perzephone: (cunty day)
Thanks, Zoloft! 

So far I've lost my religion & broken a drunk guy's heart. What else can I fuck up?

And the radio is conspiring against me - playing a bunch of sappy songs like I Can't Make You Love Me & That's Why They Call It the Blues. Oh, and let's not forget Purple Rain. Fuck you, Sunny 106.5*. 

Josh has all these dreams about stealing me away, getting a boat & taking me to Tahiti or something. Getting a dog & naming it Gilligan. I don't know... and now he's drunk & angry & hurt. Hopefully tomorrow he will only be hung over & will still make it to work. 

I have to be brutally honest, though. I've got a personality disorder to contend with, and it's horrible enough that I don't really feel anything for my husband. I'm not dragging anyone else down with me. I have regrets about what I've done to other people emotionally because of my trust/abandonment/personality problem, and my drinking. I'm gun-shy of any kind of meaningful relationships with anyone. I'd like friendships & romances, but I am not emotionally capable of supporting anyone else. I've got a lot in common with psychopaths/sociopaths as far as using people to get what I want without giving anything in return. I make no emotional investments, can't make any emotional investments, so I don't feel any pain. All I can do is pretend.  

Oh well, doesn't matter, got a dick pic out of it. 

(*originally I cursed BobFM. It wasn't Bob's fault.)

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'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)
I stopped going to the shrink, other than to get my Wellbutrin refills. I think the Wellbutrin is actually helping me, for what it's worth. I don't dwell on suicide as often, I have more energy, I feel more able to cope with everyday challenges. I'm sleeping better & having dreams more frequently. All that good shit.

I've been doing more research on avoidance/APD/avoidant personality, and dealing with personality issues and disorders in general. In a way, it's helped me accept myself a tad more. All this time I've just felt like there was something wrong with me. Not just that vague uneasiness that people get from time to time, but honestly terribly wrong in that 'potential serial killer' wrong way. There is this constant lack of emotional depth. I don't have empathetic or sympathetic feelings, nothing really touches me deep inside, I'm emotionally detached and even all my doctors' paperwork states I have a 'noticeable lack of affect' (I got to read all this while shuttling authorizations back & forth to the gyno & hospital before my surgery). In other words, I'm emotionally shallow and unavailable. Except anger. I'm good with anger. I can get frustrated, annoyed, irritated, ticked off, pissed off and angry with little or no effort. I can express the fuck out of anger, too.

Society is down on people who are anti-social and emotionally uninvolved. People are supposed to be communal creatures and foster a need to be around other people. The 'loner' stereotype isn't favorable. Other people are suspicious of those who prefer to be alone. There's an assumption that loners are shady or mentally ill. Everyone's supposed to be confident and easy-going in social situations, and if you aren't 'you need to get over it'. I've always operated under the automatic assumption that no one likes me. It doesn't matter if it's true or not, it's just what I've always believed. No one likes me, life is one eternal Pig Party - and I'm the pig. When I started seeking a therapist this time around, I was hoping to get some insight into overcoming this belief, maybe be more outgoing, make some friends - but the more I went to the therapists, the less inclined I was to want to actually try any of their suggestions - and attempts made me want to drink heavily. Along with the assumption that no one likes me, I have the automatic assumption that anything I try to do will fail. So I started focusing on my work ethic and building confidence to move forward, make goals and plans, and act on those goals and plans. But I still feel paralyzed to break out of my rut because I know I'll fail, and it will cost me money. Even the things that don't cost money cost something in other ways. Failure is expensive.

Right now, it's not a problem. I can still function in my day-to-day life. I can get out of bed, stay clean, I go to work, I come home, I pay bills, I make meals, sometimes I even clean my house. I don't need emotional involvement to do any of those things. It wasn't until I stopped drinking often that this stuff started coming to the surface, anyway. Self-medication ftw. But now that I know what the true issue is, I'm torn between wondering if I should do more to 'fix' it or if I should just accept it as being who I am. I've asked Rob about my behavior and actions, and he says that I'm emotionally available enough for him and the dog, and I don't behave in a hurtful fashion. We can communicate, too.

