Friday, March 15, 2013

Lucid Analysis – Trials in Therapy: Everything Sucks

I just want the world to stop. I am SUPER snarky, angry, and irritable about EVERYTHING. Everything. Snarky Haven is at least funny. Angry, irritable Haven is a landmine waiting to take out large populations of unsuspecting general stupidity.

I had a lot of catching up to do with Therapist because I missed therapy last week so it’s been 3 weeks. I missed mostly because my car has been in the shop and I’ve had a screwed up ankle so I’d been relying on other people for transportation. I had a rental for a little while but holy crap expensive. So where did I leave off with my life updates?

New Girl? New Girl is gone. I did go out with her one more time. However after our first date she ended up having to check herself into rehab because she had a relapse (Painkillers from two very bad car accidents that her doctors didn’t regulate her properly on, not like heroine or anything). She had been super need, and emotional, and assuring me she wasn’t like this and would feel better when she was out of the hospital. I don’t know if it was some kind of morbid curiosity or if I’m just a glutton for punishment but I agreed to go out with her one more time. She wanted to get dinner and go to a movie. Harmless enough. I met her at Penn. I was super irritable waiting for her then the second she showed up it was mood change to smiles. We went to a nice pub. Had a couple glasses of wine, which I definitely needed. She said all kinds of things, stepped all over me trying to say anything at all, the whole time my tipsiness and my need to make people feel accepted and happy taking over and letting her believe that that the way she is, is what I could value in a partner. I did draw the lines at a few things, but not enough to actually feel like I was being honest with myself. Then we went to the movie. First of all, she started to change her mind about going at all because she wanted to continue drinking and talking. For me, I needed to see that she was at least a tiny bit capable of doing something she said she would do. I need some margin of stability and reliability. If you say we will do something, can we please just do it? So we went to the movie. And I had it. She committed just about the worst sin of all the sins. And I don’t even believe in sin. She talked through the entire first half of the damn movie. Talked. Through it. HATES IT WE DO! Then she fell asleep through the second half. I let her sleep.
A day or two later we talked. I told her that this wasn’t working for me in the most tactful way I could muster. I really liked her, but I didn’t feel like I could be myself and things were too emotionally intense for me too quickly. I liked her, but I didn’t see this working. Blah blah blah. She was understandably stunned. Her responses were short. And then she started to get snippy with me.

Her: “I think the line you’re looking for is ‘It’s not you, it’s me.”

In my head: It’s not me at all, It’s all you.

Me: “No actually, it isn’t just me, it’s both of us.”

Don’t get snappy with me if you don’t want to meet snappy Haven. She’s a bitch and bitch Haven is one fierce motherfucker. Fortunately things calmed down after that. She seemed to accept it. Until later she begged me to call her and talk to her because she didn’t understand.

So I did. I called her and explained a whole bunch. Read it here. Closure. Yay! Then the next day she texts me. “So why didn’t you just sleep with me?” My response, “Because that would have been a shitty thing to do as we clearly weren’t on the same page.” No no no…what she meant was, why don’t I just sleep with her, as friends with benefits, no emotional attachment.

Right. Because I totally believe she can handle that. How about we just be friends. K, thanks. This is my life.
Everything about her near me is chaotic. I am so aware of the energy people and situations bring that I internalize it as my own. Being around her was like a nuclear reaction in my brain that caused my emotional center to meltdown. Just, no. This was a much harder break up than it should have been for two dates. Fortunately we seem to be on good terms and everything is ended in a non-stalking way.

So I just ended that when the next thing crept in. I get a lot of letters from Readers and people seeking advice. Way more than I’m capable of addressing lately, for which I sincerely apologize, but it’s overwhelming and I’m having an incredibly hard time keeping up. Anyways, one in particular caught my attention. A representative from the Dr. Oz show contacted me because she found my blog posts about Body Dysmorphic Disorder. She wanted to talk to me about it. I’m pretty much all about mental health advocacy and raising awareness so of course I accepted. I told her my family (really just my brother, but whatever) was coming to visit me this weekend so I wouldn’t have time to talk but would be available after 4p during the week.

Saturday around noon. She calls. 1. Phone Anxiety. 2. I said I wouldn’t have time. 3. I was in the grocery with my brother and couldn’t hear. Figured it out, stepped outside and talked for a few minutes. She was extremely pushy with wanting to do a phone interview that night.

