Love

Apr. 25th, 2014 01:17 pm
morethanthese: (cecil)
You know what?

I was thinking about some things and I realized that I've assimilated someone I know into my concept of "people who are associated with me". That is, the circle of people I've come to view as parts of myself, or as being "mine", or in some other way connected to me in a way that allows my lack of empathy and narcissistic emotions to feel for them.

And you know what else?

It occurred to me that this might mean that I love that person. There's very little logical reason for me to love them (we don't talk very much, we don't share any common interests of which I'm aware, we aren't close) but nevertheless, I could possibly qualify my feelings towards them as love.

And you know what else?

Since literally the only thing keeping me from loving them is the fact that I have not qualified my feelings as love - that is, I simply haven't said I love them - then maybe love is just saying you feel a certain way. Maybe it's not how you feel. Maybe it's just how you choose to view and describe the way you feel. So in theory, I could choose to describe my feelings towards literally everyone as love. If I called it love, and if I chose to view it as love, who's to keep me from saying that it really is love?

Maybe I just figured out something.

crying

Apr. 14th, 2014 07:13 pm
morethanthese: (Default)
It is under a very particular set of circumstances that I can cry.

I must be indoors. I must be alone - this means having no one else in the room as well as having no one else in the house. I must be in a room that I identify as "my own".

This means there are three rooms in which I can cry - my room at my house, my room at my grandparents' house, and my room at my aunt's house. I am seldom alone at either my aunt's house or my grandparents' house. This means that my own room is essentially the only place in the world where I can bring myself to cry.

I am sorry I have to burden this room with my tears.
morethanthese: (Default)
I've been lately working on this cognitive empathy thing I was going to try out (where I want to be able to intellectually understand and accept anyone's point of view). Because I personally have a tendency to judge other people's points of view through my own point of view - that is, I compare other people's views to my own worldview to determine whether or not their ideas or actions are reasonable/logical. It's been going interestingly.

I tried it while talking to my old friend when I saw her on Thursday. She was talking about some ways people have mistreated her lately - and not in a complaining way, either, just in a "this is what I've been up to, and I'm talking about it because these were things that happened"

And she explained the other people's points of view and on one hand, I could totally understand hers, but on the other hand, I tried understanding theirs without condemning them right off and I found myself sort of understanding their justifications for what they did. Like I didn't excuse it but I did understand why a person would think that way and I could (for the moments I was taking on their point of view) accept them as reasonable.

I would have felt like a traitor to my friend were it not for the fact that I was totally aware of the fact that I did not ACTUALLY think the other people's actions were RIGHT, just that they made sense for a certain point of view and I was capable of assuming that point of view. I'm sure if I were a little more emotionally-inclined, I would have felt like an actual traitor.

Last night, while my family and I were in the car at a gas station (my dad was getting gas), I was watching a guy as he was opening the door to the gas station building itself. There was a little doorstop thing on the door, and he was trying to get it to work. I felt that sort of "oh no a thing isn't working I hope it works and I hope the person isn't inconvenienced wait why aren't I helping out" sort of thing I feel when I see things not going right the first time (it's an instinct I've developed for reasons). He got it to work by opening up the door wide enough and I realized that I had, for a moment, invested myself in this stranger's life for a moment and processed it as though it were my own life. It wasn't intentional (I don't think) and it just sort of...happened.

I literally only tried this because I thought it would be interesting and because it was similar to something one of my favorite fictional characters can do and I'm often inspired to try skills because fictional people I like have them. And...well, I want to see where this goes, really. This interests me.
morethanthese: (Default)
I -

Something happened recently and it's been bothering me.

My facets are gone.

I don't know what happened, but there was a certain point at which I realized they weren't in my head anymore. I began to suspect it on the sixth of this month. January 6 is Sherlock Holmes's birthday, and given that he's one of my facets, I tried to summon him to celebrate it with me (since I had already been making plans to celebrate it as the birthday of a beloved fictional character and had totally forgotten that one of the residents of my head shared this character's identity and birthday). But I couldn't wake him up. I supposed that he just didn't want to be out, so I left it at that.

But a few days after that, I realized that my head had been empty for quite some time. There was usually a sort of "background noise" of sorts when my facets were still - occasional appearances made by them, little thoughts that were their own and not mine, comments on what I was doing - and it was entirely quiet. I hadn't noticed it but I noticed it now, and I think they really are gone.

A few people to whom I explained this problem told me that maybe they hadn't "disappeared" but instead became closer to me, or are really quiet. I don't think it's the latter. I think I would still feel the presence of more people than myself in my head. I do think they've become closer to me, but it's in the sense that their personalities and skills have all merged onto my own. They're still not here. They've just become me. Becoming someone doesn't mean they're still there with you.

True, it does mean that all the things they helped me do, I can do on my own now. I can be nice without Timothy. I can be responsible without Martin. I can appreciate my family without Loki. I can speak without Cecil.

But it still isn't the same. They were sort of like friends to me, and some of the things they did actually affected the external world, and it's so weird for these presences that did things that translated into the world outside their own to just not exist anymore.

