A little of this, a little of that, and a few updates

I haven’t heard anything back from the job last week, and I’m trying not to go into panic mode. Last time it took a week to get back to me, and the guy I interviewed with did say that he was moving me onto the next stage. Still, the panic is creeping in. I’m still applying for other jobs, but while this isn’t my dream job, I think it would be a really good jumping off point for my career.

My mental health is surprisingly…ok. It’s not great, by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s ok. I’m motivated to do things, I’m getting things done. I’m not wallowing on the couch in depression, but I’m not doing 6,000 things and not sleeping. I’m kind of cruising in this middle ground where things aren’t peachy, but I’m not actively in an episode or even skirting the edge of one. My biggest problem is the apathy. I’m not really feeling a lot of emotion. I just kind of am, if that makes sense. I’m enjoying things like my hobbies and hanging with my husband and my cats, but I’m not getting super excited about things. Is this how most people feel? I’ve been dealing with this disorder so long and its highs and lows that I’m not entirely sure what the middle ground feels like.

There are things I want to do – I want to get a bike and start biking to work out. I want to try space photography. Too bad I don’t have the cash on hand to do either of these things. But this illustrates my point – I have interests again, I want to try new things. What I really need to do is find something social to do. I volunteered to be a freshman mentor again at my alma mater. But I really need find something that will get me out of the house and be with people. Maybe I’ll join a crafting circle, or something. Might have to check out Meet Up and see if there’s anything local.

I guess at the end of the day I’m kind of lonely. Don’t get me wrong, I have friends, and I seem to be talking to some of them more recently than normal just to chat, but I kind of want to actually do things.

But the thought of meeting new people and going to do stuff scares the crap out of me. Thanks, social anxiety. I really appreciate everything that you do for me. Asshole.

We’ve given my anxiety a name. It’s name is Brian, and Brian really is an asshole. I don’t like Brian much, but I can’t seem to get rid of him. He’s always hanging around and tends to make a nuisance of himself. He keeps me from doing things, or really experiencing things. He’s always whispering in my ear telling me things that aren’t true. And because he sounds so much like me, my brain tends to believe him. Any ideas how to shut Brian the hell up? I’m open to suggestions.

I’ve made a few big changes to the way I live life recently. A friend of mine got me an Erin Condren planner a month ago and it has revolutionized my life. I used to just make a list of everything that I needed to do that week. Now I have a paper calendar that I can use to plan appointments and work and everything at a glance, and a day-by-day breakdown of everything I’ve got going on on a given day as well as everything I need to get done. This has made a huge difference because I know the days that I’m off and can load up on what I need to do on the days that I’m off. It’s really helping me to have an actual plan to every day and week. This is not a sponsored post, but I can’t speak enough about how great this system is. Best part is, I was able to personalize how I wanted the whole thing set up and and how I wanted it to look.

Lastly, a little victory. I’ve lost 25 pounds since January. I plateaued for about 8 weeks, but I seem to be back on the losing track. Mainly through diet and exercise, but I have started intermittent fasting the last month and that seems to have gotten me over the hump. Pinterest for meal and lunch ideas along with prepping has been a God send. It really sucks sometimes (example – I’m not supposed to eat anything for another hour on a 16 hour fast I’m currently doing, and I’m really starting to get hungry. I can absolutely eat if I want, but I really enjoy the sense of accomplishment I get when I see it through. Also there is the benefit of being in a fat-burning state for 4 full hours).

So yeah. That’s where we are this Monday. A little of this, a little of that. A little stability, a little anxiety problem. I guess we’re trending better than normal right now, but it could be better.

A ray of hope and my therapist points out that I’m kind of an idiot

It’s been a big week. Had interview number 2 yesterday, and it went really well. At the end of the interview he actually said, “You know, I almost didn’t call you in for an interview. Your resume is quite odd. But I’m glad I did, because I think you could be an asset to the company. So I’m sending your resume up to the final hurdle.”

