STICKY: Happywashed

I made this blog to vent the good and the bad and the in-between.

I won’t be prevented from venting the bad.

I’m not writing this to gain followers or build up my writing cred. It’s to keep myself alive.

I’m sick of the notion that everything we put out on the internet must be sterile and appropriate. It drives me nuts that an entire part of the human psyche, what we call illness, must be corralled into dark corners and never shown the light of day. My illness isn’t dangerous to anyone. I will never hurt anyone. And I won’t pretend that my life is light and happiness even when it isn’t. That, to me, is toxic. More toxic than anything I might post here in a bad mood.

I’ll compromise though; I’ll leave the venting posts up for a day or two, then mark them private. Then I know someone might have read one. Someone might know about how I’m feeling, and that’ll be enough to keep going.

Keep It Hidden, No One Wants to See

“Why would you put that online?!”

When directed at me, those words fill me with an deep, roiling rage. Not the intention of the words, I know. It’s the concern of others for the person “being embarrassed” or the post having some sort of real world consequences.

I have never given a flying fack about what other people deem appropriate to put online. I’ve spent 23 years on the internet knowing how to post things other people deem “inappropriate” online. I know what anonymity is. And I know where to draw the line.

I don’t post nudes. I don’t post my personal information. The greatest crime I commit, apparently, is putting my illness online. Pouring my words into the void of the internet. I don’t understand the sheer terror at having something “compromising” online. I don’t post anything “compromising.” What their words really mean is this: “Don’t talk about your problems. Anywhere. We don’t want to hear it. We don’t want to see it. Don’t make it awkward for us, since we really just don’t care.”

That is where the rage comes from. Shut your mouth. Pretend to be fine. The mask is all that matters. But they still care about you, of course. /s

To give context to this post, back before I started this blog I would vent very occasionally on Facebook. Given that at that time I had maybe forty FB friends, people I was very close to or had known for a very long time, I felt comfortable posting about my state of mind. I could talk to friends in the most cogent way possible for me – writing. My speaking style is borderline word-salad when in the presence of other people, due to sheer nerves. But understanding that is also too difficult for others as well.

A few times back then my husband and the female half of The Couple, both very image-conscious people, asked that question. “Why did you post that online?” Years later, I still seethe about it. I tried to explain – only you and persons X, Y, Z and A, B, C saw that post. I understand what post security levels are. I don’t understand why you think I don’t. I have a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. I simply wanted to vent to specifically the people who care about me. It was like speaking to a brick wall. They don’t get it, and they never will. They’ll assume incompetence, every time, when it comes to me.

Since then, I learned to simply exclude them from these posts despite my need for their words. It was for the best.

Eventually I moved on to WordPress when I realized I needed more room to speak than Facebook. No one knows about this blog. Not my husband, not my highschool friends, not anyone. And though it is painful to not have the input from others that I crave, it’s better to speak openly and loudly to an empty room than be surrounded by people and forced to be silent.

Dignity

People treat me like a child because I’m socially awkward.

People treat me like a child because I tend to overshare to people I like and trust.

People treat me like a child because I don’t wear makeup or style my hair.

People treat me like a child because I am not thin. Don’t I know my life’s purpose is to make other people’s eyes happy? Don’t I know it’s bad for me?

People treat me like a child because I still smoke. I know what smoking and being overweight is doing to my body. The slow noose is preferable to the fast one.

I just need to not be around people much. I’m happy to be the wallflower if it means I won’t be constantly talked down to or ignored.

Turning 30 is pretty terrible. On or around it seems to be the mark where your friends start buying houses and having babies and eyeing each other to make sure no one’s leading the pack that shouldn’t be. It’s funny how much things have changed in only the last few years. From warm friendships to “are they doing better than me” competitiveness.

Everyone’s keeping up with the Joneses, and I am certain at least one of my high school friends, J, is annoyed I’ve come up so much in life. I’ve lived at my house for the last five years. Every single time I’ve invited her to come see it she’s canceled at the last moment. I spent a big portion of my life in bug-filled apartments barely scraping by, and they were all very aware of it. But when I got a house, who was excited for me?

Not J. It’s like I left the “pity friend” box she placed me in, and she’s bothered by it. When I do see her, she does her best to put me back in the box. And she’s not the only one. I wrote about the last time I met friend Q, and her out-of-nowhere “joke” about my sex life.

With friends like these…

The world seems much colder and much lonelier as I have aged. All I can do is hold my head up high and endure.

