bottomless well

You seek to protect your ego at all costs. But that requires a great deal of cognitive dissonance, since your particular brand of self-acceptance, if you can even call it that, is very conditional: you’re only worthy IF.

And every time you find out that you don’t meet your own arbitrary criteria, you have to go through a grieving process. One of a number of things can happen as a result:

  • total denial of the issue (not sustainable)
  • you can tweak something here and there by lowering the bar and/or overestimating your own abilities (not likely)
  • or, you can accept that you’re a failure & give up on yourself altogether, which is what I usually go for.

and you keep letting go of condition after condition, but not of their “objective” significance. Meaning, you still believe them to be true and right, you just lower your standards to accommodate your new & ever evolving definition of “bare minimum”: you expect less of yourself, but you also think less & less of yourself.

and you keep adjusting to the new lows, until apparently there is nowhere else to go, but it is never enough. and right when you think youve reached rock bottom, it turns out there is one more thing you’ve been taking for granted.

and you keep reevaluating your situation. You’re forever chasing after the most accurate way to assess how you compare to others, because you cant be happy UNLESS.

Of course a happiness predicated on the notion of being somehow “better” (as “good enough” naturally implies that some people… aren’t) is presumptuous, superficial, and bound to always induce anxiety and a lingering sense of inadequacy — ready to come out the moment you sense that you are “worse” at this thing or another.

What’s more, I don’t actually believe the same things about other people: I think everyone else can & should be happy, regardless of their looks, health, intelligence, personality, sense of humor, you name it. Well… that is all fine and dandy, but people who were blessed with more desirable traits probably are happier.

But okay… let’s not consider social approval for a second. How do you maintain a steady sense of self worth regardless of external validation? Or put differently, what amount of reassurance and compliments would it take to make you feel secure?

…ah… I see.

two I’s in friendship. one I in… I?

The day L left, I went into survival mode. I’ve been hanging on by a thread for going on a decade now, which is more time than we were close friends while she was still here. Of course L is her own person, and I shouldn’t be building my healing around her any more than I should have built my life. She has her own identity that goes way beyond being a signpost for my life or my recovery. Above all else, she’s a dear friend, and the last thing I want is to objectify her like that.

Regardless, in my mind, she stands for everything wrong with me. She wasn’t a person in my eyes; she was way too perfect for that. And by idealizing her, I failed to acknowledge that she, too, might have her own feelings & needs; I was too immature & superficial to meet them, though.

She went on to develop more mutually satisfying relationships, and I was hurt… now I know why: ours was a very asymmetrical one; I got emotional support, she got blind loyalty. Now she gets to be vulnerable and understood, too.

All this being said, even though I understand those dynamics in retrospect, I can’t change the past. Her departure was the catalyst for a process that had been a long time in the making: the disintegration of my own identity.

She is her own person. But, to me, she is also a stark representation of the idea of relying on someone else for your own sense of self, like I did for mine. She deserves more than being reduced to an archetype… but, again, to me she is both.

Since she left, I’ve been… getting by. Coming up with countless ways to not think for myself; to not think at all. I always had poor impulse control. I feel like it might have something to do with not using your internal monologue to its full potential. And when I shut it up altogether to avoid confronting painful feelings & ugly truths about myself, I also deprived myself of a tool that could have been incredibly helpful in regulating my behavior.

It’s not a “which came first, the chicken or the egg” kind of situation. I know I must have always gravitated towards certain types of people because of a natural inclination to follow rather than lead. It’s just that I wouldve saved myself a lot of pain if I had figured it out sooner, and perhaps taken steps to counteract it.

As things stand, I still seek that perfect relationship to lose myself in. I have this need to merge with the other person so completely that there is no more “you” or “I”, there’s just “us”. And I still believe that finding that person will solve all my problems: that they will live my life for me; that they will regulate my behavior; that they will fulfil all my needs.

I don’t (intentionally) deny the other person their right to privacy and their own complex and separate identity… As far as I’m concerned, they can even lead a life all of their own; Ill be sad and jealous, but I’ll understand that I’m not enough for them. But I need them to know & take care of me. To take the lead. Anticipate my needs. Tell me what to think. Is that mommy issues or what? 馃槵

In the absence of a favorite person to cling on to, and with no hope of ever finding one (because now I know it’s simply not possible in the sense in which i mean it), I am completely lost. I know I’ve discussed this before. But here I’m not talking about emptiness or idealization themselves; im talking about how they relate to impulsivity.

I always used to assume that the latter was an attempt to remedy the former, substituting compulsions and obsessions for a personality. I’m afraid the truth is much simpler than that: because I don’t think for myself, all I’m left with are my urges & no way to talk myself out of giving in to them.

It’s hard to exercise any degree of self-control when you have no sense of self. I may or may not be capable of “self-discipline”, but I’ll never find out until I know what my goals are & what’s good for me. Without some sense of your own personhood, there’s no self-discipline; there are just random rules and restrictions. And why follow those, if going against them doesn’t seem to interfere with any of your goals?

Of course I do have goals. Hopes. Ambitions. Which is why numbing out is so frustrating: every time I engage in harmful behaviors, it takes me that one step further from what I’m too afraid to admit I want.

