6 “useless” emotions that aren’t useless, and 2 that really are useless.

Originally posted on July 10, 2016

negative-emotions-crop

I get tired of the positive thinking brigade who tells you you always must be happy and that there’s no place for “negative” emotions.   Not only is it obnoxious to wear a pasted on smile all the time even when you’re not feeling it, it’s not natural or healthy.   Of course, being a positive person who thinks positive thoughts is a good thing, but when it’s taken to ridiculous extremes (and it certainly is in my family, where “negative” emotions are not accepted or allowed) it can be soul-damaging.   Following is a list of unpopular (or “useless”) emotions that definitely have their uses (when they’re not excessive).  There are only two emotions I can think of that have no uses whatsoever, and I’ll describe those last.

1. Guilt.

My father always used to tell everyone that guilt was an unhealthy, useless emotion, but I couldn’t disagree more.   True, excessive guilt is bad for you, but the right amount of guilt separates people with a conscience from the psychopaths. I pointed out this to my father once, and he became enraged.   Hmmm, I wonder why!   The ability to feel guilt keeps us civilized and mindful of the feelings of others.

2. Sadness.

Sadness is a normal reaction to a loss.  It also connects people in those times of loss.  We have socially sanctioned rituals that promote and even encourage the expression of sadness (funerals) but otherwise, people are uncomfortable with the sadness of another and are always trying to cheer you up.   If you’re crying, people always want you to stop. Why?  Feeling sad and crying can be healing; if sadness is repressed it can lead to something much worse–depression.   People need to just shut up and let you be sad and cry if that’s what you need to do.

3. Anger.

There are times it’s appropriate to be angry.    Anger, though toxic both to yourself and others when excessive,  helps you survive.  If you feel threatened or feel that someone close to you is threatened, you are going to fight back.  The only other survival option is to flee (which I’ll talk about next).   Otherwise you’re just going to stand there and let yourself or your loved ones get attacked or treated badly.    Excessive anger, of course, leads to hatred, and hatred is not only useless, it’s dangerous to the soul.

4. Fear.

If you can’t fight (sometimes you can’t), you can flee danger.   Like anger, fear is a survival emotion.   It can be excessive, leading to anxiety disorders, but fear in normal doses is both healthy and appropriate reactions to danger.   It’s important to distinguish whether it’s better to flee (fear) or to fight (anger).

5. Jealousy.

I’m not talking about envy here, an emotion often confused with jealousy.  But they are not the same.   Jealousy refers to the fear that someone is taking something you love away from you; envy refers to wanting what someone else has.  There are similarities though. Both are bitter, painful emotions, hard to deal with.  Sometimes they lead to people attacking the object of their jealousy or envy to “even the score.”   But jealousy has its place.   It’s another survival emotion, similar to anger mixed with fear, that warns you that something that belongs to you is in danger of being taken away.   The problem is jealousy often crops up when there is no real danger of that happening, and that leads to all kinds of problems.  Excessive jealousy can actually be self-defeating and drive what you love away from you — the most obvious example is constantly asking someone you’re in a relationship with if they are seeing someone else, or snooping in their things to find out.  That sort of behavior will eventually drive the other person away.

6. Envy.

I hesitated to put envy here, because on the surface it really doesn’t seem to have any useful purpose.  I almost put it as one of the “useless” emotions I’ll be describing last.  But envy does have one useful aspect.  If it’s not excessive, it can be a motivator, making you take action to improve your own circumstances.   When it’s used that way, it’s really more akin to admiration than envy.   The problem with envy is it can so often turn so bitter that it saps all your energy and lowers your self esteem, making you LESS likely to improve your circumstances or achieve the things you want.

The Two Emotions That Really Are Useless.  

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1. Worry.

I heard a great saying once:  “Worry is useless because if what you dread comes to pass, then you’ve lived through it twice; if it never happens, then your worry was in vain.”  I took those words to heart because of how true they are.   Worry is absolutely useless.  If faced with a potentially bad or dangerous situation, worry won’t help you.  If something can be done to prevent the situation from happening, taking action will help,  and once you take action, then there’s nothing more to worry about.   If there’s no action you can take, then worrying about it is a waste of time.  Better to plan how you will deal with it when it happens, than to sit around wringing your hands, pulling out your hair, and making yourself sick over it.

