Anticlimax

My hospital stay was much, much, much shorter than I expected.

I went in a week ago, resigned to losing weeks, probably months of my life. It took me about a day to be bored shitless and intensely frustrated that my life was at a necessary standstill.

That said, my psychiatrist is fantastic. Had I spent much longer in there I’m sure I would have formed an obsession around her, as counterproductive as that would have been. She’s young, stylish, sassy, and cocky as fuck.

I think she expected me to be an open and shut case. I think it piqued her interest that I wasn’t. After our first meeting she described me as “an enigma wrapped in a mystery.” That was the moment I knew we were going to get along.

It took her two half hour meetings with me, and one with my mother, to figure me out.

She diagnosed me with mental illness.

That’s it.

I have autistic traits, I have borderline traits, I have bipolar traits, I have ADHD traits.

I do not have enough of any one of those traits to have a “disorder”.

I have serious attachment and identity issues stemming from the emotional neglect I suffered as a small child.

But that isn’t a life sentence. I get a good psychologist and I work on that, and I could be as normal as anyone else.

I could have chosen to save myself some cash and stayed in hospital while she slowly reduces my (probably unnecessary) medication. But I chose to go home because I wanted to get on with the rest of my life.

I left late on Friday afternoon, dropped off my stuff and headed out for drinks and dinner with my bestie and her boyfriend. It was a big night and it felt like a celebration.

Maybe ambiguity is bad for some people, but for me it’s a blessing. As my psych pointed out, I hide my identity issues behind labels. To be told they can’t give me a label forces me to just be myself. I’ve never felt freer because I’ve defined myself by my illness for most of my life.

I spent all weekend house and job hunting, and even though it’s a hard slog it’s such a good feeling to finally be able to make progress.

On Sunday morning I went to see a house and meet potential flatmates. It went really well, and I decided that is where I will make my home. They’re two lovely women just a touch younger than I am, one of whom is, fortuitously, a history teacher!

I’ve gone into serious nesting mode overnight. I want to create a brighter, warmer space for myself with lashings of blush, white, and a hint of gold and baby blue.

The leopard print and burgundy I favoured in the past seems tacky and too reminiscent of the unhappy times of my life. The sexpot 20s where I sought connection and found precisely none.

I still need to get my ducks in a row financially, but I’m hoping the tax gods will shine on me and I can have the small shipment of stuff from Canberra delivered into my new home around the same time as me, in mid-July.

Blogging here these past few months has been a really enjoyable experience, but I’m not sure if I’ll have much more to say on the topic, or perhaps that’s just my hope. That finally, finally the dust will settle for a bit and normality will creep back in, and maybe, if I’m really lucky, I won’t have anything really worth writing about.

I’ll leave this open for now though, in case I feel like I have something to say, but I make no promises.

Advertisements

Perspective

I can’t say I thought I’d said my last on Amanda, but despite the fact that (time wise) there isn’t much water under the bridge, given how much we’ve both had to endure emotionally it still surprises me when I realise something new.

Today it was only a small shift, but a significant.

They’d always said I needed my own life and goals, but in the rush of emotions and safety I felt with them I only really grasped the concept. I made motions towards such things but emotionally they remained my guiding star, my all.

Reflecting now, I can see how things would have played out had they taken me back anytime over the past 3 months, after I’d made some life goals and was feeling stronger in myself.

There would have been a burst of excitement as I organised everything within an inch of its life. I would have performed independence.

Then when they bought their business, I would have slowly (and probably subconsciously) adapted my life to fit theirs. When study started it would be put aside so I could care for their needs. I wouldn’t have minded.

After some time, we’d be back where we were; they’d feel smothered and overwhelmed with their total responsibility for my fragile emotions. We’d fight. I’d struggle to build connections in a city that didn’t understand me and never had.

I would be deeply unhappy because of this, even if they turned a blind eye to my unhealthy dependency because of distraction or desperation (even though they never would).

At this point I’m starting to accept I think, that in this life we don’t belong together. But perhaps in another life we have or will.

I think if they hadn’t had a child, and I had been more aware of my own needs, and we’d come here together, we’d have a good shot at building something balanced and good. But that is pure fantasy. It’s not going to happen.

I guess what I’m trying to say is I can’t fault our connection – it’s the circumstances that were our downfall.

Ultimately I need time and experience to build my independence so when I meet someone who knocks my socks off I can stand firm in maintaining my own life and interests. Right now it’s the reason I can’t have anything serious with anyone.

