I am mmMekitty, named for my cat, (my avatar), who lived 7 years. It has been five or so years since, but I still miss her. Mekitty an I had a simpler relationship than any I have had with people.
The photo is the one I to retrieved after my hard drive crashed. She had wandered off, was away for six days, when she turned up again in the middle of the night. I cried with relief. This was the photo I used for her Lost Cat poster I put up around the neighbourhood at the time.
As for me, I cannot see the detail of the photo nearly as well as I did then, and then my sight was poor. I am now using text-to-speech software, zooming on my pc, voice over. Since I find this stuff difficult, I get really frustrated.
I used to keep all my emotions in check, so much so, I thought and said I did not have any feelings or reactions to anything. That changed and I could not deny the existence of my emotions. It was a terrifying time. What was happening to me? I was falling apart and all this unidentifiable stuff was pouring out.
I have had to learn so much since I began seeing the Psychiatrist I saw back then (1993 - 95). From learning I had to put words to the experiences, name, own, accept them. Still uncomfortable. I beat up on myself too much, I know.
I used to do things I can no longer do to my own satisfaction. I still sing, but not like I used to. I cannot paint like I did. I cannot use pen and paper to write, so have managed to adapt to keyboard. That is something. I have been working on being more sociable, less isolated, but last year, when COVID-19 retrictions required face masks be worn, I found I could not - which is what brings me here.
I have had to curtail so much of what I had been doing. I am feeling the isolation now. How ironic! I resisted even thinking I needed anybody, then I try to have some friends, join a writers' group, get help with things like housework and shopping, going to places for fun and entertainment, only to have to withdraw again because I cannot wear a mask. It bites, like a scorpion.
I will make a thread, now I found the place to click to create one! I think my problem was with how I have my desktop appearance. It looks like any ordinary link, hiding below another, for creating a feed link. Now I know.
I suppose I will get around to talking more about myself. I will need to be careful about how involved I become, so please, don't expect me to pop up everywhere. I would burn out if I did that.
Hi Grandy & everyone
These questions about how & why people are the way they are are big questions, which might not have been thoroughly answered by anyone - & I'm not sure they can be. If someone claims to have answers all sewn up I am both cynical & skeptical about the truth of such claims.
In some ways humans are simple animals, topped with consciousness, the awareness of self & others, to a far greater extent than other species, so so it seems, which complicates how we view ourselves & others, our lives, adds questions other species might not even be capable of thinking about because of them not having language to be thinking with ... oh, it's hard to express without being a professor of philosophy or some such. Even they have their different approaches to the questions.
Some of the big questions twist my brain up in knots just contemplating how difficult they are to answer.
Best to just get on with our small daily lives, eh? Deal with what we have in front of us. (I like that idea from Terry Pratchett, & how the witches had a very practical outlook about doing the job in front of you & letting the questions like 'why' & 'how' look after themselves.)
So tomorrow, early, begin the washing - I have enough for a load. Why I have another load is irrelevant. I already know how, so I don't need to think about that. Whether I wake up feeling unrested or well-rested makes no difference to whether or not the washing needs doing. Physically, I can get up & do it - so so it I will. Beginning the washing earlyis important to me because I want to have it done before I call my PDr in the afternoon... & have lunch beforehand, too, & not get distracted & forget it is still in the washer & needs to also be placed in the dryer to finish the job.
Later I will put it all away...
Sometimes that sounds like a big job, especially when I am feeling low & very tired because I hadn't slept well. It takes some determination to see the job done. Thinking only of the part of the job in front of me, one step at a time, helps get me to the finish line.
If I feel like that tomorrow, & I get through the washing & have lunch, talk to my PDr, pay him, then I will likely want a snooze. That's the stand-by plan. I'd rather not snooze in the arvo, but I will understand & not be hard on myself if I do.
Hugzies to everyone,
Hello dear MK, Grandy and All,
Grandy, your question about why some people who are treated poorly in childhood grow up to be kind to others, because they know what it feels like, while others despite knowing what it is to be treated cruelly go on to be cruel to others, is a question I have often asked as well. My mother's mother was extremely cruel to her. My mother repeated some very similar behaviours towards me, even though she knew how destructive and distressing it was when her mother was like that with her. I have really struggled to understand why you would treat others in a hurtful way, knowing what it feels like.
