While reading about self sabotage last night I had an epiphany.
This is what I wrote in my journal yesterday night:
“I need constant reassurance from Michael because in the past my partners held the power to decide my life. I gave that to them and they also beat me down and took it. I didn’t trust my judgement then and I clearly don’t trust it now. I expect Michael to decide something he knows nothing about and doesn’t want. I am so worried that he’ll sabotage me that I’m actually handing it over when I need his reassurance because my own isn’t good enough.”
I give Michael all the power he doesn’t want.
It is the power I don’t have and I want.
This isn’t fair to either of us.
I am a “bitch” and a “control woman”.
That is what a male “friend” called me moments ago while I tried to explain that Judaism is not a race but a religion therefore what he has said was not racist.
Race: (noun) Each of the major divisions of humankind, having distinct physical characteristics.
Judaism: the religion, philosophy and way of life of the Jewish people.
(I acknowledge that race makes up more then skin colour, it is complex and I always resort to self identification at all times)
He told me that Judaism is somewhat like a race and I continued to say that it was a religion. When I felt myself stumbling over words because I was getting angry (“I know it’s a religion,” he said, well then why do you think it’s a race?) I told him I had to go (this was via text). He told me not to be a bitch and said “peace”. Up until that point I had tried not to swear, not to be angry because I understand why people think religions such as Judaism, Muslim and Islam are races due to how deeply rooted into a person’s identity they are. We also tend to refer to those three groups of people by their religion the same way I would identify as White. But the simple fact is that Judaism IS NOT a race. You can have a race of people mostly participate in Judaism but that doesn’t change that Judaism is a religion.
He tried to tell me that race constitutes people that have similar features which is what made his comment racist, to which I responded that women have similar features but to say something about them isn’t racist, it’s sexist.
He told me that I am condescending when I think I am right. I said that I was trying to share with him what I was taught (I am the one that has studied race and oppression for the past 5-ish years). He said that I could have said that instead of “jabbering” away. So, my swear-free explanation of how Judaism is not a race was just jabbering? Then how was I supposed to communicate what I saying? Clearly, proving him wrong constitutes as “jabbering”.
It is safe to say that I have no interest in speaking with this “friend” for quiet some time. I find this conversation offends me as an intelligent woman and as someone with anger issues.
To be called a “bitch” and a “control woman” for voicing what I have been taught is true I feel is getting into sexist territory. If one of his male friends had, had a this conversation would he have called them a dick or control man? I highly doubt it.
To be called a “bitch” and a “control woman” for voicing what I have been taught is true makes me angry because I feel like this conversation keeps pushing the idea that I can never be correct in my knowledge and that no matter how much I think I am handling a situation well there are still people out there who think otherwise. (This seems to be an issue with men that I have)
It’s not a loss to not have someone in my life who thinks this about me when we try to share information and disagree.
Race definition: Google
Today is my sister’s birthday and she is 21!!!! Legal everywhere except in a town in India where the legal age is 25.
Two days ago I posted about the call I had difficulty making to CAMH to see if the wait list for their BPD Clinic was open (which it was not). Ontario Shores aka the Whitby Psych also offers a BPD program and it would not be horrible for me to get to Whitby since my family lives there. I tweeted Ontario Shores asking if self referral was out of the question and they told me to call.
I don’t want to call.
I think I’m telling myself that by calling to ask about the program or going through intake that I am admitting I had a problem. I know that I do but I saying to someone else, that I do not know, that I need help. The person on the other end of the line might think I’m some out of control person who is desperately sick and that’s not who I am and that is probably not what they are thinking…..
Maybe I’ll call after the March Break. CAMH is the desired location. It’s easier for me to get on a streetcar with my monthly pass then it is to pay $14 twice a week and board a bus, subway, train and hopefully get picked up and driven to Ontario Shores.
Watching part 2 of The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive and I’m getting aggravated.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good documentary but Mr. Stephen Fry is a follower of the medical model and for those of you who have been following me for a bit you know that I am not (at least not fully or in all cases).
I find it difficult to listen to an awareness documentary that keeps talking about mental illness as, well, an illness. Let me explain first. I found Fry and the people he interviewed to to be of the belief that they are at the mercy of bipolar disorder, that they have no control. They have as much control over their manic depression as I would over my cold.
I can’t live thinking that, not anymore.
I am fully aware that many of you will probably disagree with me but I’m not denying that we can’t at times have our asses handed to us by whatever is going on inside us.
I was at the mercy of my mind every time I self harmed, when I attempted suicide, when I physically hurt others, when I was in a rage. I can admit that and it is scary.
