Where CAPS is OVERUSED for EFFECT (or SOMETHING).

I have to get up at 6am tomorrow, so it stands to reason that I am starting yet another blog post where I feel I just want to vomit my emotions out into the ether. Vomit, heh. Hello, maladaptive coping mechanisms.

I am so not ok and I am so tired with not being ok. I am in receipt of so much support, so much – I am astounded by the level of it, I do not feel worthy, I feel as though it could disappear at any moment and therefore just the process of having to ask for it and then accept it is like a full-time job (because I haven’t got enough on my plate, right). I don’t DO help, I am my own helper and saboteur all in one and to have people take some of that pressure off me is extraordinary. But it is not enough, because my brain hates me and there is too much history; too much of the bad stuff that makes me who I am is still there and is still controlling everything, overriding the good and creating this whirlwind of stress.

My anxiety is overwhelming at the moment. Yesterday I met with my mentor at uni (FANTASTIC lady, she has already helped me so much) and explained to her about something that was making me anxious so that we could work on it (made a complaint, have a meeting on Friday, have anxiety as big as Brazil surrounding it). In the explanation of that I ended up shaking uncontrollably and feeling shit. And today I am just…I described it as static on a television, just hovering. I reached out – AGAIN – to my therapist who is seemingly tirelessly working with me through all this shit, and she called me and I cried down the phone and said how awful and helpless and lost I was feeling, and fifteen minutes later I was feeling a little better. But. It’s just never-ending, and all this having to reach out for help – which people are giving generously, willingly and without complaint – is pushing so many buttons.  It’s a fucking steep learning curve for me.  I, until this point in time:

1) denied that I ever had ANY NEEDS EVER, and therefore completely ignored them and didn’t recognise them (my therapist said it reminded her of the Puritans in Blackadder :) to which I replied, “emotionally, right? I’m hardly Amish” and then we both cracked up)

2) never previously asked for help to meet any of the pesky needs that slipped through the Net of Denial, or when I did, got made to feel like a nuisance or that I shouldn’t have them or that they were BAD and WRONG and therefore I was too.

So now, I’m a bit like a kid, who’s never had sugar, in a candy shop. I’m allowed nice things and it’s ok? DOES. NOT. COMPUTE. So now it goes like this: first, I realise I need a need met (BIG – HUGE!), which makes me anxious. Then I think – maybe I can get this met, or at least get help getting it met. So then I think about asking for help, which adds more anxiety. Then I DO IT (perhaps the most crucial step – I never really used to do this), but that creates more anxiety, until the person replies. And invariably, they say yes, but then that adds more anxiety because I feel bad that they are having to spend time on me and feel like maybe I don’t deserve it and that they will realise that themselves and take it away from me. Which is illogical and irrational but this IS illogical and irrational, and that’s why I don’t like it. I am used to intellectualising stuff, it’s a massive defence for me, and now I am just FEELING THINGS AND ARGH GODDAMN. Feeling so much. SO fucking much. I am sick of it.

And in a way I am functioning better than ever, weirdly, or not weirdly. You know, the whole ‘recognising needs’ thing. That’s pretty big. But it comes with so much anxiety attached to it, because this is new to me. Brand new, and I am not coping with that very well. Not only is it alien and weird and I am having to navigate my way around it and negotiate, instead of just not engaging at all, I am also having to deal with the fact that this…this isn’t normal. I mean, it’s not, is it? ‘Normal’ people, well-adjusted people, they can ask for things and not freak out about it, right, and not second-guess themselves and everything and everyone? In that sense I am so far from normal that it’s not funny, I just feel stupid and tiny and cheated. I feel cheated and wronged and angry that I am even in this place of being so pathetically grateful when someone shows me some compassion and helps me, allows me to hold their hand when I reach out for it. How fucked up is that? I am thirty, not three. And then I start to hate myself, because hating myself is at least familiar and easier than the growing realisation that I had a monumentally damaging and shit childhood and adolescence, and early 20s, when I dealt with it all by not dealing with it, numbing myself with drugs and a destructive, mutually abusive relationship. I feel like the only medals I could ever be rewarded (in a weird fantasy world where you get rewarded for LIFE) are ones that show just how much I have fucked up (LOSER OF THE YEAR AWARD, 10 YEARS RUNNING! CONGRATULATIONS!). I feel as though I have nothing to show for my meagre, pitiful existence so far and it is excruciating. I do not want to be here. I want to be anywhere but here.

