improperlyhuman: (Default)
My mom just called me. She made a bunch of apologies for a bunch of stuff, but apologies don't really mean anything to me so most of it kind of went in one ear and out the other. That's a curious way to put it since a large chunk of everything people say to me goes in one ear and out the other...

Anyways, she said she wanted to be back in my life. And I said ok. So she's going to be calling me.

I'm not sure what prompted this. She did say that she's been wanting it for some time, but she also thanked me for taking in my sister, and I wonder if helping my sister made her decide to call.

So this is what's happening with me in the moment: 

I was kind of at a loss to say anything and expect to be so in the future. A long time ago, I subconsciously decided to minimize what I say in conversations with my mom to avoid encouraging interaction, being misunderstood, being pissed off, and getting the tiniest bit attached to talking to her.

This is one of the ways in which I have curbed my spontaneity to live up to my idealized image. I now know that curbed spontaneity has ramifications beyond what I imagined. It's a way to very gradually begin self-destructing from the inside out.

I worried that this would be awkward.

Though it was not difficult, I had to fight off my instinct to withdraw. I hesitated before I consented to increased contact. After I got off the phone, I began to worry about getting too attached. Too attached to my own mother! Wow.

So I've had a headache on and off for like the past three days. My metabolism seemed to suddenly rev up around the same time, so I thought the headache was caused by undereating and/or not eating soon enough. But I ate a ton over the last couple of days, and that barely helped at all. I wonder if the noise/stress is the cause.

I can only wonder. I've hardly ever been able to actually sense noise causing me headaches, even though I'm now sure that noise has so often been the culprit.

My insomnia has rapidly worsened. The fam leaves in about six days. I got a new contract yesterday evening and need to hold myself together.

A couple of days ago, I suddenly had a taste/idea for a double carb dish: potatoes and rice. It's been very satisfying. I think it would be better would white rice, however, but I don't have any and perhaps shouldn't dare eat any. I don't want to repeat that elevated blood sugar episode I 
had with the sushi rice...last year, was it?

I'm gonna go make some right now.
improperlyhuman: (dark Mulder)
I woke up gasping in fear in the middle of last night. I don't remember this being caused by a dream, but I remember being worried about my sister. Stress. After putting it off all day, I finally spoke to her about leaving once she got her unemployment check. Of course it wasn't nearly as bad as I'd imagined.

She said that she would have already left if she had the money, and that somehow bothered me even though that's what I would want. Maybe I didn't like being surprised? (I expected her to want to stay a bit longer.) Surprises provoke anxiety, and I was already anxious.

I do remember an unrelated dream, however. I was hanging out at someone's house (a few family members, my mom included, were there), and some stranger brought a baby to the house. As I sat and watched the baby explore the carpet, I became angry and kind of restless. I know exactly what caused those feelings because I've experienced it before.

I was upset that people are not organized into normal, healthy social structures such that the youth can fully benefit from the knowledge of their elders. I felt that the end of my youth would sort of result in my being cast aside despite what I could contribute, that people's ability to contribute was being wasted. I felt sorrow for the youth that would needlessly repeat mistakes for lack of guidance; I felt frustration that the problem would go unsolved. I felt unappreciated.

Today I spent some more time learning bridge with free software from the American Contact Bridge League. The lessons stretched on and on. On breaks from the lessons, I thought about what kind of social environment I wanted and needed, and whether it made sense to tire myself out with people I didn't care to socialize with, whether that was an acceptable way to treat them. I care about understanding bridge more than I care about interacting with them.

On second thought, having gone once was indeed a bit helpful to me. It helped me to realize that I was making a big deal out of nothing, that I'm not turning into a socially rusty clutz. Now that I'm somewhat more at peace with myself, I'm not so worried about that. Going also kind of helped me to see that I'm not missing anything.

Finally I gave up on the lessons. I found an email address and let someone know that I wouldn't be coming to bridge anymore.

I still have negative emotions that drag on forever/never get resolved, so this evening I started reading Emotional Clearing, which has something to do with self-acceptance and neutralizing the intensity of negative emotions by integrating (rather than rejecting) them.

improperlyhuman: (Default)
Today has been a discouraging day. Right now I'm slowly getting over being pissed at not being able to workout because my sister and nephew went to bed early in my living room (my workout room). Now my lifting schedule is messed up, which is particularly problematic given that I'm still just getting back into it (so missing one day is a biggish deal).

I was talking to my sister about her situation and plans today when something in my abdomen started hurting. It was like I was literally worried sick. I found out that she has some very shaky plans (not going into the shelter, putting off starting her new job and relying on help from social services while spending all her money to get her car back, and waiting to get subsidized housing, which has nothing to do with her housing problem) and has not been applying for apartments.

I was gobsmacked when I found out that she hasn't been rejected for bad credit for years. What the hell has she been doing??? She's been homeless with a stable job and sufficient money, yet she hasn't been applying for apartments? Now that I have specifics, I'm even more worried that she's going to keep screwing up and end up homeless for longer. I'm afraid I'm going to end up housing her for her stupid decisions. She doesn't listen!

I tried explaining things to her today, but I doubt I made much of a difference. What I really want her to understand is that she has been messing up royally. I told her that I was planning to move soon, so she said that she could live in her car again if things don't work out, but where is she going to get gas money if she doesn't go back to work and spends everything she has getting the car back?! It's like she's not thinking.

I thought I was doing well given all the noise they make, but I can see now that it's just slowly and unobtrusively wearing me down, like being near traffic all day wears me down.

Suddenly the drain was clogged. Suddenly a zillion flies are in the apartment. Why?? I don't know what they are doing. It kills me to see her feeding my nephew nothing but trash. He's overweight, he's gonna end up with diabetes like his grandparents or hypoglycemia like me or worse.

I told her she didn't have to cook and to just stop giving him sugary drinks and buy some canned beans and peas. She said she wants him to have something filling before school! What the hell, she thinks junk food is more filling than canned goods/??!!!!!!!> Who is this person?? He eats Doritos every day, and they are getting smashed into my goddamned carpet. Doritos are filling? Cookies are filling? This is poor ppl shit right here.

