On discussing feelings and difficulty talking to therapists

When I was a kid, talking about feelings was damned near verboten. Or rather, if you brought such things up, you’d be told to “stop being stupid” and basically to shut up. And I think that’s why, now, when people say, “you can talk to me if you need someone to talk to,” my [internal] response is something along the lines of, “What the fuck? No.” (Likewise, I was also discouraged from playing make-believe because it was “lying” to pretend something was something else.)

I was always kind of shocked when, on television or in real life, I’d see families who not only discussed how they felt about things, but also hugged each other, said “I love you” to each other, parents told children they were proud of them, etc. That never happened to me while I was growing up. I eventually started being able to hug people at family functions and to hug friends I hadn’t seen in a while, but this is not an action I would initiate myself, and touching people still seems kind of weird to me.

I think this may also be why I was unable to really talk to any of my therapists over the years. There is a sort of major blockage that prevents me from verbalizing anything related to feelings (especially negative ones) out loud, ever, to anybody. So, over the years, I decided maybe I should stop seeing therapists. Not really through any fault of their own, as they all had different styles and tried different things, but because I was not able to talk to them (or anyone) about myself. When this goes on, on and on, for 25 years or so, you start to feel like everyone’s time (and a lot of money) is being wasted.

That, and, since childhood, I’ve always had a mental image of myself sort of like some kind of badass gunslinger in an old west movie. I just kind of go around with a pokerface, nothing apparently bothering me, sometimes getting drunk and telling funny stories. There is no room for feelings in my self-image. There was the idea that having feelings was a weakness. Not just expressing them (which is obviously worse than having them), but to have them at all was a shameful thing to never admit to anyone. I never managed to get over that. Sometimes I’ve gotten pretty good at repression, though.

Responding to a post discussing “bipolar myths”

In response to this post:

Myth #1: Mania is the “good part” of bipolar disorder.

I can see why that’s a myth, but sometimes it is. Last August I was fucking elated for about a week for no reason at all. But usually I feel pretty awful, yeah.

Myth #3: Everyone with bipolar is violent.

Word. I am probably the most nonviolent person I have ever met. Toward living things, anyway; I beat the fuck out of inanimate objects sometimes.

Myth #5: People with bipolar disorder cannot maintain healthy relationships.

Some can, some can’t. I think the evidence points toward me being one of the people who aren’t able to, though, but I understand why other people would dislike this idea.

Myth #9: People with bipolar disorder are just being dramatic.

I have been accused of this one pretty much since childhood.

Myth #11: When you start taking medication for bipolar disorder, you’re “cured.”

Hahahaha. No. Meds have never have any positive effect on me.

Myth #12: People with bipolar disorder can’t be successful.

I’m sure plenty of people can, but I am still struggling with attempting to have any sort of success in life, and I am not very hopeful about it.

Thoughts on relationships and my mental illnesses

Mental illnesses report:
My last post got me thinking about marginally-related things. I had a “best friend,” OC people will know who I mean, who constantly put me down and insulted me since the early 90s. But I didn’t tell her to piss off until 2011 because I always figured if I got rid of her, I wouldn’t be able to make new friends. And I suppose I made a couple, but not many I have been very close to.

Regarding boyfriends, there was the guy I met in the mental hospital when I was in high school, but, in addition to the fact that, the more I got to know him, the less I liked him, and that I only saw him a couple times a year, and that he was an alcoholic, he was cheating on me the entire time. In fact, I was so aware of this I’m hesitant to call it “cheating,” more like an unspoken open relationship, but only open on one side. But I stayed with him for several years because (as a parallel to the “best friend” situation) I figured if I got rid of him, I’d never find another boyfriend. [And I was right.] He occasionally re-friends me on Facebook and then unfriends me if I don’t reply to his messages immediately. One time his wife started sending me nasty messages, apparently thinking I was the one who friended him.

Eventually though, I figured that if I didn’t have a bf/gf and didn’t have friends, I could deal with that, and that it would be better than having the BF and [some of] the friends I had. There were times back then that I wished I had people to talk to about things but then I started writing a journal again and that helped and I more or less got over the emotional need to have other people around and to talk to people (most of the time when I tried to talk to people about anything emotionally-related in the past, I felt ignored or was quite blatantly ignored anyway, so talking to people never seemed to help). I got new hobbies, exercised compulsively, learned some new languages, etc. And I suppose some people have offered to listen, but I think I am so emotionally closed off that I am unable to have a dialogue about myself, I can only make posts which are written as a monologue. Possibly also why I’ve never really been able to open up to therapists; they are another person in the room who might potentially say something and that scares the shit out of me and I go mute.

Eventually I was on enough medication that my emotional state was completely numbed to the extent that nothing bothered me, so it was quite traumatic for me when that numbness disappeared recently and I am still working through that. Posting on FB helps. If my posts bother you, though, I ask that you unfriend me rather than just hiding my posts from your timeline (assuming anyone who wants to hide my posts from their timeline would actually be reading this, of course). I really don’t mind it when people unfriend me here. I think it is possible that, with a change of medication or a reduction of medication, my problematic emotional states will resolve or become more stable. In the meantime, I will probably continue the posts because, as stated before, this helps me to organize my thoughts.

Character Armor

hat’s exactly why I was unable to talk to my therapist at all. I have extreme difficulty saying anything of an emotional nature to anyone, especially concerning myself. So I was literally unable to discuss any issues bothering me with my therapist because I thought that “self pity” didn’t match my manufactured macho image of myself that has no feelings and laughs at death, and so on.

And then also because people tell me it’s unlike me to feel self pity, then I feel even worse if I have anything resembling an emotion because apparently I am not allowed to; it doesn’t fit my image. So then I clam up and become the most fucked up, sexually repressed, emotionally constipated person I’ve ever encountered, and they’ll be all like “you can talk to me.” No, I fucking cannot. Apparently, I can’t talk to anyone. All I can I do is deny and repress to keep up my image. (The author Sam Keen called this “character armor,” if I recall correctly, and seemed to think it only applied to men.)

What I have concluded is that no one at all even gives a fuck about me or cares whether I live or die.

Everyone ignores me unless I complain or seem unhappy, and then I just get the message everyone wants me to shut the fuck up and not bother them.