Dear Joe

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I’ve always wondered who you imagine me to be, in your head. Because much like I know you mostly through mom and dads recaps, reading abstracts of your scientific papers and vague childhood memories combined with yearly visits with screaming children at the forefront, I know it cant be very accurate. I know from the last visit that you don’t really understand much of what’s wrong with me, or how that impacts my life, and really, I don’t either. But what has become clear is that your mental version of me has little to do with the reality of my life right now. I wonder if the same is true for me with you?

I was put on thorazine recently, because sounds became louder than they were, louder than they could be, louder than any single thing and instead a chorus of many. Colors got brighter, brighter, brighter, until the ceiling started to look pink and it got a bit unnerving.

Thorazine is an anti psychotic medication, with the benefit of being an extreme tranquilizer as a side effect. Its always hard to say how much of these things is caused by my seemingly incessant state of extreme sleep deprivation, and how much is part of a bipolar symptom. I think the general conclusion is a little bit of column a, little bit of column b.

Thorazine is the brand name. My psychiatrist only refers to it by its generic name, and im unsure if this is because its simpler or if he was hoping I wouldn’t look into a seemingly innocuous name of yet another drug I shove in my body – which, to be fair, its rather surprising I did, given my current state. But I did. Apparently it’s the first, like the literal first, anti psychotic medication ever produced. There’s whole songs written about ‘thorazine dreams’ and ‘the thorazine shuffle’ and all those good dead and drooling side effects that characterize all patients who took it for decades. This is oddly not much of a deal to me. I think, at my stage, you don’t get to think about quality of life in the same way as the average person. Yes, taking this may cause all sorts of things, but are those sorts of things worse than seeing in technicolor acid trip swirls or thinking a song played through a grocery store speaker was the universe trying to send you a message? Because I feel like there’s a tipping point that comes after that that I don’t want to see.

I’m very clearly losing my grip on interpreting my reality correctly. I am not, however, actively psychotic, because I catch myself, to an extent. Like I know the ceiling should not be pink, as I know it is not painted pink, and I can usually make that logical connection. Therefore I am in, as my doctor says, “the funky stuff”.

Possibly the most frightening realization Im having is that I can understand how delusions work now. Its not something that sort of… appears and you suddenly believe you’re Christ and think you can save the world, or whatever the fuck the stereotypical thing of delusional people is. It’s the little things.

I was at the grocery store with mom, because I live with them now, because I cant function as a human. Not sure if anyone told you that yet. My apartment remains but I don’t exist in it and the idea of it makes me a bit uneasy. But I digress. The grocery store. Mom wondered away to get lemon and left me with the cart and the task of getting yogurt. I was very… alarmed inside. My doctor calls it heightened sensory perception, which is how he explains the Technicolor and such, but I wasn’t seeing things. I was just very alarmed, and suddenly very, very frightened. And I tried to reason with myself as I pushed the cart the 10 feet to the yogurt section, my fingers gripped around the cart handle, but people were in the way and I couldn’t get there and the fear just escalated so quickly. And I know you think I mean anxiety, but I don’t. I mean pure fear. Like falling out of a ten-story window accidentally.

Then suddenly I hear the store radio start playing a Billy Joel song. One of the ones mom used to play in the kitchen while we (well, I) was little. It was like a tidal wave of comfort. I felt for sure the universe was trying to provide me comfort. To take the fear away from me, personally, that this event was someone meaningful beyond mere coincidence. Part way through the song mom showed up and I was following along behind her sort of half mumbling the words to the song, catching my breath, basking in the sweet relief. She had no idea any of this happened. The song changed to something I didn’t know, and I swear to god I felt like the universe had abandoned me. Hit like a ton of bricks. Mom asks if I need to go outside but I tell her I just need to stay by her now, and she continues about her shopping while I snap back into reality enough to realize what the fuck was happening and how my brain was rebelling against logic without me. She doesn’t know any of that happened. I took an abnormally long time trying to pick a breakfast cereal. My eyes were probably really wide and I probably talked sporadically, but I don’t think shed have noticed much at all.

And isn’t that scary? That you don’t notice?

