I'm afraid of everything I love and I love everything

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I'm afraid of everything I love and I love everything

Postby honeylocust » May 6th, 2017, 3:06 pm

Hey y'all.

First off I just want to say hi. It seems like this board isn't extremely active any more but for whatever it's worth I'm glad to meet you. I'm working through a lot of stuff and I'm not really sure how it's going, but the MIHH show is a little bit of relief and acceptance every week and I guess if you're here you probably feel the same, and that's kinda nice to know.

I had a shitty, invalidating childhood, and my whole life I've struggled with depression and a grab-bag of other mixed symptoms that have led psychiatrists and therapists to tell me I'm dysthymic, cyclothymic, bipolar II, ADHD, unipolar depressive, and more! Meds have only ever been slightly and temporarily helpful. Mostly I've just had a piss-poor self-image and a lot of self-loathing over my seeming inability to focus on anything or succeed at anything I care about. I think of myself as an academic and I've only ever wanted to do science, but demotivation and lack of focus completely wrecked my attempts to get into grad school and now I have no idea what to do with myself. I've wrecked a couple of several-year relationships; somehow it seems like once we talk about getting married everything just starts to crumble. Now I'm lonely and terrified to open up to anyone about anything because getting that attached to someone and having it fall apart hurts so much I think I might break down completely if it happens again. I'm pretty isolated and I'm really, really struggling to break out of it because my self-image has cratered and I feel like I'm too needy and too poor to offer anything as a friend or a date.

I guess that's about the whole package? There's good stuff in my life too. I have a lot of neat skills. I have a great dog. I have great taste in music and I'm an awesome cook. I have no money and not much in the way of assets but I get by.

Anyway... hi.
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Re: I'm afraid of everything I love and I love everything

Postby honeylocust » May 6th, 2017, 3:33 pm

I didn't want to go on too long in my intro post but I thought it might be a little cathartic to write out a more detailed account of my last extremely shitty couple of years and what brought me to this point and led me here. So here goes.


I'm feeling more than a little lost in my life right now. I had an absolutely fucking awful 2016, hands down the worst year of my life, and the first part of 2017 has only very slowly been getting better. But one day at a time, right? I had a bad breakup early last year; I say "breakup" but we were together for six years and it was only technically not a divorce. We'd gotten pretty codependent and I'd been struggling mentally and financially, and as the power dynamic shifted, my ex became more and more emotionally abusive, and I kept getting more desperate to make things okay again. Late January 2016, I finally just had to get out. I told her I was done, and my life completely came apart as all that pressure suddenly came off.

I spent the whole year in a fugue. I went through a couple shitty jobs - I'd been struggling with employment, but now I didn't have much choice - and a lot of lost time. My ex and I were poly, which started off great, but became more and more difficult as things went bad between us; in September, I had to end another relationship of almost three years because she'd moved away and I was just too wrecked, emotionally and financially, to be able to follow her and start over in a new city or keep things going long-distance. I even almost lost my dog; my ex and I rescued him together and whether we could share him was a contentious issue when I wasn't sure it was safe to even be in contact with her.

I did have a few amazing experiences - an awesomely fun trip to the middle of nowhere in the desert with a woman I was having a fun, intense, but brief fling with, and an absolutely numinous moment of fulfillment when a huge art piece I was working on with a crew of people finally came together. But it wasn't until the last month or two that I started to understand how badly I'd been damaged by everything that had happened, all the emotional violence and guilt and shame and the total destruction of my plans and expectations for the future. I'm starting to figure myself out again, a little at a time, but in the course of the last couple of years of drama and loss, I've pretty well isolated myself. I lost a lot of friends in the breakup, not because they turned on me, but just because I'm ashamed and embarrassed and worried about whether they'll believe my ex's version of the story in which I'm definitely the bad guy. I'm afraid to go out to a lot of things because I'm worried I'll run into her; we can be civil together, but every time I interact with her I'm thrown into a miserable depression for days, especially if there's any sign that she's moving on and having all the fun and fulfillment and intimacy and sex that I wanted us to have together and now I don't have at all. She says she wants to be friends, but every interaction we had was about her needing something from me; when we talk, she'll tell me things I really don't want to hear, and never express the slightest interest in me or how I'm doing. That's not how friends act, you know? But I can't shake a nagging guilt and shame because maybe I'm just not trying hard enough...? There's still a big part of me that really desperately wants to please her no matter what it costs me. There's a part of me that still thinks she's the most beautiful, charming, witty woman in the world and would follow her anywhere, any time. And I have to choke and starve that part of me even when it's the only part that feels alive.

I do still have a few friends and activities that I know are just mine, but even there, I'm just embarrassed and ashamed and lonely, because I've been so out of touch and so miserable and needy. Having some stability and expectations for a good future when my ex and I were together, I'd finally started to make some progress on my lifelong depression and even started to like myself, but that all fell apart, and now I feel like a completely useless piece of shit, maybe worse than I ever have before.