This is insanity. I don't need this stress right before my course starts.

Although I'm not dwelling as much as before, I find myself coming back to  negative emotions caused by ugly situations with other people. I decided to keep posting on this forum as an exercise in not withdrawing, but I'm not enjoying myself too much. I'm not even posting on the main forum anymore, just trolling the spam section. It's good for lulz but when I get irritated with someone, it seems like it's just not worth it.

Someone who has posted dumb racist-sounding shit was talking to some other idiot in the chat section, and I was just so...frustrated. I've been trying to find some kind of enjoyment in other people, and it's not working.

They say to avoid talking about stuff like politics and religion, but why would I bother with someone I couldn't talk to openly about important topics? I don't understand how people get anything out of that. I'd always have in the back of my mind the knowledge that I have to sensor myself to avoid an argument. I kind of do that now, in fact; that's why I keep the trolling informal and discourage people from getting closer (denying their friend requests helps).

I have little compassion for others' limitations. I thought, maybe I'm just externalizing my lack of compassion for my own limitations, and if I can be nicer to myself, I can extend that to others and like people more. I don't know if that's true, but I guess I have to try it. The alternative is too bleak to turn to without trying something else.

So that's what I'm supposed to be working on now: self-compassion. I dislike the very word "compassion." I don't know how to do it; I still don't know how to deliberately change the way I feel. Other stuff I've "worked on" seems to just be changing by itself, without any conscious effort. 

Oh! Speaking of. Today I was thinking about kissing this oh-so-attractive person I found on OkC yesterday. And this is a new thing and a big deal because I used to not be able to do that, or rather, I used to unconsciously prevent myself from doing that, supposedly to reinforce social distance.

So I'm doing ok when it comes to being kinder to myself in terms of accepting my want (need) of an intimate relationship. (I kind of don't have a choice because the need has been nagging at me for some time and won't go away.) But I'm still not nice to myself when I make mistakes or get carried away emotionally. That's what I have to work on. If I can "accept" (I hate that word now) this in myself, I can "accept" it in others. That's the hypothesis anyway.
improperlyhuman: (Default)
Photobucket has stopped hosting the main image I use on my blog, the Magritte painting, so that's gone. Too much effort to re-upload it. No, it isn't too much effort; it's that I feel stupid being so involved as to bother re-uploading it. Even healthy levels of involvement make me feel stupid sometimes. Involvement presents vulnerability to disappointment. Disappointment is not even relevant to re-uploading an image, but withdrawing from involvement has become compulsive; that's why it's a problem.

Focus on the positive. I finally ordered a new saddle for my bike today. I've been having pain in my groin and backside while riding. Dammit, I tried, I tried so hard to find a saddle that's manufactured in the U.S. or at least a non-sweatshop country. I was really impressed with Sqlab, so I finally ordered from them. The company is German; I don't know where their saddles are manufactured. No one answered my email.

One hundred and sixty-nine dollars. This saddle better be like sitting on air.

Tomorrow is bridge night and I'm excited!

I lifted yesterday evening, first time in a week or so. I hardly lifted anything, only squatted up to 75 lbs., yet my thighs are sore today. Maybe its the reps that made me sore. I squatted the empty barbell for 30 reps, only 3 reps on the 75 lbs. Goin' for endurance.

I feel so freakin weak. I miss lifting heavy. I miss knowing that I can pick up damn near anything a person would ever need to pick up. This is the price I pay to have the body I want. I saw a female cyclist while I was searching for saddles and she had the body I want. I was inspired. Maybe that's not the right word. Heartened. People who lift do not have the body I want. And I'm thinner now and find dieting easier. So my path is clear.

I guess I still am strong enough to pick up damn near anything a person would ever need to pick up. People don't usually need to lift more than sixty or so pounds at a time. I just wanna Hulk out.

I don't enjoy squatting for endurance. When I squat I hold my breath to brace my abs. Combined with the many reps, this quickly puts me out of breath.

I'm discouraged about being a clarinetist. I haven't been motivated to pick up the instrument for the past few days. My guests have thrown me off what passed for my schedule.

Discouraged about finding housing and worried that I'll have to put it off because my sister may not be able to move with me and keep her job. I made sure she got on the waiting list for a nearby shelter. She can't stay with me. My nephew's elocution is grating.

I need work on handling emotions, mine but especially others'. I would rather do without than ask for something that may upset someone even a little. I don't want to ask my neighbor to move her stuff so that my sister can use my half of the storage space. My dislike of talking comes into play as well.

I've also noticed that I tend to expect people to not give me what I want, thereby killing my own motivation to ask. And if they say no or even seem hesitant to grant my wish, I feel stupid and berate myself for my involvement no matter how much I needed what I asked for. I even feel kind of off even if they say yes. Madness.

I'm starting my first course in about five days. It's called Grammar and Mechanics or something like that. I'm irritated that one of the mandatory textbooks is A Writer's Guide, which was a required textbook for my freshman English class in college! It seems too basic to waste thirty dollars on. Well. It's been through several editions since then; maybe it offers more now. And a little refresher won't hurt.

Another required text is this hokey Grammar for Dummies type book called Woe is I. Bestselling non-fiction is bound to be geared towards idiots. It has cutesy section titles to amuse readers who have the learning style of a child. All this extra bullshit is actually a barrier to learning for me. I'm flipping through it now and the contents look pretty damn basic. This book at least was only seven dollars on ebay.

I have to get out of here! so that I at least have the chance to go on dates. The cold is coming and still no heater. I'm getting desperate and considering moving to Sacramento. Being surrounded by concrete will be depressing, but I'll be able to cycle round the river and stuff at least. I hate being at the mercy of other people in my choice of a home. Hate it beyond words.

improperlyhuman: (Default)
I guess I underate today. Or maybe I over-exerted myself. I did a lot of chores plus fasted cardio this morning.