I am sad about what happened, but I think now I realise that if I was still in Canberra, even if Amanda and I were still together, I’d be dead.

The Person and the Partner

I’ve been in Brisbane nearly 2 weeks now. In that time, I’ve had a few times where my emotions have loomed and threatened to overwhelm me. But I’ve taken my meds, taken a breath, distracted myself.

In those two weeks, I’ve had only one day when I was sick enough to nearly need to go to hospital.

One day.

In Canberra I was suicidal literally every second day, I cried at the drop of a hat, I agonised over the slightest suggestion of a bittersweet memory of my ex.

I spent every day feeling like I was fighting to stop myself drowning in pain and love and emotion generally, like someone was trying to waterboard me with my own feelings.

In Brisbane, I feel light. The change of scene has not fixed everything – nor did I expect it to. But the struggle just to survive is gone.

It’s hard to know what to put this down to – I have little personal effects, I haven’t been particularly busy or social or had money to ease my woes.

But I think it might be something very simple.

You see, I’m an extrovert. In Canberra I worked in a building of introverts, so my attempts to gain social contact there usually fell flat. The pub was pretty good for socialising, but it was tempered by the need to be fiscally responsible and fit adulting in around it. My housemate was lovely, but we had very different nocturnal patterns.

I guess what I’m saying is that I didn’t get what I needed socially. I felt like I was walking around invisible because I spent the day trying to engage with people and instead being ignored or unheard. And when I went home at night, it was often to an empty house and empty room. I would wake at 2am to that same quiet, kill 4 hours before I left for work to repeat the whole excruciating process.

No wonder I felt like there was no fucking point.

But in Brisbane, I’m living in a house with my family. We aren’t particularly chatty, but it’s amazing what a hello in the morning, or another person in the room with you can do to your mood when you’ve been starved of company. I especially enjoy the random outings my mother takes me on for coffee, or to the shopping centre. I feel like I finally have someone taking an interest in me.

Maybe this is all evidence that when I get my own place I shouldn’t live alone. But the reality is I don’t want to live in a share house, and I’m not moving in with a partner until we’re practically married. I need my own space and sanctuary. I will not isolate myself, but I need a space that is mine.

And while we’re talking relationships, I should be clear. I don’t want to date anyone, at least not seriously. Give me the sex. Give me the companionship. But you can keep your emotional expectations and adult worries and cohabitation.

Maybe that sounds immature. Maybe it is. But the reality is I have a tendency to give so much of myself to my partners that I lose my own identity. I gave myself so completely to my last partner that when things fell apart it very nearly destroyed me. I won’t let that happen again. I need safeguards. Ergo it is more important to me that I build my own life so I have somewhere to retreat to when the next relationship ends.

However I also recognise that I thrive on sexual and emotional companionship. I’m just figuring out how to balance that with putting myself first. I do hope one day I will be ready to commit to something for life, but it’s a long way off. I’m much more cautious than I once was.

I guess that’s the other thing I’ve got from being in Brisbane – the space to take the long view. And in a few months, odds are I’m going to be unstoppable.

Movin’ On Up – Literally!

Oh how I wish I was talking about my mood.

But I digress.

With the flurry of activity over the past few days, I completely forgot to update my blog.

On Thursday, I decided that I’m going to relocate to Brisbane, at least for the next 6 months.

It’s not something I’d considered seriously before, though friends have floated the idea. I’m the kind of person that takes ages to figure out an idea is right, but once I have I can’t have it put in place soon enough.

I’d been planning to undertake treatment in a private hospital in Canberra from May 8th when my insurance kicked in. My main reason for choosing to stay in town was that as the hospital was an open ward, I’d still be able to attend work and maintain some semblance of a normal life.

My psychologist dashed my hopes, informing me that my insurer wouldn’t allow me to work or study while undergoing treatment.

Furthermore, when I rang the insurer on Thursday morning they told me I could use the waiver only once, and I had already planned a visit to Brisbane in June.

After the phone call I quickly weighed up my situation. Outside of my work and my housemates, I don’t have much support in Canberra. I have pretty much torpedoed any future friendship with my ex because they were the only person close who I felt I could rely on and my borderline tendencies saw me trying to meet my needs in ways that only damaged things further.

And so I decided very calmly that I would instead go into hospital in Brisbane on May 9th, using unpaid personal leave. When my long service leave kicks in on June 4th, I will take 6 months at half pay.