There are some good things about not having them anymore. I don't have anyone else whose existence has to go unknown to most of the people I know. I can do things on my own, like I said before. And since my brain doesn't have to be taken up with their memories and thoughts, I think there's more room for my own. (Today, I read a very short factual book about a subject that interested me. Before, I probably would have remembered and retained about a third of it. This time, I retained everything except for a few anecdotes that were difficult for me to visualize. (It also taught me an interesting thing about how I learn: whenever I read something, I play it out like a film in my head. This I knew. But apparently I learn better when the film is clearer or easier to visualize. This is likely because, when I have to refer to the information, it's easier for me to do so. This could also be why it's so hard for me to remember science facts, even though science is really interesting to me.)

I still miss them, though. They were like friends, and it's going to be hard for me. I know this would seem so, so stupid to practically anyone else, but it's a bit important to me, and while I know it's probably for the best, it's not going to be very easy. Likely I'll miss all of them dearly, and probably one-by-one. I'll probably be doing things and think, "Arthur would have come out while I was doing this thing, and we'd have enjoyed it together" or "Loki would have been so happy to see my sister so happy". I'm certain I'll find it much harder to do certain things because I don't have someone in my head to call up to help me do it.

Just because it's for the best doesn't mean it feels good.
morethanthese: (Default)
I deserve a bit of a medal.

I sat through dinner with my family, which was okay, and I sat through after-dinner conversation, which was even more okay, because we talked about interesting and often amusing things.

But at some point, I started getting really anxious and I needed to be alone. I needed to not be around people. Maybe it's because I've sort of been around people all day, maybe it was a legit mental illness thing (I don't know anymore), but I needed to go. But I couldn't. My dad was talking, and there was zero way I could get out of the conversation. And every time I thought he was done, he wasn't, and I bravely sat through it even though my head was screaming at me and I wanted to cry and hyperventilate somewhere.

The conversation finally ended, but then my sister wanted to show us some YouTube video. Well, there was zero way I could get out of THAT, either, and I followed them and watched the video. Fortunately, it was only a minute long, but it was a minute more than I thought I could stand being around people.

Finally I got out and finally I'm here and I have no idea what's going on with me or what I'm doing. I do know that I will probably get to actually be by myself, though, so whatever's going on, I can work through it. I'm making myself a giant pot of tea, which is difficult because I've sort of lost motor control and stuff like that right now. I wish I knew why. That'd be nice.
morethanthese: (Default)
I talked to my queerplatonic partner about my probable narcissism. Because I've determined that I may well have narcissistic personality disorder. I've decided I'm not really going to tell many people about my narcissism, even if it's confirmed/diagnosed (which I hope it isn't; it would make getting a job really hard, I bet). Most people don't need to know, and it doesn't really help them help me or forewarn them about behaviors I might engage in, it just explains a lot of things I already do and think. (That is, my tendency to think of everything in relation to myself, my grandiose expectations of myself, which I cannot get rid of, my obsession with being noticed and appreciated, my constant need for appreciation, and of course my lack of empathy.)

I explained to her that my psychologist told me that I view people as animate objects and that said psychologist was probably correct. I see people as animate objects with needs and desires, which I often help fill due to moral obligation (because of my upbringing), but objects nonetheless. I do not really experience empathy towards people. I thought I experienced empathy towards them, but with the revelation that I might be a narcissist, I realized I just care about some people's reactions more than others. That is, sometimes, I seem like I'm genuinely interested in making people happy, but I like seeing them happy because the stimuli they produce when happy is interesting and pleasing to me. That is, I don't care about people, I care about their reactions and behaviors.

I explained this to her, telling her that I thought I experienced actual empathy towards her, but no, I just care about her reactions and stuff more than I care about other people's. When I help her when she's upset, it's not because I feel for her, it's because her being unhappy makes me personally unhappy and I would like to get rid of it.

I then explained to her that this doesn't mean that, when I offer emotional support, it's just because I'm trying to get rid of a stimulus I don't like (like why most people try to make babies stop crying). I am personally attached to her for some reason or another, so when I can to get rid of her upset, it's not just because seeing her upset annoys or bothers me, it's because I don't like seeing HER specifically upset, and it's actually related individually to her.

This led me to explain that I view her in a way that many people might consider possessive but that isn't supposed to be. I view her as MINE, as MY person. There it is, my tendency to make everything relate to me in some way. That is, if she is unhappy, it's not "I have to make this person not-unhappy", it's more like "I have to make my person not-unhappy". Like I view her as my responsibility because I like/am attached to her, but I also view her as something connected to me. It's not just because she's a person or because I like her, it's because she's MY person. Apparently she sees people in a similar way (she told me so) and this might be a common person thing, or it might be a little quirk unrelated to narcissism, or it could be something that relates to narcissism but that can also appear in otherwise non-narcissistic people.

After we got this stuff out of the way, I told her one more unpleasant thing, which was that a lot of the time, I view her emotional support as a resource that I can easily get when I want it or need it. I'm not trying to manipulate her or anything, I just recognize that when I am unhappy and want emotional support form another person, her emotional support tends to work for me, and it is relatively easy for me to get it. I didn't really have a good defense for this, but I justified it by saying that it's like a mutualistic symbiotic relationship, where both parties benefit from each other in some way. She's a resource of emotional support, and she's told me before that she likes me and I'm apparently beneficial to her (I don't even remember how, which is unusual, me not remembering information that relates to myself). Furthermore, there's a sense of respect and attachment between us that transcends a mere symbiotic relationship, and then I became an awkward mess of words trying to explain what it was exactly between us. I'm rubbish at explaining emotions and stuff, I really am.

