A hard workout and my anti-anxiety meds seem to help a bit. I’m still feeling the upcoming stress of work. Sleep wasn’t super great but it is hard to shift to waking up at 4:30 am.
I’ve only been back at work for a couple of days and I feel like everything is annoying the hell out of me. I’m not sure how much the lapse in my anti-anxiety meds are contrinuting to this feeling. Work issues aside, I’m also dealing with technical issues at home that are screwing with me foundyvtt dnd setup. Some of it is my fault for doing that update so close to a game. Next time I’ll schedule updates on my calendar. And now the volume knob on my vulcan keyboard is jacked and it seems to be constantly dialing down my volume to 0. And my car was super low on gas today. And my sis is getting ready to put down her dog next week. The universe does not feel like my friend today.
The lyrics on this song resonate with me. How dare this person still leave marks in my brain? I’ve been through so much worse. And I’ve gotten better for it everytime.
Gotta keep fighting.
This thought is latching to my brain today. It was triggered while browsing through FL. I was considering maybe looking at attending various local events, and came across my ex’s profile as a possible attendee. It brought back some painful memories. I’ll flat out say it, this person was a narcissist. They did a lot of emotional damage. The highs (or love bombs) were not worth the crippling lows. I went no contact a long while ago to protect myself. Now I’m afraid that my odds of running back into this person in the real world are more likely, especially if I try to attend any local events. I really don’t like confrontation. Meanwhile, this person *loved* to start arguments as a way to test people. That’s a massive waste of energy IMO. Now I could try to excuse this person based on the traumatic past they’ve had, but that isn’t okay. They were toxic. That experience is a poignant reminder for me that even as a polyamorous person, it is not worth pursuing toxic relationships, regardless of all of their other qualities. The damage to my psyche, and those around me as I stew in depression, is not worth it.
So back to this thought. It came up while I trained at the gym this morning. Working out is important to me as a mood regulator. I did not train at all last week due to being out for a wedding. Sure enough, come sunday I felt a melancholy just wash over me. Yes my social anxiety cup had runneth over, but also my bulwark was decayed. Then I remembered how I felt last year as I saw progress photos from last year. I was starting to like how I looked, for the first time ever in my life. It gave me an extra bit of confidence that I never knew could exist. I could actually see myself dressing in nice things that weren’t just ren fair garb.
And so as I struggle with trying to keep a fitness routine going I have this concern of confrontation in my head. I know the universe loves to fuck with me, and so at some point it’ll happen even with avoiding those events. I feel that I need to get my body back to where I was early last year. Rebuilding that confidence in myself is to serve as that shield for my mind when I fully expect this person will try to tear me down and/or emotionally manipulate me into doing that myself. I know the mechanical things that I have to do. It comes down to gritting my teeth and getting it done…and not injuring myself in the process.
I need to get up earlier during the week. The Tuesday/Thursday morning strength training is nice…but I can do more. If I’m making slow incremental process through this “part time” training schedule I’m on now (keeping my nutrition in check of course), then I can just imagine my progress should I commit. If I want to be ready to handle those barbs, then I need to commit to this phase of training. No one else is going to be be able to help me with this.
Okay, I feel a bit better putting this out into the ether. I know what I need to do.
I wonder if giving voice to the self loathing I’m feeling now might help. I know that depression is, for the most part, lies I feed to myself. But isn’t there some sort of core truth to it as well? A need that hasn’t been met. Boundaries that routinely get smashed. I’m not sure I’m lovable.
It started kicking in this morning. This is one of those thought based spirals I think. Though last night’s wife smooching on her partner (at least I think that is what I heard) may have kicked it off. I felt unwanted; unneeded. I guess I acquired a new abandonment trauma after my last partner left me due to me not being the right gender anymore. Maybe that was a lie too, who knows. I’ve had so many people lie to me, it gets hard to trust.
god forbid I have any emotions. That’s the impression I got from my wife and her partner’s bitching. It seems like my worth to her is entirely transactionale. That is to say, it is relevant to how I support her emotionally (and monetarily). Who I am, my quirks and faults, are undesirable. I wasn’t ok with being completely ignored and steam rolled several times in that group conversation? Well, then that only mattered because my talking about my experience made her feel bad about her actions. How I felt about it was completely unimportant, and probably irrational. In contrast, I had a friend there that was able to remind me that she likes me just the way I am. The implication I came away with, after a couple days, was that perhaps my wife and partner don’t like the fact that I’m not loudly gregarious. I’m better to her when I’m not present. Maybe this is why I’m struggling with those “I’m better off dead” thoughts right now. Just add in everything else that has happened and maybe it makes sense my mind would take that track. I don’t have anyone I feel I can talk to openly about my experience without it being about them. Yes a therapist would be nice but it is so fucking hard to find an affordable one that covers the topics I deal with. And I guess I’m also a bit worried, based on the last therapist I was with, that they might provide me even more reasoning to get out of the situation I’m in now.
