Tag Archives: blogging

I Do Not Have to Be Good

Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting–
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

–Mary Oliver

I do not have to be good.  I do not have to be nice.  I do not have to  assume your intentions are good when your words are not.  I don’t have to be grateful to you for suggestions I didn’t ask for.  I do not have to be grateful to you for anything, in fact.  I do not have to protect your ego.  I do not have to pretend I’m not hurt and offended when I am.  I do not have to try anything just because it helped you, and I do not have to defend my choice not to.  I don’t have to defend any of my choices to you.  I do not owe you any explanations.  I do not have to agree with anything you say about me that doesn’t resonate with me, especially when it’s about me.  I do not have to defend who I was or who I am now to you.I am doing the best that I can, and I’m struggling severely.  I do not have the energy to take care of other people’s feelings.  I’m generally a pretty nice person–I want to connect with people, and I don’t wake up in the morning scheming about how to hurt their feelings.  I used to do everything I could to avoid hurting anyone’s feelings, to avoid making anyone feel badly, because I thought I’d done enough damage in the world already.Eventually I realized I was taking care of everyone else at my own expense.  I was letting people hurt me over and over to avoid the risk that saying no would hurt them.  It was letting everyone I interacted take away a little piece of me, and if I’d kept it up, eventually there wouldn’t have been anything left of me.  I’m not going to do that anymore.  I can’t.  I’ve come to understand that it’s in neither my nature nor my best interest to keep quiet when someone says something that hurts me.  I’m sure most of us don’t want to hurt each other, but how can we know we’ve hurt someone unless they say so?  Sometimes you step on someone’s toes or jab them with an elbow without even realizing.  When someone points out that we’ve hurt them, we feel terrible.  Some of us apologize, but some of us compensate by lashing out, accusing, even bullying.  Luckily, I’ve reached a place in my own healing where I can see that the lashing out isn’t about me.  I can’t say that it doesn’t hurt me or make me angry, and I can’t say that it doesn’t still make my heart rate jump up to 120 and make me feel hot and lightheaded.  But it no longer makes me feel like I have to kill myself, and it no longer stays with me for days or weeks.  I can set it aside because, once I’ve calmed down, I know it’s not really about me.But I can’t let it go without saying something because silence is not something I do anymore.  Silence is what lets people keep trampling over my boundaries and stepping on my toes and jabbing elbows into my ribcage like I don’t even really exist.  I do exist, and I do have a voice.My blog is not everyone’s cup of tea, which is fine.  If you don’t like it, if you don’t like me, feel free to click the little red X in the corner of your screen.  No one’s stopping you.  It’s okay if you want to unfollow me or never follow me in the first place.  You can call me a bitch or an asshole, but don’t be upset when that doesn’t bother me–I say far worse things to myself every day, so your insults will need a lot of work if you want to hurt me with them.  Just don’t assume that I’m going to pretend what you say helps when it doesn’t.  Don’t assume that I will be silent in response to words that hurt.

30 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Take 2

So. New blog.

Today I found out that while I was away, my whole treatment team read my blog. Apparently another employee who’s not on my team found it, recognized whose it was, and told my team.

I don’t even know how to react to that.

My immediate reaction was anger and fear. It was MY space, and they invaded it. They wouldn’t dream of reading my hard-copy journal, so why would they think it was okay to read my blog?

Then there was a little bit of guilt. I’m not always the nicest person, especially when I’m struggling. I get irritable and bitchy. I don’t recall saying anything particularly vicious about them, but I know I vented sometimes, particularly about my frustrations with P. When she was telling me all this, she made a point of saying, several times, that she wasn’t offended by any of it. I tend to think that’s a sign that the other person was hurt or offended, but I probably shouldn’t make assumptions.

And being mean on my blog is better than being mean out loud, right?

For years, my mother secretly read my journals. I didn’t figure it out until 8th or 9th grade. I was having emotional flashbacks to that and simultaneously trying to stay calm and in control.

Blogs and journals aren’t quite the same thing: a blog, after all, assumes an audience. I put it out there in the public domain. There’s not that expectation of privacy you have with a journal. And I didn’t really attempt to disguise my identity or anyone else’s.

Still, it feels like my space isn’t mine anymore. I thought about making it password-protected, but I still wouldn’t feel safe there. Now I have to carve out a new space for myself.

I know that, as a person who dissociates, I put a lot of walls around parts of myself and parts of my life. Everyone does that to some extent; exempli gratia, you probably don’t talk about your sex life with your boss. But I don’t know when it crosses a line from a normal, healthy boundary like that to a pathological wall.

There are parts of my life I want to keep separate. I don’t want people I know in real life reading my blog. It functions for me like a support group, and I need that. I need an audience, just not my treatment team. I assume they wouldn’t follow me to a support group and eavesdrop outside the door. I know that’s not quite an equivalent situation, but that’s how it feels to me. Also, benign voyeurism is human nature, I think

As a result of my parents’ total disrespect for my boundaries, I’m overly boundaried. (That’s not a word. Oh well.) But I can’t tell whether that’s what’s going on now. My mother introject part is telling me I’m being crazy and overreacting, but part(s) of me also feel like its legitimate to be upset. Just because something in the present brings up bad memories from the past doesn’t necessarily mean my reactions to the present event are invalid.

I just wish I could tell when I was overreacting to the present.

P did say that A, my trauma therapist from outside the program, declined to read it. I appreciate that she gets it. A little while before I went to the trauma unit, I mentioned to her that I have a blog. She asked if she could read it, and I said no. I was really proud of myself for that–I have a LOT of trouble saying no. I don’t know if she was remembering that conversation or just felt generally that reading it would violate my privacy and trust. Either way, I’m glad she didn’t read it.

Apparently Dr. M, my therapist at the trauma unit, knew all of this, although I’m not sure if she actually read the blog. But from what P told me, she advised my team not to tell me while I was in the hospital. That pisses me off, and I’m not quite sure why. Something about lack of autonomy and for-your-own-good dictatorship.

A week and a half before I left, there was a fire alarm on the unit. After the alarm, a therapist’s phone was missing. They went though everyone’s rooms, ransacked all our stuff, and strip-searched all of us. Dr. M didn’t understand when I told her it wasn’t my space anymore and didn’t feel safe. I got frustrated because I couldn’t find any other language to describe it differently. Maybe it’s a concept you can’t understand without a trauma history.

This feels like a similar situation in terms of space and perceived safety.

P kept trying to get me to react while she was telling me all this. I told her I didn’t know how I felt about it yet. Actually, it was that I was having too many reactions at once, and that’s hard for me to sort through until things calm down internally, and I usually need time alone.

I also didn’t want to get mad at my team. Not sure what that’s about. God knows I usually have NO problem getting mad. I had no trouble getting mad at Dr. M for not telling me. Maybe it’s a proximity thing–I feel safe getting mad at Dr. M because she’s not her and I’ll probably never see her again. But I’ve gotten mad at my team here before, so I don’t know why I want to avoid anger at them now. I will confess I was glad P felt guilty.

P asked if I would share my reactions once I figure them out. I told her probably not. I don’t want to talk about it with them–makes me squirmy. It’s like they saw me naked, but worse. I’m not ashamed of what they saw, nothing is wrong with it, but I’d rather keep it private and well-covered.

So that’s why I have a new blog. No names this time: mine, my team’s, the program’s, nothing. It’s what I need to do to feel safe again.

3 Comments

Filed under psych