Long-Overdue Update

Hi all,

Deer crossing in front of our car

Deer crossing

I haven’t checked in or updated here in a very long time until just recently when I had a little emotional emergency. So I thought I should go ahead and try to fill in some gaps, briefly.

Since I last really updated on here, I quit my awesome tutoring job and the in-person school and went fully online. I also started volunteering at an animal shelter. The online schooling is boring as **** and I’m kind of regretting the decision, BUT it is going faster than it was going when I was trying to juggle tutoring, classes, and more classes at the same time (tutoring is tied to taking several additional classes).

My first pea plant flower of the season!

First flower! Pea plant

I’ve also started gardening, which I used to do years ago. It’s great. I’m growing peas and lettuce. I’ve started some flower seeds but super late, so I’m not sure they’ll do anything. I tried beans twice but they were immediately eaten by something (I know I hand-killed a ton of thrips but I suspect more than just them were at work).

Also, as you can tell, I found a psychologist and was seeing him once a week. It took at least a month before I decided I could trust him. Obviously, I am not as sure about that right now.

But whatevs. I have a dental appointment today. Next week, I have a psychiatrist appointment. I am only seeing her twice a year now, but I might try to increase to 3 times a year since just recently I’ve been having more trouble again.

GullSandwich

Stolen: Child’s sandwich

Oh, and I exercise a ton still! And I’m eating a little bit more healthfully, much of the time! It seems that whenever I exercise a LOT in a week, I feel emotionally good. Whenever I don’t exercise, due to illness or just getting swamped with other things, I get depressed. The correlation is INCREDIBLY strong. Exercise = emotional stability. Sedentary-ness = instant hopelessness. Obviously, I need to use this knowledge for good.

Once a week, I see my friend, “Joe”, who some of you may remember I dated for a while, like two years ago? I don’t know how long ago. Anyway, he’s probably my best friend now. We go on a long Pokéwalk every week. It’s often along the piers, where I can see the birds and sea lions and sometimes a harbor seal and some fish. Sometimes, we go to different parks, including a particular lake that always has tons of different ducks and birds and squirrels. I’m very grateful to have him as a friend. Also, because he has Asperger also, and has dealt with therapists and group therapy and more, he really understands when I have my downs and instability and has great insights.

ALSO, he’s as into wildlife as I am, so he doesn’t mind one bit when I stop 800 times to photograph slugs and squirrels and birds and rocks and everything.

Close up of gull's eye, which is reflecting water ripples

Water reflection in eye

He and my SO (significant other) have met twice but only briefly. I really hope they become friends because then we can all go hiking together and stuff. We’re all attending “Joe”‘s b-day dinner this weekend, and I hope it all goes smoothly. I’ve had terrible experiences in the past with my ex who hated my friends. I’m not at all concerned about my SO hating “Joe” but I know that “Joe” has difficulty around other males. There will be up to 15 people and I’ll have met like 1 or 2 of them. Hopefully it all goes well.

What other news? I’m still living with SO and his mom. I had a rough time with it like a month or so ago, but since then I’ve been working on establishing what I consider more boundaries. She’s awesome and very generous but can be a little bit controlling about certain things, and I have a hard time knowing how to shrug it off. So I’m learning and I’m working on it.

Ducklings, back in April

Ducklings (from back in April)

I’m considering getting a part-time job at a coffee shop. I want something nearby, not too intense (although busy is okay, and I enjoy customer service). But my feelings of self-worth slip every day that I’m unemployed. I didn’t think it would happen, since I know that finishing school more quickly will get me a higher-than-minimum-wage-job more quickly and thus is productive, but it doesn’t FEEL productive. Even when I volunteer at the animal shelter twice a week, I love it but I still feel rotten about myself. Also, I’m focusing less well on school the longer time passes since I was at the in-person school. Bummer.

I set up a bucket to catch water in the shower as we wait for hot water. I also bought grey-water-garden-safe laundry soap and hooked up some tubs to catch my laundry water. There’s a plant out back that is a water hog, so this grey water really helps.

All right, that’s all for now.

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When people argue; Panic

It’s incredible the flood of anxiety I feel when people begin to argue.

These two people do not shout. These two people do not throw things. These two people do not hurt animals. These two people do not give each other the silent treatment later or love each other any less tomorrow.

