Alone in the Dark – Social Isolation

This post is actually a bit ironic for me today as isolated is precisely the last thing I’ve been today. I’ve been in near constant communication and interaction with people at work, people texting me like mad, IMing me all over the place. Busy, busy day (hence the uber late post time). I’d feel popular if there weren’t so many times when I wondered if these people were actually talking to the right person, because it can’t be me they’re all interested in.
So today in the Disconnection and Rejection Domain I want to talk about the Social Isolation schema.
Typical Presentation of the Schema
People with this schema believe that they are different from other people. They do not feel that they are part of most groups and feel isolated, left out, or “on the outside looking in.” Anyone who grows up feeling different might develop the schema. Examples include gifted people, those from famous families, people with great physical beauty or ugliness, gay men and women, members of ethnic minorities, children of alcoholics, trauma survivors, people with physical disabilities, orphans or adoptees, and people who belong to a significantly higher or lower economic class than those around them.
Typical Behaviors include staying on the periphery or avoiding groups altogether. These patients tend to engage in solitary activities: Most “loners” have this schema. Depending upon the severity of the schema, the patient may be part of a subculture but still feel alienated form the larger social world; he or she may feel alienated from all groups but have some intimate relationships, or be disconnected from virtually everyone.
I’ve always been  a loner. My mother will tell you stories of how my kindergarten teacher had to pull me out of the corner to play with the other kids because I’d be happy to sit there and build with my Legos all by myself. I always seem to know everyone. People gravitate to me. 9.9 times out of 10 I actively try to keep these people at arm’s length (it’s harder for them to stick a knife in your back if they can’t sneak up on you).  Every now and again I do find myself deeply entrenched in a circle of friends. A very close group of friends. No matter how much anyone works to include me, I always feel like I’m on the outside looking in. That periphery, that outside edge, that’s where I sit. That’s where I belong. It’s what I’m used to and therefore what is most comfortable for me. It’s a lonely place to hang out though.
Goals of Treatment
The basic goal of treatment is to help patients feel less different from other people. Even if they are not part of the mainstream, there are other people similar to them. Furthermore, at the core, we are all human beings, with the same basic needs and desires. Even though we have many differences, we are more alike than different. There may be a segment of society in which the patient probably will never fit – such as a gay person in a fundamentalist religious group – but there are other places where the person will fit. The person should walk away from unwelcoming groups and find people who are more similar or accepting. Often, the patient must make major life changes and overcome extensive avoidance in order to accomplish this.
Let’s emphasize this point a bit: at the core, we are all human beings, with the same basic needs and desires. Even though we have many differences, we are more alike than different.”
Strategies Emphasized in Treatment
Unlike the other schemas in the Disconnection and Rejection realm, the focus is less on working experientially with childhood origins of the schema and more on improving the patient’s current relationships with peers and groups. Thus, cognitive and behavioral strategies take precedence. Group therapy may be helpful for many patients with this schema, especially those who avoid even friendships. The more isolated the patient, the more important the therapy relationship is to the treatment, because it will be one of the patient’s only relationships.
The aim of the cognitive strategies is to convince patients that they really are not as different from other people as they think. They share many qualities with all people, and some of the qualities that they regard as distinguishing them are in fact universal. Even if they are not part of the mainstream, there are other people like them. Patients learn to focus on their similarities with other people, as well as their differences. They learn to identify subgroups of people who are like them – who share the ways they are different; they learn that many people can accept them even though they are different. They learn to challenge the automatic negative thoughts that block them from joining groups and connecting to the people in them.
Experiential strategies can help patients who are excluded as children and adolescents remember what it was like. (Some patients with this schema were not excluded as children. Rather, they chose solitude due to some preference or interest.) In imagery, patients relieve these childhood experiences. They vent anger at the peers who excluded them; and they express their loneliness. Patients fight back against social prejudice toward people who are different. (This is one advantage of consciousness-raising groups: They teach group members to fight back against the hatred of others.) Patients can also use imagery to picture groups of people with whom they could fit in.
This is an easy exercise: Remember a time you felt socially isolated. Remember how it felt. Now, looking back, think about what you could have done differently in that situation. How would you have acted? What would you have said? This is useful not only to gain a little closure in recognizing how you’ve grown as a person, but also to recognize potentially similar situations so that you are better equipped to deal with them in the future.
Behaviorally it’s important for people with this schema to overcome their avoidance of social situations. The goal is for patients gradually to start attending groups, connect to the people there, and cultivate friendships. To accomplish this gradual exposure to different groups can be key.  It’s also useful to be aware of anxiety that is often created and development a way to manage it.  
Group therapy can be extremely helpful if the group is accepting of the patient; for this reason, “special interest groups – containing members who are similar to the patient in some significant way can be most valuable.
Well that makes me think of Al Anon but for loner goth kids. Come brood with us, together.
Special Problems with This Schema
The most common problem is that patients have difficulty overcoming their avoidance of social situations and groups. In order to confront the situations that they fear, patients must be willing to tolerate a high level of emotional discomfort. For this reason, their pattern of avoidance is resistant to change. When avoidance blocks progress in treatment, mode work can often help patients build up that part of themselves that wants the schema to change and talk back to the schema. For example, patients might imagine a group situation in which they recently felt alienated. The therapist enters the image as the Healthy Adult, who advises the Isolated Child (or Adolescent) about how to integrate with the group. Later, patients enter their images as their own Healthy Adult, to help the Isolated Child Master and enjoy social situations.
 High levels of emotional discomfort. This is how I feel every day if I’m not in complete control over my body or feeling at my best. I have to physically force myself away from my desk to talk to people. I can feel the gravity increasing around me as I fight my way out of my comfort zone. For me a lot of this ties into my body dysmorphia (which unfortunately has been mind rackingly bad this week).  I can’t stand the thought of going anywhere someone would look at me. Even when I cognitively know that these people aren’t going to care. It FEELS like they care, and will judge me, but what’s worse is I, me, I am judging me. I still often indulge my avoidance of social situations when I’m at home, but at work this is not so easy. People notice when I’m not around now. I’ve been doing exactly what is suggested of me. I have been making a very definitive attempt to socialize with the guys in my group at work. It’s been working very well. My behaviors are changing. Unfortunately, my mentality relapses very easily. I still don’t quite feel like I fit in. Outside of work I know how different I actually am from these people; my interest, my lifestyle, how I think, my issues. Even at work, in my nice, normal, business casual attire I’m different. I’m female, in a highly male dominated environment. It’s a rare day that I’ll even speak to another woman at work, our paths cross so infrequently.
Once on break one of the guys made a passing comment about telling a story later to one of the other guys. I was like, “What, think my delicate sensibilities will be offended?” (Fair emphasis on the sarcasm). His reply was, “Sorry Haven, You’re just not one of the guys. Don’t get me wrong, we’re really glad you’re not. You’re great just the way you are.” A lot of the guys here are a little old fashioned and won’t swear or say rude things in front of me. On the one hand it’s polite and respectful; on the other hand my inner feminist wants to punch them in the mouth. I’m not one of them, I’m different. No matter how comfortable they are with me, that’s not going to change. That doesn’t mean they don’t accept me (apparently?), it just means I’m different so they’re going to act different around me. I already feel like an outsider, on some level I actually am an outsider, though a welcomed one, usually. So what do I do?
People are so careless with their words. I know most people just don’t think about what they say, probably don’t have any ill intention, but those words stick with me. They’ll be with me forever. They don’t leave.  Growing up I was always one of the boys. All I want is to be treated the same. Too bad. I really resent being female sometimes. It just makes it that much harder to go down there and smile and chat and pretend like I fit in. Fake it til you make it. I’ve got the faking it part down alright. I don’t know if I can actually make the feeling of inclusion stick.

