Saturday, July 25, 2015

A Visit from the Monster

I've been having a case of The Monster all week. Just to remind you, The Monster is when I find myself in a horrible state of mind because of something I've done wrong. Actually, it's often more as a result of people's reactions to what I've done wrong. Even if the reaction is something as benign as, "You have to make sure you don't say things like that", it can trigger a cascade of intense, overwhelming emotions. I feel such horrible mental pain to the point that it's practically physical. I find myself angry at myself and hating myself. In fact, at work (it's a low-paying temp job) this week I had to go into the bathroom to cry. I was hyperventilating and I had to stop myself from howling from the agony I was feeling. I went back to my desk, still in tears, and a couple people asked me what was wrong. I told them that I was just going through a rough time, that it was "personal issues, you know?".

The slightest trigger can bring back a bunch of old memories, many of which I'd put to rest up until two years ago. What happened two years ago, you ask? Let me start by saying that two years ago I was in a better mindset that an I'd been in, well, ever. I'd lost 40 pounds, I was getting into excellent physical shape and developing athlete's heart, and my self-esteem was through the roof. I recall one day specifically when I had just left the Dodge YMCA in Brooklyn, reeling from endorphins from my latest killer workout. I walked toward the subway, plugged into my iPod and listening to a song that had a message of hope. It perfectly complemented the wonderful changes I was making to my body and my brain. At that moment I felt like someone could come up to me with an AK-47, shoot me, and the bullets would bounce right off.

That was early 2013. Then I made the biggest mistake of my life: I left New York City and took a job at a library in Maine. Yes, in my infinite wisdom, when I went back to school for library science, I thought it would be fun to concentrate in children's librarianship. I thought it would be fun to do activities with kids and that I'd just have fun with them. I mean, it was fun doing just that when volunteering at a New York library for seventeen months. But what I didn't count on were the parents, which were pretty absent in the library in New York that I volunteered at. The short version is that the parents in Maine constantly complained about me, saying that I was mean to their kids. I was finally fired after only four months when parents told the library director that their kids were afraid of me. I was 5'2" and weighed 122 pounds. I don't know what the parents thought I could possibly do to their kids, but truth be told, this wasn't the first time I've heard that people have said that they are afraid of me.

The Monster was awakened.

I bounced back and took a job in a library in Massachusetts. Once again, I was fired after four months. To my knowledge, only two parents complained about me. But the library director took those complaints very seriously. When parents complained about the other librarian, these complaints were just laughed off. Why? My shrink says she thinks that the director saw right away that there was something off about me and was thus more sensitive to my infractions. In fact, this phenomenon of not being able to get away with little things when neurotypicals get away with outrageous things is a very common Asperger's experience. Needless to say, I want nothing to do with working at libraries anymore.

The Monster was awakened again, and I haven't been able to put him to sleep. At most, he lies dormant, waiting for the next thing in my life to go wrong and to come back. When he does, he constantly whispers in my ear that I bring my problems on myself; that I cause people distress and misery; that I'm creepy, defective, and narcissistic; and that I deserve bad things to happen to me, both physical and emotional. He tells me that he hopes that somebody beats the shit out of me so that I get just punishment for all the problems I cause and my refusal to learn from my mistakes.

Just to clarify, this is not a literal voice-in-my-head. But it is very powerful. I have tried all week since the Monster's initial visit on Monday to neutralize him. I've gone running (even though I shouldn't because I still haven't recovered from an injury to me knees from last year) and I've gone swimming. It provides temporary relief, and I feel a little better since Monday, but it's not enough. I'm still reeling from some anger. I don't even know who or what I'm angry at anymore, but I just wish the Monster would die. The best I can do now is just wait until he lies dormant again.

Don't get me wrong, even when I was doing well emotionally the Monster would still come sometimes. But at the most he would stay for a couple hours and then I would be fine again. Now he comes for days at a time, and in this most recent instance, it's been closing in on a week.

I am just so sick of a lot of things.

