Vicki's Journey Continues...

Vicki82

Member
I'm just crushingly depressed right now. Last night I had a breakdown because I just don't see how Henry and I are going to live through this. If it takes so long to get a vaccine and we're high risk, we can't stay in lockdown for that long. And they may not even be able to make a vaccine. When they start easing restrictions, at some point the second wave will hit and people will start dying again before they lock us down and that could be us. And if we don't go out, at some point we will go insane.

I can't see how we will be able to live through this together and then I just don't want to get out of bed.

And then what's even the point of missing Charles so much? It's been ten days now and he only sent that one message to say he got the package. If he really loved me and missed me why wouldn't he want to at least connect with me a little? I don't see how the distance won't kill the feelings. Disconnection is painful.

And even if he did what difference does it make? We're likely to have to go into lockdown again at some point. If he doesn't want to be all in with us, then I'm just clinging to something that will hurt me all over again. I can't imagine someone who's like yup, I'll come live with you next time, not talking to me now for so long. It hurts and I feel rejected. And what's the point of it all anyway?

Henry treats me so well... no one will ever live up to that I guess. He gives me what I need and it's never grudgingly. I wish I wasn't poly. Maybe I wouldn't be hurting so much. I am having a hard enough time dealing with the reality of COVID let alone hurting so much over Charles.

I don't want to die, and I don't think I could manage if Henry dies. And if we both die and leave Kiddo alone? That's beyond a nightmare.
 
No one knows for sure how this virus is going to effect them as an individual. Some perfectly healthy people die, and other old, afflicted people make it. I see you are catastrophizing (not without some cause), but it won't do you any good.

My brother and sister-in-law both got it. He has HIV and she has chonic Lyme disease. They are in their early 40's and late 30's, respectively. They both got pretty sick, but neither even had to be hospitalized.

There is just no way of knowing. Please be good to yourself.
 

Magdlyn

Well-known member
No one knows for sure how this virus is going to effect them as an individual. Some perfectly healthy people die, and other old, afflicted people make it. I see you are catastrophizing (not without some cause), but it won't do you any good.

My brother and sister-in-law both got it. He has HIV and she has chonic Lyme disease. They are in their early 40's and late 30's, respectively. They both got pretty sick, but neither even had to be hospitalized.

I'm so glad for your relatives. That is wonderful that they recovered. Most people do, even challenged people.

There is just no way of knowing. Please be good to yourself.

Agreed. And people with mental issues are really hurting right now. It's hurts my heart to see you so pessimistic, Vicki.
 

Tinwen

Active member
How are you, Vicki? Any hope?
I hope you have had at least some light in your days. Depression comes and goes even in the darkest of circumstances.
 

Vicki82

Member
Cracking the fuck up.

I cannot believe that people actually want things to open up again. But I guess it’s okay if people who are poor and can’t afford to stay home without support die, or vulnerable people.

I can’t stay in my house for two years or until they make a vaccine, if that’s even possible. But otherwise we will die and I just want my fucking life back. I was actually happy for the first time in years and now it’s all gone.
 

Tinwen

Active member
Cracking the fuck up.

I cannot believe that people actually want things to open up again. But I guess it’s okay if people who are poor and can’t afford to stay home without support die, or vulnerable people.

I can’t stay in my house for two years or until they make a vaccine, if that’s even possible. But otherwise we will die and I just want my fucking life back. I was actually happy for the first time in years and now it’s all gone.

Our country entered lockdown early, so things ARE opening up again. I don't know if that helps you any. I'm waiting if we're gonna see a second wave, but yesterday's new cases still show a downwards trend. They are going to keep this thing in check with testing and fast contact tracing, or at least they hope so. There are new IT and structural solutions to help with that.
In many countries across the world, including hard-hit like Spain, the epidemic has slowed down considerably. I still don't know where in the world you are, but I soooo wish you a favourable turn of events soon.