She was apparently okay, though, with how my probable narcissism factors into our relationship and the things I do and how I perceive and treat her. She thanked me for telling her, and I told her she deserved to know.

I'm really glad this person is my queerplatonic partner because I'm pretty sure I don't know anyone else who would be a tenth as okay with hearing someone say they view them as an animate object with needs and desires and that they look after their emotions not out of empathy but because they do not like that that particular reason is upset and that most of this is all because they view the person as THEIR person, in a possessive/self-related sense, and that this is all basically a big symbiotic relationship like in biology.

Christmas

Dec. 28th, 2013 01:13 pm
morethanthese: (Default)
Every so often, my brain undergoes a "reset" about certain information. It tends to be following some sort of trauma or negative experience, and the information tends to be at least tangentially related to the bad thing that happened. "Reset" might perhaps be the wrong word, as I don't forget that things exist, but I do fail to understand them personally anymore. After graduating from my old school (probably the most traumatic thing I've ever had to endure), I underwent a reset about empathy. This was rather difficult and I've still had trouble getting my ability to empathize back. Sometime after my mother died, I inexplicably underwent a reset about hugging - that is, I forgot how to properly give people hugs. (The fact that I am touch aversive does not help matters.)

This year, I underwent a reset about Christmas. I remembered what Christmas was, its history and meaning (that is, an observation and celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ), and how people celebrate it in my country (that is, with Christmas trees and presents and hanging up stockings). But it was the customs I failed to understand on a personal level. I saw everything as though I were not a foreigner who didn't celebrate Christmas so much as an alien who didn't even understand holidays.

If you think about it, a lot of things we do at Christmas are a bit strange. We put socks near our fireplaces, we put trees in our house, we put decorations on the tree, we put lights on the tree, we put lights on our houses, we put lights on many things, we sing songs we don't sing any other time of year, we give people presents regardless of whether or not we like them and we expect the same of them. I have a penchant for realizing the strangeness in things everyone else takes for granted, and this year, this penchant extended to Christmas.

I watched The Nightmare Before Christmas this year (I couldn't remember the last time I'd seen it since then), and I related perfectly to Jack Skellington in Christmastown singing "What's This". I was delightfully puzzled by the things we do for Christmas and how we seem to do them in mass numbers, like some madness takes us all in December and we act upon it. It wasn't a bad thing. I actually really liked it, because like Jack Skellington, I was discovering something new and being perfectly enchanted by it. I like Christmas and I always have, and it was strangely enjoyable to do all these things that didn't make sense to me but that were fun nonetheless.

Around the time Christmas Day rolled around, I had fully internalized the Christmas traditions we collectively do, and I thought they were "normal" enough for me to have a normal Christmas with everyone else.

Well, I thought I was having a normal Christmas. My dad and sister and I opened presents on Christmas morning, like we've done in years past, and we went to our Aunt Suzanne's house to meet with other family members like we've done in years past. It all felt normal, and since I couldn't really remember what other Christmases felt like, I went along with it.

However, when we came home, my dad told us that, since this is our first Christmas without our mother, we don't really know what a "normal" Christmas is like, so we did our best under the circumstances, and we did pretty well.

I agree with him that we did well, but with that statement, I understood why I had undergone a reset about Christmas. I understood why I didn't personally understand Christmas traditions and why my memory had purged itself of the feelings of Christmases past and why I didn't recall what a normal Christmas was. It was the same reason people's memories often purge themselves of traumatic incidents. It was a self-defense mechanism.

It was because, if I had remembered, I would remember that my mother wasn't around for this Christmas, and given that she was always so involved with us during this holiday, I wouldn't have been able to deal with that.

I spent the rest of the night (not that there was a whole lot of it) feeling kind of traumatized and not actually covering myself with a blanket and rocking back and forth in the corner but definitely feeling like that on the inside. I stayed like this long after my family had gone to bed (I often stay up later than them, and I don't know why), and after a while, I realized I had to go to bed, too, despite the fact that my feelings hadn't gone away.

It was a shame. It really was. Because I had enjoyed my confusion over Christmas until then. It made the holiday season whimsical and interesting, and on Christmas Day itself, I had to go and realize it was for a very unhappy reason.
morethanthese: (tea 1)
Let me tell you about yesterday, because yesterday was awesome and there's a bit of negativity going on right now and I'd like to relive the good stuff.

Yesterday started with me going to school and having to unexpectedly say goodbye to my English class and everyone in it. I made a journal entry about that earlier. That wasn't so good, but I left about as well as I possibly could, by which I mean I said what I needed to say to whom I needed to say it, and that was pretty good. It was better than I would have done in years past. Also, I found out my grade. I got 103%. My teacher told me he "[didn't] know how that's mathematically possible", but I got it. No matter what I bugger up in the future (because I've been feeling like a general failure lately), I got a 103% in my English class, and no one can take that away from me.

