Pain has a way of making you think it’s part of you

bags on beach
Lost emotional baggage

I don’t get out much these days, so even though it’s literally freezing outside, I’m sitting here on the couch in leggings and a tank top (and a beanie for comfort). Agoraphobia is a weird issue to deal with. Not a lot of people understand. It’s like the world outside is so oppressive that most of the time I can’t even think about going out there. It’s terrifying. Xanax has been the only thing to jumpstart me to get out the door. I hate having to rely on something like that but at the same time, it works so I might as well accept that and just use it until my skills get better.

I did a very interesting prompt in my journal last night that was fairly difficult. “In no particular order fill a double page spread in your journal with a list of people, things and places that make you happy.” I recommend this to anyone who’s feeling down (but not too down because you might get frustrated). It took me a while to do. I could have been more specific with things but it was more important to me to think about what is really capable of making me happy. It was interesting to me that I felt pressured to add some people to my list who I love but who don’t really make me happy, so I didn’t add them, I just felt bad about it. No one is ever going to see this list but it still makes me feel bad? Guilt is such a core emotion for me it’s insane.

15) “What ‘excess baggage’ are you carrying around? Create a list of all the negative things you would like to drop off at lost property. Such as a regret, a negative self-belief, a grudge or a past event etc. Tell me how releasing them would make you feel?”

This is a huge question for me. I carry around decades of haunting thoughts. I regret punching my best friend in the stomach in third grade. I regret pushing a bully (gently) off the monkey bars in 4th grade. I think about my first hospitalization when I was 14 a lot. Less these days, but it’s always been a source of nightmares and probably a cause of some PTSD (according to Therapist). That was a horrific experience. I was forcibly held, sedated, locked up, wrapped in a straight jacket, carried to another locked room, told to sit in the corner or they’d close the door on me (no handle on the inside). I tried to run away, kind of, once, but didn’t get far. I remember feeling nuts. In hindsight the meds were making me crazy because I am so sensitive to them. I tend to swing manic as soon as there are antidepressants (ADs) in my system without a mood stabilizer. Once I was on Lexapro for a month and read dozens of books, visited a ton of friends, drove all over the northeast, never slept, and was so talkative and happy that it was disturbing. All this because the Bipolar II makes me super sensitive to going hypomanic/manic with medication.

I regret my years with substance abuse. Using cocaine was a survival mechanism that turned out to be a (duh) destructive habit. Rehab cured that particular obsession and actually addressed a lot of other issues as well. Passages is an amazing place, or it was like 8 years ago. I haven’t used coke since that year though so that feels like an accomplishment. A lot of my time in NA was horrible though. I would like to drop that stuff off. My sponsor screwed me over and abandoned me. Friends turned on me for no reason other than I got clean. It was surreal and dramatic and so out of my usual milieu. I was going to a sort of inner city-ish Boston meeting at the time, and I stuck out like a sore thumb, but I liked it there for a while.

I had a best friend for a year in college and then she left. I regret losing her. Tried to reconnect but it never worked. I regret cheating on my boyfriend in college. He is such a good person, he never deserved that. I had so few scruples, medication that wasn’t working, and undiagnosed Borderline Personality Disorder. BPD was apparently suggested as a diagnosis when I was a teenager but no one ever told me about it. It wasn’t until four years ago that anyone actually talked to me about it, and that was because Therapist was hinting at it and I did some research. It threw me into such a loop for like a month. I read everything I could about it. It’s such a stigmatized disorder. I wish I could drop off all of the years I didn’t know about BPD. I’d like to let go of that regret as well and just accept that the past happened, I didn’t know, and now I can work on getting better. Luckily BPD gets better as you get older too so life should calm down.

I want to get rid of the unfortunate experiences with men that I’ve had. Most women I’ve talked to have had some kind of traumatic experience with a guy, which is statistically frightening and woefully under-reported. I have a couple of those that I’d like to wipe out and just leave behind.

There’s the big blowout with the Assholes that I wish had never happened. It was one of the worst fights I’ve ever been in and it was almost totally one sided on their part. I have never been spoken to like that by someone I considered a peer. “You just got out of a mental hospital.” Thank you. I was unaware. That whole situation just wrecked me. I trusted them, I did a lot of work for them, and then *whoosh* they rip the rug violently from under my feet.

I have serious body image issues at the moment because the meds from the last few years stacked on more weight than I’ve ever had in my life. Zyprexa and Seroquel are my nemeses. Both of them work SO well for me, it’s frustrating that they just add on weight no matter what I do. Ah well. I wish I hadn’t given up the gym earlier in the summer, but I can rectify that by starting again.

I wish I could drop off the miscarriages. They are still such sources of pain if I think about them for too long. It’s particularly hard at my age because social media is full of people having children so babies are in my face all the time. I actually decided to back off of Facebook except for my best friends for a while simply because being on there never made me happy, rather the opposite. There are studies that show FB is depressing because what we see are the white washed versions of most people’s lives so we develop envy and through comparison often feel worse than had we not seen their update. This makes perfect sense to me.

I wish I could let go of the suicide attempts, especially this last one. All the times I self harmed. Because of my mental health situation the last couple of years, I feel intensely ashamed about myself and my actions. I know there were extenuating circumstances and that I have certain sensitivities because of my diagnoses, but I still wish I could take a lot of my actions back. The question is how long do I let these things equate to being a worthless person? It’s a daily, hourly, moment to moment battle trying to tell myself that it’s OK, I’m worth it, and things are getting better.

I regret leaving my jobs when I could have pushed through the shittiness. I wish I could take back my mania induced shopping frenzies. I’d like to shove impulsivity so far away that it never came back.

I would feel so much lighter and able to move forward if all of these things were “released.” I have been working on letting go but it takes time. Sometimes if feels like two steps forward one step back. In general though I’ve noticed a positive forward progression, so that gives me hope.


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