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.

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 is 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.

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.

Banana Stickers

Day 8 taking Wellbutrin. The last two days have been weird. I do well during the day at work. Practically extroverted. But the second I get home, I check out mentally. Last night, I spent all night in bed reading after a productive day at work.

Today I slept in, the first time this week. I woke up naturally at 11:30 for about 8.5 hours of sleep, but chose to lay in bed in the warmth and comfort for another hour or so. I wonder if my mood problems have been exacerbated by lack of sleep. The WB is helping me immediately in some ways, but not helping me in others. Maybe that will be different in a few weeks.

I feel like I am never in the moment. I feel like I am just waiting for time to pass – what I’m waiting for, I don’t know.

The last few days I have been resolving to take a gym bag with me to work. I got as far as putting my athletic shoes on the floor in the bedroom, and I tried on a few pairs of workout pants to see if they still fit. But as for actually packing and taking it with me to work? Not yet. I think the reluctance stems from not wearing my hairpiece at work when I am in the gym. It will out me as wearing a hairpiece, if a coworker sees me in there without it. I am counting on working out when no one else is in there.. But maybe I should think about “coming out” with my short hair.

Today, it’s sunny finally. The storms of the last few days were nice, but I think the dimness affected me. Maybe tonight I will go home, take a VERY small amount of moda, and try to kick some a55.

WB makes it easier to complete tasks. Well, more like this: If I can push myself over the edge to START the task, WB insures that I complete it. It still doesn’t give me the kick of motivation I need to initiate, but the task seems overall less overwhelming.

I think I’m about ready to start being consistent. Or, at least trying. I need to develop a reward system, maybe a daily chart with stickers? I’m secretly a five year old who enjoys putting a smiley face or gold star sticker on something when I accomplish it. I searched in vain for affordable sheets of banana stickers ala Metalocalypse.

The first big thing to tackle: Sleep and showering.

I can get up at 9 or 9:30 for a while, but if I don’t go to bed at a proper time getting up early accomplishes nothing, as I spend the major portion of the day just waking up. I need to consistently go to bed at a regular time. It’s pressing that I do this, because in only a few weeks I will need to be getting up very early (6am or earlier) for vacation. There’s no way our friend who is hosting us on our trip will let my ass sleep in till 10 or 11 or 12 or 1.

The problem being that I facking love being up late. The dark, quiet coolness of the night is amazing. Less chance of being taken out of my head by interruptions. Well, suck it up.

Showering, now, that’s something I feel best doing every other day. As thin as my hair is, washing it every day wouldn’t be good. I make showering an ordeal, as I do everything else. My perfectionist ways make every task seem like an arduous event. I have to do it just right, my brain whispers, or don’t do it at all. So I don’t do it.

I think I can do this, though. I just need stickers. Lots and lots of stickers.

BANANA STICKERS.

bananastickersaretotallymetal

 

Terrible Pink Carpet

I’m having my first bad day since I started Wellbutrin.

As always, I’m in my own head, ruminating. Thinking about everything wrong about myself, questioning every relationship I have.

Disgust at the state of my fingers, which have been chewed bloody.

Bitterness towards the Couple, two friends I considered family only a year or two ago. Who I stopped speaking to.

The lack of connection with anyone. My husband wants me, I’m sure.. But does he only want the image of me that’s in his head, or the whole of me? Who would ever want the whole of me?

Anger and misery that I was unwanted by my father and despised by my stepmother.

Frustration that my sister seems to walk on eggshells around me, like I ever have or ever will explode at her or treat her badly.

Despair that I always assumed I was close to people, yet was left out of many things important to their lives that they shared with others.

Feeling like it’s too late to start writing and drawing again. That everyone else wants me to support their dreams, but no one wants to support mine.

All of these things, all at the same time.

I want to paint a picture of how my stepmother looked, the many times we stood in that hallway with the horrible pink carpet. I stared at that carpet, came to memorize the strands and the patterns as she screamed and screamed. Occasionally she’d demand I stop being a coward and look at her. Not content to allow me to endure her in some way. Her blue eyes were black beads tiny with hate and frustration. Though her hair was blonde and nicely styled, and her makeup immaculate, in those moments she was the ugliest person I’d ever seen, and have seen, since.

I wonder if that carpet is still there, in that little three bedroom ranch. Pink and terrible looking. My father refused to replace it. We had plastic runners going up and down the hallway, meeting with the strip from the front door that stretched to the kitchen. Made it hard to move quietly through the house, to avoid the wrath that came from merely being seen. Even now I move silently through my own house, to the point I startle my Husband and housemate when I suddenly appear in their midst. Habits die hard.

