Trigger (And I Don’t Mean the Horse)

Today was a good day, despite what I’m about to write.

I’ve written about this in various form before, I know, but I’m going to address it head on today.

Triggers.  It can be a word, a phrase, a sentence, a situation.  One moment, everything is fine, the next it’s all just shit. The problem is that it’s all very unpredictable, and I suspect that were my life a simulation, run multiple times, some things which are a trigger when I experience them, wouldn’t always necessarily be so.

It’s not something that I can avoid, because I’m not sure what will be a trigger.  Today, I was flirting with my wife by Facebook messenger (I was flirting, she wasn’t.).  Here’s the thing, I have no self-esteem, so it’s very easy to send me over the edge if it relates to that.  I was flirting, she kept deflecting, and honestly it’s not a big deal, but suddenly it was.  I didn’t want to message any more, I just suddenly hated myself.

It all happens very easily.  It’s part of my personality.  In a little, I’ll have forgotten about it, or at least, my mood will have lightened a little.  Hopefully.  I can never tell. And the thing about my triggers is that, as I said above, it’s not like I can avoid it.  Suddenly, it’s just something, and that’s it.

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“It’s all shitty”

Today was a good day until it was a bad day.

It really wasn’t all that good of a day to start with.  It had been teetering on the edge the last few days.  I guess today something just pushed me over.

I’ve been working on drawing.  I have a tumblr blog that I post my work.  Not a lot of people look at what I do (I think, there are no statistics for views) but I usually get a few likes, sometimes a reblog or two, especially if it’s some sort of fan art.

Yesterday, I spent close to four hours working on a Doctor Who drawing, and then I posted it…and nothing.  No likes.  No reblogs.  Nothing.  I reblogged it myself.  So far it’s just been my wife that’s liked it. And she only did it after I reblogged it.

I tried drawing something today, but the couple of tries I made, it just wasn’t turning out right, so I just scribbled all over it and posted it with the caption “it’s all shitty”.

I try hard to not let my mental health issues leak over into that area, but I just couldn’t help myself.  I know I’m not good at drawing.  I look at what other people do and my stuff is…ok, I guess.  But I’m ok with it as I’m working on getting better.  But sometimes, I can’t help it.  There’s been nothing with my picture today, not even from my wife.  She said earlier I looked sad, but that was it.

The internet is both a kind and a cruel place.  There are those people out there that are encouraging, and I try to do that with other artists, even ones that I can tell are better than me.  But it’s cruel because I look at what other people do, and what I do, and I wonder why anybody would like what I do and I should probably just stop trying.  And I probably really should.  Just stop.  Stop trying to be good at something and just accept my limitations.  Don’t even think about being good at something, because I’ll never be good at anything.  It’s just hard to stay positive some times.

Today is a day…

Today is a bad day.

All it takes is a word, a phrase, a sentence, and that’s it.  I’m in a bad place.  And it doesn’t even have to be about me, but if it affects me, I just go spiraling.

Today is a day I want to end.

Today is a day that I just want to lie down, go to sleep, and wake up tomorrow, skipping the rest of it.

Today is a day I really don’t like myself at all, not even a little bit.

Today is a day where I question my relationship with everybody else, friends, family, and wonder how little I matter at all.

Today is a day which, like most bad days, starts out with such promise.

Today is a day, where it is clear that I’m hurting, but nobody says anything to comfort me.

Today is a day where I question it all.

Today is a day where I don’t want to do anything, not even things that allegedly make me happy.

Today is a day where I question how useful I am.

Today is a day where I think that everything I do is just shit.

Today is a day where I go through the motions and hope nobody says anything to me.

Today is a day where I retreat in upon myself, which isn’t good for me in the least.

Today is a bad day.

I Love You (I Hate Myself)

Today was a good day.

How things are said is just as important as what things are said.  There’s a joke which illustrates this perfectly.

A math teacher is explaining to her students about positive and negative numbers and what happens when they are multiplied.  “A positive and a positive always make a positive,” she said to her class.  “A negative and a positive always make a negative.  And a negative and a negative always makes a positive.”  One of the students in the back of the class raised his hand and the teacher called on him.  “Yeah, right,” he muttered.

The problem with the written word is that verbal cues are lost, and I hate having to explain jokes, but I will here.  Both “yeah” and “right” are positive words, but said in a specific tone, they come out negatively.

I tell my wife “I love you” a lot.  I don’t necessarily use different tones to convey meaning, although certainly sometimes I do, but quite often when I say it, what I’m saying is, “I love you, but I really hate myself.”

I don’t know if my wife picks up on it, although she certainly understands my mental and emotional state.  Whether or not she understands how damaged I truly am is immaterial, but occasionally I will tell her how much I hate myself.  Even if she doesn’t receive the coded message, it’s still good for me to express to her how much I love her, because I truly would have no idea where I would be now if she wasn’t there.

Happy Christmas

Today was a good day.

I am sure I’ve written about Christmas before, but since it’s my policy not to go back and look at things I have written before, I’m not checking to see what I’ve written.

I like using Happy for two reasons.  One, I can be pretentious and all English, since they use “Happy” instead of “Merry”, which I know isn’t entirely the case, but I like to be different from everybody else that way. Two, I think it’s more apporpriate for me.

I like Christmas, but at the same time I don’t.  I think it’s a wonderful thing, but not how it is.  I’m Christian so of course it’s important from the religious sense.  But, it’s all good to be friendly and kind to your neighbors.  One of the most perfect things to ever be shown on TV is “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”  It’s wonderful.  That’s Christmas.  And it’s also very anti-Christmas at the same time, criticising the crass comercialism.

