s c a t t e r brained

it’s been difficult to finish a post lately. you have no idea the number of drafts that are piling up on my account (and in my head). but its hard to maintain the internal logic and continuity of individual sentences, never mind the essays that i usually write. and its not for lack of trying… it’s more like there is so so much id like to discuss, it’s overwhelming. not because i cant decide between topics, but because they are so interconnected.

if i were to eloquently express my feelings on any one topic, that would lead to more digressions than i have time for, each calling for an elaborate backstory, disclaimer, footnote, parenthesis, and reference.

i don’t know how to prioritize.

but i think that the theme of all the changes ive been noticing is that im becoming increasingly… self-aware i think is the word. in an odd, detached, emotionless way. but my problem is, you can only get so meta — especially on your own. though of course it just seems like im in the same place i was when i started out. this time around,

i’m painfully aware of the emptiness i feel when im alone. this is why it takes me ages to string together a single complete sentence: when i start to think, really think, about my thoughts, behaviors, motivations — when i break my self down to a bunch of psychological constructs and analyze them (to the best of my ability, of course) — it seems abundantly clear that i have very few inherent qualities.

meaning, there are few things i could say about myself that i could have any degree of certainty would remain relatively constant over time & place. does that make sense? but these statements can’t both be true simultaneously: i cant be stubborn & narrow-minded and also mimic the beliefs and opinions of everyone around me at the same time … can i ?

im kind of angry. i had this conversation a while back with a friend of mine, and he compared my making someone else gain a level of insight about their poor mental health to giving a blind person a knife for them to slice some bread with. i came up with an analogy that to me seemed better suited to the situation: explaining to a short-sighted person unsuccessfully trying to slice bread with a spoon … that they need to get a pair of glasses.

lets move away from the analogies because neither of them works perfectly well, but that’s not the point. they are both pretty pessimistic. and ye. what i tried to do to (for?) someone else, i also did to myself: i thought. i thought, and i thought, and i guess i myself realized after a while that i must be doing something wrong. except i can’t just have my bread sliced for me, nor can i have my eye defect fixed with a simple prescription from the opthalmologist.

i went down the rabbit hole hoping to find some answers, or at least reassurance. what i got instead was more questions that only further fueled my self-doubt.

this is the first time i have ever lived not just with a suspicion but with the knowledge that i’m not fully well. and what happened was, it became just one more thing to build my identity around: living from appointment to appointment, reading books and articles on the subject, putting my life on hold until i “recover”. and explaining away all my flaws and mistakes with a single resonant acronym.

but in all honesty, it is too much.

because before, i could, in a way, live in the moment. life seemed unpredictable and at times even satisfying. but now… in retrospect, everything that happened seems much less random. and if that inevitability is true of the past, it must be equally true of the present & future.

i’m angry because,,,

the truth about me would have remained true whether i found it out or not. i could have just lived in blissful ignorance and enjoyed my life (wrongly) believing myself to have some say in it. but naaah, i had to go and find things out that i cant change anyway.

now i can see myself for the terrible, messed-up person i am, and im gonna have to live the rest of my life trying to work on the few things that i can, just so i can kinda sorta compensate for the countless things that i can’t. and stay frustrated about wanting things i know i cant have. and of course i can’t unlearn stuff about myself, so im left with no hope, even.

i can feel myself aging. i can feel myself pushing people away. i can tell im wasting time and opportunities and potential. i know, now, when i’m being weird and generally off-putting. and yet there’s nothing i can do about it. because i’m just so lost and aimless. so… fragmented. empty. my mood and self-perception shift from moment to moment, but no corresponding change ever occurs in my life, which stubbornly remains just the way i (non)arranged it years ago. i’m 25, but i could be 15, could be 45.

