Monday, August 20, 2007

I am in a self created Hell

I don't understand how to stop this feeling. Ack...feeling. For the past 15 months or so, I have had severe physical manifestations of stress. From vertigo to speech slurring, vision problems, chest pains, stomach and GI issues, migraines, even arthritis is being attributed my constant body tension. Looking back, I see that I've actually been struggling with this for many, many years. But only in the last year or so has it really turned into panic attacks that I'm having difficulty managing. There are only so many days a girl can spend being terrified of dropping dead on the spot before it needs to be addressed.

I've been through CT scans, MRIs, bloodwork galore, inner ear tests, stress tests, emergency room visits, specialist after specialist. Nothing is wrong with me. Yeah. Nothing is wrong with me, my ass. It's just nothing physical. I'm just insane, that is all. How many times do I have to hear that from how many different doctors? Some say it more tactfully than others. But it's always the same answer. So I went on medication in January. Went on Zoloft with an emergency supply of Xanax for the PA's I needed extra relief for. And then added Wellbutrin. And then, after 6 months, I came off them altogether. Phhhfffbbbbbttt....what an idiot to think I was done with them. So now I'm on Effexor. I think it's helping. I'm not even sure how to gauge. I mean, I thought I was feeling pretty good. I felt motivated to do the work. Except I'm kindof do I describe I'm living this monotone existence....not really up, not really down. No real extreme emotions or desires. Is that how I'm supposed to feel? Add to that the fact that I've been feeling increasing degrees of anxiety the past few days for reasons unknown. I'm not feeling so great right now.

I woke up over the weekend with a raging headache and a feeling of complete jittery-ness. I tried to relax and breathe it away but it wasn't going anywhere. My chest pains are back and they are horrible. I know I've had all the tests done and I'm okay but let's face it I have a risk factor and it's really hard to just talk yourself out of being concerned about stabbing pains in/near the heart radiating out to your shoulder, arm, jaw, etc. It's got classic heart attack symptoms written all over it. It's not exactly easy to dismiss that and think everything is fine. Of course, it's also not productive to lay in bed and imagine yourself actually having the heart attack, trying to make your way downstairs to the phone and collapsing on the stairs where your 3 year old daughter will find you the next morning and sob uncontrollably not knowing what is wrong and not knowing how to call for help....and then being stuck there with your rotting body for days til someone figures out something is wrong and then she's scarred for life and you miss out on the rest of her life. Yeah....not exactly productive thinking. Storytelling, as my therapist would call it. And I am often successful now at nipping unproductive thinking in the bud but last It was rough. Like I said, it's hard to ignore all those physical symptoms as they escalate and the more I worry, the more they escalate. But my body is a traitor and it works against me. And it seems when I'm consciously trying hard to keep it under control, my subconscious wages a battle against it. My self created body and my subconscious want to maintain the status quo. They have no interest in changing the rules now. But I swear if I don't learn how to manage this stress, my symptoms and my fears will create a self fulfilling prophecy. It's like a really slow (mostly) unintentional suicide. I just don't want to feel this way anymore.

Saturday, August 18, 2007


I had a counseling appointment on Thursday. Now, it is true that I've been very motivated lately and I've done alot of reflective work, set some new goals, made some new commitments to try some different things. I've ordered a bunch of books and am going to tackle some issues. I talked to my counselor about all of this, I reveled in her praise. In fact, we cut our session short because I was in such a good place that I didn't need the full hour. After I ended my session with her I thought.....what a fake I am. What a coward. There are issues I am NOT doing well with and I didn't want to bring them up. In fact, it wasn't even in my mind when we were talking. I managed to conveniently "forget" about it.

I am single. I've always struggled with relationships. They have mostly been dysfunctional through my life. I am doing some really important work in counseling at this point. I ended a 2+ year relationship in March and it still weighs on me. Yet I didn't wait too long til I went back into the dating world. I KNOW that it's the right thing for me to do to withdraw myself from that. But I cannot bring myself to do it. Why?? Do I still need validation from men that I'm lovable, desirable, "good enough"? Do I feel incomplete not being in a relationship with someone else? Am I panicking about being stuck in a relationship with myself and no one else? Am I longing for another man to lose myself in because the last thing I want to do is to find out who I really am as an individual? Or do I get some sort of backwards revenge by rejecting 99% of the men who contact me? Like I want to cause them pain to make up for the pain I've felt at the hands of men in my past? I don't know what the reason. Maybe all of the above. Maybe none of the above but one thing is clear....I'm not emotionally stable enough to be starting a new relationship. Yet I just won't make myself stop. That's messed up. I'm pretty much guaranteeing myself another tumultuous relationship with another painful ending. Maybe that is the unconscious goal? Just another way I self-injure?

Interview Questions

Instructions - if you would like to be interviewed -
1. Leave me a comment saying "Interview me."
2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. I get to pick the questions.
3. You will update your blog with a post containing your answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

~My Questions~

1. Why did you start your blog and what do you hope to accomplish with it?
I actually started it because friends of mine from an online support group had started blogs. Really, I wasn't planning to start one but was just poking around to see what the process was like and, as I did, I ended up feeling very strongly compelled to put it together and begin one. My expectation of the blog is to give me another forum to process thoughts and feelings; one more tool in an attempt to heal. I am bad about journaling for myself and I felt like having a public blog filled me with a certain sense of obligation to check in regularly which will be beneficial for me.

