Episode 135 -It’s With O’Leary In The Grave

 

If you are in Ireland and happened to miss Claire Byrne live last night (Monday, March 14th), watch this to be reminded of the awful truth about the mental health services in our great little nation.

As we commemorate the centenary of the Proclamation of our Irish Republic for all Irish men and women (at the time of writing, the language itself was revolutionary in that it actually acknowledged the patriotism, citizenship and rights of women explicitly: something no other – to my knowledge – insurgents’ statement had done), let us pause and reflect on this modern Ireland.

As we watch our caretaker Taoiseach, our seasoned politicians and newly elected representatives take to the skies and land in greener fields to feast among the diaspora and big time world leaders; marketing our 26 counties to foreign investors and tourists, let’s just take a minute to remember that this is not the Ireland of the songs and stories, of the poems or legends.

This is a country where young people are dying because their country offers them no reason to stay alive and no means of finding the strength to escape it. This is a country where our most broken are literally being sent away from hospitals to die.

This is a country where charities like Pieta House are left by our government to deal with the depression, self harm and suicide crisis slicing its way across the island.

This is a country where children are sleeping in cars and on streets because their parents have nowhere else to take them: their homes sucked away in the aftermath of a government/banker orgy.

This is a country where rapists are given suspended sentences and funding for the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre has been cut so that it is forced to present victims with guideline fee requests of up to €70 per session. (They never force this point, although it’s humiliating enough to be faced with it when you are at your most vulnerable.)

This is a country where the victims of the barbarous symphysiotomy practice are literally being shredded from history.

This is a country where parents are still obliged to have their children baptised in order to get them into a good school (or the only school near them), often under the management of a religious order chaired  Board representing a church which shirked its redress obligations under the RIRB.

This is a country where the last vestige of the church and State’s collusion in the gross misogynistic inhumanity committed against young mothers, Donnybrook laundry, is for sale and hoping to attract a plush development to the wealthiest constituency in the Republic. We glorify the sacrifice made in 1916: these women and their children, often sold to wealthy Americans, were denied any such glory and the last memory of their suffering is now to be glazed and balconied over.

This is a country where, on average, 10 women each day have no choice but to travel to England to access a service that has still not been legislated for despite abortion being technically legal if the woman’s life is at risk. If you have been raped, or if your child has no chance of survival outside the womb, you’re little more than vessel for another life or impending death: your own life is irrelevant.

This is a country where same sex couples can legally be married but homophobic attacks are still commonplace.

This is a country where our sick and old are left with no dignity in agony and despair, often dying,  in chaotic hospital corridors.

This is a country where nurses, teachers and Gardaí: those on the frontline of the social consequences of failed leadership, cannot put food on the table.

This is a country where more air time has been devoted to endless bickering over Irish Water than to all of the real, life threatening issues above put together.

Isn’t it ironic that Hibernia, traditionally Britannia’s younger; helpless; vulnerable sister is the centremost statue on the GPO, the site of the first public reading of our fateful Proclamation? Still Hibernia’s daughters are forced across the sea to seek assistance in a country once our oppressor. Now the source of our oppression lives among us.

Romantic Ireland’s Dead And Gone.

Episode 134 – Rapunzel?

It has been an age.

True to form, I have become afraid of writing lest the words pierce my bubble. It is lovely in my bubble.

I’ve been so normal over the last while: my School of Speech and Drama is getting of the ground and while I love teaching – especially teaching my own curriculum – it’s also very nice to have enough money for bills and groceries and not have to go begging to the family. Saving for a trip to the States for my annual mental respite is another story but I’m focussing on the positives. I am determined to save our fares. And there are plenty of good things going on. (Positives? Where is our Dotty and what have you done with her?)

Scandi and I were both sick with some sort of weird ass tummy bug/fever/headache thing a few weeks back and that was crappy. I had an IUD implanted which was like a very painful and bloody period but seeing as it’s a copper coil, there shouldn’t be any implications with my migraine prone brain as it’s hormone free. Also, I won’t get knocked up. Thank fuck.

As I write at my bedroom desk, I can hear the dogs in the living room and I have a sneaking suspicion that they are destroying something and creating a huge mess: do I go and check or let them finish chewing whatever it is they have plundered?