Memoirs on a Sunday: Ease of Sex, Not Hiding Scars, and Father’s Day

This weekend hasn’t been traumatic at all and yet, today was a disaster.

This morning I wrote:

I’ve utterly failed at not drinking… however it’s been very reasonable; 2 glasses of wine Friday, a few with the Lady Friend on Saturday. I’m not drinking today. Not even a sip. It’s a new day, and I’ll just start fresh now.

I’m actually very proud of myself. The loneliness, being alone, hasn’t been so terrible. Friday night I stayed in; Roommate was gone, didn’t go to Friends. I stayed home by myself and painted. I did have 2 glasses of wine over the course of the evening but I don’t think that’s too bad at all. The only think I continuously note is I have bedtime anxiety. I can be absolutely exhausted but the idea of turning of all the lights and crawling into bed alone gnaws at the inside of my stomach. This is relatively new in the past few months.
Yesterday I spent the day with Lady Friend. She came over and we hung out doing crafty type stuff. I organized my beads. I have so many kinds. I love to organize and sort. It feels nice and neat, catalogued and controlled. I preceded to piece together the period appropriate style of women’s fashion in 7th/8th century Viking society. I have a huge costuming event in August and I’m changing my pre-Industrial persona from fully Middle Eastern to Viking. I’ll do Middle Eastern (dancer) at night, but during the day I’m going back to my blood roots and switching to a Norse persona. After figuring out the logistics, sewing, altering, sewing… I have a perfectly accurate sack dress, haha. I made some gemstone bead lines as well. They’re the few kinds of decorations and symbols of status women wear.