You still will never hear me say, “Oh, that was my illness.” That could be because I see whatever is going on with me as being something I can have power over. If it is in me then I can manipulate it.
When I have a cold I can drink more water, rest, take medicine and eat healthier. Same goes with my mind. I can read self help books, talk with friends and professionals, I can engage in self care and do anything else that tickles my fancy. I had to work up to this though because of course when you first experience horrible moods and destructive behaviours you have no idea what’s going on or what to do and it is so easy to get swept up in it. Most times it’s easier to stay swept up in it all.
I know there are some of you who follow me that will not relate to what I’m saying. Having control is next to impossible. I respect you for what you are doing to take your life to the next level of functioning. Some of you have experiences that I can’t imagine having and you are still here. This makes you strong and that is something you did because you wanted to. That’s your power
I don’t know if any of this came out the way I wanted it to. I felt upset because I like having control and don’t want people thinking that because I have been labelled with a mental health issue that I am not in control of myself. I don’t want that. That’s all I really wanted to say.
“Get out of your relationship, it’s not good for you!”
“You don’t need to be in a relationship! There is nothing wrong with being single.”
“You won’t find who is right for you while you stay in this bad relationship.”
I have GREAT relationship advice but I never take it myself. I have found myself repeatedly in predominantly emotionally abusive and controlling relationships, knowing I should leave and I do not.
I am not in that relationship now but majority of these horrible relationships were ended by my partner because they got tired of me. I should have ended these relationships when they told me what to wear, who I could hang out, who I could talk to, where I could go, when they went through my phone, email, and journal, when they called me names and made me feel like I was nothing.
It makes me feel like a hypocrite but it’s always harder to do things when it is our own live and we have to experience the consequences first hand.
“When all they knew was that oppression and coercion was said to be because ‘we love you’, when ‘love’ really was only about control, how can the person then understand genuine love?” -Dan Edmunds
From: Meaning in the Madness
The article is worth the read. Edmunds shares with us what he learned while running a therapeutic community project.
This particular quote resonated with me, as someone who has experienced countless emotionally and psychologically abusive relationships (mental health issues aside).
Taking things from me and me giving them up was supposed to mean love.
I love you-I went through your journals, text messages and MSN conversations.
I love you- you can’t wear that out, you look like a slut.
I love you-you can’t talk to your guy friends.
I love you-you can’t see your girl friends.
I love you-you can’t go there without me.
I love you-if you loved me you do it.
I know I have been in a relationship for 4 years with a very loving man who would never demand anything from me that would make me compromise my values and beliefs but it’s still hard to shake what has happened in the past.
I spent all my key developmental years in turmoil, inner and outer. I would like to think that these 4 years and on could make up for the small amount of years I endured this abuse (from others and myself) but bad things seem to have a way of sticking around.
My past does not control my life, that I can be sure of, but every so often I get a glimpse of how it has influenced me.
I have often wondered about my brain. I do believe that the brain is so complex and smart that it will never let us completely figure it out. I’m ok with that. What I’m not ok with is not knowing the current state of my brain.
While I can usually avoid entering a rage, and I’m getting better at this, if I’m unable to do so the rages are just as severe. I’m essentially down to two options: calm control or severe rage. Even my attempts at improving my behaviour are becoming black and white!
This is leading me to believe that my brain may have undergone some development issues during my youth which could put certain things out of my control. The two things I want to focus on are trauma and psychiatric medication.
My brain is either almost done developing or has just finished but what it has done up to this point I would expect to be fairly cemented into place.
Trauma can change the brain. What constitutes a trauma is completely up to the individual and not all traumas lead to behavioural, emotional or mental issues.
I am curious if my early experiences with low self esteem, depression, self harm and the situations I found myself in because of my emotional state caused my brain to develop abnormally.
“Exposure to trauma (particularly chronic exposure) not only has an effect on emotional regulation processes in the brain, but also on the ability to process the memories of those events. The unnatural storage of traumatic memory has an impact on one’s ability to handle future exposure to adverse situations. The circuits in the brain are less connected to the frontal lobes, where thinking and considering can mitigate the emotional reaction, leaving the amygdala on its own to evaluate the threat…Without the mitigating effects of executive functioning, the limbic system activates fight/flight response in the brain stem, causing an inability to regulate or cope with an overwhelming flood of emotion.” – KidsPeace Institute
This is exactly what I could through. Everything I experience now is turned into a trauma, a crisis, something so horrible that I feel like my life is being destroyed. Could past instances of where my life was in danger have cause my brain to develop in away that it not interprets any threat as life ending in order to protect me?
