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I am doing well, how are you?
I have been prioritizing my mental health over the past few months. I am about 2 months away from earning my full therapy license which will mean i will finally have a consistent income, so that is a relief. Other than that I have been putting more time and effort into the relationship with myself, mainly through regular meditation, and compassionate self-reflection when journaling. I have been trying shift my attention to things that make me happy, i’m grateful for, and things i’m doing well. I had been away from journaling consistently for a couple years and now recognize why it was so helpful in maintaining a healthy relationship to myself.
I did end up breaking up with the girl i was seeing, but i was proud that i was able to date without having sex immediately for the first time. I was also proud i honored my authenticity by ending a relationship that wasn’t a good fit. She was very critical of my career decisions, and just decisions in general and had alot of “should’s and shouldnt’s” for me every time we talked so i realized we were not a match in our development.
My current focus has been on living effortlessly meaning maintaining a state of not trying too hard, acceptance of what my current life circumstances are, and remaining present. When my wounded inner child is activated i am living in the past, so i’ve been working on responding to him compassionately while also keeping him at healthy distance, not too far away where i cant hear his cries (weed & alcohol), and not so close that he takes over my functioning (powerlessness, hopelessness).
i would be glad to hear about method for overwriting your trauma! I will always consider any suggestions.
I do want to point out your comment does come off condescending “if you don’t think that’s a big deal then you obviously don’t get the essential point” not sure if you meant it to come off that way. That statement suggests if I don’t value overwriting my trauma using your strategy then I’m missing some kind of “obvious” competence.
Also, promising you can get people where they want to be seems like a dangerous game, what if you can’t? Then someone must be at fault who would take the blame? because you promised you would fulfill my wishes for a better life. A promise is a certainty. There is no certainty you or I can change anyone else’s life
Thank you for the well wishes Anita.
I’m trying my best to be more mindful this time around. The more I pay attention to what i’m feeling the deeper i’m realizing my wounds are. I experienced an intense anxiety last night when thinking about the possibility that she may not like me back and it made me want to delete her number and cut all contact. Thankfully I didn’t do that instead i reached out to her and said I’m excited to see her again, which is the truth, and she responded well to it.
That anxious feeling though was so intense for me. It started right in the middle of my abdomen just below my heart (solar plexus), and radiated outward through all my limbs and eventually came out through my eyes as tears. It wasn’t sadness, I believe it was fear of losing an attachment. It felt familiar, the same debilitating sensation that lasted for hours when i broke up with my first girlfriend. I’ve never been able to really take a step back and just watch how that sensation moves through my body until last night. I think if i can be slightly detached from that discomfort i can better control my response to it. So many times i have self-sabotaged relationships because of my response to that discomfort.
When I realized that sensation is not new, i began to wonder how far that feeling goes back, and tried to approach it like my inner child and was asking myself “what does he need?” and I the answer was safety. I cried alot after that realizing i have never felt safe in my life. I’ve worked very hard to build my skills so that I will likely be financially safe, but it was heartbreaking realizing i’ve had no relationships where i’ve felt safe.
I’m hoping i can find safety in relationships one day if I’m able to take care of myself well enough to keep trying, and taking risks.
I took last week off work…to catch up on work, but also to relax some. I have been busy being social and it feels good, like I have my life back in a way.
To your question “what is it about being loved that scares you so much, what is the danger?” the first thing that I feel when looking at it is “I will eventually disappoint you, and you won’t love me anymore”.
I have continued to try to date and met an amazing woman. She is open, compassionate, doing meaningful work in the world, and beautiful to top it off…and it terrifies me. For a long time I think i have been making the excuse to myself that what i need and want in a partner just doesn’t exist, and now with it being right there in front of me i got lots of scared little boy feelings start popping up when i realized it. I’ve been very honest with her about my life, and my struggles, even the recent ones, and she didn’t run away or get angry with me (unlike my last girlfriend, a therapist, who said “i thought you were over being depressed?”). In fact she was also very upfront and vulnerable with me as well. We also discovered we have mutual friends.