Yep, crumbs everywhere. Goodbye nice wholemeal seed bread. Hello dog diarrhoea in a few hours.

The Boyfriend is still on the scene. It has been reconfirmed for me that I am not good at being a girlfriend. I am so used to doing things my own way and never being accountable to anyone that I’m having a tough time adjusting. I don’t like talking about how I feel so I’m sure I seem like a cold hearted bitch most of the time. I knew that even through my relationship with Berger (Quarter Pounder), I was fine dealing with stuff on my own – as in parenting; home making and general life admin – even if I was completely dependent on him psychologically for both pain and affection in equal measures but now I realise that, as a result of all of my disastrous relationships, I have effectively ensconced my emotional self in a very high, very solid round tower and I don’t know how, or even if I want to let down my metaphorical defences. Why would I? I am safe here in my self sufficient armoury.

The fucking dogs are now eating their way through another room.

An almost empty tub of Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food mauled on Scandi’s bed. Lovely.

I skipped my Rape Crisis Centre session on Monday as I just couldn’t face it. I know, I know. But I just couldn’t, which sounds ridiculous when typed or said aloud but I just couldn’t reveal myself; expose myself; sit there and be judged. Or at least that’s what I think my counsellor is doing as I lay bare my shame and regret and doubts and secrets. I want to ask for a new therapist but I don’t want to offend the one I have: she’s perfectly nice (apart from the time she was was snotty with me over my first missed session and ensuing confusion. In fairness, I think she was just tired and when I started crying apologies at her I think she felt bad) but the truth is I don’t trust her. I don’t feel like I can tell her the worst of what I’ve done; what’s been done to me or what goes on in my fucked up cavernous skull.  I was too tired on Monday and I didn’t want to talk to her. Now, I feel guilty because the RCC is an invaluable resource and it’s a charity and I’m lucky I got in there at all when their funding is so critically low but the counsellor I have, while she’s probably great for others, isn’t for me.

I have to go get ready now as I have a full day of teaching ahead. Thank you dear blog for welcoming me back to your empty pages after so long. I feel I have a lot to tell you after this initial scary re-entry post into the subconscious layers of my mind.

I do hope my readers are well. Feel free to share your mental escapades with me so that I don’t feel like a loony loner.

Dot 💚

Episode 133 -Smug Yoga Mom

So, I have found myself with a boyfriend. Even though I didn’t want one, here I am, with one. I put up a decent mental fight not to let him become my you-know-what but it just sort of evolved over the last few months into a lovely, easy thing. I’ve done well not to have an absolute shitstorm of a freak attack about this all week, since I finally admitted to myself, and confirmed with him, that we are, in fact, in a relat… Nope, I won’t be changing my Facebook status just yet, if ever.

On the topic of internet pain-in-the-assery…Tonight on Dotty’s Facebook page there’s been discussion on the smug fetishisation of motherhood on the internet, prompted by today’s Guardian article by Flic Everett, which seems to have struck a chord with many of my like minded feminist friends and most of the publications I follow online. I urge you to read the article: all of you, mothers or not, but especially if you’ve come across the whole “Nominate a Great Mother”/#motherhoodchallenge trend on your social media and it’s left you feeling sad or inadequate. (Nobody nominated me, by the way…)

Anyway, this latest trend in virtual smugness (a trait the Irish are not usually known for, by the way), coupled with my own new “status” as a girlfriend (I feel like a douche even writing that), has got me thinking.

What, pray tell, Dotty Rocker, have you been pondering now? Well, I’ve been thinking about how we all seem to be in constant need of validation; of defining our status and trying to project an image of what we think society expects us to be. I try to avoid Instagrammers who endlessly post selfies of themselves looking fabulous in beautiful homes with cute kids and non-pooping dogs; beauty bloggers who are so well groomed and toned that I feel like Hagrid compared to them. I try to avoid vegans and marathon runners (yes, I was once one of those annoying people who had her Map My Run linked to her Facebook. God, was I actually that smug? Ugh, sorry). The ones who only post pictures of themselves enjoying kale while running up a mountain, smiling. I prefer the ones who are truthful about craving a chicken burger from Trade Winds (if you’re not from my home town you don’t know what Trade Winds is, and you haven’t lived) after they’ve finished a serving of quinoa. If your hair isn’t plastered to your head in a mess of scummy workout sweat after a run or gym class, you haven’t done it right. If you’re wearing a full face of make up to the gym, I will judge you. I will unfollow you. Yes, I hear Liam Neeson’s voice as I type these words. I will also hit the “unfollow” button on people who post photos of the flowers their “hubby” has sent them ‘for no reason!” or the cup of tea their boyfriend has made them: “I’m such a lucky girl!”. Oh, what’s changed since you were giving out yards about him to me last week when he didn’t answer your texts when he was on a night out/ didn’t spend enough on your engagement ring/ didn’t shower for three days in a row?

