Tag Archives: loneliness

Why I Hate Dissertating (as it turns out)

Forgive me for not writing. I have been behaving as an adrenaline junkie and keeping myself manically busy, because when I slow down this is what happens:
1. I feel a sadness creep into my heart.
2. I begin to get really anxious
3. I start to think that anything, even oblivion would be better than this feeling, that it will never pass and nothing will ever be right again.
4. I berate myself for my incapacity to feel serene in the face of mere hours of solitude these days.

I used to love days spent alone at home writing. I used to love the quiet, the creativity of it. But then I started living alone (against my will), and it became too isolating while dealing with all the trauma of the past couple of years. I have developed this horrible routine, which I’ll sum up in another list:

1. Plan to get up at reasonable hour
2. Turn off alarm because the idea of dealing with another day is too overwhelming
3. Get up late, feeling guilty, sluggish, and a bit depressed
4. Sit down to write hours after I had planned to
5. Get seized by a wave of melancholy/anxiety that can only be thwarted by distracting myself
6. Don’t get anything done, or produce a mere paragraph of terribly written garbage
7. Settle into despair and stress

There are plenty of good things going on my life. I keep meeting wonderfully kind new people and trying all sorts of awesome new things. I am one month into a new relationship. But I don’t trust myself at all right now. I question everything I say and do around him, and am convinced he’s about to reject me and leave… I think this because I am not in a good place mental-health wise, and it must be, must be obvious. I keep getting this sense that I can tell him all of this and he won’t judge me, but I won’t because my fear that he’ll get freaked out is so much stronger. We’re generally a very good match in terms of the amount of contact/communication we need and expect, and that’s so important- but my current work-related loneliness has me in a zone that’s outside my normal level of need. It’s like… people/distraction desperation. I’m so beyond grateful when someone reaches out to me and helps alleviate the pain and loneliness that I almost cry constantly these days. Honey, if you ever read this… normal me is not this needy. Actually, normal me is even a bit too independent at times.

Something (obvious?) that occurred to me today that gets a wry smile: If you feel like you’re falling in love with someone after a month, and then the relationship falls apart, it seems a bit crazy and wrongheaded in hindsight. If it works out then it was simple romantic foresight. I dunno… so many things in new relationships are subjective, contingent on how both people feel. If the infatuation is imbalanced one person’s enthusiasm can come off as desperate, clingy, etc. It’s kind of like wanted/unwanted attention in other areas of life, y’know? Clearly I was married for too long, because I have so little tolerance for romantic uncertainty. It’s not exciting and fun for me, it’s just another way my life is a series of ???s at the moment.

I have a housemate set to move in on May 24. This can’t come soon enough- I feel like when that happens I’ll just EXHALE. I’ll be able to stop operating from a place of crazy desperation.

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Yeah, I’ve Been Silent

IMG_3942I haven’t been posting on here because I’ve been too busy… having a breakdown. Yep. I mentioned that things kinda hit the fan in the winter with my mental health and then, then they just kept going downhill. On one hand, it feels to me like I’m pouring water into a soapy glass, and watching the soap rise to the top and flow out of the glass- where the soap is a metaphor for years of hidden pain coming lose and floating away. On the other hand, I feel like I’m losing my damn mind.

I am genuinely terrified- I mean terrified of my mind right now, and being alone. Tonight the plumber didn’t leave my house until after 6pm, and I haven’t gotten much done today and so I thought “it’s rainy and I was out all day, maybe I won’t go to yoga tonight”. Immediately, terror set in. Not because I don’t have plenty to do (my backlog is many virtual pages long- both of fun and work related tasks), but because I will be here. In this house. ALONE.

Is it the house? I want to move so badly it’s ridiculous. But how can I? Here I pay no utilities or mortgage (divorce agreement). I am already only surviving on handouts from my parents and not making ends meet as it is. I could move in with my parents, and that’s about it, financially speaking. So here I sit, surrounded by “our” stuff, in a place that J’s mail is still delivered to.