2. Shame.

Shame must be distinguished here from guilt.  Guilt refers to something you did, while shame refers to the person you are.  Guilt is useful because without it, there would be no apologies or amend-making for bad behavior.   People would just go around doing whatever they want, regardless of how it makes others feel.   Shame, on the other hand, is useless because it means feeling sorry not for something you did, but for who you are.  If you were the family scapegoat, then you were the receptacle for all the family shame, and were made to feel like you’re worthless and don’t deserve to live.    Shame is the one emotion that is at the core of all the personality disorders and every case of complex PTSD generated by familial abuse.  It’s incredibly toxic–probably the most toxic emotion there is, and it has about as much usefulness as a bicycle does for a fish.

For more about shame vs. guilt, please read Carrie Musgrove’s article about the important distinctions.

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“This could never happen in America.”

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But it is.

I’m talking about the increasing feeling of unreality and foreboding under this new administration, run by a sociopath that even ten years ago wouldn’t have had a snowball’s chance in hell of becoming president.

I sat, frozen in horror on election night, as I watched more and more states turned red, even states that have traditionally been blue.    I was upset, but I tried to talk myself down, almost convincing myself for a short time that maybe a Trump presidency wouldn’t be so bad.

But the days since his inauguration have been horrifying — and there have only been 7 of them.   One week of a four year reign.

Every day seems worse than the last.   As a nation, we seem to be on the fast track toward fascism, circling around  a looming black hole with little to no chance of escape.   Trump has been compared to Hitler. This is not hyperbole.  The comparison is being made even by intellectually respected sources who don’t usually stoop to sensationalism and fearmongering (or Godwin’s Law) to make a point.   If you doubt me, Google “Trump – Hitler.”    The similarities in both the men themselves and the tactics they are using to rise to power are chilling.

I’ve tried to stay away from the news, but I can’t.   I feel compelled to watch.  I know what this compulsion is:  it’s hypervigilance, a feeling I’m very familiar with.    I no longer feel safe here in America.   I feel like America no longer stands for what it once did, and its Constitution is being undermined a little more every day.  I am terrified, and feel like I have to scan the horizon for danger all the time.    But now I finally realize how someone like Hitler was able to rise to power.  I always wondered how that could have happened.  Now I know.  Along with the horror and feelings of dissociation, is a feeling of helplessness.   It’s incredibly triggering for someone already suffering from C-PTSD — only now it’s on a nationwide, maybe a worldwide, scale.

I can’t come home anymore and just relax.  Nothing is normal anymore.   I feel this NEED TO KNOW what Trump did or said.  During the day, I feel the same undercurrent of fear and hypervigilance I felt being raised by, and then married to, abusers.    And, like being married to an abuser, I never know what to expect.    With each new day, Trump seems to be getting bolder.  His outrageous comments, executive orders, lies, and hatred seem to know no bounds.   I’m very afraid.   I don’t think it’s exaggeration to admit that as a nation, America is in deep shit.

There seems very little that can be done.  We’re careening toward civil war, the removal of any civil liberties or even the right to protest, blatant discrimination and profiling of immigrants from “targeted countries,” even the possibility of nuclear war.   Information that has been freely available to the public is now being silenced, and facts are being denied.  We have a president who truly believes climate change is a myth and ordered the removal of climate change information, smack dab in the middle of the warmest winter on record — beating even 2016, which until this year held that record.

We have a president who lies constantly, who uses Orwellian “newspeak” to his own and his supporters’ advantage,  twisting language so that “lies” are now “alternative facts” and criticism and balanced reporting is “fake news.”    There’s no need for me to list all the insane, hate filled, and untrue things Trump has said, and all the unbelievably heartless and stupid things he is attempting to do, or wants to do.  He only seems to care about keeping his false self inflated, not at all about the American people or the country he’s systematically gutting from within as he claims to “make it great” again.   He is normalizing racism, sexism, authoritarian rule, and even the use of torture on immigrants under the guise of “rejecting political correctness.”

The man’s obvious malignant narcissism makes it possible for him to obsess over the small size of the crowd at his inauguration and then lie about it, and actually have the gall to order an investigation (paid for by the taxpayers) as to why was he didn’t win the popular vote.   Wah wah!   I guess winning the presidency wasn’t enough.   The man is an emotional ticking time bomb, and we should all be very concerned right now.

But I didn’t write this as a rant against Trump.   I don’t hate him because he is a mentally ill person who should never have come within 1000 yards of the presidency.   We allowed that to happen because of our complacency and apathy — and the way we have come to worship those who attained material wealth, no matter how they attained it.     I’m writing this because I’m scared to death. I know I’m not alone.   Every day I grow more afraid.  For all its faults, I never felt unsafe in this country before.   Like everyone else, I guess I took it for granted.  There were certain things that just wouldn’t happen in America — but they are happening now. Blatant fascism is becoming the new normal.   Things that would “never happen” are now more likely to happen than not.

