Trigger/Content Warning (TW/CW): this blog post contains mentions of abandonment, abuse, and use of sex for food and companionship. Reader discretion is advised.
For those who have known me for period of time longer than the existence of this blog, you may have noticed that in some ways I'm doing better. However, there has been mentions of concern over how I am able to cope with daily life while I'm healing. One whackamole gets bopped, another whackamole pops up.
It is true; my coping skills suck canal water. In fact, I'm surprised that I have any coping skills at all. Today, I found out just how bad my ability to handle anything and everything really is.
I will be entering into a new level of therapy in about 12 days, and I am scared as hell about what to expect. I mentioned about dialectic behavioral therapy, or DBT, in a previous blog post. The blog post mentioned about a DBT group I attended, ended up in an argument with the moderator, and left the group because my gender identity was invalidated. It happened last week, actually. Now, I will be doing one-on-one DBT with a new therapist, because my (now) previous therapist doesn't specialize in DBT (either that, or she read that specific blog post, heh).
There was also a mention by the therapist of Borderline Personality Disorder. I did not get diagnosed with it (at least not today), but based on what was explained to me, it goes hand-in-hand with the PTSD. This is actually not a new revelation: my psychiatrist mentioned this a year ago around the time I was having issues with my therapist.
Borderline Personality Disorder is probably not the best description of the condition. My personality is not on the borderline of love it or leave it (or maybe it is), but it has to do with emotion regulation and the lack of it.
I wasn't taught how to deal with, or cope with, anything I was given something that was less than pleasant. For the most part, whenever I see or hear the word "abandonment," I choke up and tears begin to fall. That's what happened to me for so many years. And because of that, I had to teach myself how to cope with what was given to me. Bad day? Get some fast food. Good day? Buy a new purse or a pair of shoes. Feeling attacked or invalidated? Fight that bitch to the proverbial death. Seeing an emergency? Five-alarm that emergency until it gets resolved. Want to not be around abusive family members? Be around abusive partners that were willing to give you fast food just as long it was an unspoken agreement to have sex with them. And the list can go on for hours.
It probably doesn't help that my parents were never taught how to cope either. Or their parents. Maybe it was just it; you just throw your hands up and say fuck it and leave it alone.
Except, I never got that message.
I coped with problems (especially when I would have physical health problems) very piss poorly. Even now with the whole toothy bastard situation, I can sense my mind's axis is off some. And the trauma of the first tumor surgery from 2005 is speaking out of my mouth instead of reasonable logic. Because of that, I have pissed off numerous health professionals due to my noncompliance.
That alone makes me so ashamed and embarrassed.
For years, I was able to "show" that I was capable of coping. Behind the scenes, I had the credit cards to buy whatever I wanted, and was in relationships that I had no business being in. Take those elements away from me, and I am a deer in headlights. And now, I am finding myself, again, doing the same things I did before, not because I can't cope, but because I don't know how to regulate my emotions. The on/off switch isn't broken; the on/off switch was never installed properly.
So I have to deal with how to deal. A game of cards where you have to play with what you're handed. I was thinking about this card game called cribbage. I was taught this game when I was age 8 or 9, making various combinations of fifteen to earn points on a separate peg board. The goal is to make it to 120 points, or the "finish line," before your opponent(s) do. The plot twist comes if you incorrectly count your points; if that happens, and your opponents catch your mathematical error, they can and will steal your missed points.
I wonder if I can go into DBT with the mindset of playing a mental and emotional game of cribbage? Where points are earned by understanding and utilizing tools and skills to effectively tolerate certain levels of pain and manage emotions without the resort of fast food and sexual healing; can that be done?
And I also wonder if DBT helps with the constant defense of my actions by folks who disagree with why I do what I do. Some people think I put out way too much information about myself on this blog. Others are worried about my future employability, if and when the day comes where I can reenter the workforce (and be off of disability). Some folks have told me to stay away from "social justice warriors" and "amateur psychologists" on social media, for their messages will confuse me hella worse than before. And then, there is that tug of war over "labels;" are they used to describe personality or identity? How do I describe myself without using the words: autistic, genderfluid, pansexual, Jew, and old as fuck?
The symptom descriptions of Borderline Personality Disorder fit me: anger and resentment over the sense of real or perceived abandonment, fawning over someone who gives me even the tiniest amount of attention, not being able to discern a learning lesson from a personal attack (comorbid with autism, I believe), and this incredible, overwhelming sense of loneliness due to being abandoned.
Now I really feel bad for folks I gave all types of hell to. It makes me want to erase everything and start over again. Throw things that are reminiscent of traumatizing events and nouns alike away (one more problem to whack back down).
The next few months are going to be down right chaotic with new medical professionals, more meetings about my future, and whether or not my finances will allow me go on a vacation to New Orleans in October and to Los Angeles in January to celebrate Birthday No. 35.
You keep reading and commenting, and I keep contributing and sharing.