Category: mental health

Somebody That I Used To Know

So, I got dumped by a friend the other day. That sucked.

I took an hour-long nap that evening and woke up feeling a little better. Sweet Trav and I watched Scrubs and ate McDonald’s and I felt like life might still have some good things in it. But then Sweet Trav fell asleep, and I couldn’t get my mind to settle. So I got back up at about 3am, called in sick to work, and spent a few hours composing and perfecting an email, then I sent it. Here’s my favorite paragraph:

I don’t know if I did something to piss you off or if it had been brewing for awhile. What I do know is that yesterday you sent me a text message more suitable for a blind date who tried to get handsy and then wouldn’t stop calling at 3am than for someone you’ve been friendly with for years. 

I think that sums it up pretty well.

I finally fell asleep yesterday morning at about 8:30. Woke up at 1:30pm, called into a virtual work meeting, and spent the rest of the afternoon goofing off.

What I realized in the course of writing and revising that email to Amanda –and this isn’t just sour grapes– is that I don’t want to be friends with people who don’t tell me when I’m being an asshole. If something isn’t working, if I’ve pissed you off or upset you, let me know. Even if I can’t fix it, even if what I’ve said or done is unforgivable, at least give me the courtesy of telling me to fuck off. Don’t just disappear like I won’t notice that we’ve gone from hanging out weekly to “what the hell did I do?”

I know a lot of people don’t like confrontation. I get that. But suspecting something’s wrong, but not knowing, is a particularly agonizing sort of hell.

Unless someone is threating to your well-being –like they say vicious things when upset or have been known to bitch-slap people for looking at them funny– you have no excuse to ghost people who you have an established relationship with. It’s cruel, it drags things out, and it’s cowardly and weak. I have no interest in spending time with people who think that’s acceptable behavior.

Does it suck that I lost a friend? Absolutely. But the part that feels the worst is that I obviously misjudged her. Amanda comes off as feisty and opinionated, and I was under the impression that she would never pull shit like this. But she did. And that’s on her, not on me. I’m no longer pulling myself to pieces wondering what I did. After I slept on it, I stopped really caring what her reasons were. Because no reason could be good enough to cut someone off in that way.

I hope that, in the future, you will tell people what’s going on instead of hoping they’ll just fade away and leave you alone. That’s a weak move, and it’s cruel to the person you’re avoiding. Not knowing is so much worse than hearing the truth.

There are absolutely people in my life who I’ve cut off. One was an ex who I’d tried to stay in touch with, but who was unsupportive and casually cruel, so I told him that he was awful and that I never wanted to talk to him again. Another was my brother, who I didn’t tell right away because I thought that what he was saying and doing was so singularly awful that I really had nothing to say to him (and he also gets violently angry when opposed.) I eventually did explain that posting Facebook memes sympathizing with the Neo-Nazis in Charlottesville was a pretty fucking shitty thing to do, and he even seemed to understand. I still don’t talk to him, though, for other more complicated reasons that I’ll probably never blog about because YEESH families are messy.

I’ve for sure stopped talking to people I met online and hadn’t known for very long, back in my dating days– but again, a few IM conversations or a first date at a bar don’t equal a relationship.

There are people in the past who’ve cut me off or distanced themselves from me, and in a lot of those cases, I kind of get it. I stole their crushes. I freeloaded off of them. I said things that were careless and offensive. I wasn’t a great person. My high school best friend lives in town, and being that she knew me through all my shittiest phases, I understand why we’re not superbesties 4 lyfe. I was an asshole to her. We’re friendly but not really friends. And that’s okay because I know the reasons.

But now I’m a fucking awesome person. I have flaws, sure. Definitely. But I am fairly responsible, a good cook, funny as hell, smart, caring, generous, kind, and always trying to improve myself. I am warm, and I take the time to hear people out. I made myself into someone worth knowing. It was hard work!

You don’t have to like me, laugh at my jokes, or enjoy my cooking. You are not required to be my friend. But basic human decency and being a non-awful part of society as a whole means that you at least owe someone an explanation if you’ve decided they’re not worth your time after years of friendship. This seems basic to me.


