Day 129 With Dora

My family, extended family especially, is not on board with my service dog. “You’re invited over, but Dora isn’t.” “I can’t believe you’re making me choose between seeing you and having a dog in my house.”

I just…

I expected this to come. I really didn’t think these people who have been selfish and distant for years, who have caused me pain and never tried to reach out to get to know me, they were never going to take it well. 

I just didn’t think it would hurt so much.

Unexpected Call Back

Yesterday, I heard from one of my friends from high school. And she didn’t hate me. I’m not sure what to do now.

Maybe I should back up. 

I haven’t talked to any of my high school friends in over a decade. During school, I pretended to be someone else. I was even more socially awkward and going through a gangly limbs phase and deep in depression without knowing it yet. Then I hit college and things started to fall apart. I started failing classes. I got my diagnosis. I became suicidal again.

I came home. Slept as much as I could, to avoid being awake (and in pain). Cried. Alternated between anger and sadness (and forced numbness) over the 300+ people (yes- I counted them once) who stopped talking to me once they found out I was suicidal.

Because abandoning someone who thinks that killing herself is the only way to stop her constant agony… Abandoning her is a very helpful thing to do.

Now, I get it. People in the state I was in are not easy to be around. They radiate pain and anger. They are actually incapable of thinking of anyone else because the pain they’re in is so severe that it blocks out everything else. I know why people abandon us.

All that I’m saying is that it made suicide look like the right option, because 300+ people already believed their lives would be better without me in it.

So, to hear from someone who predates this period (but was also directly burned by it) is… Terrifying, I guess. Part of me wants to reach out. Part of me wants to scream, “What do you want?! Leave me alone!” But, despite it all, I am committed to growing as a person, so I need to see her, just to know for certain what it would be like.

Game Therapy: Dragon Age II, Last Post on Part 2

This entry is based on a few earlier posts: here are the original concept & most directly linked entry.

Growing up early… Growing up early.

I tried to figure out why this one was included in Abigail’s list of traits. I mean, it resonated, but why?! What had happened to me that made me feel this way? Why couldn’t I point to an event that forced me to grow up?

It’s taken me a while, but I figured it out. Mom’s anxiety and break downs. The knowledge that she wasn’t strong enough to handle the world, and the childish belief that it was my job to protect her from it. That my narrow shoulders were strong enough to carry her. That my tiny hands could hold her pain.

She was wounded before I showed up, broken by the world before it laughed in her face and handed her a baby. I know that I didn’t break her, but I didn’t help either. The stress of parenting in the midst of a dark and panicked season of life, it was too much to add to her current burdens. It makes sense that she struggled.

I need to be clear: I am not responsible for anyone’s mental health but my own, and I never have been. I do not blame myself for her struggles. But I used to, before I knew better. I used to try so very hard to shield her from pain, just like she (arguably) should have been shielding me.

But life doesn’t wait until you’re ready. It comes when it wants.

Of course, I don’t actually know if I was planned or not. Maybe they thought they were ready. Maybe mom thought she was. Maybe neither realized how hard it would be for all of us.

So at a young age, I felt like I needed to be the one to guard my family, even though it was unfair to me. In addition, I felt alone in that task, even when there were others who could have contributed. 

That’s why Abigail was the only one watching, and the only one leading her family to safety, and the only one running back for her father, and the only one carrying the true burden of that day. 

It’s because I needed her to be burdened down, like me. Because I needed her to be unhappy and alone, like me. Because I needed to connect to someone in this way, even if it was just a character acting as my avatar.

It’s ok. Be kind to yourself. Go easy on yourself today, Flicker. Today, you won’t guard anyone. Today, you will be safe to rest. I release you.
Image is from the German Dragon Age wiki, and is of a young girl from Dragon Age Origins.

“It Doesn’t Affect Me.”

I’ve been spending a bit of time cleaning out my inbox over the last few days. I’ve gotten the total unread count down to 2,670 messages as I write this, which is a big improvement. I can’t remember how high it was when I started, but I think it may have been near 3,400 unread (who knows how many read). At this point, I’m finally back to November 2015, so you can see that I have a ways to go.

One of the last emails that I have deleted/archived was about one of my friends from high school youth group having two babies. Presumably twins. I don’t know. I deleted it without reading it. And I murmured to myself “Why would I care? It doesn’t affect me,” as I did so.

I have felt like this pretty often throughout my life, but no one seems to understand me. It’s hard to connect to others because of this.

Several of my friends have gotten married. I haven’t gone to any of their weddings… Well, I went to one, but I was coordinating the reception, so it was tolerable. I don’t care about weddings. I don’t know anything about the relationship being celebrated:

  • Do they respect each other?
  • Have they been honest with each other or have they been showing their “best selves”? Do they know each other, or are they actually strangers?
  • Will their marriage actually last?
  • Are they caught up in lust or childish fairy tales, or do they understand what it takes to build a relationship?
  • If I choose to expend some of my limited emotional energy in caring about their marriage, will I get hurt by them? Will they make fun of each other, fight publicly, or tear each other down? Will I just watch them die slowly?

So, I’m not really happy when people get married. I’m apathetic. 

Realistically, these people’s marriages, pregnancies, and other life events don’t affect me. At all. I’m not… The only friends that actually know me well (the current me) are a couple thousand miles away. I’m not even a part of their lives any more, much less a part of the lives of people I knew from high school, college, etc.

So yeah. She has two kids (or two more kids- not sure) now. Kids I’ll never see. Whose names I won’t need to know. I should care because… Why?!
It sucks to be alone.

Virtual Community in a Vacuum

*sigh* I’m back to talk about Knights and Dragons again. I’ve finally realized what I meant when I kept saying that leaving my second guild in this game “felt like a breakup.” Basically, the experience contained these two parts:

  1. My guild had become a significant part of my life because I don’t really have a social life any more, and they really were the only people that I got to talk to on a daily basis (besides my husband).
  2. My guild expected things from me that I wasn’t comfortable with, but which I tried to accommodate because they were significant to me.

So, it was a big loss when I had to leave them because they finally asked for too much. I immediately joined another guild because it truly benefits my character to be a part of one (better rewards, access to more events, etc.). I had encountered one of its members earlier and the guild’s name (Life Happens) gave me the impression that there wouldn’t be many rules about participation levels, spending real money, and so on.


At first, there weren’t. It was pretty good for me, and I got to grow much stronger. I earned a promotion, I got to influence guild decisions, and I enjoyed being with them. I had boundaries this time, and I kept them. No one got to text me directly. I got to choose how I would spend my gems. Until we became successful. At that point, the top members of the guild decided to join an alliance, which is a group of players who spend a lot of time and money on the game.

They wanted me to reinstall the chat app so that they could text me. I wouldn’t. I left silently and changed my name. It hurt less this time.


Now, I’m in “Spikey Ninjas,” which has lived up to its motto thus far. No one has demanded that we sacrifice our real lives or money for the sake of the guild. It’s working out pretty well, but I’m still wary. It only takes a few people to decide that the whole guild needs to change, and if it happens again, I’ll leave quietly.

I miss having friends. Real friends. But for now, virtual communities are about all that I can have, so they will just need to be enough. I guess.