I

am so…

c o n f u s e d.

sheeple need a shepherd. sheep person is me

maybe the way to take advantage of my current inability to identify with my past is by trying to make sense of it. the less attached i am to my past feelings and experiences, the lower the stakes, the easier it is to disengage and stay somewhat objective.

and when i do that, certain patterns start to emerge. regarding my temperament, interests, attitudes to relationships. and things start to kind of fall into place.

take my apparent inability to take care of myself, and utter helplessness in the face of adversity, real or perceived. i’m dependent, im avoidant, and i refuse to take responsibility for myself. i shift the blame without meaning to; i simply feel so powerless that the idea of being held accountable doesn’t seem to apply. if i’m not in the position to fix anything, i can’t break or ruin anything, either.

i always expect other people to take charge. the only time it doesn’t happen is the rare instance i believe, often wrongly, that im the more competent person / better equipped to deal with a certain issue. and if they don’t take charge, at the very least they must tell me specifically what it is that they want me to do, or else i will languish in uncertainty indefinitely.

it frequently happens with my job, even when i do receive clear instructions. well, clear to-do lists; the execution is left up to me, and i find that intolerable. so incapable am i of planning out my process, and so insecure in my ability to distinguish between the optimal way to accomplish a task and the countless dead-ends, that i get overwhelmed and kind of just give up, or start doing something else entirely. (Do i need to point out that it also happened with my BA?)

welllll….. told ya. this blog is your guide to (my) stupidity. what can i say, im a dumb bitch, i cant help it. Ugh, anyway. The question is, do I like being easily manipulated, and is there anything I can do to compensate for it and/or minimize the effect it has on my life. or can i atleast affiliate myself with people whose overall influence on my life is going to be positive.

except that would require some goal-oriented behavior on my part…

of course i can’t really increase the processing speed of my brain, or its operational memory or whatever. but there must be some skills i can learn to make up for that.

or that’s what i need to believe… :/

asymmetry

I’ll definitely continue writing predominantly in English. It’s an invaluable therapeutic exercise that allows me to explore uncomfortable topics in a safe context, not to mention it’s pretty much the only opportunity i get to use & practise english in my day-to-day life.

It never ceases to amaze me how much people talk about themselves. I don’t at all mean it in a bad way… I just never noticed it before. They talk about what they did, what they’re going to do, what they like to do, what happened to them, the new album that came out that they’re so happy about… they’re just never short of ideas.

It’s actually one of my favorite things to do is to listen to people talk about subjects they are passionate about, and to share in their enthusiasm and enjoyment. I don’t know why it has always felt so wrong for me to talk about things that I am interested in. For as long as I can remember, whenever someone asked me what I had been up to, my go-to response would be, oh, you know, nothing much…

yes, it’s true that most of the time i am up to nothing in particular. But even when that’s not the case, i always kind of just assume that whatever I’m doing, the other person is going to find exceedingly, mind-numbingly dull. i’m perpetually confused as to why anybody would be truly interested in my opinions or activities, and it always feels like theyre just being polite or humoring me out of pity.

of course on many occasions i have done quite the same thing, listening to people talk about topics i knew next to nothing about or wasn’t in the least interested in, just to make them feel good about themselves, and that in and of itself felt rewarding to me.

i like the concept of people putting up with eachothers shit in theory, i simply don’t believe it applies to me specifically. i don’t expect other people to be flawless or endlessly entertaining, it’s my own imperfections that are unacceptable. i can understand that everyone else is sometimes funny and sometimes tedious; but i honestly find the idea of bothering someone with my presence, or them finding me boring or annoying, abhorrent and excruciating. which is not to say that it doesnt happen; in fact im positive it happens all the time. the difference is, it’s less because of what i do and more because of what i fail to do. In other words, they can just up and leave.

my default position has always been to expect them to leave, and i am always eternally grateful to every person who, for reasons unclear to me, decides to stay and listen. …But yet I still expect them to leave at some point. it’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when they have simply had enough. and i really wouldn’t blame them, either; i would probably encourage them, and ask whatever caused them to give me a chance in the first place. some kind of oversight or a momentary lapse of judgment, surely, and then they just didn’t know how to extricate themselves from the relationship without hurting my feelings.

i try to be as unobtrusive as possible, but when i cannot contain myself any longer it comes off as obnoxious or over the top. alternatively i turn into this self-righteous killjoy because im just too self-conscious to join in to whatever fun people are having.

I was re-reading what i’ve written so far, and when i got to the passage about “people putting up with each other’s shit” it felt like new information. Really strange. Like, i know it happens. I do it constantly. But the thought of someone finding a flaw in me and not rejecting me right then and there???? Wild. My friendships are always like, I’m so sorry you have to endure this, is there anything i can do to make the experience any less miserable? if you decide to leave ill understand, just tell me when. Also, thank you for being so kind and patient and trying to fix me even though that’s impossible, I appreciate the effort. i mean i dunno why you’re still here, you can go, im sure you have better things to do than to listen to me go on like that… But enough about me, tell me how you have been!

I’m not saying that that’s the way every individual interaction goes, but I’m always vaguely uneasy when it doesn’t.

at the same time, however, i must admit it’s such a relief. liberating. empowering. …to… own the spotlight for once, and not care about how im going to be received. to indulge my own feelings, my own talkativeness, rather than somebody else’s. therapy’s like that, too: it’s a foreign feeling for me to be listened to, understood, accepted, and for me to not feel guilty about it. i mean i still do. i still feel like im wasting their time. but they validate me. and reassure me. and encourage to keep going.

I think I will.

reclaiming Polish

Powoli sk艂aniam si臋 ku twierdzeniu, 偶e moje pisanie po angielsku zawsze s艂u偶y艂o po pierwsze zdystansowaniu si臋 od w艂asnych uczu膰.

Zacz臋艂o si臋 to jeszcze w okolicach gimnazjum, pierwotnie dlatego 偶e chcia艂am po膰wiczy膰 pisanie w j臋zyku obcym; szybko jednak przerodzi艂o si臋 w spos贸b na zapewnienie, 偶e rodzice nigdy nie dowiedz膮 si臋 co mi siedzi w g艂owie. Nie ufa艂am 偶e poszanowaliby moj膮 prywatno艣膰 je艣li znale藕liby m贸j pami臋tnik. Ta ewentualno艣膰 wywo艂ywa艂a u mnie l臋k, wstyd, a co za tym idzie, ch臋膰 zamaskowania swoich przemy艣le艅 pod pozorem 膰wiczenia glottodydaktycznego.

