Thursday, April 17, 2014

Where I'm At: Could Be Better But I'm Coping

Okay, so Zen Mode hasn't quite been going as planned, for various reasons. Still feeling so conflicted about everything, and my brain just stubbornly REFUSES to let everything go. I do not cope well with things completely out of my control. This is a common factor in a lot of mental illness... because so much IS out of our control by default (especially our thoughts). So, it's nice to feel like we can control and fix as much else as possible. With anxiety in particular, our minds dredge stuff up and constantly worry over things until a solution or resolution can be found. When that's not possible, then you get to continuously process it for, basically, ever. It's really exhausting.

This is why my process of dealing with problems or conflict is to talk things out until we reach an understanding both parties are okay with. Obviously, having space and time to let emotions cool can be super important, whether I want to have that or not. But I am definitely a talk things out sort of person. Probably I overdo it a bit sometimes, but admittedly that's because I will do whatever I can to get my brain to the point of it shutting the heck up. Often if things end up resolved in some way, I can talk myself out of the worst of any lingering anxieties or stray thoughts.

On the other hand, if you shut me down and refuse to have any sort of discussion so that no resolution can be found, then I will just stay in constant anxiety-limbo. This is pretty much where I'm at right now, despite how much I've rationalised and processed everything and logically I understand the whats and whys. It's still a big something I cannot address directly or be able to fix, because the other party has cut me out of his life as completely as possible. That is beyond my control entirely. Nothing I say or do will change his mind, and I know that. But my brain refuses to cope with 'out of sight, out of mind'. More like 'out of sight, HAHA THINK ABOUT THIS EVERY SECOND OF EVERYDAY, SUCKER.'

Anxiety is pretty much an asshole.

Obviously, there was the super hostile email that triggered a lot of emotions I had finally started putting behind me, making everything fresh all over again. I basically have been back at square one, no matter how much I am beyond caring if a resolution ever occurs. But the worst bit is that the other party thinks they can communicate with me about a bunch of things regarding our situation but refuse to entertain any sort of response from me. They ended the email with, "Don't reply, I won't read it." Um. Sorry, but that's not how this stuff works. You can't dictate terms to me and expect me to simply comply. And when I send a short, reasonable message ages later just to work out one thing that was niggling at me, ignoring it to the point of not even saying yes or no so we're on the same page is really just starting to be an asshole for the sake of it. Especially when you know social space is a huge anxiety trigger, so I was doing it for selfish reasons, but ones that let my brain keep me from being terrified of attending things my friends have invited me too (y'know, the ones that DO want to still see me).

Yeah, it triggered some poor reactions from me again, because it was so hurtful and infuriating. I regret continuing to allow strong emotions to dictate my reactions to things, but part of the point of it being a reaction is that I'm not entirely in control of my behaviour at that moment. I want to be more mindful of how I choose to act in future, but that will take time and practice. Until then, I'm only an imperfect human, and it doesn't matter if I react badly sometimes... it doesn't give anyone the right to treat me so badly. And, honestly, this is a thing I've kind of needed to learn, so I guess that is me looking on the positive side somewhat.

But a friend made a really relevant comment when we had a chat about everything the other day. He is trying to control me and my behaviour because he isn't dealing with it well, or at all, really. But that is something HE needs to learn... that you can't control others beyond a reasonable extent. And that is especially true in public spaces, on the internet or in person. I got another response tonight in regards to some interactions in public internet space. It was almost an actually civil request. He said please and everything. But public space is just that, public. It belongs to everyone. If you don't like the behaviour, ignore it. Nothing I have done or said was remotely unreasonable. I wasn't trying to pick a fight, but if he takes it that way, I can't help it. Just like I can't control what he thinks or assumes about me, I can't control his reactions to things I do, nor will I censor myself for someone else's comfort when it's unreasonable to do so. (Reasonable requests are another thing entirely... or if I were going out of my way to make someone else uncomfortable, but reading shit into a public discussion is on you, buddy.) I am interacting in a civil way in a public space. *shrug*

(Actually, I also linked something I thought he'd also really enjoy... but realised later it could be taken passive aggressively? But I can't control if that's what he thinks my intention was, either. Fortunately, my anxiety brain has pretty much let that go.)

