Tag Archives: family

Hey-O

I’ve been back home for a few days now. My summer class got canceled, which is sad. I’m going to be bored . . . not to mention the loss of income. But I guess I should be doing things like looking at jobs and working on my writing.

I haven’t come back here right away because I’ve been working on my writing. I haven’t gotten around to editing my novel yet, but hopefully I will after I finish revising this short story I’ve been editing. I’ve also got a short story idea I haven’t started working on yet, and another one that I just finished. The latter is rather dark . . . It would make people wonder at the screwed-up things that go on in my head. I’m not sure what I can do with this story. I’m not sure what I can do with the story I’ve been revising, either. I find it amusing, but I don’t think anyone other than me would. I think the idea is clever, though. I just don’t feel like people would get it.

Then there’s the obsession I’ve referred to before . . . Supernatural. I started writing a fanfiction story because I just couldn’t get it out of my head. I don’t know what I’m going to do with it, though. It’s rather embarrassing; I don’t want to go into detail about the story itself. Well, I guess it’ll all just be for my own entertainment.

I’ve finally reached the eighth season of Supernatural, so I’ll probably be spending most of my free time watching that. Since I’m so obsessed and all. It’s bad. Half the time things remind me of little moments in Supernatural. I don’t know what’s wrong with me, lol.

And now we come to some heavy news.

While I was home, my dad almost had a heart attack.

I’m serious. It’s shocking and scary. One morning, he wasn’t feeling well, so he had my stepmom take him to the ER. No one thought it would be anything too bad; after all, he almost passed a stress test. But then they found that he had 100% blockage in his coronary artery. If my dad didn’t go to the hospital when he did, well . . . not something I want to think about.

My reaction to this event makes me think I’ve been lying to myself. I like to think I’m this sensitive, caring, and empathetic person, but I’m not.

I woke up late that morning, and based on certain cues in the house, I could tell something was up. However, unlike what I’d usually do in such a situation, I didn’t call to find out what it was. I didn’t want to, so I didn’t find out about my dad going to the ER until a couple of hours later. At that point, the doctors still hadn’t discovered how bad the situation was.

Then as the truth slowly came out, I felt emotionless. Complacent, even, like of course things turned out okay, because the alternative doesn’t happen in real life. Logically, that’s stupid.

I continued to feel emotionless. I didn’t even see why I should be otherwise. Everyone was concerned and worried, and there I was, a callous person.

It seems I have only two modes sometimes–being callous or being overly emotional. Perhaps that has something to do with my reaction.

The whole thing even seemed funny to me, and I occasionally had to restrain short laughs.

I’ve noticed, though, that sometimes I laugh when I’d normally cry.

But I don’t think that was one of the situations, because as I said, I felt nothing.

Only a few days later, as my mind sifted through the implications of the event, did I get weepy.

I don’t like what my reaction says about my character.

My dad’s fine now; he’s resting.

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Little Anomalies

I was going to write about how I experience empathy, but I’m suddenly tired and unable to think. That’ll have to be for some other time, like in a couple of weeks.

I’m going to visit my family tomorrow, and I’ll be there for about two weeks. So, I probably won’t be on here. Not that I’ve been on here much lately, anyway. I haven’t been very good at keeping up with blogging lately. But my summer shouldn’t be too busy, so perhaps I’ll be on more regularly in June.

A couple of odd things lately:

I’ve started experiencing intense smells in my dreams. I thought there weren’t supposed to be smells in dreams? And that if were are smells, those smells were intruding from real life. But these smells are most definitely not from my sleeping surroundings. I smell things that couldn’t possibly be there. All sorts of things. Cake. Mud.

I’m curious as to why this is. I’ve never had a keen sense of smell to begin with. Why would I suddenly begin smelling things in my dreams?

I’m also someone who usually sleeps curled up, as scrunched into myself as possible. If I’m on my back, which I am often, I lie rigid with my arms around a stuffed animal, behind the pillow, or alongside my body. My legs are then crossed at the ankles or just stretched out straight right next to each other.

But lately, I’ve begun to sprawl out in my sleep. Consistently. I have to be sprawled out to fall asleep, often, too. Why would my sleep position suddenly change so dramatically?

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I think I’ve figured out why Supernatural resonates with me so much. For some reason, it puts me in an artistic mood, the same mood that impels me to write my stories. I’m not sure how to explain what this mood feels like. It’s got ingredients of inspiration, flashes of emotions and tableaus, bursts of creative energy. Then when I write, it’s like I go into a half-trance, like I’m here but also placing myself in another place. Occasionally I have to pause and sit there, perhaps close my eyes, until the right mood arrives for the part I’m writing. Like something in my brain has to percolate and I have to wait for it to finish until I can fully articulate it.