Mia艂am by膰 szcz臋艣liwym dzieckiem. Wola艂am nie my艣le膰 co by by艂o, gdyby moja mama dowiedzia艂a si臋, 偶e do艣wiadczam jakichkolwiek negatywnych emocji. Przeczuwa艂am 偶e mia艂aby mi to za z艂e i wzi臋艂aby to do siebie, co z kolei mog艂o si臋 r贸偶nie sko艅czy膰. Tak ba艂am si臋 odrzucenia, 偶e nie pozwala艂am sobie na uczucia, kt贸re uznawa艂am za niew艂a艣ciwe lub potencjalnie przykre dla innych. Od tamtej pory ju偶 zawsze pisa艂am po angielsku i zd膮偶y艂am tak si臋 do tego przyzwyczai膰, 偶e wydaje mi si臋 to zupe艂nie normalne i oczywiste.

Samo pisanie to nic — mi nawet w my艣li i w mowie angielski przychodzi du偶o bardziej naturalnie ni偶 poprawna polszczyzna. Jest to o tyle niefortunne, 偶e 偶yj臋 gdzie 偶yj臋 i nie zawsze mog臋 by膰 pewna 偶e m贸j rozm贸wca zrozumie, kiedy wtr膮c臋 jaki艣 potoczny anglicyzm. Nie m贸wi膮c ju偶 o tym, 偶e m贸j angielski mo偶e i nie jest z艂y, ale daleko mu do doskona艂o艣ci. Ograniczony zas贸b s艂ownictwa to jedno; b臋dzie on taki zawsze nawet w j臋zyku rodzimym.

Co gorsza nie mam tej samej g艂臋bokiej, organicznej wi臋zi z angielskimi s艂owami. Kiedy艣 na zaj臋ciach omawiali艣my autobiografi臋 Evy Hoffman, kt贸ra w wieku 13 lat wyjecha艂a z Krakowa do Stan贸w. Pisa艂a o frustracji wi膮偶膮cej si臋 z wyra偶aniem siebie w j臋zyku obcym: nawet jak opanujesz go do perfekcji, trudno w nim o t臋 sam膮 spontaniczno艣膰 i autentyczno艣膰. S艂owa nie wywo艂uj膮 tych samych skojarze艅, emocji, dos艂ownie bior膮 si臋 z innych proces贸w w m贸zgu.

Dlaczego zatem ja sama narzuci艂am sobie takie arbitralne ograniczenie? Mam trzy hipotezy. Mniej boli. Mog臋 poruszy膰 mniej temat贸w i przekaza膰 mniej tre艣ci, co u艂atwia wypieranie niepo偶膮danych my艣li (o tym p贸藕niej). I… chyba nie chc臋 by膰 zrozumiana???

Jaki艣 czas temu kt贸rego艣 dnia co艣 mi odbi艂o i zacz臋艂am m贸wi膰 do swoich znajomych w pracy po angielsku. Oni rozumieli mnie pi膮te przez dziesi膮te, a ja zawzi臋cie kontynuowa艂am sw贸j monolog przez nast臋pne p贸艂 godziny. Nie, nie szuka艂am z ich strony potwierdzenia swoich umiej臋tno艣ci… z tego na szcz臋艣cie wyros艂am. Nie wiedzia艂am dlaczego w艂a艣ciwie to robi臋, po prostu jako艣 tak wysz艂o.

M贸wi艂am dalej, bo ich brak zrozumienia w zasadzie by艂 optymalny. Zwr贸ci艂am na siebie uwag臋 w spos贸b mo偶e dziecinny, ale skuteczny. Mog艂am m贸wi膰 o sobie, w niesko艅czono艣膰, praktycznie na ka偶dy temat, a jednocze艣nie wiedzia艂am 偶e i tak mnie nie zrozumiej膮. Nie oceni膮. … nie odrzuc膮.

Nie wiedzieli o co mi chodzi ani nie mogli nijak si臋 do tego odnie艣膰, co wywo艂a艂o niema艂膮 niezr臋czno艣膰 i konsternacj臋. Z ich strony… tak dla odmiany. A ja by艂am… inna. Mniej sztywna. Usprawiedliwia艂am to tym 偶e “to nie by艂am ja”. Oczywi艣cie by艂am, ale… once removed.

(Swoj膮 drog膮 ten ma艂y “eksperyment” nie藕le demonstruje jak ja sama zwykle czuj臋 si臋 w towarzystwie. To znaczy tak, jakby wszyscy poza mn膮 p艂ynnie i z 艂atwo艣ci膮 pos艂ugiwali si臋 j臋zykiem, w kt贸rym ja tylko dukam. Niewiele do mnie dociera, a sama te偶 nie mog臋 si臋 wys艂owi膰.)

Jak mog艂abym nie mie膰 problem贸w z komunikacj膮 interpersonaln膮, skoro komunikacja intrapersonalna tak u mnie kuleje? Mog臋 ch艂odno opisa膰 niekt贸re swoje odczucia, ale niestety na tym zawsze si臋 ko艅czy. Mam do nich taki dystans, jakby chodzi艂o o kogo艣 innego a nie o mnie.

Zreszt膮 my艣lenie po angielsku to tylko po艂owa “sukcesu”, a im d艂u偶ej to robi臋 tym mniej jest skuteczne. Bardziej niezawodna jest najzwyklejsza w 艣wiecie autocenzura.

Jest troch臋 my艣lenia magicznego w moim postrzeganiu w艂asnych proces贸w poznawczych. Mam wiele upierdliwych nalecia艂o艣ci z religii, i jedn膮 z nich jest uparcie towarzysz膮ce mi prze艣wiadczenie, 偶e mo偶na “zgrzeszy膰 my艣l膮, mow膮, uczynkiem i zaniedbaniem”. Zgrzeszy膰. My艣l膮. Jak gdyby my艣li mia艂y jak膮艣 moc sprawcz膮 i z automatu czyni艂y ci臋 z艂膮 osob膮. Ahhh… z艂膮. Tyle za艂o偶e艅 i generalizacji w jednym kr贸ciutkim akapicie.

