Agoraphobia post. I’m a level 2 agoraphobic.
Well it’s been too long since I’ve updated my blog I fear but hopefully you’ll forgive me. I have not been especially busy apart from wondering what I’m doing at times. Mainly I read silly novels and distract myself from the onslaught of emotions I stirred up after my minimalism cleaning spree in June. It seems I must have dislodged some emotions or some such thing because I feel ever since my clean up I have retreated into the decidedly preferable world of characters in novels. Not only the cleaning though has caused this retreat from the everyday; no, my dad’s sister has Alzheimer’s and he went to visit her. Apparently she’s worse than predicted and my uncle wanted me to attend to my aunt’s care whilst she waits to go into a nursing home. Well I am not a caregiver sort so the idea didn’t appeal to me in the least especially as my aunt is aggressive like my mom was before she died from Alzheimer’s related complications.
Anyhow, I had to deal with my own very strict Superego and felt no end to my guilt for nearly a month. My therapist did manage to elevate me from my guilt ridden state but only after I’d already fled reality for the imaginary world of novel characters. Only now am I losing my taste for reading frivolous novels and returning to some state of reality again. I do not know how long it will last for. I suspect until my dad visits my aunt again and tells me how much my uncle would appreciate me giving my help (I expect there would be no money paid to me but I wouldn’t want to do it even if monetary reward was involved). Honestly, I’ve been burned out from my mother’s experience with Alzheimer’s and couldn’t abide by putting myself in the position of the martyr caring for someone I didn’t have a close relationship with again. Although I doubtless sound cold and unfeeling for not flocking to my aunt’s proverbial bedside I don’t feel particularly cold or unfeeling, at least not since my therapist convinced me otherwise.
It was only within the last week or so I made the connection between the guilt and stress I felt from being asked to be a caregiver to my aunt that I realised why I’d stopped doing much else besides reading novels. Suffice it to say I found the novels holding less appeal once my reasons were made conscious to me. Perhaps I can finally persuade myself to go out again and be amongst people. Not that I favour crowds but I do miss taking in the sights during tourist season and wish for a change of scenery beyond the grocery store aisles and the office of my shrink. Besides I told my therapist I’d make an effort to take part in something that gets me outside my home. Guess I’ll ‘sign off’ for now.
©Natalya, Reflections On Life Thus Far, 2014.
I found this website and wanted to share it because it’s insightful with respect to physical ailments having emotional roots. You can click on the listed disorders and ailments to learn the most likely emotional cause associated with it. After going through the list and checking the ones I had I found it rang true for myself anyway. You may not find that the case for yourself but the emotional causes are interesting and healing affirmations are offered as well for each ailment.
Amazon and Chapters (Kindle & Kobo) both have lots of free ebooks so I’ve been adding them to my digital library with glee. The only thing is I don’t have an ereader so have to read them on my laptop which is not ideal for lengthy periods of time. Essentially, I want a tablet or ereader but am reluctant because I don’t have wireless internet (just the standard cable type). So I would have to go out to a wireless hotspot as they’re called here (public locations with free wireless internet connections) for an update/book purchase. Actually I am not sure if I can even read from the device without wireless internet so would be forced to read only at spots offering free connections (i.e. public library and some cafes). All of this makes me think I’m better off reading my ebooks on my laptop and shouldn’t waste my time or money on a device I might only be able to use in certain places. To make matters more confusing I contemplated going wireless at home but am concerned with security risks as it’s easier to access a wireless connection than one using wires/cables. So it’s true what they say about a little knowledge being a bad thing! If I were more knowledgeable about how wireless stuff works perhaps I’d not be so confused right now.
Recently I posted about clearing out some books from my bookshelves and now I am going crazy “buying” FREE ebooks because they’re great for space saving. You would not know I have lots of ebooks because they aren’t the physical clutter a “real book” (paper book) is. I’m really enjoying finding free ebooks to add to my collection. It never occurred to me you could get free books unless at the library. I’m just so pleased! If you are a bibliophile (book lover) like me then you have to check out Amazon’s ebooks because there are lots offered for free or at $1.00 or under. Haven’t checked out any other sites yet like Barnes and Noble so I can’t say if they have free ebooks or not but now I must go look!!
