Tag Archives: anxiety issues

Moar Dandy stuff

The Dandy and I talk a lot about past relationships and I can’t tell if it’s because we’re both middle-aged (thus thoroughly at the stage of abandoning all dating pretense and straight-up saying “here’s my baggage and here’s what I need in a partner, you up for it or not?”) or if we’re both maybe not quite over all that previous stuff.

I definitely try to hold back on that kind of talk when I’m with a young’un because they’re usually so fresh and optimistic and inexperienced that they don’t really talk about past experiences, they just wanna throw themselves into this awesome new one. So stuff doesn’t really come up and it would feel gauche to wedge it into the conversation. With guys my own age (in my very limited experience) it does come up a bit more; the mutual sussing-out of compatibility is a lot more blatant. But I still haven’t usually talked about my history as much as I do with The Dandy. Not this early in the game, anyway. We name names, even. He knows the names of the exes who have affected me most. I know the names of his. I have never been on that sort of basis with anyone until months into a relationship. I like it. But I still worry that it might be unhealthy, because worrying is what I do.

The Dandy is usually absolutely silent when I tell him things (like explain about how my mental issues affect my life or tell him I’m anxious about something or mention other partners I have) and it unnerves the shit out of me. My ex-husband was usually silent when I had anxiety freakouts and I’m 99% sure it’s because he had no idea what to do and was panicking. So he’d listen and maybe be sad that I was suffering but feel helpless to stop it and he’d go get shitfaced with his friends in order to drown out his icky helpless feelings. I think with The Dandy he’s just trying to be non-judgmental and let me vent? But I’m not sure, so I’m kinda waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Like, yesterday I gave notice at my part-time gallery job because I realized I just don’t have the right kind of brain to handle the level of multitasking and human interaction required. During my quitting talk, my boss said she was relieved to understand that’s what was going on – that she’d been frustrated, wondering why I wasn’t doing certain aspects of the job (“Does she just not like doing those things so she doesn’t do them?”). I had told The Dandy ahead of time that I was planning on quitting and he asked if I would need him to come over after work for emotional support*. I ended up summoning him, and cried in his car after work. I told him how the big quitting talk had triggered some baggage for me because it’s not the first time people have attributed the symptoms of my brain problems/health problems to some kind of moral failing. I told him how when I was a kid my parents had all these earnest talks with me about why I wasn’t cleaning my room when asked. Why oh why was I so lazy and/or disobedient? I even asked myself that. I didn’t feel like I wanted to disobey my parents; I wasn’t a rebellious kind of kid. So I figured I must just be a lazy shithead. Except actually I had undiagnosed celiac disease and was basically suffering from malnutrition and felt sickly all the time and that would be why I had a hard time doing things like cleaning. I told The Dandy all of this and he just kind of absorbed it in absolute silence. I’m really pretty sure the two of us just have different communication styles but my knee-jerk reaction is that if he agreed with me that my parents/boss/etc were being assholes and that I am not in fact bad or lazy, he would say so. And he’s not saying so, so…

But he’s still going out with me so it’s probably fine.

Still, though, I prefer a more active sort of support so I should probably mention that. I still find myself having boundary issues (a problem that plagued me with Minx and The Pedant as well)…it just feels like it would come off so controlling and petty to be like “You’re not even saying anything! Tell me I’m not a bad person and stuff!” (even if I say it nicer than that). But I do want that, and maybe if I asked for it he’d do it. I tend to go straight to assuming that a thing I don’t like about a guy is part of his core personality and I’d therefore be an asshole to try to change him.I mean…I really like The Dandy. But I’m not in love with him. So maybe he’s the ideal practice ground for throwing caution to the wind and just (tactfully) telling him what I want from him instead of always talking myself out of it and trying to adjust my reactions, instead. And hey, if he adjusts his behaviour and starts doing the things I want, he’ll have become a better partner to me and this actually might make me fall for him.

People are funny. The Dandy is a better partner than The Pedant in almost every way. Not just better for me; I mean universally better. Better communicator, better life prospects in general, better conversationalist, better at paying attention to what his partner enjoys and doing those things. The Pedant is weird and selfish and claims to suck at reading people…but he was preternaturally good at dealing with my anxiety. I never even had to explain what I needed from him, that I recall; he was able to see what needed to be done and do it. If I’d ranted to him about people calling me lazy, he would have said they were stupid and that I’m obviously not lazy because [examples]. When I had anxiety freakouts he wouldn’t just nod sympathetically; he’d be able to see exactly how my thinking was fucked up, break it down for me, and – if I was freaking out about a task I needed to complete – he’d break that down for me and give me a small first step to focus on so I wouldn’t keep angsting about the “big picture” and feeling overwhelmed. And I miss that, especially when I’m telling The Dandy how I’m freaking out about a thing and I kind of pause and wait for instruction but he just looks at me and nods. ARRRRGH.

