Dramatic as normal

I explained the last post… partially just to get into this post.

Something sort of odd occurred to me a few days ago.

The whole last year (and some) has been a lot of emotionally all over the place.

The highest high points of my life, the lowest lows. The most happiness, the most hurt. By far more tears in some months than in my entire rest of my life combined.

And they still come. Not usually K related anymore. Just there.

The emotions this year have been in overdrive.

As I’ve said a bit in the last weeks, I’m tired of it.

As I said in the last post, every time I think I’m being an absolute emotional mess, I dump in on one of the therapists… and they’ve pretty much told me just about every time that what I’m feeling is a normal reaction. That’s been a theme that just keeps running through this round of therapy.

But somehow…. a few days ago…. it just of hit me in a different way.

I realized… every time that I think I’m an emotional basketcase…. I’m generally just having a justified and reasonable emotional reaction.

But flip that.

Every time I have a normal emotional reaction that’s intense, I feel like I’m a complete basketcase.

I do.

I see having intense emotions as being a mess…. rather than being normal.

I see these emotions still being more sharp than usual as being a sign that I’m broken and messed up…. while multiple therapists basically keep point blank telling me that they are normal and just to feel them and work through them.

Maybe a part of that is the struggles with the anxiety attacks…. where intensity really was abnormal and a sign of issues needing resolved.

But I think maybe part of it really is just going back to dysfunction.

Going back to where only adults were allowed to be mad, and being sad or upset was being a pain, and where being hurt by cruelty was being a baby and completely blown off.

Mentally, maybe somewhere the connection still thinks that emotion=wrong.

And maybe…

Maybe that means that this is normal.

Maybe what seems like such touchy emotions is actually only feeling that dramatic to me because I’m so used to my emotions being dampened…. of having to stop and listen intentionally to figure out how I’m feeling sometimes.

What if this is what normal is?

It’s honestly a bit scary to think about.

But, to say that I’ve been emotionally stretched this year is an understatement. For better or worse, I’d let myself trust and attach to K and to deeply love and feel loved by him in ways that I can honestly say that nobody has won my trust before…. to places that I’ve never been before, both in the wonderful good times and the horrible bad times.

My biggest dreams and worst fears have come true… and both have passed.

It then doesn’t seem too far fetched to imagine that being stretched that far would break some ties and mess with some barriers… do some rearranging.

Every time I get hit with an emotion of fair intensity… I see it as a sign of how far from getting back to normal I am…. of how far from healing I am.

But.. I know that when I’m being objective… my sense of normal never was normal. It was a place that was growth from the days of feeling no emotions, but a place that still showed scars.

What if what I think of as mess, is actually just the messiness of human life?

What if this new place… isn’t actually a place of woundedness, but a place where healing is showing through?

What if this new normal… really is normal? (Or, at least… more normalish.. lol)

It’s sort of a scary thought to think that this might be here to stay.. even when I know it’s actually probably more healthy to be feeling even when sometimes overly intense than it is to be not feeling.

I’m still not sure I like the change… even if it is though.

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Three phases

The first time I went into counseling the very first time dealing with family stuff, the main overall theme was something to the effect of "You do have feelings, you are allowed to have feelings even if they aren’t happy ones, and they matter."

As someone who basically shoved them away to survive dysfunction, this was a needed lesson.

*

The second round of therapy… dealing with anxiety issues… the theme was essentially "Your feelings are not always accurate to reality".

And focused a lot on strategies to avoid triggering inaccurate feelings and minimizing the impact of the ones that did occur.

*

This third round… the overall theme has essentially been my feeling like I’m turning into a basket case, and being met with "Your feelings are normal and make sense given the situation."

Over and over.

In spite of the fact that if you count the local counselor, and the one that basically just transferred me to one more specialized, this is actually the 4th different professional that I’ve heard this from.

With some recent issues, I’ve been feeling more of an emotional mess again lately. I present the emotional basket case moments, expecting to be told what the problem is… and get surprised with a response of "Well, with what’s going on, feeling hurt and alone is a completely expected reaction…"

And it seems like it just keeps coming back to that.

I give a 16 page history of my being an emotional wreck at K… expecting to be told I’m a mess… and instead get told that my emotional reactions made sense in response to his actions and issues.

I beat myself up over having reacted so clingy and pitiful…. and get told that’s a normal response to an abrupt loss of a primary attachment. I beat myself up over having let the attachment become primary, and get told that given what I’d been seeing at the time, it was a normal response to trust my heart.

I explain about the weird crumbling moment… and the intense waves that broke through that I could barely contain…. expecting to be told I was a mess…. and instead being told that it’s a sign of a traumatic loss particularly one that comes abruptly… a completely normal reaction to emotions being too intense to be handled at the time… the waves a completely normal spell of the emotions beginning to drop enough to be processed a bit even while still maxing out the intensity able to be handled… that it’s actually a good sign that they were surfacing, as if they remained blocked they’d result in a lifetime of issues much like K has had to deal with.

