perzephone: madness takes its toll. please have exact change. (exact change)
It's kind of weird... I'm doing laundry & going over my therapy session from yesterday. The suicidal thoughts have pretty much gone away. I imagined myself telling Rob exactly how close I came to offing myself, and me-in-my-head finished up by saying 'and I never want to feel that way again'.

Kind of took me aback. So there is some part of me that has a self-preservative streak. Interesting. A new me is unfolding, and it's kind of frightening and exhilirating all at the same time.


Apr. 30th, 2014 11:30 am
perzephone: (bad ducky)
Maybe it's because I turned 40?

I feel very old. And tired. I don't know exactly how much longer I can go feeling this way.

Sometimes it doesn't get better.


Apr. 22nd, 2014 10:04 am
perzephone: madness takes its toll. please have exact change. (exact change)
I know that my depression did not develop over night. I know that it will take time and work to get relief. But I really wish there was a magic pill.
perzephone: (bad ducky)
I've been taking 50mg of Zoloft, about 12 hours apart, mainly because it upsets my stomach.

I don't think it's enough. I've been having some very dark nights lately.

I just feel like I'm a waste of resources, and I can't figure out how to make myself feel worthwhile, or feel less like a complete failure. I'm just a warm body, taking up space on a crowded planet. I try not to dwell on it, but the thoughts are insidious and they creep back in, especially at 4am, when I'm up alone w/few distractions. I'm just glad there are no pain-free methods for me to try out. All I've got is sharp pointy things and things that go boom. And I worry more about failing than I do about succeeding. Which I suppose is the sentiment behind 'whatever gets you through the night'.

I'm going to try something different tonight. I took my morning dose, and when I get up I'm going to take 2 (an additional 50mg) and see how I feel. Then I'll try that until my pshrink appts. next week and talk it over w/both my prescribing psych & my therapist.

Huh. There are suicide hotline chats available.

perzephone: madness takes its toll. please have exact change. (exact change)
It finally dawned on me that I respond to deep emotions and emotional displays much like I respond to maggots.

Once upon a time, I went to pick up the neighbor's garbage can. It had fallen over in the street, and I was being neighborly. As I approached the garbage can, I could hear a Rice Crispie sound coming from it, the fabled sound of maggots busy eating.

Now, I still would like to somehow be involved in the caring of dead people, and when you work for the dead, you encounter maggots. But I've never actually done any field work, so to speak. When I was a little kid, I had a knack for finding rotten things in unexpected places & that basically means I've stuck my hand into maggot-ridden carcasses of dead animals. So it's embarrassing to admit that I couldn't pick up my neighbor's maggot-ridden garbage can. 

And it wasn't just a matter of looking into it, seeing maggots & going 'Ewwwww' all the way back into my garage. I mean, I stopped dead in my tracks and had a fifteen-minute argument with my hands and feet. Consciously and fully aware, I kept telling myself, "You will pick that garbage can up and move it onto the sidewalk. Now go!"... and my feet refused to move forward, and my back refused to bend over, and my hand refused to grab the garbage can. Flat-out disobeyed direct orders from my brain. It was a weird sensation. I had developed a sudden case of paralysis. My hands were clenching into fists and back out, my toes flexed, I could feel all my muscles preparing to take a step - but nothing happened. When I finally stopped fighting myself, I almost fell flat on my ass because all those straining muscles relaxed all at the same time. I had no problem turning around and going back to the garage.

That's what it's like for me. I face any number of uncomfortable, weird or awkward situations, or a potentially emotional situation, or the emotional outburst of another person - and no matter what sort of pep talk I launch in my head, I cannot move forward. And the sudden-onset paralysis creeps into my brain, too. The pep talk is squashed into silence. I cannot act or react. I just stop.

Bad Brains

Apr. 4th, 2014 09:54 am
perzephone: (bad ducky)
Dearest Cousin, please do not invite me to anymore city-wide/all year school reunions. You don't know how much of a Hell I went through in school those two years I lived with you. The assaults, the beatings, the humiliation. Yes, I know it was all before the anti-bullying movement got started, but damn. Someone could have put a stop to it, intervened, something. What made it worse was going to school with black eyes & fat lips from you and never even having to lie about it because no one asked what happened. No one got to hear "I got hit in the face with a softball". And they stuck me in school counseling for anger management issues.

The past is the past, and it should die, burned and forgotten. But somehow, the older I get the more it comes back. Today, the Zoloft isn't helping. Actually, since Rob started looking for property again. All my failings get thrown in my face when he does that. He realized that he'd made an error in judgment, but it was too late, the train wreck had started. And he keeps fucking looking at property. He thinks I don't notice, but I do.

