I feel like I’m drowning again

Im having a PTSD episode as I write this. I don’t know what happened. I was doing so well but but the last three days have been awful.

The most visible physical symptom is that I’m crying all the time.

I’m having waves of anxiety where it’s hard to breathe and it feels like my heart is going to explode.

I’ve just messaged my friend (my guardian angel). I hate worrying him, he’s stressed enough as it is as he is touring at the moment and it’s been a rough one for him.

He’s going to ring me back in an hour or so. I just have to wait.

Breathe.

Calm down.

He’s just sent me a link to a song On YouTube, Lola by the Kinks , because we would listen to that song when we were sixteen and it always makes me smile.

I’m calming down a little bit but the tears are still streaming down my face as I write. I don’t think it’s helping but I’m going to keep writing.

I look over to my little man, Leo who is sleeping beside me on the sofa. He’s making funny noises and I think he’s having a nightmare.

Apart from Leo and I, the house is empty.

As I sit here weeping uncontrollably, I’m recognising that yes I have PTSD but I’m also depressed and feeling so alone right now. I wish I had a boyfriend who loves me and cares for me.

I want to be in love with someone with the security that nothing bad is going to happen.

I want to feel safe but I’m asking too much because for me, feeling safe is to be in a loving relationship. Maybe this is part of my Iranian upbringing but I want to be held every night, to feel cherished and looked after by a man who loves me, and I love him back.

All I feel now is emotional turmoil, anguish and heart ache from what is missing from my life.

What’s worse is the that deep down I think I’m going to be alone forever.

I’m remortgaging my house to pay for cosmetic work to be done on my teeth and face. Im doing this because the last time I was in a committed relationship, I was made to feel like I was ugly and worthless.

If I’m honest, I really don’t think I will ever find what I’m looking for. I’ll never be truly happy and in love.

I can distract myself with appointments and forking out to fix my teeth and my face. I can lose more weight and feel prettier than I do right now but what does it matter?

I’ve been broken far too many times.

I’m damaged beyond repair.

Under Pressure

The creepy mug has been retired and I bought a new one.

I was on a date last night. It went well but I am pretty sure I was crap company because of how tired I was. I am under a lot of pressure at work. Aside from the tiredness, I found myself talking shop a few times and I made myself cringe.

For me, this entire month of May will be one of the busiest and most tiring months. But this was by design and I don’t deserve any sympathy.

I did it to myself.

I am heading up a number of high profile technology projects that involve changing the way the company operates. There is a lot at stake.

My last 3 years of employment was spent planning what exactly needs to happen this year. I have been engineering and shaping the environment and getting all of my proverbial “ducks in a row”, before being able to start the work.

The project deadlines are aggressive. I will have to drive the projects, lead the people, steer the meetings, manage expectations and argue the toss with other decision makers, every step of the way. This is also by design.

I have a really intelligent boss who is supportive but my team is incomplete. The projects have started but people have jumped ship, so I am still recruiting and adding new people to the team. I have had to take massive risks to keep things moving.

I need to finish what I started and I can’t fuck it up.

I am now in a state of paranoia and obsessing over ways I could fuck things up. I need to find ways to offload some of the pressure and at the very least, not create new problems for myself.

Not fucking up equals working harder.

I need to be prepared to work longer hours and sacrifice my social life. I am asking myself if I should even be dating anyone at the moment. I can only be partially invested in starting a new relationship and don’t know if it is wise to start something that I can’t maintain.

Not fucking up equals staying SAFE, in every sense of the word.

The elephant in the room is my PTSD and whether or not I should even be dating whilst still in recovery from domestic abuse. Can I trust myself to make better decisions and keep myself safe?

Don’t get me wrong – going on dates has been a massive milestone in my recovery journey. I feel much better than I did when I started the blog but I am still a shadow of my former self. I am still scared of men.

These projects have been 3 years in the making but I did not plan to start my projects whilst smack-bang in the middle of the most traumatic phase of my adult life.

Not fucking up equals, being scared but not showing it.

What makes all of this worse is the years of trying to earn credibility at work going down the drain. My boss and many of my colleagues know about the abuse. He made sure of that when he sent an angry email to my colleagues.

