Author:Paul Gilmartin

Meghan P. Returns

Listener Meghan P. returns to talk about being diagnosed with “Psychotic Disorder Not Otherwise Specified” and the hospitalization that resulted from going off of her meds in anticipation of losing her health insurance.    She discusses the intense paranoia, her brain feeling “stung” and  the belief that she was being filmed for a reality t.v. show everywhere she went.  Meghan is the writer/producer/director of the documentary eXtreme, Loyal, Victorious: The Packer Fan Experience.

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Ashly Burch

The 22 year-old writer and actress (Hey Ash, Whatcha’ Playin?) and VO artist (Tiny Tina of Borderlands 2) opens up about the recent accidental overdose death of her boyfriend, the truths and myths about addiction, loving an addict, and her guilt about wishing she could have done things differently, plus the struggle to put her life back together.  They also talk about the danger of invalidating children’s feelings and the shame of obsessive or intrusive thoughts.

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Listener Michael D.

Michael opens up about his teenage struggle to avoid dealing with his chaotic and abusive childhood by being extremely regimented, developing an eating disorder, punching himself, compulsive exercising and eventually having a nervous breakdown.  He shares about finally dealing with his PTSD in therapy and confronting the cycle of abuse in his family so it won’t be passed on to his children.  He also talks about having to cut contact with his family because of their refusal to deal with a one of them being a pedophile.

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Listener Adam, Describes the Effect of Having Family Members with Severe Mental Illness

Dear Paul,

First off, let me tell you that it only took me about five minutes to become a huge fan of the show. Mental illness in America is quite literally the crazy aunt in the attic that we don’t talk about, and I’m glad that you have decided to start bringing it up.

I have never had mental illness myself, but I still think of myself as a victim of it. My mother is a bipolar who hears voices, and my older brother is a bipolar who suffers from paranoid delusions.

It goes without saying that my mother’s voices never said things like “Wow! You’re doing a great job! You’re awesome!” Her voices said things like “All of your children are sick and dying,” or “We have pictures of you molesting children.”

That’s the thing about the mental illnesses in my family. They are not quiet, discrete mental illnesses. They are loud and aggressive. Everybody’s parents embarrass them when they are teenagers, but my mom embarrassed me for legitimate reasons and not overdramatized teenaged ones.  She would do things like stand up and start screaming at school board meetings, or accuse my teachers of selling me drugs at parent teacher conferences. The “up” part of my mom’s bipolar disorder wasn’t fueled by happiness and optimism. It was angry, and paranoid, and fueled by the conviction that someone was actively hurting her or her family. The “down” cycle was pretty standard, I guess. She would burst into wracking sobs at random moments, or wake me up crying because she was convinced that everyone was “going away forever.”

My brother’s delusions were similarly poisonous. He believed that a man in Richmond, Virginia was pulling strings to ruin his life. The part that scared the shit out of me about that was that this man in Richmond was a real person, and, well, this is Virginia. It’s not like you can buy guns at the CVS, but they don’t put a hell of a lot of inconveniences between people and the Second Amendment. When he was “up” he would go out and max out his credit card, and when he was down he would sit in a room for months and literally cover himself in garbage. He would not clean up after himself, and would get enraged if anyone tried. The rest of the time was spent searching the internet for clues about this man who was ruining his life, and thanks to his illness, he was finding them everywhere. In articles online, in the newspaper, in the tone of voice of the bill collectors who would call day and night.

I managed to not get mental illness. My brother and I have different fathers, and I’m assuming that my Dad’s DNA kept that particular pack of wolves at bay. But I can’t be sure that if I ever have children that they will be safe. I don’t want to bestow that cursed fucking existence onto anyone, and also, if I am honest with myself, I am pretty goddamned sick and tired of crazy people. I think if I had a son or daughter who became my brother or my mom, and if I had to go through all of it again, I think I’d probably fucking kill myself.

Living like this has left me bitter and suspicious and cynical, because I not only saw the worst of my own flesh and blood, but I also saw the worst of our society in how we deal with the mentally ill. I was a teenager with a mom who was clearly buggy ding dong fucking crazy, and I got no help from anyone. Everybody knew my mom was crazy. Teachers, neighbors, friend’s parents, fucking EVERYONE, and nobody did shit. I got a lot of sympathy, but no help, and neither did mom. You can’t just commit somebody. They have to be a danger to themselves or others, and my mom never was. And as far as my mom was concerned, she was the only sane one on the planet. It was everybody else that was crazy.