Nothing can be predicted anymore.  Anything could happen.  There’s a new feeling of uncertainty and foreboding–and that awful helplessness–I never felt as an American.    There’s also a surrealness, a sense of dissociation and unreality.    It’s similar to the way I felt after 9/11, only this time it’s not an isolated event; it’s something that’s actually happening and will only grow worse if a miracle doesn’t happen, and soon.  This time we aren’t being brought closer together;  it’s a paradigm shift that will tear us even further apart.    Divide and conquer, is, of course, part of a malignant narcissist’s agenda to gain even more control and power. If 9/11 caused Americans to suffer nationwide PTSD,  a Trump presidency will cause a nationwide epidemic of C-PTSD.

We are so screwed.

Don’t give them what they want.

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Martha Crawford, LCSW, tweeted a series of thoughts about the Trump administration that tell us why we shouldn’t let it make us quake in terror. I know for me, her thoughts brought me some comfort. I know a lot of people are in mourning right now, and scared for their lives. We can mourn, we SHOULD mourn, but never be afraid!

This nation is a big dysfunctional family, and the vulnerable among us — the poor, the middle class, the disabled, those suffering with mental illness, the sick, the old, the very young, people of color, Muslims, Mexicans, women, gay people, and everyone else who doesn’t fit the “straight, white, rich Christian male” image — are the scapegoats of this administration and its sociopathic, very un-Christian leader.     These scapegoats comprise almost all the “children” in this “family.”  But we are far from alone.  There are more of us than “them.”   We can and should help each other, and never let our unloving, selfish “parents” make us feel afraid or helpless.    That’s giving them what they want, and they feed off it to make themselves feel more powerful. Don’t give it to them.

Yes, the shit just got real.   But the sun will shine again.

 

*****

So, listen. He has some power.
And it’s a temporal, worldly power established on a weak foundation — filled with cracks, outbursts, and hubris.
And all the myths and fairytales and scriptures tell us what happens to these kind of leaders.
And this is true across every culture — mythological texts teach us how to survive these dark “cursed” periods and how to undo them.
I’m not saying that his power is insignificant. It will destroy many, but it is fleeting because of its own unstable composition.
This administration will fly too close to the sun, will be brought down by a boy who names the truth, will sacrifice the wrong martyr.
It will transform all those who yearn to touch it into frozen statues of gold.
Its end was already written by the cruelty and avarice, the dominance and divisiveness that they wrote in the beginning of their story.
We can read those folk tales and retell those myths so we remember how to get through.
Befriend an old wise crone who seems to be a beggar, feed a magic animal, hold tight to the blessings of our mothers.
Be kind to the point of foolishness. Tell the truths that no one else acknowledges. Be quick, be clever, be resourceful.
The end of the cursed king’s story is written at its beginning. You need to use your heart and your wits to protect yourself and others.
When we all do that, it will help to bring along the fall that is inevitable. Utterly inevitable.
It’s not if. It’s how long.
And I only know it will come sooner if we aren’t afraid. Angry, sorrowful, grief stricken, joyful, generous, compassionate, and clever.
Fear and bewilderment are the ingredients they need to keep patching holes in their instability.
Feel every feeling. But find safe and quiet spaces for your fear and bewilderment. They feed off of that when they can smell it.
Be not afraid.
Do not become bewildered.
They will destroy others and ultimately themselves.
Don’t feed them your fear.
Don’t eat the fearful poison they want you to be contaminated by, because it will possess you and strengthen them.
That is our most central psychological task through the darkness — to come to terms with fear and to shake off bewilderment.
Withhold your fear from them. Do not listen to the spell that will bewilder and confound you if you are seduced by it.
Don’t eat anything they offer! Not a single pomegranite seed, not a box of Turkish Delight. Bring your provisions with you. Wait for grace.
Be kind to all potential comrades and allies. You never know of if a wounded bird is a powerful ally under enchantment.
We know what to do.
We have been here before. This is really not unprecedented. We have enacted this story over and over and over again.
It’s a story older than the Bible, older than the printing press. Older than our ability to remember these stories of survival and justice.
Whispered into our great great grandparents ears before they fell asleep at night.
We know what to do if we listen to the stories we have told ourselves for thousands upon thousands of years.

