Therapy 8.8.19

The duality of myself was the topic of discussion this session. I updated him on my most recent panic attack and how I handled it. He said he was proud of me. We then did an exercise where he acted as the part of me that is more guarded and I acted as the part of me that wants to be more vulnerable. Those two parts of me battle it out daily, so it was nice to get it out of my head.

The whole exercise and conversation was prompted by me explaining how I felt that my feelings towards the new woman I’m seeing were moving too fast for my comfort level; however, maybe it’s not “bad”, just unknown territory for me.

A little backstory: due to how I grew up, how I was raised, and the very long string of bad luck regarding my romantic relationships, my default is to put a very tall and thick wall between myself and potential romantic partners. I thought it was interesting to note that I can’t say the same for platonic friendships.

Anyway when I returned from my federal volunteer program, my anxiety hit me harder than I had experienced it in years and my therapist’s theory is that my suppression tactics were starting to wear off. Since then (May) I have cried more than I have in years, I have been more open with my family and friends, and I have started to not only take down the wall I put up between myself and love, but also the wall between those two parts of me I referenced above.

I understand that I create these boundaries and deadlines in my head to protect myself, my heart, and my emotions; however, I feel like I’m missing out on the love I could be experiencing, and, to be quite frank, it is VERY exhausting to always have that front. I’d much rather just be me.

So, here I am. I am rediscovering who I am and who I want to be. I now know that I am naturally a very loving person. I care about people. I care about my family and my friends. I am loyal to a fault. I will move mountains for those I hold dearest to me. I will run myself down to nothing if it means that the people I love will be okay. I know that this isn’t completely healthy, and luckily it doesn’t happen often because #selfcare. Seriously, though, I think that being more expressive about my love for people should include myself and that means setting new kinds of boundaries.

Instead of setting up boundaries to protect from inevitable pain from situations that haven’t even happened yet, I need to start setting boundaries for the sake of not wearing myself out. I want to continue to be there for people as much as I can, but I can’t be there fully if I’m only half aware/present.

Thanks for reading my rambles. I hope you all are having a lovely day! What are some boundaries that you have to set in order to keep yourself in a healthy mindset?

Miss Me More

If you don’t know this song, you should:

When this song came out, I was no longer in a toxic relationship, but the after effects were still very much with me. I was learning how to navigate making my own decisions again without having to consider how my partner would react or belittle me later because of them.

It took me 6-8 months longer than I would have liked to get out of that relationship. The ultimate reason I decided to leave was because I didn’t like who I had become.

I have always been confident and sure of myself when it comes to my academic ability and even my physical appearance. This partner made me feel stupid and like I couldn’t do anything right. There was so much manipulation and guilt-tripping and a loss of identity within myself.

I think to my friends and family I probably acted “normal”, but so did my partner. They never acted questionably around anyone but me. That’s why it was so hard to tell people how they had been treating me. My family genuinely liked them. They didn’t see what I saw. Even afterwards. It took a few years for them to stop referring to them. I made it clear that I didn’t want to hear their name or know about any run ins they had with them in town.

Kelsea Ballerini came out with this song and took the words right out of my heart. I missed myself and who I was before shit hit the fan. I forgot that I was capable of going places alone, making decisions alone, going to see MY friends, etc.

The song does trigger those memories, but it also makes me feel empowered.

The Thing About Airplanes

When I was younger, my mother and sister and I would fly to Germany once per year, during the summer, to visit our grandmother. We stayed at her house for an entire month. We went swimming, hiking, traveling, and also did very normal everyday things like grocery shopping, visiting the city, and hanging out with our friends there.

As an adult, when I look up at the sky and see an airplane, I feel this pain in my chest, a type of longing, even. I wish I was on that plane going wherever it was going. I think I associate airplanes with the extremely happy memories that I have from going to Germany for all those years.

