Some positive thoughts for the day…
**I have been gone for a while, but now I am back to blogging! Thanks for anyone who stuck with me.**
I read an interesting string of comments on Quora (www.quora.com) the other day. It asked commenters to describe what loneliness felt like to them personally. The answers were astounding and I could see myself, at least a little bit, in every response.
I am an unusual case because I have been lonely all my life, starting in elementary school. It wasn’t just an isolated event — I didn’t move to a new town, get too busy, ignore friends I already had, or have a major life change…I NEVER had friends. That’s what separated me from many of the posters on the site.
I was a weird kid with an unstable home. Even at that age, kids knew something was off and didn’t want anything to do with me. I wasn’t invited to parties; I was brazenly excluded; I was bullied every day; I had no where to go after school and no one to hang out with. My nights were absorbed with reading, watching TV, or being outside. It didn’t bother me at first, but I began to catch on: There must be something wrong with me. It never occurred to me before, but I started noticing, rather starkly, that I was an outsider.
After a while I began to internalize these conflicts.
• I am not worthy of friendship.
• No one likes me.
• If I somehow manage to befriend someone, they will leave me soon enough. I will mess it up like I have before.
• I will always be strange and awkward around people.
• I will be lonely all my life.
Yes, I know this is self-absorbed, catastrophic thinking. But as a child, it’s easy to think everything is your fault — especially if your parents told you so. Even though I am grown, I have never been able to break out of this pattern of hopelessness, despair, and loneliness. I have tried medication, dozens of doctors and counselors, church and church groups, and even a mental hospital. Nothing seems to work. I am so consumed with self-hatred that some days my body aches to die just to stop feeling the pain. I shut down. I am paralyzed, left without passion or drive for anything or anyone.
When I think of living the next 30-40 years, I can only feel weary. Is this it? Can I really survive that much more time alone? Can I really handle hundreds, maybe thousands more, of rejections from people? I can actually SEE the very instant someone writes me off. It’s a very particular look that comes across their face, It breaks my heart every time.
My adult social like consists of calls screened; texts unanswered; no one responding to invites; canceling last minute; and lip service about spending time together without ever reaching out. I just assume people won’t like me and I try not to let it bother me if I am left out, not invited or thought of, etc.
Do I need to learn to love myself first before I can develop friendships? Well, duh. By problem is how can I respect myself if no one else does? I feel like it’s trying to work in a void or black hole; it’s a vicious cycle.
Yes, I try to keep busy, develop new hobbies, and do a lot of volunteer work. It’s only a distraction. The tidal wave always comes back, sucking me to the bottom, leaving me with little energy or hope to escape. Does anyone else know what I am talking about?
I was reading an article about how dramatically friendships change over time. Every decade, your friends will be different depending on your life circumstances. A new job, a new marriage, a new kid, a new location — all of this can effect your friendships. This article should have had a huge “DUH” at the end.
However, it got me to thinking…I never had to experience changing friendships, because I never really had any. And I have no idea why.
I know I was an awkward kid. I had a rough family life, and I was just doing the best I could. I tried my best to make friends. What was strange was no one reciprocated. It was like I had a huge “loser” sign slapped to my forehead. In high school, people didn’t even want to be seen talking to me, worried they would be seen as a pariah. I hid in the bathroom during lunches, I was never invited to sleepovers or parties, and after a while I tried to hide in general. It was easier than rejection.
I still feel like that today, except people are a little less obvious. I have tried so hard for so long. I am over it. Clearly I am doing something wrong, but I have no idea what it is, and no one will tell me. Believe me, I have actually asked. I don’t want to be lonely, but I guess I don’t really get a choice.
When anyone actually seems interested, I get hyper and come off too strong, killing what might have been. I don’t know how to stop myself from doing this, it has to turn people off. I can actually see the look when people write me off; I notice it the second it happens. It hurts every time.
Even when I was sober I couldn’t make friends, and there are some MESSED up people in those rooms. What does that say about me? I thought getting sober would fix everything. Nope, it only fixed one thing…using.
I have no idea how I ended up married except my husband is as socially inept as I am, so it worked out. If I didn’t have him, honestly I wouldn’t be here. No point, really. If I knew I was going to be alone for the rest of my life, it would not be worth it to me.
So that’s my Debbie Downer for the day. Anyone else feel like this?
Thank you http://ellacook230313.wordpress.com for the nomination!
Apparently there are rules to this thing, I found them here: http://wordingwell.com/the-liebster-award-the-official-rules-my-first-blog-award-and-a-few-personal-secrets-revealed/
Well, here we go!
11 questions about myself:
1) Why did you choose your current career?
I didn’t have any “grand plans” for a career. I still have no idea what I want to do with my life. Honestly, time was running out, and I had to choose a major in college. I just happened to be decent at writing, so that is what I stuck with. I would have loved to be a film director.
2) If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
That’s a really hard question because I LOVE to travel! I would have to say France, the UK, or the American West.
3) What are your favorite things to do on your day off?
Reading, hiking, being outdoors, or just lounging around the house.
4) Can you sing?
