Comic: Not this process again (Comic#050)

Reverting from adult to child

Reversion

Hmm. I can’t figure out how to make this image click-able so you can see it blown up to full size (older pics of mine are still click-able). Perhaps it’s the theme I’m using. Maybe I’ll try switching to a different theme.
*UPDATE*: I fixed it! I had already tried two new themes before discovering what was different about this one compared with older ones that worked as links. I’m staying with a new, more open-feeling theme anyway.

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Sex and emotional attachments, and me

[I again tried for a while to sleep, and failed, so now I am waiting for 1mg of clonazepam to kick in.] In the meanwhile, I have a really brief comment I want to make on the topic of sex and the stereotypical emotional attachments a female is supposed to make to those she has intercourse with. CUT! for viewing pleasure/lack thereof. ūüôā¬† Continue reading

The first poem I ever wrote & hiding in the woods

In early elementary school, we were learning about analogies and such in class. Our assignment was to write what people were “like”. Mine made my mom cry her eyes out, although I didn’t learn that for years. She said it was 100% accurate:

My mom is like the ocean, sometimes stormy and sometimes calm.
My brother is like a teapot, always huffing and puffing and letting off steam.
My dad is like a twig in the river, always going with the flow.
And I am like a deer lost in the forest, who must learn to take care of myself.

There’s a lot I want to say about the last line, but I keep deleting what I write. So I’ll just say that without question, this is how I felt for all of childhood. Anything else I want to say will be for a different day.

Ruby Tiger Moth

Ruby Tiger Moth


EDIT: I was thinking about this poem because of a conversation on blahpolar’s page, which had me thinking about the few people who keep encouraging me to go off of my meds, and how much I’ve argued for staying on my meds (when really, of course I want off of them, but). And it had me thinking that I’ve been depressed for far more of my life than non-depressed. I wasn’t terribly depressed in elementary school, but I was definitely melancholy/sad. The woods and the rain and the caterpillars were my friends. I had built a fort in the woods near my house, and would hide there.

My proudest times were when unsuspecting walkers would walk the trail past me and never know I was there. The most anxious was when their loose dogs would always sniff me out, and sometimes get the people’s attention. At the same time, I liked the visiting dogs. They knew, you know.

Later, my path to the hiding spot became too worn, because these two particular neighbor dogs kept visiting me and they always came up the same way. I would walk around and around in the woods to try and get them used to a different path and throw “people” off, but no. I couldn’t hide there then, because it felt too exposed due to the dogs’ path.

I spent a lot of time there. I know I sometimes wrote sad poems out there. I don’t really remember what else I did. Probably I day dreamed most of the time. That’s what I did most of my childhood anyway, was daydream.

I day dreamed so deeply that people could be talking directly to me and I’d be completely unaware. They could say my name and everything and I would still be lost somewhere in my head.

The book I most identify with is “House of Stairs” by William Sleator (not the plot itself, just a particular character was Was Me Back Then). I hadn’t read the book until middle school, but I knew immediately. If you read that, you’ll know exactly where I was mentally and ashamedly, even what my daydreams were about. I made my high school counselor read that. I don’t think she understood. On the other hand, she kept asking me if I’d had any childhood abuse and I kept saying no, because at the time, I didn’t know it was considered abuse. But I still don’t think she understood the point I was trying to make about my character in that book.

This is so horrible to admit, because my parents are so full of love and they’re great, but yet I was quite sad as a child– that’s how I’ll excuse this: But I used to fog up my window in the back seat and write “help me” signs to the other cars. Sometimes I would press my palm up by the words. Nobody ever responded. At some point, I realized my words would be backwards for the other people, but writing backwards got no response, either. Just as well.

Actually, I spent a ton of time hiding under my bed and also behind a particular couch. No more details.

First appointment with my new psychiatrist today (Journal#053)

I had therapy this morning. I’m not sure how I got out of bed and made it only um, was it 15 minutes late? Still, that’s pretty amazing. Especially considering that at the time my appointment should have started, my uncle (who is my ride) was out front washing dog poo off his shoe). LMBO. I did not hurry that process along…

Wow, it’s really sad but I don’t remember much from therapy today because I was so tired. I remember birds that I wanted to photograph but didn’t, and I remember encouragement to locate/test-bike/try volunteering at an animal shelter. ‚̧ But I’m kind of forgetting a lot of everything else we talked about today, which is really sad.