This is how my day was supposed to go. Wake up. Go to the grocery with my brother. Get food with my brother. Take my brother to work to show him the projects and stuff that I do. Cook a 4 course meal for 10 people. I had all the minutes planned out. You need a type A minute by minute planning personality to cook the way I do.

I told her I could probably find some time around 4. She was SO pushy and clearly aggravated that I couldn’t talk earlier but finally acquiesced to that time. IL had to double time all my prep and was stressing out quite a lot. She called me. We talked.

This woman. Obviously not a clinician. She immediately started bombarding me with questions about my experience. Some of her questions included:

“When you look in the mirror do you hate yourself?”
“What is your height and weight?”
“What is it that you hate so much?”

…and then of course plenty of other things that you would normally expect in an interview trying to discern the severity and expression of your Body Dysmorphic Disorder. Look. I get it. She’s trying to produce a television exposee or whatever. She has to ask questions to figure out if I would be good to go on. But hot damn, it was like she look up the most rudimentary understanding of the disorder and asked me checklist style if I had various symptoms in the most direct and insensitive way possible. The whole time I was thinking, “Holy crap, Therapist would never talk to me like this.”

This woman clearly had zero idea that the way she was conducting this interview, while on the topic of a clearly psychologically distressing topic, was actually very psychologically distressing to me at that very moment. It was like she thought maybe it was something I could turn off and think about objectively without actively feeling it? And then, and then… after having explained to her that my BDD has been so severe at times that I have been physically and emotionally incapable of going out in public for months, months, and more months at a time because the mere thought that people might look at me causes a sense of anxiety so debilitating I panic and hyperventilate…. She asks me to take a full length photo of myself to send to her and asks if I can take off work the next Monday to come to the show.

I’m really abbreviating this, and I feel it doesn’t do the level of anxiety I felt any justice or the irony I was feeling, but up until the end of our nearly 40 minute conversation I thought I might be able to do this. The idea of having to take a photograph of myself when I don’t feel absolutely 100% excellent about myself though? It broke something and my anxiety started to take over. The thought of having to send her a picture was the final thing I couldn’t take. I ignored her calls the next day and finally told her Monday that I wouldn’t do it.
The insensitivity of the whole things was just mind boggling to me. How does a person come to believe that after being told that; Going out in public, even going out in front of a small group of people that I know cares for me, can fill me with so much dread and anxiety that I can no longer function or go out at all….  How do they then believe that shoving me onto a stage in front of a live audience and cameras that reach millions of people will somehow be a good idea? 

I felt so completely disgusting after that conversation. I’ve had 3 different binge/purge episodes since. Oh! Which by the way, I was strongly discouraged from discussing. Eating disorders are a different episode you see. They don’t want to associate eating disorders with BDD. She was still adamant that I would be perfect for this? Yet, she didn’t want me to discuss the extent of its severity? Just the hand-picked aspects they deemed worthy for presentation? Fuck you. I’ve also cut myself and injured myself because I felt I needed to be punished for eating too much which altered my body shape in a way that was a particular fixation for me. I doubt I would be able to say that either. No. I am clearly more than willing to discuss my issues, but not only the parts you find acceptable for television. That’s not the whole issue or the whole truth. That really pissed me off too.

Unfortunately the whole experience was incredibly triggering for me. I’ve been beyond self-conscious. Especially as my ankle is still swollen and in a brace so I can’t exercise the way I need too. The only way I could have possibly convinced myself to go on the show would have been to completely starve myself for a week and exercise despite my ankle. I’ve fallen into a worse episode of self-loathing and body hatred than I’ve felt in ages.

I held it in for a few days and finally had to tell someone so I talked to xRoommate. As usual she was very supportive of my decision and made me feel much better. MUCH BETTER. Then in a crazy surprise twist of openness… I told Tech Boy too.

Tech Boy and I went out for sushi (veggie sushi for me) and drinks. He knew I was having a bad week but he didn’t really know why. After a little hemming and hawing I finally spit it out. I didn’t give him the fully gorey spectrum of details, but I explained a lot of it.  It’s not something I talk about with almost anyone, and it’s not something I let anyone see in me… as I’ve said before the woman most people know is a witty, beautiful, charming person with a slightly twisted sense of humor, not a debilitatingly self-conscious one that can’t stand to have people look at her. He did the slightly confused thing, and definitely expressed that it wasn’t something that he understood because, well, look at me (yeah the old but you’re so beautiful…) but he was surprisingly receptive to the fact that this was actually an issue for me. More surprisingly, it didn’t alter the tone or course of the night at all. It was kind of nice to get that out there. He always manages to surprise me when I’m able to do that whole “be open about my issues” thing. He’s much better at it than he gives himself credit for. My opinion is mostly based on his assessment of himself and the way he tells me he doesn’t like to think or talk about stuff like that, but when I do talk about it, he manages to roll with it pretty okay and be as supportive as he knows how to be. It was pretty nice.