Sweet Trav has a friend (whom I’ll call Roxxi) whom he talks to several nights a week. He told her what was going on, and she sent me this amazing email that made me feel 97% better. In part:

You’re thoughtful, loving and deeply committed to self-improvement. With your job, school, marriage, fitness, hell, even getting your license back, you’ve overcome some major hurdles and really exemplify the kind of “the world can fuck me over, but I’m gonna get back up and show it what I’m made of” attitude that just gives me all the empowerment boners. 


I’m glad to call you friend and really sorry you’re going through this.

I told her I want to print out her email and keep it in my wallet for the bad times. And she’s agreed to tell me if I’m ever being a jackass or simply need to shut the fuck up. Because that sort of thing is obvious to Roxxi, too. I didn’t know it before last night, but she’s not just my husband’s friend. She’s my friend, too.

And that means an awful lot.

I know I’m selfish, I’m unkind

So this happened.

In 2016, I got a temp job working for the Bureau of Labor and Industries. I worked front desk there for about six months. During my time there, I met Amanda, who first got my attention because she wore amazing lipstick. I decided I would be her friend. We both moved on from BOLI pretty quickly, and once we were both out, I invited her to lunch.

Because I’ve had some bad luck with friends in the past, I made it a point not to put much pressure on the relationship. We hung out about every six months; we would shop at the MAC counter and/or go to lunch. It worked. It was simple. I’d made a friend. She came to my parties and bought us towels for our housewarming a couple years back.

Last year, I got married. Sweet Trav and I had a simple, Dude-ist ceremony officiated by our friend, Jordan. We needed witnesses, so I asked Amanda. She came with her husband. And she decided her gift to me would be personal training sessions, because that’s what she does now.

We met for sessions a few times, and then Covid happened. We resumed in the summer, masked and distanced. When cases started going up again, we put the sessions on hold. And then we started meeting about once every week or so on my lunch breaks downtown, just to chat and get some (masked, distanced) social time.

Around Christmas, Amanda stopped texting me back as often. I noticed. I brought it up to my husband, and he said “Maybe she’s busy. Don’t think too much of it.” So I tried not to.

But in the past couple of months, I couldn’t shake the feeling. She’d respond to messages eventually, but she wasn’t volunteering anything. She wasn’t asking to meet up, and she wasn’t initiating conversations. Last week I was pretty worried about it, and so Sweet Trav said I should message her. I did. She responded. It seemed fine.

But I still couldn’t shake the feeling. So this morning I sent what was intended to be a lighthearted message, and I got the response you see above.


When I was in California from 2010-2012, I had two parties at my Mom’s, where I was living. Both of them were very well-attended. At the second one, a few people came up to me to tell me that I had awesome friends and sure knew how to throw a party. There are people from that time whom I still talk to, which is nice. But none of them live close by. And I’ve fallen out of touch with most of them. I’ve been written off by a few of them, too.


The past eight years have been awful for friendships. In March, 2013, my sister-in-law (who was also one of my best friends,) cut me off very suddenly and said a bunch of terrible things to me while doing it. We were living together at the time, so I moved out as quickly as I could. My brother also stopped talking to me for awhile, but I’d gotten pretty used to that by that point.

In May 2013, I moved in with my friend Dee, which was pretty much a disaster. I couldn’t keep a job, and I had trouble paying rent. In August of 2013, one of her friends said he’d replace my brakes and I’d only have to pay for the parts. I drove over to where he lived, and as soon as he got the wheels off my car, he started trying to extort more money from me. On the way to the ATM so I could take out cash to pay for the new brakes, he told me that someone had once refused to pay him for his work, and he’d cut that person’s brake line. I was freaked out. I gave him another $40, which I had to call my mother to have her send to me. He wanted an extra $200 or so. Over the next few weeks, he kept trying to intimidate me into giving him more money. I refused. And on Friday, September 13th, my brakes failed on the highway at 50mph, and I steered my car into a ditch so as not to hit anyone else. I’m pretty sure that this friend-of-a-friend tried to murder me. I was lucky that my only injuries were from trying to get out of the car, which had flipped onto the driver’s side. Love that Volvo engineering.

(Dee treated me like I was crazy for thinking her friend had tried to kill me, even when I told her he’d bragged about doing it before. When I confronted him about it a few years later, right in front of Dee, he said “I don’t want to talk about that.” Apparently that didn’t make much of an impression on her, either.)

