[cw: death, suicide, suicidal ideation, mental illness, borderline personality disorder, ptsd]
Yesterday was the 2 year anniversary of your death bud, and while I think it would make sense for me to focus on all the ways I’ve struggled with your death specifically in the last year I’d instead like to focus on all the things that have happened with me this year that I wish you had been here for. While I definitely know that these two categories overlap significantly, the major difference here is that rather than focusing on how I’ve struggled to do some things since you’ve passed there’s so much I’m proud of that I think you would have been proud of me for.
This year has provided a plethora of twists and turns, and as of my writing this I’m still only barely in a space I’d consider “stable.” I have so much homework to do right now, but it’s so difficult for me to keep writing (something I think you can appreciate as a person who never enjoyed essays to begin with) and I’m actually hoping that writing this update for you will help me to move through this block. Being constipated is never fun, and if there’s anyone I’ve ever enjoyed talking shit with it would have had to have been you.
In January my Gramma passed away, and it was one of the most difficult things I’ve yet to deal with. It brought up a lot of the feelings of missing you again bud, especially since the 1 year anniversary of your death was only a month before. I spent a lot of time trying to make sense of death, and ended up overhauling my “Death Plans” (my will and shit) as I once again had to be faced by the concept of my own mortality. I’m not sure if this kind of planning is something you’d ever have been capable of, bud, but I definitely felt your absence in measures of pancakes and shitty McDonald’s food. Additionally I began speaking with my best friend after not having spoken to him (for very legit reasons) as well. I told him about you bud. I wish the two of you could have met one another.
February brought with it some of the most extreme stress I’ve yet to overcome with the execution of Reading Identity 2017. I know this is something you would have scoffed at, but after spending most of 2016 avoiding anyone and everyone possible I needed some kind of activity to bring myself back into some semblance of a social fold. While it worked (in a BIG way) it also reminded me how difficult it can be to trust anyone but yourself, and I spent a lot of time thinking about how much I missed your personal brand of Bright Cynicism.
I took my first Real Trip in March, and for all the wackiness it brought into my life it was overall a really great, formative experience. My major regret is trapping myself in my hotel room after encountering some very significant anxiety and being unable to check out the Gay Village. I’m always on the lookout for things to remember you by, bud, and I was hoping to find a cute gay turtle stuffy to bring home. Unfortunately that didn’t happen, but it did get me to think about how to keep the memories of the people around me in my life, and finally I decided to keep a framed photo of you and Nirv in my room. It’s not as symbolic as I usually like for a memorial, but it’s a lovely photo and I’m still so glad to have it up.
April is always a boring month when you’re in school, I think. I vaguely recall taking exams and giving a presentation in one of my English classes, but that’s about it. I had to spend a lot of time learning about borderline personality disorder, as a couple of my friends and a family member were diagnosed with it around this time as well. It’s so hard to learn about the ways in which people you love are struggling, and I found it difficult not to think of you and the ways in which you struggled. I know that what happened is in no way my fault, and that we were frankly dubiously close at best when you passed, but seeing so many people struggle with some of the same things you did was difficult. I spent a lot of time thinking about death this month, and finally let my therapist know that I experience suicidal ideation. It went far better than I ever could have anticipated, and I can only hope you’d be proud of me for speaking up.
Looking back like this I honestly wouldn’t be surprised to learn that I’d been dissociating pretty much the entire month.
In May my life began to unravel. For various reasons I was left with no savings very suddenly, and couldn’t afford to buy my prescriptions. I spent weeks in absolute agony between ER visits, and after months of incredible stress I heard the name of my abuser in an audiobook and effectively shut down.
I was depressed and didn’t leave my house for any reason other than doctor’s appointments in June, and was luckily prescribed medication to help manage my symptoms of depression.
I began having multiple panic attacks a day in July, and subsequently only left my house to go to doctor’s appointments and occasionally buy groceries. We added on more medication.
I know Animethon was never your thing, but in August I finally felt able to challenge myself to be around others and presented a panel on a subject I’m super into. It’s something I know you would have absolutely hated lol but it would have loved to have messaged you after to celebrate in excitement. My nieces and nephew came along one day, and their adorable costumes would have put a smile on your face, I’m sure, because they really put a smile on everyone’s faces.
Against the wishes of my GP and psychiatrist I decided to go back to school in September, primarily for funding reasons. With no ability to maintain a day job my student loans became my saving grace. I got the opportunity to take classes with some of my favourite professors, though, and even though you never really liked English or anthropology I think you would have enjoyed seeing our Twitter shenanigans. Because of the stress school brought into my life, though, I had to start taking even more medication to manage my symptoms in light of some intense panic attacks brought on by presenting at the Edmonton Expo.
I started seeing a trauma-informed therapist in October, and was rediagnosed with PTSD. So far it’s been one of the most impactful things I’ve had the opportunity to do with regard to my mental health this year. I wish I could talk to you about how great my therapist is, bud. You were never much one for reaching out to mental health professionals and it was a topic I was hesitant to broach due to my own mixed experiences in therapy, but having such an overarchingly great experience I think it’s something I’d be more capable of doing at this point. For all the times you made sure I was healthy, I wish I had taken more to make sure you were.
It was only in November that I really, fully began to understand the cool shit that happens when you open up to people. I credit this to the perfect storm of finding medications that (mostly) work for me, seeing a therapist weekly, having my best friend move into the house, and having had the opportunity to take badass classes with badass profs and badass peers. It seems obvious to write it out like this, but being able to connect with other people when you’re not actively experiencing crushing depression is pretty great and I’m so thankful for this opportunity. I’m finally sharing manatees again.
We’re only barely into December, but I already wish we could talk about Christmas stuff bud. We never had the opportunity to celebrate Yule together, and that’s something that hurts me a heck of a whole lot. This is a time of year where I really want to be around my family and friends, and your absence is so obvious right now.
I wish I had more to write for you bud. I miss you so fuckin much so fuckin always.
I hope you’re at peace.
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