On Friday I went to see a band I love (Mew, which will be another post, because oh-em-gee), and the music ended up being a catalyst for a wave of grief that was more like a tsunami. I ended up crying on my boyfriend afterwards, and almost all of Saturday, sporting the attractive cried-so-much-I-now-appear-to-have-no-eyes look, that you do when you gulp your way through sobs, bawling for everything that you never had or lost, shedding so much snot and yet being so totally bunged up (what is THAT about?) that you sound like someone flu-ridden. 

“You can run away
leave your books behind you
but you should look back twice
just to be on the safe side”

“In a big, big way
I am really small
I get off my feet
But I’m still distant”

YEP. Thank you, Mew. <3

from this: 

Right. Hot water bottle time. Then placement tomorrow. HOW MUCH do I want a duvet day. PLUS, because my life is SO GREAT, I moved my head earlier and now my neck is killing me. I MOVED MY HEAD. *adds onto the gargantuan My Life is SO UNFAIR list*

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3 thoughts on “Where CAPS is OVERUSED for EFFECT (or SOMETHING).

  1. Easily could have written this myself… even the neck/head bit!

    Needs are tricksy beasts eh? The thing I find most unfair about my move from denying all needs to realising that it’s ok to ask for help when needed is that I’m still attracted to people/situations where I don’t get my needs met, where I get metaphorically bashed in the face for daring to ask.

    I flipflop between asking for my needs to be met passive-aggressively (i.e. not stating them but becoming increasingly full of rage that no-one has magically, psychically, divined what they are and spontaneously met them) and actually asking for them to be met (in actual, you know, words). Unfortunately neither approach seems to be more successful than the other. The former comes across as manipulative (which it isn’t, or at least it’s not intended to be; it’s a product of not feeling comfortable asking, or fearing asking on the basis that the answer will either be yes (terrifying responsibility and feelings of unworthiness) or no (terrifying pain and feelings of rejection)) and the latter comes across as demanding, intense, and high-maintenance.

    I find that I’m adept at anticipating the needs of others and in that respect so the magic psychic divination thing and try to fulfil the needs before the asking even needs to happen. And so I expect that in return I guess. But that’s not realistic. Is it?

    Or maybe, like with everything, I ignore all the times my needs ARE met because I can only focus on the negative. I only see all the times they haven’t been. I only see the being let down and abandoned and rejected and not the times I’m supported and loved. I suppose it’s also true that a lot of the time when someone either offers to meet my needs or consents to when I ask I back away like when you try and pick up a cat and it shrinks backwards and digs its claws in to the carpet. Suddenly it’s all like ‘oh god I didn’t expect you to actually say YES, Jesus god now all the focus is on me and you’re giving up time/energy for/to me and arrgghhh I’ve put you out and inconvenienced you and HELP’.

    I’m a nightmare, basically. If my needs aren’t met I get super SUPER emotional and angry and resentful, yet if they are met I’m so bewildered by that fact that I can’t handle it. I think that comes across like I just have to have my own way all the time, and then once I get it I feel horrible guilty because I feel like I don’t deserve it. Maybe in some way I just need to know that people WILL meet my needs, or even just my wants sometimes, like I need that proven but not necessarily followed through on – because it’s not that I want to rob others of their wants/needs, I don’t actually want my own way all the time, I just need to know that I can. Which is essentially testing people I guess. And I can see why that seems manipulative. And I can also see why that’s exhausting and frustrating and a horrible position to put people in. It’s also exhausting and horrible to BE that person, to feel constantly insecure and fearful and like I can’t rely on people. Like you, I’m terrified that it will be taken away at any moment so I need to test it often to ensure it’s still there. Are you still there? Do you still love me? Can I still rely on you? I hate myself for it, but I need high and consistent levels of reassurance because there’s this perpetual erasure – you might have loved me yesterday, but do you today?