The Pedant never contacts me anymore, btw. Perhaps when he said we’d remain friends he was just paying lip service. I’ve thought about calling upon him for support when I’m anxious, but if he doesn’t come through for me I’ll be crushed and if he does it’ll probably inflame my ardor again so it’s tricky. If only I could magically transfer his considerable skill with my mental issues directly into The Dandy’s brain…

 

*That’s the second time he saw I was maybe not doing well emotionally and offered to come be there for me without me having to ask. I love that so much. Like…so much. With The Pedant I didn’t ask for his company when I thought The Veteran was stalking me and might show up at my apartment because I was positive he’d say no.

 

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Also

It’s not just the sexual stuff that’s been getting me down with The Pedant. I’ve been feeling like our relationship has been a bit “off” for a few weeks now, if not longer.

My anxiety issues are fucking my head sideways lately so some of my feelings here are probably paranoia. But The Pedant has definitely stopped calling me to chat as often as he used to, and the last few times I’ve seen him were because I initiated it. Those are facts.

Plus the last two times I saw him he kinda made it seem like he’d rather not have come over but was doing so as a favour to me. And his most recent visit was partly conditional on whether or not he could get into a particular concert (“If it’s sold out I’ll come by tonight but if I can get in I’ll visit you tomorrow instead”) and the time before that he talked about some concert he wished he could go to that was happening the night we had plans.

And of course the last time he came by he showed up three or four hours later than he said he would, and didn’t tell me what was going on until I asked. So I didn’t exactly feel like he was valuing my time or looking forward to seeing me.

Once he did finally get here I was seething and made no move to initiate sex. I lay on the couch watching him undress and waiting for an opportunity to vent my feelings and hopefully get some kind of reassurance and then I’d probably be in the mood for stuff.

The Pedant kept up with such brisk small talk that I couldn’t really segue into my issues. Then, when he was totally naked and I didn’t immediately come over and start touching him like I usually do, he came to me, sitting on the edge of the couch and kissing me aggressively with way too much tongue, I guess to try to kickstart things. Which I endured for a minute and then gently but firmly disengaged so I could speak my mind.

I told him that I knew the circumstances of those two visits were mostly just an unfortunate coincidence but that they’d left me feeling like I just get whatever crumbs of him are left over after he’s done going out to concerts and stuff. I said between that and the fact that I’ve been the one initiating our get-togethers for I-don’t-know-how-long, I really needed him to counterbalance things sometime soon by expressing an interest in seeing me and not letting other things interfere. And I said he could feel free to take a cab to see me when he’s running late every now and then; he does this when he’s late for work, after all (I didn’t say this part out loud but I assume he cabs to work but not to my place because he thinks being late for work might result in his termination and being late to see me won’t. But he’s wrong. His consistent lateness pisses me off enough that it just might be grounds for letting him go).

He replied that he actually has cabbed here before but just didn’t mention it: “Those were the times I was only a few minutes late.” He’s never lied to me before as far as I know, and I’m trying not to let my anxiety make me paranoid, but…this seems…dubious to me. This is a boy who has texted me to enumerate every little bit of tidying he’s done around my place when I wasn’t here. He likes to impress me and he likes to get credit for things. Also I can’t actually remember the last time he was “only a few minutes late.” I mean, I know it’s happened. But possibly not since before we broke up that time.

Anyway. Even after I vented I didn’t feel quite back to my normal self yet. Sex was still had but I felt ever-so-slightly cold and removed. It made it easier to boss him around without second-guessing myself, though, so that was a perk I guess.

Oh, and! Before that visit even happened, we had a text conversation where I explicitly said to him (as I’d been meaning to for ages) that I say mushy things to him because I want to, not to try to push for a response in kind – so basically, if I drop the odd “I love you” on him that he shouldn’t feel obligated to say it back. I said I feel loved through other means anyway so the words aren’t that important from him.

He replied with a thumbs-up emoticon but (unsurprisingly) didn’t think to ask what those things are that make me feel loved.