And last week he threatened to move in. Not threatened in a… threatening way, but he wanted to move back in as my roommate. I don’t want to narrate the whys of it, because this is a public blog and I’m trying not to say.. negative things about J. But it was incredibly emotionally insensitive of him. I think I can say that. I think I can say that it was for religious reasons; he is by no means broken up with his girlfriend, and is in fact intending to re-marry. Ok, that’s where I stop talking. He found my AirBNB listing somehow, after all…

The lowest point was the Saturday when I had a total and complete meltdown in an Ikea. I walked in and looked at the patio furniture and remembered when I felt like I had a family to shop for patio furniture with… even if it was just one person. One person without whom I had never shopped for furniture. Or done almost anything. I just wanted to be back in a family so much it hurt. To not be alone in Ikea. And all of a sudden I was desperate, and I didn’t know who to call or what to do. So I just sat on a stack of boxes, and cried in public. I kept hiding it when people walked by, but I was legitimately crying. In public. I have only ever cried in front of two people in my life- T, and J. I felt like I was choking trying not to make a scene, however, so I fled to my car in the parking lot. And I sobbed. It was pouring rain, and I sat there and just cried until I was so shaky I could hardly move. I thought I wouldn’t survive that day.

The night found me in one of the few places I feel safe on the planet… Black Hole Coffee House. Not sure why, but I do. Feel Safe. There.

Ok, I’m going to break the me-update into 2 posts. It’ll be too long and nobody will read it, otherwise.

Learning to Live (and Be) Alone After a Divorce

What would you do if everyone you lived with, your entire family (you can keep your pets) just disappeared and you were suddenly alone in your place. Indefinitely?

I’d never lived alone before I moved to Japan, and when I made that move I was facing so many of my biggest fears at once that my stress level became untenable. A year later, going through a divorce, trying to write a dissertation, moving back to the U.S., and dealing with PTSD while trying to live alone has been similarly “intense”. A book given to me by my yoga studio simply addressed a generic reader with these (paraphrased) words: “you’re doing amazingly. I can’t believe how strong you are.” When I read this yesterday, I was surprised to find myself spontaneously bursting into tears.

But I still make a lot of choices from a place of fear. I feel the dread start to rise around Friday. By my usual Friday night yoga class I’m a aching combination of terrified and depressed. My whole being seems to scream out for someone, anyone to come to my house and sit with me, to go grocery shopping with me ( a real loneliness trigger, even though I used to relish doing it alone), come to my favorite Saturday morning coffee spot with me… etc.

Thing is, I fired the harem (the guys I was juggling in the fall because I have a boyfriend now. No, it’s not T. It’s G- a new code letter!) He’s a visiting professor at a university in Pennsylvania until April. He is my dream man, seriously. He is the male version of me. We are so much alike it’s delightful and amazing and intense. But he’s up there and I am here. And I’ve never tried to navigate a relationship, particularly during the early stages, entirely via text messaging and email.

So this feels like something that on one hand is keeping me from engaging in the manic dating behavior that was my entire autumn. But it means that I have a lot more space in my head and my days. And I seem to use that space to mostly fall into despair about not having  a “family” of my own anymore. I even want to make kids appear out of nowhere so I’m not alone…

In general,I need less interaction with people than is typical (it drove J. crazy that just having him in the house was enough for me, and that I felt sitting in the same room reading different books was “spending time together”), but I seem to fall apart without that low-level stimulation much more quickly than everyone I know.

So, while mulling this over and doing net searches on loneliness, I read:

http://tinybuddha.com/blog/coping-with-the-pain-of-loneliness-after-a-break-up/

which helped a bit. I mean, I know I’m not alone in feeling alone, but I also don’t know how to reach out and ask for help from those who are around me every day (or my friends at a distance).

She writes: “I have learned that masking those uncomfortable feelings (my escapism being alcohol and meaningless dates) only leaves the pain unattended for a while longer.”

Yes… the dates and all of my other ways of staying busy merely meant that when I slowed down in January, I fell apart. Every night when I lay in my head was spinning. My mood swings were violent and frequent, and I alternated between feeling like a voice in my head was screaming, to obsessively visualizing breaking things or shooting them, to thinking that unless one is in a state of crisis, it’s impossible to get others to care… so I might have to try to kill myself for people to realize how bad it was. Or I’d have to call my parents and say “look, I’m not coping… I need someone to come here NOW.”

I’ve kept most of this from G. This early in a relationship, I was/am already showing him a lot of my damage. I didn’t want him to know that at times I am one text message from him away from loneliness-induced despair.

Last night, when I was too exhausted to do much else, I read this:

http://www.xojane.com/it-happened-to-me/it-happened-to-me-i-havent-left-my-apartment-in-6-months

And actually, it helped. Unlike the other commentors, I didn’t think about the unhealthiness of not leaving your home for 6 months. I thought “Huh, what if I took a radical (for me) step, and tried to leave my home LESS. If I just did fewer things from a place of fear and desperation. What if I pretended my house was an isolated cottage in the mountains, a -retreat- rather than my prison, and a retreat for the benefit of my mental health and work productivity at that? What would this change?”

