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Breaking out of brain jail journal


jailbreaker.

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A few general experiences I'm grateful for today:

 

- Met all (or at least a lot) of new colleagues at the "Deli"/kitchen, and, once again, everyone was uber chill. They appreciated my goofy jokes and were mostly not awkward at all, which was nice.

There's one older guy who's a little strange, (just gives off some strange vibes) but... Idk, maybe I just don't know him well enough yet?

I don't wanna shy away from him, though. That's what really makes "strange" people "strangers," most of the time: just not knowing them, not including them. I know that for a fact, since I've experienced it myself. I'll sum it up by saying most of my "friends" during middle and high school were just a last resort to avoid being a total outcast. It's not that I disliked them, rather that I just didn't connect with them that much.

I sat with them at lunch, and I was in band with some of them. Never really hung out outside of school, though. Always felt left out of the "inner circle," y'know? Like there was something was lacking, something missing from the bonds between us. Had a few close friends, but even then, very limited time together away from school. I was too busy gaming, watching Netflix, and focusing on my studies, band, and my goal to get into a good college.

 

This experience of always being an "outsider" has really impacted who I am today. I honestly think it's more difficult for me to know that someone's not being included and do nothing about it. Gives me a bad feeling. For me, feeling left out is the worst. Conversely, feeling included is the best! So, I try to make everyone feel included in social situations.

 

That's why, when I got to college, I kind of "assembled the Avengers," and contributed a lot to forming a few close friend groups. It took considerable effort to kinda be the "plan-suggester/connecting everyone/inclusivity guy," but it was worth it. I even ended up rooming with some of them in my second year. It did take time away from my studies, but I've made my peace with it. Made the right choices (aside from excessive gaming), met some great people, had some fantastic experiences.

Whenever I feel pangs of regret about it, I just ask myself, "What're a few bad grades gonna be in the long run, versus a few lifelong friends?"

Nothin'. May cost me more money in the short term, but friendships like that are priceless in my eyes.

I will balance my focus more in the near future, though. Can't just hang out with friends all the time and not get my work done. Or game all the rest of the time. Now that I'm not gaming's outta the equation, it should be a piece of cake. Hopefully.

 

- Had some good chicken tenders for lunch, and a root beer. Trying to avoid soda in general, since it's bad for my teeth and overall health, but I let myself have a treat every now and then. Can't have caffeine, though. Makes me jittery. That's why I like root beer. Caffeine free. Just has a bunch of syrupy sugar, instead, I guess.

 

- Noticed that someone at the deli, my supervisor, I think, had an Otter Pop. It's a long popsicle that you eat out of its plastic wrapping, in case you've never seen one before. Comes in all sorts of flavors and colors.

I'm grateful I saw him eating it, because it brought back some good childhood memories.

Otter Pops, man... Every little event in the "after-school program," in elementary and middle school, had Otter Pops. A little fair one time, with carnival and party games all over the place, some kids' birthdays, end-of-the-school year celebrations, movie nights, dances... Huh. It's all coming back to me...

 

Alright, can't reminisce all night, so one last thing; then sleep:

- Got to help some guests at the theme park take group photos. I was doing a food delivery, and along the way, I noticed that one person was being left out. (Hey, full circle!) Of course, I came to the rescue, and offered to help them take a photo with everyone in it.

They were, elated? I guess that's the word? Showered me in compliments, like "Oh, you're an angel! You're the best!" I replied, joking as if I was a super hero who just saved the day, "Just doing my job, folks!" And I made them laugh right before the picture, so the smiles were genuine!

 

Wow, I think theme park work really suits me. For now... We'll see what I say a week from now, after Memorial Day weekend! I've got high hopes for it, though, still, based on my past few days.

 

Allllright, goooooooooooooood night.

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Gratefulness journal for today:

3 general things:

- The Internet, my wifi, and my computer. I wanna make that one group of things I'm grateful for. I was doing a lot of research for my D&D campaign, mainly on Eberron, since I may wanna incorporate some interesting concepts into my campaign. Specifically, I'm picking out ideas that may mesh with my themes and setting, like a world-origin story, different countries on one big continent, histories of different races, lost civilizations, or portals to other planes, etc. Grabbed an idea from Critical Role as well, to build on a monk villain I'm making. "Way of the Cobalt Soul." Very similar to a basic acolyte background, it's just got some more flavor, abilities and lore to it that I can use.

Gotta sleep soon, so I'm gonna just do the next 2 things real quick.

- My bed. It's comfy and I get good, restful sleep on it.

- My kitchen and the food I can make in it. Glad I have a microwave. Seriously, it saved my life when I was depressed and could barely do anything, let alone cook.

 

K, goooood night.

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Mini-gratefulness journal:

- I've come a long way from being stuck in bed, devoid of all emotion. Thankful for all the people who have helped me along on the journey.

- My colleagues are all great so far. Fun to be around and talk to. Excited to see them again; grateful for the inspiration they give me to keep on the path to my goals.

- I got the day off for celebrating my brother's graduation from college this Friday. So glad I get to be there for him on his big day.

Alrighty. G'night.

Edited by jailbreaker.
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4 hours ago, jailbreaker. said:

I've come a long way from being stuck in bed, devoid of all emotion. Thankful for all the people who have helped me along on the journey.

