Asexuality

Wow, I am bad at writing on this thing with any sort of regularity. Oh well, even if it’s a few weeks (months?) between posts, that’s better than nothing, right?

Anyway. I’ve been doing some thinking about my sexual orientation, and trying to sort my thoughts out a bit. About six months ago I stumbled across the term ‘asexual’ (meaning someone who does not experience sexual attraction to other people). I dismissed it offhand at first, in reference to myself, thinking that wasn’t a possibility since I have dated in the past. But later when I took a closer look at it, and actually bothered to look at what the term means and what people who self-identify as asexual are actually like, the pieces started to fall into place. I had an ‘oh, this would explain a lot’ moment.

I’m going to take a bit to talk about what, exactly, asexuality is (if you want more than a brief explanation AVEN is a great site). There seem to be a lot of common misconceptions about asexuality, and I want to be clear about what I’m talking about. Asexuality is not celibacy. Celibacy is a choice, made for whatever reason, that is independent of a person’s actual desires and feelings. Asexuality is not a choice; it is all about desire and feelings (or rather, the lack thereof- specifically, the lack of sexual attraction), and is completely independent of what a person does or does not actually do. Asexuality is not the same as low libido. Asexuals vary greatly in how high their libido is. It can range from vitually nonexistant to very high (much like for everyone else). Some asexuals are merely indifferent to sex, some are repulsed by it. Some asexuals experience romantic attraction, some do not.

There’s a whole lot of variety among asexuals, and there seem to be a lot of similar concepts that get confused with asexuality easily and often, so I think the definition bears repeating: An asexual is someone who does not experience sexual attraction.

Back to talking about me. So, I’d pretty much always thought I was heterosexual, and that I was saving myself until marriage. My parents were very religious, and I was raised to believe that was the right thing to do/be. Since I had no sexual attraction to the same sex and was operating under the assumptions that sex was something I would do in the far off future when I married (and presumably by then I would want and enjoy it) and that being heterosexual was ‘right’ and normal and that being gay was the only alternative and was ‘wrong’, it never really occurred to me to think that I might not be heterosexual.

I’ve always been pretty naive about sex, in general. When I was younger I didn’t understand why other people might find it difficult to wait to have sex, since it was effortless for me (my only desire for sex has been out of curiosity, and how could I not be curious, when everyone else seems to think it is the greatest thing EVAR). I thought sex was pretty much just for the purpose of making babies. My mind did not connect dating with sex (except in a years-in-the-future marrying and making babies way). In my first semester of college, when I invited a guy I’d just met to my dorm room, I was taken by surprise when he tried to kiss me. It had never occurred to me he was expecting something more than hanging out and talking about books. I almost never notice when someone is flirting. I’m still not 100% sure what flirting is. I have never consciously flirted with anyone, although I vaguely remember one instance where a friend was annoyed at me and another friend flirting with each other while she was there. I used to think oral sex meant kissing. I am absolutely repulsed by the idea of oral sex, now that I know what it means. Why would anyone want to put their mouth on that? Ditto for anal sex. Why would anyone want to touch that bit of anatomy, ever? I just don’t get it. I’m not trying to judge. As long as I don’t have to see it or hear about it and it’s consensual and people are reasonably conscientious about hygiene, I really don’t care what people do in the privacy of their own home. But, I still don’t get it.

When I first found out what asexuality was, it was a bit of a struggle to figure out if the term applied to me. It’s defined as having never felt something called sexual attraction. If you’ve never felt it, how do you know what it is? It’d be easy to confuse it with something similar, especially since it’s something everyone is expected to experience, past a certain age. I’m still a bit fuzzy on what the hell ‘sexual attraction’ is. Although, from the way people talk about it, if I had experienced it, I would know. I think it must be much easier for straight, bi, and gay people to figure out their sexual orientation, because they actually feel attraction to one or the other or both sexes. It might be confused by religious beliefs or social norms or expectations or the person’s own desires to be one way or another or even fears of being a certain way, but there is still something there. With asexuality, there is just something missing. Although, I suppose it’s easier to notice the more pressure there is to have sex. There is a lot of pressure to have sex in this society, although I seem to have somehow avoided most of it, with the exception of the one time I decided to try dating over the internet (but that’s another story- suffice to say, I’m glad it never went beyond the internet).

