Yesterday, I had a session with S where I spent the first 20 minutes talking about how hilarious it was that I had served my group therapy leader, and also spoke about some other unimportant things. I was not in the mood to delve deeper into my issues. I wanted to keep things superficial and light.
I think it was because the reality is, despite not feeling so bad lately, internally, my struggle has been deeper than it’s ever been. I just don’t want to face it, and I don’t want to deal with it. I haven’t been feeling as bad because of the Zoloft that I’d been taking. This drug has definitely raised my tolerance for distress and has numbed all my depressive symptoms. Simply put, since taking Zoloft, I’ve just been existing. I haven’t really been thinking or analyzing things, I haven’t really been feeling. I’ve just been… Around. I guess. I feel like I’m here but not really living. I feel numb.
So, after the session with S yesterday, I was surprised to have been triggered by what we had talked about because after I left his office, I suddenly felt self-conscious of how I looked and how I present myself to people. I had a sudden struggle with my identity and what I really want in life.
I had felt vulnerable during the session and I felt uncomfortable because we had talked about my experience at the gay club and how awkward I was through the whole experience. Besides that, I also felt that I didn’t really belong there. I never really feel like I belong anywhere and often have the feeling like I stick out like a sore thumb everywhere I go.
That brought on feelings of insecurity after the session because I didn’t know whether I didn’t belong because of how I looked or because of how I acted.
On Sunday, one of the bartenders (co-worker) bought me my first shot of tequila. When I told my other co-workers this, everyone exclaimed, “What?! Your FIRST?!” and someone asked me how old I was. I said that I was 30 and everyone was shocked that I had never taken a shot before this. This led one of my co-workers to say, “Wow, you must have really nice friends…” to which another responded, “Jules is an intellectual!” I had chuckled then and told them that yes, I’m a nerd, that the friends I had back in Malaysia were all nerds too – we didn’t drink. We played board games, discussed anime, and did nerdy things like that.
Now thinking back to that conversation with my co-workers, I feel a stab in my heart. I’ve been at this job for maybe a month or so now and though we all get along really well, I still feel like I don’t fit in. I don’t really drink – I only occasionally do some social drinking and even then, I can’t drink much because of my sensitivity to alcohol plus the fact that I’m on psych meds, I don’t smoke and don’t take recreational substances either. That one co-worker was right, I am an intellectual and most of the time, the things I want to talk about, no one else does. This leads me to feel like I’m just never going to be cool enough to be a part of this crew.
What makes me feel the pang of pain is because of how close knit this group of co-workers are. They spend almost all of their free time together – even the newer people have started to gel with the group; everyone but me. SH, my person, told me that maybe I am just imagining this – that maybe I am accepted by the group but that I am the one who’s pulling away.
I thought about what he said and I realize that there could be some truth to that too. I do have Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)-like traits where the fear of abandonment and rejection are concerned. Like someone with BPD, I am deeply affected by this fear (it has extended to the fear that S will abandon me too at some point) and when I feel the threat of this fear, I pre-emptively reject people first by pulling away/withdrawing. If I reject them first, then I won’t have to feel the sting of rejection myself, right? That’s the reasoning my brain has whenever I start feeling threatened.
Related to that issue, is the fact that an issue I have is my inability to accept who I am and be comfortable in my body. I don’t remember a time where I’ve ever been comfortable being who I am, hence all the conflict – I never get a sense of peace for liking the things I do or wanting to do the thing I want to do. I think that’s why I’ve been such a follower of what people say and people do.
I recently lost my direction because the person I’ve been looking to, to tell me what to do or how to live my life has stopped doing that. So now I’m constantly confused, not knowing where I want to go or who I want to be. I don’t know who I am really and I only see my flaws. Not my strengths.
It’s interesting to note that, I really just have inner struggles and conflicting desires. So, I’m one thing one minute and another, the next. I’m like a stalk of weed that is blown about by the wind – following whatever direction it blows.
