Friday, September 9, 2011

Lucid Analysis - Trials in Therapy : Moving on

So I’ve been pretty bummed out by the prospect of Roommate moving. We haven’t talked about it since because I haven’t seen her but we will.  I’m sad, I’m disappointed, I’m…. upheaved. Roommate has always been one of the few points of stability that I have. She’s a good friend, one I have a considerable amount of trust for and we’ve never had cause for any real turbulence between us. Therapist recognizes that this is very triggering for my Abandonment issues but she wants me to try and look at it from a place of growth. We’ve lived together for a year and a half without any major problems and that’s a big accomplishment. She’s trying to pull me away from internalizing the reasons that Roommate wants to move. It’s not my fault, her life is just evolving into a different place. I even asked Roommate if it was anything I did and she said no it wasn’t anything like that. Her boyfriend has been hinting at wanting to move in together, but she’s never lived on her own, with full freedom of her own space in its entirety and she feels that’s something she needs to experience.
I’m just. Selfish. I guess. I don’t want another roommate. I LIKE her. What’s more. If she were to move in December when she originally said she was thinking… how freaking awkward a time of year is that? It’s in the middle of winter which would make it difficult to physically move stuff with snow. It’s a financial sink hole with all the expensive holidays and travel unfolding. No one is looking to move in the middle of family holidays so it would be incredibly difficult for me to find a roommate. I can’t move, I just can’t, I need some place to stay that is safe and familiar. If I can’t find a roommate right away that means I would need to shoulder the full expense of rent and utilities by myself and I can’t think about starting to take classes that semester because I simply won’t be able to afford it. If she waits to the end of this lease period which is March/April I’ll have time to really save money in order to juggle all things at once. Spring and fall seem to be the times of year that people and rentals are really opening up to finding a new place too, so potentially it would be more convenient for us both. I need to talk to her.
This whole thing sucks.
Therapist recognized that I went into shock and dissociated mode when Roommate told me. I was at an utter loss for what to say and when she said things like, “this really sucks, I kind of love you and I feel terrible but it’s something I need to consider”… I couldn’t connect to her words at all. Total disconnect. I have a friend telling me she really cares about me but I’ve retreated so far inwards that it’s like she’s talking to a stranger. How can she love me? How does she feel any attachment to me at all? How much does she know me? Does she know me at all? All these questions are silly because she knows me very well, but in that moment I felt like I was a complete stranger eavesdropping on the words of an intimate friendship. I don’t even know how to accurately describe the feeling of not understanding how people can form a connection with me when I can barely feel a connection to myself. Therapist tried to make me focus on the truth of her words though. I have a friend that cares for me, and she’s telling me that she is not leaving for anything I’ve done but because her life is continuing to grow.
Bah, if anything it’s her boyfriend’s fault, not mine. That sucks because I actually like him, but he’s trying to take my roommate away.  I should be happy for her that she has a guy that loves her and wants to be with her so much. I think about me though and it seems like no one else does. What right do I have to expect anyone else to put me ahead of their own desires though? None I guess.
I love her and I don’t want to lose her. I’m afraid that we will fall apart as friends and I won’t see her once she goes. Somewhere I know that our friendship won’t end. It’s just a shift. But it’s still an unknown.
It’s just one more thing on top of a thousand other unpleasant things that I’ve had to deal with since moving to NY. It seems like every day I have another reason to hate it here more and more. I want to pack up and move back to where my sister is. Nothing turns out right, everything changes and I’m left alone again. I don’t even want to try anymore. I recognize this as my Abandoned Child mode coming to the fore.