Well, things got even better immediately after I left class, because I remembered there was going to be a stress relief event at school in which some people who keep therapy animals would come and bring their animals for the students to pet. It was called "Paws For Stress Relief", and it was so benefit all those stressed-out students who are taking their finals. I had originally been under the impression that there were just going to be dogs there, but when I got there, I found out there were also rabbits. This is huge for me. I love rabbits. A lot. There was one particular little black bunny who I really liked and who really liked me. (Her handler jokingly accused me of "hogging the bunny", which was accurate.) There was also a piano in the room, and after I pet all the dogs and rabbits, I was allowed and even encouraged to play the piano. I played two original songs and one They Might Be Giants song, and everyone liked it.

Trigger warning for discussion of sexual harassment. )

Then I had my math class, which turned out way better than I'd expected. I think I did really well on the test (we had a take-home, and my math-loving cousin and I did it together, and we apparently got everything right). We then studied with problems the teacher wrote on the board for us to work out together. I understood most of the material, and I was even able to explain much of it to my fellow classmates. I was able to explain math to other people. This is huge. I'm rubbish at math. But I did the math and I explained it to other people, and I think that as long as I do some studying and remember what formulas to do with what sort of problem, I'll do well on the test.

After school, I took the bus to my grandparents', as I usually do on Tuesdays. I ended up having a conversation with someone on the bus, which was interesting. Conversations with people on the bus are something that happens sort of a lot in my life, and I like that. I nearly missed my stop, but when I got there, my grandpa was waiting for me. He took me to my aunt's school. I had a psychologists' appointment to get to, and it was more convenient for my aunt to take me there than anything else. A bit of a stressful conversation took place in the car on the way there, and I talked to my psychologist a bit about it.

Mostly my psychologist and I talked about viewpoint and the way people/I view things. I was telling her about what was going on with me, and we both understood a lot of it was a matter of perspective, but I couldn't help having my perspective. I couldn't help feeling like I was losing something that had been good in my life when I left my English class today, because I don't understand how the permanent end of something good isn't a loss. I couldn't anticipate my future classes as another "adventure" (the term she used) because I don't know enough to be able to imagine those upcoming scenarios, and until I experience them, I won't have enough information to do that, and you can obviously imagine why I'm not going to be able to do anything in-between now and those classes to help me imagine and look forward to those classes. I basically can't help viewing things in a somewhat negative light because I actually think and I consider things and I see things for what they are, and I know that I can't see things as something they're not and I know that I can't properly imagine things if I have no experience with them.

The most interesting thing, at least to me, was that I told her about my facets. We were talking about how I have some disordered behaviors that might be really actually disordered in other people but that I can somewhat control, but I told her that one of these things was something that was sort of like "controlled multiple personality disorder". I then explained how my facets are like parts of my personality personified or fictional characters I'd absorbed into my personality, the fact that I call them "facets" and why, and how they help me. Not only did she think it was okay, she thought they were good. She asked me if there was a facet that could have helped me during the stressful conversation from earlier. I realized there was (Martin), and when I realized there was, I told her I'd bring him up next time the situation came up. The conversation with my aunt was resumed after the meeting, and I was able to get Martin to help me. Also, while Martin was out, we/he made a decision that I wouldn't have ordinarily made but that I recognized as a good one. Maybe I should get my facets to help me make decisions more often.

When we got to my grandparents' house to have me spend the night there, my grandpa was asleep, but he woke up after we rang the doorbell enough times, and he let me in. I studied there, using Powerpoints I downloaded from my history teacher. I knew almost all the questions on my history review off the top of my head, which was pretty heartening. Also, I discovered that listening to glam rock music makes me feel really good about myself, so I listened to a bunch of it that night. (Also I may or may not have consumed too much ice cream, something my grandparents usually have in abundance, and I am not ashamed.)

When my grandma came home from her Bible study, she gave me a porceline figurine of a Scottie dog for no real reason. It was supposed to go with the porceline figurine of a corgi, which I have in my room at their house. (I spend the night there often enough so that I have my own room.) I was really happy about this - it made my already pretty good day even better - and I related to her at length the things I did that made my day so good. She was happy about them, and she then showed me something that made my day profoundly better.

I should first explain what the Ashland Shakespeare Festival is. It's a theater festival that takes place in a town called Ashland, in the state of Oregon (I live in California, for reference). It's mostly centered around productions of Shakespeare, but there are other plays there sometimes. My grandparents have taken me there on summer road trips in the past. Well, my grandparents subscribe to a newsletter sort of thing that is sent out by the folks that put this event on. It has information about upcoming plays and stuff. It lets them know what's going to be performed there and stuff.

Well. Apparently there's going to be a production of A Wrinkle in Time. The world premiere of a stage adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time.

You probably don't know how big a deal this is for me. A Wrinkle in Time is my Actual Favorite Book and it's meant a lot to me for a very long time and I saw the film, but the film was infinitely disappointing. If I see the play next summer (which is possible), I will get to see a visual adaptation of it that quite likely doesn't suck.

After a bit of verbal keymashing and screaming over seeing A Wrinkle in Time listed on the list of plays they're putting on next summer, I showed my grandma and explained it to her. She was excited for me, because she knows what a big deal that book is for me. I told her that, if she and my grandpa got me literally nothing else for Christmas but tickets to see that, I would consider that a really really huge present. I think they're going to consider that and probably do it.