Because let me tell you, just letting myself -feel- the feelings of loneliness doesn’t seem to be helping. It has the effect of wallowing, for me.

What would I do differently if I wasn’t afraid of being alone? My entire life would be different, so this is a problem worth solving.

-I wouldn’t be afraid to tell the guys who keep hitting on me despite me saying “I can’t do this, I now have a boyfriend” to cut it out. Right now I’m afraid to lose them as friends because I don’t want to be alone… but who needs friends who won’t respect my boundaries?
-I wouldn’t make myself go out all the time– only when I actually wanted to. I would be able to say “You know, I’m exhausted. Why don’t I just stay home?”  (I am doing that tonight!)
-I would grocery shop without feeling sick inside watching all of the couples and families milling about.
-I would be more honest with people in general, because my fear of being left alone encourages me to avoid conflict at any cost
-(Past tense) I wouldn’t have stayed in a broken relationship for 16 years.
-I wouldn’t stress when G doesn’t respond to some of my texts. That’s just how he is; the sometimes-incompatible texting style is only a problem because we’re dating from a distance. I rely on external things and people to cheer me, when I need to learn to rely on myself, and to stay steady even when I don’t have someone distracting me from my own mind.

Amidst a lot of conflicting advice about it being important to “respect the process” of growth and transition, I find myself not wanting to “stay with my feelings”, but to change them.

So, I am not writing this from “my house”. I am now pretending it is a  wellness and work retreat space. Of course, if anyone has a REAL retreat/writing space I can move into temporarily with two dogs instead, I’d take you up on that 😉

The people that you meet

It wasn’t a good day, so I needed yoga class all the more. I signed up for a 7:30PM class with live music, the kind of thing that my solitary self has the luxury of doing at the moment. I’ve been oddly early to everything lately- oddly, that is, for me, as I tend(ed) to be chronically late even to important appointments, and have to constantly fight my urge to putter around my home just as I’m supposed to be heading out the door. No joke, I suddenly decided it’d be a good time to organize my scarves right before a shrink appointment this week. That was the old me rearing her head… or maybe the mentally healthy me.

Anyway, I arrived at this yoga class among the first three– one of whom was a handsome, tanned, and muscled tattoo instructor from the same school who was going through his own routine as he waited for class to start. The other was a lean, lithe woman with tangled dirty blonde hair, a white tank-top that hugged her frame, and silver bracelets galore. She planted herself less than a foot from my face as I walked in.

“Hi. I need to know. What that means.” She pointed to the tattoo on my right arm.

“Oh, um, it’s a Biblical verse.”

“What does it say?” She leaned closer, peering at me intently.

There are two kinds of people who ask about my tattoos– the ones who perceptively read into my clipped answer that I’m not in the mood to explain (when I’m not), and those who will not be satisfied until they extract a full explanation from me. I won’t slow down the narrative for you by explaining which kind she was.

“Oh, um, it’s about angels. And love.”

Her eyes widened. “See. I knew that,” she said manically. “I knew that. You. Like. I totally needed to hear that right now. Like. God, or um, whomever put you in my path so I could hear the words of love on your arm right now. Y’know?”

I couldn’t stop thinking that I was having a moment of failure as a human being. What if she ended up inviting me to a bar? What if she’s a fascinating (ex-drug addict, or my radar is broken) person, and all I want is to close off into my space and ignore her, even when I’m so lonely these days that it seems the only thing I can feel or think? She and I could sit in a dusty Houston bar, painted yellow and red with rusty silver stars on the wall, drinking bottles of beer and talking about dreams.

But no, if she invited me I’d probably think for a moment about how I’d rather go to Starbucks and go home to my dogs, and end up making excuses as I so often do. I’m just not good at spontaneity. Or people.

While I was thinking all of this I was nodding along with her.

“Um, so you want to know what it says?”

“Please. I feel like YOU. Were put in my path tonight. For a reason.”

“It simply says ‘If I should speak in the tongues of man and angels but have not love, I am but a clanging gong or resounding bell,’ I recited in my usual monotone.

Her eyes widened: “Beautiful” she breathed.

I demured: “Well, it’s fairly commonly used in weddings. Not really all that creative of me, actually.”