My only worry about embracing my true nature or inclinations is that it will make things worse. I always hear stuff about the old loners - people who were so enmeshed in their mental illnesses that they locked themselves away and died and weren't found for weeks or months. That worries me - not dying, but the not being found in a timely fashion once I've died. I'm thankful that I don't really like cats, because cats eat dead people on a regular basis. That's not how I want to get to the Underworld...

The clincher that makes me lean towards acceptance is that being avoidant is so damned convenient. If I embrace my personality issue, I have a legitimate reason to back out of anything that requires emotional involvement. When a debate moves from logic into emotion, I can just stop & walk away. I don't have to stick to any political or idealogical agenda. I can avoid competition because honestly, I don't have that good ol' competitive spirit. I don't have to force myself to stick with anything or anyone. I could use it as an excuse when people try to push themselves on me, or if I get singled out for praise, which makes me very uncomfortable. Of course, using avoidance as an excuse is deplorable to me, except when it's useful.
perzephone: (bad ducky)
Yeah, not really.

I need to stop reading psychological stuff on the Internet. It's busting my self-image & self-esteem to pieces.

I say fucked up things on a fairly regular basis. I just have the knack for dark humor, and I appreciate the delicate interplay of the Universe and its creations, especially as the Universe tortures its creations in new and exciting ways. Many of my family and facebook 'friends/acquaintances/friend collectors' did not find any appreciation whatsoever in a recent string of articles involving horrific eye injuries and my accompanying puns, but as one of my few irl friends put it, it was like the Universe just handed me these things on a silver platter. How could I turn my back on the opportunity so freely given? I also calculated the potential of future repercussions from utilizing my vast collection of eyeball jokes, found the risks acceptable and forged ahead.

Many times, when other people blurt out something fucked up, or wrong, or inappropriate black humor at inappropriate times, they respond to criticism with apologies of "oh, I didn't mean it that way", or "it just slipped out", or the most common, "I just didn't think before I said that".

Not me. I plan my shittiness out in advance. I never have a conversation where I don't mean anything I say. I never say anything without initially gauging possible responses to what I'm about to say, and then pre-organizing my responses to those potentialities. In short, I play 'word chess' in my head before I open my mouth. When I was younger and wittier, the moves happened relatively quickly. Now the result of word chess is always feeling like I'm about 5 moves behind, but saying things anyway. The Internet is extremely appealing to me because I can come into a conversation, quote the poster above me and still stay relevant. In person, not so much. A planned sentence doesn't come out so well-worded when initialized by, "yeah, that thing you guys were talking about 5 minutes ago? Here's my say on it..."

At any rate, I've always prided myself on my verbal integrity. If I lie I lie well - not that I ever lie... I just tell stories. I choose words carefully, I don't squander them trying to make unsuitable words fit what I'm trying to say, I don't trail off vaguely and hope whoever is listening absorbs my point by osmosis, I'm concise and efficient when I talk. And I plan almost every word out. I don't know when the habit started, or why I became so proud of my verbal self-control, but it has served me well. Whether I am trying to get an abstract concept across or start chaotic in-fighting, I can use words to my advantage.

According to a bunch of things I've been reading up on, for me it's not a skill or a talent. It's a symptom. It's also a warning-sign to people who live with or around someone with avoidance issues (and sociopaths). "Does this person seem to plan conversations in advance? Do they choose their words in an overly controlled fashion? Do they use very precise terminology when having casual small talk?" All those warning signals that you are dealing with someone who is fucked up in the head. It goes along with me exerting a lot of effort to not display emotional responses in public, or getting angry at myself when I do. There's not a lot in my world that I can honestly pride myself on, but at least I know my willpower comes from inside me. But all of my self-control & self-discipline regarding how I act/react in public hasn't really been in my control or under my will, it's been an automatic defensive response mechanism.

Yesterday morning, I was playing hand-under-the-blanket with Chelsie, and she managed to pinch my palm with her front nippy teeth. Hard. I yelped, immediately felt that flush of anger/shame at having a verbal outburst, felt my chest tighten up & my breathing go from belly to just below my neck, and when Rob inevitably called from the bathroom, "are you ok?!" it got worse because he heard me. I gritted my teeth and told myself, "I am not mad at the dog for biting me (and I wasn't - when I yelped she looked at me like I had just kicked her), and I am not mad at Rob for being concerned. It is ok to make a noise when I am unexpectedly injured". Not that it was all that unexpected - the dog was pouncing & biting at the hand that I was moving under the blanket deliberately, we've played the game before, but the front-teeth nip right on my open palm was unexpected, and I fully expected to get a blood-blister from it. I then told Rob what had happened & forced myself to belly-breathe. I mean, I don't physically punish myself for getting hurt, but I get so intensely pissed off and then I just ride that anger until I can unleash it on an innocent bystander at some later date and time. It was hard to stop myself in the middle of the reaction, and even harder to not snap at Rob for acknowledging my existence.

