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Journaling, because...


solidcase

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I've submitted a couple of posts in the last few weeks and realize that they were all sort of scattered and indirect with no real questions needing answered. I think mostly what I'm needing is to get things off my chest. I certainly crave input, but mostly I just feel as though I've got a lot on my mind that I need to sort out and the easiest way for me to do that is to type it out.

 

I'm 23 and I've suffered with chronic major depression my entire life. The last three years or so have been especially hard, but over the last few months, I've officially started to come out of it. I feel way lighter and healthier in every way (mentally and emotionally, but I'd also gained 30lbs over that period... so physically too!). I feel hopeful and in good spirits. I've lost a number of friends over the years due to this particular extra-long spurt of depression, but a few have stayed by my side throughout it all - giving me the space and understanding I needed. It makes me feel especially loved and secure to know that they've waited for me all that time to welcome me back with open arms. I've had a lot of therapy, working through my turbulent childhood, family issues, past romantic relationships (or rather, non-relationships), recent traumatic events and whatnot. I feel like I have a much clearer and healthier vision of my future after sifting through so much of the B.S. So that's great!

 

Things aren't perfect, but I am in a far better mindset to deal with life's obstacles than I was before. I think anyone who's suffered from chronic depression can relate; it's a little like coming out of prison. Mental bars have kept me separated - isolated - from the world for so long. Coming out of it, although an obviously positive thing, is a little overwhelming and disorienting. I've had lots of time to look inside myself and consequentially, I've ascended with greater understanding of who I am, what I value and what I need/want out of life but I've not lived it yet. And that's the real challenge.

 

So here I am now. I started a new job that I really love (love the company, love the owners, love my coworkers, everything) after leaving a job that I despised. That alone has been a massive weight off my shoulders. I started watching my weight and expending a little more energy. I started caring about how I dress again, and doing my makeup (almost) every day. I moved into a little studio cottage that I absolutely adore and has been a great outlet for my creativity. My cat who had been living with my grandma for the past 5 months while I sorted out my situation is back with me. Things are really looking up.

 

But I am really, really frustrated romantically. It has been over two years since I've had any romantic contact whatsoever - I mean sex, a date, flirtation, interest, etc. - anything. Depression has been no good to my libido or desire to connect in any way. I feel very ready now to get back into the game, but I've made a promise to myself that I wouldn't settle for anything less than a long term, serious, monogamous relationship... something I have not had yet in my 23 years of life. Not in high school, not in college, not ever have I had a legitimate relationship. It's a priority for me because I have a habit of letting my heart get involved prematurely and getting hurt.

 

Over the past month or so, a guy at my work has caught my eye. I know for sure he's single, but I'm not sure how long it's been that way. He's a year older than me, very sweet, on the quieter side - not necessarily shy, just more contemplative, and I am absolutely fascinated by him. However, I do NOT know how to approach him at all (and I am, shamefully, one of those girls who acts as though I'm uninterested when I actually am - I'm not proud of it and I hate it, but I don't know how to change either). I've definitely tried to make myself more approachable (luckily I AM good at eye-contact and smiling/laughing - it's the speaking words part that doesn't seem to connect when a cute guy comes around), but I can't for the life of me tell if he's interested. I know it is foolish to expect anything to happen quickly, but I am feeling incredibly impatient. Seriously, if I can't find a guy in the next three years, I'm marrying for money.

 

It sounds shallow, I know, but truth is this is not a new problem. I have ALWAYS had a hard time with guys. I have a difficult time connecting intimately with anyone - romantic or not. I've always felt much older than my peers and so I think I come off a little boring at first. I am far more interested in people one-on-one, hearing about their lives and really learning about each other or discussing more emotional/intellectual ideas. I do not enjoy going out at all, partying isn't my thing, I don't drink much, big groups and crowds freak me out. To say the least, I've never fit in. I'm discouraged that I'll ever find a true connection with anyone. I've also always been poor. When I mean poor, I mean public housing and ketchup sandwich poor. So logically, if I can't fall in love, it's worth getting other needs taken care of, right?

