August 1, 2019 at 2:13 pm #306137
This post is a bit all over the place, I realize. But thank you so much for giving me the time and space to express myself here, I am very grateful to be able to write my thoughts down here. I have spent much time perusing Tiny Buddha, and it seems like a great place for people to share their deepest thoughts and get great, supportive feedback in return without mean comments and judgment.
I have gone through many years of my life feeling in a hazy, eyes-filled-with-tears state off and on. I feel lonely yet prefer to not go out much with others, except past boyfriends, and now my fiancé, who is wonderful. Several of my best friends in the past all have abandoned me. My one very best friend told me one time, “You’re dumb, I don’t want to hang out with you anymore..” and so ended our years-long friendship. I was little, but I had known her all my life. I was so crushed. I don’t know if I have ever gotten over how that made me feel, even though in many ways, I have moved past it, as life most certainly happens regardless. I have always been quite introverted, though I have no problem carrying on a conversation with other people. However, sometimes I do notice if I am not in the right frame of mind, a conversation with others, and even eye contact with others, is awkward, strained, and totally off. I don’t know what to say, and my eye contact is quick, sporadic, all over the room to avoid making steady eye contact with the other person because for some reason I feel unconfident or weird or just… off. It is horrible. Other times, I feel more confident I guess? I can make steady eye contact, be funny, animated, and social. I have had bouts with what I guess is depression. I think from everything I have read about in my travels, it has a lot to do with identifying and unpacking past childhood experiences, bad, good, saddening, etc. Last year I moved 2,500 miles away with my fiancé, away from our families. I miss them dearly. I continue sometimes to spend some nights in a stupefied crying haze where I wonder how it is possible to cry so hard and not die or something. But then I wipe my tears away and go to sleep or get on with my life. This is worth mentioning that I was also pretty miserable when I was living with them, as well. Someone brought up a good point I may not have thoroughly considered, possibly because I didn’t want to confront this idea because it may just be true… that no matter what I am experiencing, that I deliberately on some level, look for the bad in each circumstance, dwell on it way too much, and express my unhappiness, and try to escape from it. Sometimes I scream at the top of my lungs in the car and in the apartment because I am just so frustrated and exasperated. Then I get over it. Sometimes I spend my time after work and some of my weekends being pretty sedentary. I want to engage in more social activities and more friendships but I always find myself so exhausted and unmotivated to do so unless I am with my fiancé. I don’t make friends easily, unless on an acquaintance level. It is quite unfulfilling but sometimes I feel so drained from constant talking and sensory overload, especially if I am not in the mood to deal with it, I try so hard to feed myself positive thinking, how to be peaceful, gentle, willing, available, and finding ways to honor myself, personal care, etc. I feel stuck and so tired all the time. I have gone to various doctors and had various tests done to check for underactive thyroid, Lyme’s, etc. It’s ironic, though, because on the outside I am usually such a bubbly, smiley person and never really overly negative. I am viewed as pretty chill and friendly usually. So I’m not sure if it is normal for someone my age (early 30s female) to lay in bed so much and just relax on the computer or read, try to listen to meditation videos, shut my eyes. Is that what other young folks do a lot when they have time to? I am not over or underweight, I do get moderate exercise multiple days of the week. I feel odd being sedentary so much. I have also felt a lot of the time during my life that I don’t really belong, and therefore I don’t allow myself to open up too deeply. It is all kept light and superficial and I think that hurts me, since I realize that is barring me from allowing myself to open up fully to be vulnerable and available. I know all this, and yet, I realize just how little I know. There is always so much to learn and reflect on. I love to travel and indulge in the beautiful things life offers us. I have been dancing with an eating disorder that for many years, I have allowed it to rob me of my sanity with my relationship with food and the quality of life. I am ashamed a lot of the times of my manners, I am afraid of people seeing me eat sometimes, I feel like I eat weird combinations of food. Sometimes, I eat in secrecy in the