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Month: August 2017

Am *I* Emotionally Unavailable?

I have complained a lot about dating emotionally unavailable men in my life. I see myself as an emotionally intelligent person. I’ve been in therapy for most of my life and I’d like to think I get myself pretty well at this point. But lately, I’ve been questioning that. If I’m so emotionally available then why have I consistently attracted men who are NOT emotionally open? I know there are men out there who are in touch with their feelings. They exist and they are not mythical creatures. But I’ve met so many dudes who shut down when an emotion comes out. I would get continually frustrated by this behavior and then one day it dawned on me:


Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that I brought these relationships upon myself. What I’m saying is that maybe I’m not as emotionally open as I think I am. There is an intensely private part of me and I barely share with anyone. To access this part I have to feel incredibly close to you. And this is hard for me to do; especially with men. I don’t really know why this is. And seriously, I should know by now because I’ve been in therapy for 999 years. I’m still trying to figure that out. But then again, this is a deeper issue to uncover.

We all have emotional scars. There are things that prevent us from being as emotionally open as we would like to be. And that’s how I feel about myself. In order to be able for me to show love to someone, I need to heal my emotional wounds that I’ve experienced in romantic relationships throughout my life. Man, that sounds like a shit load of work. I know that it will result in more healthy relationships moving forward, but who wants to look at their flaws?

So yeah, maybe I’m not as emotionally available as I thought I was. I can’t complain about emotion availability from another person if I’m not presenting my own emotions on an emotion platter. I still feel strongly that in order for me to express my emotions I need to feel safe. I’m not sure what that means exactly, but I do know that if I feel heard I’ll continue to talk about my feelings. There’s nothing quite like feeling invisible. I know that the priority for me in a romantic relationship is to be with a partner who hears me.

There will inevitably be miscommunications in long term relationships. That’s completely natural, but it’s how we work through those moments that determine the success of your relationship. My struggle has been to express myself in a way that is not heated. I want to get my point across and when I feel like I’m not being heard I get frustrated and angry. Then I start repeating myself and that never works. Who wants to hear the same shit over and over again? I know that this isn’t a great strategy but I find myself doing it anyway.

So I’m trying to change. I’m attempting to open that box inside my heart that wants to be loved, even though it feels weird and foreign. There’s a lot to unpack there, but I know it’ll be worth it.

One Step at a Time

I’ve always had trouble exercising. The reason it’s been hard for me is a couple of things: firstly, every time I ran out of breath doing something I felt like I was going to die. The likelihood of dying from taking a few steps on the elliptical machine is very small since I’m not a 90-year-old man with a cardiac condition. But I am a neurotic Jew so, let’s remember that. I hated that feeling of impending doom, and I was paranoid that something terrible was going to happen to me if I started exercising. Another reason I didn’t like to go to the gym (in particular) is that it’s fucking boring. I don’t care how awesome your gym is, I don’t buy that it’s “fun.” I can be listening to my favorite music while I’m on one of those ridiculous machines that make me feel like a monkey on steroids, no offense to monkeys or steroids. I’m bored as fuck trying to 1) figure out how to use the machine and 2) doing the same motions over and over again. Think about treadmills for a moment. YOU ARE NOT GOING ANYWHERE. At least when you’re running outside you’re getting to another destination from where you started. I refuse to get on a machine that literally takes me nowhere. Dude, I have been running for 35 minutes and I’m still in the same place? Come on!

The third reason I didn’t like to exercise is that I don’t like feeling extremely hungry afterward. I swear if I could physically eat my house, I would do it after I did any form of activity for a prolonged period of time. After I’d work out I would get so hungry that it felt unbearable. I should exercise by running up the aisles of Trader Joe’s and then buy the entire store. What do you Trader Joe’s? Can I do laps in your store? If you see me running by the bananas next time you get some groceries, you’ll know they said yes.

These days I feel a little differently about exercising. My favorite form of exercise is anything that teaches a skill. For example, I like practicing martial arts. For a while, I was taking Tae Kwon Do, and I liked that a lot. I’d like to learn different martial arts so I can look cool, learn techniques and kick someone’s ass if I absolutely needed to. I need to save that in my back pocket just in case a monkey on steroids attacks me at the gym. As far as feeling out of breath, I try to practice mindfulness-based breathing to remind myself that this is just a moment in time. I am taking one breath now and then exhaling. I am NOT going to die if I feel shortness of breath and I am allowed to take a break. With any kind of exercise, there’s a learning curve and breaks are encouraged by me. In fact, if you want to take a break right now because you’re reading this on a treadmill, I encourage you to do so.