Then I went to work. I’ve been trying to avoid coffee but I wasn’t going to make it through an hour without trying caffeine. So I did that. I stayed awake. I was actually somewhat productive, and I felt really good about that. I wrote myself a list of to-do’s for tomorrow at work, broken down into bite-sized pieces so I should actually be able to do them, regardless of my mood/productivity-level.

Okay. So I left work early, and walked quickly to my psychiatry appointment. I have had some misgivings about meeting her because her initial paperwork was very money-focused. I mean just about every packet explained yet again how many hundreds I’ll owe if I miss an appointment without calling like a week in advance (well, the amount of $ and advance time is in direct proportion to the length of the missed appointment). Sheeeiiit. I will have to wait and see if this happens. In the past, I have simply quit the person then and there. Even though it was my fault for missing the appointment. But I can’t justify wasted money like that. But yeah anyway, I’m getting stuck on the money part again.

ANYway, so I was ready to quit her just from reading through half the paperwork (I gave up after the first half and didn’t look at the 2nd half). BUT it turns out she seemed very nice. From one appointment alone, I like her so far. Time will tell. But she seemed to listen well and she seeeeeemed to understand some things. She expects to meet with me again next week and have some kind of plan formed. I can’t. freaking. wait.

The part of all this that makes me the most hopeful of all is that I feel as though, somehow and somewhere and somewhen, she, my therapist, and maybe even my primary care doctor will try to figure something out for me. That’s never happened before. Dammit I’m crying again for the freaking 10th time in two days (is it a full moon or what?!?! Hang on, lemme check… | Hmm, 9 days left. Shouldn’t be having any¬†mood swings yet. Anyway).

Yeah, so it’s kind of hopeful. I mean, I don’t want to get my hopes up but. It felt hopeful. I don’t want any part of new medications. I want to be done with the current ones. But, here I am, daring to hope. A bit.

Oh my God[] I want a life back. I want to be alive again and live and feel safe and be able to see my parents and my dog and my pony. I want some sense of normality and to feel alive and worthwhile. I want to feel capable(not exhausted) and productive and reliable and dependable. What if this is possible?

OCD: Fear of BEING crazy (originally titled: Disorientation and paranoia that led to a ground-breaking realization) (Topic#025)

Streams of Falling Water

Streams of Falling Water

This is by far the most embarrassing post I’ve written. I am actually quite anxious about having posted it. But if just one person relates and maybe feels less crazy because of it, it will have been worth it.

I just got one of these moments of disorientation so I wanted to attempt writing about it/explore it/see where it takes me/help me not fear it. I doubt that I can give it justice. [I get weird shifts in reality at random from time to time. No idea why.¬†My ex-best-friend with temporal lobe seizures experiences something like that, too, which has made me wonder. But it doesn’t seem to matter since even if I did, I wouldn’t want to take even more medicine. The shifts can affect different parts of my perceptions at different times. This will only describe this one moment in time, where a perfectly normal-for-me way of viewing the world suddenly changed for no reason. ¬†And it’s really only me writing about THE RESULT of the shift, not the shift itself. That would be too hard to explain. Dang, now I want to try… So… Like I’m having a perfectly ‘normal’ day and suddenly **BLAM** Suddenly it’s like reality is a bit different than it was, and I’m thinking about the world in a different way, and viewing things a different way, experiencing things a different way. Feelings could be different, or sight, or sound, or mood, or thoughts. My sense of Reality is just somehow *different* and for NO reason. I could just be sitting there watching TV and have it happen. I can almost describe it, sometimes, a bit like when your ears have been plugged for ten days straight and you’re used to it that way, and then suddenly your ears unplug and in that instant, things feel a bit different. Man I wish I could describe this better.]