bathroom. I am so ashamed. I wish I could eat in an Italian bistro and truly enjoy what I am indulging in, guilt-free, and laughing with dear friends. Clichéd, perhaps, but I truly want my relationship with food to get so much better and simpler. To just let go and let things flow. I think it really is a form of me needing to feel in control of some aspect of my life, which I can directly influence (my body, my food intake). I feel so much more powerful and sensual when I know I haven’t had a cheat day, or had dinner. I love it. But I truly hate it. I wish I would allow myself the pleasure of eating nicely. But I am so terrified of letting myself go and gaining weight. I wish I could just let things in my life flow with ease and gentleness. I think that is how people really can get the most delicious enjoyment out of life, and allow it to surprise them in so many different ways. I realize this post is very scattered, but I wanted to share this to see what others had to contribute, if you would be so kind. Thank you for your time and attention.August 1, 2019 at 4:22 pm #306155
Control of your life is important to you, as with most of us. You talk about making eye contact with people and how that can be awkward and uncomfortable. Eye contact, especially sustain eye contact connotes intimacy which can be uncomfortable with most people. It seems that you yearn for a close connection with people but it’s hard. You have “lost” the only real intimate relationship in your life with being so physically distant from him. It looks like you are a highly sensitive person who is very much in tune with not only your own emotions and energy but others around you as well. This makes it hard to navigate life and being around people, yes?
There is a deeper aspect with your Family-of-Origin which I am sure anita will ask you about that influences what you are going through but I won’t ask or go into that.
Your stuck and tiredness and lack of motivation to exercise or have the fear of eating well tells me that being depressed I believe it is important that we feel that we have *some* agency in our lives. How I view this eating/exercising/body image thing is looking at where I want to put my energy and focus. I use to run marathons and bicycle 100 mile rides. I would structure my days around the training and the recovery of that. I did that out of fear of not finishing. I learned and got tired of having my whole life revolve around this. I let go. Instead I worked on being OK with who I am and what I am.
MarkAugust 2, 2019 at 12:36 am #306183
There’s so much in your post that it’s difficult to know how to unravel all that’s been happening:-
Relationships – food, family, fiance, friends, feelings, functioning, fatigue, fear, focus, framework.
Feeling like you don’t really belong happens in childhood. It’s where we lay our roots and foundations down. Now you’ve uprooted by moving 2500 miles away. How are you going to give yourself a place of belonging? My way would be to repeat over and over to myself that “I belong on Earth”. I would do that every day of my life. I would walk through nature, connect to the roots of the trees, and plant my feet firmly on the ground in confirmation of that statement.
Food is just one medium of having control over ‘something’. You know that what you are putting in your body is ‘feeding’ yourself but are you aware that what you are putting in your mind is also ‘feeding’ you? Nurturing yourself through your thoughts is just as important as nurturing yourself through food.
I wonder what the attitude of your family was towards food that you don’t want people to see you eat, that you feel ashamed, that you have to hide away and eat in secret. Were you criticized for your table manners. Eating weird combinations might just be your body telling you that you need the vitamins that those foods supply. You will not function properly if you are not getting enough vitamins. Do you take any vitamin supplements? Fatigue could be caused through lack of iron in your diet (fairly common with women) or lack of the range of B vitamins. They get used up fairly quickly when we are stressed.
Do you enjoy cooking? Experiment with different recipes to give you a feel for healthy eating. Make that pasta at home. ‘Imagine’ that you are eating out in a restaurant surrounded by friends. Our imagination is a very powerful tool. One day you’ll be doing it for real.
Friends can come and go. Some people make friends for life (rooted in friendship), some people realize that as they change, they become less compatible with their old friends and develop new friendships. Those words from your best childhood friend must have been very hurtful at the time but you can look back at them from an adult’s perspective and see that you are anything but ‘dumb’. It was just something she said that had no real meaning. It is not the truth.