The reason I dismissed asexuality as a possibility when I first heard of it was that I have had boyfriends in the past. Lately I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my past romantic relationships and crushes, trying to reconcile what I used to think I was (heterosexual) with what I currently think I am (asexual), and trying to figure out what my past relationships say about who I am, as well as what I want and can reasonably expect in future relationships. But… I don’t know, I don’t remember most of the details that would probably tell me the most. Mostly, I just remember that I don’t like kissing, and I like to take it really, really slow, and sex was never something I thought about much. I’m not really sure what separated my romantic relationships from platonic ones other than calling it ‘going out’ and feeling like we ought to kiss or something, because that is what is supposed to happen in a romantic relationship. I should probably just throw my past experiences and expectations out the window and start over from square one in trying to figure out what sort of relationship (if any) I want and would be happy in.

Letter to Therapist

I was feeling too lazy to come up with a proper post, so instead here’s a letter I’ve written to my therapist, which I may or may not actually give to her at my next appointment.

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I am going to try writing things down, as I never seem to be able to express myself quite properly (or sometimes at all) through talking.

Last time I talked about crying in a restaurant. I mentioned that I was upset about my conversation with insert-name-here. I did not think to mention I was angry as well as hurt. I mentioned being embarassed by crying, but that is only part of it. I felt weak, pathetic, shameful, manipulative. I felt as though I had ruined everyone’s evening. That they would not know I willed myself not to cry, but that my body betrayed me and did it anyway. I felt I had mistreated them, making them feel guilty and awkward over some minor thing. I hated myself, I wanted to dissappear. I put all the blame of it on myself, even though that does not make sense, and somehow this made it easier to deal with. They did not attempt to contact me that weekend, which is unusual. Half of me said ‘they are trying to give me space.’ and half said ‘they are tired of putting up with me. good. I am better off without friends.’

I told you about the day I lay in bed for hours before getting up. You asked how I felt. I do not remember how I felt. I just remember what I thought. I do not know why I find this so hard to talk about. I’d been thinking I should talk about it, and I had an absolutely perfect opportunity to do so, and I said nothing. A long time ago, I had decided that this was something very personal. Something to keep to myself, that was only for myself, that I must never talk to anyone else about, because it is mine alone. I think I thought that others would not understand, that others do not do anything like this (and it was appealing to have something that no one else could touch), but I have since discovered that this is not so. I even told my friend Luke (the one I talk to over the internet, and who I feel I can tell anything to), and he does something similar.

It is something I usually do when I am lying in bed, waiting to fall asleep. I imagine a story. I play out the events in my head. It is like reading a book, except that I am in complete control of it. It is a story I make up that I tell only to myself. Each night I continue it from where I left off the last night. It is always the same story, being continued for years (although occaisionally I will start over, or the ‘main character’ will be changed to someone else). I end up imagining, creating, a very complex world with a wide variety of places, characters, and cultures. I find this very entertaining. Sometimes I do this during the day as well, or while I am doing something that requires very little attention, like taking a shower or doing the dishes.

I have only recently discovered that other people also do this- creating their own ‘fantasy world.’ Or, at least, it sounds similar. I am never quite sure. Apparently it is fairly common in schizoid personality disorder and Asperger’s (not that I think I have either of these things), and sometimes I try to find out more about these things because of that one part I relate to. The most interesting things I have found tend to be forum threads in which people describe what their ‘fantasy world’ is like, or, in one case, a video of a person with Asperger’s trying to explain what it is like to have ‘another world’ for those who have never experienced this.

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Since this is the intarweb instead of pencil and paper, I can put actual links to all that stuff I mentioned finding in that last paragraph.

