A Wasted Life. Begin Again.

I’ve always said that I don’t regret anything, because I learned from everything. But lately, I’ve been feeling a little bit differently towards that. For the first time in my life, I feel angry about some of the things that happened to me. But mostly, I feel angry at myself for some of the choices I made.

I’ve been so triggered lately by people who are busy studying Psychology, or just started their new jobs as therapists. I always love hearing their stories, their progress, and experiences. But lately I just haven’t been able to deal with it. I keep thinking “that could have been me as well”. But it’s not. They’re all so young, and I’m already in my early 30’s, so I’ve already wasted so much time. It’s going to take me longer to complete my studies, because I’ll have to do it via distance learning, so I can still have a full time job to afford it. So what would have taken me 3 years to complete (Degree), will now take me 5-6 years.

Those who have followed my blog from the beginning, and have read some of my previous posts, will know that I’ve always wanted to become a psychologist. That’s always been my dream. My dream, not something I ‘borrowed’ from someone else, like so many other things.

I went for an interview last week, and was told today that I got the job and that I start on the 1st of September. The best news I’ve had all year. I’m so happy and grateful. Granted, it’s not a job that I want to do for the rest of my life, but it’s a means to an end. Until I can qualify as a psychologist. I’ll have to do my Honours and get into a Masters program before I can practice as a Clinical Psychologist, so it’s still going to take much more than 5-6 years. But I’m going to do it. It’s never too late, right?

For a while now I didn’t feel like I have a future. I still feel like that, but I’m forcing myself to just focus on my goal. I have a dream. And that should keep me going. Even if I die before I get to reach the end goal, the journey would have been worth it.

One thought keeps playing over and over in my head like a broken record. Stuck on repeat.

I’ve wasted my life.

Everything turned out so wrong.

I can’t go back in time. I can’t change things. I’m an expert at saying to others, and to myself “at least we learn from our mistakes and all the bad things that happen to, and around us, and can use it to do good things”, but for the past couple of years, those words just made me angry. “Shut the fuck up. You’re such a fuck up.”

Who can I blame? Can I blame my ‘dad’ and certain other people who are no longer a part of my life and family? Oh yes, I can. But also, not really. Because the truth is, I only have myself to blame. I could have left, instead of staying. But no, I had to play the damn protector and worry about his well-being, even though it isn’t my responsibility. I had two opportunities to walk away, to start my own life, but I blew it. I chose to stay. I had a responsibility towards myself, but I allowed myself to think that he was my responsibility.

No more. I’m done playing parent to a grown man. I don’t have to do that anymore. He can take care of his own shit.

My biggest mistake was moving back in with him and the new stepmom and step siblings, but at the time (a few months ago), it was my only option. I got out of a toxic relationship, moved to a new city, was broke and had no job. But I can also see it as a good thing. It led me to today. I got a good job, and I can move out next year. Hopefully before the middle of the year. I just need to get through the 3 month probation period, but I’m going to work harder than I’ve ever worked before. I want to make sure that I’ll keep this job. I’m scared and nervous, but I’m also excited.

I had a really great therapy session today (hard and painful at times), and discussed all the things that had bothered me in our previous session (as I wrote about in a previous post). I love how honest I can be with my therapist about things she may have said or done that bothered or hurt me and we get to clear it up. She apologized, even though she didn’t really need to, and told me that she never means to hurt me, or make me feel like she’s judging me. I believe that with all my heart. I told her about how I don’t need tough love, I need a gentle touch, and she even thanked me for telling her that. Now she knows. I wasn’t expecting that response (even though I should know her better by now). I thought she would argue with me, or tell me that I’m wrong. But she totally took in on board, and I felt really heard.

So it’s been a really good day. And heaven knows I needed a good day after all the shitty ones I’ve been having. I’m so grateful.

So I might have wasted the earliest part of my life, but now is my opportunity for a fresh start, and I’m going to take it. I don’t want to regret anything ever again.

 

I Tried. I’m Trying.

Where did I go?
I’m a stranger.

Waking up in the morning. Sitting outside with my coffee. Trying to be mindful and focus on the quiet and the cold air on my skin. Telling myself over and over again. “Today is going to be a good day”.
I’m trying.

