some thoughts on “The Body Keeps the Score”

I don’t consider myself an avid reader, yet lately that’s all that I’ve been doing. What i’m about to say is in no way to shame others for doing things solely for enjoyment… but for whatever reason i personally have found myself frustrated, more than anything, any time i tried to play video games or watch TV. When I read, at least i feel like im learning something. and when i’m having “too” much fun, it starts feeling empty somehow.

it’s not necessarily that i feel some profound need to be productive. it’s more that whenever i did these things — scrolling through facebook, sometimes listening to music even — i had the sense that i wasn’t doing it for fun but merely as a distraction. to keep my mind off of whatever I was feeling at the moment. (Except as a result i ended up too distracted to focus on the distraction itself…)

Self-indulgence — such as overeating — is a coping skill first and foremost. So i guess it’s only logical that the less stressed out I am, the less I need it. But that’s not all.

I’m currently reading the book The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk. In it he discusses the impact of trauma on your life. And although i don’t suffer from PTSD or anything like that, the book has resonated with me immensely. You don’t need to have experienced anything horrendous in your life order to benefit from all the insights it offers about people, our needs, and the way we process our emotions.

A lot of it also makes intuitive sense and kind of confirms certain things I have suspected for a while now (while backing it up with research).

The major thing that i personally can relate to is the disconnect between your body and mind when you find yourself unable to cope with something (I do not know why i personally struggle with this, but, as always, I have some theories). Basically “all trauma is preverbal” and unless you have a vocabulary to deal with it (and also address it in a way that activates specific brain regions associated with linguistic expression), it will manifest itself in physical ways.

The author provides many alternative methods that will bring the traumatic memories to conscious awareness where they can be faced head-on, arguing that conventional talk therapy is not enough to put those feelings behind you.

among others, he talks about mindfulness, and does so in a way that for me, a person who’s been playing with the idea for ageesss but could never muster the courage and/or self-discipline for it, finally makes it more appealing than scary. Or maybe it’s just that I’m ready now?

whichever it is, i’m becoming increasingly annoyed with my habit of just numbing out.

A few passages in particular have stayed with me:

[Many traumatized people] lose their sense of purpose and direction (…) How could they make decisions, or put any plan into action, if they couldn’t define what they wanted or, to be more precise, what the sensations in their bodies, the basis of all emotions, were trying to tell them?

Traumatized people are often afraid of feeling (…) [Many of them] are compulsive eaters and drinkers, fear making love, and avoid many social activities: Their sensory world is largely off limits.

Although widely understood to be harmful to health, each adaptation [such as smoking, drinking, drugs, obesity] is notably difficult to give up (…) [T]he presenting problem is often only the marker for the real problem, which lies buried in time, concealed by patient shame (…).

at the risk of coming off as tone-deaf, i will admit that i have noticed these patterns in myself. by no means am I trying to appropriate the term “trauma,” i think I’m just … oversensitive, and poorly equipped to deal with it.

Van der Kolk perfectly captures the feeling i had in therapy of being somehow removed from the experiences & feelings i was describing. Even while i was crying my heart out in the comfy chair, it still never felt like i was getting to the core of the feeling.

that was because my memories and sensations are so scattered and fragmentary that I cannot put them into a coherent sequence which I could integrate into a larger narrative. everything bad that happens to me feels like the end of the world

…that never ends but goes on, and on, and on.

PTSD is an extreme reaction to an extreme situation. but the strategies proposed in this book are not limited to such severe distress. they’re about cultivating self-awareness, which is the only way we can manage how we feel and behave.

Self-awareness was the very thing I had always lacked, and now you’re telling me I can develop it by simply practicing yoga? 🙂 …It’s not that I didn’t know it would help; everybody kept telling me so. But my body felt so foreign, and i was so reluctant to get in touch with it.

on a seemingly unrelated note, i had this massive realization a few days back … that obsessed as i am with it, I don’t actually care how stupid or intelligent I am. Or i do, but only to the extent that it influences other people’s perceptions of me. I have carried so much shame about being “dumb.” but only because i thought of it as a factor based on which other people would reject me.

mind you, i know this might be true most of the time.

but the rejections don’t hurt because i desperately need this particular person in my life. they hurt because every.single.person’s pronouncement on my negative qualities, I take as gospel. it doesn’t even have to be articulated in these terms; my boss laughing at me for being too straightforward with a customer does the trick, and bam! I’m depressed for the rest of the day.