When I turned around 15 I ran out of fear of her. And I also ran out of sympathy for her illness. Too much had happened, and I had realized that no help was coming from anybody. I just started telling her to go fuck herself. In the middle of her rages, in the middle of her crying jags, whatever, my answer was always “Go fuck yourself. Kill yourself. I don’t give a shit about you, you crazy psychotic bitch. Die already.”

I know that sounds terrible, particularly since you are a victim of mental illness yourself, but this wasn’t just a depressed person that I was dealing with. My life was chaotic, and it was humiliating, and here’s also what it was: entirely my mother’s fucking fault.

My mom stopped taking her lithium when she knew damn well that she had a mental illness. In fact, one of my first memories was my dad taking me to visit my mom at “the hospital,” and I remember the hospital not being like what I had seen on TV. In fact, it reminded me of my kindergarten class. Lots of construction paper and crayon drawings on the walls. I remember that there was an old woman who I got introduced to, and she said hello in a funny voice, and then she started drooling, and then she was led off, and that’s all I remember of visiting my mom in the hospital when I was about 4. I guess when I turned 12 or so she started doing the mental gymnastics that every mentally ill person does eventually. “I don’t need these pills. I’ll be fine.”

When I was 13, she demanded a divorce from my father. My dad didn’t have a full understanding of what was going on. In the first place, my dad was a lot older than my mom, and his thinking was different. As far as her mental illness went, he had that old school mentality of “I thought we fixed that!” I think he thought that she just turned out mean. I know that’s what I thought at first too.  He moved to a house across town and left me alone with her, and shortly after that the crying jags and screaming paranoia began in earnest. All those early hospital visits began to be remembered and started to make sense. My dad eventually figured it out and moved back in after about ten months. Ten really long and terrifying months.

One night after a psychosis induced fist fight between me, my dad, and her, she disappeared. Woke up the next morning and she was gone, and she stayed that way for about 18 months. My dad knew where she was, as he was paying the credit card bills, but he didn’t tell me, and I didn’t ask, because I was just glad she was gone. I’d get the occasional phone call from a panicked hotel clerk somewhere, who was calling me, because there was this sobbing woman in the lobby of the hotel who was convinced that her children were all dying, and could I do something please? I’d say “She’s crazy. Call the police.” And I would hang up.

She ended up getting arrested in Pennsylvania, and finally committed. I’m not sure what caused her to get arrested. I have never asked. I don’t want to know.

She’s ok now. Relatively. She hears voices, but is able to keep the volume low. I know it seems strange to say that I have “forgiven” her for being sick, but again, she was the one who stopped taking her pills. I love her, but that love is conditional. If she stops taking her pills to the point where she becomes crazy again (which is ALWAYS a possibility) I will instantly go back to hating her. And make no mistake about it, man, I fucking HATED her.

This has affected me in a lot of ways. I have bailed on more than a few relationships with women who were probably fine, but something would happen, maybe a yelling match that got a little too strident, maybe a bit of behavior that struck me as odd, and I would leave them. The idea of being with someone who might turn crazy is terrifying to me. I’m pretty much resigned to living my life alone by now.

My brother is just now crawling out of the hole that he has dumped himself into. It’s been more difficult for him. My mom had the benefit of being the wife of a military officer, and that health insurance is taken everywhere without question, but my brother had only the soulless, sociopathic clusterfuck that is private health insurance.

This latest episode was the third time that my brother decided that the pills were optional, despite proven evidence to the contrary, and I am still fucking furious with him for that.

I’m also furious at our system. My brother’s shitheel of a psychiatrist saw him for about three weeks, and then insisted that he check himself into the mental hospital, which is fine, except he insisted that he check himself into the really expensive private mental hospital where he practiced, and he did so without bothering to do a cursory glance to see if my brothers health insurance covered such things, and of course it didn’t. 6 days in the mental hospital where nothing was accomplished except $13,000 worth of debt for my brother, who had of course by then lost his job due to his erratic behavior. Said shitheel psychiatrist then stopped seeing my brother because of his inability to pay.

In his paranoid mania, my brother managed to burn every bridge available to him. He was living in a room in my mom’s house (and the stress of having him there was making her condition even more tenuous,) not bathing, pawning everything that wasn’t nailed down so he could buy cigarettes and chewing tobacco and Taco Bell, and searching the internet and newspapers for more and more evidence of this nefarious bastard down in Richmond.