Now I really do get to see what mettle I'm made of, I guess. If I can channel all of what I have believed to be self-discipline & will-power into scenarios like yesterday morning, maybe I can get over a few hurdles. The procrastination/over-exaggerated risk thing is something I'm not ready to tackle yet.
perzephone: (better living through modern chemistry)
Been on Wellbutrin for about a month. Can't say it's really helping me any, but I do have a tad bit more energy & some of the generic achiness is gone. I've been trying to ween off the Elavil, and I think I've forgotten to take it at all over the past week, and I woke up almost exactly four hours after falling asleep this morning. Yeah, don't think that's going to work.

Avoidant personality disorder (as opposed to just having an avoidant personality) happens to be one of the lesser researched personality disorders. Part of the problem is that it shares so many traits with social phobia/anxiety, antisocial personality disorder, schizoid/schizophrenia, the autism spectrum, and has also been called 'hypersensitivity'. Personality disorders usually prevent, or interfere with, normal everyday lives. APD means a person doesn't just avoid their emotions, but also anything that might stir up emotions, especially dealing with other human beings, meaning they usually withdraw completely. They have a hard time keeping a job because the minute they get comfortable they run, and it's the same for relationships. A lot of people who have the dreaded fear of commitment (including people who abandon their families) may have APD.

According to the shrink, the personality types are still valid models, and yes, I am avoidant. I probably do not have an actual personality disorder because I can still go about my daily activities, which in our world today relates more to me being able to hold down a steady job than it does my internal life and relationships. That doesn't mean my behavior cannot develop into a full-blown disorder (or may actually be APD but I've coped by finding jobs where I'm relatively isolated so it doesn't count), and as a matter of fact, unless I take active steps to stop certain behaviors, I may end up w/other problems surfacing as I get older.

I make a lot of automatic assumptions without testing them. I automatically assume no one wants to hear what I have to say about anything, so I don't talk much. I automatically assume no one wants to get to know me, so even if someone interests me, I don't make any 'first moves'. I automatically think anyone who tries to get to know me is going to earn my trust and confidence - and then find some way to humiliate me - so I don't let other people get close.

I do, every once in awhile, try to break out of my shell & engage in a conversation. For me, since I don't have much practice, that means saying strange things at strange times. Which makes people look at me like I'm nuts, or move away from me a few feet, and reinforces my belief that no one wants to hear what I have to say, or get to know me. I have a hard time getting involved in 'girl talk', too. The longest conversation I've had in a long time is with a kid at my job who likes zombie culture. We sat & went over our plans for making it through the impending apocalypse for about 15 minutes. Zombies are not a widespread topic of discussion among my other co-workers, unlike being fat, reality t.v., dating & make-up.

I also seem to be in a codependent marriage that reads like a Godsdamned text-book case study.

Type IV avoidants hide out in a codependent relationship with one person to avoid having healthy relationships with many people. They sink into one relationship to avoid all others. Some are dependent on their family. Others are dependent on a lover with whom they form a merger relationship that protects them from the anxiety associated with relationships outside of the primary relationship. - from Distancing: Avoidant Personality Disorder, Revised and Expanded by Martin Kantor, MD.

I didn't even have to read the whole book to find that, either, just the frikkin blurb on amazon. Rob has issues, including social anxiety/phobia, he's a loner & a homebody. Many times I find myself justifying not inviting people to the house (and preventing friendships) because, "well, if they want to be friends with me, they have to be friends with Rob, because he's a social retard, acts like an over-eager puppy around new people and generally finds some way to make everything awkward or alienate people or make them uncomfortable, and I can't make friends or do things without including Rob because he gets lonely & feels rejected", which for the most part is true but it's also horribly, horribly convenient for me. It gives me an excuse - as long as I'm with Rob I can keep everyone else (including, thankfully, my family) at arms' length. Same with our messy, cluttered, dog-hair covered house. Can't invite anyone over or reciprocate house invitations because, well, look at this dump. I've known that I use Rob as an excuse for a long time, but I finally brought it up to him & he was like, "I don't mind. I will continue to enable you and your avoidant behavior as long as you want me around". Gee, hun, thanks for your support (and yes, we've both been to AA, why did you ask?).