Maybe i wouldnt feel as bad about myself if i didn’t assume everyone had all these expectations? or even if they do, it isn’t my job to meet those expectations. I never realized I could be happy and satisfied with what I was; that I could be comfortable in my skin just the way that I was. because i felt i was always being judged, my own feelings never seemed like enough, never mattered.

in other words, my body and mind were out of sync.

The book covers so many topics in such detail that i could never do it justice, but i highly recommend it, not only to survivors of trauma. everyone can take away something valuable and relevant to themselves from a really good book like that.

so much of life is just passing the time, just going through the motions. it is okay to be kind to yourself. I used to dismiss it as a waste of time. But … if enjoying yourself isn’t worth it, then … what is?

I’ve been doing some strange things lately, spontaneous things like somersaults in the meadow, which i could go into how that reconnected me with my body and my childlike sense of joy and all that, but it was just SO MUCH FUN. yesterday i went for a walk in the rain late in the evening; that felt amazing, too.

i think i used to discount physical ways of managing negative emotions because i thought they made me weak. i thought i should be able to rationalize my way out of sadness and anger, to self-regulate intellectually. But the truth is, feelings have a very real physical dimension. I mean, even in the most basic sense of neurotransmitters and stuff, they literally are physical.

of course ultimately i ended up distancing myself from what i felt with distractions that were very physical indeed.

luckily, turns out you can do very basic things with a sense of purpose.

regulating the dys

having agreed on postponing our sessions until July, one of the things my therapist emphasized during our last appointment was that i really need to keep talking about whatever it is that i feel i need to talk about. this seemed counterintuitive, but also validating. guilty as i feel about it, much as i wish i could stop it, there’s still loads and loads of things i need to share before i can process & get past them.

and yes, i’m aware that talking about shit in abstract terms is one of my favorite ways of avoiding real responsibility. it’s a coping mechanism of sorts. not a very productive one, to be sure, but a skill nonetheless.

what i will try to do is i will try to make the abstract concrete, and to put a more positive spin on things. I can’t help being a verbal processor; might as well turn it into a strength. if all i do is hypothesize, i should at least be able to shift my perspective, and potentially it can make all the difference.

to my surprise, after my all time low didn’t come the biggest high of my life. that’s what would normally have happened. but this roller-coaster ride wasn’t sustainable. and so i settled on a place in between, or rather removed from, depression and happiness. i put a hold on experiencing my emotions, because i needed to break the pattern in order to examine it.

examine it i did, though i’m still not clear on why it’s there or how to change it for good — but at least I know about it. and i know that certain things contribute to my mood getting better or worse, and there’s not that One Thing that i was looking for that would solve All My Problems.

The concrete has always sounded incredibly banal to me, but I have come to understand that there’s no shame in admitting that it does help.

for whatever reason, i resented the fact that im actually relatively low-maintenance, and I don’t need that much to be happy. solution? i didn’t do any of those things, because they seemed pathetic. unambitious. boring.

it’s almost as if i wanted to amount to fuck knows what, without meeting any of my most basic needs first. but you know what, you can’t just skip steps like that, and neglecting self-care catches up with you eventually. I have to take care of myself not out of vanity, but because nobody else will.

i also now appreciate that self-regulation is a complex skill, but very much a teachable one. And that precisely because it is so complex, sometimes baby steps can take you further than you thought they would (or could).

i get sad sometimes, but i can be okay with that sadness. i may not be able to make it go away, but there are things i can do to get through it. make it more manageable. learn from it. and if all else fails, distract myself from it until it passes on its own as it always does.

it will come back. but i will be better prepared to deal with it.