Am I a begrudger? Am I just dying for you to fall of off the wagon/ have a really shit boyfriend so that I’ll feel better about my failures? Are you really that perfect? Is your fella really not the dickhead you thought he was last week? I’m not sure of the answer, and I really am trying not to be as judgey. Writing this blog and maintaining the Facebook page has taught me a lot. I’m constantly evolving, and as I learn more about the world from the internet, my opinions are changing too. I’m thinking of the time a few months back when I criticised South Dublin mothers and their badly behaved kids at my gym: I’ve since stopped to think that I should be more compassionate. I was being smug then, just because my kid is grown and I had only one to deal with. And maybe I was a bit jealous because they all had Michael Kors handbags and l’Occitane body wash whereas I had a hand-me-down gym bag and bulk buy Sanex.

There is a woman, not directly connected to me, of whom I’ve been judgmental lately and I shouldn’t have been. I’ve thought of her parenting as somehow, beneath my own standards (like I have an actual clue as to what I’m doing). Maybe some people will think that those of us who repost and like today’s Guardian articles are judgemental ourselves. And maybe we are. But what I’m sure of is that only sharing the good stuff, projecting the perfect image of your life; your relationships; parenting; body; make up; hair; home; hobbies; nights outs – whatever, does nobody, least of all you, any good. We’re all in this together so for once, let’s leave off the Mayfair filter and share the stuff we’re scared of too.

Thanks to social media, there has been such a huge leap forward in the last couple of years: we are witnessing and encouraging open admission and discussion about mental health. Our individual and collective struggles are no longer taboo – “it’s ok not to be ok” is our new mantra. I’d hate to see all that undermined by the flip side of the internet, the side on which we have to be perfect and “whole”, and not ourselves.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

PS As you read through the rest of this post, I hope you realised that I did not declare my acquirement of a mango (I’ve decided to retitle the word “boyfriend” as “mango”, which seems much less intimidating and terrifying. I also really like mangoes) as smug. I reckoned that after 4 ish months of seeing this guy, it was about time he had a firmer footing in Dotty’s world.

PPS The cover photo is my supper of smoked salmon, spinach and scrambled eggs which I devoured after an intense Bikram yoga class (it’s far from Bikram yoga I was reared). What I haven’t posted is the tin of muffins I’m making my way through now as I sit in my pyjamas at a cluttered desk in a room that really needs to be dusted and vacuumed. And the only reason I had supper – which sounds very posh – is that I didn’t get my shit together in time to make the Shepherd’s Pie that I had planned to make for dinner.

Dotty 💚

Episode 132 -Get Out Of Bed

So here we are, two weeks into a New Year and I don’t know about you but my resolutions are gone to shit.

I cannot seem to get up early in the morning: either I can’t sleep at night until maybe 4 or 5 am or I fall asleep easily and wake up around 3am and then turn over my endless list of failures in my labyrinthine mind. I’ve also nights where I haven’t slept at all, been a fuzzy, giddy mess for the day and then slept for 15 hours the next night. Then I’ve had the nights where I sleep for 10 hours and it’s still not enough so I succumb to the temptation of napping and waste the afternoon. Until I had my first intense bout of depression 7 years ago, I never realised the impact of sleep, or lack of it, on mental health. If I could just regulate my sleep pattern, I feel I could be a lot more productive and hence, more satisfied with my day, and myself. Insomnia sucks.

