I have discovered that if I start a blog and treat it like a job with a specific purpose and service to other people... I'm not going to write anything.
One thing I do feel like I'm obligated to write about is my mental ability.
"Trela" is Greek for insanity. "Li" is me. That's the meaning of this name, which I chose years and years ago, fully knowledgeable that I was diagnosed with depression but not exactly believing it. I was more willing to believe I was "just crazy" than having a clinical issue called depression. That seemed more logical.
These days, I'm still not sure about depression. What I am sure of is that I'm not mentally healthy. I'd really like to be.
This last fall, a couple of weeks before my birthday, my father contacted my brother and I and told us he was going to hold us responsible for the tuition bills he was currently paying for our education. The amount totaled a little over $100,000.00USD and he expected us to start helping out. Not much, less than $100 a month from each of us. The exact phrase he used was that he believed we were both in a place to help now.
I've been living in my grandparents house for nearly three years now, barely getting by with the minimal rent they require from me, normal everyday bills, and the three school loans I'm currently paying back.
My brother is a newlywed.
I mean, the panic attack I had was mostly because he was asking for money I didn't have to pay for a service that was solely mine - I'll admit that much. But there was another panic attack on top of that where I realized my father actually thought I chose
my current situation, so I must have the ability to give him money. Because it's not like every last dime was going toward keeping myself from drowning.
Then I found out there was apparently some deal my parents struck with my brother and I. Where they (my parents) would pay for the standard four years of higher education. Anything above and beyond that, my brother and I were responsible for. My brother had an extra year of college. I left prematurely in my junior year, but then I became a transfer student overseas. So my brother has been paying for that extra year, while I've been paying for that one semester overseas.
Or so my mom and brother apparently thought.
My dad insisted we were responsible for our entire education.
I did some research and found out one of my loans was definitely for that initial US-based education.
In the end, with my mom and brother so adamant against him and me too panicked to do much of anything, my dad gave it up. He basically said "if that's the way you feel the situation should be, then I guess it can be that way."
Which can be translated into "You're all wrong but I'm such a nice guy, I'm going to let it go."
I then had a conversation with him where I asked how in the hell he ever thought I would be capable of giving him any money at all. Which turned into a "Do you even know me at all?" conversation. Which turned into a "Do you even pay attention to my life
at all?" conversation.
He admitted he'd never been the best father, which was nice. Then he basically admitted that no, actually, he really hasn't ever paid attention, which was not nice. Then he promised to call me once a week, that he would keep to that schedule, that he desperately wanted a relationship with me.
He missed that first week. A few days later, he texted me with an apology because he'd been so busy. I responded that if he wanted a relationship, really, he should call me that night at 5pm. If he didn't call, no problem, we'd go our separate ways.
He's called intermittently since then. Usually once a month, less. Depending on when he remembers. He mostly talks about his girlfriend and asks when I'm going to move out, when I'm going to get promoted, if I'm thinking about school at all.
This last December, my mom came to visit. After five full days of family, I started getting panicked and asocial, so I made a concentrated effort to stay away from people so I wouldn't say/do anything dumb. The night before she left - and the night before I was going to go back to work - she all but cornered me. First to ask what was wrong, which I was happy to explain to her. When she asked me to go downstairs and say goodbye to the rest of the visitors who would be leaving in the morning, I did that, too. Then I went back upstairs to calm down before bed, before work.
She came in again. And this time, it was to tell me that as hard as I'd tried to hide my discomfort and unhappiness for her entire trip, I'd failed. She could tell I was unhappy, she could tell I was uncomfortable. She told me not to wait any longer to move out. She told me as soon as I was capable of it, I should leave. "Don't waste any time saving up extra money, don't wait until everything's perfect." I was obviously not doing well and should get out.
I remember just staring at her in dumbstruck silence. And then said, clearly, "Get out."
She repeated that she was just concerned and didn't want me to hang around here any longer than I had to.
To which I replied, "Get out now."
She repeated that she was concerned. That she didn't want me to stay in this house any longer. That I should get out as soon as possible.
I said, "Get out, right now, do not come back."
She finally left. Leaving me to wonder if anyone, ever, pays attention to where I am and why I'm here. That they think I've chosen
this. At all.
In the morning, before work, she came back and made small talk about my make-up while I tried to ignore her. If I so much as looked at her, I knew I'd cry. I was getting ready for work
She asked for a hug as I went down the stairs. I said no.
Had to park on the way to work to cry.