I was thinking about a particular person and suddenly felt a shift in my head. Suddenly, I was thinking about, is this person insane or completely grounded? I mean, please excuse the words I use to describe this. (A lot of the words I use to describe the rest of the post are offensive, but I don’t mean to be offensive. I am trying very hard to be honest about the anxious thoughts I have/had, and offensive words are part of it.) But I mean it quite literally. I realize, I have no idea. I have no idea if he’s perfectly normal and grounded or is actually quite out there. I get so insecure. Because it’s really a crazy feeling. I genuinely don’t trust whether or not another person is experiencing the average “reality” or is actually quite insane. It leads me to think about other people, too. So many people I know experience/view reality VERY DIFFERENTLY and they don’t even realize it. Differently from each other, I mean. Different people I know view the world and life COMPLETELY DIFFERENTLY from each other and that is very disorienting for me sometimes. Going between different people is a bit like traveling between completely, completely different realities. I can’t find words BIG enough to describe what I mean! It’s like a COMPLETELY alternate¬†life when I’m with different people, even for short amounts of time.

And of COURSE leads me to wonder if I’M insane and can I trust my own perceptions?¬†I wish I could figure out how to explain this! ¬†And there’s no way of ever, ever believing. What if people are just going along with¬†the things I do and say¬†because I’m actually insane and they’re just humoring me? MAN I wish I could explain this but I just can’t figure out a way!¬†I’ve re-written these top paragraphs for at least an hour or more¬†so far. (The rest of this post is even more of a mess, because I was trying SO hard not to censor my words and to be quick enough that¬†I could still remember the feelings so as to write¬†this.)

This is one of my deep, down, insanely strong fears. It rears its ugly head time and time again.

Here’s the thing. I will NEVER KNOW what ANY of you actually think of me. I’m talking you amazing people who read this. I’m talking anybody I’ve met in person in the past year. I’m talking anybody I’ve known my whole life. I’m talking the people who humor me and chat with me in text or over the phone on the occassion that I call somebody.

I have the deep down paranoia that every person I interact with is just humoring me and that really I’m insane or have mental retardation and I just don’t realize it. These memories are coming back right now. In elementary school, I used to be SO SURE that really I was mentally retarded and in a wheel chair and that the way I was viewing the world was all in my head and that the people around me were all humoring me. I used to feel that way strongly and worry about it aaaaallllllllllllllllllllll the time.

Literally speaking, the ONLY PEOPLE I BELIEVE are people who are so messed up themselves, that I trust they are not just pulling the wool over my eyes. These are the people who are extremely depressed or have other severe emotional problems, -OR- people SO socially awkward and have such symptoms as they are actually on the autistic spectrum and don’t read people very well.

Holy. Shit. I think I may have just found the “why” of why I only date and gravitate toward untreated-mentally-ill people. I. never. thought. of. this. before.

I can’t even believe it. You guys don’t know how hard I’ve thought about this and how many times I have grasped at straws in trying to come up with an explanation when people ask me.

If a person seems “normal”, I am afraid of them! Afraid of them humoring me and being “in” on my issues that I don’t know I have. That my every movement is SO LAME and is actually quite offensive at times, and I’m the only one who doesn’t know it. That I am a buffoon.

I honestly believe it is impossible for me to ever not feel this way. I will. NEVER. TRUST. that you are not “in” on it.

So yeah, I was super, super paranoid about this in elementary school. I do wonder if this is related to the childhood ‘abuse’ I previously wrote about. Because he did tell me time and time and time again how I was so stupid and lame and mentally retarded and everyone was humoring me and nobody liked me. And he did set up things to make it seem that everyone was ‘in’ on it, like the time I wrote about already. And I was always the butt end of jokes. When I read, “Flowers for Algernon,” I cried and cried because he was me, or exactly how I felt, at least. That was me completely. I was always the butt of the jokes but I laughed right along with everybody. I just loved being included in the group.

