TW/CN: Mentions of abuse, childhood abuse, gaslighting, rape, sexual assault

I’ve been contemplating things like why I am not working and researching and writing, even though I know I could at least research and write (the working part is often more doubtful, depending on type of job and how my body is feeling at any given time).

And, due to recent events with a now-not metamour, I’ve been thinking about belief, and why people believing me is so important.

This is different from believing in me. My partners believe in me. They believe I can do whatever I want to do, and that’s a wonderful thing.

But I specifically mean people believing me when I say things–like, “I need XYZ” or “Please give me some time” or “I am an honest and direct person.” I don’t lie. I don’t think I would make a very good liar–I would trip over myself, because I have been gaslit so often that I have difficulty believing myself. It is much easier on me if I tell things straight from the beginning. And if I get details confused, I do my best to own up to that and recognize that my fragmented brain has reflected things at weird angles.

The ex-metamour didn’t believe me–not about anything I had to say about myself over a period of almost two months. Hence, my reflecting now.

That lack of belief cut deeply–right to the quick of how I was abused as a child. My parents didn’t allow me to be a person, not a real, whole person, as a child. Everything about me was confined to narrow parameters that they made up and changed while my eyes were closed, and if I bumped into those parameters, everything went to chaos and terribleness. So it was with the ex-metamour. And the core of that? The core is lack of belief. It is very easy to unmake a person if one chooses not to believe anything said person says. That was my childhood. My parents didn’t believe I’d broken my arm; that I had mono; that I had pneumonia; that I’d torn my knee–all physical, easily proven ailments. I almost died from both the mono and the pneumonia–the former when I was in 8th grade, the latter when I was 4 years old. I have lived in the United States my entire life, and at both those points in my life–and for both the broken arm and the torn knee–I had decent health care under a not-as-bad-as-now economic system. I suffered with the torn knee for days before being seen by a doctor, all while being yelled at and told how I was making it up to ruin the family vacation; the broken arm? So many people stopped by our house that never randomly stopped by and made offers to watch other children in the house, to take me to the doctor, to drive (even though my mom could drive). Mom made me wait until after my step-dad came home, and by then, it didn’t even hurt anymore. Shock, I guess.

Anyway, the point isn’t about the injuries and etc. The point is that even with easily provable, physical ailments–and things that were pretty easy fixes under the then-existing medical and economic systems–I wasn’t believed. So anything non-physical? Anything I couldn’t ‘prove’? That definitely wouldn’t be believed. It is no wonder I didn’t ever tell anyone when I was sexually assaulted and later when I was raped.

And now, later in my life, I find myself at this place where I know I am a fantastic researcher and writer. I know I can do these things. But then, saying that–writing it–gives me anxiety. Because I feel like someone will come along to tell me I’m full of it, that I’m bragging, that I’m making it up. Impostor syndrome (not uncommon, I know). And it’s pretty easy to see where it comes from, given the lack of belief. And I also find myself not researching and writing unless I am in a setting where I am surrounded by people who believe me. I am motivated and I do well when I am in an academic setting–seminary, undergrad. And then, once I’m out, I stop. I don’t have a community of support out here, and I don’t know how to find one.

And also, it is a little terrifying. Because, sure, I could try to do it all alone, by myself, without that community of support. But I don’t know if I’m strong enough to withstand the voices in my head–the brain weasels–let alone anyone else who might be an abusive jerk. And by that, I don’t mean people who have valid criticisms of my work–that’s how academia works, by critiquing and building upon work. But people who seek to tear down? I don’t know. Without a community to tell me whether what I’m doing is valid or helpful?

Plus, without that community, what’s the point? I don’t particularly want to shout into a void.

Anyway–I think I’m supposed to be writing and researching. I think I know the things I want to research and write about, even. But I lack the funding to get into another academic setting–especially with 45 and etc taking down students–and I lack a support community, and I don’t know how to find one outside of a formal academic setting, and I don’t even know if such a thing exists.


Experiencing Depression

One of my favorite Vloggers, Laci Green, did a pretty personal vlog on her channel, Sex+, about her own experience with depression. It’s worth a watch:

She’s right when she says depression is isolating, just like TheBloggess is right when she says that depression is a lying bastard.

It’s hard to remember, in the thick of it.