    And I suppose this is why I have a tendency to get into relationships with people who are changeable and unreliable – in part it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy because I have come to expect that, and in part I still feel that I don’t really deserve something more stable and secure, and in part I don’t want it because I wouldn’t know what the fuck to do with it. I rage and rage that the people I’ve been with wouldn’t/won’t make me the centre of their universe like I do with them, but in truth if they did that I think I would freak the fuck out about it.

    All my life people have been coming and going, and much as she doesn’t see it this way, even though my mum was always there physically I did and still do feel that she abandoned me emotionally when she got into a new relationship, and then relied on me again when it all fell apart. Those patterns just become how you deal with stuff I suppose – if that’s what life is like when you’re learning about life, then it’s almost impossible to retrain yourself to believe that it could be any different.

    People disappear. And I can’t handle that. Which means that even though sometimes that’s natural, because people move on or grow apart, and sometimes it’s normal, because people have their own stuff going on and can’t always be there consistently, it’s something I just find enormously difficult. Even tiny things feel like such a huge abandonment and I go into child mode and I practically hum, vibrate, with the extremity of the anguish that provokes.

    STILL on the waiting list for therapy after referral in March. Meanwhile I’m intermittently being a nightmare girlfriend. Not that boy is perfect or even particularly helpful with these particular issues a lot of the time. But. You know. Putting him aside, I need to get a fucking grip on myself for my own sake, so I can weather the changes a little better. So that it doesn’t send me into spiralling paroxysms of despair every time I feel abandoned or rejected, because almost EVERYTHING makes me feel like that, and for the purposes of looking after myself I need to be able to be ok whether it’s an overreaction to a tiny thing or whether it actually is an abandonment or rejection.

    So I guess in some ways our stuff is similar, and in other ways opposite… I need to become better at accepting help when it is granted and not doing weird confusing demanding help and then rejecting it when it comes, but more than that I need to find a way to cope with NOT getting help, and especially not getting help when I ask for it. It feels like a cruelty of the universe that just as I get better at asking, my requests are denied – what happened to positive reinforcement, universe?! Sometimes I think I should stop asking, because to ask and be knocked back is so painful – making myself vulnerable in that way, showing my soft spots, and being rebuffed is just so uuuuggghhhh – but then if I don’t ask I have the resentment build-up and express my feelings in peculiar and passive-aggressive ways. It all explodes out one way or another. And it comes out as intense, consuming anger. Which if I’m going to get Freudian about it is probably really to do with my mother, and more obliquely I guess my father and all the not-fathers, which is why therapy pls. I don’t want to keep directing this at all the wrong people. One of whom is myself.

    I wish I could just hear I love you, or I’m here for you, and think ok, well that stands until I receive evidence to the contrary. Rather than thinking ok, well that stands for now but any slight thing that makes me think there may be evidence to the contrary will cause all my belief and security to tumble down, and it will all have to be built up from the beginning again. I hate the house of cards metaphor because overused, but that’s what it feels like. It’s like cards were what there were, so that’s what I built my house out of, and every tiny quake causes it to collapse, but I don’t know how to build a house out of anything else. Cards were what I had, and cards are what I know, so cards it is.

    It’s a stronger house when I’m on my own, because it’s built on me and I can control the terrain better. But building the house on someone else. Well. That’s risky business. Yet I don’t want to become one of those insular people who won’t put their foundations in anyone else, or let others put theirs in them. What’s the point in that? The self-protectors of this world would, I guess, say you shouldn’t put your eggs in anyone else’s basket, to mix my metaphors, but I just can’t conceive of relationships that way. I don’t think that’s what being connected to other people is about. Relationships – all of them, not just the ones with sex in them – are about building your house on someone else and them building theirs on you, and trusting each other to lie very still and take good care. The problem is when one person’s house is built of sturdy bricks and the other’s of souffle, or Jenga, or cards, or when one person is stable and the other wriggles about – especially if the brick person and the wriggly person are the same person, and the stable person, the mannequin, is also the souffle.

    Sequinnedmannequin, House of Souffle, Signing off in shame.