So what’s been happening during all the hours I’ve been awake? Well, when I’m not dreaming about giving birth to a weird chameleon index-finger sized baby and having its ears and eyes pierced (yes, it was grotesque) a local jeweller hours after its birth (where the fuck does this horror come from?), I’ve been up, and then very down, up again and then… yeah, you’ve got the idea. In the two weeks since January 1st, I’ve managed to get to just one hot yoga class and two Body Pumps. I’ve been better about eating less crap and planning meals but we haven’t been eating dinner till late and we’ve been eating on the sofa rather than at the table. There are just the two of us, but we’re still a family and I want to get back to sitting down together for dinner at a reasonable time. Scandi has missed some time from school and I feel my parenting is slipping. I’m trying to sort out my overdraft with the bank who haven’t bothered to call me back to confirm if we have a resolution but my Speech and Drama classes are going well and more people are hearing about it and showing an interest. I haven’t got a date to see a neurologist yet but Scandi has been referred to an immunologist for her nut and fruit allergy. Apparently the waiting list to see one of the five immunologists (yes, there are five allergy specialists in the whole of the Republic of Ireland) is approximately 14 months for children. I had another session at the Rape Crisis Centre on Monday and I feel there was some breakthrough with my relationship with my counsellor and also on the topic of the incident itself. I went back to choir tonight (I missed the first week back after the Christmas break as I was having an exceptionally miserable Go Away World day) and it was nice to be back although one of the masses we’re rehearsing (we’re always singing a bloody mass) is modern and well, awful. But I’m told it’s a grower, even if it does sound as if we’re all singing the wrong notes like a chorus of disharmonious drunks.

The most I have managed to write in the infamous journal is what is shown in the cover photo. See all my great plans and big ideas? Oh yes, my brain is a wonderfully productive place. It’s just a pity I can’t get out of  bed do any of it.

But, STOP! Quit being so hard on yourself, I know. Tomorrow is another day.

I’ve been posting a lot (too much?) on Dotty’s Facebook  and Dotty’s Twitter – links relevant to mental health, sexual abuse and women’s issues. I’m better at Facebook than Twitter because 140 characters is far too limited for all I have to say.

There’s a man on the scene and it’s very easy and pleasant: he’s been around longer than any guy since Berger/Quarter Pounder/ He Who Shall Not Be Named (if you’re new to this blog – don’t even try to catch up on all the men who’ve fleeted in and out of my life, you have better things to do with your time). But I’m determined to keep him at a safe distance, even if he does bring the good, expensive chocolate biscuits when he calls.

So, overall, what you can extrapolate from this short catch up is that New Year’s resolutions don’t work unless you’re determined and self disciplined and, if you are lucky enough to be those things, then you don’t need NYRs because you’re just fucking perfect and fit and organised and wonderful every day of the year and then slow applause for you.

Oh, and my washing machine gave up on me tonight and I didn’t have a meltdown.

RIP David Bowie and Alan Rickman: Golden Years – Always.

 

Episode 131 – New Year, Same You

It’s the early hours of January 6th 2016, so I haven’t written since last year. It feels like longer.

I have a draft from New Year’s Eve that I didn’t finish. I can’t remember why but then I did drink two bottles of Bombay Sapphire over a week and half at home so it’s hardly surprising that my normally (these days) alcohol-free brain cells can’t hold on to much.

I am relieved that Christmas is over. I have an urge to proclaim a law by which all festive ornamentation should be securely deposited in attics and dusty boxes under beds or on top of wardrobes by December 28th. New Year’s is the last hurrah; the last excuse for a piss up before Dry January kicks in (a modern calendarial phenomenon like Movember) and the biggest disappointment out of the whole 365 days because disappointment is, actually, all around.

I could go into detail about my Christmas and if you’re Irish, that’s what everyone will ask you until the middle of January:

“Did ye have a nice Christmas?”

“Ah, grand, yeah, quiet. And yourself?”

“Lovely thanks, quiet as well. Back to reality now anyway.”

My Christmas was fine. Lovely at times, but too long. I should’ve come back to my own house sooner. In fact, I think I’m getting too old for this crap of “going home for Christmas”. I have my own home and I would dearly love a Christmas in it. I should’ve read more and we should have played more games together. If the weather had been better I would’ve taken the dogs to the beach more but all it did was rain. I got lovely presents including a beautiful glass sculpture of a boat from my godmother which proudly sits on my desk and a free standing mixer from my parents which, while being a useful and longed for addition to my kitchen, also has the bonus of being strangely soothing as its whisk whirrs hypnotically, drowning out the screaming to do list in my head.