All I know is that human beings have intrinsic worth. I am a humanist. No matter their looks, their color, their weight, their bank balance, their national origin. I have always known this. And so I know, deep down, that if I feel this way about others than it must be true about myself. Even if it’s hard sometimes.

Knowing that you have worth is a shield. A shield against the thoughtless words and actions of others. Carry that shield everywhere you go. I know I am trying to.

A Light at the End of the Tunnel

After the last entry, I fessed up to husband about how much I want to not work for a while. About how burned out I feel. Though my work is laid-back and the people nice, I simply don’t want to be there.

Six months to a year to have one less responsibility and to breathe.

Working non-stop since age 15 has had its effects on me. I suppose I’m not tough enough. I’m sure there are people out there who’ve worked 80 hours a week since age 12 and never grumbled about it. I know from an outsider perspective I seemingly have nothing to complain about. A high wage at a nice place with good benefits, how ungrateful and unappreciative I am. But the exhaustion doesn’t disappear with that sort of chastisement. I simply have no room or energy to order the disordered machine of my mind and my life when 40 hours a week I’m expected to use that energy to function and to produce. I’ve been trying and failing to do that for many years.

I’ve started looking into options. FMLA leave. Quitting. Unpaid leave. Though, the last one I feel is less likely due to my huge decline in productivity in the last two years. I’m not a rockstar, not a highly valued employee. They have little reason to give me a sabbatical or unpaid leave for that long. Easier to quit, before I’m fired. It annoys me somewhat that he doesn’t understand that employers are more willing to give unpaid leave to their high performers.

The house is paid off. I have some money in the bank. Though maybe not enough, I need to crunch some numbers.

Just admitting to him how unhappy I am and how drained I feel has helped.

 

Another Day

This persistent feeling of loneliness is pissing me off.

The feeling of dragging through the days is pissing me off.

My utter lack of caring about work is pissing me off.

Being overwhelmed by the tiniest task is pissing me off.

Wellbutrin isn’t a magic pill. I’m aware of it. It’s why I have a shrink appointment scheduled for next week. I need something long term. Someone willing to work with me, rather than just let me vent. Venting is great, that’s what this blog is for. But it’s all words, and no action.

The thought of lying down in a little dark room and never getting up again has such appeal. That’s the depression talking. WB has improved some things, but that desire remains fairly constant.

The emptiness of my world, broken up with only interaction from my cat and husband, is too much some times. I don’t speak to anyone at work, and I don’t do any work, unless I am forced to. Given that I make good money, I’m playing a dangerous game.

Part of me wants to be fired. I’m tired of working. I’m burned out. Six months to a year of just not having to work sounds heavenly. But not having health insurance and a paycheck and breaking a five-year record of being employed at a single place is also terrible. I wish I could take a leave of absence. A sabbatical. But my workplace operates off of contracts, the work is take it or leave it. An empty position on a contract means money lost. And it’s not as though I was ever a rockstar programmer with a great reputation, who they’d allow to take a leave of absence.

Right now, even though I’ve only been at work for two hours, I want to leave and go home. I’m tired of myself. I’m tired of work. I’m tired of everything.

Bees and Blank Slates

It’s safe to say my social tendencies are more masculine than feminine. I love making good natured digs at other people, being silly, cursing, you name it. Well, at least I used to be. Now, I just keep to myself.

My social style is off-putting to people who expect feminine responses and behavior. People who expect me to be a lady, a limited state of being and a chafing, unnatural label that I itch to escape.

Instead of letting the men shine in conversation and cobbling together with any groups of women nearby, I tended to think of myself as an equal voice in nearly any conversation, within reason. But I know now that with my level of unattractiveness, there’s an unconscious rejection of what I say, no matter what or how I say it. And that it’s better to stay a lone wallflower then expect an equal say and be disappointed or lump myself with people I don’t relate to and who I have no desire to compete with. Most people are not wired for equality, and that is a hard truth to swallow, since I’ve always thought of myself as a natural egalitarian.

People have mistaken me in the past for someone who is so open to others that she might let herself be tricked or harmed. That has always frustrated me because the balance between protecting yourself and presuming good intent from others isn’t so hard. Because of my experiences with others lately, I would describe myself as more of a weary egalitarian. Still viewing people as blank slates, without any presumptions or assumptions written down, but tired. Tired of it never being returned. The scale has tilted more towards self-protection than assuming good intent, and that makes my heart ache. Because despite my childhood, I still had optimism that people who weren’t my parents could be kind, open, and accepting.

