On avoidance

I’ve been feeling pretty great (aside from the flu which has been hanging out with me for almost 10 days now), and it’s been quite confronting at times to think that not three months ago I was happily married, and I’m now living the life like nothing ever happened.

I credit the happy pills for this strange sense of contentment that’s taken over my body. I truly believe the balance they have offered in the way I deal with the ups and downs of life has been the greatest thing since sliced bread (ok, maybe not that great).

Despite the nausea of the first week or so, and some of the other side effects, mainly my need to be in bed at 8pm, I have been feeling really good about life, and quite positive too. My anger is gone (well, mostly), I don’t get frustrated with myself as much as I used to… All these things I usually have to deal with on a daily basis which had become part of me have sort of vanished in a way. I know they’re only locked away short term, but I am hoping not having to deal with this part of my personality will allow me to learn how to lock it away without the help of meds.

Of course there have been days where I have been feeling sad and lonely, but that’s also proof that the antidepressants haven’t completely altered my mood and that i am still me.

In conjunction with the psychotherapy, I believe I am on the right path to get better, and hopefully won’t need the antidepressants for too long.

The psychotherapy has been quite insightful too. After being diagnosed with severe social anxiety, we have now decided it’s time for me to start working on my bad habits, and realise there is nothing to fear out there in the big world. My first piece of homework is to write down everything I do that falls under the avoidance part of social anxiety.

Surprisingly enough, I don’t find that hard to notice, because I do it all the time. I do struggle to see how I’m going to get better at not avoiding those situations but that’s to be discussed with my psychologist at a later date.

One thing I did notice more and more throughout the week though, is my inability to look up when I’m walking down the street, specifically when there are men around. I tend to either look slightly down or find something else to focus on that forward, and pretend no one can see me. I don’t know where it’s coming from, although I do have an idea, but this whole exercise has made me realise how uncomfortable the idea of being noticed makes me feel.

I also can’t deal with compliments, were they about my looks, my work, or anything remotely related to what I do. I just can’t accept a compliment, and where most people will say “thank you”, i usually add a “but” at the end of the sentence and start a tirade of reasons why the person giving me compliments made a mistake. It’s something I have done all my life, or at least from as far as I can remember. I never allowed my ex-husband to tell me he found me beautiful for instance. I’ve often wondered why I can’t deal with positive thoughts of me, why I can’t accept people’s opinion and get on with it, and to this day I still don’t get it.

These are the two main issues I’m having and they have made my life hell for years. Oftentimes, I find myself coming home and I burst into tears because of the level of anxiety I feel, and these examples are what usually trigger the tears.

I’m just hoping that I can start dealing with these feelings better, that I end up, if not accepting, at least allowing people to look at me, make comments, and stop worrying about things which ultimately don’t matter.

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