Tantrums and Time Out—For Adults!

So, the last few weeks have been interesting, to say the least. Between trying to get off my butt and finally get into school, going on vacation, and trying to keep my head above the waters of debt, I’ve been pretty busy. (Also, I’ve been up to my neck obsessed with a certain anime, but we won’t talk about that. We prefer to forget that.)

Then came the inevitable meeting with my counselor. Most shoved under the magnifying glass this week was my temper. See, I’ve caused a few problems with my roommates. I can be quite nasty. Even when I’m not trying to be, it just spills over. They’re scared of me, at those times.

Of course, I’d never hurt them. I would never come after them with a pair of scissors, for instance. No, I learned long ago not to physically take my anger out on others. I just get shouty and throw things and storm off. That’s good control, right?

Ha.

Controlling my temper is a problem. I’m the first one to admit it. If I were in Pixar’s Inside Out, my primary emotion would be anger. Whenever I’m sad or afraid or feeling some other negative emotion, anger, like a knight in shining hatred, takes the helm. It’s been my defense mechanism for so long that I don’t know how to deal without it. What do you do? Let it out, no matter how safe you think your outlet might be, and you scare people. Turn it inwards, and you’ll only end up hurting yourself. It’s an unending dilemma.

Along with that comes the problem of fear. Using fear against others is one of my greatest weapons, only encouraged by five years working at a haunted house. It’s an addictive thing. Because, when people are scared of you, when you see their eyes widen and they back away, you no longer feel afraid. You are the one with the power, and suddenly every insult they’ve ever thrown at you, every time they’ve laughed, doesn’t matter anymore. There’s only the power, and who has it.

This, and more, I discussed with my counselor. Who brought up a few interesting points.

First, I need to think about what I want out of relationships with those I’m closest to. Do I want them to fear me? Do I want to lord that power over them? Well, if so, I’ll just be repeating the abusive cycle. This is why so many abuse victims turn into abusers, themselves. They can’t let go of those coping mechanisms that don’t apply outside of where they were abused. For instance, my mother backed off when I got angry. That’s how I was taught to make her stop. But now, living about two hundred miles away from her with my three roommates, I don’t need to respond that way anymore. Trying to unlearn the message you inhaled from childhood isn’t easy.

Second, my counselor explained the concept of time out. When children do something, good parents send them into time out. Why, he asked me. I answered, because the parents need a break. And then I realized—the purpose of this was to give the parents a chance to diffuse their own tempers. To keep them from doing something they’d regret.

So, that’s my other new project. To take time out, and think about my goals. How I want my relationships with the people in question, like my roommates, to go. I can choose to make them fear me—to make them back off. I can also choose to chill, open up, and explain the problem to them, and attempt to make things better via communication.

Well, it’s a daunting task. Actually talking to people about feelings in the past has ended in bad news for me. But my roommates are not my parents. They are not my sister, even though she’s gotten so much better. They’re good people, and I need to give them a chance.

Miss Moe

IMG_20131220_194753_090

This is my baby girl, Rinna. Also known as Moe. Or Momo. Himalayan or Ragdoll, she’s a gorgeous little stinker. Also incredibly skittish. I got her for my nineteenth birthday, because there were a lot of mice in our house, and the cats we had were too lazy to go after them. Of course, when I saw her picture, I thought she was adorable. But it wasn’t really until I met her—and saw her cowering in the back of a cage and hissing, that I fell in love. Because she reminded me of myself, and I immediately felt the need to protect her. The first time I held her, she was shaking like a leaf. But she stayed in my lap all the way home, where she proceeded to hide under my bookcase.

I could not think of a name for the little poop to save my life, so I started off calling her Bob, but then it became Moe, after Moe of The Three Stooges. Naturally, that became Momo, because her coloring is like Momo from Avatar The Last Airbender.

See the resemblance?

Anyway, my new kitten had a couple of knots in the fur of her neck. So I pulled her out from under the bookcase, sat her in my lap, and cut them out. Imagine my surprise when she started purring. SO CUTE!

In short, getting Moe to be less scared has been a long journey. She has her safe places, under my bed, on my bed, or under one of my roommates’ beds. And she’s still pretty scared if someone raises their voice too much. But I hope being my cat has been good for her. I know it’s been a good experience for me, because I can’t treat her in the dismissive way I treated cats as a kid. I can’t get in a rage around her. In her own way, she’s making me a better person. And I love her for that.

Besides, look how cute she is!IMG_20131116_173023_466

Captain

Yesterday, I had to let the vet put my cat, Captain, to sleep. I’ve had him since I was ten years old. Twelve years. There’s no joke when I say that cat was the love of my life. And the day since then has been Hell. I’m taking double my depression meds, but I still can’t make myself do anything. Work, or even eat. I’m not crying anymore, but I’m a numb, melancholy mess.