And that to do list: how did I ever manage to get anything done while I was working full time/ a single parent? I feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day and I don’t even have to go to work. Although, I wonder am I creating tasks for myself because I’m desperately avoiding being in my own head and endlessly chasing productivity? However, when I was working full time, everything besides my school work went to shit so maybe I just didn’t get anything else done.

Now, I’m getting on top of things: my finances (it’s pretty time consuming telling banks that you have no money to give them); fitness (even if I have to pump myself full of glucosamine); my parenting (so far Scandi remains well fed, watered and talking to me) and of course, my notoriously unmanageable mental health. I ran out of Venlafaxine for two days while I was at home. Whether it was that or cabin fever, the meltdown on Sunday could be heard through the hundred year old concrete walls as I bashed pots and pans around – they refused to fit neatly into the cupboard, damn argumentative cookware -and screamed and cried with utter frustration with myself for not being… like everyone else. Or how everyone else seems to be.

There really is nothing like the ubiquitous GO ON, INDULGE YOURSELF, IT’S CHRISTMAS and then the verbal and visual bombardment of NEW YEAR, NEW YOU (implying that you didn’t deserve to treat yourself at Christmas at all – nothing like a bit of guilt to sell a few low fat yoghurts) to make you feel like you need to change everything about yourself, right now.

I made a sort of list of resolutions, in the notes on my phone. One of them was to buy a nice new journal, which I did. In this journal I planned to write my proper list of resolutions, which I have not yet done. It was not to be a diary for writing my incessant to do lists or appointments with mental health professionals (it’s hard to keep track when you have as many people to moan to as I do), but a journal for ideas and quotes; doodles and interesting thoughts. Problem was I didn’t have an interesting thought for the first week of ownership of said new journal and when I finally worked up the courage to scribble more than my name in it tonight (after a particularly gruelling Hot Yoga class which must have opened more than my hips), all that my pencil scribbled was “my handwriting is weak and ugly and unsteady” and the word LONELINESS in big blocky capitals.

I, like so many others I’m sure, pour so much hope into Christmas to be the magical centrepiece of our year and then, when Christmas just sort of happens and ends, we focus on how this year will be OUR YEAR! We’re going to do x, y and z and be 1, 2 and 3 and it’s going to be as satisfying as a kale and chia smoothie after a 10K run. Goals! Kick this year’s ass! Be the change! Out with the old and in with the new, improved, skinnier, fitter, thriftier, less cynical, earlier rising, clearer skinned, organic, clean eating, friendlier ME! But then, about 3 days in, you realise that you’re still as fucking tired as you were last January and you’re probably not going to write that book/ do a triathlon/ eat only free range meat/ go teach in the developing world for a year/ stop being a miserable bitch anyway and you go ahead and bake two batches of chocolate cupcakes with salted caramel icing and stay up till 2.15 am writing a dismal blog post about New Year’s being a dose of shite.

On that note, happy blah blah 2016.

The picture is the famous journal.

Dotty 💚

 

Episode 130 – Downton Is Not Real Life

It’s Stephen’s Day, or boxing Day if you’re in the UK. I don’t know if it has a name in the States or elsewhere. December 26th: the day the magic dies.

There’s no circumstantial, tangible reason why I should feel so frustrated and alone today: yesterday was a pleasant day with family and gin (with no migraine side effects from either the family or  alcoholic spirits); dinner was delicious; Downton Abbey was gushily tide in its finale; the gifts were thoughtful and my Nana enjoyed her post-feast bingo. I was able to buy presents for everyone and they liked them. We were warm and comfortable and together which is infinitely more than many people had and experienced. The  RDS was crammed with homeless people who had nowhere else to go as was a local charity café here in my hometown that seems to do great work. I’m sitting here with a box of biscuits, a cup of tea and plenty of heat. The two dogs are sprawled out in front of me.

So what the fuck is wrong with me?