Then we went back to my place and watched movies, snuggled a bunch, had lots of sex. The usual. I know I like being around him. I’m still not quite immediately comfortable with him without a drink yet. And I can’t figure out if it’s okay for me that we don’t have a ton in common but that he’s nice to me and that we have a good chemistry, or if I’m just lonely and reaching for what is familiar. I’m so confused.

I did tell him that I wasn’t sure what I wanted from him though. I have a guilty conscience for pretty much everything so I had to make sure I was at least clear that I didn’t know what I wanted from him, I didn’t know where this was going, I didn’t know what he wanted from me… but I liked seeing him. He agreed with me and said he was just happy to have me in his life again. So I don’t know. Maybe for now I’ll just try to not overthink it.

Therapist still just, really likes him for me. He’s very down to earth, not dramatic at all, clearly cares about me… I don’t feel like I need to be someone else for him/I feel like I can be [mostly] myself around him – by that I mean I still feel that I hold a lot back but I don’t feel that I am someone else entirely like I did with New Girl.

I’m not even all that sure what I want or what I need so it doesn’t make a lot of sense for me to go about judging what it right and wrong for me when the things that are happening relationship wise aren’t destructive. Bleh. Idk. I just wish I had some clue what the hell I was doing.

Also, lots and lots of work stress. My life is pointless. The world is completely pointless. It’s all just meaningless. All of it. I’m so bored and so discontent and so unmotivated I don’t want to do anything. I don’t want to get out of bed. I don’t want people to see me. Not to be confused with me not wanting to see people. I’m angry and irritated and I just want to kick small children for laughing too much. I’m pretty sure that’s the definition of a horrible person, but I swear I won’t actually do it. I mean, I don’t even know any small children.

Love my little brother even if he is a foot taller than me. 
But Therapist wanted to end therapy on a good note so we talked a bit about my brother visiting for the weekend. It was a lot of fun. We didn’t get along so well growing up. Mostly because I didn’t get along with anyone so much when I was growing up. I was an angry, angry, violently angry young lady. He was the star athlete spotlight golden child and I was this rebellious gothic black sheep that refused to be normal. We’ve grown up though. Amusingly those labels haven’t changed all that much but our acceptance and appreciation of them in each other I think has definitely evolved in a good way. My brother is admirably ambitious and outgoing and I think he’s even found an appreciation for my quirky style and rebellious nature. Anyways I think we get along really well now. He’s doing some big things with his life and it’s pretty awesome the directions he’s allowing it to go. He even seemed pretty impressed with the things I’m doing with mine.

Which is funny because I’m not always.  I mean, I do these massively intense research and development projects but when all is said and done, I feel like it’s someone else wearing a Haven suit that has the credit for it. I don’t think Therapist always understands just how different I feel when I go to work. I put on my work clothes and it’s like putting on a costume. My work clothes are not like anything I would choose to wear on purpose if I wasn’t going to a place of professional occupation. I dress well, but I don’t dress “like me”. I don’t act like me either. Part of me, the part of me that I feel that matters, is not present, it’s compartmentalized and sectioned off to be let out later once I punch out.  The “me” that people see at work is a projection of who I need to be to get my job done. All the work I know is technically done by me, doesn’t really connect to me though, it’s hers. I recognize those achievements from a distance but they don’t remain as an internalized sense of accomplishment. Meh. Idk… we didn’t have much time to continue going into this.
In fact. I’m tired now. I’m gonna wrap this up. It’s way too long. You deserve a cookie if you got this far. Good job.

Side Note: Therapist and I got into an argument about whether or not I was “quirky”. I think she thought the word meant “flaky” when to me it means like bizarre or strange but in a kind of cute and charming way? Idk. She was making me so angry. So so angry.

Cope constructively. Not Destructively. Mantra. Mantra. Mantra. 

1 comment:

  1. Nice post!(i haven't been commenting but i've been keeping up)
    Maybe when you're at work your detached protector activates and so you feel disconnected from your experience?
    As for tech boy,or life for that matter,you don't have to 'have it all figured out' in advance.Nobody knows exactly what they want all the time.And that's ok.Just go with the flow.
    Kisses from Greece :*


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