More reasons I don’t like Facebook

Another reason I don’t like Facebook is because things like this come up (from explosm.net):
withoutsex
I’m sure it’s been at least 15 years, maybe a bit more. Not just comics, of course, but I mean every time I see other people posting photos and updates on their Facebook it reminds me that I don’t have a normal life.

For at least five years, the medications caused me to have no sex drive, which was very nice. Before that, I guess I just never figured out how to initiate relationships, or had bad luck. Any time I expressed interest in another person, they would say they were not interested in me. This bothered me a lot and I’m sure I made posts on my Livejournal about it. I liked Livejournal so much better than Facebook. Not just the anonymity, but the fact that you saw every single post that each of your friends made, in chronological order.

People suggested things like dating sites, and I did have some dating profiles up maybe 10 or 12 years ago. No one contacted me through them, so I decided you probably need to be good looking or fabulously wealthy or successful to meet people on the internet.

Now I’m older and even less good looking/successful, and my mental illnesses make it hard for me to leave the house at all. I can’t drive so I can’t travel. These things mean I also can’t meet people in real life, not to mention I wouldn’t know what to do with a significant other if I had one; I have almost no experience with sex and no experience at all with relationships.

I try not to think about it too much, but Facebook makes that hard. It’s hard for me not to compare myself to other people. That’s why I prefer to use internet forums about specific topics (movies, music, etc.) rather than deal with Facebook, where there is no way to know what people are going to be posting about. I can’t think of anything in the world that could be worse for my mental health than Facebook, yet I still feel compelled to go there because it’s taken over the internet. It’s like Walmart coming to town and all the local businesses close down. Facebook happened and people left most internet forums and stopped using email. I am still working on transitioning to only using internet forums and not looking at my Facebook newsfeed, but it’s difficult. It’s like an addiction, especially since it’s so convenient and because I work on the computer so I’m online all day anyway. I am often tempted to check Facebook during slow times between work projects.

In addition to that, I really hate all the memes about the idea that happiness is a choice, or to cut negative people out of your life. Maybe that’s why people don’t talk to me anymore; I’m too negative. I can’t really help it, though, due to circumstances and mental illness. I think it’s kind of shitty, like telling people if others are having a bad time, just cut those people out of your life instead of trying to be understanding. I don’t expect people to want to listen to me complaining all the time, and that’s another reason I am not able to talk to people out loud, in real life (even therapists). I don’t want to bug anyone. But that’s what I used Facebook for, and I feel like these memes are trying to make me feel like a bad person for it.

Many times when I look at Facebook I either get angry or start crying. The pain medications I’m on right now are also doing terrible things to my state of mind, and I spent most of last night staying awake crying for no particular reason. The pain from the kidney stones isn’t doing anything good for me either, and I guess I have 3 fractured vertebrae and that’s another reason I’m in pain all the time, which also contributes to my shitty mood and general sense of despair. When the kidney stone was hurting especially badly and causing me to vomit from the pain for a few days (before going to the hospital), I spent about 10 hours curled up next to the toilet, thinking this is all I have to look forward to in life. Pain and sickness. And it’s only going to get worse as I get older. And then I laughed about it a bit.

Sexual orientation

This is a reaction to reading this article: http://lgbtfeed.com/post/comments_bisexuals_are_tired_of_hearing

I find these articles interesting partly because of my own internalized biphobia, which I think I am getting over, but I was certainly in denial about for many years. I can remember being attracted to girls long before I ever had a crush on a boy in school. So I figure either I had my own internalized homophobia or biphobia, or I also just believed bisexuals didn’t exist. Of course, being on medications that erased anything resembling attraction or libido also complicated matters so that I identified as asexual for several years.

I don’t really think I could do relationships, and if I could, I certainly wouldn’t be in a rush to do so any time soon, but in theory I would like to have some idea of my orientation eventually.

“It’s just a phase.”

Translation: “I know your sexuality better than you do.”

As for the article, I have told myself #1: “It’s just a phase.” I figured if men weren’t interested in me, maybe I was “settling” for women. I now think that was a horrible and homophobic thing to say.

I also had the additional problem of thinking yes, maybe other people *do* know my sexuality better than I do! Because I sure as hell didn’t know much about it.

3. “You have to like one more than the other.”

Translation: “Stop being greedy; you can’t like both genders equally.”