Maybe I’m missing the gym? My body has become used to producing endorphins through exercise and doesn’t know how to convert mince pies into happy hormones.

I slept for ages last night but the nightmares and cold sweats were unsettling and disturbed my slumber repeatedly. I had horrible dreams again: the kind where no matter how much you shout and scream and try to explain something to someone, they just don’t listen and no matter what you do they refuse to just listen. The sheets were soaked as were three pairs of pyjamas. I was freezing.

Somebody take this bloody box of biscuits away from me.

Despite twelve hours in bed, I could easily nap right here.

Jesus, your birthday is a tough season. I’m afraid to read through last year’s holiday posts because I’m sure they’ll just confirm that I haven’t learned anything; developed as a cognicent and grateful human or become more steady in my resolve against boxes of biscuits.

Despite a fortunate day yesterday, these nightmares have really unsettled me. I know that sounds ridiculous: they’re just dreams; unreal and transparent. I have enough money in my account so that I don’t need to panic about January bills. I can easily drive up to the gym and take a class or two tomorrow to kickstart the endorphin manufacturing belt once again. Everyone is healthy.

Do you struggle over the holidays? I’ve seen so many posts from charities warning of the pitfalls of the holiday season; telling me it’s ok not to be full of the joys and I’ve even reposted some of this on Dotty’s Facebook and posted my own advice on not expecting too much of yourself over Christmas. None of that seems to stop me feeling like I’m the grinch in a pretty dress though.

Routine and normality will soon return and along with it 2016 and my 35th birthday. Somehow, I have to find the energy to make this year a year where I finally get my life (and my head) in order. I’m so over Christmas now.

Do let me know if you’re my grinch twin.

Dotty 💚

 

Episode 129 • Scrooge?

Saturday

Law & Order SVU is on. I like the show, sometimes it gets to me but what gets to me more is wondering if everyone is thinking it’s getting to me: giving me the side eye in case they should switch channels. This used to happen, in our house, when I was growing up – growing up after THE Thing That Happened, that is : a cough; an uncomfortable shift in the armchair; “Anyone want tea?”; a quick flick of the remote to something predictably innocuous.

In this episode, the victim is comforting her mother.

My knees hurt. I took a Hot Yoga class today and it was A. hot and B. tough.

I’ve never done hot yoga before; in fact, I’m pretty new to the yoga warrior tribe. I joked with my friend Tom Hiddleston (not the real one, more’s the pity, although my doppleganger buddy is pretty awesome) that I was going to go vegan. I was eating a lamb burger at the time.

The best money I have spent in the last few months (money that I don’t really have) is on membership of David Lloyd’s Riverview Club. I’ve been doing lots of classes – everything from Body Attack to Core & Stability and I’m starting to notice the difference both in how I look and how I feel. It’s an empowering sensation to see your body getting stronger, to be able to lift heavier in Body Pump and to be able to transition from plank into Up Dog without collapsing to your knees first. I’m also not intently focussed on avoiding my blobby reflection in the omniscient mirrors of the studios. Taking an hour or two out from family, phones, worries and the outside world cannot be underestimated in its benefits for mental health. It’s not like this is some new revelation, it’s just common sense.

My knees are feeling all the working out though. One of these days, I’ll find myself completely unable to undo myself from a twisted triangle with my joints locked into a screaming bubble of agony.

Yesterday was a good day, today was a good day. Last night was a good night.

Wednesday 

A lot can change in three days when you’re this fucked up 

I’ve been trying to find time to write all week. Or maybe I just didn’t want to face the fact that I’m unravelling.

I love Christmas, usually. But this year I want it to be over. I feel it’s not for me, it’s for everyone else, just not for me.

I don’t deserve Christmas. I haven’t earned Christmas. I’m not good enough for Christmas.

Of course, the expense of it doesn’t help. I read Patrick Kavanagh’s “A Christmas Childhood” again today and I felt the longing for a frosty solitude where nobody expected me to be happily festive: bustling about buying gifts and planning meals. The truth is I want to crawl up and forget about it all. I don’t know how I’m going to match my ex’s share of Scandi’s Christmas present. Everyone else will get homemade presents, that’s if I can find the energy to plan and make anything. Every penny that comes in between now and the end of December has to go to rent. I’ll be using my dad’s debit card to top up the electric meter. I don’t care about Christmas dinner or cakes or puddings or traditions. I have nothing of interest or Christmas cheer to say to my family and what do I say to my friends when we meet up for our annual reunion? I’ll be ashamed to face them being the messy fuck up that I am knowing that they’ve done it all right.