Honestly, I just expected him to ignore the thing entirely. I didn't expect him to contact me yet again. And despite my strong impulse to respond in kind, I realised it was pointless. I'm still annoyed he feels it's okay to continue to attempt to dictate my behaviour, no matter how politely he phrased it. But it's not worth the time or energy of even the most minimal response. I will be as civil as possible in shared spaces, but I know it's beyond my ability to change anything now (nor do I particularly want to... it hurts and I'm angry and I'd rather things were NOT this way, but I really want everything about the entire situation to just Go Away).

So yeah, proud of the fact that I curbed my impulses in this situation, because it just wasn't going to be helpful. But it triggered some pretty bad anxiety tonight. It's taken me ages to calm back down, and the most helpful distraction was being scared out of my wits by a cockroach on my bed in my lap as I wrote this (waaaaaaaaaah T.T). I set up a Gmail filter so I won't be tempted to click on any more shitty emails should he be tempted to criticise my public behaviour once again (doubtful but I really don't want to get triggered anymore... do not NEED).

I realise that he thinks that I am 'the problem' and that by trying to pretend I don't exist that it solves 'the problem', and it is entirely out of my control to change his mind. And even if he did happen to think differently, he probably also doesn't trust that I will respect his boundaries (for some good and some bullshit reasons), so that is a trust that is broken and won't be fixed without me just leaving him alone. Which I am trying to do. Outside of public areas we coexist, anyway. And that doesn't take into account that I don't trust him to respect any of my boundaries either, but that's pretty irrelevant anyway.

Ok, I'm actually more zen about the whole thing in general if I can talk myself through things, but I still find myself hurting and missing whatever things were good between us before this mess, and missing him, because I know he's not an inherently bad person even if he's dealing with this situation in a very hurtful and selfish manner. It is still much related to my blog post from ages ago about my brain dragging me into emotional places that are extremely unhealthy for me and doing it subconsciously most of the time. It's put me in a pretty bad depression hole over the past couple weeks. Zero motivation or ability to function almost. Combined with some pretty epic pain from my undiagnosed chronic something, and I have pretty much been an isolated blob in my apartment for a while now. I also decided I couldn't give my uni studies the focus I need to for now, so I'm withdrawing and trying again next semester when hopefully everything has settled. It sucks and I'm frustrated to push it back once again, but my health will always be my first priority.

Anyway, I realise this isolation is not helpful for me in any way, SO I'm gonna start kicking my own ass and doing little things to get myself back into a healthier mindset. For instance, I have quite a bit of opportunities for social time this long weekend, and I intend to take advantage of that. It will do me a lot of good to keep pushing myself beyond the comforts of my social anxiety and take advantage of things people have invited me to attend (or want to attend with me). I don't have to stay ages if it's stressful or overwhelming, but the effort of it is still pretty worthwhile. I may even run into the source of all this drama and stress, but in public, social space I will either ignore him or be as civil as possible. Last thing I need is to drag people I care about into our pretty terrible mess, and I know he doesn't want that, either. Once we start coexisting comfortably, it'll probably be best for both of us in the long run.

Though, I do hope to get to the point where my brain just shuts up and lets everything go. I'm trying to keep distracted or even practise some of the mindfulness breathing my psychologist taught me last time I saw her... but that's not a solution or a fix. It just helps me cope. And I'm certain my friends are tired of hearing about all of this (I am tired of talking and thinking about it!). My housemate has actually banned the subject, which I totally respect so much. I don't want anyone else dragged down because of this, and I need to take the crazier parts of my illness to a professional. And I will. I have an appointment with the mental health nurse I met when I had my overnight ER stay a little while back, since I can't see my regular psychologist as often as I'd like. (Also, housemate is lovely and able to be really upfront and honest about this stuff, so it's easy to respect her boundaries... lessons a certain someone needs to learn. >.> Ok, that was definitely snarky. But this is my space to rant, dammit.)

So yeah, this has been a pretty shitty period in coping with my illness, but I'm used to having periods like this. Sometimes it sneaks up on you and becomes disabling once again. But that doesn't mean I've failed at life, just that I had yet another setback. As always, you pick up the pieces and start over again, step by step. It's a constant fight, but a worthwhile one.

P.S. - Despite falling back into a pretty terrible headspace, I'm staying clean on the self-harm front and feeling pretty fucking badass. 33 days and counting. <3

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