During that time I’ll gain my Responsible Service of Alcohol and Responsible Service of Gambling and seek work in an RSL Club to gain experience before hopefully moving onto cooler venues.

Really for a long time I’ve stayed in Canberra for my job, and I always said if things didn’t work out with my ex, I’d move interstate. Canberra is just too small for me to have any new adventures here on my own after living here my whole life, and I’ve depleted the dating pool to boot.

Not that I’m ready to move on. Not even close. But I’m craving new experiences and going somewhere where the queer scene isn’t primarily made up of middle aged women with cookie cutter haircuts and young femmes who wouldn’t even look at me if I was interested is essential.

But again, I digress.

I also have a good friend in Brisbane who I’ve known a long time who is going through a difficult period. She needs me. And I know we are going to have amazing hijinks together too! We’re sisters, more or less.

It probably all seems sudden, and in a way it is. But every single one of my medical team has commented that despite this it is logical and considered, and supports me completely. I will miss them all – most especially my psychologist. He’s been a rock for me.

Now I have a few adult things to sort out. I need to get my stuff back from my ex (the second suitcase is more important than the stuff itself). I need to fit the absolute essentials into those (hopefully) two suitcases.

I have three days of work to get through, then my autism assessment which runs over three days.

But I also get to do fun stuff, like say goodbye to my kitty cat, get my hair cut (I haven’t set foot in a hairdresser since January), have a big karaoke sendoff at my favourite pub, and of course the work farewell.

The next ten days are going to be utterly insane.

I fully expect that upon my arrival to Brisbane I’ll want to do nothing but sleep for a week. But I know I will also feel safe and at home even though I’ve never lived there.

Every time I’ve visited I’ve felt like a permanent resident. I’m so eager to hang out with my mother, share beers with my dad, jam with my brother, catch up with my auntie and bond even closer with my friend.

And I will keep writing, because I hope my story will help someone out there.

On Comfort

This morning I cried for the first time in nearly a week.

It wasn’t really about being sad, because at least over the past few days I’ve been quite content.

It was only a little bit about wishing things were different.

Mostly it was about missing my ex, or more specifically the physical comfort they gave me. And I’m not talking about the sex (although that was very special too).

It got me thinking about how I take comfort. I have a lot of friends. I know this. A lot of people who are willing and able to provide me with emotional support. And I appreciate that love.

The thing is, most of them aren’t available physically, due to distance or other commitments.

Since my most recent relationship I’ve realised that touch is essential for me. Not only sexually, but as casual affection.

I think it’s because I’m such a thinker, emotional support is well and good but the only thing that really stops my brain ticking over is physical affection.

I find it immensely comforting and reassuring; unlike many aspies I’m not averse to it if it’s coming from someone I know and like.

So really what I’m missing this morning is someone to snuggle. And as my ex is the only person who has ever really given me that, they are who pops into my head when I crave being held tight.

It’s so complicated, because I’m absolutely not ready or interested in dating right now. I’m still finding my equilibrium as an individual and there’s too much up in the air to be an attractive prospect to anyone.

Maybe by November or so, once I’ve gotten settled into uni and hopefully have my diagnoses, things will be different.

But right now I just fucking miss the snuggles and I’m not really sure how I can supplement until then.

New spaces, new faces

It’s been 2 weeks since I got out of hospital. In that time I’ve packed up my apartment, moved my things variously to storage, my new home, the op shop and the tip. (Well let’s be honest, my mother and her friend Nicole have done those things while I’ve “helped” by whinging, sorting and generally being a mess – sorry & thanks Mum).

Yesterday I finally returned to work and it was heavenly.

Now it’s 3am and of course, I am awake. And of course, I am musing. Continue reading “New spaces, new faces”

Progress!

I got out of hospital on Tuesday afternoon. Although I was a little shaky mood-wise for the rest of the day, I’ve improved leaps and bounds since then.

I suppose I expected things would take a lot of time and struggle to figure out, as hard as they were when I was so, so sick the past few months.

I’m delighted to say that I think I was wrong. Continue reading “Progress!”

Finally, a beginning

This post has been a long time coming. I guess I’ve been waiting to see things land with my relationship, which has changed rather rapidly.

The result? I’m single. But very, very, very, unavailable.

I’m not going to get into finger pointing and blame, it’s not that kind of breakup, but my mental illness, my Borderline Personality Disorder/Bipolar Disorder had a large influence.

Continue reading “Finally, a beginning”