I went and bought a suitcase today.  Actually, a three-piece luggage set, which at regular price was $199, but I got it for $70.  Pretty great deal.  It’s just weird to buy luggage.  It struck me as something real people do, and I’ve lapsed back into feeling like I’m not a real person.  Does the fact that I now own a matched luggage set make me a real person?

I’m not sure that will make any sense to anyone outside my head.  I’m not entirely sure I’m capable of making sense.

It’s all surreal, you know?  I’m really dysfunctional; I hardly leave my bed or get dressed or brush my hair or anything.  But at the same time, I’m planning for this big trip all on my own.  Going back to where I grew up, to most of the people I grew up with.  And I don’t know how I’m going to do with it.

I still sort of think of Birmingham as home.  It’s a little confusing–I never intend to live there again, I never really fit in anywhere there, but I’m still fond of it.  But I haven’t been back there in seven years, and there are a lot of bad memories there too.  And some bad people.

And then–Florida, with my mother, to help her after her neck surgery.  I volunteered for that: why?  I thought I was past trying to be good enough to make her love me, but is that why I’m doing it?  I’d prefer to think it’s mostly selfish, that I wanted to spend time at the beach and I volunteered because she’ll be at work most of the time, so I’ll get to do what I want.  I don’t know which is true; it’s probably a combination of both.  But it disgusts me that I’m weak enough to still go seeking her approval by playing the good daughter.

I think a lot of the confusion is because there are so many parts with conflicting feelings.  Cognitive dissonance, because it doesn’t make sense together.  Luckily I’ve gotten good at ambivalence.  I can hold multiple contradictory beliefs or wishes simultaneously, and I don’t know if that’s a good thing or if it just means I’m extra crazy.  It probably doesn’t matter which.

I’m not making sense, am I?  I don’t think I’m making sense.  Part of me cares, but most of me doesn’t, anymore.  I don’t know what I’m talking about.  I don’t know what I’m writing.  It probably doesn’t matter.

Depression takes over

Why can’t I just ask for help?  Why can’t I tell anyone that I need a therapist?  That I’m falling apart and need far more help than I’m getting?

Things are bad.  I’ve been kind of in denial, hoping that if I didn’t name it, it would go away.  But instead of going away, it’s getting worse.  Depression.

Right now, I can’t make myself care about anything, even the things I was most passionate about.  My sister, who I love more than anything in the world, is getting married, and I don’t care.  I’m seeing my sisters for the first time in 5 years, and I don’t care.  I want to care.  I act like I care.  I go through the motions, but the truth is I don’t care.

Same with work.  I love politics.  I love feeling like I have a voice and I’m doing something that matters.  Except now I don’t care.  I don’t want to fight.  It all feels totally pointless.  I feel like I can’t really change anything, and no one cares what I have to say because I’m sick and crippled and poor and useless.  Whatever is going to happen is going to happen regardless of my involvement.  I feel like I have no power and no purpose.

There was a phone bank last night, and I slept through it.  On purpose.  I knew it was happening, but I just didn’t care.  I couldn’t force myself to cold-call 200 people who just want to get me off the phone as fast as possible.  It all felt pointless, and I couldn’t bear to pretend it meant anything.  So I ignored the calls and texts and Facebook messages.  I just laid there in bed, half asleep, sweating under my comforter.  It’s the only place I feel okay at all, curled up and covered up, wrapped up safe from the world.

It feels like the world is just too much to deal with right now.  All I want to do is hide and sleep, but since I can’t sleep, I watch trashy TV shows on Netflix for 12 hours a day.  That’s what my life is.  That’s all my life is.  I haven’t done any work.  I don’t have any friends to go out with.  Nobody checks to make sure I’m actually okay.  I haven’t looked for new roommates.  Things are falling apart, and I just can’t care because it’s all just more than I can handle.  The world outside my bedroom is more than I can handle, and no one in my life even notices anything is at all wrong with me.

I wish I could just die.  I don’t want to kill myself; I just want to be not alive anymore.

Happy Dance Time (or something)

Idiot Case Manager is leaving the program I’m in!  I won’t have to deal with her for a whole lot longer!

It was really hard not to act excited when she told me.  Really hard.  It was even harder because she seemed to think I’d be upset about it, and that made it hard not to start laughing.