And then that visit happened where I was an afterthought to a concert and he arrived late and blah blah blah and I realized that I have very much not been getting what I need from him lately. That pilot light I used to have in my chest for him – the one he kept stoked with phone calls and dinners out and whatnot – that’s gone out.

A while back, I started drafting an email explaining exactly what I need from him in order to be happy. At the time it was meant as a response to him expressing worry that I might suddenly break up with him again; I wanted him to be able to look at this list of things and see that he was doing most of them and therefore I must surely be happy and not about to bail. I didn’t sent the email then, though; I can’t remember why. Tonight I revamped it and sent it off, although now it has more of a “you seem to have been backsliding lately when it comes to relationship stuff; here is what I need from you; if you can’t do it, let me know” flavour to it.

I’m sure he’ll be absolutely befuddled by the discussion of feelings and needs and go silent on me for a week or two as he digests what I’ve said, so I’m bracing myself for that.

I’m fairly sure he won’t (eventually) respond to me that he can’t do the things I want. But that doesn’t necessarily mean he will do the things. Just means he can’t admit defeat.

Oh funny story though – I slipped the fact that I’m in love with him (vs. just loving him) into the email. That’s how he’s gonna learn about that development – in a message where I’m otherwise telling him that I’m kind of unhappy and needing some changes. Oh well. Maybe I’d’ve had a good opportunity to tell him to his face if he were here more often and not pissing me off. Just saying.

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Also

My landlords won’t let tenants wash blankets in the building’s washing machine anymore (possibly because I fucked up a few years back and washed a velour blanket on hot instead of cold and it basically disintegrated in the washer). And I really need to wash them. And I’m afraid of laundromats.

But when Mine was over and we were out to dinner, I said “Hey after this could you go on a quick errand with me? I just need to pop across to the laundromat and figure out how it all works so that I’ll feel prepared for when I need it. And if left to my own devices I’ll keep putting it off.” He cheerfully agreed, and even kind of anticipated the things that might confuse me and calmly walked me through them.

So now I know where the detergent goes in and what kind of coins the machines take and that the dryers have this weird thing where you pay in tiny increments instead of doing a whole cycle. I feel better now!

This is one of my attempts at bringing the proverbial hair dryer with me. Trying to act normal wasn’t working so I’m seeing what it’s like to accept that certain things need preparation, for me, and to ask for help with them.

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A bad day.

I haven’t been on any meds for my anxiety etc. for a few months because reasons. But with summer being my slow season for work, I decided I’d better try to get my head in order again or else I’ll be so paralyzed by fear of poverty that I won’t be able to do anything about it. Or do anything at all, really. With all this free time coming up I’d like to do a hardcore reorganization of my apartment and/or make some large-scale art for the first time in years and/or film a bunch of clips for my store and/or maybe even actively try to court new pro domme clients so’s I don’t have to go on welfare for the latter half of the summer, but I can’t do any of those things if I’m just constantly too freaked out to even move.

My doctor sent me to a shrink a while back so he could recommend me some drugs that doctors aren’t well-versed in (psychiatrists know a lot more about psych meds than doctors). He said I oughta try either Abilify or Seroquel.

So I decided it was time. I went to my doctor and announced that I wanted to get on Abilify. She looked up the possible side effects and said that one of them is jerky, uncontrolled body movements, and she pointed out that if it happens to me, that might not be great for my modelling work. I agree, and also I already went through Prozac giving me uncontrolled eyeball twitchies that continued for over a decade after I stopped taking it. I really, really didn’t like that and I don’t want to risk it happening again. So I decided Abilify was out. And by then I was kind of soured on the whole antidepressant idea again (doesn’t take much, I know) and was too afraid to ask about Seroquel.

However, I did broach the subject of getting on straight-up tranquilizers. The last drug I was on, Lyrica, was apparently kind of a tranquilizer, and I loved how focused it made me. My anxiety was totally gone. Like if I had two different things I wanted to accomplish in a day, instead of angsting for six hours about which thing to do first, I was able to just…pick a thing and fucking do it. SO GODDAMNED LIBERATING. I feel like at this point in my life I have way more anxiety than depression – or maybe I’m only even depressed because I’m too anxious to get anything accomplished ever and I feel like a loser – so it works best to treat the anxiety first and foremost.

So I went home with 20 Lorazepam tablets that my doctor cautioned me only to use now and then because they can be addictive. She said only to use them when I feel anxious, which makes me think she is fundamentally misunderstanding the nature of my issue because it’s not that I get panic attacks sometimes but otherwise I’m fine – it’s that I’m anxious EVERY GODDAMNED MINUTE OF EVERY DAY and the tiniest decision can just about shut down my brain because I’m afraid that whatever I decide will turn out to be the wrong thing.