For me, this most recent experience of depression has existed as a series of dips along a continuum. I can’t remember when I first felt myself falling into the hole…it’s been a really long time. I’ve been here for a really long time. Sometimes, the hole is deeper and darker than other times, and I feel like it’s so dark I can’t see the way out. I have suicidal ideation. I feel like no matter how hard a light shines, it cannot pierce the darkness. And then…somehow…because I make myself talk to Eren or Zyn, because I make myself move away from my brain long enough and focus into movies for six hours instead of staring into the heartache of racism and sexism/misogyny and transphobia and heteronormativity and monosexism, of staring into all the ways I’ve failed to be perfect….

Somehow, I come out of the deeper pits.

I’m still in the gray, though. I get a little higher some days, and some days I remember what it was like when I felt like I could touch the sky, what it felt like when the wind brushed my skin and sunlight poured in.

I think part of this is that so many days, I have trouble even moving. I would like to get out more. Heat exhausts me, and we’re being slammed with heat waves. Sometimes reaching down hurts. Sometimes walking hurts.

And I am riddled insecurities–that I read so much and post so many readings that my friends are annoyed, that I ‘love’ or ‘like’ too many things on various social networking sites, that I clog my friends’ feeds.

It makes it difficult to do what I’d like to do with this blog–more in-depth posting, less personal posting. I need to dig into things, and keep up with my academic things for that. Instead, I’m listless, and reading so much to run away from my brain, and then feeling empathic pain from much of my chosen reading, and then doing neither the digging in nor the posting.

I’m trying to remember to be compassionate with myself. My wife is certainly compassionate with me. I’m trying to remember that not everyone is completely irritated with my lack of ability to do anything, or disappointed in me.

I’m trying to figure out if there are triggers for some of these deeper pits. I think there are, for some of them. Some of them seem (for now) unavoidable. Others mystify me for now.

My experience with depression is much like what I think (without re-reading) this blog post probably reads like: a lot jumbled, as my mind tries to skitter away from things I need to examine in order to repair myself. I have at least e-mailed a therapist.

I am hopeful for more and better posting as I find my way out of the depth and gloom.

Writing, Depression, and Expectations

Every week, I set myself writing goals. I don’t set them only with myself–I set them with my Dom, too (though the ones I set with myself are loftier than the ones I set with him, usually). Up to this week, I’ve set a goal of one post per week with him, and hoped for more from myself. This week, I’ve set myself a goal of two posts.

It’s Thursday, and I’m writing my first post for the week.

I’ve spent most of this week on my couch. Part of this has been due to heat–our a/c has been on the fritz, we’ve had a heat wave, and even on my best days I haven’t handled heat well. I actually am allergic to heat after a certain point–I get itchy, break out in hives. Having high blood pressure and being on medication for that puts me at a little bit of an elevated risk for heat-related issues, too. And the heat has made me *exhausted*. I’ve still had insomnia, but I’ve been falling asleep in the early evening (when it’s hottest in here) and waking up in the early morning (when it’s coolest), which has wonked my days completely around.

But a larger part has been depression. I’ve just been too out of anything other than deep sadness to *do* anything.

I had Eren home a bit extra this week due to some scheduling mix-ups, and so we got to watch some movies we’d been planning on watching together (Boy Meets Girl, which *gaspshockawe* stars a transgender woman playing a transgender woman in a romantic comedy and The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec, a tale of a French novelist’s adventures to save her sister) as well as a couple I’d planned on watching but not necessarily with Eren (An Honest Liar, at the advice of TheBloggess, and which is focused on James Randi and his fight against dishonest deception using honest deception; and In A World…, focusing on one woman’s attempts to make it big in the voice-over industry). It helped to spend that time away from reading and deluging people’s feeds with the things I read every day.

I’m trying to tell myself that it’s okay that I got a late start to this week’s two posts–that writing one today isn’t ‘too late,’ and that I will do better next week and get the first one out earlier. Depression makes that hard. It tells me I can’t do it, that it doesn’t matter even if I do.

I’m trying to hold onto the bits of light I see, though, in these movies and in the inspiration I see my friends posting. My voice is small, but it can matter. It doesn’t feel like it’s doing anything, but it is.

Here’s to tomorrow’s post being better, and to next week being even better!