Wednesday, May 31, 2006

In the future...

In the future I want to love again.
I want a love that is unconditional, honest, and deep.
I want to get married and have children.
I want a husband I can respect, admire and cherish.
I want someone I can rely on and who believes in me.

I want something I can’t seem to find.
And yet the possibilities are so tantalizingly real.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Burn Out

I’ve hit the wall with my thesis. For the last 6 months I have been chasing down leads to gain access to an archive that I recently learned had become defunct after the public corporation became a private corporation and split into two new companies. The archives, which house this corporations documents from its inception in the early 1900’s until the recent millennium, were shut down and transported to a third party storage facility. After numerous phone calls and emails to the two separate companies each has squarely pointed to the other company as the one which transported and is now holding the documents in a third party location. Fantastic.

While corporation 1 has been extremely unhelpful a PR person from corporation 2 was a lot more prompt and solicitous towards my efforts and thesis. However, C2 was the bearer of bad news. Apparently I have to apply to gain access to the documents within C1’s possession through the Freedom of Information Act. I shudder to think how long that will take since it involves both the government and lawyers and I’m sure a lot of bureaucratic nonsense. Again- fantastic!

Even more troublesome than my serious lack of available sources to write my thesis is the fact that I don’t really have a viable plan B. I really didn’t want to think of how to approach my thesis without these materials and never attempted to map out an alternative outline. While I should be freaking out, I’ve reached the point of burn out where I’m so exhausted from worrying about it that it is hard to muster the energy necessary to care. Instead I’ve started having day-long panic attacks, linked partially to the PTSD and partially to the thesis crisis.

Tomorrow I plan to put into effect a plan B for researching a slightly alternative thesis idea. This degree and thesis is really a stepping-stone for the degree and thesis I really want to be working on. It has become the thorn in my side and the barrier to the research I really want to be doing. The only solution right now is to just grind it out and hope for the best. September brings a new University in a new town, a new degree and hopefully a renewed passion for my academic pursuits. When it comes to my career path there really is no plan B, just the Ph.D and a lifetime of academia.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Worth A Rewind, Part III

Tom Cruise should never be filmed while running. It is an awkward and painful spectacle to behold. That being said, the scene in Collateral where he takes a running leap through glass, tanks it on a office chair and gets up only to take off running after Jamie Foxx's character is absolutely hilarious. The Chair Scene is by far the best falling over an office chair scene in any movie. Ever. No matter how many times I rewatch this clip I laugh out loud at Cruise's absurdity and how serious he takes this role. You won't regret watching this if you haven't already seen it.

Friday, May 26, 2006

All Clear

I was at the Doctor's yesterday for my annual physical. All my test's came back negative. It's good to know for sure that I'm clean and disease free. I hate the uncertainty of not knowing, especially when it's as important as my health.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Unexpected Kindness

This evening as I drove home from an unusually irritating shift, I expected to come home to an empty house and instead found The Contractor working on the side door. The Contractor has become a family friend after helping not only my brother in his house, but also my father with the rental property in my University town with some projects and upgrades. He was working on the place on the day I moved in right after the stalking so he knows a little bit of my troubles and what brings me to the neighbourhood. He helped my Dad install a new front door with a deadbolt and double lock for me. It was November and too cold to work on the side door since a cement cutter would be needed. The job was postponed until spring and warmer weather prevailed.

When I pulled up to the house his van was unexpectedly in the driveway and a new side door was installed. We chatted for a bit about business and life and what he had left to do on the house tomorrow. Just as I was opening the front door to go inside he stopped me. The Contractor told me that he had left a box of pizza from lunch in my fridge and there were two slices left, just help myself if I wanted it. It was an unexpected gesture from TC but just what I needed at the moment. I had been feeling so beat down and disillusioned with human nature. His small and seemingly inconsequential act reminded me not to lose faith in people or with men.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Jumping Ship

Today I found out for certain that Mr. Intellectual pulled the same crappy moves as A., in that he's disappeared on me with no explanation. In the middle of an msn conversation a couple of evenings ago he went offline, never to be seen again. Today I discovered that he's not only blocked my msn address, but deleted it from his contact list. Thank-you I sent him an email shortly after his mid-sentence disappearance and there has been no reply. It's horrible, horrible deja vu all over again. Email was one of the final ways we arranged to meet up and hang out, or catch up on life. After almost 9 years of friendship, and 6 years as a couple this is how he chose to part ways. I'm so numb and shut down right now because I can't even begin to process this turn of events with everything else that is going on in my life.