I know my background is bizarre – bachelor’s in biochem, 10 years in science, and an MBA in operations management. It makes no sense. Until you talk to me. And for the past two years that’s really been what I needed as well as my biggest hurdle – getting someone to bring me in and talk to me. This could be good. I’m trying not to get my hopes up; I’ve had them dashed too many times. But… it’s hard not to feel even a little excited that something might go my way.

But I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop. I waiting for the let down. I’m waiting for the crash.

So I had an appointment with my therapist today, and as usual it was a barrel of fun.

Not really.

So we’ve been working on cognitive distortions and trying to combat my negative fucked up thinking. So here’s what we’ve been doing: enter negative thought, try to counteract with real true thought that is at the very least neutral if not positive. Sounds like a good strategy. Yeah, except for the fact that I start arguing with myself. I don’t mean point and counterpoint, I mean two distinct, almost something akin to personalities, arguing in my head. They’ve now taken on their own voices. He claims that this is totally normal. But I feel like a nutjob.

We did tough on some interesting things though, things I hadn’t really considered. To be frank, I don’t typically see a lot of value in myself. I’m often baffled that people want to be friends with me, and am generally not surprised when some friendships fizzle out naturally. But… I have friends that I talk to in some capacity every day, even if it’s just a few texts or sending memes back and forth on Instagram. I have a husband who has stuck with me for the better part of two decades. I mentor new students at my alma mater, one a year for the past five years (soon to be six). For most people, this program lasts a year. But I’ve kept in tough with all of my mentees well past the time we were required to keep in touch, and two of them past graduation and into either career or graduate school. He pointed out to me that these kids that are so much younger than me see something in our relationship and want to keep in touch. There’s some young kids at work that call me Mom – I listen to their problems, give advice when needed, I’m available for hugs when needed, and try to support them. They often invite me to hang out and drink with them (which to me sounds totally bizarre), and I guess it never occurred to me that these kids genuinely want to hang out with me. Hell, one actually came to Mike’s party and hung out for a bit.

I need to start realizing that I’m a worthwhile person and I have a lot to offer, both personally and professionally. I need to break through my upbringing, the trauma of bad friends through my teens and early 20s, and realize that I’m a good person. Maybe I just need to repeat that to myself a few times a day. That’s not a horrible idea, actually.

I’m quite literally a bundle of nerves

I have an interview tomorrow. A big one. This is one of the last hurdles to clear for the position. And I’m utterly terrified. I know, academically, that it’s my anxiety and two years of a combination of hearing nothing back and thanks but no thanks emails talking, but I can’t help it. I’m literally terrified. I so badly need this to go well, and I know if it doesn’t it’s my own fault. Or maybe the anxiety’s fault. Either way. This has to go well. This will go well.

I need to remember the words from The Help:

I am kind.
I am smart.
I am important.

On paper I tick all of the boxes – between my education and experience it would be a really good fit. But we’ve all either seen someone or experienced ourselves rejection for something that should be a sure thing. We’ve all gotten our hopes up only to have them dashed at the last minute. We all have those moments that we replay in our heads – even years later – because we know we fucked up, or said the wrong thing, or just even dropped the ball.

I can’t drop the ball tomorrow. I need to be at the top of my game. I need to be social and confident and charming. Generally, all of the things that I am not, usually.

I should be confident. I’m well educated, I’m smart, I have an impressive background. I am worthy.

Now I just need to convince myself of all of these things.

Do you know how hard that is with chronic self-esteem so bad to the point where you’re in therapy for it? The internal dialogue goes something like this.

Self: I am well-educated and smart.
Brain: You didn’t get your degree from a top-level school and you almost bombed out because you suck at accounting.
Self: It was one class my first term. I pulled As and high Bs the rest of the program.
Brain: But where has that education gotten you so far? You’re a cashier at a big box store.
Self: Not for lack of trying. It’s hard finding a good fit when your background is science and business. Two completely different areas of study. Two completely different skill sets. I can tell you all about the Kreb’s cycle and in the next breath talk about what keeps shareholders happy.
Brain: Pssht. What good is all of that theoretical knowledge? Nothing.