She wasn’t listening to me. She rambled along, in the same clipped, rapid fire manner : “So it means you need to. You need to have love. Love is everything. Or nothing you say. Is important. If it doesn’t come from Love. That’s so important.”

My eyes wandered to the front of the beautiful, rounded corner room with its enormous windows overlooking the Houston skyline. I made a move to put my mat down, and in this nearly empty room, she placed hers a mere foot from mine. I closed my eyes and lay down.

This class was beautiful, the live guitar and the drums complementing the yoga done in a dimming room, the sun dropping behind the skyscrapers as we moved through poses. The instructor did have an odd habit of saying “That’s niiiiiice” repeatedly, sometimes more than once in a sentence… i.e.: “Drop into downward dog… that’s niiiice… leg up…. ‘s niiiiice.”

But she ran a good class so I decided to stop counting the nice’s and gloating about my superior crow pose, and just… relax into it.

Also, the blonde woman cornered her at the end to explain the “Real meaning of yoga”, so all is forgiven. The instructor’s probably still in that studio.

Sitting in my parked car and e-mapping my route home, I found myself looking up and over to the white van parked next to my little car. Inside sat six women in black burqas, with only their eyes peeking back at me. I suddenly felt self-conscious in my exercise tank top with my short shaved hair and tattoos. But as I glanced away and then back, I found myself smiling at the woman closest to me. And then, much to my surprise, she lifted the front of her face covering so I could see her own smile, before letting it drop again. I actually giggled out loud in my car.

I’m trying to put on a brave front in public, but I feel like crying is my full-time job these days. Crying, wondering how I’m going to get through the day, and trying frantically to argue with the negative voices in my head.

(Digression- I wondered why the dogs were so quiet… as with children (I imagine), this is rarely a good sign. I’d left the closet open and they’d found their toy box, taken one out at a time, and had assembled themselves a nice little buffet of furry toys, squeakers long since destroyed.)

Project “No Lonely”: Steps to a Better Me?

Image

I’m trying to tackle the problem of my loneliness in the same way I tackle academic work~ by turning in it into a project, by applying my organization and research skills, making myself things-to-do lists, and the like. Project “New me” was going well until the weekend hit… Saturdays are by far the hardest day of the week, for me as for so many depressed/isolated people.

Anyway, here’s what I’m trying. I have a daily routine:

1. I got a new “solar” alarm clock. So far it’s actually getting my ass out of bed. I like the light and the chirping birds. So I’ve been rising much more easily than I ever have before, and that’s a big deal in my life.

2. Upon rising, I drink glass of room-temperature water with fresh squeezed lemon.
Why? I’ve been reading about the benefits of this one for a while, and I tend to drink a glass of water in the morning anyway, so why not?

3. 10 minute walk with the dogs. Why? Because my new Jawbone UP told me a walk upon rising helps kickstart the metabolism for the day, my dogs need the exercise, my pasty ass needs the vitamin D… but I won’t pretend I’m sucking in any fresh air considering the constant air quality advisories in Houston (humidity + car culture = smoooooooggg)

4. Self-help books. Why? They help me, they light a fire under my butt, they help me to keep my chin up. I finished Getting Past Your Breakup, and am now moving on to The Happiness Project

5. Affirmations Why? They’re part of the whole cognitive behavioral therapy thing. After reading the newest round of studies that show we are what we think, and that repeated negative thoughts wear grooves into our minds, I thought I might try to wear some positive grooves for a change. I use the bloom app to prompt me to do affirmations 3x a day, using photos I’ve taken myself.

6. Journaling. I hate physically writing… been using the computer for too many years now and hand-writing feels slow. But I’ve been writing letters to J, venting my spleen, babbling on paper, etc. It’s a combo of advice from three sources: this study on clearing negative thoughts, advice from the above-mention breakup book, and a bastardization of “Morning Pages” a cool technique from The Artist’s Way and explained well in this article.

7. Yoga. Why? (Well, I’ve been doing yoga for 18 years but…) I bought an unlimited yoga class pass (cheap on Groupon)  for the month of September, and I’m determined to get my $20 worth. Also, I need the social contact. Thanks to my friend K’s sending me the info, I’m also joining this 40 day challenge come Sept. 30. How cool is that? 40 days of yoga, meditation, study, and support!