The positive voice having been drowned out hour by hour. Exhausted with the effort of trying to keep it alive throughout the day. Going to sleep at night. Wishing not to wake up. I tried.

Wanting to join in the conversation. Can’t make sense of what they’re saying. Sounding so far away. Wanting to connect. Afraid to connect. I smile anyway, not hearing a word.
But I’m trying.

A touch on my back by someone non threatening. My blood running cold. Fear taking over. Backing away. The shock on his face. Wanting to apologize. The words wouldn’t come.
I tried.

I did all my work today. How? I have no memory of having done any of it. But I did it.
I’m still trying.

Emotionally empty. A thick fog surrounding me. Yet acutely aware of the physical. Feeling sick. Have to get up and move. Body aching.
I tried.

Cold inside. Frozen. Sitting in the sun. But the rays can’t penetrate.
I’m trying.

Getting confused about everything. Struggling to remember even why I’m doing what I’m doing in a given moment. Everything a blur. Doing grounding work. But I can’t focus.
I tried.

This heart, once so full of love and care. Now feels like a shadow. Maybe it’s been ripped out. Needing to find the light again. But it’s gone.
I’m trying.

I wanted to make her proud of me. Believe in me. Doing all the things we spoke about. I failed at it all.
At least I tried.

“Just keep breathing.” Breathing hurts.
But I’m trying.

I don’t want to be touched. I don’t want to be loved. I don’t want anything from anyone. I don’t want me.

Trying to be inspiring. Positive. Full of light. Love. But I can’t. Not today. I just don’t care.

Wanting to curl up on the cold floor. Just lay there for an eternity.

I don’t have the energy to think of suicide.

But that doesn’t mean that I don’t want to die.

My ‘Dear Death‘ post now feels like a distant memory. I’m writing a new letter. A simple one.

Dear Life
Let me go.

The Dangers Of Self Diagnosis

Result: 66/80
Probable diagnosis of PTSD

That’s the result from an online test that I took last night.

It started when a blogger friend wanted some advice on a post she had written. So I gave my thoughts on the situation. She was worried that maybe it was post traumatic stress (which, until this afternoon, I thought was the same thing as PTSD), so I suggested that she search for the DSM criteria on it. She came back to me and it turns out that she didn’t ‘qualify’ for the diagnosis.

By now I was curious too, and decided to also take the test. “Just for fun”. As I was reading the questions and working my way through them, I felt this chill run down my spine. Those questions struck a major chord with what I have been experiencing lately. And the high score I got at the end worried me.

But then I started laughing. I actually laughed out loud at myself. Why? This whole thing reminded me of the time that I was convinced I had ADHD. I had also taken the tests for that, and had most of the symptoms. So I started reading articles and books on the subject. But then a year or two later, I got diagnosed with BPD instead. On the positive side, at least I know pretty much everything there is to know about ADHD, including the medications. That can’t be a bad thing.

It’s so easy for us to assume we have a physical or mental illness by what we read on the internet. Just like a sore throat can have many different causes and signal anything from a cold to cancer. To say “I’m going to die, I have cancer!” because Google or a medical site listed that as one cause, is dangerous. It’s the same regarding mental health. It can cause unnecessary stress and paranoia, and some people even take it a step further and change their entire lives. Thinking we know what’s wrong with us can sometimes cause serious harm, because we think we don’t need to get it checked out. After all, we know what’s wrong, right? The medical website said so, how can it be wrong? No, it’s not necessarily wrong, but there’s lots of factors involved in order to get an accurate diagnosis. So we might miss what’s actually really going on.

I don’t believe these tests should be used by individuals to diagnose themselves, and go about their lives living according to this ‘diagnosis’ that they assume they have. These tests are just a tool to help guide you to seek professional help if needed.

There are a few questions on the PTSD list that overlap with the symptoms of BPD, anxiety and depression. So how can I know whether it’s a result of these diagnoses or whether it’s PTSD? That’s one example of why this isn’t just black and white. It’s not a simple thing. I believe that only a professional will be able to distinguish the difference.

