Tag Archive: exploration


Lawsy

Well, here we go again.

I have begun the process of auditioning another man.  If that sounds cold it’s not meant to.  It actually helped me on our first couple dates to think of it that way.  I’m auditioning him, he’s auditioning me.

So we’ll see.  It’s very early yet.  But as usual, it’s fun at the beginning.

What’s interesting about this is that it’s very possible he’s never had sex before.  The idea that I might be the more sexually experienced party is pretty unfathomable.  But it is genuinely probably in this case.

Truly, though, the details aren’t important.  I’ve enjoyed hanging out with him over the last week or so, and I look forward to more hanging out this weekend.

Another interesting fact is that he is friends with NM and at least casually acquainted with SMF.  It’s on my list to let him know that I have in fact had sex with both of them.  In the interest of full disclosure.  And I feel like I will this time.  He’s just too damn nice.

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Stumbled upon this article from the BBC News website, which shares the results of this study in The Lancet.

I was somewhat surprised to read that there hadn’t already been a definitive study (if this could be called definitive?) about the efficacy of CBT (cognitive-behavioral therapy).  It’s been around for a while now.

“Before this study, no evidence from large-scale randomised controlled trials was available for the effectiveness of augmentation of antidepressant medication with CBT as a next-step for patients whose depression has not responded to pharmacotherapy. Our study has provided robust evidence that CBT as an adjunct to usual care that includes antidepressants is an effective treatment, reducing depressive symptoms in this population.”

I’ve been in and out of “talk therapy” for well over a decade, though I’m not sure how much of it was CBT.  I honestly don’t know enough about the history and development of psychotherapy, or even what different forms of therapy are commonly in use these days.  All my therapists have been more or less the same, so I’m guessing it has all been CBT.  No Freudian psychoanalysis, anyway.

Details aside, I can honestly say it has been extremely helpful for me.  Obviously it hasn’t “cured me” — I don’t think what I’ve got can really be “cured” — but having someone to talk to about whatever’s going on in my life has helped me make important decisions, take myself more seriously (in a good way) and, most importantly, kept me working on myself.

The thing about medication, great a boon as it has been to me through the years, is that it doesn’t encourage active participation in the growth process.  For someone like me, who probably has something of a chemical imbalance but also a fair amount of non-genetic emotional/psychological dysfunction, staying actively involved in my own treatment is crucial.

That’s not to say that I think I would achieve the same results if I were to sit and talk to myself or journal or something for an hour once every few weeks.  That certainly helps too, but having an appointment, having to go, having someone with notes who looks back and says “last time you expressed such-and-such a feeling,” keeping far better track of things than I could even if I cared to, makes it feel more substantive, somehow.  I don’t want to say I spend my $60 copay JUST so I can feel my treatment is more “real,” but there is something to that.  Plus, if I’m financially liable I’m much more likely to keep with it (tell that to the running shoes I bought last month… but that’s a different story).  It’s far too easy to “not feel like” meditating or reading another chapter or just practicing a little awareness.  Which is why I haven’t really done much meditating the last few months… so maintaining contact with a therapist is important.  It keeps me present, keeps me from being able to ignore or pretend.

I guess that makes me one of the 46% of people (as reported in the study) who respond positively to CBT.  I wonder, with no small amount of sympathy, what the remaining 54% do?

Treading cautiously

I’m attempting to gauge whether I’m on a New Man high or if I’m genuinely feeling better these days.  It’s really hard to tell.  On the one hand, I am feeling better these days.  Tonight I’m cooking a big pot of vegetable stew, which will be the base for a pot pie with a pumpkin biscuit topping instead of the standard pot pie pastry (courtesy of Fatfree Vegan).  I have a small glass of red wine (courtesy of Trader Joe’s) and I’m clean, having showered after I got home from work.  The stew smells marvelous!  The seitan has to simmer another 15 minutes and then I make the pumpkin biscuits.

What struck me about this moment, and the reason I thought to write about it at all, is how seemingly carefree and mellow I feel.  It’s sad that I’ve come to distrust that sort of feeling, but my experience with this sort of not-depressed feeling is that I do something or say something or something and I end up looking back at this little euphoric moment with disgust.  It’s a strange conflict within me, trying to enjoy and appreciate this positive flow of emotion but at the same time trying not to buy into it too much — like I think it’s a con or something.  And my distrust is valid, I think.  It’s more than a little suspicious that I am feeling more positive, more motivated, less self-critical, at a time when I’ve been on a few dates with a guy I’ve been crushing on and who hasn’t disappointed me yet.  So you see, I can’t entirely trust myself in these matters.  I suppose that’s where meditation helps.