Congrats on this! Glad to hear things are going well. 😀

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Another mini-gratefulness journal, since I have an early shift tomorrow:

Grateful for...

- having a job with so many great perks. I'll be even more grateful once I get paid though:)

- the berries I just ate as a late-night snack. Crazy to think our ancestors used to have to forage for those, and now we just pick 'em up at the grocery store. Thankful for all of the farm workers who grew and harvested the berries, as well. And the grocery store and its employees. Plenty to be grateful about there.

- this community. I'd probably still be gaming if I hadn't come here. Thanks everybody. Just knowing we're all in this together is a big help for me. Yeah, sounds cheesy, but it's true.

K, gouda night. 🧀

Edited by jailbreaker.
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12 hours ago, jailbreaker. said:

this community. I'd probably still be gaming if I hadn't come here. Thanks everybody. Just knowing we're all in this together is a big help for me. Yeah, sounds cheesy, but it's true.

K, gouda night. 🧀

Cheesy and gouda made me lol

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Instead of a gratefulness journal, I wanna write about some things that I'm worried about. Hopefully I'll feel less worried about them if I can just see them in writing as they are.

 

Worried about:

- not getting along with some people at work. I tend to exaggerate small bad moments with people in my mind. Catastrophizing kept me from getting into trouble with my overly sensitive dad. If I always feared the worst, I could always be on guard against it. Long story short, I'm just afraid of other people's opinions of me. 

I mentioned this in response to something @Zoe said in her journal about "compulsive people-pleasing." I felt that so deeply.

 

I haven't always been Mr. Goody Two-Shoes, though. There was a time when I was little, like 5 to 8 years old, when I was kind of an arrogant little prick, to put it lightly. I framed one of my friends for something stupid I did, and got away with it. I (lightly) slapped a girl with chubby cheeks, because I thought it was funny to see her face jiggle. She didn't fight back or anything, so I thought it was fine. Of course, it wasn't fine, but 5-year-old me didn't know any better. At least until I got the scolding of a lifetime. I would try to correct people's grammar/spelling and play the know-it-all, even if I had no clue what I was talking about. I would also just straight up pathologically lie to people. God, I was a little demon child sometimes. 

I think I started getting better in middle school, when I realized how stupid I was acting. Don't know exactly how, but I think I just mellowed out to try to make more friends, or at least not be enemies with people. Guilt and shame shaped me at that age. Translated into anxiety and depression, and so on.

I still have some residual arrogance and know-it-all-ness, but I can control it most of the time now. I just have to watch out for when I'm in a manic state, since it's easy to become arrogant like that. 

I'm too tired to write more, so I'm going to sleep now. Gooooood night.

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5 hours ago, jailbreaker. said:

Instead of a gratefulness journal, I wanna write about some things that I'm worried about. Hopefully I'll feel less worried about them if I can just see them in writing as they are.

 

Worried about:

- not getting along with some people at work. I tend to exaggerate small bad moments with people in my mind. Catastrophizing kept me from getting into trouble with my overly sensitive dad. If I always feared the worst, I could always be on guard against it. Long story short, I'm just afraid of other people's opinions of me. 

I mentioned this in response to something @Zoe said in her journal about "compulsive people-pleasing." I felt that so deeply.

Was your dad hot-and-cold with you? Also, I think we all have that in common. My god, this part of your entry could have been written by me. 

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7 hours ago, jailbreaker. said:

Catastrophizing kept me from getting into trouble with my overly sensitive dad. If I always feared the worst, I could always be on guard against it. Long story short, I'm just afraid of other people's opinions of me.

This hit me deep in the heart. I’m really sorry you went through that. hyper vigilance is a bbbb…

 

7 hours ago, jailbreaker. said:

t. I would also just straight up pathologically lie to people. God, I was a little demon child sometimes

Ok, compulsively want to make this ok..You were a child, we were all little demons lol. But yeah, don’t mean to take away the heavy guilt with that. I am working through this in therapy now…when we aren’t allowed to be a child and have things normalized and taught another way…well….it can be the foundation of OCD unfortunately. 

Thanks for sharing and being vulnerable. You definitely are not alone with these feelings. 

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@LordFederickRamsay, my dad was/is always kind of lukewarm/passive-aggressive/manipulative, rather than "hot and cold."

He was a prosecutor for a long time. I think that rubbed off on him quite a bit. All that arguing, trying to find his opponent's weaknesses in their defense, always on the attack. He's got a predator mind, ngl. Kinda creeps me out how he's always trying to put on a sweet facade so that he can just be a piece of shit later, once people let their guard down. It's hard to describe specific instances, since it just happened/happens alllll the timmmeee, y'know?

But if I had to think of one example of his form of being an ass that happens a lot, it's his gradual revealing of his true nature. He's always on his best behavior to people's faces at first. Then, once he gets to know them, he starts treating them badly, but in a way that makes him seem like the victim. He constantly tries to create a power dynamic in some way. He's got an inferiority complex, I think, so he tries to make himself feel better by making himself more powerful over others.

For example, let's say someone does something that hits one of his high-strung nerves, and they apologize. But then my dad, instead of just taking the apology, like "no problem, you're fine!" he starts picking at their shame like a scab once he sees the opportunity. Makes them more vulnerable so that he has the upper hand. His tactics differ depending on the "opponent" he's "facing," but it all ends up with the same result: he ends up in a position where he has control over other people, based on guilt and/or shame, and then starts using that power to get what he wants out of people.

