I am a bit socially stunted and in the last eight years moved so much that all my acquaintances lost track of me. Plus I was doing things I couldn’t explain and was ashamed of so that made me retreat from them even more. Now I have no one. I don’t even know how to be a friend, let alone have a friend.
I hold in most of my thoughts and fears around my parents and daughter. I don’t want to upset them or use them as therapists. When I say to my mom that I have to go swim because I’m really wound up, that’s me being subtle, because by then I’m in a real panic and about to lose it. It’s my code for, please mom, back off.
That’s why any comment made on this blog by people who have their own life challenges and problems mean more to me than anyone can imagine. I feel pathetic to say it, but you are the closest things I have right now to friends. You took the time to read what I wrote. That’s pretty much the nicest thing ever.
Thank you. It means so much to me I can barely express it. I’m not alone, am I?
Yesterday at the pool I had a great workout, a bit over an hour. Then I did go into the deep pool for a bit of stretching, but nothing too strenuous. These days I go into the deep pool mainly for two reasons, 1.) I stand at the side of the pool and dive in and I love that, and 2.) I can float to my heart’s content.
I’ve been eyeing the diving board and am working up the nerve to climb it and dive off of it. And when I say “dive” I barely mean dive. It’s not something I remember well from high school. But those bubbles as they hit your skin. They feel so nice. And it feels childlike to jump into the pool rather than walk into it. I think I’ll promise right now to dive off the diving board when I reach 199 pounds.
Being back at my local pool felt like being at the Ritz compared to the other pool. It seemed so big and wide and clean and familiar, also it’s brighter there. And light means a lot up here in the Pacific Northwest.
As I walked from the pool to the locker room, a young female lifeguard said, “Looking good.” And I shyly said, “Thank you.” I wasn’t sure if she was referring to my weight loss, or the fact that I can swim longer, but she could have been referring to the fact that my bathing suit, as I later discovered, was on inside out.
Go ahead. Laugh. I am. I mean it had a big white tag on the back…
Just when I think I have a little class or dignity… But it is funny. And I’m sure the lifeguard wasn’t referring to that. She’s just nice.
My point in bringing her and her comment up is this, that comment, two words, made me feel considerably better. It makes me realize that many of us are lonely and alone in a sea of people, but when one person does the slightest thing uniquely for you, it feels fantastic. She noticed me. It makes me remember that, now and then, I need to do more of that myself. We’re all people. We’re not automatons or zombies.
Last week a worker at the drug store carried my storage boxes to my car for me. I could have managed it, but he seemed to want to. That was so nice of him.
That’s the same reason why comments here mean so much to me. It’s a small human connection and I’m not very good at them. Today I shared a lane with the woman I enjoyed speaking to a couple of months ago. I would have loved to have that chat again and see if I can wrangle an invitation to hike with her and her friend, but she was chatting with another swimmer and I didn’t want to interrupt.
Opportunity lost. For now.
At the recommendation of a commenter, I spent considerable time learning about Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (aka: ACT). I think it sounds like a really nice fit for me because it doesn’t require you to ask yourself why you’re feeling a certain way, it just helps you to deal having the feelings.
I especially liked this:
“Remember those old movies where the bad guy falls into a pool of quicksand, and the more he struggles, the faster it sucks him under? In quicksand, struggling is the worst thing you can possibly do. The way to survive is to lie back, spread out your arms, and float on the surface. It’s tricky, because every instinct tells you to struggle; but if you do so, you’ll drown.
The same principle applies to difficult feelings: the more we try to fight them, the more they overwhelm us. Imagine that at the back of our mind is a ‘struggle switch’. When it’s switched on, it means we’re going to struggle against any physical or emotional pain that comes our way; whatever discomfort experienced, we’ll try our best to get rid of it or avoid it.”
I’m going to see if I can understand ACT and then talk to my counselor about it this week. There are a lot of good books on the subject as well. My counselor talks a lot about mindfulness and now I think I can look at mindfulness in a new way.
I also appreciate imagery to help me with my intrusive thoughts. Perhaps when I’m finding myself in the middle of one, I can imagine floating on the water, arms and legs out, blissful. Not struggling. Just let it pass. Open the door for it to pass and leave. Replace it with another thought.
I spoke to my daughter last night and am planning to drive to see her on Thursday and spend the night there for the first time. I shared a little bit of what I’m going through with the separation and feeling as though I might never have known my husband at all. After I hung up I remembered one of the strongest reasons why I must not entertain self destructive behavior any longer is that she needs me to be a better person. She does not need a mom she has to worry about or mourn. I need to be strong for her. I need to be a good example.
Today I plan to leave the house early and stand in line to get help doing my taxes. I’ll be so glad when I get that over with. If all goes well I will still be able to fit swimming into my day later. Also, I’ve called a divorce attorney and am trying to schedule a short free consultation to get advice on what to do.
I looked up that saying, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” and found it interesting. Not sure if I already shared it here. Here’s part of it:
Vile and ingrate! too late thou shalt repent
The base Injustice thou hast done my Love:
Yes, thou shalt know, spite of thy past Distress,
And all those Ills which thou so long hast mourn’d;
Heav’n has no Rage, like Love to Hatred turn’d,
Nor Hell a Fury, like a Woman scorn’d.
I think I’ll feel better once I can act without worrying that he’ll threaten me or run off with all of his settlement money. I think I’ll feel better when I can treat him the way he deserves to be treated. I refuse to sink to his level or do what he does, but a small amount of retribution might be what the doctor ordered.
I’d rather be hurt and taken advantage of than be the one doing the hurting.