This artistic mindset explains the weird impulse I’ve been having to write fanfiction. That is not something I do. I don’t want to write any of those novel-length types, just really short pieces. I keep getting glimpses of imagined emotional moments that I feel like writing. I’m not silly enough to have acted on the impulse (so far?), thank goodness. Fanfiction is not a world I wish to deeply involve myself in . . .

I’ve also gotten snippets of an idea for a non-fanfiction short story; it revolves around thoughts about God and angels.

*********

I’ve been thinking about my lack of ambition again. I’m afraid to strive for anything because of the big break.

Today, I described it to my therapist as a “pretend breakdown.” She asked why I called it a pretend breakdown, and I explained it’s because I wasn’t truly non-functional. Wouldn’t I be non-functional if I had a breakdown? Problem is, it’s hard for me to tell, since blending in and not drawing attention to myself are big motivators for me. The therapist didn’t say much in response to that, so I assume she agreed with me. I kept getting irritated during therapy today and thought she was acting like she was bored. Logically, I know she wasn’t, but I wanted to start cursing and getting angry and telling her to fucking pay attention and that if I was boring her maybe I should just leave. Luckily, I reined in those impulses. See, these are the sorts of instincts I have, and with very little justification, and that’s why I feel I’m a bad person.

Then I talked about how hollow I felt, and she asked if I’d ever found anything fulfilling. I said writing, but then I’d sometimes begin thinking it was pointless and lose that fulfillment. She said she thought I could talk myself out of feeling fulfilled. That could perhaps be true. She asked if the point could possibly just be the fulfillment itself. But I can’t fully buy into that, because why should the point just be to make myself satisfied? If it doesn’t serve some other purpose, if all my writing does is sit around and no one ever reads it, what’s the use? It’s a lot of work for very little.

Anyway, back to the big break. I’m afraid. I’m afraid if I have any ambition, reach for anything, I’ll have another big break, and I’m not strong enough to go again through whatever that was.

For some reason, toward the end of the session, I started feeling emotional. We were talking about my upcoming visit to my family, and suddenly a rapid montage of the past played in my mind. I remembered everyone not getting along. Then I imagined lots of shouting and me inwardly cowering and wanting to run away and not get involved. Brief feelings that everyone hated me, intense feelings of self-worthlessness. I didn’t explain all that, though.

If you read my blog at the beginning, you might dimly remember when I used to whine about my childhood. All of that just briefly took over. That’s not a can of worms I’m going to open right now, ha.

Now, my family never hated me; I just felt that way. If anything, these days there are moments when I can almost feel their love radiating off them. This has to do with what I wanted to say about empathy–sometimes I feel as if I can perceive people’s emotions radiating off them when they speak. Maybe that’s absurd. I don’t know.

Oh, gosh, I can’t believe I wrote so much. I’m done with my random rambling.

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Mired, Giving Up, and Hiding

I just can’t do it anymore. I’m floating, and hiding it is the only thing that keeps me holding on. There’s too much pain in my heart. Not me wallowing in my depression and self-pity, although there is that. It’s pain at everything in the world. Which sounds fake and stupid and cliched, but these days lots of things seem to evoke a throbbing in my heart.

No one can help me. It’s partially my fault because I’m isolating myself, but I can’t stop isolating myself. My anxiety ensures I can’t climb out of the well. I feel like I need love and support from someone, but who? Not my family. They’d probably insist I do things I know won’t help, like live near them or something. I don’t have any friends. Well, I have one, but she’s not the sort of person one can expect the loving type of support from. Fellow bloggers? No. It’s not because I doubt the bloggers I know and am connected to, but it’s because I have nothing to offer at the moment. I haven’t for a couple of months, and I probably won’t for much time to come. I can’t just take, take, take. It’s unfair of me. It would be much kinder, and less selfish, if I just fell off the blogging map altogether. I’m too selfish to read other blogs at the moment and be supportive. So I have no right to take anything. I am a believer of quid pro quo, and I would be a hypocrite, fail in my principles, if I couldn’t participate in a quid-pro-quo way.

I’m not going to kill myself or anything. At least, I don’t think so. But I can’t sustain the status quo, either. But what am I going to do? If I don’t continue the status quo, I won’t be able to forgive myself. I have to go about my life, give a facade to the world as if I am capable. But I’m not capable. I am weak. I can’t even live a normal life like an average person. I can’t handle life, and most people can. I’m at the bottom of the rung of humanity.