I hate you, brain. I hate just about everything about you. I hate what you’ve become – that you’ve let negative thinking hijack all thought patterns and twist my self-perception into something abnormal and dirty and untrue. I hate that you’ve caused me to think so little of myself that I feel like I deserve this half-life I’m living, feeling like I’m a burden on literally everyone I know. Feeling like I don’t deserve the friendships and relationships I have with people.

I need to take the advice of Chris Traeger from Parks and Rec: There is literally nothing that you can’t do.

Thanks, Chris. I needed that.

Wish me luck. Tomorrow I’m off to hopefully change my life.

Sometimes I think a lot about space

There’s a lot of kinds of space – physical space, emotional space, global space, outer space…

Starting with physical space – I don’t like people being close to me. I’m not a hugger. I get anxious when people are in my bubble. Mike is one of the very few people I’m comfortable letting physically close to me. It can be hard, my family is a very in-your-space group of people. My mother insists of giving hugs and kisses whenever you leave. I hate it. I hate every second of it. I don’t want to do it. But I know if I say something it’s going to open a bag of worms that I want to deal with even less. So I skirt aside when I can, and take one for the team when I can’t. Luckily for me, most of my friends either know this about me or aren’t touchy people themselves so everything works out.

Don’t get me wrong, I can, and will, hug people if the situation warrants – weddings, funerals, people getting bad news or going through a tough time, friends moving thousands of miles away, etc. A kid at work that I’m probably closer to than most of the others (hell, he’s been at my house) went through a rough breakup a few months ago, and he and I hugged it out one night after he poured his heart out.

Emotional space is another area where… I don’t know if I have problems, but I’m not good with this. I keep people at arm’s length, don’t let people get close. With the exception of a few really close friends, I don’t let people in. I have more than a few friendships where all we talk about is work (if we work at the same company), or our jobs. Nothing personal is shared. A few other friends we chat about similar interests, but again, nothing really personal. I don’t know how to have close relationships with people.

Outer space… sometimes I find myself thinking about our place, my place, in the universe. I sit outside and look at the stars and look at the specs in the sky and how far they are. I mean… the universe is so vast. I don’t know. I guess I wonder if I’ve held myself back. If the decisions I’ve made, the things that I’ve done, hell even the mental illnesses I have, have held me back from reaching some other potential. There’s a villain in Doctor Who, the Weeping Angels. Quick background: they’re statues of angels. If someone is looking at them, they don’t move, if no one is, they do. But if they touch you, they send you back to a random moment in time, and the feed off of the energy of the days that would have been. I wonder if something isn’t feeding off of my days that would have been. Had I not been in the car accident my senior year of high school and was able to go to one of the schools that I really wanted to rather than the local state university (that I didn’t even finish). If I had picked another major when I finally did go back to school. If Mike and I had broken up years ago. If I had done any of the thousand things I had wanted to at one point or another. I don’t know anymore.

I need a new job, I need to get back onto my feet. I need to fight down this lingering depression. I need to get my anxiety under control. I need to do a lot of things. But I need a break, a chance. I don’t know what I need, but I need something.

Feeling better, might delete later, idk

To be honest, I had nothing for a title. But yes, I am feeling better.

Mike’s birthday was this weekend and we had a party. Our closest friends showed up and ate, drank, and were merry. It was a good time.

So last time (maybe the time before, I don’t even know at this point), we talked about Konmari-ing my life. One of the things that I was adamant about that I did not like was baking. Well guess what, I love that shit. I have discovered a challenge in French macarons and I had a blast tackling these suckers. They ended up turning out pretty well. I’m still not getting as much rise as I’d like out of them, but we’re getting close. Point is, I had fun baking. I went on a tear last week – 2 pies, 2 different kinds of macarons, meringues, snickerdoodles, chocolate chip cookies, cookie dough bites, sugar cookies, and cupcakes. (Ok, I made a few of these the week before, but most of it was done last week.) And I had just as much fun watching everyone eat everything I had made and enjoying it. There was more than one “try this” uttered between people. It was fun, it was gratifying.