Video of person with Asperger’s talking about her ‘other world’: part 1, part 2
Forum with many threads about schizoid fantasy: forum

Self Injury

I first self injured when I was 19. I was very depressed, as I’d just failed my first year of college and was on academic suspension. I’m not sure if I was depressed because I’d done so poorly at school, or if I’d done so poorly at school because I was depressed. It was probably a bit of both, really. I felt like such a failure. I think I hated myself for it, at times passionately. I can’t remember my feelings exactly. Did the self-hate come later? Having suicidal thoughts in association with depression is talked about quite a lot. But I did not have suicidal thoughts. I had thoughts about hurting myself, just about every day at one point. At times I bit myself, and one time I tried to cut myself with a knife. It was a very dull knife. In my imagination it was smooth and easy to cut and draw blood. In reality it was not. I freaked myself out for having even tried. I was terrified to tell anyone else about it. If I had been thinking about suicide, I’d have been terrified to talk about that too, at the time, for fear of ending up in the psych ward, but it was worse with the thoughts of self injury (hereafter referred to as SI) because no one ever talked about it- I had no idea this was not something completely abnormal and crazy. My only knowledge of the subject came from tv and books such as I Never Promised You a Rose Garden, which is a book about a psychotic girl in a mental institution, and at one period in the book, she slashes her arm up with a jagged piece of metal and she burns herself with cigarettes quite a few times. As you might imagine (or hell, as you might have done yourself), I’d ended up with the idea that SI was something that crazy people do, and that doing it would mean I was crazy, too. It still bothers me quite a lot, that in the literature on depression SI is (almost) never mentioned, and yet in the literature on self injury, depression is almost always mentioned. At some time, I don’t remember when, I was looking through all sorts of websites about depression, hoping to find some clue that could be a part of depression. After quite a bit of searching, I found one single site that mentioned self-harm in association with depression. I was so relieved I could cry. Although, self-harm tends to be a term that is more broad than SI, and can include things such as ‘parasuicide’ and less direct forms of harm such as excessive drinking or gambling. Suicide is strongly linked to depression; it’s possible the people who wrote that primarily meant parasuicidal behaviors.

My depression more or less went away after I got a part time job later that fall, and my SI and (most of) my thoughts about SI went away as well. At times I was still depressed to one extent or another. I can’t remember, for the most part, when I was or when I wasn’t. I was diagnosed with dysthymia recently, which is a chronic but mild form of depression, which can at times be combined with a major depressive episode, which is called ‘double depression.’ In recent times I have a hard time identifying what, exactly, constitutes ‘low mood,’ which makes it even harder to figure out when I was or wasn’t depressed. Like, although I have been quite depressed these last few months, it took me a long while to figure out that that is what it was, because I did not feel ‘sad.’ I did feel ‘sad’ the first time I was depressed. Sometimes I still question if depression is really what it is this time, or if it just happened to be convenient to have a label for what I am going through. I mean, the diagnosis fits, but it does not fit like a glove.

Anyway, all that to say that I have been more or less depressed at times and can’t remember when I was or wasn’t, for the most part. I don’t remember if I was depressed at the time, but when I was 22 I started really obsessing about SI. I was very much bothered by the taboo-ness of it, that I felt like it was something I could not talk about without being seen as crazy. I suppose SI is becoming less taboo now, or at least something that more people know exists, but at that time it was not something I knew about, except for general and generally wrong impressions gleamed from the media. In my obsession, I read extensively about SI, both on the internet and in all the books on the subject I could get my hands on. I thought about SI quite frequently, and I wanted to do it. Most of all, I could not stand the thought that the only reason I had not cut myself before, that one incident with the dull knife, was that I was too much of a wuss. It took me several tries (again, not using the sharpest knife) to actually cut myself, the first time, but once I had I felt so relieved. I’d proved to myself I wasn’t a wuss, after all. Once I was actually doing it, I started to become less obsessed with it. Now it’s just something that I do whenever I feel like it, and it’s not that big a deal to me. Other people say that they feel ashamed or guilty after they SI, but I’ve really never felt that way, I suppose because of the circumstances around how I started cutting. The first few times I cut, I was proud, because I felt I’d proved to myself I wasn’t a wuss, or frustrated, because I hadn’t had the nerve to cut as deeply as I wanted. I don’t feel that way anymore. Less deep cuts is a good thing. It means I have more of an argument for defending my complete lack of desire to stop. Why should I stop, if it’s not dangerous–I’ve never needed stitches or gotten an infection–and if I don’t feel bad about doing it, and it’s not something that I think is ‘addictive’ for me? Sure, I have scars, but what harm is there in adding a few more in the same places? It’s something that works for me, to help me calm down when I am upset, to stop suicidal thoughts, to express my feelings of self-hate. It’s cathartic. Sure, ok, I may be a bit more direct about the ways I hurt myself than someone who overeats, or gambles, or smokes, but what exactly is wrong with that?