Usually he just wants (as far as I can tell) the attention, or the feeling of having just that little bit of power in a relationship. Why? Idk, maybe he just feels powerless in his personal life for whatever reason, or insecure. He collects guns and knives and tries to act all manly and conservative, but he's really just a guy who's afraid. That's where I can relate to him a bit, what with my worrying about others' opinions of me. But at least I don't try to manipulate people in order to feel better about myself or gain power over them.

Conversations about money and plans are a common way for him to gain leverage over me and my siblings. Guilt trips us, tries to reason everything his way, makes himself look like the victim; basically uses every trick in the manipulative book. Kinda the definition of toxic, unfortunately.

Thankful that I don't have to live with him anymore. That was hell for me. Anyway, does that answer your question, George? Sorry, I know I kinda rambled on a bit there. Hope it was in some way helpful for you.

 

@Zoe, I appreciate your kind words. I know I was just a little demon child, and I didn't know any better, but it's nice to hear someone else affirm that belief. Ha, I just remembered, I literally bit a kid once because he took my milk carton and my seat. Kid was kind of a bully, and I felt like I was serving him justice, I guess.

Weird how I remember what I was feeling at the time, since I was so little. How could I forget, though, right? I mean, who forgets a moment in their life when they bit the class bully in retaliation? Ha, man, he was so shocked, it was kinda hilarious thinking back on it. But of course, totally unacceptable, and I did get in trouble.

One other thing I remember, while my mind is here I suppose, I was explaining how the drinking fountain worked to some classmates of mine. Buuut, I didn't have a clue how it actually worked. So I just said that the water that you don't drink gets recycled, and then more water comes through the pipes, or something like that. I probably wasn't too far off with my guess, but I was stating it like it was fact. Not really the most humble thing to do. I think I was trying to gain people's admiration or approval, as if being "the smart kid" would make me more valuable in my classmates' eyes, no matter how much I fudged my "facts."

 

Yeesh, glad I can always fact-check everything now. Thankful for my handy dandy phone and whatnot. The training in school that I got to parse out the truth from the misinformation or "almost-truth." How to find credible resources, and never make a claim if I can't back it up with concrete evidence and solid reasoning. Thanks English class.

 

Do you remember any "little demon" moments you had as a kid, too? I'd love to hear it if you're willing to share that. Just fun to hear those kinds of stories and relate and stuff.

 

Gonna try to just read and respond to people's journals for a bit. I feel like I need to get outside of my own experiences and talk to y'all about yours! I love hearing your stories, too, and relating to them, so it'll be fun.

Gotta go to work tomorrow, and I guess I sorta already covered my gratefulness journal in my responses to you guys, so I'm gonna hit the hay. Gooooood night.

Edited by jailbreaker.
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13 minutes ago, jailbreaker. said:

Do you remember any "little demon" moments you had as a kid? I'd love to hear it if you're willing to share that.

Too many; all in the name of 'justice' of course. Each time, basically, I wanted to knock (often literally) sense into someone for straying morally, or so I thought. Best example was age 6-7, listening to a kid gloat after succeeding at something about this new candy/sweet thing and swatting it into the dirt. It was 'too much' for me to stand. I like to think I know the reasons for these things and will/have learn(ed) through meditation and stuff, but it still would have felt awful for them, every time, I'm pretty sure.

 

 

 

Edited by wheatbiscuit
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10 hours ago, jailbreaker. said:

@LordFederickRamsay, my dad was/is always kind of lukewarm/passive-aggressive/manipulative, rather than "hot and cold."

He was a prosecutor for a long time. I think that rubbed off on him quite a bit. All that arguing, trying to find his opponent's weaknesses in their defense, always on the attack. He's got a predator mind, ngl. Kinda creeps me out how he's always trying to put on a sweet facade so that he can just be a piece of shit later, once people let their guard down. It's hard to describe specific instances, since it just happened/happens alllll the timmmeee, y'know?

But if I had to think of one example of his form of being an ass that happens a lot, it's his gradual revealing of his true nature. He's always on his best behavior to people's faces at first. Then, once he gets to know them, he starts treating them badly, but in a way that makes him seem like the victim. He constantly tries to create a power dynamic in some way. He's got an inferiority complex, I think, so he tries to make himself feel better by making himself more powerful over others.

For example, let's say someone does something that hits one of his high-strung nerves, and they apologize. But then my dad, instead of just taking the apology, like "no problem, you're fine!" he starts picking at their shame like a scab once he sees the opportunity. Makes them more vulnerable so that he has the upper hand. His tactics differ depending on the "opponent" he's "facing," but it all ends up with the same result: he ends up in a position where he has control over other people, based on guilt and/or shame, and then starts using that power to get what he wants out of people.

Usually he just wants (as far as I can tell) the attention, or the feeling of having just that little bit of power in a relationship. Why? Idk, maybe he just feels powerless in his personal life for whatever reason, or insecure. He collects guns and knives and tries to act all manly and conservative, but he's really just a guy who's afraid. That's where I can relate to him a bit, what with my worrying about others' opinions of me. But at least I don't try to manipulate people in order to feel better about myself or gain power over them.

