Sunday, September 5, 2010

Questions without Answers

Maybe writing will help me figure this all out. I honestly don't know.

I came to a decision today. I was planning on locking myself in my room, only venturing out for food and to go to work. Honestly, it would solve a lot of the issues I seem to be having. And I seem to have about the same impact on people's live whether or not I am actually involved in their lives.

It just, doesn't seem to matter. I went to church today and was once again recognized by no one. I've been going to that same ward since March.

I attempted to contact a friend today who seemed to be having some issues. He didn't answer the phone and, in my opinion, quite rudely stated that he was perfectly fine with the things he'd previously complained about. The message I took home from that: bug off.

So why is it that I try so hard? Why do I put myself through so much agony caring what other people think about me? Why do I constantly seek to help people, which a lot of the time ends up blowing up in my face?

I don't know.

I had a wonderful phone call the other day. What was the thing that made it so wonderful? I felt useful and needed. A friend called at the beginning of a mental breakdown. I could barely understand her with how much she was crying. But I instantly turned into my silly, optimistic self, and helped her. I laughed, I commented, I made insightful remarks, and I talked about almost nothing at all. By the end of the conversation, she was feeling much better. I was glad I was of use to someone.

To be trusted in a situation like that is a rare jewel for me. Well, I do encounter it often at work but that's a different scenario. To have a friend who is in a seemingly terrifying situation pick up the phone and call you is a great trust and a privilege. I was honored to be among her chosen friends to accept such a phone call.

So what else happened to me today? I had a talk with my ex again. This wasn't in an effort to be boyfriends again or anything. He saw that I was bothered by something so we went outside and talked. And I quickly shut down. All I can remember is hearing my own thoughts ringing in my ears saying, "this is why you're not good enough...nobody really cares about you...why does he even bother with'll never amount to anything..." and all sorts of other wonderful things.

I've come to the realization that a lot of my behavior is based on feelings of shame. I am ashamed of who I am.

That statement leads to hundreds of automatic assumptions about myself and the world around me. Some of them are: I will never be good enough; I have to be liked by everyone; I must be the best or else people won't like me; I cannot be open about my feelings--they are stupid; my ideas are not of value; I am not of value and finally that the world would be better had I never come into it.

This is a lot to handle. And honestly, I've only told some very few, and select individuals to know about my shame-based beliefs. I am scared to death that sharing these will drive people away. In an effort to own up more to who I am and what I want, I am willing to take that risk, and share these feelings with you.

I'm an expert at pushing people away. Well...maybe just in my head I think I am. I push back when people help, I ignore people, I pick petty fights, and I shut myself down.

But why would I do that when I'm feeling so lonely?

Well, luckily for me, I have a twisted enough mind to think that if people *really* care about me, they'll fight through it all. They'll push and shove and kick and scream and take my pushing back until they reach me. Then, I will know they care.

Holy crap I'm such a freak! What a stupid way to go about living life! Isn't the fix obvious? If you want people to care about you, open up and stop being so dramatic.

Sometimes that's how I talk to myself. I know in my brain what I should do. My therapist and I even talk at great lengths about how much I know. When in therapy, she tells me how calmly I analyze situations and know just the right answer she wants to hear. Problem is that I know the answers, I just have no clue as how to apply them. I am at a total loss.

I seek attention, yet shirk away when it's given. I yearn to be understood but when confronted I shut down. I long for a connection with someone and don't let them in.

And this is all so engrained in me that I feel like there is no way out! Yes, I know what you'll say: "things will get better, keep trying, take one thing at a time, sleep on it" and countless other things people say. The only problem is that those sayings just don't work. I know, hate to burst your bubble.

It's like when my brother died, people would say how sorry they were for me or how they felt for me. Empty words. What I valued the most was when people said, "I have no idea what you're going through. I only wish to help." Wow...thank you for being honest!

Some people are afraid of saying, "I don't feel well-equipped enough to try and give you advice on what you're going through. But I'm here to listen and empathize." Don't sympathize for people, they'll get no comfort from it and probably won't trust you. Empathize. Put yourself in another person's shoes. Sit and feel what they're feeling. A great joy of mine is when people visit me when I'm sad, and just sit and let me take my time in opening up. It feels more real.

So I know all of this. Or at least I think I'm smart and know all of this. Truth is, looking back at what I wrote, I don't sound smart at all. I sound like a total psychopath who might be stepping towards the edge of Borderline Personality Disorder.

It's a bit overwhelming and a bit heartbreaking. I've worked so hard and have so far to go. Ya, I know it's a lifelong process. That doesn't make it any easier for me right now.