I have been thinking about telling my therapist about my self injury for the past month or two, but I have not. I am not sure what the point would be. I do not want to stop. I would be frustrated if she wanted to focus on stopping the SI while I want to focus on improving myself and my life, being less depressed and overcoming my anxiety about social situations, which would lead to a lesser want/need to SI. I am afraid that if she knew I SI she would not want to see me anymore, or that stopping SI would be a requirement of continuing to see her, or that I would end up being diagnosed with borderline personality disorder just because I SI, or that it would be confused with a suicide attempt or make my previously discussed suicidal thoughts seem more serious and I would end up in a psych ward. SI is, however, something I would like to talk about. I like to talk about it, in general. It fascinates me on an intellectual level, as does the general subject of mental illness. It would be nice to feel that I could talk about it. The act itself does not bother me, but feeling like I have to keep it an absolute secret can be a bit of a burden at times, and the views most people who don’t SI have of it bother me (especially the emo stereotype with cutting, or that it is attention-seeking behavior). I have mostly overcome my previous, inaccurate view of SI as being something ‘crazy’ people do, but a bit of reassurance about that would certainly not hurt.

An Odd Week

This week has been really weird. I mentioned last post about having a bit of a shit week last week and not get anything done. Monday was more of the same, which was dissappointing because lot of the times Monday seems to be my day for getting stuff done. Monday is the start of a new week. I like fresh starts. A fresh start means not already having a bunch of stuff to beat myself up over for not getting done. Maybe part of the reason it wasn’t like that this week was that I overslept. Getting up after noon makes me feel like the whole day’s been wasted already. But Tuesday was weird because I barely slept at all. Woke up 6:30 am and was quite restless, so I got up soon after. I was slow getting started on the things I wanted to get done, but since I woke up so early, I still got a lot of stuff done. In fact, I had a really good day. That hasn’t happend since, like, last November maybe? And it happened again on Wednesday!

Except after that things went back to ‘normal.’ Being dissappointed that I’ve woken up. Not wanting to get out of bed in the morning. Being so slow getting started. Wanting to pretend the real world does not exist. Being overly sensitive about stupid things. Like yesterday, my friend poking at me about something I already felt bad about, and I was generally upset and got a bit angry at him and started crying. In a restaurant. I HATE crying! And doing it in public in a place I can’t at least escape to some privacy makes it ten times worse. Yes, I realize most people probably strongly dislike crying in public, but for me, there is almost nothing I hate more. I find it hard to express how much I hate it. I tried writing a post about it before, but the words would not come.

A few years ago when I was depressed the first time, I was crying all the time, and at some point I decided that was enough. I was not going to cry anymore, at all, ever. I rarely cry anymore, and I like it that way. Almost never is not quite as good as actually never, but I can deal with that. When I do cry these days, it is usually my eyes start tearing up, and I dab them with a sleeve before any tears can actually fall, and that’s it. I don’t feel so bad when it’s like that, it’s not like it was a real crying spell. At the restaurant it wasn’t too much worse than that. It didn’t last long. Not like the time a few weeks (months?) before I started crying at my friend’s house and ran and hid in the bathroom before anyone could see. I just couldn’t stop crying. And then I got more upset because it wouldn’t stop and I was worried it’d be noticed if I couldn’t stop soon. Even cutting myself didn’t make it stop (although, being at a friends house, I was afraid to do anything more than extremely superficial cuts, as I didn’t have anything to clean the blood up with, and I didn’t want to have to worry about getting blood on my sleeves if I didn’t have enough time to wait for it to stop bleeding. I wonder if I could have cut more like normal if it would have helped. It’s helped to stop me from getting emotional enough to cry in the middle of a phone conversation with my parents before). Well, eventually someone had to use the bathroom… and there’s nowhere else in that house to have some privacy. It was awful. Hiding and then being found out anyway and being totally unable to control it. I felt like my body had betrayed me.