Conversations about money and plans are a common way for him to gain leverage over me and my siblings. Guilt trips us, tries to reason everything his way, makes himself look like the victim; basically uses every trick in the manipulative book. Kinda the definition of toxic, unfortunately.

Thankful that I don't have to live with him anymore. That was hell for me. Anyway, does that answer your question, George? Sorry, I know I kinda rambled on a bit there. Hope it was in some way helpful for you.

It more than answers my question. I'm sorry you have to put up with this. He sounds like a really difficult person to be around and have an intimate connection with (him being your dad and having raised you ((I assume)) He doesn't sound like a very happy person. Because you're highly emotionally intelligent, and you're able to observe his behaviour as unrelated to you, which I think is good because you're less susceptible to his manipulations.

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On 5/26/2023 at 6:37 AM, jailbreaker. said:

I haven't always been Mr. Goody Two-Shoes, though. There was a time when I was little, like 5 to 8 years old, when I was kind of an arrogant little prick, to put it lightly. I framed one of my friends for something stupid I did, and got away with it. I (lightly) slapped a girl with chubby cheeks, because I thought it was funny to see her face jiggle. She didn't fight back or anything, so I thought it was fine. Of course, it wasn't fine, but 5-year-old me didn't know any better. At least until I got the scolding of a lifetime. I would try to correct people's grammar/spelling and play the know-it-all, even if I had no clue what I was talking about. I would also just straight up pathologically lie to people. God, I was a little demon child sometimes. 

I think I started getting better in middle school, when I realized how stupid I was acting. Don't know exactly how, but I think I just mellowed out to try to make more friends, or at least not be enemies with people. Guilt and shame shaped me at that age. Translated into anxiety and depression, and so on.

I still have some residual arrogance and know-it-all-ness, but I can control it most of the time now. I just have to watch out for when I'm in a manic state, since it's easy to become arrogant like that. 

I'm too tired to write more, so I'm going to sleep now. Gooooood night.

I was friends with someone like this when I was younger and he turned out to be the loveliest most intelligent and creative person I know so it doesn't really mean too much. Don't feel too bad I mean.

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On 5/27/2023 at 1:54 AM, jailbreaker. said:

I appreciate your kind words. I know I was just a little demon child, and I didn't know any better, but it's nice to hear someone else affirm that belief

Waittttt. I don’t think you were a Demon child! I think you were a kid being a kid.

 

On 5/27/2023 at 1:54 AM, jailbreaker. said:

Do you remember any "little demon" moments you had as a kid, too? I'd love to hear it if you're willing to share that. Just fun to hear those kinds of stories and relate and stuff.

I’ve been thinking about this the past few days and it’s made me feel a bit shameful for the demon I was. I did some mean shit. Usually in retaliation, but some of it made me pretty afraid of my mind. Ok, so I’ll share a few examples.  So, I grew up pretty poor, so my clothes weren’t always up to par with the “cool kids”. I didn’t really care, I was a little skater girl, so was scrubbin it in the clothes arena anyway. But….this one girl used to annoy the crap out of me. It was when I was in 8th grade. I was sitting at a lunch table eating my daily cream filled long john and orange juice and this girl with a few other friends comes over and asks me if i’m going to be there for long because they want to sit down. There was plenty of room. Such evil thoughts went through my head…I decided I could act on one. So, I told her sure.. I’ll get up. That day, I decided to skip my classes because I was outside looking for a garden snake or salamander I could put down her shirt, pants whatever. I just wanted to show her…I don’t know what. Anyway. I finally found a garden snake. They are really  easy to play around with and harmless. I put it in my lunch box…poor snake. Anyway, I was able to walk behind her on her way to the bus and straight up placed the snake around the back of her neck. She screamed and everyone laughed. I immediately felt horrible, but, just turned around and walked away like a little demon. Crazy.

Next one…I don’t know how old I was, but pretty young cause I was a Brownie lol.. That thing before girl scouts. Anyway, we were going on a field trip. While we were getting on the bus, The girl in front of me turned around and just flicked me on the forehead…for no reason. Wellllllll.. She had a pony tail, so i grabbed it and yanked her right out of the bus. I hated how I felt after that. I was petrified at what I did. But yeah, that was the end of what would be my Girl Scout career lol.

I just realized I shouldn’t be allowed in 🚌 

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8 hours ago, Zoe said:

Waittttt. I don’t think you were a Demon child! I think you were a kid being a kid.

Ha, yeah, maybe you're right. I just didn't know any better. Plus, demonizing a past version of myself isn't very helpful for me. I like to believe that my views of my past selves constantly impact how I view my present self, and I have plenty to criticize about myself. 

 

In an earlier journal, I wrote about how, with bipolar depression and anxiety and whatever else I may have, it can be easy to slip into a perpetual state of self-loathing and regret, if I let my feelings take over. It turns into envy, sometimes, too. Might not have mentioned that before. Whenever I felt left out of friend groups, I would just naturally feel jealous about that connection that my other friends had with each other. Like, "What's wrong with me? Why can't I have that kind of connection with people? Is it just how I am as a person?" I start to question how I can even be happy at all, if I can't win over certain people. It's a strange thing, now that I think of it. Trying to "win people over," as if I have to constantly make a concerted effort to get people to like me.