I thought about trying to call a suicide hotline the other night, but that's something I need privacy to do, and that's one thing I never really have. I don't know what I would have said to the other person, or if they could have even done anything to make me feel better. The therapist can't make me feel better, Rob can't make me feel better. No one can make me feel anything. All the affirmations in the world cannot change who I am.

I had an odd dream the other day. I'm reading PIHKAL, so the part of the dream where I ate hallucinogenic mushrooms (that didn't even give me tracers) was probably from that... but the part about going to pick up a body from a funeral home was not. When Rob & I got to the funeral home, the body we were to transport wasn't there. Instead, there were only crumbling caskets holding mummies and skeletons in various states of decay. I bought an unusually lacquered skeleton for $60. Which I think is quite the bargain.
perzephone: madness takes its toll. please have exact change. (exact change)
I think I'm feeling better.

I feel more calm & centered over the past two days. My stomach is still kind of clenched right after I take the Zoloft, and the hunger has not returned. I get hungry & I eat at my normal times.

I am still off my Elavil, which means I'm not dreaming, or sleeping all that well.

I am Getting Stuff Done. Even if it's one small thing a day, it's still a Thing that is Done. And I'm not beating myself up for all the crap I should do. One thing a day is Enough. Yesterday I weeded and took pictures of a couple of flowering weeds before I killed them, one being a thistle of some sort & the other being a nipplewort or mustard of some other sort. The other day I accompanied Rob to the hardware store & we bought supplies for me to tie up the little pine tree we have out front. Tomorrow that is my Thing to Do - tie up the little tree. This morning was grocery shopping.
perzephone: madness takes its toll. please have exact change. (exact change)
It's kind of interesting to go over my past with my therapist. So much is missing.

My mother had my sisters to try and change their dad, to make him into the man she wanted him to be. It's a cliche, a story told too often. I was given some pretty obvious signals as a child that I wasn't wanted by my mother, so I imagine my creation was for a similar reason. Maybe by getting pregnant, my mother hoped to turn my dad into a stay-home kind of guy. It didn't work.

The re-emerging feelings of being unwelcome are making it hard for me to find any intrinsic value in myself. It goes deeper than that, though. It's hard to find self-worth when I question the worth of the human species in general, when I question the worth of life on Earth itself. That big-picture problem of the macrocosm is affecting my microcosm.

What gives a person value? What gives a person the right to exist? If we're all just happy accidents of evolution, then why do we feel so entitled to be here? Science has no answers. My religion is based on many, many creation myths - but why did the Gods create us? They hold no answers for me either. I know it's the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything, but I feel like I need that piece of the puzzle in order to find worth in myself. And since I'm the only one who can truly place a value on myself, that my worth has to come from within, I'm at a stalemate.

I think I'm too philosophical to heal.
perzephone: madness takes its toll. please have exact change. (exact change)
I'm starting to feel better, a little. Much of the achey/painy has gone away. Spinal nerves need serotonin & all that to interpret signals coming from the body to the brain... too little and any sensation at all can be mistranslated as pain. Just from like, sitting. So the good news is that my ass is not constantly sore like it has been. My stomach, though, is a very different story. Even splitting the dose up is rough. I spent most of the last few hours trying to determine if I was going to puke or not.

Sleeping is also no-go. I'm sitting here yawning, and I will probably be able to fall asleep, but I get the feeling I'll be awake by 10am if I do. And I won't be able to go back to sleep. I'm cutting out Starbucks this week, partly to eliminate the extra caffeine, and partly because I can easily spend $40 a week on coffee. It's as bad as a pack-a-day cigarette habit.

The self-defeating or negative inner dialogue is very hard to shut down. Introspection is hard to shut down. Comparing myself to everyone around me is hard to shut down. But I've never benefitted much from positive affirmations so there's nothing to replace the inner dialogue. Just mindfulness, which also backfires because I start thinking about how tedious another 40 years or so of doing some inane task will be... and the silence that I had on the first few days of the Zoloft is fading. 

Which is why I continue to focus on the physical symptoms and don't allow myself to just write. It could get ugly in here.
perzephone: madness takes its toll. please have exact change. (exact change)
Splitting the dose up worked better. Spent most of last night w/an upset stomach, which is better than being ravenous. I'm fat, but damn, I don't 'live to eat'. I don't even like to think about food anymore. I'm waiting for the day when we have nutritionally complete food cubes. Being hungry all the time sucks. With all of Rob's new allergies (or his imagined allergies), we don't even keep 'food' in the house, so I kept ending up in the kitchen looking at nothing, wondering to myself, "Why the fuck did I come in here again?".

