Nest

My bedroom is a pretty small room. And there’s a lot of stuff in it. And a fair amount of mess. But it’s my room and I kinda like it, which is just as well, because it’s where I live. I sleep here. I wake up and work here. I venture downstairs occasionally to check the post, get food or drink, but mostly to feed the menagerie, before retreating back to my nest. On a good day I may end up downstairs at the end of the day to binge watch TV for a bit before bed. On a bad day I don’t. I just stay here, and read, and work, and sleep some more, and play iPad games, and kill time, before bed. Weekends I barely make it out of bed at all. Why would I? Have you seen the weather out there? The daily encroaching darkness?

My ability to sleep is prodigious. I am just so tired, all the time. The only thing I’ve achieved out of this ‘norm’ this week is to re-dye my hair again, and I’d been meaning to do that for like three weeks. Woohoo, go me, right?

Since lockdown started, I’ve seen 4 people. And I don’t count the people I saw at the shop yesterday, the first time I’d been out of the house in god knows how many days. All I’ve done is sleep, work, pass time, and repeat. I saw my folks a couple of weekends back and I’ve been for two walks – hence the four people I have seen – and I have two more walks planned. Which is good, I guess. But I still have to come home afterwards. And why would I want to do that? What is there to come home to?

It’s all just horrible. I am permanently sad and miserable. I feel locked down, and locked in inside my head.

Anywhere else I am in the house there is too much space. I am faced with the paperwork I should be doing. The tidying that should be being done. The washing, the chores, whatever. The cat crap on the floor again. Stuff I can’t face. And then there’s the space. The emptiness. The quiet. The void. Whichever room I’m in, I’m in on my own, where other people used to be. It all hurts. And a lot of the time I just can’t do it.

Back in my nest is just about ok. All the photos of Matt are back to facing the wall. As a space, it’s physically comfortable. There’s room for all three of the cats to be here, in whichever negotiated truce arrangement they’ve agreed upon. So here I am. The loneliness is overwhelming, and my brain just seems to be going “there’s no Matt, there’s no Matt” over and over and over again at the moment. I cry, a lot, all the time, at the drop of the hat. There is nothing, and nobody, to hold it together for.

I don’t write. I don’t post. It’s lovely when, rarely, someone pings me to ask if I’m ok, but how the hell am I supposed to answer that? You can’t handle the truth, and I’m just going to make you feel sorry for me, and bad because you can’t help me. So I don’t answer. I don’t reach out to people because, again, how the hell are they going to make me feel better? How are they going to fix things for me? And if you’re nice to me at pretty much anytime, by whatever media, or even in person, I’ll probably burst into tears anyway.

There is nothing I do that makes me happy. Sure, I can pass time, I can get distracted, I work. But no, nothing makes me happy. I’ve forgotten what happy feels like, it’s been so long. There just doesn’t seem any point to doing anything. Again, who cares what I do or don’t do? I certainly don’t.

I just don’t see anything changing. The only light is that Tash will be home for the Christmas holidays, at some point, for some time. And then she’ll be gone again, and I bet we get locked down again, and here I’ll be here again, just like this. So why the f*ck am I doing this? I know I’ll keep on doing this, one day at a time, because I have to. But having this be my life isn’t exactly a great thing to have to face up to and cope up with. It sucks. And that’s an understatement.

November Rain

I have had a hideous few days. Days without seeing anyone. Days without going anywhere. Shitty weather. Serious pain levels. Off colour. Endless tears, mentally at the bottom of the well… I came close to taking myself somewhere else last night just to, well, not be here on my own. To be somewhere safe. But I didn’t. I told myself to keep breathing. To keep getting through each minute. To get to bedtime and let there be a new day, a tomorrow. And here we are.