Your fear is trying to tell you something.

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6 “useless” emotions that aren’t useless, and 2 that really are useless.

negative-emotions-crop

I get tired of positive thinking nazis  who tell you you always have to be happy and that there’s no place for “negative” emotions.   Not only is it obnoxious to wear a pasted on smile all the time even when you’re not feeling it, it’s not natural or healthy.   Of course, being a positive person who thinks positive thoughts is a good thing, but when it’s taken to ridiculous extremes (and it certainly is in my family, where “negative” emotions are not accepted or allowed) it can be soul-damaging.   Following is a list of unpopular (or “useless”) emotions that definitely have their uses (when they’re not excessive).  There are only two emotions I can think of that have no uses whatsoever, and I’ll describe those last.

1. Guilt.

My father always used to tell everyone that guilt was an unhealthy, useless emotion, but I couldn’t disagree more.   True, excessive guilt is bad for you, but the right amount of guilt separates people with a conscience from the psychopaths. I pointed out this to my father once, and he became enraged.   Hmmm, I wonder why!   The ability to feel guilt keeps us civilized and mindful of the feelings of others.

2. Sadness.

Sadness is a normal reaction to a loss.  It also connects people in those times of loss.  We have socially sanctioned rituals that promote and even encourage the expression of sadness (funerals) but otherwise, people are uncomfortable with the sadness of another and are always trying to cheer you up.   If you’re crying, people always want you to stop. Why?  Feeling sad and crying can be healing; if sadness is repressed it can lead to something much worse–depression.   People need to just shut up and let you be sad and cry if that’s what you need to do.

3. Anger.

There are times it’s appropriate to be angry.    Anger, though toxic both to yourself and others when excessive,  helps you survive.  If you feel threatened or feel that someone close to you is threatened, you are going to fight back.  The only other survival option is to flee (which I’ll talk about next).   Otherwise you’re just going to stand there and let yourself or your loved ones get attacked or treated badly.    Excessive anger, of course, leads to hatred, and hatred is not only useless, it’s dangerous to the soul.

4. Fear.

If you can’t fight (sometimes you can’t), you can flee danger.   Like anger, fear is a survival emotion.   It can be excessive, leading to anxiety disorders, but fear in normal doses is both healthy and appropriate reactions to danger.   It’s important to distinguish whether it’s better to flee (fear) or to fight (anger).

5. Jealousy.

I’m not talking about envy here, an emotion often confused with jealousy.  But they are not the same.   Jealousy refers to the fear that someone is taking something you love away from you; envy refers to wanting what someone else has.  There are similarities though. Both are bitter, painful emotions, hard to deal with.  Sometimes they lead to people attacking the object of their jealousy or envy to “even the score.”   But jealousy has its place.   It’s another survival emotion, similar to anger mixed with fear, that warns you that something that belongs to you is in danger of being taken away.   The problem is jealousy often crops up when there is no real danger of that happening, and that leads to all kinds of problems.  Excessive jealousy can be problematic too.

6. Envy.

I hesitated to put envy here, because on the surface it really doesn’t seem to have any useful purpose.  I almost put it as one of the “useless” emotions I’ll be describing last.  But envy does have one useful aspect.  If it’s not excessive, it can be a motivator, making you take action to improve your own circumstances.   When it’s used that way, it’s really more akin to admiration than envy.   The problem with envy is it can so often turn so bitter that it saps all your energy and lowers your self esteem, making you LESS likely to improve your circumstances or achieve the things you want.

The Two Emotions That Really Are Useless.  

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1. Worry.

I heard a great saying once:  “Worry is useless because if what you dread comes to pass, then you’ve lived through it twice; if it never happens, then your worry was in vain.”  I took those words to heart because of how true they are.   Worry is absolutely useless.  If faced with a potentially bad or dangerous situation, worry won’t help you.  If something can be done to prevent the situation from happening, taking action will help,  and once you take action, then there’s nothing more to worry about.   If there’s no action you can take, then worrying about it is a waste of time.  Better to plan how you will deal with it when it happens, than to sit around wringing your hands, pulling out your hair, and making yourself sick over it.

2. Shame.

Shame must be distinguished here from guilt.  Guilt refers to something you did, while shame refers to the person you are.  Guilt is useful because without it, there would be no apologies or amend-making for bad behavior.   People would just go around doing whatever they want, regardless of how it makes others feel.   Shame, on the other hand, is useless because it means feeling sorry not for something you did, but for who you are.  If you were the family scapegoat, then you were the receptacle for all the family shame, and were made to feel like you’re worthless and don’t deserve to live.    Shame is the one emotion that is at the core of all the personality disorders and every case of complex PTSD generated by familial abuse.  It’s incredibly toxic–probably the most toxic emotion there is, and it has about as much usefulness as a bicycle does for a fish.