Eleven days after the car accident, on September 24th, I lost my job, and on the 25th I checked myself into a psych facility because all I wanted to do was die. I spent the next few months in a hell of unemployment and (catastrophically) failed medications.

In January, 2014, Dee kicked me out. Someone else took me in. That was a disaster, too.

I hooked up with my husband, Sweet Trav, in July, 2014, and we’ve pretty much lived together ever since. My housing is finally stable, but I haven’t really succeeded in making new friends. Some of his friends like me. But if we got a divorce, he’d get them in the split.

Amanda was the first person in a long time I’d made friends with all on my own.

My heart is broken. I’ve spent the past hour or so googling “why don’t people like me” and “how to make friends.” It’s pathetic.

I know that there are parts of me that could use a bit of a polish. I tend to talk too much when I’m nervous, and I’m almost always nervous. When people tell stories I have a tendency to say ME TOO and then elaborate, and some people feel like I’m one-upping or talking over them. I’m working on that. My humor can be abrasive, but I’ve toned it way back. Former coworkers who I considered friends dropped me without telling me why. I feel unlovable. I don’t trust anyone not to turn their back on me or ghost me, because it’s happened so many times now.

Last week I told Travis that there’s a voice in my head that says “nobody likes you, and they’re right.”

Having a hard time shaking that feeling today.

Oh my god we’re back again

SO I DID SOME READING

Ten years ago I was a fucking disaster of a human being. Holy Moly.

But I feel such sympathy for that fucking disaster of a human being. I didn’t know yet. I just didn’t know. I hadn’t been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder and wouldn’t be for three and a half more years. That diagnosis was like a magic lens that make all the fucked up shit pop into focus.

I even wrote about how I’d get hooked on people and not be able to let go. I wondered why I was built that way. I obsessed for yeeeeeeeaaaaaarrrrrrrrsssss about poor, poor K who was, yes, kind of a dick sometimes, but did NOT DESERVE years of fucking birthday emails from me in addition to me joining a Meetup group because he and his wife were in it. Even before I knew what flavor of crazy I was being, I should have known that I was being a creepy fucking stalker.

OOPSIE.

I was so angry at anyone who didn’t love me back the way I thought I deserved to be loved. I thought I was special and everyone else was cold and shut off. Turns out I was, like, super mentally ill. My shrink says all of those things can be true, I’m a special feelings princess, other people are cold and detached, and oh yeah I’m also like super mentally ill.

I see my BPD as being in remission. Like cancer. Like you gotta keep an eye on it and keep seeing your medical professionals on the regular, but you are not actively growing tumors or bleeding into your brain or anything. Woo hoo.

But there are nights like tonight when I feel nostalgia like indigestion in my gut, when certain songs bring back certain people. The only girl I’ve ever loved is a prostitute in Tucson now. The boy who went on vacation and never came back but didn’t ever tell me we’d broken up. My high school sweetheart who got married again and isn’t speaking to me again probably because his wife doesn’t want him to. Fucking Bruce who hasn’t talked to me since I told him that I didn’t really want to hear about his wet dreams through the medium of text message. And so on, and so on. My ghosts.

To paraphrase the late, great Carrie Fisher: Nothing’s ever really over. Just over there.

Tell Tale Signs

I started this blog ten years ago this month. I didn’t realize that before I signed in to post, but it’s a neat little coincidence.

There’s a lot in here that I find embarrassing now. Several things I’m probably better off not looking into too deeply tonight. But I can’t bring myself to abandon it, even with all the ranting about a certain someone, even with all the bravado and outbursts and so much documentation of a time before I knew what was wrong with me and how to, mostly, stop.

I have a very sturdy government job and have been relatively stable and working in government jobs for years now. I’ve been with my partner since Summer 2014, and we eloped last month at our favorite bar. I did a jello shot. I seldom drink anymore. I quit smoking. I quit vaping. I got very fat. It is all very stable, for me, and I think the me of February 2010 would be horrified at how boring I’ve become. But I’m no longer tearing myself apart, and that’s worth something.

And here’s some Frank Turner to sum it all up:

I thought that suffering was something profound,
That weighed down on wise heads,
And not just something to be avoided,
Something normal people dread.

I’ll probably post more soon.

It’s been a while…

I don’t write much these days.

I wrote a song a few months ago called “Imposter Syndrome.” Apparently it’s good. But other than that, I haven’t been writing.