PS i haven’t yet figured out how to credit the artist, but the featured image is one of my favorites by @PDLComics (obviously).

a day in the life

the scent of my new fabric softener reminds me of high school.

of getting up early in the morning, going to the toilet, weighing myself, necessarily in that order. writing that number down in my food log, counting how many calories it was going to take before i dropped another pound. after my daily weigh-in — a prolonged body check in the mirror, get dressed, make breakfast.

i never starved myself; in fact i always took pride in not skipping meals. can you believe that at the height of my eating disorder (ED for short. cute) i was consuming up to 2300 calories a day? no binges, either; not a single time out of control for two plus years.

control was my thing. i didn’t have to deprive myself of food when just restricting my intake did the job: i was losing weight like crazy.

so, yeah, breakfast. at precisely 5:30 or whatever it was. first down a full mug of black coffee so that youre full to begin with. then, oatmeal. 45 grams of steel-cut oats, not 44, not 46. when in doubt round three tablespoons up to 50, such as when you’re at a friend’s house. kitchen scales = essential piece of equipment and your best friend. makes you feel so safe and secure. water, no milk. 15 grams of nuts of your choice. except … walnuts pack a staggering 654 calories per 100 grams, cashews a mere 553 … do with that info what you will. sometimes i would go crazy and add a piece of 99% dark chocolate in the mix and melt the whole thing in the microwave. pretty Decadent, huh? i felt super guilty for being so indulgent afterward tho, so I didn’t do it very often. instead, over time i started making some odd dietary choices, such as swapping nuts for eggs because they loaded more protein for like half the calories. what i generously called “cake” tasted more like soggy cardboard, but i still devoured the whole thing, the noise of my spoon scratching against the bowl waking up my parents in the next room.

or My Spoon and My Bowl, I should say… when you are obsessed with food, you’re pretty particular about that sort of thing. i would get pretty angry whenever some of my utensils were missing when I NEEDED THEM!!! or, god forbid, when somebody else had eaten that sorry cup of low-fat yogurt i was looking forward to that entire day and specifically left that extra 124 kcal of room for. i would get pretty angry pretty easily. well, it was more like i was perpetually irritated or annoyed, ready to pounce on you the instant you inadvertently triggered me with some seemingly innocuous remark.

brush teeth, leave house, go school. arrive early so sift through your food log filled with motivational quotes for “fun”.

DRINK WATER!!!!11111 sOOOO much water. take not one but two 1.5 liter bottles to school and have even that not be enough, so at some point start considering switching to those huge ass 5L bottles instead. go pee every 15 minutes.

DID YOU KNOW…

that on 3 (three) separate occasions on my way back home I peed myself (yes, you read that correctly) because I just couldn’t hold it in any longer between the train station and my house? youd think that one time should be enough, but nah…

you need to hydrate, always remember that ❤️

class … is a blur…

friends … are a blur…

LUNCH BREAK! stuff yourself with whatever you meticulously measured out the day before. i was a big fan of cauliflower. it was low on calories and carbs, yet so damn filling. and by “filling” i mean that it FILLED the entire classroom / bus / wherever else I was with that god awful smell of sulfur that makes you wanna puke. but i didn’t care; i had as much right to eat as anybody.

on my way home i let myself have something sugary, like an oatmeal cookie or a PB+J with banana…on…wholegrain bread… as a pre-workout snack. imagine what that did to my stomach during exercise xD

the original idea was that i would exercise three to four times a week. seeing as i had plenty of time on my hands though, because of my lack of social life, that quickly turned to four to five to six to seven.

oh, i forgot to mention, i usually slept on the bus because I was JUST so full of energy! which was good, because it left me all energized for my workout.

i hated HIIT. hated every minute of it. but home workout videos were easier than going to the gym; at least nobody was judging me. at Pure, the personal trainer who first introduced me to weight training later told me to lay off the treadmills or he was going to tell my parents he was concerned. i smiled, nodded politely, thanked him, said i was fine, kept hitting the elliptical instead for at least a couple more months. they were more effective, anyway.

have dinner, update food log, do homework (necessarily in that order). in theory i could have “everything in moderation”. in practice tho, if you’re cutting calories you’ll likely choose 120g of lean chicken turkey over a slice of salami 99 per cent of the time. stalk celery, which i used to hate, suddenly became my new favorite vegetable.

