I’ll Pay You To Care

I seem to operate off a flawed premise in life. It’s that people care about each other.

If you’re lucky people care about you. Sometimes, you have no one.

But you have a husband, Queen Legbeard. He must care about you.

In his way, he does. As long as I act normal. As long as I don’t show I’m in pain, he cares about me. The second I start acting “weird” he gets angry. He doesn’t understand depression, anxiety, or how to comfort.

There is literally no one but my cat that comforts me. Sign me up for a 12 pack of kittens and a shack in the woods. Oh, and I need a stick to wave at people while I scream unintelligibly.

That’s fine. I’ll get to that point eventually. People only expect the worst out of me, so why not meet their expectations?

Met the new shrink yesterday. Young guy. Two or three years younger than me. Just got his masters degree and has been at the place for only a few weeks. I don’t understand why therapists become therapists, if they can’t handle dark, heavy sh1t. I mentioned that I don’t shower much, that I wanted to change it, and it was like I admitted I eat my own feces while strangling armadillos. Who knows what would have happened if I told him about how I chew my fingers and wear a wig. Gasp!

For the love of god, when will I find a doctor or therapist who gives a sh1t? When will I find anyone? I’d pay someone to listen to me. Not even “treat” me. I’ll pay someone to pretend to care. Maybe I should put out a craigslist ad: “Will Pay You To Listen and Occasionally Say ‘Yeah’ and ‘That sucks’ and ‘I’m Sorry’.” It’d be cheaper than a therapist, too.

Maybe I should go to the Unitarian Universalist church in the next town over. They take everyone, which is why I like them. Don’t have to have a belief system. It’ll likely be a bust, like every effort of mine to connect with other people, but hey, for a little while at the beginning it might be nice.

 

In Charge of My Own Isolation

I desperately need a vent post, but people follow my blog now. Blah. Oh well. Here goes anyway. Don’t read this if you’re looking for something happy and positive.


Currently reflecting on my lack of actual human contact other than my husband, husband’s friend A, soon-to-be-ex-housemate K, and occasionally my mother. My social strategy nowadays is to avoid being around people. Can’t make social blunders if I’m not around them. Can’t be an eyesore in public if I’m not in public.

I can’t really tell if social isolation is overall a negative for me. I still obsess about the perception of others, and that obsessiveness needs to end. I’m getting closer and closer to a place where I can quietly lead my life minimizing the unnecessarily harsh judgement of others.

I seem to exude meanness to other people. Maybe it’s my face, which is broad and bulldog-like. Maybe it’s the fact I have a bulldog face and keep to myself, which is interpreted as either stuck-up or mean. People don’t understand I’m doing them and myself a favor by keeping quiet. I honestly wince when someone tries to draw me into conversation. Before I became “woke AF” I kept myself at the edge of groups, but the second I was invited in I charged in all eager and willynilly, assuming “Oh, they like me! Yay!” So much cringe. So.. So much cringe.

Now, I politely decline well-intentioned efforts to draw me into conversation. The person might be taken aback, assuming I don’t like them or the other people, but that’s a risk I have to take. I weigh possible misconceptions against the certainty of humiliating myself by opening my mouth, and the latter wins out most times.

What I need to do is fill the void left by having no real support structure or meaningful friendships. I need to *do* things, keep busy, to keep my mind from constantly running in circles about the nature of society and my lack of value in it. I need to go home, unplug my PC and TV, and just put pencil to paper. Fiction is the only thing that has consistently buoyed me in life. When I read a book, watch a good show or movie, for a little while it feels like I have real friends, or loving parents, or anyone. Or when I put pencil to paper. The worlds and people I’ve created in my mind are rich and full of life, and while I’m someone else, I’m not the subject of ridicule and pity.

I feel like an unreasonable c*nt whenever I ask for privacy or alone time, but I have to do it. I need to lay down the law to Husband. When my office door is locked, when I have a sign on my door, your need for attention and validation must wait a little while. No, you can’t barge past my boundaries and insist on looking at what I’m writing or drawing. No, you don’t have any input on my writing or art. No, I don’t have to take your suggestions. I have control over very little in life, my creativity is what little I have. Don’t take it from me.


I mentioned above that Housemate K is soon to be Ex-Housemate K. He’s moving out tomorrow. I have mixed emotions. He was a great distraction for Husband when I needed to be in pain alone, without having to pretend I was fine. But K had no consideration for others; he felt no obligation to help out or clean up after himself. Getting him to do things in common areas felt like pulling teeth. Mean old Queen Legbeard, not wanting to be a maid for the men of the house. So tomorrow he’ll be gone, and I’ll only have to clean up for two people instead of three. Huzzah.

I used to care about him. I used to reach out, hoping for once he’d take the offer. Tried to share things that gave me joy with him. But that, like all attempts to connect with others, was ignored, if not rejected. He desperately wants to be one of the cool kids, and you can’t have that social status if you’re seen in the presence of the uncool kid. He doesn’t seem to realize he might never be one of the cool kids. Oh well. I accept it now; I accept that I will never be his friend, not for lack of trying. Friendship is a two-way street, and if I’m making all the effort than it’s not friendship. It’s just not.

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.