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, więc proszę

mam pewne obawy, że CBT będzie dla mnie zbyt krótkoterminowa. przeraża mnie perspektywa rozwiązania w ciągu dziesięciu godzinnych sesji problemów, z którymi zmagałam się całe życie. o ile w takich ramach czasowych łatwo wziąć na celownik główne problematyczne zachowania, trudniej może być zmierzyć się z tymi mniej oczywistymi, chociaż równie przykrymi.

nie uważam terapii kognitywno-behawioralnej za rozwiązanie powierzchowne czy doraźne. wiem że jest skuteczna w leczeniu wielu jasno zdefiniowanych problemów, takich jak depresja czy zaburzenia odżywiania — problemów które w danym momencie w stosunkowo ściśle określony sposób wpływają na funkcjonowanie jednostki.

odnoszę jednak wrażenie, że taka terapia musi budować na jakichś fundamentach. na szczątkowym chociażby poczuciu tożsamości, własnej wartości, sensu i celu życia, chociażby nie były one widoczne na pierwszy rzut oka w momencie rozpoczynania leczenia. kiedyś gdzieś musiały być ich co najmniej śladowe ilości, trzeba je tylko sobie przypomnieć, wzmocnić i wyćwiczyć.

problemy z którymi ja muszę się rozprawić wymykają się definicjom, nie mówiąc już o tym, że mimo potwierdzenia ze strony osób wykwalifikowanych do wyrażenia zdania na ten temat, wciąż nie jestem do końca przekonana o ich istnieniu. lub raczej — z gruntu nie jestem skłonna patrzeć na nie jako na “chorobę” którą można by “uleczyć”.

wciąż jestem zdania że mam po prostu niezliczoną ilość wad — najgorszymi z których pozostają, faktycznie graniczące z patologią, lenistwo, bierność i ciągłe użalanie się nad sobą — a żadnych zalet którymi mogłabym “nadrobić”. co więcej, sceptyczna względem opinii specjalistów jestem z tego względu, że skoro sama sobie nie wierzę i wydaje mi się że tylko szukam wymówek, to jak mogę ufać osądom ludzi którzy wiedzą tylko to, co ja sama im powiem? oni mogą mieć najwyższe kompetencje i najlepsze nawet intencje, ale co jeśli działają na błędnych przesłankach napływających od osoby, której głównym celem jest wywołanie w nich współczucia, i mniej lub bardziej świadomie dąży ona do tego każdym swoim zachowaniem, słowem i spojrzeniem?

jeżeli czegoś mnie to nauczy, to tego że tylko ja mogę realnie cokolwiek zmienić w swoim życiu. ale martwi mnie że o ile mogę próbować wyplenić najbardziej rażące przejawy pasożytnictwa czy zawiści, to z samymi cechami nie dam sobie rady póki nie będę wiedziała skąd się one u mnie wzięły.

zapewne sam ten pociąg do podejścia psychodynamicznego i nierealistyczną potrzebę “zmiany” i wyzbycia się “złych” uczuć dałoby się zredukować poprzez CBT. ale coś czuję że aby w podobny sposób rozwiązać wszystkie moje problemy, musiałabym poświęcić na tę terapię pół życia (co przecież mija się z celem): zdekonstruować całą swoją osobowość i stworzyć zgoła nowe spojrzenie na życie. nie wiem zresztą jak miałoby się to do zdrowej spontaniczności, bo im więcej zmienię, tym bardziej będę się czuła jak zaprogramowany robot.

wątpię w każdym razie, żeby takie pragmatyczne podejście działało na głębsze, uwarunkowane prawdopodobnie genetycznie, cechy takie jak impulsywność czy myślenie dychotomiczne. nawet moja tendencja do odcinania się od innych jest nieadaptacyjnym przejawem introwertycznej osobowości. większość moich wad znajduje ujście w tego typu niekorzystnych zachowaniach, bo nie jestem świadoma ani swoich skłonności, ani czynników które je wyzwalają: rządzą mną emocje, z których istnienia nie zdaję sobie sprawy, których nie mogę nazwać ani nijak okiełznać.

leki pomagają zwłaszcza w dwóch obszarach: redukują uciążliwy objaw neurotyczności, jakim jest przewaga negatywnych uczuć w moim życiu codziennym, i nieco zwiększają świadomość ciągów przyczynowo-skutkowych wiążących wydarzenia z reakcjami na nie, i odwrotnie, działania z ich konsekwencjami. ale sam wgląd nie wystarcza żeby zmodyfikować zachowanie.

