A response from Gwennie

Dear Shadow,

Do you remember how hard I tried to fit in?  To just be like everyone else? Even before then I wore that blanket of shame and guilt that he poured onto me like melted plastic.  I know I was unlovable but no one noticed my pain. Even you threw me in a box and tried to bury me alive. You would beat me up on a routine basis.  You screamed at me, disfiguring me with razors, and poisoned me. Are you that afraid of me? I wanted someone to listen to me but you thought you knew better.  Did I deserve this injustice? Am I that evil that someone had to teach me a lesson?

You speak of forgiveness?  I was abandoned and left to rot in all that fear, anger and confusion that drowned me like a flood.  I had a one way ticket to hell. I was helpless and afraid. I couldn’t even speak or stand up for myself.  I know it was my fault that he continued to abuse me for years. I looked up to him and even though I trembled with fear that he would touched me, still I wanted to be around him.  All the while, wanting to stay away but couldn’t.

Do you remember that time when he cared for me?  I was sick…vomiting. He got a cold wash cloth and wiped my forehead.  In that moment I thought he liked me. As soon as I recovered, I realized that believing he really cared was only so he could take care of his own selfish needs.  I knew I was not safe with anyone no matter how much they pretended to like me. All of them are just like him.

So you want forgiveness?  Tell me Shadow, do you think I trust you?

Gwennie

Know your why

I went to see my psychiatrist and told him about my father’s death and how I do not know what I am feeling. It seems as though nothing is there. He asked “Do you think your medication is working?” I responded, “medication is 10%, and the other 90% is up to me, isn’t it?”

I am always trying to fill myself up with something so I do not feel the emptiness. It has been a constant feeling throughout my life. That is where addiction comes in, doesn’t it? I don’t choose drugs anymore…now I seek more…”legal” addictions like spending sprees and cycling through religions. Although whether the former is always “legal” is questionable.

So several weeks ago, I decided to take a different approach and began listening to Gregorian chant (again) to help reduce anxiety. Now I have a routine of listening to it in the morning and again in the evening. I do not know what they are saying as it is in Latin but it does not matter. The tone is soothing and I have found it to be beneficial.

For months my counselor has been talking with me about mindfulness and meditation. Both of which I was completely uninterested in until recently. I have engaged with mindfulness before…several years ago and the forms of meditation I have tried to engage in seemed to be fruitless. So, I decided to take a different approach with that as well. Just sit in silence for 5 minutes everyday. I have found that incense helps.

I have the Meditation Sidekick Journal by Habit Nest that has also proven to be useful. The first thing it suggests is to “know your why”. Why do I want to do this? I want peace, that is all I seek. I once told a counselor that I don’t have good days and bad days, I have good hours and bad hours. If I am going to be on a roller coaster because of some illness, I want to make peace with that. If there is just one small chance that I can change it and have more control over the internal chaos and find that sense of peace, I want it. That is my ultimate goal. Before I can acquire this, I must be able to know what I am feeling. To know what this internal dialog is like. What is it saying? Why is it saying it? (Sorry, it is a habit to separate me from my emotions. Separating different parts of me is how I make sense of it.)

So these are the things I have been doing since I wrote last. We will see if I am still doing it in June. It is up to me, isn’t it?

In other news, my long distance friend contacted me today for the second time in… I don’t know how much time has lapsed since I last contacted her. She is the one I mentioned before under Disappearing. Why did I want to abandon her? Because I am afraid. It is easy to never give others a chance to abandon you by abandoning them first and devaluing them makes it easier to walk away. If I am to be totally honest, she has probably been a favorite person for a long time and I didn’t realize it until today. I don’t know how people become favorites, they just do. And when I realize it, it makes that fear of abandonment that much more terrifying.

-Shadow

Defining self

I am struggling to fully understand what my therapist meant by asking me to consider the question: “Who am I when I am not wearing a mask?”  Up to this point in my life, I have primarily defined myself by what I was feeling or what I was doing. So my therapist told me it was more than that and I must dig deeper.  So people are not defined by their behavior? This is confusing.

I even attempted to get the answer by looking up the definition of self in a dictionary.  An individual person as the object of his or her own reflective consciousness.   Or even this: a person or thing referred to with respect to complete individuality: one’s own self.  The definition is just as vague as the term.

My therapist asked me “Who are you when no one is watching?”  I responded “What am I doing when no one is watching?” That is when she told me I must dig deeper.

I don’t understand.  I have often viewed “self” as some external entity that takes over during my worst states.  Kind of like spirit possession. All of my worst traits dwell there; as well as my worst emotions.  They are like a virus that creep in and infect me when I am vulnerable.

I do not know when I came up with the above idea of self.  But my therapist tells me that is not self. Hmmmm. I am totally baffled then.  How is it not a feeling or behavior? Those things I understand…well, I mostly recognize, at least.

In any case, if anyone out there has a different definition understanding of self that you think might be helpful for me, please share it in the comments.  It would be greatly appreciated.

-Shadow

Who am I?

