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AsktheAges

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  1. 3.5 years later and I broke something last night.:( The same partner has become quite disabled over the last few years and has had a grab bar installed for support in the bathroom. (I left a good job and moved back here in the summer to help her so I want to care for her and help her, not make things harder.) Last night, when I was exhausted, unhappy, and stressed, I was experiencing an episode of angry rumination in the bathroom and grabbed onto this thing hard; I ended up pulling it out of the wall, ripping the wall open in the process. I feel truly horrible: it is fixable but I damaged an accommodation she needs and uses. She was furious and said she doesn't know what to do about my not being able to control this. She feels that if something gets damaged when I am ruminating, it is usually hers. (Idk if that is entirely true, honestly. I have injured myself at least twice.) Still, I've been to so many therapists and have such a huge toolkit now; why can't I stop for good??
  2. Very recently, I realized that what I experience seems like the 'pure O' type of OCD. The angry ruminative thoughts are essentially purely mental compulsions triggered by a 'spike': an initial obsessive thought. Based on what I've read, thought stopping is counterproductive. What is helping more is actually allowing some mental space for the obsessive thought, the 'spike', and allowing myself to reflect on it for a moment when it arrives, but trying to do so without comparing the memory to an ideal situation. Since realizing this, reading more, and trying this new-ish approach, I have been experiencing some real improvement.
  3. Is it possible for me to hold onto both my career and my relationship?
  4. I have tried a few SSRIs as well as Remeron. The side effects of all of them were intolerable for me, and none really put an end to the problem tbh. I'm taking a very low dose of Buspar, which helps a little with anxiety.
  5. I have moved a lot but it is always stressful. I was feeling some of this sort of sadness when I was packing up my last apartment: "have created magical memories there". Even though I'd only been there a year, I lived there with the person who is now my fiancée so it was very important to us. If you've always lived somewhere, I imagine this might be an even stronger feeling.
  6. Last night, my wonderful current girlfriend (not the same one mentioned above) told me that she is not in love with the part of me that ruminates angrily and e.g. yells out loud to myself in the bathroom (which happened last night). This part of me hurts myself and terrifies her. She said she felt terrified, let down, angry, and cold when she heard me last night. I've been attending an anger management class, I've had years of counselling, I've tried different strategies. I use crisis lines. I feel like I'm better than I used to be but I'm not sure what I can do to ensure that this won't happen again. This seems like a crisis point. I don't want to keep letting her down and losing her. I used to break things around the house or strike myself. I haven't done the former in several months but I've done the latter more recently.
  7. In part, financial realities. Once my contract ends at the end of the semester, I don't have a regular paycheque anymore (aside from private teaching, which is not enough in itself). So it makes sense to save while I can. Generally, I really appreciate your post. It makes sense and I will try to give myself more of a break. Thanks.
  8. Sorry if the tone came off wrong there. I do appreciate your comments and find them sensible.
  9. I have a PhD. You don't get this without specializing in something you love and are good at. However, at least until you get a tenured gig, you do often need to teach subjects that are related but not exactly in your direct area of specialization: they are subjects that I enjoy but that also take more prep time than something I have taught multiple times before. On the whole, I am glad to be teaching in a field that I am passionate about and that I really had to fight to be able to study but the when combined with all the other things I need to do, the day-to-day reality of it can be stressful and overwhelming. In a way, this adds another layer of pressure: this is what I chose to do, this is what I fought for; I can't let myself down (and e.g. show my Dad he was right etc.); I shouldn't find it difficult or fail or even be mediocre because this is what I want to do. I am definitely taking on too much work to handle but I don't feel that I have a choice, given the reality of the competition in the academic or artistic job markets.
