Knowing versus feeling

One might think that suffering from depression and personality disorder, i.e. being preoccupied with emotions and feeling most of the time, would make one a specialist in that department. That one would be able to name emotions and know how to cope with them. Apparently, that’s not the case. One might think that it would make one an outwardly emotional person. Apparently, that’s not the case either.

As it is, I’ve been told by various people – my therapist, my psychiatrist, my closest friend – that I’m over-analytical and tend to be rather stoic and detached. In short: I think too much. Really now? I would have thought I feel too much…

I had a talk with my psychiatrist recently about how the therapy (psychoanalytical) is going. She said that my tendency to always rack my brains about everything is potentially a good thing for the therapy, but right now, it seems to be getting in the way of me coming to grips with my emotions. She said (and my therapist agrees) that, in order for talking therapy to be successful, I need to “get into feeling again”, as she put it. They both think that at the moment my self-perception and my emotional perception are pretty messed up.

I guess that’s true. Quite often, there’s a huge gap between what I know and what I feel. Even if I know that someone’s flippant response to question probably has nothing to do with me or that their comment wasn’t meant to be mean, what I feel doesn’t relate to that. With regard to therapy, I’m aware of certain patterns of behaviour or trains of thought that are rationally not justified. And I’m also largely aware of the reasons for and triggers of those issues. However, I know one thing, but I feel something different.

So how do I straighten out my emotions? How do I “get back into feeling”? My psychiatrist suggested and I accepted: Rehab! Six weeks to just concentrate on myself without any distractions (such as the fact that I need to finish 2 MA degrees plus find a job so I can move out of my mum’s where I’m currently staying after a recent split-up). Waiting time for a bed is between one and six months. I hope I can go there soon! It can’t hurt, can it?

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3 thoughts on “Knowing versus feeling

  1. First off, you think well, so even if it turns out that you ‘overthink’ things, the results seem to be worth it … at least as far as writing is concerned. \(^^)

    Next: the rehab you are referring to is for addiction? Or is there such a thing as rehab for people who need a mental break? These are not judgmental questions; I am just curious.

    Lastly, maybe that’s ‘just the way you are’, as *they* say. Your mind and your emotions don’t always connect. Is that a crime? What I mean is, if you can be that way and be relatively cool with who you are, manage your life in an acceptable way (to you, that is), then maybe you’re just fine being like that.

    I recently met a mother-son team at the local pool I use a few times a week here in rural, northern Japan. I’ve often watched her coaching him and have been super impressed by his ability (I’m a runner who is teaching myself to become a better swimmer [always DIY with me, which is not cool with most people in Japan, by the way; here they say ‘the nail that sticks up must be hammered down’ … and I learned about my mental illness here, go figure]). Anyhoo, the son is autistic. Really in his own mental world. Apparently not Aspbergers but another type of autism. He’s an incredible swimmer (all strokes) and will be attending university this year.

    Why am I bringin this up, you ask? Because I see him swim, and then I see and hear him talking to himself in the changeroom, mimicking voices he likes from tv, anime characters, video games. Just way out there. But when he wants to focus on something or when his mother asks him to, like when she introduced us last week, he’s right there, even speaking some English with me when he knows I can understand enough Japanese.

    ‘Again, what’s the point, dude?’ Well, I often think I have more in common with an autistic person like him than I do with the ‘average, normal’ person. I think way too much, and people who don’t think much get really irritated by that. But I fucking enjoy my mental world. I want to have more time just to play around in the world I’ve created up there. Yes, there are some very scary, upsetting, outright sad places up in my head, but all my struggling over the years, never giving up on myself has helped that part of me thrive.

    I loved university. If it wasn’t for my depression, I’d probably be teaching in academia now. Oh well. I always felt like I wanted to be outside of all institutions anyway, use my mind for some creative project(s). Of course, I have to get a grip on myself, harness my potential and then put it to use. I’m feeling like that option might become available to me now that I’ve started taking meds to really treat the problem.