I don’t suppose I have mentioned before anything about my self-injuring. I should probably say a bit about that, although that’s probably a subject that deserves its own post, and I’m getting tired. I’ll put in a link to it here when I get around to writing it? edit- the next post is it, so I will not bother with a link.

Rambling Again

Therapist was surprisingly ok with the whole going ahead without meds thing. Though, I think she mostly just realized that it’s not going to happen (unless I get really desperate again). Which is nice, because now I get to talk about things other than meds. Like how I’ve been trying out some stuff that is not meds, driven by anything-but-meds motivation. I’ve actually started exercising regularly, which is apparently supposed to be really helpful. I’ve been playing dance dance revolution (almost) every day. It’s perfect. It’s aerobic, and fun, and I can actually get myself to do it on my own. I’m even starting to not suck quite so bad at it. I can almost handle a few songs at the normal, rather than easy, difficulty… almost.

I’ve also started a thing with scheduling that actually works, for once. Been writing out stuff to do every day, for one whole week at a time. It feels good to cross stuff off the list and look at it later and think ‘Hey! I actually did most of the stuff I wanted to get done!’ Except when I don’t. Got nothing done last week. Horrible list of non-crossed-off things to torment me. One whole week and I couldn’t even finish filling out a college application. How in the hell am I going to be able to handle a full load of real work (classes/job), when I can’t even handle a super-light pretend load of work? Which is about where I start thinking that if I’m so useless I should really just kill myself already. Which I’ve been thinking about since like, last September. But I can never figure out a method I’m satisfied with. I really don’t want to screw it up and then end up crippled or brain damaged. That would make me even more useless than I already am.

But, eh, I guess it is only one week I screwed up. Maybe this week I’ll actually get some stuff done…

Ugh, meds…

So, my therapist finally talked me into seeing the psychiatrist. I suppose it was bound to happen. If you ask a person the same question every other week for a few months (“Now, I know you don’t like the idea of medication, but I really think it might be helpful if you’re willing to give it a try…”), there’s a pretty good chance they’ll eventually give you the answer you want. She finally caught me at a time when I was feeling desperate enough to agree to try it. The appointment with the psychiatrist was a lot shorter than I expected. It seemed superficial. I didn’t like the guy, but then, I’m not sure I would have liked him no matter who he was.

I really, really don’t like the idea of taking medication every day, especially for mental health issues. There are quite a few reasons for this. When I was a kid, I was physically unable to swallow pills. I would try my hardest, but always ended up spitting out the pill (often along with the water I’d tried to use to help swallow it) after a few attempts, leaving me with a bitter taste in my mouth, a bit of a mess, and dissappointed looks from my parents. I didn’t learn how to actually swallow pills until probably late high school. As you can imagine, this led to quite a bit of dislike for any and all types of pills. Although, these days I will take the occaisional tylenol, it’s still something I try to avoid.

My dislike of medication for mental health issues specifically has a great deal to do with my mother. She has been taking anti-depressants for as long as I can remember. She has tried to go off them before, but it got really bad so she went back on them. She also has to deal with the side-effects. I really, really don’t want to become dependent on anti-depressants like that.

Another thing is that I have a general dislike for any sort of mood/mind altering substance and drugs in general- this includes everything from tylenol to alcohol to morphine to cigarettes to anti-depressants. The most alcohol I’ve ever consumed in an evening was equivalent to a bit less than two beers. Although my mother was a teetotaler, I have no objection to alcohol in principle. It just doesn’t interest me, and I dislike the taste (although on rare occaisions I’ll have a fruity girly drink, since those mask the alcohol taste). Occaisionally I drink caffeinated beverages, but I try to avoid them most of the time, although that’s as much because of the sugar as the caffeine. I grew up drinking soda pop every day, so I tend not to think of caffeine as a drug or even notice its effects (although its much more noticable now that I don’t have it very often). This, plus a couple of tylenol no more than once every few months, is the full extent of my usage of drugs/medication. Having to take any sort of medication every day would be a major change for me, and not a welcome one.

