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benji
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Hi. I'm new here. (In case that wasn't obvious).

Not feeling so great at the moment. I came across this site and thought maybe it might help, I don't know. I seem to go through bouts of feeling extremely emotionally unstable. I've been seeing a therapist for over a year now and have been told I have some signs of a mood disorder--possibly on the bipolar spectrum, and also possibly complex ptsd. I've been trying meds to see if they help, but I just don't know anymore. I suppose I don't know what else to say. Having sort of a bad day today.

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Welcome to the community, benji. :)

I'm sorry you're going through a rough time. :( It sounds as though you are on the right track for seeking out support and help for yourself. The road to healing is often very bumpy. I hear you. Complex ptsd can be so tough. I wanted to say hello and let you know that we're here listening.

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hi IrmaJean. Thank you.

Sometimes I can't tell if I'm on the right track or not. I keep thinking I'm getting better, then I have a complete meltdown again. Can't function. Can't think. Feels like I'm not a human. Feels like somehow everything about me is wrong. Been trying to distract myself today to keep from getting too messed up, but sort of feels like I'm barely hanging on. Don't really know what to do.

I know from therapy that these moods might be very much related to how my mother treated us (me and my siblings) growing up, but it feels like she is the whole world sometimes and I can feel everyone judging everything I think, do, or am. Like everyone hates me or wants to hurt me and there is no place where it's ok for me to exist. overwhelming. i really don't feel like a person right now and I can't shake it, and I'm afraid at any moment I'm going to lose it.

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It must feel very frightening and overwhelming for you to not have a safe place to go to, benji. We all need safe spaces. I hope it feels safe with your therapist.

Do you have any relaxation techniques that are helpful during the difficult times? Breathing, meditation, exercise?

Any activities you enjoy? What do you like about yourself?

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It does get overwhelming. My therapist is starting to feel safe. That took a long time. I remember in the beginning feeling like every other session, I wanted to quit. I was sure he hated me and didn't want me there and that everything I had to say was wrong somehow. It felt like he was going to pass judgment on anything I told him, and even if he didn't, I knew he must be thinking it. But that's gotten a lot better. I think it took having a few meltdowns in his office and realizing nothing bad happened as a result.

As for what helps, I don't really know. I feel like all I can do is try to distract myself for a little while, but at some point everything is going to collapse. It's just a matter of time. Sometimes I try to call a friend to talk, or chat with them online. But always seems like no one is around when I need them most. Sometimes I try taking deep breaths. I've also started jogging in the evenings. I am trying. I just don't know that anything will ever work well enough.

I don't have too much that i like about myself at the moment. Anything I think of, my brain wants to turn it into a negative.

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Coping skills can take some time to acquire. It sounds as though you are working very hard. You also seem very self-aware, and you have good insights. It's great that you are beginning to feel trust and safety with your therapist. This is all very positive. I hope you feel better tonight.

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Hi benji, and welcome.

At least you're aware that your brain is turning stuff negative; that not everything is negative to start with. That's a place to start. :-)

"... I can feel everyone judging everything I think, do, or am."

I'm not going to try to dispute this (otherwise, it'll just sound like a judgment of this feeling.)

Instead, let's imagine for a moment. What would you do, or what would life be like, if no one judged you, including you?

Is that worth working for?

"I just don't know that anything will ever work well enough."

Well, no one really knows that; we don't know the future. But maybe it's enough to believe it? That's what keeps us all moving forward, really, the belief or the hope that things can be better. Can you tell whether things are in fact already a bit better? That with your therapist giving you a place where you can tell you're not being judged, you're already on the road to that future?

As a friend of mine is fond of saying, in hard times, "Life has to be possible." :-)

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Hi benji, and welcome.

At least you're aware that your brain is turning stuff negative; that not everything is negative to start with. That's a place to start. :-)

Most of the time I'm able to keep aware of this at least on some level. It gets difficult though when I feel like I'm standing under an avalanche of negative. One thing I like about my therapist is that instead of suggesting I try and see positve things or think positive thoughts when I feel that way, that instead I should focus on objective thoughts--what true things can I say about reality at the moment that don't need to be emotionally charged in any way.

"... I can feel everyone judging everything I think, do, or am."

I'm not going to try to dispute this (otherwise, it'll just sound like a judgment of this feeling.)

Instead, let's imagine for a moment. What would you do, or what would life be like, if no one judged you, including you?

Is that worth working for?

See, everyonemakes judgments about at least some things though. I guess the real deal is to find middle ground. My therapist often poses the question of what would that mean if it were true--that everyone is judging everything you do? Especially if on the surface they are acting like they don't? Does it have to affect you in any way?