 

It's instinctual, though. I have a sort of persona that I use and maintain, just in long-term social settings, like at school, or at my job. It's a "goofy, fun, and kinda stupid" persona, that I use to make people feel more comfortable around me. It masks my depression and mental/emotional turmoil (the real source of many of my mistakes and shortcomings) with a facade of stupidity. It's why some people (who I generally try to avoid now) have compared me to a golden retriever. I'm definitely not that. I think I'm more of a... y'know, a human being, and not a dog?

I can see the positive side of that comparison: loyalty, compassion, and goofiness/cuteness. But the nature of our relationship made me filter all that positive stuff out. Didn't sit right with me when I realized I was sort of in a pet-like position with these "friends." I felt like I wasn't getting a seat at the table, that nobody wanted to hear my opinion. I felt left out, but still dragged around on a leash just for comfort, or whatever else a pet provides people. What did I do about it? I stopped hanging out with them, simple as that. But nothing's ever that simple. That's a story for another time, though.

 

Anyway, that "golden retriever" persona is just another flawed defense mechanism, and I'm fully aware of it. It often still controls my behavior, though. Hard to shake off something that's been instilled in me since I was little.

I've been raised to believe that I have to be tolerant of other people, but intolerant of myself, especially when it comes to how mental illness plays a role in my life. I've obviously made progress towards self-acceptance, otherwise I wouldn't be here writing about this. But, I also have the veil of anonymity here, so I feel comfortable just being myself, y'know? I can also go back and edit things that I wanted to explain more or rephrase.

It's easy to just be here, as opposed to in-person social settings. No need to think about eye-contact, body language, or any other myriad of social cues that I may overlook. It's just words being words. And I can reread them as many times as I want, until I feel satisfied that I fully comprehend them, and I've worked out an approach to respond to them. I'm not slow, I just usually struggle to put things the right way quickly. I'm careful, at least when I'm not in a manic or hypomanic state.

 

Another factor in my persona usage: I did also just generally avoid social situations for much of my life, if I could. I usually just played videogames instead. Didn't have much practice with social situations, I guess. I don't actively seek them out, either, even now. I always dread having to be in social situations. Usually they turn out fine, but other times, I "break character," so to speak, and it's really difficult to regain people's trust after that. I'll be in a manic, unstable state, and I say something out of character. My happy-go-lucky persona just fizzles out, and I feel exhausted; brain-foggy, mortified... The regret settles in, and I don't know what to say or do. Maybe that's why I've always been an outsider: I usually don't just show up as "me;" I'm always trying to be "some other version of me" that I think is more appealing to people. People appreciate authenticity, but I just feel incapable of it, if I don't know them really well. It's almost like I live a double-life.

 

I like to think I'm honest, but under social pressures to be the "golden retriever" version of me, I suppose I'm not always honest about who I am, really. Like I said earlier, here, on this forum, I don't feel any pressure at all to conform to any social standards. So, I can be completely open and honest. "Me." I can tell my story and not feel like I'd scare anyone away, since many of the people who come here have been through the same shit I've been through.

 

But at school and work, I feel the need to hide that darker side of myself so that I don't scare people away. I mean, if everyone I worked with knew that I was hospitalized (full-on 5150'd) for paranoid hallucinations less than a year ago, I'd probably be fired on the spot. It might not matter if I explained how I've recovered. I use a knife every day to cut food, and I might be considered a risk to my colleagues. I realize that this may just be my catastrophizing happening, but it's entirely possible, and I like to prepare for every possibility.

 

Speaking of potentially scaring people away, though, I did let slip, in a tired/hypomanic state the other night, that I've been to a psych ward. I don't know why I said it. It was after a full 8-hour shift, and I was tired...smh.

What scares people away from me in social settings, though, is the way I say stuff. In this case, when we were all done closing up the kitchen, we were talking about how we never see the outside world while we're working in the "back of the house." It reminded me of this purgatory-like experience I had at a mental health facility. So, I briefly explained that, but in a way that seemed kinda psycho-y. Mentioned how there was no sun, no windows, no clocks, nothing.

One of my colleagues was like, "So you've been to a psych ward?" And I responded, "Oh, no, that was before the psych ward." And then I didn't get the opportunity to explain myself before everyone started heading out.

Whyyy, why do I have to say things like that, at the least appropriate time? Out of context, it may have seemed like I just hardcore dissociated and my perception of reality was extremely distorted. But it really was a frickin' purgatory-like place, that mental health facility! Ugh. Another one of those regrettable moments where I "break character" and look like a freak. I really hope my colleagues just forget I ever said that.

 

Alright, I'm too tired to keep writing, and I have work in the morning, so I'm just gonna hit the hay. Gooood night.

Edited by jailbreaker.
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9 hours ago, jailbreaker. said:

Whenever I felt left out of friend groups, I would just naturally feel jealous about that connection that my other friends had with each other. Like, "What's wrong with me? Why can't I have that kind of connection with people? Is it just how I am as a person?" I start to question how I can even be happy at all, if I can't win over certain people. It's a strange thing, now that I think of it. Trying to "win people over," as if I have to constantly make a concerted effort to get people to like me.

I can definitely relate to that. I've been in a place, and can still go to that place, where I'm looking for approval from other people. I feel like for a lot of my life, I had a pretty bad reliance on other people. As in, my emotional well-being was pretty tightly tied to how someone treated me, or to how I thought they viewed me as a person. Which, combined with me not believing when people told me they loved and cared for me, and me actively doing things to push people away, made for a pretty miserable time. Rejection hurt really, really bad then. Even if it was just a relatively small thing.