I used to sing in a concert choir as a kid. I really enjoy singing, but only in the shower now. 🙂
5) Who is your hero/heroine?
I really look up to people in the public service sector like firefighters, police officers, social service workers, etc. — anyone who would risk their life for another for the human good.
6) Do you get along with your parents?
I am a daddy’s girl through and through. We are way too much alike.
7) What is your favorite band/singer?
I really love Ingrid Michelson.
8) Have you ever won an award for sport?
For cross country and relay races.
9) Do you have any special talents?
I can write backwards (to where you can read text in a mirror)…I was bored as a kid.
10) What is your favorite book, and why?
Pride and Prejudice—because why mess with a classic.
11) If you could ask for one wish, what would it be?
Unlimited wishes, duh!
I nominate the following five blogs to also receive the award:
I really hope to get up to 100 followers in the next six months. Please help me spread the word about my blog!!
The last time I posted, I was honest about my relapse into addiction. Everything was fine at first, and it is still fine (at least for the moment). The world didn’t end like I thought. I haven’t been thrown in jail; I haven’t lost my job or my husband. No one has tossed me into a hospital.
Actually, no one has noticed at all. And that has opened my eyes into why I went back out in the first place.
I was sober for almost four years before my fall. I was very active in my sobriety group and went to meetings up to four times a week. I had a sponsor, and I had a sponsee. I had a lot of acquaintances and friends, or so I thought; and I would go out with several of these ladies on a regular basis.
I have “been out” almost five weeks, and guess what? No one, not-a-one, has reached out to me. And this is a group who 1) knows what to do and 2) know what this disease feels like. Not even a phone call or text from my sponsor of more than three years. To say the least, this really hit my heart.
My friends and family didn’t notice either. I know I AM NOT the center of the universe and should not to be on people’s minds at every waking moment. That’s not how life works, and I am very thankful for it. But is it totally unrealistic to think someone somewhere would recognize the slightest difference? That something — anything — was off?
Have I always been this invisible?
I think that’s why I started using in the first place: no one, not even myself, seemed to care what would happen. Maybe I am spending time with the wrong people; maybe I rely too much on others; maybe my self-esteem is too tied to what others think. Or maybe I am just as much of a loser as I thought I was, and four years of hard work and clawing my way back into life has made no difference. What was all of it for, really?
Now, in my heart of hearts, I know that’s not true…I have grown in lots of ways, and it did put me in better places. But am I still alone? It sure feels like it. Yes, of course you need to love yourself before others will follow. And yes, you need to love yourself before you can love others. I have read enough self-help books to get the basics. The practice is the tricky part.
However, it is extremely hard to love and take care of myself when it seems to make no difference. I had extremely low self esteem regardless if I was sober or not. I didn’t make a bevy of new friends or have any big epiphanies either.
This all sounds doom and gloom, but it is where I am right now. I am trying not to let it get to me and to just keep trudging ahead. I know I will need to stop using at some point before I get in too deep. But I haven’t figured out the point of stopping yet.
Thanks for letting me rant for a moment.
My anxiety finally got to me. “The Committee” in my head, if anyone else knows what I am talking about, would not stop. I was being relentlessly attacked and beaten down by so many thoughts at once; they were all clashing together in a thunderous roar in my head. I was restless, aimless, and totally distraught. All of my days were blurring together. I was so anxious all the time, it felt like I was trapped in a straight jacket, and I was doing my best to wiggle and writhe to get out to no avail.
It had been that way for about two weeks. I have never had anxiety like that that I can remember. It was every waking moment, nonstop for what seemed like an eternity. Nothing I normally tried (exercise, talking to others, writing, prescription meds, etc.) would work. So I did the only other thing that has ever helped — I started using again. It’s the worst thing I could have done. The funny thing is, I don’t feel guilty about it like I thought I would.
I know I am an addict, so this is an extremely dangerous and stupid thing to do. However, the thoughts DID finally stop, and I was convinced nothing else would have done it. It’s not an excuse, but it was a choice I made, and I am actually OK with it. I had almost four years of sobriety, and I let it all go. In a strange way though, it feels like a new beginning; another start.
I am not beating myself up for once. I actually feel confident, free, and empowered…the exact opposite of what I was expecting. I had this towering fear of relapse. I saw myself being thrown in jail, losing everyone and everything I cared about, hating myself on an even higher level, or worse, that I’d hurt myself or someone else. Where would the bottom be? I never wanted to know. I thought I’d return to that dark hole I swore I’d never go to again. But none of that has happened. Not yet, anyway.
For now I am taking control of my situation, and if I need help again, I will seek it. I feel better today than I have in a long, long time. I feel more free than I ever did back when I was first using and even the entire time I was sober. I am using this as a learning experience, rediscovering myself, and learning to love myself despite bad decisions. It’s OK not to be perfect, as long as you make the most of your mistakes.
I am NOT suggesting any other addict try the same thing. But for me, this is a new journey, and I am allowing myself to follow the path as far as I can and let life take me wherever it wants. I am going with the flow and letting go of fear.
Maybe the road will end at a horrible place like before, or maybe it won’t. I am ready to sit back and see what’s next, and I am actually engaged in life again. One day at a time.