I am also quite skeptical of the efficacy of anti-depressants and the idea that mental illness is biologically based (looking at the first page of google results on ‘chemical imbalance theory of mental illness’, I found primarily sites which were critical of the theory or outright called it a myth). A while ago I stumbled upon and bought a book on this exact subject: Toxic Psychiatry, by Peter Breggin. Although, this guy has made reform of the mental health field his life’s work. He’s obviously got his own bias (although that doesn’t mean he isn’t right). I respect what he is trying to do, but at the same time I want to take some of the things he says with a grain of salt (I also want to take my own view on the subject with a grain of salt- I know that I am biased). He does definitely do a good job of pointing out various side effects of drugs (such as the chance of developing tardive dyskinesia, which can be permanent, from long-term use of anti-psychotics) that may not be sufficiently covered by the doctors prescribing the drugs or which may be downplayed by the drug manufacturers. If nothing else, this book highlighted for me the nature of the pharmaceutical industry. They have an obvious agenda; they’re out to make a buck. Regardless of whether or not mental illness has a biological basis, they definitely want you to think it does, so you’ll be more likely to buy or encourage others to buy their products. Any information I see coming from the pharmaceutical industry, I’ll be taking with quite a few grains of salt.

Knowing I had an upcoming psychiatrist appointment, I decided to do a bit of research on anti-depressants, at the very least to get a general idea of what effects and side-effects to expect and to become familiar with some of the names of different drugs. I was a little surprised by how easy it was to find information supporting my aforementioned skepticism, when I wasn’t even looking for it. For instance, the wikipedia article on anti-depressants mentions several studies and meta-analyses (such as this one) which found that anti-depressants are not clinically significantly effective compared to placebo. I really don’t want to be taking medicine every day which will likely have unpleasant side-effects, will take 2-6 weeks to have any effect, and which will definitely cause some measure of dependancy (you can’t just stop taking an anti-depressant or you’ll get withdrawl symptoms; you have to taper off gradually), when I’m not even sure it’s much better than a placebo. But, how much of my doubts are due to confirmation bias? I have a hard time distinguishing between the rational and irrational in my thinking on this subject. It’s too emotionally charged for me.

My therapy session this week consisted mostly of me arguing with my therapist about the efficacy of anti-depressants and whether or not I ought to try them. I find it difficult to debate this subject without being able to point to specific studies and data, especially with someone who is probably more educated on the subject than myself and who is more interested in what my views say about me than whether or not I am right. If I hadn’t been able to point out that studies that support my viewpoint do exist, I’d be wondering if she thinks I am delusional about this. I don’t feel like I did a good job expressing my arguments. Generally, debating with my therapist is something I don’t want to do. It doesn’t matter if she agrees or disagrees with my views on “intellectual property” or socialized medicine or whether or not Iron Chef is a good show. But it does matter if she agrees or disagrees with me on things such as treatment or diagnosis. After a while of arguing I just sort of shut off. I didn’t want to talk about it anymore, and I didn’t want to talk about anything else either. When we did get back to actually talking, it was mostly about why I didn’t want to take the meds, what I am going to do about it (with her emphasizing that it is my choice, and expecting me to be telling her my decision next week), and how I tend to use problem avoidance as a problem solving strategy (e.g. staying in bed half the day until it was a bit late to be worrying about filling that prescription I didn’t want to deal with), and what I could do to deal with things more effectively.

My thinking at the moment is that, regardless of the potential benefits (or pitfalls) of anti-depressants, and regardless of the reasons why, I really, really do not want to take meds. This actually gives me more motivation in trying other things that I could do to lessen my depression, such as daily exercise, resisting the urge to stay in bed all day or otherwise wallow, planning out my week and actually following through on said plan, and getting back into college/getting a job so that I actually have something to keep me busy and make me feel productive. So far, this has been working out pretty well. Today’s been the best day I’ve had in months (which is not honestly saying that much), and I’ve actually gotten a lot done the past few days (as compared to before). Maybe, if things get worse and I get desperate again, I’ll revisit the issue, but for now, I think I’ll not take the meds.