I beat myself up over not being completely over it and for the feelings lingering much longer than I felt that they should have, and get reminded that with a sudden and completely unexpected loss of someone who was very loved, that it’s completely normal to be a more difficult process… sometimes closer to an unexpected death in the grieving patterns than it is to a normal breakup that would have had a preceding spell of growing devaluation and detachment.

I share the two emails that I’ve sent to K through this in which I went off in a mix of hurt and anger…. and get reminded that not only is anger completely expected as a part of grieving and normal, but also that not only is the feeling justified but that I actually probably should have been more angered and given him much worse in defense of my own deserving of a whole lot more respect and kindness than I was given.

I share the weirdness of the feelings seeming to gravitate towards both extremes at the same time, and am reminded that the two sides of K that I saw were very extremely different, and it makes sense that my feelings for him in general reflect the extreme differences of the feelings towards each of the sides.

*

Over and over again… I feel like I’m an emotional mess… and get told that my emotions are justified and reasonable responses. That they are normal reactions in the circumstances.

You have no clue how weird this seems every time it happens.

I’m very much still expecting phase 2.

I’m expecting to be told that they are out of control… that they are my mind overreacting… that they need to be harnessed and hampered and to avoid triggering them.

Instead, we’re sort of back to phase 1. Yes, they exist. They are normal. Do not force them away and ignore them because they will not go away. Just work through it. Feel them, and let them pass.

It’s just so very different from dealing with the over the top anxiety… that I’m so used to dealing with that, that it’s sometimes hard to realize that it’s not the same thing.

Definition of lonely

So… therapist had asked me to define lonely. What does it mean when I say I’m feeling spells of loneliness? What does that feel like?

Have I mentioned that I’m kind of getting weary of digging and unravelling roots of things? Yeah.. of questions like this too. lol

But I guess it’s a good point… so since might as well put my answer here too.

To me… there’s sort of actually two different elements of it on the surface.

I’d initially be tempted to call it feeling alone when I’d rather not be. And that fits some of the time.. like in dealings with a tire that I honestly needed help with… weekends that I’d rather be doing something with someone… that sort of situation.

It’s just a sort of a sad, longing for company. Sort of the opposite of companionship.

But that doesn’t really cover it… because, honestly, some of the times I feel lonely the strongest are the times that I’m with other people.

Sometimes in a crowd like at church… and sometimes just with friends or family.

Those times… are more a sort of feeling like I’m an alien blob more than a human. That I’m just different… on a different wavelength… that I don’t fit.

It’s not so much a lack of presence… but of connection. But beyond that even, or feeling like there’s much hope of connection to aim for it.

This one has especially taken a whole new life after the whole K thing. Yeah, I know.. nobody gets it that there is still any positive regard for the jerk at all anymore, and feels like it should have completely left my mind by about the end of May. But that doesn’t change the place I’m at, nor my decision to work through the emotions rather than just pushing them to the side to force forward…. and so… sometimes I just sort of feel like my world runs on a different language, a different setting entirely…. like theres a language barrier that isn’t something that I’m going to be able to correct by just faking it.

It’s partially feeling disconnected… sort of an involuntary lack of connection? But it’s also just an element of just feeling different in the core.

It isn’t so much the isolation… physical or connection-wise… or even the feeling alone in the moment.

It’s the feeling that the alone in the moment is reflective of being alone in the world.

The thing that fixes it isn’t usually just time with people. More often than not, that actually makes it worse.

It’s the feeling like someone gets it… or at least has the potential to partially get it and chooses to try.

And that feeling lasts even when they aren’t around me. Even under the same circumstances that felt lonely before.

While both K and D were very imbalanced relationships… they both did very well at creating that feeling (whatever their intentions by doing so).

And to some degree, I think that’s what Cr was doing right as well.

It’s not so much that it was male attention… it’s that he was choosing to try to get it. That he cared, had positive feelings, and wished to understand more rather than to just make notes on how much I’m a mess.

That I think would have had the same effect had it been female, or had it been a completely non-dating style of relationship. But maybe, the dating mindset sets the stage for that a whole lot easier than trying to just figure out who is a true friend worth trusting in the general friendship realm.

And, of course, being a Christian, I know that’s something that I should be able to say I can draw just by being a child of God. And maybe I could if… I don’t even know how to end that. If I had any idea how? If I had more spiritual wisdom? If I wasn’t such a mess? If I knew what I was doing? If I didn’t have my fair share of scar tissue? If… if I were just something that apparently I’m not right now?

