Tired and sore

img_2149This picture was taken last week, shortly after we reached the top of Cadair Idris and I cried. Tears of sadness and release. My sister in law was respectful about it and kept it to herself.

I haven’t posted in a while as I was out and about for most of my trip in Snowdonia. I went with my brother and his wife with a friend tagging along as well for a couple of days. We stayed in a gorgeous cottage on the coast of South Snowdonia.

The trip was a success. The weather was gorgeous, I climbed the biggest mountains, explored forests, ate yummy food and even managed to squeeze in some mountain biking. I was impressed by my sister in law who was able to keep up with me and my shenanigans for the majority of the trip.

I smoked weed on one of the nights and it reminded me why I don’t smoke anymore. It was nice and relaxing to begin with but then I just felt tired and hazy and it felt like it didn’t wear off for a few days. It makes my ADHD worse thats for sure – definately not worth it. I wont be touching it again any time soon.

I got back home last night. I unpacked, went food shopping and re-organised my life.

Today I am sore, tired and I look like I have been hit by a bus.

I am going rock climbing with my friend this morning, and then I have a couple of dates lined up over the weekend.

I shouldn’t go on the dates because I promised myself that I would use this weekend to build the Ikea furniture (to replace what my ex smashed up).

On Monday I have a 2-day training course and then I have to go back to work on Wednesday.

Busy.

Anxiety is slowly creeping in.

Back to reality.

An escape from reality

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This is my home for the next week, a gorgeous little cottage in a coastal village in Snowdonia National Park, Wales.  I took this picture as soon as we arrived on Friday – I tried to write an update but I was too tired from driving.

Yesterday I climbed the famous Mount Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales.  I have wanted to climb it for years but never got round to it. I should feel proud of myself as it is the biggest mountain in Wales at over 1000m but I don’t really.

Truth be told, I feel really shit about myself. I feel so fat and ugly right now that the whole time I was climbing the mountain, I was cursing and punishing myself. I was so hungry at times but I only allowed myself some fruit and the water.

This morning I woke up feeling a little bit of sadness and I think it is because my ex was supposed to be on this holiday with us. I caught myself wondering if he would’ve liked the bedroom and if the bed was comfortable enough for him so he could get a good nights sleep and wake up feeling refreshed.  There’s a part of me that really misses him. Don’t get me wrong, I am glad he isn’t here because the trip would have been utterly stressful and exhausting.

My therapist told me that I am grieving still, which makes sense – but still a total headfuck. Right now in this moment I have 100 reasons to be really, really happy but I am not.

My life is much easier now.  I have more freedom and I don’t have to worry about doing or saying the wrong thing. No-one is going to get upset or pissed off with me.

I look around me and I everything I see is beautiful. The cottage is surrounded by plush gardens and just stones throw away from the sea.

It’s Easter Sunday, I woke up to birdsong and pancakes on the table for breakfast.  My brother and sister in law are lovely, gentle and kind and they make me feel loved. Also a couple of my friends will be joining us later on in the week.

I have nothing to worry about.

I should be happy.

This week was supposed to be an esape for me but instead I have come face to face with the reality that:

  1. I am full of self loathing and I hate my appearance
  2. I am still greiving about the end of the relationship.

What if this week can be about purging and cleansing myself of all the shit? I wish.

Anyways, today is going to be another hot day. I am going to sign off now – get my hiking kit on and venture out to do another mountain, a big one.

All I can think to do now is climb and climb until eventually, the pain in my legs is greater than the pain in my heart.

 

 

 

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?

“But you’re such a strong woman…” – Part 1

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The silhouette in this picture is me, back in 2014 when I was a bodybuilder.

Shortly after my breakup which was less than 2 months ago, I found myself having to disclose to colleagues that I had left an abusive relationship – and I was being looked after by the police and women’s aid.

The reason being is that on the night after the police removed him from my house, he sent me a very angry email and copied-in a number of my colleagues.

In his words: “I have taken the liberty of copying in your colleagues, so they can see what kind of character you are.”

You will be wondering how he got their emails in the first place, as did I. It came to me the next morning – once I got over the initial shock of it. I remembered that towards the end of the relationship, he was very disapproving about my various social and networking engagements.

One of the rules he put in place was that I was to give him three weeks’ notice if I wanted to arrange anything and he set up a shared calendar. I tried to make it work.

There was a series of work-related events that was going to happen outside of office hours. I was worried about not being able to give him 3 weeks’ notice of this, so I forwarded him an email thread where colleagues and senior management were in discussions. I did this to appease him and let him see the evidence that the date was never in my control.

The email thread included email addresses of my colleagues in HR as well as colleagues who are responsible for Community Safety (ironically their remit is to support of victims of domestic abuse).

Naturally, when colleagues received this angry email they took action. I was immediately contacted by the head of HR who provided all the reassurance I needed at the time. I took a week off work and when I returned they arranged for me to see a therapist. My therapist is amazing.

I am so grateful to for the support of my employer. I chose to work in the not for profit sector, partially because of my values and also because it is a good move for someone with my challenges and vulnerabilities. However, I didn’t ever anticipate needing this kind of support and understanding from an employer – and they really showed up for me.

So this is how I ended up disclosing details of the relationship to colleagues. A few of them took me out for coffee as they wanted to know more. They asked things like where I met him and was I ever beaten and how did it escalate so quickly in such a short space of time.  

BTW – he didn’t beat me, but he did hold my face down on the bed and threaten to punch me.

The two phrases that has consistently come up has been:

“this really surprises me” and

“but… you are such a strong woman!”

Each time I have been stumped. I don’t know how to respond to these comments.

Are they saying something about me? Is there a deficiency on my part that I ended up here? Do I project a false image to people? I don’t have a filter. I am autistic and have ADHD so I am not very good at masks or pretending I’m something I’m not.

Or, is this about him? It is that he is so clever and calculated, that he can make a “strong woman” fall in love with him, and then take the liberty of hurting her and destroying her world? This is my therapists theory.

I think it does say something about how people’s perceptions on the matter is limited, and somewhat one dimensional. Is it reasonable to conclude that the majority of people think that victims of abuse, coercive and controlling behaviours – are weak?

I am still trying to understand and process people’s reactions. There is still work to be done on this.

There will be a part two.