Monday, May 30, 2011

Avoidant

For all the writing I have completed about labels, you (Future You that has read them once I finally posted them) might think that I enjoy labels in general and enjoying collecting them to myself specifically. That would be entirely wrong. Labels are simply shortcuts to explaining aspects of a situation, place, or person. I do not like them at all, but I cannot avoid acknowledging their usefulness.

I want to write to you about another label.

I am avoidant.

What does this mean? It means a lot – it means I do not like you, Gentle Reader, not at first anyway. People (more specifically strangers) wig me in the way some people are wigged by spiders or airplanes or elevators or ladders. I do not trust you. Not yet. I might learn to trust, eventually. I do not trust you not to judge too quickly, too harshly, and without adequate data. I do not think you will be fair.

How did I get this way? Well, my therapist said that it was the way I was raised. Frankly, I was amazed that a steady diet of inequity could lead a child to expect inequity through the rest of her life. I also developed a more-than-healthy level of sarcasm, as you can see. I was also aware of my own actions and my own feelings – but even then, giving them a name made things somewhat easier.

Why was I talking to a therapist? Well, it was early in the lupus mystery. I knew something was wrong, but we had not reached a point where my doctors agreed with me. We had "ruled out" a number of possibilities, and had yet to find the right course to peruse. So I was subjected to a battery of tests along with interrogations every time I saw a lab coat. My therapist’s job was to find out if I was malingering, a hypochondriac, suffering from Munchausen’s or anything other than genuinely physically ill.

She, the therapist, bless her, found out that not only was I not lying about my symptoms, but that I have a condition that meant there were few things I could do that would be more painful to my own psyche than to seek out strangers which I would then have to share personal details of my life and body. That each time I went to see a stranger such as a doctor or lab technician, I was causing myself great distress.

I owe her a lot – my doctors took me a lot more seriously after they were informed of her determination. Parts of my own life made more sense to me. I finished my course of therapy with her, and am not currently treated for my avoidance. I get by, though – through one other personality trait (flaw?): there is nothing that I hate more than fear. So I push myself into situations that I fear in order to conquer that fear

This is part of why I share details of my life with you, Dear Reader. I do not know you therefore I am scared of you and expect you will treat me badly. More importantly, I have things to say and cannot abide my own fear… So here I am. 

Interaction with others is often a trial by fire event. Each interaction, each post, each place I visit, each person I meet is a triumph of sorts. One that often cost me peace of mind, sleep, and peace.

Note: being sick and/or in a lupus flare kind of kills (sedates? Mollifies? Subdues?) the “Fuck Fear” philosophy and I am far less likely to be social or post while in such a state.