in my free time i would fill this giant pink folder with article clippings from my two favorite magazines, Shape and Women’s Health. i loved drooling at the pictures next to recipes i was never going to make because they were dripping with fat (like one spoonful of olive oil specifically).

another one of my favorite pastimes was endlessly scrolling through my tumblr feed full of thinspo posted by blogs that mistakenly called themselves “fitblrs”. living and breathing “body goals” screws you up.

when i was out — probably doing my grocery shopping, for i didn’t do much else outside my bedroom — i didn’t see people, i saw sizes. and it’s the weirdest thing… i wasn’t one of those girls who think everyone else is skinnier than they are, i knew i was underweight. but logic didn’t apply to me; i just wanted that rush of finding out you lost another pound, and another, and another. I considered myself pro-health and didn’t see the hypocrisy.

my bedtime was pretty early: the sooner you fall asleep, the less time you have to notice you’re still hungry.

the winter of 2012, it must have been, saw me layering leg warmers on top of jeans on top of leggings on top of tights, and sporting skiing shoes that were larger than i was, two or three pairs of socks underneath, and still shivering with cold.

i remember that Christmas, AFTER i did my usual round of cardio, i exercised for three more hours on my indoor stationary bike just so i could feel okay with having like a dumpling or whatever later that evening.

my formerly beautiful hair became brittle and started falling out in clumps, and hair appeared on other parts of my body that wasn’t there before — i later learned that this is called lanugo and it’s your body’s way of trying to keep itself warm.

my skin was dry, my eyes hollow, and my nose seemed to take up half of my face.

and among all the “are you okays” there were still some “how do you do its”. i dismissed the former, cherished the latter, even when it was coming from my friend’s depressed, insecure, yet herself scary thin mom whom i was actually pretty worried about.

i was an authority on nutrition, people were coming to me for advice, they paid attention. i couldn’t let that go, couldnt let myself slip up; failure wasn’t an option. but i hated the thought that my appearance or my behavior might inspire somebody else to try to achieve that same level of malnutrition. i didn’t want other people to be “fat” or “skinny”; i wanted them to be healthy and happy … just not myself though.

and I could wear ANYTHING! i mean i didn’t; i still thought everything looked awful with my body type so i mostly stuck with baggy sweaters. but i had a CHOICE!

i didn’t admire my friends’ intelligence or their sense of humor; i envied their ability to eat junk food and still have a perfect, flat stomach. i didn’t pursue relationships or good grades, every minute of every day was about making CERTAIN i wasn’t going over my somewhat arbitrary calorie limit.

and all this for what?

i’m not exactly sure.

one-track minds

I almost got into a fight with my parents this morning. My Dad made a “joke”: international women’s day was invented by communists, so feminists must be pretty damn conflicted about it. I pointed out that equal doesnt mean the same, that nobody’s saying that gender doesn’t exist, that they’re judging a group by its most vocal, most radical members.

None of that convinced them though, and they accused me of taking myself too seriously & being unable to calmly discuss controversial topics, change my mind, or even provide arguments to support my POV — all things i constantly complain about them being.

So I shut up, which they interpreted as sulking — correctly, i might add. What’s annoying as heck is that they kind of had a point. I, too, am all of these things. The difference is, I know that, and I’m trying to change, whereas they are twice my age. They should know better. Or should they?

What im about to say is going to sound awful, but the main reason i find it so difficult to maintain my composure around my parents is that i know full well that I’m their flesh and blood, and I hate it.

I wish i could poke holes in my own reasoning as well as i can in theirs. But I can’t. And im scared shitless that all this effort im putting into trying to get to know myself better isn’t going to change a damned thing. and im always going to be the same stubborn, narrow-minded, unlikeable, unfunny twat that I always was. (with all due respect to my dear parents. Sometimes they’re just too much.)