As an aside, the ridiculousness of this delusion could not be understated. Everything about it was ludicrous. My brother was convinced that this man, who is some sort of tycoon, was ruining his life because he would not marry this man’s daughter. My brother, who weighed 300 pounds, could not clean up after himself, and was about 27,000 in debt. That’s who the millionaire must have for his son in law.

Even this guy’s name was ridiculous. Old rich Southern men are given perfectly ludicrous nicknames. Like, if you look at the names of the Crimson Tide booster club you’ll see a lot of guys named “Shuggie” and “Wiggie” and “Coopie.” I will spare you this guy’s actual name, but imagine someone telling you in all seriousness that the person ruining his life is named “Cuddlebear McSnugglepie” and you can imagine the level of frustration that my brother’s delusions caused my family.

We actually had to manipulate the system to get him help. We called the police and told them that my brother was talking about killing himself, and then and only then did they come and get him. They had a hearing, in which he swore up and down that he had never, and we swore up and down that he did, and miraculously, they put him in the county psych ward. Ironically enough, once the pills kicked in, and he stopped focusing on Snugglebear McCuddlePie, and he surveyed the fucking wreckage that was his life, he actually was put on suicide watch.

He lives in a homeless shelter now, and works in a Walgreens. He can’t stay at my moms. That will end up killing her, I know it. My brother says he is on his pills, and he might be. I mean, he’s holding down a job. But he’s been losing weight lately, and that makes me nervous. That could be a sign he isn’t on his pills. There are several, and I know them all pretty well by now.

·         Weight Loss

·         Putting tape over peepholes on doors or on any available webcam on any computer

·         Assigning significance to the trivial. “Hey man, did you leave this cup near the sink?”

·         Sudden religiosity. Intense bible study. Wearing a cross.

 

From here it’s only a few weeks before he’s back to hunting for more evidence of the Cuddlebear conspiracy to the exclusion of everything else. And it would not surprise me if he did get off his pills. Even after seeing what not taking his medication has done to him, I bet somewhere in his brain is a little wind up cymbal monkey, just clanging those cymbals together again and again and again, and those cymbals sound like “You’ll be fine! You don’t need them! It’ll be ok this time!”

 

I recently caught my mom succumbing to that same cymbal monkey recently. She’s going through chemotherapy, and convinced herself that the lithium would make things worse. Do you get that? After knowing goddamn well what happened to her, and after seeing what happened to her son, and even though she still has auditory hallucinations, she still managed to get to the point where she thought that MAYBE IT WOULD BE OK THIS TIME.

 

I’m sure there are things that I don’t get. I’m not them. I’m not mentally ill. But after someone has taken their shoes and used them to beat the living shit out of you, the last thing you want to do is put them on and walk a mile in them. My sympathy reservoir is pretty much empty at this point. I’m know I’m not really a victim, but I’m just worn out. In fact, I’m a fucking absolutist in how I think we should treat the mentally ill. I say we bring back the guys in the white coats with the butterfly nets. I say we start enforcing treatment. To me, a vagrant on a street corner crying into a trashcan is no different than a guy lying on the street with a broken leg, yet for some reason we do nothing for one and call the ambulance for the other. Maybe because there isn’t a quality profit margin in treating crazy, I guess.

 

My mom made me paranoid about women, and my brother made me furious about paranoia. Every time I see some right wing Cleetus on some political show going on about one conspiracy or another, I don’t laugh it off. I get really angry. I think “Fuck you. What makes YOU so goddamned special? And who’s life are YOU destroying with this delusion, you selfish, non-pill taking son of a bitch?”

 

I don’t know if I’ll ever get over this. I’m almost 40. I’m shell shocked, and I don’t know how to relate to people. I’m lonely but am afraid everyone is going to become crazy, so I keep my distance. Pretty much every relationship that I have developed over the past fifteen years or so has been superficial. Guys I drink with at bars. Women I have flings with that go nowhere.

 

My friends are all married with kids. I can’t do that, so I’m the weird guy. I get invited over for Sunday football less and less. I understand why. I get it.

 

Anyway, I just wanted to bring to your attention the plight of those who aren’t mentally ill, but get fucked completely by it anyway. Not that you have neglected the subject or anything, or been dismissive of it, but there is a whole peripheral group of people who suffer due to mental illness, and suffer pretty hard.

 

Thank you for your podcast. It makes me feel better. And thank you for tolerating the ramblethon that was this e-mail, if indeed you have gotten this far.

