The Silent Treatment

Last night marked 28 days/4 weeks since my roommate and I have spoken to each other. We live in a 400 sf single apartment. We sleep less than 5 feet from one another. To say it’s been challenging is a complete understatement.  I’m exhausted.

tl;dr (too long; didn’t read)
My roommate and I haven’t spoken in almost a month. Last night I initiated a conversation. We talked for over an hour. We’re sorted. I can move on. Continue to work through the issues this has bought up for me and he’s going to make more of an effort and possibly seek professional care. I’m proud of him. I’m proud of myself.  note: I also go off on a tangent about 3 times in the past where people I love have given me the silent treatment or cut off communication. 
***
The past month, this was me in survival mode:

4 pictures of dogs stuck in situations and smiling. Head stuck in a plastic chair, a doggie door a bush, a wooden gate.

current emotion: dogs who are stuck but pretending everything is fine

 

This is my roommate in survival mode:

Screenshot about mental health

When u stopped caring as a defense mechanism but now you can’t care or be passionate about anything so you just wake up every day and live life on auto pilot.

We were both operating from past trauma, which is really current trauma. For me, I knew that it wasn’t personal. We had a talk in late Spring when it had been 11 days since he’d spoken to me.

That first talk I didn’t speak up because I was feeling insecure and confused. I thought he didn’t like me, that he judged me for not being able to work and for being at the apartment a lot while I was healing from the car accident. I felt he didn’t care about me. That I didn’t matter.

I was at a point where I was in so much pain that I couldn’t go to the store to get water for myself. My other few friends in the city were busy but would help me from time to time when they could. But it was super embarrassing to reach out and ask. More than once people would ask, don’t you live with someone? Can’t you ask him?

I did a few times. I’d leave the water bottles with change by the front door. Sometimes he would. But mostly he was tired from work, or he’d forgotten. I stopped asking. When I could afford it, I bought a pitcher/water filter.

When we talked, he said it wasn’t personal, he just didn’t think about it. He needed to come home and just be to himself. He didn’t have the capacity to do anything more. He couldn’t do anything for anyone else. He told me he didn’t speak to anyone really. That he’s independent. He also told me he didn’t judge me. But he felt I was needy. I acknowledged that I like to be helpful. Being of service is my love language. I just want the people around me to have an easier time in life. If I can be a part of that I want to. We had a good talk.

I told him that we could have a much better life. We could be happier. I told him that with the world the way it is, the people we interact with day-to-day are where we could make a difference. Just like be decent to one another. We could play games, maybe cook together to save money. He said that he just wanted to come home and have his own little space in our space. To shut down and be in his own head. I said that seemed sad, that he seemed sad. He said I wasn’t responsible for his happiness. That was good for me to hear. I mean I knew that, but it was good to have him acknowledge it. I was like, but at the very least, just speak, say hi. Because I was feeling like I was a non-person. That I didn’t matter. That I wasn’t even worth interacting with. It felt gross. Inhumane. I was nearly crying when we talked that first time. After that, he put in a bit more effort. It was better/regular. We didn’t talk but it would be like, how was your day? Have a good shift. Basic stuff. He told me to not let things build up again and to just talk to him if I had any issues.

But then suddenly he stopped speaking to me.

What had happened was:

Sunday (10.27) early afternoon I messaged our mutual friend who was supposed to come pick up her cleats for a soccer game she was set to play that afternoon I had set an alarm so I’d be awake when she got here. She messaged me back to say she already had them. My roommate had dropped them off when he dropped his car off at her house on the way to the airport. He was on his way to Mexico! She’d forgotten he was going. I think he mentioned it in September but I didn’t remember either.

She said he missed his flight and I was like, Good! because I was mad.  The thing is, I was awake until maybe an hour before he left. I heard him moving around but I thought he was just getting ready for work.  If he’d have told me he was leaving I’d have set my alarm as a backup which I used to do with our other roommate. I can’t say he wouldn’t have missed his flight but he wouldn’t have overslept!

Text conversation from October 28, 2019. 3 texts.