Had one of my 'I'd rather be invisible' nights last night. I used to like attention, used to like people seeing me. I used to be shocking and bawdy on purpose so people would notice me.

Now, not so much. The casino was extremely crowded last night, and I just felt like I was in everyone's way. I got called to work out front because we had a fairly large line, and instead of popping into the suicide window like I normally would (the one where the line leads up to), I hid behind a pillar & answered phones.

I don't know what happened to me.
perzephone: madness takes its toll. please have exact change. (exact change)
Taking 2 Zoloft isn't too terrible. It's not real great, either. I felt borderline sick all day yesterday. Headachey, nauseous. Sort of weirdly out-of-breath, like I couldn't take a full, deep inhalation. I think I'm going to split the pills up into 2 doses.

Some of the hunger has subsided, which is a relief.

I got some silk embroidery thread w/the tax return. The colors are amazing.
perzephone: madness takes its toll. please have exact change. (exact change)
Time to up the dose to 50mg. I'm trying 2 25mg at the same time, if things get weird I'll split them up.

So far, nothing too weird. Other than the fact that I'm horny & hungry all the time. Sooooo fucking hungry. I mean, I keep ending up in the kitchen. It's a good thing we have no readily edible food in there. Same for the snack machine at work. I bought nuts, just because they're relatively harmless. This is the first time in my life I've ever been concerned about weight-gain.

I guess it's a plus that along with the constant hunger, there's nausea and the knotted stomach feeling. So I'm starving but slightly nauseous so I don't actually want to eat. The nausea subsides once I eat, for a little while. At least, until I get hungry again. It's ridiculous.

I should blog more, but... eh. It's the Valentine season in the Dragon Cave. Previous Holiday dragons are now unlimited. About fucking time. I'm supposed to do things that distract myself, and DC is distracting. As is WoW, and the dog and reading and embroidery... and food. Good Gods, food. Blogging is not distracting because I start thinking about how fucked up things are for me, and I'm supposed to shut off the negative self-dialogue.

All I can think about is dissociation. How often I do it, how it is a defense mechanism, how easy it is to slip into... and I wonder if I've ever meditated at all, or if it's all been dissociation, or maybe meditation has made it worse... and sleep. When I was little I slept a lot at odd times. I could be awake all night but when it came time to go to school, I'd drop off into the deepest slumber imaginable. Same with when I went to live w/my cousin. It was almost like narcolepsy. If I knew I would be getting beat when she got home, I couldn't fight the sleep off. Math classes were naptime, too. And now at work. I keep telling people this is the year I get fired for sleeping on the job.

At least I am getting some relief people to train at work.

I go back to the therapist on the 20th.

perzephone: madness takes its toll. please have exact change. (exact change)
I'm scary today.

At the behest of my husband, I cleaned my desk off. We were going to hang a stag skull over my desk, but Rob had marred the skull considerably trying to remove a broken section. I don't really care, but he wants it to look nice, so I told him to just take the antlers for his projects. We've already got the nice one over the front door. Him & Bob are buddies.

I started gathering up all the little scraps of paper that my desk accumulates. Song titles, shopping lists, business cards, favorite quotes, reminders of things to do... and I decided to put together a contact list for Rob. Just in case something happened to me (or to him, for that matter). So everything would be handy, in one easy to reach place.

I'm telling myself that it's just in case I end up in mental health care. But I really know it's suicide. It used to just sort of be an OCD-type thing. It was always there, circulating in my head, an easy answer to anything. This time, there's a feeling like I'm trying to put things in order. I know it's bad, I know I should tell someone, but I feel like a puppet. There's an inevitability about it. I don't think it's the Zoloft, because it started before I went to the pshrink. That's why I went to the pshrink in the first place.

I can honestly say this is the worst it's ever been.
perzephone: madness takes its toll. please have exact change. (exact change)
I have felt a little strange all day. There's a tightness in my solar plexus. I also feel like I'm right on the brink of bursting into tears for no reason whatsoever. The brain-silence comes & goes.

I managed to wash all the dishes.

This past week, there's been some nausea coupled with extreme hunger. But when I sit down to eat, I can't eat that much because my stomach is knotted. The pshrink took me off the Elavil so I could get a baseline w/the Zoloft, and as a result, if something wakes me up I can't go back to sleep. Yay.
perzephone: madness takes its toll. please have exact change. (exact change)
Anti-depressants have a weird effect on me.

