Prolly more thoughts on this later, I dunno. Right now I'm just copying and pasting a post I sent out in one of my closer-knit fibro support groups this morning.

Well, I sure feel invalidated as hell this morning. I posted that AWESOME picture that I tagged y'all in (I'll include it here for those who I'm not friends with outside of the group) and not only does everyone think that I'm sitting here with a knife to my wrist apparently, I got a message in the wee hours of the morning and one that was there when I signed on this morning, and I dunno if you guys will catch the same vibe as I do but I'm totally getting the message that "you're too negative and you focus on your pain too much; knock it off and be cheerful, eh?" which is incredibly discouraging and angering and all kinds of things that I really just don't know how to articulate. Thoughts?
Last night's message: "Hello? I'm I don't know who you are and you don't need who I am but I am one of R's friends and somehow I've been able to see your posts on my bulletin... is something wrong? I've been kinda feeling down too but I shouldn't be.
Sorry so many typos on there lol.
I meant to say we don't know each other. I've been seeing the... negative stuff you've been posting. So I wanted... to know what was wrong... if you wanted to tell me. I can understand if you find it weird to talk to someone you don't know about something so personal but... I'm going to be moving out of AZ in May and I'mm feeling kinda down too so I thought it would be worth a shot."
This morning's message from a different person (Note: she had asked to be untagged in the photo because it looks bad for her, professionally as an actress.): "Yeah it was a cool piece but yeah most of the people who still use Facebook are actors directors producers etc so I stopped putting anything on there about pain or pretty much anything negative or if I do I try to make it funny. I stopped my blog a couple months ago my pain is what it is it's been two years this is where it will likely stay thinking about it just gives it power. Can I suggest something for you to read? Maybe you are not at a point where it's something yiu can absorb I wasn't ready when I bought it a few years ago read three pages and out it away but the secret has changed my life even before I read it. I started living the law of attraction and yes I still have a bad day but I'm very cautious about what I think and say bc what you think about you bring about. I'm a therapist and never got any if this but so much has changed w my pain my acting everythjng that I have to believe there is truth. Google it and try it for a couple weeks maybe it will help. I don't go to meetings lol I don't do anything other than watch my thinking patterns Just a thought from what I see in your patterns "
I responded, and I'll post that too if you want, but this response to MY response just makes me even more frustrated (but I KNOW that wasn't the intent, to attack, I guess I'm just sensitive???).

Note: Here's my response, for clarity's sake. "I get what you're saying, and that's something that I *do* try to live in my life. I'm very conscious of my thought patterns and I monitor my thoughts and feelings quite closely (hence why I blog and talk to my husband and besties all. the. time.). For me, though, it's more than just "don't think of negative things" whatever. I've learned that--and this is just for me, you understand, because I tried it the other way and it just made me miserable-- it is more healthy and productive to acknowledge whatever negative thoughts or feelings I have, think/talk through them, and then move on with my life. I don't wallow except on rare occasions, because everyone needs a pity party day once in a while I think, especially ppl who hurt all the damn time. But for me it's best for my mental and emotional health to acknowledge the stuff that ain't so positive, try to find something funny in it, and keep going.
The "don't think about negative things and you won't bring negative things into your life" dealie just doesn't work for me. And that's okay. I'm glad it has done a lot for you. For me, I put as much love and light out into the world as I can, and I get a TON back in return. But I don't dare gloss over the bad parts because it all just festers and creates "disease" in my life. Not the physical disease, of course (though our emotions and whatnot DO have an effect on our physical health as I'm sure you're well aware), but… oh, how to explain it? Anyway, I've known waaaaaay too many people that pretend nothing is wrong, ever, and we should only think and talk about positive things, etc. for me to want to go back to that kind of thinking intentionally. (And it could be that what I've experienced/read/seen is a distortion of what YOU are talking about… I mean, connotation is a hard thing to convey. You say "banana" and we will each have a different image that pops into our head and different feelings about the word though the core concept is the same. Try that with the word "love" or "happiness" and things get crazy lol) It's been my experience, working with abuse survivors, that acknowledging the negative stuff and processing it appropriately is what robs it of power, not pushing it away in favor of focusing on the positive. I believe that there's a balance of the two that can and must be achieved for optimal emotional and mental health. Maybe that balance doesn't always come across on Facebook, but this IS the place where a lot of my support system is located, and also where I try to raise awareness about the very real nitty gritty of what it's like to live with chronic pain, chronic depression, chronic illnesses and diseases, and PTSD and other abuse survivor related issues. On a totally unrelated note, have you ever thought about creating a facebook page strictly for your professional life? One of my artist friends has done that because of some of the same things you mentioned-- potential employers/buyers, professional peers, etc. It's a way for her to display her portfolio and other business related stuff without it getting cluttered in with her personal stuff or lost and vice versa."