S膮 rzeczy, o kt贸rych po prostu nie my艣l臋. Za bardzo boj臋 si臋, 偶e doprowadzi艂oby to do katastrofy. ??? Nie pytajcie co mam na my艣li, przecie偶 m贸wi臋 偶e o tym nie my艣l臋.

Wiem natomiast (oczywi艣cie dopiero teraz), 偶e takie unikanie trudnych temat贸w nie rozwi膮zuje problem贸w, tylko je pog艂臋bia. Zrozumia艂am to na przyk艂adzie — czego? jak nie swoich studi贸w. Normalny etap edukacji, i 偶ycia w og贸le, ur贸s艂 w mojej g艂owie do rozmiar贸w tak niewyobra偶alnie przyt艂aczaj膮cych, 偶e obecnie zdaje si臋 niewykonalny.

Chuj z tym. Mam dosy膰. Koniec unikania.

“ja” w czasie

Tak trudno mi wzi膮膰 si臋 w gar艣膰 chyba dlatego, 偶e dot膮d 偶y艂am w b艂ogiej (?) nie艣wiadomo艣ci. Nie widzia艂am siebie jako samostanowi膮cej, samowystarczalnej jednostki, tylko jako wyraz przyrody — prymitywnej, niepoj臋tej i nieokie艂znanej.

Nie wykszta艂ci艂am w艂asnej to偶samo艣ci bo nigdy nie patrzy艂am na siebie w kategoriach podmiotu; nie pr贸bowa艂am wywiera膰 realnego wp艂ywu na swoje 偶ycie bo nie czu艂am 偶ebym mia艂a nad nim jak膮kolwiek kontrol臋; zawsze by艂am tylko przedmiotem oddzia艂ywania r贸偶norakich czynnik贸w zewn臋trznych.

呕ycie pe艂ne jest ludzi i zdarze艅 kt贸re ci臋 zmieniaj膮. Ale jak pozwolisz otoczeniu w pe艂ni regulowa膰 twoje zachowanie, to rodzi si臋 pewien problem kiedy w ko艅cu stracisz kontakt z lud藕mi kt贸rych mog艂aby艣 na艣ladowa膰 albo odejdziesz z grupy kt贸ra dot膮d nadawa艂a kierunek twojemu 偶yciu, takiej jak szko艂a.

Jestem konformistk膮 nie tylko z bezmy艣lno艣ci, ale te偶 ze strachu i niezdecydowania. Zawsze sz艂am po linii najmniejszego oporu, obieraj膮c 艣cie偶ki najbardziej oczywiste, wymagaj膮ce ode mnie najmniej inwencji tw贸rczej czy samozaparcia. To podej艣cie nawet si臋 sprawdza… do czasu. Dop贸ki nie zorientujesz si臋, 偶e sama sobie jeste艣 winna 偶e musisz napisa膰 licencjat na temat, kt贸rego nie znosisz, na studiach do kt贸rych nie jeste艣 w stu procentach przekonana.

A moja impulsywno艣膰 i brak samokontroli? Na pierwszy rzut oka 艣wiadcz膮 o tym, 偶e nie potrafi臋 planowa膰, przewidzie膰 konsekwencji swoich dzia艂a艅, uczy膰 si臋 na b艂臋dach, ani odracza膰 gratyfikacji. No… wszystko to prawda. Ale nie ca艂a.

Wiem przecie偶 偶e przysz艂o艣膰 nadejdzie. Wiem nawet 偶e mam na ni膮 (jaki艣) wp艂yw. Ale… w艂a艣nie to mnie przera偶a. M贸j zal臋kniony m贸zg przyjmuje do wiadomo艣ci tylko najgorsze mo偶liwe scenariusze, wi臋c wol臋 w og贸le nie dopuszcza膰 do siebie my艣li o czekaj膮cych mnie zmianach, decyzjach czy bolesnych prze偶yciach.

Tylko 偶e wypychaj膮c ze 艣wiadomo艣ci przysz艂o艣膰, trac臋 jednocze艣nie resztki motywacji do dzia艂ania na w艂asn膮 korzy艣膰 w tera藕niejszo艣ci.

Jak tak o tym my艣l臋, to to utrudnia nawet rzeczy maj膮ce w teorii sprawia膰 przyjemno艣膰, cho膰by nie wiem jak trywialne. O ile nigdy nie mia艂am problemu z czytaniem lektur w terminie, bo by艂 to cel (a raczej obowi膮zek) narzucony mi “odg贸rnie”, to zliczy膰 bym nie mog艂a wszystkich ksi膮偶ek, film贸w, seriali, kt贸re zacz臋艂am i przerwa艂am w po艂owie bo — ??? — bynajmniej nie dlatego 偶e mi si臋 nie podoba艂y, ani te偶 z braku czasu.

Nie cierpi臋 swojego lenistwa i braku inicjatywy. S膮 one tym bardziej frustruj膮ce, 偶e w istocie mam par臋 pomys艂贸w na to co mog艂abym zrobi膰 ze swoim czasem. Tylko 偶e nie potrafi臋 zwizualizowa膰 sobie pozytywnych konsekwencji dzia艂a艅 kt贸re mog艂abym podj膮膰 nawet teraz, zaraz.

Wracaj膮c do tego o czym pisa艂am na pocz膮tku — trudno mi si臋 “pozbiera膰”, bo… nie bardzo jest co. Niewiele w moim 偶yciu jest sta艂e. Powtarzalne, owszem, i to a偶 do b贸lu; jak ju偶 znajd臋 sobie jak膮艣 etykietk臋 to (przez jaki艣 czas) wa艂kuj臋 j膮 do znudzenia. Ale same etykietki przybieram bardzo powierzchownie, i rzadko z jakim艣 g艂臋bszym przekonaniem o ich s艂uszno艣ci czy nawet trafno艣ci.