Afterwards, we went out to dinner which was really nice. I don’t like how she stares at me. It makes me just a little uncomfortable and I feign modesty just to look away. She’s so super sweet though. Our waitress obviously found us super cute which I in turn thought was super cute. Super. Everything was super.
Back to my place for more craftiness. I painted. Finished a wild Caterpillar ala Alice picture. Quick and crazy inspired from watching the movie (Tim Burton shouldn’t be given free reign of movies anymore).


Things are moving rather slow sexually. This makes me uncomfortable. I don’t know what to do when people aren’t constantly trying to jump me. I know she likes me. This isn’t a question. It makes me nervous when I need to fill the silence with actual words that aren’t so easily distracting from me. I’m forced to let her get to know me instead of redirecting her eye to other things. Maybe this is normal? Or healthy? Not jumping into bed? Not constantly using sex as a distraction?  
 I don’t know how to handle this. It’s so much easier to have sex then it is to continuously think of things to say. It’s less invasive, less intrusive. I know what I’m doing in bed. That rarely gets me in trouble. The things that come out of my mouth however, and I’m not talking about my tongue here….

…talking about Talking. That’s where things go wrong. At dinner I did mention that I was on Abilify, that I struggle with depression and some stuff. She was receptive and very understanding. Not concerned with it at all. I think this is the approach I’ll be taking. Bring up bits and pieces one thing at a time. See how she responds and gauge her reactions before I drop something new on her…

One thing I’m rather curious about. She hasn’t mentioned my scars. At all. Every person I’ve ever dated notices, and mentions them almost instantly (within the first few dates). She hasn’t said anything at all. Maybe she’s respecting the fact that this is my business and is allowing me to let her know when I feel ready to? I’m just trying to figure this out. I’m never averse to talking about them. I don’t draw attention to them, but I don’t try to hide them either. They’re really just more modifications at this point. Still. It’s interesting to me.
Back to sex. Guys are so much easier in some respects. I can throw sex at them and they won’t think twice about it. The women I date, it’s not that they’re not interested in sex, they certainly are, but there’s more of an emphasis on interest in me. That’s it I suppose. I still don’t want to let her in. Not ready to be too close. Guys I can stick to surface speak keeping conversation witty and light and when things get a little too sticky for my tastes… well, turning the tables on the evenings events is not incredibly difficult to do. I don’t have to think. I don’t have to be me. I can just feel and lose myself in the moment… if I like them. Sometimes it’s really just a way to get people to shut up and make the time move forward, to do something besides feign interest in the words coming out of their mouths.
After she left I binged again. I was a little hungry, but I just can’t seem to stop at a reasonable amount of food. I ate all my leftovers from dinner, then freaked out that I’d eaten so much so late, but it wasn’t enough to easily get rid of, so I prepared a full binge that was easier to deal with. I don’t know why I do this. I don’t know why I can’t just go to bed, except after she left I had that little bedtime anxiety and I didn’t want to go lie down alone. I’d thought about asking her to stay. We were falling asleep together on the couch as is, but… idk. I’m not there yet. Too close, not too close, too close, not too close. There’s too much content in lesbian relationships. Men are easier for me. Men are just easier. Heh, sorry. I suppose I shouldn’t make that statement, but when it comes to me and dating, they’re easier to maneuver around. I can hold back, but appear to draw them closer. Preserving myself and not pushing them away too fast by appearing to draw them in closer. Heh. With Lady Friend, it’s almost entirely balanced. She’s less easily distracted, just happy to be in my company, not pushing me for more, not forcing my {nonexistent} boundaries. It’s strange. Learning to just, be. To sit, and be, in comfort. Not needing the next moment to be something other than it is. I’m not sure I know how to do this.  Time. Give it time I guess.
It’s now Sunday evening: I broke my resolve to not drink. Not a lot, just a couple glasses of wine. Then I coupled it with an all out binge/purge. I’ve been alone all day. It’s been a beautiful day. I’ve been creatively productive, but, alone. I just don’t understand why this is so hard! There’s no reason for it. I’m so incredibly frustrated. Woke up, too low energy to really work out. Did a nice painting, did some grocery shopping, sewed 3 Viking apron dresses, redid my gemstone bead drops… and I can’t shake this tension under my skin that makes me want to, want to, I don’t even know. All I know is that how I feel right now is unsettled and unhappy. After my binge I went to the craft store, just got a couple strands of beads, had a cigarette, calmed down and returned to my crafting projects. Forcing myself to concentrate on something else makes the time fly faster and I can slow the spinning thoughts down.