My grandma went to bed soon after this conversation, and I went back to my activity of studying, wasting time on the internet, and listening to glam rock. Oh, and drawing. I ended up drawing this. It's OFF-related.

It's under a cut because it's a sort of longish comic. )

So that was my day yesterday. Today, nothing's really happened other than the completion of some last-minute history homework. Oh! And I'm going to go to a party tonight. It's a church party. A Christmas party, actually. Even though I'm a college student, I hang out with the high school group at my church on Sundays (it's because I have some high school-age friends who I understand very well - these are Ashley and Rebecca, the twins - and it's beneficial for me to help them translate their ideas in the small group that meets after the sermon). The high schoolers have a tradition where each small group will make a funny music video, and we'll watch them at the Christmas party, where the leaders will judge them. The winners will get a prize. It's a fun thing and we all like it. My group did a video for "I'll Make a Man out of You" from Mulan, because that's the sort of thing we appreciate and that everyone else will likely appreciate. I've got an outfit picked out for the event, too (because I like dressing up for events) - burgundy cardigan, brown leather jacket, white shirt, blue bow tie. And jeans and shoes and stuff.

So my life went very well yesterday, it's going well today, and it'll probably go well tomorrow, too. Brilliant.
morethanthese: (Default)
One of my fears is that I'll someday be talking to my father and casually describe myself as "mentally ill" and he'll tell me that I'm not mentally ill because I'm a functional member of society and no matter how much I explain to him that these two things are not mutually exclusive, he'll still insist that I shouldn't view myself that way because he doesn't see how dysfunctional I am or want to see me as "mentally ill".

My mother accepted it when I described myself as such, possibly because she had a history of depression (which had mostly cleared up by the time she got married and that I never really knew a lot about). My father doesn't like to identify me with labels that he thinks aren't necessary or whose use he can't understand. So far, he hasn't said that I'm not mentally ill, but I'm scared for the day when and if he does, because my family's opinion of me means everything, and I'm horrible at maintaining my own opinions without other people believing them. I think it's because I feel like I constantly need proof of things (given that I don't trust my perception of reality), and if the only important people in my life believe something, it's sort of like proof. If they don't believe it, it's hard for me to reconcile my understanding that I am mentally ill with the lack of external confirmation.
morethanthese: (Default)
Right, I'm tired, and I'm going to continue to be tired for quite some time.

I initially thought I was going to spend yesterday at my aunt's house doing work for her (she's a kindergarten teacher and I often help her with lessons and stapling and stuff). It turns out she wanted me to go to her school to help her, which is a much different environment than I had expected. (Also, no internet, and I had been planning on getting some stuff done that required the internet.) We stayed there for much longer than I had expected, and I had to negotiate payment with her for this. Normally, she pays me for my work (which is fair), but she argued that since she bought me lunch and a coffee drink (which she did), she didn't owe me much money. This is one of the problems I have with her. She offers to get me stuff, and I don't know if she's going to say that it counts as payment or if it's literally just her being nice and offering to get me something. And since it's often stuff like lunch or other sustenance that helps me get through the day, there's often repercussions if I decline.

I was able to argue that I deserved to be paid because I technically paid for my lunch (she sent me to go get something from In-N-Out, and she said I should pay with my own money and she'd pay me back later, but she never paid me back). I got $10 for my work. I think that's fair. I still wish I didn't have to fight to get paid, though. I know I'm making a great deal out of nothing, because I know there are people who do things for people and don't get paid or given food and there are people who are made to do much worse things for abusive relatives and stuff - basically, people have to do similar but worse things - but it still doesn't make it any more pleasant. (Incidentally, she still has yet to pay me. This often happens, too. She doesn't give me money for like three days after I do the work for her.)

I thought I was going to get to her house after that to wait for two of my friends (twins) to come over. See, I was going to hang out with two of my friends for what I thought was going to be for a few hours, and I would have a little time between working for my aunt and seeing my friends to just relax and not have to do anything that stressed me out. This did not happen. My sister, who was doing a swim meet (because she's a competitive swimmer), needed some people to time her for an event, so my aunt and I had to go do that. We spent like an hour at the place the swim meet was taking place at so we could time her for a six-minute event. That tired me out and stressed me out. It would be funny how poorly I handle unexpected events if it weren't so stupid.

After that, my aunt and I left to get food for my me, her, and my uncle so we could have something to eat really quickly before my friends got to her house. (Because we were going to be at her house, since my friends live really close to my aunt.) She went to another restaurant and ordered something to-go, and we waited for it, I took a small walrus finger puppet out of my pocket and started squeezing it. Because the otter I posted about earlier just wasn't working for me as a stress object. It wasn't convenient to take everyplace, but I had a small walrus that fits in my pocket and that I can reasonably expect to be able to take everywhere. My aunt asked about the walrus and I explained why I had it. She asked me if it had a name, and I told her it was called John. Because of John Lennon and the Beatles and "I Am The Walrus". I then told her some stuff about the Beatles, and that calmed me down. I discovered that night that, if I'm really nervous and tense, I will feel better if I am made to talk about the Beatles. There are some subject that, if I just talk about them, will make me feel better because I'll concentrate my energy from the stress and apply it towards recalling the facts about the thing I'm talking about. I was extremely stressed out in that moment, you see. That's why I had the walrus. I need something to hold when I'm stressed-out.