I don’t care if you’re blonde, blue eyed, made up, with perty hair and high heels and the best fashion. I won’t treat you any differently than the unkempt woman wearing sweatpants with snaggle teeth and crow’s nest hair. If you want to be the queen bee in your hive of lady bees, so be it. Bee it. I simply won’t scamper and caper to please. I’ll treat you as my equal.

And that’s all that’s necessary.

WB: A Monthly Overview

So it’s nearly been a month on Wellbutrin. My housemate, K, asked last night about what I thought about WB, since he was considering going on it. I also had a commenter ask about my experience, which I didn’t notice until after the July 4th holiday week.

Thoughts:

  • WB makes tasks and other things seem less like a mountain to struggle up. This goes for both good things and bad things, hence the warnings about WB concerning suicidal ideation. I found this wasn’t as much of a problem after several weeks.
  • My anxiety/OCD went up to 11 for about a week or two, resulting in a bad period of turning the cuticles and the skin around my nails bloody. I refer to this as hyper-grooming, though the actual term isĀ dermatillomania. WB doesn’t seem to completely curb my desire to do this. Though after the initial period of extreme picking, my hands are mostly healed and I haven’t had a full relapse, just occasional lapses here and there. Though, this upturn in anxiety MAY have been due to pre-vacation jitters. When I perceive I have a lot of preparation to do I go straight for my nails.
  • My constant underlying sense of irritation has diminished significantly. Though I do have some here and there, it seems far more under control than before.
  • Motivation has improved somewhat. I still find myself turning away from responsibilities, but it’s harder to justify.
  • Reduced binge eating. I feel somewhat more averse to eating a lot.
  • Reduced smoking. When I haven’t skipped a day of WB I find myself bored with smoking, only smoking half at a time before going back inside.

I am on 150mg extended release. I am curious, with my high body weight, whether 300mg would have even more beneficial results. I have an appointment on Wednesday where I’ll discuss this with a nurse.

Hopefully as I spend more time taking this medication the benefits discussed above will increase.

Breaking the Approval Seeking Habit

Who are the ones who you need approval from? Do you really need their approval, or do you just want it? Are they even worth your efforts?

These are questions I’ve been asking myself lately.

I’ve been spying on my husband’s friends lately on a open chat. Everything is very appropriate and lighthearted. To think that I thought these were people who might care about me, who might become family, is ridiculous. They’re not those people. They’ll never be those people. Their friendships are shallow, and they prefer it to be that way. I have only ever wanted close friends. But I don’t think I’ve ever really had any real ones.

This, I think, is the point where I finish growing up. When I realize that people just don’t think about me. No one ever has, very much, and no one ever really will. Except for maybe my husband, and maybe people I create, though the likelihood of having a family is nil. All the warmth and energy I put towards my husband’s friends accounted for nothing, besides making them look at me funny. Though they were happy to take advantage of my overt friendship. I have learned; never expend energy on people who aren’t willing to do it for you.

It’s a cold world, isn’t it? I didn’t want to believe it. I let fiction trick me into thinking things could be better.

I resolved, for many years, to fix myself. To change myself. To do it on my own with no help, because no help comes without a price. But I let myself be fooled into thinking maybe I could derive satisfaction from other people. That other people could approve of me. Not even my father and his ex-wife approved of me. What made me think others ever would?

My husband’s friends. My father and stepmother. People not worthy of beating myself up over. I needed their approval. I am working to break the need for their approval.

I can still fix myself. I can change myself. But I can’t do it while hanging on the every word and gesture people make towards me.

The Outside Observer

First, a health update. Day 22 of Wellbutrin.

I think I’m starting to feel the full effects of WB. My nurse-practitioner said it’d be about 4-6 weeks.

My nail cuticles, gnawed to bloodiness a week or two ago, are half-healed. I’m having fewer urges to self-destructively groom myself, which I refer to as “hyper-grooming”, and I’m resisting them about half the time. There’s a few trouble spots, a few openly red areas, but my thumbs are no longer open wounds. I really go hard on my thumbs.

I haven’t had a binge in about a week or more. I still have some problems with cooking a few cups of rice, having one cup initially, then later on raiding the rice cooker and eating all of the rest. Last night, I bought a pint of ice cream. More than half remains, and the pint is sitting in the freezer. Not empty and in the trash. Practically a miracle.