Still, though. I now have something I can take when I really need to get things done and can’t afford to be sitting at home waffling all day.

Oh, also, my disability appeal got rejected again so while I was at the doctor’s office I popped in on a social worker who’s in the same building. The next step is to go in front of a tribunal with a government-appointed lawyer and try to convince them some more that I am not fit to work a normal, steady job. I’ve spent my whole life trying to hide how fucked up I am so people wouldn’t judge me, and now I have to do the exact opposite of that. I kind of wasn’t even sure I wanted to pursue it but the social worker kind of assumed it was a foregone conclusion and sorta didn’t give me a chance to catch my breath and assess if I was really willing and able to deal with it. So I guess the wheels are in motion now. I will have to go in front of three(?) people from the disability office and try to override my immediate “look normal and presentable for the bureaucrats” instinct while a lawyer tells them all about how I fail at life. This oughta be a treat and a half.

The doctor’s appointment and disability appeal talk had left me feeling kind of…teary and doomed once I got home. After a few hours of being near tears and convincing myself that I’ll never be able to live like a normal person, I finally broke down and took a Lorazepam. They work fast, so I started feeling a bit better pretty quickly.

But then The Veteran started texting me.

She’s been hoarding a bunch of furniture and other stuff that fellow tenants have thrown out, and plans to try to sell it all via Kijiji – a huge blitz over a few days to hopefully make enough to pay her rent. I had told her I would help if I could, and now she was texting me basically needing me to confirm that I was definitely in. She said if I wasn’t, she had someone else who could step up, but she just wanted to know.

The thing is, though, she was wanting me to handle not just the posting of ads but the actual customer contact and scheduling and whatnot. And a) dealing with people over the phone triggers my anxiety in a huge, huge way and b) I didn’t even understand the logistics of what she was asking me. How am I supposed to talk to customers who are asking questions about items I haven’t seen and can’t easily look at/measure/etc.? How am I supposed to book people to come see stuff when I have no idea of The Veteran’s schedule? She seemed to think that delegating this to me would save her a bunch of time and energy but really I think it would amount to both of us being inconvenienced: first a customer would call me asking stuff, then I’d have to call The Veteran and get the requested info and then call the customer again to relay it…it sounded pointless for The Veteran and hellish for me.

So I was texting her trying to explain all of this and asking if there was some method here that I was missing, but The Veteran hates texting and asked me to call her instead.

The phone call…did not go well.

I flat-out told The Veteran early on that she should delegate the Kijiji stuff to her other friend because I am the worst person on Earth to do anything over the phone. I said if she wants a wingman to be with her at her apartment on a day when she’s seeing a lot of buyers, I’d be happy to do that. Or I could take the product pics and post the ads. But someone else should definitely do the phone part.

The Veteran initially said okay, but then kind of backslid to where she was talking as though I’d agreed to do it. And I kept on being like “Well, I really can’t deal with that at all” and she just kept on talking about how she really needs someone good at screening potential customers because probably a lot of people would just feign interest in the goods so they could case her place and rob her later, or come over under the guise of wanting to buy something but then rape her instead, and she felt that I was a good judge of character and she would totally trust me to weed out all the thieves and rapists (OH GOOD THAT REALLY HELPS WITH MY ANXIETY). And she’s been so fucking hugely hyper (probably actually manic) over the phone lately that I can barely ever get a word in edgewise, anyway, so I tried several times to ask how someone else taking the phone calls is even supposed to save her any time, and she just steamrolled right over me.

And somehow things devolved into her screaming and crying for literally 40 minutes. I couldn’t understand too much of what she was saying. At one point she said that people offer to help her with stuff but then the bail when it’s not fun. I said I don’t expect to have fun, I just don’t want to do things that will make me literally feel barfy with terror. I reiterated that if she needed help organizing her place or stuff hauled around or anything, I was more than happy to do so. She got off on a tangent about all the shit she needs to get done and how everything is fucking up – she needs to see her worker about getting back on her lapsed disability but she lost his number and she needs bank records to show him and her internet is too spotty/laptop is broken so she can’t get the records online and blah blah blah. I said if she gave me her worker’s name I could try to Google his work number, because sometimes government stuff like that is on the internet. She snapped “what the fuck is that gonna do for me? I could do that myself in two minutes.” I was like okay, yeah, but at least I’d be taking that two minutes off her, and anyway she said her laptop/internet were all wonky and stuff. She continued raging about a bunch of other things, including screaming that she’s in crisis and nobody will help her. I honestly don’t know if her mental illness was making her completely forget the various offers of help I’d been making throughout our conversation, or if she was doing that hyperbole thing that can be satisfying when you’re upset. Either way, I opted to just remain quiet and make occasional soothing noises rather than try to defend myself.