But the scary part for me is that I can see the logical connection to those feelings and normal rational feelings I would have had in that situation if I were just, say, anxious. Music is one of my calming tools it is what I do to distract myself from my other senses or to cheer myself up. That song making me feel better wasn’t illogical. But it didn’t make sense.

That’s now a thing I haven’t to consider more than I really know how. Over or under pathologizing behaviour isn’t very helpful but believing the universe is speaking to you isn’t exactly a symptom you can let slide, when you’re able to recognize it as a symptom.

So I take thorazine. It makes me sleep, so the sleep deprivation is gone, but the “funky stuff” still lingers so the dose is being increased. Although this stuff would usually be considered part of a manic episode, the fact that I’m also horribly depressed for large swaths of time indicate it’s a mixed episode. In other words, we have barely scratched the surface of the emotional well of crazy that is your sister.

I wonder how much that mental image of me has changed now. Do we know each other well enough that this is just a thing about me, or is it starting to define me, more than you want it to?

 

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it’s a reindeer round up, at the north pole corral

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i had this tape when i was little called like “christmas is for children” or something. it was white with blue lettering that i can picture perfectly but im unsure i was ever actually able to read before the writing got all half worn off, so i cant be 100% sure thats actually what it was called. this tape included such classics as “reindeer round up” (its a reindeer round up, and the north pole corral, theyll be hitchin up that sleigh any day now dun dun dun dun) and something i thought was called “i think that i like christmas” (in which an angry old man is taught to love christmas by a group of carolling kids). that is basically the entirety of my memory of this tape, but i LOVED it. thoughts of it make my insides smile.

my sister and i had all kinds of christmas traditions; she is very big on traditions and has been since we were little, so these traditions lasted well past when they should have (see: us reading each other old childrens christmas books [barbapoppas christmas!] on christmas eve when i was a teenager. see also: going to mcdonalds every christmas eve for the first 20+ years of my life because when my siblings were little and lived in the boonies they would stop at mcdonalds on the drive in to see my grandparents), and we used to listen to this tape all through december. im sure it was a welcome break, at first, from the fred penner i blared at full volume to sleep when i was 2 and/or the backstreet boys first album (which, in case you were wondering, came out a few years earlier and is a completely different album than the first one released in the states. im sure you were wondering.) i blared to go to sleep by the time i was 8 or so. and then there was that hanson obsession… basically ive been blaring music to go to sleep since before headphones were really a thing. but i digress. we listened to it every christmas until way past when it was acceptable to own a tape player, until somehow the tape just disappeared and no one really noticed because we dont have any way to play them anyway. so now amy and i just sing random lines of a country themed christmas song at each other while sounding slightly deranged.

this tape, for obvious reasons, is not located on itunes or google play music. because it is literally the weirdest thing and i cant imagine it was ever popular. and, as amy found out, because it was a give away tape produced by the ontario lotto commission in 1984, and was all songs by local ontario singers with zero budget, hence why there were literally no actual christmas carols on the tape. (how a tape from the ontario lotto commission, produced two years before my birth, made it into my tiny little nova scotian hands remains a mystery).

but my sister. my sister is really good at interneting. the best, really. id wager money on it. so she found a site that used to have the tape on it, run by a guy who would go to thrift stores and digitize/upload random vintage tapes. the site was no longer functional because the government doesnt want us to have nice things  copyright infringement. so she found the guy who ran it on facebook, and he gave her some log in to the site to download the tape, only the files didnt work, so she harassed him again, and her re did the files for her.

so when we were doing adult christmas this year (normally just stockings, but this year my parents bought both amy and i gifts because we arent working), my sister brings out her ipad and the grumpy old man starts huffing at the carolling children.

and that my friends, is a little christmas miracle.

christmas was good this year. super relaxed. we did adult christmas (mom, dad, amy, sean, sean’s mom, and me), which was extra fun this year because we got gifts! i sound like im 5, but like, we dont normally really do gifts to begin with, and i am extremely poor, so it was extra exciting. my parents gave me three pairs of pj pants that i desperately needed (a) the ones i wear all the time now have like 4 holes in them and b) i end up wearing pj pants a lot because my niece and nephew come down all the time so when i would previously just wander around pantless, i now wear pj pants), a nice night cream and day time moisturizer, some lip balm, foot cream, a pair of leggings because the ones i own are wearing out, some canvases and a few paint brushes since ive been painting more/selling some art lately, some grocery money, and a board game ive really wanted called “pandemic legacy” (something completely frivolous so i really wasnt expecting it). my sister gave me some planted herbs too, which was really nice an unexpected.