I read an insightful article earlier today, and it has my mind humming. I grew up going to a Baptist church, this one in particular. My mother stopped going when I was around 12, a fact I can’t thank her for enough. She was a victim of fundamentalism, raised to believe that her only purpose was to marry and raise children. After my father left her, she has been adrift ever after in life, looking for someone to take care of her. A victim of a closed belief system that cannot change or introspect.

I’ve always been resistant to ideas being forced upon me. I never connected with the fundamentalist religion taught to me. I never believed that my purpose was to pump out Christian babies and serve men. I never accepted what my stepmother tried to force on me. That my purpose was be ornamental, to never leave the house without a full face of makeup and a head of perfectly coiffed hair. I have resisted the chains of femininity but the punishments for doing so have lingered with me, causing their own damage. I’m only really now, at age 31, starting to understand and work through what was done to me and how it has affected me.

I feel hopeful, even as I acknowledge that my path will always be hard. I will always be treated as lesser by others for not being feminine. And that’s not my fault, but theirs. The limitations of other people do not reflect on me, as a person. Due to my uncaring father and abusive stepmother, I have sought approval from other people in an almost desperate way. Understanding that approval will likely never come is both heart wrenching and freeing. The only person that needs to approve of me is myself, and my husband. Even if he doesn’t understand at first, I think he ultimately will approve of things that I do that make me happy.

A minimal amount of grooming; combed, clean hair and a clean body are all I want. I don’t want to be ornamental. I don’t live for the approval of the opposite sex like my stepmother. I don’t want to be a walking talking symbol of femininity, an idea in flesh and blood. If other people want to do that, great! I will face the social consequences for my choice, mostly all negative, in return I can be happy with myself for once. To stop caring and obsessing about the views of others is something my father could never do, and because he couldn’t I and my half-sister suffered for it. But it’s something I can do, because I am aware. I have learned to be an external analyst of my own thought processes, even if I am still learning how to redirect my thoughts.

I have harped, in the past, about being an outsider. Someone always looking in at the circles of people so closely knit together, someone who feels the cold. But being an outsider also means being an observer, being far away enough to see what’s actually there. It means seeing what others might not, when they’re too close to see clearly. That, in its own way, is a form of power. Instead of lamenting that I don’t belong, maybe I should cherish it.

L’Enfer, C’est Les Autres

When most people reach out and touch a red hot pan, they burn themselves. They learn not to touch the red hot pan. Me, I’ve lived my life hearing people tell me to keep touching that pan. Maybe it won’t burn you this time, they say. But it’s always red hot. And it always burns me.

I rarely go out. I’m much happier coming straight home from work every day. If I must leave the house, it’s because I’m out of some essential addictive foodstuffs. I venture out late, late at night. Mainly since it takes time to work up the nerve to go out. And because the later it is, the fewer people there are.

I don’t go out because I don’t want to be around people. I don’t want to be the target of their derision. I don’t want to feel the weight of expectations on how to talk and how to look. I don’t want to speak. I don’t want to be looked at. If I could have a super power, invisibility would be the one I choose in a heartbeat. Though.. Flying is pretty cool.

The number of people I spend time around is very, very limited nowadays. I don’t spend time at all anymore with my husband’s friends. The only one I spend time with is my husband’s friend A that I watch anime with on Saturday nights. A has his own set of problems, but tolerable enough. Because people must sexualize any relationship between a male and female, I must emphasize that it’d be a cold day in hell before I’d ever think of him that way.

A is pretty much it. My husband spends a lot of time with another friend F, who.. I can borderline stand. He’s one of those guys who effortlessly talks over you and who speaks in a way that suggests you don’t know anything at all. Whenever we play the simplest games he has to explain everything to me. Even when we play games I’ve played a dozen times before. And then I’m the asshole for pointing out that I’ve played this game before.

Housemate K? I’ve given up the delusion that we could be friends, much as I have with the Couple. Now I do the minimum related to him. We live together so I can’t exactly stop talking to him. I’ve stopped hoping he’ll help out with the house. I’ve stopped hoping he’ll empathize at all. Everything is about him. He’s sad, he’s anxious, he has a bad self image, and boy howdy he’ll let you know about it. There’s no room for others to show any hurt or pain because *K* is the Sad One who everyone must feel bad for. It must be nice for him, to feel so free to air every unhappiness in his mind. I have this blog, and that’s it for me. No other outlet.