But they do get intense with their voices. One of them is forceful and the voice raises, not in volume but in pitch. The other gets forceful and uses “YOU” statements that I find very rude. “YOU” are not listening. “YOU” have switched what you are arguing.

These arguments always end peacefully and they love each other the same immediately after. For them, the effects are null. They argue. They debate. It’s part of what they do. Frankly, I would go so far as to say it is part of who they are as people.

But for me, the effects are longer lasting. I will be afraid of them for days. It was not directed at me; nobody is arguing or debating with me. I have already put in my noise-isolating headphones and escaped up the stairs. I have already blared music directly into my earbuds.

But the flooding of anxiety is so strong and so immediate. It’s an emergency for me, when two people argue. It is danger. It is red alert. It is unpredictable and unsafe.

They will not hurt me. The worst either of them could do to me, based on who they are and what I have seen, is to use an insulting tone of voice and say “YOU” don’t understand what I am trying to say. Or something like that. That’s the worst I’ve seen or heard from them.

But my body goes straight to fear. My body says, the monsters have surrounded me. I am prepared to run. I am prepared to hide. I am prepared to face the streets in the dark at night amongst strangers. I am prepared to kill to protect myself.

My intestines prepare to evacuate immediately. I need to run. Outdoors. I need to be one speck in an infinite darkness, alone. Unknown. Safer.

Instead, I am trying to prep for bed. I brushed my teeth. I’m listening to my music, blaring into my ears. I can hear the voices. They are calm but still firm. It’s only a difference of opinion and grilling over various scientific studies to prove one side or the other. My shoes and coat were already on (because me and one of them were about to go on a very short walk). I am ready; I want to run. I could take anxiety medicine that will help me sleep. It’s been 30 minutes, right? I could take off my shoes and coat without offending. … Or I could slip past and go on a jog into the darkness.

Ponies and such

It’s hard to look into the eye of a life change that already happened without you acknowledging it. I moved away a couple of years ago and left my pony behind out of necessity. It’s becoming more “real” that she won’t be mine and I’ve been feeling completely numb and irritable for the past few days.

It’s a GOOD thing for my pony; the lady who wants her is very dominant– exactly what my pony needs in order to listen and stay safe. They’re both full of energy. It should be a good fit. But it’s hard. I’m selfish and “want” this horse to be mine forever. I’ve had her for a very long time. She was still pretty young when I first got her; now she is at least 11.

But it’s the giving up of the horse world. I wonder if I resent that I got involved with a human that isn’t into horses and doesn’t want to live with them on his property. In a past life, I would have found that unacceptable. Now, year by year my old life slips away.

I’m in a city and there are things about that that I like. I like that there are always people around, and their energy. I like all the street lights and people and in some ways, I feel safer in this environment than I ever did alone in the woods.

But at the same time, I don’t feel like I’m home and I don’t expect to live in a city forever. Home is where the horses are. Home is where the mountains are. Home is where the forests are.

I don’t know if I’ll ever make it back home. But I am telling myself that I want to stay here until I get this Accounting degree. AFTER that, I will be free to leave. AFTER it, I will be free to find a horsey place and breathe them and hear them and feel their steps around me. I’ll have a dog again (maybe foster dogs). I will make this happen AFTER I get a degree. It should take 2 or 3 more years.

This is life and I must remember to breathe and enjoy the scents here. There are trees around. There is sometimes a very strong sun and warmth on my face. I might feel lonely at times, but I’m certainly never alone here. It’s strange to me that there isn’t a single horse barn in the city. Not a single one. I guess real estate in populated areas would make it unaffordable, since horses need a lot of room. But it’s too bad. Wouldn’t people pay a bundle for carriage rides through parks?

If this is all there is to life, it will be okay. I am getting outside to walk a lot now (thanks to Pokémon Go– which will certainly cause some of you to pull back with some disdain). It’s also got my out and bicycling quite a bit. I’m getting lots of outdoor exercise. What more could I want from life? (Other than to go back to my old-old life, with my parents and my dog, and my pony at the first barn, and gardening and painting and writing and drawing and watching “The Dog Whisperer”…) Funny that the time I’d look back on as my favorite was from a couple of years after my failure at college, and after my Asperger diagnosis, just chilling with my folks, working parttime (at a high-paying job that was very difficult for me) and taking care of my animals and plants. THAT was LIFE.