"Thoughts are def hard to convey here bc yes I def still acknowledge the bad things and I've had a lot. I had a bad couple days and I have allowed myself to feel upset and angry it's more how I think about it that changed. I guess my perspective is different. I found out heartbreaking news about my ex acknowledged it would make me sad processed it talked to a couple people quickly but cautious of the words I used when talking about my future for me not the universe and then it passed. Everyone is different. I guess I've been thru so much bad in my life including men hurting me and pain obesity and have fought so hard I finally just found a balance or something that works. I don't tell most people about it bc it sounds too new age even to me lol. But I thought I'd ask but I get it's not for everyone. I'm also alone so I have to do things different. My support system is here but not much emotionally and I have no spouse or anyone to talk to or depend in to listen it say it will be ok. It's all up to me and that's ok. I've never been my own rock and I'm learning
Well I'm glad u have a way that works . Feel better"

So I guess I'm just super irritated because I'm always very self-conscious about how I come across, whether it's appropriate or if I'm being too negative or angry, etc. I know she's just trying to help, but it feels just as invalidating as someone who knows just what I choose to present to the world regarding my pain coming up and telling me that I've probably been handling it all wrong and this is what helped them and I should consider doing it that way. Wait, come to think of it that's happened to me countless times, with all of my diseases. And my food allergies. And it pisses me off, guys! I'm just like, you know what? Even if I chose to be completely negative and wallow in my misery and my pain and my agony and not try to find the positive and do my best and find humor in the situation and be totally authentic about my struggles and where I'm at, that is my right. That is my right as a sick person and that is my right as a healthy person. So stop fucking telling me how to handle my shit, okay?!

I was so pleased with myself because I've progressed so far on acceptance of my fibro diagnosis and that I'm not going to find an underlying disease to treat and miraculously recede my fibro to livable, which is a hope that I was clinging to until the "just fibro" appointment earlier this month. I've come across some well of determination, hope, and inspiration that I thought had dried up long since, beaten down by the daily grind of such incredible levels of pain and other miseries, and life is looking up for me. And then this.

Maybe it's no coincidence that just when I seem to be getting my feet under me in whatever battle I'm fighting (emotions, facing and processing and healing from abuse, fighting depression, my health, my food allergies, etc.) something comes along that tries to knock me on my ass again. Maybe I am just too open and authentic. Maybe I leave myself vulnerable to attack. Maybe I leave myself vulnerable to those who think they know better. God, why are there so many of those people in the world?!

Anyway, I'm quite irritated, angry, frustrated, guilty and not sure if it's legitimate guilt or totally illegitimate and false… Because of the crazy dysfunctional environment of most of my life, I have a hard time telling false guilt from legitimate guilt, and I tend to take on guilt that isn't mine and shouldn't be aimed at me at all. So I never quite trust the guilty feelings anymore, because I know that it quite probably isn't true or to be trusted. Generally, I'm above reproach. ;) So this is why I blog and openly put things out there in social media, to get the feedback of the wide network of people that I trust. I thought I could trust this chick; she's a fibro warrior too, a psychologist, an abuse survivor… but she took the opportunity to slip the sword between the ribs, probably all the while thinking that she was just helping me let out the bad blood and balance my humors! And that just goes to show that you can't trust everyone with your pain. According to her theory, I suppose I should stop this blogging and sorting through my thoughts. Which, as we all know, is baloney for me, as this blog is the thing that has helped me sort through my thoughts and feelings in a semi-coherent manner for years. I suppose that's what smarts the most-- the suggestion that my coping methods aren't good enough, that I've been doing it wrong this whole time and any progress I've made is incidental.