(and also, i have no idea where legitimate criticism and acknowledging my parents’ humanity ends & where blame-shifting and projecting my insecurities on other people begins…)

identifying my flaws won’t make them go away. explaining away my flaws won’t make them go away. i’m not so convinced anymore that even i can do that. i just hope there can be some comfort in knowing why i am the way I am.

My parents react with hostility to (or simply reject) anything they don’t understand. They assume that if you hold an opinion, your conviction must be as strong, unconditional and unwavering, as their own faith in god. it’s either you believe and accept the doctrine as wholly true, or you don’t believe — there’s no in between.

they keep asking why i “abandoned my faith” when other kids, seemingly less religious, still go to church. and then, in one breath, they condemn the gay agenda. HMM IDK MOM!

they gave me freedom of choice, and then criticized me for making the wrong decision.

And yes, I know that religion is helpful to a lot of people. And for my parents specifically, it’s an anchor; the only constant throughout their life and a source of hope and strength and comfort. I wouldn’t dare take that away from them.

But not every religious person is as categorical or intellectually lazy as they are, and I’m afraid it has less to do with religion itself or their childhood trauma, and more to do with a general tendency to think in absolutes and be satisfied with easy answers.

what confidence have I that i actually understand everything i say and am not just parroting what somebody else told me? it’s probably in my genes, after all…

i could of course describe all of the above with one simple adjective, but I really want to believe there’s more to it than that. for my sake.

a life of non-statements

I’d like to preface this by saying that I experience the world, including my own emotions, in very physical ways. which is to say that when i’m talking about food, for instance, i’m not really talking about food, you know what i mean? With that in mind, i present to you a conversation about moisturizing.

the back of my hands gotten all irritated again. I showed it to my parents and kind of laughed about it, but they didn’t seem amused one bit. Stern looks on their faces, they kept asking why i don’t do something about it, and i kind of just stood there limply, not really knowing how to respond.

They were both growing increasingly frustrated, so i thought about it for a moment and replied (let me remind you they are very right-wing), You might be relieved to learn that it’s not a feminist statement where i make myself purposely ugly or anything like that. I just… don’t care.

they looked at each other, their expressions going from blank to baffled to offended, and then my dad asked, Well is there anything you care about?

Another pause from me, then a tentative shake of the head “no”. they stared at me in disbelief. The conversation ended there, and i went to my room.

And I’m sitting here, confused as to what it was that so exasperated my parents. and also — was my answer accurate? was it genuine? im inclined to say yes to both, because it was spontaneous, and, in a way, uncalled for. What i should have said instead was something along the lines of a dismissive “ughh you know my lazy ass & how i am about wearing gloves!”.

i don’t know why i decided to be honest when put on the spot today. probably because i had never tried to get to the bottom of my own poor decisions before. I didn’t have time to process the conclusion that i arrived at at that very moment.

But it’s really quite simple: I just… don’t care.

part of it is because i don’t feel like i deserve to feel good about myself. another part is that i’m really too lazy and lack initiative. yet another is that im too indecisive & easily overwhelmed. maybe i want someone to take care of me. maybe i need attention. but it all comes down to the same thing.

let’s extrapolate to something more serious than my 80 year old’s hands. let’s take education. work. dating. friendships. that catch-all called “personal growth”. let’s take something as basic as physical health.

I used to care. but it was all… too much. too much effort & too little payoff. too many disappointed hopes. too much stress & pain. too many… options.

I’m still in two minds about the relationship between my lack of internal motivation and lack of self-esteem: i cant decide which one caused the other. but maybe at this point it doesn’t even matter. it’s a vicious circle, anyway.

I’m empty. I sympathize with nothing. I strive for nothing. I stand for nothing.

i learned a valuable lesson today. it’s that there’s only one way to find out what i want. i need to at least perform acts of caring, if only to realize at the end that i didn’t “truly want” anything; if only to be able to say that i didn’t give up.

but it’s so hard, so scary, to allow yourself to want.

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? 😬

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.

wait… so most people don’t feel this much? or, emotions i didn’t know i had

i’d like to explore the idea i brought up in my previous posts of being annoyed, offended, or otherwise hurt by the smallest things people do… also known as being “oversensitive”. and i’d like to connect that to underdeveloped emotional intelligence, lack of self-awareness, and being too reticent for your own good.

