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.

Another cousin died

I thought it fit here, too, though I mentioned elsewhere that I just lost another relative (cousin) more or less to mental illness; he was on a lot of meds and also self-medicated with alcohol thanks to bipolar disorder. They found him unconscious a couple days ago, just died in the hospital yesterday though. I think his whole family has been fucked up by the death of his brother in ’02 still, I mean, even more so than a death in the family usually seems to fuck people up, which is a lot. The uncle has been severely depressed for a very long time now.

I’m the same as I’ve been. I’m curious as to what my regular doctor will say on Thursday, as well as how much of the truth I will tell her. I imagine my retelling of the past couple months to her will be something like “Yeah, been eating better, stopped drinking soda, lost 40 lbs, exercising more” when the reality of the matter is a bit different and involves starvation, binge drinking, sleep deprivation, and drug abuse. In addition to exercising and not drinking pepsi (unless I need a mixer for rum).

I’ll normalize a bit eventually. Still extremely unstable, and the cousin dying isn’t helping matters, though I haven’t been extremely close to that part of the family because of how far away they’ve lived my entire life.