About 5 days later, after one ignored email and a couple of ignored texts, she sent me an apology email. Apologizing for all the wrong things. For ignoring me during her trip - she hadn't - and for not making me a priority - I didn't think she was supposed to do that. She never apologized for what had happened, only that she had hurt me, but not being specific about how she'd done it.
I told her I was sick and not capable of dealing with this right now. That I'd like to believe that she'd respect my choices and requests because I'm a fellow human being but that she'd proven she was incapable of that. So I asked that she respect my choices and requests because I'm sick, because I'm broken, because I should be pitied and treated with kid gloves. I asked that she not contact me anymore, that she wait for me to make the first contact.
About three weeks later, she sent me a picture of her dog.
That was the last time I've heard from her directly.
Just recently, my dad tried to call. I was still reeling from Mom and Therapy Homework (which I'll get to later) so I didn't answer. He left an email apologizing for "being bad" and not calling me - over a month of silence - then went on to explain that his long-distance girlfriend had been sick and he'd been traveling to visit her a couple times this last month.
He'd heard from my brother (I suppose through my mom) that I was planning to move out soon. He asked that I let him know when so he could send me a housewarming gift.
I didn't know how to answer and didn't want to. I wasn't in the right space to flatter his ego and tell him it was okay. I wasn't in the mood to pretend that I want or care to cultivate a relationship with him.
The next day, he sent a long text message that basically said what the email said. With my therapist's help, I answered that. I told him it was really "hectic" right now and I'd get back to him when I had a chance.
He said he "truly understood hectic" and hoped I was well.
My therapist gives me homework.
Sometimes it's active homework. She wants me to join a group of people, take a class, try to be more active with people somehow. She understands that it's hard for me, though, so she's never very demanding about it.
Last year, she had me read a book. The Depression Cure: The 6 Step Program to Beat Depression Without Drugs
I had some issues with this book. First, because it says it can "cure" what is still not an official medical disease. They can't say what
it is, scientifically, they only know what the symptoms are.
Second, it repeatedly referred to depression as a "mental illness."
Which seems counterproductive for a condition that makes people feel useless and suicidal, to top it off with calling them mentally ill.
But it helped. I eat better. I take vitamins. I'm specific about what type of fish oil I take. I drink a lot of green tea. I don't exercise because I haven't found one that kick-starts endorphins for me instead of my asthma. I socialize online, but I'd rather be doing it in person.
Last week, she assigned me a new book. Reinventing Your Life: The Breakthrough Program to End Negative Behavior... And Feel Great Again!
If the title and book cover seem more like an informercial than a legit mental health aid, then you and I are in the same boat.
What the book talks about are lifetraps. There's a few of them, about 11, I think. (the book is right next to me and I'm too lazy to look at it) It tells you what they are, gives a few examples of people who have them, gives some possible ideas of how you developed them. Then it gives you some ways to break through them, to work them out, work past them, and have healthier relationships with yourself and others.
I've said before that therapy is a lot like getting your septic tank fixed. To be healthy and happy, you need to do it. But before you feel better, you've got to spread a lot of shit publicly across your lawn.
This particular book is surprisingly in line with that analogy.
I can't read it during the week. The memories, emotions, and situations it calls up will make me burst into tears in the middle of a work day. I work with the public though even if I didn't, my coworkers don't deserve to have a crying mess on their hands when there's shit to do.
I filled out a questionnaire and my therapist scored it and showed me four lifetraps.
3. Emotional Deprivation - Empathy
4. Social Exclusion
The book recommends - and so do I - working with a therapist through all this. I know for a fact I'd rather be escaping everything reading this drudges up than try to address it.
But it also promises some iota of normalcy, if you follow the program.
Anyway. That's a lot of words that doesn't say to much.
Hi. I'm crazy. Certifiably. I may or may not have depression. I may or may not have been verbally abused and emotionally denied as both a child and an adult. I am not antisocial, but asocial. I do not date. I do not have local friends. I'm living with relatives.
I don't want to be any of these things - not ever, but especially not now.
I think writing about it will help me deal but I can guarantee I'll be a shitty journal-friend. I lock myself down when things are hurty or hard. I avoid people. I just go silent.
But I think writing will help me work through it.
The only chapter of the book I've read so far is Emotional Deprivation - it was first on the list. Maybe I'll write about that next.This entry was originally posted at http://trelali.dreamwidth.org/1424.html. Please comment there using OpenID.