Paranoid little knots of social anxiety

It’s been a little while since I’ve felt the urge to write, in large part because I’ve been feeling generally more positive. Not about getting pregnant – I’m pretty clear that I won’t be, I’ve just achieved a level of comfort with that fact.

As far as the Creighton method is concerned, I am dubious at best about it’s potential to be valuable. This is not helped by my ongoing feeling that I know more about my own physiology and how the hormone processes work than the woman who is instructing me on it. I still see the potential for it to lead to further testing, which might yield, if not a baby, a greater likelihood of my hormones levelling out, which might help mitigate some of the higher risk of various cancers that comes with a diagnosis of PCOS.

Mostly, I’ve just been trying to focus on getting on with my life. I’m at the point where i’m capable of making jokes (really, really dark jokes) about my own infertility to the small group of people I trust, which is a solid coping tool for me. And some of the massive social anxiety and general feelings of paranoia are subsiding, but not gone.

Here’s the thing: I’m ok with who I am. Mostly I like me. I don’t think I’m a bad person, and I generally try to come to any issue from a place of compassion and support. That being said, I am judgemental, and I don’t suffer fools gladly, which means that I can be …. lets go with tart. Basically I am a mama bear in protecting those I care about, and for those I deem “My People” I can and will be the best support system/friend/family/etc. that I am able. For those who have earned my ire (generally by threatening My People) there is the flip side of that passion.

When I was in the worst of my depression, it was easy to hide both sides of that, because I was struggling just to get through each day. I was barely communicating the necessities, so there was little risk of any of the negative thoughts coming out. Now, as I feel better, I recognize that there are aspects of my personality returning that an be a little hard to take. And I am worried that they will be offputting to people I don’t want to put off. But I don’t think that I should be hiding them either – I tend to feel that it’s an all or none – you either love me for all of who I am, or lets be honest, you don’t really love me.

I think that that is true in all relationships. If you have to hide a significant part of your personality in order to maintain the relationship, it’s superficial. Which is fine,for certain areas of life: Work, clients, acquaintances, distant relatives, professional contacts. But for those who you want as a part of the inner sanctum, maintaining a facade means that you are actually actively keeping them out. So this is where the anxiety comes into play for me. I recognize that building the friendships I want, and achieving a level of closeness that I have found I need in my support systems requires that I let people in. But every time I do I get a nasty vulnerability hangover, and sit on pins and needles waiting to see if they’re going to reject me for whatever this new level of closeness has shown. So I suppose that is what it comes down to, once again: A giant fear of rejection. And I’m torn, because on some level I expect myself to be able to breeze through and simply know that if i’m ok with my actions and who I am, no one else should matter, but I also know that thats now 100% the case: To some extent, I use the responses reflected from My People, those who’s opinions I have judged valuable and I respect, to help guide me. So being vulnerable and letting one of My People see a side of me which isn’t all sweetness and light for the first time is fraught with nuance. None of which they know about, all of which is in my head.

The thing is that that last sentence is the key: It’s all in my head. However much I love My People, and I am confident that they love me, this weird paranoid dance is all in my head. I am not owed anything, and asking someone to please never ever reject me for anything is not a realistic request, even were I willing to make it. Which I’m not, because that would be vulnerable on a whole other level, along with being unfair.

It’s like I’m going a complicated waltz in my brain that suddenly turns into a modern dance moody art piece whenever I try to reach out.

The funny thing is, from my point of view the worst thing did happen a little while ago, when someone I had considered a very close friend did basically reject me, although he rejected me for reaching out when I was depressed – and yet here I am. I have, in essence, survived what I perceive to be as bad as it gets in this scenario.

Yet I remain tied up in knots and paranoid that I won’t be ok if it happens again. It could be because I do still miss having him in my life, so I am acutely aware of what that loss can feel like. I think it’s always a push/pull between wanting the connection but not wanting to leave myself open or vulnerable when it’s made – two things that do not actually work together.