So I am doing a little bit of “life” right now, with the outdoor exercising. I drew a picture the other day. I knit a tiny bit yesterday (first time in years). But I’m so, so numb right now. Hopefully it will pass quickly. I do need to solidify the transfer of ownership of my pony, however.

A Brief Update (and a single picture, for now)

imageI couldn’t let you know ahead of time but I went Home (my parents and dog) recently. I’m back home (bf, school) now but I made it and it was wonderful. I can’t say much tonight; I’m going to go to bed very shortly.

There was much skiing and walking and such. I mean much. Every day.

So now that I’m back, I don’t want to lose that momentum. So I went to the bike shop after school yesterday and got my bike all fixed up (there were some things wrong). I also bought yet another lock. Two, actually. One is just to hold my seat on. The other is a fricking expensive but light-weight u-lock for my frame. City living…

So I biked to school today. That was pretty rough. I had to walk two hills on the return trip. It was a total of 9 miles and not flat enough for me. And my anti-persperant definitely couldn’t hold up… Plus I had jogging class. Apologies to the folks who sat near me at the tutoring center today.

It’s hard to be away from my parents and my dog. It’s interesting what kinds of things I have such strong emotional attachments to and what I can now part with. I parted with some more clothing. Even a black sweatshirt I had held onto for maybe close to two decades even though it had shrunk and was too small for me. But for many years, it held sand from an old Hawaii trip in its pockets, even after numerous washes. It was very sentimental for me. But I was able to part with it.

Then there were things in my childhood bedroom that had been rearranged and I was actually able to rearrange certain things, too. That’s pretty big for me. Certain shelves had to be kept in a certain arrangement or else I would experience intense anxiety due to OCD. It would feel that my luck would change and I would get terminally ill or those I loved could get terminally ill or injured. But it was not so bad this time around.

That is not to say I was able to part with all sorts of things. There is still so much I’m hanging onto and I wish I could let them go. But I won’t despair; it seems that things have been getting a little easier each time. So perhaps next time I am there, I can part with a few more things. And so on.

Anyway, I really need to go to sleep. One thing I did not get a lot of was good-quality sleep. For one thing, I was sometimes very sore and didn’t take pain medicine and thus didn’t sleep well. For another, there was a headboard I wasn’t used to and kept bonking my head into it.

Oh, but being with my parents and dog was WONDERFUL WONDERFUL WONDERFUL. There is so much I could say and tell about.

Pure and utter shit

Damn. So following my last post, things were smooth. I mean, several days in a row were smooooth. I almost made myself post about them. Things were going so nicely. I love my new job. I’m staying caught up in one class.

Then boom. Sickness hits. It’s just a minor head cold. The sore throat (my trigger) passed within 24-ish hours, so very little panic and whatnot. Sniffles, no biggie. Cough, no chest pain. Post-nasal-drip during the night for several nights in a row, so hardly any sleep, terrible but survivable. Then I picked up some cold medicine and it let me sleep through the night for two nights, pretty much. I haven’t needed to use it again since then because although the cough & nose are still productive, it’s not that bad.

Slipping. I’m slipping. Emotionally. This other class happened last Saturday and again today. The time inbetween has … okay not been the best. This class has assigned papers and too many for a one-week period (I did… um 2. The short ones. The rest, are now officially overdue). Okay that could certainly be a trigger. My bf tried to tell me this but I refused to listen (i.e. I thought he was wrong and wasn’t listening to ME because I kept saying it’s just this damn cold and once I feel better, I’ll be on top of my stuff again). No, I should have listened. It’s was a big, motherfucker trigger.

So now? My energy has been leaving more and more every day. It’s this goddamn virus, I swear it is. I checked last night too — I took anti-anxiety medicine just in case that would clear things up and I’d be able to focus on the paper. But no, it didn’t help.

Mono. If any of you have had mono before, that is how I’ve been feeling lately. Like I have the energy level I had back when I had mono. In other words, capable of going about some zombie resemblance of a day and then CRASH. NOTHING left. NO words, NO thought, NO movement. I felt like my body was dying.