I cry easily these days, way too easily. On Tuesday, I accidentally spilled water on my desk at work. My first instinct was to cry, but I held it in. I was with a student, after all. Then I had my therapist appointment later Tuesday. We were talking about Spring Break and my family, and for some reason tears started leaking from my eyes. It was a subdued form of crying because I normally sob as I cry. I didn’t (and don’t) even know why I was crying. My past with my family doesn’t even bother me much anymore. Not that we were talking about the past, although I guess we were since the therapist asked me about their responses to my problems, etc.

I don’t know why, but apparently my behavior at the session prompted the therapist to ask if I’d like another appointment on Thursday. I somewhat froze and got all overanalytical. She asked if I’d call if I needed one, and I said no. She said she’d call on Wednesday to ask about it. This was a nice offer; I can’t imagine any of my past therapists doing that. Maybe it’s because she’s young. Maybe young therapists are good because they haven’t gotten jaded by their job yet or something. Ultimately, I decided against it because, nominally, I am okay. I’m not harming myself or attempting suicide, so I don’t need to waste her time. Besides, I’ll see her again this Tuesday, anyway.

Often the only way I can motivate myself to do things is to tell myself I can be a TV zombie if I finish my task in time. This is not my “normal” personality. Usually, I want to do more than watch TV, but not for the past few weeks, unless you count lying there or sleeping. I can’t motivate myself to write, either here or creatively. Maybe it would help, but I can’t ignite myself, so no.

Funnily, one of the few things that provides me solace right now is watching Supernatural on NetFlix. I started about three weeks ago, and now I’m at the beginning of Season 2. I don’t know why the show often emotionally resonates with me at the moment. Probably because I’m overly emotional in general. I could probably write a post with my thoughts on the show, but then it would look like I’m doing better than I really am.

I also have many thoughts about my therapist (mostly good so far) that I could probably document, if I felt up to it, but I don’t.

But still, I’m not okay, and nobody can help me. I’m all alone, and it’s partially my fault, but I can’t be anything other than what I am. I so wish I could give up in some form–suicide, dropping out of society and just sitting around the house, admitting defeat in some way. I am giving up, but in a waffling, drowning sort of way. As so often happens, the motive to hide and blend in is all that keeps me around.

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Avoidant Personality Disorder

I remember when I first learned about avoidant personality disorder in high school psychology. It felt eerie, like someone had probed into my soul. Avoidant Personality Disorder was briefly mentioned in my last therapy session. I thought I’d gradually developed as a person since high school, but maybe not. This is going to be rather long because I’m going to quote extensively from this source.

The source says this about the causes:

Many persons diagnosed with avoidant personality disorder have had painful early experiences of chronic parental criticism and rejection. The need to bond with the rejecting parents makes the avoidant person hungry for relationships but their longing gradually develops into a defensive shell of self-protection against repeated parental criticisms. Ridicule or rejection by peers further reinforces the young person’s pattern of social withdrawal and contributes to their fear of social contact.

When I was a kid, it felt as if my parents were always criticizing me. Like they never took me seriously. Like they thought my hobbies, such as writing stories, were stupid.  I was petrified around people. I didn’t have any friends, so I felt rejected. In late elementary school, I was often made fun of. The one friend I had seemed to hang around me just because I would always accede to her wishes. I eventually began avoiding her. My parents thought I was being rude, especially since that was my only friend, but I couldn’t explain things to them.

I never felt like I could confide in my parents. The best example of this is something that happened when I was about 7. On the news, there was a story about someone whose foot got shredded by an escalator because they didn’t step off in time. I became deeply afraid that this would happen to me. What if one day I was too slow to get off the escalator and had my foot shredded? I refused to ride escalators for a while. My parents were baffled by this, as I’d never been afraid of escalators before. I didn’t want to tell them why I was afraid, though, because I knew they’d tell me I was being silly. Finally, one day I was at a store with my dad and brother, and my dad forced me to get on the escalator. Nothing happened, so my fear went away. I’ve recently told my family the real reason behind my fear, and I made it into a sort of joke. But I still think it’s indicative of my parents’ behavioral patterns.

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Some Symptoms of Avoidant Personality Disorder:

The person avoids occupational activities that require significant interpersonal contact. Job interviews or promotions may be turned down because the person’s own perceptions of his or her abilities do not match the job description.

This is me. One reason I’m afraid of applying for jobs is that I want to avoid the interview. I dread it so much that it sometimes makes me sick. I am constantly feeling like I must be incompetent at my job and one day everyone will realize it. Heck, I’m afraid I’m not good enough for the job I’m interviewing for soon, and it’s mostly the same thing I already do.