Abandoned Child - The "abandoned child" is a schema mode in which a person may feel defective in some way, thrown aside, unloved, obviously alone, or may be in a "me against the world" mindset. Feeling as though peers, friends, family, and even the entire world have abandoned a person are the things which live within this schema mode. Abandoned child is a self-defeating mode as a whole. The person feels defective and abandoned, thus may abandon their own self and choose to remain "abandoned" as it is what they believe they know and therefore comforting.
(I’ll talk about these modes next week)
I have to actively resist the urge to give into this. Therapist wants me to feel my feelings about the whole thing, don’t ignore them, don’t bottle them up, FEEL them, let them run their course and then move on. Life changes. Things will always change. She believes that I’ll be able to work through this. As evidenced by my ability to continue developing a more healthy relationship with Friend she thinks I’ll be able to take what I learned from that period of time and pull myself through this even faster since, as a whole, my entire relationship with Roommate is a healthy one.
I’ll deal with this too. I always find a way. Life keeps going and so do I. Truth be told I feel alright today, but I’m also not really processing the issue. I’m not sure it will be real for me until it’s time to start packing boxes.
Once again, it’ll be me and my cat. HE won’t leave me.

Geezus I’m sick of hearing myself whine. Something good!
Well, work has been stressing me out like mad. So much so that the prospect of working on certain projects has hit me with an almost paralyzing anxiety. I beat it today though and pushed myself through it. I have so many things to juggle and work on I’m actually feeling very productive and I have to admit it’s a really nice feeling to have. I’ve even been more social with the guys at work. I won’t say I feel like I fit in, but when I’m out in the shop I’m starting to feel more included like one of the guys, at least until one of them swears and apologizes to me for their language. I’m just going to have to start cussing like a sailor to break them of the habit haha. I really need to be dragged along consistently to feel like I’m a part of a group and not just an outsider tagging along. Fortunately the guys are pretty good at it. It’s like they actually like having me around. Crazy.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

What do you do?

Enough moping. Today is a new day and I have am going to get back on my previous track if it kills me. Ok, maybe not kills me, but I’m determined to not let myself drown slowly in the trenches of my dark thoughts. So where were we? Oh yes! I was going to give you some examples of the three Maladaptive Coping Responses: Surrender, Avoidance, and Overcompensation. To illustrate just how pervasive these things are in the life of someone with a Borderline Personality Disorder, I’m going to highlight the examples that permeate my life. Keep in mind these are just some examples, they’re not the only ways that these schemas can be expressed.

Surrender: Selects partners who cannot make a commitment and remains in the relationship.
            Avoidance: Avoids intimate relationships; drinks a lot when alone.
Overcompensation: Clings to and “smothers” the partner to a point of pushing partner away; vehemently attacks partner for even minor separations.

            Surrender: Selects abusive partners and permits abuse.
            Avoidance: Avoids becoming vulnerable and trusting anyone; keeps secrets.
            Overcompensation: Uses and abuses others (“get others before they get you”)

I have Surrender in my history but as I recognize this I will not tolerate it again. I think because of this I’ve developed even more of the Avoidance mechanism though I recognize that I’ve had this one almost my entire life.

Emotional Deprivation
            Surrender: Selects emotionally depriving partners and does not ask them to meet needs.
            Avoidance: Avoids intimate relationships altogether.
            Overcompensation: Acts emotionally demanding with partners and close friends.

Social Isolation/Alienation
Surrender: At social gatherings, focuses exclusively on differences from others rather than similarities.
            Avoidance: Avoids social situations and groups.
            Overcompensation: Becomes a chameleon to fit into groups.

Social situations have always been hard for me with my anxiety, my dysmorphia, but mutable personality. I always feel like an outsider, someone that never fits in. I can so clearly see all the differences between me and the people gathered around me.  I often have to force myself to be social though my natural state is to stay away where I know I won’t be judged and feel more comfortable. Then when I am out, I’ve been told (most notably by my Evil-Ex) that I’m like different people depending on where I am. I don’t even realize I do this, but clearly it is there.

Surrender: Asks significant others (parents, spouse) to make all his or her financial decisions.
            Avoidance: Avoids taking on new challenges, such as learning to drive.
Overcompensation: Becomes so self-reliant that he or she does not ask anyone for anything (“Counterdependence).