I think part of it is that I’ve been busy with work (I’m working now!) and part of it is that I’m content enough and what I usually write about is angst. There hasn’t been a lot of angst.

But if I’m going to consider myself a writer, I have to write.

So I’ve got this temp gig working for a state agency as a receptionist. It was supposed to last for about two months, but I’ve been there for almost five. Maybe they’ll keep me, maybe they won’t, but it’s been a good experience. Having a job, having routine, is really good for me. Even when it’s a grind, it’s better than sitting at home hating myself. Now I can be at work hating myself. Ha ha.

It’s brought out a lot of insecurity, though, this job. Brought it to the surface, more like. Which is what “Imposter Syndrome” is about, that feeling that I’m a fraud and I don’t belong.

Amanda Palmer touches on that feeling a lot in her book The Art of Asking. You should really read it, I just finished it about 20 minutes ago, and it’s excellent.

Anyway. I’m going to try to write more (I always say that) and see what form my writing takes when I’m not ranting about the one that got away or some other agony from my oh-so-tortured life.

Thanks for reading 🙂

We can get better, because we’re not dead yet

I just walked a mile and a half voluntarily. It’s part of my “I’m 35 now so I should probably get off my ass and try to make my life better” project. That might not sound like a lot of walking to you, but considering how sedentary I’ve been for the past nine months, it was an achievement.

Yay me.

I have my period this week, which usually (and currently) means dark moods and a deep well of depression that I have to continually back away from. In idle moments, my mind wanders and I start contemplating the futility of everything, and entropy, and the fact that it’s all basically meaningless. I have to pull myself away from that.

I see myself as basically stuck on this earth and in this life, and I know it’s my job to make the best of it and not bitch too much. I don’t really see the point sometimes, but I’m trying. What else can I do?

I have had a lot more energy! I want to get out and do things! I’m trying to get a job! But there’s not a lot to do, and no one has hired me yet, so there’s this drive to make progress but progress is very slow and not entirely under my control.

I was supposed to go swimming today, which means I proclaimed yesterday that I was GOING SWIMMING ON TUESDAY but it didn’t happen. I wasn’t exactly lazy, more exhausted. I knew that even if I got myself to the pool, which would be a bit of a slog, I wouldn’t have the energy to swim for an hour.

But the distance I just walked is further than that from here to the gym, so… maybe tomorrow? Maybe?

I am doing my best to stay away from the pit of despair and instead be hopeful and inspired and brave because, as I said, I’m stuck here. If I have to live this life, I might as well try to make it a good one. So that’s what I’m doing.

[Title song is Get Better by Frank Turner]

You won’t mind the wrinkles, ‘cuz you’ll know how they got there

I turned 35 two days ago. I was pretty freaked-out by that number, but I’m feeling okay about it now. I still feel about 16, deep down. I’m trying to treat this birthday like a New Year, in that I’m making resolutions and trying to just… make my life better. You know?

It’s been months and months of sitting on my ass, feeling decrepit and sorry for myself, and I’m sick of it. I’m not back to 100% and there are things I can’t reasonably do, but there are a lot of things I can do and should at least try.

So I’m visiting doctors to try to get better, and taking my pills to try to stay sane, and I still feel like crap and kind of like dying, but there’s hope here as well, and that’s keeping me going.

When I turned 30, I freaked the hell out. I’m glad I’m not doing that now. Getting older is so weird. I don’t feel different, except in the ways that I do. Older, wiser maybe, a lot more exhausted. Today I’m swinging between panic and excitement.

So this post is just checking in, I guess. Hello, Internet. I’m still here.

[Title is from In Love But Not at Peace by Dar Williams.]

Hand in unlovable hand

I just spent six days in the psych ward of Providence Portland hospital. It was boring, but I feel better.

Things had been shit for awhile. I’d had trouble leaving the house by myself for six months, only occasionally making it further than the grocery store without someone to keep me company. Most of the time that person was Travis.

Travis and I have been together since July, 2014. He is over eight years younger than me. He is quite tall, he plays the bass, and he is a good kisser.

Travis doesn’t want private details on the internet, so I’m going to try to be careful here.