8. Meditation. I’m trying. Why? Oodles upon zoodles of research showing the benefits for stress-reduction, focus, etc.

9. Gratitude. I am writing down three good things about every day. Why? it helps me to remember that even the darkest, most horrible days have something in them that is joyous. Even if it’s just “I made matcha and drank it”. (I am using the Lift app to manage this and all of the above items)

10. Tangentially related… am Pomodoro Techniquing my work routine. But that’s work.

I’m not actually sure trying to become okay with being alone is a good thing. I mean, humans are social creatures, right? I am definitely comfortable with quite a bit of alone time and keep myself very busy (see above, heh!) but…  I think on the contrary I need to try to get better at making plans with people. Spontaneity is very difficult for me, so… baby steps, man.

Maybe a week in advance I can try to schedule a coffee date with someone or something? And I am still turning over in  my mind whether to get a roommate. This house is too big for just crazy dysfunctional girl and her crazy, dysfunctional dogs. And if I’d had a roommate we all might have avoided today’s scene wherein I found myself sobbing at the top of a step-ladder, unable to get the smoke detector to stop chirping, as the dogs grew increasingly hysterical. I eventually got it together and google-solved my problem, but not without approximately 95% more freakout than was, strictly speaking, necessary.

Okay, I’m sick, I’m sleepy, and my front door is actually locked tonight so it’s bed time.

Ed note: I know, few of these ostensibly have much to do with loneliness- here’s the rub: wellness, is for me the first step to being able to socialize.

Divorce support group

marrrrrrgarita

This is really the margarita I drank there. I photographed it for you, dear blog-readers.

I had three hours to kill between dropping the dogs off at the groomer, and divorce support group, and I still managed to almost show up late.

I followed a handsome guy about my age into the airy home office of a local shrink. Dr. informed us stragglers that the reason for his running this group free of charge is that he’d relied on a similar group when going through his own divorce several years ago. He’s been running it for three years. On weekends.

(Note: it’s important that things said in support groups remain in confidence, so I’m going to combine some people and mix up some other people’s details, and I hope that’s sufficient. Please let me know if it’s still inappropriate somehow.)

I took a seat, anxiously, not sure how the ice would be broken and if we’d even make it to the part where I could tell this group of people how alone I feel, how big and empty the house is, how I feel like if I wasn’t so clingy I’d have never married the guy to begin with.

I had to do my self-introduction first, and my hands were shaking. I said I just got back to the U.S… and I want to turn around and head right back to Japan where I wasn’t alone. I said that I need to communicate as little as possible with J, because no good comes of it at all. And then we moved to the next person, and the next…

There were a few veterans, discernible both by the Dr. pointing them out, but also by their comparative acceptance of their situations, and self-assuredness. P., a … dare I say “ripped” ex-navy looking guy with a shaved head, who was going through a drawn out and horrendous sounding divorce, counseled the group by co-opting familiar language: “it gets better” (y’all).

Several of the women, ranging in age from a few years my senior to older than my mother, spoke of numerous affairs – that was by far the most common reason for these divorces. There were lies, there were bribes, and for everyone but me there were children involved, but in almost all cases there were a string of infidelities.

Sigh.

A beautiful woman with flawless dark chocolate skin, whose beauty made me think she was my own age (actually 10 years older), broke down in tears talking about being stuck in a city with no support system: no family, few friends, etc. Her tears were met with sympathetic murmurs and commiseration by many of us. I felt, for the first time in a long time: “this is a common kind of misery”.

But misery it still is.

I couldn’t stop looking at a pinata standing on a ledge far above our heads, in the vaulted ceiling. In my depression and deep sadness, I found the advice offered by others to go to the movies solo, to eat at restaurants solo, etc. to be tragic. I loathe being in those kinds of public places by myself. It makes everything worse for me, it really does.

Sigh.

After some tears and some ranting a fair-haired, WASPy looking young woman piped up and said “who’s in for lunch?” Most of us, the lonely and depressed, were down.

This is how I found myself at a Tex-mex restaurant drinking frozen margaritas at noon on a Saturday, with an enormously diverse group of women and men, all of us volleying around short rants peppered with “my ex”. A 65-yeat old woman with vibrant red lips and toes talked about behavior from hers that sounded annoyingly familiar: he coming along on a trip, becoming obsessed with money to the point where he ruined the entire experience by begrudging her even the money needed to get around the city and see the sights. Another woman talked about calling the husband of the woman her husband was sleeping with, telling him everything, and getting the brush-off. Seemed everyone had tried counseling but me; as the youngest I was also the one who had been least successful in getting “my ex” to see a counselor with me in the past.

