In Memory of a Man…

March 23, 2013

… A mental Monkey Man.

********

Chances are that what I don’t get blogged today, I won’t blog tomorrow, so here I go before another day passes.

Yesterday was the “anniversary” of the day I got the call that Monkey Man was found dead. I don’t even know if I should call it “anniversary”. Something about the connotation of that is upsetting me. So anyway, I’ll just say, a year ago yesterday, I got the news that Monkey Man was no longer with us.

Those of you that followed me back then know the story.  I will not repeat it, nor do I want to. Yesterday, I spent most of the therapy session talking about it. And slowly but surely I realize that I am moving past this. The pain will never be completely gone, but I am ok with that now. I am working at managing my life and actually FEEL ALIVE today.

Brunet Young and I discussed so much and I felt relieved. I told her how sometimes I feel “happy” that he’s gone and feel like a “bad” person for that. We later found that maybe “happy” wasn’t the right word. No, not at all.

I cried in front of her for the first time. There are just too many emotions to describe or begin to recognize when someone you love dies this way–by their own hands. And there is A LOT OF ANGER! I for one have dealt with anger management problems all of my life (common in peopole with BPD). She suggested maybe, in a way, I’m relieved, definitely not “happy” about it. And that’s ok. It doesn’t mean I’m, a “bad” person.

Why else would so many of the depressing blog posts on here be about him?

****

One thing I did this week was draw this portrait in memory him. A.F., his stepsister gave me this picture she took of us sometime in 2006-2007. It was what she calls the “happy summer”. Strangely enough, I was very depressed then, but Monkey Man was glowing and everyone said it was on account of me being there.

The relationship I had with him was so intense, so wonderful, so terrifying, so loving yet so abusive at times. I learned a lot from that relationship.

But I did love him and I know he loved me.

Correction, I do love him. I know he’d be proud of how well things are going for me these days. I found a text he had sent me on my phone about two months ago, it reads:

“It’s ok my love. U r one of the most powerful people i know. I wish i had the strength u have”

R.I.P T.H.L

Art brings me comfort.

portrait of me and Monkey Man

Pen and Ink © paz
When we were younger, fatter, in a sense healthier (at least he was) and stoned. circa 2006.

Road Kill

February 6, 2013

Shitty afternoon.

I was upset, very upset. It was 6:15 and I saw the email: “Please answer me. I drove 110 miles to come see you” it read.

I thought he’d been held up by a traffic jam, but it turns out he’d been outside my house–around the corner somewhere waiting for me for over half an hour. There was miscommunication. I told him not to knock if both cars were still in the driveway. Well, it turns out I’d forgotten my bro’s beat-up-and-broken-down BMW is in our driveway. So GB thought it best not to knock. His phone broke so he emailed me from his laptop. How was I supposed to know? I felt terrible.

I was waiting for him to come by so we could fuck. I know, that sounds crude and vulgar but it is what it is. I don’t fuck a lot and I haven’t even mentioned GB ’cause I didn’t even know he existed before my hiatus from bloggieland. But that’s beside the point. I went out to see if he was out there then I realized the message had been sent at 5:34. I replied with various emails on my phone and he said he’d headed back at 6:00. Fuck! I felt a surge of anger, towards myself. Why wasn’t I clear about it. White car, blue van, blah blah. I miscommunication.

I figured since I was outside with the dogs I’d get the mail–use my DBT skills and whatnot. Then it all came rushing in. I started choking, the tears fell and the sobs ran. My frustration had built up, but it wasn’t just that, it was today. Today is the day. Specifically.

****

One year ago today, I hung out with Monkey Man for the last time. We watched the Superbowl with his friends, ate brisket (first time I ate red meat after years), we cuddled, I played a prank on his friend and broke my arm; said friend’s girlfriend made tea for us while I took one of Monkey Man’s painkillers and smoked a few puffs of his weed. The night didn’t end well but it was beautiful. It really was. It was just chill. Simple. Nice. It had been a long time since I’d had a relatively peaceful evening hanging out with him, so this night stood out and little did I know I’d be the last night I’d have with him. I thought “yes, he’s getting better”. And my fears of getting a call, that call you get when an addict finally does it–all of them dispelled that night.

