Alexithymia

 

healingg

Today I realized that I’m mentally disable.

When you are worried about having to seek medical attention in the event of a physical illness because you haven’t been out in 7 months;
When you contemplate how much pain you can tolerate in said hypothetical event, because your body dysmorphia overshadows everything else, and you’d rather die than someone see you. See the despicable you.
When you think about not moving out from a toxic home because of what the process of moving out entails.
When you can’t let yourself fall in love, you can’t let another get close enough until you fix yourself.

That’s disability, but it took me ten years to realize, to accept. So it took me ten years to get better. You can’t change what you deny. For the longest time, I’d berate myself for my shortcomings and limitations. I’d hate myself for them, hate that I can’t just go anywhere I want without mentally preparing a week in advance only to break down in a panic attack the very last minute. I did not accept mental illness as an explanation, I rejected it and I thought if I’m strong enough, determined enough, resilient enough, I’ll deal with it. I’ll soldier through.

I’ll deal with the severe depression, the PTSD, the panic attacks. I’ll clean up my mental wasteland and I’ll do it all on my own.

Because I didn’t understand myself, I couldn’t explain to others why I can’t go to school today, or why I’m changing my mind about going out when we’re at the door, or why I ignore phone calls. And because people didn’t know what else to do to snap me back to reality, they’d say

Just try
You can do it. You’re smart.
What’s the problem?
This has gone on for so long. What are you waiting for? Until you die?
If you don’t start somewhere, you’ll forever procrastinate.
You can read all the books you want, but that isn’t going to change anything. You have to take the first step to go outside!
You’re young! You’re highly intelligent! Why are you wasting your life this way?
Ama talo keen noqo ama talo raac
What the heck Mulki! This is getting old real quick
Na intaad acudubilleysatid oo Ilaahay baridid, Qur’aan isku akhriyoo danahaaga ku toos.

And because I failed myself, because I denied my reality, I internalized those invalidating and patronizing prompts and it only served to break me more.

I’ve come far. Since 2008, I’ve been in auto-therapy. In these past 7 years, all I’ve been focused on is how to feel better. Granted, I did take many wrong turns and dead ends, but that’s how I learnt. I’d think about a plausible explanation to a certain mindset or hinder, I’d research and observe, and try different methods until I’d get the one solution that felt congruent to my being. And then I’d move on to the next layer of trauma and pain.

Considering the fact that I’ve had to contend with trauma that started when I was 5 and went on for another 18 years without interruption, I’ve made phenomenal strides. So I’m confident that, one day, I will become fully able to do what I’m passionate about but I can’t do that if I keep denying my pain and invalidate my limitations like some people have done. I have to stand up for myself because no one else can.

I have to make peace with myself because  I can’t heal with this civil war raging within me.

Haunt me

My heart is a time capsule
Where I stuffed away all my unwanted,painful memories in my life
In a bid to forget, to make them go away
Turns out it wasn’t a time capsule

it was a bomb

and my heart is about to burst with pain.

 

I’m *not* in denial, You are!

I hate solitude and I fear intimacy. For a long time I couldn’t figure out the reason behind this apparent oxymoron. Imagine my heart being a haunted house; I’m scared of the evil that lurks behind doors and under stairs, so I need to make a lot of clamour and noise to drown this fear. To make myself forget this fear. I invite people over,but I tell them we can’t move past the kitchen. I don’t want them to go to the scary nooks and crannies that I invited them to avoid in the first place. But it gets tricky because I can’t really tell them that I’m scared of my own house, right? And what do I tell them when they want a house tour? Perhaps go to the bathroom? Or worse; sleep over??

Now I’m really in a tough position, between a scary and an awkward place. I start becoming agitated because they are defeating the purpose of their visit! Their purpos–

Ah yes… I didn’t think that one through, the purpose thingy. It’s not manipulation, is it? Nah, I wouldn’t…I wouldn’t say that because ,you know, I mean, I like these people, it’s not like I don’t. I just don’t want to go to certain places of my house. I don’t want them to leave either, because, you know, I’d feel guilty for having made them uncomfortable? Yeah, no, you see it’s nothing like manipulation! What’s that?Oh, yeah I did invite them because initially I was scared, but still, they don’t know that right? 😐

Urgh. I’m not getting away with this, am I? I feel so rotten. All these complications because of those darn things that lurk everywhere! You know what, I got it! 💡The problem is this house, so if I move- problem solved! Duh! Why didn’t I think about this earlier? Haha.