For more about shame vs. guilt, please read Carrie Musgrove’s article about the important distinctions.

Letting go of fear.

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Sometimes I have funny thoughts when I’m just lying on my bed half asleep. It’s at those times my subconscious mind sometimes bubbles into consciousness (which makes the half asleep state similar to meditation). Anyway, the thought I had was simple and profound. I was just lying there with random thoughts drifting through my head, and thinking about how “small” my life is, how little I have both materially and emotionally. But it wasn’t self pity, it was just an observation of reality. Suddenly another thought bubbled into awareness: you only get what you put out.

“You only get what you put out.” Suddenly I was wide awake and almost shocked by the simplicity of this message. I thought about how little I put into anything–I have very little interest in most things, don’t join anything, don’t take any action, don’t reach out to people, don’t look for new opportunities (or even recognize them when they are staring me in the face), always make excuses, always allow things to just “happen.” And then I wonder why I feel like life controls me, rather than the other way around. I realized that my life isn’t *horrible* really (many people have it much worse), it’s just extremely unsatisfying and seems empty and devoid of any color or life. That’s because I approach it with very little enthusiasm and don’t want to make the effort to take on more or reach out to other people.

And why is this? It’s because of fear. I’m afraid of..everything. To let go of fear, somehow..and replace that fear with love…that’s the remedy for all my problems.
To become comfortable with myself and allow vulnerability into the equation requires letting go of fear. Recognizing and embracing vulnerability is the most courageous thing any of us trapped by fear and its outer trappings (narcissism, irrational anger, avoidance, all the personality disorders, etc.) will ever have to do. But it’s the only way.

It sounds easy…but it’s not. Letting go of fear is the hardest thing I’ll ever have to do. I’m used to it. I’ve had it all my life. I don’t know how to live without it. It’s a dysfunctional relationship, the one I have with fear, and I’m codependent to it.

Fear breeds narcissism; the antidote is vulnerability.

I think this article applies to anyone trying to heal from any personality disorder, PTSD, or the fallout of narcissistic abuse, so I’m posting it here too.

I’m scared.

I might be about to commit blog suicide but I have to do what’s right regardless of the fallout. Yikes. Not quite ready but almost. Deep breaths.

Worry: the useless emotion.

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In recent years, several emotions have been called out as unhealthy or maladaptive for human happiness. These emotions are worry, shame and guilt. In a narcissistic society where selfishness is held as a virtue, these three emotions are indeed maladaptive, especially shame and guilt. But shame and guilt keep us civilized. They keep us from doing bad things to others and they are the reason we have laws such as not murdering someone we don’t like. Shame and guilt (when appropriate, of course) have a pro-social function and are the inner brakes that keep us from hurting others or making restitution if we have. A car with no brakes is a dangerous thing. So is a human being. Shame and guilt are only “bad” when they’re excessive or unnecessary. But a person without the ability to ever feel shame and guilt is a sociopath with no conscience and without the ability to feel empathy for others, not a proper human being.

Worry is a different ball of wax. I can’t think of any good reasons for worry to exist. I’m one of those people who worry all the time, about everything. It’s not a fun emotion and is a huge damper to happiness. Worry is related to fear, but is a little different. Fear has its proper place. It keeps us from being harmed or killed. If we are walking in the woods and a bear blocks our path, it would be stupid to try to reason with the bear or fight it. We feel fear instead, which causes us to run or back away. If we meet a person who gives us the willies, fear is a natural response that keeps us from becoming that person’s victim. We learn to avoid that person. Fear is a survival emotion.

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Worry is a kind of fear that isn’t set on the here and now. It’s set on what might happen in the future or sometimes what happened in the past. It causes a person to ruminate excessively and not be able to enjoy what’s taking place right then and there, because they’re too focused on nonexistent events or events that have already taken place and can’t be undone. If you worry constantly about losing your job, that will usually cause you to act less confident and make more mistakes and can even bring on the event you fear the most. If you worry your mate might leave you, your worry causes you to act clingy and possessive, and they could feel smothered and actually leave you. Worrying over things you have no control over is just, well, stupid.