****

But I’m reminded of a Peaches song, “Fuck the pain away”. That’s what I wanted to do today. It’s just that… I wanted to curl up in someone for just one moment. Instead, I crossed the street, key in hand, and noticed a dead squirrel. I looked at it, took a picture with my phone, and for an instant I felt ok, not because of the poor squirrel’s fat but the sense of peace its little head held. It almost looked like it was dreaming.

I thought, maybe that’s what Monkey Man felt before he passed? I hope…

(c) paz

****

addendum: A cat has been nibbling at it since then. C’est la vie.

Criminal

September 16, 2012

I’ve been a bad bad girl 
I’ve been careless with a delicate man 
And it’s a sad sad world 
When a girl will break a boy 
Just because she can

Don’t you tell me to deny it
I’ve done wrong and I want to
Suffer for my sins
I’ve come to you ’cause I need
Guidance to be true
And I just don’t know where I can begin

What I need is a good defense
‘Cause I’m feelin’ like a criminal
And I need to redeemed
To the one I’ve sinned against
Because he’s all I ever knew of love~ Fiona Apple

********

All I can think of to describe this is the lyrics to the song “Criminal” by Fiona Apple. I swear that woman writes out my life story. I’m sure a lot of you “sullen” girls know what I mean.

There’s this Canadian guy; I’ll call him Eg. I’ve known him in the virtual world since 2007. I mean, we’ve been online buddies. We used to chat a lot on MSN and on Skype. Well, Eg (not to be pronounced as egg!) just sent me a text that shook me up a little, no A LOT. First, I need to back track…

I don’t know if I should write about this in an open post since you guys (you know who you are) already know that I don’t like to share too much about others around or close to me for their sake.

I kind of sort of always knew though. I knew he was fond of me. See the thing is, he lives in Canada! AND, I had met Monkey Man a year before. As you might know, Monkey Man and I, well, we revolved around each other in a cataclysmic storm. Monkey Man would throw it in my face: how much I hurt him, how much I broke his heart, how I don’t allow people to love me, how I was cold. He did this a lot in a passive aggressive ways, and it hurt me. This was especially the case in the years 2009-2010.

Anyway, I digress.

Eg seemed to back off when I talked about marrying Monkey Man. And well, we hadn’t talked much in the last year or so. Except, ever since I found out Big Drummer Bear (don’t you just love these names) is married, I sort of kind of… Ok, I went to Eg for… I don’t know. I just started talking to Eg. And he started calling me. He paid long distance just to call me! Of course, things got sexual, as sexual as they can be long-distance.

Today, I got this text message from him:

“I know we have an innocent fun thing going on and I appreciate more than you know… but it’s starting to mean more to me than it probably is to you, which is find because you lost someone close. You know what I’m getting at right? I want to say it, and I want to hear it back, not if it’s gonna cause you pain.”

To which I replied:

“I know what you’re getting at, i think…”

****

I know, not the best answer. But I had no idea what else to say. What was I supposed to say? Then he came at me with this:

Eg: Sorry, i’ll take it back if you like. I guess I was just in a romantic mood… I’m ok if you want to forget about it… thought not fully.

Me: Don’t be sorry. 🙂 It is sweet. Don’t ever take back anything kind. You know I’ve always been fond of you… I’m just really fucked up. And yeah, his loss still affects me every day.

Eg: Sorry.

Me: Don’t be. But thanks… The fucker practically killed himself [deleted]. Sorry, you probably didn’t want to know that. But it causes a lot of anger and sadness and too many mixed feelings. By the way what’d you mean you said you’d had a few rough days. You don’t have to tell me. Just wondering.

Eg: hmm, so should we say goodbye?

Me: No! Unless you want to.

Eg: [something about his brother]

Me: [deleted]

Eg: No we can keep having fun… its nice just needed to say, even though you don’t wanna hear it. I think I’m in love with you.