A 偶e nigdy nie przyswoi艂am sobie 偶adnych nadrz臋dnych warto艣ci innych ni偶 religia — kt贸r膮 przecie偶 dawno porzuci艂am — ani nie nauczy艂am si臋 my艣le膰, decydowa膰, dzia艂a膰 samodzielnie — to po zredukowaniu szkodliwych przekona艅 i przyzwyczaje艅 nie zostan膮 mi 偶adne korzystne nawyki czy pasje, kt贸re niezmiennie podnosi艂yby mnie na duchu, do kt贸rych mog艂abym wr贸ci膰 jak ju偶 b臋d臋 gotowa. Innymi s艂owy — naprawd臋 nie wiem kim jestem.

Trzeba przyzna膰 偶e mam spore problemy z my艣leniem abstrakcyjnym i jestem twardo osadzona w konkretach tera藕niejszo艣ci. To wcale nie wyklucza tkwienia w przesz艂o艣ci… wr臋cz przeciwnie: przesz艂o艣膰 jako taka po prostu nie istnieje, bo ona dla mnie wci膮偶 trwa i wywiera na mnie znacz膮cy wp艂yw. Jestem do niej tak przywi膮zana, 偶e nie pozwalam jej min膮膰… ale jako 偶e jest ona niezaprzeczalnie abstrakcyjna, to ju偶 nie mog臋 jej przepracowa膰.

Co si臋 za艣 tyczy przysz艂o艣ci — boj臋 si臋 jej wcale nie dlatego 偶e jakie艣 realne przes艂anki ka偶膮 mi wnioskowa膰 偶e b臋dzie ona fatalna — ani te偶 na podstawie do艣wiadczenia, bo jak do tej pory moje 偶ycie w艂a艣ciwie zawsze okazywa艂o si臋 du偶o mniej straszne ni偶 je sobie wyobra偶a艂am — a wy艂膮cznie dlatego, 偶e z natury jestem straszn膮 pesymistk膮 i panikar膮. “Prawdziwa” przysz艂o艣膰 jest nieprzewidywalna, wi臋c konkretyzuj臋 i oswajam j膮 sobie przygotowuj膮c si臋 na najgorsz膮 ewentualno艣膰.

Nic wi臋c dziwnego 偶e nie mam prawdziwej to偶samo艣ci, skoro zawsze opiera艂a si臋 ona na akceptowaniu tego co mi si臋 przytrafia艂o. Nie mog臋 jej odbudowa膰, bo nigdy jej nie zbudowa艂am

Limbo

i’ve lost touch with the person i used to be. my past seems distant, abstract, and fragmented. all my behaviors seem vaguely justifiable yet completely unrelated, like there’s no continuity between individual events. I can only superficially connect back to the various ways I have felt in the past.

the closest i could come to figuring out why… was that all my life, hardly anything i ever did was genuine. that might be why it’s so easy to disconnect from my past: i was never actively living it the moment it was happening. that’s facile, of course, saying that it hasn’t been me all this time. obviously it has. only a very … smothered … version of myself.

I can intentionally do things for intellectual reasons. but I do most things for emotional reasons, and these are always unintentional. the reason being, if I get rejected or criticized, at least it’s not an authentic expression of my true self that’s getting criticized. in the same vein, it’s sort of comforting to know that i could be trying harder, putting in more effort… i simply choose not to, but there’s options. room for improvement.

because what if i did my best and still failed miserably?

i don’t think it’s as simple as a basic fear of failure though. there must be an element of confused identity. i always did whatever was expected of me, no more, no less; i followed instructions, i stubbornly stuck to the scenario that i had imagined for myself long ago based on what people told me. but a part of me must have remained non-committal about the whole thing, almost like i was only this compliant out of debilitating fear and self-doubt.

maybe it had to come to this: maybe i had to feel like the biggest disappointment on the face of the earth only to realize that I … don’t … actually … care. maybe that’s what it took for me to come into my own and develop some independence at last.

and maybe my memory is so resistant because it won’t accept anything less than ME. i remember happy times. i remember my friends, the trips i took, parts of high school and uni. I remember Canterbury. what i don’t remember is all the rest; life “happening to me”.

i’m not saying my life needs to be driven by some overarching goal or theme; quite the opposite, i want to be more spontaneous. but that’s the thing, whatever i do i want it to be my decision, dictated more by my needs than by external factors.

you don’t necessarily need a road map in order to develop a coherent narrative of your life. you just need to stop trying to go in all directions at once, and go instead where you really want to go.

i just need to figure out where that is…

Realistic Change

day by day, i’m peeling off layer after layer of my most basic assumptions about myself. i feel like what little i used to have in the way of a personality or a sense of “wholeness” has completely disintegrated. but maybe it’s for the best?

when i look in the mirror, i don’t see the same person i was last August. furthermore, it’s hard for me to think back to a time when i was drug-naive. because the meds opened my eyes to things i would otherwise never have realized on my own — but once i have, there’s no going back to how things were.

before, i was just impulsive. now, i can see the potential for healthy spontaneity and deliberation — even if i can’t yet execute them perfectly. before, my eating pattern was the problem. now, i see it for what it is: just one among many expressions of my impulsivity, and an attempt to ground myself firmly in the present instead of dealing with my problems.

i know i keep talking about drugs. but that’s only because of how transformative they have been to my self-perception. in ways not always positive, but mostly productive. ive been on medication for so long, it’s become my new normal. i’ve adjusted, more or less returned to baseline, and started taking this peace of mind for granted. but things will never be the same, even after i taper off.

i honestly can’t begin to comprehend how so many people can be so matter-of-fact about taking medication. it’s like, no, you don’t understand, i now feel like a whole new person! not because i behave differently, but because i perceive my own behavior in a different light. and im less attached to it; i see more potential for flexibility. it would not be an overstatement to say that i will probably forever see my life as divided into the pre- and post-ssri eras.