My fear? My fear isn’t the issue, I mean I’m scared because it’s haunted, you know? 😕 I mean, I’m not a scaredy-cat or anything. Last house I lived in before this one was in a bad neighbourhood, like bad bad. Killers and rapist roaming the streets at night, you know? Yeah, scary stuff. I didn’t really encounter any, but, you know, I’d hear dudes making noise at 2 am down the street. They sure were up to something.

No, no, I’m really not speculating. The world’s a creepy place, you know? So yeah. I’ll call up the real estate guy first thing in the morning. Gotto find a safe place, remote but not too remote. Big, nice house. Mm, not too big, I mean that’d be creepy. And not too nice, I wouldn’t want to attract robbers, you know? Seeing I live by myself and all. Oh, I’ll have to make new friends now! Aww… :(. Will miss the ones I have. But oh well. Such is life right?

Do I keep in touch with old neighbours? Naah, not really. What’s the point? I mean, we aren’t neighbours anymore, and I always find new ones. I’m too busy to keep in touch.

Huh?I what?What the…!? I am NOT! I’m not using them! Gosh! Geez. What’s with the wild allegations? No, that’s not it. I mean, they don’t keep in touch with me either. Urgh, why are you trying to insinuate that I’m shallow? Why are you making this about me? Why can’t you just believe me ?

Fearful- you say I’m fearful? I am not, mister. Really? Fearful? My goodness. And how does that make me shallow?

Oh, so now I | i m a g i n e |danger huh? Who do you think I am? A lunatic? C’mon! No, that’s not it. There’s an explanation for it all. You know what? I don’t need this bullshitting in my life. You are constantly in my ear, doubting everything I say and tryna confuse me with that psychobabble. You know what Dr. Phil – take your armchair elsewhere. I’m done with you.  😡

* Mental note: intuition.

 

The actualizing tendency

I recently came across Carl Rogers, a notable psychologist and one of the founders of humanistic psychology, and I’m appalled that I didn’t know of his work any sooner! His theory resonated deeply with me because it deals with how someone veers off their congruent self to appeal to society and the negative consequence of that. And also how to be congruent and following one’s passion. Simply, a must-read.

Source


 

 

The entire theory is built on a single “force of life” he calls the actualizing tendency.  It can be defined as the built-in motivation present in every life-form to develop its potentials to the fullest extent possible.  We’re not just talking about survival:  Rogers believes that all creatures strive to make the very best of their existence.  If they fail to do so, it is not for a lack of desire.

Rogers captures with this single great need or motive all the other motives that other theorists talk about.  He asks us, why do we want air and water and food?  Why do we seek safety, love, and a sense of competence?  Why, indeed, do we seek to discover new medicines, invent new power sources, or create new works of art?  Because, he answers, it is in our nature as living things to do the very best we can!

Keep in mind that, unlike Maslow’s use of the term, Rogers applies it to all living creatures.  Some of his earliest examples, in fact, include seaweed and mushrooms!  Think about it:  Doesn’t it sometimes amaze you the way weeds will grow through the sidewalk, or saplings crack boulders, or animals survive desert conditions or the frozen north?

He also applied the idea to ecosystems, saying that an ecosystem such as a forest, with all its complexity, has a much greater actualization potential than a simple ecosystem such as a corn field.  If one bug were to become extinct in a forest, there are likely to be other creatures that will adapt to fill the gap;  On the other hand, one bout of “corn blight” or some such disaster, and you have a dust bowl.  The same for us as individuals:  If we live as we should, we will become increasingly complex, like the forest, and thereby remain flexible in the face of life’s little — and big — disasters.

People, however, in the course of actualizing their potentials, created society and culture.  In and of itself, that’s not a problem:  We are a social creature, it is our nature.  But when we created culture, it developed a life of its own.  Rather than remaining close to other aspects of our natures, culture can become a force in its own right.  And even if, in the long run, a culture that interferes with our actualization dies out, we, in all likelihood, will die with it.

Don’t misunderstand:  Culture and society are not intrinsically evil!  It’s more along the lines of the birds of paradise found in Papua-New Guinea.  The colorful and dramatic plumage of the males apparently distract predators from females and the young.  Natural selection has led these birds towards more and more elaborate tail feathers, until in some species the male can no longer get off the ground.  At that point, being colorful doesn’t do the male — or the species — much good!  In the same way, our elaborate societies, complex cultures, incredible technologies, for all that they have helped us to survive and prosper, may at the same time serve to harm us, and possibly even destroy us.

Continue Reading

Death by numbness [II]

I’m a criminal

and my frail heart my unwitting victim

It was I who broke my own heart
It was I who brought this pain upon myself
It was I who broke my spirit this way,

For it was I who held onto an illusion.

 

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