 

Thanks,

 

Adam

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Lynn Chen (Voted #10 ep of 2013)

The first generation Chinese-American actress (Saving FaceNCIS, Lakeview Terrace) and blogger (The Actor’s Diet) opens up about processing the complex emotions of losing her father, the shame of food addiction,  and forgiving her abusers.  Paul opens the show with an extended update on current emotional, mental and physical battles.

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Unwanted Arousal & Sexual Shame: A Guest Blog by J.G.

Unwanted Arousal and Sexual Shame: Embracing The Shadow Side of Your Sexuality

 

Western society is gradually coming to think more progressively and inclusively.  That said, in spite of recent evolutionary leaps, many Westerners still have a fairly static, black-and-white image of what constitutes morally acceptable sexual appetites and behaviors.

In “Sexuality and Shame,” Carolyn Shadbolt writes, “…moral edicts about what is sinful, the chastity of women, the sanctity of marriage, the moral degeneracy of homosexuality, the superiority of male heterosexuality, the deleterious effects of masturbation, gender roles, sexist imagery, biological determinism, and so forth are part of adult consciousness and life experiences that directly impact adult sexuality.” Western culture is highly opinionated.  We’re constantly bombarded with propaganda of right vs. wrong.  Over time, we internalize these messages – integrate them into our personal belief systems.  Shabolt goes on to write, “…when the uniqueness of our sexual identity collides with the views and expectations of what is ‘normal’ and of how we should be in both our private and public selves, shame will not be far behind.  In the area of sexuality, all too often shame is the result when the inner meets the outer.”  This discrepancy between inner and outer creates the kind of internal schism that tears people apart – that wreaks havoc on people’s relationships, marriages, families, health, and sense of self worth.

Remember: matter can be neither created nor destroyed, only converted into other matter.  If one represses his/her sexual energy, it will not conveniently evaporate — it will bubble up elsewhere.  It will switch form – manifest as a whole different animal.  It very well might mutate into something ugly, toxic, and truly hazardous.

Genuine sexuality, which is, by nature, fluid, complicated, and sometimes confusing in its expression, does not always align with what society labels ‘healthy’ or ‘decent.’ [Sorry, but not everyone wants to f*ck in the missionary position with one select member of the opposite sex twice a week, every week for the rest of his/her natural-born life.  That works for some, and that’s absolutely, positively fine.  If this is how you derive authentic sexual fulfillment, more power to you.  Sincerely.  But please recognize that for others, getting off is a bit more complex.]

Western culture lays the foundation for ‘the perfect storm,’ so to speak – an all-you-can-eat buffet of guilt, shame, and self-loathing.  And Heaven knows, around these parts, everyone loves a buffet.  In the face of socially unacceptable sexuality, shame is twofold – ignited from the outside, as well as within.  Many people silently pathologize themselves and waste a lifetime toiling away under layer upon layer of anguish and self-reproach.

I can’t believe that I’m about to admit this on the internet, but here goes: since the dawn of my sexual maturity, images/descriptions of erotic humiliation have been known to get my blood pumping like none other.  I’m talking the likes of public exposure, forced orgasm, people – women in particular — getting stripped, bound, and otherwise sexually debased, all for the viewing pleasure of hungry voyeurs.  (Bear in mind that I identify as a Feminist – talk about cognitive dissonance!)  For years, I was certain that this made me a morally bankrupt human being: the opposite of what I wanted to be.  I wanted to be a good daughter, a straight-A student.  I wanted to be admitted to a Tier 1 college or university.  I wanted other people to see me as sweet, smart, pretty, wholesome.  Sweet, smart, pretty, wholesome girls, I thought, definitely don’t get off on these kinds of twisted fantasies…

I remember confiding in one psychotherapist who confirmed my biggest fear.  She implied – more like stated outright — that my sexual proclivities served as evidence of a troubled childhood and subsequent, deep-seated moral disfigurement.  When I opened up to her about my darker desires, her knee-jerk response read as shock/mild horror, accompanied by [what I now recognize as] some ignorant platitude along the lines of, “You can get over this… slowly, over time.”  She saw my desires as warped, distorted, defective, a reflection of emotional/psychological disturbance, a problem in need of correction.  This was traumatic to say the least.