I’ve been seeing her about 2 weeks now and we haven’t had sex, and i want it to stay that way for a while until i feel we have a safe and secure connection. It’s very strange to me because i haven’t watched porn in about 3 weeks and i’m not overly eager to have sex with her right now even though im sure it would be great. The connection feels real and genuine and its very scary to me because i think she’s too good for me, and im going to mess it up. At the same time i’m also starting to see my worth and attractiveness because of how I choose to live my life and part of me feels like someone like her also recognizes it.
I’m making sure to maintain my routine meditations, socializing, and exercise to keep me in good spirits and so far it has been working last week was the best i’ve rated my moods in over a year.
You are correct about the anger. I have been on a dating app for 2 weeks. My pattern is to get on it maybe go on a date if i’m lucky and dont get upset before deleting it and giving up, then trying again a couple months later. I didn’t recognize the anger festering under the surface until on tuesday this week i was skating and getting frustrated with not committing to a trick because i was afraid. I got angry, cursed, and tried to break my board.
I realized the anger wasn’t about me not committing to the trick, it was the frustration i feel with failed attempts to date, being afraid to commit to the trick was just another failure that triggered that. The frustration in my mind typically manifests itself in the thought of “what am i doing wrong that i can’t be loved?” then i get resentful because I think of all the things i do that “should” make me lovable. Obviously we are only entitled to our actions and not the outcomes of our actions. Meaning i can control my efforts to date, i can’t control whether anyone will want to date me, or love me.
I’ve been making an effort to be more mindful of my thoughts, body, and emotions. After that outbursts i went and sat in a secluded part of the park and just cried for 10-15min realizing i was sad, tired, and disappointed about the lack of love and support, and all the trauma that made me adopt these behaviors. I feel heavy right now even just typing this out.
The anger is a secondary emotion, to the emotional fatigue and hopelessness i’m trying to bury in order to keep making an effort dating. I still haven’t deleted the dating app, and i’m telling myself i have to stay with it and make an effort in order to keep developing the part of me that can take care of my trauma responses/inner child
- This reply was modified 1 year, 2 months ago by noname.
Thank you for understanding. There are a lot of perspectives on medications and I understand your suggestion is because you care. In the past people’s suggestion of medication felt more like “I don’t really care enough to listen to you, go take a pill and shut up”. To me this attitude of fixing every uncomfortable human experience through medicating is part of the collective suppression of pain that needs attention. I see value in pain, not that intentionally seek out emotional pain, but when it is present I want to understand it, and see what it is trying to communicate to me, just like a mother would attend to a crying child.
The more research I do on mental health and psychology, the more it comes back to the conception of connection for me. I was listening to an interview with an artist who visited one of the last hunter-gatherer tribes in Africa, and when he told them he was from America they jokingly responded “oh the place where people jump off buildings” as if the concept of suicide was so foreign to them. I was so jealous of that kind of response which to me is an indication of how we live, disconnected from nature, other people, and ourselves is one of the main ingredients for our suffering. I’m just trying to help restore a vital part of our humanity that has been lost through industrialization.
What i mean by distancing my trauma from my identity, is that I am trying to no longer identify with it. Basically when i’m triggered which happens almost everyday, i’m interrupting the process of :
Trauma triggered>Negative beliefs about self activated>because”I’m not good enough”=depression
instead it’s starting to look like this
Trauma triggered>Negative beliefs about self activated>because “I have been through painful experiences I did not have the wisdom, knowledge, or support to understand at the time what was happening and had to make sense of it in a way to help me survive and function in my environment”= relief from believing “I’m not good enough” as an absolute truth which is part of my identity.
Don’t get me wrong I still am extremely sensitive to getting triggered and there is still pain, but there is hope and relief because I feel I have a choice in how I interpret that pain. I’m choosing to interpret the pain more objectively and leaving room for other beliefs i can identify with like “i’m lovable” which dramatically changes my behaviors.When i feel “lovable” or “good enough” i’m more motivated, more willing to take positive social risks which will eventually turn into those external supports i need.