Then she basically tried to push me out of the program, which is fucked up on a number of levels.  I know I seem high-functioning, but the last few weeks, my life has been falling apart more and more.  I really need support right now, not that I’ve been getting that from ICM.  She doesn’t even ask about my life, beyond, “Hi, how are you?”  She’s done nothing to gain my trust, so of course I just tell her I’m fine.

I really hope I get someone better when she leaves.  I need someone who actually knows what they’re doing and is actually going to try to help.  I really, really need someone right now.

Gotta Love Memory Loss

Someone friended me on Facebook tonight.  I couldn’t for the life of me remember who she was, but we had three mutual friends, all people I knew from the 2 years I spent at a treatment center.  So I approved her friend request even though I had no memory of her.

Then she posted on my timeline–along the lines of, “Hey, how are?”  I gave a nondescript answer at first and then went to scour her page to see if I could figure out who on earth she was.  Her pictures didn’t even look familiar.

Finally I texted B and asked him who the hell this person was.  (B and I met at this program.)  Apparently, she was my first nursing care coordinator (NCC).  I met with her every day for months and saw her several times a week once she wasn’t my NCC anymore.  This was only five years ago–it’s not like it’s been decades or anything.

I suspect most of this is caused by the ECT, although some of it might also be dissociation.  I had 29 ECT’s the year after I left that program, and I lost most of my memories of the five years before the ECT, including the time I spent at this treatment program.  But usually I’ve been able to at least recognize people and remember how I felt about them, even if I couldn’t remember why.  For instance, B and I ran into another former patient.  I remembered I didn’t like him but couldn’t remember why.  I had to ask B why.  Once he filled me in, I vaguely remembered the incident, and it made sense why I didn’t like him.

But this woman, I couldn’t remember at all.  Once B told me she’d been my NCC, the first name clicked.  Her picture is still totally foreign to me, though.  It’s really weird when somebody knows you but you don’t know them.  Luckily, my lifelong history of dissociation has made me really good at knowing how to act like I know what’s going on when I really have no idea.

Better Plan

New plan for the wedding: my mother and stepfather are paying for hotel rooms (one for them and one for me) so that none of us have to stay with my grandparents and deal with the assholery, especially since Aunt Bitch is staying there too.  After the wedding, I’m going to go down to my mother’s house in south Florida because she’s having neck surgery shortly after that and needs the help.  I’ll stay for about a week and then fly back here.

I still have to figure out how I’m going to get to and from the airport near here.  Bradley, where I’ll be flying from, is about 40 minutes away, but I’m sure C or somebody else from my former program will be willing to give me a ride there and then pick me up when I get back.

B is buying my ticket to Birmingham for me because I’m short on money.  I’ll pay him back at the beginning of the month once I get my social security, and I’ll buy my ticket home then too.  I’ll have no money to spare next month, but that’s okay.

This is a much better plan than staying with my grandparents and Aunt Bitch.

Now I just need to find someone I can borrow a rolling suitcase and a garment bag from.  All I have is a duffel bag.  I can’t carry that these days, and besides, it would mess up my pretty dresses.  I’m sure I can find someone to borrow luggage from.

I have to.

I think I’m going to have to call my grandparents and ask if I can stay with them for a week for the wedding.  I really didn’t want to do that, but it’s the only way I can afford to go to my sister’s wedding now that I have to buy a plane ticket.  I can’t afford a hotel too.

For those of you who don’t know, I’ve barely spoken to my grandparents in the past 8 months.  See, they funded my treatment for a long time–it’s expensive, but my grandfather is the VP of Investments at a major brokerage firm.  They’ve got plenty of money to spare.  I have mixed feelings–I’m grateful that he funded my treatment, but he also interfered a lot and yanked me out of the only program that was really helping me.  And then, at the end of last year, he cut me off.  I went from having an apartment he paid for and treatment where I saw someone every day to basically nothing.  I had to move into a one-bedroom apartment with two other people because the only money I have now is the $700 a month from Social Security.  My treatment team is no more–now all I have is ICM, who’s totally useless.

(BTW, she apparently is on vacation this week and didn’t bother to tell me.)

See, my grandparents think I’m faking my illness for attention and using it as an excuse not to grow up and take care of myself.  By that logic, they assume cutting me off will cure me because I’ll have to stop faking it.  Clearly that’s working great.