And to wrap it up. I have a family. It’s father’s day so I actually called mine. He’s pretty proud that I’ve been painting. Amidst the critiques he even said that what I’ve shown him so far is really great. Mixed bag sorta praise, but I’ll take it. I can do better, I have more to learn, but hey, a lot of people never learn to 
even draw stick figures (yeah he said that)… and I’m doing a really good job.

Learning how to draw trees



Finally, I miss my sister. A lot. I got a drunken text from her earlier… “I’m going to bed. But I’m also a little drunk and I miss you. Lately I have felt like I’m always going to be too short to ride the big kid roller coaster. And I would prefer to feel this way with you here because you know how to handle me. And that makes me miss you.” If you’ll remember my sister is bipolar so she’s all over the place like me too, but different. She stresses a lot about stuff, work, school etc. She’s smart it just takes her a little more effort to process school material, hence stress. She’s back in school and doing a really amazing job getting on track with what she wants to do (work with the deaf community). I’m so proud of her. Of all the things I dislike most about living in NY, it’s that my sister is 500 miles away =( It’s so rough some days. Especially on bad days, for both of us. No one has ever had the ability to reign in my moods and keep me in a calmer place than her and likewise for her, I just KNOW her so I know what helps. It makes me sad that I can’t be there for her when she needs me. I love my sister. I wish I could hang up my life here and go home to her sometimes. Can’t. My life is here now. For now. And I have to get up for work in the morning. G’night.   

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Memoirs on a Sunday: Weekend Randomness

Let’s throw a little of my life out there. I may make this a weekend series on Sundays. 


I do this blog as a chance to give some insight into the life of someone with Borderline Personality Disorder however I feel like if I ONLY focus on the multitudes of  BPD characteristics I’m losing a little bit of the human aspect that I want to convey. So, just to sort of give an idea of what else goes on in my life that’s not solely centered around BPD, I think I’ll do some random weekend postings. Hopefully a different side of me, or at least a more well rounded view of me, highlighting other areas of interest. While my borderline issues are clearly problematic, I’m not running around like a giant ball of static and charge 24/7. I don’t know. Maybe it’ll give some insight into the little daily effects BPD has on me, how other aspects are seemingly unaffected, and how little patterns emerge, converge, and dissipate in time. We’ll see how it goes.


I’ve decided to do a cleanse again starting Monday. Salt flush in the mornings with only ‘liquid’ foods for 10 days. Liquid = juice, water, yogurt, soup, etc. Nothing solid. I have 5 more pounds to lose and I can’t shock my system into budging. This’ll do it.  I feel like I’m falling to bad eating habits again too what with eating out a little more than usual I want to make sure I watch myself. I’ve also been feeling bogged down with everything and the cleanse is good for the body. First couple days I’m a little irritable and headachey. Must make sure to hydrate. 


With the season change and the mornings being lighter earlier my insomnia has been worse and I haven’t been getting any sleep. At least I hope it’s the season change. The only other option is that it’s my medication and I actually like my Abilify so far. I want this to work out. I have however decided to stop fighting the no sleep and be productive. Or at least creative. I started painting 2-3 weeks back. So when I can’t sleep I do this

Ganesha
and this: 
Red Sky Dawns
Picasso I am not. But I don’t think it’s half bad for never having painted before in my life. I absolutely love it too.
Saturday was a really productive day. Again, I woke up with the sun but I overhauled our apartment to make our 2nd bathroom function. Roommate has been using the shower as a 5th storage closet for all her stuff but with me dating again and her bf, we really sort of need the 2nd shower. There’s been too many days when I’m irritated that I can’t take a shower and start to worry about the time crunch. I was so exhausted but I got it done, then headed to the gym. I started a new painting, went to the grocery 3 times and prepped to make dinner for LadyFriend. I don’t think I’ve made a cute romantic dinner for two since I moved in here. My first time making dinner for her =) I made a Lightly Curried Peanut Bisque, Israeli Couscous with dried apricots, cranberries and pistachios, and Portobello Bruschetta with Rosemary Aioli. I do so love to cook. Especially since I make so many things at one time, my mind is so utterly occupied there’s no room for thoughts of other things. The food came out beautifully. So delicious and I had a really nice time with her.