We stopped going as a family because we got older and had school obligations as well as jobs. My mother’s job also won’t let her take a lot of vacation. We mostly go separately now. My sister went while I was in high school for a few months. I studied there for 6 months my sophomore year of college. My mother goes when she can, but it’s not often or for very long.

My grandmother used to fly to us when we had a break in school, but there’s not much incentive to fly here now since we all have jobs and limited time. It makes me sad, but I still hold on very dearly to all of those years we spent over there.

I am fucking proud of myself.

I got off of work at 1pm. I drove home, changed, and walked right back out the door to head to the city my new girl lives in. She doesn’t get off of work until 6pm, but traffic is so bad if I leave anywhere after 2pm, I’ll be sitting for over an hour. So, I made it to the nearest Starbucks in about 30 minutes with minimal traffic.

Once at Starbucks, I ordered a venti decaf white peppermint mocha. Man, that’s a mouthful. I went to bathroom while they prepared it and when I came out, I grabbed my drink and headed for one of the couches. There were not many people in here at this time.

I started by going through my work email and responding to them. I checked my personal email as well. Then, I moved to my blog- the one you are currently on. I wrote 3 articles about topics that are at least somewhat emotionally charged. I went to the bathroom once more.

When I came back, I started to get the familiar unwelcome shortness of breath feeling. I thought that maybe my coffee was caffeinated after all. I tried to stay a little while longer, but eventually I had to pack up my things, pee one more time, and nervously head out the door. I still had about an hour to kill, though.

I walked to my car and breathed a small sigh of relief as I sat down. The simple thing of not being around other people is already enough to take a huge weight off. I drove to a nearby parking lot of a shopping center and parked. I pulled up some YouTube videos and wrote in my journal. I also talked to myself trying to rationalize the situation in my brain.

I was not able to completely shake that anxious, heavy feeling in my chest- even once I got to her apartment. It died down a little bit, but it was still very much present. I was nervous to drive home. Having a panic attack while on the road is a huge fear of mine.

Anyway, it did finally come time for me to drive home. I got in my car and drove away. It’s a 30 minute drive of nothing but highway. I got about 5 minutes in before I felt that feeling again. I started biting my nails and I hiked my left leg up on the seat- my go to position when I feel anxious in the car. Then, I decided to try and focus on my breathing.

I counted about 4-5 counts inhaling and 8-10 counts exhaling to counteract my hyperventilation. It was working. Then the feeling came back. I tried again to really focus on my breathing and the road. I felt myself calm down a little bit and I was able to get home quickly and safely with a lot less panic than if I had not focused so much on this breathing pattern.

This is big for me. I am rarely able to focus enough on my breathing to actually slow it down, but I did it. Practice makes better, I guess. I’m just proud that I made it home alright.

I’m in bed now. It’s late. I have work tomorrow. My roommates are both out of town and sleeping alone in this house makes me nervous. My neighborhood is not exactly the safest, but that’s Atlanta for you. My doors are all locked and I left one living room light on. We also have all 3 of our cars in the driveway, so it looks like their are plenty of people here. I’ve done this before, I think I can do it again.

Goodnight, all.

Overwhelming Thoughts

I don’t know if this post is going to come out making sense. I will do my best, but this could be a doozy.

Some people only fall in love with, date, and marry one person. Other people go through the same process with 20 different people. I haven’t met anyone who’s been married 20 times, but I’ve heard of 5-7 times, so that’s still a jump.

Many married people I know today (both old and young) got married in their mid to late 20s. I am approaching my mid 20s. This post is not about me feeling pressure to get married- that pressure isn’t there for me. What I am getting at is the thought that maybe I’ve met a person who I could be happy with for a long time.

I’ve been on a few dates that never went further than that first meeting. I’ve dated someone short term. I’ve dated several people long term (for me, this range is 8 months to 2 years). I’ve dated someone who was not very kind to me. I’ve dated people and imagined married life with them. There was one person who I considered to be someone I would have children with if we got there. My point is that I have experience. I have experienced enough variety of personality. I know what I want at this point. I also know what I don’t want.