On top of all that another work friend is attempting to sever all ties with me before he moves across the country to start his full time job in our West Coast offices. Although, he has the courtesy to tell me about it and not just disappear into the night without another word. This is really helping my distrust of men and my pre-existing issues with abandonment.

It's like they can all see something that I can't.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Irreparably Broken?

"Broken Humpty Dumpty", 1990, Tom Otterness

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the king's horses and all the kings men
Couldn't put Humpty together again.

I’m really not sure what to think anymore. After doing some research online I’ve come to the conclusion that I most likely have comorbid depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. I had never seriously considered PTSD prior to looking up the symptoms but it makes sense since my condition has become worse after A. triggered feelings of re-victimization. I’ve also started back at work which is filled with triggers from the stalking, and my levels of anxiety and panic are the highest I have ever experienced in my life.

I’m only 25 years old and yet I feel so broken I don’t even know where to start to put myself back together. I cycle through periods of intense anger at the individual who affected my life so much and depression for not being able to find retribution or put it behind me. I think about it all the time and I’m constantly on edge. Sleep doesn’t even provide a respite from the agitation as nightmares and an inability to reach a deep sleep ruin even that.

What bothers me the most is my loss of trust not only in other people, but especially with men. I’ve become so jaded and cynical that the idea of a relationship has become less than palatable at the moment. Plus, I wouldn’t wish myself on any man right now- it would be less than fair to him. I feel like poor Humpty these days and wonder if I’ll have greater success than he did at putting the pieces back together.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) An anxiety disorder based on how an individual responds to a traumatic event. According to DSM-IV, the following criteria must be met:

• The person has experienced a traumatic event that involved actual or threatened death or serious injury, or a threat to the physical integrity of self or others, and the person's response involved intense fear, helplessness, or horror

• The traumatic event is re-experienced in specific ways such as recurrent and intrusive distressing recollections or dreams of the event

• Persistent avoidance of stimuli associated with the trauma or numbing of general responsiveness

• Persistent symptoms of increased arousal, such as hypervigilance or irritability

• Duration of the disturbance (symptoms in Criteria B, C, and D) is more than one month

• The disturbance causes clinically significant distress or impairment in functioning.

PTSD may be acute, chronic, or with delayed onset. Many individuals with DID (MPD) also have PTSD. The literature sometimes describes DID(MPD) as complex and/or chronic PTSD. Adapted from DSM-IV, p. 427-429.

Borrowed from the Sidran Institute's Trauma Disorders Glossary

Friday, May 19, 2006

Taking Care of Me

For my birthday instead of joyously celebrating my quarter century mark, I spent the day doing unpleasant yet necessary things. I had scheduled a doctor’s appointment for a full STD and HIV testing. Ever since A. disappeared on me and I found out I really didn’t know the man I’ve been uneasy. So as I lay on the table being swabbed and poked I cursed the man who put me there and made me doubt everything I knew about myself.

What I wasn’t expecting when I scheduled the tests was the “counseling” from my Doctor prior to the exam. He said that these tests were usually precipitated by some event. While I understand the reasoning behind a series of questions that just embarrassed me and made me so upset I ended up in tears, it didn’t make me feel any less uneasy. He needed to determine if enough time had elapsed so that the tests performed would end up with accurate results. The answer I gave as to what precipitated my visit was that I recently stopped seeing someone and I can’t believe anything he told me now. He automatically assumed I caught A. cheating on me, which for all I know he could have been, but I had never consciously thought of that as a possibility. After offering some feeble, “men can be such assholes”, sentiment and after I started crying over it he launched into his detailed list of personal questions- including what I would do should the HIV test come back positive.

After I was dressed he came back in to talk to me a bit more about when to expect results and how I could get them. I was still obviously upset over the whole experience and he asked if there was anything he could do for me. It wasn’t necessarily what he said, but how he said it, accompanied by that look of mixed pity and concern for an obviously distressed young woman, that delivered a punch to my stomach. It’s a look I had seen before three years prior when filling out one of my very early prescriptions for antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications. The doses were high enough that when mixed together could cause hallucinations, which the pharmacist had cautioned me about. And then he gave me that look and asked with genuine concern how I was doing. I had never had a stranger express that kind of compassion towards me and it left me feeling confused and grateful. I’m sure if I hadn’t been so young, pretty, and so obviously in anguish that the interaction would never have happened.