I grew up with him. He was the only one I felt was always there for me, no matter what. Usually, he was there when I didn’t want him, but that didn’t matter. He’d just sneak onto my lap when I wasn’t paying attention, anyway, purring contentedly. Or he’d steal my pillow when I was sleeping. Sit on my phone or keys so I couldn’t find them. Help me write at night. Beg for me to share my veggies.

At least, this time, I got to say goodbye. And he’s out of pain. That’s what’s important. I can get past the rest of it. Sure, it’s gonna be damned hard, but I’ll make it.

But I’m going to miss my funny-looking baby.

Depression, Self-Harm and Suicide: A Bundle of Joy

Ranting, dear readers. Please excuse. Haven’t taken my Prozac for a few days, and I’m just barely getting back on it.

First, people romanticize the whole lot of mental illness and suicide, and that needs to stop. Depression is not this beautiful, profound sadness where you sit in your closet, cut yourself and cry tears of eyeliner and mascara while writing poetry.Sure, there may be elements of that, but you know what else is there? Numbness. Feeling nothing when you cut yourself, and you’re just as calm as if you were doing a doodle. “Oh, it’s a little uneven on this side. Let’s fix that. Go deeper.” It’s thinking, “Since I don’t want to do anything, I should just die, because I’m a useless waste of space. Too bad I don’t have the guts to do it.”

And while we’re talking about suicide, let’s mention something—it’s selfish. Yeah, I’ve been there. If I’d had a gun, I might have done it already. My best friend, Scott, killed himself in December. My uncle and grandfather both killed themselves. I’ve seen both sides of this issue. But you know what you’re doing to those you care about? Leaving them feeling guilty. They’ll spend the rest of their lives wondering what they could have done to stop you. What they could have done differently. Too many what ifs, insidiously whispering in the back of your mind. Also, how about funeral expenses? That’s so kind of you, to burden your loved ones with that. What a star you are. And plus, embalming ain’t gonna be a pretty picture. None of this, “she looks like she’s just sleeping,” or whatever. You’ll look like a corpse that’s started to decay.

Yeah, life is hard. Everyone gets that. We just need to try and help each other through it. If we actually try, there’s nothing life can throw at us that we won’t be able to overcome.

I’m sorry. I get really cranky when depression’s hitting me—temperamental and even violent. (Surprise, that’s another fun part of depression!) I’m trying to work at it, but it’s like telling the sun to stop shining.

Getting past ranting over stupid people (I’ve spent way too much time on Tumblr lately), bad times have been more plentiful. Earlier this week, I was happy, wondering if my depression had fixed itself, or something magical like that. And then I ran out of money, and out of Prozac.

. . . nope.

I’m still just as screwy. Life sucks. Little things like spilling part of a bottle of Coca Cola are tragedies. Every little annoyance with my roommates is a grievous flaw. Books falling off a shelf have a personal vendetta against me, and therefore need to be thrown across the room. I don’t want to write, and I don’t want to talk to people. I just wanna flip the world the bird, and shut it all out.

Why can’t common sense and common courtesy actually be just those? People are difficult.

My roommate will not shut up about stuff that she’s watching on her laptop that I don’t care about. I’m tempted to say I don’t care, but as she has depression too, I don’t want to hurt any feelings.

So, for today, screw finishing touches on this post. Angry!Mac is too irritated to care.

More Issues!

Yep. This blog wouldn’t be the same without piling on the angst, would it?

So, first, depression sucks. At work, it’s harder to suck it up, because I know I’ve got an actual problem, and it’s not all in my head. Well, okay, maybe it is in my head, but you know what I mean. It’s especially bad on the days without sun, if I can’t find a good way to distract myself. Try snowboarding in that. Good way to get very hurt.

Second, dating also sucks. Because yeah, I get that I’m not bad-looking, but I feel like guys are only interested in me until they see the madness beneath the surface. Let me tell you, I have issues. But I went on a date on Saturday that wasn’t a total disaster. So it’s not all bad.

Third, my sister had me look up covert incest (my counselor calls it emotional dumping). And it applied to my past relationship with my mother pretty well (boyfriend 2 reminds me of her in so many ways that it’s ridiculous). So now, I’ve got that to deal with on top of everything else. Listen to me while I whine.

Fourth, I built a blanket fort. It was awesome. My roommates were jealous.

The Stomach Monster, Swimming, Sunburn and The State

There is a joke among my friends and family that I am a bottomless pit. My high metabolism makes me hungry often, and when I’m hungry, the stomach monster starts to roar. It’s difficult, because all the sudden I’ll be too hungry to focus on anything else, and I’ll start being really irritable (I guess I just need more Snickers in my diet). Then I eat in large amounts, and eat more. Never gain a pound.