But the one thing that I keep coming back to is that some people seem to split off from themselves in a particular kind of way as a coping mechanism. I dissociated myself but I kind of split off internally in relation to myself. So I became very hard on myself internally rather than hard on others. But it seems that other people split off in a way that involves being hard on others (projecting) and that allows them to not feel what they are doing to others. It's like they somehow internally justify their actions by blaming and attacking others. What they are really doing is not facing their own bad feelings and instead making someone else a target to try to externalise feelings they're not owning and taking responsibility for.
This is how I have gradually come to see things anyway. Though I still find it really hard to understand when people are cruel. I think sometimes people are just lashing out from their own pain that has reached boiling point, and they lose all self-regulation. But I am so amazed and warmed by the people who are kind despite all that they have been through. I know that you Grandy and MK, and others here, have been through so much. But you are so caring and reach out to others with loving, kind, nurturing hearts. To be able to maintain this care despite your own struggles is truly beautiful and it makes all the difference in this often challenging world we live in.
MK, I know that feeling of having a task such as the washing to do that can feel overwhelming. Breaking things down into the small steps of what you are doing right this moment is such a useful way of approaching it. I'm doing much better now, but when really fatigued, a task such as taking the sheets off the bed and washing them and putting on clean sheets was utterly exhausting. I've actually had days where I have slept on my couch under a blanket because I simply did not have the strength to remake the bed. My system would just go down. But just staying focussed on the immediate moment of doing this step now, and then this step now, and so on, can mean you get through it progressively and then it's done.
I also think afternoon naps can be a lovely self-care thing to do for ourselves. Sometimes we just need them and we wake a bit more refreshed and able to continue with things.
Wishing everyone a lovely day,
Hi ER, Grandy & everyone
I was just thinking that one of the first emotions I noticed after all my "DeFences" fell down was how grumpy I felt when tired. I still feel like that, like a toddler when they are irritable when tired. I also feel feel like this when the weather is very hot & I'm sweaty. I get to feeling so much aggravation about it that I have to stop & take a cooling shower. It's an awful feeling, which distracts me from what I'm doing. If anyone tries to interrupt me or has something to say which irritates me, I feel I'll go crook on them, with unaccustomed anger.
I struggle with asking for what I need even when my emotions aren't strong.
When I am Anxious, upset, angry or frightened I find I am unable to speak up & clearly make my needs known unless I am able to block my emotions, & therefor, I guess I have a 'flattened affect' too.
I know when, when I do that, people are able to minimise the importance of what I'm talking about or the severity of it, or the depth of my feelings. (I didn't want my feelings to see the light of day.)
Now, I don't want to present as someone who appears emotionally fragile, as if about to have a break down, just because I'm trying to say, "I'm not okay, & need help". I don't want to have to convince anyone that what I'm saying is valid & that I have legitimate needs by seemingly dramatic emotional displays, or have them thinking I am being melodramatic.
But not be dismissed because I don't put any emotion into my speech, either.
I feel I don't know how to properly express myself without putting on some sort of performance.
I now know what my PDr has diagnosed for me. I am digesting it - not sure yet what I think. I was not surprised by the PTSD diagnosis, wasn't sure about Dysthymia, but was surprised by him saying I have Schizoid Personality Disorder. So, of-course, me & my curiosity went on an online excursion. I can understand how I fit much of the criteria for the diagnosis, so I suppose so... my only quibble is that I think I do experience a fairly wide range of emotions. But I'm not sure this would have been a diagnosis back when I was a teenager or young adult, if I'd been seeing anyone back then.
I fear & but hope this won't change our therapeutic relationship.
