Cutting Back on Alcohol

A few weeks or so ago, I’d written about changing some things in my life. Today is Day 20 of no drinking/cutting back on alcohol. It was something I intended to do, but the losing my shit incident was a catalyst.

I started out being on antibiotics, which was a great way to begin my not-drinking voyage. I have to admit the first few days were tough, because I’d been working outside in the heat, and beer sounded great, but I knew the medication would have made me sick anyway.

Once I got through the first week, it wasn’t so bad. I started keeping myself busy working out or taking walks in the evenings. I went grocery shopping and ran errands during the times I would normally have gone to happy hour. It probably helped that I didn’t exactly have the money to be going out.

Week two was a success, however, I thought I would feel better. I haven’t felt that much better except that I didn’t have hangovers. I was tired, but in a different way; I felt exhausted. My appetite began to change, and I was cooking again, and I had more motivation mentally and could think clearer. Still, I had no energy for the most part (could very well have been due to the antibiotics). The weather brought on some allergy issues, and it felt as if fibromyalgia was full-blown for a few days. My body was super achy from head to toe, and I remembered that when I drank beer, the aches would disappear. I did notice anxiety went down a little while I wasn’t drinking, maybe because I was just exhausted. My mood was only slightly lifted, but I was still feeling depressed. Perhaps it was lack of human contact or something else, but I was craving not being depressed, which is part of the reason I quit/cut back on drinking.

On Day 15, the weather was pretty bad. I had one beer in the fridge (one that I normally wouldn’t drink, because it would have been gone by now) that I drank and didn’t really care for it. The following day (16), I met up with some friends that are getting married soon to discuss some things about their wedding that I’m shooting. It was nice getting out of the house for once and home by 10:30. I had three beers in two and a half hours, felt high as a kite, and felt like shit the entire next day. Two of the beers were relatively normal in alcohol content, but the first may have been almost like drinking two. I remembered how much I hated waking up feeling completely unrested, having to get up to pee at wee hours, thirsty and unable to get back to sleep, and basically being unable to fully function intellectually with unclear thinking skills the following day. I also noticed my allergies were worse. Three beers was almost nothing for me before; it only took two weeks for that effect.

When the weekend rolled around, I went to an event out of town, and then a new friend/acquaintance offered to meet up for sushi. At first, I was hesitant being unfamiliar with him, but I was hungry, and the timing was perfect. I started out drinking water, had a tiny bit of sake and opted for a beer that I normally really like. However, I wasn’t liking the beer much at all and switched it to something sweet. It was nice to be out having conversation and a meal with someone, and I left feeling generally content, yet tired.

The following day, I noticed my mood was off. I felt sad, even though it was a nice day. (I suppose I could have also been sad about my other male friend.) Again, my energy was low and I had little motivation, but I didn’t feel like I had a hangover or anything. I was burping up the beer the next day, which made me not want to drink it even more, especially after nearly 12 hours passed since I’d drank it… just gross. I felt annoyed all day and canceled plans to go to an art event, because I didn’t want to be around people. I don’t know if this is a result from drinking or just being tired or annoyed.

Doing two experiments of having a few drinks after not drinking showed me that it really doesn’t bring me any happiness, especially the following day. Socially, it can be fun, but I am pretty sure I can find other fun things to do.

People were asking how long I was going to stop drinking. I never had an answer, because I tried to make realistic expectations and just go with the flow with how I felt. I have no cravings to continue doing it, and after feeling as bad as I have been, I don’t looking forward to it again. Eventually, I want to get back into eating a stricter diet, but for now I’m doing one thing at a time; I’m still enjoying chocolate chip cookies for now.