The end result was that I asked to be put back on antidepressants, except this time instead of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor and norephinephrine/dopamine reuptake inhibitor combo I wanted just the N/DRI. While I’m hopeful that this will be enough to ease me back to normalcy I’m also resigned to the fact that I am unable to cope on my own. My only consolation is that the N/DRI has fewer negative side effects and if it works and I can find some small slice of happiness again then it will have all been worthwhile.

I just hurt and it won’t stop.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Remembering the Way We Were

This evening I was inadvertently reminded of an incident between Mr. Intellectual and I. The first month after I moved out of the hometown and off to the University town was difficult on both of us. Mr. Intellectual and I burned up the phone lines with daily calls and in depth conversations. We basically continued our relationship like it had been while we lived in the same area- with nightly calls to discuss our days and everything under the sun from politics to academia for hours on end.

At the end of the month when the phone bill arrived at his parent’s house his father was less than pleased with us. The telephone company had screwed up and the long-distance plan we thought had been put in place and mistakenly not been activated. The bill was close to $800! I wasn’t there to witness the fireworks, but at one point Mr. Intellectual’s father tried to institute the rule of only speaking together once a week. MI shot back in complete contempt and anger, “Why don’t you try talking to your wife only once a week!”

I think it was in that moment that his father realized just how much I meant to his son and how serious our relationship really was. He backed down pretty quickly on the one call a week policy. Remembering this incident made me smile today. We were so crazy about each other and we didn’t care about anyone else. I can remember the passion we shared for each other back then. I’ve never loved someone as much as I loved him. Now the memories of the good times, while they make me smile, are bittersweet. I miss the innocence I had, the complete trust and openness with another human being. I wasn’t jaded with men and overly suspicious or cautious. I wish I could be that person again, but something tells me it’s going to take quite some time and an extraordinary man to coax that out of me again.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Catharsis, Confusion and a Conclusion

Having supportive friends, and more importantly girlfriends, during a time of emotional turmoil and heartbreak are key. After multiple retellings of the sordid story between A. and myself to various girlfriends I was able to find some peace in the situation. Although there will never be any formal closure between the two of us, I was feeling better after having my feelings acknowledge as rational and some affirmation that his behaviour was not only all-round disappointing but also harsh and disrespectful.

I found that being able to discuss it over with girlfriends, and even Mr. Intellectual, proved to be a rather cathartic exercise. When Mr. Intellectual and I parted ways romantically I was all alone to wander through the experience. I’m typically a painfully private individual and what I felt cut too deep to put into words, let alone talk about with my girlfriends. At the time we weren’t especially close and my state of depression had further isolated me from them. It has only been in the last two years of being single that I have really reconnected with them and made a concerted effort to enrich the relationships I have with the women in my life.

Just when I thought I had found some peace and recovered from the anxiety and turmoil A.’s behaviour had caused in my life I was served up with another shock. He stopped showing up for our Friday night pick-up hockey games and I finally got up the courage to casually ask the organizer if he’d heard from him and why he didn’t show. It turns out the he had emailed sometime in the past week or so and said that he wouldn’t be coming to any more games without any explanation. It was then that I was talking to our interim goalie, a student employee at A’s office and a casual friend of his whom I had met several times before at various pick up games in the past 6 months. Three weeks prior he had mentioned to this person that his permanent managerial position was finally coming through after months of speculation of when it would happen, and it just so happens that the permanent position was in a different region. This would mean a 45 minute commute or so, versus his current 5 minute commute to the office, from the house he just purchased and closed on.

Hearing that news from the interim goalie was like a punch in the gut and I was breathless and confused again. At the time A. was telling his buddy this news we were supposedly still on great terms and things were still good between us. I had even asked him occasionally if he’d heard anything about the permanent position and he said there was no news. He directly lied to my face without batting an eyelash, and the week it becomes public fact he disappears on me. It left me reeling and wondering just what I knew about this man I was supposedly dating. I felt like I knew absolutely nothing about him and I couldn’t believe a word he had said to me. All that peace I had found from the confusion was thrown into question and I am back to square one.