  10. So last semester was sort of blissful for me: I had moved back to the city I grew up in and found a very cheap place and minimized my expenses by not driving. I just taught one course at the uni here, and one that posed no real challenges for me. Between this and some private teaching, I made enough (to be comfortable by my standards). I started dating someone I'm really crazy about. I really felt that all the work I'd put in on teaching, public speaking, and time management skills in my last city/workplace was paying off. This semester, everything seems hard. My girl has been overseas and I'm teaching two courses that are tougher for me, which I'm struggling to balance with MORE private teaching and other professional creative work that actually needs to be presented and/or completed by hard deadlines. I thought that by my sixth year of teaching, this would be manageable but it really feels like a struggle. One course is a subject I have not taught in 5 years and not one that I specialize in. The other is an upper-year course in an area where I am strong but I have not taught this particular course before: it is a challenge. I know that to be really effective, I would have to put a lot of time into these courses but I never feel like I have that time. I can see myself that my public speaking skills have been backsliding, that I am stuttering and jittery. While student work has been mostly good so far and their behaviour has been fine, I was getting some frustrated feedback recently from one class. I created an online survey for everyone to give me feedback: there have been some really brutal responses so far. (Some good ones too.) I actually didn’t know that I was coming off as “incredibly uptight and abrasive” or “demeaning and rude” as some are saying I do. There has been some really constructive, thoughtful feedback too, suggesting ways that I could make the course more critical and engaging: I feel like I would need to put much more time in to do this, though! I saw a teaching expert today. He did have some good suggestions and encouragement. I think I can probably still make some improvements in the second half of the term. I just feel so overwhelmed by it all, don’t know how I’ll get it all done when I’m mostly just feel like I’m managing to hang on by the skin of my teeth. And the thing is, while the teaching expert actually thought it sounded like I’d taken on more than one person could handle, this just seems like the basic minimum I need to do to remain competitive for permanent f/t jobs (and also pay all my bills). I don’t even know the way out. I’m at the point where my gf who just got back into the country called and while I was listening and chatting, I was also waiting for the call to end so I could try to cross one or two more items off my to-do list for the day before she gets to my place.:( (The truth is that because I’m so stressed out most of the time, I actually end up wasting quite a bit of time because I feel like I need to waste time online or watch TV or something to relieve the stress. Plus, I get so distracted because I’m stressed. I don’t know that anyone has any answers to my problems. I guess I’m looking to vent and maybe get some sympathy and encouragement, I dunno. If people do have ideas on ways to approach these things, they would def be appreciated.
  11. sigh I just talked to my Mum. I feel that she revised what she said earlier. Now she says that my sister also recognized that I'll be happy when the child is actually born, that I did provide reasonable support, that it is not just my responsibility to care for my sister at this time. Everything she said now seemed so reasonable and fair and very different from what she said earlier. She says she doesn't remember exactly how she phrased things earlier and that maybe she was stressed at the time or something. Now when she does this (or I feel that she does this?), it makes me start questioning my own understanding of the situation. Practically drove me insane when I was young and still lived at home.
  12. Thanks. I actually never looked at it that way but it makes sense and helps a lot! And it's true that I wasn't rude or cold to her or anything: I did ask about how she was doing and how she was feeling, did say I was happy for her. Sometimes it also just takes a while for things to really register emotionally for me: it might not have been totally fair to myself for me to attribute it to the grudges that I carry. And hearing the news, especially so early on, is very different from actually e.g. holding the baby. (I know that I will feel something at that point!) Plus, there are more reasons for me to feel ambivalent than just petty personal resentments: for one thing, when we're still in the earliest stages, there are still risks, although one doesn't want to think about it. Having a potential new member in the family is a big thing and I was also feeling a little unsure about whether I'd be good with a small child, to be honest, was not totally sure what kind of role I'd have in its life, what I'd need to do. And actually, this is helping me realize that one reason why I harbour grudges against my mother and to some extent my sister is that I do feel emotionally blackmailed much of the time. My mother told me that it is my job to make sure that my sister is happy during her pregnancy because a mother's unhappiness at this time can affect the baby's development. And I think you're right that this probably is a lot to ask from a brother (who lives hundreds of kilometres away anyway). (Yes, the pregnancy was planned and she has a great husband.)
