Friday, August 20, 2010

Rough Days

Today was a ROUGH day for me, as much as I can let myself admit that.  I overslept this morning and got to my therapy appointment late.  Normally I can deal with this because I am just so glad to be there getting help, even if my time is cut short by my tardiness (often a product of some sort of OCD business...).  But today, wow, I just shut down.  I just didn't know what to say.

Normally I am overly loquacious when it comes to therapy appointments.  I always seem to have a million things that I want to say or ask for which there is never enough time.  So it must have been strange for my therapist indeed, when I just kind of sat there, looking down at my exposure log, listening but making limited eye contact and not saying much in response.  I was just so wrapped up in my frustration and anger at myself.  I just couldn't seem to pull myself out of it long enough to really think and engage in the conversation.  Meanwhile, it seemed like the worst was coming true - my thoughts and feelings somehow managed to get between me and the work I wanted to get done with my therapist.  Even when I have felt like something wasn't "perfect," like something might distract me from trying to make progress during my session, somehow my therapist and my eagerness have always managed to make me forget whatever it was that I feared would somehow "ruin" my limited time in his office.  But today I was just stuck in a rut of self-loathing that seemed to have no way out.

Few people ever see me in these kind of moods because I make a point of bottling it all up inside and hiding it away. The self-loathing forbids me from admitting that I am upset or acting out on it.  When I do let it slip, when I withdraw from the people around me or make a sharper remark or two than I normally would, that escalates the anger at myself.  The internal monologue goes something like:  "Stop that!  Suck it up!  Why aren't you strong enough to just hold it all in?  What's wrong with you?  You can't act this way!  Stop sulking!  That's not acceptable behavior.  Snap out of it!"

So I internally wrestle with my desire to escape, to let out my frustration, and the resulting wrath that ensues if I don't manage to hold it all in and act as if nothing is wrong.  It's a self-fueling fire, and once it begins to burn it just feeds on itself, growing stronger and stronger.

Needless to say, once these moods start, it can take me a while to get out of them.  Today it took, well, pretty much all day.  I was pretty upset at myself.  I was supposed to hang out with friends tonight, too, and I made up an excuse to get out of it.  Depending how they go, social situations can either suffocate the flames...or they can quickly turn an already out-of-control blaze into a full-on conflagration inside my skull.  Tonight I didn't feel up to taking that chance.  I was struggling to keep it together already, and the prospect of having to put on a fake smile and positive demeanor for a group of friends who wanted to drink and have a good time just didn't seem like something I wanted to do at that time.  I'm kind of glad I didn't.

But that, too, is something I often struggle with - that is, knowing when I should make myself go out and "stop sulking" and when I should just let myself be and forgive myself for canceling plans and my desire to just be alone and not have to work so hard to seem "fine."  It really is a battle, especially when I am already upset at myself.  There just seems to be no good answer.

Anyways, I am mostly recovered now.  I still feel a little fragile but overall I am feeling more positive and hopeful now.  I don't hate myself...for the most part :).  Instead of going out, I finished my packing at a reasonable hour, packing for a trip that I am both excited for and afraid of at the same time.  The fact that I am leaving tomorrow was probably one reason my frustration with myself was so overwhelming today.  I had a lot I wanted to address with my therapist about this trip.  I wanted a game plan.  And well, I didn't have time to devise one with him, but I know I can do it anyway.  I am at a point where I am not so completely and utterly reliant upon the rules developed in my sessions.  At this point, I can actually devise my own washing limits, and though they are generally far more lenient than those my therapist and I devise together, I can nevertheless set them and with some success, adhere to them.  Before, my OCD would not let me off the hook, would not let me challenge my compulsions, unless it was an assignment set in stone.  But I have gotten better at that.  I do have some autonomy.

Anyways, it has been an emotionally draining day.  Does anyone else have such spells of rampant self-loathing?  How do you handle them?  How do you continue about your day despite them?

3 comments:

  1. I do struggle with this a lot and get mad at myself when I feel like I should just "move on" and "snap out of it." The thing is, when I get in these funks, it's almost as if I really don't have much control over my mood. When the thoughts are racing and my mood is down, I'm very down. When things get a bit better, I wonder how I could have been so down. I don't really get it, but fighting it often makes it worse.

    I also struggle with continuing on as normal when this hits, as most days I find it exhausting just to get through "normal" activities much less additional social situations where I feel I have to be "on." There are times getting out there helps get me out of my head, but there are other times that I know I just want to go through the motions and get through the day/night/etc. without too much emotional drainage.

    I don't know if that helps at all, but I can relate. It's sitting with the anxiety and not trying to find out why, but rather trying to find out how to move on and move past it (without maladaptive coping behaviors.)

    Have fun on your trip!

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  2. Oh, I feel for you! I had some version of "rampant self loathing" today(that's a great way to describe it)--either avoiding doing things, or once I started doing them, not stopping when I was exhausted, and some variant of "What's wrong with you? Why can't you get it together?" settling into my bones all day. It helps me to lower my expectations of instantly turning my day around, and my mood--that kind of pressure makes me feel even worse--I count anything even remotely in the right direction as a "credit."

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  3. I absolutely know what you're talking about! I definitely have bouts of self-loathing on a semi-regular basis. I'll have them more soon when school starts back up. How I handle it completely depends on the situation. Sometimes I don't handle it at all and I shut down, too. I try to avoid getting to that point if possible, because I beat myself up more for shutting down. Once at that point, it's just a downward spiral. If I'm around my boyfriend or best friend, they can usually pull me out of it and distract me from my self-loathing rampage.

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