They know what he is, that he is known to the police as a danger to women. They also know I was too scared to bring him to justice and I dropped the charges.

Everyone has been supportive but the inevitable consequence of his actions is how they now perceive me.

Knowing what they know, how can they not think that I am damaged and incapable of handling the challenges ahead of us this year.

No wonder my boss has been pissed off with me. I feel like he is concerned and all this is causing him stress. Or was he? Am I just paranoid? I don’t know.

I can’t stop obsessing about this stuff.

I have to be focused. I can’t make mistakes. Everyone is watching me now.

Shit it’s 7pm and I am still at the office.

Paranoid that I am pregnant

I took a pregnancy test this morning and thankfully, the result was negative. Last night before bed I noticed that my tummy was really bloated and rock solid. I started worrying I was pregnant and ended up having horrible nightmares that his baby was growing inside me and I was trapped and alone, unable to decide what to do.

The problem I am having is that my period is late and the last two have have been abnormally light, like nearly non-existent. I am really bloated, tired, tearful and constantly craving sweet things. I do not have much of a sweet tooth and this is not how I normally experience PMS.

I know that I am paranoid and that I’m not in my right might at the moment.

I know that my paranoia is completely irrational because I am on the pill. Ironically, he is the reason I am on the pill. He pressured me to start taking it. I explained to him that the pill doesn’t agree with me and I really didn’t like messing with my hormones, but he was having none of it.

Apparently, orgasms hurt when wearing a condom so I gave in.

It has been just over two months since the police removed him from my house so I am wondering if the stress and PTSD is not only affecting my reasoning but also my menstrual cycle? I don’t think it is the pill because I started taking it in December. I don’t know…I mean, I don’t want to stop the pill now and mess up my hormones again.

I need to sort out my anxiety.

I am catastrophising and hyper vigilant at the moment which explains the nightmares and poor quality of sleep.

I need to sleep more.

I just really need my body (and brain) to start behaving itself.

I am taking my brother and sister-in-law on holiday and I am trying really hard to make it special and for everyone to have a nice time. I know I am putting pressure on myself but this is something that needs to happen because my last holiday with him was traumatic.

I need to get better and I need to make new holiday memories, happy memories.

I don’t know who to trust

I recently got involved with an adventure activity company. I have been on a few trips so far and I can sincerely say that they are a lovely bunch. I was asked by the owner to help out as a volunteer and in return I can come along to all of his events for free.

I am really looking forward to this new chapter in my life.

This is such good news for me because I don’t have many friends who enjoy outdoorsy activities. Normally I do things on my own which is risky and I am prone to taking unnecessary risks and getting lost. I have’t had anything awful happen (a couple of near misses) but this way, I will get to do what I love and meet new people, in a much safer environment.

As I spend more time with the group, I’ll be getting to know them better and at some point someone will want to know more about me. At some point some of the icky things about my life will come up in conversation. If they ask about my relationship status I’ll be struggling to find an answer that is authentic and appropriate.

I don’t want to talk about surviving domestic abuse, or how I’ve been spending my time with the various health professionals, victim support providers and the criminal justice system (which is taking up a lot of time and head space at the moment).

People are trying really hard to get to know me and I’m struggling to gloss over all the shit that I’m going through. It’s getting harder to avoid the icky topics, in a way that is kind and friendly.

Also I’m worried about “oversharing”. Ever since I can remember, people have pointed out that when I get talking about myself I tend to over-share, which is a bad thing. I am told that it can be inappropriate or awkward for other people.

Getting this feedback from people is really embarrassing for me.

Oversharing also leaves me vulnerable, I’ve been told.

Apparently I have weak boundaries.

It is common knowledge that over-sharing of personal information is a classic ADHD thing (AKA impulse control issues). And we know that for people on the Autism spectrum, it’s down to having under-developed social skills.

So as an Autistic ADHDer, it is extra difficult for me to say the right things at the right time. I’m high functioning and reasonably self-aware, so I’ve found ways to rein it in, but it takes ALOT of effort and only works to a point.