9 hours ago, jailbreaker. said:

It's instinctual, though. I have a sort of persona that I use and maintain, just in long-term social settings, like at school, or at my job. It's a "goofy, fun, and kinda stupid" persona, that I use to make people feel more comfortable around me.

That seems pretty normal, yeah. I think it's a challenge to be authentic and real with people all the time. It kind of gets beaten out of us as kids, and we learn ways to protect ourselves from being hurt. Those become an easy default to go to whenever we're in social settings.

9 hours ago, jailbreaker. said:

It's easy to just be here, as opposed to in-person social settings. No need to think about eye-contact, body language, or any other myriad of social cues that I may overlook. It's just words being words. And I can reread them as many times as I want, until I feel satisfied that I fully comprehend them, and I've worked out an approach to respond to them. I'm not slow, I just usually struggle to put things the right way quickly. I'm careful, at least when I'm not in a manic or hypomanic state.

I feel you on that. I'm glad you find this a place where you can be yourself. I think it's pretty important to have a space like that.

9 hours ago, jailbreaker. said:

People appreciate authenticity, but I just feel incapable of it, if I don't know them really well. It's almost like I live a double-life.

That's a pretty natural thing, in my opinion. Once people gain your trust you open up more. I think there's layers of authenticity you can go down. It's not like you're going to tell some stranger on the street some of the stuff you hold close to your heart, or give them a confession of your sins kind of thing. It takes time and effort to develop the relationships where you can open up like that.

9 hours ago, jailbreaker. said:

I like to think I'm honest, but under social pressures to be the "golden retriever" version of me, I suppose I'm not always honest about who I am, really. Like I said earlier, here, on this forum, I don't feel any pressure at all to conform to any social standards. So, I can be completely open and honest. "Me." I can tell my story and not feel like I'd scare anyone away, since many of the people who come here have been through the same shit I've been through.

Been through the same shit for sure, in more ways than one. I was hospitalized during my manic episode 5 years ago, so I can definitely relate to you, 😅.

10 hours ago, jailbreaker. said:

Speaking of potentially scaring people away, though, I did let slip, in a tired/hypomanic state the other night, that I've been to a psych ward. I don't know why I said it. It was after a full 8-hour shift, and I was tired...smh.

What scares people away from me in social settings, though, is the way I say stuff. In this case, when we were all done closing up the kitchen, we were talking about how we never see the outside world while we're working in the "back of the house." It reminded me of this purgatory-like experience I had at a mental health facility. So, I briefly explained that, but in a way that seemed kinda psycho-y. Mentioned how there was no sun, no windows, no clocks, nothing.

One of my colleagues was like, "So you've been to a psych ward?" And I responded, "Oh, no, that was before the psych ward." And then I didn't get the opportunity to explain myself before everyone started heading out.

Whyyy, why do I have to say things like that, at the least appropriate time? Out of context, it may have seemed like I just hardcore dissociated and my perception of reality was extremely distorted. But it really was a frickin' purgatory-like place, that mental health facility! Ugh. Another one of those regrettable moments where I "break character" and look like a freak. I really hope my colleagues just forget I ever said that.

Line cooks are pretty crazy, dude. It takes a special kind of stupid to put ourselves through the hell that is working back of house in a restaurant 😆. But yeah, I can understand that it's probably something you wouldn't have wanted to share. There's a lot of misunderstanding and misconception about mental health. I let some fairly long-time friends know the other day that I'm diagnosed as bipolar and they were like "but you don't have crazy mood swings and say crazy shit". Even though we've come a long way, we still don't really talk about it. That being said, the embarrassment and maybe shame you might feel from being a bit too vulnerable is just another emotion that you can let pass through you, if you don't hold onto it. You said something that you wanted to keep private, and maybe some people remember it, maybe they don't. It's out of your control what they do with that. When you're in the weeds, I highly doubt anyone is going to care whether or not the person next to them has been to a mental health facility or not as long as they're pulling their weight. At least, that was my experience with people in the industry.

A lot of what you wrote resonated with me. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

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Thanks for that really thoughtful reply, @DanielG. I'm glad my story resonated with ya, truly. And yeah, line cooks are kinda bonkers XD. Somehow we get through it, though!

 

 

@LordFederickRamsayI was hoping make another addition to the list, after thinking more about my last suggestion.

Again, they're just suggestions based on my experience, and there's no one-size-fits-all way to make friends. It's all highly variable depending on circumstance. Still, I hope you find it helpful in some way, if you're interested.

 

Okay, here we go...

 

Option 4: I realized that I also made friends just by doing nice/generous stuff for people.

 

In this case, I'm borrowing from Buddhism's teachings on generosity (in Sanskrit, alobha). In this belief system, generosity is one of the three "wholesome qualities." The idea is that it's is the opposite of greed, and is therefore "wholesome."

 

I feel like it's important to know how much you can reasonably give, though. For example, I've been the type of person who wants to help as many people as possible, all at once.

 

(That's another one of Buddhism's core teachings, actually. Walking the "middle path." Maybe I'm actually Buddhist, idk. It's just helpful for me.)