I guess what my concern is is that I feel quite strongly that an individual’s happiness is not solely contingent on the presence of an intimate relationship in their life.  I mean, sure, it probably helps, but I know that I have a lot of issues still to deal with, and I don’t want to see myself laying those aside because of some illusion of contentedness that is a natural byproduct of New Man high.  (I guess he’ll be NM from now on, eh?)

The mind is so complicated.  I guess I can vent some of this out on my therapist this Thursday, too.  But I was telling mom — it’s so funny — my therapist asks me if I’m seeing anyone every time we meet.  I guess it’s not that farfetched, but every time she asks I’m a little amused and a little annoyed.  After all, being in a relationship is not going to solve my problems!  But she knows I struggle with feelings of loneliness, of disconnectedness, so I guess she thinks having someone near my life could potentially be beneficial.  I guess that’s what it is.  So I won’t be annoyed anymore when she asks.  And of course, this time I’ll have a different answer for her.  Watch her fall out of her chair when I tell her I asked him out! (she won’t, but she’ll be absolutely thrilled)

So that’s where I am now.  At this moment content, warm, hopeful and suspicious.  I’m afraid to let go of the suspicion.  I suppose that’s the last little piece of self-protection.  The author of “The Untethered Soul” would tell me to “just let it go…. open my heart… relax and release.”  Maybe I should try that, pain be damned.  We’ll see.  Maybe after another glass of wine.

Just…. nice!

I’ve been out with this guy a couple times now.  It’s weird, I haven’t yet begun to show any signs of the sort of limerent fixation I had for SMF or Scuffin Guy.  I mean, it’s nice, just different.  A positive change, I feel!

We ended up spending almost the whole weekend together.  Went up to his place Friday night, got myself sick on too much bourbon (so yeah, I’ve all but ditched the whole “not drinking” thing), hung out all Saturday, stayed up late, got up slowly, lazily late this morning and made it home around 2:30 this afternoon.  It means my chances of getting anything done today are pretty much nil, but it was just really nice.  I fear I wasn’t the greatest company Saturday afternoon, having sour stomach from the overindulgence Friday night and bleary-eyed from having accidentally slept in my contacts (and I left my glasses at home! not having planned on being up there so long).  As we drifted off (well, I crashed, maybe he drifted) I expressed my concerns that I must have been rather boring that day, but he assured me I was not.  I’ve decided to take him at his word, because it doesn’t do me any good to do otherwise.  I did probably kick his ass in a Scrabble game that we weren’t keeping score on.  “EXPAND” on a triple word score.  I can’t remember the last time I had such a great word in scrabble.

He’s super tidy, which makes me all the more aware of my own rather sloppy housekeeping.  Having left the cats to their own devices for the duration, it smelled rather catty when I got home.  Not in an unbearable way, but definitely must be addressed.  I feel good this evening, but felt too tired to do any really unpleasant work like tidying or sweeping or anything when I got home.

I’ve got more thoughts on this, but at the same time, they don’t really matter much.  I’m enjoying this so far.  Definitely enjoying not feeling limerent.

Haven’t yet come up with a code name for him for this journal.  It’ll come to me, I’m sure.

WTF, casual male friends?

I had a kind of revelation (maybe) the other day.  Well, yesterday.  A guy who just went through a very traumatic breakup and is now in the mandatory separation period the state requires before allowing a divorce.  Like many people, he wants to start dating right away.  Or rather, because it’s a rough time emotionally, he goes back and forth about it.  But last Tuesday (a couple hours before my speaking engagement ARRRGH!) he texted me and said basically “I know I’m in kind of a messed up place right now but when I get better I think I want to ask you out.”

I didn’t respond, but then last night he texted me saying “hey, wanna go out for dinner?”  So naturally, I decided to pretend I had left my ringer off after class yesterday and only responded this morning saying, sorry I didn’t get your message but I’ve thought about it and dinner probably wouldn’t be a very good idea.  I think that gets the message across but I guess I can be blunter if needed.  I haven’t looked at his response yet. (don’t wanna!)

