Archives for category: loneliness

I like beginnings. I’m a big fan of starting and of starting over. I love the energy of a beginning, the enthusiasm, the eagerness. There’s one thing I do know about the majority of beginnings, though; they usually follow the end of something else. I don’t always like endings so reliably well.

I’m sad that the weekend has… ended. 🙂 I had a lovely short weekend with my Traveling Partner. It was a fairly high energy visit, and we crammed into it quite a lot of hang out time, cuddle time, laughter, serious dialogue, connection, and social time – even managed to hit up a party. Twice. lol I slept like crap Saturday night (which meant, so did he 😦 ). I was so tired when I finally arrived home late in the afternoon on Sunday, after hauling ass up the highway through nearly continuous entirely pouring down freezing rain, that I barely finished a cup of soothing hot tea before deciding to just… call it a night. lol I crashed out early like an over-stimulated toddler.

This morning I woke precisely on time – well, if it were not for Daylight Savings Time, it would have been precisely on time, and with the alarm, instead it was an hour early…but… I’d slept through the night, from 6:45 pm (no kidding) until 3:28 am. I woke well-rested, and ready to begin a new week. Good enough. I got up. 🙂

I didn’t bother with the internet much – or the world – while I spent the weekend out in the countryside with my Traveling Partner. It was sad to catch up this morning and see that yet another angry man ended his life with violence, taking a bunch of innocent people with him. I have no ability to understand why we do not, at a minimum, restrict firearm ownership from individuals with domestic violence priors. I just don’t get it. If a human being is already known to have a domestic violence problem – whether they are convicted or not – why the ever-loving-fuck would they be permitted to buy or own a firearm, ever, at all? If a human being can’t be trusted not to assault people they say they love, how can they be trusted to use a firearm responsibly? These are serious questions, and they need serious consideration, serious answers, and serious action. Fuck, we are some stupid god-damned primates. I’m very disappointed in us. Anyway, this is just my opinion about the most recent firearm related sad news. I’m sure you have your own.

A new week begins today. We’ve all got yet another chance to begin again, to start over, to do things differently than we did them yesterday. That’s pretty cool. 🙂

I started the morning in the usual way, then spent some time sipping my coffee and planning my Thanksgiving grocery shopping list. I enjoy planning, and haven’t yet determined the menu for the holiday meal. I’m excited about it this year, more so than usual, because I am anticipating my Traveling Partner’s visit to my new place, and he’ll be staying the weekend with me. 😀 Fun!

A new week begins today. There’s also the work piece; short work week ahead because I am taking a couple days for a long Veteran’s Day weekend, and making the trek back down to the countryside to spend it with my Traveling Partner. We’re seeing a lot of each other while we can. When winter weather sets in, I won’t want to make the drive, and he will likely journey elsewhere, anyway. This year, we are just straight up planning around that, and I expect we won’t see each other at all for 6-10 weeks, including all of December, and much of January. I’m okay with that. I’m skillful at enjoying my time alone, generally, and have plenty to do through the cold winter months. 🙂 I’ll catch up on my reading, and have more to say about life and the world when we next see each other, and he will return with a traveler’s tales. 😀

That last paragraph started about work, ended up about love; clearly I’ve got my priorities in order. 😀

Coffee is finished. The day is started. It’s time to begin again. 🙂

I’m not at all firm on what to write about, this morning. I often begin that way, and it is a state of things that does not cause me any particular stress. I put words in the title field, and then begin typing in the text box, and away I go. Writing coherently, fluidly, about something that matters to someone, in a clear, specific, insightful way… is not a given. It’s more a coincidence, I think, when it does work out that way.

I think that “insight” is more to do with you, the person reading the words, than me… or the words. We each have our own dictionary, and what I think I’m saying may not at all be what you understand me to have said, and this need not be a relevant concern to the matter of insight, at all. You’ll likely make some assumptions as you read. Maybe if you know me personally, you read my words “in my voice”, but is it my voice now, or my voice of some other lifetime? Are your assumptions accurate? Were mine? If you don’t actually know me personally, in what voice do you hear these words, when you read them? There go those assumptions again, at work in the background. Who do you think I am?

If I got something from the process of writing the words, and you get something from reading the words I wrote, does it matter at all if we understood completely different things? Perhaps – at that point we attempt to explain to each other how well we understand one another, I could see that being a potential sore point, but… maybe not? Maybe? I don’t have an answer here, only a question. It’s not even an important question. Just a random thought on a Friday morning.