So I got to thinking. What else brings me that same feeling? Finishing a blanket for a friend’s baby. Making a cross-stitch for a friend’s new house. Finishing a good book. Hell, even nailing that perfect smokey eye. Watching flowers that I carefully picked out, planted, and maintained thrive.

But it’s got me thinking, what else can I do? Why shouldn’t I try new things? So I have plans to take a cake decorating class (and telling no one – I’ve seen friends that did this get inundated for cakes that they’re expected to provide for free), when the weather finally cools off a little I want to start running again. I’m going to conquer knitting. I want to volunteer.

In news on the job search front – I had a phone interview late last week and was told to expect a follow-up email to interview with the regional manager (no, not the assistant to the regional manager). If I don’t hear anything by the time I head into work in the afternoon I’m going to reach out to the recruiter I’m working with just to follow up. Keep your fingers crossed, this could be good.

Konmari-ing my brain and life

Assuming that you haven’t been living under a rock, I’m sure you’ve heard of the craze that went on earlier this year about the Konmari method of decluttering and organization.

Now, I am not a fan of this method. I think that the process has to be a lot more in depth than simply holding something and asking “does this bring me joy.” (I’m going to admit, I haven’t done more than a cursory reading of the whole thing, but what I have read, this seems to be the takeaway. I apologize if it’s more than this, but this is my impression.)

But, I seem to be doing a but of this myself, and thanks to pop culture this is the phrase that comes to my mind when I start going through this process.

So. I’ve been looking at my life, hobbies, interests, etc. and asking if it brings me joy.

Let’s face it, my brain and mood disorders/mental illnesses do not bring me joy. If it were possible, they would be the first things to go. (Now that my emotional trashcan is empty, maybe they can go in there?)

But there is a valid question in here – what really brings me joy?

I started asking myself these questions on a really down day, and I’ll admit, that really colored my answer to this question in a lot of respects. At that moment, on that day, I could think of very little in my life that brought me joy. I admit, I sat on the back porch and cried while I had this conversation with Mike.

That actually helped me identify that I was on the brink of a depressive episode. I called my shrink the next day, and we adjusted my meds, and I’m already feeling much better.

Anyway, back to my point.

I enjoy reading. I enjoy stories. I enjoy the places a good book can take me. It’s the same reason why I love period dramas (Downton Abbey, The Tudors, The Borgias, I’m looking at you) and fantasy so much. I’ve never been a huge fan of sitcoms for this reason. The story is resolved quickly and usually predictably. I enjoy books that make me think, that build fantastic worlds – real or imaginary.

If you asked me a week ago I would have told you that I hated baking. It did not bring me joy. But here we are, a week later, and for a party we’re having this weekend I’ve made meringues, two different types of French macarons, chocolate chip cookies, snickerdoodles, Amish sugar cookies, chocolate chip cookie dough bites, chocolate cupcakes, and two pies. I had a hell of a lot of fun doing it. I enjoy making things that people enjoy.

That segues into two other hobbies – crochet and cross-stitch. I started both because my shrink told me that hobbies like this might calm my frazzled nerves, give my hands something to do while I’m watching TV, give me something to focus on other than the negativity my brain produces. Again, a week ago I told my husband I didn’t like to do either. And again, here we are a week later and I’ve made progress on a blanket I’m making for my father-in-law for Christmas, and a cross-stitch I started working on for a friend of mine that’s having a baby.

But I do do a lot of things just because they’re expected of me. I love the MCU and Game of Thrones and Doctor Who and even hockey, but I think the obessive fan-ness of it all was because that’s what people expected of me, rather than how I really feel. When I’m hypomanic or mixed, I can get really obsessive about things. And while I really do enjoy these things, I think the super-fan that people expect of me really isn’t reality. In some respects, I think that’s also a product of maturing. Don’t get me wrong, I still totally nerd out over new Doctor Who episodes and merch, but I don’t spend hours a week pouring over theories and spoilers and any little piece of news that comes along.