Lots of good advice in here. I need to take a lot of it!
1. Look good.
You know how uncomfortable you feel when you wear dress shoes that are too stiff to move your toes, or a high-necked shirt, or anything else that doesn’t make you feel like your true self? It’s hard to be confident when you’re uncomfortable! Now imagine how comfortable you feel in your worn-in jeans and favorite t-shirt. Totally different, right? You feel sure of yourself because you feel like yourself. Looking good isn’t just about looking polished and put together – looking good is about feeling good! Make sure you’re wearing clothes that fit you well and look nice on you. Style your hair in a flattering way, brush your teeth until they shine, pluck and groom and do whatever you need to look good, and you’ll feel confident!
2. Smile in the mirror.
It sounds silly, but it helps! Instead of brushing your teeth and then frowning…
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The last few days have been hard. Thank you so much for those who have offered encouraging words!
I am not sure if I mentioned this before, but I am in recovery for substance abuse—almost 4 years sober. At my stage, most people see “using” as only a passing thought, and then they can shake it off like dust on their shoulder. When I get the thoughts though, it takes more than a brushing. It’s more like taking a rug out back and beating it to death with a tennis racket. It takes more time, and I have to be more thorough than the average addict.
For some reason, I have been having an overwhelming desire to go back out, not caring about the consequences. I have come extremely close in the last two weeks.
But I believe God has been protecting me. And I believe my anxiety and depression are so overwhelming sometimes, I feel like I have no other options than to numb them completely by using a substance to escape. I have to stop and tell myself over and over: Take it one day at a time. Just wake up and put one foot in front of the other, and somehow, things will work out. That applies to my depression and anxiety too.
No matter how hard it is, it always passes. I have to fight the good fight and keep on keepin’ on.
I have always loved this quote, and many of you are probably familiar with the first part. It’s like a breath of fresh air and helps keep me centered.
God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
As it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
If I surrender to His Will;
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life
And supremely happy with Him
Forever and ever in the next.
— Reinhold Niebuhr
Here’s to having a good day, living just in today.
For anyone who wants to learn a little more about addiction and what it looks like, check out this website:
Today I am not myself, not that I really even know what that looks like. I am not anxious or depressed per se. I just don’t care. About anything.
My job is extremely unfulfilling, my love life is bland and predictable, my friends are distant and absent — well you get the picture. If I didn’t have to get up and make a living, I would probably sleep all day. Because for some reason, I just don’t think life is worthwhile today. What is there to look forward to, really? I feel like all my main choices have been made, and now I am stuck.
I have been told that apathy typically comes along with anxiety and depression. And it usually means that you have resided yourself to the status quo and don’t feel like (or have the energy for) working to get yourself out of it. Yep, that pretty much covers it.
The problem with apathy is not only will I stay in the problem, but it tends to send me into a spiral of depression.
I start having thoughts like:
• No one likes me, so why should I make an effort to reach out? The result is always the same.
• Romance is not real; it’s just something you see in the movies. There is only lust and commitment. Now I am stuck with commitment where nothing is exciting anymore. There are just years and years of carefully avoiding each other or watching TV to pass the time.
• I am in a dead-end job. But I am not even that great at it — so who would hire me?
— and so on, and so on.
Right now, I am trying to stay positive and write a gratitude list. I have to remember no one is responsible for my happiness except me. So the only one who can do the work is me. When you have enough pain, you will change. I am not there yet, but I am on my way. I really hope I snap out of this soon or I will fall into another depression. I am my own worst enemy.
I came across this quote and found it completely opposite for me:
“Whenever you read a cancer booklet or website or whatever, they always list depression among the side effects of cancer. But, in fact, depression is not a side effect of cancer. Depression is a side effect of dying.”
― John Green, The Fault in Our Stars
To me, depression is not a side effect of dying; I am not afraid of death. It’s a side effect of living!
Being alive is much more terrifying. It’s trudging through all of life’s hardships, ebbs and flows, hurts, disappointments, rejections, heartbreaks, loss, new beginnings, endings, lost dreams, dashed hopes, and the crushing sense of hopelessness. I have learned these are just a part of life, and instead of allowing them to destroy me, I must fight the good fight, do the next right thing, and just let it go. It’s just a part of being alive; no one is immune.
Of course, happiness is a side effect of living too. And so is anger, love, resentment, jealousy — all emotions come into play. It’s a matter of channeling the negative ones, the ones that perpetuate my anxiety and depression, into something positive. I was told once that no one is born with a sense of purpose or a reason to live. They just discover it on their own. I personally am still looking.
In the meantime, I always have to have something to look forward to or something to work toward. Otherwise I can be lost in a sea of despair or apathy. I have to wake up every morning and think:
• How can I make someone’s life better, just for today?
• What can I do to better myself?
• What is something new I can learn or experience?
• What do I have, right now, to be thankful for?
These, along with actively battling negative thoughts, help me get through each day. I will be honest, some days just being alive is hard enough — there is not much room for anything else but breathing.
As long as I am moving forward and keep a positive attitude, then I might just see a miracle someday.