I draw some small comfort from the fact that really, this isn’t my issue- it is his. I can’t control peoples actions or reactions towards me, I can only choose how I respond. After a week of anxiety and contemplation over these baffling events, and a near daily revelation of more information (like the fact that he’ll be going to the East Coast for 3 weeks training in the very near future), I’ve come to the conclusion that although it hurts, he’s done me a favour in the long run. I don’t want to be with a man who is a passive-aggressive coward.

I've come to the conclusion that even when you think you know someone, you really don’t.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

On This Day in History...

330 - Byzantium is renamed Nova Roma during a dedication ceremony, but is more popularly referred to as Constantinople.
1927 - The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is founded.
1960 - The first contraceptive pill is made available on the market.
1987 - The first heart-lung transplant takes place (Baltimore, Maryland)
1997 - IBM's Deep Blue chess-playing supercomputer defeats Garry Kasparov in the last game of the rematch, becoming the first computer to beat a world-champion chess player.

1571 - Niwa Nagashige, Japanese warlord (d. 1637)
1722 - Petrus Camper, Dutch anatomist (d. 1789)
1888 - Irving Berlin, American composer (d. 1989)
1904 - Salvador DalĂ­, Catalan painter (d. 1989)
1957 - Peter North, Canadian porn star

1708 - Jules Hardouin Mansart, French architect (b. 1646)
1778 - William Pitt, the Elder, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (b. 1708)
1960 - John D. Rockefeller, Jr., American philanthropist (b. 1874)
1981 - Bob Marley, Jamaican singer and musician (b. 1945)
2001 - Douglas Adams, English author (b. 1952)

On this day in 1981 I was born. I was baby no. 5 for my family and the first girl. I was born just before 11 pm at night, just in time to make the 11:00 o’clock news as my father is fond of saying. My mother say’s that I was the best Mothers Day present she could have asked for. Every couple of years I have to share my birthday with Mother’s Day and now that I’m older I don’t mind at all.

Is it wrong that I’m more impressed with the list of people who died on my birthday, than the list of people who were born on my birthday?

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The Nighmare Scenario

A.'s reply came in yesterday around noon:

"Believe me, not as disappointed as I was when I found out about your affair last summer with the stalker."

This man chose to believe the vicious and probably the most salacious rumours to come out of the workplace rumour mill, instead of talking to me to find out the truth. He didn't know the whole truth about the stalker admittedly because I didn't know how much I could trust him, plus it really wasn't his issue to deal with and I just wanted to put it behind me. Yesterday I was so upset I couldn't stop shaking and felt physically ill over this whole thing. I had no idea how far-reaching the repercussions would be after having had a stalker and now I know. This incident has cost me financially, emotionally, caused me to go into hiding for several months, lose 6 months of time on my thesis, and now my supposed "boyfriend", not to mention my reputation, and having to transfer work locations.

Two left over Lorazepam's from my almost institutionalization three years ago, and a good night's sleep later I feel differently. I don't want to be with a man who'll chose to believe office gossip, or gossips, even if they happen to be friends of his over my word. Or not even bother to find out what my side of the story is before making harsh snap judgments. This is the nightmare scenario I’ve always feared. In a “He said, she said” situation even if I win, I lose. The woman will always lose out in these scenarios. My “boyfriend” chose to believe work rumours over my word and now my reputation in his eyes is irreparably harmed and I doubt he’ll ever speak to me again.

My hurt, confusion and anger over this still controlling my life continues to increase. I had a stalker. I chose to deal with it as best as I knew how, and for me not pressing charges was the right choice- the last thing I needed was for him to be fired from his job to spend more free time harassing me. I just wanted it to be over so I could go on with my life. However, he lives his life free and clear while I continue to work picking up the pieces. I just wonder how much longer I’ll have to do penance for being his victim.

Dating Websites & Mixed Emotions

Something I never really told anyone about A. was that I found his online dating profile several weeks before we started seeing each other. At the time I didn’t mind and it gave me some insight in to a few of his interests that he had never talked about. However, once we started seeing each other he continued to log in daily and do whatever it was he was doing on the site. The only difference is that he changed his picture to the “backstage pass” option- hiding it from public viewing. It became a small obsession with me to log in to see if he had been online. It really started to bother me when he continued logging in almost daily, sometimes right after I had left his house to go home, after we had just slept together.

