So I’m finally embarking on studies that I’ve been too anxious to begin until now. I’m distance learning through the Open University – this suits me and my social anxiety down to the ground because I don’t have to deal with people, and moving away, and all of the other things that are less than ideal about going to a traditional uni.
Anyway, I work full time (for now, I’m still not exactly sure what’s going to happen there) and in a moment of inspired madness I decided on the enrolment deadline that I wasn’t satisfied with my one 60-credit social science module. No, I decided, I’m going to add the 60-credit psychology module as well. I’m going to study full time. And work full time.
Something about making a rod for my own back springs to mind, as do thoughts of my aforementioned ‘inner saboteur’.
Except I don’t think I’m actually sabotaging myself this time. I think I really think I can do this. I don’t officially start until October 1st and I’m onto the 5th week of content on the sociology module because I just… study in my own time, on my own terms. I don’t have to wait for a lecturer or for the rest of the class to catch up. I can do as much as I want. Apparently that’s very much, right now, so I’m making the most of my enthusiasm. I can’t start the psych module yet as I signed up late and I need to wait for all the materials to arrive. I keep reminding myself I’m still 2 weeks from technically starting. I need to chill.
But I can’t. Because I’ve finally made the leap and started the studies that I really wanted to do. I’m doing it! By myself, just for me, not because someone else told me to. I’m a degree student. After breaking down and dropping out before I swore I’d never go back to university… but here I am. I have a good feeling about it, this time. I feel functional and smart and like I’m in control of something.
Perhaps this is how I’ll fix myself after all? Well, this and seeing my therapist. I was in a good mood when I saw her this week. The week previous I’d been a complete state – I walked in wordlessly and proceeded to just cry for 10 minutes. When I eventually stopped I just mumbled ‘crazy’ and then continued to cry, while trying to explain between sobs that I felt like I’d lost it, and that ‘even my therapist doesn’t know what to do with me’ because she was just observing me quietly and not telling me to shut up or calm down or any of the things that normally happen, you know? I was very lost, last week.
I’m still fragile and my state can change in a moment – I know that. It’s why I’m determined to make the most of this better period, for however long it lasts. I just hope I can still cope with studying if I get worse again.
So I sat down and worked through all of the uneasy feelings and various red flags that made me think I shouldn’t try to date this person. And here’s the thing… rather than hold out for his sake I just ended it. I didn’t wait around for months like I have done previously, just quickly and neatly cut it off. He wasn’t too impressed of course, and said some things that made me think it was definitely the right choice. I didn’t get drawn into it, I let him say his piece and left it at that.
In discussions with my best friend we noticed several ways that my behaviour tends to be really dysfunctional in dating and relationships, and where those things may come from. Basically my scripts are pretty rubbish, so I’m going to have to learn to be really self-aware to stop myself from falling into the same traps in the future (so that I can consciously choose to act outside of said scripts). But hey, at least noticing and acknowledging these things is a start, right? I’m determined to do better next time. I’m not feeling too miserable or hopeless either, which is better than I usually feel after ending things.
I am still bad at dating. But I don’t have to be bad at it forever.
I look and feel gross today. I’m in a really shit mood and I’m struggling to see the point in anything. To make matters worse, I went on a few dates with that guy from Tinder and he is somehow absolutely smitten with me even though I’m a mess, and all I really want to do is run away and save him from myself.
He’s so full on and legitimately seems to think I’m The One or something which obviously, obviously means he’s paying no attention to who and how I am. He’s immediately formed some wonderful romantic notion of me and is falling head over heels for that, instead. And then when that illusion shatters, whose fault will it be?
It shouldn’t be, but I know it will somehow be mine. They always blame me for their own ignorance and blindness. Even when I spell it out, even when I tell them my whole sorry history and that I have depression, anxiety and PTSD. It’s like they don’t even listen. Or they half listen, and construct some great story about how brave and courageous I am (when I feel anything but), but how simultaneously fragile I am (…fair comment) and how they can swoop in and help me, save me from my demons (they can’t, and I don’t even want them to – that’s my own responsibility).
I hate dating. But now I feel beholden because he seems so emotionally invested in me and has told everyone else how great I am (but I’m not, and I don’t get why he can’t see that). I don’t want to make him feel bad, or look silly in front of everyone (even though silly is precisely what he’s being right now). This is a familiar trend, as well. I end up dating these people for a few months out of a sense of obligation, disguised as trying to make it work… until I’ve given it a good enough go or can no longer veil my disinterest, whichever happens first, I suppose.
I can’t do this.