So to where do I go? Do I attempt to keep fighting? Do I trust those who have voiced concerns and actually BELIEVE them when they tell me they care about me? Do I keep doing what I'm doing? Do I shut myself off from the world? Do I move and start over completely?

And how do I find myself? How do I change this awful monster that seems to consume my mind? How do I know what I really want? Will there be some satisfaction down the road to let me know that I have been doing well?

Questions I may never find an answer to.


  1. Steve,

    When you wrote - "Well, luckily for me, I have a twisted enough mind to think that if people *really* care about me, they'll fight through it all. They'll push and shove and kick and scream and take my pushing back until they reach me. Then, I will know they care." - it totally reminded me of myself. Seriously. Its a daily battle to stop building walls in my own life - I totally am the type of person that will continue to build a wall higher + thicker just to see who will really come to tear it down, to see the real me behind the facade. But I have come to find - that my walls are so high + so thick... that not even I can tear them down, and people have given up on trying... I am in those shoes brotha, I want to create a new me.. but I fear no one will want to take part in it because they know how large my walls were prior...

    I am glad that you have people in your life that are willing to be straight with you, especially with the loss of your brother, because I too have no personal experience of losing someone so close to me. Sympathy is empty + broken when it is not real, not shared, not genuine.

    This lifelong process sucks. I sure hate it, but also love the me I am discovering each day.I wish I could give you some magic answer that would solve all of this, but really - the only advice I have is, to keep pressing on, to become Dr. Steve-o. To do whatever you can, to be happy within yourself, to pursue every dream you have. To continue going to therapy + invest your life in the few genuine people that you can lean on, because if the going gets worse - they'll be there.

    <3 kate

  2. Hey, what you said reminds me of a poem I've always liked. Hope you don't mind me sharing..

    Blake Barlow

    Twilightning bugs move outside my walls,
    While jealously I sit within,
    And lazily, forlorn boredom
    Sits grey within my head.
    And here I wait ‑‑patiently‑‑
    for someone to kick and push me out,
    To bite and scream and make me care
    About something, anything,
    To cry and tear me from myself,
    make me feel guilty,
    Accuse me of hurting the ones that I love
    And force me to defend myself,
    Love me too much until I can't help returning,
    With abandoned care, what has overcome me,
    And mousewhisper so close to my ear that
    I must relax to hear her thoughts.
    If someone did that,
    I would be happy.
    If she did that, I would be happy.
    If she held me close and long,
    called me from outside,
    If she let me cup her face
    If she revolutionized my soul,
    And pushed, and shoved, and threw me,
    And spit, and tore, and wrung me,
    Until, exhausted, I collapsed,
    Then perhaps ‑‑along the way‑‑
    I'd have the pleasure of seeing
    Some colored drop of self
    Fall tear‑like
    And that would be enough.

  3. You've voiced the same feelings and questions I have. As gay Mormons we are encouraged to keep our problem to ourselves for the most part. I've had bishops and Stake Presidents ask me to tell no one else I'm gay, so I had to keep all those questions stuffed down inside of me. To his day talking about it out loud feels odd. It's no wonder you have days where these thoughts overwhelm you.

    The strangest concept for me is the idea of "gay pride". When you speak of your feelings of shame it hits home because I realize I have no clue what it means to have gay pride. I'm not proud of being gay, but I hope someday to just be proud of being me.

    Just don't think for a second you're alone. You never know how many you reach just with this blog alone.


  4. are a silly guy!! Haha, everyone is screwed up, especially those who are the "best" at something. You need to pop the self depreciating bubble you have placed yourself in. The reason; when you cut down on yourself, and you label yourself less capable, you become less capable and less valuable. You are a valuable person, and you only lessen yourself when you cut yourself down. Have an amazing day, you deserve it.

  5. Wow. There's so much in this blog entry. I apologize if I come across as thinking I have all the answers sometimes. When I read these posts, I try to remember what I was going through when I was your age. You may not believe it, but I had a comparable amount of frustrations I was dealing with. I had questions about myself, I was sick of the insincere way people treated me, and I was frustrated that I couldn't change the parts of me that I knew I needed to change in order to solve my personal problems. Thankfully my loving Father in Heaven helped me, step by step, out of it. And in such a short time, too! There's reason to hope. I know, because I've seen how fast people's lives can turn around.

  6. I think that Jack brings up a very good point. Being proud of you is probably the most important lesson to learn. I'd like to turn that on its side for a moment, though:

    How many bad things are caused by people not loving themselves?

    I think most things (from dishonesty to abuse) result from some form of self-hatred. Once one is able to embrace all parts of one's self, there is much to gain.