So the thing that occurred to me is this.  It seems that, in general, the people who I don’t care what they think about me are the ones who openly express interest in me.  This could be a coincidence and there are surely other factors involved (maybe I’m just not interested in the type of people who would be attracted to me), but when I caught myself saying that, in a victim-y sort of way (“Whyyy is it always the people whose good opinion I don’t care about who are always asking me out??”) I suddenly realized, maybe that has something to do with it.  I dunno, just something to think about.

Two things (or more)

After spending all afternoon/evening watching worse-than-mediocre movies on Netflix, I decided to go ahead and cancel.  Who cares if I waste my time in other ways.  At least I’ll have one less way to waste my time.

Also decided to go ahead and give up alcohol.  Save money and self-respect that way.  (also minimize chance of date-rape, in the event I ever date again)

My textbook arrived on Saturday, which is good because the first day of class is tomorrow.  Must remember to bring it with me tomorrow morning.  I realized earlier today that I didn’t get myself any school supplies.  I suppose I can borrow a notepad from the office.  Fortunately, since it’s just one class, I shouldn’t have too much trouble keeping myself organized.  Rather than reminding myself of how good I have been at letting myself down in the past, I am trying to stay positive.  I’ve been rather agitated today.  It began in part because I forgot to take my drugs before going out to yoga late this morning.  I have been building anxiety about class, though, too.

 

more about sex

I never ever imagined I would be the kind of person interested in casual sex.  Like, one night stand fling sort of casual sex.  I can kind of see the appeal, though.  I’m well aware that it would probably be a bad idea since I seem to become emotionally attached (see “Limerence”) without warning and my only attempt at “Friends with Benefits” was disastrous because of it.  Sometimes, though, I think about it.  I think, maybe I can hook up with that guy from yoga class.  I think he’s a bit younger than me, seems rather nerdy, we probably wouldn’t connect on any meaningful level.

I suppose I should acknowledge that I have had a glass of wine.  It seems to have an aphrodisiacal influence on me when imbibed in moderation.

I like to make up words sometimes (ie aphrodisiacal. it makes sense. maniac:maniacal; aphrodisiac:aphrodisiacal).

I have the distinct impression that my (hypothetical) future partners would benefit from my being a little more aggressive and confident in bed.  The fact is, though, that I have such meagre experience in that field that I kind of want to see what they want to do and just go along with it.  That’s been the trend, anyway.  I’m not aggressive sexually.  I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not.  Thinking about my sexual partners to date, I rather think we would all be a bit better served if I start to express myself a bit more where that’s concerned.  It would serve me, too, I suppose.

I wonder how unusual it is to be 30 and wondering what, exactly, my sexual tendencies are.  I’m not a great experimenter, and I haven’t got enough hands to try anything that really strikes me in the moment; what I have imagined is that I will coit with someone with whom I feel comfortable enough that we can explore our preferences together.

Tomoyasu Hotei’s cover of hide’s “Rocket Dive” just came on my iPod (set on random).  I haven’t heard this song in forever.  So much fun!  I love this cover.  That is all.

I identify a lot with the story of Sisyphus.  I suppose if we all examine our lives, we would all recognize something of that futile struggle in our own experience.  But in dealing with mental illness it’s especially easy to feel.  You push the rock up the hill all day, every day.  Then it falls back down to the bottom and you have to go back to the start and begin pushing all over again.  Certainly when I feel depressed (or in med withdrawal *coughThursdaycough*) the idea that the entire pursuit – of life, success, happiness, whatever – is futile is a pretty alluring one.  What’s the point of striving, of bothering with any of it, if at the end of the day the rock rolls back down and you’re back where you started, feeling like shit.

From a slightly less negative angle, a slightly more experienced angle, my experience is now more like “two steps forward, one step back” or some variation thereof.  I’m not charging forward, blasting through all impediments with my warriorlike will.  I stumble, I fall, I get back up again, but always looking forward if not quite able to move forward on my journey toward mental health.

Today I went to yoga in the park – my second time going, the first was last weekend – and this evening I went to a Soto Zen meditation group.  I believe both of these things can/will be good for me if I keep up with them.  We’ll see if I do.  It can be so hard to keep up the momentum of a positive weekend and carry it through the week and into the next weekend.