Me: Jess told me that you’re out of town. What time will you get back on Thursday? DP: I’m in Mexico I’ll be back on Wednesday. Me: Ok

The other thing is that if she hadn’t told me he was gone I would’ve been up that night worried that he hadn’t come home! So I was hot. The next day I sent him a text:

A couple days later I texted him to ask what time he was getting back on Wednesday. No response. So I just was like, ok. I guess he’s not talking to me. I couldn’t be the one to initiate anything. First off I was too mad. I had already told him how I felt months ago and it was like again bringing up feelings of invisibility and that I didn’t matter. That my existence in this space meant nothing. A week into all this I got super lucky and got a call that I was next on the waiting list for a therapist at the local LGBT center. It had been about 4 or 5 months! But it was perfect timing to get that call.

***

My therapist helped me realize that this was echoing trauma from past relationships. I made the connection of when I was 16, the first girl I fell in love with, who’d been my friend for like 9 months, stopped talking with me for a few months after I told her I liked her.

And last week I made the connection that my last girlfriend (we broke up in 2014), also stopped speaking to me completely when our post-breakup friendship ended. We lived within 2 blocks of each other, went to the same school, would see other on the street, usually when she was with her friends. I’d speak, her friends would speak to me and she’d not even look at me. Sometimes she’d keep walking. And the thing about that is, she’s friend’s with her exes! We’d all hang out together at her house. I thought that was really cool of her. Our mutual friend said she started ignoring me to protect herself. She realized we would not be getting back together. She was hurt. I think she did it to hurt me because she knew it would. Obviously, it’s probably both. That experience was so painful that I totally didn’t think about it until last week. YIKES!

But the real kick to the head and guts, is that I have been steady playing back an incident from 2016 right after Trump was elected. With Thanksgiving coming up, it echoes something I experienced with my cousin and her now husband who voted for him.

We were at a rest-stop when we were traveling to Moreno Valley from Sacramento for Thanksgiving week. I was riding with my friend/cousin (The Trump voter’s brother) and we stopped at McDonald’s to use the bathroom and get gas. My cousin and her now-husband have 2 small children. The kids were 4 and 2 I think. Both under 5 for sure. When they saw me they came running up to me all excited. During the past year or so I saw them often because I lived with their grandmother, my Aunt. She’d babysit. They were my little buddies.

When I said hi to my cousin and her now-husband, they didn’t speak to me. They didn’t really acknowledge me. They looked away or straight ahead. Not a word. Not a nod. Nothing.

A few hours later when we got to Moreno Valley we had a family meeting and the now-husband said if I thought they were the epitome of all evil because they had voted for Trump that they didn’t want me around their kids.

I never said they were the epitome of all evil. I said that they had done a disservice to humanity by voting for him. When the now-husband made that threat, my Aunt said, in the smallest voice I ever heard from her, “How is that going to work?” I knew that it wouldn’t, so I said whatever I could to maintain the peace. They were the 4th set of people in my family who had said they didn’t want me around their kids.

1.  My nephew’s mom wouldn’t let me see my nephew if I didn’t talk to my brother about how he spoke to her/treated her. I didn’t see him for over 3 years because I refuse to be emotionally blackmailed. So gross.
2. My mom and dad now have grandparent’s rights, my brother has no rights, and they told him if he took my nephew to see me, they’d not let him see my nephew the next time they had him for a visit. They went as far as to take him home a day early when they found out my brother, cousin, and I were taking him to see Blaçk Panther with us. My dad decided to take him while my brother was at work. Me and my brother ages 39 and 36 were crying/sobbing in the parking lot at his job. That was one of the worst days of my entire life.
3. My older cousin, the bully who’s physically attacked me twice for being queer/trans, told my other Aunt (who hosts Thanksgiving every year) that his son, her grandson, couldn’t be at her house or visit if I was there. Even though I had spent 3 summers and 3 holiday seasons with him before that.

I’ll say this now. When a person is cut off from the next generation of their family, it just feels awful. There’s just no place for me with them right now.

So yeh, trauma.

Essentially, I lost my family that Thanksgiving 2016.  My home. My safe place. I don’t feel I can attend any family gathering without detrimental emotional repercussions. I felt I was/am expected to be silent and get along. I tried for about 8 months after that but ultimately started getting sick in my body and mind.  Then I left for a two-week vacation and haven’t been back for over 2 years with the exception of 6 days when I came to get a few things in October 2017.  Essentially, I’ve been dealing with homelessness since and feeling there’s no safe place to be. I’m so thankful, my friend is letting me stay here in her apartment, allowing me to heal and improve my life. But yeh, my time is up here. I need to move on. As soon as I’m able to I will. I’m ready.