Lack of Sex & Depression

Yesterday I wrote about eating alone and depression, realizing that I need some social interaction during meals. While still attempting to get to the root of my own depression, I realize that when I am having regular sex, I am a much happier person. I sleep better, eat healthier, feel more energized, and for whatever reason, I think more clearly and get more things accomplished, and I generally feel alive all over. I cannot remember the last time I felt that way. (Oh wait, yes I can – two and a half years ago. *cringe*)

I did some research on depression and lack of sex. Not surprisingly, it turns out there is a correlation between the two. The hormones released during sex help with fighting off stress, pain, and illness – all of which I’ve been dealing with. There are other physical bodily results from lack of sex that made me say WTF! For women: “Without regular intercourse, your vagina can tighten and its tissues can get thinner and be more likely to get injured, tear, or even bleed during sex.” Whoa. This would explain some things.

During the last three years of my marriage, we had sex once a year, and I didn’t consider myself depressed at the time, but looking back, I probably was. Prior to those three years, sex was dull; even though he was happy and thought it was great, it was boring for me, because he was boring and insisted he knew what he was doing when he did not. Except for a couple of short term relationships (2-3 months) in the past six years, I haven’t had regular sex at all. I miss being held, being close to someone, and having someone to care about. I haven’t had good sex or even a good kiss in over a year. No wonder I’m depressed and pissed off about everything.

Solo isn’t cutting it anymore. I’m not desperate enough to have a fling, but dammit, my body is telling me it needs some attention. Prior to the past year, I would have been open to a friend with benefits situation, but that’s not going to work for me now. I tend to get my feelings involved for the wrong reasons, and having sex only increases those feelings – and I certainly don’t need to put myself in another situation that makes me feel shitty. And despite some of the terrible things I’ve written that have happened to me, I am very aware of my sexuality, and I have no hang-ups enjoying intercourse with the right person. The issue is finding that person.

Eating Alone & Depression

I have a lot of work to do with myself. Writing down my thoughts has been extremely therapeutic for me, and the more I write, the more realizations I have – the patterns, the negative thoughts that were ingrained into my system that I didn’t even know existed. I’m doing my best to pinpoint the things that have been causing depression and doing whatever I can to lift my spirits.

Whether you’re an adult or a child, eating alone all the time can be depressing. When I was trained to be a home health care aide, we were told that it’s important to eat meals (or at least sit) with our elderly clients, because they tend not to eat as much when they’re alone, and they’re happier eating with other people. What is it about eating alone vs eating with others that somehow determines our happiness? Studies have found that people enjoy the general social aspect of eating with others. The only times I didn’t eat alone throughout my adult life was when I was in the army, married or had a boyfriend, or when my daughter was young and I had a regular schedule. Studies show that people who share meals with others tend to eat healthier and live healthier lives. I suppose that would explain one of the reasons I have been depressed for much of the past six years.

Except for eating at my grandparent’s houses or with my father when I was a child, I often ate alone growing up. If I didn’t eat alone, I was usually separated from the adults, or dinnertime was so miserable I’d opt to eat alone. It was either literally get yelled at for breathing or something else that is considered normal to anyone. Here is an excerpt from Chapter 7 of my book, Unheard:

“Since dinnertime is dreadful, I hate evenings. Even when I am starving, I prefer eating by myself. I hate looking at him and watching him sit with his head tilted down towards the plate and scraping the food from his fork into his mouth without ever looking up. I try to speak and make normal conversation; he makes a point to say something to upset my stomach or tells me to shut up and eat. He finishes his food, gets up without excusing or cleaning up after himself, trots into the living room, lights a smelly cigarette, watches TV, and drinks beer. I guess he thinks it was a woman’s job to keep quiet and clean up after him.”

When something is “normal” for a child, they don’t always realize it’s not normal or healthy as an adult. I knew that what was happening to me didn’t feel right, especially when my friends did “normal” things, like eat with their families. I have never purposely separated myself from eating with others as an adult; it’s just that I don’t exactly have a choice when I’m single.