When we met, I was a cab driver, and he worked at my local e-cigarette shop. He still works there, actually. I gave my number to the sweet boys at the vape shop, and he sent me a text one night asking for a ride. Two weeks later I went to his apartment and never really left. Sounds like the beginnings of a fantastic love story! And it was, kind of.

But I am troubled, you see. And he is not entirely without troubles himself.

When I went to the hospital, it was because we’d been fighting all day and I became hysterical. He was being a shit, but I went nuts all out of proportion to what was going on. It had been a long time coming, I think, in that it got me to finally go to the hospital and get some help.

We are two stubborn, bright, funny, loving, intense, troubled people. We would be hard on anyone. We are hard on each other.

My paternal grandparents, from what I hear, sometimes couldn’t stand each other. They’d divide the kids and go live in different houses. My Grandpa was loved by everyone, my Grandma was apparently an evil witch. They managed to raise nine kids together and make it to see their fiftieth anniversary. I don’t know how they did that. I don’t know how anyone does.

Back in the old days, marriage was for life. Richer or poorer, better or worse, love or hate. Divorce was frowned upon, people were encouraged to work it out. That isn’t true anymore. People go through half-a-dozen marriages sometimes, or more, before they die. My dear friend Bruce is on #3, and he’s only 37. I have never been married, but I’ve had a few longer relationships. Sometimes they end with me throwing things.

I don’t know what makes love last. I don’t know how much you’re supposed to fight to keep something going when it’s so easy in today’s society to just walk away.

What I do know is that I am immensely lucky that I had Travis to come home to when I left the loony bin.

That’s enough for now.

Song in title is “No Children” by The Mountain Goats

Get Down With The Sickness

“Don’t borrow trouble” is something my mom says to me when I’m worrying about something I have no control over. It means that it’s silly to stress out about things before you know what you’re up against. I think it’s a pretty good idea, but it doesn’t always work.

At the beginning of summer this year, I started having weird symptoms. Some of them could be dismissed as symptoms of known or suspected illnesses, but all of them together seemed like something I should pay attention to.

  • Blurry vision
  • Double vision
  • Strange visual disturbances (flashes of light)
  • Minor aphasia (words coming out jumbled or incorrect)
  • Minor ataxia (lack of coordination, especially in my right hand)
  • Confusion
  • Inattention/lack of focus
  • Short-term memory loss

This was in addition to the joint pain, headaches, stomach issues, and other assorted FUN! things I always have going on. The above symptoms were either new or worsened.

The extra-alarming thing about all these symptoms is that I’d experienced them back in early 2012. At the time I blamed them on the car accident I’d had in November of 2011, and my neurologist diagnosed me with Post-Concussion Syndrome.

PCS doesn’t reappear 3.5 years later. I have had no recent head trauma. So it’s gotta be something else, and it’s not a coincidence.

I’m still having that FUN! assortment of symptoms, but with some new, exciting ones too!

  • Shaky legs
  • Worsening lack of coordination in both hands
  • Dizziness
  • I’m spacey pretty much all the time
  • Petichiae (clusters of burst blood vessels under the skin)

Those who know me might think I’m something of a hypochondriac, but this isn’t true. I just happen to often be hyperaware of any weird things going on in my body because I have so much annoying shit wrong with me already. I might unnecessarily jump to conclusions, but I don’t diagnose myself off WebMD. I talk to real doctors, I research things, and I don’t “borrow trouble.”

…but I’ve had my suspicions on this one. And it’s because of The West Wing. Yes, the TV show that ran from 1999-2007. It’s a really great show, you should watch it.

Martin Sheen plays an idealized president. It’s unrealistic and wonderful. Anyway, fairly early into the show (maybe the beginning of season two?) we find out that President Bartlet has a chronic, incurable disease. It causes a bunch of crises and good TV drama. Yay.

It planted an idea in my head.

But I try not to borrow trouble.

I’m trying to get disability. I went and got evaluated by a doctor last week as part of that (long, arduous) process, and when I told him my symptoms, he asked…

“Have you ever been screened for multiple sclerosis?”

Nope.

But that’s what I’ve been thinking too.

I have an appointment with a neurologist in two weeks. I am not panicking, or not much. I am trying not to borrow trouble. But I’ve done a LOT of reading, and… damn. It sure sounds like MS. There are plenty of other things it could be. But none of them fit quite like MS does.

It could also be a brain tumor! I wouldn’t prefer a brain tumor.