The person is reluctant to participate in social involvement without clear assurance that they will be accepted. People with this disorder assume other people are not safe to trust until proven otherwise. Others must offer repeated support and encouragement in order to persuade them to participate in a social event.

I so badly want to trust people, but I just can’t. Even if people offer me support. I always think they’re just being polite. One time someone told me that if they didn’t like me, people wouldn’t care about being polite to me. But I still feel like they’re trying to avoid hurting my feelings. It seems that I always wind up standing alone at social events and that anyone who talks to me does so because they see me by myself and feel sorry for me.

The person fears being shamed or ridiculed in close relationships. As a result, people with this disorder become overly alert to behavioral cues that may indicate disapproval or rejection. They will flee a situation in which they believe that others might turn against them.

The person is preoccupied with being criticized or rejected. Much mental and physical energy is spent brooding about and avoiding situations perceived as “dangerous.”

I can interpret many things as rejection. I’m constantly afraid everyone will turn against me one day and hate me for the rotten person I am. I find many social situations “dangerous,” and I’m always afraid disapproval and rejection are waiting around the corner. Any criticism wounds me deeply, though I know there’s such a thing as constructive criticism, which I try to take stoically.

People with avoidant personality disorder perceive themselves as unappealing or inferior to others.

When I was younger and often arguing with my family, and generally both enraged and depressed, I’d often describe myself as “inferior.” I’d use that exact word.

Wikipedia also adds this:

Utilizes fantasy as a form of escapism and to interrupt painful thoughts

Is this why I’ve always liked making up stories?

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Apparently this is how you treat avoidant personality disorder:

The general goal of treatment in avoidant personality disorder is improvement of self-esteem and confidence. As the patient’s self-confidence and social skills improve, he or she will become more resilient to potential or real criticism by others.

No shit, Sherlock! That’s what I’ve been saying all along! I need to improve my self-esteem and confidence. Even when I logically know why I should have those things, I just can’t. That’s what I need help with, but no one seems able to provide me with that.

Therapy usually moves slowly at first because persons with avoidant personality disorder are mistrustful of others; treatment that probes into their emotional state too quickly may result in a more protective withdrawal by the patient.

As I said, I want to trust others, but I can’t. My trust usually seems to be misplaced. I think I often protectively withdraw from anything where trust may be blooming. I always instinctively hold things back from people, even inconsequential things.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) may be helpful in treating individuals with avoidant personality disorder. This approach assumes that faulty thinking patterns underlie the personality disorder, and therefore focuses on changing distorted cognitive patterns by examining the validity of the assumptions behind them. If a patient feels he is inferior to his peers, unlikable, and socially unacceptable, a cognitive therapist would test the reality of these assumptions by asking the patient to name friends and family who enjoy his company, or to describe past social encounters that were fulfilling to him. By showing the patient that others value his company and that social situations can be enjoyable, the irrationality of his social fears and insecurities are exposed. This process is known as “cognitive restructuring.”

I’m sorry, but I don’t think I have “faulty thinking patterns.” I think, given what my life has been like, they’re logical. I feel like my family enjoys my company only because they happen to be my family (though I also logically know this isn’t true). I haven’t had a “fulfilling social encounter” with someone who didn’t betray me later. People don’t seem to enjoy my company; they seem to be unaware that I’m around.

My therapist said something interesting last time I talked to her. She said she could see why, in my initial visit, I’d insisted on the futility of CBT. It’s because my parents have seemed to use a rudimentary form of it throughout my life.

Do I have avoidant personality disorder? Is it related to my social anxiety? I don’t know, but I do occasionally wonder about it.

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929

I didn’t want to wake up this morning and face the day. But I kept waking up every thirty minutes, so it was no use.

It’s just immature and wrong of me to worry people, especially when nothing will likely happen.

Plus, I just feel like no one can truly worry about me anyway–not me as I am. It’s an illusion of me. Somehow I fool even myself into thinking I’m a decent human being when I’m not.

By writing about it like this, I probably make a bigger deal of it than it is. Maybe even hold on to it longer.

I should just go. It doesn’t matter.

I’m not talking about suicide. I’m too cowardly for that. I’m talking about accepting my fate that I will always be alone. Stop trying to make connections. It’s selfish of me, and I don’t deserve them.

Yes, it’s selfish. I’m not worth it. There will always be an inordinate amount of reserve with me. I can’t be any different.

I’m pretty good at putting on a mask. I can still find things interesting. If I weren’t so selfish, I could pretend like I was fine now, and I could do a very good job of it.

Although my birthday is coming up. Maybe I can kill myself then.

