Saturday, April 6, 2019

Trepidation

Post content warning: This post is a braindump of my anxieties and worries around a failed interpersonal relationship that involved alienation, lovebombing, and gaslighting, as well as jobs that involved similar patterns and the impacts of being caught in feedback loops of that sort of behavior for the better part of the past six years. Honestly it's probably best to just skip over this post, it's sad and depressing.


I wrote the original post that follows on March 30th, a couple days before I caught a commuter flight on April 1 for a four day trip to Mountain View and San Francisco. I spent Wednesday at my employer's office the Embarcadero, a short walk from the Ferry Building and the baseball stadium. In theory I could have gone into the city on Thursday, but… I spent a lot of my time on Wednesday working on keeping my brain "calm" enough to work. Walking around on the Embarcadero left me about 3 minutes from crying, I managed to hold the tears back until just now.

I'm still so sad and angry at the person I view as my ex. I'm… pretty sure I was always nothing to them. Not a girlfriend, not a partner, not even a friend. Just… what? Maybe an emotional support appliance that they had sex with when we saw each other IRL? I don't know. I can't even begin to know, they were so closed off emotionally, they wouldn't talk with me about anything.

It hurts. I keep trying to tell myself it was just a trauma bond, but… I don't know. Was it a trauma bond? Did/do I love the person I thought was them? If I did/do love them, it doesn't matter, because what I loved isn't actually them.

It's a sad, dark, lonely place inside my head.

Original post:

"Anniversary" trauma is one of the things I have the hardest time with. Things like "Facebook On This Day Memories" and auto-generated Apple Photos albums exacerbate my trauma and pain.

For example:

Six years ago I was on the cusp of starting my first real job in the tech sector.

Four years ago I was on the verge of starting therapy, and exiting one abusive relationship only to immediately start a differently abusive relationship that I finally definitively ended in the summer of 2018 (and this week is almost exactly a year after the last time I saw that person in real life).

"April Fools, time to fly back down to the Bay. Walk in the footsteps of your past self, now that you're a different person" I think to myself.

I feel surrounded by the ghosts of my past; the shades of the people who used to be in my life. Fragments of who I used to be. It's suffocating. Worse than being trapped in a hostile mosh pit. I feel surrounded by more of the "dead" than I did standing in a cemetery in Colma, looking for Emperor Joshua Norton's grave.

I'm getting ready to go launch the first big project of my new job. My choices, my decisions; part of me is so excited to share this work, to see how it improves other folks' lives… Instead of thinking about that I'm sitting here, looking back. Looking at who I was just a few years ago, knowing how much I've grown and changed, knowing how much hard work I've done on myself. Getting out of the toxicity, getting away from people who kept me in a headspace where everything was paranoia, anxiety, and pain.

Worried that the ghosts will show up. Worried that they'll come track me down. Show up. Haunt me up close and personal. For weeks I've been having nightmares about being confronted by an ex while I'm busy at work. That in the middle of being "strong, smart, authoritative me" in a meeting there will be an email from reception "X is here to see you" and I'll crumple into a dissociative mess and withdraw into a messy, ugly-crying panic attack as I collapse to the floor, curl into a ball, and devolve into an incoherent gibbering, sobbing mass of flesh. That I'll have to explain, yea, no, my past is full of monsters. Not just the one who scared me so badly back in February that I changed my look for several weeks and dyed all of my hair away from it's natural red (instead of just pops of color nestled in the red).

My poor traumatized brain. Things start going right, and all I can do is latch onto something outlandish and panic about people from my past coming back to haunt me.

At this point I am more "me" than I ever have been before, and this is more true with each and every day.

I feel more at home with who I am, I feel more confident and sure of myself, but deep down I'm terrified something bad will happen and all of this progress, all of this positive change, will be ripped from me.

I don't like being away from the home I've built for myself. I don't like being away from my cats, or my giant tank of a Jeep. I don't like being in a place where I'm reliant on public transit or car services. I don't really want to have to travel into San Francisco proper, to have to think about my ex and the time we spent there together. I don't want to have to think about how badly my old jobs impacted my mental wellness, and pushed my mind into states where I lost control of "me" because of the stress and pressure.

I don't want to look towards Alameda from the Embarcadero, feeling like I want to cry because I miss an ex who was never who I thought they were, who treated me like an emotional support appliance, who lovebombed and abandoned me when it was convenient for them.

I don't want to see the Bay Bridge twinkling after dark and feel all of the pain welling up, the pain of six years of ups and downs, victories and epic failures, misidentified love and heartbreak from abuse, and the pall of mental health issues.

I hate this mental health impostor syndrome. The ever present worry that something will go wrong, I'll slip up and lose control of my brain, that I will have another hypomanic episode and ruin everything.

"If you can worry about this it probably means you're still in control" I tell myself.

"This is the easiest way for your subconscious to let go of your worries" I remind myself as I sit in bed at 2AM, self soothing after another nightmare about my ex attacking me in the lobby of the office as everyone looks on in horror.

-sigh-

I can't post this until I'm back home, safe and sound in Oregon.

I'm already worried because it's not _too_ hard to figure out where I work, and I've publicly tweeted about my trip.

I wish I could just fast forward to getting home.

I hate feeling this way.

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