Counterdependence is basically the opposite of co-dependence. I’ll do a blog about these one day I’m sure. I’m almost phobic of the idea of being dependent on anyone. When I find myself relying too much on anyone I push away and push away hard.

Vulnerability to Harm or Illness
Surrender: Obsessively reads about catastrophes in newspapers and anticipates them in everyday situations.
            Avoidance: Avoids going places that do not seem totally “safe”.
            Overcompensation: Acts recklessly, without regard to danger (“counterphobic”).

Enmeshment/Undeveloped Self
            Surrender: Tells mother everything, even as an adult; lives through partner.
            Avoidance: Avoids intimacy; stays independent.
            Overcompensation: Tries to become the opposite of significant others in all ways.

            Surrender: Does tasks in a halfhearted or haphazard manner.
            Avoidance: Avoids work challenges completely; procrastinates on tasks.
            Overcompensation: Becomes an “overachiever” by ceaselessly driving him- or herself.

This goes hand in hand with Unrelenting Standards/Hypercriticalness for me.

            Surrender: Bullies others into getting own way, brags about own accomplishments.
            Avoidance: Avoids situations in which he or she is average, not superior.
            Overcompensation: Attends excessively to the needs of others.

Insufficient Self-Control/Self-Discipline
            Surrender: Gives up easily on routine tasks.
            Avoidance: Avoids employment or accepting responsibility
            Overcompensation: Becomes overly self-controlled or self-disciplined.

My actions have been slipping away from this, but my mentality refuses to shift. As soon as I begin to stray from my very rigid self-discipline I get anxious, I feel like I’m failing, like I am letting myself down and will be judged harshly for not living up to a standard that I feel I should meet.  I need the self-control to feel stable.

            Surrender: Lets other individuals control situations and make choices.
            Avoidance: Avoids situations that might involve conflict with another individual.
            Overcompensation: Rebels against authority. ß--- Yeeeeaaaah, I was a trouble maker growing up.

            Surrender: Gives a lot to others and asks for nothing in return.
            Avoidance: Avoids situations involving giving or taking.
            Overcompensation: Gives as little to others as possible.

            Surrender: Acts to impress others.
            Avoidance: Avoids interacting with those whose approval is coveted.
Overcompensation: Goes out of the way to provoke the disapproval of others; stays in the background.

Surrender: Focuses on the negative; ignores the positive; worries constantly; goes to great lengths to avoid any possible negative outcome.
            Avoidance: Drinks to blot out pessimistic feelings and unhappiness.
            Overcompensation: Is overly optimistic (“Pollyanna-ish”); denies unpleasant realities.

Emotional Inhibition
            Surrender: Maintains a calm, emotionally flat demeanor.
            Avoidance: Avoids situations in which people discuss or express feelings.
Overcompensation: Awkwardly tries to be the “life of the party,” even though it feels forced and unnatural.

I’ve turned so far inward from my Acting Out days that I can’t bring myself to voice my own feelings when something is upsetting. Or I try, but it’s like pulling my own teeth out I don’t know how to do it. I try to beat the outward expression of emotion into submission until I’m alone and can take it out on myself. Letting other people see me out of control is just out of the question, so situations where people can see me out of control are out of the question.

Unrelenting Standards/Hypercriticalness
            Surrender: Spends inordinate amounts of time trying to be perfect.
Avoidance: Avoids or procrastinates in situations and tasks in which performance will be judged. --- I’ve felt almost paralyzed in the face of the fear that I cannot be perfect at the overwhelming stress I’ve faced at work as of late. It’s not even a conscious decision to avoid, but a deep anxiety that forces me to look somewhere else or be consumed.
Overcompensation: Does not care about standards at all – does tasks in a hasty, careless manner.

            Surrender: Treats self and others in harsh, punitive manner.  ß-- I am often very harsh with myself but rarely with other people.
            Avoidance: Avoids others for fear of punishment.
            Overcompensation: Behaves in overly forgiving way.