When I was working at the bookstore, a customer came in one day (clearly drunk), and asked whether we had any books on Borderline Personality Disorder. I knew the Psychology section really well, so I told my colleague that I’d help this customer. I showed him the few books we had, and he told me that he’ll take all of them. While I was ringing them up, he proceeded to tell me (very loudly) that his wife is crazy, and that she’s always shouting at him, that he can’t do anything right in her eyes. He said that she has BPD so he was buying the books for her. I asked him whether she was seeing anyone for it, and he told me that she doesn’t need to because he knows she has it and doesn’t want to waste money. That the books were cheaper. At that point I wanted to say something (a few things actually), but I kept my mouth shut and tried to get him out out of there as soon as possible, because he just wouldn’t stop complaining. Everyone around us were staring and shaking their heads. Even the manager was on the verge of throwing him out. I breathed a sigh of relief when he eventually left. But I was pissed off.

And the sad part is that this kind of thing happens all the time. I’m guilty of it myself. Case in point; I’m sure my dad has NPD. But I’ll never know whether he actually does, because he’s always made it clear that he thinks psychology and therapy is a load of bullshit. So it’s not my place to try to label him, or anyone else for that matter.

Another thing. People tend to throw diagnosis around like it’s a new fashion statement. Those people who think it’s ‘cool’ to be able to say “I think I have Bipolar Disorder”, are precisely those who don’t, because if they had to live with it, they’d be wishing they didn’t.

My previous doctor had a note on her door:

“If you come in here having diagnosed yourself using Google, you’ll be charged double.”

I can’t remember the exact wording, but it’s pretty close. Every doctor should have that sign up.

So Google… You’re helpful and all, but I don’t trust you. So I think I’ll stick to my psychologist’s assessments.

Oh, and in case anyone is interested, this is the test I took.

Insecurity, Hot On The Heels Of Vulnerability

Therapy is hard sometimes.

And yesterdays session was one of those.

I’m always open during my sessions, and trust my therapist with things I can’t ever speak to anyone else about. She holds my secrets.

But this one was particularly difficult for me. For some reason it felt like I was more exposed than ever before. I’ve told her lots of things, some worse than what I revealed to her yesterday, I think. Yet, this just felt different. It was the hardest thing I’ve told her so far, and I don’t know why that was the case. But she was amazing, and made me feel safe and comforted in those moments.

I can’t even remember what brought it on, but at some point during the session I had a damn panic attack. It was horrible. She was with me every step of the way though, something I’ve never had anyone do for me before. So I’m glad she was there, and not somebody else. She knew how to handle it, and she was gentle and kind, and I got through it.

It was a hard session, but I felt cared for during most of it. But then at one point it went horribly wrong. I took everything as an attack, a judgement. And all I wanted to do was shut down. Disappear.

I felt so fragile. I just wanted her to understand where I was coming from. But it felt like we were on opposite ends of a mountain. I was (metaphorically) yelling things at her, wanting her to really see and understand where I was coming from. And she was yelling things at me from the other side of the mountain, and I felt like she couldn’t really hear me. I felt invisible.

She was pushing me. She told me I need to be pushed sometimes. That she was trying to motivate and encourage me. Whenever she’d tell me that in the past, I would agree. But I realized yesterday that the truth is… I actually don’t need to be pushed. How could I expect her to know that, when even I didn’t realize it until yesterday? I can’t. I need a gentle touch. I’ve had enough “tough love” in my life, and it’s never worked. While it may work for others, for me it has the opposite effect. It makes me feel really low, invisible and even worse about myself. When someone is gentle with me, that encourages me. That motivates me. That pushes me.

I’m not blaming her at all. I’m not attacking or criticizing her. She’s still a hero in my eyes. She’s still up on the pedestal, and in my opinion the best damn therapist there is. I just think we’re both still learning how to work with one another. Every relationship is like that. Figuring out how best to deal with each other.

Seeing that the time was running out, as usual made me feel horrible. I hate it when the session is over. I always wish it could go on a little bit longer. I hate goodbyes. I felt angry, and expressed it in a crappy way. My therapist rightly pointed out that ending sessions makes me anxious, and that I was trying to push her away. I don’t want to push her away, so I don’t know why I still do.