But no, because I can’t do that to my family. Especially when I think about what they must’ve gone through when I almost died as an infant.

Of course, they didn’t know I would turn into a rotten human being.

Still, they have some regard for me, so I can’t do that to them.

It’s funny, though. My birthday is exactly one month after World Suicide Prevention Day. Wouldn’t that be ironic?

Oh, God, I shouldn’t even be mentioning that. It sounds like a way of trying to make sure people are aware of when my birthday is. That’s not what I’m doing. But aren’t I, by mentioning it?

Am I using the excuse of not doing well to shamelessly tell people when my birthday is?

I probably am. See how rotten I am?

I am cursed with the destiny of always being alone. Because it’s what I deserve.  At the core, I’m unreachable.

Not connectable.

I can still carry on with life at the moment. But it just feels like every activity I do is distraction from the nothingness within. At the end of the day, once the distraction is gone, I’m left alone with my nothingness.

It’s hard to focus right now because the nothingness is too great. I feel glassy.

I’m not sure what it is I’m trying to say.

If I weren’t so selfish, I would abandon this blog. Because I should.

It’s just an exercise in self-indulgence. Like this.

The world is cruel.

But in my heart, where only I can see, I’m crueler.

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A Mind Slice

My mood continues to be erratic.

I just feel like there’s this truth, and it’s that I’m supremely unlovable.

Even when I know people love me, I don’t feel it’s possible, not really.

Do I have attachment issues? Perhaps that’s a topic I need to investigate.

A few weeks ago, I was talking to my dad. For some reason, I decided to mention that I might possibly have post-traumatic stress disorder. His response was to ask whether that was from when I was a baby. Because, as a baby, I had an operation. Well, several of them really. First to try to find out what was wrong with me, then to take out a kidney. I have these two huge surgical scars on my stomach from it. It was all very dramatic, as I almost died.

The other day, I asked my therapist whether such an event could’ve traumatized me. She began asking questions about my mom then said that, if it had traumatized me, it was because of my parents’, and especially probably my mom’s, reaction. For some reason, though, I felt like this pwas a fruitless path to go down. Maybe I picked up on my parents’ anxiety about it, but wouldn’t I have had feelings about the event itself? Like being in a hospital and such? Feeling isolated and abandoned because I didn’t know what was happening? Is this why I feel unlovable? Because I felt betrayed as an infant?

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I’ve been thinking about focusing on creative writing again, perhaps making it my raison d’etre. But when I read things that others have written around the blogosphere, I wonder if it’s just a pointless ambition. My writing is not that creative. There are so many people whose writing is more evocative than my own. I am not good at bringing an environment to life. I find exploring my characters’ thoughts more interesting. But if I’m showing my characters’ thoughts, am I crossing the show v. tell boundary? Should I be showing my characters behaving in a certain way rather than elaborating on their thought processes?

I just don’t think it’s writing that appeals to a lot of people.

My tone is methodical. It’s not wildly creative at all. My word choices are rather bland. Why should I even try to be a writer? It’s pointless.

Yesterday, I submitted something to this. It’s an NPR thing where you write a story about a President, and the story must be short enough to read aloud in three minutes. (Because they read aloud the winner on All Things Considered. Also, this time the winner may even get published in the Paris Review! Tres exciting!) I don’t have high hopes for it. There’s no action to it. It is something I’d already planned on writing, so I’m glad I had the excuse to write it sooner rather than later. My story is basically about  Chester Arthur and what he was thinking when Garfield died. I knew after reading Destiny of the Republic that I wanted to write something about that moment. I incorporated several documented quotes that relate to the event. I’m a little apprehensive about that decision.

I keep looking at and contemplating where I might submit some writing. I read through previously published stories, and they’re so good. How can I ever expect to compete?

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Impasse

This is my second stab at the Friday Fictioneers. This week’s prompt is a photo from Rochelle. I would appreciate your general opinion of my story, if you’d like to let me know.

In the misty morning, they found each other under the eaves. Leaves, golden and red and brown, adorned the overhang.

Their eyes met through the silky filaments, the fine silver casting faint lines on their faces.

“You don’t have to do this,” he pleaded.

Shadows veiled her blue eyes, shadows that seemed to grow darker. “How can I not?” she replied.

“They’re hurting you,” he whispered. “Come away.”

“They’re halfway delirious. They need my help. They’re my family. The ties that bind.”

“But you might not be so lucky next time.”

She shrugged. “Maybe not. But I’m not leaving them. That’s what family does.”

In the dim light, his brown eyes seemed almost black. The devil’s temptation–but she clung to her duty.

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