Given my last post, Hello Friends, I thought should lead off by saying that I started working on this segment back in October. The Chronicle of Cait was planned to detail some of the things going on in my life, how I'm doing, and where I plan to go next. Unfortunately, I ended up being really depressed during October which made it difficult to follow through with that. I'd like to talk more about my depression and also go into some of the other things going on lately, but first I want to introduce the segment.
The Chronicle of Cait is time for me to talk about my lifestyle, my feelings, and what it's like to be me. It's my hope is that this segment will be a regular chronicle of the events taking place in my life. While it probably won't be a huge benefit for the anonymous reader, there are those in my life that I have trouble keeping in touch with. I'm hoping to share more information with that audience should they choose to read it. So let's begin.
Friends in Love
Briefly, I wanted to mention that Gabe and I attended some friends' lovely wedding in Brooklyn towards the end of September. Here's us looking cute.
Preserving the Summer
During the beginning of fall, I was mainly focused on wrapping up my gardening projects and beginning to learn about canning food. Why? Well, we had this lovely tomato plant during the summer that provided us with a lot of love, but after it blossomed it left me wanting more.
I began to look into canning in order to extend the shelf life of some of my homegrown produce and became quite obsessed with it. There's a lot you can do with canning and there appears to be some really interesting cost saving benefits. However, canning can be kind of expensive to start. It requires a lot of gear and knowledge to get started. If you have an interest in canning, I can't recommend the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving enough. It definitely helped me learn more about the process of canning and helped me identify and avoid botulism.
Anyway, all that labor lead to Gabe and I going to a local orchard to pick apples. We packed up six jars full of sliced apples in honey syrup. The act of canning the apples was challenging, but very rewarding. My hope is to use them in some sort of apple crisp or cobbler during the winter months.
Depression and Therapy
** Warning: I plan to talk about some pretty heavy shit which includes discussion of anxiety, depression, self-harm, and suicide. Please skip ahead to the next section if you'd like to avoid these topics.
In light of my other post, I think it's worth acknowledging that I have already admitted to being depressed lately. About midway through October, I started really having issues. People close to me (location-wise) were suggesting I might want to start therapy as I seemed quite distressed and anxious often. So, after enough time and thought, I did just that.
Starting therapy had the unintended consequence of making me feel worse at first. I had no high hopes for it, but I managed to find a therapist who is amazingly good at their job. Unfortunately for me, I wasn't very good at treating myself before then. Because of these events, I quickly became extremely emotionally vulnerable and I attempted to harm myself gravely. While I wasn't directly trying to kill myself, the consequences of me giving into uninhibited self-harm made me feel like I made an attempt on my life after the fact.
As alcohol was involved at the time, I decided to quit drinking.
Since then, my therapist has helped me to eliminate threats to my life, which is good, because for a number of days after this point I felt like making direct attempts on my life. I'm still not quite okay either.
Most of the feelings I deal with are about being trapped in situations I can't escape from: like how I have this home that I bought and now would struggle to get rid of it properly if I had or wanted to, or my experiences at work which continue to press all my stress buttons, or the fact that I often lack the ability to trust and confide in friends the way I'd like. These things have always felt true, but I feel like after coming out at work and trying to deal with the pressures of living as transgender and also feeling trapped, I feel like I had nowhere else to go to escape than suicide. I want to say that's no longer true, but I'm just not there yet. Suicide is a constant specter in my life right now.
That said, I feel like in the past week or so, we've started getting into some more positive territory. It's amazing to me how quickly my therapist found out things about myself that I normally don't tell people. I enjoy the nickname they gave me as well: The Queen of Avoidance. It's amusing to me in a morbid sense. I plan to stick with therapy and hope to avoid hospitalization (although that's been something I've wanted as well).
Also, I started smoking. I didn't start for the reasons most people do, stress and the like. I started smoking as a means of self-harm. I don't have access to things like knives, pills, or alcohol anymore so I wasn't sure how else to cope. You might not see smoking as all that bad, but for me, it totally messes with my hormones. There's increased risk for clots, stroke, and DVT. So while I don't really want to smoke, I really don't know how to cope with the things going on in my life right now. I'm hoping to get away from this as therapy continues.
So to lighten up the doom and gloom a bit, please feel free to talk to me about this stuff. I encourage it, because I really need to feel like people care about me right now. I want to know that I'm worthwhile and not wasting away trapped in a cage. I'm trying to get out more, for example I went hiking this past weekend for a pretty long length of time. I started an Instagram account primarily to put pictures from my adventures there.
So tell me what you think about these trips. I'd love to hear about your experiences too. I know a good majority of my friends aren't local to me, so I want to get the word out about myself through other means. That includes this website. So please say hi, ask me questions, don't let me push you away. You're important to me and sometimes I just don't see that, so remind me of that fact.
I'm not going to say that depression has it's benefits, but I've totally lost interest in my regular hobbies so I've had to get creative lately to avoid doing things to harm myself. One of these things has been improving my house. Yes, the irony isn't lost on me either. So just to summarize, here's what I've done in about three weeks time.
- I've replaced the kitchen faucet.
- I've installed a smart home thermostat.
- I've put up new blackout curtains in the bedroom, including fancy rods.
- I've hung pictures.
I expect there's more to come as I still can't find interest in the things I used to. So if there's any challenging projects you can think of, please let me know.
Finally for now, Halloween. I didn't pick out a costume this year. I kind of knew I wouldn't have any parties to attend this year due to outstanding circumstances.
That said, I did manage to get out and play some Dungeons and Dragons a few days before Halloween which was pretty fun. The character I play is starting to get pretty high in level for the DnD 4e ruleset. I play a level 19 warrior specializing on the charge mechanic.
Anyway, I also got to enjoy feeding candy to small children who then have to deal with their parents once they're full of sugar. It's like a super win for any queer person.
Other Interesting Crap
Most of these things were true before I started feeling depressed, but I feel they're still pretty good indicators of what I have been interested in lately.