I sometimes feel that certain diagnoses explain more the behavioural presentation, rather than what is going on underneath, for the individual. I just looked up Schizoid Personality Disorder, and right now I probably seem like someone with it too, as I am spending a lot of time in solitude at the moment and I'm preferring that. But that is largely a self-protective thing to do with where I am at at this point in time. I still have an interest in social relationships. To me, MK, you seem also interested in social relationships on the BB Forum. You reach out to others, have a great sense of humour and are engaged and interactive. So I do wonder sometimes if certain diagnoses are a bit restrictive. But of course I am not a psychiatrist and in no position to diagnose. If you feel it doesn't fit for you, you could always discuss that with him. Rather than change the therapeutic relationship in any negative sense, it might actually strengthen it, opening up a meaningful discussion on the topic that is beneficial and enlightening to you both.
I am diagnosed with Complex PTSD, anxiety and depression. The Complex PTSD 100% fits my situation. The anxiety and depression, while they have been present, are really offshoots from the C-PTSD rather than existing in their own right as conditions, if that makes any sense. I have been very resistant for years being labelled as having anxiety and depression because I felt my core nature is not those things, but I now accept they have been present and quite bad at times. But underneath my core self, in my soul, whatever you want to call it, is a pretty happy, optimistic, even joyful being. So I make an effort to remember my true essence, if that make sense, even with the labels attached to me.
Sometimes diagnoses help get us certain supports and possibly that is something that is supporting your NDIS paperwork? So it might be useful having some forms of diagnosis, even if they are approximations. But I think it is also quite legitimate to raise it with your PDr if you feel something isn't quite right.
I really understand that struggle to speak up regarding your own needs, as we were discussing on another thread, including kind of blocking emotions in order to communicate them. One thing that I think is starting to help me in this area is focussing on protecting my inner child. So instead of being the vulnerable inner child as my totality, if that makes sense, where I can feel very scared and vulnerable, the adult part of me is going into bat for that inner child. I've always been good at defending children. If I see something happening to a kid I will go straight to protect them, and yet I've been terrible at protecting my own inner child. So I'm now trying to direct that same care inwards. As I do this I find I can speak up with more confidence and articulate my needs more clearly and from a calm, assertive place. I'm not sure if that helps, but I realise that's a shift that's been going on in me lately. It's still a work in progress, but I am changing in that regard.
I hope you have a lovely weekend and sending best wishes and Hugzies,
Thank you, ER.
It is only that I was advised to have my PTSD officially entered as a diagnosis with NDIS, to have more psychosocial support hours approved, which meant a form had to be filled out, part from my PDr (rather than some psychologist I'd never met), & someone else qualified to fill in the other part, & that he sent the completed form to myself as well as to the support co-ordinator, who is now expected to forward it to NDIS - & me being too curious to read what he & the OT I've been seeing, wrote.
I needed help to read it though, so as usual, I have to put aside any discomfort about sharing this stuff with people I don't know well, I asked my support worker to read it to me.
The one thing I dislike about NDIS is how much personal information they gather about us.
What I feel about people here on BB is just that so many are suffering & feeling isolated & unheard. I have strong feelings about how my needs were ignored, about beingg rejected & alone, so want to respond even to people who write about things I don't know much about, just so they don't have their posts go unanswered, maybe leaving them feeling ignored or rejected. If nothing else, I hope to bring the posts I answer to the notice of others who can relate better than I.
I'm not indifferent to what people are experiencing, but, I guess, it's more of an intellectual exercise for me.
Around me, in my own 'real life' I don't have friends, not even when I thought I did, it seems. I haven't felt a need to continue to be in contact with people I don't see regularly anyway. My family seems to feel the same. None of us has kept in contact with each other regularly over the years.
I can remember, when I was young, not feeling any great need to get close or to be close with family members, though I was close with my sis when we were little. That closeness faded as we grew into our teenage years.
& the abuse within & outside the family, into my adult relationships, too ...
All makes me wonder why my PDr didn't write the PTSD as CPSD?
But I think, oh well, if I don't need a 'C' added, then that's okay.
My PTSD symptoms are not intense now.
It shows your empathy that you care about other people being heard because of your own needs not being heard, so you know how it feels being isolated and struggling to be heard. So even if it is an intellectual exercise for you, it does show you care. I can relate somewhat to having a reduction in social contacts and social life. I do have a few friends, but the number is very small and it has dwindled as I have gotten away from what were unhealthy friendships previously. I think it is quite challenging for people with complex trauma from childhood, especially if we felt fairly isolated back then. It can feel a lot safer just being on your own. I certainly am largely content with my own company a great deal of the time.