As I mentioned before, it’s quite natural to express a couple of these in various ways. People are people and we all have some baggage. It’s when they become overwhelming and disruptive and permeate your life that they’re a problem.  People with various PDs tend to express clusters of these coping mechanisms. The thing that is so striking about BPD is just HOW MANY of these various ways touch our lives. You begin to get a clearer picture of why it’s so difficult to effectively treat BPD because clearly, there are many, many aspects that need to be addressed. Even if you don’t have a personality disorder, recognizing where some behavior stems from is useful in overcoming something that has been a challenge for you.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

We all fall down

Everything just feels wrong and worse. I had to get out of the apartment after I talked to Roommate. When I finally came back all I could do was curl up in bed and try not to cry. Even in sleep I found no peace or solace. In my dreams:

I was at my grandfather’s house, long dead. Someone was after me and my sister. Unlucky for him we overpowered them and with knives the size of small nail files cut off their heads and put them in a sack. We moved the bodies in the back of ‘our’ white SUV. We needed to be somewhere and along the way I planned to find a river to dump the bodies and heads into. My sister almost got into the wrong truck but then I remembered I had to make sure everything was in order in the house. In his kitchen there was always ice cream and snacks and things a small child loves. My grandfather had died previously but his house still had all these things in it. Someone kept rearranging the kitchen though. The fridge would move by the pantry, the shelves would be put in front of the fridge and no one would keep things where they belonged. And then there were the spiders. We had at least a dozen huge brilliantly colored spiders in a tank that I needed to watch but somehow they escaped. I couldn’t leave until I’d caught them all. Only one was poisonous and I was very familiar with them but still when one dropped from the ceiling to crawl over my hand I shook it off, managing to catch it with a small plastic box.  I caught them all except for the dangerous black and red one. I looked under the eve by the front door and saw a nest of common household spider sack and she crawled out from under it.  I finally caught her under a rat and put them both in the tank, but the rat knew how to escape and, being a rat, didn’t think to close the cage so the spider would not get out. By now the sky was lightening and I knew I had to leave if I was going to get rid of the bodies under cover of darkness but everything was in disarray.

I feel like I’m floating this morning. I should have taken the day off work but I have so much to do I can’t afford to take the time. Maybe the distraction will help, but I can’t wrap my mind around what I’m going to do. She said 3-6 months so I have some time but no time seems like enough. My limbs feel heavy and my head is full of clouds as I sit here watching these words appear on my screen in front of me. Is this even me? Everything feels unnatural like someone with my thoughts has inhabited my body and is controlling my fingers remotely. This I recognize as my dissociation and I’m almost grateful. If I’m not a part of my body these things can’t be happening to me. I should be happy for her that she is in a place to be independent and moving on from the sadness that she has lived through, but I can’t force myself to smile. I’ve come to rely on her presence, the steady calm that she represents. No matter what was going on I knew I’d have my apartment and my friend and things would be quiet inside. No more. All I can think about are all the opportunities I missed for being a better friend, one more fun and inclusive. My body image is so bad that I’ve declined to do things that I know she’d find fun. If only I could be happier, smile more, maybe she wouldn’t want to leave. Somewhere inside I know this isn’t true. She said she isn’t going for anything I’ve done but because she needs her life to move forward along her own path. It’s my own path that I fear for. I don’t know where it will be going now. It will diverge again and the end is an unknown. Who will have me now? How am I supposed to act knowing that she’s going to leave me too? I should be strong and put on a stoic face so she doesn’t feel bad for how upset I am. I shouldn’t let her know that all I want to do is scream that things keep changing and all I want is one thing to stay the same. That’s selfish and I should think of her. This is what I get for investing in people. Even when I try to save a part of myself it turns around and bites me. I held back and now she wants to leave. I thought I’d held back but really I need her more than I knew. I didn’t want to let her too close because she’d see all the bad in me but I guess it comes through anyways. I thought if I held back it wouldn’t hurt so much when she eventually decided to leave. Maybe it hurts less than it would have. In the end I had no real choice. No matter what I do, it still hurts. She was closer to me than almost anyone. I let myself believe. Now I see but not until I was blindsided. I feel like my heart is beating too slow to sustain me. What am I supposed to do?