the first day was a revelation, in the most literal sense possible. it was like waking up in somebody else’s body. i’ll freely admit that i might not be thinking clearly right now. but it’s nothing compared to the thick, opaque, syrupy fog that i had lived in all my life. i was a child stuck in a young adult’s body.

you could argue that i might have achieved some self-awareness without pharmacological treatment, because i was simply ready to be honest with myself. even if that’s true, the meds make it that much easier and less painful & scary. but i highly doubt i could have.

the medication isn’t the only thing though. even just seeing somebody and talking about myself, just myself, sort of in the third person, where i can be concerned about my own wellbeing and kind of own all my fears, but also hopes. even just being open right here. validating my own existence. it has all made a world of difference.

the pills don’t have magical powers; they don’t alter your personality, making you into something you’re not. ha! i wish that were possible. but there’s no pill in this world that could make me into what i think i “should” be. and besides, therapy doesn’t have to be about “change”; it can be about acceptance through understanding, and about learning to play the hand that you’ve been dealt.

what the meds do is they make you … notice. because of the contrast. what i’m saying is, i always knew i was anxious, for example. but i had absolutely no idea just how anxious i was truly am. and this is not a value judgment, by the way, im not saying that anxiety is inherently bad, necessarily. but it can be a pain in the ass.

yes, the first words that come to mind when i try to describe the effect that antidepressants have on me are still “numb” / “dull”. but a certain degree of numbness can be invaluable to someone who has thus far felt everything, all the time, and they didn’t even know it.

i have a limited vocabulary for describing my internal states, but at least now i know when something is happening. it may sound odd, but i used to be completely oblivious to my emotions, how, or that they affected my behavior.

i had a general idea of some of my problems (though it is a bit intimidating to consider what i might still not know that i dont yet know about myself lol). but i couldn’t point to specific instances of when they tended to crop up. i had no clue the extent to which they permeated all areas of my life.

but in order to combat a problem, you need to be able to identify it. that in and of itself seemed unfathomable to me. firstly, i was too caught up in my own feelings, and secondly, i was too insecure. it made it impossible for me to admit to my weaknesses, never mind analyze & try to overcome them.

what’s a bit overwhelming about having more clarity is that i’m more aware of how i’m acting in the moment, and all the other ways i could theoretically act instead. i say theoretically because just realizing that other people in your situation would act differently doesn’t automatically mean that you can actually act any different. you are, after all, still you. i am indeed still me, and i still have trouble translating knowledge into action.

im also kind of confused as to what approach i should adopt. i can (sometimes) tell when im being defensive, or impulsive, or even lazy. but because i have a very narrow repertoire of communicative strategies, i will usually stick to what i know best. i simply don’t know what would work best, or even what “best” means for me; what would help me accomplish my goals, because i don’t have any (or if i do, i dunno what they are!).

one thing that truly bothers me is that i feel “normal, only better”, and at the same time i can’t recognize myself. and the longer i stay in this inbetween state without anyone to guide me through genuine, lasting change, the more likely it is that my newly developed yet equally unhealthy patterns will once again crystallize, and for good this time. and what’s going to happen when i eventually do go off the medication? it was supposed to be a stepping stone. something to help me during a particularly tough transitional period. but what if, in a month, or half a year, or two years, still nothing has changed?

i may be numb, but i’m still apprehensive :/

angielski to tarcza, wi臋c prosz臋

mam pewne obawy, 偶e CBT b臋dzie dla mnie zbyt kr贸tkoterminowa. przera偶a mnie perspektywa rozwi膮zania w ci膮gu dziesi臋ciu godzinnych sesji problem贸w, z kt贸rymi zmaga艂am si臋 ca艂e 偶ycie. o ile w takich ramach czasowych 艂atwo wzi膮膰 na celownik g艂贸wne problematyczne zachowania, trudniej mo偶e by膰 zmierzy膰 si臋 z tymi mniej oczywistymi, chocia偶 r贸wnie przykrymi.

nie uwa偶am terapii kognitywno-behawioralnej za rozwi膮zanie powierzchowne czy dora藕ne. wiem 偶e jest skuteczna w leczeniu wielu jasno zdefiniowanych problem贸w, takich jak depresja czy zaburzenia od偶ywiania — problem贸w kt贸re w danym momencie w stosunkowo 艣ci艣le okre艣lony spos贸b wp艂ywaj膮 na funkcjonowanie jednostki.

odnosz臋 jednak wra偶enie, 偶e taka terapia musi budowa膰 na jakich艣 fundamentach. na szcz膮tkowym chocia偶by poczuciu to偶samo艣ci, w艂asnej warto艣ci, sensu i celu 偶ycia, chocia偶by nie by艂y one widoczne na pierwszy rzut oka w momencie rozpoczynania leczenia. kiedy艣 gdzie艣 musia艂y by膰 ich co najmniej 艣ladowe ilo艣ci, trzeba je tylko sobie przypomnie膰, wzmocni膰 i wy膰wiczy膰.

problemy z kt贸rymi ja musz臋 si臋 rozprawi膰 wymykaj膮 si臋 definicjom, nie m贸wi膮c ju偶 o tym, 偶e mimo potwierdzenia ze strony os贸b wykwalifikowanych do wyra偶enia zdania na ten temat, wci膮偶 nie jestem do ko艅ca przekonana o ich istnieniu. lub raczej — z gruntu nie jestem sk艂onna patrze膰 na nie jako na “chorob臋” kt贸r膮 mo偶na by “uleczy膰”.

