I’m listening to calming meditation-style music before I get in the bed once I’m doing writing this. I had a depersonalization episode and some panic earlier, and I want to give myself a calming experience before bed. I’m still not as emotionally regulated as I want to be, but I’m working on it.
It will probably get better the more non-alcoholic sleep I get. I drank for the 3rd night since I last saw my therapist, and that night was last night. I don’t usually drink 3 times in a week anymore, and my mind and body are dysregulated largely because of this. And also because my brother is going into a virtual outpatient hospitalization beginning Friday morning, and I’ve experienced a lot of what he’s experiencing emotionally…this means that I’m taking on some of his emotional state, and I’m trying to moderate that. I told him earlier tonight that I really couldn’t listen anymore this evening to the stuff going on in his head because of this, and he was very receptive. We both know that we need to take care of ourselves, and we’d already talked for hours about how compromised and scared he feels (and I feel), so I think we were heaping stuff upon ourselves.
I requested that we focus on baseball or other things, so we did.
Then I used a DBT TIPP skill: Temperature–I filled my bathroom sink full of cold water and immersed my face in it while holding my breath. It seems to have helped a lot. The TIPP skills are meant for basically emotional emergencies where you need to stop panic or heart racing immediately. I think it worked ok. I’m also glad for my bedtime meds.
So ok, I think I’m done for the night. Gonna listen to the soothing music a bit more.
I hope this helped someone.
None of this bullshit picturesque photo-op-worthy “one tear going down the side of my face” crap.
Sobbing. People say it’s “ugly crying” and I say fuck off. I’ve always hated that phrase. Because it’s the “ugly” crying that gets the deepest from inside of me and brings it out. Anything less seems useless to me.
Especially when talking about why I’m writing this today: I have an alcohol craving. My body doesn’t want it. I don’t even like wine (and I don’t like beer much anymore and I can’t drink hard alcohol unless I want to REALLY mess my throat up among other things). Going to the store to get alcohol increases my potential exposure to COVID, though I am vaccinated and always wear at least two masks (recently with the outer mask being the KN95 variety).
I keep thinking of the line from Emperor’s “Empty”, taken from Prometheus: The Discipline of Fire and Demise (I’m not sure what Ihsahn ultimately meant by the lyrics, but each person brings their own interpretation to things):
“The constant struggle for a moment of quiet indulgence
Eventually stirred and quaked the earth so hard
It swallowed him in a dark and heavy cloud
Slowly and gently starving him into insanity”
(I was going to put Emperor’s logo here, but then realized it’s a trademark and I don’t want to run afoul of things.)
It’s all one big habit. I drink less than I used to, but it affects me more since I’m not so young anymore.
So, will I go get wine? Will I fight it by playing guitar and doing online work? (I’ve already done some of the latter).
We’ll see. Until then, vulneratus.
Here’s a little peek into my thought processes when coming across something. I think of or experience stimuli and ask questions about it.
Where is the twig? What color is it? How old is it? Is it on the ground or on the tree? Has anyone touched it? Did they harm it? Did a person get hurt touching it? Did someone view it and get inspired, or depressed, or angry at the innocence of the twig?
I could write thousands of other questions.
This is where my poetry comes from. It is almost always a stream of consciousness thing that allows me to express myself in the purest way possible.
How about a tomb? A sidewalk? The possibilities are limitless. And with this limitless energy I might be saved from alcohol if I choose.
Because the war inside my head is energy. Anxiety is energy. We can do things with these things that aren’t destructive if we choose. Habits are of course very hard to break (as I know well for myself). But this possibility is always there. The beauty of expression though everyday objects.
I could write a poem about a candy wrapper.
We won’t talk about that.
Convenient forgetful spiders
I won’t measure my knuckles
I won’t measure my fingers
I won’t measure up.
what do we want?
Do I talk to me or us?
Let’s take a stand against
Void. Would this help?
Does that encapsulate you?
There would be
Until maybe one day just maybe someone help you fucking people isn’t there someone whom I can trust no of course not but why please I’m hurting every single day and it doesn’t matter to anyone except me so god dammit stop the war in my head stop stop stop stop stop STOP
Here is a slightly altered (for clarity and removal of personal details) bunch of texts I sent my best non-family friend a short while ago. The people reading this who are or have been in the psychiatric system may relate:
(My brother’s) panic has gotten worse since he was prescribed a supplemental med for anxiety; what he was taking was discontinued, and he’s been having a hard time existing. He’s doing a lot of self care but he can’t do things like field questions about his situation without getting physically afraid.
He took the supplementary med for 3 days, felt worse, stopped, and still feels worse. After doing an in-person consult with a resident psychiatrist (he doesn’t have his own dedicated psychiatrist, but is going to try to get one…now that everyone wants one…during COVID….fuck.), the resident told him to do a virtual partial program, the length of which I’m not sure about yet.
Personally I think the resident doesn’t know what she’s talking about. I went through something very similar 10 years ago and the hospital put me in a partial program and I felt worse because I was hearing others’ stories and was in no way emotionally prepared to cope with them.
I’m worried this is going to happen to him. But apparently he’s supposed to do the partial program and then (or at the same time?) they’ll prescribe something.
It starts in 8 days, on a Friday (presumably for intake purposes on the first day, and then perhaps 5 days M-F the following week?).
The only thing that helped me was new medications (and the introduction of an SSRI that is very very similar to what I was taking; more on that in a bit); I compiled a list of for him.