Depression is the opposite of expression. It comes from anger and/or grief that has not been expressed. Loss of friends, family members, old relationships even the loss of a childhood counts as grief. Releasing all your pent up emotions through tears is not necessarily a bad thing.
You are 30 something and you are questioning whether or not it is normal to lay in bed, relax, read, meditate, be sedentary. It is OK to do all of these things some of the time. In simple terms, your body needs just three things to survive 1) food and drink 2) rest/relaxation/sleep 3) exercise. I would suggest putting a time limit of, say, 2 hours per day apart from sleep on your sedentary activities and maybe increase the amount of exercise you take, making some of it a little more challenging.
I suggest that you construct a rough timetable for your day to give yourself an element of control so that you can discipline yourself to have a reasonably well balanced life including work/home/leisure making sure you do at least one thing a day which gives you pleasure.
Dwelling on the past is never a good thing. Focus on all the positives you have in your life right now and all the good qualities that you possess. Living in the present and loving what you have in your life right now is the key to your recovery.
PeggyAugust 2, 2019 at 9:46 am #306219
Hi Mark, thank you for replying to me. How long were you engaging in the bike rides and marathons? What finally was the breaking point that allowed you to realize this was no longer serving you and that it was time to let go of it? Sometimes I think I get so tired of having a routine but hold it closely to my heart in terms of having a comfort zone. So while I feel the desire to break out of routine, there are certain things in it that I cling to (not going out to socialize, drink socially, spend money frivolously on going out to dinner when I can just eat home). I feel torn because some of these things I know will introduce excitement in my life, but I fear sometimes that the possibility of spreading myself too thin either energy-wise or financially will cause me stress. Also, I feel conflicted because I do realize the importance of giving, generosity, putting in the effort to make a positive difference. I always make it a point to give weekly to my church. That to me is important. I also give to the homeless/needy. Sometimes I don’t really feel the need to spoil myself that much by spending $9 on a margarita or $70 on a pair of jeans at the mall. I kind of have grown out of that phase years ago, the need for a ton of materialistic stuff. Don’t get me wrong, I do purchase a decent amount of stuff, mostly groceries and gas for the car (welcome to adulthood.. lol). But sometimes I don’t feel the rush of excitement from buying a pair of shoes or something that will stop with me being the end recipient all the time. I like gift giving and volunteering my time too. I do like exercising. I think the past few years, I have been dabbling around with finding activities that give me more of a sense of purpose, fulfillment, and make me feel more interesting and wise. I like writing to penpals around the world, and the idea of travelling and taking day trips always gives me reason to look forward to. I have been very fortunate to have done a decent amount of travelling. I love that. Mark what are some of your favorite things in life that make you truly happy and give you that feeling of “Wow, I am so excited that I have this to look forward to?” Thank you!August 2, 2019 at 9:49 am #306225
“if I am not in the right frame of mind.. I don’t know what to say, and my eye contact is quick, sporadic, all over the room… off.. horrible. Other times.. I can make steady eye contact, be funny, animated, and social… I continue sometimes to spend some nights in a stupefied crying haze.. But then I wipe my tears away ad go to sleep or get on with my life… I was also pretty miserable when I was living with (family)… Sometimes I scream at the top of my lungs in the car… Then I get over it… I always find myself so exhausted and unmotivated… sometimes I feel so drained from constant talking and sensory overload… I feel stuck and so tired all the time… I’m not sure if it is normal for someone my age.. to lay in bed so much and just relax… I am ashamed a lot of the times of my (eating) manners, I am afraid of people seeing me eat sometimes.. Sometimes, I eat in secrecy in the bathroom.. I truly want my relationship with food to get so much better and simpler.. I wish I would allow myself the pleasure of eating nicely. But I am so terrified of letting myself go and gaining weight”-
This is what I see as I imagine you as the little girl that you were: a scared little girl, living at home where she doesn’t belong. She needs so much and gets so little. She is anxious, distressed a whole lot. She cries but no one pays attention, she screams, or wants to scream, but no one hears her, no one pays attention, so she wipes her own tears, but not because she is done crying.