My brain is very quiet. I feel like I've reached my center while meditating, without all the meditation. It's weird. Feels kind of like the moments right before I fall asleep. It's the 4am of the mind. I just noticed it, too. It's been there all day, on and off. And there's a detachment that goes along with it.

The lights in the room suddenly got brighter, too. Not painfully, just noticeably.

I know it takes about a month or so before the 'full effects' really kick in, but there are always precursors. The brain-silence has been there for all the various anti-ds I've tried.

It's been windy all day. Tomorrow is trash day. Typical.
perzephone: madness takes its toll. please have exact change. (exact change)
So here I am, back at the blank page.

Depression, suicidal ideation, same ol story. Went back to the pshrink. Started Zoloft at 25mg. At least I didn't wake up to screamingly bright lights like I did w/Paxil, lol.

It's this cycle. I'll never get off it. All I can do is ride it out & hope for the upticks. I'm trying not to sabotage another job. At 40 and w/the economy the way it is I'll never get hired anywhere again.

I'm supposed to do things that, even if they are fleeting, distract me out of my abject misery. Play with the dog, watch action flicks, that kind of thing. Tried to engage the dog in play-time, the dog was less than impressed. I cannot depend on others for distraction. Watched an episode of Boardwalk Empire, which is a decent drama with good characters, and there were a lot of interesting plot twists in the episode we watched tonight, so I had a full hour of distraction.

perzephone: madness takes its toll. please have exact change. (exact change)
At one point, after receiving my degree and failing miserably at a job that was in my career path, and having to return to a former employer, I began having very strong urges to kill myself. Obviously, I didn't or this blog would be exceedingly creepy right now. I've had failed attempts in the past, and the onus of yet another failed attempt is about the only thing that stopped me. Even without making another attempt, I couldn't get my head to shut up about it. Suicide became a cyclical solution to every situation, no matter how big or small.

Me: "I don't want to go to work tonight" 
My brain: "You could kill yourself, then you won't have to go".

Me: I don't want to get up.
My brain: You could kill yourself instead.

Me: I don't really want salmon for dinner.
My brain: Kill yourself. No more salmon. Problem solved.

I went to a therapist, a couple of them, as a matter of fact. I tried a couple of antidepressants, and Wellbutrin finally shut the OCD suicide voice up (I had to stop taking the Wellbutrin because along with stopping the suicidal ideation, it also made all sleeping stop).  I'm still depressed, still have occasional suicidal ideation, but it's not a constant backbeat to the rhythm of my days.

This article is interesting to me mainly because of the first point about how failure is a strong indicator of suicide. I may have a poor resilience to failure. My life has not been greatly successful. I have a decent job, a decent home, but I'm not a raving success at anything I do. You'd think that when I do fail, I'd be used to it... but I think it's a matter of degree. Getting my puny little Associates was a struggle. Just sticking with it, not quitting before I failed miserably (which was my prediction - starting school only to be stymied by math classes or social anxieties or lack of funds or any of the other things that could have stopped me from completing my degree), it took a huge toll on my emotions and when I finally got my degree it was such a relief to be done with it. And I was working in the IT field, which was also a battle. I got the job hoping to learn and advance, but apparently my boss didn't hire me for IT work, she hired me to be an office assistant... One thing led to another and I ended up quitting & going back into night audit.

It was a huge failure for me. The one job I thought I'd be good at, the one thing I thought I could succeed at - nope. Failed. And I took it extremely hard. Thinking about it now it's just one more failure in the long line of previous failures - time, experience and perspective puts a buffer on things like that. It seems kind of stupid to kill yourself over a job, or not being able to work in your degree field. Millions of people out there right now experienced the same thing I did, or are experiencing the same thing I did, and they go on living. What should make me any different?
perzephone: (bad ducky)
I'm having some trouble adjusting to the estrogen (I think). Or it may be the result of running out of Elavil. Or stress over losing my health insurance. Or holiday/gettin' older blues. Or or or.

Actually, I don't know what it is exactly. I'm in a funk. Not the good kind of Parliament-raise-the-roof-funk, either. Just a don't-want-to-do-anything-surly-black-cloud kind of funk.

I don't want to get any older. I've somehow turned into a gerascophobe. Usually I'm pretty good at dealing with things I cannot avoid. I push through them, I don't worry about them, and I move on. Yes, I will die. No problem. Death may be painful. No problem. Yes, I will have to work until I die. No problem - not the greatest way to spend my life, but I have to do it if I want to maintain my current level of electricity-and-indoor-plumbing/hot-water-availability dependence. Yes, the world is going to hell in a hand basket. No problem. But the closer to 40 I get the less I want to go past it.

