DEAR READER: Boundaries, Intimacy, and Trust

My post published today on Organic Coffee, Haphazardly.
Yes, I have boundary issues.

ORGANIC COFFEE, HAPHAZARDLY

By Kitt O’Malley

EDITOR’S NOTE: I think we all hate Facebook messenger at this point.

Email and direct messages, especially Facebook direct messages, intrude. I do not feel safe in the secretive world of chat. I need witnesses – others protecting my back. I prefer communication public – on my Facebook timeline or as comments to my blog posts.

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Titrating Stimulation

imageAs BlogHer16 approaches, my anxiety increases. I know the conference will overstimulate me. To not be overwhelmed, I must revisit a topic I touched on briefly when I starred blogging in September 2016 – my need to titrate stimulation, carefully balancing just the right amount of social interaction with breaks for solitude and relaxation.

Find I must titrate exposure to stimulation. Need enough to prevent depression, but not so much as to trigger hypomania. Enough, but not too much sun. Have to be very careful with social stimulation. Easily get on edge when spend too much time with too many people. And, not able to limit myself, to set boundaries, to keep myself on an even keel. Fear losing myself, jumping in too deep too soon, taking on more than I can handle. All a very careful balancing act.

Source: Titrating Stimulation

Slowed Down My Mind

I Feel Guilty that I Cannot Perform

Okay, so here’s what I did last week. My son & I got sick with the flu. The flu forced me to stop, to hesitate, to slow down my ramping hypomania. Instead of volunteering my time at NAMI and getting overstimulated by doing so, the flu forced me to stay at home.

Honestly, I believe it just may be where I belong. I can handle small amounts of social interaction, but my mind starts spinning when I’m exposed to others’ needs. I start offering to fix everything. I overextend myself. I overwork.

Before my hospitalization a decade ago, I was a major workaholic. I seem unable to work for or with others without overextending myself, without depleting myself.

Writing and even social media I experience differently, though. Yes, social media can be overstimulating, too, but not nearly so much so, for it is my work, my time, my (lack of) deadlines.

I honestly do not think I am made for the workplace. I can do occasional special events. I can speak publicly. I can be charming.

But then, I must retreat and recuperate. I must keep my distance. I must protect myself.

I do not have social anxiety so much as I have no boundaries. I’m raw. I immerse myself in a social system and then flee.

Anyway, instead of volunteering last week, I colored. Here is a slide-show of my creations. I found coloring and doodling grounding, doing so occupied my hands and focused my mind on something other than thoughts. My sister gave me two coloring books and colored pencils as an early birthday present. (Wednesday I turn 52!)

My mind I silenced with marathon television viewing. When immersed in blogging, reading others’ posts, and networking over social media, I cannot watch TV. My work occupies my mind. But as I wanted to quiet my mind, the dialogue drowned out any remaining noise in my head, pushing away speeding thoughts, giving me some needed rest.

This week will be busy for me. Since my son & I were sick last week, I had to reschedule all our appointments. This week we have five appointments: two physical therapy for my son, two doctors for my son, and one psychotherapy for me. Wednesday morning (on my 52nd birthday) we register my son for school. Finally, NAMI California conference on Friday & Saturday, at which I’m volunteering. Wish me well. I hope I make it through this week.

To top it off, I feel guilty. I feel guilty that I cannot perform. That I ramp up when in social situations and must then retreat. Header image and last two paragraphs mention my guilt, yet I hardly touch on the topic in the most of this post. But there it is, underneath and behind it all, seething, aching. I do not feel guilty blogging, for I know that I’m being productive. I do feel guilty when I offer to help and then must back off.

Better to renege than to fall dangerously ill, though. My primary objective is to maintain my own stability and mental health. If that means minimum social interaction, so be it. The workaholic hypomanic overachiever of my younger years I can no longer be. Now I must be well, for myself and for my family.

This is my house.

The Bloggess Jenny Lawson’s post This is my house blew me away with its wisdom about self-care and setting limits. She gets a myriad of requests to write about various causes and responds “I just can’t,” and:

“This is my house. You are welcome here. You are wanted. You are allowed to leave links of posts or articles you think this community would say “Oh, I needed that” to. You are welcome to talk and visit and make friends and to realize that each of us is flawed and human and (in the grand scheme of things) knows nothing. Because I’ve come to know that the only thing I really know is we could all do with a little more kindness. Both in giving and getting.” ~ The Bloggess Jenny Lawson

Jenny’s post is long, but well worth reading.

The Bloggess

The greatest gift in the world is to grant a kindness to another. The amazing thing though is that the aforementioned gift is one you give yourself. It may be a small thing. Leaving a flower for the tired woman at the coffee shop. Telling a stranger that they have such kind eyes. Listening happily to a story told by an elderly friend or relative who has told you the same story a million times. Nodding in solidarity even when you don’t completely understand. Letting a friend or a stranger yell hurtful things at you because you hope it will help them let go of a small part of that anger…that it will open up room in them for the greater things that they deserve.

This is the way the world goes. Small, mean acts affect the next person who in turn amplify that anger or sadness and take it out on others who suffer…

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