Me: Jezus. im not sure what to say to that. You just hit my chest right now. I don’t wanna hurt you.

Give me a minute or two. 😉

Eg: I wasn’t expecting a response. We’ll keep having fun on the phone and that will be it.

********

I don’t know what to do. What the hell is wrong with me? Ok. I know, nothing’s wrong with me. bleh, blah. I still don’t know what to do. I’m an asshole aren’t I? But I didn’t mean to, you know? I don’t intend for these things to happen, though I see a pattern forming. I enchant and then I run off. Fear of abandonment much? Unsure sense of self? I wonder if I’ll keep sabotaging myself. I’m not saying this particular situation is sabotage, but most of the time it is.

I really do feel like a criminal right now. 😦 My chest feels tight and I want to cry. I wish I had a close girlfriend to consult with about this… Well, I guess I do. Maybe even more than a few. There’s Eloise. I just prefer to keep to myself for a while and think. Then again, I tend to overthink things.

And of course, I have my MFFs here on WordPress…

I still want to bang my head again the desk.

****

Today is my pop’s birthday. Maybe I should just focus on that now.

Protected: You Can’t…

August 29, 2012

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Toxicology

August 3, 2012

I messaged A.F., Monkey Man’s step-sister, on Facebook yesterday. We’d been having a nice little chat back and forth. And I thought of what my new therapist Brunet Young said–about preparing to call Monkey Man’s step-mom who hadn’t called me back like she’d promised.

Well, I went ahead and asked A.F. on the last email if she’d heard anything about the toxicology reports. This was her reply:

Evidently cocaine and codeine don’t mix. Drugs are bad mmmkay? I guess he woulda stuck around longer if he wouldn’t of been so hard on his beautiful little body. Damnit.

I need a hug and kiss, thank you!

*******

Well, I got the answer I wanted. Damn it Monkey Man, I thought you’d quit that shit! Liar!

Ooooh, ok. ok. ok. Today is one of my swim days.

Breaaaaathe.

Ooooh there goes the trembling and the tears.

I need a nap.

As I mentioned in the previous post, I started therapy again three weeks ago. I’m seeing her on Wednesdays. This Wednesday will be my fourth session.

********

The second session I had with Brunet Young was just as productive as the first, but the third surprised me. Did I actually say all that? Yes, yes you did P. At ‘a girl!

It’s a good thing when you know what you’re getting yourself into when starting therapy. The same could not be said when I first went to see a counselor after my monumental mental meltdown in 2008. I had no idea what to expect then; I even walked out, or rolled out, of a therapist’s office in frustration in 2009. But this time… I have goals this time!

I came into therapy just as desperate, but more ready than ever. I know my borderline personality disorder (BPD) diagnosis, I’m more sure of the bipolar tendencies if the psychiatrist is right, and I’ve learned some basic dialectical behavioral skills training from Ex-Young Therapist as well as core training in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

I’m barely driving out of hell, but I have a tank full of gas, me thinks. That’s hope for ya.

********

On the second session, much like the first, we went over major areas of my life that need working on. I asked Brunet Young if she could tell me what it was she remembered about my history from the consultation team so I could fill in the rest as best I could.

I told her things like, “the overdose from two months ago was not my first, but definitely the worst” and “I have a history of abuse, though my views on it change. I mean, you have to understand our culture is different. But, it’s a fine line no?” I told her about my mother’s past suicidal tendencies, her upbringing, her sister’s (my aunt’s) suicide and so on. She already knew about my immigration situation, my medical problems, my tendency toward isolation, and my body image issues, so I didn’t have to go into that with her.

We talked a lot about how Monkey Man’s recent and sudden death has affected me, how I  was drugged up with him much of the time we were together (off and on), but how I always tried to get him to stop drinking. We discussed ways in which I can work up my courage to call his step-mom and/or dad to ask about the toxicology report results again.

On and on we went. I couldn’t believe myself.

Towards the end of the session, she did something I was so thankful for. She asked me to write a list of issues I thought I hadn’t had a chance to go over with Ex-Young Therapist.