I know he does understand. I know he does love me. I know he does have a plan.

But somehow, that doesn’t make me feel much less like a disconnected alien on her own this side of heaven… as much as I wish it did.

Dream fulfillment vs parent guilt

So… more than a year and a half ago, I started a blanket.

For me.

I’d fallen in love with the yarn years before… and always wanted to do a blanket for me with it instead of just baby blankets, but could never justify it.

When I started the new job, I started justifying it as something to keep me awake… but initially, I still sort of planned to do a lap blanket.

But that wasn’t what I really wanted.

So, I’d decided to make a full sized blanket eventually… the size of my comforter.. and started buying the yarn gradually.

Being a fat girl… and a side sleeper… I wanted to add a couple of feet to the side anyway to allow more leeway to spread out without pulling the blanket to where it didn’t still cover the bed… and where I frequently pull my arm up under the pillow, a bit to the length to be able to pull the blanket up without uncovering my feet.

But then came K.. the boy who told me stories of the day when we’d be living in the same home… the boy that I curled up with to watch movies, and knew someday I’d want to have a large blanket to wrap around both of us on a cold night to watch a movie.

And so… my blanket plans changed…. and I’d decided to add about 4 feet to the side. To have a nice big blanket to be able to stretch out, and to be able to keep two large sized adults warm while cuddled together.

So… all of this to say… the blanket plans are larger than is technically required.

I decided to keep it that way… partially because I already had all the yarn and some of the squares made…

And partially knowing that I’ll probably never make a blanket for myself again. It’s a large, expensive project. It’s not something you really repeat.

So I want to make it the blanket that I really want… if I’m only going to do it once, to do it right.

And there is still a fragment in me that hopes someday there will be a new companion to snuggle under it with me on a cold winter day… and maybe possibly even someday further down the road on a cold night.

So… I’d finished the squares recently… and started assembling them.

And about that point, my daughter really noticed them. (Yes, they’ve been around forever, but she hadn’t really paid attention to them when they were just squares.)

But, now that I have a few rows together.. I’m ending up with a kid parked on them… telling me she wants a blanket… and looking at my bagged rows waiting to be done, and knowing that there’s enough squares that I’ve got some that I could spare if I wanted to.

And I could.

If I dropped my blanket back down to the size of my full comforter, I’d have enough to do a 5 by 7 that would just work on her twin bed.

And I feel like I should. I mean, it’s not like it would hurt me to do so… I can do it. Circumstances has changed.

But I also really don’t want to. I want it to be the blanket that I really truly want if I’m going to all of this time and effort to make it. I want a large blanket that I can stretch out… and hopefully someday share.

If I’m doing it, I want it to really be the blanket of my dreams.

But I feel guilty deciding to do so.

I mean, I do have the ability to give my kid what she wants… and the only reason to not do so is because I don’t want to.

But… on the other hand… she doesn’t really need it.

She has two sets of comforters here, both bought in the last couple of years, and an electric blanket… and also has another bedding set and electric blanket at my moms.

I’ve had the same comforter since at least 2005. I bought a new fuzzy blanket last winter…. and had bought Boo one at the same time that she never uses.

And she does have a collection of items that I’ve made for her already.

Until I did a shrug recently… I’d never actually even made anything for myself.

Maybe part of it is being a single parent… but these sorts of decisions kill me. I feel like I’m not going to be happy either way.

Irresponsible adult

I’m beginning to realize that I’m overly hard on myself when it comes to down time.

Like I’d discussed with the games… I do play them… but I usually consider them to be a waste even as I’m doing so, rather than valuing the time as entertainment and stress relief.

But I do it with other things too.

There’s a sort of a split… between things that are productive, and things that aren’t… and a tendency to sort of be frustrated with myself at a low level for things that aren’t.

For example…non-fiction reading is a productive hobby. It produces knowledge. Crochet is a productive hobby, it produces an item. Other crafts build skills and also usually create some tangible result. Home repair stuff produces progress. Things with friends or my daughter build relationships.

Tv, movies… not productive unless doing something productive while doing them, cleaning or reorganizing something or crochet while watching.

Bubble bath usually also involves the non-fiction reading to justify the extended lounging.

Staring aimlessly for half an hour at a lava lamp…. very much not productive.

It feels completely like an irresponsible waste of time to do so.

But it does relieve stress. It’s relaxing. It does make me feel a bit better. It does have a benefit.

Maybe it’s unproductive.

But, in moderation, it’s not irresponsible.

But sometimes, I mentally treat myself like it is.

Not everything that is non-productive is irresponsible. Not everything has to be productive in the life of a responsible adult.. even when there are more productive things that could be being done with the time.

Something I need to learn to allow a bit more is just pointless things that help nothing but my mood… just because I feel like it.