It's the automatic assumptions and tendency to be alone that could get worse as I get older. It means the difference between being eligible for organ donation when I die and no one knowing I've died until I start to smell (unless I go before Rob, in which case I may end up a mummified corpse somewhere in the house). I avoid dealing with stress as much as I avoid dealing with any other strong feeling, which is setting me up for some sort of vague cardiac incident in my future or something. I'm still not clear on how stress is a killer, but, whatever. The lack of social interaction and an inability to deal directly with my emotions is probably not helping the depression much.

I'm thinking part of my self-sabotage at the County might have been related to the fact that I was not as isolated as I'd hoped to be and was forced into dealing directly with stress-monkeys. Speaking of which, I don't like to work at our handicapped-accessible window at the front desk because it's got a low counter. Low counters mean people can reach out and touch you - and it's not always a handicapped person that's being helped out there. It's where the managers & supervisors tend to accumulate, so there are often very angry people within striking distance at that window. I now understand that my future employment choices are limited, meaning I would probably not be a good grief counselor because crying people are gross.

There are some natural advantages to being avoidant, at least for me. In a way, being able to cross a few choices off my 'what am I going to do when I grow up' list is a relief. I can accept and relax into the thought of working with technology more & people less. I've been thinking of myself as not being able to feel anything, but apparently what I do is prevent myself from feeling things strongly enough to embarrass myself by displaying my emotions - which means anything beyond a polite chuckle at an amusing circumstance. So, I'm not a drama queen. I keep all the emotional bullshit isolated and compartmentalized. I am not easily overwhelmed. I can be civil to anyone, including people I don't like. I avoid workplace drama just as easily as I avoid every-day drama. I avoid altercations. It's part of what gives me the ability to enjoy sex without feeling the need to be emotionally involved with whoever I'm fucking. I don't get jealous. I remain a stable anchor in chaotic or stressful times. No one ever knows where they stand with me, which is useful when plotting the downfall of my enemies.

I don't know, it puts me at a weird place. In a way, it seems like an excuse for being an isolated loner who hates other people and moves robotically through life. But in another way, it's a tool for understanding deeper motivations for my sometimes unfathomable behavior.
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.

Hypocrites

Jul. 14th, 2011 10:19 pm
perzephone: (bad juju)
Well, it was a decent night.

Here there be monsters )
perzephone: (bad ducky)
My therapy session the other day ran a little short due to me being late.

She's already asking if I want to just do once-a-month visits instead of every 2 weeks. I don't feel any better or different, though.

I don't know how to 'fix' me, either. I mean, I do stuff. I fill out my little goal lists and I do them and I cross them off, and I feel nothing one way or another. I've kind of run out of things to do. I don't feel good about accomplishing anything - I post 'Yay, I did the dishes!' & shit on facebook, but it's just words. Affirmations that I am at least alive, if nothing else. I still feel like nothing I do is worthwhile and I have no value as a meatbag. Obviously my therapist agrees with me or something, and I still haven't seen an actual shrink in since I stopped the Celexa, so I don't know if there's any drug on the planet that can make me feel good about doing whatever it is I do all day.

SMALL GOALS
- Pull weeds - Every time I attempt to weed, it gets windy. I'm not masochistic enough to stick to my guns about the damned weeds when it's windy. Las Vegas wind will skin you alive.
- Go through books, decide which ones to donate to library - with what free time? Who has time to go to the library? Not this gal.
- Pull the hula hoop out of my closet & start playing with it again - I've been doing this on & off for the past couple of weeks. Drives the dog nuts. In the same vein, we got an XBox 360 w/Kinect this past Tuesday. Rob tried it out & his hemorrhoids asploded. The XBox was returned the next morning because unless he's playing, I won't play w/it. I feel bad for Rob, but also annoyed because he should have known that doing squat-thrusts would have this effect.