I'm glad your PTSD symptoms are not as intense now. I understand how it would feel a bit invasive at times, having to share so much info with the NDIS and also with the support worker, getting her to read it for you. I guess the important thing is it is getting you the assistance you need, and there is no shame in having certain diagnoses, even though we may sometimes feel uncomfortable and not really want other people to know about it. I don't want most people to know me as someone with complex PTSD and I don't normally tell people in everyday life. I just mention it here as it is a mental health support forum. But I have had to get used to sharing it in certain contexts such as with the disability employment agency and it is now in my medical record. I try to see it as the beginning of a healing journey having it recognised.
I hope that all the form filling in yields good results for you with help from the NDIS. There has to be some rewards for all the paperwork! Take care of yourself MK and thank you for your kind contributions here on the BB forum.
But, ER ... there was more I wanted to say.
... Anyway, I think what I do is latch onto certain aspects about a person more than the actual whole person ... if that makes sense.
& I am aware people need to hear some things from others, & if that's all I can do which is helpful, I will - because even if I can't relate, I don't hate/loathe or want for people to continue to suffer. & sometimes, I really long for people to feel healthy & well in themselves & their lives.
I thought for a long time, I'm supposed to want relationships. Then I kept getting into 'bad' relationships,escaping them, & feeling I am safer being on my own. I haven't regretted that decision. I don't regret not having children, either. I never yearned for them like other people I've known. I've also thought it was a much better idea if I was not a parent to any child - safer for them & for my own mental health.
It's not shame or embarrassment about my past or diagnosis, it's more how others might perceive me, & treat me (or not treat me) as a result of them knowing these things. I've also thought these are private facts about me, & if someone needs to know, I can tell them. Besides I don't like that all this info is out intheir big mega-system.
Even 'hugzies' is my own adaptation away from the usual 'hugs' which can feel too long & uncomfortable to me. For others, it can be whatever they want. Of-course, virtual hugs of all sizes are fine.
Even when I played The Sims games I didn't want to play socially, to join online chat or forums, or even want to have my Sim/s be any more involved with other Sims more than was absolutely necessary. I rarely played the 'social' goals either.
If I could have worked out what to do in Second Life, I might have liked that - but for the social, & the commercial aspects ... I wanted to build & fly, then travel around the virtual world.
If I could drive, I'd be travelling, where I want, when I want, without having to discuss plans with anyone.
See, once I get writing, I keep thinking.
Hello mmMekitty, wave to ER,
Your paragraph about relationships & children could have been written by me. I found the societal pressures frustratingly annoying all through my 20s & 30s, especially as everyone else was sure I was wrong & that I would regret my choices later in life. Well I am later in life & I don't regret being single, nor do I regret not having kids. I never had that need for children & like you I've always thought with my mh issues it's better for everyone if I didn't have any.
I did have to google your recent diagnosis, it has left me scratching my head. You come across to me as someone who is able to express emotions, especially your sense of humour & I don't see why not wanting close relationships should be considered a symptom of a mental disorder. Why is it not ok to be content with your own company & only associate with people as & when it suits you. I know even with my sisters catching up on the phone every 4 to 6 weeks & in person a few times a year is plenty for me. I'm surprised at how cross I am at that being a thing, I would agree wanting to have close relationships & not being able too probably should be regarded as a disorder, but not if someone is content without.
I have no real idea what The Sims or Second Life are like except lately I've been getting memes on my facebook feed about mistakes made on Sims, from which I gather you are meant to make places/things. From what you have mentioned I'm guessing that like all the so called free games online there comes a point where if you want to go on it starts costing real money.
Fortunately, not each & every diagnostic criterium must be met to be diagnosed.
I scratch my head about the 'experiences a limited range of emotions'. Well, which emotions? I thought I had lots. I've also thought some of my emotions are deep & strong.
True, I have difficulties expressing my emotions.
I express myself far more when writing.
The problem when it comes to body language & facial expressions, which may be due to my low vision, & also due to how I learned that expressing myself led to trouble, more of my (ex-)step-mother's cruelty, nasty looks, such facial expressions I couldn't stand to look at her, so tried not to. Funny, she said she couldn't stand the sight of me, too.
