Although my head is still in a fog, I think I’ve gained some perspective not only about the wedding, but the last year of my life, as well. Despite what most people are saying around me, I feel I’ve taken quite a few steps back over the past year. I wouldn’t say I’m moving backward, but I wouldn’t say I’m moving forward either. It’s more like I’ve been stagnating; some things have definitely gotten worse, while other things are better.

The basis of this post, by the way, comes from two major events that have happened this past week or so. One being the wedding, and the other my one-year anniversary with working with my therapist.

I can’t ignore the fact that I am not the person I was one year ago. I’ve changed in many ways, good and bad. I’m really an entirely different person. I went to a wedding a year ago, and it really wasn’t that bad. I felt some anxiety, but I got through it. The wedding on Saturday, however, was a much different experience. I was completely flooded during it and could barely communicate, let alone smile.

So, what’s different about me? Let’s take a look–

Anticipatory anxiety. My anticipatory anxiety is much worse now than one year ago. The dreading and worrying is much more intense, and it starts to happen earlier and earlier. It’s even been so bad that I’ve had to avoid certain social situations altogether. I never avoided situations a year ago; I’d be scared to go, but I’d still go.

Depression. Like my anticipatory anxiety, my periods of depression are much more intense and they last longer. I’m usually knocked on my ass two days a week, unable to do anything, and I have a breakdown about once a month.

Mood swings. The lows are much lower today, and the highs higher. I’m constantly swinging from low to high, as well; in a typical day, I usually have at least one or two swings.

Binging. I didn’t consciously binge a year ago. That is, I wasn’t purposely binging to elevate my mood. Today, I know how to control my moods through binging; and, consequently, I’m binging a lot more.

Isolation. 14 months ago I quit my job; moved in with my girlfriend, away from my roommates and friends; and started an online graduate program. I quickly became isolated and stopped hanging out with friends. My best friend moved to NY last January. I pretty much have to rely on my girlfriend for support and someone to hang out with.

Joy. I do not get pleasure out of the activities that used to relax me. I don’t enjoy reading, writing, meditating, yoga as I did a year ago. I don’t really enjoy much anymore, actually.

Medication. I’m on some serious medication now. Lamictal, Klonopin, Ativan, Propranolol. What’s next? Just seeing all the pill containers reinforces my beliefs that I am fucked up and broken.

Therapy. Yes, I am in therapy now–isn’t that a good thing? I don’t know. I’ve had to admit that I have issues and that I need to work through them. Instead of internalizing everything, I’m having to face my beliefs, feelings, and fears. I’m not convinced this is a good thing. I’m moving too fast; it’s all too much to handle.

Beliefs. I’m also finding out that my beliefs are extremely rigid. I sincerely believe that I am a bad person; no one likes me; I’m inferior to those around me; I can’t cut it in this world; I’m a fool, a failure, a loser; and I will never get better. These beliefs are obviously reinforced by my actions and social experiences. Each time I engage, my beliefs are reinforced. It doesn’t help either that I bounce from one huge, overwhelming group social situation to the next; there’s nothing in between because I’m so isolated.

Awareness. It all comes down to awareness. I am much more aware of things going on inside my body. I can recognize when a depression is coming (but it’s frustrating because I can’t stop it). I know about my beliefs and feelings (but, again, I feel powerless to change them). The major difference is that I understand why I feel the way I do, but I haven’t been able to change it, and so, I feel even more powerless, hopeless, and listless. I’m scared.

What’s more, last night my g/f said she’d like us to go to couples counseling. It feels like the beginning of the end. I can’t deal with anymore therapy at the moment. I can’t deal with unlocking more deep-seeded beliefs and feelings because I can’t deal with the ones I’ve already unlocked.

I don’t know what to do anymore. Maybe things aren’t as bad as I think they are, but I cannot dismiss the fact that I am more unhappy than ever.

Each day grows harder. The longer my beliefs stay the way they are, the harder it will be for them to change. Plus, my inadequacies are further reinforced each day as I go about my life watching all the other “normal” people function like I should be functioning. Every time I see someone smile, I tell myself I’ll never be happy, which only fuels my beliefs.