2. You say you have a desire to be "perfect" - do you place the same expectations on your daughter? No. But yes. I mean, I don't consciously expect her to be perfect. But I notice much TOO often that I get frustrated with her for not acting like an adult or doing things the way I want her to. She is 3 for crying out loud. And she's a great kid. But I get irritated with her for making a mess or for not being potty trained yet, etc. So I have to check myself often that I don't pass on this same perfection-complex to her. In fact, we listen to this Laurie Berkner song called "I'm Not Perfect" and when she sings it she says "I'm perfect!" and I always say "You're wonderful sweetie but you are not perfect and Mommy doesn't expect you to be perfect....just do your best!" Now why can't I get that into my own head?

3. You say you're not perfect. But list 5 positive qualities about yourself.
Blaaaaaahhhhhhhh. I hate this question!!!! And you knew I would.
Alright, alright......1. I'm intelligent. 2. I'm a good singer. 3. I have great hair! 4. I'm a good cook. 5. I am thoughtful.
Can I just tell you that it took me about 15 minutes to write that answer and I'm full of anxiety doing it???? Weird.

4. Fun question - imagine you are in your car, alone, driving somewhere - are you talking to yourself? Singing? Quiet?
Umm, depends what is going on in my life. If it were right now, I'd probably be talking to myself &/or thinking silently about why saying 5 nice things about myself caused me to verge on a panic attack! Sometimes I'm singing particularly if I'm preparing for a performance, sometimes I'm having imaginary conversations or confrontations with people. I'm usually wearing my phone headset so it looks like I'm talking to someone and I don't appear to be completely looney!

5. I know you like music. What is your favorite song and why?
Oh I have so many favorite songs. One of them, and the one I'm playing over and over lately is "For Good" from the soundtrack of the musical Wicked. Why? I think it's really profound in a most simplistic way, if that makes sense. Basically the hook is "Who's to say if I've been changed for the better but, because I knew you, I have been changed for good." Just speaks to how everyone we meet in our lives has an effect on us and, whether good or not, it's lasting.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

I'm not good enough

It goes hand in hand with the desire to be perfect.....God only knows I cannot live up to an expectation of perfection. So I am constantly feeling like a failure.

Today at my company, we had a video shoot for a "commercial" that will appear on our website. It was very informally planned. The boss said he didn't know who would or would not be in it but everyone should be prepared, just in case. So I got all extra primped and I was looking forward to being in it. Thought it would be fun. But I wasn't in it. In fact, other than the co-worker who specifically asked to be left out of it, I was the only employee not in it. And I'm left sitting here wrestling with feelings of not being good enough, not being valuable. Wondering how much harder I have to work around here to be considered important. When in reality, I know these feelings are NOT about work or a stupid video. I am paid well. I am respected. Everyone in this office comes to me with everything. I'm praised with words and with bonuses. I KNOW I am valued here. But it's this recurring theme....pulled forward from childhood. You're worthless. You're not as good as others. You will never be as valuable as other people. You Don't Matter. No matter what you do, how hard you try, how much you are still insignificant.

I'm working hard to notice but not judge my feelings. Actually I'm working hard just to feel my feelings! I think I'm doing fairly well with that. I've identified them. I've realized they are sparked by this incident but really not about this indicent. I've associated them with the feelings of being a second class citizen in my home. Not heard. Not valued. Not as important as my brother or my father. I'm feeling. I'm noticing. And I'm trying not to judge them as being "silly" feelings. They are not silly feelings. They are valid. They are not right or wrong. They just are.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Deep Breath........

I've not really felt the need to create a blog until today. I confess......I started out doing it because other people I know do it as well. But as I created the template, as I searched through photos that spoke to me and my situation.....I felt more confident that this was the right step for me at this time. I belong to an online survivors group which has really served my need for blogging to this point but I think this is something more personal I can do to help me get my thoughts out.

So my intro sums it up.....For some reason, I want to "be" perfect. Which is a laugh. I'm so far from perfect. I'm a freaking disaster, really. Yet I cling to these super high expectations and ideals. I do not want to accept that I am limited by human qualities. I don't want to feel. I don't want to sleep. I don't want to need. I listen to my therapist tell me I am a "human-doing" instead of a "human-being"....that I possess virtually no capacity to relax and be with myself. I nod as she reminds me how I need to do that. And how I need to feel my feelings. I listen and I nod, and I silently, secretly try to figure out a way around that. Sure....everyone else needs to do those things. But surely not me. Surely, if I keep dancing around all of that, the way I've been doing for 30+ years now....SURELY those same stupid actions will eventually produce a different result, right? I will find the way to transcend my human-ness and be able to filter through all those icky feelings without actually having to FEEL them. Why do we cling to the familiar even when it's the worst possible thing we can do for ourselves??

I am a survivor of abuse....mental, emotional, physical and sexual. At the hands of many. My father, my brother, my mother. MYSELF. Acquaintances, strangers, bosses, boyfriends, my ex-husband. Anyone I allowed into my circle was basically invited to hurt me. It's the only way I knew how to relate.

I am an addict....formerly of shopping, sex, internet obsession (including creating multiple persona's) and presently of food and SI. It seems I always need to have something to obsess over in my quest to avoid being with myself and allowing those feelings to come through.

I have been in and out of therapy for over 20 years. How utterly depressing that I'm not OVER this yet. I feel like a failure. All this stuff I know in my head that won't take the journey down to my heart to be accepted, believed and integrated. I try to hard to intellectualize something that makes absolutely no sense. Because if I can "think" it, I don't have to "feel" it. I'm feeling particularly motivated in my journey right now. I'm very reflective, I'm looking back, I'm looking forward. I'm willing to try some different things to make progress. Something different.....something new. How utterly horrifying.