I think the first time I self-harmed was in fifth grade. I told my parents it was because I wanted to be blood sisters with the other girl who had raked both her wrists against the school building with me during recess one day. We had of course performed the whole “blood sisters” ritual, but it was about more than that. She was in deep pain, having recently lost her mother to suicide and I was dealing with things that were way above my age level to process. We were both crying out for help without even realizing it. When it became clear that I was in trouble for my actions, I lied instead of telling the truth, because that’s what I did back then. Rather than admit that I needed help, I told a partial truth in order to escape the real trouble of dealing with the real problem.
Growing up we lived in a double wide trailer on the end of the street, in a neighborhood full of older people. We had a small back yard with a magnolia tree, garden, and grape arbor. Eventually we had a shed, but since I'd like to set it on fire, I don't talk about it much. (Not much of a story there but painting that thing red in the heat of summer is something I would never do again and something I'll never forget.) In the front, we had a porch connected to the house and a beautiful weeping willow tree at the corner of the yard. I didn’t know I loved my home until I found out I had to leave it.
There were times in my childhood and teenage years when my parents were “absent.” They both left me at times when I was transitioning and when changes were occurring. I should say, it wasn't all bad. I have fond memories with both parents and I'm grateful for the ones I do have. It’s hard for me, having the relationship with them that I do now, to put aside the past and move forward when so much of me is still in pain and hurting. Even in private, only to myself, I find it hard to talk or write about things that bring up painful memories or that might paint my parents in a bad light. Writing this I am knots knowing they might read this and hear me speak my true thoughts. Something I've rarely done with them throughout my life.
Let's talk about Codependency vs. Interdependency. Codependency in a relationship looks like one partner providing full support and fulfillment of needs for the other while in an interdependent relationship, both partners are able to meet each other’s and their own needs equally. There's a few more key differences, but we will get in to that in a minute. I want to start with this aspect because it is one that stands out the most to me. I've always sought a relationship that would be 50/50 in all aspects. I dreamt of meeting someone who would meet me in the middle while also understanding and loving who I was. I'm so lucky to have found that finally in a partner but for many years I sought relationships that were unhealthy for reasons I wasn't sure of until recently.
Joann and Reginald were feeling restless lately and Joann was unsure why. Perhaps it was Reggie getting bigger by the day. Maybe it was each day stretching before them, just the same as the day before. Joann thought maybe they were bouncing moods off each other, though she wasn’t quite sure the emotional range a goose could hold. She knew something was up though and each day they sat and waited for something for change.
So what's really wrong with me? Anyone wondering that? Sometimes I do. My therapist says it's severe depressive disorder mixed with anxiety but my brain tries to constantly tell me there's either more than that or nothing at all and I'm making it all up. Yes, I'm so far in my disorder that I don’t trust my own symptoms and signs. I have so little trust in myself, I wonder if I have the inability to believe anything of myself. But it’s there. When I stop and look and at my situation, my life, as an outsider, I can see things a little different.
Keeping to the topic of things I’m not very good at: alone time. Being alone is my biggest fear. Yes, spiders still creep me out and small dark spaces usually trigger a panic attack, but nothing hits quite like being alone. I never know what to do with myself, and I always do the wrong things. I can be half a pack deep in cigarettes and not realize I’ve been sitting in the garage for hours doing nothing. Mindlessly scrolling social media or binge watching a show or movie series. I can get lost in something don’t get me wrong, but I’m not being productive or using my creative juices. I used to be so crafty. Even if I wasn’t good at something, I still had fun creating.
Self-care is one of the hardest things for me. I struggle with it daily. From taking an Ativan when I need it, to not picking at a wound that is trying to heal. It’s all the small things I don't do that add up to the mess I usually am at the end of the day. All because I don't take the time to take care of myself. I'm so worried about everything all the time that I let that worry consume my life.