***
This situation with my roommate was just bringing up stuff and making me feel not good about myself and embarrassed about being in this situation at all. Not physically being able to get around and dealing with my mental health has been a thing. LUCKILY, everything in my life is getting better. The past two weeks, the past 2 days, have been INCREDIBLE.  So much so, that I was feeling sick to my stomach when I came back to the apartment yesterday, so I just had to talk with my roommate.

I didn’t talk to him before last night because I was too angry and hurt. I started pretending like I was living in a monastery. A silent retreat. To cope. The thing is, I knew it wasn’t personal against me because my roommate is generally very considerate about being quiet at night, lights low, headphones in. We both like our space and quiet time. He also very gently closes the door when he goes to work if I’m sleeping. We do really well to be in such a small space together. He’s a good guy but just my needs aren’t his priority. He said for him, it’s enough that I’m here. That’s company enough for him. He just felt no need to speak. He’s been  doing what he needs to take care of himself.

I also coudn’t start a conversation with him before now because I want/need reciprocity in my relationships. Harmony. Mutual respect. I don’t want to engage with people who don’t want to engage with me. It’s taken a lot of energy from me, emotionally and mentally but I’ve learned a lot. This experience has given me gifts. I know my value. I know I can write, make art, do my physical therapy exercises, meditate (I’m at 56 consecutive days) and generally take care of myself the best I can, in the midst of not goodness.

***
I want to share this. The song lyrics that best represent the emotional mind-set that I have had over the last several weeks:

“Cause I can’t make you love me when you don’t. You can’t make your heart feel something that it won’t.”
-from Adele’s Live Version

I’m not sure how I’m feeling besides exhausted. I don’t feel relieved or lighter. Stronger maybe. Proud yes.

I’ve promised myself that I won’t live with someone who doesn’t love, appreciate me, and care for my well being.
I’m so happy that this part of my life is nearing its end.  Like, so happy.

To all who have made it through this jumble of words/thoughts, cheers to you. I can’t re-read/edit now. I’m spent.

Thank you for reading/witnessing this time in my life of discovery, dealing with challenging personal isssus, and healing.
Know that I appreciate you.

Gratitude-August (6)

Gratitude:
-For J and Jess listening
-For myself.
-For being courageous. For finally talking with my roommate.

I needed water today. A friend was going to come to get me some but had a terrible emergency so I texted my roommate and asked him because I was out, it’s hot, I’m dehydrated, my leg woke me up/hurts etc. He didn’t reply. We talked about that too.

I put the two 1-gallon containers by the door with the 60 cents for the refills, then about an hour later he had hand on the doorknob, walking out the door and I asked, hey man, will you get me some water? He said, sure, grabbed them and left. I was LIVID. I knew we’d have to talk when he got back.

This has been so stressful.  The water issue has been ongoing. Going to the store too. I can’t carry much weight. So I’ll limp to the store or walk slowly depending on how the knee is, and I’ll get a few items, like a cucumber or beans, lemon, tea, little pint of ice-cream, etc. I used to ask him all the time if he needed something when I was out. Anything I could carry. He never asks me if I need anything. It just doesn’t happen. He doesn’t go often, anyway. His work schedule varies so much. I understand that.

It’s hard to ask for help and it’s scary to be this dependent. It’s humiliating all around to have to call around and ask others for help. It’s demoralizing. I also blame myself and wonder how I got to this point in my life. Like what the heck is going on?
**
The water problem will be resolved soon! I’m getting a Britta as soon as I have the money. Hopefully by this weekend.
**
It was good to hear things from his perspective coming out of his mouth instead of the speculation going on in my head.

In a nutshell, my needs/goals for connection, community, health, happiness, and his need to isolate, be self-contained, be neutral, especially after working with the public at his full-time job, are both entirely understandable, especially with the stresses we are facing in our lives/our places in the world at large, but ultimately incompatible. And for me disheartening.