Friday night I went to Friend’s for movie night. I didn’t actually pay much attention to the movies though. Quirky spoofy horror movies. If you like them, check out Rockula. It’s a stitch. I spent the majority of the night crafting. I was figuring out how to make tribal hair falls. I so love being crafty.
They’re actually pretty easy to make. I can’t believe how much these things sell for where I vacation. I tried to pay attention to the conversation but I was feeling more than a little irritable and hypersensitive. A buddy of mine was sitting next to me, and Friend was on the other couch. They were both trying to talk at the same time and I felt like my mind was going to dig a hole in itself and retreat. My brain vibrating into a smaller and smaller place. I could hear sounds but it was so much static I couldn’t make out what either of them were saying, it was just too much voice at one time. Too much volleying. The only thing I could do was tune them out sometimes or my head would start to hurt. 
So mostly I crafted and later ended up dozing off on Friend during the last movie. I wasn’t feeling particularly social. And even when I stopped crafting I couldn’t get into the groove of conversation. I felt a little out of place. Like everyone else was so much more animated and sociable and I was off on my own little couch cushion island.
We had wine and chatted through dinner. Our conversation doesn’t flow particularly well and it seems like there’s a little something missing. Idk. I’m not incredibly attached to her yet, but it’s still early in our relationship. I generally fight attachments for a while, maintain something of an open yet distant stance. I really like her, but getting too close to people is when things go wrong, but then again I do want to give this and myself a chance. Our chemistry is pretty apparent otherwise though, haha ::wink::.
Upsettingly after she left something in my brain made me binge and that lead to the inevitable. I don’t even understand why. It was so late and I was so exhausted and I still managed to take the time to do that.
Sunday I was supposed to go to an event in the Bronx but due to inclement weather, that didn’t happen. I’d attempted the gym but only got like 4 hours of sleep so my body just wasn’t in it. I’m starting to accumulate a lot of workout guilt because I’ve been too exhausted to expend the energy. I worry about every little thing I put in my body because I haven’t been able to exercise properly.  Instead I spent the day with Friend doing crafty stuff. We’re working on our light sabers.  Yes, light sabers. Fully electronic/LED functioning light sabers. I’m stoked to be working more on my Star Wars costume. I have a bunch of little changes I’m making to it. I’m going to redo my Twi’lek lekku to make the headband connection match the rest of my outfit. Since my persona is Sith alchemist/sorcerer I’m incorporating a more Tribal feel to the costume as well. Hence the tribal falls I’m working on.  I also started a new painting. I’m borderline obsessing about this new hobby. I wake up with the sun and my mind starts whirring about color blends and brush strokes; the project that I’m working on. As far as ruminations go, at least this one is a healthy outlet. And so much fun.
It’s seriously a good thing that I do manage some impulse control because there are days when calling in to work in order to stay home and paint are really high!
It was a long day of crafting, food, and gathering supplies for future projects. Starting to wear down. Too much stimulus I just can’t keep up the energy some days. Especially when I’m not sleeping. I feel like I’m floating off in my own head. The silence is deafening right now. No one’s home and it’s too quiet. Tomorrow’s another day, happily.

Understatments understate

“Your risk for relapse of symptoms of borderline personality disorder is greatest when you feel threatened by being left alone (abandonment).”
Relapse – is the reappearance of or increase in symptoms in a person with an illness or disease after a period of improvement
Saw this statement over at Health.com.
I’m so amused. As if the symptoms of BPD aren’t expected to reoccur. As if they ever go away in the first place (without treatment).
OMG Don’t leave me!
Maybe we should try a twelve step program. Personality Disorders Anonymous or PDA (Public Dispalys of Affection are acceptable for the Histrionic). Eh, hem. Step #1, “Hi, my name is Haven. I have a generally untreatable personality disorder but I hope by sitting with other emotionally volatile people I’ll be able to stop being emotionally volatile.” What? This may help if Step #2 comes with a straight jacket and step #3 is a lobotomy. Not that I haven’t considered lobotomy a viable option on occasion, but even I think that’s a little extreme after a couple hours.
Heh. Treatment for BPD is difficult,  though certainly, not impossible. The outlook is actually getting better and better every day, but relapse is going to be part of the process. Relapse is going to be a very common part of the process. To say that the risk of relapse is greatest when threatened by being left alone:
1.) There is no consistent cause for what sets us off.  
2.) Does not automatically imply abandonment.

Being abandoned does mean being left, but being left alone does not necessarily mean abandonment.