seans mom was much better today, had normal conversations and somewhat participated in activities! so that was a nice change. she is still a little… odd to be around. she is extremely smart but also very… slow? somehow? its a very weird combination. but she is nice and has been making an effort to talk about things at least somewhat related to the persons interest and allowing people to respond.  i think shes really lonely normally, because she lives alone an hour out of the city, and she has a strained relationship with her kids and very low mobility so i doubt she gets out much. so im glad she was here and not alone for christmas. i think thats why she talks so much, shes never got anyone to talk to except when shes here. all the things shes been thinking for the past month just spew out sometimes.

to cover the basics, we had dinner super early (2pm?) to accommodate jeff and brandy’s schedule. kids came over and opened their gifts and were typical little kids and just tore everything open. unless they could tell it was clothing, at which point they angrily threw it without opening it. darling children. dad made a delicious turkey dinner, as par usual, jeff and i did the dishes. jeff and all left, i accidentally took nighttime sinus medicine and took almost a 2 hour nap. played cards and the african strategy game seans mom got them (its fun! i cant for the life of me remember what its called! very simple to learn, but lots of strategy involved.) ate a bunch of chocolate. now its 230 in the morning and im writing a blog, because me.

that was basically the day!

im happy. its so nice to be happy and not stressed and not really… any negative thing at the holidays. i know thats rare for most people, and its been rare for me even though i clearly have a great and close family, so i appreciate it more. my heart still goes out to all the people hating everything right now though, because this time of year can definitely be a double edged sword, even for those without fucked up pasts and mental disorders.

hope you all coped well, talked to someone you loved, and had something delicious to eat (even if it was chinese food and movie theatre popcorn, eddie :P)

merry christmas/happy chanukah!

Christian.

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This will probably be the last time i write about Christian, because it was probably the last time we’ll ever speak. so here we go.

three days after the ‘day 1’ entry on here christian and i talked. we got back together. he said he was in love with me. we were together for three days. to my understanding we’d come to an agreement where we werent going to see other people for a few weeks to get solid because lord knows we had been anything but solid. he agreed to delete tinder. things were fine. and then he had a date with another girl three days after we got together that was supposedly ‘no big deal’ because the date had been made friday and we’d gotten back together saturday so it ‘didnt count’. he went on that date knowing i was horribly uncomfortable with it, knowing i said it was probably going to break us up. i dont think he thought i’d really do it.

so he went. and they clicked. and he wanted to see her. and i said i wasnt ready to be in a three way relationship. and he chose her. thats basically the sum of it.

we had this fight while my grandmother was dying. i was really in no place to have been making decisions at all but thats how it happened. maybe things would have been different if the time had been different. but i dont think they would have. in the end we had a huge fight and i deleted him off facebook and that was the end. that part probably would have been different.

i emailed him like 5 days later with an apology for how things ended because i was in a very bad state and things did not need to end as horribly as they did. he didnt respond. 5 or so days after that i messaged him and said when i said we were best friends i meant it and i was willing to have whatever fight we needed to have to get back to being friends, even though our romantic life was absolutely, completely, crushed and dead. he said hed like that. that he wanted to be friends. but he didnt want to have the fight. he just wants to wait till we arent mad anymore. we added each other back to facebook.

im not an idiot. i know he’s never going to speak to me again. i know that was code for ‘im waiting until i dont give a shit about you so ill be completely indifferent to talking to you’

its been… i dont even know how long since. a week or two. id be amazed if he actually speaks to me again. i dont even know if i should want to speak to him again because he basically said your love is worthless to me and he was probably lying about it the whole time, again.  he confuses me so much, still. im heartbroken, still. i dont know if ill ever fully recover from how much that hurt and hit every insecurity i ever had.  but i guess its my fault for giving someone so independent what effectively became an ultimatum.

he used to say id have been better off if id never met him, and if he doesnt come back and we dont become friends again, i think he’s probably right.

i cried the entire time i wrote this.

goodbye, christian.

