Mountains

I’m starting to write a book of poetry combined with drawings and watercolor so here’s a new poem. I’d love for feedback

we climbed mountains together
imaginary or not, we climbed mountains
with our tiny bodies getting lost in the woods
and staring at the peak, which seemed so far
yelling about adventures, the animals we found there
adventures we would have as we got older
with age came pain though, we didn’t expect
how could we, just small ones running across my yard
it was unimaginable as we learned about the world
we still climbed mountains
a little slower
a little crueler
i missed you but i was not ready to mourn
until the cruelest thing i ever heard
came piercing like daggers through my heart
it was the beginning of the end there
still taunting me years later
as if you pointed out something i was not prepared to hear
i am ready to mourn
but each time you pull me back
with a smile and an adventure
back to the toxicity we create together
the perfect storm
ignoring my concerns, playing comparison
learning compassion will bend both of us
not in a way that will fix this
two planets meant to orbit each other
split on opposite sides of the universe
no longer near
those mountains we used to climb
they are slippery now
breaking us into tiny pieces
and we are out of glue that works for us
nothing else will hold this together
so maybe it’s time to walk away
maybe it’s time to protect the both of us
maybe to protect the love that is left
end it on an okay note
i don’t know if we’ll ever climb mountains again
but we will love those good times
before the venom that came out of your mouth
the one that was the beginning of the end
i don’t think we have good things left
i still love you, in a way I’ve never loved before
i hope you still love me
but pain is pain and i can’t stop hurting
myself just for history
i’m sorry for the part i played
it’s just, I’m not sure you are

so for now,
goodbye

Some 4 am ramblings

I am awake, or rather I haven’t slept until past four for days. I am tired and stressed. There are thing happening. At work that I’m supposed to be in charge of and I’m very much have mixed moral feelings about it. I had to put someone on final warning yesterday, and that really sucked. I love managing a shop, but I also have to make unpopular decisions, sometimes a lot. I’ve know my team for the whole time I’ve been working there some were there before me, some transferred from another store. I like these people and I hate that it’s up to me and the GM to decide whether this framer goes.

On top of all that the COVID-19 is out in full spring, especially where I work. I’m not going to lie, like I ever do in these confessional blogs. I’m scared. I had whooping cough my last year of college and since then there has been pretty obvious, but slight lung damage, that’s why I get horrible bronchitis every year, so this is high stakes for me. It’s also high stakes for a lot of people I love in my life. Call me the half glass empty kind of person, but this is only the beginning and it’s going to get ugly

We are not prepared for this, people are buying out all the food. I went to target and walmart yesterday for some last ditch efforts to find food, gloves, and a mask. I can’t call out of my retail job. I mean I could, but then there’s no one to keep the shop running. Of course if I get sick I will put my health first, but there’s A LOT resting on a frame shop managers shoulders. Which is why I have to go in until I show any symptoms. Again, you don’t need to come to Michaels, it is not a pharmacy or a food store. You have the ability to let retail workers go home, we deal with hundreds if not thousands of customers a day. If you don’t come in and buy shit, we don’t have to worry about us catching your gross germs (this applies to every other part of the year too assholes don’t come in when you’re sick.

On a slightly lighter note my meds seem to have almost completely evened me out. So of course here comes the hard part dealing with my issues. I’m having what I like to call a preschool refusal reaction to this “I don’t wanna” but it’s okay, I’ve got a good therapist who can tell when something is too much for me and encourages me to go to another subject so we can return when my heart and soul are not so raw.

It’s a god awful time to be both a high anxiety person with bad lungs who also is a news junkie. I’m waiting for shit to hit the fan. I’m waiting for us to become Italy, no beds, lockdown, singing across the street with our neighbors (here’s the point in the blog where I remind you to be kind to each other, infection has no problem with class, jobs, ethnicity, your skin color
), We did not handle this correctly and our healthcare system is not able to handle too much of a strain on it. Italian doctors have to make the decision if you are too far gone to take a space in the ICU, They’ve switched from civilian style triage to military style triage, go to the least likely to die first, then work you way up to the sickest, many sent home to die.