#3: Yes, that too, and that’s part of the reason I didn’t use the word “bisexual” for a long time: I’m not attracted to equal numbers of men and women. I figured if I was attracted to men more often, maybe I was really heterosexual and confused or something.

The other ones don’t apply to me. Since I never really told much of anyone, I never had to deal with any of the stigma of people thinking I was promiscuous or whatever. In fact, since I am perpetually single, I’m pretty sure no one would think of me as promiscuous at all (I’m pretty sure people think of me as celibate and/or asexual).

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.

Why I’m considering leaving Facebook

Since the change of meds and the mania problems beginning last summer, Facebook has been bothering me a lot more. Initially, it was being overwhelmed with so much information. Conflicting stories, sad things, funny things, political things. Usually, if you tell someone you don’t like what’s on your Facebook feed, they assume you don’t want certain political things and remind you that you can unfollow the friend or block things from certain sites. That’s largely not what I am talking about, though.

When I was depressed for a very long time, I was actually quite stable. No crying, no sadness, just sort of a lack of anything. Numbness and apathy. While manic, it’s the opposite of that. Everything cranked up to 11. Disturbing things are really horrifying, funny things are really funny, and so on. Scrolling through a Facebook feed often means going through about 30 different strong emotions per minute, which was more than I could handle. It also made me hyperaware of the fact that my own situation was not the same as that of many of the people I am friends with on there. For example, it would make me sad to see happy photos of people with their boyfriends/girlfriends, families, etc. because I feel like that’s something I won’t ever get to experience. Even seeing selfies is sometimes upsetting to me, because it just reminds me I am so insecure in my appearance that I am terrified of posting photos of myself on the internet.

Elsewhere, someone complained about people complaining on Valentine’s Day about not being in a relationship, saying that relationships don’t fix everything or always create happiness. I don’t think people are necessarily are saying that. Speaking for myself, I am quite aware that many people aren’t always happy in relationships, and I don’t think being in a relationship would make me happy all the time, it’s more that so many people talk about love and relationships being an important part of their life, even the most important part of their life, so of course it can bother people if they have never been in a relationship in their adult life.

Additionally, I always said that I wanted to do something, even something small, to promote awareness of mental illnesses. Posting on Facebook might do that to a small extent, but not when very few people see what you post. I figured a blog would be a better way to go, not to mention potentially help me to interact with other people who have also had problems with mental illness and other things.

I prefer blogs and forums to Facebook for a number of reasons:

  1. Tags, categories, themed forums/blogs – These are completely different from the disordered, chaotic nature of Facebook where every person uses it for a different reason and there are so many kinds of posts and information on your newsfeed. I realize there are groups for that, but sometime it can be hard to find good ones
  2. Your posts more or less disappear after a few hours and no one ever sees them again/no indexing system – This is a big one. If I am going to take the time to write something, even a disordered rant, I might want to keep it around and be able to come back to it for a while. If other people are going to comment on it, it would also help if it stayed around. You can pin posts but that’s not the same as really indexing things on a site or blog.
  3. Quality of discussion – In my experience, there is not much quality discussion to be had. People press “like” and don’t comment, or, in the case of everything I write, they don’t “like” it or comment on it. I’ve had people tell me they read all my posts, which is nice, but I still have very little interaction with people on there. Another part of it may be that, if it’s just going to disappear (more or less) by tomorrow, why bother putting any thought or effort into anything you write there?
  4. I never got the hang of the “social” aspect of social media. Like I said, I guess because my posts are too “grim” or “heavy” or weird or whatever, nobody really interacts with me on Facebook. There are people I have talked to via private messages, but not all that much. I often go for weeks without using PMs on there. And it’s rare that post anything that causes anyone to comment. I don’t want or care about “likes,” but if it’s social media, I guess I would expect some discussion or social interaction on there sometimes. I don’t interact with people on Facebook. On the other hand, I do have long discussions with people on forums, and I do like responding to blog posts.
  5. People get offended by everything. When I say I like discussion, I also mean discussion with people with different points of view. On Facebook, people often get offended if you disagree with something they post and say so, even if you’re polite. It’s much easier to discuss and debate on a forum or blog
  6. Facebook just isn’t rewarding to me. Using it has no particular benefits other than potentially being able to contact people sometimes. On a day to day basis, I might as well be writing longhand in a diary for all the more I talk to people. At least a diary wouldn’t upset me. Hell, I’ve often posted the exact same rants on both Facebook and on a forum and my FB posts were totally ignored, while my forum posts with the same content generated good discussion.
  7. Godawful color scheme. I understand why they wouldn’t have wanted it to turn into a MySpace clone, but the bright background hurts my eyes.
  8. Real names, etc. I don’t like the real name policy. I don’t like people trying to find me on there who I never really even knew or liked. I don’t like how you’re expected to post photos of yourself, and I especially don’t like how people can tag you in their photos.