I wonder if I’m still in that ranch, in my mind. Cowering and afraid in my “rented” room. Eating stolen cookies and escaping into comic books I hid as well as I could.

Sadly, arson is a crime.

A Believing Heart is Your Magic

Day 5 of Wellbutrin. I’ve become an extroverted magical Japanese girl.

Sorry. I’ve just been watching too much Little Witch Academia.

The appointment last week went very well. The nurse practitioner suggested WB without my even having to ask.

So I’ve been taking it for five days. The NP said it would take up to 4-6 weeks to really hit a stride. I’m noticing a difference already. Before I started taking it, I feel like I gave preferential treatment to my depressive thoughts. On WB, I feel like I am standing at a distance to both my depressive thoughts (overeat, smoke, ignore Husband) and my functional thoughts (brush teeth, shower, clean, draw, write). Each group of thoughts has equal weight now, and if I turn towards the depressive thoughts it’s out of habit. Maybe as time goes by, I can train myself to turn more and more towards the functional thoughts. Break the habit.

One other thing I’ve noticed is that my constant irritation at being interrupted is nearly gone. When I came home on Friday, I was bombarded with the needs of others the second I stepped in the door. But the irritation wasn’t there. And it wasn’t there over the weekend too. I still overate and self-isolate, but that feels more like a choice than before. The desire to destroy the cuticles of my nails and leave them bloodied hasn’t gone, and in fact they are in an extremely poor state right now. But as the meds build up in my system, maybe I won’t give in to that compulsion as easily.

The punches are becoming easier to take. Just now, I went outside to have a smoke. Almost immediately, my smoker “buddies” gave each other looks, stubbed out their smokes and just went inside. At first I was like.. Well. What did I say? What did I do? Maybe they saw the state of my fingers. Maybe they just didn’t want to deal with my weird ass at that time. But it wasn’t a big deal. It didn’t send me spiraling into a self-loathing malaise like it might have. I just let it go.

I am waiting on a referral for therapy. I still need it. I find myself dealing with these realizations that sit heavy inside me, that ring true. I need help dealing with the physical and emotional neglect and abuse I suffered throughout childhood. I need help with the overwhelming need for approval that resulted from it. I need help working through the bitterness and unhealthy self-loathing that results from knowing I will never gain that approval. That being who I am, as a person, means the likelihood of approval is slim to none. I need help to stop perceiving other people as the enemy. To stop pushing others away when I think I won’t meet their expectations or if I perceive I’ve facked up socially.

I’ve been coming closer to a state of peace, over the last few months, but I have a ways to go still, and that will be hopefully sped up by a good therapist.

One day, maybe I’ll be someone who is naturally cheerful and lighthearted despite their shortcomings. That’s what I want to believe.

Self-Indulgent Prattling

Tomorrow is my first shrink appointment. Well, with a nurse practitioner. I don’t think I’ll bring up the gender stuff, just bring up the symptoms of the depression and anxiety I suffer and how they’re affecting my ability to function.

I think a course of meds may help me. I’ll request wellbutrin to start. No good taking something that’s just going to help me put more weight on. I tend to do very well on stimulants, nearly approaching normal in terms of ability to do things. I was diagnosed with ADD as a child, taking ritalin for a while until they thought I was “better.” I certainly still have executive functioning problems as an adult.

God, I hope they care. I really hope they do. I’m paying them, you know? I’d hope they care. I don’t know if I could take yet another doctor just kind of.. waiting for the appointment to be done.

I feel a discontent when I think about how according to society’s measuring stick, I’ll never measure up. I understand why masculine-leaning females transition to male. The gender binary, so entrenched. You’re a man or a woman, nothing in between. People think they need to be able to visually classify you at a single glance, and god help you if you’re not easy on the eyes. That brief and minor delay of “what are they” is too inconvenient for most.”How do I treat them,” because all interactions must be gendered and appropriate, just treating people neutrally until you know doesn’t seem to cross most people’s minds.

This may sound.. self-congratulatory or dumb, but I am proud of how I treated Noah back in the day. This was a good 8-10 years ago, before I even knew trans was a thing; I grew up in a conservative Midwestern town. I had no idea he was a transman, just that he was ambiguous in his appearance. I never forced the issue. I waited for him to bring it up, and treated him neutrally (non-gendered) until he did. If only I hadn’t had an anxiety attack while hanging out with him once; after that, we weren’t as close, until the temp job ended and I never saw him again.