I genuinely hope that IF i learn enough about myself and develop healthy coping skills and set some goals and learn some basic life skills, i might be able to actually DO something and not just THINK.

i have always needed somebody else to get me out of my comfort zone. but people like that are hard to come by when you let yourself go & isolate yourself. here’s something you may not know about me: even though i dont believe in a god, i have always kind of considered becoming a nun. anything just to have some external structure in which im never going to get rejected so long as i abide by the rules.

i’m not crying for help anymore…

because i no longer believe that i can be helped.

but maybe “help” simply looks different than i thought.

any ideas?

i had my first “proper” therapy session this week, and it was… eye-opening.

i was asked to think about what goals i would like to set for myself to accomplish through therapy. the more i think about it, though, the more confused i am.

how general or specific should i be? what’s a realistic goal for me to have?

the truth is, i can’t think of anything that i wouldn’t like to change about myself. and sure, i can try to consider which parts of my personality cause the most problems in my day-to-day life… except, of course, i only have limited insight, and i might not even realize what the real issues are.

good thing i have a lot of time to think this through.

themes to discuss in therapy | open for submissions lmao

LENISTWO, PASYWNOŚĆ

  • psychiczne krwawienie — paraliż w obliczu kryzysów, ospałość, skłonność do rezygnacji
  • aktywna bierność — brak zaangażowania w rozwiązywanie własnych problemów życiowych, próby uzyskania pomocy z zewnątrz, wyuczona bezradność, poczucie beznadziejności
  • health anxiety
  • and yet avoiding doctors
  • ogólne zamartwianie się

INFANTYLNA OSOBOWOŚĆ

  • splitting (rozszczepienie); sudden and dramatic shifts in my view of others; i will sometimes share intimate details early on, but if the other person doesn’t care enough / give enough / isn’t “there” enough, i will devalue them; i CAN empathize and nurture, but i expect the same thing in return
  • nie dążymy do zrównoważenia idealizacji i deprecjacji, tylko do zarzucenia osądów i skupienia się na dostosowywaniu zachowania do pożądanych / niepożądanych konsekwencji <– skuteczność — robienie tego co jest potrzebne / wymagane dla osiągnięcia celów, zamiast przejmować się tym co jest “słuszne”
  • features of NPD (DSM-5 p. 669) 1-9
  • Avoidant (p. 672) 1-7
  • Dependent (2, 3, 5, 6, 9) 4!
  • OCPD (4, 6) 2!!, 1, 8

“HOW TO ADULT”

  • practical, goal-oriented communication skills
  • become okay with being feminine
  • negative body image
  • learn self-care & moderation

WEWNĘTRZNA PUSTKA

  • tendencja do przyswajania sobie przymiotów innej osoby jako sposób zatrzymania miłości; brak tożsamości, poszukiwanie w otoczeniu wskazówek jak postępować, co myśleć i czuć, nadmierna zależność dotycząca preferencji, poglądów, opinii
  • intense fear of “abandonment” — it implies I’m “bad” ; lack of relationship / nurturing / support –> feel that I don’t exist at all; worse performance in unstructured work & school situations
  • the perception of impending separation / rejection / loss of external structure leads to profound changes in self-image, affect, cognition & behavior
  • shifting goals, values, vocational aspirations, changes in opinions & plans about career, sexual identity, values, types of friends

SAMOUNIEWAŻNIENIE

  • “rodzina doskonała” (rodzice nie tolerują negatywnych emocji) –> unieważnienie lub niedostrzeganie własnych reakcji emocjonalnych, myśli, przekonań, zachowań; nie ufam sobie; niedostrzeganie –> chciałabym nauczyć się rozpoznawać i nazywać zachowania, zdarzenia, własne emocje i doświadczenia — etykiety potrzebne do komunikacji i do samokontroli
  • nadwrażliwość na krytykę i odrzucenie, niezdolność do znoszenia stresu, powstrzymywana żałoba — nadmierne kontrolowanie żalu, straty, smutku, złości, poczucia winy, wstydu, lęku, paniki; próbuję regulować emocje wydając sobie polecenia żeby nie czuć tego co aktualnie czuję — nierealistyczne wyobrażenia prowadzą do nierealistycznych standardów prowadzą do wstydu, nienawiści, złości na siebie
  • problemy z podtrzymaniem własnego punktu widzenia w obliczu krytyki lub braku zgody; “samoociosanie” — zmieniam własne doświadczenie, żeby dopasować się do innych

BECOME LESS ENTITLED

  • asertywność?
  • cognitive empathy; “reading people”
  • more realistic expectations of people, relationships, myself, & life
  • i don’t want to take advantage of people or be emotionally manipulative

RESILIENCE?

  • affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood (intense episodic dysphoria, irritability, anxiety); basic dysphoric mood often disrupted by periods of anger, panic, despair; rarely relieved by periods of well-being or satisfaction
  • chciałabym uniezależnić swój <<dobrostan>> od czynników zewnętrznych
  • wypracować dobre strategie biernej samoregulacjinauczyć się kontrolować strukturę środowiska — umowy, terminy, listy, rozkłady zajęć, PRZEBYWANIE WŚRÓD LUDZI; zrozumieć CO mi przekazują –> CRITICAL THINKING
  • i don’t want emotions to “happen to me” & i don’t want to dwell on them –> samoregulacja bierna i CZYNNA
  • difficulty controlling anger — I’m passive-aggressive when i feel attacked; self-image based on being bad or evil: caregiver seen as neglectful / withholding / uncaring / abandoning leads to sarcasm, bitterness, verbal outbursts lead to shame, guilt, feeling evil (ties back to “abandonment” implying im “bad”)
  • impulsywność; undermining self the moment a goal is about to be realized, e.g. dropping out of school just before graduation, destroying good relationships –> brak kontroli poznawczej nad jawnym zachowaniem, trudność z przełożeniem decyzji i wyborów na zgodne zachowania — no congruence between thoughts & behavior
  • pozorna kompetencjanieumiejętność generalizacji kompetencji na przyszłe nastroje i sytuacje; nieumiejętność okazywania oznak cierpienia emocjonalnego lub rozpoznania i przyznania że nie daję sobie z czymś rady
  • KONIECZNE JEST ODDZIELENIE AKTUALNEGO NASTROJU OD AKTUALNEGO ZACHOWANIA!!! <– ból i dolegliwości psychiczne są częścią życia; nie mieszać zdarzeń z moimi reakcjami na nie; nie traktować myśli i emocji jako dosłownego odzwierciedlenia rzeczywistości

physically filling an emotional void?

tw: please don’t read this post if you suffer from eating disorders, especially those on the restrictive side.

it’s relatively easy to start talking about emotions once you’re given a vocabulary. but now i need to talk about something i continue to feel a great deal of shame about, mostly because of how basic it is.

i’m a compulsive overeater. there, i said it. it’s pathetic, i know. how stupid do you have to be to not be able to control something so simple? how mindless and self-indulgent? but i am able to control it, in the short term, anyway; at least i used to be: in high school i was severely underweight.

what i am is … disillusioned. starving myself didn’t make me happy, so who the fuck cares what i look like.

and besides, it’s not about mindless / emotional eating anymore. the problem is that im now acutely aware that im doing irreversible damage to my body … painfully so … and that’s kind of the point.

it may be simple, but it does what it’s supposed to: it makes me feel even more weak, pathetic, disgusting, ugly, empty, unapproachable… worthless.

if im happy about one thing thats changed over the past two years or so, its that im less obsessed with my body.

yes, the reason i originally went into therapy was a sort of depression brought on by the discovery that i had high blood sugar (that i most likely was like 90 per cent responsible for) and the guilt & other negative feelings associated with that.

but my current health concerns have little to do with how i feel about my weight, lifestyle, & eating habits. it just so happens that i have to change them for health-related reasons.

im less preoccupied with my weight & size, and my self-esteem is less dependent on my appearance. but it’s not exactly out of self-acceptance…

…it’s out of indifference. i find it difficult to care enough to change the things that i should. all of my previous efforts to stay in shape and eat healthy were externally motivated (though it was my fucked up mind that took them to extremes). now, ive completely given up on trying to be “attractive”… or healthy.

so even though i could technically eat less, and potentially even fit a workout routine into my schedule, i know id find it not just hard but pointless to do so & stick to it.

what is more, i now frequently find myself forcing myself to binge when im already uncomfortably full. because … the emotional urge to numb out may be gone (for now at least), but the habit remains. i simply don’t know what else to do with my time.

part of it is down to the behavior pattern itself, but most of it results from the thought process that drove me to develop the pattern in the first place:

i feel empty. i feel stupid. i feel that i don’t deserve to do anything worthwhile or enjoyable in my life (yes! i don’t enjoy eating anymore! in fact i kind of hate it now! i don’t even eat most of my favorite foods anymore, nor do i crave them. i kind of don’t care either way). i feel that i deserve to isolate myself and rot away in my bedroom. and i mean, i’ve been doing that for so long, it’s scary just thinking about breaking that pattern, like … where do i begin?

