Updated: May 21, 2020
Greetings, fuckers. Today I’m doing something a little different. I decided that on top of discussing my past history with trauma, anxiety, depression, and all the rest of it, I would start providing some details about my day-to-day. Cuz that shit’s wild too.
This is something I've debated in my head for quite some time. I’ve been unsure if it would be useful, overly triggering, or strictly narcissistic to assume people want to know how my mental health and life rebuild are progressing. But, based on the messages I receive, all signs point towards the former.
People are curious how I’ve wrangled my anxiety, overcome agoraphobia, and maintain high functionality during chaos. They’re also a bit shocked to hear about the extraneous circumstances that somehow haven’t shaken this progress (hey, I’m surprised too). So I’m gonna talk about it here instead of retyping errthing in every email.
To begin with, I feel like I should welcome newcomers and inform OG motherfuckers about a cool recent event.
In the MF news
A few weeks ago I contributed my story to the Anxiety Chronicles, featured in the Lily and The Washington Post. It just got published! Sweet, right? Read it here. (Confession: I haven’t looked at it because I’m scared. Refusing to look at photos/videos is a common avoidance activity for me.) My answers had to be brief and edited, compared to how much I really have to say about anxiety experiences. Still, this little article has brought in quite a few new
members, as well as emails from people who are interested in what we’re doing here. It’s been incredible to have people from around the country reach out and share about themselves and their past battles with anxiety. I really appreciate your words of encouragement and shared connections.
To all the new Anxiety Chronicle followers - Welcome! Say hey if you haven't already.
Sidenote: If you feel like stretching your writing wings, you can contact Anxiety Chronicles and share your own story! It’s easy and painless - except maybe for the photo submission.
What happened to August?
In other news, my life has been insanely chaotic and busy for the past… well, 2 years. More specifically, this shitshow has been booking nonstop improvisational performances in the past 4 months. You may have noticed a slow down in my writing and posting activities in August, and for that, I’m sorry.
I haven’t forgotten TMFRs, but I did need to set it on the backburner and take care of myself. This month, in particular, has been a time of rapid transition and abrupt changes for me. It's been challenging to keep my head on totally straight sometimes, as my brain and body are always enthusiastic to adopt a hyper-vigilant go-go-go approach that drives me into the ground real fast. I’ve been managing my anxiety and getting by, but I’m ready for a break. This is my first weekend without stressful plans in about a month, and I’m hitting the reset button to slow down and reframe my life moving forward.
I’m going to dive deeper into that last paragraph.
Hell Summer/best Summer ever?
To back it up and give you actual details, I left a toxic/abusive relationship in April/May this year. I walked out the door with a bag of clothing, a bag of sentimental items, and our dog. When he realized I had left, he immediately came to my work, took our dog (the thing I love most in the world), banished me from “his” house, and conveniently forgot about the ten thousand dollars he owed me for 2 years already. For months after that, he refused to let me reclaim my belongings - even going so far as to “give permission” to access the house while he attended his son’s preschool graduation in another state... only to call the police and report me for trespassing when I arrived.
He changed the locks. He “redacted” my ownership of our dog and “decided it was best” that I never saw him (the dog) again. He used his son’s summer visitation as an excuse to hold all my belongings for the season. He refused to sign the title to the car that I purchased - which was only in his name because he had a GA license. I never felt secure enough with him to change my address after our move. lawl.
In short, he held me hostage for the past 4 months, simultaneously being as cruel as his imagination and the law allowed, while asking if we were going to get back together because he still loves me. Borderline Personality Disorder isn’t often diagnosed in men - more often Narcissism - but rest assured, he done it.
Another major complication of these past 4 months has been my relative isolation in this city.
I moved here with my ex and had 2-4 loose “friends” that I made. Yeaaah, I'm a bit of an introvert/loner. In general, I didn’t know anyone outside of my day job - and they're completely unsupportive. It was a hard time to be so far from everyone, wanting connection and rarely finding it in this place.
To add to the excitement, my vehicle has been falling apart, so I couldn’t get back home to see my loved ones if I wanted to. Meanwhile, my best friends, who live 400-1000 miles away, had their own chaotic lives to deal with this summer and were pretty occupied in their own state.
In short, I’ve been fairly alone and feeling stranded throughout all of this tomfuckery… and that’s sort of my biggest fear in life.