Stupid weak body. I was supposed to lift this evening. Why don't I have more energy? I bet I convert calories inefficiently.

I overspent on groceries and ended up with only twenty-five dollars left over for produce. Terrible.

So now I gotta go sleep off this headache.

Things have become a little easier for me. When I look at my neurotic solutions, I'm not cringing quite so hard. I guess I am developing "compassion" for myself. But I'm still scared that I'm gonna act like an ass and ruin something with somebody. I have a bad habit of making fun of sentimental things. I'm not comfortable with sentimental things. I guess I have to learn to be.

I keep developing scabs on my aureolae. If I peel the scabs, they will have grown back enough to peel some more by the next day. There are no wounds on my breasts, so I don't understand why the skin is scabbing over. I have awful skin. I missed OCM for a few days and now I have new wounds on my face. Lovely.

Sick Day :(

Sep. 7th, 2017 11:10 pm
improperlyhuman: (Default)
Was tired from grocery day yesterday (and the day before) and have menstrual cramps today, so I didn't make it to bridge lessons :(

One of the organizers texted me though; that was nice. It'll have to wait until next week.

Also the city is working on the pipes and I couldn't shower for a while/didn't want to go to bridge smelly.

I almost did my forum disappearing act again. I switched my account to invisible and considered deleting everything in my profile. I was gonna either not return for a very long time or just lurk (not post).

The part of me that is still human was not happy about this, but, well, I started participating as a social experiment and the outcome has been unfavorable. I got pissed off, didn't have any satisfying conversations, and some crazy lesbian was apparently creeping on the personal information I shared (against my inclination). I still have fun in the spam sub-forum, but I wanted to bar myself from that even. That's me being cruel to myself again.

So I thought about neuroticism and saw the pattern. I felt like I was giving in, but I went back. The more sensible plan is to stick with spamming, stop trying to have enjoyable or constructive conversations on main forums, stop sharing personal info, stop opining on people's dumb opinions, and remain open to one-on-one connections.

Felt down, lonely and hopeless today (hormones involved?); surprising coming down off that peacefulness I mentioned last post.

The cold is coming, I still live here, and still no heater. My rent got increased to six dollars per month. How am I going to pay that? I'm not going to buy a six-dollar money order every month.
improperlyhuman: (dark Mulder)
It's almost 2 AM and it's STILL too hot to sleep. Lovely town. Only place on Earth that's hot in the middle of the night and sitting next to a body of water.

So I was working instead of sleeping when intrusive thoughts started interrupting my flow. Then something hit me, something about intellectualization. I'd previously considered that I must have some over-intellectualization tendencies because that is a trait of average/unhealthy Enneagram type 5s.

Now that I'm reading Horney, however, I begin to see how extensive over-intellectualization can be. I must have been unconsciously processing what she wrote about mistreated kids beginning to shut off the whole feeling apparatus, the precursor to neurosis. What if I did that?

I have memories going back to the age of about 4. I recall shutting off concern for my mother at a young age because I couldn't help her and she wouldn't help herself. I don't ever remember going to anyone for comfort, like the idea never even occurred to me. I remember that my 3-year-old half-sister came to sit on my lap one day when I was 15 or 16, and I pushed her off in disgust because it seemed so inappropriate to indulge in tenderness when our household was "at war." That's how I thought of us and our dysfunctional family life.

If feeling towards/with others is shut off in this way, what remains of subjectivity but the intellect and the instincts? I have also in large measure inhibited my instinctual behavior, in which case the intellect must dominate, perhaps largely unconsciously. My almost complete disinterest in direct emotional support (both giving and getting). Many times I have wondered how people can stand other people, wondered what binds them so despite their (in my eyes) shortcomings. Surely it is primarily emotions that bind them! 

And it is not just love, appreciation for others' qualities; that at least I can understand (if perhaps not feel). The things I did not/do not understand could be called receptive emotion: I never understood how anyone but children got comfort from another person when upset. All I can remember is wanting to be left alone when upset. I felt annoyed and disgusted when people tried to comfort me; at best, I felt confused about how comforting was supposed to work and why people assumed it would work on me, for surely, I thought, not everyone derives immediate comfort from others. I can derive a diffuse sense of indirect comfort from a person over a period of time by getting used to having that person around, but my in-the-moment negative emotions seem largely immune to comforting. The few times I deliberately tried to be receptive to others' comforting, I didn't feel comforted much, and I felt foolish for trying.

And these "shortcomings" I mentioned are all things that fail to appeal to the intellect: it bothers me intensely when people have the "wrong" beliefs or ideas, even if the beliefs and ideas do not lead to any concrete harm. Part of the intensity (maybe all of it) derives from the sense, the fear that there can be no social unity (in my personal life, the neighborhood, the country) if people do not agree sufficiently on ideas. I pay hardly any attention to the feeling atmosphere.

I know, for example, that kindness is important, but I've tended to think of it as a means to an end. I have little understanding and even less compassion about the little social acts that make people feel comfortable, and I have been baffled by people who will write others off for omitting such acts, especially on a single occasion. I've wanted people to operate entirely on intellect, as I do, to be open-minded about every little idiosyncrasy, to imagine that there are legitimate reasons why others don't act as expected, to prefer individuality to custom. I hate culture and am repulsed by others' attachment to it. I don't understand how people get so attached to things that are arbitrary. I don't understand why they put themselves through so much for even shitty social connections. I suppose my attachment apparatus is broken.

It's difficult even to state unequivocally that it is broken, and that being broken is a negative thing. Intellectually I can see good reason to believe it is broken: I've knowledge of normal human behavior, and I know that humans normally need and seek out strong social attachments and are attached to their culture. But such attachment seems such a small part of my personality that it hardly seems appropriate to say that it is broken. It seems akin to calling someone broken over a neutral personality trait such as a favorite color or food preference. There is a long-standing "that's just who I am" narrative that will not easily be supplanted by an "disordered attachment" narrative.