I’ve found myself in downtime focusing on the news, organization, reading, crafting, finding new recipes or workouts, and having meaningful conversations with friends and family. I’ve cut Facebook out completely, while keeping the account so I can use Messenger to keep in touch with people.

I don’t know. Sometimes I wonder what my personality really is. I think I need to branch out my interests, try new things.

Also, had a phone interview today. It went really well. They want to schedule and interview with the Regional Vice President next week. So there’s that. I’m keeping my fingers crossed, but I’m hoping that this doesn’t turn into another debacle like the last interview series I had. Some day I’ll post about that, but I’m still pretty annoyed about what happened, and I don’t want to post something purely out of anger.

Why is it I check all of the boxes of negative things, but never the positive?

The latest and greatest of therapy this week was all about cognitive distortions. We’ve been working on identifying emotions rather than shoving them in the garbage can. I’m making definite progress there, but I seem to have the problem that sometimes I can’t distinguish between an emotion and a physical state of being. The “I statements” sometimes look something like this.

I feel tired when we stay up late watching Parks and Rec because I had to get up early and didn’t get up sleep.

Yeah. While true, that’s not what I’m aiming for. I’ve found those I statements to be rather helpful in teasing this out.

So we moved on this week to cognitive distortions.

Why is it, all of the of the things you’re not supposed to do or think I do? How has my thought process become so negative? Has it always been this way? I really can’t remember a time that I didn’t do or think at least some of these ways. In some ways it’s kind of terrifying. I’m honestly starting to question how the hell I’ve gone through life like this.

Do I get enjoyment out of anything? Or do I just do things because it’s expected or because I have to? I honestly don’t know. I mean, I have fun doing this. I enjoy reading. I enjoying hanging out with my husband. But… everything else? Gardening? I mean… I guess I enjoy it. I hate weeding, but who doesn’t? All of the crafty stuff that I do? I honestly started crocheting and cross stitching as a stress relief. It was suggested by my doctor. Would I have started otherwise? Probably not.

I enjoy concerts. I’m not sure I enjoy movies or TV, really. Most of the time I’m curious how a story ends (damn you sequels and period dramas), either from an earlier movie/episode/etc. Or how a story unfolds because the trailer made the story look interesting.

Er….

I’m just really confused at this point. Maybe this is why I have such a hard time getting out of bed in the morning.

The one thing I’ve always hated about therapy is that for every issue you start to work through six more pop up.

Damn you psychology. Damn you mental illness. Damn you dysfunctional brain.

Something Wild

I don’t know if this is true for everyone, but throughout my late teens to present day, there has been one man that has been a constant presence in my musical tastes and personal growth. Andrew McMahon. From the early days of Something Corporate, through Jack’s Mannequin, and now onto Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, he’s always been there. I remember in the early aughts hopping in someone’s car and driving to DC for the day to see them. I remember getting Mike into them and his surprise that he loved the music, all the way to introducing my (much younger) brother to their music and dragging him to an AMITW show earlier this year, which he loved.

His music has always spoke to me. I know it sounds stupid, but I feel a lot of it in my soul. These are the songs I sing along to at the top of my lungs in my car. I remember listening to the albums for the first time when they came out and thinking “Whoa, these guys get it.”

That brings me to today.

He did a collab with violinist Lindsey Stirling to produce the song “Something Wild.” I had no idea this song existed until Mike was cruising through Apple Music and came across it. He quickly sent it to me. He knew immediately that between my love of Andrew McMahon and my love of Lindsey Stirling I would immediately love it.

I did.

Being a classical trained former violinist the melody line that Stirling plays just makes me vibrate inside. It’s beautiful. Haunting and yet uplifting at the same time. But the lyrics… sometimes they make me soar. And sometimes they make me sob in my car.

