Saturday, November 18, 2017

Blank Spaces

Okay kids... it's time to get raw.

Over the past couple months, I've alluded to going through some tough times. I wanted to pour it all out here on my blog, but honestly, this time it was just too dark. I'd have ended up with you guys trying to track me down and calling 911.

I am finally coming out the other side now, and I'm ready to put the hell of the last few months into words as best I can.
So Dad died back in June. I did pretty well handling that... I was as prepared for it as one can possibly be, but it was still a fucking rotten gut punch. My dad was gone, is gone. He'd been with me all my life... always there for me. It was bad when Mom died, but I still had Dad.

It's a very different thing when you lose your last parent, and it doesn't matter one damn bit how old you are or how stable your life is. You still feel lost. The people who brought you into the world, gave you life, and loved you unconditionally, are gone.

But, still... I was doing good. I had been a caretaker for so long, first for years for Mom, then for Dad for nearly 10 years after she died. Don't ask me why I did it... I don't have a good answer. Maybe being the youngest, I just always assumed the task would fall on me? Maybe I used them as an excuse to avoid planting my own roots? I really don't know, but I devoted my life to taking care of my aging parents. I turned away some great guys... never got married. I never wanted kids, so that wasn't a thing, but I suppose it would have been nice to settle down with someone.

Regardless, I didn't. I took care of my folks. I don't regret it but I do harbor a bit of resentment towards my siblings for just letting me do it and not helping more than they did. It was easy for them. It wasn't easy for me.

Anyway, back to my story... I was doing well. My job was done and I could start living for me for once. I had no responsibilities to anyone and it was wonderful. I could relax. I wasn't always waiting for the phone to ring at all hours of the day and night.

I had my life back and I could do any damn thing I wanted.

And after a couple months of that, things got dark. Really dark. Suicidal dark. No, I never attempted it, but god, did I want to.

I starting believing I had nothing to live for any longer. No one needed me. The very thing that had given me life in the months after Dad's death were now killing me. My purpose was gone. I spent hours and hours and hours struggling, searching, for some sort of meaning, for some reason to keep going on. I found nothing.
I was tired... bone-deep exhaustion. Putting one foot in front of the other was just too damn much. There were several days that I just couldn't get out of bed. I wanted to close my eyes, not to sleep, but to have it all end. I didn't want to sleep... sleep led to either vivid, terrible nightmares or dreams where my parents were back and the world was whole again, but then I'd wake up again to the cold, stark reality of being completely alone.

I didn't want to sleep, I didn't want to be awake. I just wanted to cease existence. It affected my work, both because there were days I just couldn't make myself go in, and because when I was there, I did nothing of substance other than snapping at people and generally being a miserable person to be around. The only person that knew one iota of what I was going through was my boss because, well, she's my boss, and because I know it's something she's struggled with herself. She's my age and has also lost both her parents already and was the first one to point out to me the differences between losing one, and losing both. I confided in her, usually just sitting in her office and crying without being able to explain why I was crying. Thankfully, I work with some amazing people, including my her, who gave me the time I needed to heal myself.

And I didn't do it alone... but I'll get to that.
First I want to talk about how this all affected my Second Life. Escaping into SL gave me a brief respite from the pain, but it was just an illusion and even though I didn't recognize it at the time, it absolutely affected how I behaved in Second Life. I lost some friends during this time. I did some awful things and shoved people right out of my life. I was doing that in both worlds, but it was much easier in SL because I could just be written off for being a crazy bitch. People in the real world knew me better than that and didn't let me shove them aside.

But in Second Life... yeah, I did some damage to some people. My SL has always been sexual, but not to the point of treating others like dirt to get what I wanted at all costs.

And while I pushed most people out, I let one in.

The wrong one, of course. Someone who had actually been on my official Do Not Fuck list slipped past security and boarded me strapped with bombs. I knew it was wrong when I did it, but there was no stopping me.

He got me to do something I typically don't do... voice. And I've always shied away from it because voice is something incredibly intimate to me. It's something reserved for those who are special, those I trust to hear me at my most vulnerable and raw.
And he did... he got to hear me. And I fell, as I do, fast and deep and stupidly. This is a guy I truly like, whose company I truly enjoy. He cloaks himself in being a player but underneath, there is a very nice gentleman. If you know me, you know I have a history of being insecure at the beginning of relationships. I tend to stomp away if I'm not getting what I want, when I want it. And then I come to my senses and apologize. Multiply all that times about elebenty bazillion due to my depression and he, wisely, stepped away from me and I got a bit ugly about it.