It’s chaos, be kind.

Unfortunately I was attempting to read the news once a day, but once a day now you miss so much. We are going insane we are panicking, there’s no food anywhere, but hey, at least people are being kind, checking in when they can. Even my customers, which thanks for the caring, why aren’t you staying home?

There are some good things about this though, social isolation is what I do best, I love me some long term not leaving the house (although I do think two weeks is a lot. I’ve got books and art and watercolor, and a lovely rotation of friends I call in the car when I need a break from the CD I’ve been listening to non stop in the car, I mix it up a bit while I’m in the shop thank you Laura Marling and your first CD which I know all the words too and can typically sing all day if I needed to. Side note: you don’t want me to sing even a bit. I can definitely make this work as long as cell reception stays up.

Well it’s now 4 am, I should probably sleep until 6 to attempt to look like a human being tomorrow.

Anyway, don’t be an asshole, don’t come in to retail stores, and wash you’re fucking hands.

Words, Woes, and Women

I get ladybugs in my room, fairly often, they land on my walls or run around a bit on my ceiling. Unfortunately I think it’s a place they come to live out their last moments, maybe sneaking in through the crack between my window and the windowsill, I can never quite get that thing closed all the way. We co-exist, neither of us really bothering the other. I like them, but I was thinking about how if it were a different bug, I probably wouldn’t.

I say my room, it’s the most I’ve felt at home for a long time. It still doesn’t fully feel like home, but it’s the closest I’ve gotten. A little sad for me, but hey at least I’m comfortable, I love the people who are with me, and this is not permanent. I think the rest of this might be a little scattered because I haven’t written in a while (at least not for you guys)

It’s International Women’s Day, gender is made up, but we like to put labels on things. People like things to have names, it makes them less confusing. Navigating the world in this body, where no matter what the outside will see me as ‘woman’. To me, that is fine, I am proud to be in this body, it serves me well, it has taken both abuse and love; and it has seen terrifying and miraculous things, sometimes at the same time. Though I feel somewhere in between, this is my day too. I’ve earned it.

Speaking of women, I’m really quite sad that Elizabeth Warren didn’t get her chance to destroy Trump in a debate. However I can hold that clip of her destroying Bloomberg close to my heart, something warm and satisfying on a cold day. I don’t have much to say about it, because it feels more personal, she was by far the best prepared, she didn’t hold the Clinton baggage, and she is good. Politically I line up closer to Bernie (although he’s a centrist compared to me), but I really really wanted to say President Warren. We need someone that meticulous to unravel the unimaginable damage this administration has done, and to prepare for the damage we don’t see yet, because trust me it’s there. For me, that means Sanders is my candidate now, I am still sad.

I love words, there’s nothing more satisfying than a perfectly picked out synonym or a well placed expletive. On the page, and through text I’m doing fine, but recently I’ve been having a lot of trouble talking. I’m not sure what it is, maybe some digging I’ve been doing into my past has got me a bit tongue tied. I am frustrated though, where I would usually be concise and eloquent I am now stumbling and losing track of sentences. It eventually gets there, but it’s been especially frustrating the past few weeks. So if you see me in person, oddly phone calls are so much easier, some patience might be needed. I think it’s a stress reaction, so I’m going to bounce on over to my therapist once a week to actually talk it out.

Well, I think that covers my title’s promise. I hope everyone is doing okay. I feel like that’s all we can ask for these days, for everyone to be just okay. More is a blessing less is concerning.

Wash your fucking hands.

-Bri

I’m making art, I’m walking, I’m living a bit

It’s been the week from hell for me, for so many reasons. I always say that I’m going to be honest on these posts, and I’m sorry for the percentage of sad shit that ends up on here. Maybe I’ll try for some advice to trudge through.