In hindsight I should have confronted him on it right away, or just walked away from him when he continued to log into the site. Instead I just silently sat by, monitoring his usage and letting it bother me more and more as the days went by. I knew the relationship wasn’t working too well, even without the daily log-in to the dating website, and stopped myself from becoming too emotionally involved. However, that doesn’t lessen my feelings of hurt from being so callously brushed aside. I checked the website again today and my stomach dropped when I saw that he had reposted his picture with the profile. Looking at it made me feel sick.

My only recourse was to fire off a well planned and coolly worded email that had been in the works since I had unequivocal proof he was avoiding me this past Saturday. I expressed my disappointment in his behaviour and lack of adult communications to end the relationship with some dignity and class. In closing, I added this line: “I hope you find what you're looking for daily on Lavalife that I wasn't able to give you.” The rest of the email was polite and unemotional, however I had to let fly with a little hint of bitchiness. Also to let him know that I knew exactly what was going on and he wasn’t fooling anyone. I’m not expecting a response, and I also fully expect that he’ll continue to avoid social situations where he’ll run into me, like Friday night hockey, and the big end of season banquet this Thursday. Coward.

Monday, May 01, 2006

I think I've been dumped

The last time I talked to A. was on Thursday night. It was a short conversation that could have occurred between just about any two people and not a supposed couple. He abruptly ended the conversation saying he had to throw some clothes in the dryer since he had nothing to wear tomorrow. That was the last thing he said to me. I tried calling him 20 minutes later to ask him what was going on between the two of us and to see if he even wanted to continue on since I was getting fed up with his behaviour. He never answered the phone. It is now day four of his disappearing act and I’m pretty confident in saying that he won’t be calling or emailing anytime soon to explain just what happened.

I wasn’t concerned until Friday night when he didn’t show up for our hockey game. The man eat, sleeps and breathes hockey and has even gone so far as to take vacation time at work so as not to miss a game for our winter hockey league. I knew something wasn’t right when he failed to show up to our spring pick-up game and didn’t even call the organizer to explain what happened. I left him a message at home after the game asking if everything was all right and to call me- it’s gone unreturned. We had dinner plans on Saturday night, so I called in the early evening to see if we were still on. He never answered his cell or home phone.

In a moment of pure anxiety and angst as I was talking to Mr. Intellectual about the situation I asked if he wanted to accompany me on a stake out of A’s house to see if he was home. I needed to know if he was avoiding me or if there was something serious going on since I know A’s grandmother is 98 years old, lives alone and has been having some difficulties recently. His car was in the driveway and when I called the house from my cell phone, he didn’t pick up, thereby confirming all my angsty suppositions. My best bet is that he was in the basement, watching the playoffs and screening all my calls. I just couldn’t believe that a supposed man of integrity could pull such a juvenile disappearing act instead of talking to me like an adult to let me know that either he has a problem with me, or he simply doesn’t want to continue seeing me. I’ve never been treated like this before.

Of course I broke down in the car with Mr. Intellectual. He drove me around for a bit in the car, desperately trying to cheer me up by suggesting the old tried and true methods of bribing me with chocolates, ice cream and junk food. It had always worked for him in the past, but I’m really trying to break myself of the habit of medicating my pain with food. Instead he just held my hand while he drove, just like we used to do years ago when we were so in love. I’m not really sure if that made me feel better or worse in the long run. I just didn’t want to cry in front of him and show my vulnerability and to add to my emotional confusion, it felt surreal to be holding hands in the car like old times. I’m sure his girlfriend would be none too pleased to learn of what happened between us that day since she doesn’t even know how close we still are. It’s different now though, we’re no longer a couple, but two friends who grew up together and care what happens to the other.

If I haven’t heard anything from A. by Tuesday (day five of the avoidance), I’ll be sending him an email expressing my disappointment in his behaviour, saying I expected more from him and to formally end it- since it’s apparent he’s got no interest in me anymore. I’ve never been dumped before and this is the most bizarre thing to me. I never thought a man of 35 could act so immature, but then again human nature shouldn’t surprise me anymore. I just wish I didn’t care.