My bubble came over yesterday to help out with my car problems. Turns out that whatever is wrong with the Hyundai is more than just the battery – that’s fine, unsurprisingly, as it’s brand new. Something else clearly isn’t fine. Marvellous. So currently the Hyundai is a useless lump of red metal that we managed to roll forwards far enough to leave access to and from the drive open. It is going to need breakdown called out, and then money spending on it. Add another straw to the pile on the camel’s back…

So I took Sofia off the drive to put petrol in her, and to make sure I have some form of functioning transport. That done, I took her for a quick loop, to give myself a bit of a break, have a little fun maybe, and give her a bit of a run…and it turns out that whatever was wrong with her before Matt tried to fix her is still wrong with her. Which is oddly heartbreaking. So she’s going to need to go to the garage again and have even more money spent on her. Yet another straw…

I came home, parked up, came in, and cried all over Dad’s shoulder. Couldn’t help it. He hugged me, and did his best, and he did ask if I’d like to come and stay with them that night – they’re my bubble so it’s allowed – but I didn’t. He was worried about me, and didn’t want to leave me feeling like that and possibly at risk of doing something stupid. He hasn’t actually witnessed how upset and depressed I can be, and I didn’t have the heart to tell him that crying like that is how I’d been on and off for days, and that staying over there wasn’t going to help, as I’d still have to come home to real life. Running away doesn’t fix anything, though I will arrange to go and stay over sometime soon.

Today has been better. Better because at least during the week I have actual work to do. Actual purpose. Wake up late. Work until I finish. Eat something, play inane iPad games whilst watching whatever series I’m currently binge watching. Go to bed. Start over. It’s the weekends that are the real killer.

That and not seeing anyone. At all. So it was good to see my folks, even though they couldn’t fix the car, and if my Mum wasn’t, and isn’t, really with us these days. They were people. My people. And I’ve got walks scheduled with friends on Wednesday and Thursday, and maybe Friday. After all, I’m allowed out of the house to exercise with one other person. I also have work to do for the rest of the week. I have chores to do. Mum and Dad got all the cat food and essential supplies I needed for me on their way over here, in case I wasn’t going to be able to get out at all. I have white wine. I have beer. So I should make it to the weekend. Oh good…

Here, have a cat picture. The three of them are still shadowing me… This is Bri, our matriarch, in a rare, unguarded, snuggly moment :).

Private Universe

Day 3 in the lockdown house. Did I see anyone? Is the suspense killing you?
No. I didn’t.
This doesn’t mean I didn’t try.
I got up.
I did chores.
I did, impressively, have a shower and wash my hair which, since I didn’t put curly gunk on it afterwards, means I can re-dye it tomorrow.
But no.
I didn’t see anyone.
Because I got all ready, and left the house to move one car so that I could take the other car and…despite its brand new battery…we weren’t going anywhere. Not in that car and, since that one blocks the drive to the other, not in the other one either. The lights came on but…not enough power to kick it over. Battery? Starter motor? Alternator? Who knows…and there was f*ck all I could do about it right then. I didn’t want to call the breakdown guys, and Austin has my jump leads.
So, cue very messy breakdown, in many ways.
Like, I know it’s not important, but I’d built myself up, got ready, forced myself to do all the things I didn’t really want to do, so that I could go out, so that I could do the thing I’d said I’d do, when I’d rather have just stayed in bed.
And then I couldn’t do it.
Which pretty much wiped me out, mentally anyway.

On the upside this means that my folks – my bubble, so it’s allowed – are coming over tomorrow to see if we can jump start it, and move cars around and just in case we can’t, they’re picking up some things from the supermarket for the cats for me on their way over. I’m going to see actual people, in person! And people who won’t mind when I lose it and cry on their shoulders for what could be quite some time. I’ve already cried all over them down the phone today. Silver linings I guess…

And then, even thought I didn’t feel like it, I did join the new zoom group thingy. Which went ok. I made it through, I hope I wasn’t too annoying, talk too much, or whatever.

Last night I ended up throwing up when I went to bed. I think the flapjack I ate was too out of date. It could be because my pain levels are a bit off the scale at the moment. But then it could also apparently be a side effect of finally, after lots of tapering, coming off the meds. I was fairly nauseous today. But I ate marmite on toast. And it stayed down. So I joined the zoom. Both of which are good, right?

