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Belonging, or just fitting in?

Belonging, or just fitting in?

I was just watching videos from The Light of the Moon Cafe, where they talk about struggles with food. They really get us highly sensitive people over there.

In one of the videos Dr. Johnston was talking about how many people, especially women, will accept fitting in as a substitute for really *belonging*.

Fitting in: “when you abandon who you really are in an attempt to look like and act like and think like and feel like what you imagine how others want you to look and think and feel and act.”

Belonging: “feeling a kinship, a connection to others while you feel a connection to your true self.”

As children we are wired to *need* to belong, but sometimes our families of origin or friends aren’t emotionally healthy and don’t want us to belong, so we settle for fitting in, as our small (and older!) bodies crave connection of whatever kind we can get.  Of course, if we are only fitting in and not belonging, we realize deep down something is missing.   We are highly sensitive and can usually perceive the tiny hints that others miss.  We know something is “off” even though everyone around us says everything is fine.

When we speak up about this in unhealthy families, it doesn’t turn out well for us.  This is when we start thinking there must be something wrong with us. This is when we start numbing ourselves with food, with perfectionism, with addictions.

Why did my mom abandon me? Why did my father get upset when I said I was hurt by something he did? Why isn’t mom talking to me now? I don’t remember doing anything wrong…it must just be me. It must be who I am. I’m not good enough to be loved and cherished.

There’s more good stuff on the website so I won’t, and shouldn’t, summarize the whole video for you (I was watching the free Soul Hunger Video Series on the sidebar).

Oh but that “fitting in” vs. “belonging” — what an eye opening moment. Now, I have understood the difference for a long time, and have probably been studying attachment since I was in college taking psych classes (i.e. in the dinosaur ages, LOL). But hearing it said this morning made me realize how often I *still* do this.

Still settle for fitting in. Still think there is something horribly wrong with me.  Still think I’m unlovable so I might as well just fit in, at least then people will stop arguing with me and trying to prove themselves right (and me wrong).  It hurts less this way.

But does it? Does it really? In the moment, yes.  But deep, deep down, you know it doesn’t.  I know it doesn’t.  A lifetime of pretending to be someone else so that you can be loved and kept and safe catches up with you. You wake up at 35, or 40, or 52 and wonder who you even are, and why is there this huge empty hole where “I” should be?

The claiming of my “self” has been difficult and painful and I still don’t even really know what I’m looking for, but every tiny gain of reality has been worth it. It’s almost like I actually feel a tiny puzzle piece click into place. I realize now if people don’t know me, even if they say they like or love me, they don’t *really*, because I have never shown them who I really am. They like (or don’t!) the “fake girl” – the nice girl, the calm girl, the helpful girl, the girl who doesn’t know how to say no.

I hope I can get to “real me” some day before it’s too late.

Life Update

Life Update

Ok, so I’ve updated you all on what we are doing homeschooling wise this year (which has morphed even since writing that, LOL – added a Spectrum Language Arts workbook for ds to cover some holes in the easiest way possible for us).

Now I’ll dive into the crazy that the last few months have been.  Warning: long and whiny.

I guess the biggest news is that my mother passed away right after Christmas. Back at the end of August she had an incident with her heart/lungs that put her in the ICU for about a month. She was very near death but fought and rallied, and after getting a tracheotomy was sent to a specialized rehab in another state to help her wean off the ventilator, which she did. Moved back closer to home to finish “rehabbing.”  She finally got fed up with living at rehab and was close enough to being able to be released so they fought to go home.  She really struggled being home though, and was on her way back to rehab with my father  when she passed away.  She had very severe scoliosis for the last few decades of her life and it impinged on her lung and heart function. She finally just couldn’t fight anymore.

