I’ve had trouble sleeping the past week or so, and when that happens my mind tends to wander. I tend to worry, and of course every noise my house makes freaks me out. I feel so vulnerable, it’s from my PTSD. I think about when I first got sober, the long-term rehab I was in required that we take martial arts, among many other activities. I loved it! I worked hard at it, and in just about a year’s time, I was able to graduate to from a white belt to a blue belt. I really miss it. It gave me more confidence, and most importantly, it helped me feel safe when I was alone.
I’ve been thinking about joining some type of martial arts or self-defense class. It might take me many months to actually do, but I started thinking about it. I even brought it up to my husband last night. He reminded me that the main reason I stopped doing martial arts was because of the pain in my knees and hips, which I completely forgot about thanks to ECT. This was before my knee surgery. I know it’s really hard on my body, but it may be worth a try. I think a self-defense class would be easier on me physically.
I might start researching the different places I could go to. A one-on-one self-defense class is probably the least anxiety-provoking and intimidating. I get extremely nervous in groups. If I feel comfortable down the road, I can always join a martial arts program. Who knows what will happen, anything’s possible.
Over time, I have learned the true importance of honesty. Before I got sober, I was almost never honest. When I was using drugs, I was constantly lying about everything. Then, I would try to cover up one lie with another. It made life extremely complicated. Sometimes, I would lie by omission. I would purposely not tell someone something because I didn’t want anyone to know the truth. I’ve learned that being honest makes life a lot easier. I no longer have to spend time trying to figure out which lie I told to which person because I tell every person the same thing, the truth. Being honest has made my life easier. I can sleep better because I feel good about my honesty.
Honesty is a way to show people you respect them. Healthy relationships are based on honesty. It’s especially important to be honest with your significant other. My husband and I are honest with each other, which shows our trust in each other. There are times that being honest will make you emotionally vulnerable, which is good in a healthy relationship. If I want people to be honest with me, then I need to be honest with them. It’s a two-way street.
The part of honesty I struggle with the most is being honest with others about how I’m doing. I don’t like to tell people how I’m really feeling. I guess I don’t want people to feel sorry for me or think I’m pathetic because I spend so much of my life depressed. When I pretend to be okay, I’m technically lying. This is an issue that I definitely need to work on. I’m not perfect; in fact, I’m far from it. However, I think I will be okay as long as I’m always working towards being 100% honest.
I often feel like I’m two different people. This is the ‘pretend’ or ‘fake’ person. It’s not that I’m being fake, I’m just holding back. I’m one person when I’m around people I trust, such as my husband and my mom. I can fake being okay and my paranoia, anxiety, and fears decrease. This is the person that I make up; the person I let others see. I can also be this person around other people such as family members and friends. It’s just harder for me to keep up this person. But for some reason, I always feel like I need to put on this other persona. I don’t exactly know why, especially with the people I trust the most. Maybe, I’m just trying to give myself a break from the other person that I am; allowing myself to release some of my anxiety and paranoia. I usually need the help of Valium to do this with people other than my husband and mom.
Then, there’s this second person, the real me. I’m the person who jumps at every little noise. This is the person who sometimes keeps a baseball bat by the door and keeps a knife in my pocket when out for a walk, just in case. My paranoia increases when I’m alone. I have more auditory hallucinations when I’m by myself, although I’m learning to tell which things I hear are real and which are hallucinations. When I leave the house by myself, I’m constantly looking around, especially behind me, so I can see everything that’s happening. I never want to be caught off guard. I rarely ever take anti-anxiety medication when I’m by myself in my house. I prefer to use it when I leave my house or when I with others, that way I can be that other ‘pretend’ person.
I wonder if I’ll ever feel safe again when I’m by myself. Despite the fact that I’m pretending when I’m around others, I do feel safer than I feel when I’m alone. I feel like two different people. Each ‘person’ comes naturally. People I trust tell me I don’t have to pretend to be anyone or anything, but it just happens. For some reason, I don’t feel like I have control over which person appears, it’s just instinctive. Does anyone else have this issue or feel this way?
I always thought that asking for help was a sign of weakness or dependency. I felt that I was always better off doing everything on my own for many reasons. I don’t like letting other people know that I can’t handle everything. It seems as if my flaws are already extremely obvious to everyone; I never saw the purpose in pointing out my shortcomings and vulnerabilities. Plus, when I talk to others about my weaknesses, it means I’m admitting to myself that they’re real. I would rather pretend that everything is okay for as long as possible instead of admit that my issues are real, even though this usually makes my problems worse. Asking others for help requires a lot of trust. I never trusted anyone else to do a better job than I could do; if I couldn’t fix the issue or come up with a solution, then I doubted that someone else could.
I also felt that by not asking others for help, I was being kind to them; who really wanted to spend their time helping me? However, since I didn’t ask others for help, I never allowed people the ability to feel useful. I know that when I am able to help others, it makes me feel good about myself. I finally feel as if I’m important and worth something, which does not come easy for me. Who am I to say others would not feel the same way when helping me? I don’t have to push or force others into helping me, but it is important to give them the opportunity to be there for me and help me through situations.
We become vulnerable by asking others for assistance. I’m usually worried what people will think of me if I tell them what’s really going on. I think that if people knew what was happening in my mind, they would have me locked up. Suicidal ideations, thoughts of cutting, hallucinations, and paranoia; that’s who I really am. Instead, I fake things pretty well; I’m actually fairly talented at pretending everything is okay. However, when I do that, nothing gets better. There’s a saying, ‘Nothing changes if nothing changes’. If I want something to change, then I need to do something about it. Asking for help is doing something; it is taking that step toward change. If I allow myself to be vulnerable and ask someone for help, it could be the beginning of change and a deeper relationship.