but i’m proud of myself for reaching out for help, not just with this, but with everything. i’m proud that i can stop myself from overeating at least some of the time. and now, i’m proud of speaking out. it can get better. it will.

permission to think

there is so much i’d like to discuss, but i just can’t get the words out, can’t find the right words, can’t collect my thoughts. just as it used to with journalling, it feels like im going in circles. like im using repetition & redundancy, unnecessarily complex syntax & vocabulary, and elaborate digressions to obscure my own thought process and distract from the utter vacuity of my underlying assumptions & motivations. in short, i’m playing for time.

but, who am i really playing with? aren’t i supposed to want to gain insight, get out of my own way, and learn how to get better, how to change? but the idea seems both terrifying and overwhelming, if not downright impossible, so i steer clear of the topic altogether.

You wanna know the truth? I was in denial about this for quite some time: I never intended to change. I did hate myself for the way I behaved, and i wanted to change… i just wouldn’t accept that i actually had any control over how things turned out. in a weird way blaming myself for virtually everything … absolved me of any real responsibility for my actions.

I’ve always found it hard to operate on the assumption that something so seemingly foundational to my personality as I understood it wasn’t, in fact, integral to it. So realistically, there was nothing i could do, because i was just inherently worthless and powerless. Nice cop-out. But even if my personality was shaped by things outside of my control — my genes, my upbringing, adverse childhood experiences — that’s an explanation, not a justification. And it’s a lousy excuse to continue to do nothing about it in the future.

i’m somewhat less angry about being in the place that i am right now. it’s not ideal, but it actually makes perfect sense in the context of my life. i’m working through whatever issues i need to work through and taking things at my own pace, and if parts of my personality include laziness and procrastination, i might as well embrace them.

any pressure i have ever felt to achieve achieve achieve was always external. i took it at face value, as i take everything, never once stopping to think, why? what for?

so if i feel guilty now about 1) “not making the best of my life” and 2) leading a parasitic lifestyle and perhaps even 3) just generally being bone idle… even though i never had the motivation to do or be anything else in the first place… tell me how that makes sense.

this is not to say that i dont have the internal motivation to do/be anything; just that the standard i was holding myself to was entirely based on cues i was taking from my environment. parents, church, school, friends, media. always without, never within. again, it’s not that i didn’t want to think for myself… i just didn’t think it was an option. i never trusted my own judgment enough to know what i liked, what i wanted, what was good for me. i couldn’t believe that voice, so i stopped listening. and silenced it. and eventually, i guess it shut up.

truth is, i could be a teacher translator working on my Ph.D. and fuck knows what else right this very moment, and my life would be just as empty because i would still be doing it for the wrong reasons. it makes me think of this:

a tweet by @yellowcardigan that perfectly describes what drives 99% of my behavior
my attitude to life, basically

I’m grateful for my job. It gives me a sense of stability and a reason to get up in the morning. That’s all it ever was; all i ever needed.

I’m grateful that my parents don’t put any pressure on me to grow up too soon, that they’re patient and supportive in their own way… and that they’re responding to my clumsy attempts at open communication.

I’m grateful for the people in my life who chose to stick by me when i wouldn’t have.

and, i dunno. somebody very special once told me i was easy to please… or something along those lines. it was meant as a compliment, but i took it to mean i was complacent / an underachiever / that i settled. that, and that they were plain wrong, because i knew myself to be greedy and perfectionistic.

but maybe they had a point. maybe the only reason i think i want / need so much more than what i have or can possibly get … is because i want things that seem to work for others. but when i stop & listen to that inner voice of mine for a little while, quiet as it is at this point, i can find a way for a brief moment to be content with those things that i do have.

because that standard i was talking about, it isn’t real. it’s a sort of composite of every idea i have ever encountered in my life, filtered through my uncritical, clueless and confused mind, compounded by my natural inclination to generalize and catastrophize.

but the truth is, im happy now. things could be better, but they could also be worse. and nobody’s rushing me, and there is no final exam, and i can just do whatever i want & need.

wow. …what a relief.