Buckle up folks. This is going to be a long one. Please forgive me for being a bit cagey about certain details. I am simply venting and not trying to speak ill of anyone or violate anyone’s privacy.
So in early December the stress of the PlayStation 5 hunt was still growing for me as I mentioned in a previous post. As my hunt was growing to a close, I started experiencing invaders to my home and garden:
One night I was working late in my office (as usual) and I heard something downstairs. It was sound I wasn’t familiar with, so I knew it wasn’t coming from the Roshi’s (Turtle) aquarium. Considering the face that I was the human here, with Valentine (Dog) lying next to my desk on her bed, I got very nervous and went to look over my balcony. There was a very large rat eating from Valentine’s bowl.
He and his kin continued making appearances for the next few days while I attempted to block any potential entryways and wait for pest control to arrive. They had even begun getting comfortable enough to walk around when the lights were on. When I didn’t see them at night, I was hearing them, but they never came in during the day. The times when Nova (Daughter) spent the night, I would put her in my bed and hover sleeplessly over her to make sure they didn’t attempt climbing up. I was cleaning droppings every morning and every time I tried to close them out, they would chew through a new spot in my drywall.
Meanwhile, squirrels were constantly digging up my younger plants and eating every piece of food that even began to grow. They were in my garden so often, that my efforts to combat them by spraying and sprinkling repellents, buying fake birds and yelling through my windows had begun to garner laughter from friends and family. It was actually funny, but still very frustrating.
Then the pest control guy showed up and I finally managed to order my PlayStation. Then I proceeded to call my father to express my relief, only for him to deliver the news that my young cousin (no details for the sake of her privacy) had passed away in a completely random and unexpected manner. That was when the nightmares started.
I’m not sure if I was concerned with my own mortality or if it was simply grief, but my already terrible sleeping habits were made considerably worse. I couldn’t stop thinking about her face and the sweet way she would always greet me with “hey cousin,” before hugging me warmly and telling me about what she had going on. I stopped being able to sleep more than two or three hours a night on average and the rats returned within the week.
A week later the squirrels stopped coming for reasons unknown (probably because they had utterly destroyed all of my food plants) and the pest control guy returned to tell me there was a hole in my roof where they would keep coming in until it was patched, which it eventually was. My contract ended and the next one was delayed, causing me to have to work much much harder time dealing with my finances.
One night I was so completely exhausted, I managed to get into a very deep sleep. During which I began to hear two intruders standing over my bed, whispering in disagreement about how they were going to torture and kill me. I began doing my best to stand up or turn over or even make enough noise and movement for them to realize I was awake and possibly flee, but I couldn’t get my body to obey me. With a considerable amount of effort I was able to rock. forward and throw myself out of bed. Because I was wrapped up in my comforter (ironic name in this instance), I slammed into my floor very hard, only to realize no one was actually there. Unconvinced of my own safety, I patrolled my house and checked every nook, cranny, closet. door and window in my home and simply remained awake until the following night.
Although that one was by far the most intense, I continued to have nightmares and that’s only when my anxiety even allowed me to sleep. I became extremely exhausted and mentally drained and that’s when my mother called me crying in a way that I had only heard her do once before, when her younger brother had passed away in 2019. I felt pure terror before she even manage to squeeze out the news that my aunt Tina, who had been like an older sister to me for most of my life, had passed away the night before. I was feeling so many emotions that I could barely even think.
A few days later, my cousin Lacie (my aunt’s older daughter) called for Paulbearers, which I agreed to because I didn’t even see “no” as an option. The weekend following Tina’s passing a friend let me know he was in town (the situation is ongoing so I won’t go into too much detail). I was excited because it had been so long and I needed some cheering up, so I invited him and two other friends to my house. For the sake of brevity, I’ll just say that it was very difficult to get this friend out of my house for several days and a he had been drinking a lot of my alcohol without my knowledge. I felt used and taken advantage of. To his credit, he has apologized and reimbursed me, but the timing of the whole ordeal made everything much more difficult.
Even during his stay, the ceiling of my kitchen began to leak a huge amount of water, which was fixed two days later, but still added to my stress. The way my social anxiety works is similar to a gas tank that is run on my own mental clarity and inner peace. I have to prepare for social situations in advance and I have to spend a lot of time alone both before and after. Nova is the sole exception to this rule, as she is the only human person on the planet who doesn’t drain me in this way. Needless to say, I was not prepared for the funeral. It took a herculean effort to even get dressed before my drive.
The funeral wasn’t too bad, there was speaking and crying and reuniting and I managed to make everyone laugh with my anecdotes about my Aunt Tina. The internment had been pushed to the next day, so I drove home and played music and did my best to cheer up. Then I received a phone call from my mother, telling me that a family member had brutally attacked another. It was a betrayal of the highest order and deeply heartbreaking for everyone in my family. Everyone drove the hour and a half to the interment with sadness and anger in their hearts, making the entire experience even more unpleasant than it already was. Everyone has been on high alert, worrying about the victim in the situation and I am still having a difficult time sleeping.
I haven’t been seeing my counselor for a while, but I have felt the need to contact him and make an appointment. My anxiety has remained out of control and sleep has continued to be difficult. Since my appoint is so far away, a friend gave me a free hypnotherapy session, which has definitely helped, but I’m still having a hard time getting back to normal. I have lost someone close to me every year since 2016 and I am just tired of tragedy at this point. I just want things to get a little bit easier. Just a little bit. People have been very supportive as of late, but I am still doing my best to hold on to my own sanity and it feels like lubricant is constantly being applied to my grip.