If you can, up your therapeutical support to at least once a week, get psychiatric meds, do anything that helps even a tiny bit right now. Do you have a garden, are you getting any sun? I had friends who survived lockdown on long nature walks in people-free environments. Zoom calls with friends help. Even considering forming a small group with other high-risk people, who also self-isolate from everyone else, might help. Please don't be alone even in isolation.

If advice is unwelcome, I'm sorry for that. It's ok to loose your shit. It just hurts so much.
 

Vicki82

Member
I feel so much more like myself today that it's scary, that one thing can have this effect on me.

So Charles was able to isolate and is here now. Yesterday was full of hitches and I was just waiting for the other shoe to drop so I was exhausted in pretty much every way I could be, but that first hug... yeah, it was everything I thought it would be. And I still feel like I can feel how he's feeling through his kisses. It's funny how in some ways he is so passionate and in others so reserved. Confusing actually, and when I have brainpower I want to think about that.

But at bedtime last night I was feeling so messed up. So much hurt and pain from all this water under the bridge. I don't know what's going to happen or where we are now, but my counselor told me to try and live in the moment for now. Because the moment is not going to last. Charles has been recalled to work and so we get less than two weeks before he will have to leave again. I have no idea what will happen because even if restrictions start loosening, Henry and I are not planning to cease isolation since they expect a second wave. I can't lose Henry. I just can't.

Charles could see I was upset at bedtime but we were both so tired I told him it wasn't the time. He fell asleep almost immediately. Actually, everyone was asleep except me. Henry was also exhausted and had passed out in his hammock. I stayed up and read my book and chatted with a friend of mine. I'm really glad she was there to listen to me when I was feeling messed up about Charles. I needed the ear.

We haven't talked today either. Just existed. It's fucked up to think that my body literally feels lighter from having less crushing depression. I'm still messed up about everything but at least I have both my loves here. The world just makes a little more sense. We played Betrayal at the House on the Hill with Kiddo, and otherwise have just hung out today. In the morning I got cuddles from both of them- totally non-sexual but who cares. I forgot how good that feels.

Tonight Charles has his usual online game with his friends, so Henry and I are going to have our usual night together and watch the Expanse and eat pumpernickel and spinach dip. Good times. And if I'm really lucky, maybe Charles and I will still have energy for sex because I'm missing that, too.

I'm trying so hard to stay in the moment but these few days are going to go by far too quickly. Less than two weeks. Can't think about that right now or I'll lose now.
 

Vicki82

Member
I feel so much more like me than I have in weeks. I don't feel overwhelmed and crushingly depressed. It's easier to stop thinking about the intrusive thoughts. I can relax without the crutch of a drink. I feel almost happy today. I dunno what the fuck is going to happen to me in ten days. That seems so short. Not thinking about that right now.

Last night, Charles and I finally made love again. We were too tired late night after all. But yesterday we spent almost all afternoon in bed cuddling and just being together. It was so good. We still haven't really talked about anything serious yet but just the being together without the stress is so important.

The four of us had dinner together, and then I spent a couple of hours hanging out with Henry. He's been going to bed way early anyway, so it made more sense to do it this way. He already told me that he doesn't plan to actually sleep with me while Charles is here anyway. Most of the time we haven't been sleeping together because we're disturbing each other- yay for multiple sets of sleep disorders. Not.

After Henry went to his space, Charles and I spent the night together. It was wonderful but also bittersweet because the night is when my anxieties start creeping back in and I didn't want to spoil things so I took an Ativan and we cuddled until we fell asleep.

And I woke up feeling okay today. It snowed! Henry and I went out and hot tubbed in the snowstorm and it was pretty awesome. With my sunglasses on I could watch the snowflakes swirling in the roaring wind. We just hung out for a while. And then we realized that with another responsible adult in the house *cough cough* we could probably get away with daytime sex since Henry is generally too tired at night. We told Kiddo we were taking a nap (not unusual) and that Charles was in his space if Kiddo needed anything, and let Charles know he was on deck. And then a nice hour of afternoon bliss with Henry.

