feel stressed out is because I still believe I can control things. My life, my children, my husband, work, other people. And if I believe I can control things that means I am responsible for them. So that means I walk around believing I am responsible for everything that goes on around me. That in some ways I am some sort of demi god that has to solve everything for everyone. No wonder I feel exhausted and tired – that’s a lot of responsibility!
Now how do I make this thought travel from my conscious brain to the place where all the feelings dwell and from there to where I can actually change my behaviour?
It’s not a very pleasant thing to realise that I really am that self-centered. I understand that it didn’t start out as a purely ego centrical behaviour but rather as a way to cope with chaos in life, but still. I realise that as a small child, when horrendous and incomprehensible things happen, that you need to make sense of it all. And one way to make sense is to take blame, and if you take the blame you can prevent things like that from ever happening again. But I am all grown up now. How do I stop believing that everything is my fault/responsibility/up to me?
So we have this dinner coming up with the in-laws. It’s their 30th wedding anniversary and they’ll take us out to a fancy place to have A Very Fancy Dinner. And Fancy Dinners require Fancy Wine. I’m not worried about drinking, I don’ want to anymore, what I am worried about is my MIL nagging me to have at least one drink. She does it EVERY SINGLE TIME. It’s getting quite annoying actually and I’m already in a bad mood (because why wait when you have the opportunity to be in a pissy mood about something weeks before it even happens? So much bang for the buck if you do it like that!).
I’ve tried and tried to explain it to her in a way that makes it perfectly clear that I am happy about my decision, it is a decision I have taken on my own – for my own good, I feel so much better when I don’t drink and it really, really used to mess up my sleep. I.e I think I have been very clear without having to use the I’M AN ALCOHOLIC-explanation. Which I’m not very comfortable discussing with her because she’s a bigot and would probably fall of the chair and have a heart attack (hmm, maybe I SHOULD tell her?) and die of bourgeoise shame. The thing is she’s quite a heavy drinker beneath all that upper middleclass snootyness and fine wines and social gatherings and this really bugs her. I mean really. It’s personal.
She’s allergic to stone fruits. I’m thinking of telling her once and for all, in simple words, that it’s really not any of her business if I drink or not. This will be my analogy:
She gets quite ill if she eats stone fruits. She gets nauseous, feels horrible, throws up etc. I would never nag her to have a peach. I wouldn’t question her decisions to not eat prunes. I’d never tell her to have just a small piece of that juicy plum, just for my sake. Just one piece so that the rest of the plum-eaters won’t feel bad. I would happily eat my peach, enjoy it and don’t care AT ALL that she’s happily munching away on an orange instead. I would trust her to be capable of making that decision and I actually wouldn’t give a shit if she had a cherry on top or not. Because really, how important are the fruits we pick? Is that really what we need to celebrate their marriage? Peaches? Nah, I don’t think so. Marriage isn’t about mango is it? Tango might be the solution to a happy, muy caliente marriage but mango won’t really make that much of a difference.
I’ll work out the analogy as we approach Fancy Dinner Time (i.e maybe edit out the “I wouldn’t ask you to nibble my grapes”-line because vaguely erotic/weird/off) but I really need to make her stop bugging me.
I’ve been thinking about fear. The thing that seems to be the root cause to every shitty decision I have ever made or not have had the guts to make. I can’t believe how scared I was one year ago. I had really started to give up on myself. I had tried and failed and tried and failed so many times that I was on the verge of giving up. And August last year? Things were really rapidly spinning out of control. I had been working so hard and then I fucked up in Greece and then of course I was doing the all or nothing-thing. Well now I failed again so let’s get so incredibly shitfaced that you end up blacking out almost every night. Days spent just trying to survive, days spent in a haze of anxiety and dread and feeling like the worst person on earth. And STILL that seemed preferable to not drinking at all? That’s one powerful feeling of fear right there.