A 40-something woman complained: “He couldn’t have run out on me when I was in my 20s? I’ll never get a date now.” I thought she was wrong; she looked to me fit and lovely, healthy and together. All of these people (but one, I’ll be honest) looked to be on top of their lives: fashionable clothes, pedicures, glowing skin, wry senses of humor.

I wondered what the exes really were like: I try to never form a (strong) opinion on a relationship of which I’m not a part, but I instinctively took our sides. I wondered what J would say if he came to this group, although he never would. Ever…

Someone spontaneously said that she wanted to go sky-diving. Then it seemed we all did. Seemed the right thing to do, to deal with feelings of being out of control, by deliberately, consciously relinquishing control.

Right now I am trying not to think too far into the future, because anything I can imagine right now features a terrified and alone me, increasingly desperate. So I try to think : “Saturday. Just get through Saturday.”

Apparently it’s easier with margaritas.

When I enter the house and see that he’s dropped off a case of the Unsweetened Vanilla Almond milk that I like, I don’t know how to feel. But I do know what I think: “I only want you back because I want somebody, but if my fear of being alone was not so strong, I’d never have married you. So I have to learn not to be afraid before I can really be with anyone, even T” (who sent me drunken selfies of himself swinging on a hammock at a Tokyo roof-party “tonight”-Tokyo time).

He Helps Those Who Help Themselves

How do you learn to live by yourself if you’ve gotten to age 34 without doing so? I mean, I tried for the first time in Tokyo, but that went horribly and I scrambled like a frightened animal to not be alone in that apartment… keeping busy doesn’t help, because I don’t have the energy to stay in perpetual motion right now.

I cry daily.

My new therapist has me coming in fairly often so she can keep an eye on me.

I went to the maul yesterday, for some LUSH body cream (my skin is a mass of rashes and hives from stress), and as I stood in the brightly lit maul, in the Sephora, with its flashing lights and screaming noises, without the slightest urge to buy anything, I thought “I want to die.”

I thought this in a purely academic way. I didn’t mean it; death is a horrifying concept to me, THE most horrifying concept. When the topic comes up in my mind, in conversation, or in the media, I picture my littlest dog Mei clinging hysterically to a blanket to avoid being picked up at bath time. And I cling hysterically to my daily existence, as miserable as it has been this year.

If I had a family of my own, I wouldn’t be alone. If I had kids, I wouldn’t be alone. These thoughts obsess me.

The “introvert/extrovert” binary has been getting so much attention recently, as if people never used those terms before 2012… and indeed, I am an either an introvert or just massively dysfunctional. I remember at age 12 I cried to my mother over how lonely I was.

She said “Call a friend. Why don’t you call K? Or K? Or M? Or N?”

I couldn’t explain why I didn’t call them.

I’ve been lonely my entire life, it seems. I have a few things that work for me:

-family. Living in the same house as another person
-socializing with enough warning to prepare myself emotionally. I love planned events, but not in loud spaces.

The more stressed I get, the more easily overwhelmed I become. The more I retreat.

In this big house, I pace. I do a little yoga. I write 3 pages a day on paper of rambly thoughts. I catch up on American TV on Netflix (so many shows I’ve heard people talk about, that I’ve never seen). I read a book on divorce. I Line message T, who is missing me as much as I him. I try to meditate. I pace some more. I make tea and forget to drink it. I stare into the back yard. I cry some more. I study more Japanese vocabulary, because there is always more to learn.

I do indeed have PTSD …from the things that happened to me in Japan that I’m not talking about publicly.

I’m wearing a couple of stone bracelets, that T picked out for me in Yokohama’s Chinatown. Supposedly the stones help to protect the wearer’s heart, and to heal her. He bought me a bowl of crystals that the bracelets go in each night, to re-charge:

healing crystals?

I am so blessed in so many ways, right? We all say that to ourselves when things are horrible and hard. I’ve learned that so much of what I thought of as blessings are less important than the connection between me and other people. But because I am me, and so much like my father, I primarily nurtured the connection between me and one other person, made 1 person my whole support system. But now I am confiding in the person who is hurting me the most. I just wrote him:

“I am so lonely.”

He answered: “Then make some friends.”

Ugh, I am having stabbing head pains at random intervals. The last time I suffered from these was the other lowest time in my life. They force me to close my eyes, pause, and look within.