So yeah, one step at a time quite literally, and that’s how I roll. What about you guys? Do you exercise? What kinds of things help you to keep you moving?

Taking Inventory and Going From There

Sometimes I know what to do. I think about a problem, I analyze it from a logical perspective and then I take a leap and solve it. The analysis process could go on for some time, it could potentially involve consulting with experts otherwise known as my friends and family, and then I’m ready to go into solution mode. Right now, I have a lot of issues to work on and I’m not going to lie, I am overwhelmed. It’s funny to say I am overwhelmed because I live with chronic anxiety, so basically, it’s another Wednesday. I’m attempting to accept my anxious state and roll with it. But anyway, I’m not great at making lists but I’m getting better at them. I believe that lists are an essential part of being an adult. I’ve discovered that there’s no wrong way to make a list! I remember in Frog and Toad when Toad makes a list. He gets flustered when the list blows away and then he doesn’t know what to do. But then, something awesome happens. He figures out how to deal with his current situation without the list. What can we learn from this? While lists are useful, we can survive without them if need be.

Problems are a part of life, but I’ve started reframing them as “challenges.” When you look at a “problem” as a “challenge” it makes it feel more positive. A challenge is something you see in a game. “I challenge you to a round of Connect Four” or “I can beat you at UNO.” Challenges allow us the opportunity to confront the issue and respond. Don’t be afraid of a challenge…well you can be afraid of it, but confront it anyway.

And that’s the thing: I’m so good at helping other people through their challenges but not so great at helping myself. I’m realizing more and more that I need to take some self-inventory. I’m not a big fan of the word “self-care” because it’s trendy and seems like something we need to do anyway, but the concept is something I do endorse. By all means, take care of yourself. Look within yourself and find what you like, and then honor that. Look inside and find the things you want to change and then work hard to change them. See? I’m helping you and not looking at my own shit again. Old habits die hard right?

So, I promise you this: I will look inward and change what needs changing, just like a diaper. Haha, sorry I had to go there. But in all seriousness, it’s important to do this on a regular basis. I’m learning that when I take better care of myself it impacts every area of my life in a positive way. It’s not selfish to set boundaries and care for yourself. You can and so can I. Let’s do it together! Write a comment about how you take care of yourself. What things help you when you feel overwhelmed or down?

What’s Your Problem?

Have you ever asked anyone “dude, what’s your problem?” I’m sure I’ve said it to strangers when they were rude. I can remember some occasions where I said it so someone close to me. I have a handful of problems right now, but if someone (anyone) asked me what my problem was, I wouldn’t be able to answer them accurately. If they said, “what’s your problem?” I’d be like “Um…which one? There are too many to name at the moment. I can’t differentiate between them. But, thank you for asking what my problem is. It means a lot to me that you care.”

Problems happen all the time. And I (for one) think too much about them. I don’t want to sit around thinking so much about what’s hard. I want to focus on what’s positive and good in my life. Problems do come knocking at my door, sure, but that’s not the only thing that I have going on. It’s just that they can feel overwhelming and loud. I can try to focus on gratitude, making lists about the good things. But those damn problems want to interrupt me and make annoying faces at me, like when kids stick their tongues on glass windows to be intentionally annoying, but it’s funny at the same time. The difference between that analogy and the problem one is that problems want to distract and annoy you. They have no interest in entertaining you and they can break that glass in front of you. They’re like little goblins that burp loudly in your ears. They want to be a pain in the ass and that’s what they do best.

So, what is my problem? My problem is that I have a lot of things to take care of and I can’t talk about any of them publically. The things that I need to do are scary and overwhelming but ultimately will make my life better. There’s an incentive to do them! There is light on the other side of these problems (plural) but I can’t see it, because the light switch is like five miles away and even with my glasses on, it’s ridiculously far.

I know that these problems are not insurmountable. I cannot believe I just spelled that word right; I was guessing and it worked. Go me! Anyway, these problems are not forever, they can be overcome. I just feel frozen and I need someone to cook some hot water on the stove and pour it over the ice so I can move. It sucks feeling this way, but I’ve accepted that this is my “for now state” and it will change. That’s pretty normal I think. It’s okay to ask for help when you need it, and good friends are there with that soothing water to unfreeze you. I’ve asked them and they said they have some on the stove. Once I’m unfrozen, I’ll be ready for action, and then when you ask me what my problem is, I’ll be like “I have no problem, dude. I’m all good.”