You’ve got a big heart
The way you see the world
It got you this far
You might have some bruises
And a few of scars
But you know you’re gonna be okay

Seriously, give the song a listen. I can’t recommend his entire catalog enough, but this song…. Here’s the YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ytMqO-WQpQ4 . And I just learned that it was written for Pete’s Dragon, which is pretty awesome in and of itself.

Sometimes I think that because I spent my entire childhood playing music, listening to music, writing music, that I tend to connect with music on a level that most people don’t. It goes past enjoying it. I feel it. The right song can change or enhance my mood. I know that’s not uncommon, especially for people dealing with the spectrum of mental illness, but I am yet to meet someone that didn’t spend their formative years immersed in music that doesn’t feel this way. Whether it’s metal, jazz, rock, emo, pop… we all have our genres. We all have our artists.

I know that I’ve mentioned this in a previous post, but Mike can gauge my mood based on what music I’m listening to. I have this random playlist, it has close to 1000 songs on it, if not more. Everything from the Jonas Brothers new album, to arias from Aida, to punk, pop, rock, classic, alternative, a little bit of jazz, a bunch of musicals, etc. Any time I hear a song I like, I throw it on the playlist. This playlist has been curated for easily more than 10 years. If I’m listening to this, mood is pretty steady. If I’m listening to Walk the Moon, I’m probably in a good mood. If it’s Dashboard Confessional, it’s likely that I’m down. (The age old question “are you listening to Dashboard because you’re sad, or are you sad because you’re listening to Dashboard?”) All Time Low can go either way. If it’s musicals – depends on the musical. Jekyll and Hyde? Kind of dark. Hamilton? Probably more up.

Anyway, this isn’t the point. Actually, to be fair I’m not really sure what the point of that ramble was.

I wonder though, sometimes, if this connection to music isn’t just another symptom of the bipolar disorder. At my last appointment with my therapist we talked about how over the years, for a myriad of reasons I might someday get into, I’ve kind of turned my emotions off. (I think I mentioned the emotion trashcan in my last post). But music is one place that’s always been safe for me to really feel. Interesting. I see him tomorrow, this might be something to bring up.

That’s it for now, I’ll leave you with this —

If you’re lost out where the lights are blinding
Caught in all, the stars are hiding
That’s when something wild calls you home, home
If you face the fear that keeps you frozen
Chase the sky into the ocean
That’s when something wild calls you home, home

The emotional garbage can

After a long talk with my shrink at my last appointment, we decided it would be beneficial to get back into regular therapy for at least a little while to work on my self-esteem issues. I was terrified of the prospect, but I know that it will help, so here we go.

Had my first appointment this week. One of the first things that we talked about was how I let the logical side of my brain rule over everything because that’s what makes sense to me, and I stuff my emotions down into a garbage can so I don’t have to deal with them.

Ok, accurate.

When I was growing up any time I showed any kind of emotion – mainly negative, but a lot of positive too – I was told I was volatile and that I needed to be in better control of my emotions. Even in situations where emotions would be normal, I often had to tamp them down or “hold it together” for the family. Ahhhh that good old Catholic upbringing.

At the same time, I was never allowed to celebrate my successes – the family could, but if I did it was seen as ego as pride. And when my family did celebrate, it came off more as “look at how wonderful we’re doing as parents/grandparents/family” rather than “we’re so proud at what she’s accomplished.” But oh, those failures. You can bet your butt that I had to own those failures. They were mine and mine alone.

Social media and my family has also been a big problem over the years. My family posts everything on Facebook, from what they’re eating, to any random thought that comes into their head, to posts that are clearly meant to garner attention and sympathy. I haven’t been a fan of social media for a long time, and over the last six months I never use Facebook, and tend to stick to sporadic Instagram (mainly use it to send funny or interesting things to my husband or a friend of mine), Reddit (if you can really count that), and the occasional Twitter. This pisses my family off because they can’t tag me in things, and I have put a hard ban on anything personal about me being posted. I didn’t talk to my mother for a month a few years ago because she posted that I was ill and in the hospital. My feeling is that my business is my business. It’s not her business to share, and if I want it put out there, I will. We have mutual friends on Facebook, so I hear pretty quickly if they post anything about me, but they’ve learned. I want nothing on the internet that I don’t control.