My daughter visited me a couple of weekends ago, and for the first time in a while, I cooked up a delicious shrimp and pasta dish. It was the first time I’d cooked a meal for anyone other than myself in months, and it was nice to share. When I was regularly dating, I cooked more than I was taken out, and I was perfectly happy with that, because I was happy. I realize that some of my happiest times are when I’m cooking and sharing meals with others (not being expected to, but wanting to), and that hasn’t happened regularly in two and a half years. (If you follow my blog, you’ll probably guess with whom.) I’ve also been more depressed in that two and a half years than ever, and I eat alone almost 100% of the time.

I try to take myself out to eat for lunch or dinner just to be in a social outing, even if I’m out alone. However, eating out gets expensive, and I feel that I can cook better than what is served in most restaurants. Plus, I love sharing my culinary skills with others. Like the studies have shown, it’s the socialization that I’ve been missing at mealtime and probably another reason my friends keep telling me I need a boyfriend. *eyeroll*

How I Lost My Virginity

Seeing the patterns of sexual abuse…

Shut My Mouth

This is probably going to be somewhat disturbing to some readers, so this is fair warning.

When I was 16, I worked with a guy that went to my school. For about a year he begged me to date him, but I wasn’t interested. Eventually, I gave in to him and he was my “first love” so to speak. He had a car, so we’d sneak off and park in wooded areas or parks to make out and have sex.

One night when I was babysitting he came to the house. We were on the living room floor (the person I was babysitting for was in her room asleep by then) making out. He was acting like an asshole, which was typical of him anyway, but here’s where this gets disturbing… All of the times I thought we were having sex, he wasn’t actually inside of me. I think maybe the…

View original post 173 more words

Snail Slime and Self-Protection

A few weeks ago, a snail was crawling up the window of my door, which was an unusual thing to see. A big believer of signs and symbols, I looked up the meaning of the snail. It turns out that I learned something new – snails have two different types of slime; one type is for movement, and the other is for protection… and snails secrete a substance to create their own shell.

I had to reflect on this snail discovery, as I am often told that I’m very guarded. When I’m in a new place or around new people, I typically observe; it’s important to know my surroundings before participating. Maybe that’s why a lot of people initially think that I’m quiet and guarded when they first meet me; this has been said to me since I was a child. I never understood what people meant, because I feel that I’m friendly and cordial with people. I suppose being guarded had to do with my upbringing of always having to protect myself from one thing or another. If you’ve been a follower long enough and/or read my books, you’ll understand that statement (or you can read excerpts here).

I feel that the snail was a sign for me to watch myself, my surroundings and the things that I was doing. I was drinking too much over the holidays and not protecting myself from sickness and toxic, slimy people. In the end, all of it literally made me ill. It was a sign to move on, move away from these people and protect not only my physical body, but my emotional and mental state. I realize snail slime is the only slime I need in my life.

Acceptance After Being Ghosted

The other day I posted about the other four stages of grief after being ghosted by someone in a close dating relationship. There were a few times I felt I had come to the acceptance stage, but I was alternating between all of the stages randomly. I would think to myself, I’m over it; he’s a jerk, and then something would toss me right back to a different stage. I’d be angry at the fact that he’s meeting other women and dating and having fun, but I was left standing alone without answers to my heartbreak and had a miserable dating life. (I was also angry when one of his family members suggested that I must not have ever had anyone break up with me before, since I had these feelings. I corrected them by reminding them I was ghosted without answers.) I have come to some other realizations about this person that have helped me to enter the stage of acceptance.

It’s always helpful to get over someone by dating another person, however, the options I had been presented were pretty grim. Prior to meeting OC, a close friend had unexpectedly passed away, and during my mourning period (which lasted about a year), I jumped into a two-month toxic relationship with someone 18 years younger. I met OC about three or four months after that relationship ended. I was looking to date, but only looking for friends and activity partners, so what I felt with him was completely unexpected. Looking back, I feel that I was probably still vulnerable to opening myself up to injured souls, because I was also one of them.