  13. Last weekend, my sister told me that she is pregnant and I will be an uncle later this year, if all goes as planned. This would probably be a momentous announcement for most people. I congratulated her but did not react that strongly. When asked, I was honest that I was not sure how I felt. My Mum told me today that my sister had almost cried to her afterwards that I did not seem happier and did not even seem that interested (and I don't know if I am; I have barely thought about it until today). I harbour a great deal of ruminating anger and resentment towards my sister. This causes me to feel somewhat disconnected from her, although she still seems to feel very attached to me. I'm not even sure why, honestly. (She told me about this news before telling our parents.) I can recognize that she has not been abusive or especially terrible to me so I am not totally sure why I feel this way. I often find her condescending, although she is younger. I feel that she is dismissive of my opinions, that she treats me like I am arrogant, foolish, and self-centred when it is unjustified. In the past, she has said a number of insulting things that still grate. I feel that she pointlessly contradicts me just to score points, that she makes highly contentious statements and then shuts me down when I disagree respectfully. I do not feel able to engage in a discussion with her like two adults. (Perhaps she does some of these things because she had to always hear from my parents about how smart I was when we were growing up.) And feeling this way causes me to brood and seethe with intense anger and hatred and has for far too many years, even though we do still interact. I basically cut her off for a while about 5 years ago - and she really did change some of her behaviours afterwards. She does really make an effort to maintain a relationship with me, although I never really feel like all of these things change enough. I am not even sure at this point what I should feel. My Mum basically told me that it was foolish to act this way, that as an older brother, I am responsible for her well-being as well as her baby's, that I really need to consider whether my reasons for resenting her are more significant than this. I guess that I will try to think these things through logically. It's hard to separate my basic emotions though.
  14. I think I realised what one factor is that leads me to these states of extreme angry rumination: they come when I fight or resist or otherwise feel like I cannot or should not think/feel my initial angry thoughts and feelings! Then it's like the angry thoughts feel like they really need to struggle to assert themselves or something. When I instead just think "OK, I do feel anger and hatred towards this person for this reason - and I have every right to do so; there is nothing wrong with how I feel", the feeling is just another passing emotion. It seems much less powerful and all-consuming. It is then much easier to either consider the issue fairly or just allow the feeling to pass.
  15. That actually helps me see just how unproductive my obsessive rumination is, how much better off I am not focusing on it!
  16. Looking over this, I don't feel like I've progressed very much in 2 years, despite everything I've done in therapy.
  17. Ugh, I did this again today. Before I got there, I was actually thinking "what would the crisis worker tell me to do?", thought they would tell me to let off some steam by running, and was putting on my shoes to go to the gym when I just struck out at the wall. I called crisis lines after getting back from the gym. One just told me about how I need to distract myself, how I shouldn't dwell on things from the past, and about how I need to make an appointment with my counsellor. The other actually listened to me vent, which was what I really needed. I think if I felt like I might have had someone who would do that in the first place, I would have called in before I got to the point where I punched a wall.
  18. I'll bite: why is necessary to make absolute statements that I should never contact her again or that we will never get back together? I get why it's not good to dwell but it happens all the time that couples do reconnect and sometimes get back together, sometimes happily, sometimes not.
  19. Duke Ellington - The Ultimate Collection ("Ko-Ko" at this moment)
  20. Hm, are you mainly interested in this woman because she is interested in you rather than because you are actually really attracted to her? Would you prefer a platonic friendship with her? Just throwing out ideas based on your post. I have no experience with this but I've seen this site recommended for help with social skills: http://www.succeedsocially.com/ Maybe it could be of use? I can't say myself tbh.
  21. I sometimes did that with my last serious gf and I also felt bad about it. Maybe it has more to do with being men than with art school, I dunno? Maybe I just did need to have more experiences with other women who looked different from her. Now that I've had a casual low-maintenace relationship that involved great sex with a very traditionally attractive (but very flaky) woman, I almost feel like I might be more ready to have a more lasting and serious adult relationship? (I'm certainly not recommending that you break up with your gf to do this though, to be clear! Just musing) Do you find your gf attractive, in any case? When you say you envy other people, do you mean that you envy their appearance? In the end, you have a right to have your own thoughts and feelings, whatever they are. I don't know that you need to beat yourself up over thoughts, unless they are extremely intrusive or obsessive.
  22. I also see how when we started dating, she was a mess about some things: pretty disorganized with her life, extremely messy, not so great at cooking or staying in shape. I helped her with some of these life skills and we both liked that: she liked having a bf she could look up to; I liked having someone look up to me. As she got better with these things and actually became settled in a career before I did, she did not need this help anymore. Unfortunately, I think I missed that a bit. I did not entirely know what my role was anymore.
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