Again, I'm not proud of my behavior. I couldn't stop it even though I knew it was juvenile and ridiculous. I could see what I was doing but was utterly powerless to stop doing it. 

And as that was spiraling out of control, I realized that I was either going to kill myself and get it over with, or I was going to get help.

I got help. I made emergency appointments with a therapist and with my doctor and I held nothing back with either of them. From my doctor, I got my medication adjusted and added to, and from my therapist, I got someone who's seen countless others living through what I'm living through. I got instructions to give myself a fucking break. I got compassion and empathy and the encouragement to open up to those closest to me, my siblings, about the darkness I'd been in.

I spent hours talking to my sister. Listening to her talking about her own hard time dealing with all this shit, just sharing the misery and making promises to be there for each other when we need it. Somehow word got around to the rest of my siblings and I've been inundated with pleas to come visit all of them, especially with the holidays coming up and knowing that December is, on the dark side, associated with suicide.

I'm figuring out if and when and where I want to go anyplace. I'll definitely do turkey day with one of them, but Christmas... still up in the air. It's never been a favorite holiday of mine anyway and I'm toying with the idea of actually being able to bow out of it this year and just spend the day on the couch eating Indian food. We'll see.
The point is that I'm not alone. My life has changed drastically in the last four months. It's only been four months. I deserve a fucking break after everything. I did a lot, gave up a lot, for my parents. I deserve a fucking vacation, a real vacation, with beaches and sunshine and fruity drinks and cabana boys. And I deserve the time to take a breather and let myself feel everything. I deserve to give myself the time to think about what I really want out of life.

The medication helped immensely, too. This is something I can't emphasize enough to people with depression. Don't be afraid of medicine. Don't listen to the people who say it does more harm than good. That's simply not true. It doesn't fix a damn thing, but it helps you be able to fix it yourself. I got something to help sharpen my focus, and something to help calm my brain at night so I could get some real sleep. Short term... the Ativan the doc gave me to sleep is already in the trash. It helped me rest and now I'm sleeping well without it.

I don't want to die anymore.

And in the midst of all that, I had this mess in SL to deal with. This guy, Mr. Do Not Fuck that I fucked. I've apologized to him, and he has accepted, but he's keeping his distance and I don't blame him. He saw a side of me that was ugly and didn't know me well enough to know that's not the true Beth, but I can't change the past. I want to try to salvage something out of it because I think I saw something good in him, something worthy. Time will tell, I suppose, if he'll let me back into his life. I destroyed his trust and that takes time to rebuild, and all of that hinges on whether or not he'll even give me a chance. I may not deserve it, but I'm back to the place where I realize I'm a pretty awesome chick and worthy of knowing. I don't think he'd regret it. He's not someone who would be, or could be, another Hugh but he is someone I see as a long term friend and a lover when time allows.

So, yeah, I have quite a bit of contrition about my behavior during this horrifying bout of depression, both in SL and out. Luckily, I've been able to salvage and make amends for my actions in the real world. Strangely, that's easier to do in RL than it is in SL. I find myself now with a very short friends list and a desire to repair old friendships and find some new ones. New lovers as well. Men that meet my... standards... are rather thin on the ground in SL, or maybe I need to cast my net wider and find some new places full of new people.

But that's not easy, either. The introvert in me dislikes the unfamiliar, or is terribly uncomfortable with it anyway.
I just know I'm damn glad I'm out of the darkness. Those of you who don't struggle with depression can't understand, though I know you try and I'm thankful for that.

And those of you who have been through it, or are currently going through it, you understand the darkness, as well as that overwhelming sense of relief when you realize you're waking up in the morning without that heaviness weighing you down, when you realize you're coming out the other side and that you survived. You survived! I survived.

And I'm going to keep on surviving. I'm strong. I'm a good human. I'm a sensual lover. I'm a wonderful friend. I deserve to be happy, to find my bliss.

So, yeah... onward and upward. Living isn't for sissies. I am a kick-ass goddess and I've got a lot of living left to do.

I just have to figure out where to start. :-)

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