Happy Canada Day to my fellow Canadians. What am I doing to celebrate my country’s birthday? Well nothing unless you consider sitting in front of your computer on WordPress celebrating! LOL Guess my patriotism doesn’t get too stoked about these holidays. July 4th is a big deal in the U.S. but July 1st in Canada is a bit more subdued :P
I haven’t been on here much so apologise for missing your posts. It’s really warm and humid today so I haven’t got much energy unfortunately so this post is likely to be slightly scattered like my brain at the moment. Humidity and heat really aren’t my friends. I take two antidepressants and both cause me to perspire more and be more sensitive to the sun/heat. Thus I am not loving summer so far even though I would likely be told I’m nuts because it’s cold the other three seasons and ought to enjoy it. Oh well.
Okay, I’m not thinking straight now so am going to contemplate the merits of putting my head in the freezer to cool off.
Discouraged. That pretty much sums up how I have been feeling lately. I think I am overwhelmed because I have been going through my possessions trying to become more minimalist; but in the process I have felt a mixture of emotions. Most recently, I parted with a garbage bag full of treasured books destined for charity and in doing so I wanted to pull some out and ‘save’ them…but I resisted. It feels like a loss to me because I love books and they’ve been my ‘significant other’ since I have never let real people close to me. So in parting with so many books I felt attachment to I went through a series of grief related feelings. Maybe not all of the grief related feelings/stages but definitely some anyway.
When you use books to satisfy your need for relationships giving away a large quantity of them feels horrendous. It’s not like I hoard books but I definitely value my books more than a person ought to. They aren’t historic relics suited to an archives department either so I don’t have any objective reason to view them so fondly. Perhaps it’s the fact I parted with books that had served as valuable references and comfort when I needed them; now I’m forced to either let go of anything I can’t remember or trust I will be able to call upon my brain to give me the knowledge when I need it. That’s scary given I dissociated for so much of my life to avoid pain. What if I can’t remember everything I read in the books I gave away?! Now I must trust myself to survive and have greater acceptance of my innate fallibility which also makes me face the fact I am imperfect. You see all these things connect to my sense of lovability and self-worth and that is terrifying territory. There’s little comfort in what I’m experiencing.
I want to crawl under my bed covers and not have to face the world. Maybe I am depressed but more than likely I am afraid of the fact I have nothing solid to stand on. All of my worldly identifiers are gone and I’m struggling to not concoct a new identity for myself knowing such a thing would be a production of my ego anyway. Part of the reason I fear social interaction is I’m afraid someone will ask me about myself and I don’t have any tidy, pat answers on tap to reduce my discomfort and the other person’s. The other reason for my social anxiety is I simply have trouble easily relating to everyone. Maybe most people don’t easily relate to others either and just hide it better than I do. Or maybe it’s a problem of ‘how’ I relate. I can relate at a human level but not at the social/surface level. After all, I don’t have a paid job, sports don’t interest me and I don’t have a husband or kids. So right there I am starting off from a disadvantaged position. Then again maybe I just overthink these things and should try to ‘relax’ more! Ha, if it were that easy I’d have done it by now. In some ways I have learned to relax about it a little bit but other times I get triggered by things like giving away some of my precious books. Who knew parting with a garbage bag full of my books would trigger me? Certainly, if I’d known it, I might have chosen to part with fewer books to ease the discomfort. The way I have done it feels like I just had a Band-Aid ripped from a tender sore spot. I suppose I shall have to go easy on myself. Trying to bulldoze my way through the pain won’t help me any if past experiences are anything to go on.
On a more positive note I did manage to dust my computer desk and tidy up my messy cords from my electronic devices. Well that’s it for now. Tomorrow I see my counsellor.
©Natalya, 2014. Reflections On Life Thus Far®
For about a week I was watching various compulsive hoarder t.v. shows on YouTube that captivated me because I grew up with a mother who hoarded. Little did I know how triggered it would make me though. At first it was entertaining and slightly voyeuristic for me but I noticed after a few days my mood was dipping. So I initially chalked it up to PMS but it just didn’t feel like that explained it well enough for me. Then lying awake in bed feeling sad I realised it was my shame that had been triggered watching the compulsive hoarders on YouTube. I’d been transported back in time to the days when my mother hoarded and I felt powerless and ashamed of my home; embarrassed to have friends over I identified with the other adult children on these hoarder shows as they shared how they felt due to their parents’ hoarding problem. Of course having friends over is the last thing you want when you’re living in squalor essentially because one of your parents can’t throw anything out and collects stuff to the point there’s no room for anyone to actually live in the home anymore (cleaning anything is practically impossible too).
