It is 7:30 a.m. and I am going to attempt a feat I have not met. I am going to write without notes, without forethought, and without editing. OK, yes I must admit there will be some editing but, there will be no overhaul. I am going to write from the heart. I am going to write about the conversation I had with Doug last night. I am going to write while it is still raw!
Yesterday was an interesting day. It rained all day which is very uncommon. I usually spend a couple of hours outside working in our yard. I really enjoy the quiet-time and the sunshine, both are very uplifting! Our puppy enjoys the sunshine, too. She does not like rain. She doesn’t even like the sound of rain. It causes her an enormous amount of anxiety, which includes shaking and whining. When she realized the rain was here to stay, she was off to the closet. Unfortunately, the rain also causes potty issues for the puppy. Now get this, she will go outside when it is raining. But when it is not raining, she won’t step on wet grass! Along with feeling cooped-up, I was also feeling jittery. I was feeling uncomfortable and I was on edge.
In the past, I have used analogies to try and help my family better understand me. I have often used the analogy of standing on the edge of a cliff to explain my feelings. I will give you an example. I feel like I am standing alone on the edge of a cliff. I can feel tiny rocks beginning to crumble below my feet. I am so afraid. I know that one wrong move will send me tumbling to the pit below. I am terrified. I am paralyzed because I do not know what wrong move will cause me to fall to the pit below. I have been to the pit and I do not want to go back. The pit is a very dark, lonely and frightening place. It is a place where you can easily misjudge things and make bad decisions. I hope the previous statements are helpful. I have used them several times to explain how I am feeling and to explain where I am in the process.
Last night, I was having difficulty explaining to Doug how I was feeling and my analogy of standing on the edge of a cliff was inappropriate. I was having difficulty because I had never felt that way before. I stated earlier that I had been feeling jittery. I was feeling jittery but, I was also feeling extremely tired. At first I told Doug that I was feeling like I had all of these things going on inside me and the only thing keeping everything in was my skin. This morning that sounds like a pretty goofy statement. Now I realize why Doug said that he didn’t understand. I then used the idea of a dam, the Hoover Dam. I thought about the movie Vegas Vacation when the Griswolds go to the Hoover Dam and take the dam tour. During the tour, Clark Griswold tries to stop a tiny drip coming through the wall of the dam. When he plugs up the hole to stop the drip other holes pop open, the water starts gushing out from everywhere and chaos ensues. This was the illustration I was trying to use to help Doug understand how I was feeling. Through my tears I was telling him that I was afraid of what was going to happen when the pressure became too much and my dam broke. I am really afraid because I don’t know how to cope with this new feeling. The last time I didn’t know how to cope; I took a serrated knife from our kitchen, went into the closet in our bedroom and cut myself. In that moment it felt good. Today, I still have scars on my legs and I can’t remember the last time I wore shorts or a bathing suit. I only cut myself that one time and a few days after it happened, I told Doug. I can’t remember much of the conversation Doug and I had except he asked if he needed to take me to the hospital and I said ‘No’. He then said if there is a next time we are going to the hospital no questions asked.
I believe the use of the analogy of dam to explain my feelings was helpful. The analogy helped explain HOW I was feeling like a dam but, did not explain WHY I was feeling like a dam. Unfortunately, this happens a lot. How am I supposed to explain why I am feeling like a dam when I don’t know why I am feeling like a dam? This is one of the reasons why Mental Illness is so frustrating! If I can’t understand why, then how is Doug supposed to understand why! I know I was not making any sense last night but, Doug sat across from me and listened, anyway. I told him I feel like a disappointment. I told him I can’t finish anything. I told him I am tired of being different. I told him I am the one who ruins plans. I told him I am the one who people are afraid of. I told him I am tired of living in fear. I live in fear of the doorbell, the phone ringing, neighbors asking us to dinner, walks with dog (who are we going to meet?), and the list goes on and on. I told him I am terrified people are going to find out who I really am. Doug always asks who ‘people’ are. People are anybody. I told him I know I am not easy to live with. At the beginning of our journey, Doug admitted that it is difficult to come home sometimes because he is not sure what he is going to find. I can completely understand that because I don’t know what he is going to find either. I told Doug I am exhausted. I told Doug I don’t want to be me and I wish I could get away from me. I even told Doug that I think I have been trying to plug up that tiny drip in my dam by doing some on-line shopping. Even the purchase of a purse or purses is not “heeling” how I am feeling.
After my meltdown, I told Doug I was going to bed. He grinned, nodded and said OK. When I was in bed, I began to sob which is what I needed to do. As I began to quiet down, Doug walked-in. He did not say anything. He just laid down next to me and put his arm around me.