I think that aspect of Christmas is even worse these days.  Do we need to give people tacky presents of things they don’t need or even want?  I don’t need to get presents: I’m an adult.  I can buy what I want.  I like the idea of somebody thinking of something to give me that I would like, but it doesn’t have to be a big thing.  Small thoughtful gifts are much better than the gobs of money being thrown at the mass variety of disposable goods.

Floating along

Today was a bad day.

The Rolling Stones were wrong.  We’ll get back to them in a minute.

There are two people who had a profound influence on me since I was a little kid.  First and foremost, Jim Henson.  Since his time with Sesame Street to the Muppets and his movies, there was just something about his work that was brilliant and creative and sweet, but dark when necessary.

There other was A.A. Milne. And believe it or not, it wasn’t the Winnie the Pooh stories, but the poetry.  I read those poems a lot.  One of my favorite poems was one entitled “King John’s Christmas”.  If you haven’t ever read it, I highly recommend it.  (I recommend both collection of poems, “When We Were Very Young” and “Now We are Six.”)  Anyway, “King John’s Christmas” is about King John, and all the things he wants, most especially a “red, india-rubber ball.”  But Father Christmas doesn’t bring him any of the things he asks for, but at the end, a ball that the kids outside were playing with bounces into his room and he ends up with it.

Now, there are many lessons from the poem, but what I’m writing about today is not getting what you want.  Which is where the Rolling Stones come in.  Despite it being one of my favorite songs, they’re wrong.  It’s not that you can’t always get what you want, but you never get what you want.  And like King John, I don’t really want much.  Sure there are things that I would like to have, but what I want deep down, if I get what I want, it’s purely coincidental.

I just go along with it all.  I just do what others want.  I don’t get what I want.  I don’t even get what I need.

It’s ok to lose

Today was a good day.

I’m an attorney in family court, and unlike other lines of litigation, I typically don’t like to couch cases in terms of winning and losing.  Sometimes it makes sense to put it that way, but often, due to the nature of family court, it’s not very accurate.

I had two adult clients that I met with today.  They are two very different people, but in each case they’re losing.

The first is a man about my age.  He had a good life: wife, kids, house, good job.  But then his mind betrayed him.  I’ve only been involved recently, but for the past several years he has been in and out of psychiatric facilities.  Now, his wife is going to divorce him, he has limited access with his kids, and he has been in the pysch unit of a hospital (Author’s note: I know it’s now referred to as the Behavioral Health Unit, but in our parlance, we refer to it as the psych unit) for about two months and is going to be transfered “temporarily” to a more intensive psychiatric hospital.  All he wants to do is see his kids, and he is very concerned that the judge in the case is going to be mad at him for missing court because he’s been in the psych unit.  He very much sees things in a black and white dichatomy.  He is very much afraid of losing.

Every time I meet with him or speak to him on the telephone, I have to reassure him that all anybody wants is for him to get better, because even his soon-to-be ex-wife’s attorney is not happy about this case. (Can he go too far in his representation of his client? Absolutely, but there are too many unknown variables.)  There was a plan, but his brain betrayed him, and now, we’re all just fumbling along.  There are no winners, but sometimes it’s ok to simply accept how things are, and do what’s best for everybody, as best as we can.

As nice and as pitiful as he is, my other adult client today is the complete opposite.  She is a mean, bitter woman. Think about a stereotypical mean grandma in any Hollywood comedy and that’s my client. (Author’s note: I don’t mean to sound sexist here, but she really is like that.)  She filed what’s known as a Family Offense petition against her adult daughter.  (A Family Offense proceeding is similiar to a criminal proceeding, except it’s in a civil court, and the only possible outcome is an Order of Protection.)  I’m not going to say nice things about the daughter because she’s not much better than her mother.  As far as I can tell, from what’s been conveyed to me by other attorneys who have been involved for over 15 years with these two, this is just the way they are: crazy and mean.

I’m assigned to represent this woman, and I had to draft an amended petition because the one she filed didn’t allege anything close to a family offense, and when I went over at that early stage what the allegations would be, looking at the evidence, I knew there was no family offense.  But I took what there was, cobbled it together, and we ended up in a trial.  After the presentation of all of the evidence, the petition was dismissed.

Now, was it unethical for me to have done an amended petition and gone to trial on it, knowing it wasn’t proveable?  Slightly, but here’s the thing when you represent indigent people, and this is where I can be very cynical: Sometimes, all they want is to have their day in court and be heard. I could have sat down with my client and gone through the evidence and pointed out how everything she was saying was not a family offense.  But it would have done no good, and as assigned counsel, I don’t have the luxury of telling people “no” in situations like this.

The absolutely correct decision by the Judge was to dismiss it, for my client to have “lost” her case, because she created this situation many years ago in how she raised her and treated her and still treats her, and as mean and “crazy” as her daughter is, it wasn’t anything illegal, just incredibly stupid.  Of course, the icing on the cake was that my client’s bf said to her as they left the courtroom was that they’d get enough money to hire a real attorney, but I’m not surprised by that one either.

As for me, I have a reputation around court of being able to handle very difficult clients.  Very things rile me up (although there is one attorney I absolutely lost it with because she did do something completely unethical, and I shocked everybody because I let her have it, causing such a commotion that Court security came running), and I don’t let the clients bother me.  She isn’t the first difficult client I’ve had, and she won’t be the last, and you just have to roll with it.  Because otherwise, you can end up losing and that wouldn’t be a good thing.