********

My dad had taken me that second day and, on the way out, he said something that bothered me a little.

“She’s not good like the Ex-Young Therapist is she?”

“Why?” I asked.

“Well, she didn’t say hi to me as kindly as the other one.”

After the initial frustration this remark induced, a light bulb lit up in my head! Aha! I have to discuss this with Brunet Young, not this in particular, but my dad. I have to discuss how I think some of my black and white thinking patterns about myself lead back to his black and white thinking. I didn’t get into depth discussing my dad much with Ex-Young Therapist. I did a little, but more toward the end, or just when issues arose. In fact, because we focused so much on me learning DBT skills,  the therapy process and focus remained on present problems and not past, “unresolved” problems.

********

Last Wednesday, I decided to take the bus for our third session. It was better for all of us. My dad didn’t have gas money and I wanted the liberty of no off-handed comments.

It was an hour and a half bus ride; I have to take two buses and the MetroRail downtown but that’s a hell of a lot better than waiting on ole MetroLift’s shifty ass.

I arrived on time and with my homework assignment completed.

Here is my list of “past problems” I didn’t get to discuss with Ex-Young Therapist. And I added a bonus for Brunet Young. I added some therapy goals–totally my idea.

****

I’m on a roll. I’m telling you. Here’s what I wrote down for her:

Goals for Therapy

*Manage Panic attacks and chronic pain

*Reduce suicidal and self-injurious impulses/actions/urges and manage the thoughts better. (No more overdosing!)

*Increase support network
-> continue rebuilding relationship with brother
-> get into that DBT group at BT (keep calling! don’t desist!)
-> get involved again in community organizing/activist orgs.

****

* Interpersonal effectiveness -> review
* Distress tolerance -> review and continue practice!
* Develope a more consistent daily ruitine to include: writing/blogging, sketching, watching Lynda.com tutorials, planing, swimming/yoga, playing ukulele again, and getting a job after filing the immigration papers!
-> remember to do one thing at a time
-> break down into smaller chunks
-> plan ways to reduce stressful situations, not increase or worsen them

* Continue healthy eating / no binging
* Work on self-validation
* Work on healthier ways to deal with complicated grief
-> Monkey Man L’s death and guilt about death
-> hearing loss

* Ask about/look into other methods such as IFS (Internal Family Systems) and Schema Mode therapies.

****

Past Problems

* Mother’s verbal and physical abuse (I really hate the way I wrote this one because, honestly, I feel closer to my mother than my father and I love them both very much, even when they piss me off. And my mom’s changed for the better after getting help herself.)

* Dad’s continued invalidation and overbearing tendencies (not to mention the fact that I still have to depend on him financially)

* Medical Trauma (e.g. still need to deal with jaw incident and set up a date for surgery, continued nerve pain, decreased bone density, past accidents that led to ER, prolonged stays at hospital during childhood; loads of surgeries)

* Sexuality and validation issues (e.g. what happened with Dusty and Emily)

*Repetetive compulsion with alcohol and drugs (mainly alcohol and self-harm)

* Maladaptive core beliefs (e.g. I am not a “good” person, I’m “a burden,” etc.)

********

Yep, so that’s what I have so far. We went over this list I wrote, which she said was very good. I think it’s a good starting point too. And since I was able to write it out, it helped when she asked to explain what I meant by “sexuality and validation issues”. That’s when I brought up Sir Dusty and a lot of other things I may or may not mention here. Man, it was hard work!

Fuck my bleeding ears! I’m trying to stay positive. I really am. I’m relying on my inner wisdom.

And these days, I’m maintaining a better outlook more than not, which is the complete opposite of what could be said a month and half ago. I feel funny though, and not previous-post funny. The anxiety has just been maddening.

On Friday night, when I hung out with my brother, I ended up staying over the night. Well, around 4am (as usual these days), I woke up with chest pain, feeling like I was having a heart attack. You’re not having a heart attack P. This is just anxiety. I was nauseated, felt the same old prickly feeling in my toes and hands and was shivering too. So I woke up my brother and asked him for another blanket. I told him what I felt and he agreed about the anxiety.