It could not, however, be “nothing,” as someone recently suggested. This is not “nothing.” Trust me.  Something is wrong, and I have a feeling it’s going to change my life in ways I can’t yet predict.

I don’t know what’s wrong yet. I am trying not to panic. But every night I find myself researching MS, learning how it’s diagnosed and treated, wondering how it’ll affect my life, whether it’ll be mostly annoying or totally devastating. It manifests differently for everyone, it seems. Some are inconvenienced. Some are crippled.

I haven’t been getting a lot of sleep.

They’ll do blood tests, and probably an MRI, and probably a spinal tap. Those are to rule things out more than anything else, because there’s no definitive test for MS in a living patient. They can find indicators, but they can’t prove it. It’s just an educated guess. Which will probably involve a spinal tap. I am not looking forward to the spinal tap.

I’m not really looking for advice right now. Since I don’t know what I’m up against, I don’t know how to fight it yet. But I think I’m going to buy a day planner to keep track of my health, mood, level of activity, food intake, and other related things.

I also don’t really want to be told to keep my chin up. This is scary and I’m being as brave as I know how to be.

I’ll keep ya’ll posted as I find out more.

Love,

Kate

 

You’re a million miles away. It doesn’t matter anymore.

I saw K the other day. I had the advantage of knowing it was going to happen, which was nice because usually one doesn’t know about accidental encounters ahead of time. K and his wife were at the store where my boyfriend works. He knows her from previous store interactions, and I’d seen her review the shop on Yelp… nothing stalkery. We figured out that this customer he had was someone I knew of. I’d told him the background.

And I was on my way to the shop. My car got totaled a couple weeks ago, so I was taking the bus. Travis texted me that H (the wife) was in the shop and I asked “Is he there too?” And he was. So. I had about 15 minutes to decide what I was going to do. I seriously considered hiding out until the coast was clear, but I thought– no. I’ll go about my day. I’m not going to hide, nor am I seeking them out. If they had been there when I arrived, my plan was to sit quietly in a chair until they left. I didn’t want to bother anyone, but I wasn’t going to hide.

Turns out they left just before I got there. We passed on the sidewalk about a block away from the shop. I studied my shoes. I expect they did the same.

I know that the greatest (and, for the foreseeable future) only thing that I can offer K is silence. Peace. But it took me a long time to realize why.

Regardless of where the blame lays for how things ended and what happened before, I have behaved abominably since. I didn’t mean to. I thought I was right to be outraged that I’d been cut out of his life. I thought she was to blame for keeping us from being friends. I was venomous. I was pushy, vindictive, and petty. I didn’t do much in the last five years to bother him, but what I did was more than I should have. I continued to write to him, even after he asked me to stop. I started trying to move into their social group (during a time when I was in the grip of the worst crazy I’ve ever been through in my life.) I wanted to make them uncomfortable. I wanted to be noticed. I was angry, and it showed.

Last night, laying in the dark with Travis, I told him I had a secret I wanted to confide. And then I told him that I’ve been blaming Her for years, and it’s not her fault. I told him that I’d acted really crazy, even if I didn’t know it at the time (and I kind of knew it at the time,) and that the damage done was my responsibility, not hers. And he said that he knew that I knew that. And I realized today that the act of admitting my fault, and forgiving this woman who had nothing to do with what was wrong with me and K, had lifted a weight off my chest that’d been crushing me since Saturday afternoon.

If I could say something to them, I would tell them how sorry I am. But the damage is done, and they don’t want to hear from me. And damn it, they’re right.

About a year ago I had a dream that I was dying, and K came to visit me because he didn’t want me to die without saying goodbye. I woke up really sad and knowing that this was so unlikely as to almost be ridiculous. And about two weeks ago I dreamt that we met on the street and he forgave me.

But truth be told, I don’t really think about him much. When I lost my mind, a lot of things fell away because I didn’t have the energy or space for them anymore. I didn’t have room for grief or resentment of things long past. Letting go of K was harder than I ever thought it would be. It took almost six years to do it, but finally it just sort of didn’t matter as much. Loving him carved places in me that will always exist, loving him shaped me and changed me and made me very happy and very sad. But it’s been over for a very long time.

It still hurts, but it doesn’t matter anymore.

(title is lyrics from “Fireproof” by The National)