Trapped Inside My Own Skull

Drafts have been piling up.

I keep starting to write things. The ones I complete often end up too personal for me to bring myself to post, which is odd for someone that basically started blogging so I could have a public journal, that has already posted tons of quite personal stuff, and that hates small talk so much I’ll get personal so quickly that a stranger might end up with half my life story (and perhaps a fervent wish never to have to interact with me again).

The last couple of days have not been pleasant. The last three weeks have been a mild roller coaster as my brain brings a variety of emotions and memories back online.

The last week of May, the 20 year anniversary of arriving in Ireland for a month, carried a sharp sense of loss. I grieved for the dream that died and for a life in which I had to go back twenty years to point to a time when I successfully took a step towards my own dreams and what I wanted out of life.

The next week brought with it the echo of my former self, still alive and breathing in Enya’s music, and I remembered how confident and hopeful she was about her future. She knew she probably wouldn’t achieve extraordinary success, but she had faith that she’d make something of her life, that it would be good enough, and that she’d be happy enough.

I felt like I’d just been confronted with the ghost of someone I’d helped murder, but I altered my language to make it more hopeful – not ghosts and murder but instead having rediscovered a part of myself that I had believed I had to let go, of allowing myself to reintegrate with her and move forward together.

I’ve been getting random flashes of memory, and even though they are often positive, their appearance can be so startling that it puts me off balance, leaves me feeling like I have no idea what’s going on, and leads to anxiety.

I walked past a pile of dead branches lying by the side of the trail in the park, and remembered being small and building little bowers from similar branches with my sisters, leaving an opening in the middle where we could creep inside, like some kind of fairy fort. I remembered the feeling of eager excitement and working with my hands and had tears spring instantly to my eyes, which was upsetting because I was in public and don’t want anyone to see my crying.

I had the realization, to my chagrin, that my emotions reactivating included the emotions involved with romance and sexuality and that I’d developed an intense crush on a friend. I haven’t told anyone but my therapist, because one of my best friends had been in love with him and he’d turned her down. It feels like a betrayal of her to have developed feelings myself.

What’s worse is that my intense crushes tend to last for years. I can ride them out – I’ve done so multiple times in my life – but the timing couldn’t be more inconvenient. I really, really don’t need this right now. I don’t need the instability involved with feeling my heart do a little flip if his name pops up in messenger, verses the feelings of anxiety when he hasn’t said anything to me in a couple of days and my brain is busily telling me it’s because I’m weird, awkward, and worst of all, boring.

Even worse, it’s making me examine my marriage and realize there’s a good chance my husband and I were never in love, don’t have sexual chemistry, and just married for pragmatic reasons. But he’s the only sexual partner I’ve ever had, the only person I’ve ever even kissed, and I have no idea if human sexuality* would feel tepid with anyone for me, or if it feels tepid because I’ve never been with someone for whom I felt romantic and sexual chemistry.

And perhaps the most goddamn awful thing of the last three weeks have been the last two days, in which I have been BORED. So bored that I couldn’t find anything to alleviate it. Everything I normally do and enjoy or that at least calms me seemed insipid or tedious or I just couldn’t connect to it. I couldn’t focus to write fiction, I couldn’t focus to write non-fiction. I didn’t want to read, or watch TV, or work on projects around the house, I just wanted to be able to claw out of my skull from behind my eyeballs.

I told my husband a couple of weeks ago that I needed emotional distance right now because of everything I’m processing. I didn’t say that I’d realized I couldn’t keep sharing everything about my inner world with him. Not only is it an unhealthy lack of boundaries on my part, that led to a severe loss of cohesion as an individual, a loss of my identity and sense of self, he makes me feel like I’m handing baggage over to the TSA so they can check it for bombs.

He’s not interested in what is happening in my inner world for my sake, he’s only interested in my inner world because he wants to feel secure. I don’t feel secure, and I can’t offer him security, and he’s not handling it well. It’s only been 2 weeks and he’s already on edge and talking about how relationships ‘should be’ when our relationship has never, in our entire existence, been what a healthy relationship should be.

Our relationship will never be what a healthy relationship should be if I don’t have a chance to become a healthy person that can have appropriate boundaries and make sure that our marriage is something that gives both of us a measure of comfort and happiness, instead of providing that to just one of us.

Now anxiety is kicking in because I just want to get to our shiny new apartment, with a new area of the world to explore, even if it is just Indiana – I want to have a second vehicle, and be able to go places and see things, even if they’re just small things and only for a few hours while the children are in school. I want the chance to find work, maybe finish my degree, build a social life, and feel like a goddamn functional adult human again.

I don’t want to make decisions about the future of our relationship while still sleep deprived and dealing with convalescence from major depression. I want to go forward with our plan to spend a year trying to fix my sleep and keep the apartment clean enough that I won’t feel stressed out to live in it. I want to assess how things are going at the end of that year.

Even though right now I’m having trouble picturing our marriage lasting much longer, I want to be able to assess it from a healthier place. I don’t want to be left wondering if I made a bad decision because I was in a bad place, and that I might have chosen differently under different circumstances.

I don’t know if my husband can hold himself together and give me the space I need to hold myself together so we can make it through that year and I don’t know what’s going to happen to me if we can’t. He’s assured me in the past that he wouldn’t screw me over because I’m the mother of his children, but he’s never gone through the break up of a relationship that’s lasted almost 20 years. His good intentions might go out the window dealing with that level of stress.

So yes. There are the too personal things I’ve been struggling to get out, that have been leaving me feeling almost permanently discombobulated lately, and perhaps if I just publish this damn thing it will help exorcise a few of these demons.

*When referencing human sexuality feeling tepid I mean even the small stuff, like kissing. My first kiss may as well have been a handshake for all the emotion it inspired. It left me feeling confused and wondering how this could be the thing people make such a big deal about. Is it me? Is it my relationship? I DON’T KNOW, GODDAMMIT.

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