So once I had the ‘epiphany’ about where my uncomfortable feelings were stemming from I was able to wake up the next day feeling well again. No more compulsive hoarding shows for me! It felt too dreadful being moody without knowing why, reminded me of years ago when I didn’t have awareness of my emotional states. I felt scared thinking I might be slipping back into a time where any emotional state I was in came as a total surprise to me. Fortunately since stopping watching the compulsive hoarder shows I feel better. Likely the fact I honoured my feelings helped too because I could have simply brushed off my concerns like I used to and kept on watching the shows. But I don’t punish myself anymore and forcing myself to continue watching something that triggered shame and deep sadness in me wasn’t an option.
Now I watch shows where they clean messes and the people aren’t ill like on the hoarding shows that reminded me of my mom. My favourite is “How Clean Is Your House” with Kim and Aggie. It’s not produced anymore but I enjoy the old episodes. The UK episodes are better than the American b/c the Brits are funnier (IMO).
©Natalya, 2014. Reflections On Life Thus Far®
Lately I have been trying to go minimalist to simplify my life. It’s been something of a challenge as I have loads of things I don’t need yet feel some level of attachment to still. So I am culling the easiest items first beginning with anything I’ve not used or thought about in years or never liked anyway. In fact I got rid of two and a half garbage bags so far of things for charity. Much of what I have culled is perfectly usable or in decent/superb shape and what isn’t I threw out for the garbage or recycling. I feel really proud of myself for tackling my excess clutter. It makes me feel lighter emotionally once I’ve managed to clear out a few things that I never actually used. Fortunately, I haven’t got a compulsive hoarding problem or my job would be far more monumental!
A good reason for going toward minimalist living is it’s easier to clean if you don’t have loads of things in your way to move in order to clean. Presently, I have to move lots of items if I want to dust a surface or wipe it clean. It makes the task a lot harder than it needs to be. In the last month or two I have felt myself desiring less material items and more space so that means a bit of effort now for less later. It feels nice not having so many knick knacks and objects that were for all intensive purposes clutter. I highly recommend minimalism to you if you’re seeking a simpler existence and find yourself regarding material items less favourably than you once did. The only caveat is you will need to have your mind in line with the lifestyle or it won’t feel appropriate for you. Also, if you are a compulsive hoarder or pack rat minimalism likely isn’t for you!
I have a ways to go before I can call myself a minimalist but I’m going in the right direction anyway.
©Natalya, 2014. Reflections On Life Thus Far®
Day 4 of my writing exercise was Tuesday but I didn’t get around to updating on here how it went. I saw my counsellor on Tuesday and told her I’d finished 3/4 of it but needed to still do the final day. Surprisingly I am one of the few who completed it or tried to anyway. Lots of her patients find excuses not to do it and she thought it was positive I managed to recognise why I procrastinated doing it and still managed to tackle it. It was a productive session so I am pleased that I made the effort to do as much as I could. I completed the final exercise when I got home. To my surprise I found myself expressing gratitude for the people I’d met who made a positive difference in my life. Initially I thought I might have some resentment to get out of me but I didn’t. Gratitude can help give an experience in your life that redeeming quality previously overlooked.
Have you experienced something emotionally painful that later filled you with gratitude?
Yesterday’s writing was about my issues around men due to my mother brainwashing me; today I moved to suicide attempts and the devastation a label of BPD brought me. Surprisingly, or not so much, I found myself feeling cheated and angry over the treatment I received from mental health professionals due to my diagnosis. They saw the BPD before they saw me and that hurt. Realising how much I struggled in the years following my BPD diagnosis I felt sad and wished mental health workers would try to see the person before they noticed their diagnoses. A bit of open-mindedness wouldn’t kill some of the people I encountered. A person’s psychiatric file won’t tell you about the person as a whole so mental health professionals should just take it as a reference-not a guide. Not every person diagnosed with an illness is like everyone else and might be misdiagnosed. It would be good if the “professionals” would treat a prior diagnosis with a grain of salt unless proven already by a lengthy history. Then the patient/client would have a shot at being seen in an unbiased manner.
Tomorrow I will wrap up my writing exercise with discussion of the treatment I got later on that helped me.