One thing I found myself saying that I kind of regret: I mentioned how stressed-out and anxious I was, and I said, "You know what? I deserve a medal for getting through this."

About as soon as I said it, I realized what a gross sense of entitlement this displayed. I've developed this mentality that "tiny victories" like not having a breakdown in the face of anxiety-inducing events or even just continuing to physically exist through the course of a day are things one deserves a medal for. I suppose I think that, because I have anxiety problems, I deserve recognition for doing things that people do everyday and that aren't anything special at all. What's worse is that I have friends and acquaintances who agree with this mindset whenever I express it to them. It's not good. It's really not. I need to dismantle that part of my thinking. But when I compare it to the other parts of my personality I'm trying to remove, I realize that's a particularly hard thing to get rid of, because it doesn't make me hurt others or myself, it makes me feel good about myself. The thing, it's wrong and it's a symptom of a false sense of entitlement or an overexaggeration of the few genuinely impressive things I do, and that's just not good.

My friends came over. They stayed much longer than I thought they would, but we enjoyed ourselves. Mostly we made jokes about Disney movies and YouTube, and this was much more entertaining than one might think it was. I decided to spend the night at my aunt's house, because I was supposed to go to church in the morning, and I figured I would sleep at the house of my family who was also going to church in the morning.

I'm finally home, and in a little less than an hour, my older cousin comes over to help me with my take-home test for math. This is making me nervous because this take-home test is one of the few things that will keep me from failing this math class altogether. I wish the last of my math-related concerns would end with this test, but no, this Thursday, I have the actual final for my math class, and I don't know how well I'm going to do on that. Likely I'll fail it as I did the last math tests. Though, I might get a B on it or something. I got a B on my first math test in this class. Who knows. I just hope I pass, because I'll be very very lucky if I pass.

I'm stressed and anxious still and I shouldn't be blogging about stress and anxiety and I don't know what the point of this entry was.
morethanthese: (tea 1)
 

See this guy? I've had this guy for quite a while. It’s been a while since I've used this otter for anything, so I'm giving him a new name (plus I can’t recall what he was called earlier anyway). I'm calling him the Skipper. Yes, that's a Cabin Pressure reference. That's also something I think an otter should be called. Yes, he has a scarf. An old friend of mine made it for him. He's been on my bookshelf until now, and I’m bringing him down for a while. I've been getting really nervous at school because I'm scared for the semester to end. I've been more afraid for this semester to end than I've been afraid for any college semester so far, and many times I've felt the need for a small object like a stuffed animal to squeeze when I get nervous.
 
This otter is going to fulfill that purpose. I'm going to carry him around in my school bag so I have him whenever I need him, and once school's out, I'm going to make sure I have him whenever I need him because I can guarantee that I'm going to get excessively nervous this holiday season (because this is my family's first Christmas without my mother, and that's going to cause a lot of emotions on everyone's part, probably).

That's what I'm doing.
morethanthese: (Default)
I found myself having to be rather brave today. Or, rather, I found myself having to deal with things I didn't want to deal with or else preparing myself to deal with such things. Or, rather, I did a large number of things that would have taken tremendous bravery for me to have done not so long ago.

It started when I had to give a presentation in my English class, which would have been quite alright had it not been for the fact that I hadn't prepared for it, I didn't exactly know what I would do until my fellow presenters talked to me in class, and the only reason I wanted to be in that group was because I would get to finally have a practical use for some charts I'd found on Tumblr. We're reading a book called How to Lie with Statistics, and for extra credit, we can present on a chapter of the book and make a presentation on what principle of "lying with statistics" it talks about. I did a presentation on a different chapter earlier, but when I found out there was a group doing a presentation on a chapter about the "correlation equals causation" fallacy, I wanted to work with them, too, because I found these charts on a semi-argument on Tumblr, which can be found here. (They're charts that were made to show that correlation does not equal causation, so they were basically a bunch of charts with really absurd correlations.) In our presentations, we had to discuss a modern-day application of the information given in the book, and I figured that pulling out something funny from an online argument was as modern as anything. Cecil, who had been out this morning and helped me pick out my outfit (because apparently he's normally good at giving fashion advice), helped me give the presentation as well. Or at least, I got him to help me because if he was going to be around, I figured I'd get him to help me do what he does best; that is, talk for other people. (When my facets help me, it's sort of like they're in my head while I have to do something that they're good at, and I get help from either knowing they're there or giving them a little bit of control in doing the whatever-it-is that needs to be done.)

The teacher and my classmates liked the presentation, and all was well. They also found my/Cecil's fixation on mountains amusing. Because there was a chart that compared a particular mountain range to the number of murders in New York, with astonishing similarity. And we kept saying surrealish things about mountains (my class is used to my surrealish comments) and, you know, we shut up when it was necessary. So nothing really bad happened there. However, after class, I found myself having to actually do some math homework that I didn't want to do. I decided not to do it and instead go to a taco shop that's near my school. This was at 10 AM. I took advantage of my really long break and went to get tacos at 10 AM. Ah, college life. Ah, not knowing what you're really doing anymore.