wci膮偶 jestem zdania 偶e mam po prostu niezliczon膮 ilo艣膰 wad — najgorszymi z kt贸rych pozostaj膮, faktycznie granicz膮ce z patologi膮, lenistwo, bierno艣膰 i ci膮g艂e u偶alanie si臋 nad sob膮 — a 偶adnych zalet kt贸rymi mog艂abym “nadrobi膰”. co wi臋cej, sceptyczna wzgl臋dem opinii specjalist贸w jestem z tego wzgl臋du, 偶e skoro sama sobie nie wierz臋 i wydaje mi si臋 偶e tylko szukam wym贸wek, to jak mog臋 ufa膰 os膮dom ludzi kt贸rzy wiedz膮 tylko to, co ja sama im powiem? oni mog膮 mie膰 najwy偶sze kompetencje i najlepsze nawet intencje, ale co je艣li dzia艂aj膮 na b艂臋dnych przes艂ankach nap艂ywaj膮cych od osoby, kt贸rej g艂贸wnym celem jest wywo艂anie w nich wsp贸艂czucia, i mniej lub bardziej 艣wiadomie d膮偶y ona do tego ka偶dym swoim zachowaniem, s艂owem i spojrzeniem?

je偶eli czego艣 mnie to nauczy, to tego 偶e tylko ja mog臋 realnie cokolwiek zmieni膰 w swoim 偶yciu. ale martwi mnie 偶e o ile mog臋 pr贸bowa膰 wypleni膰 najbardziej ra偶膮ce przejawy paso偶ytnictwa czy zawi艣ci, to z samymi cechami nie dam sobie rady p贸ki nie b臋d臋 wiedzia艂a sk膮d si臋 one u mnie wzi臋艂y.

zapewne sam ten poci膮g do podej艣cia psychodynamicznego i nierealistyczn膮 potrzeb臋 “zmiany” i wyzbycia si臋 “z艂ych” uczu膰 da艂oby si臋 zredukowa膰 poprzez CBT. ale co艣 czuj臋 偶e aby w podobny spos贸b rozwi膮za膰 wszystkie moje problemy, musia艂abym po艣wi臋ci膰 na t臋 terapi臋 p贸艂 偶ycia (co przecie偶 mija si臋 z celem): zdekonstruowa膰 ca艂膮 swoj膮 osobowo艣膰 i stworzy膰 zgo艂a nowe spojrzenie na 偶ycie. nie wiem zreszt膮 jak mia艂oby si臋 to do zdrowej spontaniczno艣ci, bo im wi臋cej zmieni臋, tym bardziej b臋d臋 si臋 czu艂a jak zaprogramowany robot.

w膮tpi臋 w ka偶dym razie, 偶eby takie pragmatyczne podej艣cie dzia艂a艂o na g艂臋bsze, uwarunkowane prawdopodobnie genetycznie, cechy takie jak impulsywno艣膰 czy my艣lenie dychotomiczne. nawet moja tendencja do odcinania si臋 od innych jest nieadaptacyjnym przejawem introwertycznej osobowo艣ci. wi臋kszo艣膰 moich wad znajduje uj艣cie w tego typu niekorzystnych zachowaniach, bo nie jestem 艣wiadoma ani swoich sk艂onno艣ci, ani czynnik贸w kt贸re je wyzwalaj膮: rz膮dz膮 mn膮 emocje, z kt贸rych istnienia nie zdaj臋 sobie sprawy, kt贸rych nie mog臋 nazwa膰 ani nijak okie艂zna膰.

leki pomagaj膮 zw艂aszcza w dw贸ch obszarach: redukuj膮 uci膮偶liwy objaw neurotyczno艣ci, jakim jest przewaga negatywnych uczu膰 w moim 偶yciu codziennym, i nieco zwi臋kszaj膮 艣wiadomo艣膰 ci膮g贸w przyczynowo-skutkowych wi膮偶膮cych wydarzenia z reakcjami na nie, i odwrotnie, dzia艂ania z ich konsekwencjami. ale sam wgl膮d nie wystarcza 偶eby zmodyfikowa膰 zachowanie.

poprawa jaka dokona艂a si臋 przez ostatnich kilka miesi臋cy tylko utwierdzi艂a mnie w przekonaniu, 偶e sama z siebie jestem zdolna do bardzo ograniczonego post臋pu, a wszelkie pozytywne zmiany jakie kiedykolwiek nast臋puj膮 w moim 偶yciu s膮 tylko desperackimi pr贸bami udawania szcz臋艣cia i r贸wnowagi psychicznej. pr臋dzej czy p贸藕niej zawsze wracam do rozchwianej, rozsypanej atrapy cz艂owieka jak膮 czuj臋 si臋 obecnie.

co wi臋cej, chocia偶 my艣l臋 o tym od jakiego艣 miesi膮ca, wci膮偶 nie potrafi臋 wyobrazi膰 sobie co w艂a艣ciwie mia艂oby stanowi膰 “post臋p” w kontek艣cie mojej terapii ani do czego mia艂abym zmierza膰, bo nie ma 偶adnego konkretnego celu jaki chcia艂abym osi膮gn膮膰. owszem, musz臋 w ko艅cu napisa膰 prac臋 licencjack膮, ale to mog艂abym zrobi膰 nawet teraz. prawda jest taka, 偶e to nie mo偶e by膰 cel sam w sobie, bo gdyby wszystko by艂o ze mn膮 w porz膮dku, to przysz艂oby mi to naturalnie, bez wi臋kszych problem贸w, a mo偶e nawet z przyjemno艣ci膮.

moja dotychczasowa fasada run臋艂a — symbolicznie ale ostatecznie — kiedy przyj臋艂am do wiadomo艣ci 偶e mog臋 zachorowa膰 na cukrzyc臋. wtedy zrozumia艂am, 偶e nie mog臋 niczego oczekiwa膰 od 偶ycia, a najwa偶niejsze to nauczy膰 si臋 dostosowywa膰 do okoliczno艣ci. co wi臋cej, wtedy dopiero przesta艂am przed sam膮 sob膮 udawa膰 偶e mo偶e wszystko si臋 samo u艂o偶y i dotar艂o do mnie, 偶e to ja musz臋 podj膮膰 bardzo konkretne dzia艂ania 偶eby nieco skorygowa膰 kurs jaki obra艂o moje 偶ycie.

