Apparently it’s been a month since I’ve updated this space. I’m not even sure where to begin with things. I’m very much in my cave at the moment. Those who follow me on Twitter may be surprised to read this as, in public, I appear to be quite sociable. This may sound like a terrible thing, but my public “appearances” are very much work. Sometimes, I wish I still had the luxery of completely withdrawing, without sending out so much of an “I’m still alive. No need to worry.” message. There are a lot of days recently where I’m so very tempted to just completely unplug, once again.
But I can’t do that. As comforting as that thought is, there is a large part of me that is thankful for the fact I have a “job” which requires me to stay somewhat in touch with others. I know that if I were to unplug, I would miss doing every thing I do. I would also miss all of the outpouring of quick burst of support on Twitter. I would not miss the current sense of being overwhelmed by way too many things. But when I do my pros and cons lists, the pros are still outweighing the cons.
In the last month, I’ve had to launch my new radio station a month early due to circumstances beyond my control; I’ve had to purchase a “new” computer because my love of near 7 or 8 years died a month before I was ready for it to die; my health has been a rollercoaster from hell; I’ve had unexpected and emotionally challenging changes in my personal life; I’ve taken on another job (you don’t need to say it, I already know what you’re thinking); my host transfered my sites to a new box, plus a change of theme on Geeky Pleasures, leaving me to have to rebuild part of Geeky Pleasures; my World Lupus Day update to the Lupus Awareness Virtual Art Gallery crashed and burned; I had someone rip me off for a bunch of money; plus loads of other things which have left me wanting to tell the world to just fuck off.
Now, if the above happened gradually over the course of the last month, I think I would have felt less overwhelmed. But the majority of it happened within days of each other. No sooner would I figure out a solution to one problem, another one would rear its ugly face, leaving me to solve another crisis before having the chance to implement the plan to resolve the previous crisis. Superman has nothing on me.
I’ve had some friends understand that they just need to leave me the fuck alone and let me deal. I’ve had others email me daily, asking if I need to talk and that they are there. The latter is so very frustrating for me. No, I don’t need to talk. Talking doesn’t solve a thing. I need to be left alone and attempt to wrap my head around every thing going on and figure out how the hell I’m going to emerge from all of this in one piece. I understand they say these things to let me know they are there and that they care. But I already know this. I know where to go for help if I feel I should need it.
Right now, the best help is just to give me my space. The more I have to tend to other people and reassure them that I am as fine as I can be under the circumstances, the more I feel overwhelmed and smothered, the more other things don’t get done because taking 5 minutes to answer someone’s email takes away way too many spoons than I can afford to spend, causing me to have to find more “me” time so that I have the energy to do the things that must be done so that my entire world doesn’t fall apart. The other week, every thing became overwhelming to the point where I couldn’t keep my eyes open for more than one hour before I was back in bed for another 4-6 hours.
I have come to realise through all of this that people are still trying to make a cave-dwelling me into a more social me. Coming to this realisation makes me cry. Typing that last sentence and I’m crying again. I suddenly feel invisible, once more. It has been years since I’ve felt invisible. My heart breaks as a result. People say they know me, blah, blah, blah and that they are here for me. Great. Fantabulous. Then please understand that my need to retreat into my cave is for self-preservation. If I don’t, I’ll become overwhelmed, depressed and want to slip, yet again, into complete oblivion. Because what is the point of being alive when you are walking through the world, invisible and unseen. I can’t live like that. I just can’t. I spent too many years of my life being what others wanted and expected from me. I’m almost at the point of no longer caring about others because I don’t feel like I’m cared for, even if that isn’t the reality.
I don’t think it is too much to want people to respect my needs. These are not wants. They needs that are integral to my mental survival. I am a huge creature of habit and routine. My routine is necessary for me to be able to navigate my day to day life. The slightest change or deviation from my routine and I am filled with anxiety, my brain becomes twitchy and I feel as if I am drowning. I become extremely overwhelmed. There are always things that I cannot plan for. Those things are only manageable because I know that when I wake up in the morning, there is a set of things that will occur. If those things don’t occur, if there is a change, even if slight, it makes dealing with the outside world feel impossible. So when something as simple as waking up in the morning, reading my email and checking my overnight tweets is longer possible or the way in which I have to do that task changes… well for me it isn’t a simple change and I need more space to navigate the world until I can find a new routine and new normal.
(I feel like such a cow sharing all this. As much as I need to assert my boundaries—thanks to the horror that was my childhood—I feel like a little cunt every time I do anything to make sure they are not stepped on or walked over.)
I get very disheartened when people either forget this about me or just don’t want to accept it and want me to behave in a different way because it is easier on them or makes them feel better about the situation. It especially hurts because I don’t think I do this to others. I ask them what they need and then I try my best to accomodate, even if it is difficult, because I know what it feels like to be invisible when surrounded by a sea of people.
It hasn’t been all bad though. This is where the pros outweigh the cons. I had friend drive 2+ hours, round-trip, to bring me a laptop until my “new” computer arrived. I had another friend show up unexpectantly in town, wanting to take me out for lunch. However, they added to the invite that they understand I hate unplanned events and would completely understand if I said no. They would have been happy to just bring me a cup of coffee and talk outside of my house for 5 minutes. We ended up going for lunch. I had 2 hours of actually being heard. 2 hours of being able to just rant without any unwanted or unneeded advice being offered up. 2 hours free from, “I’m sorry.” 2 hours of understanding. It was a much needed mental health break and in that 2 hours, I felt seen, yet again.
Those two events helped to undo part of the horrible that was the last month. Those two events helped to remind me that there are people who do see me. Those two events will help me to re-emerging from my cave sooner rather than later. It will still be a few weeks before I’ll have the required mental energy to really talk to people again. It will be at least 2 more weeks before I can firmly establish a new routine and finish resolving a month’s worth of stupid, messed up situations.
Until then, I ask that you be patient and just wait. I will come out of my cave. I always do. The more you push me to or ask what is up, the longer this will take. Leaving me to find my new center will not send me the message that you’ve forgotten about me or don’t care. In fact, it will do quite the opposite. I know who you are and where to find you. Trust me, please. Especially if you want me to trust you.