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Success equals self-destruction...

I just realized this one. I mean it's kind of obvious, but also not really. So many people deal with self-sabotage that it's like a cliche. Trauma seems straight-forward until you're in it. You were attacked- you need to talk through it, cope, regain sense of safety in practical sense. But it's not all there is to it in reality. It's been ... we're running on my 13th year since I got PTSD, 10th since I was diagnosed officially and stopped thinking that I'm overreacting and possibly going crazy.

So I have had this pattern which has lead to a lot of the mess I've found myself in lately, including almost being evicted.
When I decide something I get really dedicated, start really pushing, amazing changes happen and it all crashes. Sometimes for practical reason and sometimes for no reason at all. I get deadlines and I think I have time, I waste some and then I have less, but it's manageable. Then my blood runs cold, I freeze, I stop doing daily things for days at a time (like dishes), laser focus on the deadline I can't start work on, then I'm late- then all payments are late. Eventually I get paid, pay all I owe and by the time I'm done I'm so exhausted I skip more time. I apply for few jobs, don't get in, and I start being so panicked that I convince myself my CV is awful, I'm incapable and can't be hired. I get a project that can bring me money, I do all the research, setting milestones and then freeze and suffocate in panic before starting. Again, pretty straight-forward, right? Another example is the 2 times I lost weight on purpose. One I was trying to improve my flexibility, achieved so much my ballet teacher said I improved the most that year, I lost maybe 5kg(at the time I didn't have much more to lose), started getting more compliments, blind panic.... you see where this is going. Last fall I started taking private ballet lessons, improving a bit each week, again getting compliments. Suddenly life stuff started happening, every class felt harder and like I wasn't doing good no matter what anyone said to me and the pressure was insane, and once again, breaking under pressure, cliche, right?
And it's been happening to me over and over, especially with deadlines for work and physical health.

Now let's rewind. I was already going through a lot since kid (SA) but had somehow suppressed everything. Until there weren't enough money for me to continue uni. I traveled to work away, organised all myself.... then before I had secured a job, I was attacked(r**ed) by another person in the house I was staying in. I had no job, money to move, or ability to trully understand how bad the situation was. I stayed there. I found work, eventually. I stuggled through bruises and no money for medication and phone calls pretending I was fine. Eventually I went home 2.5 months later, with less money, bruised ego and a lot of secrets. Took a long while to grasp that something actually bad had happened to me, like I had no radar for it.
But that summer had been so painful before I got home, every day was like I was struggling to breathe through fire. I was terrified and chaotic all the time, forgetful for a first time in my life. I had been an A student before that, with a good bunch of friends. I never struggled with success before that. But that summer, at some point I forgot I went there for my education, for money. All I knew was, I had a ticket home and if I made it to that date I would get home and I would be fine. I had just found my footing and an inch of myself in uni, I draw, went to fitness, kept good balance between classes and social events. And that summer, it felt like I was barely getting by as it was, avoiding people in my house like a ghost. Terrified all the time. It just didn't match with the student, the person that used to draw and write and dream of big things. So I let go of each of those things one by one, gave them up, because that was the price of survival. Giving up everything that I thought I was, becoming someone different, was the best I knew how to survive that time. And I did survive.
And suddenly success meant pushing yourself so hard until you think your lungs are on fire, you have constant headache, every mistake gives you a panic attack and you feel to achieve what you want you, working longer hours, doing something new- it means the only way to succeed is to give up everything that makes you - you. There's no one threatening to take that away anymore, to physically harm you, so you do it to yourself, you freeze, you run, you complain, you panic just as things were going good...

And you can never figure out where it comes from. You were someone at one point, and A student, creative, driven, and certain things came easy. Now the rare times that it does come easy, eventually you start panicking yourself. With no clue where it came from.
Somehow, losing weight for any reason, making enough money, making money with a job you like and genuinely being okay in life became synonymous with giving up everything you like about yourself. And you keep repeating it over and over. 10 years, for something so simple... And I never put it together until now when I read my journal from the last year and when I'm having another deadline I was on the way to start panicking randomly again. When that summer happened, I had the idea of 'what is the worst that can happen'. I had no clue how bad it got, not just the attack but the whole summer living in fear. Suddenly I had to think 20 steps ahead on everything and panic if I couldn't. A deadline never meant that one file or deadline, it was if I would make enough and if I won't and what other jobs I could do. Job search wasn't applications, it was asessing my ability to work in crowds again, be safe in the world, apply skills I had tried to forget, avoiding making any mistake or it would kill me. Creative project wasn't about one drawing, it was about being perfect no matter how big or small or what kind of pay, because it felt I would die if it wasn't. Every listing for an online shop was connected to promoting me, my work, to the potential success or failure or that venture to a point where it made me nauseous to begin. Being attractive... well that one felt dangerous on a whole lot more obvious way.
And I have carried this as weight for way longer than getting over starting to date or bruises fading.
And it's only now that I have connected it that working at night or late in a deadline doesn't fill me with nausea and dread. I feel weirdly calm. I haven't felt calm working late in a LONG time....
 
whatever the symptom i am currently struggling with, that weirdly calm feeling is my signal that i am on the right track. either that or i am sliding down the proverbial rabbit hole -- AGAIN! ! ! i have felt weirdly calm when i reach my psychotic breaking point, as well. why can't life be simple?

here's to hoping your current weird calm is of the previous nature.
steadying support while you calmly make that deadline.
 
that weirdly calm feeling is my signal that i am on the right track. either that or i am sliding down the proverbial rabbit hole
Though the same thing. I think I'm on the right track. I don't think the feeling will stick but hopefully, I have learned something so I don't keep self-sabotaging. For what it's worth I think I have. Only time can tell.
And as we all well know, not all lessons are learned from one realization. But maybe I have finally gotten this one right. We'll see.

steadying support while you calmly make that deadline.
Thank you, much appreciated.
 
as we all well know, not all lessons are learned from one realization.
seems to me that all lessons prepare us for the next lessons. there is always more to learn. that isn't so much of a problem for those of us who enjoy learning.
maybe I have finally gotten this one right. We'll see.
i am also wondering more and more if there are right or wrong answers in the school of life. just studies? ? ?
 
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