Gma

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My gma died today.

I dont feel like i have the words yet to make an eloquent entry about my grandmother’s and my relationship, but i also feel like i have to document this day, this thing, as it happens.

My dad called me yesterday to tell me they had rushed Gma to the hospital in an ambulance yesterday morning. i was supposed to becoming out for dinner anyway, so he told me to still come out but just to go to the house. Gma never wanted to die in a hospital, so they were going to take her home.  They worried about transporting her here; if she would actually make the trip since she passed out cold whenever they took her off the oxygen.  But she did. She wasnt awake really but shed sometimes be able to nod or shake her head in response to basic questions, like if she was cold.

Jeff came out, Amy arrived on the train, Tegan, Keir and Laurie flew in. Elli came home with my parents.  Johnny and Bonnie and Lindy and Tom and Chris and Steph all came out for varying parts of the night.  Amy, elli, tegan, keir, laurie and i stayed up most of the night in her bedroom watching her breathe and going through her costume jewelry and personal items that she used to keep on her dresser when we were kids. I passed out around 4am but my sister spent most of the night awake with her, and elli slept in her bed with her.

my sister woke me up this morning to tell me keir (who is  my cousin but also a doctor) said she’d hit one of the stages of death with her irregular breathing and that it wasnt necessarily happening right then but that i should go upstairs soon. but she wanted to talk and i could tell so i let her, for awhile we just talked about gma and dying, and whether or not my oldest brother would be flying home.

then my dad came to the door in a panic and told us she was dying right then and we ran up the stairs half dressed in pyjamas and crammed into the tiny once-my-3 year old selfs-bedroom and we held her hand, and each other and watched her die.

my mom cried and hugged us. everyone cried and hugged everyone. through out the whole day everyone had their turns breaking out in tears but i learned that whenever i see my mother cry, i apparently will also start crying.

Elli wanted to do a ritual washing of her body and getting her out of her hospital gown and into her real clothes, to do her hair.  I didnt participate in it but I was really appreciative she did it, as Gma’s body stayed in the bed for hours while they got the death certificate and the funeral homes and everything else worked out that hospitals normally take care of. it was good, to see her all made up back to look like herself without that weird embalming and make up you see at caskets. she just looked like she was laying asleep, only her chest wasnt moving and she was cold. but she also looked dead. not waxy and painted.

i didnt touch her after she was dead and i kind of regret not holding her hand or something but everyone was trying at first and there was always someone in the room and it never seemed like it would be that important. i still dont know if it is, really. i watch my mom in there saying her last words before the body was taken, hours later… like at least 4, maybe 5 hours… it was so surreal to all be hanging out in the house knowing her body was still there, but at the same time it was oddly comforting.

when her body was being taken out of the house and people were crying we made a joke about playing ‘patricia the stripper’.. a song that was some sort of inside joke between gma and my parents/aunts and uncles (her name was patricia).. so we did. her body was being wheeled out under a burgundy velvet cloth and we played patricia the stripper and cry laughed. it was a little garish to some i suppose, but it was us and i think she would have found it funny.

matt and his family flew in tonight and joe is flying in tomorrow. keir and tegan and here until sunday night. so sunday in the early afternoon we are all going to gathering do… something.  she never wanted a funeral, she was the opposite of religious, so theres none of that to do or prepare. shes being cremated but we wont get the ashes back for at least a week or so, so the actual scattering of the ashes probably wont happen until christmas.  I think ive decided im buying a silver vial necklace to put some of her ashes in.  on the off chance i get married or have some major life event i can feel like shes with me.  i think some of the family think thats really weird, but it brings me comfort.

the rest of the day was surprisingly normal. just like a giant family gathering.  kind of like the wake after my dad’s dad died, but more upbeat. maybe that strange too, i dont know.

my grandmother was a great gma, to me and to the rest of the family. i have great memories of her from my entire life, right up until the end. i was always her crib partner and even at the end where she wasnt really making sense she could still count her points in crib. i need it forever noted that the last time we played crib we bet my parents both games and skunked them once. almost entirely because gma was getting all the points.