Thinking about this today brought back some ever so delightful memories of my childhood. Mom hardly ever cooked, so me and my sister mostly had to fend for ourselves. We learned how to make Ramen pretty quick. And anything that could be made in the microwave.

But when I was nine, after the dreaded incident of going to live at a stranger’s house due to The State, Mom stepped it up. See, that summer, she became obsessed with us getting swimming lessons at the local outdoor pool, which wasn’t exactly within walking distance of home. So, she started taking us there in the morning for lessons, and then we’d be left there to swim all day until she picked my dad up from work at about five in the evening. So, basically, we were kept out of the house to avoid The Evil State, by being shunted off to a swimming pool all day, with nothing to eat. Did I mention that? We never packed any food, and we were almost never given any money. A $1.00 hot dog on one of those long days was a rare treat. Sometimes, we’d be so hungry we would scavenge around until we found a peanut someone had dropped, and we’d each eat half of it.

I got my first second-degree sunburn that summer. Mom never sent us with sunscreen, either. And when we came home sunburnt, she’d rub some lotion on that burned like hell, and she’d yell at us the more we cried.

For a little variety, we didn’t always go to the pool, of course. When we didn’t have swimming lessons, Mom would sometimes take us to another city to sit in the car all day at a park, or out at the reservoir. We were scared to even leave the car for fear of The Evil State, so we stayed there most of the time. I’ve spent more time sleeping in a car than I care to remember.

And then there was one very rare occasion where our mother let our best friend spend the night over at our house. We were woken up in the morning because The State Lady had come unexpectedly, and was asking for us. So Mom told us to keep quiet and stay there, and lied to the woman, saying that me and my sister were out at the local amusement park for the day with some other friends (what other friends?). Our best friend had to walk home alone, all due to my mother’s fear that The State would find her two little angels.

And, of course, all this was our fault. The State wouldn’t be after us if we were good kids who did our schoolwork and kept our rooms clean.

I’m not posting all this angst and drama to be like “oh woe is me,” or anything. Really. I get that there are lots of people out there who have been through things I can’t even comprehend. Who have survived things I couldn’t. I’m just writing about it because I find my own twisted psychology interesting, and I hope to be of some help to someone else, sometime. Whether as support, or for research, or what have you. I care not. I just want to pretend I’m helping, while I’m sitting here contemplating my navel because it’s all so fascinating.

Kick Depression In The Butt

So, I’ve been seeing a counselor. That’s going well. I’m telling the Evil Depression Voices to shut their pie holes, because I’m awesome, and not nearly as worthless or incompetent as I try to tell myself that I am. Thanks to my counselor, of course. And my sister. I couldn’t do this crap on my own!

(Warning: several curse words will follow)

Tonight, my sister worked a double shift. And she texted me, because one of her coworkers was being a chauvinistic dick, it was a long, stressful day, and depression was giving her an emotional breakdown.

Me, I like to fix the problem. I’m not good at dealing with emotions. So, I tried just being a sounding board. Then I started slipping into my usual habit (telling her that she should come work with my department because it’s better management, etc). I apologized, but then she told me what she needed was a solution for tonight.

So, I did my absolute best, trying to give her the pep talks I give myself. Tonight, therefore, I’d like to give myself that same pep talk again.

Life is full of challenges, Mac. People can be assholes. If they don’t like the way you do things, tell them to suck it up. You are awesome. Sometimes you think you can’t handle it. Well, you can. No obstacle will ever be put in your path that you can’t demolish. You just gotta choose to do it.

You’ve already been through hell. What’s this? It’s nothing. Depression is being the drama queen. It’s making a mountain out of a molehill. Tell it to shut up. Because you’re tough. You’re strong. You’re awesome. You got this. Nobody can bring you down unless you choose to let them.

My pseudonym is Mac. I’ve stop fights in their tracks. I’ve climbed thirty-foot knotted ropes. I’ve run a zipline. I worked in a haunted house for five years, and never complained about any injuries I received. I rescued and continue to protect my cat, Moe. I’ve let go of the so-called love of my life more than once. I solve problems. I write and proofread. I am beautiful, smart, witty, and my cats adore me (as long as I feed them). I survived a narcissistic, hoarding mother. I survived an abusive sister. I survived bullying, self-harm, a batshit crazy aunt, and a friend’s suicide. I am strong. Depression and the day-to-day challenges of life ain’t got nothin’ on me!

Victim? Survivor? Nope. I’m a fighter, thank you very much.

Depression can shove it where the sun don’t shine.