She had mentioned earlier on that she hadn’t eaten anything all day (and this conversation was taking place in the evening!) so when she finally seemed a bit calmer and said she had to get going, I told her yes, that was a good idea, she should eat something because her blood sugar was probably crashing, and try not to think about things for a while – just give herself permission to rest.

“Rest?!?!?” she shrieked, suddenly furious and bawling again. “I can’t rest! There’s too much to do!” and she ranted about that for a while. And also told me that she didn’t have an appetite anymore and it was my fault because I’d been texting her earlier and texting kills her appetite and sucks out her soul and why does everyone always want to text her it’s like they hate her and want her to suffer and she gives and gives and gives and uses the communication style that other people prefer but they won’t do the same for her.

Here’s the thing about me telling her “give yourself permission to rest,” though: it was a Friday night. The disability office was closed. The banks were closed. The computer repair shop was closed. Her landlord who’d been pestering her for back-rent probably wouldn’t call her on a Friday night, or at least wouldn’t be able to evict her that night. Literally nothing would happen if she just tried to stop angsting about everything and got a good night’s sleep. But again I bit my tongue and just made soothing noises until she’d quieted down again and finally (finally!) got off the phone with me.

But between the doctor/social worker appointment and the phone call with The Veteran I was feeling really rattled. And I just really, really needed to vent to The Pedant, the one person who could handle it without it bringing him down. I texted him “Hey can you call me? Awful day. Need pep talk and advice.”

I had no idea whether he’d even be awake at that time – his work schedule varies so much – but literally one minute later he texted back “stand by” and a minute after that, he called me.

Turns out he was on his way to some concert, and the bus he was on was super loud. And two seconds into the conversation, I started crying so hard The Pedant could barely understand me. He kept having to ask me to slow down and enunciate. But he listened and offered advice without seeming affected by my anguish per se. He clearly cared enough about my well-being to stay on the phone and talk me down but he was indifferent to my actual emotions, if you see what I mean. I love this about him. Like, so much.

The Pedant knows a lot about bureaucratic/governmental/legal shit, so I asked him whether it would be helpful or feasible to get The Veteran committed to a mental hospital. Like just get them to funnel mood stabilizers down her throat until she’s competent to start clearing up the mess her life has become, because right now I think she’s getting in her own way. So we talked about the logistics of that and basically he concluded that I should call her and tell her in no uncertain terms that I think she’s going off the rails and needs meds, and if she won’t listen, either have her committed or cut her out of my life.

This seems like pretty sensible advice, except for the part where I make my case via telephone, since she never shuts up long enough to actually let me speak. I’m trying to psych myself up to have the talk with her whenever I see her in person next, but…we’ll see.

My call with The Pedant got disconnected a few times – dead spots in the area of town he was travelling through, I guess. The third or so time it happened, I felt like I’d gotten most of my angst off my chest so I texted him “Seems like our phones are snubbing each other but probably most things that needed saying have been said. I feel a bit better now. Enjoy your evening. <3”

He texted back that his battery had died (he keeps a spare on his person and swaps them out when one dies). And then he actually called me back and asked me if there was anything else I needed to talk about. There was: my anxiety over the disability appeal. Assholebrain likes to tell me two conflicting awful things at once and make me believe them simultaneously: in this case, that I’m a shitty fakey fakerson who doesn’t need disability and is just wasting everyone’s time, and that I’m completely broken and if the disability people reject me I’m doomed.

The Pedant talked me down from this, too, and then he arrived at his destination and had to go. I studiously avoided gushing because he seems not to like it when I do that, but goddammit I love him so much. I’d totally given him an “out” to end our conversation but he called me back, anyway, to make absolutely sure I would be okay. And the next night he called me again, although I was indisposed and didn’t answer. More on that later.

 

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Are you fucking kidding me?

Woke up to a text from The Pedant. I assumed it was going to be along the lines of “I’ll arrive later than expected tonight because…” because it always is.