So anyway, I’m considering just coming here (or certain forums) when I feel like writing about or discussing something rather than Facebook. We’ll see how that works out. I’ll still check my messages there, but more and more, Facebook seems like a colossal waste of time to me.

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.

I wish I didn’t have a sex drive

[Forum post plus some discussion from other people]

I’m not sure where I am at. I’m comfortable for now not talking to people in real life. I no longer get the urge to. There was a time when, if I felt bad or whatever, I would have an urge to talk to people in real life and have a conversation. That’s gone now.

Mainly these days I just wish my sex drive would go away. It’s especially upsetting because, due to medications, I thought it had gone away forever and I was very disappointed and disturbed when it came back (common symptom of bipolar mania: “hypersexuality”).

Here’s your TMI for the day:

Despite, after many years, getting over the Catholic guilt concerning masturbation, it doesn’t really help me much because (1) it seems a bit second-rate, and (2) it occasionally makes me cry, which makes it especially unpleasant and unhelpful. It’s not that I’m not good at it, I think I’m pretty good at it, it just seems like I’m lacking something I guess. It has diminished slightly since the psychotic episode last summer, though, but it’s still there.

So, not really sure where to go with that. If you’re horny and haven’t had any success having sex with other people, masturbation would be the obvious way to go, but it doesn’t seem to help me much. I guess I’m just waiting for menopause now because it’s my understanding that that can help to diminish sex drive.

I used to abuse drugs and alcohol very heavily to reduce or eliminate my sex drive, but it’s my understanding that that isn’t necessarily a healthy thing to do, either.

I don’t have any real hopes of ever being in a real relationship (I assume that would potentially be helpful with the sex drive), because, after 17 years or so, I have gotten discouraged by being rejected by everyone I ever attempted to initiate a relationship with and either (1) I am just not attractive to people in that way, or (2) I am doing something very wrong and I can’t fix it because I don’t know what I’ve been doing wrong.

There has never been a time where someone wanted to start something up with you, where they initiated the potential relationship?

No. I mean, not since like 1996, and he was cheating on me since the very beginning. So I always figured it was up to me to make the first move, but that always ended up leading to rejection and/or losing friends. I don’t think I’m creepy or anything, and the most I ever did was suggest that me and another person hang out (alone, without other friends), and I never even got that far* with people I normally hung out with (around other people), I would either be told they weren’t interested or they’d agree to hang out or go somewhere and then never show up, and then never talk to me again because apparently that made it weird. I also never considered myself anything worse than average looking, so I don’t think that’s it, and I had great tits in college.

*Not counting some drunken messing around with some women when i was 18 or 19, but that was more in the realm of 1 night stands and not potential relationships.

On involuntary celibacy

[This was a discussion of a post on Facebook which I can’t find to quote right not]

It’s interesting to read people’s thoughts on this; this guy is obviously angry. The culture in general is often judgmental toward people who don’t have sex, though, which probably doesn’t help and just causes more hatred and lashing out.

I disagree that it’s a male problem, though. I mean, I tried during the entirely of my 20s to have sex and relationships without any success at all (haven’t even kissed anyone since I was a teenager, probably wouldn’t remember how; by the time I was in my 30s I’d given up), and I do get resentful when people suggest that any woman can just go out and get all the sex she wants, whenever she wants, just because she has a vagina.

I do think discussion is helpful though. People can get really uncomfortable if you start talking about anything other than a normal sex life. I think there is some overlap with the way people respond to people talking about mental illness, many people don’t know how to deal with the discussion and try to avoid it, but I think talking about it helps people understand each other and should be encouraged. I also refuse to censor what I say regarding things like mental illness and sex to make the people around me comfortable, because (1) no one has the right to never be upset, and (2) if other people can talk about sex and relationships and that’s socially ok, I feel like I should be able to talk about what it’s like to not have those things.