When I came back from college and was having my first mental breakdown, the paranoia got WAAAAAAAY worse. I constantly worried that maybe my parents had set up cameras all around their house, to be watching me all the time¬†because somehow they knew how insane and suicidal I was. I worried that the medicine I was prescribed were actually being written and filled as placebos. That placebo pills were stopping my panic attacks, proving that it was all in my head and nothing was “wrong”, etc. That the therapists¬†were actually humoring me and watching me make a fool of myself day after day. At the same time, I worried that I was losing my mind completely and losing all touch on reality (I kind of was, though, in hindsight). I was worried that I was going to somehow make myself schizophrenic. (And I was extremely sure that all of my thoughts were going to cause me cancer.) I was extremely worried I’d be diagnosed bipolar. (I have nothing against bipolar now, but I was PETRIFIED of it back then.) I told one of my therapists that I would kill myself if I was diagnosed bipolar. Months later, I finally had the nerve to ask her if she thought I was bipolar and she said no and explained her reasoning. But of course, I didn’t know if she was telling me the truth or knew I was still not ready to hear it (and, as with all of these thoughts, there IS NO WAY for me to believe you, no matter what you do or say). When I read that the first antidepressant I was prescribed was to be avoided for those with bipolar (because it can worsen the symptoms), I did believe her just a tiny bit. To this day, I always wonder if I’m bipolar, but it doesn’t scare me like it used to.

All of these things are IN me, surfacing from time to time, but otherwise living just barely beneath the surface.

Additions to: Messages received in childhood abuse (Topic#023)

Ocean birds

Ocean birds

I wrote this as an addition to the childhood abuse post, but it became long enough that I may as well make it its own post. The first addition is about my dreams in elementary school. The second addition is about sexual orientation/identity.

Addition:¬†In elementary school, I had dreams at night about how he and I were at war. In real life, I used to set up bells and stuff so I could hear if doors were being opened. I positioned all of my stuffed animals around so they could see every corner of the rooms, like that would protect me. In my sleep, we were at war and he was trying to kill me. I’d have to trap him or kill him first. It was life and death.

So I never really thought much of any of this until I got back from college with a mental breakdown and everyone was questioning why this had happened and on and on. That’s when they started asking me all these questions and learning more about this time period. That’s when I was diagnosed with prolonged PTSD, depression (again), anxiety disorders, etc etc. But really, I’m not convinced this played that big of a part. I think it did set me up to be in such an unhealthy relationship as what happened out in college, but I don’t think it extended beyond that. It was just life and it’s a part of me. Maybe it wired me to be more anxious, more sensitive, more observant of certain things. But I don’t feel damaged by it. Just different. But I was different to begin with.

It’s not uncommon for people with Asperger/autism spectrum disorder to experience ‘abuse’ and not think to report it or really notice that something is out of place. I was already different and I think that’s the point. (Here is a link for you to learn more, from Disability Studies Quarterly journal.)

Additional Addition:¬†He also did verbal experiments to try and make me grow up to be a lesbian. For a stretch of time, he only called me “Lesbo” and talked about me as a lesbian and stuff. So even though I went on to middle school and never saw him again, I spent middle school wondering if his experiment was going to be successful or not. I kind of hoped it would be, because I was rooting for him. But I never found a female attractive. I never found a male attractive, either. I found nothing attractive and had no sexual interest in anything or anyone until I was like 22 years old or so (I was EXTREMELY¬†averse to anything sexual until around then, actually). But I used to be quite concerned about it and¬†always wondered if I liked whatever female as a friend, or more than a friend, or etc. etc.¬†For some reading on this, here is a link to an article on Sexual Orientation OCD thoughts.

Besides, this person had already made me ashamed of my self and body in every way possible and ashamed of being female. I believed I was supposed to have been born male and often wondered if somehow I was actually born with two genders and my parents chose the wrong one. In my dreams at night, I was nearly almost a male character. Sometimes I was even dating a female in my dreams. This sort of thing still happens — I’m often male in my dreams.

The difference now is, I don’t care. None of it matters to me. I’m just a human. These things used to cause me a lot of anxiety but now, it wouldn’t matter to me one way or another. I’m not an exceptionally feminine human but I’m not masculine, either. (I started letting coworkers dress me in feminine clothing a few years ago, in one of my attempts to fit in better. And I try to get my hairdressers to give me a feminine style, to fit in better.) My favorite person in the entire world was my best friend in 12th grade, and he was a male, but had a lot of feminine qualities. Neither of us really fit our gender roles that well and it didn’t matter one bit. He is the only person on this planet who actually made me feel like I fit in and I knew he loved me exactly as I am. He’s the only one who’s EVER looked at me and I KNEW how much he loved me. I lost him when I had my first mental breakdown.