 

Everyone has a limit to how much they can give. I've found myself in countless situations where I dropped my boundaries and burnt myself out, Giving Tree style. So, I just thought I'd mention that, in the hopes that you don't make the same mistakes I did (and still do, sometimes).

 

Option 5: Including people in conversations/supporting/standing up for people if they need it. One common way I do this is with a simple question: "Idk, what does (person Z) think?" Shows that I respect them.

 

Honestly, that's probably how I made most of my friends/good acquaintances. How I met them was usually just by circumstance, but how I came to know them was usually by putting in an effort to be there for them if they needed it. Or, vice versa: they were there for me when I was in need.

 

 

Before I go on another rant, I think I'll just do a brief gratefulness journal for today. I'm feeling stressed out, and maybe it'll make me feel better.

 

Some books I'm grateful for reading:

- Beloved, by Toni Morrison.

Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut.

All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr.

- The Anthropocene Reviewed, by John Green.

How to Be Miserable: 40 Strategies You Already Use, by Randy J. Paterson, PhD.

- The House on Mango Street, by Sandra Cisneros.

Green Eggs and Ham, by Dr. Seuss.

That was my favorite book when I was little. I'd reread it over and over again. I even watched the show on Netflix a couple of years ago. I have to admit, it was well-made, and I really enjoyed it, even as a young adult. It's got 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, not surprisingly. Nice to watch a good, wholesome show every now and then.

 

Alright, I do kind of feel better now. I wonder why I was stressed in the first place, though? Ah, well, I did have to call in sick for two days of work this weekend, including today. I was worried I might be sick for longer, and upset that I wasn't there to prove myself to my colleagues during this busy weekend (Memorial Day weekend in the States). Wanted to help them out, show them that I can be reliable on busy days and slow days.

 

Ah, it's fine. They probably forgot I even existed for half the time. I often forget that most of the time, people are just busy worrying about themselves and their own problems in our society. Not that there aren't truly altruistic people out there, but that's besides the point. I just mean to say that it's unreasonable to assume that I'd be on people's minds if I've only known them for a few days at work, making basic small-talk, chopping fruit together.

Ha, alright, that's enough out of me for one day. "It goes out fast, and comes back slow," indeed. Gotta take a break.

K, gooooooood night.

Edited by jailbreaker.
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  • 4 weeks later...

Well, that was a bit of a hiatus, but I'm back. Hi.

 

I got obsessed with D&D research for the better part of this month and last month. I think it was my perfectionism combined with a fear of disappointing my friends. I already don't get out much, and this was kind of the perfect time-suck on my days off from work. My eyes have started getting bloodshot again from all the screentime. Oof.

 

Really just trying to fight off that numbing feeling that I get whenever I start delving too deep into something I'm obsessed about. On that note, I don't think I have OCD, but I can't be certain. My diagnosis from half a year ago (wow, time flies) was "Psychosis Unspecified." So helpful, smh. 

 

Glad I'm back here, though. I feel a warm sensation, as if I've just found a warm shelter from a chilling storm. I'm also not over-editing everything to try to make it as cohesive as possible, which is a bit comforting. Little bit of self-acceptance is nice every now and then.

 

What in the world have I been doing these past few weeks? Oop, there goes the self-acceptance lol. Well, it's a valid question, and one that I haven't fully answered. Nah, I don't need to fill you in on all the details, just the important stuff. Okay.

 

So, D&D delving. Had my first game over Father's Day/Juneteenth weekend, and it went well. All my research was paying off, I suppose. Everyone had a fun time, and that's what counts.

 

Aside from that, I've just been working. Part of the reason I haven't been posting is because I'm adjusting to this new schedule. The energy usage, the expenditure of mental capacity. Didn't think a simple job like this would take this much out of me, but it has. Not to say I don't like it, though. It's a great feeling when I'm on deliveries, and I get to be amongst the throng of people enjoying themselves at the theme park.

 

I even like the main work of it, which is just simple tasks in the deli. Make a salad, cut some fruit, put the pretzels in the oven, take this down to xyz places. The work itself is actually pretty boring, but the people there are interesting and cool. Hmm. Moral quandaries abound, though.

 

There's a girl who's 17 and works in the deli with me. Different girl than the one in a previous entry. Starting to think I have a problem of falling for girls who are underage, sheesh. I'm 20, but I look younger, according to everyone I've asked. That may be part of the issue. Not to mention, she already has a boyfriend.

 

How stupid my brain can be sometimes: honestly, it surprises me. Okay, but before I keep beating myself over liking a 17-year-old girl (Jesus, she's barely even a senior in high school yet, for God's sake, what am I thinking?), she clearly likes me, and I get that feeling of "lighting up" whenever I'm around her.

 

She does this thing where she'll stare at me. I think it's to mess with my head; make me feel like I don't know what to do. At least, the way she explained it when I asked her was, "Because it's funny. I just like making you uncomfortable." She said it in a joking and more flirty way than that gives off in plain text. Based on her flirty tone, I think that's just an excuse to play with my feelings and lead me on for entertainment. But, there's also an attraction factor, I can tell. So, she's not just toying with me for sadistic fun. There's something else there. I know that also because we always have great, easy conversations.

 

It's like I don't even have to try with her, in a good way. It's the opposite of stressful. I can poke fun at her knowing she'll poke fun right back, and neither of us will be hurt or offended, because it's all just good fun. I can kind of let my guard down, which is nice. Not too much, of course, because there's still the fact that we can't date, but on the perspective that we're just good friends, I can kinda relax. 