jestem w po艂owie drogi do trzydziestki … ale chyba tak kompletnie pozbawiona nadziei, 偶e odczuwam z tego powodu mniejszy ni偶 dot膮d wstyd, frustracj臋 niespe艂nionymi ambicjami, czy poczucie winy za niewykorzystany potencja艂. prawd臋 powiedziawszy guzik mnie obchodzi 偶e (czy) “gdybym si臋 postara艂a” to mog艂abym to czy tamto.

m贸j potencja艂 zawsze by艂 mocno ograniczony a samozaparcie znikome, wi臋c z czasem nauczy艂am si臋 zadowala膰 do艣wiadczaniem 偶ycia w trzeciej osobie: z ksi膮偶ek, film贸w, Instagrama, opowie艣ci znajomych. w jakim艣 w膮skim sensie “do艣wiadczy艂am” w ten spos贸b bardzo wielu rzeczy, mimo 偶e moje w艂asne 偶ycie by艂o ubogie w urozmaicenia.

sk膮din膮d mog艂o si臋 to przyczyni膰 do prze偶ywanego przeze mnie “kryzysu wieku 艣redniego”: tak bez reszty anga偶uj臋 si臋 w prze偶ycia innych os贸b (czy to prawdziwych czy wymy艣lonych), 偶e czuj臋 si臋 troch臋 tak, jakbym prze偶y艂a 偶ycie w przyspieszonym tempie. mog艂am te偶 nabra膰 zbyt du偶o nieustrukturyzowanego dystansu do 偶ycia (bynajmniej nie siebie lmao), bo jak rozwa偶ysz wszystkie teoretyczne mo偶liwo艣ci, to ograniczanie si臋 do jednego kierunku obranego w praktyce troch臋 traci sw贸j urok. oczywi艣cie 偶e w rezultacie tkwisz nie do艣wiadczaj膮c naprawd臋 niczego, ale strach przed t膮 niesko艅czono艣ci膮 wybor贸w i jednoczesn膮 ostateczno艣ci膮 decyzji kt贸r膮 podejmiesz jest parali偶uj膮cy.

niezmienna jest tylko pustka.

un-conscientious

Disclaimer: although this post is based off of a video on OCPD, it is not itself a discussion of the disorder, so if that’s what you’re interested in reading about, you can move on 馃榾

Also, i might edit & update this post at some point.

6:28 OCPD & the five factor model

Dr. Todd Grande, whose channel I spend a little too much time watching & can highly recommend, recently uploaded this video about obsessive-compulsive personality disorder.

Transcript of the relevant portion of the video (my post begins on the next page):

Now looking at the personality characteristics associated with this disorder. I like to look at personality using the five factor model of personality theory. I remember the traits in the five factor model through the acronym OCEAN: Openness to experience, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism.

I’m actually gonna start here with conscientiousness, because that’s the personality trait that we think of, initially, as being the most related to OCPD, having the strongest association. So conscientiousness describes individuals who are industrious, reliable, self-disciplined, and ordered. There are six facets of this personality trait: Competence, Order, Dutifulness, Achievement striving, Self-discipline, and Deliberation.

Now, again, a lot of people look at this and say, OCPD must be related to conscientiousness, it seems like an obvious connection. But the findings in the research are actually… not as clear as that. Self-report measures of OCPD show large positive correlations with conscientiousness. So what this means is, when people have the disorder, they tend to rate themselves as highly conscientious.

But here’s where it gets tricky: interview-based measures of OCPD — so these would be when people are observing other people who have OCPD — these show a non-significant relationship. So outside observers see OCPD differently than people who have the disorder. So we see really little evidence of a relationship between OCPD and conscientiousness at the trait level.

But we really have to look beyond the general trait. The real story in this relationship is in the facets that I talked about before. Now, self-discipline, competence, and order are negatively correlated with OCPD, and the disorder is unrelated to deliberation and dutifulness. But it has a positive relationship with achievement-striving. So what might be happening here is that people are seeing a lot of achievement-striving, and perhaps forgetting that there’s much more to conscientiousness than just that one facet. People tend to equate achievement striving with the overall trait of conscientiousness.

So that covers conscientiousness, but what about the other traits I mentioned before, the other four traits in the five factor model. Well, we see, really, an unclear relationship with openness to experience, it seems like there is a negative correlation with the fantasy facet, but other than that it’s really not clear.

In terms of extraversion, there’s an overall negative correlation, but again, the facets are important: we see that the disorder is negatively associated with warmth, gregariousness and positive emotions. So people with this disorder would not tend to be friendly, not tend to be outgoing, and probably not have a lot of positive feelings. OCPD has no relationship with assertiveness, activity, or excitement-seeking. Right, so again, the facet-level detail is important to understand the relationship.

In terms of agreeableness, we do see a negative relationship here, so people with this disorder tend to be disagreeable and antagonistic. They have low trust of others, for example.

Now in terms of neuroticism, we see a positive relationship, especially in the facet of angry hostility. Now, this really isn’t that surprising, as high neuroticism is associated with all of the Cluster C personality disorders, and for that matter, it’s associated with all of the Cluster B personality disorders, as well.

So going back for a moment to the conscientiousness trait — this is the one that kind of surprises people, that relationship surprises people — so here’s what this kinda means, from the research findings, with conscientiousness: high-conscientiousness people are competent and self-controlled. They can handle situations and get the job done.

Individuals with OCPD are perfectionistic: their need for order and regulation is excessive. So it seems like it aligns with conscientiousness again, but it may actually interfere with other behaviors that would be part of conscientiousness.

So this reminds me of the phrase “perfect is the enemy of good”: the paradox here is that if somebody is too conscientious, they stop functioning in a conscientious manner. So individuals with OCPD tend to be ineffective at making decisions, and they have difficulty completing tasks. So when we look at the behavior, it does appear to be differentiated from conscientiousness; we have that overlap with achievement striving, but other than that, the two constructs really seem to diverge.