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Saturday, November 19, 2016

A week away

I spent the week in Laramie. That was weird.

I didn't contact old friends or try to meet up with people. I don't know why. Maybe I'm overwhelmed.

I have a friend who tracked me down anyway. Laramie is a small town. She insisted we have lunch, so yesterday we did. And I'm glad we did. I love her. But I think I'm overwhelmed. Possibly other things besides overwhelmed, too.

I've never really had a "Mom". Someone who noticed when I wasn't doing well physically or emotionally. My mother had other children. If I was sick, I had to tell her. When my children were sick, I knew before they did. If I was sad, I became invisible. When my children were sad, we went for a drive together. If I was nervous, afraid, or angry, I went for a run or a long walk alone. When my children were nervous, afraid, or angry, we talked about why and discussed ways to cope. Sometimes they went for runs or long walks, but usually not alone. If they were alone, it was because they felt it would be the healthiest way for them to sort through whatever was consuming them.

Since I've become an adult, I've had friends who have sometimes noticed when I was not at my best and reached out to me. I've not always known how to respond to them. Often their gestures were met with suspicion or panic.When you don't really have a Mom, you're not taught that sometimes people reach out, or notice when you're sad or lonely, or just try to help when they think you could use a hand. Sometimes they just do it because they love you. When you're not taught this, the gestures is foreign, intrusive, and scary.

After years of practice, I'm still not good at seeing things for what they are. I question motives and affection. I still don't always respond well. But I also kind of want people to notice and reach out when, for some reason, I'm feeling less than happy. It's new for me to wish for that and something that has developed in the past five years. Prior to that, I did everything in my power not to allow people to know if I wasn't doing well. It was what I had learned was proper. People don't really care. People don't really want to know. People don't really want to help.

So today, I'm in the middle. Or, perhaps more accurately, I'm more confused than ever. Spending a week with my mother was not good for me. She has a way of asking about my life, then twisting it to make it all about her. I don't respond well to that. Also, all the confusion of what makes authentic interpersonal relationships has risen to the foreground. She's the person who raised me, after all. She still has sway even when my boundaries are secure.

I believe I might be feeling depressed. There's certainly a lot in my life that would bring on those feelings right now.
1. I'm living with three other adults in a two-bedroom apartment.
2. I'm living with my father-in-law who does not always respect my boundaries.
3. I've been the sole source of income for our family for the past three months. This is not strictly true. My father-in-law offers constantly to help financially. And he lives with us. I don't know why it's beyond my ability to accept help from him.
3. I don't have a "place" anymore. No prairie or mountains to go running. No room of my own. No place. Always, people.
4. I am not doing well with the person who has been elected to lead our country, for obvious reasons.
5. There is too much change in too little time for me to process it successfully.

Okay. That's valid. I might be depressed.

But what has happened since I moved, is that all the paranoias that I used to ignore are consuming me. When someone I love calls me on the phone, my first thought is, "Oh, I'm so glad they called. I REALLY need to talk to someone." Then the paranoia says, "Um, no. They want to talk to you. Shut up and listen." So I do, unless I have a complete panic attack at which time I talk really fast, thank them for calling, and hang up without even finding out why they called.

If I'm with someone with whom I feel safe, I think, "Oh! I feel safe with him/her. I need to spend some time and let this ball of anxiety relax a bit so I can live." And then the paranoia says, "YOU might want to spend time, but he/she does not. Your person is busy. There is a life waiting for them (or a spouse or a different friend). You need to do your business and go home so you aren't bothering them." So I do. And then I practically run away so I won't be a bother.

Needless to say, the need to talk is increasing and the ball of anxiety has begun to gag me.

So, Samantha, you have a therapist...

I do. I have a therapist.

Is that all there is? Run away from the people I love and talk about it later with my therapist?

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