Just the other day he made some mopey comment about how he can’t make friends. It took everything in me to resist either grabbing him by the shirt and shaking him, or making a snide comment. The Couple loves K. The only times they come over now is to spend time with K. Or to borrow stuff from us. Everyone likes K, and in fact he’s made a new friend group because he’s dating a girl several years his junior. He lives with his best friend and his wife (me) who’ve let him live there rent-free for years, but cleaning his pubes off the toilet rim is toooo hard. WOE IS K. His liff sooo harrrdddd.

Maybe once or twice a year I spend time with my high school friends. About 2-3 months ago I went over to Q’s house for a game night. She was the first friend I outed my short hair to. Because of all of them, she’s the one I feel closest to, she’s the one I met first of all my high school friends. But as I have learned the hard way, feeling close to someone doesn’t mean they feel close to you, or even that they have your back. There’s been several instances with Q that on reflection, indicate she’s not a very good friend sometimes. At the game night, in front of two new people and one friend I hadn’t seen in 15 years, she made the comment “Queen Legbeard cries before having sex.” Like she thought it was the funniest thing ever. She has no clue about my sex life. Unlike her, I don’t talk about mine. It was just a mean, spur of the moment comment.

I laughed it off. But it hurt that she could make a comment like that. Especially when she knows I’m struggling emotionally. She’s done it before. And she can’t keep secrets, it’s just too satisfying for her to blab everything I tell her.

I guess the only person I can really stand is Husband. And.. for his flaws, he does love me. Though he cannot comfort me, though he is a sponge for comfort himself, he keeps coming to me. He doesn’t stay away, even when I push him away.

One person. One person is enough.

Letting Go of Ideas

Last night I went home, took a moda, and kicked some a55.

Good thing is, moda and Wellbutrin seem to be compatible. The only thing I need to worry about is staying hydrated with two stimulants in my system.

Got to work late today. Sigh. Nothing done at work that I said I’d do, though. I just have zero motivation to start. I’m thinking about installing ColdTurkey on my work PC, just to deter me from going to reddit. I spend far too much time there. Mainly just reading the news, comments on news articles, and askreddit threads.

I can’t keep doing this. Vacation is at the end of the month. I need to light a fire under my rear, somehow.

Last night after being productive at home I spent a couple hours reading hoarders threads. I have a tendency to get excited about doing some new thing, buy the stuff for it, and never use it, or only use it once. Hence, reading about hoarding. I read something very interesting that stuck out to me: recovering from hoarding, as mild as mine is, means letting go of ideas. Ideas meaning, some new hobby or activity. I’ll think, I’ll start doing x or y because it sounds interesting. The idea itself is the exciting part, but when the stuff is bought, the excitement ends. I see myself doing the thing, but action doesn’t follow. Maybe because my perfectionism and the thought that I won’t be great at doing something for the first time kicks in.

And then the fact that I have all this stuff gives me anxiety. That it sits there, unused, gathering dust, gives me anxiety. That I’m not using it. But letting go of it? Well, I’ll do that hobby or activity one day, won’t I? The thought of, I shouldn’t get rid of something if I spent money on it. It’s a circular, self-supporting thought process that leads to the items remaining, gathering dust, and my anxiety about the items remaining continues. That’s where the “letting go of ideas” theme comes in. Donating stuff also alleviates the “wasting stuff is bad” feelings, because someone will be able to use what I give up.

I think overall, the relief at the stuff being gone will be higher than the disappointment that I just gave up on something. I’m not as driven or motivated or interesting as I think I am, in the optimistic side of my mind.

I need to free up space in my mind and my house, get rid of these half-baked plans and ideas. Getting the stuff gone or donated will be hard, but worth it in the end. Then I can finally focus on what I need to do: write and draw.

Writing and drawing, that’s a whole other issue. I’ve always thought I was good, or at least decent at writing fiction and drawing. It’s been a major prop for my diminished ego. But a mild talent doesn’t become anything more than that unless you do something with it. It shouldn’t be a prop for my ego, along the lines of “well, I know I’d be good at it if I tried.” I’m not good at it. And that’s okay. I’ve been so terrified of people seeing the stuff I write and draw, afraid of condemnation or mockery. I’ve also let the mild hoarding get in the way; “I can’t write or draw until I take care of this.” But it never gets taken care of.

The things that give me joy need priority in my life. I let these fleeting interests and accumulated stuff get in my way. They need to go.

More and more I get an understanding of the faulty system of my mind. More and more I begin to discard faulty beliefs. Is this a side effect of aging? Of relentless self-reflection? I don’t know. But the most important thing to acknowledge is that unless I start acting, nothing will change.