Back to the Present

LOL. Naive 2018 Ariane, thinking that was rock bottom back in September (where did the last six months even go?) It got so much worse, it's still so much worse. And in all honesty, I've lost the will to keep documenting it for now, so I've decided to let myself off the hook so that if/when the spirit moves me I can just hop in here and write a bit now and then without feeling like I need to "catch up".

Later this month marks the one year anniversary of two big changes: 1) my father died and 2) less than a week later I got a big part of my diagnosis and was finally put on treatment for it. I barely had time to process my father's passing, though really I had been processing it for years at this point (you can look up "anticipatory grief" and "ambiguous grief" if you want to make sense of that). I'd been frantically trying to get medical help to save my own life, as my stability and ability to survive became more and more precarious.

I don't know if there are people from my "old" life who read my blog, and still think I'm being melodramatic, but even after everything I've been through the past year, I still have this self-consciousness about not being believed. I'm sure it's a combination of all the medical gaslighting, and of my medical needs being minimised for so long. For some reason most of the people who were really involved in my life before I turned 30, simply were not willing to wrap their heads around the fact that I was really severely ill. And when things got bad, and I started having to have boundaries, they just disappeared. I felt so invisible and abandoned, and it took a while to at least find my voice with the healthcare practitioners I was desperately seeking help from, even though once they started hearing me they still threw their hands up and didn't really try. Outside of healthcare, it's still really hard to find my voice with people who knew me before I was this sick. Who treat me like this is a choice, like I just need to "just get up and get at it" or "get over myself" (literal words a relative I no longer speak to said to me).

If there's one thing I've had to accept, it's that some people are just very committed to not getting it. Some don't get it, but are open and want to, they listen, they believe, even if it doesn't 100% make sense to them right away, and I'm so grateful for every one of those people who have shown up. But it doesn't mean that I don't still feel the gaping wounds of those who wouldn't. Those who made it about themselves, when I became so disabled I couldn't perform our relationships on their terms anymore. Who didn't care about me anymore, unless I could somehow magically make myself un-sick and make things easy for them again. And I couldn't, so one by one, I let them all go. And while this partly sounds like grief, and it partly is, it is also peace.

So much peace. So much space that I needed for my own survival, even if at times it feels a bit lonely. I am never really alone now, because I have filled some of that space back up with people who love me unconditionally and not based on what I'm able to perform for them. It's a process, and one that I know will continue for a long time, no matter whether I ever get better, whether I get worse, or whether I just scramble along like this for some time to come.

It's hard to be ruthless with your own right to peace. When there's a tradeoff for something like much needed practical assistance, or some semblance of care and support. When things are really hard, I get more lenient about that, and often don't realise what I've given up until things are more far gone than I should have let them get, and chaos has descended back into my life. I guess it's one of those things you sometimes have to re-learn over and over - when your formative years were full of chaos, conditional "love", and emotional abuse and abandonment. It's hard to learn you deserve better, that you can demand better. That you actually matter. That especially when your life is on the line, it's okay to require more than scraps. That it's okay to be selfish when things are life or death, and someone is not willing to choose supporting life for you, unequivocally. When they cannot separate their wants and your needs, their arbitrary timeliness and your dire consequences, their desire for absolution from guilt and your need for authentic care, their selfish codependence or enmeshment and your need for unconditional love.

This kind of care is a privilege. I know it. It shouldn't be, but unfortunately not everyone is afforded it, and it's not because of having done something wrong - most of the time it is sheer luck. And yet, once you've had a taste of true care and compassion, solidarity and love, it is impossible to go back to accepting any facsimile of those which are mere veils for manipulation, guilt, or alterior motives. I know paradoxically, I need to stay vigilant against this, if I'm ever to really learn to let down the walls a bit and trust new people again. Really let people back into my life in a deeper way - finding a way to do this is extremely important to me. It's hard as hell to work on while in survival mode, but I know the only way out is through.

And so, here I am - a shell of myself, but still here. Still surviving. Finding my peace again.

Wondering what the passing of these anniversaries will bring. Whether there is ever closure to things that have no roadmap and no end in sight.

And then there's my father - I've been thinking about him more the last few weeks. How has a year already passed? There was no funeral, not that I would have been physically capable of travelling to it anyway. But there was not even an obituary to share on Facebook. If there were condolence cards sent, or flowers, I never saw them. I exchanged a couple emails with family friends I'd considered close to let them know the news, who were very kind to me about it, despite my finding out they'd also not been in contact with my parents for some time. There were very awkward phone calls - first a few with my mother, and then calls and texts from relatives - it didn't take long until I just stopped answering/responding to anyone (except my cousins who thankfully, mostly do understand). It was clear these were not calls to provide me support, but rather to dump feelings and grief on me, and put me in my usual position of having to comfort everyone else when it should have been me receiving comfort for a change.

And I had a lot of moral support from a few key people in my life, who I'm so grateful understand the complexity of these relationships with my parents that have cost me so much in my life. It's not something most people can relate to, unless they've lived it or been very close to it themselves. They were able to listen when I did want to talk, but also give me a lot of space, knowing it's not like "normal" grief when a loved one you are close to dies.

I just listened to a very good episode of a newish podcast called "Armenian Enough": Episode 15: Surviving Childhood Abuse with Author Melineh Petrosian. It helps a lot whenever I hear other experiences from adult children of Armenian or other immigrants, who've had upbringings like mine - living with parents with Narcissistic and/or Borderline Personality Disorder, and other issues with codependence, enmeshment, and emotional abuse. It helps to destigmatise it, and relieve some of that deep loneliness and alienation it leaves you with even as an adult, when you've been abandoned emotionally and abused by your parents from early on. It's something I never felt quite comfortable writing about in more than vague terms when my father was alive, but perhaps I'll find my voice in this area too now and then, when I'm not preoccupied with just trying to survive.

Anway, no fancy conclusion, just dumping some thoughts here for catharsis, like I used to back in the day when personal blogging was for me and for my dear ones, and not some weird voyeuristic thing that results in the lurking of unwanted eyes and people bombarding you with requests to publish "sponsored content" for money. We'll see how long I leave this up...

ps. Public comments have been disabled. (If you know me, you'll know a way to respond!)
pps. My spellcheck is broken, so sue me.