Or maybe it does but it’s a mild form of it.  Personally I need to be in a relationship for the thought of being left (not necessarily alone) to make me most crazed. That’s the kind of abandonment that would set me up for the greatest relapse.  Left and removed from someone’s life forever, abandoned to the ether to never be seen again. This does not mean just anyone leaving me alone.
I’m alone a lot. I live with one Roommate who has a boyfriend so she’s out of the apartment all the time. I’m very happy for her. She deserves someone who makes her happy. She’s one of the best people I know. Some people might consider this statement as me Splitting her into the all good category. She’s never let me down though, and until she does she’ll stay right where she is. I’ve known her for years. Hell, my very first memory of significance concerning her was of her taking care of me after I unintentionally gave myself alcohol  poisoning on vacation (I didn’t know I was drinking Everclear – never again). She didn’t know me and yet she took care of me. That’s not something that is easily overridden. Years later and she still hasn’t let me down in a way that people inevitably do. That said, I have begun to notice that I drink a lot more when she isn’t in the apartment. Drinking takes me out of my head, even just a little bit so the emptiness isn’t so bottomless. As I type this I wonder if part of it is some subconscious connection to the fact that my first strong memory of her was of her taking care of me because of alcohol. I digress.
I do have a pretty severe intolerance to being alone. I have a lack of object constancy. If you’re not with me, I lose my connection to you. What’s more, if I’m not with you I cannot internalize the thought that I am still a part of your thoughts or your life. How can I be an part of your life if I’m not doing anything with/for you? You’re gone. I’m gone. I don’t know where I am.
What also gets me is the statement of ‘after a period of improvement’. What improvement? I’m far from healed. I’ve just begun this process. Just because we’re not in a constant state of suicidal ideation or ripping open our arms doesn’t mark a period of improvement. It marks a period of lessened triggers. My symptoms don’t go away, they just aren’t as apparent.
As mentioned, I’m alone a lot. And yes, some of the absolute worst times for me have been at the thought of being completely abandoned by someone. Even someone I didn’t really care for. Take a look at my trip to the Psych ER. I didn’t even like Boring-ex. However, relapses are relative. My being alone when Roommate is gone is a pretty mild ‘relapse’, though frequent. When I was at University the stress and anxiety cause by the course load I took on, the fear of failure, the need to punish myself for lack of perfection drove me to some incredibly traumatic tailspins. I had a nearly complete nervous breakdown when I received a ‘B’ in a class. Keep in mind that my major was considered one of the hardest majors to complete. The pressure I put on myself was unreasonable, but it had nothing to do with being alone. All relative.  
There are so many things wrong in this write up. Maybe I’m nitpicking. Maybe I’m just rant-y. Bad article. All bad.
I guess my amusement comes from the incredible understatement of this sentence. One sentence. Totally enough to sum up BPD abandonment implications. Right.

Angry penguin is angry

Borderline Boredom

Boredom should not be allowed.
Came home from the gym. Increased my lifting weight. Everything is tired. I don’t want to move. I have no motivation. No inspiration to draw. No attention span to read.  Nothing to keep me occupied. Alone with my thoughts. Empty. Everything just feels empty. I want a drink. Drinking at least lets me fill the void a little. Take my mind away ::sigh:: At the same time I want to not drink. When you know you shouldn’t do something and you need help not doing that thing, that’s when you ask for help right? So I ask Friend for motivation to not drink, and I just get fucking angry when I’m given reasons not to! I make no bloody sense. Fucking Buddhist meditative logic like: it messes with my meds, frustrating levels of libido, and makes irrational thoughts crop up. Whatever. The libido issues I deal with daily. I’ll give him they mess with my meds, but my meds don’t seem to be helping anyways so what’s the point? I already have irrational thoughts, my mind is a very busy place to be >> But they tend to lead to self loathing and the last couple times I drank (that he knows about) I said things trying to get him angry at me. >> Which I promptly freaked out about. I need to not be left alone. I need to not be left to my own thoughts. Something, anything to occupy this space that goes on forever. I can’t stand it.
And by the way ‘Empty’ is not a feeling. It’s a lack of feeling. What the hell is there to say about feeling empty. There’s nothing there! Of course now I’m worked up and agitated, so I guess that’s something.
Too many thoughts that go everywhere and nowhere and wrap back in on me. I need distracting. Just for a while.
Maybe just one…
This thought brought to you by: Rage Against the Buddhist.

Grr.