Earlier Friday, I was eating lunch with my dad at the kitchen table. We had arepas and queso and coffee. I hadn’t even touched my coffee yet and my hands were trembling. (I swear, I’ve been cutting back substantially on the coffee.)

“Your hands are shaking really bad. Why are they shaking like that?” he asked.

“I think I’m just having a lot of anxiety right now.” I lowered my head.

“About what?”

“I don’t know. It’s a lot of things, I guess.”

“It looks as if you had Parkinson’s”

Ah my dad, good ole papi. Gotta love the way he throws in something that sounds both amusing and insulting or hurtful (to me) without even meaning to–but sometimes meaning to. I’d made a joke about looking like Michael J. Fox during an interview on my very second (or third) post here! So, yes, this isn’t new. But now it’s noticeable to my dad even?

Today, right now, I’m feeling the same way. I hope it passes soon. I hope typing will at least keep me at ease a little while.

********

I wonder if it’s the medication that’s making it worse. Almost every morning it’s the same.

At the end of May, a few weeks after the incident, I saw the psychiatrist. She had the Fluoxetine/Prozac upped. I keep wondering, how did I get here? Accepting drugs from a psych? For me, taking “medication” is last, last, last resort.

I saw her again this past Thursday. She said something that both surprised and didn’t surprise me.

“I’m thinking… you seem to have bipolar, bipolar two,” she said midway through our appointment. These appointments, by the way, are actually forty-five minutes long. Ok. Well, at the moment, labels don’t matter to me much. I just need all the help I can get. I don’t want another incident to occur, for the sake of those around me at least. But in part, for my sake too. And that’s a good thing! It means I’m seeing light at the end of the tunnel, despite the way I’m feeling.

Long story short, she prescribed Lamotrigine/Lamictal. I haven’t gotten it yet. I barely ran out of Tegretol last week and didn’t bother to get it filled. Well, there’s was more to it than that. There was the money issue. It’s rough right now. I just wish I could handle things better, without getting so frantic, so worked up inside… Swimming is the only time I don’t feel like I’m drowning!

And now I’m to try yet another drug?

I don’t know. I just don’t know…

********

But therapy. Right!

I finally got in three weeks ago. The very first week, we covered a lot.

She’s also a young brunet like Ex-Young Therapist, but it’s a university, so what was I expecting, an old student? Anyway, we covered basics, like what I did with my Ex-Young Therapist, what worked, what didn’t work. Turns out this new therapist (I’m going to call her Brunet Young) worked in a team with Ex-Young Therapist, so she already knew a little bit about me. A consultation team is part of dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT).

After going over some of the basics, like major problems in my life, she mentioned the overdose incident from early May. Has it been two and a half months already?

****

“In the intake interview, you mentioned that you didn’t consider the overdose a suicide attempt. Why is that?” Brunet Young asks.

“Um… I’m not sure,” I reply. I stammer around and stutter for a little while. “Maybe it’s because I have a hard time seeing it as that. But also, I think I was gambling. I was playing Russian roulette. I told myself that if I died that night, then fine, but if I didn’t, I would have to just try a lot harder. I mean, I would’ve definitely taken the entire bottle had I wanted it to be more sure…a more definite thing.”

“How much did you take?”

“About eight painkillers and two sleeping pills.”

“And you were ok with the fact that you might’ve died as a result?”

“Yes, I was.” It’s scary to think, but at the time, I was.

“You know, from a clinical perspective, there is a distinction between suicide attempts. There’s an active suicide attempt and a passive one. What you describe is a more passive attempt.”

She made sure to emphasis that it was still considered an attempt. Or at least that’s how I heard it.

****

We then wrote up a crisis plan, which looks a little something like this.