I went back after some time, found the building my next class was taking place in (it was history, and we were going to hear a lecture in another class). I suppose my resolve strengthened somewhat because I found myself doing my math homework while waiting for class to begin. I completed one chapter, which was pretty good for me. Ah, I realize I haven't explained: I am good at virtually all areas of academics except for math. I have never ever been good at math, and even though I'm in my college's equivalent of pre-algebra, I'm practically failing it. (I failed the last two test, and only the fact that our next test is a take-home test is likely to save my grade.) I'm deeply ashamed of myself, because I'm doing poorly academically, and...well, that's just an extremely shameful thing for me, for many reasons. And I've been really aversive to doing math since I failed that last test. But I did it, and that was rather brave of me.

It came time for the lecture, and that was interesting, but for no real reason, I started having flashbacks in the middle of the lecture. It wasn't like PTSD flashbacks, because I don't have PTSD, but every so often (more like "every day", really), I sort of relive certain memories of things that have happened to me. Yes, most of those things involve my mother's death and things that happened afterwards. And there was one event in particular, which I don't care to talk about, and I hadn't really thought about it for a while, but for no real reason, I just started reliving it, and I had a little freakout inside myself. Fortunately, I don't think I showed any signs of being upset, but it was hard to deal with because I needed some way to physically deal with the problem and I didn't know how. I've never really tried to deal with my flashbacks. Normally, it's enough to just let them happen, but I felt a real need to stop it, and I couldn't. I drew all over my arm with marker, which sort of worked. I'm not sure why that would work, but it did.

Well, I survived history, and I went on to math. Math...math took a deal of bravery, too, because I'm scared of my math class now. But I was able to pay attention in class and not freak out that much, and the material actually made sense to me. We're learning about radicals. That's all I want to say. (Oh. I avoided making "radical" puns, which was pretty good of me, because I'm strongly inclined to joke around in that class, and, embarrassingly enough, "radical" is something I sometimes say when I ought to say "cool", and...well, I suppose I don't have to say much more. That was good self-control of me.)

I was able to take the bus from school to my grandparents' house, because I spend Tuesday nights at my grandparents'. (Normally I stay up late there, because there's nowhere I need to be on Wednesday mornings, but these plans were not going to be fulfilled, as my dad told me this morning that he was taking me to get a flu shot tomorrow morning at a hospital near my grandparents'. I hate needles.)

Now, I used to be afraid of taking the bus all that distance (because it's rather a long ride) but now I can do it. No matter how many people filled the bus, I kept my little freakouts inside me and kept it together. I even talked to someone on the bus. (She was at the bus stop at my school. We both go there; we talked about our majors and books that we like.) There was also a point at which a lady got on the bus and stood at the front for lack of a seat, so I got up, tapped her on the shoulder, and said, "Pardon me, ma'am. You may have my seat if you like." She took it, and I felt pretty good about myself. I like being nice to people. Being nice to people is good.

When I got to my grandparents', the first thing I did was get online and register for my classes for next semester. Because I talked to my counselor about that, and we figured out what classes I was going to take. Today's the first day to register, and I like getting things done promptly. I was confident as soon as I logged onto the website. When I saw the forms I had to fill out for registering, I proceeded to freak out because I didn't quite know how to do it and I wasn't quite as prepared as I thought. But I figured it out, I filled out what I could, I had a question and so I looked up my counselor's number and called her, she answered my question, I went on, I registered. All I have to do is pay within three days.

I called my dad right afterwards, telling him I'd need him to pay (because he pays for my education, at least as of now), and we decided he'll help me pay for it online with his credit card, tomorrow. He also told me we're not getting flu shots tomorrow morning, because my sister isn't able to go, so we're going on Monday morning, because then we can all go together. Not only do I get to say up late, as I like to do, I don't have to do something that terrifies me. Like, it scared me so much I was "talking" to my facets and trying to figure out which of them was brave enough to help me do this. We decided that Martin Crieff had to do it, because he's the only one whose resolve to do what needs to be done - like doing something good for one's physical health - is anywhere near as strong as my fear of needles. I was going to see if I could summon him somehow (because he hasn't been coming out on his own for...kind of a while, and I can never really get his presence very strongly when I need him) but now we don't have to do that and that's really relieving.

I'm going to spend my night writing, doing poetry submissions (because I submit my poems and stories and stuff to literary magazines, some of which publish them), and using the internet. Alright. This'll be radical.
morethanthese: (Default)
Hi, folks. This is my first entry. I'm relocating here from LiveJournal (where my username was noodledoctor). The reason I'm doing so is because 1. I was advised that, while LiveJournal isn't such a great site anymore, Dreamwidth is pretty good if one likes the format of LiveJournal, and 2. a bunch of things happened to me between the last time I was really active on LiveJournal and now. I feel like starting anew, with a new blog, a new site, a new name.

Before explaining what happened, I suppose I ought to give a little bit of explanation as to myself. Hello. I have a lot of names but I like the moniker of "Smithy", especially on the internet. I'm nineteen, I'm a student at a community college. I do writing (fiction and poetry; most of the fiction is speculative and most of the poetry is experimental). I'm a Christian and I guess you could say I'm "devout" (without being...well, extreme, I think is the word one might be looking for that describes what I'm not?) I'm in a lot of fandoms. I play ukulele rather badly and sing rather badly as well and write songs not quite as badly. I'm obsessed with helping people and doing things that benefit others. I have a bunch of mental illnesses/instances of not being neurotypical, but the main things that give me the most trouble are bipolar disorder and general anxiety disorder. I am really good at academics, to the point where it's the only thing I think I'm good at that matters. My mind is really messed up.