Pulling the trigger

Unfortunately I have a lot of these.
– Being alone when I need friends (specific friends) – my loneliness is the worst trigger I have.
– My best friend not texting or IMing back – feeling ignored, abandoned, automatically thinking I’d done something wrong that caused this lack of attention.
– Seeing women that I wish I looked like.
– A friend sending me artistic nudes – reminding me of how I used to look or thinking that since I don’t look that way I am not good enough in his eyes.
– Seeing highly stylized clothing that I love but can’t yet pull off.  
– Going over my calorie count for the day – loss of self imposed control .
– Clothes not fitting right – remind of control lost.
– Not getting enough sleep.
(I’m sure there’s more I’m forgetting)
– Finding something from friends lost. Thoughts/situations that remind me of them…  
Causes me to drink. Causes me to eat more. Causes me to obsess about my weight. Causes me to indulge my bulimia (purging and exercise). Causes me to feel like I have failed myself. Lost control of the structure I’ve imposed on myself to fix my body image. Making me so self conscious of my mistake that I can’t bear to let anyone else see me. Compounding my loneliness. Restarting the cycle. Once I’ve lost control for the night, it feels like the entire day has been ruined. That there is no point continuing to try. I might as well continue to indulge the spiral. Spinning down into the dark recesses of my mind. A black hole of cyclic thinking. Nothing solid to hold onto to pull myself back from the horizon of events about to unfold. Sucking me into a vortex from which there is no escape.
I drink to escape my own mind. I want it to dull the racing that pushes me towards the edge faster. I’ve begun to realize that this has exactly the opposite effect. It may slow my thoughts, but it doesn’t change their nature. Knowing this, I’ve been able to suffer this less often. I look to more healthy means of escapism (discuss more here) to distract myself.
I don’t weigh myself everyday or almost ever. I can’t bear the thought of the scale. I measure my waist. I go by how my clothes fit. If they don’t give me what I want to see, I obsess. Every time I renew my promises to work on it. My dedication is restored, but in the mean time, I am more depressed because I’ve let my goal slip from my grasp. I work on it, but everything seems hopeless. Failure.
I have the unfortunate tendency to see myself as either all good, or all bad. If I maintain my structure for the day I have done well. I am good. If I’ve slipped off the path I want to travel I feel worthless. Lost my control. I don’t even have the strength to get through one more day on track. I am bad. I am either white or I am black. There are no shades of grey when it comes to myself. This something my therapist has me working on. I remind myself that one day does not destroy the progress that I’ve made.
I’ve learned to look at every day as a new opportunity. One day does not determine the rest of my life. Does not end my world. I may not have been exactly what I wanted the day before. I may have messed up, but the next day is a new chance. I remind myself that if something is really important to me, I have to work on it. I have to put in real effort. There is no immediate gratification when I am trying to change my lifestyle. For as much as I want change right now I need to remind myself that some things take time, but as long as I am willing to push myself, I will reach my goals. There’s always another opportunity to reaffirm what I want for myself, and to work towards it.  
It also helps me to set longer term goals, giving me something to aim for. This allows me some room to be more flexible, to be less rigid in my thinking. Less black and white.
– Seeing bloody images.
– Friends complaining about tiny injuries.
– Beautiful scars.
– Needing attention – Being so alone, removed from the world, that I can’t/won’t be out with friends.
I also have a tendency to punish myself. To remind me that what I did was not acceptable. Traditionally this has manifested as self harm or damaging thoughts. Over the last few months though these thoughts have disappeared. Self harm is almost always on my mind even though I very rarely act on it. My control has gotten very good and I only act on it maybe a couple times a year. But the thoughts are always there at the back of my mind. Until a couple months ago. That I haven’t had these thoughts, is something new, something good. I didn’t even realize that they were missing until yesterday. I felt I messed up, but instead of wanting to punish myself I reminded myself that I could start again in the morning. That this one incident wasn’t a permanent mark. At least, not as long as I didn’t leave one (I mean this figuratively as much as literally). I still feel like yesterday was an all bad day for me, but I have hope that today will be better. That I can have the will power to set me back where I want to be.  There are still days I’m so lonely and really need friends, but the other three no longer seem to hold any power of me. That’s an accomplishment all on its own.
If I can overcome some of the more destructive triggers I have, there’s hope that I can overcome the rest.  

