One Foot After the Other

I had a tough session today.  My therapist told me things I did not want to hear, but they needed to be said.  Let me be clear that my therapist cares very deeply about me.  She also won’t put up with my shit.  Which is good because I am very good at throwing out shit that sounds reasonable even when it’s not.

I told her about my suicidal thoughts.  I told her I was thinking more about suicide.  We talked a bit about that, and then, well, let me back up.  I first talked about how me being depressed for the past umpteen years had served a purpose in our family.  If my family could focus on what’s wrong with Minna, then we never had to look to see what was wrong with the family in general.  And believe me when I tell you that there is a lot wrong with my family.

So.  I bought Ballboy on Thursday.  I will post a pic at some time, but not right now.  This was a tangible step for me, a way to assert that I have tastes that I will now openly express.   It was, if I may say,  a bold step for me, and I felt good about it.  Almost immediately following the purchase, I was filled with sorrow, grief, and the suicidal ideation started.

This is what my therapist said.  I have substituted suicidal ideation for my depression.  She validated the grief and sorrow I am feeling, but she added that if I start obsessing about being suicidal, then I can say, “I can’t possibly think about getting a job because I’m suicidal.”   whabs actually hit it on the head when she said that I want people to call me crazy.  I’m not doing it on purpose, but that’s the underlying rationale.  If I can label myself as the patient, then I have to be taken care of, and I don’t have to take care of myself.

This may sound harsh, but she was saying it from a loving place.  See, like many of my friends, she actually has a higher opinion of myself than do I.   She gets impatient when I come up with excuse after excuse to not move forward.  She doesn’t expect me to leap forward, and she wants me to honor my grieving.  She just doesn’t want me to substitute one crutch (suicidal ideation) for another (depression).

We talked more about Ballbaby standing on the bridge and crying.  She said it was like me.  I am a baby, really, crossing the bridge from the known to the unknown.  Thinking about suicide all the time means that I don’t have to look to the other side of the bridge.  I have a tendency to play out the worst-case scenario in my mind and then take it as fact that said scenario will play out.  In this case, I fear that if I start slowly expressing myself more and more, then my family will have no use for me.  No, really, my deepest fear is that they will not love me.

Is it possible?  Yes, but it’s equally possible that they will just shrug their shoulders and say it’s Minna being Minna.   Taiwan sucked, but it did one thing:  it made it crystal clear that me stripping myself of every possible offensive aspect of my personality in order to appease my family does not work.  It doesn’t appease them, and more importantly, it doesn’t work for me.

Back to Ballbaby.   Well, back to me, actually, crying on that bridge.  There are valid reasons for me to be crying.  My grief is legit, and I need to feel it.  The more I try to stuff it back, the more it hurts.  And, I’ll be honest.  It fucking hurts a lot right now.  The grief is heavy in my body, which is unusual for me.  I have spent much of my life living in my brain.  Now, my body is reminding me that it’s not merely a vessel in which my brain is carried.

Back to suicidal thoughts for a second.  My therapist said that she didn’t want me to think I was just a passive receiver of the suicidal thoughts.  She wanted me to interact with them and say, “Oh, this is another way of obsessing so I don’t have to face the unknown.”  I asked her what I should do when I couldn’t interact with the thoughts because I was overwhelmed by them.  She said that for those moments, I needed a list of things to do when I was truly feeling suicidal.  Call a friend.  Go to said friend’s house.  Stay there.  Call the crisis center.  Call her, but not in the middle of the night.  She said I needed to post this list in every room.

The other thing we discussed is how I have a set idea of who I am, and I tend to see my traits as impermeable.   “I am moody”.  “I am a dork.”  “I hate tradition.”  “I don’t want to be in a relationship.”  “I am a freak.”  While there may be truths in all these statements, they aren’t the whole truth.  So, when I think about becoming self-reliant, I have to shed many of my preconceived notions about myself.  In other words, I have to stop getting in my own way.

My therapist also said I needed to parent my own baby (the new me, as it were).  I wouldn’t be perfect (no parent is), and sometimes, I wouldn’t want to do it (no parent does all the time), and that was OK.  She asked me what I wanted to say to Ballboy before we ended the session (she gave me extra time, too).  I said that I just wanted to tell him it was OK to cry.  She asked me gently if I could hold him as he cried.  I said I could try.

My brother called me tonight to talk about work.  I mentioned a house I had my eye on, and that expanded into him sending me an email with other houses from my target neighborhood (right next to Kiki!).  There are some really cute houses for very reasonable prices.  The biggest problem is going to be standing firm with my bro because he and I have very different ideas of what makes a house great.  (He’s my agent).  As I keep telling him, “It’s my house–not yours.”  Again, it’s the issue of my needs, wants, and desires being heard.

I am not very good at nurturing myself.  I am much better at abusing myself.  That has to change.  Buying Ballboy was a step in the right direction.  Buying bagels and the cheesy cheesy cheesy creamy cheesy cream cheesy cheese was another.  Right now, I have a Raven cat in my arms, snuggling and cuddling ‘his’ breast (the right one) while resting his head on my right arm.  I went shopping at the co-op right after therapy, so it’s been a good eating day.

I feel like I’ve been through the wringer.  I have to accept, however, that with living comes pain.  I’m going through some major shit right now.  One foot forward at a time.  That’s all I can really do.  Right now, that’s enough.

P.S.  I love Leonard Cohen.  That is my reason for embedding videos by him.  No relation to my entry at all.

8 Responses to One Foot After the Other

  1. I agree with Whabs. That ‘body’ sorrow you’re feeling? Sounds like you’re finally letting some of the real sorrow you have move up and out. No wonder you’re tired and down. That’s a lot of hard work. Cheers for you.

  2. Choolie, yes, it’s probably true that I am finally allowing the sorrow to be fully felt. It’s shitty right now, and I can only hope it gets better.

  3. There’s a fine line between sadness and depression… and it sounds like you’re starting to be on the correct side.

    The depression will try to pull you back over that line… don’t let it.

  4. Alex, so very true. I will try my damnedest not to let depression pull me back into its warm embrace. Like I said, I have safety measures in place.

  5. BTW, k.d. lang sang “Hallelujeh” in the opening ceremony of the Olympics, which was pretty cool. I couldn’t find a video from the broadcast, but here’s part of the song captured by someone in the stadium… way up in the nosebleed seats (surrounded by thousands of people with flashlights):

  6. Alex, yep. I watched it on DVR, and I watched her twice. She was amazing. The only thing that would have made it better was if Leonard Cohen had sang with her and if the audience members had had real candles. I thoroughly enjoyed the Opening Ceremonies (after I fast-forwarded through the shit).