And so the dance continues…


Musings going into September

The last month or so has been pretty good. I’ve had a moment here or there when I feel lousy, but for the most part i’ve been able to focus on work, and fitness, and enjoying the people I do have in my life, and the depression has continued to lift.

My Husband and I are moving toward potentially purchasing our first home. It’s somewhat bittersweet, because as we start looking, I recognize that without the advent of a child looming, our housing needs have changed drastically: We don’t need 2-3 bedrooms and to worry about school districts or basic child safety stuff – stairs, open fireplaces, unfenced yards, bring ’em on! I am excited about the prospect of buying a house and starting to build equity for our future. I am also excited about moving closer to where I work, to my rowing club, and to where the majority of my social support is. For the last year, my Husband and I chose to move out of the city core to a community we have always talked about living in, only to have discovered that it’s not actually one we want to be part of. Not a big deal, and I’m glad we moved here to rent as opposed to buying, because now we know that it’s not where we want to be, and we don’t have to worry about any particular legalities in moving back. I figure it will be 6-8 months until we find something we both want to live in that fits our needs, so this won’t be a quick change.

Today was a hard day. I am aware of how much my self worth is wrapped up in my ability to do my job well, and for the most part I don’t mind that – I am good at my job, I think it is something that is worthwhile, and I think that what I do generally makes the world a better place. The downside of this is that when things go wrong – i.e. A patient gets worse, or i’m unable to do anything to help, or something I do aggravates instead of relieves the symptoms – I take it hard.

Generally I see this as a reasonable price to pay for the satisfaction I get out of my job. So today, when the net result of an assessment I did on Friday was that the patient in question is unwilling to be treated by me (I aggravated their pain level because I accidentally touched the spot where a screw that was supposed to be holding their shoulder in place had instead worked its way out an apparently created a pinch point with a nerve – No one knew it was the trigger point it was, I was the lucky one who got to find out… I didn’t know someone could jump like that) I completely understand where they’re coming from, if I were them, I wouldn’t want to work with me either. So I feel badly, because I both made things worse, and can’t do anything to fix it in the aftermath, because I won’t have the opportunity. And honestly, I don’t think there was much I could do, they’re going back into surgery to get the screw adjusted and more added.

Anyways, all that being said, it shook me a bit. I don’t often screw things up like that, I tend to err on the side of caution, so this mess up really took me by surprise. I’ve obsessed for a few days, I don’t think I’ll make the same mistake again, and life goes on… but it is a solid reminder of how fragile my current mental state is, and that I need to keep working on myself and not get complacent.


Moving forward

I adulted today in a big way: My Husband and I talked to a mortgage broker about getting pre-approved for a mortgage, and hopefully sometime in the next few months we will become first time homeowners. I am a weird combo of excited and terrified.

Unlike trying to have a baby, this is something finite and concrete that we can actually plan for and work towards. As I recognize that life goes on, and that children are not likely to be any part of it, I am more aware of how much I care about the people in my life. For the last year, we’ve lived out of town in a more rural community, which has required a sizeable commute to get to work or any social engagements. With our plan to buy a place of our own, we will be moving back towards the central area, and it will be easier to maintain connections. It’s funny what a year can do: This time last year, we were a few weeks out from our first (and as it turned out terrible) meeting with the local fertility specialist. My husband and I were in a pretty shitty relationship space, because 2.5 years of trying had frazzled both of our nerves – moving actually helped to get us back on the same page, because the process forced us to work towards a common goal that we could actually do something about. Rowing had not yet taken as major a role in my life, and that was before I got t-boned on Christmas Eve and had to figure out how to contend with the stress of an insurance claim and being injured. It’s been a big year. And if everything goes according to plan, the next one will also have big changes. I have wanted to be a homeowner for a long time, and this is the first time it has been within reach. So here’s to new focus, new opportunity, and a buttload of debt!