I am sick of…

  1. ...Knowing that if I get into a conflict with somebody, even if they're at fault, I inevitably have played a role in the incident.
  2. ...People telling me "It's your overall personality; I can't even explain it", expecting me to just smile like this while they say it, something no neurotypical would ever be expected to do. In fact, BOTH LIBRARY DIRECTORS said this to me. 
  3. ...That a lot of people in my life-- my brother, cousin (and yes, I'm close with both), and some of my friends who've known me longer-- feel entitled to wag their finger at me and lecture me like I'm a child.
  4. ...My dad framing my life as a case of maturity. Even when he thinks he's complimenting me in that regard, it's a backhand compliment. He says, "You've matured a hell of a lot over the years." But he says it in a voice that sounds like, "God, you were so awful back then." To raise your consciousness, think about how it sounds telling someone with Down Syndrome who's improved in math, "You're a hell of a lot smarter than you used to be." It sounds like, "God, you were so stupid back then." 
  5. ...Being expected to understand how everyone feels but then being told I shouldn't be expected for people to understand me. I'm supposed to shrug and go, "Okay, no problem" and, again, smile like this. Recently, my brother said of this, something like, "Yes, it's unfair, but you know why that is." 
  6. ...Being expected to repress every little thing that comes naturally to me, whether it's my choice of discussion topic, my opinions, my sense of humor, or anything else. Sometimes I do this and then everything goes well, but it's exhausting. The dam breaks eventually, the holes in my mask form, and then I get lectured on how I need to learn to do A, B, and C, and not to do X, Y, and Z.
  7. …Hearing sentences that start with, "You need to learn…" or "You need to work on"...
  8. …Knowing that the stories I've related on most, if not all, of my blog posts are told from the point of view of an unreliable narrator and that I am missing one crucial element. My brother and one of my older friends have both told me that when I tell a story they know that if they ask somebody else, they'll have a story that's diametrically opposed to mine. My brother also recently said that I frequently have a very skewed version of situations, often with catastrophic results. 
  9. …Of people asking me what I do for a living when I'm constantly in between blue-collar jobs, despite having a Master's Degree.
  10. …Of the fact that most people have one or two skeletons in their closet when I have a whole fucking graveyard.
  11. …Of being observed. I've been observed one way or another since I was a little kid, and by the time I was eleven I was pretty aware of it. It still goes on today. I'm sick of being observed, evaluated, gossiped about, told on, etc. I'm also sick of people like my brother telling me that nobody owes me answers when I ask exactly what happened that got people upset enough to tell on me, or what they said about me. It's easy to say that nobody owes you answers when this sort of thing rarely happens to you.
  12. …Of people like my brother telling me that part of being adult is learning to repress my emotions. The problem is when I do that it only delays the inevitable outburst, which only makes things worse. My brother doesn't see whatever outbursts I have as an end result of repressing and repressing and repressing. He sees it as me giving into some emotional whim. Dad has the same opinion. Part of the problem is that, as I've said before, leaving a situation to cool down and prevent such things is seen as immaturity. 
  13. …Of my pain being dismissed. If the Monster starts fucking my brain and I feel overwhelming emotions which I express, Dad tells me things like that I'm just trying to get attention and that I need to grow up. The irony? For years Dad understood me a lot better than Mom. And actually, there are still aspects of me that he understands better than Mom. But the deep psychological turmoil? Mom seems to understand it better (although this is a fairly recent development), perhaps because she has students who write in their journals about cutting themselves or being suicidal (no, I've never done/been either). I think only in the past few years have students come out about this sort of thing to teachers. They probably cut as much then as they do now but were shit-scared to talk about it, even in journals.
  14. …Of having to think before I open my mouth or send an email or ask somebody something.
  15. …Of having to expect that something will go horribly wrong, even if the situation I'm in seems wonderful at first.
  16. …Of being told I'm not trying and that I need to try harder.
  17. ...Of when something does go wrong, getting an entire fucking list of things that I did wrong, some of those things which still don't even seem wrong. When most people are told they've done something wrong, it's one thing, not a whole fucking list.
  18. …Of never being allowed to be 100% right. Ever. 
  19. …Of being told that I'm aggressive, too intense, and that I make people uncomfortable. Sometimes people don't even have a tangible explanation for these things when I ask for ones.
  20. …Of feeling like I'm in a SIMS game. For those of you who don't know the SIMS, it's a simulation game where you take people, put them in houses, and let them develop relationships, get jobs, etc. A popular thing to do-- which my friends and I did in college-- is to "fuck with" the characters. We would build them a pool, let them jump in, and take the ladder away so they can't get out. Or we'd put them in a room with no door. Sometimes I feel like I am a character in that game and some higher being is fucking with me, watching me stumble through life.

In fact, I sometimes feel like the Universe is trying to put me in my place.

No comments:

Post a Comment