Clearly I still have social urges. But the feeling apparatus is dulled, and the urges feel completely instinctual, meaning that there is little conscious awareness of what I would get from interaction other than physical intimacy. I would feel relieved that I'm not entirely socially inept and glad to have a sounding board to make sure I'm not insane, but those seem like intellectual desires. Indeed, fear of "insanity" is one of my strongest motivators to develop myself socially. So alienated from my "real self" that emotionally-based social urges are unconscious? Or even absent? Is that possible.

Now perhaps I begin to understand how people get things like self-esteem from other people, why people say they would not have "made it" through tribulations without their loved ones, why they fall to pieces when someone dies or leaves them. And I am all but horrified. It is alright in theory, in a psychology book, to admit the normality and importance of a certain dependence on others, but in the real world people are unreliable, temporary biological entities, and even destructive to others. I have to figure out how to bridge "theory" and practice. That's not the right metaphor. I have to figure out how to bridge the ideal and the practical: decide whom to trust and try not to be too much of a robot.

I don't have the whole picture yet; I can't fully devote myself. The part of me that is afraid of the consequences of attachment is loudly warning me to tread carefully, particularly given that I have done things to myself that make me more or less "unlovable" (all these quoted words are Horney's terms). I have quashed my spontaneous behavior, withheld smiles and kind words, deliberately used the less sensitive choice of words, overriden my own sense of social decorum and subsequent anxiety to argue a point, harbored unrealistic expectations of "reasonableness" and equanimity (of both myself and others), and even scolded myself for normal emotional reactions. I've been insensitive to myself and externalized that insensitivity, erupting in impotent and futile frustration when others fail to fit into the suffocating mold I've broken bones to force myself into. And now the monster wants to be normal.
improperlyhuman: screenshot of Apocalypse from X-Men: The Animated Series (apocalypse)
Been in a badish mood. After making subtly nasty remarks to me for a month or two, some creepy, irritable lesbian randomly decided that I'm not a lesbian. Then some annoying weirdo...I don't even know, maybe English isn't his native language or he has a communication problem. Time to get off the Internet. Trying to like human beings is self-cruelty. Why did I ever try to do this??

The irritation du jour is people making up random little traits that they then decide are human traits (which of course they can't back up). Especially when they say that human beings are "hard-wired" to do something. You just know someone has swallowed too much pop science when they use this phrase. It isn't even a good metaphor; there is generally more than one way to wire a circuit to produce the same functionality, so the "wiring" isn't exactly responsible for the behavior.

On top of dealing with those people, I've also become worried that I'll scare people away by seeming mean. Teasing people is one of the easier, more automatic ways I interact.

So today I decided to look for something, anything in town I could do involving other people. Lo and behold, free bridge lessons downtown. So that's gonna be my Thursday nights until I move away from here. I'm committing myself to it in words here because I tend to drift away from all things social, even if they aren't unpleasant.

This gets worse before it gets better? Or is the "worse" actually just my feelings of frustration and overwhelmedness at how much it seems I need to work on?

Somehow I ended up watching Youtube clips from the movie What's Eating Gilbert Grape? And I looked at slim, teenaged Leonardo DiCaprio and I thought, "I want slim thighs." And then I felt bad. I've been eating like a horse since I re-started exercising  and I'm concerned that I'll just get bulky again. I don't want to be bulky and I don't want chubby thighs.

I hate my goddamned parents. I know that the way my body is is partially their fault. When I was a baby, I refused to drink cow's milk, so they gave me orange juice. I bet that's why I'm hypoglycemic, at least in part. And the hypoglycemia forces me to eat a whole nother meal each day to avoid waking up with night sweats. Then they proceeded to feed me junk throughout my childhood, very few vegetables or fruit. 18 years of stress surely didn't help. I tried to lose weight in grammar school, received no support, had no idea what I was doing, tried to live on 700 calories per day, and no one even noticed until I was too weak to stand up for a month. I was allowed to leave the house for school and band functions only, so I never got exercise. I tried to do things right in junior high, but my dad wouldn't get me the gym membership I asked for. I tried to get them to buy healthier foods; that failed. My dad would buy one or two separate microwaveable junk food meals for me; goddess knows why. Idiot. And my mom did no parenting whatsoever at that point.

Anyways. There is a fitness center two blocks from here. Now that I have some money, perhaps I'll go there and get a consultation. I don't know how much I need to eat when I exercise regularly, so maybe I could get help with that.

Or maybe I'll have thighs like this forever and I should just get used to it. I mean but the endurance athletes are slim, so why couldn't I be? I just need to put enough miles on the bike.
improperlyhuman: truck tipping over on the highway (tipping truck)
I started to buy a book-based anxiety self-treatment course this evening, but it's based on CBT, which, I learned, is about treating symptoms and not their causes. That seems to be the exact opposite of what I need. Neurotic anxiety is different than non-neurotic anxiety; it is not based on unrealistic fears so much as it is based on the inability to reconcile competing drives.

I kept quite busy today (with things I wanted to do and was quite engaged with), but still found myself being interrupted by anxious thoughts and a few intrusive thoughts. I suppose keeping busy isn't enough even short-term.

A client I've worked with two or three times contacted me about a small job yesterday and I groaned from the core of my being once I saw the message. I procrastinated for hours before even fully reading the message. I act as if new work projects are cages; I'm loathe to enter them. The feeling of responsibility weighs on me excessively, particularly given how little I work. It's type 5 shit. Postponement of action, and, in particular, avarice with my inner resources. Work can deplete just like any other activity. I've built up a good reputation, and even that weighs on me; I'm obliged to continually live up to that reputation if I want to continue to earn money.

This is part of the reason why I think about having a very simple, low-responsibility job like stocker. The huge pay cut would be cushioned by my needing so little money (and getting more regular hours), and the ability to coast through work without putting much thought into what I'm doing would decrease my occupational stress significantly. Part of my stress owing to not really being a professional, however, this certificate program should help calm me. On the other hand, the actual work is the easier part, and I'm least skilled in client management.