Now I'm eating my favourite crackers and reading a cheesy Nicholas Sparks book and not thinking about anything upsetting. I could sure use a good day. I just have to not count how few are left...
 

fuchka

Member
I've done a LDR with someone who is amazing in person but struggles to stay connected from a distance, esp if there are other stressors. I also have several friendships like this. We're just an in-person thing. It sounds like your connection with Charles revives quickly when you are together - that's encouraging! You're doing well to keep refocusing on the present.

We can't control much about this pandemic scenario, and you possibly won't have many real choices / options while the health crisis continues. But sometimes I think of these kinds of plants - https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Resurrection_plant - when it comes to relationships or projects or even ideas. When for practical reasons you can't grow them in the present, they are still resilient and waiting for the right conditions. It may be that you recognise something of this in your relationship with Charles. And you can take some reassurance from that.

Glad you and Henry are getting benefits from the extra adult around, too :)
 

Vicki82

Member
Charles and I finally decided to have that talk. We went outside to the deck to have some privacy and really talked about everything.

I guess I feel a lot better even though everything will still be in flux because of COVID-19 and there isn't a whole lot we can do about it.

He told me that he doesn't want to leave. That he really does want to make us work. He just has to keep working on his own shit because he doesn't want to hurt me. I told him that we're going to hurt each other, full stop. That's life. What really matters is what we do after that.

It's just so scary. The three of us all talked and I'm really anxious. Henry feels reasonably comfortable with the precautions that are being taken at Charles' work in terms of distancing so he thinks that we should still be okay seeing each other. I mean, that's the answer I want to hear, but I am terrified of the idea of Henry or me dying. I don't do risk assessment very well when the consequences are so terrifying. I don't know how great an idea it is. Henry says as long as the place is shut down to the public and the employees are wearing masks and distanced he thinks it's okay, but as soon as they open to the public that's a different story. So all this is still in flux anyway because who knows what will happen when. I hope they take a long time before things open back up again. I don't want Charles to have to go either.

Henry and I are planning to have a check-in tomorrow, too. He was tired today so it wasn't the time to have an emotionally draining conversation. I want to make sure that he's feeling okay with all this too. I can't even imagine how difficult it was for him to see me be a total mess over Charles and then for it to suddenly make me almost normal again with him here. I know that would have been rough on me, but he isn't me and he knows me. I also don't even want to think of how it would have been for me to be separated from Henry. I don't know that I could have coped with that at all. But having them both here just feels so right.

I don't even know how to explain it all to myself. I love Henry so much. He's my life partner. He's the whole package. I can be completely myself with him and not worry about it. We have great sex. We have romantic love. He's a wonderful father, and literally the best person I know. There is nothing missing. And yet I still love Charles too in a totally different way. It just feels so weird sometimes. I guess I haven't escaped all my monogamous programming yet.

But I did tell him that when I started dating again, that I hadn't been looking for this. This level of intensity? That took me totally by surprise. It's completely out of my paradigm when it comes to polyamory. I've had several other relationships while I was married- I hate to use that term secondary, but they really did feel that way. That's just the level they found though, it wasn't like I put them into a different sort of box. But it's been different with Charles... it's like it just kept getting deeper. I don't have any experience with that, and it is challenging my own beliefs and thoughts on things honestly. Because I don't love Henry any less. I can't even imagine not sharing my life with him. But somehow I have very intense feelings for Charles, too. And he says he has them for me and he wants to find a way to make us work and invest in our relationship.

So I guess y'all were right- he wasn't distancing because he wanted to run. He told me it hurt so much not to connect with me, that being with me makes things better. But that he had to do damage control and take care of himself. And he knows how hard it was for me and he's sorry for that because he doesn't want to hurt me.

It's just all so fucking complicated.
 

Vicki82

Member
I'm feeling messed up today. Lots of big scary things, mostly just real life stuff. My work wants to recall me in July, and declining will mean I get fired. But it's not a job where social distance is possible at all (small children), so I am really stressed about that. And I have to say yes or no now, not wait and see what happens. I am leaning towards quitting but that has its own set of ramifications.

Charles got the call that he needs to go back to work on Wednesday. That seems so soon. I don't want him to go.

