Letter about failing to be Here

20th of July 2019

Hi A.

When we first started talking about this blog I spend a lot of time thinking about what to call it. I knew I liked the idea of it being letters we wrote to each other, but we are also writing to and for something greater. I didn’t like the words heal or recover. I know we are not going to hold back on writing honestly about being suicidal. But Letters to Death were a little depressing and not accurate. We are not writing to die, we are writing to live. But Letters to Life were way too optimistic and didn’t in any way feel accurate either.

We are both writing to find a way through. We are writing to find a way to make life bearable. We are writing to understand ourselves better and because we are fighting for our lives in this battle against our traumas.

And then I remembered Andrea Gibsons quote: “Fine is the suckiest word. It’s the opposite of HERE.” And I loved this idea of Here. Here is the opposite of fine, of dissociative, of death. Here is where the pain is. But it’s also the only place healing can begin. Here is the place we are trying to get to. We spend so long trying to escape. By dissociating, by wishing or attempting to die, by erasing ourselves, by trying to be something we are not, by listening to other people instead of ourselves. And here felt like such a powerful word to me. Here in all its pain and ugliness. Here in all its beauty.

Andrea continues: “Here is the only place left on the map. Here is where you learn laughter can go extinct and come back” and in a different poem they write “I don’t care about any of the words on the map besides. You are here.”

This week I haven’t been Here as much as I needed. Yesterday I wasn’t Here at all. Here seems so far away right now. I got lost on the way there. Which isn’t uncommon for me. But this week was supposed to be a week of being Here.

The first thing that breaks down when I am pressed is the ability to say no and set boundaries.. Not that that ability was ever well-functioning, setting boundaries is a very difficult thing for me. I know you know that. But I am working on it and have worked a lot on that in the last couple of years. And I’m doing better. When I have time to plan it out. But the second I am pressed and don’t have time to prepare for the act of setting the boundary or the act of saying no I am completely unable to do so. And this week was one of those weeks when it all comes crashing down and I know the only thing that could have prevented it is me saying no and sticking to that no.

But too many unexpected things happened. Several plans were changed and some of the planes I had made couldn’t been confirmed till the last minute, and that is so stressful and messes with my entire energy-budget.

A lot of people use the spoons analogy. I like it. I just only learned about it recently and by now it feels like it’s too difficult to change the way I think of my energy. I think of it as an account with at budget and some arbitrary amount of energy stored, and everything I have to do costs some amount. I am unable to set numbers on, but I have a good sense of how much things cost and what the balance on the account is. I’m just really poor at managing it, and sometimes I misjudge the price of things. I really need a savings account for my energy. I have been living with too many red numbers for way too long. And I don’t have an energy income at the moment, only expenses.

If I really want to find a way to be Here I have to find a way to get better at managing my energy budget. I have to say no and stop thinking I owe everyone that I spend more energy than I have. I know that the only one who expects this of me is me. And I have to find a way to change that expectation. I spend too much time being dissociative or in other ways not being Here when I have to pay off my energy debt.

And I think a part of me wants to be Here.

My parents won’t understand me saying no. And I keep getting back to that. I read that reasons are for reasonable people. When you spend a great deal of your life, especially as a child, around unreasonable people boundaries become difficult. They are my parents. And thinking of them as unreasonable is still weird. It’s an act of rebellion to set boundaries and say no. Not picking up the phone because I need space or just don’t have the energy to talk to them is an act of rebellion. Asking for what I need is an act of rebellion. Doing these thing and acting fearless in the face of whatever their reaction might be is the most difficult thing. It only works if I act fearless, but my body still reacts as if it is dangerous.
A part of me wants to sit down and have a reasonable conversation with them about my needs, where I listen and explain and we are all open to finding compromises that works. But I know that isn’t possible. And that hurts. The conversation would create more conflict than I can handle. So right now the tactic is to implement boundaries small steps at a time. Celebrating the success of not picking up the phone today and being okay with failing to do the same tomorrow. Each victory is a victory. This is a long term goal. And I need to keep thinking of it that way.

Today I’m just thinking about how much it messes me up to not be able to ask them for something as simple as time to myself, planning or less phone calls with no purpose.

I don’t think I can write more today. I don’t have the energy to edit, so I apologise if this is a mess or there are more mistakes. Today posting this letter for you is all I can do. Hopefully next week the letter will be on time and be better.

I hope your vacation is going great and that you can enjoy this time away from home. I’m sending you good thoughts.

Looking forward to hearing from you.