I figured something out the other day….well, I knew it already but I didn’t quite organize the thoughts around it until the other day. As you guys know, my mental health struggles are mostly contained within two diagnoses: PTSD and an attachment disorder. Both stem from a difficult start in life (losing my parents while still a little one and a long, abusive ride through the foster care system ending with being homeless at 15, left to build a life for myself…which I did rather poorly until adulthood). The anxiety and PTSD issues are difficult but years of therapy (EMDR for the win!) and a decade of very hard personal work, I more or less have those issues under control. When things flare up, and they most definitely do, I am usually able to regroup and get back on my feet within a few days to weeks, which is much better than it used to be. The attachment issues, however, still really screw with me, even after working on them endlessly. That piece of my puzzle looks to be a lifelong struggle.
The biggest issues faced with this attachment deal is that I have a hard time maintaining relationships, particularly positive ones. Negative relationships are the ones I seem able to keep around for years….mostly because it feeds into the problems. If someone hates me I know exactly where I stand and no longer need to guess about my place in the union. When people want me as a friend, I always disappoint them somehow because my bond is not the same as theirs, no matter how long we’ve know each other or how much I care for them. I generally do not miss people when they leave my life. I always find it difficult to maintain things if people are not in my world on a constant basis, which is why most of my ‘friends’ are the people I work with. When I leave a job, I rarely keep contact with the coworkers I was closest to because the only way to connect is to go out of our way to do so.
I am a loner by nature and would probably never leave my house if I had the choice. I want to be left alone most of the time, even though I crave having people to care for….I need to have people to care for, I just struggle to hold up my end of being cared for in return. Weird isn’t it?
Most people who suffer from attachment issues of my sort don’t develop much of a conscience which can lead to frightening sociopathic behaviors but, luckily, I have the biggest guilt complex in the world so I’ve been able to balance out my emotions pretty well through life. I feel guilty for asking for help, asking for friendship, taking up your time, not taking up your time, being there too much, not being there enough, saying the wrong thing, thinking the wrong thing, BEING the wrong thing….it’s endless, the ways I can punish myself for not being enough. It’s a bad trait on the whole but I think it keeps me from hurting people….I’m so afraid of hurting people. I am even afraid of people thinking I tried to hurt them, hence the ridiculous relationship I have with M. He uses this against me like a freaking pro….he tells me he thinks I lie to him, use him, hurt him for pleasure. He replaces my genuine feelings and words with his own lies and then holds them against me and it tears me apart inside. I don’t want him in my life, at this point, but I cannot stand that he does not believe that I care about him, because I do. I do so more than I care for most people….however, the moment he relents and tells me everything is okay again, I start to avoid him. I need his negativity to maintain the stupid, draining relationship we do have. Isn’t that exhausting to think about? It is for me.
I don’t think I feel things like other people do. I mean, surely there are a lot of people out there who feel the same way, but I have no knowledge of them so it’s hard to quantify. The only time I seem to really feel anything other than the bad stuff, which I feel in magnified proportions, is when I’m wrapped up in some sort of music. When I sing, write, even listen to music I feel things in 3D…good things, even! The reason I started thinking of this was the way I felt after a week off. I was sluggish from all the sleep, yes, but I was also a bit depressed, definitely anxious, feeling blank at times, overwhelmed at others. I felt worthless, lonely, sad; I felt hopeless over things that didn’t even make sense. The one thing that was different that week, aside from not being at work, was that I didn’t have my drive into and home from work daily, which is where I listen to most of my music. I love driving with music…all my favourite songs and I can sing as loud as I want. The feelings and notes flow through my veins and I feel like I am connected to the world in a way that just isn’t there when the music stops.
This totally explained something to me….this connection between music and feeling like a normal human being. I tend to be a lot more open and wanting human contact when I’m at work, not only because I’m surrounded by people and forced out of my isolation default, but because I’ve opened up my heart and felt something before I get here. I suddenly connect with the reasons why I love the people that I have in my life and it makes me want to show them…share with them. The one thing that M always said that hurt me the most was that I was just ‘using’ him as a distraction through my work day. It was the farthest from the truth and it ripped at my soul to hear it. He used it often because he liked biting into me like that, plus, it worked to keep me around every single time. Now I have clearer idea of why I did that…talked to him and shared with him the most when I was at work and not as much at home. It’s why things fell apart with MH too, for that matter… As soon as I could no longer connect with him through my work day because I took on a job that was ten times as busy as my old one, things couldn’t survive.
Anyway – nothing too fascinating in that but it does give me some insights into myself that I didn’t have before. I’m going to try to use this to my advantage. I’m going to listen to music at the times of the day when I usually don’t and see what it does to the things I feel. I have so much music…so many different kinds too, plus, I can write little songs in my head and do so without even thinking about it most of the time. I’m going to see if I can jump start my heart from blank to open by letting my soul have what it needs the most.