For me, that’s actually the biggest tragedy in my life – losing him as a friend. I can accept everything else that has ever happened in my life, but that one cuts to this day, even though it was more than a decade ago.

In college, a girl did ask me out, but it was in the midst of my breakdown and I didn’t have any mental energy to deal, so I said no. I couldn’t allow anything into my life. She had been my best friend the year before¬†but I wasn’t sexually attracted to her. Still, I probably would have said yes under normal circumstances. Because I’m still rooting for him to have succeeded in his experiments.

(*OCD note: This is Topic#023, which I am making myself use, and that’s a big deal for me. I’ll be writing about OCD numbers someday.)

Dissociation, as my best friend and worst enemy (Topic#022)

Falling Water

Falling Water

I just finished the post on childhood abuse. And it lead me to think of dissociation. When I came back from college with my first mental breakdown, one of the things I was diagnosed with was a dissociative disorder. The therapist told my parents, behind my back, that I would never recover from it. They grieved and grieved and were in a very bad place for a long time after that. THANKFULLY the therapist was WRONG. After two years, I was able to feel alive again. More on that to come.

I’m going it do my best to describe dissociation as I experience it.¬†I’ll work backwards, for now. So when I came back from college, so very many things were going on. I was barely alive. I should have been hospitalized but my parents are too scared of such things ruining the future (they didn’t know I was so suicidal). I couldn’t feel, physically. I had no sense of touch anymore.¬†I could close my eyes and touch both a pile of feathers and a pile of sandpaper and not be able to tell them apart.

I was having experiences like hearing somebody talking but not understanding what they were saying and not recognizing the voice….and then realizing it was my OWN voice. I was talking but was so far apart from myself, I didn’t know I was talking and didn’t know what I was saying. I would see a hand reach for a doorknob in front of me and not recognize it as my own hand. At one point, in the midst of the most stressful point of college, the part that lead to the destruction of everything, my vision altered, too. The horizon became diagonal, although my head was straight.

I could go places and experience nothing from it. I wasn’t there. It wasn’t that I was looking down on myself from above — I wasn’t there at all.

At some point, I picked up a childhood dog puppet. Scared my parents TO DEATH. But I could “show” the world to the soft, friendly dog puppet I’d had forever. I could walk around the world and point things out to the dog puppet, and that is how I started to “see” things¬†in the world again. My mom actually allowed me to take the dog puppet with me everywhere I went for like two years during this time. That’s huge for her. There are pictures of me at a music workshop in another state, me wearing the dog puppet and looking out at the ocean, and the dog puppet looking out at the ocean.

The first time I actually experienced reality again was in my childhood bedroom — I had my hand out my bedroom window and suddenly felt a breeze on my hand. That was the first feeling I’d had in two years. It marked the start of recovery from the dissociation. Up until then, we were all told and believed that it was going to be a permanent condition for me. (I made no commitments to life or to stay alive at that point.)

Since then, I was quite afraid of travel in general, for fear it would cause me to dissociate again. But NO, I have NOT gone through another phase like this. THANK GOD.

So when did I first learn to dissociate? Anyone who read my previous post already knows. Childhood ‘abuse’. There were more times than I can tell you for all the times I dissociated as a child. For example, when he pinned me down, held my eye open and touched my eyeball with the eraser of a pencil (yep, that started some OCD symptoms, too — like the fear of me stabbing my own eyes out with metal hangers, that I’ve previously mentioned). You can’t be present for that. Where do you think you go? That is dissociation. I would simply not be present when he would pin me down and do things to me. But not just for physical things — it’s also useful in events of verbal stress. Like if someone is yelling at me.
That’s how I deal with stressful verbal situations today. If you’re going to trap me in “conversation” in which I can’t respond and can’t escape physically, then I’ll mentally escape.

Safety.

It comes in handy for other things, too, like when a kid throws up on your leg and you’re still 15 minutes away from your destination and can’t do anything about it until then… Just turn your head and go someplace else mentally.

I don’t feel like I’ve described this very well. I’ll probably go back through and add some links later.