- This reply was modified 1 year, 2 months ago by noname.
I have felt intense pain this week and was able to work through it and distance my trauma from my identity, and now have hope that my internal relationship can be improved and continue to get better, which can help me build the external relationships I need without sabotaging them. This week was tough but i’m happy how i treated myself.
I’ve always appreciated your attention although I really didn’t want to explain my stance on anti-depressants today. I wanted to share my progress, and get some support to keep progressing which has been so valuable to me.
Thank you for compiling all of those random quotes, it really helps to highlight the cyclical nature of my moods.
I have considered medication a few times. The side effects from SSRI’s for me have greatly outweighed the benefits for which i experienced which was none. Medication for mood disorders is not something I have seen work to help people “heal” from their trauma, rather it helps them function in a disconnected world, and may help them “function” enough to do work in therapy. For me this is not the answer for a few reasons.
1) exercise is consistently shown to be as effective if not more effective than anti-depressant medications. I exercise frequently, i get the feel good neurotransmitters on a daily basis, SSRI’s have never had an effect greater than exercise for me personally.
2) Side effects (decreased libido, increased risk of suicide, serotonin syndrome, etc)
3) I’m already self-medicating with cannabis. We could go back and forth for months comparing research studies between cannabis and anti-depressants, i don’t want to.
4.) I’m committed to my philosophy of human connection and ready to accept the suffering. What this means is I have commitment to never killing myself. I have chosen an alternate path to treat my depression that will never involve pharmaceuticals. I want to discover what relief is possible through connection both internal and external, to give hope to the millions of people like me who haven’t found what they are looking for through pharmaceuticals, and hopefully create a model that can be easily taught and duplicatable in communities to help heal the world without so much need of “professionals”. It is obvious to me the societal disconnection or collective trauma we experience has sustained my depression, i want to help engage in healing this disconnection, not put a band-aid over it.
5.) I don’t want to mute my awareness. This is contrary to #3 because i am dampening my awareness through cannabis and sometimes alcohol, but the hope is that one day I can feel every inkling of a feeling until completion without a need to escape be it cannabis, alcohol, or SSRI’s. When I’m depressed i don’t feel, which is part of the problem, I’m not trying to run from my moods anymore, and SSRI’s would just be one more thing muting my awareness. This might be the most important reason for me, is that I want to be aware of my “symptoms” and create a life that is aligned with my needs using my “symptoms” as an indication of a need, not as some nemesis that needs to be defeated.
I feel like when people suggest medication to me it is because they want to help and don’t know how, even though just being heard is all i need from them. It suggests a discomfort with pain. Please don’t recommend medication to me. I don’t have bipolar disorder either, while my moods are cyclical they don’t fit criteria for bipolar, i don’t have the mania or hypomanic episodes, it’s more like a relief from the belief of “not good enough” which is boost for my motivation sure, but no where close to mania.
An update to where i’m at with this process…I’m still stuck in the cycle of functioning for a few days and crashing into self-hatred, self-harm binges, existential crisis, and hopelessness. What’s different this time around, is that i’m trying to put some distance between the intensity of the belief i’m unlovable and my “self”. It still hurts to be alone, without affection, without support, but as we’ve talked about i’m trying to just leave it as a painful experience and not allow it to control the meaning of who i am which would be someone who is “unloveable” instead looking at it as someone who sometimes feels unlovable, which would allow space for me to look at myself as someone who can also feel lovable.
When I was meditating yesterday i was trying to sit with the unlovable part of myself and watch it without becoming it. I had images of my child self pop up many times, and i called on the lovable part of myself to comfort him. I was in tears when i opened my eyes but i felt at least a little bit better.
Part of me felt silly because it’s like i’ve always had the answer to my depression all along i just didn’t fully understand how to call on the part of me that can help. When reflecting on periods of my life when my health has been it’s best they were times when i was living in a belief of “good enough” problem was I wasn’t supporting the belief internally. The external validation of athletics, and attention from women supported the belief of being good enough but those are flimsy measurements of my worth which I don’t have total control over, and when those areas of my life were doing poorly so was I.
