But I’m Not Like You

Two Thursday’s ago I went out for dinner with my best friends’ Megan and Ethan. We had a lovely time. Ethan invited me to a pizza evening that Saturday, and Megan, knowing me really well by now, told him that it might be too much for me. There were going to be 4 other people there. People I’ve never met. But I told them I’d let them know, and decided on the Saturday morning that I was going to be brave and go for it. After all, I don’t see them very often as they live quite far away.

I don’t like driving that way. The area they live in is scary, and the last 15 minutes of that road is anxiety-inducing, especially with the traffic lights every 500m or so. I always make sure I have my taser within easy reach and ready to go. Thankfully I got there safely, relieved but still on high alert. I made sure to get there an hour before everyone else was due to arrive so I could prepare mentally and relax a little with my friends. I had to sleep over as Ethan wouldn’t let me drive that road at night.

It was an insane evening, and the instant I met Megan’s cousin, I didn’t like her one bit. The rest of the evening only intensified that dislike. Megan doesn’t like having her around either (she saw her last 2 years ago). This girl was out of control, over-the-top, obnoxious and vulgar, and way too loud. Throughout the evening I disappeared for 20-30 minutes to the room with my noise-cancelling headphones. I had come prepared, although in hindsight I should have followed my instincts that morning and not gone at all. But the thing with me is I’m never sure what’s instinct and what’s just plain fear or anxiety.

By 1:30am I just couldn’t take it anymore and decided to go to bed. All I actually wanted to do was go home. Megan had also had enough by then and we sat in the room chatting. She was regretting the whole evening and also wanted it to be over. We both went to bed. But the music and people continued on. I would just doze off and then wake with a start.

The party was still going on by 5am. I realized I wasn’t going to get any sleep and went to make coffee. Megan came out of her room as well, and told a very drunk Ethan that it’s time to end the party and go to sleep. Ethan is a teddy bear even when drunk out of his mind (which is something he’s only been twice before – we’ve known him for over 20 years now).

With total silence now, but my body still buzzing on the inside (I hate this feeling), I sat in bed reading for about 30 minutes and then figured it was safe to try to sleep again. As I was dozing off, my room door opened, and in walked Ethan, with a “it’s okay Meg, go back to sleep” and stumbled over to the bed. He crashed down next to me, proceeding to pull all the blankets away from me. I lay there in shock for a few seconds. Then came the snoring. That was me. Done. I jumped up and decided that it was time for me to go. There was no way I would be getting any sleep with a snoring guy next to me, thinking I’m Megan. I wasn’t irritated, but more amused at what had just happened. Ethan was very embarrassed and apologetic when I told him this, but now we can laugh about it.

When I got home I only managed a 3 hour nap. But it was something at least. Since then, I’ve still been trying to recover. Yes, it’s taking a long time. The biggest reason for this is that I haven’t given myself the rest I need. Sure, I’ve slept 8+ hours for most nights, with a few exceptions thanks to nightmares, but the problem is during the day. My way of recuperating from social, sensory, physical and emotional/mental overload and tiredness is to hide from the world for a while.

That’s something a lot of people don’t understand. I’ve been struggling with depression for a while now, and it only seemed to get worse the days after the party. M (the lady I stay with) knows how I’ve been feeling, and encourages me to go out and do things. For example, wants to take me out for coffee or says I should go to the library or bookstores (both places I like). She believes that spending too much time at home makes depression worse. And it does. For her. But not for me. Not when I feel overwhelmed. When I feel overwhelmed and I leave the house, things don’t go well for me. When I’m already overwhelmed, it doesn’t take much to push me over the edge. In other words, panic attacks/meltdowns/breakdowns. I need quiet, and as little sensory stimuli and socializing as possible, or my depression gets worse.

There have been so many times in my life where I didn’t leave the house for days, and emerged feeling refreshed and so much better. That’s how I cope with life and the world. When I was still living with my dad, I would sometimes take an entire week “away from the world”. They would often argue with me that it’s not healthy. Well, it’s not healthy for me to always be going out and doing things. It’s the same with M. Her friend came over the one day, it was almost 12pm and I was still in bed (reading). She told me “up, up, you can’t stay in bed all day, that’s why you’re not feeling well”. Just for the record, I don’t stay in bed all day. I still do things like washing my dishes, cleaning my room (if I’m up to the task that day), having a cup of coffee in the morning with M, but I just don’t want to go anywhere.