Enough ranting for the day, I suppose. I just had to get all this out there, and boy do I feel better! Whew. It's no longer roiling inside me in a jumbled mess, confusing me and making me heart-sick. Ahh. I seriously feel as though I can physically breathe better now.

Suck it, actress lady. You have your ways and I have mine, and mine are fucking awesome. And no, I'm not still bitter. :P

3 thoughts:

  • Hope | April 2, 2014 at 9:34 AM

    I'd be interested to know what exactly are your expectations of people? Maybe you should add a tab at the top of your blog with "ground rules" for how you want people to show you affection and support? It's apparent to me that your love language at the moment is acts of service. It would just make your day if twice a week someone stopped by to clean your house and make you food. Second, (seems to me) is that your love language is words of affirmation (or this could really be your first). You want people to tell you how awesome you are for being authentic and strong. (On the flip side, if they give you suggestions or challenge you in any way you feel invalidated and attacked.) And if someone wanted to donate a bunch of money to you to pay for medical bills (gifts), you would certainly not be opposed to that. Of course quality time (with close friends) and physical touch (from close friends) are welcomed too. But since most of your "community" of support is interacting with you via internet, the service, gifts, quality time, and physical touch are all out of their reach. Words are the only way they can "minister" to you. When it comes to words....there's encouragement, affirmation, validation, understanding, etc. But there's also, suggestions, information, correction, pity, rebuke, and even scorn. The list could go on. Obviously the first set feel more warm and fuzzy and helpful, the second set feels destructive, critical and unsympathetic.

    I've often thought of things I could share that would "answer" your rants of confusion and other things that I'd lie to challenge you on, but I know better - you really just want someone to listen and believe in you to figure it out as you go (correct me if I'm wrong). But, maybe for others it would be good if you clarified in some of your posts "Hey, this is a real cry for help, not just a therapeutic pity party, any suggestions/recommendations/encouragements/solutions would be welcome." or, "This is not an invitation for you to try to "fix me," I just need to vent." :)

  • Cassandra | April 2, 2014 at 11:35 AM

    Shoot, I'd be interested to know exactly what my expectations of people are too! I don't know. I'm trying to figure all this out as I go along, and I just feel the feels as they crop up. I come here to figure them out, get it out, and then I go back to regular living satisfied and replete. I guess that doesn't really come through here, though, since this is my "vent" place, my safe place to figure out what I'm feeling and why.

    You nailed it about the love languages, though. I guess the thing is that I'm just feeling so naked and vulnerable and RAW that any kind of display of love that I can understand as being caring (so that weeds out the "here let me try to fix you" or the "corrective" side of things as those smart!) is lapped up with incredible gratitude. I'm starving for crumbs, like Lazarus outside of the rich man's house. Hmm, I'm even diseased and in pain like he was… no sores, though. Thank goodness.

    I agree about the definition of my intentions thing. I've taken to doing more of that in real life and on Facebook, though not here since I figure not many people read this anyway. This isn't my way of communicating with people, really. I may address an audience, but it's all for me. Selfish? I don't care. At times it's easier to send people the link to the blog than explain myself or my feelings ALL OVER AGAIN, so I do, and I have some people that read regularly I know… but it's for me. Not for them. So I don't feel the need to explain myself here. On Facebook, though, yeah, there's more of a need. And in person/on the phone as well.

    Very astute observations. Thanks.

  • Fantasticness | May 19, 2014 at 6:52 AM

    I'll admit, when I saw that post on FB, I was super concerned until I got to the end of the pic. Methinks others may have just read the initial question and panicked.

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