Family Visit

So, recently got back from visiting family. So, you know, I have an excuse other than being lazy and depressed for not having posted in a while. Anyway, it was a pretty good visit, all things considered. I’d been nervous about how to get the point across that I do, in fact, still suck at higher education and have now decided to just get a job. Fortunately, my parents agree that getting a job is a fine idea, and they’ll continue lending me money for a bit, so I’ve got some time to find something. Which is good, because I have really got no idea how to find a job. I’ve been having a very hard time just getting started on that, and when I do get started I get frustrated and hopeless about it very easily. Just the thought of walking up to someone and asking them about job openings terrifies me. I think I will ask my sister for a bit of help.

I brought a couple of boxes of stuff back with me from home. Overall I feel bad about having more stuff, but it wouldn’t really be fair to leave it all at my parents’ place indefinitely. My main approach to keeping my apartment from being unbearably cluttered is to not have much stuff, and as such I’ve decided it’s time for me to go through my stuff again and think about what I should or shouldn’t hold on to. I’ve got at least one box of books I plan to sell/give to a used book store or something, but I just haven’t got around to it. I brought a few more books back with me and didn’t remember until I started trying to put them away that I haven’t actually got a proper bookcase. I should probably just spend a day reorganizing the closets, or else I’m going to end up storing stuff on the couch/table again.

I did a bit of unpacking yesterday, but not so much today. Although, I did go to the bank and get some groceries. I bought a few frozen pizzas, hoping I can use them as a replacement for my habit of ordering pizza delivery about once a week. Frozen pizza is so much less expensive. I’ve been trying to cook my own food as much as possible, mostly to save money but also just because cooking is awesome.

I was poking around someone’s blog yesterday when I discovered the existence of delayed sleep phase syndrome. This led to much wondering if I’ve got this, or something similar. I’ve been trying (and failing) to wake up regularly at a decently early time in the morning since high school. And in high school, I pretty much had to be physically dragged out of bed every morning, almost fell asleep on the bus, and still stayed up late every night. I have an uncanny ability to fall right back asleep after turning off an alarm clock (even if I’ve done something sneaky like put in the other room or hidden it in my laundry) and half the time not even recall having done so. Whenever I have come up with a scheme that works to wake me up in the actual morning part of the day, it never sticks. A few weeks or a month later and it’s back to sleeping until noon. I really hate this about myself. I’d love to be one of those crazy people that wakes up at 7 am every single day. When I wake up at noon, I always feel as if the day’s already been wasted. Anyway, I decided to start a journal thing keeping track of my sleep habits. Will see if I can keep it up, my journalling efforts never usually get very far.

Rambling

My lovely neighbor has decided it would be fun to set their alarm for 3:30 am and then not turn it off. Again. The walls in my apartment are not exactly paper thin either. I am almost never bothered by noise from anyone. Apart from my neighbor with the super loud alarm clock that’s set for the middle of the freaking night. I’d really like to smash that thing with a sledge hammer or something. But no, instead I have to deal with being woken up from a sound sleep, and then when I can finally fall asleep again I wake up at noon, despite the fact that I went to bed at an entirely not unreasonable time. I hate waking up at noon. It feels like the day’s already been wasted. And it’s not even my fault this time.

The last time this happened, I almost missed my therapist appointment. I woke up too late to catch the bus I normally take, and only found out that it was an hour to the next bus, as opposed to the usual half hour, while I was sitting at the actual bus stop. Taking the next bus would’ve gotten me there halfway through the appointment- late enough to not really be worth going at all. So I ended up begging my friend for a ride and got there only 5 or 10 minutes late. I really hate asking for favors. I’m not quite sure why I go to such lengths to actually go to these appointments. I guess it’s just less of a pain to actually go than it is to have to pay for a missed appointment and then schedule another one over the phone.

I really, really hate talking on the phone. If I’m ordering pizza with someone, I’ll offer to pay for it just so I can manipulate the other person into making the actual call. When I got the therapist, I first had to call them to set it up, and it took me weeks (months?) to work up the guts to do it, and I was incredibly nervous the whole time I was on the phone. Half the time I get a call from a number I don’t know on my cell phone, I ignore it (if it’s really important, they can call back or leave a message). When I had to call to active a credit card, I got really flustered when I found out it was not going to entirely be one of those automated calls with pressing numbers for options (it really didn’t help that the guy had an accent and talked really fast and there was lots of background noise so I could barely understand what he was saying half the time). I’m ok with talking to close friends or family on the phone, but it’s still not something I’ll do if there’s an easier option readily available, like instant messaging.