My therapist has pointed out to me many times that i need to be in relationship with the “i’m not good enough” part of me through the part that feels good enough. Instead of getting in relationship with it my desire is to cast it aside, which i’m understanding is not helping my depressive symptoms. Both the unlovable and lovable parts of me, are both me, so it would do me good to stop trying to push it away and care for it.
It’s kind of frustrating it has taken me this long to understand the non-duality of those parts of me. When i see them through duality it’s like i can only identify with one or the other, totally good enough or totally not good enough. The realization i’m having on more than an intellectual level for a change is that i can feel both but neither are me so need to over identify with either. My hope is that when i’m feeling not good enough i can remind myself the good enough part of myself is still there.
Your imagery is a wonderful illustration of my experience. Think it’s time for me to give up on being loved by another though, too destabilizing to my life to think about right now. Maybe I’ll revisit my emotional needs later when I have some material security. Until then I think I will need to be willfully avoidant of the topic to avoid missing any work because of despair.
I tried visualizing myself being loved a couple nights ago, and I have been spiraling into depression since that night. When I tried this it became overwhelming and I ended up crying myself to sleep. Upon waking up the next day I felt awful and still do this morning. It feels like being loved and accepted is the only thing on my mind. I also noticed the more stressed I am with money and my job my thirst to be loved increases. I’m very stressed this week, and the longing to be seen and heard is very strong with me right now. I feel like I need to give up hoping, but when I try to give up hope it feels like the belief I’m “unlovable” has won and is absolute truth. I’m not sure how to give up hope of finding a partner while feeling lovable
thanks for your response. You are correct when I’m in relationships I do feel that anxiety and anger along with the love or attachment.
I like the idea of visualizing love, I will try this tonight. I feel like my dreams have been doing this a lot for me lately. Dreams of love and connection seem to be the only ones I have or can remember. Sometimes upon waking up it can be tough realizing the connection I felt was in a dream. I have a harder time with pleasant dreams like those when I feel bad about myself, luckily the few I’ve had over the past weeks have felt comforting.
the past couple post’s you’ve made have been extremely helpful. I have been trying to remember this line you wrote “Much of the pain you experience is about wrongly believing that you were (and still are) not good enough.”
You are absolutely correct that belief is where most of the hardships I cause myself comes from. I’ve had a good past 2 weeks since trying to live in the belief that I am lovable. I’ve also been riding my bike more regularly, and talking to new people and old friends instead of avoiding them. I’m also re-learning how to be sad and lonely without judging myself. It has all been helpful.
While I feel pretty good, and have been social, eating right, sleeping, and meditating more regularly…I still feel like I may never feel as good alone as I do when I’m in love. I know whether or not I have a partner is not entirely in my control, but I want to cultivate that feeling of love even if I’m alone. I love how doing everyday tasks seem meaningful, or how I feel more creative, and connected to the world.
My therapist years ago said something along the lines of “the love is already present within us, when we’re partnered with someone who cares about us it awakens it in us” I would like to know if/how you’re able to awaken love within yourself even when isolated?
“The meaning/ benefit is in your child-like cognitive understanding of your pain, of its origin, of where it’s coming from.”
Yeah I think this makes sense to me. If I understand, you mean the benefit could be less suffering from the child like understandings of “I’m not good enough to be loved” and other beliefs and judgements like that…not necessarily complete alleviation from the pain of being alone?
I was reading some of the Dhammapada last night and there was a line that caught my attention that read;
“it is hard to leave the world and and hard to live in it, painful to live with the worldly and painful to be a wanderer. Reach the goal and you will wander and suffer no more”
There was also a section on selfish desire and it’s relation to suffering. I’m not trying to overthink this and I believe I am starting to grasp the point you’ve been making to me over and over for years now. What I feel is that it seems like there really is no escape from pain, maybe some escape from the added suffering we put on ourselves through desire. I think I can take the pain and avoid the suffering if I can avoid the selfish desires to escape through women, drugs, and other thrills I chase. Am I starting to understand? Or am I still missing the point