Granny stars and snowflakes

A random crochet post in the middle of stuff. lol

Boo had asked me for a pink and black hat for Christmas to match her scarf that I’d made her.

Somehow I don’t think this hat is quite what she was expecting… lol

Right now, I’ve mostly been messing around with a couple of shrugs altering a pattern I’d used for one for Boo for school because she didn’t like any of the sweaters we could find in navy for school uniform requirements.

And also playing around with small hearts and flowers for portable, short time to kill boredom.

I made a bunch of stars and snowflakes just playing around in november and december… but as I went on, the further I got from the original patterns… so I wanted to write out what I’d actually finished with doing… rather than having to try to remember what I’d changed.

I’m putting this here mainly because I’m looking for somewhere that I’ll remember where it’s at next year. lol

Stars:
Start with magic loop for closed center, ch6 ring for open.Into ring, make 5 clusters of 3dc, 3ch (3ch for first dc).
Sl to close the round, then sl in each stitch to the next gap of chains.

Into gap, make 3dc, 3ch, 3dc (3ch for first dc).
Before moving on to the next gap, hdc in the center of the cluster of stitches from the previous round to anchor the star indention.
Move to next gap, make 3 dc, 3 ch, 3dc, and repeat for each of the other gaps.
Sl to close the round, then sl in each stitch to the next gap of chains.
(If ending with small star, sl to the ch in the middle of the gap space, and tie off here with a loop to attach/hang. Otherwise, continue.)

Into gap, make 4dc, 4ch, 4dc (3ch for first dc).
Before moving on to the next gap, sc between the 1first and second stitches from the previous round, and again between the second and third.
Move to next gap, make 4dc, 4ch, 4dc, and repeat for each of the other gaps.
Sl to close the round. Sl to the ch in the middle of the gap space, and tie off here with a loop to attach/hang.

Snowflakes:
Start with magic loop for closed center, ch6 ring for open.Into ring, make 5 clusters of 3dc, 3ch (3ch for first dc).
Sl to close the round, then sl in each stitch to the next gap of chains.

Into gap, make 3dc, 3ch, 3dc (3ch for first dc).

ONLY if this is the last round to make a small snowflake, before moving on to the next gap, hdc in the center of the cluster of stitches from the previous round to anchor the star indention. OTHERWISE, move directly to next gap.

Move to next gap, make 3 dc, 3 ch, 3dc, and repeat for each of the other gaps.
Sl to close the round, then sl in each stitch to the next gap of chains.

(If ending with small snowflake, sl to the ch in the middle of the gap space, and tie off here with a loop to attach/hang. Otherwise, continue.)

Into gap, make 4dc, 4ch, 4dc (3ch for first dc).

Before moving on to the next gap, sc between the 1first and second stitches from the previous round, and again between the second and third.
(If you don’t want the indention between the sections to be as wide or are continuing to a very large snowflake by adding another round, can hcd into the center stitch instead.)

Move to next gap, make 4dc, 4ch, 4dc, and repeat for each of the other gaps.
Sl to close the round. Sl to the ch in the middle of the gap space, and tie off here with a loop to attach/hang.

Optional: for supersized snowflake, add an additional round, with 5dc, 5 ch, 5dc.

Some notes for stars and snowflakes:
I wrote this out the general method, which uses dc for all of the clusters. But, I don’t always make them using that method, particularly the snowflakes.
I actually prefer to use triple crochet for the clusters going into the center circle, dc for the next round, and hdc for the outside round.
Or, if my aim is a smaller size, stay with the dc for center, hdc for next round, and sc for outside.
This opens up the center a lot more, and makes the edges more firm… which helps a lot with the snowflakes.

With the snowflakes (could also do with stars), I also play around a bit with one less or one more that the usual count on the sections of chain stitches. This opens or closes the holes more in the final product, but with doing it in each of the 6 sets in that round, it can really make your size a lot smaller or larger when you are ready to go to the next round, so I really don’t recommend adding or reducing more than 1 per set of chains.

If you are hanging these somewhere, and want them to stay a bit more flat, you can spray them very lightly with spray starch. I don’t… and they still do fine, they just have a bit of a softer look.

Tired of feeling

I’m tired of feeling.

Of having emotions be so easily set off.

Of unraveling what is behind each one, attempting to untangle the strings being pulled beneath the surface.

Of trying to resolve deep messes to stop them from resurfacing in new and sometimes distantly removed ways.

I’m tired of trying to figure things out.

I just want things to be simple. For tears to be related to the event that provoked them, and nothing more.

For things to be just what they seem… nothing more.. and for surface solutions to resolve problems.

Maybe life is never really like that… and maybe its only pretending to treat it that way.

But sometimes life being complicated and everything having deep interwoven roots just makes me really tired.