I understand that for a lot of people going out with friends and doing things help them fight their depression. And I know those telling me to do these things have good intentions, but it doesn’t help me. I feel like yelling “but I’m not like you!” I feel this pressure to conform, scared to upset anyone. But much more than that, scared to be seen as “lazy”.

I’ve told M how I recover and start feeling better, and she says she understands, but I don’t think she truly gets it. After all, we’re individuals with different experiences and views of the world. Can we ever truly understand someone else?

Taking A “Time Out”

I’m having one of those extreme exhaustion days. Had a meeting this morning with the husband of M’s best friend’s daughter. I’ve met them a couple of times. The wife came with, even though she has nothing to do with her husband’s business. It was a very awkward and anxiety-provoking meeting. I wasn’t sure whether I had to be in “professional” or “familiar” mode. The husband wants a website and redesigned business cards, and heard from M’s friend that I do those things, which is why he wanted to meet up and discuss it. I thought that because I already knew him and his wife and thought they were nice people, that it would be easier. Well, it was actually harder. Mostly because I wasn’t sure how to “be”. Discussing the website side of things went well for the most part, but it was the after, when business talk basically stopped (but still busy with our drinks), that things became very awkward. For me at least. Continue being “professional” or engage in the friendly banter from a more familiar place? My mind felt like a ping pong ball. We were in a restaurant where it was noisy and a cold wind coming through the door (they had chosen a terrible place in my opinion), so that was already not helping. Add in small talk, and I was a wreck on the inside. Don’t know how I came across to them though, but hopefully they didn’t notice. Although it’s kind of hard not to notice when someone is stumbling over their words and taking too long to formulate responses to (useless) questions.

When I got home I got straight into my PJ’s and into bed. It felt as though I had been awake for days, running a marathon. Took two hour nap but I’m still so tired, I can barely think straight. That meeting really took a lot out of me. So I’m taking a “time out” from the world and having a bed and series day. Just don’t have the energy to do anything else. M got a dog a couple of months ago, a miniature French Poodle. I’ve never really liked that breed, but this little one crept into my heart within a few days. M went to her best friend’s place for dinner (I was invited but didn’t want to go), so doggy is lying with me on my bed.

I guess I should go make myself something to eat before I pass out. Been procrastinating on this for the past two hours. Think I’ll just make a sandwich. That’s easy enough.

So Frustrated!

I’m happier than I’ve ever been. Usually when I’ve been in a happy space, it’s lasted a maximum of three days. But this time it’s been eight. A record! I have a new lady in my life, and I’ve never felt the way I feel about her with anyone else… ever. She’s such an amazing gift, and I’m falling hard.

The day started off beautifully, when Elizabeth (my new girlfriend- not her real name obviously) sent me a good morning voice note. It was such a lovely way to wake up. A little later, the first thing went wrong, and that just sent me spiraling down. If I’m honest though, it started last night in group.

I couldn’t wait for group. I had planned to go in and share how much of a good space I’ve been in. I was excited to share. I even offered to go first. But that just flew out the window once I started talking. We had to tell the group something that we’re grateful for. So I told them that I’m grateful that I’ve been in such a happy space lately. I wanted to explain why I’ve been so happy, but then it happened. My mind just went blank. And I ended by throwing in “and I’m grateful for this coffee- my weekly treat”, and that was the end of that. I was left wondering “what the fuck just happened?”

I thought I was making progress by being more open in group, but apparently I’m not doing as well as I thought. Why couldn’t I say what I wanted to? After the group, I stayed behind with two of the other ladies, and I was in high spirits and a mischievous mood. It was fun. And I managed to tell them what I wanted to say in group. It seems I’m okay with opening up to two or three people at a time, but no more than that. Driving home I just started beating myself up again. I was so pissed off. How fucking hard can it be to talk in front of a group of people I know, and who I know won’t judge?! Sure, from time to time, I can throw in my two cents when someone else has shared something, but I still struggle with communicating during those times too. I don’t complete my thoughts, and stumble over my words.

I’m so over this shit! I don’t want to go to group anymore. But I know that’s not going to solve anything. I have somewhat of a bond with some of those people, so it’s nice to see them every week. Dammit! I need to do this thing! But how the hell do I get around this group social anxiety thing?