"I just don't know that anything will ever work well enough."

Well, no one really knows that; we don't know the future. But maybe it's enough to believe it? That's what keeps us all moving forward, really, the belief or the hope that things can be better. Can you tell whether things are in fact already a bit better? That with your therapist giving you a place where you can tell you're not being judged, you're already on the road to that future?

I can't always tell if things are getting better or if I just hope that they are enough that I believe it to be true. Then reality cracks through and it all feels like I've gained nothing and am going nowhere.

As a friend of mine is fond of saying, in hard times, "Life has to be possible." :-)

this sounds like one of those objective truths. the human race goes on. I'm still breathing.

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Yep, the only time you can't change is after you're dead.

I like your therapist's approach. Other people's judgments only matter if we agree to subject ourselves to them. That's one of the reasons that parental judgments weigh more: for a while, we have to be subject to them (after all, they can punish us, in various ways), and even after that, most of us still feel some obligation. Could obligation also be a correlation between the groups you worry will criticize you? People you care about, and strangers ... could there be a middle group of people you feel almost able to be yourself with?

On the other hand, I don't put "judgmental behavior" in the same category as the everyday judgments that people make. Sure, I have to decide who to spend time with, and in some sense that's a judgment of them. On the other hand, I try to be open-minded and seek variety in who I talk to. I try not to make those decisions on the basis of prejudged labels.

Where I think we often go wrong is in believing that we cause other people's behavior. I know, for instance, that when I was in high school I often believed that people avoided me because of something about me. Yet, when I look back at it as an adult with more experience (and less neediness), I bet that most of those people never even saw me. What I mean is, because my own assumption was that they wouldn't want to talk to me, my behavior changed so much that my belief came true. I would hide from them, not speak to them when I had the chance, and generally act in all sorts of other socially maladaptive (the long way to say "geeky") ways. Too, each of them had problems of their own; maybe the day that Person X yelled at me, they had just had a fight with their parents or significant other. If I assume that everything bad that happens to me is my fault, I'm going to end up with a pretty distorted idea of my own power ... Though it would be an interestingly useless superpower. ;-)

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That's one of the reasons that parental judgments weigh more: for a while, we have to be subject to them (after all, they can punish us, in various ways), and even after that, most of us still feel some obligation. Could obligation also be a correlation between the groups you worry will criticize you? People you care about, and strangers ... could there be a middle group of people you feel almost able to be yourself with?

Parental judgments is where I think this all stems from. My mother is extremely judgmental about everything and everyone. If you tell her anything interesting you've done, all you get in return is some comment made about some flaw in it. Never any praise. Right now, as an adult, I'm able to see her interacting with my nephews and she acts like they are nothing but a painful annoyance when they are around. She'll get mad at them for just about anything (and they're only 5 and 3). The youngest one she keeps telling not to talk because "his voice carries too much". And I'm realizing that she was this way constantly with us as kids, but at the time that's all we knew, and I think I internalized it as me being bad and wrong, because it didn't matter what I did, if she was in a bad mood I was undoubtedly doing something wrong and you were bound to get punished for it, whether that meant getting yelled at, slapped, or assigned a chore, or all three.

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"If you tell her anything interesting you've done, all you get in return is some comment made about some flaw in it. Never any praise."

But that's not strictly "judgmental"; it's negative. As you said, we all make judgments (decisions) in life, but someone who makes, or verbalizes, only negative judgments has a different problem.

And yeah, it won't help to tell her that. The only reason for pointing it out is so that you might one day be able to form your own opinions on things.

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Just wanted to add, too, that I think why I assume that other people are constantly judging me is that I know my mother constantly judges not only me, but every other person on the planet. Watching her do this, I started to assume that's how all people must think. And it can sure make the world difficult to deal with when you feel like everyone you meet is thinking like that. I keep a tally in my head a lot of times about all of my flaws, or every mistake I make in a day, and if anyone sees to many of those flaws or mistakes, I tend to avoid them because I'm sure they likely hate me.

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"If you tell her anything interesting you've done, all you get in return is some comment made about some flaw in it. Never any praise."

But that's not strictly "judgmental"; it's negative. As you said, we all make judgments (decisions) in life, but someone who makes, or verbalizes, only negative judgments has a different problem.

I don't know. in my head "judgment" and "negative" go together nearly every time.

And yeah, it won't help to tell her that.

You've got that right. Try to tell her anything and you get straight up denial, or she spins it and blames you somehow.

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