Anyways, I just keep working. I may sometimes take a few hours more than I need to respond to clients, but I eventually respond (although there was one time I played sick and the client just gave up). I do the things that make me anxious, but the anxiety doesn't let up. This is another reason why I suspect that mainstream approaches to anxiety management won't help me much.
improperlyhuman: (dark Mulder)
Still trying to recover energy for another bike ride! The heat must be wearing me down. It's been too hot to do much these past few days.

I'm seriously considering purchasing a subscription to the online version of Rosetta Stone (Russian). The price is much nicer than the CD-ROM version, and I've qualified for a military discount on top of that.

I'm terrible at this feminazi thing. I picked up some meds for this elderly guy outside the grocery story today.

Yesterday's Horney chapter was Self-Hate and Self-Contempt. I've often consoled myself that, no matter how crazy I am, I at least don't hate myself. Well, don't I? There's that thing called the unconscious. And I certainly relate to several of the supposed manifestations of neurotic self-hatred: downright cruel shit like trying to crush my own hopes and limiting things I enjoy for dumb reasons.

The one that really hit home, however, was

...he may wear a rigid mask so that nobody will guess from his facial expressions, his tone of voice, or his gestures what is going on within him.

I thought I did that because I was tired of people guessing and misinterpreting how I feel. What if they were correctly interpreting, but I didn't recognize the interpretation as correct because I was so out of touch with my own feelings, so used to feeling bad that it had become my normal? What if my facial expression and tone of voice have been giving away my half-conscious misery for years?

That's a sobering possibility because it throws a monkey wrench in my plan to fake it 'til I make it. No one wants to date someone who is miserable. But must I get rid of 100% of the misery all by my lonesome? As newly conscious problems start to pile up, I'm beginning to feel discouraged. I thought that I maybe shouldn't expose people to myself until I change a bit.

I don't know how I'm going to fix all this, but the step I'm on now is internalizing more realistic beliefs. I feel stupid and weak whenever I make any social attempts. I know there is nothing stupid and weak about that; I know that it's normal. Yet I can't shake those feelings, so I clearly haven't internalized what I "know." The only information I've found about internalizing ideas is repeating them to oneself. Sounds kind of silly, but that's what I'm going to do.

I also have an unbelievably difficult time internalizing the fact that people are just jerks or in a bad mood sometimes. I think I get so angry about it in part because I'm angry at myself for failing to live up to that idealized self who never lets a social situation go sour. It's incredible how something can be so clear in the rational mind but so broken in the emotional mind.

This is a lot to have on my plate all at once. I'm also taking a software testing MOOC to explore this career option. Filling up my days, on the other hand, seems like a good way to avoid harmful thoughts. My first certificate course starts in a couple of weeks, I'm lifting two days a week, I'm dieting, I'm reading Horney, studying Russian, playing clarinet, and periodically working for my current client.

I was in the past very much against having a full day because lack of reflection time made me feel unalive. Now it seems like a good option (at least temporarily) to help me out of this neuroticism and the resultant discouragement.
improperlyhuman: (Default)
One of the cashiers at the local grocery store is attractive. I saw her today on a quick trip for some soy sauce. She has new glasses. I don't know what it is about her. She just exudes something. Maybe I like her facial expressions. She made me smile. And it felt good.

I think the episode made me think about attraction. After I got home, it occurred to me that I have for years avoided being around womyn because I wanted to avoid attraction. Going to lesbian events in particular seemed "dangerous." Attraction is another feeling that can be overwhelming, or so I feared. At some point in my twenties, I convinced myself that there was something distasteful and possibly even "wrong" about sexually fantasizing about real people (which certainly didn't help the pr0n problem), and I wonder if that is related to my fear of attraction. Maybe my disinclination to look at people's OkC photos is somewhat related as well.

Perhaps scarier than feelings of attraction is their probable result: the urge for companionship. Becoming notably dissatisfied with isolation, developing drive to enter the Wild West of the social realm. Becoming not only more vulnerable to undesirable social outcomes but vulnerable to the feelings of foolishness and self-blame that result from the former: knowing that "I did it to myself." The "idealized self" I created was a loner, emotionally self-sufficient and internally tranquil, and  I was determined to try to live up to that image, even at the expense of my real wants. Self-alienation. "The energies driving toward self-realization are shifted to the aim of actualizing the idealized self." So true.

Like all such withdrawal, avoidance increased my vulnerability to actually feeling overwhelmed. Engagement with life is like a vaccine; immunizing us against threats via exposure to those same threats.
improperlyhuman: (Default)
I was crestfallen today after finding out that the apartment I wanted had already been taken (and nearly a week before!). I felt panic begin to lick at me like the incoming tide licks at one's feet: did my housing coordinator get my message and call for me? Why hasn't my social worker responded to my emails? I feel anxious without that support network. Yet waiting on them can cause me to miss opportunities. So I have to decide whether to wait for their help or call myself (which, I fear, makes me vulnerable to discrimination).

A few months ago I put "female cutting" into the Youtube search engine and received a most unfortunate result. I was looking for fitness+dieting regimens but ended up faced with an image of a screaming child and videos about FGM. Of course it got stuck in my head.

It's gotten worse in the past week or two. I think about being cut. I imagine scissors and even sharpened pencils used on me. I imagine the pain (as best I can). I cut myself shaving once and sort of extrapolate from there. Sometimes these thoughts intrude even while I'm masturbating.

I think about other disturbing things happening to me as well. Yesterday I was outside reading when I had another intrusive FGM thought, and I also got a clear grasp on  why I have these intrusive thoughts. It's related to the Enneagram type 5 fear of engulfment. I'm afraid that I won't be able to recover psychologically if something awful happens to me. I'm afraid of being overwhelmed by my emotional reactions, afraid of being unable to go on living with whatever demons I might pick up from a traumatic experience.

