Loneliness and Insecurity

There’s a weird feeling I have at the moment, and it’s called loneliness and insecurity.  It means I want to talk and make a friend, but I’m insecure/anxious about how the conversation would go and whether it would be a positive overall interaction or a negative one.

As an HSP, apparently I go out of my way to avoid uncomfortable situations, so you can guess where that leaves me.  I guess I’ve kind of forgotten about my HSP-ness, except today, I noticed one of my friends on Facebook, an acquaintance, rather, had changed her last name back to her maiden name.  That’s never a good sign when you know they are (were?) married.  It’s really disheartening and while one shouldn’t jump to conclusions, I thought back to the research I read a long time ago about how neuroticism is the number one personality predictor of an unhappy marriage, in so many words.  I think HSP-ness and neuroticism pretty much overlap quite a bit.  So I made my hubby take the HSP test.  He’s not an HSP (no surprise at all there).  I think when I make my hubby take tests like these and listen to his responses, I realize how much I assume everyone around me must think the way I think, or feel the way I feel in response to things, and how strange it is to find out that they don’t.  You mean loud noises don’t really bother you?!  You mean you’re not bothered by coarse fabrics?  You don’t get nervous when someone is watching you do something?  You must be an alien!  Except no, the alien, folks, is me.  Just kidding.  We are 20% of the population, so not so alien after all.  But the point is, something about us, oh, maybe the way we are so very moody, makes it difficult for people to live very very closely to us, which marriage is.  Anyhow, as you can probably guess, this doesn’t make me feel too good about myself.  So it’s been awhile since I’ve thought about these personality things.  Thankfully, it is the Lord who brought me to my husband, and my husband to me.  His ways really are higher than our ways.  My thoughts are kind of all over the place on this.  I guess I just feel bummed when things aren’t working out for people and of course I can’t have any way of knowing what is actually going on, so how can I say anything?  It’s all very confusing.  Years and years have passed and so much change, too.

I think that’s what ties all of these thoughts together.  Change.  I don’t like change.  Since I’m back home, I’ve realized a lot of folks are probably still around, but I don’t know if they would want to talk to me.  There’s always the past, the connections to this person or that person, and then there’s this huge gap of time, and by now, I have no clue what to think or what they think, or if they even think.  I want to connect with people, but I have no words.  Or maybe they’re busy.  Or maybe I’m busy.  I would be okay, except see the reason I’m writing this is that I spent too long scrolling through a NewsFeed, reading just that.  News.  News about people, when all I really want is to actually sit down and talk to them, except I also don’t want that as well.  Because what if they don’t open?  That feeling when you can’t seem to get through feels even lonelier, somehow.  Why do things change?  So we left our old community behind, but I am forming a new community here, and it will take time.

I feel there is a new stage of life ahead of me.  The leaves are growing a radiant reddish hue and life is morphing as well.  It seems as I grow older, family becomes more and more primary, and more of them actually need your care, or is it that I actually notice and care about someone other than myself.  I will be 29 in a few weeks.  Throughout most of my life, I haven’t felt my age.  I’ve always felt younger than I actually was.  Today though, my age feels very real to me.

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Home Again

Here I am again.  I’ve found a new morning routine for myself, ever since I discovered the Sleep Cycle app.  It’s a really cool app which tracks your sleeping cycles using your phone’s microphone, and wakes you up at the point where you’re the most awake, so it’s easier for you to wake up.  For a person that has struggled with waking up since exiting the womb, well I had to try it.  It has worked really well, and it’s also very interesting to see your actual cycle from being awake, to sleeping, to deep sleeping.

A corner of the dining room lets in the morning sunlight, so that’s where I choose to sit in the anxiety of the morning.  I feel like a cat sometimes, curling up in a spot where I can feel the warmth of the sun after escaping from sleep.  I miss feeling calm.  Little bursts of electricity run around inside my body.  They gather in my core.  I just want to hide from the day, from the eyes, from the confusion, from the judgment, from the reverberations of billions of beings on this earth with convictions and experiences and opinions and knowledge and voices and actions.  I can’t tell if the ache inside is because I’m hungry or because of my mind.  I think a little of both.

“But you’re happier”

she said.  This was after I told her my concerns about not feeling the impulse to write.  I guess the impulse to write a lot of times had been that feeling of sadness, heaviness perhaps, and when that feeling is gone, the impulse leaves as well.  It could also just be paranoia that I’m feeling this way; this could all just be a placebo effect, a product of my keen awareness of the potential side-effects of contentment.

The fact is, I don’t write as much as I used to, and I don’t really know why.  Maybe part of it is the feeling that I don’t know who my audience is, since I rarely receive any feedback these days.  Without feedback, it’s difficult for me to know how I should write.  There is, on one level, the reasoning that this blog is for myself, but ultimately we write because we want to express something to someone– the reader.  Now, without knowing who the reader is, it is difficult to know what to say.  In high school, I remember I had a Xanga.  My high school friends read it and we would all make comments on each other’s blogs.  I would blog about school.  I would blog about the funny things our teachers said.  I would blog about the things we pondered.  I’m not even sure what I would say, but there was always more from where it came from.  Day after day, there existed a house within which my blog lived.  In that house, were all the comments between me and my friends.  I think those were my happy blogging days.

I think I reminisce a lot, partly because I have a revisionist brain.  I remember when I drew a picture of a cat in grade school.  I lost that picture, somewhere in my room, and would sometimes remember it and wonder where it had gone.  I would think about how it was one of my best drawings and how I couldn’t draw like that anymore.  Well I eventually found that picture in a box years later, and thought to myself, “Now why did I think this was so great?”.  Maybe my standards were different then, or maybe my memories were wrong, or maybe both.