I need to find like-minded friends. Some form of connection. If I rely on cis people, they may always be baffled by me. The mismatch between their gendered expectations and my NB/masculine-leaning personality leads to discomfort and eventually alienation. “Why is she so weird? Why doesn’t she pretty herself up?” These thoughts (probably) cross their minds. I’m so glad I’ve finally identified the disconnect between my efforts and other people. The revelations of the last few months have helped, considerably. I’ve noticed I have had fewer mentally ill vent posts. The hole is not as deep, and when I fall into it, I climb back out more quickly.

Perhaps I will post somewhere looking for a trans/NB-leaning-masculine penpal. Penpals still are a thing, there’s a subreddit for it I’ve been perusing. If anything else, sign up for a forum somewhere. Though, I’m not about to write letters on *paper*, how droll. Emailpal is better. There’s other options as well. Though I may be too old (31) maybe I could go to my local university’s LGBTQ events. I am an alumnus, so maybe that’s an in. Meetup might have some things too, as well as Craigslist. Craiglist could be.. dodgy though. Even creepers respond to platonic friend postings. They don’t read your posts.

 

I am the damage

I want to be rewarded for being a good person.

There, I’ve said it.

Many will say that you don’t try to be a good person, you just are a good person.

But anyone who has been damaged by life knows better. Knows that nothing is black and white, there are shades of grey to everything.

I do have to try to be a good person. It is easy to slide into my anger, resentment, and selfishness, and is something I have to resist most times. I’m not always successful. In fact, I’m not successful most times. But I try to mitigate it the best that I can.

My level of exhaustion at holding back the worst of me grows every day, despite my attempts to stop it. I feel trapped by my life, one many people would kill to have. My health is excellent. My finances are excellent. There is literally nothing stopping me from being happy, except for myself. But how do I become happy? What is it, even? Is it an attainable and sustainable state of mind?

I begin to think it isn’t. Or, it is something attainable for people with simpler expectations for their lives. Much like romantic love.

It makes me feel good when I do good things for others. I pat myself on the back and say, you’re good for doing that. The same people who often say you don’t have to try to be a good person would also say that this is doing good things for the wrong reason. But the problem is, I simply cannot help but have this reaction when I do things for others. I want to be praised. I want that little boost of affirmation that I am not a terrible human being. Because that is what I believe deep down.

A part of me wants to follow in my father’s footsteps and demand praise for doing even the most minimal of things. I showered today, praise me. I went to work, praise me. Because I am the damage, and doing things other than laying in bed or hiding from other people seem like mountains to be climbed. But there will never be reward or praise for doing things other people see as routine, as easy. Nor should there be. Only children are praised for brushing their teeth every day. And yet I crave positive reinforcement for nearly everything I do.

I understand the appeal of religion sometimes. Someone who is invisible and yet still there, who loves you and wants you to live well, who will love you no matter what. It is seductive, and I understand how many people in the worst parts of their lives succumb to it. But it rings hollow to me, and always has. Maybe I should make my own religion, with blackjack and hookers and science. None of this “women are lesser” and “homos are evil” and “books are dumb” nonsense. I’m not interested in the fanclubs. At this point, I’m almost willing to accept the emotional crutch of an invisible friend.

It’d be simple. Give a name to the part of myself that wants me to do good in my life. Have imaginary conversations. Even though I know deep down what it is, maybe it would help. Or maybe it wouldn’t.

I don’t want to wallow in the flotsam of my disordered mind. But I don’t know any other way. Is it reasonable or even expectable to assume I can even not do that? I don’t mean to sound fatalistic, like it’s inevitable and there’s no other way. I simply wonder if I have set the goal posts way, way higher than is possible. I resume beating the dead horse of earlier posts when I say, maybe just self-acceptance is all I can shoot for. Not self-realization, not some shangri-la sense of contentment. Just being okay with existence. Removing the conditioned response of my brain towards self-loathing.

That, my friends, would be enough.

ADD leads to caffeine. Caffeine leads to poor sleep. Poor sleep leads to legbeard status.

Well, I’m pretty sure yesterday’s post was just a straight out PMS post. Nothing like vomiting angry thoughts all over the screen, though I suppose that is a reasonably healthy way to deal with it.

I’ve been doing some writing. Mainly just fleshing out concepts and scenes in my head from the long-time story I’ve been working on since I was a wee girl-boy. Now, since this story is optimally a graphic novel, I also need to be doing some drawing too. I really need to find a way to minimize the time wasted at home, either goofing off on the internet, watching the vidyas, or not doing housework.