 

Still, when we actually make eye contact, whether it's when I notice her staring at me or we're having a conversation, I can't help but get that feeling that I don't want to look away. As if a laser beam is magnetically pulling me towards her eyes, and her eyes are guided towards mine. I've only had that with two other girls in my life before, and I know how I felt about them: absolutely in love. And it was reciprocated! I think that's what's so intoxicating about it: the feeling of being appreciated and admired, just as much as you appreciate and admire the other person.

 

But, no matter how easily our conversation flows, or how magnetic our attraction is to each other, or how much I wish she were 18 and didn't have a boyfriend, the facts remain. It's kind of hopeless. I say "kind of" because I always try to acknowledge the slim possibility of something that far-fetched actually coming to pass. It'd be like trying to make a landing on the moon without knowing how to orbit a spaceship around it first. I'd just hurtle out into space, or directly crash into the moon. Worst case scenario, I get halfway there and realize I should have done some better calculations before I left, and then the disaster happens. The moon in this case is the actual relationship being "a thing." Woefully inadequate description there, but it's supposed to mean, in my eyes, that we're dating, going steady, and planning to be together long-term.

 

Ugh, if only, if only, right? Well, no point in fantasizing about that 3% chance that we may actually work out in the end. Just gotta focus on the present and keep a respectful distance. I should hang out with my other friends more, too, so I don't become reliant on my clique-y friendship with her. Wish I had done that when I was dating my ex. Live and learn, I guess.

 

But enough ramblings about a doomed fantasy. I'm gonna do a gratefulness journal, because I feel like I should, and I want to take my mind off of her for a while.

 

3 modern commodities I'm grateful I have access to:

- running water (hot and cold)

- convenient, good-smelling soap

- washing machine

 

I guess I really like being fresh and clean in the morning. Anyway, I should go to bed; get ready for that next shower and workday and so on.

Edited by jailbreaker.
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Here I am again, pondering the thing we call life.

 

What should I do with my life? That's one question I've already asked in an early entry on here, and answered with "become a therapist." Would I really be suited for that job, though? Do I actually want to do it?

 

My brain can't even handle that line of thought right now. Had an unusual day at work. I was getting overwhelmed by my anxiety again. Seems like whenever I start to get to know people, I just naturally clam up. It's a defense mechanism, for sure; no doubt ingrained in me by my years of scraping by on the outskirts of different social circles in school. Not revealing my true self was how I got by, how I got to college. I was just hiding my feelings, repressing them, hoping nobody would see me. Of course, that lack of attention that I so desperately wanted also created a deep incessant need for others' approval, if I ever did have their attention. My cat and a few friends of mine were the only ones able to see through that thin veil of impartiality. My mom, too. My brothers, sort of.

 

Gah, I've been here before. I've effectively gone in a circle. I must have gotten too comfortable, inert, inactive. Passive. Uggh, I hate that word. "Passive" makes me think of a frickin' rock that you just pass by on a walk without even noticing it.

 

Ah, there it is. I feel unnoticed; unappreciated. And then I start to believe that I'm actually less than, which shapes my thoughts and actions, reinforcing my belief. What caused me to feel unnoticed and unappreciated?

 

Probably just a lack of appreciation at work. I suppose I am rather dependent on others' views of me. Today was one of those days that just felt off. People were less talkative, I was less talkative... I felt insecure for some reason. I felt like I had nothing good or useful to say, so I just kept my mouth shut. Oh, also the music was too loud for me to even attempt to hold a conversation in the first place, which kinda killed my enthusiasm early on. Yeah, that must've been it. 

 

Yeah, because later on in the shift, when the music was off, I felt more at ease. Was I overstimulated, then? And thus, confused, I felt insecure? That's possible. Adding to the overstimulation was the crowded deli kitchen. I guess I don't do well with crowded spaces. Much more at ease when people are spread out. Hmm.

 

That's interesting; I'm fine with confining myself to a small space alone, but when I'm in it with a lot of other people, I instantly feel like I'm under attack, and I have to take up a defensive position, or take evasive action. Where did that come from? That fight or flight reaction to being in a crowded space; wanting to get away, but feeling cornered...

 

Was it school? That same feeling I had back then, the one that made me want to hide, it still persists now. "If I don't say anything, nothing can go wrong... I just need to keep my head down, chime in occasionally, and nobody will mind that I'm here..." That's the belief that stuck with me early on, and it worked as intended. I got through middle and high school without becoming too much of a controversial figure... But, of course, it had its setbacks...

 

I know that people are afraid of me sometimes. I can be different, "scary." I get moody after a month of being happy-go-lucky (like what happened today); I make off-color statements without meaning to; I don't know how to hold a conversation with my own friends... The list goes on. Nobody asks me if I'm okay when I'm moody, because if they do, they don't know what kind of a response they'll get. Or, if they do, they feel like they already know the pre-programmed platitude I'll give them to make them look the other way. Nobody makes an effort with me because I never really make an effort with them, outside of what's necessary, in my opinion.

Bipolar sucks like that. Makes me sensitive, but not always in a good way. Maybe I'm on the autism spectrum, too? That would explain the overwhelm, the black-and-white thinking, and so on...

 

Welp, I'm dozing off, so goooood night.

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