Since I moved out of my former apartment after only a short while, I had to find something else before my father’s house had to be put up for sale.  Lucky for me, there is this guy at work who just so happened to have a one bedroom cabin on his property that he is willing to rent to me. I went to look at it and when I arrived and got out of the vehicle, the first thing I said to him is “This is a paradise!”  I love nature and love being in nature…and in a rural area…I don’t like city life, as I might have mentioned before. I don’t know how people function with all the distractions and noise. Anyway, he had trails all through the woods. A great place to find a sit spot and observe nature I thought.  I looked at the cabin too since that was the purpose for my visit.  It was a rustic cabin that look like something straight out of the movies.  The area is quiet and I absolutely love the place.

It is so perfect for me that I am waiting for something to go wrong before I move in on October the 1st.  Or even for something to happen and not be able to rent the place. Maybe I think I don’t deserve it and that is why I am being so negative about it.  That all I deserve is some crummy apartment in a noisy city. Maybe I am just always thinking I should not get my hopes up. That sometimes good things happen to people but I am not usually one of those people.  

Stay positive, I tell myself.  Everything will work out.

In other news, I went to see my therapist yesterday.  The question I am to consider is: “Who am I when I am not wearing a mask?”  Hmmm, that is a really tough question. Seems like I am always wearing a mask.  I can’t remember a time when I didn’t have them. And someday not wearing one of them seems scary.  I don’t know who I am without them. Maybe I am nothing. Surely I do not wear them when I am alone.  But who am I then?

-Shadow

Moving in and out, then facing a fear

I took some time off from work, packed up my things and got ready to move into my new apartment.  I was excited about getting my own small place. I moved everything by myself, with no help from my brother although he assured me “family comes first” and he would help me.  But he only likes to talk about how he “takes care” of his younger sister.

In any case, I got everything moved in and everything went downhill from there.  I was awake for the next three nights unable to sleep because the place was so fucking noisy.  Primarily from my upstairs neighbor. It reminded me of when I was once chased by a bull. It felt like the ground beneath my feet was shaking.  This is what the upstairs neighbor lady was doing to my walls and ceiling. Running, jumping, blasting music…sometimes it sounded like she was skating on roller blades and that she was actually in my apartment.

I have suffered from chronic insomnia all of my adult life.  Historically, I had been prescribed various psychotropic medications to help alleviate it.  But I quit taking them a few years ago when I convinced myself that the pharmaceutical companies had a conspiracy to keep me sick.  Since that time, I have cycled through various over the counter sleep aids…some more effective than others. None of them were effective in this case. Every night,  I ended up taking 150mg of diphenhydramine, using a box fan for white noise, and noise canceling headphones that played sleep music and hoping I would get some sleep. The lady still kept me awake until 2am and I had to get up at 5am to get ready for work.  This went on night after night. And during the day, my head was in a haze from all the sleep aid I had taken the night before…and the sleep I didn’t get.

After about a week or two of this, I became severely depressed.  It quickly turned to anger and then I sat down to make plans. I tried to come up with a way to make her have a very unfortunate accident…I’m not really a planner though…I respond mostly to impulse…I could just shoot her, I thought, but that scenario wouldn’t end well for me…I found myself fantasizing about this day after day.  It consumed me. I wanted to watch her, learn her habits, see who visited her…but because she lived above me, it made it difficult to do this.  So instead, I impulsively left.

I packed up a few items and went back to my father’s empty house where I slept on the floor for the first week.  I was so excited about the silence that I sat there for hours doing nothing but listening to the silence. It was wonderful.  I was happy to be in quietness again but it was short lived.

I went to see a psychiatrist for the first time during my treatment that’s been going on for over a year.  Background: I have been in and out of therapy a lot since I was 17. I must be addicted. In any case, this time around I had refused treatment from the psychiatrist because I fear them.  I told my counselor it’s because, they prescribe pills and keep me sick. But the truth is, they see through my bullshit and that makes me uncomfortable. Why does it make me uncomfortable?  Because I want people to see whatever I decide to let them see. And that doesn’t work, if its a good psychiatrist. Why am I in therapy then? Because I have no friends and we all need someone to talk to.

Anyway, back to my visit with the psychiatrist.  So I go into the room and there’s the psychiatrist on a video chat…on a very large TV screen.  I sat in one of the two chairs in the room…the one closest to the door of course. First, he asked why I was there.  “Because I feel like killing my fucking neighbor. I need to sleep and my mind needs to shut up, it’s like a radio without an off button,”  I tell him. Then he begins to ask a series of questions that I can only assume it is to get some background information. He wanted to know about previous psychiatric diagnoses, if I had every been confined to a psychiatric unit, etc.  Then he begins asking a series of questions to see if I meet criteria for Borderline. This wasn’t my first rodeo, I knew what he was doing…he suspected Borderline and that’s why he was asking those questions. But I answered all of his questions anyway as if I was under some kind of spell.  That is what happens when my shield is down.

Clever, I later thought, a video chat with a psychiatrist makes people feel more comfortable because the psychiatrist is not physically there.  So I had my guard down, less likely to lie and more likely to talk openly. Very clever and I didn’t see it.  Eliminating Borderline from my psychiatric history failed.  Why do I want to eliminate it? That is good question. What is my problem with this term that has plagued me for years?  It’s definitely questions I should explore further.

-Shadow