He’s currently looking for a provider who takes his insurance. But dammit he’s emotionally and mentally compromised–he’s having trouble parsing out sentences, and just now–literally just now, not during the sending of the original emails–he asked me something that I know we’ve talked about at least once, and that I’ve sent him an email on…but HE DOESN’T REMEMBER BECAUSE HIS PSYCHIATRIC SELF IS ALL MESSED UP AND THE GODDAMN “PROFESSIONALS” AREN’T LISTENING.
He’s my best friend and I feel afraid and alone because he isn’t the same. I want him back. He wants him back I want what’s best for him and I have no control over it. So this is very hard territory for both of us, but more for him.
I know EXACTLY what he’s feeling like. I wish I had never started taking meds. I know I probably need them. But if they change or go away, THIS SHIT CAN HAPPEN. I spent 2 months of my life wanting to kill myself every morning but not doing it because I was afraid to do it and have a very low pain tolerance. And this is the 10 year anniversary of me going through that. I WANT MY BROTHER BACK.
But for now, all I can do is be a support, and sob, and get by as best I can.
It’s so hard not to think that he’ll never get better. I truly believe I felt better 10 years ago because, after I’d completely withdrawn from Lexapro, I started Celexa (which at the time was generic and Lexapro was not, and which is extremely molecularly similar to Lexapro), and inside THREE DAYS it was like a light switch went off and I felt MUCH better.
I believe a deficit was created in my brain that was corrected by Celexa, though I can’t prove that. I do know that Xanax and prazosin helped me immensely with sleep and nightmares, and I’m just like CAN’T THIS FUCKFACE OF A RESIDENT SHRINK PUT HIM ON THOSE AND SEE WHAT HAPPENS? WE’RE TWINS FOR FUCK’S SAKE!
(and it’s also very likely he has no recollection of exactly what he said to the resident today. Sob.)
Part of the issue is that he isn’t withdrawing from Lexapro; he was forced to stop taking buspirone at night due to discontinuation. So our situations aren’t exactly the same, but the symptoms seem to be.
Psychiatrists introduce this stuff to people, and they have no idea what the long-term effects might be or how severe the withdrawal can be. Hell, most of them haven’t even had to TAKE THE FRICKING DRUGS and haven’t gone through CPTSD AND HELL AND CHILDHOOD TRAUMA AND AVOIDANT PERSONALITY DISORDER ET FUCKING CETERA.
So there you have it. The dangers of psychiatric drug withdrawal and medication changes.
Suffice it to say, black metal and Slayer have been my friends
I look around waiting
how was it supposed to be
I was supposed to be.
Instead of the twinges
telling me I need to stop
Fuck your love
Fuck your hate
Do I have your attention
Of course not
Nothing I say
Can make you love me
Or hate me
Cut me off
Cut me from the block
The invisible blood you have no idea exists.
He controls it all
There is something above my blurred vision
Not sure what
I wouldn’t have chosen
But we live
with what we are given
Eyes scanning the hills
I’m supposed to see it
But I don’t
My hands rage into fists
and fall away
for I don’t see anything
the fingers grasping
the cloth wonders why
why are you rending me?
The skin comes off readily
the cloth wishes speed
that does not come
“IT’S ALL RIGHT. MY KID USED TO SAY, ‘HEY, WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE? YOU WEREN’T LOOKING ANYWAY.'”
–Chris Nielsen, “What Dreams May Come”.
AH….THAT’s what I needed. (Aside: interestingly I’m finding the hot pink color I chose both alluring and irritating. But it’s gonna stay.)
I was sitting here about an hour ago wondering what to do for the next couple hours of free time. The path I’d made through the recyclables boxes (which I can’t reasonably take out right now due to injury) paid dividends today.
The path gave me access to my guitars.
I’d spent a lot of time drinking and being hung over and having less energy, and I’d made a mistake a couple days ago and got drunk, but my prior 10 days of sobriety really helped me recover more quickly from the hangover. (Let’s hope I can go another 10, or more, but one evening at a time).
Anyway, my point is that I haven’t spent much time at all over a few years now doing some consistent guitar practice or recording. I’ve lost the calluses on my fingers, and my chops aren’t what they were.
The last hour was me beating the tar out of my 6 string electric Ibanez RG.
It’s one of those $300 guitars that plays surprisingly well, particularly for metal. Hooked it up to my practice amp (my half stack is rather inaccessible at the moment) and let rip.
Since my chops aren’t there (yet), I decided to start with the band that made me pick up a guitar in the first place when I was 14: Metallica. Found a YouTube video of a concert of theirs from 1989, and went to town.
Played along to maybe 10-12 songs, with varying degrees of proficiency. But as the hour went on, my right arm started to get stronger. If any of you are familiar with Metallica’s James Hetfield, he is one of the fastest downpickers there is, and doing that requires some muscle that I hadn’t built up.
That said, my arm started to adapt, to get faster, even through only an hour of playing. I made plenty of mistakes (and, to be fair, so did Lars on drums and really a good portion of the band in the video :D), but I kept going because I started to get in the pocket.
The pocket. Such a glorious place to be. Where you don’t think about anything, no worries, nothing. There’s just you and the guitar and the music and a bunch of dopamine rushing through you.
It was so fabulous.
I’m so glad to have that dopamine rush come from playing again. Alcohol gives a dopamine rush, but wrecks you. This was just pure…well…ME again.
And so the fingers on my fretting hand are sore and pulsing. If I keep it up, the calluses will return, I will get stronger, and who knows?
Covering Emperor’s “With Strength I Burn”
I’m again new to WordPress, but Emperor is the best. There is no thumbnail I guess.