The person I just started seeing 3 weeks ago is many of the things I want in a person. Obviously, there are no perfect people and she is not perfect, but there are so many seemingly great things about her, my body and mind are on edge because “what’s the catch?”

So, like I mentioned before, there are so many people who are married or at least dating the person they’re going to marry by the time they are my age or by the time they’ve experienced what I have. I’ve dated enough for my liking. I would like to just not anymore. The thought in my mind is “could this be it?”

Don’t panic, now, because marriage is something I don’t want for another 8ish years. I just wonder if she could be someone I want to travel with, someone to introduce to my family and friends, someone I want to come home to after work, etc.

Contemplate these things with me. Let’s overanalyze together. Let’s think about all the confusing things in life. I hope you all got through this one alright.

Sitting in a Starbucks

I’m currently sitting in a squishy chair on the back wall of a Starbucks in Atlanta, GA. Across the room is what seems to be a mother and her child. The mom looks to be in her late 20s and her daughter can’t be older than 8.

Mom is wearing a light grey maxi dress and her hair is long and shiny. Her daughter is wearing a pink camo romper and a cat ear headband. They’re both sipping drinks. Mom is working on her computer and daughter is putting together what looks to be a puzzle.

An upbeat song comes on and the daughter begins dancing in her seat. Mom looks up, smiles, and joins her in her dancing.

Before you call me a complete creep, let me explain why I felt the need to write about this:

There is a very specific list of things that make me cry. Seemingly loving and healthy family relationships are one of them.

I’m not hinting that I had an undesirable childhood. My mom may not have danced in Starbucks with me, but we did many other lovely things together. My dad and I also didn’t have a difficult time when I was younger. I enjoyed most of childhood very much. However, I know so many people who’s childhoods were so fucked up and when I see people so simply involved with their children, it makes me so happy.

Slowing Down

I know that oxytocin is a big part of my feelings and thoughts right now, but I can’t ignore them regardless. I have to keep repeating the fact that I have only known her for 3 weeks because it feels like so much longer. The way I act around her is SO different from the way I acted around previous partners, but it’s almost exactly how I act when no one else is there. There’s no “act”. It’s a little overwhelming.

I had a little bit of a “freak out” yesterday after she left. It concerned my life’s purpose, family relationships, and just general anxiety about work and school. However, it also involved my current [very strong] feelings and emotions towards this new human in my life. My friend suggested I hold off on introducing her to more friends or family so that their opinions and thoughts (even if they’re positive) wouldn’t interfere with my own “getting to know her” time. I think that’s a good idea.

I’m not quick to refer to people as my romantic partner or share that with everyone in my life, but I do disclose when I’m seeing/getting to know someone new rather quickly. I don’t do this because I want to, but it either comes up in conversation or I start putting my time towards the new person and away from my previous “plans” or “normal schedule” and then people start asking questions.

This just feels different for me. We’ll see.

Finding Balance

As someone who is newly seeing someone, I am struggling to balance my obsession with wanting to be around this human 24/7 and still taking time for the things I was doing before I met them.

I can’t help it, my oxytocin is going crazy and I want nothing more than to spend all of my time getting to know this new woman. I also know that I need to spend time with myself and make time to do normal things like grocery shopping and laundry. Yesterday was me trying to do that. I had time to spend with her, but I chose to watch The Notebook, bake brownies, and “re-start” a puzzle. I went to bed, slept really well, and here I am at work the next day.

I have a schedule for each week. I am a planner and I own many a calendar to record my events for each month. Weekly, I work Monday through Friday, roughly 7am to 1pm, give or take. Thursdays I spend with my grandma, 3pm to 7pm. Friday and Saturday I am normally in my mom’s town after work. Occasionally I would stay through Sunday, but I think that was too much. So, currently, my available days to see this new human are Monday-Wednesday after work and Saturday and Sunday (given I am back in Atlanta at a decent time [on Saturday]).