  2. Yay, epic comment of Jess-ness :) that, yep, feels like I could have written it (sorry about your neck. WTF is all I have to say, and ow). Even down to the house metaphors :) That in particular is something that I really get out of therapy: the sparks that form from two minds, that then shoot off into trails of their own. Like when we were talking about foundations, and how mine are a bit rubbish because they were laid down wonky and so I’m more unstable than someone who had strong foundations, and how we’re knocking the house down. And she mentioned this song: http://childbiblesongs.com/song-21-wise-man-built-his-house.shtml which I knew because I went to a Catholic primary school, and how that then became the basis for how I thought about myself, that I was built on sand (uncertain, shifting unsafe = MY PARENTS) and now I am building on stone (consistent, boundaried, secure = HER). Which is where your house of cards thing is SO apt, and why I am SO angry on your behalf that you are still waiting for therapy. Is there any way you can go private? I am fucking destitute and paying out of it from my savings (although I have £50 left now, ha) but I feel as though it’s worth it. I don’t even want to think about the possibility of not being able to afford it now. (Also. I LOVE House of Souffle.)

    And (I know that I could easily apply this to myself, and I do, but I can’t feel it) of COURSE you are going to focus mostly on the times that you have been abandoned and let down, it doesn’t mean that you’re ‘focusing on the negative’, it means that your model for getting needs met is utterly fucked down to inadequate parenting (i don’t think either of our mums meant to neglect our needs or lean on us, but they did) and therefore you do have this wounded animal thing going on. Which is something my therapist said to me on the phone yesterday when I was all like, “Why can’t I just get on and doooooo thissssss” – she likened me to a rescue cat that has hidden under the sofa. You can’t just tell it, “you’re safe now! it’s ok!” because it won’t understand and why would it risk being hurt again? It takes a LONG time to get over that, fucking hell, I’ve been in therapy for 2.5 years now, and I am only JUST getting to the point where I don’t flee under the sofa every single time there is the potential for hurt (which then gives me ouchy thoughts of “Fuck, I am so fucking fucked up”). But that’s very hard to realise and understand when you’re just trying to live, because real life people that are in our actual lives aren’t therapists and don’t necessarily get it and therefore cannot be as consistent. And life doesn’t make allowances for it, like right now I don’t know what is going to happen but I have run placement so many times and get told to call back that I cannot do it anymore and I am stuck in this loop of fear and hatred.

    I know what you mean about the relationship thing too. Luckily Nick has been massively understanding, there are times where I just feel like he is angry with me through no fault of my own, like I’m TRYING damn it, but I have just ended up having to give into this and hoping that he will follow through. And he has done so far, but my family? Another story. It reminds me so much of Upside Down, and the line I used to identify with so much: I’m ok when everything is not ok. I think stability can be utter chaos when we are used to utter chaos being the stability and therefore I think it probably is natural for us to be drawn to that, whether it is conscious or not.

    [[[[People disappear. And I can’t handle that. Which means that even though sometimes that’s natural, because people move on or grow apart, and sometimes it’s normal, because people have their own stuff going on and can’t always be there consistently, it’s something I just find enormously difficult. Even tiny things feel like such a huge abandonment and I go into child mode and I practically hum, vibrate, with the extremity of the anguish that provokes.]]]]

    This paragraph explains me to a T. Which is why even tiny things in therapy, where things are the most consistent ever, have made me feel like she is not there for me, cannot care for me, about me, that I am nothing, because if I were something why would I be abandoned? And that is the biggest loss of all, the knowing that you were abandoned, because you can’t get that back. You can have a good crack at it in a room once or twice a week in a relationship that is like no other, but it will not replace what you should have had. (I don’t know if you know Tales of a Boundary Ninja, but she’s an amazing blogger who talks about her therapy and what she’s learned from it and a lot of it applies to how we both feel. I don’t know if it will help but this post totally made sense to me: http://boundaryninjatales.com/2011/10/14/disorganized-attachment-or-why-you-think-youre-crazy-but-really-arent/)

    Anyway I will stop this comment now and maybe look back and see what else I can comment on, because I don’t feel like I’ve covered everything :)

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