Monday, February 16, 2009

How can I not love them?

This is a short video I took the other day with my cell phone. My preschool class slipping and sliding around on the ice and having a ball! (The girl who comes up to me and tells me her hat keeps falling off is a kid I have a very close bond with.)

Penguini (aka Miss Annie)

Saturday, February 14, 2009


I figured it was about time I wrote something else, regardless of how brief it might be, to put up since my last blogging was pretty depressing. First let me say that that previous blog entry reflects a lot that I often don't verbalize or write about, especially in any kind of venue where many people can read it. It therefore may have shocked some people because I often seem like a very upbeat, optimistic person who doesn't let anything really get to me. And in some ways I am that person.

But in many ways I think that is a persona I put on for the sake of others (and to an extent for myself) to make things easier. It's my survival technique, I guess. Well, one of them. It is easier to go about my life if people see me as okay with everything because then they are less likely to overstep their bounds and hover or go in the opposite direction and run away, thinking I'm just too much to deal with and too intense. And I try not to let things get to me. But it's inevitable that things will catch up with me and, sooner or later, I will have trouble dealing with it all and just need to shut down for a while. When this happens, I have to become even more introverted and usually isolate myself because it takes everything I have just to deal with myself, I can't spend any energy dealing with other people. I guess in a way I have to be selfish for a while. To the outside world it might look like I'm spiraling downward into a pit of despair, but it's another one of my survival mechanisms. I guess I've developed quite a few since I've been dealing with all of this for more than a decade.

I guess what I want to say more than anything else here is that somehow I always get through what I have to get through. I survive, plain and simple. I don't want to live my life in survival mode all the time because that isn't really living. But sometimes it takes everything I have to make it through the next day, hour, or minute and all I can do is go through the motions until things get easier. I don't need people to hover around me, afraid I might break if they turn away for a minute and leave me on my own. But often this is the opposite of what I need. I handle things best when I have my space. It's really only when I'm feeling relatively well that I can really handle interacting with people, especially people who, as well-meaning as they might be, cross the boundaries that I try hard to lay down without having to specifically state them.

And when I'm not feeling well and find it hard enough to just deal with and take care of myself, it feels like a seemingly impossible task to deal with "healthy" people who just don't get it. This isn't all "healthy" people, there are some I can handle in small doses, but so many people either don't get it at all or, even worse, think they get it and can't understand why you don't jump at their suggestions of how to make yourself better. I guess right now I feel a little bit between two worlds - the "healthy" and "sick" worlds. But it's a lot easier for me to relate to those who are, or have been, seriously or chronically ill. In many ways I feel like that world is and always will be much more my home.

The problem is that it is unfortunately a home that exists for me online more than physically around me. So I have to settle for e-mailing, IMing, posting on message boards, and interacting with some of my best friends without seeing them in person more than once every few months, if that often. I'm okay with that, although I wish it was different and I could live in a community with others who understand what it's like to be a young adult dealing with somewhat unusual circumstances. I would be even more okay with it if those physically around me (and I'm mainly talking about non-family members) understood that I am living the best I can and their suggestions, while good-intentioned, are for the most part completely unhelpful and can even be hurtful because I feel I am being judged. (Those of you aware of a recent situation may know what (and who) I'm getting at with this.)

So if you are one of the people that I see on a regular basis and I seem to be struggling more than usual, please recognize that I'm dealing with things the best that I can and allow me to go into survival mode for as long as I need to. Often the more people push, trying to get in and find out what's wrong, the more I withdraw and it ends up backfiring. Try to recognize the boundaries I draw in the sand and give me that space to do what I need to do. Eventually things get a bit easier and I can come out of survival mode, at least for a while. And if you know someone who is in a situation similar to mine, please refrain from offering advice unless they ask for it. I guess I can't really speak for others, but I know I'm not alone in feeling that unasked for advice is frustrating to deal with. Trust that we do what we can and we (usually) know where we have to draw the line. We survive. And hopefully we get to throw in some real living every now and then.