life Reflections Relocating travel women in computer science

Being !=OK

Credit deviantart / oEmmanuele
Credit deviantart / oEmmanuele

In January, I was killing it. I’d been promoted, work was going well, I lived in a city I love, hanging out with an awesome group of friends and regular girls nights, and I was basically back to “normal” – athletic, but curvy, after 2 major injuries and, y’know, living in Suburbia and having to drive everywhere. And there was the boy. Figuring things out, busy schedules, he’d been sick, but good. Special.

Fast forward to March, and one morning last week, where after dragging myself out of bed (after spending 10 hours in it) I contemplate the bottle of baileys in my fridge rationalizing “well, people drink coffee for breakfast”. I made it out the door without acting on that impulse, on the way to work briefly contemplated the appeal of a week unconscious (“it would just be nice to have a break”), calmed myself down without drugs when I started to panic and got teary on-route. Made it. Did stuff. Drank 4 cans of cherry coke (willpower is depletable, I guess it was all gone by the time I got to the office). Went out. Went home. Slept.

Did it again the following day. That one was perhaps the lowest. Other days it was a drag, but I didn’t find myself having as many thoughts that were frankly scary. Tenuously held it together. Went through the motions. Finally realized that I understood that lyric from Everclear “Can you believe he actually thinks that I am really alive”. Going through the motions of being human, whilst feeling – at best – dead inside. At worst, just full of this crushing despair about the world.

This morning I got up after a reasonable 8 hours in bed, feeling ready to start the day. I don’t think this has happend since mid-January. I made it into body pump, even if I had to leave after the warmup (starting to feel sick and dizzy – I walked for 2 hours after dinner last night, and only managed to eat half a granola bar before the gym), but managed 90 minutes cardio.

And then I saw the boy, and let’s leave out the details but – we’re done, and I’m crushed. And it’s circumstances rather than anything about how well we get on, how much we care about each other. And that is devastating to me. I can’t hate him, I can’t even be mad at him. It makes sense in a horrible way that you wish weren’t true but you know, is. My last breakups have been those fundamental deal-breaking things where you know it’s for the best because people don’t change. This was the kind of thing where it seems like had a couple of external things been different, I wouldn’t be writing angsty blogposts but instead curled up on the sofa, watching a movie.

I hate that. I hate feeling like this thread was pulled in January, and everything started to unravel. And then another one with that creep on the plane. And that has somehow brought me to this place where I don’t even recognize myself in the scary thoughts that pop into my head.

The thread pulled in January, I can’t write about the details. It was something that I thought I left behind when I left Canada, but it followed me and hit a new low. I finally had the support here where I was allowed to be upset about the new thing, and that support came with process that is supposed to resolve things. That process may resolve things, but it was brutally unpleasant and didn’t leave me feeling any better, really worse. One of those things where if you don’t do it, there’s always the fear that it might make things worse, but the hope that it will make things better. It didn’t make things better. It was isolating, and meant I had to stop pretending that it was manageable – it wasn’t – and then I didn’t do something I wanted to, out of fear.

And then the creep. I told myself that is something that only has the effect on me that I let it. I got on a plane again. I was intimate with the boy – weirdly I felt that having someone I wanted to touch me, touch me, cancelled it out in some way.

But I don’t know anymore. I don’t fixate on <redacted>. I don’t fixate on the creep. I don’t fixate on the boy. I just feel this crushing despair. I think they only have the effect that I let them, and I try not to let them, but I don’t feel quite real.

So I’ve been going through the motions. Getting up every day. Got my hair cut and coloured. Go out with my friends. Go to the gym, even if somehow my epic 3-6 hour workouts have been replaced with 45 minutes on the x-trainer and wanting to lie down. Possibly related to me losing most of my desire to eat. But, y’know, still managing to do that. Limiting myself to two cherry coke’s a day (normally I don’t drink soda at all – only iced tea).

And I’ve realized how easy it is to pretend to be OK. There’s an hour in between waking up and getting up to psych myself up to do that. But the rules are easy – you get out of bed, you fulfill some basic level of grooming, you go to wherever you are supposed to be and do you best at whatever you are supposed to do. You try to ignore that this best isn’t your usual best. You say hi, smile, and take an interest in how people are doing. You go to the gym. You go out with your friends.

To pretend to yourself, you clean up your living space, celebrate the days you don’t cry, count how long it is since you last took a Xanax, and point to how you showed the outside world, and say – I’m functioning.

But the truth is – pretending to be OK, and being OK are two different things. My close friends know. And other people I try to minimise contact with, and think, hey, can you believe they think I’m really alive.

I got back from North America over a month ago. And since then I’ve been doing all the things you are supposed to do to feel better. Live in the world. Exercise. Socialise. I saw a shrink, which didn’t help at all. If you need 5 positive interactions to each negative one, then well, the world and I have not been getting that and I find myself at this catch-22 – I won’t feel better about things until I’m closer to that ratio, but I can’t go out and seek things until I feel less despairing in general.

A year ago, I left Canada because I felt that my life had disintegrated around me. <Redacted> had contributed to that. And now I find myself in an eerily similar situation. I thought about leaving again, but how would that help? People have tried to protect me from the affects of it, but what remains is how I feel, which affects everything. And then I just feel worse, because it’s still after me, it’s not over until I feel better. And I’ve done all the things I’m supposed to do, but I’m feeling worse every day.

I’m giving up on pretending. It’s time for drugs.

14 replies on “Being !=OK”

I could relate to so many things here. Pretending to be OK is something I have been doing for so long that I don’t think I even remember what being OK feels like. Saying the same lie again and again, doesn’t make it the truth, does it? Sure drugs helped me function on a day to day basis, but do they keep you from dealing with the problem? I think they do.
Surprisingly I have found comfort in having family around. It could do you some good too. At least for a while.

Do what you need to do. I hate to hear about your suffering. Hope you get some relief. Lots of hugs

After my house was broken into in what the police no doubt count as attempted sexual assault (although, let’s be honest, by my standards as a woman in tech, it was pretty tame) a friend commented to me that I should remember that it was ok to feel PTSD later, even much later, at random moments. At the time, I thought “eh, I’ll get over it” since it wasn’t that bad. However, it’s over a year later, and in hindsight I can say that her words have helped me through all manner of freak-outs.

So, uh, on the off chance it’ll be helpful for your brain as it was for mine, I’m passing her words on: PTSD is a thing that happens, and it’s expected. I thought it was a ridiculously obvious thing to say at the time and totally wouldn’t apply to me, but I go back to it a lot, so maybe it’s a thing that could be helpful for you to hear too. And I won’t be offended if you think it’s a ridiculously obvious thing to say, either.

You can always message me if you want to talk too 🙂

I’ve found that seeing a therapist doesn’t always help. Sometimes it can help, but my problem is mostly on those occasions where I am just hit with such complete sadness and talking at scheduled times doesn’t help all that much with that.

I feel like in the last 6 months or so, things fell apart. It’s so hard to know exactly what the cause was either. It sounds like you’re better at doing things that requiring thinking (work) than I am. I can’t really think when things get bad, which makes work even harder and it is a vicious cycle.

It just…is hard. Life is hard. I don’t know how I can motivate myself to do my job again though I should probably work on it / figure out what’s really wrong / find a new job.

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