Today is a shit day. So many things are going wrong. I’m moody and just want to stay in my room and sulk. The only exception is seeing my new lady. I’m seeing her tonight (she got us tickets for an event), which I can’t wait for. I can’t wait to see her again. But for now, I’m pissed off with a lot of things, and so fucking frustrated. It’s not even 11am yet, and I’m already over this day.

I listen to Elizabeth’s voice note and it soothes my nervous system for a while. So that’s keeping me (relatively) sane. Just thinking of her calms me down when I feel I’m going to spit venom at someone… People are especially annoying today.

I’m feeling a little disconnected from my therapist as well. Actually going to send her a text after I post this.

Writing this post has actually helped. I feel a little better. I love my blog, it’s so therapeutic. And I love you guys as well.

Social Anxiety, Embarrassment And Shame

In my previous post I mentioned how I had felt better on Friday. But that only lasted until Saturday evening.

That evening I went to Jasmine’s birthday dinner. There were 10 of us. Two of my friends (I’ve been friends with one of them for over 21 years) had also been invited, since they’re now also friends with Jasmine. My social anxiety was way up there. It was in a noisy restaurant, with the TV way too loud (sports of course). So all that stimulation, and add in 7 people I don’t know, and all I wanted to do was get in my car and go home. But I stuck it out. By the end of the evening I was exhausted.

When we were getting ready to leave, one of Jasmine’s friends made a negative comment about my hair. An overwhelming feeling of embarrassment, shame, and a deep hatred toward myself settled over me like a dark cloud.

I was already especially sensitive that night, due to what happened in group on Tuesday. I haven’t written about that yet. We were busy with the check-in’s, but before it was my turn to share, we had a break. I had a classic BPD mood swing during the break. Anger (towards myself) raging inside and actually throwing a tantrum in the bathroom when no one was in there (throwing my bag across the room- good thing there’s nothing breakable in there). And then the damn tears.

When the break was over and I got back inside, I thought “okay, I’ll share”. I was sitting next to the OT who was leading the group. I told myself “it’s safe, she’s here” (aside from my OT, this one also makes me feel like I’m in good hands). She told me to focus on someone (I chose her and another member of the group), and started. But I spent most of it looking at the damn floor anyway. I felt pressured, not wanting to waste anyone’s time, and just started talking. I know I was probably putting the pressure on myself. After the group, I felt very vulnerable and exposed. And embarrassed. What had I just done? The things I had shared, and the way I had said them, seemed all over the place, and I didn’t think I was even making much sense. Thoughts of “I shouldn’t have said that.” “I can’t believe I said all that”, “what was I thinking?”, “I’m such an idiot.”

I felt I had said too much. Shared things that I actually wasn’t ready to share. I didn’t want to see anyone, I didn’t even look at anyone for the rest of the group time. I felt too vulnerable. I didn’t feel safe after the group (I was in the self-harm “mood”), so I tried to stick around as long as I could. Basically following the OT to wherever she was going, like a damn puppy. We went to the art therapy room and I got to get my “craft” that I had done during my time in the clinic. I was surprised to see that it was still there. So that was nice. Then it was finally time to leave. I didn’t want to, but didn’t have much of a choice.

On the way home, the feelings kept washing over me, the self hatred and abuse loud and clear. I had already been feeling depressed that week, and the previous week, so this was like salt in the wound. I wanted to drive into a wall, and I got pretty close too. I tend to get stuck on thoughts, both negative and positive, but especially the negative ones. They become obsessive thoughts, and I really struggle to let them go. I don’t really know how to.

Have you ever felt this need to have someone hold space for you when you feel you just can’t do that for yourself? Because you feel you don’t deserve it, and maybe if someone can just hold it for you for a little while, you’ll be able to take it back when you feel stronger? I want someone to hold that space for me, but I feel completely alone and abandoned (even if it’s not actually true, and I’m just seeing it through negative eyes right now).

Right now, at this very moment, I feel like I’ve just given up on fighting. I don’t have the strength or energy. I’ll just go through life and take the blows. I’m depressed as hell. I don’t like people right now. Yet I want them. I don’t like me. But I wish I could.

I feel guilty for being me. Ashamed of who I am, and what I’m not.