So that was Saturday. At least I think it’s Saturday… Luckily the final season of Game of Thrones turned up on my doorstep yesterday so I had that to watch. As the day passed FB and Google images delighted in telling me how wonderful my life was up until a couple of years ago. Lovely photos to see…if it wasn’t for seeing them, and his comments on them, ripping my heart out every time.

So overall, you know, not a great day. In case you were wondering, this is not going well.

Why’d you leave me? One day I will follow you into the dark. Let’s face it, there’s no light here.

Bubble

Day two of the second lockdown. It has now been over 48 hours since I have seen another person. Over 48 hours since I talked to anyone in person. Over 48 hours in which the only phone conversations I’ve had are for work or with family. The only physical contact I’ve had is with felines or reptiles. It’s just me, and a constant soundtrack of podcasts or, once evening comes around, the TV, until another day can be called quits and put behind me. It’s a very strange feeling. And now it’s the weekend. Which holds even less.

I’ll have to leave the house at some point, as I shall run out of cat food, and if I don’t feed them, I’ll be the mad old lady discovered because her cats have killed her and are eating the corpse. I’d say I’m joking, but they’re really into their food at the moment. They’re also paying me a lot of attention at the moment. They tend to all three be around me somehow most of the time. I guess I must radiate miserable. Or needy. Or something. Sometimes it helps. Sometimes it doesn’t. It doesn’t intrinsically change anything either way.

Maybe the sun will be shining, and I’ll gather up enough motivation to have a shower, and get presentable, and take Sofia out for a shopping excursion. Or maybe I won’t. I think I’m actually going to, uncharacteristically, join a new Zoom chat tomorrow evening. Because some conversation/virtual company is better than none, right? Either way I should probably have a shower and wash my hair. It’s coming to something when that counts as an achievement isn’t it?

Turn around

So it’s Tuesday. Lockdown starts again on Thursday. So in a bizarre way today feels like Thursday. And so tomorrow is Friday, because it’s the last day of the end of the current stint of “normal” life. Except it’s not Thursday. And I never could get the hang of Thursdays, virtual or otherwise.

But anyway. Thanks to the imminent re-closure of the world I have been unexpectedly blessed because several of my close friends have gone, you know what, we need to see her before this happens. So I have seen, and am seeing tomorrow, Ian. I’ve had coffee with Guy. I’ve had drinks with Chris. I’ve had drinks with Rob. Various people have checked in with me to see how I’m doing. I have talked to real people about real things, people I don’t have to be someone else with. Real, real, real, real. I am so thankful to you all for both thinking of and including me – for remembering that I’m struggling, when you have your own lives and challenges…and we’re all living chaotic lives and you didn’t have to make time for me. But you did. Thank you (as if those two words were anywhere near enough). Tomorrow is L-1 and I’m seeing Ian again, and we’ll hang out and chat, and it’ll all be lovely until…

…it all hits home. I’ll go home, and the prison door will swing closed behind me, keys will turn, and lockdown will be here.

But being boring, and sensible, rules are there for a reason, I have been brought up to do what I’m told. And if you’re bending those rules, or thinking that somehow they don’t apply to you, and you’ve got it all covered, you’re ok Jack…then you are most definitely part of the problem not the solution. I may not agree with the reasons behind it. I have done a lot of reading. I’m not quite sure what to believe any more. But if we’re in lockdown, we’re in lockdown. You may not agree with it either. But if there’s any chance of it working. it’s only going to work if we do what we’re told. Do what the rules say. It nearly worked last time, we just cracked too early.

You want to have Christmas with your family? Then follow the f*cking rules. Do what you’re told. You are not immune. Down here in the SW we got to feel somewhat safe and removed from it all for a long time. Low number of cases, low risk, blah blah. But it’s here now. We all know someone in town who has had it. Soon we’ll all know someone who’s ended up in hospital as a result of having it. And sadly some of us are going to lose people to it. It’s here. The zombies are knocking on the door. Don’t let them in! Is your reason for breaking the rules really worth someone else’s death? Let’s get this over and done with, let’s make it work. The sooner we behave, the sooner it ends.