poprawa jaka dokonała się przez ostatnich kilka miesięcy tylko utwierdziła mnie w przekonaniu, że sama z siebie jestem zdolna do bardzo ograniczonego postępu, a wszelkie pozytywne zmiany jakie kiedykolwiek następują w moim życiu są tylko desperackimi próbami udawania szczęścia i równowagi psychicznej. prędzej czy później zawsze wracam do rozchwianej, rozsypanej atrapy człowieka jaką czuję się obecnie.

co więcej, chociaż myślę o tym od jakiegoś miesiąca, wciąż nie potrafię wyobrazić sobie co właściwie miałoby stanowić “postęp” w kontekście mojej terapii ani do czego miałabym zmierzać, bo nie ma żadnego konkretnego celu jaki chciałabym osiągnąć. owszem, muszę w końcu napisać pracę licencjacką, ale to mogłabym zrobić nawet teraz. prawda jest taka, że to nie może być cel sam w sobie, bo gdyby wszystko było ze mną w porządku, to przyszłoby mi to naturalnie, bez większych problemów, a może nawet z przyjemnością.

moja dotychczasowa fasada runęła — symbolicznie ale ostatecznie — kiedy przyjęłam do wiadomości że mogę zachorować na cukrzycę. wtedy zrozumiałam, że nie mogę niczego oczekiwać od życia, a najważniejsze to nauczyć się dostosowywać do okoliczności. co więcej, wtedy dopiero przestałam przed samą sobą udawać że może wszystko się samo ułoży i dotarło do mnie, że to ja muszę podjąć bardzo konkretne działania żeby nieco skorygować kurs jaki obrało moje życie.

jestem w połowie drogi do trzydziestki … ale chyba tak kompletnie pozbawiona nadziei, że odczuwam z tego powodu mniejszy niż dotąd wstyd, frustrację niespełnionymi ambicjami, czy poczucie winy za niewykorzystany potencjał. prawdę powiedziawszy guzik mnie obchodzi że (czy) “gdybym się postarała” to mogłabym to czy tamto.

mój potencjał zawsze był mocno ograniczony a samozaparcie znikome, więc z czasem nauczyłam się zadowalać doświadczaniem życia w trzeciej osobie: z książek, filmów, Instagrama, opowieści znajomych. w jakimś wąskim sensie “doświadczyłam” w ten sposób bardzo wielu rzeczy, mimo że moje własne życie było ubogie w urozmaicenia.

skądinąd mogło się to przyczynić do przeżywanego przeze mnie “kryzysu wieku średniego”: tak bez reszty angażuję się w przeżycia innych osób (czy to prawdziwych czy wymyślonych), że czuję się trochę tak, jakbym przeżyła życie w przyspieszonym tempie. mogłam też nabrać zbyt dużo nieustrukturyzowanego dystansu do życia (bynajmniej nie siebie lmao), bo jak rozważysz wszystkie teoretyczne możliwości, to ograniczanie się do jednego kierunku obranego w praktyce trochę traci swój urok. oczywiście że w rezultacie tkwisz nie doświadczając naprawdę niczego, ale strach przed tą nieskończonością wyborów i jednoczesną ostatecznością decyzji którą podejmiesz jest paraliżujący.

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 😀

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.

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.

now that's what i call _free_writing

song for today

do you believe in free will? i know it’s a complex topic, and (as per usual) i’m not equipped to do it justice. but you don’t need that much intellectual sophistication to be able to tell whether you, personally, on an emotional level, find the concept convincing.

i know i don’t.

for the sake of clarity: i’m not talking about your freedom to choose how you take your coffee or the friends you keep. i’m talking about something… larger. not just how you choose to live out your true nature, but your true nature itself: your personality, intellect, interests, inclinations; the very way you interact with the world.

you might have some influence over the environments / situations / contexts you find yourself in, or put yourself in, but you don’t have as much of a say in how exactly you respond to them. you can try to “curate” your repertoire of behaviors, but even then you’re limited to the pitifully small range of possibilities that occur to you.

similarly, no matter the particular details of the circumstances you’re under — no matter what, exactly, is happening — you can react in a number of ways, but they will always have YOU written all over them. i suppose this is less true the more self-control and discipline you have. then you can feign emotions, flirt, manipulate people, make jokes, act more like somebody else, do all sorts of things. but they will still be specific to YOU.

true free will would mean having access to an infinitely vast pool of possibilities. in reality, however, our freedom has very real physical limitations. how can you speak of free will if you can’t even will your own brain into approaching life with a sense of humor instead of the earnestness and fatalism that you know to be so unhelpful? you can teach (train?) yourself to always look on the bright side of life, but it will always be an uphill battle.

what if you’re emotionally unstable by nature, and the thing you want most in the entire world is to achieve a sense of balance at last? or — do you think I like being stuck up and condescending? Do you think I wouldn’t rather be spontaneous and generous?