There are things coming to a head in my trauma healing journey that I can never talk about, and it’s seriously affecting my life. I will say that people who use their power over others, whether it’s through power dynamics or other things should maybe take a good hard look at the damage you do. I cannot say anything because my story is not even close to what would do well in court, there was a crime, it does not matter, because I made other decisions that night that made other things okay.

On top of all of that I’ve taken an unintentional deep dive into some childhood garbage and boy evolutionarily we did not do a good job at protecting ourselves. Disassociation is fine at protecting our bodies if we were possums and playing dead helped trick our enemies. I once disassociated so badly I could only say like three words and they were yes, no, give me a minute (okay six words).

So I’m raw and so very confused and hurt by things I can’t talk about with you all. The good news is I’m having a good depression week, I’m making art, I’m writing, I’m walking. It’s just incredibly frustrating to have a really good week finally that gets overshadowed.

On that kind of bleak note

Love yourselves

Love each other

Do good recklessly

Love,
bri

Missed Stitch

Missed Stitch
Bri Dougherty
2020

It’s pretty different for me right now, with my external life pretty stable and predictable, my internal life is chaotic and strange. Much of my life the opposite has been true, or at least I had to fake my internal life being stable because it was the only way to get through my external life. This is something I find pretty prevalent in my conversations with other people about mental health problems, we are a good bunch in a crisis as long as it’s not our own. I’ve heard from people with anxiety, depression, bipolar, you name it and we are able to focus hard in a time of crisis or urgency.

I’m not sure why that is, maybe the constant flow of adrenaline that we’ve got finally has a reasonable chance to use it and it allows for some hard concentration. I am not a scientist or a therapist so I have no real idea.

Anyway, all of those musings were kind of an attempt to distract from the topic on hand. I’ve finally found a therapist really good, Which is a truly excellent feeling. It also fucking sucks, because when you bury painful things for a very long time, it is even more painful to dig them up. Now I’m walking around all ripped open with the idea of healing in front of me, a little too far away for comfort, but at least it’s there.

I’m starting to see differences in myself, I’m starting to correct disordered thinking. I’m starting to recognize more things. I wish this kind of healing wasn’t as painful as it is. I like to believe that it is going work, a lot of people say it will, but I have my doubts.

Everyone feels too broken, too lost, too lonely, too helpless, too hopeless. I don’t feel that today. I may feel it tomorrow, but that’s okay, because I might not feel it the next day.

Feel Love for the Manageable

It’s been a minute since I last wrote for the public, at least a prose piece, and update piece if you will. You’ll notice that we are not on my previous wordpress account, it was time to move it to a more official location on the internet, as my previous website was a tough one to keep up with between costs and other things. I’ve also be writing quite a bit more than I’ve been creating visual art, so for now, while I’m still figuring out literally everything in my life my place is here.

Extra good thing is I now have an e-mail that’s not flooded with spam, so if you’d like to contact me it is now bri@bri-Dougherty.com. What fun.

As far as an update into my twisted life, I’ve had a really good couple of weeks, I’ve had a really hard moments in those weeks, but overall I’d say the suffering is at a dull buzz instead of a loud roar.

Today I’m going to talk a little bit about what is most frustrating to me right now, it’s a hard to understand symptom of trauma survivors called disassociation, for me it’s been on rotation with high anxiety. I’m not depressed, I’m not manic, so the borderline has come out to play. It’s not such a kind playmate, and it is relentless.

This has been an ongoing thing for quite some time now, and unfortunately has only become something that interferes in my life very recently.

Right now, the most frustrating thing is not being 100% aware of what those triggers are, and not being able to predict it, and therefore I want to be alone a lot more often than I want to go out. I think what I’m trying to say here, is it’s 100% okay to prioritize your own safety over obligations you feel you need to fulfill (don’t check out on everything though, people still love you).