But anyway, back to the point. Emotions. Between this kind of upbringing and my background in science that taught us to put aside emotion and stick to the facts. Identifying and letting myself really experience a full range of emotions is weird. Unnatural to me. One of the things he has me doing is I statements. Such as “I feel _____ when _____ because _____.” So far I’m just keeping a list on the notes app on my phone, but I told Mike about it and told him occasionally I would share these with him and not to look at me like I’m a total loon if I make that kind of statement.

So yeah. There we are.

And that’s it for this week. I’ve got a few ideas I’m tossing around for next week, so look for something early in the week.

xoxo

Lean on me, but I won’t lean on you

I finally remembered what slipped my mind last week, and we’ve got a lot of ground to cover. Luckily, one topic kind of bleeds into the next.

The job that I interviewed for was set up through a friend. (For those that care, the first interview went well, they passed on all of my info to the higher ups with their recommendation to hire, so it’s all in their hands now. That was two weeks ago. I haven’t heard a peep other than the ones I interviewed with telling me to sit tight, they’re hoping for a decision soon. I’m not getting my hopes up.) She had I have been friends since first semester of our freshman year, so 13 years now. Her and another girl and I have been close ever since. Even though we’ve been out of school for almost a decade we still get together whenever our schedules match up, and we’ve had a running group text that we’re all active in at least once a week since we graduated. This chat log would literally go back years if someone wanted to pull it from one of our carriers. These two are some of my closest friends.

That being said, I hold a lot back. I don’t talk about what’s really going on in my life. Everything I share is fairly superficial. But I support them, chime in with advice when it’s asked for, am there for them. But I’m a bad friend. I don’t share myself with them. I keep my problems to myself as much as I can. There are reasons for this.

I don’t feel like I deserve them. I feel like one of these days they’re going to realize that I’m not worth being friends with. I don’t want to be a burden, burden them with my problems. I would miss them so dearly if they decided that, but I’d let them go without a fight because I believe that they had finally come to their senses.

I feel like that with all of my friends. Hell, even Mike I keep somewhat at arms length, although he knows I’m doing it and generally doesn’t stand for it. I keep a lot of barriers up to keep people from getting close. Part of it is for self preservation – when, as I said, they realize that I’m not worth it, it hurts less when they walk away. Part of it is to protect them, to make them care about me less.

There’s a lot of history behind this, but I think until I met Mike I only had one or two true friends. The rest were people that I thought were friends, but they all left me broken when they walked away after they had taken all they could. I’ve a giver by nature, and this was exploited by more people than I care to admit. Bit by bit those barriers went up to the point where now they’re almost impenetrable. As such, with most people I have very flimsy friendships with most people. The two women I mentioned earlier are probably the only two other than Mike that I can’t say that about.

I had an appointment with my shrink last week and we talked about this. He finally got me to admit that my self-confidence is in the gutter. I feel like I’m unworthy of love, friendship, or success. I don’t see value in myself as a person. That realization is a hard pill to swallow. I think on some level I knew this, but to have to admit this – to say the words reduced me to tears. I haven’t cried like that in years. Hell, I’m tearing up just writing this.

So yeah, back to therapy I go. We’ve got a lot to unpack. I can’t imagine feeling another way. I don’t see how I can change my mindset. This is just who I am. I’ve never seen the world as a light and delightful place. My world has always been a dark place where my worth is negligible at best. I feel like any time I’m confident that it’s really just a gross display of ego. Despite being propped up as a child and told that I could achieve great things, that good old Catholic upbrining shoving you back down into your rightful place as an unworthy sinner might have taken more hold than I or anyone realized. Or maybe it’s the mental illnesses that have warped my brain. Who knows.

I hate feeling this way, but I think I hate more the fact that it’s been blatantly pointed out as wrong hurts more. It’s the final “your brain is a dysfunction” nail in the coffin.