Possible trigger warning? Talking about the subject of abuse, but there’s no super graphic descriptions of abuse. I just thought I should mention this. I don’t want to trigger anyone, seriously. (And by ‘trigger’ I don’t mean ‘offend’ I mean literally ‘trigger’)
This’ll be somewhat of an update since I’ve been pretty much silent for a while, so let’s get right into it.
After I got referred from the GP for therapy (probably) last month, I finally met my therapist face to face last week. She was pretty nice. I was obviously pretty nervous. Despite tending to talk about myself endlessly, I still feel somewhat uncomfortable doing so.
I tried my best to tell her everything. I did make a list beforehand, but chickened out just like I did when I tried to get referred for an autism assessment. (And to this day I don’t know what happened with that… it’s still on my record though). She did make it easier by prompting me and she was patient with me which I appreciated. In the end I had to email her some more stuff that I remembered last minute (and I even remembered more after sending the email TT-TT)
So now I’m just waiting for her to get back to me with my first appointment. I honestly can’t wait. I’m just itching for a diagnosis- not in the sense that I mentioned in an earlier post- but in the sense that I want to know what’s up with me so I can see how I can help myself as well and find online communities to confide in. It helps to feel less alone in my experiences. I also can’t wait to finally start treatment, to heal and change myself for the better.
I didn’t mention this earlier (because I didn’t know at the time) but I will be having CBT therapy which I’ve heard is very effective. So I’ll be looking forward to that, but, in the meantime, I’ve gone ahead back to my old ways of looking for a diagnosis- not to self-diagnose because hopefully I won’t need to do that- but just to get an idea. Maybe I could talk to the therapist about it (but I know I won’t, let’s be real)
Using childhood emotional neglect as my starting point, I started to descend into the world of mental illnesses to see if there were any that matched my case. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this earlier, but Grace studies psychology, and she told me that perhaps my issues may not be down to one thing, but more than one disorder which is totally possible, so I’m keeping that in mind.
When you look up childhood emotional neglect, and then all sorts of abuse, you tend to get directed to portions of the internet that talk about complex PTSD, which is basically PTSD but the trauma was on going for a significant period of time and it may be more than one type of trauma (forgive me if I butchered that definition- I’m going from memory).
Now I wanted to stay well weeeeell away from cPTSD because that means that something traumatic happened to me and that someone must’ve caused that trauma. It must’ve originated from when I was a child meaning that it had to be caused by primary school or, of course the most likely, my family- in particular, my parents.
To suggest, that I have cPTSD, or even to suspect it, makes me feel extremely guilty in two main ways:
- I’m making a serious accusation against my parents
- If I’m wrong, I’m playing down ‘real’ trauma.
I put ‘real’ in inverted commas because I’m not sure what counts are ‘real’ trauma.
There’s also the fact that I have to pinpoint the trauma and verify (to myself) that it actually happened and it wasn’t imaginary. I’ve said this a million times- I have a shit memory. I can’t remember most of my childhood. When I talked about my ‘abuse’ in that post Crocodile tears, I couldn’t even describe it because I couldn’t even remember it that well. In fact, all I remember is:
- I’d be scared
- I would plead
- I’d wish that I couldn’t feel pain or that I was stronger or that I could run away
- I told Cloud about it once
And I should also point out that I was quite a dramatic child so wishing to run away was probably because I felt underappreciated or something, idk. Also, I realise that forgetting your abuse is a coping mechanism, I’m just saying that I’m sceptical that trauma is the reason I can’t remember my past. I can’t remember stuff in general.
What I’m basically trying to say is that I don’t think I should take the label of ‘abuse victim’ because I don’t deserve it. Like I was never injured in anyway. I didn’t have any bruises or whatever.
But it still feels barbaric to beat your child with a belt, don’t you think? I’m surprised I don’t have a phobia over belts.
I’m sure someone must have it, though. At least one person.
Looking into cPTSD, it’s funny how my symptoms overlap with those of it, and I’ve watched a lot of videos that I really identify with. Still, I’m not comfortable calling what I have cPTSD (and I’m definitely not self-diagnosing (not that it’s wrong to self-dx- I’m not pandering, that’s how I honestly feel)) so I had a look at BPD which I have talked about quite a bit on my old blog. While some things match, I’m not convinced I have BPD.