My Plan

When I feel upset and have thoughts of hurting myself or someone else, or I feel that I am in emotional crisis, I will take the following steps:

1. My warning signs are (e.g. very self-critical, hopeless, isolation, staying in bed)

-passive thoughts of suicide increase in frequency and become clearer, more of an urge/stronger urge
-insomnia and crying spells worsen
-triggers (e.g. Monkey Man, relationships, drugs, reminders, etc) –> anger/rage
-isolating myself –> not picking up calls, curling up in bed and staring blankly, dissociating
-being upset about hearing loss; being upset on days when I’m not able to go swimming
-chronic bone pain intensifies; facial nerve pain increases

2. My reasons to live are:

– I can do a lot for others. I have potential to do a lot.
-I don’t want to hurt my family

That’s all I have for reasons right now. I used to have career plans, but that’s not strong-holding at the moment. It has to be something that you really believe, something that will grab you, will keep you from doing anything permanent–a true deterrent.  I think I need to come up with more. I told Brunet Young this and she said, “It’s alright, we’ll come up with more later.” I thought of adding “love”. Just focus on the word love, the meaning of it for me, how I’ve managed to hold on to “love” in my life. But love of what? Art? Life? Beauty? Family? How can you focus on that in a “crisis” situation when all you’re thinking about is the pain you’re in and peaceful bliss of death and non-existance?

3. Do these things to calm myself or distract myself:
-Mindfulness exercise

-say serenity prayer and Buddha refuge prayer
-If at home, call Luna, pet and cuddle with her. (The good thing about Luna is if she hears me crying, I don’t even have to call her over. She finds me. Sweetest dog ever.)
-remember “Distress Tolerance” –> follow breath, deep breathing
-self sooth –> hum a tune, splash water on face, take warm bath, play ukulele
-write, write, write

-read, read, read

-watch TV (comedy preferably)

-stretch with yoga mat
-image focus –>meditate
-progressive muscle relaxation

-review “coping card”

-take a short nap and/or break from whatever you’re doing (e.g. go out in the fresh air and walk the dogs)

4. Contact a friend or family member that I can trust:

name & number: answering service at PRSC –>that’s the university’s psychological research and services center

Also, I’ve listed my brother, mom, and maybe B and Mansie, Ryden and Eloise, although I’m having a hard time with this one. I’ll really need to work at it.

5. Call PRSC and ask to speak with my therapist

6. If it is after clinic hours (M-Th 9-8; F 9-5) and I can’t reach my therapist, call the PRSC after-hours answering service at **********

7. Call a hotline for support or assistance:
1-800-273-TALK (8255)
I also have several other local hotline numbers included here. But I don’t do hotlines. It’s not how I roll.

8. If I am unable to get help quickly enough and feel that things can’t wait, I will call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room for help.

********

The thing about the crisis plan is that I have only been able to get myself to do steps one through three, maybe four. I’m able to recognize warning signs and use methods like distress tolerance and mindfulness, but contacting a “trusted” person is difficult. That’s the thing, on Friday, I did contact my brother, but I did it after too much thinking. Also, I don’t tell him how bad I feel, I just ask him what’s up. Brunet Young said that was fine, I don’t exactly  have to tell him, especially not now if I’m not comfortable doing so. The important thing is to distract in non-harmful ways.

Another difficulty I’m having with this crisis plan is knowing the “answering service” after hours aren’t open on weekends. I’ll have to ask her about this. But even then, I’m not the type of person who would call. I think I only called Ex-Young Therapist twice or maybe three times during a “crisis situation”. And that was after two years of seeing her! One of those times was a few days after I found out about Monkey Man’s death this March.

I used to hate the idea of therapy. Sometimes I still do. Right now though, I’m just glad I finally got in again.

I Miss Monkey Man

July 26, 2012

He was more than a lover, more than a friend. He was a kindred soul; he was family. He understood my pain. I understood his. And we knew each other’s capacity for joy and love.

He hurt me so many times and I hurt him too. But we also blessed each other.

He handed me the biggest heart any man has handed me. And now he’s gone.

Or is he really?

No, I must say. Not entirely.

****

I wonder who kept his Taylor baby acoustic guitar. I want to read his notebooks, his poems, his unfinished songs.

But his father has them.

And well…

I want to go to the ocean and drown.