I will be staying home. I will be working from home. I will not be seeing other people outside of that which is permitted. And, quite frankly, it’s going to be horrible. It is a seriously disastrous thing to be happening to me on top of everything else. My mental health is at rock bottom right now. Do you really think I want to be socially isolated for a month all by myself? Do I f*ck! And I don’t really care if I personally get Covid. But do I want to give Covid to someone else? Do I want to be unavailable if my folks need me because I have it or because I’m isolating because some other inconsiderate f*cker puts me in that situation? Do I want to be the patient X that spreads it out and beyond? Do I want someone to die because hey, you know what, work is a bit easier if I’m in the office, or because I wanted to have some fun, or do whatever is that I wanted to do to make myself feel better, because I decide I’m more important than everyone else, and it’s ok if I bend the rules right? Do you have any idea what the death of another person close to me would do to me right now? I think it would be the final nail in my coffin…

But hey, you know, have a rave in Bristol, because you know, you don’t want your civil liberties infringed, and you just want to have a good time…

*breathe*

But I refuse to face up to all of that until what is actually Thursday. What’s the point? I know it’s going to be a truly sh*t month. I know it’s going to be truly unbearable. I know that my feelings of loneliness are going to be even further off the scale than they have been lately. I’m going to have a month of that at least. Of that being my life. But is worrying it about it in advance going to help? No, it’s just going to make this particular period of hell start earlier than it needs to.

So I’m just not going there now. What’s the point? It’s coming, whether I like it or not. Don’t get me wrong. I am dreading it. I am quite honestly viscerally scared about how I’m going to get through it. But it’s not here yet. So, as they say, why borrow trouble from tomorrow?

Lock me down, and if I can get out of bed, I have things that need doing. I will get back on the spin bike more, since I can no longer hide in a quiet corner in a pub when life has become too much. I have a car that needs cleaning and valeting. If I’m lucky, I will occasionally go for a permitted and socially distanced walk with one person from another household. I will bubble with an as yet to be decided household, which will probably be my folks. I am going to end up having to Zoom more than I am comfortable with but, given the choice between that, and talking to myself and the cats, and the fact that if I don’t talk to people I’m going to be headed for a white padded cell or casket, I think it’s going to be another hurdle I have to get over. Hello Zoom. Hello Microsoft Teams. Hello FaceTime. I’m going to have to drag myself out of my comfort zone, since that comfort zone will no longer be comfortable anyway. And it will pass, and if we all behave, maybe we can have a couple of normal months before it happens all over again. Which it will.

I’m in a really really weird mental space right now, thanks to my stalker, the bitch next door, etc etc etc. But as ever it is what it is. I am managing to get some work done. I’ve got some chores done. And, oddly, just recently I have turned around all the photos of Matt and I again, and now I can see them all the time. I don’t know how long it will last; will I get to a point where it just upsets me too much and I have to turn them around again? Or am I going to get habituated to them and be able to smile back at him when I see him smiling at me? I don’t know. Right now it feels like a good thing. But…

I don’t know. Like everything else, there is no certainty. Everything is fluid. Let’s be honest, these days I don’t know anything. I don’t know how anything is going to go. Reality was already surreal. I am beyond lost. So one day at a time…

Here we go again…

It’s a little bit funny

It’s a little bit funny. This feeling inside. Even if it was one that I wanted to hide.

*Engage understatement mode*.
Last time lockdown was not good for me.
*/engage*.

And here comes neither the hot stepper, nor the lyrical gangster, but a second lockdown. And this time it’s just me. OK, I’m allowed a bubble, which realistically has to be me and my folks. Other than that, I am allowed to see one other person outside to exercise with. In the meantime, it will be me, myself, and I, living and working from home. An unholy trinity.

I’m just not sure I’ll make it; I’m not even sure I want to. But let’s be honest. It’s late, I’ve been out, there’s been soon to be missed company, plenty of white wine, followed by time at home with Game of Thrones and inside my head. This is quite probably not the time for deep thoughts and decisions. To paraphrase Winston Churchill since, though I may be lost, I remain educated…dear life, you may be ugly, but tomorrow I shall be sober and you will still be ugly. However by then I may be better able to cope with the emotions and worries and consequences that you are in the process of throwing at me.