I got irrationally upset one time when I was talking about a back tattoo I considered getting and some guy said guys would appreciate it. I said no guys other than my dermatologist ever see my naked back! (I have several tattoos no one has ever seen, for that matter.) And I realize now I was just lashing out because he just assumed I had sex with people because most people do and I shouldn’t have gotten angry with him.
Also probably why it bothers me if people ask if I have children. I never had a chance to make a decision to have children or not. As a kid, I always said I didn’t want any, but that’s not the same thing and thinking it over and being able to decide on the matter.

The worst thing about being bipolar and having severe mania at times is having a sex drive, for me, anyway. It’s the most unpleasant and unwanted symptom, and harder to deal with even than suicidal thoughts, which I also have a lot of while manic. The only good thing about the medication induced depression I was in for several years there, IMO, was complete lack of a sex drive. I thought maybe it would stay that way forever.

Forming relationships with people

I’m just not good with forming relationships with people. I’m just never invited anywhere for anything. And most people celebrate things with their significant other and/or children when they’re adults, and I’ve never been able to initiate romantic relationships and have been single for my entire adult life. I could whine and say it’s because I’m not attractive enough, but there are plenty of people less attractive than me who manage to have relationships, so it must be something else. I’ve never really been able to figure it out. I don’t think it’s a matter of me needing to lower my standards, either, because I don’t think my standards were ever all that high to begin with, it’s just that the people I am attracted to are never attracted to me.

As a kid, I always said I didn’t want to ever have children, but then, I also never had the opportunity to do so.

So no, it’s not on purpose, it’s just that I haven’t yet figured out how to form relationships (romantic or friendship) with people.

On sex and body issues

Since I never address this, I will write a massive wall of text about body issues and sex and relationships problem:
[*]Currently have some physically-related self-esteem issues, and being naked around anyone for any reason is the most nightmarish thing I can imagine.

Even ~10 years ago, my eczema was so bad I covered up from head to toe so no one would see it and run away screaming or worry they were going to catch something. People who are very obviously having health problems (such as being covered in oozing sores) are not considered attractive, also. It took many years and many hospital stays to get the skin most under control, and now I have similar problems due to weight gain from the medications.

To give an idea, it’s not just sexual situations I avoid. I avoid mirrors and don’t even have a valid photo ID card right now because I hate the idea of having my picture taken. I don’t think I’ve posted a selfie online in the past 10 years.

This is a reaction to the current state of things and is not my permanent way of being. I used to take my clothes off all the time. A guy I knew in high school told me the other day he remembers the time I changed clothes right out in front of everybody while we were practicing for high school jazz band. I’ve let art students take nude photos of me. In my old apartment, I had topless photos of myself on the kitchen wall. So it’s reasonable to assume, I think, that this is a strong reaction to weight gain, Cushing’s syndrome, skin issues.

That’s not to say I had no self-esteem issues; I was made fun of a lot in school when I was very young, even my best friend would often get mad at me and decide to say things to try to hurt me, like saying I was too ugly to get a boyfriend. I probably believed it in middle school. I had a problem that if someone hit on me, I’d take it as making fun of me (that happened more than once, also) and react badly. By high school I considered myself average-looking and, as a result, had more or less normal relationships with people.

[*]Due to medications, I also had zero sex drive for about 8 years, and zero interest in relationships. I consider being single and celibate an ideal situation for this reason.

I think I also get a lot of my insecurity from my mom. When I was in high school, and I’ll tell you right now I had a fucking fantastic hourglass figure and great tits, but I’d put on a dress and get ready for school and she’d give me a disgusted look and tell me my legs were too fat to wear that and I should go change. And so on. Eventually I ended up having a very hard time taking compliments and would be very uncomfortable if complimented for anything physical. Eventually I tried to ugly myself up enough that no one would compliment me on my looks (not that I was a supermodel to begin with) and any compliments would have to be about things I could do, not how I looked.

What was it that RuPaul says on her show? “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell can you love anyone else?” I think that sums up my problem. I have gone from hating myself and wanting to die, to hating myself [physically!] and not wanting to die. I think it will take me some time to recover from all of this.

I realize that many/most people would recommend continuing to at least see the therapist, and maybe that sounds helpful in theory, but I tried and tried for years and I can’t discuss anything important to me with any therapists. I experience a sort of verbal block. It’s stupid, but I have not been able to overcome that, making therapy quite worthless for me. Toward the end I actually felt really bad about wasting my therapist’s time and/or boring him to death. I’m not anti-therapy, I am just unable to make any productive use of it.