I work (and I'm stuck all night) in an office full of old women right now, and that's a good portion of why I want to step down from auditing & go back to being a desk clerk. I can't take the old women conversations any more. Every thing they talk about exacerbates the feelings I have about getting old. Old age doesn't seem like a comfortable place to be. You lose your independence, your body betrays you in new & interesting (not to mention disgusting) ways, you become fearful and paranoid of everyday occurrences, you start to worry about the weirdest stuff - or worrying about weird stuff becomes magnified and overly important (like dryer lint - the mother-in-law calls us to remind us to clean the dryer lint trap at least once a week, because of dryer fires... and those other old women call their kids about it, too), your mind finishes going wherever it started to go when it started to go, and now, thanks to better nutrition and medical care, you end up being old for a really long time compared to the time you had when you were young. I miss the days when the average human lifespan was like, 50 - and if you lived to 50 you were fucking ancient.

It seems so ridiculous to worry about something like getting old. It happens to everyone, everyone probably shares the same concerns as I do, but it's inevitable. Whenever I see people on t.v., and one person is telling another person about how they're worried about getting older, the other person (especially if they are older) always responds with something like, "Don't be ridiculous, oh my God you're so shallow, oh, grow some balls, get over it, cry me a river, etc. etc." No one ever gets any sympathy for it. Fear and phobias aren't something that get much sympathy to begin with. Everyone seems to view a person who is phobic of something mundane is just looking for attention or being ridiculous in some form (unless it's snakes. For some reason, it's ok to be afraid of snakes. Except to herpetologists & snake fanciers, in which case, well, you're being ridiculous. Here, hold this python. See, he's not slimy, he's not biting you, he's not trying to tempt you with an apple... Hey, where are you going?! Come back! Look, he really just wants to give you a hug!!!)

I'm not a sympathetic person, I don't know why I'd expect some sympathy or understanding for me not wanting to get old. I feel like I can't even talk to anyone about it because I anticipate hearing the same platitudes as I hear on t.v. shows. I brought it up to the therapists I went to see, and they didn't even seem to acknowledge it or want to address it, and I felt like every time I'd try to bring it up, they'd want to move on from it. I felt like I was being dismissed. "Oh, we can't fix that because it's not a problem, you're just being ridiculous. Here, let's talk about why you're fat instead..." I know the Wellbutrin hasn't helped. If anything, by removing the constant desire to commit suicide, it's given my brain more space to think about getting old. And of course, the only way to prevent aging is to die. Hah hah, Wellbutrin, take that!

I know me stepping down from audit is a hassle to management. Having to train a replacement is a hassle. But I feel like I can't even talk to the management about why I want to step down. I can't even talk to Rob about it because he thinks I'm being ridiculous, too. I basically lied to them all, said I don't like the level of support we get from IT anymore, the general unavailability of management, lack of experience or knowledge of OPERA, wanting to have a different schedule so I could go to a concert or spend time w/people who may come to Vegas on an actual calendar weekend... If I was able to work in the manager's office, away from the old ladies, I'd stay night auditor because, eh, even though they are real issues, I don't really give a rat's ass about any of the other things. I just don't want to hear about being old anymore. But I can't exactly complain about the PBX crew, because they aren't doing anything wrong, they're not interfering w/my job, and I'm the one who has the problem.

I've even thought about hooking up w/people who are about 15 years younger than myself in an effort to 'get my groove back'. Then I talk to them a little bit, and feel even older. I don't think I'll be taking up residence in Cougartown any time soon.
perzephone: (bad ducky)
Been thinking about the whole avoidant thing, and me always wanting to fix people. As my relief auditor stood crying behind my chair last night, talking about how she had to leave early, I felt the same wave of disgust as I get when I smell a baby with a full diaper, or witness the changing of a full diaper.

Emotional leakage grosses me out.