She is miserable a whole lot of the times, but there are those times that she takes much needed breaks from misery, from fear and loneliness, and she celebrates those breaks with food.
She eats passionately, oh how tasty this is, how good it feels. And she wants to feel good, she needs to!
Sometime along the way, maybe as a teenager, maybe later, she gains weight or fears that she will gain weight, this scares her, spoils the joy of those breaks that she takes.
She notices that other people eat calmly, not passionately like she does, so she feels shame and hides in the bathroom as she eats.
The breaks are not only when eating, but sometimes they take the form of being unusually social and feeling confident. But the fear is always there underneath and it comes up again and again. It exhausts you, this is why you need to lie down and relax a whole lot. It is tiring to be scared for so long.
Am I seeing correctly?
anitaAugust 2, 2019 at 10:20 am #306247
Peggy, thank you for getting back to me as well! I like how you said that your way to feel a sense of deepened belonging would be to repeat over and over to myself that “I belong on Earth.” We can’t really argue with that! Thank you for citing examples of connecting to nature to further reinforce this. Nature can be so powerful through its simple, quiet complexities that carry on whether we take time to notice them or not. Animals and trees do not need our attention to carry on in their daily lives, they just do it and that is perfectly understandable. However, when we as individuals, realize that we are not the center of everything (in a selfish way), we open our eyes to new beauty all around us. Sometimes even in the simplest of realms (observing a bead of dew, a blade of grass, a ripple in the water) we can find the most delicate and unspoken elegance.
I’m not sure how my family played into how I came to view my strained relationship with food. I am an only child, and my parents never judged me or gave me a hard time about my food preferences. If anything, they wanted me to be happy and realized how sensitive I was. I remember I have always eaten weird.. I remember when I was little my mom would make me a whole box of Mrs. T’s perogies or two packages of ramen noodles. I was not a morbidly obese child or young adult, but I was chubby at times. I would also get made fun of for my weight in school from time to time. Because of that, I would scale back my eating habits and I got into the vicious cycle of weighing myself every morning before I ate or drank anything. Then it got so bad in middle school where I was counting the number of pasta pieces (twisty pasta, seashell-shaped pasta) that I would allow myself on my plate. Then I became fixated on just eating vegetables and cutting out sweets. It doesn’t sound that severe in words here, but in person it was misery and depriving myself constantly so that on the outside I could look thinner. I don’t know what I was trying to prove. I always hear that people starve themselves for outside approval and maybe a little bit for self-approval. I feel like with me, it is more about self-approval. Luckily, I never really cared too much about what others thought of me to the point where it disrupted to overall quality of my life. I think I am usually trying to feel comfort within my own body, to look in the mirror and feel better about how I look, for my own self and self-approval. To feel that I am in control, in a good way, of the direction of myself, my life, my self-control. I do enjoy cooking from time to time, Peggy. What do you enjoy cooking? What are things in your life that you truly get enjoyment out of engaging in? Being in nature, as you mentioned, and what about nature do you really enjoy the most, would you say?