I make a second coffee, and marvel at how terrible it is. How is this cup of coffee possible, from the same beans, using the same machine, made in the same way, by the same method, into the same cup, at all different than the previous coffee?? I take another sip, puzzled, curious, and seeking greater understanding. I like understanding things. Yeah… No – this is one terrible cup of coffee. Wow. I mean… like… an achievement of bad coffee, a stand out, an extraordinary demonstration of how poorly made a cup of coffee can be – and I didn’t even need to use a percolator, an air pot, or poor quality additives. Good grief. This sucks. I mean… on this whole other “No, seriously? I must be wrong… one more sip…” level. lol This is bad coffee. LOL I am still drinking it… no idea what that says about me, or about human primates generally, but… this is me. Drinking terrible coffee. At this point, I am savoring this terrible coffee and even enjoying its noteworthy awfulness. Please don’t ask me why would I do such a thing, because frankly… I don’t have an answer for that one, either. It is every bit as inexplicable as if I were to suddenly rise from my seat and do a cartwheel. lol

I think about the winter ahead. I think about the future. I sip my bad coffee, now mostly over how dreadful it is, my consciousness has moved on to other things. I think about love. I think about lovers. I think about the twinge of discontent that sometimes catches me by surprise in some lonely moment, when my awareness of age and aging collides with my awareness that I “still feel young on the inside”. This morning, the thought is merely a thought, and does not evoke an emotion. My thinking moves on.

I’ve a busy weekend ahead, and I am eager to get on with it. I’ll see my Traveling Partner this weekend (if all goes to plan, next weekend too!). Fuck I miss that guy. I’m ready to make the drive down, and I’m glad I seem to be well enough to do so; I don’t think I have the pro-adult skills to firmly decline if I weren’t up for it. I just miss him too much at this point. lol I consider the drive itself. It is autumn, and a lovely time of year for a long drive through beautiful countryside. Weather permitting, perhaps I won’t take the highway? A longer route, through scenic forests, down less traveled state highways and country side roads could be quite lovely and relaxed, and a great deal more like part of the weekend than mere transportation from point A to point B. (I-5 is efficient, but not beautiful, the result being the drive feels very purposeful, and more like “work”.)

The map is not the journey. The journey is, itself, the destination. Life’s menu of options is vast, and the choices are many. I am my own cartographer. I sip my terrible coffee and smile. The words pile up. I open up Google Maps with a plan in mind, ready to begin again. 🙂

 

 

I woke three times, all three times feeling well-rested, the first two also entirely able and willing to return to sleep – so I did. 😀 It is Saturday, and I have succeeded in doing the one thing I did plan to do today; I got the rest I needed. 🙂

Good self-care is critical to my wellness. (Yours, too, probably.) I used to suck at it completely, always over-compromising what it takes to be well and feel good by grabbing onto other experiences and choices, for…well… reasons. Reasons that seemed to make sense in the moment, but more often than not were excuses and rationalizations for “doing whatever I want” – or, actually, whatever someone else wanted. The cycle of exhaustion, meltdowns, and poor outcomes was so predictable that for many years I simply called the entire mess “hormones” and put that shit on my calendar without any particularly successful effort to mitigate or improve any of it (because… “hormones”… well… that shit can’t be fixed, though, right? Right??) (Actually, no. It turns out that conflating hormones, mental illness, a lack of emotional intelligence, poor self-care, and plain old-fashioned inconsiderate shitty behavior, assumption making, and personal bullshit leaves quite a lot of room for improvement… so… maybe rethinking your inconsiderate bullshit, at a minimum, is a good place to start? 😉 Just saying.)

I am watching, from a distance, as two relationships in my social network struggle with a partner’s mental illness. Both have been deeply committed loving relationships of decades of mutual affection, support, and shared family life. Both are struggling with the challenge of making love work, while also supporting a mentally ill person’s personal challenge with finding wellness, and juggling all the other elements of family life: work, kids, bills, grocery shopping, and even the assumptions of strangers and the well-meaning “help” and support of friends, sometimes less than ideally helpful, no doubt. (Been there.) It’s fucking hard to be mentally ill. It’s fucking hard to love someone who is mentally ill. The coping skills and rationalizations that allowed these relationships to succeed and perhaps even appear functional before mental illness finally prevented that from being a thing at all are reliably breaking down now that these mentally ill friends are seeking (and getting) treatment that may actually result in wellness. Their partners may not be much help at this point, and in fact, their hurts, anger, resentment, and emotional wellness concerns are reliably welling up and becoming problems that need to be managed. It’s when a mentally ill loved one begins the journey to wellness that everyone else’s rampant crazy bullshit comes to the forefront – along with the rationalizations, excuse-making, justifications, chronically incorrect and untested assumptions, and refusal to respect new boundaries and changes of behavior. It’s ugly and it’s hard. There are literally no “good guys”, and as soon as “the crazy one” begins to practice things that are more sane, the crazy on the other side of the relationship becomes apparent – often accompanied by utter refusal to acknowledge it, be accountable for it, accept it, or change it.