It is much easier if I just avoid talking about myself. The best way I can describe how I do this is, I build this invisible wall around me and I don’t open up to anyone outside the wall. This feels safe but it doesn’t really work because once the seal is broken then all the icky stuff pours out and I don’t know where to draw the line.

I’m not sure what is “too much information”.

In my current place of work, it took me about a year to have an honest conversation about my personal life with my colleagues. It was a really big deal to them that I opened up finally. Now I wish I hadn’t shared some things because people use your icky stuff to make fun of you.

“We know all about your track record with men, ha ha ha!”

It really hurts when they do that – but they tell you it’s harmless fun. But it still hurts.

I have to say that as I get older, I’m feeling increasingly uncomfortable talking about myself to strangers. It’s even worse when someone shows a genuine interest in me. If someone I don’t know starts asking personal questions I actually find myself freaking out a bit.

I know, in theory, that there is a balance to be had – especially with people that you work with.

I say too much. I don’t say enough.

I just can’t get the balance right. I don’t know how to be social and share little bits about myself in a way that’s friendly and appropriate (i.e. how humans should behave).

On the other extreme, if I really like the person (which equates to, we have similar traits and vulnerabilities) then I will open them straight away – usually because I want to make them feel understood, accepted and supported.

Usually it’s because I want to help.

I know, in theory about bad people masked as victims or tortured souls.

I know in theory, that I shouldn’t open up and trust people, purely on the basis that they are nice to me.

The reality is, I don’t have any reliable measures to keep myself safe. I don’t know who to trust.

I let the wrong ones in.

I don’t know how to fix this.

I wanted to jump to my death

Towards the end of the relationship I had thoughts about killing myself. This was the first time in over a decade that something like this had crossed my mind.

My brother and his wife asked me to organise a 7 day trip for the four of us to stay in a cottage, somewhere rugged and beautiful.

As I sifted through the hundreds of properties on AirBnB, some of them had some pictures of the surrounding landscape so I could visualise the experience. The property we went for is coastal and the listing included gorgeous pictures of the nearby beaches and cliffs.

I started imagining the inevitable that either one of us, myself or my brother or his wife would end up pushing his buttons and the trip would turn sour. I imagined a scenario whereby after an awkward confrontation, he and I would have to go outside for a “time out”. We find ourselves walking along one of the nearby cliff edges. My thoughts then moved on to the tears and feelings of despair that he’s upset my family and there would be no way of reconciling. I imagined how I would feel if this happened. I wouldn’t be able to forgive myself so there was no option other than for me to die so I jumped off the cliff.

I was suddenly fantasizing about suicide which absolutely terrified me. I told him about it – not fully – just the jumping part.

He didn’t bat an eyelid.

At the time, I think I told myself that perhaps he thought I was lying or something…I don’t know. When I think about it now, about his blank stare, I try to remember if there was ever a time he showed any kind of genuine regard or concern for me. I tried to remember any relevant facial expressions, body language or words. I am finding it difficult, he rarely ever made eye contact with me.

I always ached for him to look into my eyes so I could see that he loved me but he wouldn’t.

I do however remember some actions that showed me he really cared – on a couple of occasions, when I was sick.

There was one time when I was really sick with a nasty nasty cold. I was in so much pain and I started weeping. He immediately stood up, put his shoes on and drove to the shop and returned with a bag full of medication, vitamins and chocolate. I saw the shopping and wept even harder, this time from gratitude. The fact that he did something utterly caring and nurturing for was something I craved so badly and in that moment it was there.

The time before that I was sick with a UTI and he behaved in a similar way. It was when I was at my weakest physically that he really showed up for me. He was tender and he genuinely made me feel protected, looked after, like he really did loved me.

I miss that guy.

Nearly two months on from the breakup and my feelings about him are still so very complex. At night my dreams about him are sweet and loving but during the day the intrusive thoughts run wild with his nasty words, the mindgames, manipulations, his unpredictable outbursts.

My complex feelings are confusing and draining my energy. I’m so tired.

How is it possible that the traumatic events are persistently and uncontrollably playing back in my mind, yet-a big part of me is still deeply in love with him?

Why does that part of me see nothing wrong with letting him tear down my world, until the only thing left for me to do is to take my own life?