Category Archives: healing

Going Down for the 3rd Time

I can’t do this.

No matter how much stuff I get rid of, there’s more. No matter how many books I get rid of (and I’ve been doing that for 13 years now, ‘eh?) there are still more.

It will never end.

I have (literally) gotten rid of 1,000s of items. And I’ve done it for years. I’m still drowning in stuff.

See? I can’t do this. It will never end.

The old storage unit still has stuff in it. I don’t have anywhere to put it. I don’t know what to do, donate boxes to Salvation Army tomorrow I guess. I have a bookcase in the old unit which came from S.A., I can donate it back. The library is taking books again. But that’s one piece of furniture, there’s at least 3. One of which has to come home (no room for it either). There’s about 25 boxes of books, maybe more still in the old unit. I have given away books every-single-day for the past 3 weeks. EVERY day. As few as 3 and as many as 3 boxes at once.

drowning

This isn’t quite as bad as figuring out I couldn’t beat the PTSD (or whatever it was, before I •knew* what it was) by just being stubborn and being willing to work at it, for 42 years to diagnosis, 50+ for most of the rest of it. So, the last piece, the very last piece is this stupid, neverending purge o’ crap, which believe it or not hurts on occasion, and is terrifying on occasion too. I do better and worse and I’ve kept going. I have been determined that I’d win — at least this battle.

But I think the abuser won instead? Can I just blow my brains out? (No gun.) You can bury me under a pile of books and papers and put on the headstone: she never actually accomplished anything and couldn’t finish anything, except her life. I really have no desire to commit suicide, but if suicide is the absence of pain, yes, that I DO want! How squishy does your brain have to be from beating it into the wall before you just give up?

Maybe the abuser was right after all? There just is something “not right” about me. I can’t do things.

Or maybe I’m just discouraged? I wonder why! And I suppose that tomorrow will be different. One of my largest life lessons was that I learned to “skate” when things are bad. Just let it go and don’t do anything permanent or dramatic: don’t break up a relationship, don’t hurt yourself, don’t drink & drive. Just find an emotional rabbit hole (for me that’s a book) and jump in, and hope you keep falling — at least until tomorrow. And tomorrow? Tomorrow you may find your life is completely different?

It usually is.

Let’s see, tomorrow starts in three hours. Can’t be here soon enough!

J

Note: Tomorrow, having come, isn’t perfect, but I’m not as overwhelmed as I was yesterday. Of course I didn’t sleep well, which never helps, but it is what it is.

Trying to Avoid Becoming a Clean-Freak Minimalist

I have a tendency, and have since I was a kid. I go from one extreme to the other, then find the happy medium. I’m trying to avoid that with transforming from being a hoarder.

book hoarder

I worked more on the cleaning plan today and “discovered” some new ideas: mostly, that the more often you use something, the more frequently it needs to be cleaned and/or maintained. Seems obvious, doesn’t it?

But because I’ve never seriously “let” myself think about cleaning up except as an intellectual exercise (It was dangerous. Remember the reason I became a hoarder wasn’t to keep things, complete collections, or perceived value — it was the safety I felt in the mess, and the panic I felt when my space was neat.) this is a newish concept.

Accordingly, floors need to be cleaned more than anything else. Even if you only walk through a space, like in a model home at a real estate development say, the floor gets used more often than anything else. So, they need cleaning more often. The other thing which needs to be dealt with every day is stuff, things you can pick up in your hand: food, books, papers, clothing, bedding, towels, etc. It’s stuff which makes up clutter. (The notion that clutter is made up of things we pick up and put down — was the last big AHA! I found.)

So, I modified my ideas about what has to be dealt with/how often. I’d figured the kitchen floor needed daily maintenance, but not other floors. I changed that.

Now I have a mental list of the areas in my home which need routine maintenance. Maybe not “deep cleaning” but maintenance seven days a week, or Monday – Friday. Some chores can be put off over the weekends, others can’t.

I swept from the entry to the hall this morning because of this. And then the stairs. [I kept finding more to do.] I swept the hearth, [twice]. I started to go into the kitchen, [but did the hall, again] — and made myself stop.

Then I cleaned the dustpan and the brushes (didn’t wax them, had done that last weekend) and the broom. [And started again, made myself stop.] Put everything away, twice.

See the flip side of the hoarding peeking out? Definitely one of the first times the idea that hoarding/OCD is a spectrum really became obvious in me. Intellectually, I’ve known this for a long time, but I always thought, “I’ll never have that problem!”

Sigh.

empty room

In my old age I  will need to monitor not only my stress levels (because of the PTSD) but keep myself from tipping over the edge from hoarder to OCD/minimalist/clean-freak.

Oh joy.

J

Flow or No

Whether it is because of the PTSD or otherwise, I tend to work in spurts or fits and starts. I keep thinking I should just be able to schedule something for a few hours, I can, but mostly don’t.

I need to accept that the abuse, panic attacks, and PTSD all make a regular schedule very difficult, if not impossible, as much as I’d like otherwise.

I need to stop fighting this and just accept it as the way I flow, period. I think when/if I can do that, the panic attacks or vestiges of them will lessen dramatically. It’s my belief that the panic is due largely to people being able to “see” what I’m doing or have done. I have a lot fewer problems, like nearly none, when I’m working for other people. This is only the stuff I do at home.
fits & starts2
Can I repeat, again, how much I really, absolutely hate the woman who abused me? It totally sucks to have your brain be your main enemy. It sucks more to view any finished project as something which will be attacked, belittled, or sneered at, whether it’s a clean kitchen counter or an art work. This just makes getting anything done a real challenge. [And I needed more of those, right?]