Tomorrow I shall start school again.  I am nervous, perhaps more than usual.  As I slide further down the side of my bed, I try to quench the anxiety forming in my stomach.  It will have to be alright.

Let the Rain Fall Down

Yes, I used to listen to Hilary Duff.

My stress levels have been high lately, and as a result, the thoughts in my head start swirling at a tiresome speed.  They aren’t helpful, but at least I know that the thought itself is simply a thought, just like the experience of someone with road rage.  It’s not about what that car in front of us is doing, really.  And once we can separate ourselves from that, yes, we might just breathe a sigh of relief.

Emil Coccaro, a professor and psychiatrist at the University of Chicago, has studied Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED) for many years. People with this disorder repeatedly respond with violent or verbally aggressive outbursts, disproportionate to any given situation. (Not all road-ragers have IED, but road rage can be a symptom of it.) He says that the psychological root of this behavior is often something called Hostile Attribution Bias—the belief that every accidental injury or threat is purposeful, and personal. People with IED over-personalize every interaction, and then over-react with immediate aggression.

The biases we have as human beings are so interesting to me.  Breathe in, that car might just be having a bad day.  Maybe their dog died.  Maybe their car just started having problems.

It reminds me of a time in Bible school when E told us how she was driving a bus on the freeway and it was having problems so she couldn’t go faster than like 40 miles an hour, if even that.  Imagine all those people who were glaring at her, honking at her, wondering what was going on.  Poor E.  And poor ignorant people.  If they had known, they would have spared themselves a lot of negative feelings.  We all thought the story was hilarious, though.  Good times.

Awkward

I am awkward, especially when I’m sick and make all kinds of mistakes without even knowing it.  I’m trying not to beat myself up over it, but it still feels like it deserves its own post.  Awkward.  This word is awkwardness itself.  What is “awkward”?  I’m saying from a purely philosophical and psychological standpoint, not from a practical standpoint.  I want to know.  What defines it?  There are lots of studies on love, anger, depression, happiness, fear, sympathy.  But what about awkwardness?  Are there any studies on what gets defined as “awkward”, why we feel awkward, and where it comes from?  That would be, well, awkward.  Or cool.  Or both, I can’t decide.

What else?  I went to IKEA with R today.  The thing about IKEA is.  I love it– cheap prices, cute design, lingonberry and Swedish meatballs, a well of inspiration, an abundance of small things.  And I hate it– you must go through the marketplace to get to the checkout, no ifs, ands, or buts.  It guarantees that by the end of any visit there, I will want food.  And that is exactly what happened.  You tricksters, you.  I have to give it to those Swedes, they know how to make the most of a design, from the tiny one egg frying pan that I have come to respect, to their entire showroom and warehouse experience.  The claustrophobic won’t like it, but bravo, nonetheless.

NARTH

http://www.narth.com

National Alliance for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality

Wow, places like this exist. Every once in awhile I go on a story rampage, that is, I start reading testimonies. Today it was on a somewhat dark subject, one that I am still afraid to sound clearly across a Facebook page for fear of being accused of hatred and bigotry. Instead, I shall use this blog as the appropriate medium. I read stories of men who struggled with what is today known as “homosexuality”, and also, from their words, recovered from their unwanted life and feeling. They lead from their perspectives whole, healed lives with their wives and children. Lives that they longed for but lives that seemed out of their reach.

I understand that I risk backlash with such a post, but as one who knows what it is to suffer internally, I want you to know that a hope is there, dear ones. There seems to be a lot of controversy and struggle there but there it is.

The Depression Cure: The 6-Step Program to Beat Depression Without Drugs

I should mention as an introduction, that despite the book’s title, Stephen is not advocating that you drop your medication as soon as you begin implementing this program, as “discontinuing an antidepressant without medical supervision can be dangerous.  Also, depression can be triggered by many common medical conditions– diabetes, sleep apnea, thyroid disorder, heart disease”, to name a few– so, as always, there are possibilities to consider.  With that said, here’s a brief rehash of the first chapter to those who may find this helpful.

I’m starting to read this book and so far I am enjoying the introduction quite a bit.  So much so, that I will summarize it here for anyone it may benefit.  Stephen’s hypothesis is that the rate of depression in the United States has increased, meaning people are more vulnerable to depression now, largely because of lifestyle.  Did you know only one group of Americans haven’t been hit by the depression epidemic?  That is the Amish, the ones still clinging to their eighteenth-century way of life.  He also cites how in third-world countries, the rate of depression is “often a fraction of that observed in the West” but that the “prevalence of depression has begun to go up in those countries where people are shifting from more traditional to more Americanized lifestyles”.  Also, he mentions that the “risk of depression has increased relentlessly in recent years across the industrialized world” and in contrast, “modern-day hunter-gatherer bands–such as the Kaluli people of the New Guinea highlands . . . despite living very hard lives . . . [are] largely immune to the plague of depressive illness.”  Stephen Ilardi’s basic thesis is that “the human body was never designed for the modern post-industrial environment”.  He asks the question, “How are hunter-gatherers able to weather life’s storms so effectively?”  He suspects that they are more likely than we are to experience “tragic events like the death of a child . . . — events that can serve as powerful triggers of depression”, but even with this, they remain resilient.  What has emerged from his study is this, “the hunter-gatherer lifestyle is profoundly antidepressant”, that is they “naturally wind up doing may things that keep them from getting depressed.  They do things that “change the brain more powerfully than any medication”.  Essentially, Stephen’s “six major protective lifestyle elements” are these:

– Dietary omega-3 fatty acids

– Engaging activity

– Physical exercise

– Sunlight exposure

– Social support

– Sleep

He calls his treatment program “TLC”, short for Therapeutic Lifestyle Change.  Sounds good to me.  That’s it for the introduction!