Instead, he said that he woke up at 1am this morning and couldn’t get back to sleep, and as he surfed the web waiting to be tired again, he found out there’s a band he really likes playing at a club downtown tonight. So the terrible irony is: “Because I didn’t sleep enough, by the time I’m off work I’m going to be too wiped to go to a show that I only found out about because I didn’t sleep enough.”

I texted back “…There’s also the fact that you already had plans… O.o”

Seriously. He agreed to see me only grudgingly because he had soooooo much to get done and he’d have to be home by the next morning at the very latest and even that was “going to cost him” – but he would have happily gone to a show that would have probably gone late enough to make him sleep in past the time he allegedly needed to be home and doing things. And he complains to me about how he can’t go to this thing. It’s unclear whether he forgot he was slated to come over (which would be unlike him), was about to add “By the way I’m too wrecked to come over to your place after work, too” but forgot, or if he’s just incredibly clueless and stupid.

Oh wait, he just responded: “If I’d gotten enough sleep and paid more attention to my news feed I could have invited you out to the show. :P”

I reminded him that I work first thing in the morning.

I’d be willing to bet that if it weren’t for him being all sleep deprived and shit, he’d be ducking out of my place for a few hours to go to this thing. Like maybe not even asking me if that would be okay, but just assuming he could use my place as a home base.

…Okay, I stepped away and brooded for a while and realized that The Pedant probably doesn’t fully understand why I was so insistent on his presence, and that this would probably make a difference in how casually he would propose alternate plans etc.

We had been talking a bit more about the prospect of me coming out with The Pedant (if only he were rested enough). He said that this particular venue usually ends its shows by 1am and since I didn’t have to work til 10am, it might still be feasible for me (from a sleep perspective). I said not really because being in crowded noisy places makes me all wired for hours after, plus I’d have to wake up at 8am, so we’re still looking at way too little sleep.

After taking time to think about things and realizing where we may have miscommunicated, I made a point of adding, “Also I’m not at my best, anyway. When I said I was “touch deprived” it wasn’t a euphemism for horny (although I WILL be fucking you, make no mistake). It means I have a level of stress built up that only being snuggled and petted (or maybe massaged) can dissipate in any meaningful way. I’ve been taking every measure I can to help myself out of this but honestly, nothing works as well or as immediately as someone I feel safe with lightly stroking my upper back for ten minutes. I really just need to be close to you for as long as possible and recharge my internal battery.”

“Ah, probably best if I just head straight to your place when I’m off at 6pm, then.”

“Yes, please.”

So…I think he understands the urgency of the situation more than he did before.

But this means that when I insisted that I really wanted to see him, I guess he didn’t realize what a state I was in – and agreed to see me anyway, despite allegedly having stuff to do. Even though I guess he just thought I was wanting to bang him.

So I’m feeling like a bit more of a priority to him than I did at the beginning of this entry.

Although I’m suspecting harder than ever that his “errands” are fictitious or at least exaggerated.

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Lonely

I’ve been in need of physical closeness lately. Specifically, I desperately want to have someone I trust pet my skin until I have a braingasm and probably a stress-relief cry. AssholeBrain has been acting up and I am not doing well lately. Petgasms reset me somewhat and make me a bit better. Minx could help with this, or Mine, but they are both slightly problematic because we are not exactly dating anymore and the boundaries are fuzzy. I have a boy I see sometimes who would be outstanding for petgasms but he lives in another city and is usually too broke to come by. The Pedant is my best bet here, and the one I want most. I feel safest with him, emotionally, in that he loves me and I love him back.

The other day I texted The Pedant “I want your hands on me.” At the time I was deluding myself that this was a desire of a sexual nature and not a cry for help.

He didn’t get around to answering, and in the meantime I went out dancing with a friend. This was not a nightclub thing, it’s this hippie-dippy thing in a community centre and there’s a bit of meditation at the beginning and end. For the opening meditation the host said the theme of the night was “letting go” and had us all breathe deeply and then hum/yell/howl/whatever on the exhale. I couldn’t make a sound. I can’t be that unguarded in a room of mostly-strangers. Really, even the dancing part of the evening stressed me out a bit because it’s such a brightly lit room and everyone else seems to be way more coordinated than I am and I feel clumsy and judged (I’ve been to this event once before so I know how it affects me).

And it made me feel so lonely, knowing that everyone else was all relaxed and uninhibited and experiencing some big communal sense of acceptance and safety that I just couldn’t feel, that I started to cry. Except I couldn’t stand to be doing that in public, either, so I just lay there amongst all the other meditating people and clenched my entire body up as tears streamed out of the corners of my eyes.