So I've spent much of my mental life trying to toughen myself up. At some point I unconsciously decided that imagining awful things would somehow help prepare me to deal with them. And I've been practicing endlessly, with all manner of situations: everything from failed dates to being tortured. Whenever I get news about something horrible someone is doing to someone else, I'm quick to incorporate that into my self-innoculating fantasies (is that the right word?). The thought that some kind of abuse exists for which I have not yet mentally prepared myself is anxiety-provoking. I have to be ready.

The likelihood that any particular calamity will befall me doesn't determine what gets stuck in my head. The main factor seems to be how strongly I identify with the victim(s), how concerned I am with their particular plight. So female-specific violence is high on the list of fears, even female-specific violence that is alien to this culture/region. I have pretty much zero racial identification, so I'm not at all concerned with racially motivated violence and hardly even consider racial job discrimination. 

This fear of engulfment represents a lack of confidence in my own psychological resourcefulness, and it isn't entirely unrealistic. It seems related to this empty core schizoid phenomenon—having little social support renders the individual psych weaker than it would otherwise be. So the solution—or a big part of it, at least—seems to be the same solution I've come to in several other matters: I must increase my social support. These intrusive thoughts, however, are so unconscious and ingrained that I fear increased social support won't dispel them.

Another thing that seems to help strengthen the core is fuller engagement with life in general—the act of living fills the mind and leaves no room for unrealistic and non-immediate fears. The simple act of successfully negotiating a variety of situations, even workaday situations, creates self-confidence.
improperlyhuman: (Default)
Things are becoming clear to me, things about myself. So much that I can hardly keep up with it enough to post it coherently.

Claudio Naranjo (or was it Oscar Ichazo?) came up with a typology that describes people by one of three basic instincts: self-preservation, sexual (which is about more than sex), and social. My primary instinct is social, and that explains a lot about me, including my history of dicking around on Internet forums despite how much the interactions irritate me.

The social instinct represents a concern with the dynamics of groups of all sizes. It's kind of a strange primary instinct for a strong introvert, which explains why I've experienced so much turmoil over social situations: being a strong introvert is at odds with socializing, and So (the social instinct) pulls in the opposite direction, adaptation and conformity. The Sp (self-pres) and Sx doms don't worry about that shit.

There was a thread about being misjudged and whether we felt able to defend ourselves. I was a bit surprised that the others cared so little. Maybe it's just me having had a lifetime of being misjudged (or so it seems as I reflect lazily)...or maybe it's that social instinct causing me to care.

I like it when people agree or at least understand others' perspectives. That seems like a manifestation of the social instinct. A very troubling one, because people are very much at odds in not only their conclusions but their points of departure, their premises. I  never understood how regular people (not jerks) could not care about others' political opinions and even be friends with people who held diametrically opposed views. Now it seems that they are not So doms. Different views don't threaten them because they aren't tuned into social harmony the way I am. I guess. Other explanations are possible.

I ran out of OkC matches last night. I found a very few unsure "maybe's" and bookmarked them, then I hit the really low match percentages and that was the end. So I'm waiting to see if I'll get so tired of having like 0 dating prospects that I give up on finding a vegan.
improperlyhuman: (Default)
Walking is boring and I felt fine after lifting a bit more a couple of days ago, so I just went out and cycled 20 or so miles today. It felt good until the wind started up. Betcha I'll feel fine tomorrow. I do have a slight headache right now, probably from not eating in a timely fashion after the exertion. Lunch was delayed because I had to go out and buy some tater tots for my tater tot pizza! It was tasty.

I asked other Enneagram type 5s for tips on self-motivating to meet new people. A couple of them told me to just go out and do things where people are without expecting much from other people, and they gave me examples of what they'd done. This advice confused and intrigued me because having little or no expectations of others would de-motivate me. Why go to all the trouble?

Then it hit me: these people aren't dealing with the fatigue and anxiety I experience trying to act "normal." Socializing with complete strangers must be relatively easy for them. I would never go out to eat with a whole group of complete strangers. I'd have nothing to say and my silence, obvious boredom, and curt answers would make the other diners feel awkward. I'd be stressed and anxious about not making eye contact. If I did have something to say, it wouldn't be any type of small talk. Either I'm uninterested when people are chatting or a detail that no one else really cares about grabs my attention and makes me want to ask questions to the point that the conversation is no longer "light."

As for going to a bigger event, people don't approach me and I don't approach them. I assume the former has something to do with my facial and bodily attitude being interpreted incorrectly. People have told me that I look sad/angry/depressed when I feel fine. I don't do the small talk reciprocity thing (asking people about themselves) and have given up on it almost entirely because it's too difficult, so that's another possible reason why the few people who have approached me in person soon gave up.

I don't approach other people because I have no reason to prefer one over another. I've been over this before: the sea of strangers. Again, why put forth so much effort on a complete gamble? I never have anything to say to anyone. Trying to small talk with a stranger takes too much effort and makes me feel awful. More importantly, I have no idea whether any of them would be interested in me, and I have good reason to believe that none would given the way I act (for starters). And I'm already tired by the time I get to events due to noise/transportation, so I can hardly put on my best face.

I feel defeated. It just hit me so hard how differently other people experience social interaction, and it reminded me of those stupid autism non-evaluations I had. I showed clear signs of perseveration on that card test and the goddamn administrator made me take it again, then conveniently neglected to mention that in the report even after I asked her to add it! I swear she was soooo biased against my having Asperger's (which she restated as autism, probably to bolster her flawed conclusions).

Anyways. At least now I know what the real problem is.

One person did give me helpful advice: to decide which kinds of people I would like to meet and focus on them to motivate myself. Well, I would like to meet people who are ok with the way I behave. It seems too much to ask to also meet people who have important things in common with me. Where do I find any such people? Positive thoughts, positive thoughts. I get tired of running on positive thoughts.

Today I watched this German horror movie. The one about the twins and their mother suddenly acting weird. Actually it was more like a thriller. It was sad :( Spoiler: the boy became psychotic after losing his brother and ended up torturing his mother to death because of his delusions.