P.S. Reading this, I realized t’s wrong. I don’t hate her. I hate what she did to my brain. If it wasn’t that no matter how much work I do, this will be with me forever, I would have very few feelings about here at all.

She’s gone, her daughter is gone. The memories of what she did just make me feel sorrty: for her that she could be so nasty, her daughter and myself because she felt it necessary to emotionally attack two innocent little girls,, who grew to be wounded women because of it. It was just a waste.

Irritating & Human

I spaced an appointment today. I’ve been working hard at being organized, really organized the past week or two, and just blew it.

Which of course makes me mad — madder than when I was completely disorganized! The more I work at it, the madder I get when it doesn’t work. And it seems like I go through a period where try as I might, I screw up, over and over. I think it’s the broken egg/omelette problem.  This time at least, I’m determined NOT to throw my hands up in the air (figuratively) and give up.

chaos-to-order-image

So I “forgave” myself for the lapse. I have another appointment which I have an email out to reschedule. hopefully it can be. There’s a workshop I’d like to go to which creates a conflict.

In some ways being organized is MUCH easier, in others, it’s just work. Not the adult life I thought I’d have, but not feeling like I’m always in a state of chaos will be worthwhile, although scary. It was a major piece of my “camouflage.” I don’t think I need it any more. In fact, I think I need the low stress that not being chaotic will bring!

We’ll see.

J

 

Self-Care

One of the hardest things for me to understand when life was at its worst was: I deserve to not be miserable. After decades of fighting myself, the PTSD, my old “programming,” etc. I got militant about not backsliding and pursuing what made me “not miserable.” To that end, I have quit being a moderator on a self-help site.

I realized that the slogging work of removing spammers, daily, had become a substitution for the slogging house work. It’s certainly easier to sit at my computer and remove spammers than it is to go through the remaining piles of stuff. After the daily purge of 20+ spammers I had no inclination to tackle my own “spam.” So I quit.

There were other reasons, but the biggest one was that I’d used the unpaid position as an excuse to avoid my life. Self-care doesn’t always feel good. Sometimes it’s downright painful. Walking away from my family hurts, but overall I’m much happier without them in my life — which speaks for itself.

Sometimes self-care is a joyful explosion of self-expression, imagination and creativity, invoking ecstatic childhood. But sometimes, it’s the somber, painful necessary  work of an adult.

 

Ping Points

sunset-image-from-google-images

Seems I’ve always been focused on what’s over there, beyond the horizon. I know now that what bugs me the most are messes on horizontal surfaces: counters, floors, chairs, etc. Perhaps the two things are related — I don’t know.

I can handle a sink full of dishes, but not a sinkful and counters cluttered with dishes too — that’s too much. So I can handle one sinkful of dishes, but not TWO! (Or, I can’t stand the dirty dishes cluttering up the horizontal counter?)

The laundry room I’m okay with stuff on top of the machines — as long as it’s folded. The quantity doesn’t seem to matter, it’s that the laundry is folded and not heaped.

As someone who never let myself “see” the mess, it’s interesting to notice that not only now do I see the clutter, but I also have limits where the disorder starts to bug me.

ping-word-art

Life sure is different. . . .

(Images are not mine, but came from images.google.com)

Getting Back on Track?

I have wandered fairly far afield in the past 2-3 months. That is, I’ve nearly stopped posting the weekly “to do” list, stopped thinking about or working on my larger, long-term goals, except in a spotty fashion.

I haven’t done a concerted purge for the tally in the past few days, either.

The house is staying cleaner, which is great, but for more than a month I’ve been doing whatever was in front of me, instead of trying to make the work I do count towards my bigger, long-term goals.

I know why: I’ve been fighting off exhaustion and depression. Rather than simply ignoring it and trying to push it away, a couple of days ago I finally sent an “I need help!” email to my nearest friends. I got what I needed, that is, a reminder that I’m not alone, there are people in my corner. In the recent past, except for real crisis, I haven’t asked for help much (or at least that’s my perception). I had a good therapist, and that’s what I used her for, I leaned on her, and our session recharged my batteries about 2x a month, and usually, that was enough.

She retired in June. The idea of establishing a new relationship with someone else after 15 years with the same person was just exhausting. Also, the people she recommended did not appeal to me at all for various reasons. Maybe in person that would be different, but the short bio forms, much of it a sales pitch, just left me cold. This means I haven’t gotten a new therapist.

Unknown to me, my energy started to fade. When I finally realized what was going on last week, I saw that it was like a slow drain of my energy and enthusiasm. I think of myself as a self-starter, but I need energy shots or something from others. Didn’t realize that those energy shots were a lot of what I was getting from my therapy. It was my 2 hours a month to be as whiney and selfish as I wanted. For someone with PTSD, or at least for me, it was a time/place to talk about all the ways/places/times that others pushed those buttons and how I should or did deal with them.

Because my flashback is a 3 year old’s grief, I have as I say, ” a grieving 3 year old, caught in the amber of my psyche.” Accordingly  my PTSD reactions to things are almost always inappropriate! Having a safe place to start there and then see/figure the more reasoned response was a blessing I’ve now lost. That created another drain, as I’ve been monitoring myself and my behavior in ways I hadn’t had to for a long time.

All of this and a few other things created a situation where I’ve been fighting off depression and exhaustion. I’m glad I finally realized what was going on and asked for help. I’m not sure what a long-term fix is, as I really don’t think I can do this every six months for the rest of my life, any more than I think I can afford a therapist 2x a month forever either, even assuming I had one.

I need to find new answers.

In the meantime, I need to get back on track: purging, culling, cleaning, and moving towards a time/space where I can do whatever’s next, even if it’s just dying.