I see Christmas parties every night in my village; I see shop windows adorned with the joy of the season; I see families cosying up in their lovely homes filled with children’s laughter and blazing fires. And my eyes glaze over with loneliness: I am other. I am alone and I am lonely.

My daughter has had such a year of me and my shit and I can’t even give her a decent Christmas. I tried really hard to get into the spirit of things by decorating the house, warming up with an Irish Thanksgiving and embarking on our little traditions like “Rate the Tree’ as we drive around nice neighbourhoods stalking out beautifully Christmassed houses. But my heart’s not in it because I am so lonely. I am so alone.

I hate how ungrateful I am. How can I be so selfish to sit crying in my warm bed typing on a cool MacBook, my child healthy,  to think that I’m alone and struggling? How can I be this…entitled?

I never thought I’d hate Christmas, but this year I do.

💚

 

Episode 128 • I’m Sorry, I Can’t, Don’t Hate Me —

I’m still pissed off about my ex, and his new girlfriend, contacting me over the last two weeks. 

If you are new to the mess that is my relationship history, as charted by this blog, then I’m sorry. You’re going to be lost and I don’t have the energy to fill in the gaps for you, not least because it’s after 3am. 

I’m trying really hard to get back to a safe emotional level but this whole debacle involving the ex from the break up that triggered a full-blown psychiatric meltdown; his current (seemingly condescending- but I admit I know nothing about her apart from the bossy and self-righteous messages she’s sent me. She’s probably lovely and thinks I’m a psychotic bitch from what he’s told her. Maybe he’s right?) and €880 has rendered me withdrawn; drained and riled. 

All of the shit that happened between Berger (as he was christened by my truthful friend) and me had faded to a dull twinge after 14 months of breaking it down into a pulp to discover why it all had such an effect on me. I was addicted to him and the pain our relationship caused. The relationship itself wasn’t the cause of my depression and anxiety: it was a symptom of it. Just like cutting myself, I’d get a temporary high every time he hurt me. I wanted him to hurt me and if he didn’t do it if his own free and selfish will, I’d goad him into it. Then I’d have an excuse to lash out and lashing out being one of my specialities (along with cheating, withdrawing and looking for a fight) , I did it well and I did often. 

I’ve started clenching my teeth again. My jaw aches.

I felt as though I’d moved on from the erosion of the years of cyclical euphoria to devastation in which Berger and I found ourselves caught. I had jumped out of the spinning wheel and got back to my feet. Now the toxins are back in my veins and I need to bleed them out all over again. 

Sorry about all the metaphors.

He didn’t reply to my final message from Wednesday, thankfully, and she didn’t receive a reply from me. I  was relieved not to have had communication today. I needed to be quiet today, to reset. I plan to block them both. I should have already, but I was holding out for something. I don’t know what: I know I won’t ever see an apology for their bombardment of me this week as a means of exorcising  their demons damaging their own relationship. Maybe I wanted more accusations, demands and blame thrown at me because it proves me right for believing that I’m the source of all contamination. 

I have to figure out where €880 is going to come from now; or at least €120 per month. I want to pay him off to make a point, I’m just not sure what the point is. 

Tomorrow I will be re-focused. Berger and his new bun will be binned. 

Dot 💚

Episode 127 – ThunderFuck

Today was a tough day.

This shit that is going on in my mind is too big for my brain. I think some important synapse might give way any second. I have no idea what a synapse is but I’m sure I’ve heard it on BBC2.

I’m exhausted: I woke around 5 am yesterday morning and couldn’t get back to sleep. Early morning waking is as bad as full blown insomnia: the tease of two hours’ fitful sleep is nearly worse than a night with none.

I was teaching all afternoon into the evening and I was glad of the distraction. The opportunity to focus on something positive and current rather than stew in a steam of rancour and regret caused by the continuation of contact from a certain ex. When I’m belligerant of mood I seem to use a lot of alliteration.