I decided to go back to the basics and simply look up my symptoms and see what came up. And something did (other than cPTSD and borderline)- Avoidant personality disorder.
Initially I had ignored AvPD back in the times of MyNameIsEpicCupcake, but now, for some reason, it probably best describes me and people have said that there could be a link between childhood abuse/neglect and AvPD (and I’m sure there is with the other two of course)
AvPD was described as similar to social anxiety, but had some key differences. Here’s something I pulled of Wikipedia
Those affected display a pattern of social inhibition, feelings of inadequacy and inferiority, extreme sensitivity to negative evaluation, and avoidance of social interactiondespite a strong desire to be close to others. Individuals with the disorder tend to describe themselves as uneasy, anxious, lonely, unwanted and isolated from others. The behavior typically begins by early adulthood, and occurs across a variety of situations.
People with avoidant personality disorder often consider themselves to be socially inept or personally unappealing and avoid social interaction for fear of being ridiculed, humiliated, rejected, or disliked. As the name suggests, the main coping mechanism [..] is avoidance of feared stimuli. Avoidant personality disorder is usually first noticed in early adulthood, with both childhood emotional neglect (in particular, the rejection of a child by one or both parents) and peer group rejection being associated with an increased risk for its development. While some scientists claim the exact causes for the disorder are unknown, others found that “parents of avoidant children seemed to have difficulty with their own negative emotions.
Let’s unpack this:
display a pattern of social inhibition, feelings of inadequacy and inferiority, extreme sensitivity to negative evaluation, and avoidance of social interaction despite a strong desire to be close to others.
I know that I isolate myself. I know that I often feel inadequate. I don’t believe I view myself as inferior (though I do believe others view me that way so who knows, maybe it’s projection) and I’m not sure if I’m sensitive to negative evaluation. I think I’m pretty okay in that department. I know I avoid talking to people and keep to myself despite wanting to be close to others. That’s why I’m having a problem in the first place!
describe themselves as uneasy, anxious, lonely, unwanted and isolated from others.
…Yes. I dealt with this a lot in high school. I got into this depressive state and kept writing in my diary and on my old blog about being rejected and feeling lonely.
consider themselves to be socially inept or personally unappealing and avoid social interaction for fear of being ridiculed, humiliated, rejected, or disliked.
Yes, ‘socially inept’ is the exact term I use. I’ve often said to myself that I have a bad personality (which I do believe- I can say more negative things than positive, or at least the negative ones are easier to come up with). I know I’m not beautiful and sometimes I feel like I look not that attractive (not exactly ugly but plain and sometimes a little masculine) though other times I think I’m really pretty.
I’m not really sure how that works.
Yes I do avoid social interaction for fear of being rejected. It’s something that I’ve been thinking over this entire week. Since our groups in uni have changed, I don’t have my small group of friends to work with anymore. I found myself in another small group and the people seem nice enough and I like them, but I can’t bring myself to ask to work with them because I feel like they would want me, like I’m a burden. If I asked one of the girls who I’m sort of friends with, if I can work with the group, I know she’ll probably say yes, but keep thinking that the others will feel like they have to babysit me.
I just hate the feeling of imposing on people who don’t want me. I felt this time and time again and I don’t want to be subjected to that again. I don’t want to work with them until I know that I’m not a burden.
the main coping mechanism [..] is avoidance of feared stimuli.
Yup. Couldn’t agree more.
both childhood emotional neglect (in particular, the rejection of a child by one or both parents) and peer group rejection being associated with an increased risk for its development.
We’ve covered CEN, but I haven’t talked much about peer group rejection. I experienced this a lot in primary school- I know a lot of the kids hated me. I caused quite a bit of trouble and I won’t go into the details (because I don’t remember most of it) but just know I had enemies, I felt rejected, and I desperately desperately wanted to leave school. I used to wish I was home-schooled (but the thought of getting taught by my father was extremely unappealing (homework with him was bad enough so after a few times I stopped asking him for help) the thing you have to know about my dad is that while he’s generally a good person, he can just be really unpleasant). I felt rejected in high school too, but that may be only perceived rejection because at that point, I was already isolating myself.
Alright! That’s all I have time for. I have a lecture to catch in about hour so I have to get moving! Thanks for reading.