    BUT I can’t deal rationally with my soon-to-be ex. She is very irrational about things, especially with regard to my depression (which she refuses to accept). I can write an e-mail to her explaining very well how I feel and what I’m thinking, but she doesn’t want that. She wants me to be emotionally calm and stoic, like so many in this country (as I see them taught to be in public schools and in the media, etc.).

    The point is, my emotions are often completely out of line with what I’m thinking if the person I’m dealing with isn’t behaving or speaking in a rational way. That’s the only way I can really connect with people most of the time. I think I actually want to be on my own about 99% of the time. That’s not ‘normal’ in most societies, especially here; but it’s WHO I AM. The fact that I haven’t been on my own, alone most of my life is due to the fact that I always panicked in the past and (this I didn’t really understand until now) wanted to have someone with me all the time.

    But the autistic fella, he’s there on his own, in his own world, seemingly enjoying it thoroughly. I kinda envy him, as strange as that sounds. He’s who he is, I’m who I am, and you are who you are. I strongly dislike the notion that people who are different from the norm, e.g., the mentally ill, should be brought back into the fold. We should all be allowed to accept ourselves for the way we are, as long as we can live well enough to not want to escape this world or harm ourselves or others in any way.

  2. thanks for the comment!
    yes, there are mental health rehab clinics were you are offered all kinds of different forms of therapy. it’s supposed to be an intense couple of weeks where you just focus on yourself and figure out what does you good and what helps you to feel better.
    Of course, our society’s expectation that people have to “function” is horrible! For me, though, the problem is more my own expectations concerning what I achieve. I don’t worry about disappointing others, just about disappointing myself…. My goal is not to perfectly fit into society and become the person others might want me to be; my goal is to get along with myself!!! There are so many things about me that make life unnecessarily difficult for me and I just don’t want that any more. The way I am thinking and feeling right now, I’ll never be a happy person, I’ll never like myself, I’ll never be happy in a relationship, because I usually perceive myself and everything around me as negative, even if it isn’t actually negative. And that’s the part of me I wan’t to change. I wan’t to give myself the chance to enjoy life!
    Does that make sense? 😉

    • Absolutely! Resonates well with my own experiences. Makes total sense.

      I’m 38 now. I’ve spent more than 20 years going in and out of severe depressions, failing miserably at relationships, losing most of what I’ve valued and worked for in life. And throughout all of that, I dedicated so much mental time to ‘figuring out’ how to be a better person. I’ve often been filled with self-loathing.

      But the place I’m in now (recovering from my most recent bout and feeling extremely grateful for that), mentally, is one in which I can feel proud of myself for many things.

      I’ve meditated, used recreational drugs and alcohol, read some self-help mumbo-jumbo, exercised, found the best possible diet to thrive on, and I still fell into deep depressions. That’s why I decided to give psychiatry and pharmaceutical treatment a shot.

      And why not, right? From a rational point of view, a person should use everything available in his/her arsenal to win important battles and wars. It was irrational of me to refuse to even consider medication for all those years. I was in denial. I didn’t want to know that I was sick.

      Now that I can admit it and accept it, and now that I’ve been on meds for about two months, I can say with a fair degree of confidence that many of the thoughts and feelings I had, about myself and the world around me, especially all the negativity, were actually syptoms of my depression and not the other way around.

      It’s a kind of paradigm shift for a person to suddenly realize that he/she had been stuck thinking about things from the wrong angle, and that solutions do exist for things which seemed for years or even decades to be unsolvable.

      Do whatever you have to do to find whatever it is you most need in life, my friend! For me, recently, that was just basic survival; i had to find a way to be less depressed enough to want to continue living. No bullshit. But now that I’ve taken care of that need, I can move on to other wants and needs.

      Give yourself every option and focus on tackling your biggest issues one by one, in order of importance.

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