So. That’s been my summer. How about yours?
Okay, sorry for the depressing story - here’s the optimistic part.
I’ve been fine. It’s been a period of enormous growth and positive change. This was a rocky road, but I’ve held my shit together. I’ve made leaps and bounds in my difficult areas and deficiencies. I’ve continued pushing Traumatized Motherfuckers. I’ve spoken to strangers.
I’ve been SO FAR out of my comfort zone and didn’t drop dead of discomfort. I’ve improved my health and fitness. I’ve regained a sense of agency and control over my life. I’ve made new friends - lifelong friends. I’ve cleaned house of old relationships. I’ve rebuilt lost ones. I’ve gone on my own adventures. I’ve seen beautiful places. I’ve enjoyed my interests again. I’ve lived fuller days than ever. I’ve found a new confidence in my ability to adapt and overcome shit events. I’ve forgiven myself for making bad decisions and found the positive side of every one of them. I’ve learned that sympathy and a sense of humor can make it easier to deal with burning hatred.
It’s been a period of frustrating stagnation (thanks, knobgobbler), but it’s also been a period of freedom and re… belief?
Anyways, specifically back to this month and my time off from TMFRs. I was finally granted permission to get my belongings out of my ex’s house in mid-August. I secured one weekend when I could access the house without him present and made arrangements for helping hands to come into town. I finally got my clothing, my financial records, and a majority of the contents of the house back.
Sure, it happened to be the hottest weekend of the summer and this asshat turned the thermostat up to 78 degrees, but we accomplished the task in record time and absence of additional bullshit.
That is, until he started threatening me.
For the past two weeks I’ve been harassed via email, chain of therapists, and police reports. I’ve been accused of stealing random, inexpensive/free items and also of intending to cause him legal harm through the car registered in his name. (Note: I had no such plans. Juuust needed him to sign the title to fix that problem.) What’s crazy(est) is that I have him threatening me with stealing the car from me if I don’t “obey” him. In writing. I can always sue the pants off of him... but that won’t fix my problem immediately. So, this week I got to finagle my rides to work until I could buy a new, registrable, car. Cool.
It’s been a time. But, nevertheless, I’m doing fine and feeling better every day I’m away from this nonsense.
The breakup was unnecessarily drawn out and triggering, but that sure made it easy to move right on. This was the most certain and least emotional break up of my life. So thanks for that. The move was a lot of stressful moving parts, but I finally got my stuff back. The string is cut. That’s a huge step and a massive weight off my shoulders.
Next, losing my wheels was an obstacle, but I’ve been waiting for it for months. I was ready. I always have backup money and credit scores on my side. Besides, with the new vehicle, I actually have a sense of security and mobility. I’m not stranded here, afraid to go and see my friends and family. I’m also not afraid to drive around town, waiting for flashing lights or the wheels to fucking fall off.
All shitty things must end. And this shit is OVER. Who’s ready for September?
Live laugh love. Am I right. "lol"
Here’s looking at the past four months - LESSONS FROM HELL
Top tools that kept my shit together:
Outdoor exercise (3-4 hikes per week)
Motivational media (podcasts, audio books)
Quality sleep (no tv)
Sense of purpose (this, MF)
Future thinking (school, mortgage pre-approvals)
Communicating with close connections (family, old friends, new friends)
Music for the mood (lately, loud and exciting)
Periods of anxious energy/arousal
2-3 weeks of depressive states
3 weeks of difficult sleeping (may have been bc-related, that shit sucked)
Appetite dysruption - Undereating in stressful times. Overeating in stressful times. Depends on the week.
Childhood triggers to watch out for:
Anger & unreason
Unpredictable emotional responses
Fear of physical harm
You can always count on yourself.
You're all you really need.
Nothing has to bother you. You choose your response.
People are incredibly kind at times, not everyone is bad news.
Take things one at a time. Don’t get ahead of what you’re doing.
Trust your intuition, don’t ignore red flags, believe yourself over others.
Beware the “nice guy.”
Alright, motherfuckers. There’s my dirty laundry for Summer 2019. I think we’re all caught up on my end. Go read my article in the Lily!
Yer turn to share - this motherfucking blog has too much of me and not enough you.
Fill out the contributions page or send me a message any time at traumatizedmotherfxckers.com. Ya’ll get talking.