But it wasn’t truly until today that shit is hitting. It is hitting me. I don’t know what the fuck is wrong, altogether. I walked myself to the ER tonight. I didn’t check in; I just paced in the ER for maybe twenty minutes. I texted with “Joe” from last year. I feel like he’s the only one in my life who is capable of showing sympathy/empathy in the way that I can “feel” so I told him I was in a really bad spot and he listened and asked me what had me so triggered, and that’s the first time I was thinking about it rationally. Like in the sense of triggers. Of course this class with assigned papers is a trigger. Of course the pressure to maintain my straight-A’s from last semester is too much for me. Of course the new job of tutoring and this guy who seems to have a crush on me (but I’ve made it very clear that I have a boyfriend and am not looking) and other students who come in and out and some of them I’m able to help confidently and others it is a real struggle but I am really enjoying that job.

But things with me and my bf are so rough right now. We’re not communicating well and it’s mostly me because I am making things weird and being really touchy. I don’t want advice about it, please — I wish to share what’s happening in my life, but please take it for what it is — I am just sharing — not seeking advice on my relationship. I need to get my head straight again.

I wanted to cut tonight. I don’t know what’s been up. My head is in and out of reality today, this virus, the fog in my brain, reality and dissociation. I was walking to the ER and I looked both ways to cross the street and let my mind ponder, because I had started to cross first without looking, I mean the hand sign was green and all that, but of course the small, old voice was there, telling me that if a truck just happened to be coming at me, that would be perfectly fine.

As if nothing matters? I knew something was going wrong this week because I stopped flossing my teeth four days ago. That only happens at the start of a a terrible depressed episode.

But I am determined that I am going to get my head on straight, get healed from this awful, energy-sucking virus, and go to a fucking therapist/counselor. I’m thinking of going to the free ones at school this week — I don’t know how good they are but I think it would help to get to talk with someone.

I hadn’t finished talking about how I’m affecting my relationship negatively — I’m so insecure this week, I am positive he is about to break up with me, against all signs. I can’t stand myself, so I’m assuming he can’t stand me and wants me gone. Or is about to want me gone and just doesn’t know about it yet. So I’m interpreting everything poorly, and looking scared this week, and he’s started to be weirded out by it. And I am fighting the urge at every moment to ask, “Do you still like me? Should I leave?” As if my life depends on him liking me? Of course it doesn’t, but it’s still eating at me this week, because of this insecurity and all of this SHIT that’s engulfing my head about me being a yuck person and blah blah blah. What the hell triggered this??? Was it something at work? Was it the terrible, terrible class that I’m now overdue in with several papers? Did it make me feel like a failure and I’m shifting that feeling into my personal life?

I walked back from the ER and the sky was still clear and the weather perfect. I came back in, bf said hi but was still watching some TV news with his mom, so I went out back and hung out on the back porch and chatted for a minute with a neighbor who is somewhere around my age. Mostly I just stared up at the sky and asked God[] to please let my breath be used by someone who is more stable than I. Someone more deserving. Then I did stop and wonder, am I feeling like I’m undeserving because I’m not emotionally stable? That it makes me less deserving of a human? That’s not very fair or nice. So I begged, Please empty out this shell of body and use it for something worth while.

It would be nice.

Up and Down: The story of life

I can see now that I’m not exactly the most emotionally-stable person. If I were updating you regularly, you guys would know it too. Let me tell you a story.

Twice a week, my mornings begin on the campus track, under a great, open sky. Several times, it’s even been sunny and warm. But on these track mornings, we run here, we run there, we stop and stretch. We stop and slump. We stop and practice un-slumping. We slump and greet each other. We stand tall and great each other. We ground ourselves downwards for the backside and upwards for the front side of our bodies. Our heads touch the sky. We run more. We walk briskly. And as I run, I see the gulls and crows and pigeons and some other birds. I see the clouds and feel the sky. I breathe the air and feel amazing. That’s life. UP.