So, once more unto the sleep of the sedated. Will sweet dreams await me? Will the Sandman keep my soul safe until the morn? Heavy thoughts tonight, alone with the beasts inside my head…

Did I mention it can always get worse?

Peachy

Sometimes this house feels as empty as the proverbial tomb.
However the grave, though existentially absent, and purely metaphorical, is not empty.
So there are days when, conversely, everywhere I turn there are vivid echos.
Glimpses out of the corner of an eye.
Flashes of memories.
Cruel reminders of happier days.

I want so badly to smile at them. With them.
To let the way his smile lit up his face, and the way he looked at me, light up mine again.
But as with so many things, I’m not there yet.
And the love that has nowhere to go, pours down my cheeks, as my heart aches, and the only hug to be had is my arms wrapped around my knees as I curl up in a ball on the sofa and let it all out.

Just another thing that I wish was different and that, just like those, is not.
All those memories serve to do is to remind me of what was, and what no longer is; what will never be.
Of what I still miss so much.
SO much.

Did you know he loved musicals?
Well, to paraphrase, there is now an empty chair at every table.
Time has passed on for many, while I am left in its wake.
Washed up on some barren shore.
And the grief goes on and on.

We walked on a tightrope hand in hand, to live our lives the way we wanted to.
And oh, the adventures we had…
I just wish we’d had more time.
But however much I might wish it, we can’t rewrite the stars.
It is, as ever, what it is.

Another day draws to close, an empty tomorrow looms, and another weekend full of the same is right there waiting, on its shirt tails.
Now ain’t that just peachy?

(the best book on grief I’ve ever read. It’s OK That You’re Not Ok.).

 

Take another little piece of my heart now baby

I just wanted to say I’m still here.
Clinging on by the skin of my teeth.
I’ve got a lot of things to write about, things I’ve been doing, things that have happened.
But I’m just not in the right headspace for writing about it right now.
In fact I’m not in a very good place at all.

Today has been a complete wipeout.
But that’s ok.
I decided to let it be what it was clearly going to be.

Maybe in a day or so I’ll be able able to pour my thoughts out onto the page.
But today is not that day.
And that’s an understatement.

Love don’t live here any more.

I had a very lovely text yesterday, from someone who reads this, had noticed I haven’t been writing, and was just checking in to see if I was ok. It meant a lot, and no, I didn’t mind you getting in touch. Thank you for caring enough to do so. Because generally people don’t check in anymore. Not that I blame them. Everyone has their own lives to live, paths to walk, journeys to make. I know they’d be there if I reached out to them. It’s just that it’s not something that you feel like you can do when you’re lost down a rabbit hole. Who the h*ll would want to talk to someone feeling like that? It hardly makes me a sparkling conversationalist, and why would I want to drag someone down to these depths anyway?

But I’m still here. As it happens, now that Austin has moved out, and Tash has gone back to uni, I’m still here all by myself. Well not right now. Right now I’m at the pub writing this because I haven’t seen an actual person in two days, and I’ve only talked to a couple of people, not including work. It wasn’t doing my head any good, so I thought maybe I should go and see other people having a life, even if I don’t have one. That and I need to pop to the shop, so I forced myself to get my arse in gear and here I am.

Yes I’m still here. Living on my own. Except it’s not really living. It’s just existing. Sitting my empty house. The house feels weird, like no-one lives in it anymore. As the title to this latest epistle says, love don’t live here anymore. It’s quiet. Emptily eerily quiet, like a long abandoned ruin. And I know it hasn’t been long, and I’m sure I’ll get used to it, I’m just in the middle of a period of readjustment.

In the meantime, even though I know I should, I can’t seem to find the energy to arrange to see anyone. To go visit anyone. To exercise. To leave the house. Hell, I barely get out of bed most of the time, since that’s where I tend to work from too. And writing here? Well I’m just going to sit here and pour my pain on to the page again, and who wants to hear me going on and on about that? So I haven’t been writing either. I have at least managed to carry on working, but I haven’t invoiced anyone for months and I haven’t done my personal accounts for even longer. Not good.