I know social media is a toxic thing to look at. But I see several couples out there, even LTR couples that should be outside of the NRE phase, and I notice how they are still able to publically celebrate each other. They have a couple identity. I know the meme/joke about “couple goals” but there really is something reassuring when someone can be public about what “you” mean to them. I think that is part of the reason I’ve appreciated the thing I’ve had with that other “kat” online for over a decade now. She’s alkways reminded me of my unique value and that special name reservation. It’s not about the power dynamic. I’ve never really cared for that or being superior/over anyone. I just want to matter.
This is enough for now.
I’m feeling that creeping sadness today and the past couple days. not sure why exactly. maybe those demons of abandonment. that feeling of being unwanted, and so I retreat inside. I’ve also not worked out this week for a number of reasons…my mind always goes to shit if I’m not moving. gonna go workout now. I guess it’s part of my internal comforting since I can’t find it with people. gogo dismissive/avoidant attachment styles…
Every so often stuff happens in my life, either by choice or not, and a song somehow gets linked to the event. Songs, like any other artistic expression, tend to take on different meanings for people regardless of the intent of the creator. And so this song, “Addict”, has become linked to my choice on blocking all contact with an ex. I think it finally clicked on how toxic that connection could be, even as friends. I made my mistakes in communication and said too much, sure (I’m also wondering if I’m not at least a little Autistic with my trouble of being socially aware/adept), but she always used my mistakes as ways to try to break me down and find ways to make me feel even more like crap. It’s excessive, not constructive, and absolutely not healthy for me to be around. Social media only made it worse by constantly trying to push contact with her too. It’s part of why I’ve drastically reduced my time there. Removing that app from my phone has been incredibly helpful. I’ll occasionally look at it through my PC, but only in very short increments. And I realize, there isn’t much I’m missing.
I think it’s the opening lines that are sticking with me the most in this song.:
“This is a brand new start. And I think I deserve some praise for the way that I am”.
The end of the music video with the blowing up of the club feels fitting. Sometimes burning a bridge really is the way to go. Anyhow. here’s the video link. Serious trigger warning on stuff in there, so put on your thickest skin if you watch.
My brain has been cycling through this for a couple days now and I think I may have gleaned a few insights on some of my patterns. The point about turning anger on myself actually being the voice of my care takers when I was younger stuck with me.
I’m starting to see the pattern on when I experience depression (I haven’t had any episodes for a good amount of time now) and how it relates to conflicts I may be having in life at the time. They tend to occur when there are inter-personal conflicts going on in my life. Even when I’m not actively dealing with the issue, the negative energy (I use that term loosely) seeps into my psyche. I never lash out at people, nor is my first instinct to fight back when someone lays into me, even when they’re being unreasonable. This effect becomes more pronounced the more I care about someone. The result of this pattern is that I’ll experience heavy shame about myself for even simple mistakes. This easily transfers into self-loathing and depression. I can also see why sometimes that state will hit me out of the blue given. Long story short, I had a lot of experiences growing up where my authentic emotional self was unacceptable and led to trouble…therefore the natural response was for me to hide and shutdown what I felt. The problem is shutting down isn’t an effective long term strategy. It always came back to haunt me.
I coped with this problem by focusing on my achievements. Doing well in a video game or school worked for a while, until they didn’t anymore. That was a really rough patch in my life. Then I went back to school and ended up with a solid career. Then I started taking care of my body. Those became my new coping mechanisms. These were the objective measures I held onto like a buoy during the turbulent storm that could be my mind. I could have just as easily slipped into hard drugs and/or toxic crowds as a coping mechanism instead…and many people do. I was fortunate that I was such a shut-in nerd that I just didn’t get those opportunities and I had WAY too much social anxiety to want to hang around any crowds, let alone toxic ones. There’s also a lot to be said when it comes to toxic masculinity and CEN.
I know this is easier said than done, but I have work to do on separating the conflicts I have with people from my internal state. I do have a hard trigger that results in me feeling intense shame when people I love come down on me. Especially when I feel that it is coming from a place of anger. Here’s what I need to ask myself the next time I find myself in that place.
1. Did I reasonably know doing/saying (or not doing/saying) this thing would cause this reaction? For example, did I know this person had a cultural expectation that I trespassed on? Did they communicate this expectation to me previously?