When the meditation was done and the music started up, I was still nowhere near ready to face people. I sat against the wall with my forehead on my knees for a song or two, still fighting off a massive cry attack. It was more crowded that night than the other time I went, too, which wasn’t helping. Too many vibes. Too much noise in my head.

And that’s when I realized that I wanted to be curled up with my face in The Pedant’s chest and his arms around me and his almost preternaturally smooth fingertips gliding over my spine more than anything else in the world.

I did manage to dance a bit, and even to have fun sometimes. The fun came and went. I was still overwhelmed by all the people. On balance I would say it was good that I got out of the house, but that coffee with my friend would have been a better choice than the hippie dance thing.

After the dancing, I checked my phone. The Pedant had replied to my request for his hands with “That can probably be arranged.”

“Tell me when,” I said.

The next day (which is today) he texted: “It might be a while  before I can come over again. I’ve fallen behind on a bunch of things, and haven’t been getting enough sleep at home as a result. I need this weekend to catch up on everything.”

By this point I was full-out in withdrawal. I’m cranky and twitchy and constantly feel about fifteen seconds away from a massive crying jag. My skin wants petting so much that I almost ache.

I happened to know that The Pedant has an early shift on Saturday so his evening is technically free. So in desperation I said “Compromise: Saturday after work for a few hours (or sleep here and leave with me Sunday morning before I go to work). I’m sort of dangerously touch-deprived. And if there are any errands I can help with (like simple things you need bought) I am more than happy to do that for you Sat during the day.”

The Pedant said: “I can come by for a few hours on Saturday but I would have to make it home by late Sunday morning. That’s the absolute best I can do and even that is going to cost me.”

Does anyone else find his defensiveness a bit weird? I asked him to come over for a few hours and he said yes. I’m getting what I want. Why is he stressing that this is the “absolute best he can do” like he thinks I’m gonna get mad? Also I hate that he had to mention that I’d be keeping him from doing shit he needs to do. My thought is, either agree to help me out and STFU about it, or say no because you’re too busy. Don’t accept but then make me feel guilty about it. I might normally have said this to him and told him to just forget it and go get shit done, but I’m not doing well. I mean I am really Not Okay. So I’m taking him up on his offer.

I did however want to make it clear how much I appreciated his sacrifice, and reassure him that I won’t overstep my bounds: “I’ll be leaving for work by 9am Sun so I couldn’t keep you if I tried. Srsly, let me know if there’s any errand I can take off your hands. I will free up your time as much as I possibly can. Also let me know if there’s any food or drink you’d like me to have on hand. Going grocery shopping in a bit.”

He said, “You’ve got plenty of soda and I can eat everything you can. Don’t worry about errands.” Which sounds to me like he’s not particularly mad at me for insisting on seeing him. Right? Someone reassure me. It’s gonna tie me in all kinds of knots if I think he’s only coming over grudgingly.

The fact that he said “don’t worry about errands” and not “unfortunately it’s all stuff I need to do personally” or similar makes me wonder if he actually does have stuff to do. I strongly suspect that sometimes “Oh I have all this stuff to do” is code for “I need to be alone to recharge.” Which I would absolutely understand and respect (except in emergencies like today), but it sounds like a lot of his exes didn’t really “get” his need for alone-time and probably took it personally.

Also I do think he has attachment issues, and feels antsy about our relationship sometimes just on principle and needs to back off for a while to prove he’s not too attached to me.

So what I think might be happening here is: I told him I wanted him, he  automatically went to arrange a visit but then thought “Noooo I will not be at her beck and call I am an INDEPENDENT PERSON and I’m gonna stay home and do fun stuff alone instead” – but then I made it clear it’s kind of urgent so he relented. And maybe felt bad about faking “errands” when he saw how grateful I was to him for ostensibly postponing them for me. And when he comes over here we’ll have all teh secks and snuggles and he probably won’t resent me.

I just have to hold out til tomorrow. In the meantime I’m gonna go out dancing with that same guy friend – to a nightclub this time – and I’m so fucking backed up I’m afraid of hitting on him and getting myself into a mess.

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I think I’ll keep him.

The Pedant just called me for a chat while on his way to a friend’s place. After a bit of conversation, he said he should get going so as to call said friend and tell him he was almost there. I said that I, too, should get going because I have a follow-up appointment with that dietician tomorrow. And I mentioned I was nervous about it.