I think I have finally found the solution to my scaly skin problem. I bought a rough body brush (cactus bristles) and it seems to get rid of dead skin very well. I'm not sure how it works (since my skin hurts and bleeds if I peel it off and is therefore obviously still alive), but I'll take it.
improperlyhuman: (Default)
My rep at the housing authority first said that the (prohibitively expensive to operate) space heaters the landlord gave me were considered similar to the wall unit (and so the landlord isn't obliged to fix/replace the broken wall unit).

Today she comes back and says that they're actually not similar, she's spoken to the landlord, and he says he'll do something about the busted heater. Whew! Ok, he said that before.

A mobile dental unit comes to town every week. I went there this morning and got a check-up. No cavities this time, yay! Tooth discoloration is only slight. The dentist confirmed that my gums are slightly receding, so I have to ease up on the way I brush (I already use soft brushes).

Then he told me that my bite is messed up: there's no space between my uppers and lowers when I bite down and a slight overbite is apparently normal. He suggested braces. LOL! Obamacare doesn't cover that and there's no way I'll ever come up with the money.

This place is weird: I swear spring was hotter than summer, and it's already getting cool with another month of summer left. The last month of summer is usually the hottest.

I've got two personal blogs now so I'm losing track of what psychology stuff I'm posting in each. A few days ago, I finished reading Our Inner Conflicts: A Constructive Theory of Neurosis. Though recognizing all the traits in myself has taken a few days, this book  has been hugely helpful. Never have I read any psych theory with which I can identify so well.

Now that I know my problem is conflicting drives (I kinda knew that before but didn't see it clearly), I just have to figure out how to resolve the conflict. I can neither isolate myself (cuz that's dissatisfying and will make me a nutcase) nor plunge blindly into socializing (due to hypersensitivity and the basic fact that not everyone or every situation will suit me); I have to find some sort of balance between the two. Before I resolve the conflict, I must first do something about the hypersensitivity. And that's gonna be a tough nut to crack.

Horney says that hypersensitivity is a symptom of hopelessness, and this I can relate to very well. Not being completely bereft of hope, but hopeless about things pertaining to the conflict—social life. Thinking of the hypersensitivity in terms of emptiness, however, seems more useful to me (and emptiness is a concept that is explored in the schizoid literature, so I might finally get some use out of that work). When people have a solid base of social support, small social upsets don't ruin their day and plunge them into rumination. I've never had such support, however, so I'm empty in that sense. Getting rid of the hypersensitivity will therefore be a challenge. What will I fill myself up with?

Shit, it's midnight already.
improperlyhuman: (dark Mulder)
I asked her out twice. She finally responded to me yesterday but did not answer, so I asked her more directly. The logistics many not even work out. I have no affordable way out of town on weekends and she just got a new full-time job. Still, I hope she says yes because I likely won't find another person like her. We've only exchanged a few messages, yet the mere thought of going through this with another person makes me tired.

On craigslist I found a couple of nice cottages for rent out in the country, but my housing coordinator doesn't work on Fridays. I left a voicemail asking her to call for me. Someone with a car, more money, and no aversion to phone calls may have beat me to these places by Monday. Oh, one ad did include an email address, so I emailed the contact person. I hate having to ask people whether they will accept Section 8.

I have been indulging my desire for psychology books. Right now I'm reading Our Inner Conflicts by Karen Horney, M.D. (what the hell is a medical doctor doing practicing psychoanalysis?)  It is about "neuroses," and three early chapters describe the three components—moving towards people, moving against people, and moving away from people. Guess which one describes our heroine. Moving away from people is amazingly similar to Enneagram type 5 dynamics.

Of course, my mental life is not messed up enough to qualify as a "neurosis." The neurotic is supposedly willfully blind to the mechanics of her neurosis and will fight tooth and nail to remain so, all for the purpose of maintaining her way of life and avoiding being split in two by her conflicting drives. This awful feeling of social ambivalence I have, I think this must be what the splitting feels like—moving both toward and away from people. I'm reading a lot of these books to figure out what to do about it.

Interesting that typology and psychoanalysis have been more helpful to me than mainstream psychology. Type 5 and Horney's neurotic trend are so spot on, it's almost scary. The INTP personality type is pretty accurate as well. This might be because they describe traits that can exist in a mentally healthy person—a spectrum of functioning—rather than straight up dysfunction.

Today I did laundry in the bathtub and made a trip to the hardware and grocery stores. I was going to start walking again this evening, but I decided I'd better first see whether those chores/errands make me tired tomorrow.

I don't wanna go to bed!

I'm still jerking myself awake with intrusive thoughts. This is what I need to work on next.

improperlyhuman: (Default)
My OkC match has stopped responding to me, so I guess that's the end of that. I tried to look for another match (for chat/friendship) but I didn't really have the energy. My results page is just a sea of faces to me.

I don't quite know what to do. Apparently it's best to have some sort of social contact, but no dates are forthcoming and I'm ambivalent, unmotivated, and unlikely to succeed in the friendship department. I just thought of something. People say just go out and pursue interests/hobbies and you'll find friends. I never really made friends that way, just one person I met at a gay and lesbian group in community college. I never found a reason to approach anyone. How do people decide whom to approach?

Anyways, I decided that's a poor strategy for me because shared interests are not very important to me. It's shared politics that are important. So the analog of that advice would be involving myself in politically related activities. Not activism proper; I haven't the energy at this point.

I don't feel comfortable dragging someone into a friendship that I don't particularly want. I imagine the friendship being shallow, more like an acquaintanceship. A shallow relationship doesn't seem like the best thing for someone who has no relationships. But if I don't get a date, I'd have no deep relationship regardless of whether I also got a shallow friendship, so I guess it doesn't matter. Probably I worry too much. Other people are probably used to and ok with a not-very-close friendship.

But I'd have to deal with more shuffling through incompatible people and possible rejection for that acquaintanceship. Hardly seems worth it! Seems like I've spent my entire life around incompatible people. How demoralizing to have to endure more to get to the compatible people (assuming there are some). I was thinking about the strategy of going out and collecting rejections until rejections aren't a big deal any more.

