Sorry, this post might be a little overwhelming since I see a couple subjects in your posts I wanted to address. Of course feel free to skip over anything irrelevant or that you just plain don't want to talk about (or even just let me know if this is too many people in your thread and you'd like me to back out).
BuddyBoi21 wrote:When I was writing this thread, I was relapsing into an old unhealthy coping skill. I was emotionally shutting down and numbing my feelings because I didn't want to feel anything pertaining to feeling lonely in reference to my romantic feelings. Especially since prior I ended up venting to one of my friends who viewed my feelings and views as codependent.
That being said I was able to ground myself eventually.
I'm glad you were able to ground yourself! That's great. =) Was it very difficult to realize you were dropping back into an unhealthy coping skill? Have you talked about with your therapist/do you have strategies you practice for catching when this happens so it's easier to recognize and therefore confront it? For example, mindfulness can help us stay aware of patterns like this. Of course it's not easy to just stop the behavior but recognizing it sure does make it easier to address it!
I had the mindset that I must be 100% independent and capable of taking care of myself, a mindset my therapist deemed extremely unrealistic and counterproductive in trying to date.
I would argue that this is an unrealistic and counterproductive mindset for life in general. From relying to the power company to keep us connected and able to do things like cook to the grocery store to stocking food for us to consume from pets and friends and family for an emotional connection to others, we rely on many people and structures that we not even really think about on the day to day. I'm interested by the way you stated this as an observation by your therapist, though. Do you disagree with this statement? Do you see your therapist's point in theory even if not in practice?
I'm 21, a full time student, involved in organizations on campus, starting a new job and try to put some time into my hobbies.
I try my best with procrastination but at this point it feels more like I'm overwhelmed with my schedule and experiencing burn out. As mentioned before I do a lot and don't schedule much time for myself. It's getting/gotten to points where whatever little free time I do have I end up just doing nothing for as long as I can. I currently do implement the habits you've suggested though.
Based on these, I'd say this rings quite true:
My therapist, my closest friends and my family all note that I tend over exert myself with "work" of any kind and don't allow myself to "play" or enjoy different aspects of life and socializing (dating included). That last part is something my therapist has been consistently concerned about for quite some time since I've more openly acknowledged my desire for a genuine romantic relationship over casual sex.
Have you thought about doing school part-time (or at least trying to cut back on how many credit hours you're taking a semester) and/or limiting the amount of organizations you're involved with on campus? What immediate reaction does the thought of taking these actions like spark for you?
I know different people enjoy and desire different levels of "busy-ness" but no time for your friends, not a lot of time for hobbies, feeling overwhelmed, experiencing burnout, and spending all your free time just doing nothing are all very clear signs that you're taking too much on!
I've done college twice and I didn't even work during the school years (well, grad school I was technically working either as a teaching or research assistant, but it's a bit different from taking on a separate job like you likely are). I know
how busy and stressful school can be. I know that sometimes you feel like you just need to power through the next semester or few semesters, but you have
to take the steps necessary for yourself to take care of your physical and mental health. And overloading yourself while adding more to your plate isn't going to help your physical or mental health!
I don't really know exactly how to deal with shutting down aside from "phoning a friend" or trying to distract from it. Usually I just try to find a healthy outlet for this but I haven't had an intense shutdown like this in a long time.
Maybe you haven't because it's not something that's been relevant for you for a while, but have you brought this up to your therapist and discussed strategies you could implement/try? With how much you have on your plate right now, there's a good chance that shutting down could become more intense and more common for you, especially if you don't take proactive steps towards addressing it. Sorry if this sounds pushy or aggressive or judgemental! I certainly don't mean it that way - I'm honestly just really worried about you. =(
Phoning a friend is great, as is distraction, honestly. Have you ever tried guided meditation or do you have any grounding practices? These might be useful for redirecting your thoughts and helping to keep you present.
You might be too busy to go out for a hike (or otherwise not like hiking), but are there any garden-y or natural spots around campus or wherever you live (for when it's warm enough)? A tree you could sit under? A pond to visit? Something that really helps me when I'm getting too depressed and anxious and frazzled and disconnected and numb, is going for a hike and just getting to be in nature for a while. It's honestly just so refreshing. I can breathe outside air, listen to nature sounds, and... the feeling of re-centering that just spending some time in nature brings to me is honestly so difficult to describe. It almost feels like... a rebirth, honestly.
Finally, I just wanna sympathize with you. I'm so sorry for everything you've been through and are struggling with. Trauma is so hard. Neurodivergency can be so hard. It's okay if you're struggling right now. Even when you're making uphill progress, it's natural to stall or slip backwards sometimes. I know that doesn't make it feel any better, but honestly, it sounds like you are doing and are trying to do a lot of good things for yourself and that you've spent a lot of time working on sussing out what it is you want and need for yourself, and that's all great
work. I do hope you're finding ways to give yourself a break. Please make sure that you're eating, drinking, and sleeping enough. Not doing enough of any of these things can really compound feelings and struggles as well as bring down your health, and right now, it sounds like self-care is something that would be a good idea to pay particular attention to. <3