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Archive for October, 2010

Day 15 – Flicker of light

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Like the ominous greyness that went away as quietly as it had first descended (thank you Sumatra!), the fog of shadows and whispers surrounding me seems to have retreated – for now.

Over the weekend and the early part of the week, my anxiety levels were high – so high I couldn’t even focus during the counselling session which was intended to help me; that I was also asked (not by my counsellor), and was myself open, to consider medical aid if just to tide myself over the next few weeks on the work front – work is work afterall, and I have been given a lot of space to breathe the last two weeks.

I don’t know what it was I had done that was different. Maybe this is just one of my many upswings – albeit the longest so far, 1.5 days and counting. Maybe it’s dumping endorphins into my system before going to work every morning (thank you Robin Sharma!). Maybe it’s just acknowledging and speaking about my anxieties. Maybe it’s about reaching out and asking for help and getting it. Maybe it’s having that brief moment of clarity to think through my state(s) of mind and arriving at a realisation or two.

Nevertheless, I am glad for the respite….

And I am still amazed at how supportive and very, very nice my new boss has been – in spite of everything.

And that in the midst of all this shit and feeling as if my fortunes have taken a 180-degree turn within a few months, all is not lost. I really am lucky, aren’t I?

Right now, I am feeling thankful – in spite of everything.

Written by The Intimate Stranger

October 29th, 2010 at 12:27 am

Day 11

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Michael: “Your life is over Alex. I’m  here to offer you a new one. But you have to be willing to earn it.”

Alex: “What do I gotta do?”

Michael: “Learn….”

~ NIKITA (2010)

Written by The Intimate Stranger

October 24th, 2010 at 12:30 pm

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Day 10 – When

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Last night, I was worry-free. I didn’t do anything to make it happen. I just was.

This morning, the brief respite I was granted last night was all gone. Uncertainty, fear and helplessness surround me again.

When will I see my light at the end of the tunnel? When?????

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October 23rd, 2010 at 4:27 pm

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Day 9 – Disconnected

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I’m counting the days to my recovery…. whenever that might be.

I don’t see the necessity to write a daily account – especially when the last few days were not good.

In any case, most of the work should be done in person – actually speaking  up and translating those words into action – given that the issue is communication and failure at expressing myself.

No more hiding behind the pen (or keyboard, as the case may be).

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I wish they would stop shaking her as if she was their money tree.

Someone speculated that all the ‘good luck’ they’ve been enjoying because of her has somehow been draining her and causing the recent bouts of illness.

But superstition or not, their increasingly opportunistic behaviour is distasteful and they have become an embarrassment.

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“Don’t say you’re fine – fine is not a feeling. Especially when you are feeling anything but fine.”

I have become so good at hiding that I have lost touch with my feelings.

And the problem with not speaking up is that after a while, or rather many years, not only do I often find myself sorely wanting in the department of forming a personal opinion, I no longer even know what I want.

So messed up I am, no?

Written by The Intimate Stranger

October 22nd, 2010 at 11:41 pm

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Day 5 – Mask

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A couple of times this evening, I almost cried when she asked why it was that I related unhappy memories with a smile. (I didn’t realise that actually.) She highlighted the incongruity and said I was too used to brushing things off and not stating my opinion, that I say “I’m fine” when I’m not.

I shrugged and told her that’s probably because I related my memories with the benefit of hindsight and because they happened so long ago – so long ago that I thought they ought not to matter anymore.

Guess not….

And I suppose I was just too tired to cry.

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Day 5 went relatively well – ‘well’ because I accomplished little but had only a few minor episodes of anxiety; ‘relatively’ because I was in a significantly different space over the weekend and had expended a lot of energy just keeping it together.

Maybe it’s just me blowing things out of proportion. Maybe getting lots of sleep helps. Maybe I just need to drain myself with multiple panic attacks.

I wonder what Day 6 would be like – I’m like a mood yo-yo these days.

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The most interesting discovery this evening, being the first of The Sessions, is that my issue – or rather my mother’s – with my jaw might be related to my communication problems.

Hmmm…..

PS:

I don’t blame my parents for who I am. But I do want to understand why I am the way I am. And then I need to work on me.

Written by The Intimate Stranger

October 18th, 2010 at 11:43 pm

Day 2 – Don’t let go

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I’ve lost about 3 kg in the last month or so. No appetite and not enough sleep.

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Day 2 wasn’t as good – feeling overwhelmed and fear lurking in the shadows. Had to keep a constant grip on myself. Just had to get through the day; there was dinner with friends and I was looking forward to it.

Reminding myself that I have been allowed to start afresh and it’s baby steps for now. Stumped by some work but did what I could and figured the rest would sort itself out. What’s the worst that could happen?

Score card: Got a few things done and more importantly, made it through Friday.

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Head feels ‘tight’. Feeling the prickly heat all over too.

Still, am thankful for the few extra hours of sleep this morning – not so sure about the quality but at least I managed to stay in bed for some shut-eye.

Today is a sunny day. I love sunny days – they give me hope. Something about dreary skies and the night scare me. It wasn’t always like this.

Please let tomorrow be sun and blue skies too.

Written by The Intimate Stranger

October 16th, 2010 at 12:01 pm

Day 1 – Baby Steps

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Woke up this morning feeling…. strangely composed. (Considering that I was having multiple anxiety attacks yesterday and almost bolted, again.)