This Wednesday is the 4th of July, Independence Day in the US, so I plan on grilling some tofu and other veggies for my main meal.  I made whole wheat flatbread yesterday afternoon and I found a recipe for soy yogurt that can be made using only store-bought soymilk.  I have wanted to try making non-dairy yogurt for a while now but it seemed like all the recipes I found started with “make your soymilk.”  That will be fun and exciting, and if it works I will have delicious yogurt to eat my delicious homemade granola with.  I love food, and I am trying to incorporate that love into my journey.  So often I complain to myself that I have no great hobbies or passions; food comes very close, so I will try to harness that in as meaningful a way as possible.

Estimated recovery time

I don’t recall if I’ve discussed this much here.  Everyone remember SMF?  When we not-broke up, we had this long back-and-forth about whether we would be able to stay friends and to what degree.  My feeling was ultimately that there was no way I would feel comfortable discussing personal issues with him. I certainly didn’t want to talk about my depression or relationships or anything like that.  I wanted to scale things back to casual “Facebook friends” level, and if we continued to get along maybe we would become better friends.  That didn’t make sense to him; he wanted to continue the level of intimacy (conversation-wise) but just without the sex part, I guess.  Or I don’t know.

So periodically he’d e-mail me and just be like “hey, how’s everything, blah blah” which, I mean who sends e-mails anymore, really?  It just really weirded me out. I would respond with no intimate detail, nothing super involved, keeping my distance.  I suppose it would have been better if I never responded at all.  Anyway, just a couple weeks ago I finally said look: I don’t trust you. I don’t know why you keep trying to keep up this correspondence or whatever, but it confuses and frustrates me.  To which he responded something like “well if you want to go then go.”  So I said “ok, great” and made sure to Facebook un-friend him.  So now that’s over.  The long, unnecessarily drawn out saga of SMF.  I regret that we were apparently unable to find a compromise that worked for both of us, but in some ways this is probably the best route anyway.

What makes this relevant right now is the fact that I’m still thinking about it.  Still thinking about it when my sadness over ending things with NG are mostly faded (based on the math in the last post I still have through Wednesday if I need it).  But the thing is, if I only really completely “ended” things with SMF a couple weeks ago, and we started hanging out back in December, that’s 6 months of relationship compared to the 3 I had with NG.  It might be a little different since the business with SMF was a messy non-break up beginning back in January? February? and dragging on into June, whereas with NG there was a clean start/stop.  Still, based on the math, it could well be another week+ before I’ve completed my recovery from the SMF saga.

I just think it’s interesting that, even though we haven’t been “involved” for months, I’ve still been hanging on to the hurt and resentment.  I look forward to closing that chapter.  Lesson learned, clean breaks only.

[5/22] So I had a phone conversation just now (lunch break) with a woman who was diagnosed with herpes in February.  I didn’t ask which kind she has; I assumed HSV-2.  She is completely devastated.  I mean I felt like crap and I still have moments when I just don’t want to think about it, but it’s torturing her in a way that I think only my depression has done.  And I realize, I don’t have it all that bad.  Not only do I have the more common form of the virus, I also don’t care about getting married and having children.  This woman is in her early 30s and does want to get married and have kids.  So even though she’s with someone all she can think about is how impossible it will be for her to have the life she wants because no one will want to be with her.

It’s things like this that make me want even more strongly to “come out” as it were and start working to destigmatize this disease.  People shouldn’t have to feel so hopeless and disgusting over a virus that is NOT life-threatening and really doesn’t even change our daily lives in any way.  Of course no one would CHOOSE to get infected.  But at the end of the day, it’s not that big of a deal.

And as I say this it makes me feel worse and worse about NG.  I still haven’t told him.  [5/23] In my mind this makes me a reprehensible person which is probably contributing not insignificantly to my recent (+/- 3 weeks) mood slump.  I told my therapist this yesterday and she didn’t totally berate me which was good.  But I haven’t told her that we have in fact been in contact with each other’s genitals.  So basically, that thing I swore I’d never do again?  I did it again.  I don’t know what I’m going to do.  I have seriously considered breaking up with him instead of telling him.  So here’s to me and my high moral standards. *sigh*  I’m trying not to give myself too much flack about it but it genuinely does upset me to discover that I’m so much of a coward.  Especially since I KNOW that it’s not that big of a deal and that odds are pretty good that he already has it.

And part of me is still rationalizing: If the general populace doesn’t equate cold sores with herpes and the virus I have is the cold sore virus I have just as much right to pretend I don’t have herpes as that 75% of the population has to pretend they don’t have herpes.  Except of course most people, I think, don’t even realize it is a form of herpes, so it’s considerably different from my situation, where I know damn well it’s herpes.  *misery*