Is This Thing On?

I find myself at a loss for what to say right now. I don’t want to say “anymore” because I want this feeling to be temporary. The reality is that I don’t know how long it’ll last but it certainly feels like forever. That’s the thing about feeling down, it feels like it’s SO long until it lifts. I have evidence to prove that it does lift. But man, I am fucking over being depressed. I’m over talking about it and complaining about the same shit over and over again. There are things in my life that are contributory factors but it’s just my brain at this point and I have a certain amount of “control” over what I do with my thoughts. Blah blah blah CBT, yeah I know what to do, but it’s kind of like going to the gym. I don’t want to exercise ever, so that’s kind of a bad example. But walking, I guess. I like to walk and do martial arts. So it’s like getting myself to the point where I am doing something physical. I know that after that activity I will feel better but it’s the impetus that I need to get to that thing that is so hard.

It’s kind of useless questioning why it’s hard. It’s just hard and I don’t want it to be hard anymore. Life isn’t easy though. Life is full of challenges and unexpected things and just when you think it’s easy life is like “hey NOPE!” And then you’re thinking, what the fuck? I thought things were going smoothly. As a side note, I think this is one of the reasons I like smooth peanut butter better than chunky. I don’t like dealing with obstacles and the chunks of chunky peanut butter seem awkward and complicated. I don’t want them in my mouth and I certainly don’t want to deal with the complicated-ness of life. I don’t have a choice though because inevitably life bitch slaps you. Yeah, that’s cool life. I’ll catch you on the rebound when I punch you in the gut. Anyone who claims that their life is always awesome is a liar because no one’s life is full of ups and downs. I’ve heard people say that life is like a roller coaster, but I don’t like roller coasters so that’s not a great analogy. And I like life the majority of the time; unless I’m having a shitty day and then I would like to return that day to the day store.

Sometimes going into stores helps me; particularly in the summertime because they are air-conditioned and smell nice. You know what also helps when I feel like “this” is cookies. I can take any of you in a cookie-eating contest. Bring it on people, bring it on. There’s also something comforting in word vomiting all of this. I have no idea where it’s going but I am practicing my writing muscles. I guess I’m here to say that I’m still here and that’s great. How are you doing?

Do it Anyway

I feel down today, but I have shit to do; I am going to do it anyway. Sure, it’s frustrating, but I’m not going to try to change how I feel, but rather work with those feelings as they arise.

I don’t know what is going to happen.

I’m not sure if I can get it all done, but I am going to try my hardest to do what it is I need to do.

Some people make lists, other people internally know what they need to do and just do it.

One of the benefits of living with ADHD is hyperfocus. What this means is that I can zero in on a task that I need to do and tune out my surroundings. This can be a positive attribute and it allows me to get a piece of work done. Once I know what I need to do, I go into it full force. I feel like a spaceship having its engines activated. I am a human machine flying through the air completing things at the speed of light.
Back to doing it anyway. I don’t want to do the things that I need to do, but that hasn’t stopped me before. I am going to push through and do them anyway. I have no proof of what is going to happen, no guarantees, no predicted results, but nevertheless, I am going to focus on the items I need to do. These things need to get done anyway, I have two choices: I can either avoid doing these tasks or continue to do them while my brain tells me that I cannot. These negative thoughts are going to float around regardless of my intentions, and the best way to work around them is actually to work WITH them. I’ve tried avoiding them and when I do, they come back full force. And let me tell you, they have engines that are just as powerful as mine. In fact, we can go to war if I’m not careful. I made a decision a while back to “do it anyway.” My negative thoughts and I will coast through the space of my brain side by side. They are doing their thing and I’m gonna do mine.
You’ve heard the expression “choose your battles,” and this is an excellent example of that. There are certain battles worth fighting and this isn’t one of them. Thoughts are persistent little fuckers and according to CBT we have the power to question and reframe them. When I think that I can’t do it, I question the validity of that statement. Why can’t I? Just because I haven’t done something before doesn’t mean I can’t do it now. There isn’t a “reason” for these thoughts; they just are.
I’m aware of their existence and I choose to coast along doing my thing, which is to do the thing anyway.
What about you? Do you have trouble completing tasks when you’re feeling down? What helps you when you feel this way?