Our conversation was open, honest, and necessary.  I told him I was proud of us and we’ve done a good job living in a 400 sq.ft. single room apartment these past 100 days or so (since the 1st day of Spring). He told me to not let things build up and just talk to him. I said okay, I’ve said everything I needed to say, thanks for listening.
**
We never fight or anything like that. There’s no maliciousness. I just feel alone/lonely.
I am the ignored houseplant or jar of rice. Not loved and cared for, nor hated.
**
One example. In July, we had 11 days go by and he started conversations with me only twice. Once to ask about a note taped on our door and one to inquire when our mutual friend was moving back to LA. And yes, I speak to him every day. At least a, have a good day/how was work?

I told him we could have much happier lives. That with the world the way it is, we need more love, and that starts with the people around us. I’ve invited him to play games, make art, watch TV.  He said he can’t right now. He told me he appreciates me asking and offering to share with him. He told me not to take it personally.
**
I respect his truth and have been where he is.
I feel him.
**
I’m an empath so I knew what was going on but needed the confirmation. I told him sometimes my interpretation of his energy has made me physically ill. The only relief is when he steps out. I didn’t say that part. I also sage, pray, and tell myself to mind my own energetic business. I didn’t say those things either.

A bright side: One of the same needs we have is low light at night. That’s my time. I do most of my stuff at night. I need that calmness.  He has that same need or he’s sleeping, so that works out for both of us.
**
He told me I’m not responsible for his happiness, to just live my life. I  got really teary and almost started crying.
**
Another one of my issues is that I’ve been feeling judged for months. So I asked him did he judge me? He said no. And I said ok, that’s my insecurity then. I own it. I’d just been thinking he didn’t like me and I wasn’t worth his time or consideration. Self-esteem issues.
**
I am grateful for today.
-For letting go of anger and dealing with the aftermath: sadness
-For friendship
-For Toni Morrison, her life works, words, wisdom. Even in death she has helped me with healing where I didn’t even know I was (still) hurting.

Thanks for reading.

Mental Wellness (Relationships)

Whoever I’m with in future will be responsible for their mental health. I am responsible for my mental health. It’s an everyday thing. It’s challenging work. Today I recognize and give myself credit for all I do and how far I’ve come.
**
Someone diagnosed me with a mental illness (Bipolar 1) in late April 2004 at age 25. I was hospitalized.  To say my entire world shifted drastically feels like a huge understatement.  From my perspective, it was a spiritual emergence that turned into an emergency. I’ll be writing more about this experience in future. From my doctors’ perspectives (western medicine) it was a psychotic episode with spiritual delusions. Neither are wrong assessments. Both are true. And it took a long, long time to reconcile my thoughts on the matter.
**
Why is mental health on my mind right now? It’s relationship time. I’m in a space/time in my life where I am feeling the desire to partner up.  I’ve had this feeling for a while now. Probably for the past 9 months.  I don’t know how to describe it other than I feel and know it’s time. From my life pattern so far, I have long gaps in between relationships. It’s been a little over 5 years since my last one, which lasted about 2 years. Before that, I had been solo for 7 years. So yeh, free spirit that I am, I’m choosing carefully who I partner with.
***
I know many people who are living with mental illness, whether diagnosed or not.  I know people who are coupled, where one or both partners are navigating mental illness/mental health. I witness how it affects their union. I listen, observe, and learn from them.  I am grateful for the modeling.  At some time, I didn’t think I could be with someone who had a mental health diagnosis because I didn’t think I’d be able to deal with theirs and mine. Now I know that I can, with the condition that they are committed to their health, as I am to mine. We will be supportive of one another no doubt. The intention and effort is what matters because there will be good days and challenging days. As individuals, the commitment to self-care/self-love, will be the foundation of our healthy relationship. And that’s what’s up.

A dream becoming true:
A dedicated partner in a fun purpose-filled relationship. Creativity, business/entrepreneurship, home, family, travel, community service, philanthropy are some of what I’m interested in.  I’m sure the person I’ll be with has similar desires/needs/hopes/wishes, along with others I am psyched to learn about.

Thanks for reading.
Feel free to share what you think/feel in the comments below or via email.

Ta for now.

