Monday, April 13, 2009

What was I thinking?

Well i think I have sunk to a new sort of low. I am so desperate for help that I actually called a radio show, hosted by Cheryl Richardson, coach and author of the book I just finished, the Art of Extreme Self-Care. Her radio show is on, a talk station focussed on self-help and living better lives etc. I really liked Cheryl's book, and I thought, what the heck, I will call her and ask her about the trouble I was having with completing her First-Aid Kit questions, particularly the question "Who can I turn to for support when I'm afraid? Who comforts me, makes me feel safe, and allows me to have my feelings?". The only person who qualifies is my therapist, and I can't just call her up whenever I need someone like this. So I asked Cheryl how to I find people like that or create that in the people who are already in my life?

Cheryl said that was a good question and described for her viewers what the exercise in her book was about. The information I ended up giving her throughout the call: I am 34, my parents never gave me that kind of support; that I've never really had that in my life; that I've tried to talk to my oldest friend but "she doesn't respond and doesn't seem to understand"; that I had recently lost a friend who was supportive and had no one to talk to while suffering that loss. I almost started crying about that, and I am so humiliated, I sounded so pathetic and not at all like the strong person I really am. How could I expect a decent answer with such limited knowledge of my situation, my level of development, the amount of therapy I've had. She suggested that I explore this issue with my therapist (I have brought it up but never focussed on it exclusively). She also suggested that I'm making assumptions that my friend doesn't understand because I grew up being told that nobody cares or understands. Or something like that. I actually kind of contradicted this, because I have had supportive people for short periods of time, but truly the only person I ever trusted to understand me enough to support me was the person I recently lost. I know it doesn't matter what other listeners think of me, but I'm so embarrassed. I realized how desperate and pathetic my situation sounds, and must be, since I do feel like there's no help to be had, and am desperate enough to call a radio show, grasping at straws. I don't understand how my life has been and still is so devoid of guidance. It's like I've been set up to have no one to turn to but myself.

A few minutes after I got off the phone, I began bawling just as hard as I had a few weeks ago when the shit all hit the fan. I stopped myself by writing this. I am not sure what I was mostly crying about - was it because I was humiliated and traumatized by this unfullfilling experience - one more attempt to reach out and failing to get what I need - or because it just highlights how hopeless and sad my life is. I don't feel that way most of the time, only when I have to crystalize things for other people and it comes out to be such a horrible story. My intention was not to be pitied, but I feel like that's what anyone who listened to it is going to feel. I really just wanted some guidance, and I wanted to sound strong like the rest of the callers. Because I am strong, but my story is just so pathetic, no amount of strength could have prevented me from sounding pitiful.

I know I'm making assumptions and judging. I'm worried that she found me a 'difficult' person, because I contradicted her. How could I expect her to understand what I needed in 30 seconds? Obviously I don't blame her for that. I just wish I knew where to go for help. I guess I can check out her website, I wanted to do that anyway. There have been a couple times lately (since I 'came back' from my crisis) that I've all of a sudden felt so overwhelmed by the number of difficulties I face. I usually don't let myself think of them all at once. I don't go cataloging all the problems I have each moment. I think this is the reason i don't keep any activity or mood diary or anything like that, even though it is so often recommended. That way I don't have to face the reality of all the small and large obstacles I face every moment of every day. I don't have to acknowledge how many times a day I start but don't finish something. This is not 'denial', it is self-preservation. If I had to see that I would give up. I would be constantly paralyzed and overwhelmed, depressed and helpless. So I live in the moment, and only think about the obstacles I need to deal with right now. I immediately let go of the thing I started but can't finish because I'm too tired, whether it's five minutes in or 5 hours in. What else can I do?

I realize these emotional outbursts are occurring because I am so sleep-deprived. It's been about 3 weeks of insomnia now and I remember thinking earlier today that I'm starting to worry because I don't feel that tired today, even though I should. I should've keeled over at least twice by now. I don't know what kind of energy I am running on. All I know is that the other day when I looked up my newest symptom, excessive sweating, and discovered there is no viable treatment option for me except switching meds, it utterly deflated me and I was angry and felt hopeless, helpless, and doomed. I'm living amid multiple Catch-22s. Can I really blame people for not understanding me? Nobody can imagine what I deal with, go through, think about. Nobody I know has a life that resembles mine in any way at all. Am I being ridiculous and arrogant thinking it's heroic that I'm even still getting up in the morning? That despite everything I generally enjoy my life, and can say I am happy? How is that possible? I say it is because I focus on feeding my curiosity, am always looking for ways to improve and that means I have hope and it creates more hope. Right now I feel like wearing a sign that says "if you knew what I my life was like, you'd call me a miracle" or something. Because I haven't managed to solve many if any of my problems, I've only learned how to accept them and cope with them, and I'm well on my way to knowing how not to create more or make the ones I have bigger. I have to live in the moment, it is the only survival strategy that makes my life worth surviving. Yes, I see, I am the one who found myself pitiable, I'm the one now feeling sorry for myself. I just wish people would see how hard I work and be able to appreciate that my attitude (most of the time) is rather amazing, considering. Considering how much I suffer, have suffered, and forced to do it all on my own.

Books I'm currently or shortly reading:
Finishing "Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired"
"If You Had Controlling Parents" (I would never have called my parents controlling - overtly they were the opposite, but there are many ways of controlling, some extremely subtle...either way, I fit with the 'results' and can see this book is very relevant to me and my current work).
"The Identity Code"
"Who Am I?"
"How Then Shall We Live?"
"Unattended Sorrow"
"Honoring the Self" - after reading the introduction, this book struck me as extremely relevant and potentially very helpful


I sometimes write things that I don't really mean or believe. These are not to be taken literally, nor as definitive statements about me or my beliefs. Thoughts and emotions are transient, and I reserve the right to change my mind, generalize, exaggerate, give strong opinions, or write other possibly offensive statements. I don't lie, but I may say something that's not true to check whether I believe it or not, or to make a point. Call it creative license. This is my blog, and do have the right to say what I want. I'm using it in creatively therapeutic ways. Whatever the reader may think of me and my words, please believe that my core intentions are always good and I never willingly hurt anyone.