Don’t wake me up
It’s the best that I’ve felt in weeks
And to be completely honest
I’d rather be happily dead or asleep

The only thing I’m really good at at the moment is sleeping. 12 hours straight easy, however many alarms I set. Because however many alarms I set, my brain knows they’re just arbitrary, and as such can be ignored. There is no real reason I should wake up; I don’t have appointments, or plans, and so… I hit snooze over and over again, and eventually end up waking up far later than I wanted to, which just gives me something else to beat myself up about. But hey, at least I then have less of a day to get through before I can go back to sleep, right?
Sometimes I make an effort. I try and find something to do. As you can see, I’ve bleached and dyed my hair. I even put a smile on for the camera, as I was showing Tash the results. I’ve made a new pendant out of a goldstone heart that Matt bought me. I’m refurbishing a lazy susan I got secondhand. I’m binge watching box sets. Anything to kill some time…
This was supposed to be our time. Our happy ever after, being together for the rest of our lives. Not just for the rest of his. I am missing him so much, and it still hurts just as much as ever, even if it has a slightly different quality to it. There’s still so much I want to say to him, and can’t. So many places I can’t go without him. There’ve been a lot of memory flashbacks just to help make things that little bit worse. I miss him, I miss my kids, I miss my life, and I miss who I was. The sheer loneliness of life now is heartbreaking and soul destroying and quite literally painful.

I’m most definitely not OK. Well, the me that is writing this isn’t. The me who goes through the motions at home, and randomly bursts into tears at the drop of a non-existent hat isn’t OK. Sometimes I go out, and it’s nice to be out, and to see people. Most people probably think I’m ok. I can chat, and laugh, and be distracted, and I’m grateful to them for including me, and for the semblance of normality it brings, while all the time feeling like I’m standing slightly off to one side from myself, watching it all go on. And then I have to go home, because I’m tired of dancing. So I go home, drained, to a still empty house. Everything is where I left it. All the things I’m not getting done are still not done. Nothing has changed. There’s a feline saving grace though. In the absence of any other option, each of our three cats will now spend some time sitting on me at some point during the day. And Max gives good cuddles. They make me cry, but that’s ok, I do that on and off all day anyway. Crying with fluffy cuddles is better than crying alone.
I know that with time, I will establish a new routine, I will find things to do, projects to put my mind to. I will visit people, I will see friends, I will get back on the spin bike, and maybe one day I’ll get around to going away by myself again, like I used to once upon a long time ago. I’m just not there yet.

Land of make believe

I sometimes feel almost ok for a little while. I get busy. I’m working. I’m reading. I’m hanging out with the kids or very occasionally with friends. Whatever. Busy brain, thinking about other things, doing other things…

At which point you probably expect me to say I then feel guilty for feeling ok, as the cliché goes.

But that’s not how it is.

It’s more like my brain gets distracted, thinks everything is ok, and then, well, if everything is ok, it must be because Matt is around, right? Everything’s ok again, right? Life is back to normal.

And then the busy stops. The silence descends again…and…it’s not ok. My brain remembers how things actually are, and has to remind itself, and me, that he isn’t around, and it’s not ok, and it’s never going to be that kind of ok ever again..

And it’s like it hits you all over again.

Again, and again, and again.

The ‘never again’ is the brick wall I’m constantly mentally banging my head against, and it never goes away. I might get to bang my head against it a little less often these days, especially if I try hard, but it’s always there, and the impact never seems to hurt any less.

Tash goes back to Uni on Saturday, and I’m trying very hard not to think about it, not to count down the days, so as not to panic about the fact that as of Sunday yet another new stage of my life starts. The one where I live here completely on my own. I’m sure it’ll work out fine. It kind of has to, it’s not like it’s optional. It will be what it turns out to be. But, as with everything else these days, that’s not going to stop me worrying about it beforehand, now is it?