When people who are mentally ill seek treatment, find it, and begin their journey toward wellness, the first set back is often because within their once supportive network of friends and family (“I’m here for you!”) are people who are suddenly not so willing to “be there” if “there” turns out to include being aware of their own bullshit, and their continued commitment to a status quo that it turns out has favored them, and met certain needs that must now be met differently – in, oh, hey, some new healthy way. It’s hard. It’s hardest, frankly, on the mentally ill partner now responsible not only for staying focused on treatment, but now this mentally unwell person struggling with their situation is suddenly also forced to have to provide support to the adult in the room who turns out to be less than ideally adult (and sometimes fully unwilling to even be aware of that).

It’s a see-saw, people. When we love someone with a mental health challenge, over time, we make room for some weird and possibly damaging bullshit that changes who we are, ourselves, a little at a time. When someone we love who is mentally ill seeks help, and begins to make real changes, on purpose, with the intent of becoming well – our own crazy is going to well up and fight back, and our failure to be observant and aware, and also take the very best care of ourselves, for real, is likely to be the first step on the path to seeing that relationship simply end. It will end in screaming tantrums, outrage, defensiveness, accusations, and generally – a lot of needless yelling. The cause I most commonly see as obvious and avoidable is that instead of partnerships fighting mental illness together, partners become adversaries and basically forget all about the actual issue being someone who is sick, and not able to be at their best, who needs help, support, consideration, and compassion.

Reminder: getting a diagnosis does not suddenly make someone who is mentally ill magically able to not struggle with mental illness. They can’t just point to a page in their handy “So you’re depressed?” handbook or their “The basics of living with PTSD” guide and go down a list of steps to “make it all better” for some other person. Fuck you. That’s sort of one of the limitations of being unwell; there is a fairly commonly implied inability to do all the things.

I’m not saying it’s easy. I’m saying it’s fucking hard. I’m saying a great many relationships that end over mental illness don’t end because a partner is mentally ill – they end when that person seeks wellness and messes with the stable status quo that has allowed the “well” person certain… sanity privileges, that they must now give up in favor of dealing with their own unaddressed bullshit. No one in a relationship recovers from mental illness alone; everyone must deal with their bullshit. Everyone has bullshit.

When I hit that wall in my own relationship(s) I was fortunate. I chose to move into my own living space, and make a significant lifestyle change for a variety of reasons that overlapped in a useful way. I live alone. Sure, there’s bullshit, and I definitely trip over it frequently – and it’s all mine. My bullshit. My issues. My limitations. It’s also my home, my rules, my way; the failures are mine, and so are the successes. I was able to let go of my attachment to “being heard” by my partner(s), and able to comfortably take time to be heard by the woman in the mirror – because I could recognize, in the silence of solitary space, that this was in fact where the issue rested, for me. I was able to begin to sort out my bullshit from the bullshit in my relationships that wasn’t mine, and let go of trying to fix other people, or a relationship dynamic that was unavoidably damaged by my issues, and work on practicing healthier practices that support my own mental wellness… and having gained a measure of wellness, emotional resilience, and stability, then I could begin to tackle the complex challenges of “making things right” with emotionally hurt partner(s). Please note: I am not recommending my choices to anyone else. I am this person here, and my needs are what they are; I thrive living alone. You are likely someone else altogether, with different needs, and other choices may be preferable for you, personally. I’m just saying – achieving wellness may very well destroy existing relationships, and not through any failure of the mentally ill person, and in no way directly caused by their illness, but totally because they attempted to get well – and wellness did not meet the needs of that relationship. It’s totally a thing.

Prepare for change. Seeking mental health changes things. It’s a thing people know about.

Are you a “bad person” if you can’t stay in a relationship with someone who is mentally ill? I mean, you wouldn’t leave if they broke their leg, right? It’s a complicated question. Just as complicated as “Am I a bad person if I can’t stay in my relationship because my partner won’t respect new boundaries and changes in behavior as I improve my mental health?”

Helpful friends don’t feel any more comfortable than anyone else in the context of watching lovers struggle with mental health concerns. Everyone has their “good advice” to offer. People take sides without ever seeing the entirety of the dynamic. Also hard.