Given that I’m on first shift again, I should start thinking about how to regulate myself a little more. I think that at least part of my depression comes from the complete lack of routine and structure in my life. I go to bed when I feel like it, early or late, and I get up whenever I feel like it, mostly late. And when I go to bed, it can sometimes be a half hour to an hour before I fall asleep. A big factor there is my uncontrolled caffeine consumption. I drink maybe 10 cans of diet soda a day, regardless of the hour. ::points at blog title:: I *am* a legbeard, you know. Excessive soda intake is how I roll.

And, I know why I drink so much caffeine. It’s because I self-medicate for ADD, something I was correctly diagnosed with as a child, and still suffer from today. I also have a fixation on fizzy drinks. If it doesn’t fizz, I’m not into it.
An easy solution to this would be to actually medicate myself for ADD. Find a doctor, get my brain something to perk it up. My thoughts have always come a mile a minute, with three or four things going on at once. My focus is shiz unless I’m doing something I’m interested in. I find my line of work, programming, actually works for it, as when I program I go into periods of hyper-focus.

So, the order of operations is thus:
1. Find doctor, get ADD medicated.
2. Quit drinking so much soda, start drinking coffee or tea. I am internally cringing at that, the diet Dew monkey is shrieking from its perch on my back.
2.5. Start meditating.
3. Start going to bed and waking up consistently.
4. Quit wasting my free time. Start scheduling myself for writing, drawing, exercising, and learning the piano. Also plan for outings, such as to the indoor market or farmer’s market.
5. Improve dat hygiene.
6. Perform house de-cluttering, so I don’t have to think about how much excess stuff I own. It’s distracting.
7. Start setting my sights on quitting smoking for reals this time.

Ooh noo, I’ve started making plans I can’t follow through on! Meh. One thing at a time.

I need someone to come in and manage my life for me. Like a drill instructor who just busts into my office bellowing,”PRIVATE ARE YOU ON REDDIT?? DROP AND GIVE ME THREE SKETCHES OF NAKED PEOPLE!”

Now accepting applications. I think my husband needs one too.

Ego Fantasies

Feeling tired. Feeling bored. Feeling lonely. Only distraction is the story line I endlessly rehash in my mind. Out of cigarettes, nothing to eat.

The story is the only thing I’ve got. Where I can imagine and derive satisfaction from what I perceive to be real relationships – where people reach out to each other, form connections, and don’t keep each other at arm’s length despite their own issues.

Fantasy is where I encounter satisfactory human beings. Maybe that’s why it’s fantasy. No one is like they are in stories. Love, acceptance, connection, equality in a relationship, none of those are real, at least for me. I don’t know what they feel like. So I make up stories where they happen. Because I need to believe humans are worthwhile.

The one story variant I keep returning to is one of a character’s slow downward spiral. Everyone sees what’s happening. Everyone close to him knows the unspeakably awful things that have happened to him. But they keep him at arm’s length until he hits rock bottom. Eventually, the one he loves finally reaches out and saves him with loving him. Pretty transparent, isn’t it? I know what it says about me.

But it keeps a tiny flickering foolish flame of hope alive that someone might do that for me. Save me from myself, to show me the way, finally. But I know. No one will save me, no one is obligated to so. I know it in my heart. It doesn’t really happen. But the stupid hope burns, since otherwise there is only despair.

It’s the way of the world, isn’t it? If you can’t save yourself, you’re doomed. Don’t count on anyone to save you. (I understand why religion is appealing sometimes.) Only if you dare to voice this thought, others act shocked and appalled, like it’s not so. I have come close to saying this out loud to others, but not out-right, and have gotten that reaction. Even in my daily life I try to outwardly pretend humanity isn’t as uncaring as it is, much like most everyone else does. No one dares to voice what is commonly known deep down, and if someone does people will defend their own layer of delusion because it means they might have to edge closer to cold reality. Well, come and join me. It’s freezing here.

You can’t admit openly what a cold, hard place the world is. Especially to those who have a nice warm insulating layer of delusion built up by loving and supportive people in their lives. To me there’s two ways to be happy in this world. Either be lucky and have that warm buffer, or come to it by sheer, abject acceptance of the state of things. I’ve been trying for the latter, but it’s harder than you’d ever know. I still have the trappings of ego, mainly anger and the maddening concept of fairness. I wish I could unlearn “fairness.” It’s like I’m still a child, in this aspect. It makes it hard to simply accept, when part of me still wants the world to be different.

Twenty years from now, thirty, forty, I may still be in internal conflict. But I hope like hell not. I hope I will come to acceptance and thrive at last. I don’t want my life to be a drawn-out, muffled cry of despair. Knowing how many if not all people suffer silently their entire lives, each a tiny speck in a vast sea of specks, this seems rather naive and unlikely. Yet I have always hoped for better for myself. My ego will not allow any less and that’s half of why I suffer.