Let me tell you a story. Four times a week, I am now getting paid a minimum wage to help tutor Accounting 1 students. This can range from nobody needing my help, in which case I can do my own homework, or certain people needing intense help. I am a Helper by nature. Shyness and asperger are both irrelevant if I am trying to help someone. It’s awkward when I don’t have the words or I know what I want to say but can’t form it into a sentence. It’s hard to think of other ways of explaining a concept someone is struggling with. But I whip out my computer and search online for many explanations and then find the words to string it all together, sometimes. Sometimes I am able to find a way of explaining something and the person has a lightbulb moment. Those moments are wonderful. UP.

At other times, it can take me a long time to remember how to work out a certain type of problem. But I am happy so long as I don’t mislead or give wrong information to anyone. I have helped people come to correct answers several times now, so that is really, really cool. UP.

I had six combined hours of tutoring time where nobody was asking for my help, and I was able to do my Accounting 2 homework. When it came time for my Accounting 2 class, I had studied so much that I was able to do ALL of the in-class assignments without any real problems! I felt quite amazed. UP.

Here’s another story. I am taking a Beginning Piano class. It meets many times during the week. The chords are hard for me and the posture is something I work on, but I already know how to read notes and count rhythm so a lot of class is very … well, boring. So last class period, a student with a guide-dog-for-the-blind entered the room and asked to join. He asked to have a student who could sit with him all semester and help him stay on track, because he can’t read the music. I volunteered. First of all, his dog was incredibly adorable and sweet. Second of all, I was having too much time on my hands during class anyway (I’ve already practiced the book for many lessons ahead of where we’re currently at). So helping him starting today during class, and it was very interesting for me. He taught me how to find the same chord up along the keyboard easily by knowing the number of white notes between the left and right hand. I helped him learn the G7 chord we were working on in class. He’ll just have to learn the melodies by ear, but I could assist his learning the two chords, at least. And I sit right by his awesome dog, who sleeps the whole class period. UP.

The story is going to start to change soon. I’m just warning you.

So I bought a cheapo guitar the other day. I can’t justify the purchase but I’ve been playing it every single day since then and having great fun. I became obsessed with guitar again after hearing the song, “Burning House” by Cam. The piano music for it cost money, but the guitar tab was free online. Of course, the guitar cost more than the piano music would have…but anyway. Now I’m learning “Closer” by Travis on the guitar and it’s lovely. My mom is also teaching me the fingerings for alto recorder via FaceTime, which is challenging. But I’ve been meaning to do that for years. She calls this time period “another of my manic music phases”. UH OH.

I wish I could begin to tell you another story, but this one is so confusing, I just don’t know what to make of it. There’s a story about my boyfriend and myself, and maybe even his mother. I don’t know where he and I stand at the moment. I’m going to use some buzzwords and say my “love tank” is running on empty. In other words, he’s not SHOWING me love in the way I am capable of FEELING loved. I believe it is happening the other way around, as well. Sometimes he comes home from work and I’m too uncertain and awaiting and don’t make any first moves. I just wait. What am I waiting for? Him to sweep me up off my feet and spin me around and say how wonderful it is to see me again?

Life was different when we lived in the apartment with his old roommate. Our lives were different. There were times when I came home and went to the grocery store and tried to cook parts of meals for our dinner. He would try to arrange his schedule to come home earlier and he’d help with other parts of the meals. He frequently played piano. I did homework and what else did I do? Play with Curie the cat? I vacuumed a lot.

Now, what is going on? He comes home and he always greets me but I am not always initially warm toward him. I feel a “waiting” inside, like waiting to see what the rest of the evening will be like, waiting to see what’s up. One time, I was smack in the middle of re-writing some guitar chords for a song that someone else had written out incorrectly, and he came in and immediately started to read to me my Accounting textbook and ask me questions about it — which is awesome and helpful from one standpoint, but it wasn’t what I was doing right then and there — I was finishing a personal project. So I don’t know, I don’t think I handled it very well, just trying to get us to go downstairs and help his mother with dinner because I couldn’t handle trying to suddenly switch my brain over and think about Accounting. But then I spent the rest of the evening worrying if I’d disappointed him or something.

But then there are also the times when he comes home, and he always greets me, and frankly I am not always warm toward him, and he spends most of the evening talking/discussing/debating/arguing politics with his mom. Or they watch the TV downstairs together and they’re both on their electronic devices, like she’ll be on her laptop doing research and he’ll either be on his laptop or reading news and stuff off of his phone. And I just go upstairs and listen to “Welcome to Night Vale” or music. Or now, I play guitar up here.