I am trying to seek my identity and I am trying to figure out who I really am. I think what’s most distressing to me right now is just how I feel like it’s taken me 30 years to even realize that I have never truly known who I am. That is distressing to me because I feel like this should’ve been what I had figured out when I was a teenager. I don’t like feeling like I have wasted my life. Intellectually, I know that I have not wasted my life because every single decision I’ve made in it has led to this crucial point of realization where I now know that I need to determine at the very least, what my values are, as S had suggested.
I hope to be able to figure stuff out, accept who I really am and how I want to live, who I want to love and where I want to be. What distresses me is just that there are too many choices and I’m paralyzed by indecision. I’m so tired of struggling like this with everything part of my life too.
Yesterday, after the session with S, I had 2 hours to kill so I decided to go grab lunch. Well first I couldn’t decide which direction to walk so I wasted lots of time trying to figure that out. When I finally made a choice, I questioned whether that was a good choice. When I got to the area where all the restaurants are, I had trouble deciding which restaurant to go to. It took me a while and when I finally decided that, I went inside and couldn’t decide which item to order. There were just too many options and all of them seemed like the right one. I couldn’t narrow my choice down and I was distressed. Now that was just food. This happens to me in every aspects of my life.
I think that’s where the suicidality comes from too. I feel hopeless and feel like it’s too immense a task to figure life out. I constantly feel different and that I don’t feel like I belong anywhere, again going back to that issue of belonging. Anyway, if I can’t even decide on something as simple as what to eat and where, what can I decide?
I know life is all about taking one day at a time – and in my case, sometimes, just taking one minute at a time. But with my anxiety, I can’t seem to slow down and breathe. I can’t let go. I can’t just sit back and enjoy the moments that come.
Lately, I’ve also been having people call me ‘sir’ and refer to me with male pronouns. Of course, they weren’t said with ill intent and were all just due to the fact that people mistake me for a man. That has been having an impact on my self-esteem as well.
I don’t know how people perceive me or what people are thinking when they see me. I have conflicting desires where I wear male shirts, jeans and sneakers while still wanting people to accept me as a female. I am a tomboy but I don’t want to be called ‘sir’ or be referred to as ‘my man’, ‘bro’, or ‘he’. (My lesbian co-worker calls me ‘dude’ but she elicits a different feeling from me)
This made me put up a photo on Facebook of myself yesterday after meeting with S to ask for the opinions of my friends.
I wanted to know how it is that people perceive me to be. I had my hair fixed up in a faux hawk and was feeling pretty self-conscious about it because I realized how masculine I looked. Despite how many people tell me I’m rocking my hawk, I feel otherwise. I feel like all I’m getting are misunderstandings on my gender.
The haircut that had given me a boost of confidence and good feelings is now starting to cause feelings that are eating me up inside. The clothes that I wear that have made me feel safe and protected are now making me feel vulnerable and exposed. The tomboyish look that I’ve always favored and have comforted me is now distressing me.
When I start feeling abnormal, I tend to lean towards the suicidal ideations again. I just feel uncomfortable, no matter what I do, what I decide, what I desire, where I want to go, who I want to be with or where I want to go. This is why I just want to die – I just don’t want to do anything anymore. Everything is too monumental a task.
I’m tired of feeling abnormal, of feeling broken, feeling imperfect, feeling unworthy, feeling different, feeling alienated, and feeling lost and confused. I’m tired of fighting my conflicting desires – tired of this constant struggle and inability so switch off, to not be able to fit in and not being comfortable for being who I am.
I think the song that fits my turmoil of thoughts the best is Linkin Park’s “Somewhere I Belong” with lyrics like:
(So what am I)
What do I have but negativity
Cause I can’t justify the way everyone is looking at me
(Nothing to lose)
Nothing to gain, hollow and alone
And the fault is my own, and the fault is my own
I wanna heal, I wanna feel
What I thought was never real
I wanna let go of the pain
I’ve felt so long
(Erase all the pain till its gone)
I wanna heal, I wanna feel
Like I’m close to something real
I wanna find something I wanted all along
Somewhere I belong