I’m not grieving in any way I’ve ever heard of.  I’m most definitely a complete mess and falling apart in ways I haven’t felt since my most severe bout of post-partum depression,  but my thoughts don’t seem to be normal “grief thoughts.”  I’m just going to leave it at that because saying any more would probably get me labeled a heartless monster. Maybe that is what I am, who knows. 🙁

In other news, my son’s been struggling with side effects of his rheumatoid arthritis and it’s medications, so we have added a few other drugs and are changing around some others. Have I mentioned that I’m a crunchy mama and that having to give my son these horrible things just kills me?   Natural things weren’t working, although a neighbor is going to talk to me about a few other things I might be able to try.  I’m not going to try anything until all our medications are switched and settled in because I need to see what reactions are coming from what.

He’s developed uveitis which is inflammation of the eye. It is somewhat common in juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. It can cause scarring which leads to blindness. Luckily we caught it early and he has started on steroid drops to help it. They are working for now.  He had to take them every two hours at first and now he’s down to 4 times a day which is much better.

He’s also developed a rash that looks like psoriasis. Again, not uncommon in rheumatoid arthritis sufferers, as psoriasis is an autoimmune skin condition.  He’s on methotrexate (a chemotherapy drug, which they just increased because of the eyes) and Enbrel (what they call a “biologic” – it’s a tumor necrosis factor inhibitor that can help JRA sufferers) which is helping his pain and swelling, but apparently not good for his eyes or skin.  Increases in his methotrexate turned him into Crazy Boy instead of my nice calm boy. Really not that bad, but I didn’t put two and two together until the optometrist mentioned something about his behavior. “I can see they increased the methotrexate!” LOL  OMG is *that* why he hasn’t been able to listen to me all week?  Mmmm, hmmmm, yup – this is just what he was like when he first went on it, and I had forgotten.  (Blocking out the trauma, LOL)

So we are being switched off of Enbrel to Humira (another TNF inhibitor with a different pathway).  Good news, we only have to inject that one once every two weeks. Bad news, it hurts like the seventh level of hell.  My son is already very sensitive and needle phobic.   I’m terrified of needing to do this to him.  It’s going to be ugly.  I’m so tired of ugly.  Luckily we have at least a week to wait because his shot is due today and we haven’t received the Humira yet, so we’ll give Enbrel.

One good thing is that since Humira should work on his eyes and skin, we can eventually *potentially* move off of the methotrexate, which is giving him awful stomach aches. Don’t get me started on the fact that his pediatrician and his rheumatologist disagree on what to give him for the stomach aches.  “Prevacid can’t possibly help”…yeah, well, it’s working, if even just psychologically, so imma keep him on it for awhile, M’Kay?  Unless you want to come hold him while he screams because his stomach hurts so bad doc, go right ahead. 😛

Rereading all this doesn’t sound like much, but the two together, on top of normal (i.e. difficult) life around here and just being “full up” all the time, I’m clinging to sanity by the thinnest of hairs.  I’m binge reading fiction just to keep my mind off things, while everything else falls apart all around me.  And then I leave the house and put on my usual fake smile for everyone so everyone thinks I’m doing so well.  But it’s like I’m actually about a foot outside of myself.  I can feel myself “leaving” – I can now turn it on at will.   But it’s exhausting. You’d think it would be easier, but it takes a lot of energy.

And I think it’s why I’m not grieving normally.  I’ve spent the last very many years being “outside myself” when with my parents because it was not safe to “be me,”  so there was no real relationship because I’m not really there. Some other girl is there.  Some happy, helpful, emotionally stable chick that morphs to be whatever you want if I can see you are not a safe harbor for me. Nope, definitely not me, LOL.

OK, I’m going to stop before I say something I’ll regret, insert a few random pictures that make me happy, and call it a day.  Thanks for reading.  I’m hoping now that I’ve gotten this off my chest I can go back to more normal posting because you’ll understand the backstory.

Love to you all.

The Black Dog

The Black Dog

 

I’m going to break an internet rule and apologize for not posting in three weeks.

