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.