That actually seems like a bad idea for someone who has in some sense experienced nothing but rejection so far. It would just create more unpleasant and demotivating memories that would disincline the person to keep trying. I guess in my case it's not the rejection itself that's the problem, it's the lack of expectation of success.

I guess I'm gonna try anyways, though.

I've noticed that I talk out loud and make random physical gestures when I'm more or less relaxed. Definitely the kind of person people want to be friends with. The talking is sometimes related to my being caught up in frustrating thoughts, but the gestures seem to be happy movements.

My health seems to have worsened. I'm tired all day again, albeit not as tired as I was before I stopped exercising. A bit of brain fog has returned as well. The doctor told me to call him if I wasn't able to start walking without fatigue, and it looks like that's what I'll end up doing. I'm on the verge of trying the sleeping pills he suggested. I don't even know if insufficient or unrestful sleep is the problem. I sleep around 6 or 7 hours per night. He said that's sufficient and didn't account for my fatigue.

My life so shitty. What if my chronic fatigue is a manifestation of a psychological problem? There's no way to know except to change my psychological circumstances.
improperlyhuman: (dark Mulder)
I've been seeking information about possible pitfalls of dating as someone with a dysfunctional background/no primary relationship/limited bonding experience. I don't want to unconsciously do something self-destructive and sabotage my future relationships.

I got my copy Disorders of Personality: DSM IV and Beyond yesterday. Today I read through the schizoid and avoidant sections, and just a bit of the schizotypal sections. I couldn't relate to much of it at all.

Yesterday I read through Survival Games Personalities Play, and I couldn't much relate to that either.

Today I researched attachment styles. I thought that exploring my complete lack of paternal attachment and disrupted maternal attachment (e.g., my mom abandoned me for a year when I was 5) might be helpful. Of the pathological attachment styles, dismissive-avoidant describes me best, but I'm so far away from the problematic thoughts and behavior described that I couldn't make any use of what I read. It's not helpful to describe myself with any of the attachment styles, not even the healthy one.

It seems I still haven't recovered from my grocery shopping trip two days ago.

improperlyhuman: (Default)
I spent the whole day procrastinating instead of working. I didn't want to look at the Word document because I felt I couldn't bear to see any comments from my client that could even remotely be interpreted as critical. I sat in front of the computer screen and put my hands over my eyes. I picked up the keyboard and put it back down again multiple times. I unfocused my eyes so that the comments were blurry then scanned the document, as if I could pre-detect critical comments and thereby avoid reading them.

Once I finally got down to work, I found that I only had twelve minutes worth of work to do. The client had not even addressed most of my comments. I'm glad I got it done. Going to bed without having taken care of that responsibility would have felt bad.

I keep posting on this typology forum despite the anxiety it gives me. People thank my comments and that sometimes makes me more anxious. So I can't use this as exposure therapy. My anxiety management plan is basically "do it anyways." That gets things done, but it doesn't get rid of the anxiety.

While sitting and staring at a notification about a response to one of my comments, trying to calm my fears that the respondent was angry with me, I typed up an anxiety mantra for myself. I said it out loud before I clicked on the comment, but of course it didn't work, lol. But I read it anyways and it was ok. But it almost seems that no number of positive experiences can drown out this anxiety, like it's no longer in my head and has migrated such that the entirety of it is in my body. That's where I feel it. My thoughts are clear and don't race, but this makes no difference: the tightness in my chest is still there.

I walked for an hour and a half yesterday, and I was a little tired today. I didn't take the doctor's advice about going easy on the walking. Now I will. I wonder what's wrong with me...

Tomorrow is grocery day. I didn't finish my shopping list. It's nice to have some leeway in the food I buy rather than having to plan every cent for a bodybuilding diet.

I messed around online until my wrist hurt.

improperlyhuman: (Default)
I hope. For how long, I don't know. I called a shelter in the town I had my campsites in when I was homeless. They had space in the emergency family shelter, so I 
gave them my sister's name and let her know to show up. I don't know how it turned out and I'm afraid to text her and ask. 

She called me today and told me she couldn't open a checking account because she had no money and couldn't get a payday advance loan because she had no checking account! And a few other details that further solidified my impression that she's totally failing at homelessness. I was so frustrated, I could hardly concentrate on my work. I was doing a trial editing job for a new potential client. I still can't figure out how someone with so much income got so behind on a mere $75 monthly storage payment, and why she would then decide to pay it all off at once, leaving herself no gas money!

So I don't want to find out what happened because I don't want to return to that state of worry just before bedtime. She may have gone to bed already anyhow.

Ooooh! I finally got my housing coordinator's info and called her about the apartment I found on craigslist. Sooooo excited. She called the contact person for me but had to leave a message; however, she has contacts and said she would ask around the town to see if she could get any more information about the place and possibly drive by and take a look at it! Awesome. I used to think I wasted my time in the military, but it's turned out to be pretty much the most valuable thing I ever did. Vets get a lot of great services.

OMG. That person I've been talking to on OkC has sent me another message. I'm scared to read it. Procrastination with respect to anything that may cause an emotional reaction, that's me. That's Enneagram type 5. I just have to force myself to do things. Once I do, I sometimes wish I hadn't waited so long (especially when it comes to work).

Whew. Everything was fine. I'm super excited about meeting her. We've been talking about going hiking. Now that I'll have some transportation money, the main problem is my ability to physically handle hours on public transportation.

I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow and I don't want to go. I waited until the last minute and then didn't cancel because I kept thinking that maybe the doctor would be able to do something for me. Like that sleep study. Then at least my sleeping problems would be documented. But I kinda feel that I'm just clutching at straws. I know I'll have to fix this myself, and really, what good will documented insomnia do me? I don't expect the sleep study center to find that I have any other problem.

I went walking for about one and a quarter hours this evening. Surely I can do something as easy as walking without feeling exhausted tomorrow. We'll see.

So I guess I'll need information on intrusive thoughts and maybe CBT or something for my insomnia.

I have like no appetite lately.

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