There’s another thing I’ve thought a lot about. Why did it stick that one time? What was it that separated this “I will never drink again!” from all the others? I can only really see two differences. I had made a friend on the internet, a woman that I thought was my long lost twin. She was struggling the same way I was struggling and just being able to unload all those crazy angry sad thoughts on her really helped me, i.e reaching out. Since then she has gone missing, like people are able to do on the internet. I miss her every single day. The other thing that was different this time around was that for a single second all of a sudden I felt angry instead of sad and miserable. For one moment I managed to stop hating myself and getting so fucking angry and tired of the quit/start/quit/start-cycle. I was fed up with it. And then I was angry. And you know what? Angry gets shit done. Don’t give up even if you have tried and failed a thousand times. You never know when it will stick. You can never tell which time it will finally happen.
Don’t give up.
Insert funny story about that disaster with the cinnamon buns or that time the itch in your crotch made you grind against the desk belonging to the head of HR. Or just admit that you’re rather proud of the number of days you have been sober.
and that’s more than good enough for me
The last couple of days I’ve had this itchy scratchy feeling. I’ve been thinking about that time in Greece when I blacked out for hours, woke up with a bump in my head, no clue what had happened those last hours in that apartment next door where that other family lived and where I had ended up after a very wine-filled dinner. Oh damn. I still get those flushes of nausea and shame. Turns out it was this day, the 19th of July. The 20th really was such a terrible terrible day in my life … But I survived. But if I had had a day like that now? I don’t think I could have coped. See I had soooo many of those days then. It is so sad how used I was to having those days. So many days that were only spent trying to survive, to get through, to put behind me, to forget. So many days that were just my life on pause. Angstridden, stinking of alcohol, panicky, trying to put together all those blurry pieces into something whole.
My life at the moment isn’t especially pleasant but compared to that level of anxiety? Then I’m like a fucking zen monk living at a spa.
I’m going to get a clinical assessment regarding high functioning autism/ADHD. The appointments are just a few days after I celebrate my first soberversary (FYI 26th of August if you wanna be all prepared with the flowers and cake and diamonds.) I have never in my entire life entertained the thought that I could be an aspie. Sure I’m a bit weird but I have always stayed on the right side of weird as in quirky, artsy, unusual but in a rocknroll cool chick muse sort of way not smelly lady who talks in a toothbrush and wears a cape of pig skin. Not that unusual, just unusual enough. Then my boys were getting all sorts of red flags at school and the thought of autism were all of a sudden a reality. My oldest one did the WISC IV and it turns out he’s a god damn genious (IQ of 151!!) and then everyone stopped talking and thought this must be the explanation to his rigid ways and slight weird behaviour. But then we persisted and no, turns out he’s just clever enough to be able to mask most of the things that the autism causes him. So of course I did the only reasonable thing to do: I read all the books and all of the internet. Twice. And then I stumbled across this: http://help4aspergers.com/female-as-traits/
I don’t really have the time to tell you how strongly I was affected when I read this, it was a pure physical sensation. My constant state of unease could perhaps have this one (1) explanation instead of all of those other explanations to why I always had been slightly depressed, constantly stressed out, dreading all social events and just feeling so utterly, totally alone.
Autism (as intelligence by the way :D) is hereditary, there’s something in my genes (and most likely my husbands as well because that would explain A LOT when it come to my mother in law) and it is because of my children I was finally able to see this as a possible explanation. For that I will always be grateful to them. Together we’ll make this work, I’m sure of it.
One last thing. High functioning. High functioning alcoholic, high functioning autist, high functioning ANYTHING … that really is the shittiest place to be. That only means you’re able to pull it off, the charade, the constant theatre where you play the person that has her shit together even though it’s blatantly obvious that not a single little shit holds together. But oh the effort. The work. The energy that goes into playing that part every day. So exhausting and you’re rewarded by getting absolutely no help at all because everyone thinks you have a handle on things. Gah.
Lots of love from the other side of the pool
Still sober, still over-whelmed, still carrying on. Still here.