I’ve always had a complicated relationship with my grandparents.  When I was a teenager, I bounced between living with my mother and living with them.  That had a lot to do with their relationship with my mother and my relationship with my mother.  They think she’s a bad mother, and in a lot of ways, they’re right–but I think she got that way mostly because of the damage my grandfather did to her.

See, my grandfather is a narcissist.  He’s very focused on achievement, and it only counts if it’s what HE defines as achievement.  I grew up listening to him mock my mother for being a special ed teacher: “Those who can, do, and those who can’t, teach.”  In front of her children.  He also likes to debate, but she doesn’t, and he bullied her.  She’s one of five children, but he’s always made it clear that she’s the one he doesn’t approve of.  I have a lot of sympathy for that, for her as a child, but I don’t have sympathy for her choices as an adult because she verbally and emotionally abused us and neglected us.

My grandmother, on her own, is very sweet and caring.  But she won’t stand up to my grandfather, never has.  I’m not sure if she even has her own opinions.  Most of her life centers around taking care of my grandfather–cooking for him, cleaning for him, doing laundry for him, ironing his underwear for him (seriously), sewing for him.  She’s never had her own job.  She seems happy with it, though.  But I sometimes want to shake her and scream, “Be your own person!  Have your own opinions!  Have your own life!”

The last time I talked to them was on my birthday, at the beginning of June.  Before that, it had been at least six months.  I figured since they weren’t giving me any money, I was no longer obligated to talk to them.  My grandfather has made it clear that I’m the family fuck-up and have no value in his eyes because I’m not working or achieving anything, so I didn’t really want to deal with it anymore.  When my grandmother called me on my birthday, we talked a little, and then she gave him the phone.  We went from “Happy birthday” to “When are you going to get a job?” in less than three minutes.  I blew it off with excuses about my physical illness, but it really hurt.  He knows how to turn me back into a little girl desperate for approval and love that are extremely conditional, and that pisses me off.

But I don’t have another choice.  There’s no one else in Birmingham I can stay with.  I can’t afford a hotel and a plane ticket.  So I’ll have to put up with the shit from my grandfather and the silence from my grandmother.  They’ll probably think I’m being overdramatic if I need to use my cane or it I’m sick or in pain.  I’ll have to deal with knowing I had to ask them for help again.  I really, really hate this.  I wouldn’t do it for anyone but my sister.

I don’t know what’s wrong with me

I felt a little better yesterday evening.  Not so much today.

I saw my gastroenterologist.  He said my labs look better, although I’m still anemic.  I told him the fatigue is a little better, but I’m still having trouble doing anything that requires being on my feet for a few minutes.  It didn’t seem like he really understood how bad it was, and I didn’t feel like I could push it.

It’s kind of emblematic of where I am with everything right now.  I can barely function, but I can’t be assertive enough to push for any substantive help.  So then I end up with basically no help because everyone thinks I’m okay.

I didn’t ask C for help finding a therapist, either.  Still haven’t heard from Idiot Case Manager, either.  I keep thinking about calling her boss to complain, but who am I kidding?  I know I’ll never actually do that.

Last night was pretty good, though.  I had dinner with my landlady and her partner, and then we went to a free concert at a park in town.  It was pretty good music, although I liked the opening band better than the headliner.  It was nice to be around people without really being expected to interact.  I felt pretty good afterward, too, and I was hoping the elevated mood would last into today.

Nope.

I could barely make myself wake up.  I won’t even say “get out of bed” because that’s not really something I do anymore.  When I wake up, I just sit up in bed with my computer.  My dreams are better than real life–in my dreams I can actually connect with people.  My best friend from high school was in the ones right before I woke up.  It felt so good to be with her again.  We were the kind of friends who knew each other’s minds, and we had whole conversations in inside jokes.  I don’t have friends like that anymore.  I don’t really have friends at all, not in person.

I feel like crying, but I don’t want to let myself because I don’t have any good reason.  It feels like there’s no point to anything.  I’m not quite suicidal, yet, but I really wouldn’t mind being dead.  It feels like there is no future, and the present doesn’t feel very real.  I haven’t bought plane tickets for my sister’s wedding yet.  I’m afraid to even look at how much money I’ve got in my bank account.  I just want to go to sleep and not wake up.

And I don’t even know why.  Nothing has happened; nothing is different than it was a few weeks ago.  But suddenly I’m much more depressed, and I can’t see any way out of that.  How do you fix a problem when it’s happening for no reason?