I do join them a lot, for various TV shows, like we are in the process of watching all of the Doc Martin episodes from start to finish. I don’t mean to say I always avoid them but sometimes, I really can’t handle the talking any more.

I’m handling my homesickness by talking with my mom over the telephone nearly every single day now. Sometimes I get to hear my dad’s hilarious background commentary. For example, yesterday I made my mom listen to me struggle through an easy Bach piece on piano. I must have been on speakerphone because at the end, my dad said, “Bach is rolling over in his grave!” But it’s SO funny when he says these things because he can’t keep a straight face even as he’s saying it, so he was cracking himself up while trying to say it to me. I love my parents so much.

My boyfriend is meeting me for my nighttime class each week. That’s pretty amazingly awesome. I was too afraid to take the class, and it’s across the city from the usual campus, but he said he’d meet me there after class and we’d bus home together. It’s been working. I was 15 minutes late to class last time, since I’m still very anxious about attending the night class, but at least I made it.

So I haven’t been spelling it out for you very well, but I get down sometimes. Just down. I’m not suicidal right now. I’m not even particularly self-injurious, with the exception of a very shit non-communication that took place when my bf got home late from work last night. I worked through it in a healthy way, though. I took care of some chores downstairs, thus making myself available should he wish to find me, and then going into the bathroom, closing the door, putting in some earbuds and jamming out to a current favorite song fairly loudly and with much dancing. I painted some of my fingernails between dancing. By the time he sought me out, he found me perfectly happy and having a personal dance/nail party and he was creeping in with a very anxious look on his face like he was so worried about whatever it was that had happened. I don’t know. We are just kind of shit for communication, but a lot of it is I’m finding myself reverting back to OLD PATTERNS OF BEHAVIOR AND WITHDRAWING. That ain’t fair to anyone, and it’s not adult, rational, assertive behavior, and it’s not fair to ME. So it’s not what I want.

So it turns out that I misunderstood but one of my old TaskRabbits actually asked me out on a date like a month or two ago. At the time, I just responded letting him know who he was speaking with — I thought he’d written to the wrong innerdragon! But I later clarified, it was me! So that’s flattering but, I’m still into my boyfriend. I know we’re in a phase right now that’s going to require some killer hard work to pull our shit out of, but I still think it’s worth it. If that scale tips, well, then suck. I hope the scale doesn’t tip.

But the biggest downer in my life right now is the communication shit my boyfriend and I are going through. He sounded pretty amazed when last night, finally deciding to take some clonazepam, I was like, do you even like me? Do you even like spending time with me? Because I can’t tell. And long story short, that’s something we’re going to have to work on, because he does like me, of course, and want to be with me, but he’s going to have to learn how to show it in the ways I can FEEL again, because this ain’t working for me right now. And I told him we’re going to need to set aside some evenings for just reconnecting, like going on a walk-and-talk together or stuff like that, where we can just talk, because I feel disconnected from him, just waiting and wondering what the hell is going on. I was upset the other day when his mom was asking him over dinner about some training he’d done that day, and I was completely in the dark on that. So he had obviously told her about it and not me. The woes of living with your SO’s mother, let me tell you. And I was really upset about it and then…. I realized, I had talked on the phone with my own mom for like an hour that same day, and she knew all KINDS of things about my day that my bf has no idea about…. So then it was a little harder to blame him for that oversight. 😉

Anyway. Stay strong. Stay attending the classes. One of these days, I’m going to have to do that OTHER class’s homework — the one I’ve been avoiding because my book didn’t arrived until two days ago and the font hurts my eyes. But the disability center JUST sent me a copy of the whole thing as a PDF, so now I can have my computer read it to me. No more excuses for avoiding it.

…Unless you count that the software that came with it (and is necessary for the class) is for PC only, and I have a Mac… Ah life.

Note to my dear readers: Kindly REFRAIN from leaving any analysis of my relationship with my bf. There is so much more I would write if only I didn’t fear the judgements I sometimes receive on here. Please allow me to document my life here without fear of being told what I’m doing wrong and what you would do differently if you were me. Thank you for understanding!!