I’m just one broken hearted girl. The world keeps on going. We all fall down.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Nothing good can stay

 Nothing good can stay. Everything changes. Everyone leaves. That’s all there is. All there ever seems to be. Roommate just told me she is thinking about moving out. Not for anything I’ve done. She’s just never lived on her own before and her boyfriend has been hinting that he wants to move in together so she wants to be on her own for awhile in her own space before anything like that moves forward. I asked if it was anything I’d done and she said definitely nothing like that. I just, can’t help but feel like I wasn’t a good enough roommate. If I was more fun, or more talkative, or more outgoing or more…SOMETHING… she’d stay. I’m heartbroken. I never should have moved here. It’s been one upheaval after another after another.  I don’t know what I’m going to do. I was trying so hard not to cry, to be strong so she wouldn’t feel guilty, but I couldn’t stop the tears even as my teeth were set. All I could say was “You have to do what you need to do, we’ll figure it out”. I’m never going to be good enough for someone to stay with. Not ever. I know it. It’s always this way. I was beginning to feel steady. Like I had something that wasn’t going to up and change. As soon as I let my guard down though, even a little, something comes out of nowhere and takes my head off.  Fuck this not drinking. Fuck this not smoking. I need to take my mind off things. I don’t know how I’m going to look at her and not feel sad now. I don’t want to lose my friend. I don’t think I will. It’s just so devastating. I feel like my feet are crumbling out from under me. I can’t move again. I don’t’ want things to change. Everything always changes. Nothing ever stays the same.  I never should have moved out here. I never should have left my family or my sister. Never.  Never. Never. I’m going to have to start all over again. I don’t know if I can do it. It’s too much. It’s all just too much. I can’t move again. I just can’t. I need to find a new roommate but I don’t even know where to look or who to ask. She was like my savior when I needed to move away form Evil-Ex and away from her douchebag ex and now she wants to move away from me. I don’t want her to feel bad. She needs to do what’s best for her but no one does what’s best for me and I’m left all alone.  I just don’t know what to do. My head hurts. My eyes hurt. My heart hurts. 

What Dreams May Come?

Have you ever had dreams so vivid you woke up feeling as if you just stepped out of the things that took place? Worse, dreams consumed with people you have such conflicted feelings for you can’t extricate yourself from dwelling on the millions of paths a conversation with that person could take? All day I have been trying to write about what I wanted to write about today but my mind is consumed, obsessed, bogged down in the mire that was the subject of this dream. Him. I can’t help myself from having conversations with him my mind; what we’d say if we saw each other today; where else the dream could have gone; conversations as if we were still the kids we once knew each other to be. All conversations that will never happen and yet, I can’t not dwell on the possibilities. Consumed. Friend believes he may be the mask my inner demons take. What demons are trying to rise to the surface that I need face them in my subconscious because I cannot in my waking life? I wonder. What’s worse is the insidious nature of such dreams. They are never clean cut and angry to bring closure to some past wrong. No. They are full of unexpressed sentiment, gentle and cloying, that makes me question motives and sincerity, his, but worse, my own.

Why won’t the mind let go? Why after so many years will these sentiments still not leave me in peace? Is this everyone? Or just the mind of someone once obsessed? Are there things left to be learned here? I have moved on, but the past still lingers, haunting. It can never be fully exorcised but maybe there are lessons learned there that are still relevant for now.

For as painful as some memories are, perhaps it is prudent not to  simply bury them so deep and closeted away, but to delve into the insight that they could bring to more pressing problems?

So I sit here. Stuck. Mired in my memories. It is clear that I cannot simply walk away. The past can always find you. Where I go from here is the choice. Where,  indeed.
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