 

Ugh, anyways. This is why I can't write regular posts anymore.

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I'm 23 and my entire life, I've been a loner. Some of this, I believe, is due to the circumstances of my childhood. We moved often and so I never really made friends that lasted. Maintaining relationships with people has always been difficult; this too, I'm sure in part is a direct result of my childhood (lots of abandonment, people coming in and out as they please, family feuds and important relationships cut-off) but it's been going on so long, I really don't know.

 

My mother told me a story of when I was a couple weeks old and she was lying on the bed with me and I was just staring at her for a really, really long time, not blinking. It terrified her as she thought something was wrong and she ran downstairs to get her mom, my grandmother. When they came up to check on me, my grandma assured my mom that I was just fine, "She's fine - she's just an old soul, she's reading you." The term "old soul" is something I have heard many times throughout my life. I've even been told this randomly by two "holy persons".

 

As a child, I was not that vocally curious as I read many people considered old souls are, but I definitely preferred the company of adults, listening to and taking in their conversations, as opposed to playing with children my age. And this has always gone both ways. As a child, adults loved me. I was always favorited by teachers, daycare attendants, mom's friends, etc. People my age? Not so much. I was never really made fun of, but I wasn't the one they wanted in their circle either. And then after being sexually abused from age 6 to 8, I really felt like I was on the outside looking in.

 

I've always been attracted to the melancholy things in life. My dream career is to be a conflict journalist. I'm just unsatisfied with the blase - the idea of witnessing life in its most dire, but inspiring state, and getting the opportunity to make a dent and showing the world a glimpse of it, is what has always been most satisfying to my soul. It's not something that I express often if ever, but I wonder if it shows and it's part of what repels people.

 

I've had a love-hate relationship with isolation. I do love my space, I'm a bit of a homebody, I'm not into many things people my age are into. My ideal day is a mellow, sunny morning sipping coffee and reading, then going out for a quiet, scenic hike to come home to a good dinner, a little self-care and good, intellectual one-on-one conversation with someone before going to bed at like, 10. Haha! In school, I always dreamed of being the popular girl. Having all the friends, being able to connect with people effortlessly. I wasn't. I was never the "weird girl" either though... I just felt invisible. I still feel that way.

 

People like me on a surface level. They like working with me, chitchatting and joking with me; I'm always told that I'm very sweet BUT I'm also often perceived as naive (which is interesting because if there's anything I know about myself it's that I am not naive - thanks, life - jaded, maybe...) or boring, and I'm never asked to hang outside of work/school/etc. But I crave connection. The fact that I seemingly can't get it, drives me nuts. I feel like something is wrong with me - am I alarmingly unlikable in some way that I just can't see? I'm 4'11" and 100lbs and smile all the time, but am I intimidating somehow? Do I subconsciously push people away before they can even get in? I ask myself these questions all the time. I've asked other people too, with no answer.

 

Am I crazy? Am I not seeing something? Or are there other people like me that just can't connect and then, how do you deal? How do you reconcile?

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People like me on a surface level. They like working with me, chitchatting and joking with me; I'm always told that I'm very sweet BUT I'm also often perceived as naive (which is interesting because if there's anything I know about myself it's that I am not naive - thanks, life - jaded, maybe...) or boring, and I'm never asked to hang outside of work/school/etc. But I crave connection. The fact that I seemingly can't get it, drives me nuts. I feel like something is wrong with me - am I alarmingly unlikable in some way that I just can't see? I'm 4'11" and 100lbs and smile all the time, but am I intimidating somehow? Do I subconsciously push people away before they can even get in? I ask myself these questions all the time. I've asked other people too, with no answer.

 

Am I crazy? Am I not seeing something? Or are there other people like me that just can't connect and then, how do you deal? How do you reconcile?

Before you receive attention you have first to give attention. And you will always have to give more attention than you receive so don't think of it as an exchange. Do you genuinely enjoy socializing or flirting with guys?

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