MEDIUM GOALS
- Start walking the dog more religiously - Same problem as the weeds. We've had some remarkably crappy weather the past two or three months.
- Work with Rob to develop meal plans that will introduce some new dishes into my repertoire - Whenever I try to attempt a meal plan (or that whole notary thing), the job interferes (speaking of which, my life is going to be a complete and total Hel for the next two weeks. I'm getting my OPERA training at the expense of the quality of my life. 12-hour shifts for two fucking weeks).
- Go see the dietitian since I now have a referral - no point to this because of the meal vs. job conflicts
- Become a notary public - see above

BIG GOALS (that cost money)
- GET TO A DENTIST - Got my teef cleaned on Weds. afternoon. Went to a place called Lasting Smiles that specializes in sleep dentistry. The hygienist used a sonic water pick for a surface cleaning, & aside from getting stabbed in the gums by chunks of dislodged tartar, it was not a bad experience. I am considering a 'deep cleaning', which goes below the gum line, only because the small amount of damage I have is only about 2mm deep, and the sonic pick can be used. For the two cavities I get filled next week, I get 30mg of Valium & possibly nitrous oxide.
- Painting my bathroom - We have a bottle of wallpaper stripper to try out, as soon as I get the time
- Learn to ride a bike
- Get some plants for the yard
- Find a dance class or something to do
- these are off the list for now.
- Get my hysterectomy - sometime in September, once the OPERA conversion is done & over with.

BIG GOALS (that are cheap)
- Go somewhere once a week - do doctors & dentists count?
perzephone: (bad ducky)
It's something I see on the blogs & tweets & statuses of people w/chronic illness. I ran across it today in a cooking blog, but in the context of the post it didn't make sense.

"It's an easy dish, but not one I can make if I run out of spoons". Wtf is up w/that? Can't you just wash your damned spoons?

Because I don't know where it came from & I don't understand it, I finally googled it. "What does it mean when you 'run out of spoons'"?

I ran across The Spoon Theory, by Christine Miserandino. I finally understand the phrase, and her Spoon Theory makes a lot of sense. It's a great way to break down how much a big problem like lupus or fibro affects a person's life. I don't know if I'd ever use that particular phrase, "I've run out of spoons" or "I don't have enough spoons left" because I don't want to have to explain myself every time I say it or use it. But I could probably tell someone, "Look, I am having a no-energy-or-patience day. Don't fuck with me right now". And they might understand enough to not continue poking the bear.

I know that part of my healing process is going to be admitting that sometimes, yes, I am too depressed to do anything. Instead of making excuses for not wanting to go out, not wanting to do anything, not wanting to see people in large groups, maybe even not wanting to go to work, is that I am too depressed. My heart literally isn't in the game, I have no energy, no focus and my frustration levels are too easily agitated to deal with anything beyond staring at the ceiling. I am always telling people that they have to take time to honor their feelings, honor their illness, and honor themselves... but I never allow myself that luxury. I don't have time to honor my emotional state, and what's more, I don't need to honor my emotional state. Because, well, I have no emotional state, I am a robot, and I will go to work no matter how I think I feel.

I don't know if depression could be classified as an 'invisible illness'. I know for me personally, it is. I was a horrible actress in all my high school drama classes. I get stage fright, start stuttering, blow my lines, faint because ooops, I locked my knees, burst out in tears & run off the stage. But in a more improv setting, like work, I am a brilliant performer. No one would know anything was wrong with me. I chat with my coworkers, I bitch at my supervisors, I even occasionally have angry outbursts (like the night before last). In Christine M.'s words, acting at work eats up a lot of my spoons. I have a sit-on-my-ass-and-stare-at-a-computer-for-8-hours-a-night job, but I come home exhausted. I have no energy left for anything. People think I am this wise, centered but slightly dangerous old bear that they can come to when they have a problem. Rob's family doesn't know that anything is 'wrong' with me... I never feel like my depression is serious enough to warrant paying attention to because I get up and go to work, even on days when I feel like there is a ton of thick, gluey, clayey mud on my chest. Rob's probably the only one who sees me with my guard down, and even around him it's not all the way down. Me crunched up bawling in the bathtub with the shower running is me with my guard down, and I only do that when he's not home.