I hated myself for wanting what I wanted.  In high school, I kept myself good and occupied with academics.  In college, I ultimately developed what amounted to a serious eating disorder.  I guess I hoped that if I were skinny and ‘beautiful’ enough (yes, at the time, I equated beauty with emaciation), no one would notice that I was a ‘demented pervert.’  I guess I also hoped to alternately binge and starve away my ‘sinister’ cravings — to distract my fettered mind with something not only tangible and manageable, but also ordinary (worrying about food/weight seemed a hell of a lot more normal than dealing with my sexuality-guilt complex).  But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to realize — through a combination of quality psychotherapy, a steady yoga practice, and long, candid conversations with solid, trustworthy, open-minded friends – that people can’t control how their bodies respond to certain stimuli. I’ve also come to realize that it’s possible to crave whatever it is you crave and still be a good person.

If you feel compelled to investigate the origin of your shadow desires, you’re entitled.  But in some cases, I’m not sure that it’s entirely necessary or fruitful.  Regardless of your arousal’s source, which you may or may not be able to pinpoint, it’s never wrong — it just is.  You have green eyes.  Period.  You’re 5’9″.  Period.  Images of 300-lb. grandmothers in dalmation-print moo-moos sitting on balloons make you come.  Period. Who cares?  Furthermore, who are you to judge that as ‘wrong’ or ‘disgusting’?  As a friend of mine from eating disorder treatment once said: “Your body is none of your business.”

Have you ever gotten off on something in spite of yourself?  Has the source of your sexual excitement ever contradicted who you wish or strive to be?  I assure you: so long as you take responsibility for your behavior — as in: so long as you don’t harm anyone who hasn’t given you his/her express, adult consent — your closet affinities, no matter how bizarre, downbeat, or taboo by mainstream society’s standards, do not make you a degenerate. Don’t try to shut off your primal impulses; they’re stronger and more potent than your mind.  Whatever you try to push away will eventually push back with equal force.

No matter what salacious hungers you harbor, there are so many ways to sublimate your shadow yearnings, making for a rich, creative, deeply satisfying sex life! Worry not — you’re not vile.  You’re not hopelessly depraved.  You’re not a menace.  You don’t need to ‘fix yourself.’  And perhaps most importantly — you’re far from alone.

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Guest Blog: My Dark & Anxious Thoughts by “E” – a female listener

Thoughts I harbour when I am at my worst:

When I sleep with people, they are pretending to enjoy it. They are playing a role, and not in a sexy way, but role-playing being “normal.” They are faking intimacy.

I suspect this to be true with sexual encounters that fall under the umbrella of one-night stand and mistake, but at my worst, my most cynical, or maybe just deep down, all the way down, I believe that even the sex I have with men I date or actually like are like this.

I think sex is terrifying and absurd. In terms of unwinding and escaping from your own skin it is the worst.

The worst distraction, the worst way to lose yourself, the hardest way you can disconnect from everyone and everything. It makes no sense. You’re meant to be at your raw-est, ready to disappear, forget your name but you still have a duty to perform and someone to impress. Eye contact during sex is ridiculous. Eye contact in everyday life is a tad awkward, especially the moment you become aware of it, but during sex it loses all its naturalism and suddenly you’re aware of every single one of your pre-programmed functions. How did you ever breathe without thinking? If you’re prone to panic attacks, as I once was, this is hell. But during sex. Oh God. You want to be alone in the moment so you can actually enjoy the moment but someone else is there, (how inconsiderate of them!) and you just can’t. You can’t.

Well you can, but in tiny little bursts, a peak here and there and then you have to squeeze your eyes shut and forget what is actually taking place, so you can truly “lose yourself.”

All this. And you’re naked.

Your most vulnerable with varicose veins and breasts that failed the pencil test when you were 15, and whatever face your pulling is undoubtedly horrific. It is all far too personal to be shared with anyone you haven’t known for twenty-five years. At least. But you are meant to be look past the logistics of the act straight to the carnal nature of it? I can’t focus. I can’t get out of myself, and sometimes I find myself thinking that we are both robots and are just ticking boxes so we appear human.

I am paranoid that people are always role playing, pretending to be business people, dressing up as office workers and teachers but they are just kids pushing fake tins of beans on you from a shop counter they’re mother bought them or listening to your heart with a plastic stethoscope. Proving something to the elusive person they still have to prove things too.

I realise this is all self-reflective. You see people the way you see yourself or how you feel you should be operating. But I think that’s the problem. I have a hard time distinguishing between what I should be doing and what I want to be doing and I am still learning who I am. I know 52% of what makes me tick.

I guess that’s the reason for experimentation, for attending things deemed “cultural” and functioning and engaging but my should’s and my wants frequently blur into one, and I often don’t know what’s a should and what’s a want. How can I have free will when I make myself a prisoner?