I've just turned 35 and I'm so, so scared that it will take me so long to pull myself together that I'll never have anything I want in my life. I'm scared that even if I ever get myself emotionally stable I'll be middle-aged and broke and alone trying to start over. I'm scared that I've screwed up so much for so long that I'll never have a happy lasting relationship or a family or a career where I actually accomplish anything meaningful. I'm scared I won't be able to provide for myself as my country's social safety net is stripped away, let alone provide for a family. I'm so starved for touch and intimacy that it physically hurts sometimes, like a kick in the gut. I'm so scared and I hurt so much sometimes that I think I might die if someone doesn't hold me but I have no one to hold me, and when I think about that I want to scream and scream and scream but when I try I just clench up and go dead-eyed and numb. I'm scared that because I'm so scared no one will ever love me or respect me.

So. That's me, I guess. It was kind of liberating to let that all out but at this point in my life I feel almost too liberated. I wish I had something solid and secure to hold on to while I try to figure things out. But I'm doing the best I can.
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Re: I'm afraid of everything I love and I love everything

Postby Vaporwave » May 6th, 2017, 5:02 pm

Well, shit! Welcome to the party, mate!

It does feel good to kind of shout into the void. Think of this as a vaguely meditative space. You can shout into the void and know that whatever comes out of it will generally be positive. I've been here under a few names now, and it always feels good to be back. Thank you for your shout into the void - not only do you sound like a fascinating dude, but you've taken the conscious step to put in writing the feeling of emptiness that you're carrying. That's a big thing to do. May I suggest writing a diary? I've done a few now, and they can lead to nifty self-observations.
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Re: I'm afraid of everything I love and I love everything

Postby oak » May 7th, 2017, 3:28 pm

Thanks for sharing. I'm glad you posted.

Two thoughts, if I may:

1. You mention your country's disappearing social safety net; I have no idea where you are, but I believe as far as America, things are going to get real. I don't think it will be so much as red vs. blue, but urban vs. rural (see Hillbilly Elegy and Dreamland).

Which leads me to...

2. If you can get back into science, do so.

Graduate school admissions is somewhere between payday loans, mall jewelry stores, and used car salesmen for trust, integrity, and dignity. It is game, and a game that you can play well (read: get a GA/RA/TA) so you don't have to pay for it. Trust me, other than dental/medical/vet, the bar for graduate school admissions is low, if you're willing to up and go anywhere.

I work across the street from one of the finest scientific/medical institutions in the world, and they are rapidly expanding. There is a piece of that pie for you. Trust me.
"Work is love made visible." -Kahlil Gibran

"We gotta make a decision: leave tonight or live and die this way." -Tracy Chapman
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Re: I'm afraid of everything I love and I love everything

Postby honeylocust » May 9th, 2017, 7:14 pm

Thanks y'all.

Reading back over that I am really frustrated by how much I'm letting a relationship that ended a year and a half ago dominate my life. Obviously it was a huge emotional injury but I hate feeling this stuck. On good days it seems like I've shed the worst of the baggage from it and now it's just my own long-extant struggles I'm dealing with. On bad days... not so much. I think I'm just fixating on it because I literally haven't moved on - I still live in the same apartment, in the same city, and I don't have anything new in my life to fill the void left by all the stuff I lost. It's hard to put anything behind you without moving forward. :P

I guess this has been an eventful year for other struggles too. I've had a lot of anger about old family issues bubble up, and all this mess has made me face some hard truths about my life. I can't honestly say that I got sober, because I still struggle with using things (TV, social media, ice cream, e.g.) to avoid difficult emotions; but I did quit drinking and smoking pot.

I have tried journaling. I have a hard time sticking with it for long. Honestly I have a hard time sticking with anything for long, though. Building constructive habits is a real challenge for me.

And, oak, trust me, I've never given up thinking about how to get back into science. It seems so far out of reach - money, academic history, work history, lack of professional connections, it all just feels insurmountable. But I have a long, long history of lack of agency and resilience, so I dunno, maybe this is the year where I figure out how to believe in myself.
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Re: I'm afraid of everything I love and I love everything

Postby Stina » May 11th, 2017, 12:00 pm

Hi and welcome, honeylocust -

I hear ya on the relationship-ending funk. I went through that once upon a time with my big breakup. It was the dominating feature of my life for 5 years until I had a death in my family, and then *that* took over. Having those back-to-back experiences really showed that the relationship collapse was a form of grief because that person was gone, poof, no more. Might as well have died, for all the role they now had in my life. Does that help? Please allow yourself to grieve in your way, in your own time. :)
~~~ Kristina ~~~
weird and broken
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