Every bit of all the hard stuff is 100% hardest on the person who is mentally ill, who is trying their damnedest to find emotional wellness – they are the one who is sick, people. I’m just saying. Seriously? Find some fucking perspective. Be there for a friend. Listen more than you talk, and refrain from making assumptions. Be encouraging. Be considerate. Be compassionate. If a relationship is struggling with mental illness, everyone is hurting, everyone is injured, everyone is struggling – and no one is the good guy; we’ve all got our own bullshit to deal with.

Two different relationships, two different sets of circumstances. I find myself fairly certain one relationship has already failed, and wondering if the other might manage to survive this; it’s in how they treat each other. In both cases, I see the mentally ill person doing what they must do to become well.

I notice that I have finished my second coffee, and my playlist just ended. It is a lush rainy Saturday, and I’ve got some important self-care to take care of; it’s been a long week, and I find that my own emotional wellness is very much tied to skilled self-care. 🙂 It’s time to get started on the practices that keep me well. Doing so, and staying committed to them, has changed my world, and also my relationships. I swallow one last bite of oatmeal, grateful my relationship with my Traveling Partner has endured my changes. Love matters most.

I was a bit lonely yesterday. It happens sometimes, and it an occasional inevitable byproduct of living alone. I’d heard from my Traveling Partner quite early, and very briefly; he was awakened by way of practical joke, after a late night working. (Which, while it must have seemed an amusing notion in the abstract to the prankster(s)… really?? What the hell, grownups? No. Just, no. Jokes that amuse at the specific expense of someone else’s discomfort aren’t actually funny to the person who endures them. My opinion, but admittedly, I learned that fairly late in life, myself, sometime in my 30s.) He shared his irritation and we both moved on with our mornings. I didn’t hear from him again, yesterday, aside from seeing an occasional like or post or reply on Facebook.

I spent the day contentedly working down my “to do list” of things both needful and helpful, and a few things that were subtle improvements that were in no way actually necessary. Music played in the background throughout the day. Near the end of the day, as I began to tire, I began also to miss my Traveling Partner immensely, and yearning for any little moment of connection or contact. Nothing. He was busy elsewhere, doing other things, and did not have the time or inclination to connect with me. This has to be okay; we are humans, living our lives, and do not live together. Sometimes, one of us will be busy with what is in front of us, right here, right now, and that distant lover is… distant. Far away. Not here. I ended the day feeling lonely, and a little unsettled; I’m used to more contact with him over a weekend, unless he explicitly sets expectations that I won’t hear from him. Lacking that expectation-setting, I allowed myself other implicit expectations and fucked myself over, emotionally; loneliness settled in with my fatigue, late in the day. Which sucked. But… I wasn’t having a shitty day, there wasn’t any drama, or cause for alarm, and really – I was okay, and most likely, so was he. All good.

I put down that baggage several times, and moved on to other things. “Practices” take practice – actual repetition, actual verbs, actually doing the things. Yoga. Strength training. Study. Deep listening – even to the woman in the mirror – have such value. I made a point to allow myself to be heard, to feel understood, by me, myself, and it was enough. I went to bed just a bit disappointed that I hadn’t heard from him, and hoping that he was well, and content, and feeling loved. I reminded myself how loved I am, and when I wrapped myself in my blankets as I crawled into bed, I felt content, and warm, and yes, loved, too. All good. No heartache.

I woke once very early, and saw that my Traveling Partner had messaged me quite late. He even tried to call. He was sorry I was lonely and feeling unsettled. He’d had a busy day with a lot of work going on, and some help at hand – so a limited opportunity to get quite a lot done, and he’d been involved in that. Makes sense to me. I smiled in the darkness. On my way back to bed, I hoped that he wasn’t too disappointed not to reach me by phone, after I’d gone to bed. Even though I saw him last weekend, I miss him greatly, already. I fell asleep reminded that I would be seeing him this week, showing him the new place, going to a concert with him…

My loneliness yesterday wasn’t a matter of being without Love in my experience of living. It was a matter of choices; I had a list of things to do, and was insisting (to myself) on doing them. lol That was a choice. I made that choice because it was, in my opinion, needful. My loneliness increased over the day, not hearing from my partner, because I’d hung on to an implicit expectation of hearing from him “more often” (I’ll point out how poorly defined “more often” is…), not because he’d actually let me down in any way. My emotional life is mine. The emotional “climate”, the emotional “weather”, the long-term experience of self, the immediate turmoil of some moment – these are all mine to manage, to endure, to delight in, to change, to explore, to accept, reject, or to resist as if it were madness. No one actually “made me” feel lonely – feeling lonely was merely my reaction to insisting (for myself) that I stay home and “work the list” rather than be out and about doing things with friends. I had shit to do. I chose to do it. <shrugs> It’s not even a thing this morning.