Thank you for saying this: “Depression is the opposite of expression. It comes from anger and/or grief that has not been expressed. Loss of friends, family members, old relationships even the loss of a childhood counts as grief. Releasing all your pent up emotions through tears is not necessarily a bad thing.” I have recently gone off my latest anti-depression medication. For years I have gone on & off anti-depressants (mostly NOT being on them), because I always felt that they never really worked well, and the handful of brands I have been prescribed don’t help me. So sometimes I wonder if I am not really depressed; that I just need to sit with my emotions consistently, gently, and continue to unpack past hurts, difficulties, and pent-up emotions that have left knots in my psyche that need to be untangled and analyzed on some level. I feel like we all experience so many things in our lives, that we may think we have forgotten a lot of what we have experienced, but I think our brains are more powerful than we realize, even though science supports how massive the capacity of our brains really is. I think our brains probably have stored away literally every face we have ever seen, every dream we have dreamt, every experience we have lived through and how each of them made us feel. I think the challenge in this lies in our ego or somewhere, where we need to actively try to recall these past memories, even though we think we may have long forgotten them, and to analyze what happened, how we felt, and how we can move past these memories to try and stop repeating these patterns indefinitely in our present lives (usually negative in nature). As of recently, I have given more than half a mind to reaching out to make an appointment with a psychologist/psychiatrist. However, sometimes I really do have my reservations about seeing a professional like this, because I know to their credit, they have gone through a ton of schooling and such to receive their prestigious title(s). But to me, sometimes that is just what it is.. a title, and that they receive lots of money to sit there and listen to you and provide you with feedback. It is their job to not get personally invested in your life, as it is also against the law as well. So I just feel like talking to a well-paid stranger who doesn’t and can’t care about you is not my idea of seeking the comfort and help that I need. I also fear that since I am an only child that I will grow old alone. I have my fiancé. He is truly wonderful. I am 30. I am not sure if I want children or not. I don’t think I have the “mom gene” in me. I have no friends. I think all of that paired with my strained food relationship has continually left me feeling like a shell of myself, a dried out prune version of the vivacious, beautiful soul I know is deep within me. I just need to learn how to better harness that divine power within me, within all of us, and to learn that I can access this eternal, unending power at any time. In a way, it is comforting to know that each of us all holds such beautiful wisdom, power, and love.August 2, 2019 at 10:31 am #306253
Hi Anita, thank you for replying to my post. I have seen your posts and read a lot of them on other peoples’ threads. I think you have helped a great deal of the participants on TB out. I am not sure why I have felt like such an outcast weirdo most of my life. My parents really did give me a great childhood and always tried hard to provide me with such nice memories, things to look forward to, and a warm & cozy home. I wasn’t allowed to watch much tv or video games. I always was encouraged to play outside with my friends or by myself if my friends weren’t around. I am an only child, which I think somehow played into some insecurities and loneliness. Sometimes if my parents grounded me, I was obviously left to my own devices to try and attempt to resolve on my own what happened, what I did wrong, and how to cope with the sadness I felt for being punished. I never had any siblings to run to for solace, comfort, and companionship. I feel like it has always been my own fault for feeling so lonely and miserable. Something I have noticed that is a pattern for me throughout my life is to say when my mom used to ask when I was living at home was, “How are you?” (with life in general, for the sake of this discussion), and I would find myself replying often, “Not happy.” I was never satisfied with my job or the state of how I felt towards my relationship with my current boyfriend at the time. Something I also noticed about myself over time, is that I have tended to stay in uncomfortable jobs and relationships for far too long– that I knew were no longer serving me, or bringing me happiness. Do I enjoy punishing myself, I wonder? I’m really not sure sometimes why I have continually done this to myself. Am I too apprehensive to get out of my comfort zone? Am I really just looking to see the negative in life by making myself miserable? What are your thoughts about this Anita? What are some things that you did not care for with your relationship to your family and how did you improve things when they got bad? Thank you!August 2, 2019 at 10:56 am #306263
You are welcome. Your question for me at the end of your post is too general. I need to understand you and your childhood better so to know what about my experience to share with you. If you want, you can help me understand better:
“Sometimes if my parents grounded me, I was obviously left to my own devices to try and attempt to resolve on my own what happened, what I did wrong, and how to cope with the sadness I felt for bring punished. I never had any siblings to run to for solace, comfort, and companionship”-
1. You needed “to run to for solace, comfort, and companionship” while you were grounded or otherwise?
2. Can you give me an example that is memorable for you of something that you did wrong, followed by being grounded: did you know why you were grounded, was it explained to you? What does being grounded mean, for how long, where? Was there punishment beyond being grounded, and what happened right after an ending of a grounding event?