I know a lot of it is my fucked-up childhood. I was not allowed to cry over tiny things, like being scared by a spider or worm. I was not allowed to cry if I hurt myself, or something accidental happened that caused me to be injured. When I chopped off one of my fingers with the edge of a brick, I didn't cry - until my mother whopped me for cutting my own finger off. I was not allowed to cry when I was getting hit or spanked or slapped or whatever. Whenever I would start to cry, my mother or father would inevitably holler, "What are you crying for? Do you want me to give you something to cry about?!" Uh, no, thanks, you're already hitting me. I also wasn't encouraged to display emotional highs, either. No loud laughing, no loud talking, and definitely no yelling, loud squealing or screaming. I could sit and destroy the coffee table with a lit candle & wax, but Gods forbid I run indoors, or rough-house with the dogs inside. One of the worst beatings I received was for yelling at my mother. She slapped me, and then my dad came home & flayed me with a belt. I always heard about my sisters receiving welting beatings from our mother, but that was the first, and only, time I'd experienced it. Overtly emotional expression was just a no-no. The mere thought of acting up in public was blasphemy - and the one time I did (I don't know what I did, maybe I was reaching for stuff on the shelves, who knows really, other than whatever it was annoyed my mother), I was in the kiddy-seat section of a grocery cart, so I couldn't have been older than 3. My mother intentionally tipped the thing over, with me in it, and let all the cans & bottles fall onto me. So throwing a tantrum in public? Oh hell no.

As a result, I find myself very judgmental (I was going to say 'disciplined', but I don't think the way I feel about other people expressing their feelings is politically correct to put into a positive term) when it comes to appropriate and acceptable emotional reactions. There really are none, at least not in public. PDAs gross me out (public displays of affection, not personal desktop assistants, even though I don't really appreciate Blackberrys & iPads & iPhones & 'droids as much as I'm apparently supposed to - and so many people never wash their hands, so in a way, those PDAs kind of gross me out, too). I don't watch romantic comedies (unless they are fully stocked with zombies) or 'feel-good' movies because I get uncomfortable during them. All that touchy-feely sisterhood crap, female bonding, ugh. I think I probably get more uncomfortable during emotional scenes in chick flicks than I do gross-out scenes in bromances. I mean, at least movies like The Hangover just go for the gross-out, they are not aiming at my PDA sensors.

I tend to take it as a matter of pride and self-discipline that I can control my emotional responses. Not only did my early life train me, but I've worked on it myself, along with the ability to ignore physical distractions. I meditated for long stretches of time just to see if I could sit there and hold my bladder, ignore hunger or thirst, itches, cramps, a buzzing fly or wasp or mosquito (the red ant hill experiment didn't go well), heat, cold, you name it. I took the ascetic path before I took the ecstatic one. It's got to be something severe to elicit a noticeable reaction from me. Anger is the one exception, because it helps me keep people at arm's length. Most of the time, I'm not as angry as I let on, and I have to expend considerable energy to act that angry in the first place. When I fell due to the broken cyst in my leg, I screamed because it startled me. I was more upset at the fact that my leg suddenly and unexpectedly folding under me made me scream than I was at the fact that my leg gave out in the first place. When the dog bit my nipple, I screamed then, too. Only I don't feel as embarrassed about that scream because, fuck, that shit hurt. But I think if I'd been out at the dog park and she'd done that, I probably would have limited it to a hiss of indrawn breath through my teeth, which is what I normally do when I get hurt.

Overt and exaggerated emotional responses bother me. Drama queens bother me. The dog will scratch Rob and he yells 'Ow!' at the top of his lungs. He sees a scorpion & starts hyperventilating. He gets angry or feels threatened and starts inventing torturous ways to kill someone. I've at least got him to stop acting out like that in public, and it took a few years. I let him know that not only is it disturbing to other people, but it embarrasses me and makes me dread going anywhere with him. And it was the one thing that I was not hesitant to voice while I was willing to let so much else go unnoticed or ignored or avoided. When I first met him, oh dear Gods... the scenes he used to make. I don't think my socializing him to the point that he is now was squelching his creativity or emotional needs, either, because you can't just walk around verbally threatening people with chainsaws. Especially now. One or two times is maybe funny, or eccentricity or might have been ominously cool when I was 12... constantly, and at 40, not so much.

All this introspection has led me to know that I am a little too good at controlling my emotions. No one knows when I'm hurt, or upset, or sad or happy or content or bored. I keep everything inside, and I do avoid opening up to other people. It used to be a defense mechanism. I moved around a lot as a kid & teen, rarely spent more than 5 or 6 months in one place. Not only did it hurt me to lose friends, it became harder & harder to make friends in the first place. So much of the time it didn't seem worth the effort, because just when I'd get comfortable around someone, I'd leave again. I justified it by telling myself I was protecting them as much as myself. Eventually though, the more acerbic and caustic I became, the more practiced I became at acting angry or intimidating, the less effort people put into getting to know me. Eventually, that became reinforced into 'no one really cares about me, or my problems, no one wants to hear about my inner life, I'm not interesting, I am beneath notice'. I've started and stopped so many things because I tell myself, 'no one will be interested in this, so why waste time and money on this?'. That's where the alcohol came in handy, because if I was drunk, I was interesting. I was also probably naked, and drunken naked people have loads of entertainment value.