So, where is the time I schedule for myself? I don’t know. That is the answer. I guess it might fall on Thursday nights and maybe one afternoon M-W? I’m not sure yet. I also don’t know if I can keep to a schedule concerning that need. Also, isn’t allowing myself to see and get to know this new person partially self-care? I’m not drained by being around her. Now, that’s how you know they’re a potential keeper.

Long story short, I’m figuring this out. If I figure out a system, great. If not, great. I’ve been winging it all these years anyway, so why stop now?

Holding Grudges

I don’t like that I hold on to things as long as I do, but I do and I don’t know how to not. I am just as strict with broken trust; once my trust has been broken, there is nothing anyone can say or do to make it up to me and that relationship is done. That’s just how it is.

Anyway, this post is supposed to be about grudges. I suppose broken trust could be a reason to hold a grudge, but I’m talking more about people disappointing me and then me holding on to that feeling of disappointment and using it to silently and internally hold a grudge against that person.

I don’t let people known that I hold something against them. I don’t often express my disappointment either. The reason I felt the urge to write this morning is because I have not been able to shake something since it happened.

I had a partner. She was wonderful. She did have her own struggles, but she was getting help for them and I like to think it didn’t interfere too terribly with the way our relationship worked and the way I felt about her. Our time together was coming to an end because we lived in different parts of the country and long distance was just simply not an option.

We had 2 nights left together and we decided to spend the first of the 2 final nights at a party with our friends. Of course, there would be alcohol. I decided not to partake, but my partner did. And that was fine, I don’t care if my partner drinks.

The entire week leading up to our final days, she made it seem she wanted to spend as much time with her friends as she could, but also with me. She mentioned setting up a sort of date night for us, on her. I got all of my tasks done so that I would have all the time to spend with her. I feel like I tried harder to make sure that I could dedicate as much time to her as possible.

So, anyway, the party. She drank, I did not. She came into our reserved room in the early morning hours and we slept until about 7am. When she got up, the hangover hit her hard and she immediately became sick. Long story short, that entire day- our entire LAST day- was spent in the ER and her room because she did not handle the previous night well.

I was more than happy to take care of her. I did not mind being there for her. What I was upset about- and frankly, quite angry at- was the fact that the amount of alcohol she consumed was in her control and it seemed like she didn’t care to think about how it might affect our final day together.

I don’t like to be angry or irritated about this because she was the most amazing person to know. I have nothing but nice things to say about her and I will forever wish for her happiness. But. I was angry with the way she went about our last days. And sometimes I think about it and I still get angry.

If she reads this, she’ll know how I feel, but I’m not going out of my way to let her know. Our time came and went and it was beautiful. It wouldn’t accomplish much to inform her about these thoughts.

Something I Don’t Like To Admit

I fall fast and I fall hard.

Outwardly, I do a stellar job of acting “normal” and keeping my obsessive brain under control, but internally I have eloped, moved to Europe, and birthed 20 children. And the person I have done this with I have known for 10 days.

In all seriousness, I do develop feelings for people I date very quickly once I’ve determined that they are a desirable candidate for courting. I fall for their quirks and their flaws and the way they move. I memorize what their voice sounds like, what they smell like, and what their touch feels like. And then I want it all the time. Again, I have only known them for an extremely short time.

I feel myself already attaching myself to the person I just started seeing. I have also had an increase in nightmares and anxiety, so I think I’m doing my panic dance concerning commitment (even though my brain clearly wants it?!?!?!).

I’ll be fine. I can take a chill pill and just take it slow. At the same time, I will try to enjoy this person and learn as much about them as I can so that I know I’m not leading my heart into a pit of fire and death. Well, that was dramatic, wasn’t it.

What is something that YOU don’t like to admit about yourself concerning dating?