Delving in the Deep Darks

Normally I don’t go deep on this blog, but I had something of an epiphany last night and I kind of want to explore it. First things first. See these bags?

That, dear reader, is three years of bills, statements, miscellaneous correspondence, and whatnot that Doug and I purged from our file cabinet this past weekend. Three years! There were bills in there from 2015… I’ve never been this far behind on my paperwork. Ever. It kind of brought home how much I’ve been hiding from the world these past three years. Not just by not going out into the world, but by not doing the everyday things I ordinarily do — like bills. I haven’t gotten to the point where my house is a mess, but I’ve obviously let a few things slide… a lot.

So, in April of 2016, my neighbor got drunk and came over for a visit. At that time, we were friendly — on talking terms and… neighborly. She had told me that her mom was dying and so when I ran into her that day she told me she wasn’t doing well and that her mom had died. She asked me to drive her to the store (she’d been about to walk there) and of course I did. When we got there, we sat in my car and she talked. I held her hand and patted her shoulder and did what anyone else would do for someone grieving. I mean, that’s what someone does, right? People looked at us, but I didn’t care, I was all, Let them look, her mom died and she needs the comfort. Because, dear reader, I often don’t care what people think of me. *sigh* Mostly.

Anyway, turns out she wanted to get some booze at the store, and she did. I drove her home and said if she needed anything she could come cry on my shoulder. She took that literally and showed up a little while later — glass in hand and plastered. Thus began my ordeal. Five hours. Five hours she parked herself in home and just… I dunno, was drunk. And being drunk, she forcibly tried to kiss me at least twice, and she followed me into the bathroom when I used it as an excuse to get away from her. She spent most of this time maligning everyone and everything in her life and generally played the “woe is me” card for hours. Honestly, I just wanted her to go home. You can read a contemporary account here if you want to. I did my best to diffuse the situation, because this wasn’t the first time I’ve been accosted by a drunk person — not by a long shot. Nor was she the biggest or baddest drunk I’ve had to deflect. Nor was she the first drunk and/or obnoxious person I’ve had to deal with in my own home. I mean, my psycho ex tried to kill me in my own home. Of course, I ran away the next day, so there’s that, but whatever. She’s not even the first woman who’s put the moves on me. What can I say? I’ve led an interesting life.

So why, dear reader, did this encounter affect me so much more than all of the others? (Psycho ex notwithstanding.) Honestly, I don’t know. But it did. I think, though that it is because whenever this kind of thing happened before I had some modicum of control of the situation, however small, some way to diffuse whatever was happening and make it… stop happening. Or, some way to make it happen… less somehow. Without getting into particulars because even I don’t want to delve that far into my deep darks. Even with my psycho ex, I was able to make him go to sleep so I could pack a bag and bug out the next day. In this situation with my neighbor, for the first time in my life, I felt pretty powerless and out of control. And it just hit me when it happened how helpless I was. Like, I’ve never been able to run, dear reader. I’m not a running person — literally, I can’t get up past a jog in the best of situations. Nowadays I’m lucky if I make it to a fast shamble. And that… that’s what frightens me. That’s what keeps me inside and away from the world. Because if something else happens and I lose control, my body is in such terrible condition that I have no way of removing myself from the situation. My lungs are shot, my back is messed up, and my knees are getting worse every day. This thing that happened with my neighbor wasn’t the worse scenario I’ve found myself in, but it affected me a lot because it brought to home just how broken my body has become. And it terrified me.

And so I hid away from the world, and the realization that yeah, I’m disabled. Hard to understand because I mention that I’m disabled all of the time. I know. I mention it, I lament about it, but I have not embraced the fact that I’m disabled. I haven’t accepted it. I’ve rebelled against it and raged at the unfairness of it all. But, I haven’t really acknowledged that it’s a part of who I am. And until I do embrace that part of me as an integral part of who I am, well… how can I become a member of society again? My dream is to open a store and sell things to the public. I can’t do that if I’m hiding away in my house and licking my wounds. Wounds have to heal eventually, even if they leave scars. If I want to realize my dream, I have to come out of my hidey-hole because the things I need to do, the people I need to talk with and the places I need to go? They’re not gonna come to me. Of course this doesn’t mean I’m gonna kick open my door and start singing about how great the world is “outside”. Baby steps y’all. Baby steps.

5 thoughts on “Delving in the Deep Darks

  1. Melanie B Cee

    You said it yourself “baby steps.” I take it the neighbor situation didn’t reoccur? That would have been discouraging, even without the overtures. But it might have been her dysfunctional way of trying to forge a connection, because after a death I think (and it’s been reinforced lately too) one might feel so disconnected from everything that one acts out in inappropriate ways. I know that I acted out after Huny passed on to the extent that I’ve pushed almost everyone clear out of my life. Last week I left my phone turned off for three days and when I did turn it on again, no texts, no phone calls. Grief does weird things to people.

    Having said that, the woman in your story clearly has some big problems (IMHO), not the least of which is possibly being alcoholic. Those are things she has to sort out by herself, because those are things nobody else can sort out for her, however sympathetic or kind they might be.

    And I think the initial realization of how ‘powerless’ you are (you’re not, but I’ll elucidate on that later) is a shock, especially to one who may have been very independent throughout their lives. Another of chronic illness’s little gifts nobody warns one about. All the human deaths in my life occurred in the past two decades and it still hits me now and again, that I’m alone and stress? Is the bane of my existence. There’s so much I can’t do any more (physically or psychologically) that it gets depressing.

    You still have your mind. You can make choices about your life and act to bring them about. I realize getting out is a chore and a literal pain, but is there a local senior center in your area? A hotline or book available with resources for folks in your situation? I ask because all those resources can direct you to places designed to help you get physically stronger, if that’s your goal. There’s free mental health clinics too, if you feel that anxiety or isolating yourself has become an issue, and you want tools to help combat it.

    And you have a phone. The one good thing about cell phones is the one touch ’emergency’ numbers included in most. If someone is threatening you or makes you feel intimidated or attacked (not saying that’s what happened), you can always call in the troops and let your aggressor know you’re going to do just that if they don’t get lost immediately.

    I don’t know, there’s no one size fits all solution. Yours will be unique to you, and from what I’ve gathered over the while I’ve known you is that you’re very strong. Very smart. Creative. You’ll figure it out.

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    1. Willow Post author

      Wanna hear the weirdest part? Her mom wasn’t dead. She was seriously ill, but still alive. I believe she did die a year or so later, but on that day, she was still very much alive. My neighbor simply lied about it. And yes, she does have a drinking problem. It’s well known around these parts (but not by me at the time). She and I have not spoken since.

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  2. Willow Post author

    I say that all the time about my bipolar… I have bipolar, I am not bipolar. 🙂 I guess I’m just gonna have to learn to assimilate the rest of my disabilities the same way. But I’ve had bipolar a lot longer than the rest of them. BTW, I read your last blog post. I’m glad you figured things out and that you’re feeling better.

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