Survival, Existence, and Wellness

Every day is a challenge and I try every day to get through the day. And so far I’ve survived every day, and that is amazing!

I endure. I persist.

I can imagine but I honestly don’t know for sure/(barely) care at all, what people think of me, as far as what I do or don’t do. What I should do. If I work. How I work.

Their perceptions belong to them.
My life is mine. I do what I can with what I have. I do what I can with what has been gifted. I do what I can. What I think I can. What I feel I can. Which are all the same thing to me.

Does a healthy brain think this way?,

And if it doesn’t, which I’m honestly not sure, why hassle someone whose brain doesn’t process the same way?

Chronic homelessness. Chronic mental illness. Sometimes they go hand in hand. Without help from family members and/or friends, how do people with chronic mental illness live? How do we survive? How do we exist? Is survival worth it? Is existence enough? I think without our friends, family, and/or public assistance, most of us would be dead. Most of us wouldn’t survive. Most of us wouldn’t exist.

And most of the people we know want us here. Sometimes more than we do. At least they say they do. And I don’t know why it’s this way. I don’t know why.

Does a healthy brain think this way? Probably not. So why expect me to understand or think they way you do, or do the things you would do? I fucking can’t.

Things are getting better for me for sure all around. Financially especially. Which is a relief. Over the past 4-5 months, I’ve had stability as far as a place to live goes. This is the longest I’ve stayed every night anywhere since 2009. That was true at 3.5 months really. And obviously it hasn’t been without judgments and frustrations but still, it’s been beneficial. It’s enabled me a space in order to think, plan, and willfully implement healthy/healthier habits/changes for myself/my life. It’s given me a foundation to create from.

I endure. I persist.

Slowly but surely. Every day. It’s everyday work. I don’t get paid for all I do (yet) but I pay for it in ways that may not seem to cost but do. I’m sure you can imagine. And if you can’t, maybe that’s a good thing? Maybe.

***
A successful day for me is not the same as it is for others and I don’t think people who don’t have mental health issues can ever understand. Those that will take any job to survive and pay for things, pay to live, don’t seem to understand that sometimes, with some jobs, we end up paying more than they pay us. We end up paying with our health, our mental health, our physical health, spiritual health, energy. We end up paying with our lives. I don’t know what the answers are. I don’t know even how to end this.

I don’t think a mentally healthy brain thinks this way.

Does it?

Today I recognize that stability, a home, is a necessity. I will work from home. I will have my own business. The dream. The plan. First things first: Shelter, food, clothing. Basic needs. Then build from there. Wish me well. Thanks for reading.

Gratitude-October (12)

Gratitude:
-The Sun. The Rain. It was a nice sunny day. Felt nice. Started sprinkling when I was heading back to the apartment just around the time the earth turned away from the sun.

-Walking. It’s slow going. The knee is better. The ankle/foot is getting there. According to my friend the reason why the ankle/foot is hurting now is because it was compensating while my knee was hurt. *sigh* Almost healed up. Hoping in the next couple of weeks I can go hiking again. Well at least down the mountain trail. We’ll see. Fingers crossed.

-Free Spotify app. Today’s playlists. Rihanna, a bit of Angel Haze, Frank Ocean

-Food. I ate hours earlier than I usually do. No 16:8 today. Which is fine.

-A place to sleep

-My friend, R. for his presence in my life, for our friendship that spans 27 years (!!!), for his vulnerability, for his mom getting through her unexpected surgery. May her pain go away as soon as possible, for reminding me that what I do/want to do, creating content for people is worthy, important, and potentially comforting.
-J for being steady for 26+ years of friendship. I wouldn’t be the friend I am to many without her shining example.
-T for her generosity, patience, acceptance.
-For my Auntie Deb and Uncle Joe

-My self for doing what I needed to do. For working it out the best I could. For tending to my own business.

Blue_Ink_Faded_Me_10.11.18

Mood. Early Morning. Confused, Angry, Scattered.

Impressionistic_HigherPerspecitve_Me_10.11.18

Mood. Sorting Through Messy Thoughts/Emotions. Gaining A Higher Perspective.

Black_Ink_Sillyness_10.11.18

Mood. After All.

Feel free to share anything you’re grateful for in the comments below 🙂

Ta