Henry thinks it will be okay and we should let Charles come back if he is being careful. I'm feeling anxious and stressed so I just can't think today. I am so terrified of Henry dying because I just can't lose him and I feel paralyzed.
 

icesong

Member
Can I gently point out that Henry is *offering* to take what risk it is for Charles to stay, and you are not *asking* that of him? I mean, consider that Henry wants you to be happy, and making yourself unhappy in an attempt to protect him, as noble as it is, is not really allowing him the agency to choose his own level of risk.
 

PinkPig

Member
As an employer, my suggestion is to say yes now. You can always change your mind next month and still give them time to hire someone else. But you can't take back a no. As an employer, I would not hold it against any employee who changed their mind, especially if they let me know a few weeks in advance. That's plenty of time to hire when unemployment rates are as high as they are world wide. Unless you're in a really highly specialized field, or a tiny town, that should be sufficient.

I'm sorry Charles is being called back so soon.
 

Vicki82

Member
Can I gently point out that Henry is *offering* to take what risk it is for Charles to stay, and you are not *asking* that of him? I mean, consider that Henry wants you to be happy, and making yourself unhappy in an attempt to protect him, as noble as it is, is not really allowing him the agency to choose his own level of risk.

Yes and no. Henry and I live 24/7 D/s. The way he is wired is to do everything he can to make me happy. I literally only have to voice a desire and if it's something he can make happen without too much trouble, he does. It's one of the things he does to show me his love. We have worked pretty hard on finding our balance because I know that he will push himself too far sometimes to try and give me what I want or to do what he thinks needs to be done, because he puts his own condition and desires last. I check in with him every day because my responsibility is making sure that he doesn't push himself too hard in his desire to make our lives a better place. He was raised, and developed a social circle prior to meeting me, which valued him based on what he could do for them. People took advantage of him right left and center. I vowed I would never do that, so our agreement basically boils down to, I take care of him so that he takes care of me. He knows and will say back to me that rule #1 is protect my property, which means him. That supercedes everything. But in the short term? He will push himself harder if he thinks it will make me smile. So in this case, I've checked with him two or three times already on different days to make sure he really is okay with this and that he feels that this is in fact within his risk tolerance. I'm letting him call the shots on risk tolerance because I would honestly lock us in an ivory tower if I could :p

I know that was a long-winded explanation but I hope it makes sense in context. Henry really does struggle with saying no, and I'm the last person he wants to say no to. When I hear him phrasing things to avoid no, I always give him a gentle prompt that no is a valid answer. We've been working on it our entire relationship. Frankly, he's lost a lot of friendships since then because those people were just using him and didn't like that they could no longer do so. But of course, they blamed me for that (which I suppose is valid) but did their best to break us up because I'm an abusive monster :p I don't know if I wrote about that before? It was in the year before we got married. Guess I should go back and read. But it's quite the story.

PinkPig, I'm just worried that if I do that, they may hold it against me. They plan their summer staffing levels months in advance. It's already kind of weird because I had told them I wasn't available for the time that Kiddo was supposed to be visiting my ex husband, because I had wanted to divide that time between Henry and Charles. But now Kiddo isn't going anywhere because the border is closed and I wouldn't let him get on an airplane anyway or interact with anyone who had been on a plane and with COVID-19, any previous plans for kidfree time or staycation time with either of my loves isn't happening. Just seeing the schedule kind of hurt because it reminded me of all the plans that went into it.

Henry wants me to talk to HR about what they're doing for us in terms of safety. I'm only supposed to be covering lunch breaks so it's 90 minutes per day, but it's with toddlers. Toddlers don't know how to social distance and they stick their hands in their mouths and touch everything. Plus then I go from exactly three contacts, with very short branching only off Charles, to an almost uncountable number of contacts (15 toddlers and their families and whoever they are connected with, plus two other staff members and a supervisor). That's terrifying to think of my network and risk level increasing that much. Henry thinks at a dead minimum that I need a properly fitted N95 mask daily plus a face shield. I don't know if I'm even comfortable with that.
 

icesong

Member
That’s fair, although I do have a D/s relationship it’s a lot more circumscribed than that (sort of... 24/7 but only re: a few categories of decision). And trying to get real answers out of people pleasing partners can be so very difficult - both Knight and Artist lean that way (ironic given I’m the sub, in theory, but ... eh. Dynamics get weird sometimes.)

