Tuesday, July 18, 2017

6 of 25 Things

As I started my journey working through these, it was to clarify to myself what I went through. However, as I've worked, I've discovered a deeper reason for exploring each "Thing." Each of the 25 Things applied to me. I also realize that I've worked through some. They are no longer a problem. I've made progress on all of them. This is an opportunity to look back and see how far I've come. It's important to do that, once in a while.

Original post from The Mighty:

6. "I'm basically a hermit. My home is my fortress. I have BPD, PTSD and anxiety. It's so hard to work or apply myself to school or just life when every time I want to apply myself, I can't help but run to the nearest exit to catch my breath. I constantly fear everyone around me."

My sister's response combines 6 and 7:

My response:

I don't have BPD (Bi-Polar Disorder) , but I do live with C-PTSD and anxiety. I'm working hard to learn how to manage both. I'm improving.

My parents nicknamed me "Hermit." My room was the only safe place. A reasonable assumption would be that I spent my time reading. Instead, I made puzzles on my floor while I listened to the radio, hours upon hours, day after day. I told myself stories, in my head. Now I write the stories in my head.

In my case, home wasn't a fortress. It wasn't any safer than "out there." Fearing those around me was actually healthy. The people around me weren't safe.

It helped when I came to realize that I'm an introvert with a little bit of ambivert (a mix of both introvert and extrovert). I'm definitely not an extrovert. One is not better than the other. The systems are simply different ways of perceiving the world. An extrovert draws energy from being around others. An introvert draws energy from alone time.

The struggle with doing anything outside my home is that it meant interacting with people. I've had a number of jobs where I worked with the public. I ended up working and sleeping. That's all I could do. I ended up diagnosed with chronic fatigue.

On the ambivert side, I enjoy interacting with people online. Online comes with automatic boundaries. It's actually where I started to learn to recognize boundaries and how to set them.

Do I fear everyone around me? Pretty much. Hyper-awareness is part of PTSD. Keeping track of every person and situation is wearing. This is where managing fear becomes a skill. I'm constantly assessing if those around me are a potential threat or are basically harmless.

Think it's stupid or silly? How many are now aware of how close someone comes with the potential of stealing information off credit cards and driver's license with a little scanner? I like to think of it as having been in training for years.

I'm less hyper-aware than I used to be, which means I'm not as hyper-aware as some but still more hyper-aware than "normal." Hyper-aware isn't a bad thing. It's saved me on the freeway more than once, among other things. It is wearing. Life is all about learning to manage life's problems that occur because of the nature of the beast. Life is terminal; no one is getting out alive. Do I want to live in fear or do I want to live happily? Either one requires work. What kind of work do I want to do?

I've worked hard to be less of a hermit while respecting my need for alone time. I'm better than I used to be, and that's worth celebrating.

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