I've been in Vegas for 10 years this stretch, and I don't have any friends, just co-workers and acquaintances. I've been keeping quiet on facebook, and no one has messaged me to find out how I'm doing, or why I quit posting as much. I've tapered off time from the pagan forum, and it's the same there. I'm not hurting about it - I understand the Internet Rules of Engagement, including the Narcissist Clause and Constant Poster/Post Count Amendments. But it does reinforce that whole "I'm not interesting enough to be curious about if I'm not around" thing, which is getting close to "no one would care if I wasn't here at all" territory.

A few of the articles and steps in the depression workbook mentioned that to help get past avoidant behavior was to stop trying to fix everyone and everything. People don't always want advice or troubleshooting, sometimes people just need someone to listen to them and offer understanding or sympathy. I can respect that, because sometimes I don't want friendly advice or troubleshooting either (and it gives me another reason to avoid engaging in conversations, so I'm all for it).

Another bit of advice is to become emotionally invested in other people's emotions, to honestly and deeply care about how other people are feeling. I don't think I have it in me. I'm surrounded by unhappy people, and all they ever talk about is how unhappy they are. It can be from little fixable things, like monitor position or chair height, or unfixable things like relationships and chronic health problems, but it seems like this is all anyone focuses on. I work with a gaggle of older women, and all night I hear the one-up game. Arthritis, rheumatism, Lyme disease, cancer, anxiety, dietary problems, weight problems... every night it's the same heavy rotation. Like a radio station with a DJMixMaster2000 of 'oh, you think you've got it bad'. I'm unhappy, too, but I don't put requests in to play my song continuously (except here, on blog sweet blog). Rob's and my families have taken the 'oh you think you've got it bad' tango to new all-time highs, too. I mean, just once I'd like to hear about someone's financial troubles, or maybe car problems - it would still be complaining, but it'd be a change.

I understand that some people enjoy being the center of attention, but there are so many other ways to get it without having to resort to flapping leaky emotional diapers around. If my bawling co-worker had come to me, earlier in the week, and told me, "hey, I don't think I can handle doing audit by myself yet", I would have been understanding. I would have made arrangements to either come in for a few hours and get her through the flaming hoops or switch days or something. She didn't have to invoke trauma and emergency LOAs.

What I need to do is make a friend or two, in real flesh-and-blood, someone who is not Rob, but someone completely different. My friendship criteria is so high, though. For one, they'd have to put up with Rob, who is poorly socialized and makes everything awkward for everyone. Then there's the dog hair issue. Every surface in my home is covered in dog hair. I'd want a geeky or intellectual friend, someone who is genuinely more interested in the external world than the internal one. I'd like to have someone I could sit around and talk with about emerging technologies, philosophy, quantum physics, green science, street art, the decline of western civilization as a whole. Like the friends I had in high school, when we were all 'gifted and talented' or 'AP', when we all had time to speculate about the future. Someone less focused on using me as a confessional or soft shoulder and more focused on an exchange of ideas, someone who also isn't focused on trying to get me to complain about things. And someone who wouldn't mind being up at 3am. It's hard to find people like that, especially here. Everyone works different shifts and has different days off. I'm skittish about using sites like meetup, because I'm convinced that everyone who is determined, excited and makes a serious effort to meet you IRL from the Internet is a serial killer or a Nigerian bank-scammer. I'm also not real hip to being on the phone or texting. I need face-time, need to sit and watch a bad movie with someone who can help me provide MST3K-like dialogue. I need a partner in crime who will commiserate with me in devious acts of an antiestablishment but highly amusing nature.

Probably not going to find one where I'm going though, which is to bed, and probably back to work tonight.
perzephone: (bad ducky)
I've been reading the depression workbook I bought, lo those many weeks ago. I've come to find that it's written from a Christian perspective. The religion thing pops up in unexpected places, but it's not too heavy-handed, so I can deal with it. It made me wonder if there are any good resources for Pagans with mental & emotional disorders, but I haven't had much of an opportunity to shop around.

The book is basically reinforcing all the things I feel about myself. It has all these checklists of 'if you feel _____, then do _______'. I tend to be like, well, I wasn't feeling or thinking about _____, but I am now. Thanks, workbook, for bringing that particular problem up and sticking words in my face.