As the session was drawing to a close, we discussed how we felt about it. I realized that I can’t really express my feelings when she asks me my thoughts on the session, and I stumble over my words, because I usually only truly know how it felt to me a little while afterward. My mind seems to work that way… Slow. I need to analyze for a while first. I was happy to hear that she thought it had been a good session. That was reassuring and comforting.

I was going to carry that with me until our next session. Knowing that I have nothing to worry about. Then, this morning, I sent her a text, setting up our next session. And that’s when it went downhill for me. Reading things into every omission. Most of the time she ends a message the same way, by telling me to have a good morning or afternoon. But something was different today. Something so simple. Like also not asking how I was. Ending the next text with something that just felt so impersonal. Small little things that shouldn’t affect me. But those small things brought the insecurity out in full force and I felt so incredibly hurt and confused. And that intensified with the email she sent a little while ago. Most of the time our communication feels warm and soothing. This time it felt so impersonal and distant. Clinical. As if we were strangers. I keep telling myself that she’s just really busy or tired, which is the most likely scenario. I think this insecurity was caused by the after effects of being so revealing yesterday. I always tell her about things that she said that upset me, and most of the time I had just read the situation wrong. She handles it so well. So I’m hoping that once again this is the case.

But still, I can’t shake the feeling that she’s disappointed in me. I hate being so damn sensitive.

I still feel vulnerable and ashamed from yesterday. The remnants of the shame I’ve always felt about that specific event but that I would quickly push down? Because it’s one of those things that I barely ever wanted to admit to myself, and pushed away whenever it would surface. But I feel like maybe I shouldn’t have told her that after all. I’m feeling very insecure about it. Insecure in myself. And most of all… Embarrassed. Exposed. Vulnerable.

And then the thought came: What if she didn’t believe me? What if she doesn’t like me anymore?” Where is all this insecurity coming from? And why do I still feel so fragile? Like the tiniest thing will just rip me into pieces.

It seems that for me, being vulnerable opens the door for insecurity to enter. Sharing something very personal and difficult is a major risk. Even when it’s sharing it with someone you trust very much, it’s still daunting.

I so desperately want her to believe in me, but how can I expect her to when I don’t even believe in myself? As she pointed out, I have a habit of giving up too soon, of quitting. Which is the truth. I’m surprised I’ve managed to keep this blog up for so long. I’ve only had one person in my life who believed in me, and would tell me that often. And knowing that, I always did my best. One positive voice drowned out all the negative voices that kept telling me that I’ll never amount to anything. That I couldn’t do something. But her belief in me, pushed me to do and be my best and not give up no matter how hard something was. That person was my grandmother. My best friend in the whole world. The world that crashed down around me when she went away. After that, something changed. No longer did I have her encouraging voice, and the negative voices gained a powerful foothold. And I let it.

Scared. Insecure. Did I share too much? And why does it feel like my heart is breaking?

I feel this incredible need to beg her to stay. Like a child holding onto her parents legs, begging them not to leave.

Maybe she should walk away. She’ll have to do it though, because I won’t be able to.

I just don’t feel worth it anymore.

Am I still worth it to her?

Free

Nowhere to run
Nowhere to hide
Push away the sun
Keep the dark inside

Too many voices
Too many tears
Do I have any choices
Does life determine my years

Push away the images
But they follow at night
Trying to build bridges
While I desperately fight

What’s real, what’s not
Am I here, or am I there
Feeling ice cold, now what
I can’t handle the suns glare

Fear quickly follows shame
I’m so damn confused
Tell me who’s to blame
I feel so terribly used

What’s happening to me
Over and over it goes
I just want to be free
Free as the wind that blows

The Rage Inside

I’m so insanely angry, and I’m not even entirely sure where it’s coming from. I feel anger about everything and nothing at the same time. I haven’t felt this intense feeling of utter rage and hatred in years. I want to scream at the top of my lungs, set fire to buildings, start a fight in a bar, throw ‘him’ off my balcony. I want to HURT people. All those fucked up bastards who hurt children and teenagers, who hurt others just because they feel like it. I want to make them pay, in slow agony and send them to hell where they belong. This rage scares me, yet I also feel exhilarated by it. How fucked up is that?

Oh well, screw it.