I’m going to try to explain what it feels like for me to disassociate, what I feel before and after, and how I’ve learned to deal, and how I’m currently learning how to know when I can’t deal in the situation. It is different for everyone.

For me the first few times it happened I wasn’t aware it was happening, but other people pointed out that my body language had changed, my speech became robotic, and I stopped making eye contact. Later I was able to start identifying feelings or lack there of that would be the beginning of a slide. It’s almost as if my skin, my muscles, my brain are all at a slightly different time, a half second each, and because of that they are unable to fully communicate with each other. It’s a defense mechanism, if I shut down, what’s hurting me will stop. Even if that thing is not a real threat.

With borderline, everything is raw, your brain wants you to think that every single person is going to walk away from you. So you shift your personality a little bit to try to fit what you think that person will respond best to.

The best thing I ever did for myself was make the conscious decision that my friends were here to stay. That I can’t expect even on a subconscious level for the people who love me to prove that they won’t run. It still takes daily reminders, that a lot of those thoughts are disordered thinking, that because that has happened to me a few times in the past, every person is ready to do that.

Before a dissociative episode there are always a few clues, first the aphasia gets worse, mine is pretty bad in general, and admittedly frustrating to both me and the people around me. Then I feel very hot, this is usually the last stage that any sort of trick can bring me out of it.

Afterwards, sometimes for days I have to consciously bring myself out of it because if I’m not actively concentrating on it I will slip back in.

So I’m getting better, so very slowly, and it is certainly not linear, but I do still feel hope that I will be able to be fully present eventually in my life.

I will say that as frustrating as this season in my life has been, it’s kind of made me really appreciate how incredible our bodies are at trying to protect us. It often comes at an incredible inconvenience but in theory these are things that our brain has done to help.

It’s also made me realize that working on yourself works. I am not a person who will ever believe that self help and self care are things that will cure a person. I think hard work that pushes us is what makes the demons calm down a bit. It wont ever go away, but it is manageable, at least right now.

All I can do is feel love for the manageable days. I know I will sometimes have more unmanageable days than manageable ones.

My soul is so raw right now, scraped of it’s first layer and burning with the slightest touch, but wounds heal, and I’m no stranger to scars. They are both part of me and apart from me.

On that note, love yourself. Reach out. Love the manageable days, for some that sounds absurd, for many that sounds like the thing they can do.

And don’t give up too much of your energy to people who are only willing to take it.

Introduce Yourself (Example Post)

This is an example post, originally published as part of Blogging University. Enroll in one of our ten programs, and start your blog right.

You’re going to publish a post today. Don’t worry about how your blog looks. Don’t worry if you haven’t given it a name yet, or you’re feeling overwhelmed. Just click the “New Post” button, and tell us why you’re here.

Why do this?

  • Because it gives new readers context. What are you about? Why should they read your blog?
  • Because it will help you focus you own ideas about your blog and what you’d like to do with it.

The post can be short or long, a personal intro to your life or a bloggy mission statement, a manifesto for the future or a simple outline of your the types of things you hope to publish.

To help you get started, here are a few questions:

  • Why are you blogging publicly, rather than keeping a personal journal?
  • What topics do you think you’ll write about?
  • Who would you love to connect with via your blog?
  • If you blog successfully throughout the next year, what would you hope to have accomplished?

You’re not locked into any of this; one of the wonderful things about blogs is how they constantly evolve as we learn, grow, and interact with one another — but it’s good to know where and why you started, and articulating your goals may just give you a few other post ideas.

Can’t think how to get started? Just write the first thing that pops into your head. Anne Lamott, author of a book on writing we love, says that you need to give yourself permission to write a “crappy first draft”. Anne makes a great point — just start writing, and worry about editing it later.

When you’re ready to publish, give your post three to five tags that describe your blog’s focus — writing, photography, fiction, parenting, food, cars, movies, sports, whatever. These tags will help others who care about your topics find you in the Reader. Make sure one of the tags is “zerotohero,” so other new bloggers can find you, too.