Taking accountability for myself, I probably ignored a lot of red flags – the first of which was that OC’s online dating profile stated he was single. However, he was still technically a married man (verified separated for two years at that point) and still living in the same house with his wife. I broke my own rule by continuing a relationship with him, because my rule is to date someone that has been single (not separated) for at least a year, preferably longer. When I initially met him, he’d told me about another woman he’d been on a few dates with and was texting him… but according to him, he was ignoring her. I’d informed him that I only date one person at a time, and I expect the same in a partner and that he needs to tell this woman that he’s seeing someone else, to not just ignore her. I don’t know what he did, but now I suspect he ghosted her as well. Or perhaps he ghosts women, then shows up randomly when he thinks it’s okay and allow him back into their lives again… the same way he did to me six months later when he unblocked me and liked my social media posts – and still continues to this day!

I specifically remember a couple of times him mentioning things to me that seemed off. For example, even though he still claimed to be getting divorced, he was adamant about staying in their home and was building a separate entrance for himself. I later learned that during the time they supposedly separated, they’d purchased the house together, which didn’t fit the divorce story he was giving me. He would spend the night at my house most nights and head home first thing in the morning; we never spent any mornings together – just afternoons and nights. I had suspected he’d been hiding something or bending the truth, but I never actually found out. He also had a tattoo of a ball and chain along with his wife’s name on the front of his hip. When I asked if he was planning to cover it up, he became flustered as if I’d asked him to chop off his balls. He replied,  “Why? No one will see it.” Seriously? I told him I see it, and if he dates other women, they’re going to see it as well. I suspect he never covered it up, and he probably never will. (I wonder what his new girlfriend thinks of his wife’s name when she’s giving him a blowjob?) He’d say random things that didn’t make sense to me at the time. For example, one time he told me he was selfish and immature, but I hadn’t seen that side of him, so I wasn’t sure what he was talking about. What he’d presented to me in his actions was opposite of what he said in so many ways.

Something wasn’t right, but I blamed it on my own insecurities. I developed a lot of anxiety when I didn’t hear from him, especially that last week prior to him ghosting me. Perhaps he was lying to me, perhaps it was something else, but I ignored my gut feelings. The problem I have with myself is I am determined to get to the bottom of things, to find out the truth, and when I can’t pinpoint what isn’t right, I continue with a relationship until I do find out. He claimed to be “so busy” with his work, but right after he ghosted me, he’d pass me at the beach every single day, so I felt he was using that as an excuse.

Knowing OC’s history of 30+ years being raised in and then leaving a cult religion whose manipulative members suddenly cut off their own children for not being followers, I am aware that this has been ingrained into his system since he was a child, so it is probably easy for him to act this way without any regard for my feelings. Not that it’s right by any means, but what else can I tell myself when I have no other explanation? I also realize, no matter how sweet he was to me while we were together, he is a very wounded and disturbed soul that may not feel anything at all. He lied to me and broke promises, especially when he knew I was recovering after a divorce and promised me he wouldn’t break my heart.  I tell myself he was fake and manipulated my feelings and trust for his own selfish purposes, and everything about the relationship was as fake as Dirty John, because genuine people do not develop close intense relationships only to treat others with such disdain. I wish I could have moved on when it all went down; I wanted nothing more than those awful feelings to go away. I look at him now and think I can do so much better than him.

The stage of acceptance is the beginning of my healing process, because I am ready to meet my next long-term relationship.

Working Through Grief After Being Ghosted

First, I want to say that I am tired (and I know my friends are, too) of talking about this person, and I want it out of my brain once and for all. I wish I could say this is my last time talking about it, but I’m not sure I can say everything in one sitting.

If anyone could flip a switch to turn off anxiety, depression, or symptoms of grief or trauma, you bet your ass they would! So when someone says to “get over it,” they are clueless as to what you’re going through. There have been times when I don’t even understand why I feel the way I do, so I don’t expect others to be helpful, but insensitive comments are not appreciated.