I went to yet another dentist earlier today, one that specializes in people who have dental anxiety... yeah, that went about as well as expected, but they'll give me a 10mg Valium for a cleaning. I don't know if benzos even work on me, but I'll find out on Wednesday. At any rate, after that, to put it in a spoon-like fashion, today I'm about out. I have one very small, tiny rusty spoon left to get to work on. I'm going to have to find more spoons somewhere because tomorrow I've got a therapy appointment and we're seeing Rob's folks to drop off Anton's early Father's Day card & balloons. Which will eat up my spoons for the rest of the week.
perzephone: (bad ducky)
I don't know about this whole therapy thing. My therapist has this 'Just Do It!' attitude, & I'm like, "It's not that easy!"

And then I feel like I'm on the verge of crying for the rest of the day.

It's been a bad week.

Losing my job, training someone to do a job they won't have in two months... and yesterday morning someone bought an expensive fucking teddy bear on my credit card from Build-A-Bear. I called Build-a-Bear & the representative was pretty much, "Oh, that item has shipped. There's nothing we can do about that fraudulent charge. Have a nice day". So I've been doing the passive-aggressive thing and posting all over the internet that Build-a-Bear does not care about online credit card fraud. Luckily, my bank/credit card company does care.

Fails

May. 24th, 2011 05:50 am
perzephone: (userfail)
Things I Always Wanted to Do But Never Did, and Now It's Probably Too Late:

  • Become a paleontologist

  • Become an ethnobotanist. Or just a botanist.

  • Become a mortician.

  • Become a stripper

  • Become a Nye County prostitute


Things I Wanted to Do But Which I Suck Miserably At:
  • Singing

  • Composing music

  • Songwriting in general

  • Writing of any and all sorts - fiction, non-fiction, technical, porn, poetry, screenplays, play-plays...

  • Art

  • Crafts

  • Photography

  • Math

  • Programming

  • Playing video games

  • Dancing

  • Being beautiful, witty, charming & attractive

  • Web design

  • Making money

  • Entertaining others, like hostessing parties, event planning, that kind of thing

  • Community building

  • Interior decorating


Things I Quit:
  • Playing any and all forms of musical instruments.

  • Writing

  • Arts & crafts

  • Photography beyond the dog & my embroidery

  • Trying to program or build web sites

  • Learning about dinosaurs

  • Playing most video games, including WoW

  • Drinking

  • Experimenting with hallucinogens

  • Socializing in real life other than work

  • Trying to be a part of any community

  • Cleaning my house beyond the necessary things like dishes & laundry

  • Getting dressed - I sit around the house in a night gown

  • Wearing make-up or perfume

  • Having sex with anything that moved & almost anything that didn't

  • BD/SM

  • Cooking & baking for fun

  • Watching t.v.

  • Socializing with my family

  • Having any interest in the yard

  • Trying to have a garden

  • Expanding my herbal knowledge

  • Practicing any form of magic

  • Working on my spirituality

  • Going to concerts

  • Going to Ren Faires

  • Trying to be more involved in the SCA

  • Talking to dead people

  • Learning to hula hoop

  • Coloring

  • Collecting coloring books & utensils

  • Collecting Tarot decks

  • Collecting coyotes

  • Going to raves

  • Going much of anywhere beyond the grocery store, post office, doctors & work

  • Aimless rambling walks

  • Going to museums

  • Feeding the birds

  • Traveling

  • Going to bad poetry readings

  • Writing letters & postcards to penpals



Things I Quit Because I Just Don't (or Didn't) Have the Money:
  • Getting tattoos

  • Become a mortician



Things I Wanted to Do But Never Seemed to Get Around to Doing:

  • Mastering Linux

  • Taking a belly dancing class

  • Taking that drumming course, which is now probably cancelled due to budgeting constraints

  • Going to a Buddhist temple

  • Going to a spiritualist church

  • Going to yoga classes

  • Getting into a drumming circle



Oh, Yeah, I Failed at This:
  • Having a small retail consignment shop of my own

  • Being a professional Tarot reader

  • Being an IT Help Desk Technician

  • Ever getting promoted to a supervisory position, or an assistant supervisory position

  • Working for 911 dispatch

  • Making money

  • Keeping the guys I really wanted



Things I Am Damned Good at But Which Do Me No Good Whatsoever:
  • Giving head

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