One time in psych class, I had to make a presentation in front of the entire auditorium. it freaked me out so bad, i went past nervousness all the way to zoning out. i’m told it went well, but i have no way of knowing because i don’t remember any of it. at the time i thought i had pulled myself together; in fact i completely fell apart, just… differently.

I fall apart a lot; usually in very unremarkable ways. I don’t even suffer from panic attacks or anything like that. Most of the time, my reactions to stress are more… spread out over a period of time. More inconspicuous, more… sneaky.

They have masqueraded as my personality for so long, they’ve been integrated into it. I didn’t do my growing up when i still had the time, so now i’m cranky and bitter at 24.

I admire people who are always kind and generous, regardless of how they’re feeling or even whether they like you. i hate it about myself that i’m only nice when it suits me. when i’m in a good mood, when it’s easy. it tells me that i’m fake and superficial. it means that what ultimately drives my behavior isn’t kindness at all, but a sort of short-sighted self-interest.

if i feel at all threatened, i’ll snap at you. if you say the wrong thing, i’ll become passive-aggressive. It doesn’t even happen on any conscious level, it’s just my natural response, which somehow only makes it worse.

it’s not like i’m rude to you on purpose. but when i’m feeling particularly insecure — exactly when i would logically need people most — something takes over me and makes me push them away.

i constantly switch between feeling for people — an intense, visceral kind of affective empathy — and objectifying them — where cognitively i can comprehend their mental states, i just don’t seem to care; or rather, i seem to derive some sadistic pleasure from causing them psychological suffering. i have to admit, it can be satisfying.

but these are usually people i’m uncharacteristically close to in the first place. like i need to test the limits of their love.

The thing that would have helped me at my worst? Somebody calling me out on my bullshit. Somebody who was close enough, who cared enough, to do what was painful but what was right. But I had no such friend. And I don’t know that it would have solved all my problems or anything. But it would have made a difference.

My motivations are still a mystery to me. I can know I’m being self-destructive, or hostile, but as long as I don’t know why, I can’t do anything about it. and I can’t know why if im so immature and i refuse to talk about my feelings or so much as think about them. i can’t act rationally unless i can understand and accept that my instincts are sometimes wrong.

Back when Mom and I fought about everything, as soon as she started yelling I would withdraw to my room and pout. I would give her the silent treatment… and then, after a while, she would usually apologize for acting out.

That’s the level on which I operate, emotionally: I don’t process what happens or my role in it, I just passively wait it out or find quick fixes that, when applied over the long term, come back to bite me in the ass.

But I didn’t realize all this. I didn’t know that not only do I need better coping skills, but I also need to know what I’m coping with, in the first place. I thought my reactions were normal, and I never gave them much thought.

Only recently did it start to dawn on me that not everyone is so sensitive to external stimuli. That not everyone’s nervous system is so responsive to criticism, rejection, shame. Or if it is, at least they know it and can take steps to counteract it.

My behavior right now might very well be caused by something that happened a week ago.

On a more positive note, the medication has been indescribably helpful in realizing this, and identifying at least some of the feelings and emotions behind my behaviors. dissociation isn’t a positive feeling overall, but some aspects of it can be very… illuminating.

I’ve only accepted that my unhealthy habits are actually maladaptive coping skills because I tend to do them less the less stress I experience in my daily life. But I still can’t seem to make the connection between unproductive / harmful actions I take and the events that precipitate them; I just don’t understand the causal relationship between trigger and behavior.

I hope i can learn to identify more of my emotions and not let them get the best of me all the time. But i doubt it’s something i can do on my own, if it’s at all possible.

it wouldn’t be so bad if i could limit my acting out to, well, acting in. but no, i have to get everyone else involved in my shitty mood even though they’ve done nothing wrong. damn, it sounds like i’m making excuses for treating people like shit. i believe there is no excuse for that kind of behavior, which is exactly why i feel shit about it.

how i wish i could be gentle and kind. actually im neurotic and irritable.

yay neurodiversity.