Alright. Now onto what happened.

This whole nonsense started in March of 2013, when my mother suffered a sudden brain aneurysm and died. No one expected this. It just happened. I was rather close to my mother (I live at home, with my immediate family, and I regularly see my extended family). I've heard other members of my family describe the event as "traumatic", and maybe I was traumatized, too, but I'm not really sure, because I experience emotions really really differently than a lot of people and things that ought to affect most people hugely don't really affect me.

My family structure changed radically after that, to the point where it feels like I practically have a different family. This isn't a bad thing, but it's really hard to get used to, even now in December, and there are a number of challenges involved here, not to mention some thoughts I've been having about my mother and some things I've been re-examining in regards to our interactions - things that are easier now that she's not in my life anymore.

Another thing that happened was the addition - or perhaps the discovery? - of a feature of my psychological landscape. For almost all my life, I've claimed to have "people in my head" - not in a "crazy person" way or even a "dissociative identity disorder" way. It's just that I've always had the feeling that there were other presences in my mind, like having your own fictional characters come to life or internalizing an idea in the form of a person, something like that.

However, this phenomenon (after a period of about a year where it wasn't really the case for me) resurfaced during the summer following my mother's death. I started wondering whether or not this was a case of multiplicity (that is, the phenomenon of having numerous people in one body or having numerous people in one's mind, where said people are actual people and not just ideas or presences or fragments of a person). I did a fair deal of research, and I decided that my situation wasn't that of actual multiplicity (because I didn't think the "people in my head" were actual people). Rather, they were more like personas and fictional characters I'd absorbed into my own personality. I called them "facets" because they had latched onto facets of my own thinking or behavior.

Most of them were fictional characters (I refer to them as "fictives", which is the term for one who identifies as a fictional character - maybe this isn't a good term, as it suggests a degree of personhood that I'm not sure they have, but it makes sense for me to use). Some of them were original. Some of them came about because I wanted behavior to emulate until it became my own (and it did become my own, when one of these facets were out); some of them came about because the character in question had had some experience that I identified with and I wanted to deal with the situation by becoming a character who had dealt with it themself; some of them came about because it was easier to express certain thoughts and behaviors in terms of someone else; some of them came about for no identifiable reason.

I went along, calling them my facets, and observing a limited degree of agency and autonomy in their actions and thoughts. (I can have mental conversations with them, although sometimes I have to direct their words and thoughts - because it is my mind they're using, and if I'm having a bit of difficulty with putting words together in my head, they'll have the same difficulty. My thoughts and words are a resource, and they use that resource.) A few of them have even shown up in conversation with other people (although I seldom pointed out that it was them, and most people didn't realize that anything about my conversation was different).

Lately, though, I've begun to wonder whether or not my facets are real people after all. My psychologist told me that I lack empathy (I agree) and that I see people as objects (I also agree), albeit objects with needs and desires that I can help fulfill (I again agree). The reason I accept people outside me as "real people" is because, well, I'm told so, and they appear to be so, so I accept it. They do things with autonomy, they think and feel, they have experiences comparable to my own, etc. I don't have any reason to question their reality.

But the reality of people inside one's head...well, that's harder to deal with, and while I accept members of other multiples' systems as real people, that's because they tell me they're real people, and I have no reason to think I'm a better judge of their situations than they are. But it occurred to me that my empathy problems would very easily keep me from effectively telling if my facets are real people or not. None of the reasons I accept the people physically around me as "real people" apply with no uncertainty to my facets. And no one is telling me that they're real people. It's also frustrating because some of them display more autonomy or more "real person-ness" than others. So I don't know what's going on there, and I want to chronicle that.

The most recent thing to happen was...well, a bit of a worldview breakdown that was caused by a rather unusual thing. The thing in question was my playing a computer game called OFF, and I will later write a whole entry about it and how it affected me. Maybe if you've played that game, you'll understand how this could happen. But anyway, playing that game made me realize a very bad thing about the way I think, and that made me realize more bad things about the way I think, and as I tried to correct those things, it made me realize even more bad things about the way I think. I want to fix this. I want to change myself. But it takes work, and it works the best for me if I can express it externally in some way, like talking about it or writing about it.

And now I've come to the reason I'm keeping this journal. I need to express things. I'm one of those people who's best at "thinking out loud" and who works well when they can express things through visuals and rephrasing. For some reason or another, expressing things makes them more real to me. You know how they say, "Pictures or it didn't happen?" For me, it's "Verbal expression or it isn't fully real". And storing them in a format like an online journal makes it easy for me to look at what happened and what I talked about and look back on it when I have to or want to.

Why am I posting it online instead of writing it in a journal, then? Well...I'm not sure why, other than that maybe people will find it, and maybe people will have interesting things to say about it, and maybe I can open up a dialogue about this stuff. And even if that doesn't happen, even if communication doesn't happen, even if no one looks at this journal during the time I need to keep it, maybe someone will find it later and read it and find some sort of value in it. Maybe that'll happen.

That's my hope, anyway.

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Smithy

January 2015

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