Sometimes people worry about things that have already occurred too. If you snapped at your girlfriend for no reason, you might worry about that because you’re afraid they might leave you. Guilt–not worry–would be appropriate in a situation like this. Guilt will make you apologize to your girlfriend, after which you both feel relief. Worry will do nothing except make you obsess and ruminate over your mistake. Rather than act as an impetus to action or a motivation to correct your mistakes, worry over past events causes you to turn inward and beat yourself up without taking any action.

Some people are addicted to worry though, and go through life imagining the worst things imaginable. It’s impossible to be happy constantly believing the world is a dangerous place full of landmines and booby traps. I have no idea why so many people are addicted to worry, because it’s not a drug that has a pleasant high. It can even kill you because it causes excessive stress which is hard on your body and can lead to illness. I think worry was pounded into those of us who were victimized by narcissists because we lack confidence in our own ability to control the events in our lives. We believe we have no more control over things than a leaf blowing in the wind. But that’s another lie they tell us.

There are a couple of sayings I’ve heard about worry that sum it up pretty well and made me realize just how useless this emotion is.

1. Worrying about something is like paying interest on a debt you never owed.
2. Worry is useless because if the event you fear never happens, you lived through it for nothing; and if the event does happen, you lived through it twice.

Raw nerve.

everything_is_fine

Over the past few days I have been extremely anxious, even panicky. I can’t focus enough to write anything or do much of anything else either. I really have no idea why or what might have triggered it.

Last night instead of writing anything, I poked around on nostalgia sites, reminiscing about the things of my childhood, particularly the snack food. My childhood was terrible, but I have fond memories of the various sugary and salty foods I ate (why in %$#& did Buitoni ever stop making those awful but delicious toaster pizzas? Where’s a chalky, non-chewy Giant Sweet-Tart when you need one?) and the toys I played with (those over 45 or 50 or so will remember that Fuzzy Wuzzy soap that grew “hair” just like a Chia pet and had a small but high quality prize inside). These memories bring me a measure of comfort. Things seemed so much simpler before everything started going to hell about 30 years ago and hearts began to harden and greed became good because a movie character named Gordon Gecko said so. Life has just become way too complicated and stressful for someone like me (although I couldn’t live without the Internet, which for someone like me is the best thing that could ever have happened).

Sometimes I feel like I just can’t cope anymore. I’m so tired. I’m getting old. I have too many unresolved psychological issues. I worry about the future constantly. I have a pervasive feeling of nameless dread, as if something terrible is about to happen.

I don’t know where these feelings come from or what might have triggered them, but I feel like a raw nerve and even at work have been jumpy, quick to take offense to everything, and paranoid. I have too many disorders to function well at a job for any length of time, especially when it comes to dealing with others. Sometimes I just wish I could go off by myself and live as a hermit, never having to deal with anyone, but for that you need money and I have no money. I’m caught in a no-win situation.

The job might be part of the problem. I’m burned out; I hate my job. There. I said it. I hate the politics at work, and the favoritism. I’m not a favorite. I have never been a favorite at any job. I can’t play the game; I have never been able to play the game. I wish I didn’t have to work, or could just write and make a living that way. But I can’t, not yet anyway. I don’t want to look for a new job because I know it will be as crappy as the one I have, that I’ll still be forced to deal with people I dislike and who dislike me just as much. I’ll still feel like the odd one out, the employee who is most expendable and always overlooked. I’m so ill suited for the service industry but I can’t get my foot in the door for anything else. I burned all my bridges a long time ago, and now I’m well past 50 and it’s too late to start over in an employment situation or going back to school. My only hope left is to become a professional writer.

The DBT and self-soothing tools I normally use to focus and center are not working. My thoughts are racing and my hands are shaking. My sleep has been fitful. Maybe it’s the heat but I think it’s more than that. I feel like my head will explode. I don’t know what’s really going on with me right now. I need to find a good therapist. I need to be in a relationship but am too scared. I need to write more.

One thing that might be contributing to my high anxiety is caffeine. I’m addicted to coffee. I’m craving some right now, but I don’t think I should make any. I might have to cut down on my favorite beverage–a prospect which itself causes me anxiety.

I spend most of my free time holed up inside the house on this laptop, which is fine when I’m actually being productive, but last night all I did was poke around on random nostalgia sites and Facebook and wrote absolutely nothing. And then felt guilty about it.

I know what I need to do is go out, do something outside the house, get off the computer, but I don’t have the motivation.

Finally I got the idea to just write about my panic-stricken state. After all, this blog was intended to be my therapy, so what have I got to lose?