i told brandon my gma died and asked him to tell people so i didnt have to. and he did, he told everyone. and they all sent really nice text messages to me. i appreciate that.

its good to have close family and friends at times like these.  all my friends keep offering to spend time together but with all my family here i dont want to break off just yet. still, its nice that theyve offered.

i am especially relieved that joe is making the trip.  i know its a bit of a pointless trip for him because shes already died (but, at least he and his family had just visited), and we arent doing the ceremony until christmas or something when people can come back. but its good to grieve together i think? and it felt like he was missing. i think things are finally becoming ok with me mentally about my family now, because it really did just feel like we were incomplete without him home.

i think next week is going to be the hardest, when everyone leaves and theres not constant distractions and theres no one left to talk to. because i talk, even if its not about the thing thats wrong, i talk to process. theres a lot of other life stuff going on that ill probably write about later but this is going to be whats running in the background for awhile.

My Gma’s gone, and I loved her.

 

tomorrow!!

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i feel like i should write but i havent decided what to say yet.

Christian gets here tomorrow! …i am freaking out! i only scrubbed the washroom for like 2 hours. which is saying something considering its the size of a shoebox and doesnt even have a tub. i still need to clean basically everything else.

Christian and i have had a rough couple days. almost broke up. id write about it but im so happy right now i dont want to crush it on myself for the sake of documentation. im sure ill have an entry about it later anyway, since we basically resolved to just ignore the problem. it was a lot of this, on repeat:

but now its like 27 hours until i meet him at the airport and its just butterflies and mushy insides. or thats how im trying to keep it.

so now im just listening to a lot of birdy and reading a lot of the book he sent me while also avoiding laura like the plague, which i think shes also doing because its awkward as fuck up in here. im debating if im going to remind her the lamp and table in her room are actually mine. she literally owns nothing. i dont know how shes going to survive on her own. she might not, to be honest. but its not like ill be around to find out. also i think im just going to act like she doesnt exist with regards to the having crazy sex with christian at all hours of the day.

…im very excited to have crazy sex with christian at all hours of the day.

but also nervous. so nervous.

what if its terrible? that would be so awkward now haha. though i mean i guess the first time is always a little awkward and weird. so. theres that. but i feel like this will be especially awkward since its the first time but also not really the first time. does that make sense? probably not.

i think my meds are working pretty well lately, all things considered. i havent been devastatingly suicidal this week. or even like, mildly suicidal. what a nice change.

had a good night with brandon this weekend. i love brandon. i miss seeing him everyday. that being said, i am super excited to live alone in a couple weeks. i hope christian can come back while i have an empty house. which may be a couple months or a couple years, i guess it depends on the job situation.

god damn do i suddenly need a job. i mean, not that i didnt need one before but the doubling of the rent and the health insurance running out in the same month was kind of a kick in the teeth.

26 hours and 12 minutes. not that anyones counting.

tomorrowtomorrowtomorrow

to the beat

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that awkward moment when you’ve started a blog and realize you have nothing to say.

ive been flatlined and paranoid for awhile, but they switched my meds around and it seems to be getting better. like my heart is beating again. im now on prozac (and abilify and wellbutrin and ativan and and and). like typical depressed girl! so theres that. something about taking capsules instead of hard pills makes things feel more official. status: nutjob.

tomorrow is the pride party. we are slacking this year and it makes me miss living with brandon. no one is decorating or making jello shots and i didnt make any rainbow food. growing up sort of sucks.

ive been watching symphony of science videos for like half an hour. i dont know why. here, enjoy:

ive also had this song stuck in my head on repeat for like 3 days:

its not even that great a song. but there it is. all the time.

im back to work but barely working. i dont know what to do with all my time. im trying to write this paper but i dont have the answers i need from anyone. blah.

my grandmothers been having dementia lately. its sad. its makes me sad.

im kind of debating sleeping with someone i shouldnt sleep with just for the hell of it. is that bad?

i also havent got my period in two months and thats freaking me out but all the pregnancy tests come back negative. doctors appointment next week…

blah blah blah. i dont know where my instinct to write went but its gone. ill try again tomorrow.