Without boundaries I can be the laziest person who ever existed. If I don’t put strict boundaries on myself I will just lie in bed all the livelong day. I am a pro-active lazy person who is doing everything a million miles an hour so I won’t think. I haven’t laid down in a while, but the fear of laying down and not being able to get back up terrifies me. I would drown. I would no longer wash my clothes, because it never ends. You never get to finish. You never get to do that last run. That last hair wash. You have to run four times a week, wash your clothes all the time, wash your hair every other day (thank you dry shampoo) and it’s exhausting. I hate routine.

Routine is going to kill us all.

Routine keeps me sane, but every fibre in my being fights against it, it doesn’t understand why you do the same things over and over and over again. It is not the definition of insanity, because it is an essential part of existing, but I sometimes wish things had an ending. Do you not (imagine me on at speakers corner, I’m wearing the green hoody I spilt my dinner on) find it exhausting to think about the patterns in your life and how they will carry on again and again and again? That we will repeat ourselves again and again until our hearts stop, and nothing will change other then the fact we have nice smelling clothes, clean hair and a lower resting heart rate then someone who doesn’t run four times a week? Repeating so nothing changes.

But back to role-playing.

When I am at my most anxious I rehearse conversations with friends so I come across as… less anxious. I think issues lose their power when you talk about them. If you explain your feelings then nothing is an issue. Which is bullshit. Talking about anxieties and bleak feelings is just a means to control how other people see you. I talk in safe terms about what is going on in my head, get comfort from the kind eyes but it is so I appear to have a handle on it (whatever it may be.)

I finish the conversation with a bookend about how it is going to be okay because… sometimes it has to be.

It seems like positive thinking, believing in the power of narrative, that fate will find a way. That I am not a bad person, I hope, so everything has to work out. But it’s all bullshit. I fear they, my friends, will find me out; know something is wrong, or that I don’t know how to be with people, or even like it at times. Have you ever really disliked a friend for caring about you? Really resented another human being for wanting to spend time with you? How dare they make you carry on this façade? The five minutes before I meet people I have the most aggressive dark dissections of their personality.

I think every meeting or contact with humans is a test to show your normal, successful, or on the right path. It should be easier then that. It’s getting easier. I am learning that other people feel the same, that anxiety is all around us (which is weirdly reassuring), and sometimes fear of being alone is worse then fear of company. But I calm panic by ticking boxes, with routine, by role-playing. I have seen friends, I have gone to the gym, I didn’t enjoy some of the things I did. I didn’t want to do them, but at least it felt normal, it felt soothing to prove to this elusive person I am trying to prove myself to that I am popular and healthy. It was the thing to do.

I look at people who make decisions based on instinct or laziness, or just their own god dam thoughts and opinions and I feel this envy. I have my own thoughts and opinions but I only share them with people I feel safe with. People I have known for years who won’t tell me why I am wrong, wrong, wrong.

I am aware this makes me a pussy.

I just wish I could make eye contact with people who are nice to me. I want that as a bumper sticker. My therapist use to make us hold hands and stare at each other. It made me feel a little bit sick. I associated contact with sex, you don’t touch people you aren’t sleeping with and we were NOT sleeping with each other. I couldn’t stand it. But it felt like an obvious defect within me that I then had to counter, I had to stare into her eyes, because that would make me “normal”.

Didn’t mean I accepted the process, or didn’t rebel against it, or wasn’t actually taking it seriously. You set the boundaries and I will follow you where I am not comfortable, because I want you to tell me what is wrong and what is right. In relationships I will match your intensity, your nonchalance, beyond my comfort zone because I assume you know best.

Saying goodbye is not normal.

I hate saying goodbye or hello to people. I hate leaving. I was told I didn’t know to leave places before. I couldn’t exit properly. I came off as rude. I hate the fakeness of the goodbye with the mild acquaintance. You person you barely spoke to, I don’t want to waste their time or mine by making false promises and pronouncing how sad it is we never spoke. I would rather just disappear. And if we did speak, and we did connect, I don’t want to acknowledge that with eye contact and a hand shake. I would rather just disappear. And if we barely connected then why do we have to touch? I would always rather just disappear, because the conversation is so small.

I hate the smallest of small talk.

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Karen Kilgariff Live in Portland

The actress (Mr. Show), comedian (Behind You),  and writer (The Ellen DeGeneres Show) shares about struggling to fit in, body shame, her alcoholism, her mother’s Alzheimers, learning to accept her body and become vulnerable and her experiences in therapy.  Recorded 4/20/13 at the Bridgetown Comedy Festival.

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