I don’t intentionally act in ways that make me more miserable, any more than those of you with healthier personality profiles intentionally act otherwise; we kind of just… do. Most people probably don’t have to have their well-being at heart at all times, not explicitly, anyway; it’s more like an assumption on which they operate; a given, not a variable. and then they can fully commit to also factoring other people into their decisions.

My laziness and selfishness are patterns of behavior, individual instances of which i can rarely recognize for what they are in the moment im exhibiting them. and even if i were able to recognize them, i wouldnt know the first thing about how to change them.

a sense of self that is predicated on identifying as anything is bound to be unstable. why must i insist that people are monoliths… archetypes, or emblems, of such human concepts as kindness or cruelty? yes, some people better fit what we understand to be the definition of “kind”. but words themselves have their limits. i know that that’s kind of the point, but more than just limited, they end up also being limiting.

even constructs such as personality profiles, traits, etc., are only helpful to the extent that they give us a general idea of qualities otherwise nebulous & elusive, so that we can communicate & assume that we mean more or less the same thing. neither words nor images, nor our minds themselves, can comprehend or convey the entirety of the thing were trying to describe.

but if not with labels, how else (if at all) do you define yourself…?

and sure, some people are more creative, open-minded, flexible. by extension theyll have more free will, because they can act more freely, more spontaneously. it’s not that the options aren’t there for some people. (well, sometimes they aren’t. but lets not get into that whole mess right now.) potentially everything can be turned into an opportunity. it’s just that some of us see the opportunities more often than others.

who’s there to tell any one of us that we can’t start a career as singers? whether we’re any good at it or are lucky enough to get discovered is a whole different question. i could build my whole identity around being a singer, but that self-perception wouldn’t at all correspond to reality.

so, what if you want to see yourself as a “good person”, but some of your behaviors could be construed as evidence to the contrary? well, then you’re fucked & my previous post happens. you’re selfish, evil, and you’re facing a grim future of suffering imposed on self & others.

but yeah, never mind that a large portion of your choices is actually dictated by external factors. Even controlling for those outside influences, you’re still little more than a statistic, happening to fall some place on that goddamned bell curve at some point in time.

sound familiar? “Where am I going with this????” Fuck knows. i think it’s just my roundabout way of saying that im not happy with the fact that significant chunks of life go way over my head, and there’s not much i can do about it.

and that overwhelming feeling that free will is an illusion and my story has been written for me, long, long, long ago and it doesn’t really matter what i choose, because while the stage design might change, and i might deviate from the plot somewhat, im still destined to repeat those same tropes & mistakes & dilemmas that my ancestors struggled with.

regardless of what i do and how i get there, i’m still going to end up in pretty much the same place. Sometimes it feels like I’m already there, and i cant change the outcome because it’s sort of imprinted on my genes. everything feels pointless because try as i might to get better, i will always go back to my old ways and my original outlook on life, which is… not good.

i’m kind of all over the place today, sorry about that.

today was my first appointment with a therapist. my last post was the one she read when i showed her my blog, and it’s actually an accurate representation of my state of mind pre-psych meds. i’ve come to the conclusion that, among other things, they allow me to compartmentalize in a way i never thought possible. the day i wrote that post I was feeling kind of shitty, so i vented, and proceeded to go about my day as if nothing had happened. i smiled, i laughed, i joked around.

normally if my mood is shitty, my whole day ends up being shitty as well. right now, though, i can set my own feelings aside for a while and focus on the task at hand. not always, and not to the same extent as others around me usually do, but more than typical for me. also just because i can do it doesn’t mean i always choose to, but still. 😀 which is to say that i can now feel like shit and be in a great mood at the same time??

so anyway, because i feel like i could go on forever and somehow manage to still not say anything of substance, ill end here and hope i haven’t bored some of you to death by now.

i’m off to do my therapy.. homework.. assignment.. thingy 😀