problematic peer pressure

i’ve been feeling quite a bit of peer pressure of late. if someone came to me with a similar complaint, i’d suggest they give the offending party a miss for a while but that won’t be possible in this case. it’s awkward to avoid someone when the someone you’re seeking time away from is you.

lest you think you can’t peer pressure yourself, let me assure you it’s quite possible. i often feel fractured into more than me. there’s the me that stands a little bit back, despairing and narrating all that’s going on, and the me who is down in the trenches, duking it out with the depressed me and the anxious me and the me who thinks about nothing but food. an armistice would be nice.

this is a least how i describe the chaos that is going on in my head. i avoid doing so to most doctors, to stave off that irritating moment when their eyes light up in the belief that they’ve discovered a case of dissociative identity disorder. convincing them that they haven’t and they’re simply misunderstanding the way i’m explaining things has proven to be impossible. luckily, my current doctor “gets” me.

it would be nice if triggers were like food allergies, if the problems arose the instant exposure occurred, so that we’d be able to identify and avoid them. they don’t seem to work that way, however. often, it takes a significant amount of working back and dialogue for me to figure out what it was that upset my equilibrium and sent me spiraling.

all the analysis after the fact is done in the pursuit of understanding oneself and one’s motivations. i know insight leads to healing and all that, but some days, i’d rather not try and bring all the pieces together. somedays, i’d rather not have to deal with the peer pressure at all. sometimes, i just want a divorce.

since a divorce is unlikely, other solutions need to be considered.

control over ourselves is the one thing we have. or at least, control over ourselves is the one thing we have the potential to have. when i’m deep in the pit, i forget that fact. when i’m anxiously pacing and my thoughts are racing, i forget it as well. it’s true, however. the only thing we really have control over, are our thoughts, actions, and reactions.

sometimes it feels like we don’t but i’ve come to realize that those feelings are a lie. they come from the disorders that don’t want to be let go of, that don’t want to be left behind. those feelings are still me, of course. my disorders aren’t independent entities, but sometimes it helps me to think of them that way. to think of them as enemies i’m battling against in order to get to a place of calmness and serenity.

many of the books i’ve been reading of late emphasize this. they repeat time and time again that i have the ability to choose. the problem is taking it. the problem is finding my way through the noise and the chatter and the chaos to a place where i can look at what’s going on and work my way through, logically and thoughtfully. breathing helps.

it’s funny; breathing is one of the things that always shows up on those inevitable lists of ideas that you can follow to make yourself feel better if your neuroses are on the rise. i may not have “pooh-poohed” them, exactly, but i didn’t rush to embrace them either. how could they be aimed at me? the authors don’t know me; they don’t know my story or what i’ve done or faced. tell me to breathe. seriously?

yes, seriously.

my anxiety has been growing by leaps and bounds of late and my depression is struggling to keep up. circumstances, time of year, life situations. they’re all making things a struggle. surprisingly, i’ve found that breathing and focusing on my breath helps. colour me somewhat surprised. i never really expect a positive result, even when i’m following what seems to be reasonable advice. the mindful breathing quiets the cacophony of voices, however. it gives me moments of peace and clarity. it helps for the next little while.

it isn’t a fix. it hasn’t changed everything for all time, all day, every day. it does, however, give me some respite. it’s a break from the pressure the voices bring to bear. for moments of relief, no matter how fleeting, i’ll persist. i’ll keep reading, breathing, and getting time away from the other harsh bits and pieces of myself. for now, it’s enough. it beats curling up on the floor, rocking back and forth, and saying “i can’t bear this anymore”. i know where that road ends.

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