Therapeutic Break Through…

Talking to my therapist yesterday. I’m always worried that if I don’t see someone for an extended period of time I’ll lose my connection to them. That I will lose the emotional attachment that I had. That the memories and feelings that I had for someone will dissipate and disappear. That what they hold of me will disappear. I’ll dissociate from them completely. This is a valid fear, because it is something I do.
I struggle with this because I often need to be alone. But I’m afraid that if I don’t go out, I will be forgotten and I will lose that connection. Feel abandoned. Being around people can be painful though, especially when I’m feeling so much loss from a particular source. I have to fight the conflict of putting myself in a situation that might cause me pain, or withdrawing and fighting with my dissociation and feelings of falling away. Lose, lose.
Something my therapist told me to try was this: You have memories of Person X. Remember a time when you were with that person, that you felt happy, warm and cared for. You still have those memories. That the time has passed does not change the fact that at one point you felt that way. Since your relationship has changed, you may feel a loss in the intimacy or the connection now, but that doesn’t change what was there before. You’re grieving and grieving is healthy. It takes time to get through. When you work through understanding your relationship with Person X, struggle with wanting to be around them or staying away, try this: Hold onto that feeling, that memory of when you shared good times, hold it close in your heart and continue to hold onto that, and then envision the paths that you could potentially take. Removing yourself from their life, even for a time to take space, walk through the possibilities of what might happen, how you would feel if this person was no longer around, how you imagine they will feel and react, but don’t forget that what you had was real. In many aspects is still real. Life may change, but it doesn’t change the fact that the memories you had were important to you. Imagine what it will feel like to be around that person, who is still a stable point in you life, the pain and comfort that you still find, but don’t lose sight of those good memories that you hold close. They’re still there, still real. Work through all the situations you can imagine and know that they don’t change what was once there. It will help you understand how to proceed with what is best for you. 
Everyday, I need to work on this. Just because I can’t maintain a continuum of feelings and events, this is not how other people function. Holding onto those thoughts and memories that I have, holding them dear to me as I struggle with the changes that I am going through will help me stabilize and form a lasting bond to people.
The sum of my relationships are not based solely on our last interaction. It is all the things we’ve been through, done together, and shared.
As she was walking through this process with me, I could feel myself understanding what she meant, actually feeling it. It helped provide a sense of clarity and calm. Less alone.

Intolerance to aloneness…

I hate it. I need it. I constantly feel alone, cut off from the world around me. Being in close proximity to those that care about me is one of the few things that actually helps me feel connected. If I’m with people, in their physical presence, I know they haven’t forgotten about me because I’m right there with them. Of course, they don’t actually forget about me when I’m not with them, but this goes back to my problems with object constancy. Out of sight, out of mind.
One of my greatest weaknesses is simple, human, contact. Sitting close, holding hands, laying with someone, especially sex. It’s hard to feel alone when there is a physical connection between me and someone else. 
This doesn’t always help though. The problem is, even when I’m surrounded by good friends, I often can’t relax or connect. The worst feelings is being in a room a people, and still feeling alone.
Sometimes I seek out bigger and bigger crowds. I go to massive costuming events in the city. Allow myself to get swept up in the frenzy of masquerade and merriment, dancing and drinks. When I’m in costume I feel more comfortable in my own skin. So many strangers, I don’t have to pretend. The feeling of disconnection from the people around me is normal because I don’t actually know any of the people around me. Match. I can let go, release all inhibitions and act out. The noise and music so loud it drowns out the constant racing in my mind. Sheer, beautiful distraction from the mundane. 
It’s odd for me. Giant crowds of strangers don’t usually bother me as much as big groups of people I’m closer to. Strangers have no expectations of me. I can’t disappoint them because they have no preconceived thoughts of me. Groups of friends though, the pressure to not be melancholy or whatever I’m feeling can be oppressive.
Often I can’t face being with people at all. Too many people when I’m already in an anxious state can be overwhelming for me. I feel others emotions, constant volley of conversation, voices raised each a little louder to be heard over another, too much, too much, too much stimulus. I feel like I’m drowning in a crush of sensation. And then there are the eyes. When my body image isn’t perfect, I feel like every eye is gazed in judgment of my flaws. Every innocuous conversation directed at me is a way to focus everyone’s attention on me, malicious, drawing unwanted attention to my imperfections. I can’t stand to have everyone looking at me, I don’t want to be surrounded, but I can’t bring myself to leave. I sit there in a haze of conflicting thoughts, wanting to be unseen but not wanting to be left alone.
I often refuse to not be alone. If I haven’t already put myself in the position to be surrounded by people, the thought of that social pressure is too much. Just the thought of people looking at me, judging my body, it’s unbearable.
 If I could be with people blinded by burlap sacks I would feel infinitely better. I wouldn’t have to worry about my physical failings, because what you see, is not what I see….