February 2016: Iron Man

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This month’s entry is going to be a little different in that I’ve not really planned how I’m going to give an update, but I’m going to give it a try anyway.

Firstly, the bad. After 4 months of quitting smoking I broke from stress a few weeks ago and have pretty much been almost back to my old habits. It sucks. I hate myself for it. But, I understand it is a crutch, and it is something that I lean on in times of high stress. Mostly that was to do with how I felt over January and into February. I just needed some form of cathartic release. I guess maybe it’s a form of self-harm? I don’t know, I’ve never been a self-harmer to what I would recognise.

To backhand off of the smoking, my mood has been a little erratic. My own internal thoughts questioned whether the mood swings were from a misdiagnosis, “maybe I’m bipolar!” was a thought, but I just think overall it has been a shitty time to be me.

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So that’s the bad out of the way. The good is I am attending CBT classes once a week that have been beneficial. I’ve looked at how my way of thinking is overly self-critical, coming to terms with what my ‘rules for living’ actually are and how they trigger certain negative thoughts or reactions within me. Some of it was obvious, being cleanly and organised as a means to hold back depression, and overworking out of fear of failure. But one thing that I learnt a few weeks ago I didn’t expect to find. I discovered that even though I’m so incredibly lonely, I force myself into isolation because I’m afraid to get close to people for fear of abandonment. This is something I know I learnt years ago, that I have abandonment issues for a large variety of reasons, but that it is affecting me by becoming isolated was something very new. This comes as I also learnt that I have a polite and kind demeanour because I am fearful of rejection if I am not. Even from strangers.

It is a complicated issue, but I know the abandonment comes from what I perceive as rejection from my father (to get extremely personal about that) even though he was present in my life and in the home, it never felt like he wanted to be a part of my life. In fact, a lot of my life has been trying to earn his favour, that I just want to impress him. The other side is from my uncle, who passed away in 2002, and how he was more of a father figure in my life, but he left me because he committed suicide. There are then my long-term relationships with girlfriends who have mostly been the ones who rejected me, followed by losing my best friend Matt to cancer 3 years ago. Most recently I lost another friend to prison – abandoned without ever saying a word because of pride.

Han Solo - you know Kylo Ren gets this from your side of the familyLike I said, it’s all very complex.

What this has shown me, however, is that I need to open myself up more, because at this stage I am pretty much starving myself of affection or human contact. My fears are what are currently driving me, even if I didn’t know I had these fears. Sidebar: funny story. I remember at my induction to my part-time job last year we were all sat around a table and were told to write down our biggest fears, and afterwards we’d pick them out of a hat and try to guess which fear belonged to who. I also remember doing something similar in a uni class last year too. Each time I struggled to think of a fear. I didn’t think I was fearless, but I’m certainly much more of a rational person I guess. Heights scare me, but I wouldn’t say I was afraid unless I was dangling off a cliff. That said, knowing now that I’m afraid of being abandonment it’s not likely something I’d share with the world… well… outside of here, obviously. It’s just not something you would want to bring up in polite conversation I guess is what I am trying to say.

Suffice it to say, now I am making more of an effort with the world around me. I’m engaging with my co-workers more, talking to people in the coffee shop, and recently talking to a girl who I recognised from my course who is also taking CBT. I’ve seen her around on campus a few times and struggled to decide if I should talk to her or not. The day I decided I would talk to her she spoke to me first! I could feel my hands ball into fists and squeeze tight, it was one of the most stressful encounters I have had in quite a while, but I’m glad we finally spoke. That’s not to say that I have any sort of romantic interest, it’s because we have something mutual in common. Well, 2 things – film and a mental health issue. This might actually be someone I can fucking relate to, would you believe it!

Iron Man 3 - We're connected

Another ‘push’ I gave myself was to ask a security guard at work I had befriended, who knew my name, what his name was! We all wear name badges where I work, except for the security guards. They have IDs, but the names aren’t easily viewable. This weekend I plucked up the courage to step out of the comfort zone and ask and he was really cool about it. He’s an Egyptian national by birth so he doesn’t have a Tom, Dick, or Harry type name, and he patiently taught me how to pronounce it. It was really nice, and now I feel better for knowing his name.

I’m kinda gushing now, and I feel like I’m rambling. This feels like an oddly positive post (for a change!) so I think I’m going to leave it at that. Next month I’ll have to fill you all in on what’s happening with a new diet and exercise thing I’m trying out. That reads kinda bullshitty, but I think it’ll end up being the focus of March’s post. So until then…

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Much love ❤

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