(And I’d agree with PinkPig on the situation with your employer - you’re just looking after yourself about that one.)
 

Vicki82

Member
Yeah, it's more than just the D/s- this is just how we fit together. It's one of the reasons that things between us work so well, it's very natural. It's less about rules and boundaries and more just about who we are. I dream the dreams, and he builds them. But he knows that I want him to be happy and have what he needs and as much of what he wants as possible, so we take care of each other well that way. I would call us interdependent, but in a way that still honours our individuality, if that makes sense- not codependent. Our power dynamic is not unequal, it's just different than the usual balance, which I'm sure makes sense to you.

I do tend to draw people who like pleasing, although in my own way, I consider myself to be one. I just always say that I like to be pleased on my terms, and I do the pleasing on my terms as well, if that makes sense.

Dynamics do get weird sometimes! I get that. But as long as it works, that's what matters, right?
 

Tinwen

Active member
Henry wants me to talk to HR about what they're doing for us in terms of safety....Henry thinks at a dead minimum that I need a properly fitted N95 mask daily plus a face shield. I don't know if I'm even comfortable with that.
You should certainly do that. Talk with them about you and Henry being high risk. Figure out whether you can get ffp2's or not. Perhaps, if you've been in-house a lot, get your vitamin D levels checked and start supplementing.

Frankly, if you can figure out how to go back to work for 90 minutes a day safely enough, that is likely to help your psyche immensely.
 

Vicki82

Member
You should certainly do that. Talk with them about you and Henry being high risk. Figure out whether you can get ffp2's or not. Perhaps, if you've been in-house a lot, get your vitamin D levels checked and start supplementing.

Frankly, if you can figure out how to go back to work for 90 minutes a day safely enough, that is likely to help your psyche immensely.

I'm only cleared for short shifts anyway, even before this. My doctor has me working a limited number of hours per day and capped per week as well, probably permanently. It's frustrating, but it is what it is. I am in fact deficient in vitamin D and I'm on prescription level supplements as a result.

I did email HR and ask what they are doing in terms of safety for us. I guess I will hear back tomorrow.

Today has been kind of a lazy day. I'm pretty tired. White chicken chili in the slow cooker, hot tub with Charles, and then an afternoon of snuggles, conversation, and sex. I feel like he really is putting in effort to try and lower those emotional walls with me, and it means a lot.

I just am really craving more closeness and intimacy with my loves. Something to help push back the anxiety.
 

Vicki82

Member
Charles left yesterday evening. I can see that it's temporary. There are little bits of him all over my house. His sheets are still on the bed in the room he was using. His bag is in the corner. His stuff is in the bathroom, although that was pretty much always there anyway before. And his computer is still on the desk. All of these things help with that little reminder that he is coming back.

He's at work now, which makes me anxious, but I know at least his boss is taking absolutely every reasonable precaution. He is currently working in a restaurant kitchen and one of the staff members was going to school as a nurse, so she helped them work out the health stuff. Customers are not allowed in the store at all; they are told to stay in their cars and either phone or order online, and the front end staff brings the orders curbside and delivers contactlessly. The kitchen staff stay in their own areas and the one who packages the food takes it to a table between the front and the back with a plexiglass shield up, so there's no actual contact. I guess that's as good as it can possibly get since the other kitchen staff are his roommates, too, so no additional contact points. I am still anxious though because right now this is the only possible way we could contract COVID-19. I still feel safest doing the ivory tower thing.