It also has surveys of personality types. I can check off a couple of things from each, like any person answering a generalized questionnaire. I've got one or two points in 'histrionic', 'narcissistic' (which, from what I've been reading, isn't even considered a personality disorder anymore since the widespread use of social media turned everyone into a narcissist), a couple in 'borderline'... but in 'avoidant' I can check off almost all the pertinent points. I'm starting to wonder if I'm not just avoidant, but if it's at the stage of being a personality disorder.

This is what WHO says about it:

The ICD-10 Classification of Mental and Behavioral Disorders
World Health Organization, Geneva, 1992
F60.6 Anxious (Avoidant) Personality Disorder

Personality disorder characterized by at least 3 of the following:

(x) persistent and pervasive feelings of tension and apprehension;
(x) belief that one is socially inept, personally unappealing, or inferior to others;
(x) excessive preoccupation with being criticized or rejected in social situations;
(x) unwillingness to become involved with people unless certain of being liked;
(x) restrictions in lifestyle because of need to have physical security;
(x) avoidance of social or occupational activities that involve significant interpersonal contact because of fear of criticism, disapproval, or rejection.

And the DSM:

DSM-IV Criteria for Avoidant Personality Disorder (301.82)*

A pervasive pattern of social inhibition, feelings of inadequacy, and hypersensitivity to negative evaluation, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by four (or more) of the following:

(x) avoids occupational activities that involve significant interpersonal contact, because of fears of criticism, disapproval, or rejection
(x) is unwilling to get involved with people unless certain of being liked
(x) shows restraint within intimate relationships because of the fear of being shamed or ridiculed
(x) is preoccupied with being criticized or rejected in social settings
(x) is inhibited in new interpersonal situations because of feelings of inadequacy
(x) views self as socially inept, personally unappealing, or inferior to others
(x) is unusually reluctant to take personal risks or to engage in any new activities because they might prove embarrassing.

But the only thing I'll tell any of this to is my blog, which no one (at least, that I know closely enough to not want to reveal vulnerabilities to) reads. I can avoid the living fuck out of almost anything that prompts an emotional response. I've also found out that many avoidant types are chronic advisors. I try to fix things. Especially if someone is complaining. I hate complaints - fucking fix the problem & stop whining. Now, almost anyone will offer advice to someone who is having a problem. One reason is that the advisor sincerely wants to help. Another reason is that no one likes to hear bad news or about unhappiness in a friend's or acquaintance's life. Me, the avoider/ignorer of everything? I want to fix stuff so the emotionally revealing person will go away and leave me alone. And if I can't fix them, I don't want to be around them because they're always complaining about something. Usually something easily resolved (at least in my eyes). It's why I avoid my sisters. All they do is bitch. It's why I like to avoid my co-workers (at any job) - I work alone so I can avoid constant complaints. It's not just complaints, though - I avoid anyone who seems to want to talk about their 'feelings'. I avoid talking about myself to the point of not talking to anyone in a public setting above & beyond the job at hand. I've got to know someone for decades before I will talk about myself to them. But, of course, the one drawback to never talking about myself is that I'm considered 'a good listener', so people want to talk to me even more about their feelings. Which I cannot fix.

Weird shit goes through my head when I'm winding down from work, and I start investigating this kind of stuff, and it's really the worst thing I could be doing. I'm feeling seriously avoidant right now, of everything and everyone, and it's mostly related to feeling completely at a loss at work. This whole computer change has placed me on a level playing field with everyone else, and now whenever anyone asks me anything, I go on instant defense, usually followed by something offensive. I'm like, "I don't know. I wasn't trained well. Find someone else who may have a better grasp of the new program. I'm still missing money from Tuesday, for Gods' sakes! Now get the Hel off my ass so I can add this stuff up!" What's worse is when they ask me something more policy-related than procedural. I can find room blocks that are sitting somewhere, unoccupied & messing with the occupancy percentage, but no one told me what, exactly, we should do about them. I can also find rooms running at zero rate, which messes w/the ADR, but once again, what should we do about it? My guess is as good (and potentially worse) than anyone else's. I'm second-guessing every single thing I do, and I'm even more worried about the whole mess because no one's answered any of my e-mails and no one's called me about missing things, which means that right now, they don't know what's missing, and I could end up with like, 6 months of backtracking to do in about, oh, 4 months.

At least it rained a little this morning. Thank you, Great Mystery, for that. And it's a new moon, so Selene is hiding Herself away on Her own.


perzephone: (Default)
Rainbow Serpent Woman

August 2014

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