I am so annoyed that I let myself be dragged back into any sort of discussion with him today. I am also malevolent in my thoughts towards him but, for my own sake – nothing that I feel or think will ever impact him, or likely has truly ever been of consequence to him – I need to let it seep out. I had hoped that Body Combatting my imagined hologram of his smug demeanour would mark the end of yet another final chapter in our turbulent history, but no: today brought yet more and perhaps, deeper buried wretchedness to the fore.

It’s a rotten thing to be faced with the possibility that you hate someone.

Especially if it’s someone who you thought you loved. There should be a special word reserved for the emotion of more than loving someone: when you feel like they are part of you; like your very existence is dependent on their essence; your DNA is only complete by the chromosome of their presence; they are the Thunderbolt charger to your iSoul.

Maybe there is a word for that kind of “love” and maybe that word is addiction.

There is no way I am going to let him, or anybody or thing connected to him, ruin one more day of mine. He’ll never view the crushed landscape of our relationship from the same vantage point as me and that’s because we were never one person, with one set of eyes.

Today, I also heard a name connected to The Thing That Happened When I Was 16 today and I honestly felt like someone had pulled one of my own Body Combat moves on my gut. It’s bad enough when his family members come up as friend suggestions or comment on local links and mutual friends’ photos but today, it was just fuel for my pyre of wrath.

I had hoped that in the absence of a Body Attack class, writing might help and it has, I think. It’s now almost 2 am and I’ve sacrificed enough of my time to the past over these last few days already.

Dot 💚

Episode 126 – Don’t Blame Me

I’m beginning this blog from the women’s locker room of my gym. I might keep it short and then go shower as I stink after a Body Pump and a Body Combat class to vent my anger, or I might start it and finish it at home. However, during Body Combat as I roundhouse kicked the virtual shit out of my ex, I told myself I’d leave my fury here and be done with it. When I go to the shower, I’ll wash the day’s toxicity off me and leave it to be diluted by the suds of all the other women who have no doubt tried to flush out their demons with a high intensity workout here before me. 

When my ex contacted me last week about a small loan he had taken out for both of us (mostly for me) while we were together, I tried to be cooly accommodating in reaching an agreement on repayment. It unsettled me to hear from him but I have too many good things in my life now, including a stronger sense of myself and a relief to be free of him, to let him linger long in my head. 

You can imagine my shock this morning to find a message request from his current girlfriend (who, according to her, is very happy in their relationship except for the fact that “my” loan is upsetting him and causing a problem between them (according to him she broke up with him because she’d had enough of him – go figure), accusing me of all sorts and generally blaming me for everything wrong with him and them. 

Now, I’ve held my hands up about damage I caused in my hysteria, apologised to him and her and offered to pay for the damage (which he declined) and I fully accept responsibility for my actions. And the shame that goes along with it.  But the fact that their relationship is going to shit is not my fault as I’ve had practically zero contact with him for over a year. 

He wanted to know if what happened with first us, and now them, was all his fault: if he was the common denominator in our and their relationships going tits up: yes, I expect it is, it told him. I did all I could to make him happy over the years, it was never enough. 

I tried to be reasonable in my response to her (I’m so tempted to publish the messages without identifiers) and my cousin, the wise Marchioness commended my responses (of course, I screen grabbed the correspondence to show her) but still New Girlfriend felt the need to explain how perfect their relationship is apart from the huge cloud of €800 hanging over them (my fault, of course) and go on to throw insults and sly digs around. Should I email her a link to my blog? Maybe then she’ll think before she gets involved. 

Again, I’m not blameless in the breakdown of the relationship. Christ, I was a basket case, with a screw driver and a large vault of unresolved sexual trauma, hurt and guilt. But don’t fucking blame me for this. I tried to make it right. 

I’ve never enjoyed a Body Combat class as much as this one – I needed to visualise that fucker’s face as I pounded out those uppercuts. 

The one thing I can say however, as I let my fury dispel, is that I am so fucking glad I got away from him, as protracted and awful as it was at the time. 

He’s not my problem anymore. 

Dot 💚

PS Get your runners on and run, kick, punch it out. Hence the cover photo. X X