2. Is their reaction reasonable?
3. Do I trust my intentions?
4. If a mistake was made, then learn from it and move on. If a mistake is continually and/or aggressively held against me, that is their issue, not mine.
I’m feeling better today. There’s still some residual angst. I let my wife know I had been feeling irritable all morning in the 5 minute overlap to see each other we actually had. It was intended as a heads up. I hadn’t woken her up that morning so she slept in till about 11:25, just in time for another meeting I had to be in. I just seem to be getting into more and more meetings, and that isn’t doing me any good mentally. Turned out she had been to about other stuff. Then towards the end of my meeting (which ran for an extra 45 minutes…) she texted me a photo of our friend (well, lately it seems just her’s) of her fever and how she’s concerned she may have been exposed to Covid. This made me worried about A, who I recently spent time with. Once I got more details, I had a slight relief that the exposure windows didn’t over lap. Test results won’t be available until Monday. So far my wife and I’s health seem just fine (exposure time for K was the day before she hanged out with my wife, so if my wife did catch something from that then we’re past the timeline when something may have happened).
Anyway, that led to a discussion about what happened with A, and how my wife actually wasn’t comfortable with it despite giving consent. That’s kind of shitty on her part, as now someone else’s feelings are engaged. Then we talked about the health of our relationship, and it isn’t great. I guess my anxiety is good for something. She doesn’t want me engaging in anything else really, though she feels conflicted about holding me back. So we made a commitment to spend direct interactive time on tuesday/thursday at minimum. This seems to help. Also having more regular talks is important too, as we just haven’t done that, being content to passively be in the same area but really that just makes us roommates at best.
I still find myself feeling some sort of anger/resentment on social media whenever I see anything from S or K. I had a bit of a realization this morning regarding that feeling and what my amygdala is actually trying to do. Both of these people made me feel joy, in different ways. Then they hurt me through rejection and abandonment. I think my brain is using those emotions to keep me away from them, to avoid me getting hurt again. Part of the same anxiety path way. I’m trying to think of people in my past who followed the same pattern, and how I got past it. A was an example…with her though I didn’t see much of anything on social media…in part because I had unfollowed her but also she was rarely active on social media (until fairly lately). Of course with her I felt a little guilt as well as I was the one that broke off the relationship. But still there was pain there. It got better. Then I thought about J. We went years without talking to each other, and what I felt for her as a teenager was very intense, even as a purely LDR. I think it was about 7 years before we even started talking again. And her’s was a case in which I was rejected. We didn’t have a frank discussion of what happened until after she invited me to ren fair. She apologized for what she put me through. I think, on retrospect, that helped repair the damage between us. All that distance gave me time to forget the pain. She’s still an important friend, even if we don’t talk that much now.
Now with K, I think even logically I don’t trust her that much right now. With her 1 blow up when I accidentally upset her, she went direct to fatalism and ending the friendship. That isn’t a mature way to handle things when people get hurt on accident. She is on the younger side, so I suppose that shouldn’t be that surprising. But it still brought up my trauma responses.
With S…I’m still not sure. I understand enough that her anxieties and traumas (what I understand of them) played a big role. This pandemic + her attempt to quit vaping (nicotine product) ramped up her anxiety responses in a big way. It led to a bad situation. My emotional centers seem to desperately want to find a way to label her as a bad person, to give me reason to keep away. But understanding this defense mechanism I have now, is that really true? Shit, over half this country might be falling into this same damn trap in respect to each other.
I’m still experiencing loneliness and I guess a sense of inferiority? I think listening to some of Peace Talks and the scene with Murphy got me reminiscing about what I had enjoyed with previous partners, and how not present it is now. Which led to me looking at profiles I knew i shouldn’t have. Which then led me to doing more sluething to try to understand what I lacked. Which led me to still not feeling happy with my body. I’m tired of feeling unworthy. Even though I’m in far better shape than I was 15 years ago, I’m still not where I want to be. I want to be able to look at myself, and know that anyone else who looks at me will undeniably be able to say he takes care of his body. I don’t want to be super athelete or model level fit, but I’m fucking tired of my sides.
Then I felt my exiled trauma come up again just seeing Kat’s name while my wife was talking with her, and again I found myself reminded about how the things I need to feel loved by someone are not present here. As I think of that, that came on the tail end of anxiety just around that person now, follow by the depression drop that always seem to happen when I’m anxious for too long It feels like they never will be. My association with being physical is tied to feeling love. With her, apparently it is the opposite. This feels unfixable. Then the Lisa thing came up in the middle of that, and it was just too much. I was already planning to walk but I definitely need to escape right then.