I am on the verge of having a major mind shift. There has been a facebook thread that I have been reading and contributing a little to the last couple of days about meltdowns/shutdowns. I have been on a roller coaster of meltdown/shutdown mode myself for these few days, so it has helped a great deal to read through and keep me in the “now.” Realizing my anxiety loops and not falling into a downward spiral.
Mostly, I have been filled with anxiety off and on.
I have had phantom fears, fears about people not wanting me around, and crying. Which I hate, especially when I have no idea why I am crying. However, I have learned to let myself release them without attacking myself with negative thoughts in that area. Although, I wish I had more control over the tears and they would not erupt in the middle of Target when I am trying to buy LÄRABAR bars for Daniel. Hoping that I can get in and out quickly as to deter his meltdown because none of us realized we were out of the bars until he went to get one! I hoped, but I got disoriented because I was in no frame of mind to go to the store. It overwhelmed me to walk in there and I cried at Target. Blah!
I can tell you all of the logical reasons as to why my mind is going through this.
I know that I am making things up. I know that many of my thoughts are not true. The feelings are still real. It is still exhausting having this battle in my mind. It is hard not to think in black-and-white terms when my brain is desperately seeking something concrete to bring calm. Even if I am well aware that the calm is completely irrational. It brings some sort of resolve good or bad and just makes the looping stop.
This is where my mind shift is manifesting.
I am not allowing myself to accept the thoughts to become real in my mind. I am not allowing them to spin out of control and lead me down negative loops that I cannot get out of. I have done this before and stopped my loops, and I learned a lot from these last few times. This time is different in the sense that I have discovered a root to my familiar “people are going to leave me, no one understands me, I am all alone” type of loops. I am feeling very shaky right now. My life is completely different and the only familiarity I can rely on is my negative thought patterns. I am not accepting that – I have been working very hard at staying mindful of all the emotions I am feeling. I have been writing them down. Some days have been hard for me, but I do know that my pattern of escape is to create a wall around me. I begin to read into things that are not there.
I have thoughts flood my mind of how no one wants anything to do with me.
I begin to see people excluding me out of interactions. In reality, I have done it myself. I have cut them off and have become avoidant. It is my form of self-preservation and self-sabotage at the same time. Part of it has to do with my inability to feel love from others. I do not feel unloved – I know people love me. I cannot seem to see their actions of love, or know that they love me. I call it “love blindness” which I do plan to write about in the next few days. There are many things that go into that topic and I have been researching. Though it is not called that, many other Aspie’s and people who suffer from PTSD also have this same type of inability to know that others love them.
For me personally, I do not know how to explain it very well.
In a way, the book that I am reading expresses it – I will share. The context is of a young girl who is speaking on the phone to her grandmother whom she has never seen. She has talked to her on the phone once a month every year, but has not had direct physical interaction with her. The grandmother seems to talk about her special interest and it revolves around that – here is an excerpt of the conversation.
Rose? You there?
Hi, Grandma, I said.
You’re too quiet, said Grandma, Speak up.
I rolled a vinyl place mat into a tube.
I love you, I said, through the tube.
There was a pause. Across the room, from her listening position wedged in a far corner, Mom flinched.
Love? said Grandma, through the tiny black holes.
Yes, I said.
But you don’t even know me, said Grandma. How can you love me? It should be earned. You’re too clingy,…
Clearly, there is a lot going on there.
I left out the rest, but what hit me was when the grandma said, “But you don’t even know me.” That is how my brain thinks with family and people that I have not seen, or have interacted with. When I do see them, it is hard for me to understand any form of loving/liking action because I feel like I do not know them and they do not know me. It surprises me and it is hard to grasp that they love and care for me. I am unsure how to interact with them, and I am unsure how to be myself. I wish I could say that I only do this with people that I have limited interactions with, but it is not so. I do this with everyone. It is a very painful experience to be surrounded by people, not understand their intentions, motives, meanings of their words, and feel like you are supposed to.
Some of them intentionally hurt you.
Then, others hurt you because of social confusion, or miscommunication. They too can feel like you are trying to hurt them. I get utterly confused by family. I get confused because I cannot discern if they love me or not. I see them love each other. I somehow cannot translate their actions or words into loving expressions toward me. Many times, I feel people do not know me because they only experience me in situations where I cannot be myself. I have been trying to be myself as much as possible, but still it is limited because of new environments, sensory issues, social issues, trying to keep an eye on the kids, helping them with their sensory/social issues, and FOOD! Gosh! Why does food have to be the center of events? Anyway… They do not know me – I am here. I am words on a page. (That is not completely true, but many times I feel like that.) I feel like a shadow of myself out there and it is hard to comprehend that people love my shadow.
My mind can fall into black-and-white thinking when it comes to the issue of love.
It is such an abstract concept and defined by people so differently that I cannot even grasp it. It is too much, at some point in my life I came up with a gauge of how to determine if someone loves me or not. However, I have no idea what it is. All I know is that if it feels like they have changed their behavior in the slightest it has something to do with me and now they no longer love me. If they stay the same and nothing changes in the relationship that means they love me.
I am going to have to put words to this invisible chart I have created.
It does not really make sense, and it always leaves me uncertain of what my relationships are. For instance, my closest aunt, I know she loves me. She would drop anything and everything if I called her and told her that I needed her. I know this, but the last few days I have been feeling like she is upset with me, that she never wants to speak with me again, like it does not matter if I am here or not, like no one in my family cares in the least if they ever talk to me again. This is not true. I know this, but the fact that I have been hurt so much with family and know that no matter what I cannot be myself fully leaves me feeling empty and as though they do not love me.
How can they love me when they do not even know me?
To Be Continued… part two tomorrow sharing about rumination.