My job has been super stressful for me too. I did a Zoom meeting yesterday, and basically the head office for our educational centres decided that since they were limiting class sizes and doing temperature checks, that the staff don't need to wear PPE. She kept saying it was safer than the grocery store since at least they were doing temperature checks. I sent HR an email explaining that I have not been going to the grocery store, since that's outside my risk tolerance. I explained that Henry and I are very high risk and so we have taken every precaution. I pointed out that there is a good deal of asymptomatic spread and only half of COVID infections actually present with a fever anyway. I don't really care what they wind up doing for everyone, although I think it's a terrible idea. I get that childcare needs to be available so people can go back to work, but it needs to be a safe environment for workers, too. Apparently at the emergency centres, people are only wearing PPE if they're dealing with kids who spit or the like. And guess what? There have already been several outbreaks. So I asked then if I provide my own PPE, am I allowed to do that? Because apparently some families say they won't bring their children back if the staff are wearing masks, because it scares the kids. I am not going to die because someone's kid is scared of masks! Henry and I agreed that at a bare minimum, I have to wear an N95 mask and a plastic face shield over it to prevent the little ones from touching my mask. Unfortunately, in my area, workplace safety anywhere doesn't require an N95 unless they are expecting aerosolized particles. But if I have to pay for it myself, I'm okay with that. I would just rather not die or have Henry die, thanks. Work still hasn't replied, and I wonder if I have put them in an awkward legal situation, actually, because if they say no and I go back to work and get COVID, it's going to be super obvious where I got it. I wonder if they'd be legally liable if I died. For obvious reasons, I do not want to find out. But I wonder what they will do, if the intention is for no one to wear masks and I won't work without one.

I had a bunch of random stress with other stuff that killed most of my day and just sent my pulse into the stratosphere, and then between that and Charles leaving, I wound up having a panic attack that just wouldn't give up. Not a fun way to spend the night. Henry and I were both exhausted and wrung out so we slept alone since that has a better shot of us both actually sleeping.

But I really do see Charles trying and that helps. He told me before he left that he would miss me, and I was feeling agitated because I know being in his own space is very important to him and so I knew he was looking forward to leaving, too. I woke up to a sweet message from him, and he chatted with me a little. Then I sent him an email with an article, and he texted me while he was at work to let me know he'd gotten it and would read it later. I wasn't expecting to hear from him so much, and I was going to kinda hang back since he was just here for two weeks and maybe he'd just want his space and quiet. It's been nice thinking he really does miss me and is thinking about me. I never really believed that, I think.

I saw my counselor and we were talking about attachments. The prevailing wisdom seems to be that you basically get taught about attachment as a child and then you have to overcome the bad ones. But I'd be surprised if I was the only person who seems to have more than one type of attachment. I feel securely attached to Henry. I trust him and rely on him and I don't really worry about that relationship. I know we want each other to grow and be happy. My counselor said she thinks I have an ambivalent attachment to Charles, and it's pretty obvious that he has an avoidant one. So things to consider, anyway.

It just helps to see effort. Then it's harder for those anxious intrusive thoughts to take root. And he will be back soon. Henry has to go to pick up some stuff from his father's place (socially distant of course) and he'll be staying in the guest house there for a few days. Charles is planning to be here so that I don't have to be alone.
 

PinkPig

Member
Given that your job involves working with toddlers, I understand why you'd be hesitant to return to work. That's very different from Charles's situation, an office environment, etc. I can understand why you're considering quitting now, rather than later. I'd be hesitant to return, too, in your situation.

I also think it makes sense that you'd have an ambivalent attachment style towards Charles. I tend to have an ambivalent attachment style because of my childhood. And I choose partners who have addictive personalities, and aren't consistent in the relationship, which reinforces what I've learned as a child. Therapy is helping me with that, but it's also my partner choice that's the issue.

Henry is consistently there for you. You know you can count on him so it makes sense that you'd have a secure attachment with him. Charles's withdrawal during his mental health challenges, may be the right thing for him, but for someone with attachment issues, even someone who has worked to overcome those, like you, his periods of withdrawal will naturally reinforce what you learned in childhood... that you can't always rely on him to meet your needs.

Its so frustrating to me how much our childhoods affect our adult life, and how much work it is to overcome those issues.
 
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