Or I simply didn't observe & learn like kids with good vision?
Anyway, in person, generally, I am more reserved, & until I do feel comfortable with someone, I don't offer much of my own thoughts & feelings.
But over the last few years, working with my support workers, I think, & wonder, do I put on a show because this is what people expect? People tend to think something is wrong with me when I don't talk, even asking if something is wrong.
I'd rather not have to explain.
I know I don't accept or feel good in response to people praising me. I do, though, take criticism more to heart - but I think that is a residue from my upbringing.
When I phone my sis, it's more from a sense of: this is what I'm supposed to do, like a duty, because she is my sis, & I said I want us to be close again. I realise, not because I miss her, want to know what's happening in her life, want to share things in my life - no yearning or need to talk, to maintain the tenuous relationship we have, maybe more for her, if she wants, but maybe not - She phones me rarely, too. Then we talk trivial stuff. Would I miss having her in my life if she never phoned again? It sounds awful, like people will judge me, but truthfully, not much.
I understand people feel hurt or angered if they think I am indifferent to them. I cultivated my indifferent stance, as just one of my self-protective deFences. For people I don't interact with, I feel indifferent to. When they are talking about something that I have an emotional response to, I think I feel for them ... or is it that I identify with what they are talking about? I'm not sure.
People have asked me, "don't you get lonely?" questions & I don't.
& humans are gregarious. I am not.
Hello MK and Paws,
'Experiences a limited range of emotions' feels to me more like an external observation of a person rather than what their internal world may be like. And I do think the expression comes out more in writing for some people than it does verbally. My Dad was like that. I had almost no conversations with him - ever. He seemed very distant throughout my childhood and I mainly saw anger as an emotion in him. But he was very good at writing, even though he'd left school aged 14, and he would have loved to have been able to go to uni. But in his writing you could feel the emotions, even those that were not necessarily expressed overtly. His mother died when he was 5 months old and then he went through a series of traumas while still very young. So I think he developed a kind of reserve or distance from other humans which is totally understandable. So I think the early environment can play a big role in how much emotions are expressed, especially in interactions with others.
It sounds like you had a lack of people to co-regulate with emotionally as a child MK, and you had that cruelty from your stepmother. I also felt I had nobody to orient to. I know we talked else were about prosopagnosia - difficulty with face recognition. I definitely struggle with this. Only recently I was in a local cafe and a woman said hello. I had no idea who she was but said hello back. She was the receptionist from the local medical practice I'd spoken to many times who is really lovely, yet out of context I didn't recognise her. But after a few minutes I realised her uniform under her jacket, and it dawned on me who she was. That lack of co-regulation early I think makes even social recognition hard, let alone social interaction.
I think like both of you describe, I felt a pressure too to conform to what was expected of me, but couldn't really fulfil it. However, I did have a wish to have a family in my 20s and 30s and I have a strong nurturing instinct, but extremely debilitating pain from the age of 30 began to create doubt that that would ever be possible. Looking back, I don't think I would have been able to parent as I would have wanted to.
The phone conversations you both describe with your siblings sound similar to the ones I have with my brother. They feel like a kind of perfunctory, superficial friendliness. I feel like now the only relationships I want of any kind are real ones based on a meaningful, substantial connection. I have a couple of friends like that I'm seeing next week who are gentle, quiet people like myself, and also only have a small number of people they see too. I really respect one of my good friends who never goes to parties because she simply doesn't like that dynamic, and I totally respect her honesty to choose what's right for her. But she's a lovely person who cares about people. I too have stopped certain kinds of socialisation for some time now that I realise never suited me.
So I think it's a very nuanced thing, the whole idea of what is socially 'normal'. I think to be content to not socially engage is actually fine. It is working out what works for you. I think a forum like this can be quite a good place for people to express themselves in ways they may not usually do so in actual proximity to someone in real life. I know my Dad liked to write letters to people, but struggled with verbal communication and conversations. There are many ways to be human and I do think it's good to see them as all valid and having their own logic.
Anyway, so go my thoughts.