Got to work and received a warm welcome, especially from the 2 elves. While I don’t doubt their sincerity, I realised – after each quickly spilled their more private thoughts to me, separately at that – that my return served more, shall we say ‘practical’ agendas. Nonetheless, I think a new level in camaraderie was reached today.

Maybe I just had to hit rock bottom so I could face my worst fears. Life is strange that way sometimes. Or if you are a believer – everything happens for a reason.

Crossing my fingers for the next few days. I just need to get to Monday evening in one piece.

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She said I was always running away from the men. She’s right.

But! To be fair to me, let’s not be desperate either ya? Just because I have dismal self-esteem doesn’t mean anyhow whack righttttt….

On the other hand, there are also the men who run away from me – because they find me weird.

Sigh….

Which then makes you wonder about those who don’t run screaming for the hills. They’re either extremely unperceptive. Or, I should start running for the hills.

Written by The Intimate Stranger

October 14th, 2010 at 10:55 pm

Changeling

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I’ve been telling friends that there is no more reason to write regularly on the blog – been there done that, plus I’m busy with life. But I thought I would just keep the blog around for the occasional brief post and because I have no compelling reason to shut it down.

I’ve found the reason, and the need, to start writing again.

Welcome, whoever you are who’s still reading.

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Just got off the phone with SF. It’s way past midnight now, just after 0200 hours. It was one of those long phone calls I used to have with my girlfriends – just talking about our day and life in general; reflecting on recent and not so recent events; looking back at old memories with the benefit of hindsight and new eyes.

These late night phonecalls are a rarity at our age (at least for me), what with having to wake up for work the next morning (I had a nice afternoon nap and I’m on leave the next day) and needing more sleep in general.

But there’s something about late night phone calls in the comfort of your room, when the rest of the world is asleep. As you walk down the silent hallway of your mind, doors previously closed start to open as you pass them. And as you look into each room, you sometimes see things that weren’t there before….

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I’ve always thought my parents didn’t bring me up as well as they should, though to be fair, my physical needs and education were adequately taken care of.

Many things however, such as social skills and just getting through life, had to be learnt outside the home through my own experiences, from books and movies, and from friends. That didn’t always work out well and I would stumble many, many times – too many times.

I sometimes wonder what I would be today if I had not missed out on certain experiences and opportunities as a teenager. I was good in sports and could have been a swimmer/athlete…. I was also good with words and could have developed professionally in that area….

All that is water under the bridge now. And I certainly don’t feel my parents owe me these alternate realities. They’ve made sure I was fed, clothed, sheltered and educated. But in many ways, I was left on my own to grow as a person. Whether or not my parents had neglected to cover all their bases with the children, the fact of the matter is that sometimes, they were simply unable to fill all the gaps because they themselves were lacking in those areas and wouldn’t have known any better.

As the years go by, the distance between me and my parents widens incrementally. We still talk of course but it becomes harder to identify with each other’s lives and who we – or rather, I – have become.

I think that’s why my mum doesn’t like SF. Call it jealousy or what you will. Mum thinks I listen to SF too much and I spend too much time with her.

You see, my mum doesn’t know the face in the cradle anymore.

I am the stolen child.

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My friends were waiting for me to wake up from general anaesthesia.

J had his first look of The Ex and there was an unspoken dislike. We had also just started dating for a couple of months then.

Many years later, in the immediate aftermath of the break-up, A and R thought I should re-think my decision and speak with them first, if not let them speak with The Ex first. J, on the other hand, told me in not so many words that The Ex was not to be trusted.

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I used to be ‘very quiet’. I still am described as such though it’s nowhere as bad as before. I don’t remember how bad ‘bad’ was though, but I do also remember there were stretches when I was more vocal.

It’s amazing how The Best Friend continued to engage me during my ‘very quiet’ phase when she first knew me. Most people would have given up talking to a wall within 5 minutes and walked away. Most normal human beings anyway. Heh.

I think if I expressed myself more, I would be a less frustrated person. And so would my friends. Laugh.

Written by The Intimate Stranger

October 13th, 2010 at 3:54 am

No Fear

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I close my eyes.

And I breathe – inhalations matching exhalations, taking the same time to inhale as to exhale, an exercise in balance. I am at peace.

This is me checking into my alternative reality – a place where fear does not exist. I look into my mind and I see a body of clear water – untainted – and an undisturbed sand bed. Gentle ripples move across the surface, occasionally catching the sunlight – proffering nature’s diamonds for the fortunate watcher. I hear only the sound of the water, and the universe. I am at peace.

I go about my daily affairs as I normally would,  and each stimulus is processed anew, uncoloured by my previous experience and biases. I do not see the faces around me nor hear the thoughts behind the faces – they do not matter.

This is me starting afresh, all counters reset, unburdened by the past.

This is me taking that first step – of many more – to recovery, growth and actualisation.

See you on the other side.

Written by The Intimate Stranger

October 12th, 2010 at 8:22 pm

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The higher you fly…

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Itching

Shedding

Evolving… Mutating…

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I had misunderstood her text message initially, thinking she had mentioned the event as a general example. It was only on re-reading that I realised she meant what had happened almost half a lifetime ago.

The monster under my bed is back.

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October 7th, 2010 at 8:15 pm