I could tell you it was because I was busy (which I was) and that things are crazy (which they are) and that I’m putting my energy towards helping my daughter make her college decision (which I am – she has 9 days, people!) — but that would only be a part of the story.

I want to be honest with you here because I know you, as highly sensitive people, are not immune to what I’m about to talk about.

A few weeks ago, my typical acquaintance with depression and anxiety turned into a all out brawl, and I was losing.  I had been sliding down for a long time, but this was tail over teakettle into a ravine.

I became re-familiarized with the term, The Black Dog, which didn’t in any way seem to do what I was going through justice, although it brought up thoughts of Sirius Black from Harry Potter, which produced at least a little ray of light in an otherwise dark world spiraling out of control.  My Black Dog was more like a pack of black wolves with rabies.

I normally have a lot of deep troublesome thoughts or things going on in my life, which I can typically carry around tidily as if in a suitcase.  The problems or thoughts are there, but I am managing them.  Lately,  not only has the suitcase gotten too heavy, but it sprung open, getting lotions and dainties everywhere, just as I was running for the gate so as not to miss my plane.   Plane missed, stuff everywhere, me sitting in an emotional, embarrassed heap, unable to clean it up or move on. (OK I’m done with the metaphors, LOL).

Two days ago I stopped a medication that I think might be contributing, but it’s only a guess because it’s supposed to act in the opposite way. It’s too soon to tell if it was helping. I only took it 10 days out of the month, and my depression was every day not just those days, so I’m guessing if it was a contributing factor it’s more of a cumulative thing and will probably take time to get out of my system.

Or it has nothing to do with it and I’m just totally out of whack.  Not sure I ever was IN whack, LOL.  Actually, not even sure what whack is. 🙂


I have spent a lot of time in the last few weeks thinking about this blog and the fact that I wasn’t blogging.  Mostly wondering where I want to take this blog.

My oldest is graduating (!), my second is in a local high school, my now 7th grader wants to go there when she hits 9th grade, and yesterday #4 asked to go to school as well, before high school.  My youngest has no desire for school, but I can imagine that will change when his best buddies are all gone.  I don’t blame them.  I try very hard not to let my mental state affect them, and am usually very successful, as I’m a good faker around people.  But slowly things have changed around here over the past few years, both educationally and socially.  They are lonely and need things I can’t seem to manage.  So the highly sensitive homeschooler may soon be the highly sensitive NOT-homeschooler. Probably not next year, but soon.

Blogging about being overwhelmed by homeschooling seems disingenuous to me if I’m not right there in the trenches with you.  To me, at least.

I’ve thought about selling the URL and associated “stuff” if anyone is interested. 🙂  It’s just a thought at this moment, and I’m not sure how I would go about it all, but I’d be happy to talk to anyone interested. The right person could really fly with this blog because there is a great need for writing about this topic. I just don’t know if I’m the one to do it.

I also am having a problem with the way I’ve been blogging — part of me wants to do the traffic driving “10 Ways to Be the Best Homeschooler EVVVVVEEEERRRRRRR” posts, and part of me hates them with a passion, LOL.  The other part of me just wants to hang out and chat about life, but I worry about it turning into a whine-fest.  As HSPs life can be overwhelming, so when talking about the HSP life I’d be talking about being overwhelmed.  A lot.  Especially as an HSP dealing with anxiety and depression. And I don’t have *answers* so I’m never sure what to say.

The flip flopping between the two types has made me feel two-faced.  I know I should just follow my heart, but my heart is all.over.the.place.  If I don’t get traffic here I’m just talking to myself, but in order to drive traffic I’m not being true to myself and having to be over-salesy (for me).  Like, if I see one more highly staged instagram photo, I’m gonna quit life and go be Thoreau at Walden Pond.

I’m just going to stop there here, and ask for your thoughts.  I’m not even going to give you a question to answer, just throw it all out there to me, whatever you are thinking, about any of it.  I feel like a conversation needs to happen, but I’m not sure how to start.

 

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