I’m stuck. I’m trapped. I’m really, really scared.


    7 responses to “perspective

    1. You are living some really challenging times right now, as am I. It seems hopeless, doesn’t it? I wrote about this recently, that is, feeling worse since I started therapy. I think this comes from a new and different awareness (as you mentioned) of all of the feelings and thoughts we’ve internalized through the years that therapy has allowed us to examine in a new light. It’s not easy to see all of these things about yourself, at least not for me. I dunno, Mike. Honestly, I feel terrible. And it does seem hopeless because I’ve been feeling like this for so many years…since I was a child so it makes it difficult to separate all of these negative aspects from my identity. But I think that the therapeutic process, in spite of some of its negative consequences has dislodged a lot of this bad stuff and hopefully it will come loose at some point. Right now we have awareness and don’t know what to do with it; how to change things, but maybe in a year we will know what to do with it. I suppose these things come in stages. You said it yourself, you’re not the same person you were a year ago. I’m certainly not the same person I was a year ago, either. So I’m hoping and expecting that I will change and at some point it will be for the better. We can’t be this way for ever, right? It may feel like it…but I don’t think you’re trapped or stuck. Our lives are not stagnant. I don’t mean to lump our problems together but we do have a lot of similar ones and it makes it easier to write about. I’m sorry, I realize I’m not being very coherent, but I’m exhausted. I hope I made some sense. Sorry for the long ramble.

      • Hey ml. You make perfect sense. I’m feeling a little better now, actually. A combination of getting schoolwork done, distancing myself from the wedding, and going to therapy has put me in a better mood. I agree that change comes in increments, and I do hope that a year from now we’re both in better places–and, more importantly, that we’re happy.

    2. Hey Mike,

      I’m sorry to hear that you’re facing so many challenges right now. Actually, I’ve found out a way of getting counseling free of charge, so I’m going to get some professional help with my issues. Although I do think I’ve been making some changes in my life, I sometimes have no idea if they are actually good or bad or neutral. I often get this strange impulse to shed tears out of the blue. This is nothing if it happens at home, but it does happen in public sometimes. I often seriously wonder if I should wear sunglasses to hide my tears. When things like this happens, I feel scared and wonder if I make any progress at all. I hope to believe that I’m walking forward, but I do wonder sometimes if it’s backward.

      There are no clear answers to life issues, I guess. I can totally relate to your feelings because I’m one of those people who deal with them every day. I fear I might feel worse by facing my negative sides and feelings with the help of my counselor, but I still would like to do that because I’m the one who lives my life. I want to be comfortable with myself by knowing as many aspects of myself as possible. If you are unfamiliar with who you are, I think it can feel like being with a stranger inside you. You know, you articulate your honest thoughts and feelings on your blog, and I admire your sincerity. Sorry I wrote such a long comment. I wanted to remind you that you’re not alone. I wanted you to remember that you always have many friends here. I hope you’re feeling better, Mike.

    3. Hey Takashi. I’m really happy to hear that you found a counselor. Also, crying, at least in my case, is a good thing; it’s the opposite of binging, actually. Instead of suppressing feelings, I’m releasing them. I would be self-conscious about it in public too, but carrying around a pair of sunglasses is a good idea.

      I love this quote- “I want to be comfortable with myself by knowing as many aspects of myself as possible. If you are unfamiliar with who you are, I think it can feel like being with a stranger inside you.”

      It’s the exact reason why I started therapy. I do want to understand myself better, and I do believe I’m getting a little closer. I took a few steps back over the weekend, but I truly believe you can’t take steps back before you first take a few steps forward. I am progressing.

      Oh, and I am feeling better. Thanks!

    4. Hey
      I just wanted to comment to let you know I was reading this, although I can’t think of anything clever or useful to say (my brain is made of cheese at the minute, sorry!)- I’ve been feeling similar thoughts about my own situation, really. I hope you manage to find some way of dealing with that feeling of fear.

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