For me, today, it matters far more than my loneliness matters to my Traveling Partner, even at a distance, than the fact that I experienced some loneliness. His reassuring message and attempts to call were sufficient reassurance that he was okay, and adequate reminder that I matter (to him). I sometimes worry when I don’t hear from him. He heard me. I feel heard. All good.

I smile and sip my coffee and think about hearing and listening. I think about feeling heard. I think about emotion and reason, and love and lovers. I think about perspective and balance. I think about being the best human being I am able to be with the resources and qualities of character that I have right now. I think about walking my own path, and becoming the woman I most want to be.

Eventually, I think about my “to do list”, and the autumn leaves on the deck I have yet to sweep up. I smile, sip my coffee, and get ready to begin again. 🙂

What a week. Glad it’s behind me. Relieved to feel satisfied, pleased, and accomplished, instead of terrified, anxious and regretful. It could have gone differently. I am content with the outcome.

Stress is a weird thing, though, right? I mean… once I’m stressed about A, then it’s far more likely that unrelated experiences B, C, or D may also feel more stressful, or seem to be cause for concern. I crashed out last night feeling terribly blue, struggling in a sticky web of anxiety-lies and insecurities being launched at me from within, by an anxious, stressed, fatigued brain. I wept. For the world? It seemed so at moments. Other moments, I just felt “cracked open” and unable to hold anything back however small, however simple – even some lovely tender moments felt like pure heartbreak, and I cried, merely because there was too much emotion to hold back any longer. My executive function limitations hit me in my emotional life pretty hard. This week that was more obvious than most weeks in recent months. It’s been a peculiarly emotionally stable year.

I went to bed worried, even, about my relationship with my Traveling Partner. No reason for it, really. At least, nothing I could easily identify. I woke this morning without that insecurity or doubt, feeling rested, anxiety gone; I’m excited about the road trip ahead of me. 3 day weekend with my lover? Yes, please! Sign me up. 🙂 

Fuck, I am so glad my “default setting” is no longer despair. I feel fortunate to have survived the first 50 years of my lifetime. Emotions come and go. Like weather. “Who we are” is less volatile, less mutable, and sometimes feels rather… permanent. It isn’t. It’s more like climate; tends to be what it is, but still changeable over time. We become what we practice. No kidding. It’s a slow thing to change the climate – but it can be done. Choose wisely. 🙂

Are you unhappy? Make changes. There’s no map on this journey… it’s rather like setting off on a road trip to see someone you love, unclear of specifically where they are, but with a direction in mind… generally. lol This may help. 🙂 It’s a favorite of mine for reinforcing healthy basics; do the opposite of everything it suggests. lol (Here’s a follow-up on that…)

Maybe something simple this morning? One thing that could be easily improved by one little change in your decision-making, habits, or actions? Start small – committing to a marathon, while breathless from walking across the street may be a bit unmanageable. It’s so easy to become discouraged. I’ve been there…

After years of frustration, despair, and inactivity, I decided to go to the Farmer’s Market, one year. My feet hurt all the time, stupefying medication and unmanaged pain had pretty much nailed me to my couch between work shifts. Doing so would mean a two block walk uphill (barely) from the light rail station. I look back astonished (because I regularly go to the Farmer’s Market quite easily and comfortably, now, and often walk miles, not just blocks) – it seemed hard then. It required effort. Commitment. Patience with myself.

I don’t look at it the same way now, at all. My perspective has changed with my experience over time. Incremental change over time; it wasn’t easy the first time, the second or third times, the fourth time… but eventually, it sure didn’t seem hard, and then… at some point… almost unnoticed, it became quite the natural thing to easily and comfortably do. (For my less physically able readers out there, I’m using an example familiar to me, only, and part of my personal experience, no intention of falling short of being inclusive, but I see where my example could be. I regret any aggravation, or sense of being left out of my consideration that this may cause. Start small, is all I’m saying. 🙂 )

It’s a good reminder for me, too. There is further to go. There is more to do. I still struggle with my weight, health, and fitness. There are changes to make. There is future progress out there on the horizon to be experienced. Incremental change over time takes both time – and verbs. A lot of fucking verbs.

Oh hey, look at the time! It’s definitely time to begin again. This journey won’t make itself. 😉