Grief is a peculiar thing, and the five stages don’t always go in order. I am just now discovering this about OC, the guy that ghosted me two and a half years ago. About six months ago, I became angry about the situation. I am not a hateful person, and I cannot remember the last time I felt hate towards anyone, so why would these feelings suddenly emerge?

In case you’re not a regular follower, here’s a recap: We met on a dating app, dated intensely for 3 months (together 4-5 nights a week and weekends), fell head over heels for him, met some of his family, led me to believe we’d be together in the future (he spoke of plans for months ahead), said things to me like “it would take a lot to leave you.” I went to visit my family for a week, I even invited him to come along, he said he missed me, then he became uncommunicative (around this time my gut cringed), then he sent me a confusing text three days later telling me he had to take care of some work and financial stuff and that he didn’t mean to hurt me. He never actually said he didn’t want to see me anymore; I thought at the very least we’d remain friends. Then he never spoke to me or texted me again and blocked me from social media. We ran into each other all of the time, but he refused to look at me or speak to me, and at times he’d either hide or leave the place we were at. However, six months later, he unblocked me from Instagram and started liking my posts. I sent him several messages (usually after drinking, oops!), asking him why he did what he did and that I deserved an explanation, then eventually I told him how much he’d hurt me. He would read all of my messages yet fail to answer. About three months after that (this would be nearly a year since I’d met him), he matched with me again on a dating site… but never said a word. One of his family members was also following me on Instagram and liking my posts but would not allow me to follow his private account but would speak to me in public, another family member told me OC said that I was a “cool chick.” Total mindfuck! So, you can see how this would drive anyone batshit crazy that was still going through the stages of grief from this horrible un-breakup. It would have been easier and more forgivable to deal with an actual death.

Viewing the stages of grief this morning, I think the first stage I experienced was denial. I thought something happened and he was just dealing with it in his own way and I’d hear from him eventually. I mean, no one that spends so much time together and appears to be so close and honest just ups and leaves, right? Wrong! Plus, we’re in our 40s and he was so sweet to me, so there’s no way a man this age would do that, right? Wrong! I remember hearing a truck down my street thinking it was him coming over to talk to me. Wrong! (It was my neighbor’s truck.)

First, I think I was in the bargaining stage. I asked myself what happened? What did I do wrong? I blamed myself for doing something that I wasn’t aware that I did. It took me a long time to realize I did nothing wrong at all. I had just dated a cowardly asshole that couldn’t face the truth.

Depression was the stage that hit me immediately and didn’t go away for nearly two years. (I had been depressed about other things, but specifically this situation was different.) Again, I blamed myself. I didn’t eat for four months. I didn’t lose weight, either, because I did plenty of drinking during that time. Every time I saw him, I felt anxious to the point of a near-panic attack, then depressed, almost obsessive about it. I wanted nothing more than for him to speak to me, because I felt horrible. It didn’t help that he was liking my shit on social media, which I did eventually block him at some point.

Then came the anger. I didn’t think it was possible for me to be as angry as I’ve been for as long as I’ve been. (Perhaps middle age has something to do with it?) When I get mad about something, I stay mad for a bit, and then I’m over it. Maybe after having dates with multiple douchebags triggered something? Or maybe it’s just the stage I need to be in so that I can continue to heal?

One last incident: On New Year’s Eve, I went out with a friend to watch a band play. OC was there. The place wasn’t that crowded, and my friend and I both noticed him walking the long way around so that he passed by our table. Twice. He could have gone a shorter way away from us, but he didn’t. I’m so glad that my friend was there as a witness, because people think I make this shit up. She asked if he was trying to antagonize me. I replied, “I don’t know what he’s doing, but it’s weird!” Was he trying to get me to notice him? Fuck him. He doesn’t deserve it. The entire night I pretended I didn’t see him and kept a far distance, kept my back at him, even went to the opposite end of the bar to order drinks. And that’s when I realized I can do so much better than him.

Tomorrow I will write about the other stage of grief – acceptance.