Psychiatric medication can change the brain. They are chemicals and many people are taking them very long term. We would be stupid if we believed we took these strong drugs and nothing in a body was being damaged.
When I read Anatomy of an Epidemic by Robert Whitaker I read about how Prozac can cause changes in the brain after the first few months. Since I was on them while my brain was developing could the drugs have altered something in my brain that now makes it difficult for me to process stressors?
“Antipsychotics, antidepressants, and antianxiety drugs create perturbations in neurotransmitter functions. In response, the brain goes through a series of compensatory adaptations. For instance, Prozac and other SSRI antidepressants block the reuptake of serotonin . In order to cope with this hindrance of normal function, the brain tones down its whole serotonergic system . Neurons both release less serotonin and down-regulate (or decrease) their number of serotonin receptors . The density of serotonin receptors in the brain may decrease by 50% or more . As part of this adaptation process, Hyman noted, there are also changes in intracellular signaling pathways and gene expression . After a few weeks, Hyman concluded, the patient’s brain is functioning in a manner that is “qualitatively as well as quantitatively different from the normal state.” – Anatomy of an Epidemic
Did I give myself a chemical imbalance? I would like to think that since I was on psychiatric medication for a short period of time that I escaped the possibility of long term damage but the research in this area is still new so I don’t have much to go on.
I was a sensitive child from the get go so maybe I was born with a brain that was a tad more sensitive than others so much of what I experienced was inevitable. Maybe it was trauma, drugs or a combination. Maybe I’m being to hard on myself because I’m not changing as quickly as I would like so I have “blame” something?
Regardless this thought process has led me to thinking maybe I should try medication again.
There are a lot of conditions on this!
The first is that I would only take a medication if it’s on a “as need” basis. I take it when I feel a rage coming on and I know I can’t stop it.
The second is I would research the hell out of the drug. I want to know the best and the worst that could happen to me.
And third I would give myself 2-3 months so try it out and if it’s doing nothing then I would stop. If horrible things happened sooner I would stop right away.
I still have time to think about whether or not I want to do this since my psychiatrist appointment isn’t until August 1.
I feel impulsive today. I’m angry and when it’s not the explosive anger it’s the kind that makes me want to be super reckless with myself. I know I will regret anything I do later so I’m lucky that, that is enough to keep my stuck in my house until I have to go to work.
What I find silly is the confidence that comes with my impulses. I guess you need to feel a little “wild” to do something dangerous or inappropriate. It literally makes me feel a tad sexy. I feel like that 16 year old who didn’t give a shit about what she did! I feel like the Kristen that used to have fun and I guess fun does translate into self-destruction but I can overlook that.
Or I could talk about what’s making me angry and impulsive?
So a few months ago, maybe it will be a year in the fall, a friend (who is also an ex-boyfriend and we’ll call B) stopped talking to me at the request of his girlfriend, A. I had learned a week of so before that B hadn’t been telling A that we were hanging out or talking. She was checking his phone and when she would see that I had text him saying “hello” she would start questioning him, wanting to know why I was talking to him. This isn’t just random stupidity on A’s part I guess I could say. She saw a Facebook conversation between the two of us where B told me I looked pretty in my profile picture. I personally see nothing wrong with compliments but A did. Anyways, she sent me a message saying “don’t talk to my boyfriend” blah blah blah. B was texting me at the same time telling me not to tell her the dirt that I have on him. I apologized to her and said I would stop talking to both of them. She thanked me. B said to me that maybe we could be friends again later and I told him to fuck off.
What pains me, aside from losing a friend, is the context around it. I have had many boyfriends that were threatened by the male friends I had and especially the few male friends that were also ex-boyfriends (from short-term relationships). I tried very hard to listen to these idiot boyfriends and told my male friends, B included, repeatedly telling them I couldn’t talk or see them again. I always went behind these boyfriend’s backs though and would eventually end the relationship or be left because we couldn’t agree.
B didn’t do that. He stayed. He’s still not talking to me.
I think I’m more upset that he didn’t give to me what I gave to him. That I know see how important I was and that it was possibly a lie what he would tell me. It shouldn’t be a loss and on most days it’s not. I just want to see him one more time so I can punch him in the face and scream at him.
Being angry/impulsive like this does have a certain power about it that makes me feel great but I am starting to feel the pain because I can’t let it go and I’m fueling it.
I’m starting to blame counselling. I never thought I would. It’s going to make me think about things that I don’t want to and that’s going to be messed up. Hopefully I can do it.