“You know she’s going to be talking about what you put in your mouth, not trying to put things in your mouth, right?”

“Yeah, obviously. But for the past three weeks I’ve been having to write down everything I eat, and I’ve been eating pretty much the same things every day, and I feel like she’s probably going to tell me to be more varied with it. You’re supposed to eat a wide range of things as part of a healthy diet. But that is…not a thing I can do. I just straight-up don’t have the energy for that kind of constant decision-making. I need to be able to grocery shop and cook on autopilot because having to constantly decide what to eat would drain my resources too much. And I’m afraid she’s gonna give me a hard time about that.”

“You know you’ve got an actual medical issue that you can’t help, right?”

“You know that for my entire life when I’ve told people I can’t do something because anxiety, they’ve said ‘well can you like…try harder?’, right?”

The Pedant immediately and decisively said, “Tell her that your diet is limited by two factors. The first is that there’s a whole range of foods that make you sick. The second is that you don’t have a lot of money. You could even tell her that you can’t afford to eat anything different until your next paycheque comes in.”

“Actually, yeah. The money thing is also a big factor here.”

“Exactly. So keep those two reasons uppermost in your mind. Probably you won’t even have to get into it with her about the anxiety.”

“Yes, okay. Good.”

“If she doesn’t end up bringing up the variety issue, though, you know I’ll be laughing.”

“Yeah. She might not bring it up. It’s the nature of my anxiety that I want to feel prepared for everything all the time, so I think about every possible outcome of everything ever. Which bogs down my brain’s CPU, which leaves me with no energy to make decisions about what to eat…”

“Bus rides must be hell for you,” The Pedant said.

Everything’s hell for me,” I said, surprised that he hadn’t already figured that out.

The Pedant said that he’d specified bus rides because other countries have had terrorist attacks on public transit, kind of out of the blue. He talked about some Syrian gas bomb or something. He said sometimes when he’s on a bus it occurs to him that maybe something like that could happen all of a sudden.

“Maybe I think about that sort of stuff in a very general way,” I said. “It’s probably why I have a hard time leaving the house sometimes. But mostly I worry about specific, interpersonal things that could happen to me.”

“Well, think of it this way: which is worse, interpersonal awkwardness or being dosed with [name-I-didn’t-catch] gas?”

“…Uh…”

“Bear in mind, the gas is immediately fatal.”

“Oh,” I said, instantly. “The interpersonal stuff is worse, then. Like, obviously.”

At the other end of the line The Pedant made a tiny glottal sound, like he was about to say something but then got stymied for words and nothing came out. Just his throat opening and closing. He clearly didn’t expect this answer.

I said, “Well, if I die instantly I’m just gone. With the interpersonal stuff I have to live through it and then know that the other person will remember whatever weird thing I did forever.”

“If you die instantly you’ll leave behind two cats who don’t know how to use a can opener. And anyway, people have the memory span of goldfish or worse. They don’t remember weirdness for as long as you think they do.”

“…Maybe.”

“Trust me.”

And then he really did have to go.

I made sure not to thank him for his guidance, since he has explicitly told me he doesn’t want me to. But I am thankful. The Pedant just has such a matter-of-fact way of breaking things down so they don’t sound scary anymore, and he gives me a combo of practical tips for dealing with people and reminders that people aren’t usually as malicious or powerful as AssholeBrain would have me believe.

And I’ve been thinking about his insistence that thank-yous are “a nuisance.” That was a foreign concept to me at first but then I remembered how much it irks me when I tell him he’s hot or beautiful or fuckable and he’s like “thanks, that’s very kind of you.” No it’s not! Telling him mushy things is how I express love. I’m not actively trying to be nice to him, I’m just doing what I do. And it strikes me that this may be exactly what it is with him and his anti-anxiety measures. He expresses love through helping people – this much is obvious to me. So maybe it feels jarring and misplaced to him that I should essentially thank him for telling me he loves me.

The more I think about this, the more perfect it is. In the past I’ve felt just sickeningly grateful to partners for helping me through anxiety issues. I felt beholden to them, and therefore unequal to them (and I think they may have liked that…). The Pedant, meanwhile, seems to think that talking me down from ledges is just the obvious thing you do when a partner is freaking out. Obvious and simple and no big deal. Just standard relationship maintenance, maybe. And maybe he’s right.

I’m going to experiment a bit with the idea that I deserve support from the people I love.

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