Skyping is pretty much the same as being on the phone. I ended up telling my friend I was talking to on skype that I’m just not very comfortable talking that way, and he said “Yea, I noticed.” So now we’re just back to instant messaging. I was whining to him the other day about not being able to think of anything to blog about, and he suggested blogging about how I’m “playing shrink” to a guy I chat with on the internet. He’s been having troubles recently; he just broke up with his girlfriend. She apparently wanted to not be officially dating him so that she could date other people to “have more experiences before college” but still have him as backup guy. It boggles my mind how she could not realize how unfair and hurtful it would be to propose something like that, and I’m proud of him for standing up for himself and refusing to play the fallback guy. He and I have both sworn off romantic relationships for the moment. In my case, it’s because every time I end up dating someone, we break up and then we never speak to each other again. I hate that. If I’d refused to date them we’d at least still be friends.

Therapy and talking vs. writing

I’ve started seeing a therapist lately, but I am not really sure how that is going, or how it should be going, or how I want it to be going. I don’t even know how to articulate what I think is wrong most of the time. I think I just have a hard time opening up in a face to face conversation. I feel much, much more comfortable writing about things. My sister was suggesting that if I started a blog, I could just print out a post and show it to her if I wanted, and bring things up that way, instead of staring at the wall/my shoes/my hands and then seeing if I can’t get her to change the subject. It could work. Y’know, assuming I actually write anything in the first place…

I find it a bit odd that it’s so much harder for me to bring things up using my actual voice. Like, I have a friend I met on the internet that I have been instant messaging with for years, and I feel like I can talk to him about anything. Recently, I talked to him on skype using a mic for the first time, and although not five minutes ago I’d been typing to him about my occaisional suicidal thoughts (a scary subject to broach with anyone- there’s always that chance they’ll take something you say wrong and think you’re in immenent danger of offing yourself), as soon as we started actually talking, it all turned into light chatting. It wasn’t that I’d run out of things to say on the subject, either. I just couldn’t talk about it. Plus I’ve been getting a bit annoyed that he is always wanting to voice chat now. It’s not like I don’t want to do it at all (voice chat is great for some things and it’s kind of cool to finally hear the voice of someone you’ve been chatting with for a long time), I just don’t want to be doing it allll the time. It feels too much like being on the phone, and like I have to be talking constantly, and I end up saying “I don’t know” a lot which I’m sure annoys him. I say “I don’t know” a lot to my therapist too. Or I stare at the wall while trying to come up with a response that isn’t “I don’t know” but I feel pressured and can’t really think properly and end up with a lame response anyway.

I’m starting to wonder if this therapist is a good ‘fit’ for me. I’m not sure how to tell if one is or isn’t given that I’ve only had one other therapist before, that I went to see only for a short time a few years ago just to get my mom to stop trying to pressure me into taking anti-depressants (all I really remember about her was her frustrating theory that my dad was putting too much pressure on me to be like him, simply because I’d happened to choose the same major as he’d done my first year in college before I ended up on academic suspension, when in fact my dad was very careful not to pressure me into choosing any particular course of study, although of course he couldn’t help being excited that I was interested in the same thing as him). With the current one, we spent one whole session talking about tv shows, which rather annoyed me. If I wanted to chat about trivial things, I wouldn’t need to pay for it. But, that was only one session out of half a dozen or so. Maybe things will get better?

Hello world!

Hello! I’ve decided to try out this blogging thing, although I’ve never gotten very far with any attempt at any sort of journaling before. Maybe this will be different, simply because other people will be able to read it. I might actually feel obligated to let my (purely hypothetical) audience know how things are going now and then. I think it will be nice to have a place where I can talk about whatever I feel like (read: engage in self-indulgent whining)  and not have to worry about my friends judging me or getting tired of my whining or calling the nice people in the white coats.