anitaAugust 2, 2019 at 11:50 am #306293
I was generally grounded otherwise, yes. I was a happy child for the most part unless I was grounded or hitting a low point for some other reason or another. I remember one of the many times when I was young I talked back to my parents (so common, I know)..but I was obviously grounded for that. It was clearly stated because my mom would always announce (not my dad) that I was grounded and she would say something to this effect: “Go to your room, we don’t want to see you for the rest of the day. Go and think about what you’ve done, no going out to play with friends, etc.” This grounding would usually last about a week. It was depressing honestly. I was lonely. I didn’t have/wasn’t allowed to have a tv in my room, no video games, no pets, no siblings. I felt so alone. This was also in the 90s when we didn’t have cell phones either. I usually had a great imagination and toys to play with, but it still left me with some damagingly lonely times that I had to process alone.
August 2, 2019 at 12:00 pm #306301
- This reply was modified 2 weeks, 3 days ago by K.
Anita, also following the ending of a grounding, things would resume back to normal, but I still harbored feelings of animosity towards my parents for “making” me feel badly, for punishing me, for banishing me to my room, where I couldn’t play with my friends. It was a perceived total loss of control and the inability to get it back until they said so. I hated it.August 2, 2019 at 12:26 pm #306313
“‘Go to your room, we don’t want to see you for the rest of the day.. no going out to play with friends, etc.’…This grounding would last about a week”- for a whole week you were alone in your room, no TV in your room, “no video games, no pets, no siblings”
Prisoners on death row (San Quentin, CA, so I read) are grounded in their small prison cells, but they are allowed five hours a day to exercise outdoors and play games with other inmates, to socialize. And while in their cells, 19 hours a day, they are allowed to watch TV.
For a child an hour can feel like a day, and a day can feel like a week. A whole week- that is eternity!
It did feel like eternity, didn’t it?
anitaAugust 2, 2019 at 12:47 pm #306319
Dear Anita, it certainly did. I felt powerless and hopeless. Felt like my life was bleak and over with even though I was very little. I felt like I was hopelessly in despair and had nothing to look forward to during these times of what felt like exile. While I had myself, my mind, my toys, space to play and let my mind wander, I essentially had an infinite amount of possibilities to explore and to discover on my own. However, it felt so narrow and suffocating, like none of this stuff mattered. It was all just that.. toys and inanimate objects. The one thing that wasn’t was always my mind. That’s the one thing I wish I could have utilized in more positive ways (and still do want this for myself) to leverage my mindset out of such a bleak outlook, to shift it to a golden, abundant world of excitement and possibilities, and to find the humor in the situation somehow. Maybe knowing this now, as life wisdom & experience has presented some of itself to me over the years, I can apply this to my life now going forward. The issue is shifting the mindset to positive thinking, and keeping it there. To not complain. It is easier said than done, even if we make the intention not to do so. It is easier said than done to find humor in situations when we can easily shift it to feeling sorry for ourselves and whining about it. It takes strength yet surrender to let go and laugh and feel free.August 2, 2019 at 1:00 pm #306323
Dear Kathryn (you prefer K?)
I need to be away from the computer shortly and your thread, at this point, takes a lot more than my current, compromised ability to focus. My goodness! I don’t think you realize the extent of the mistreatment you received as a child. I don’t think you realize that the length of your grounding was an extreme punishment, would be for any child.
I will be back to your thread, if you want, in about 17 hours from now. When I am back, I will reread your recent post and anything you might add to it and reply then.
anitaAugust 2, 2019 at 1:06 pm #306325
Thanks Anita. Yes, I switched my username to “K” for personal preference. I look forward to hearing from you then!August 2, 2019 at 1:16 pm #306327
You are welcome, K. Will be back with you in about 17 hours from now.