Attachment Style Renovations

c/w self-harm, anxiety, violence

Hello, my loves! What a week it has been. Apparently, COVID-19 is over because everyone decided it is and the rules no longer matter and fires are dominating our land and TikTok is where I get the most news. Oh, and people are getting sterilized WITHOUT THEIR CONSENT because that’s a thing we do here in the great ol’ U.S. of A. It is a lot. I hope as you are reading this you are doing something to take care of yourselves in these unprecidented *rolls eyes* times.

I legitimately had a moment yesterday where I was convinced the world was ending. I started to get sweaty palms as I looked up into the not quite clear skies in the east coast that have been penetrated by the smoke from the west coast. Isn’t this how all those movies start? The ones where the world is ending? 2020 is like 4 of those end of the world movies all smashed together in one. I hope it gets nominated for some sort of an award because this year has really outdone itself.

My anxiety has been all over the place in the last week. As my depression has essentially been non-existent my mind is like, “well we need some sort of mental health predicament, don’t we?” Kind of rude, but whatever. Hence that whole ‘the world is ending’ thing. My anxiety, unlike my depression, is a ball of energy that needs to escape in some way, and it needs to escape as soon as it decides. Some may say it is too fast, too furious. Not to be confused with the 2003 film, starring Paul Walker, R.I.P. Most often it escapes through picking aka excoriation. If you had seen me this week, perhaps you noticed the welts or scars on my shoulders, chest, and face. This is my anxiety escaping. I don’t tap, I don’t click pens, I don’t bounce my knee. Instead, I turn my energy against myself, which, really, is a form of self harm.

It is sometimes unconscious and subtle and I have to ask people to hit me to get me to stop, while other times it is fully intentional and painful. There are a lot of reasons to be anxious right now re: the world ending. However, the thing that has me most anxious currently is a new relationship. It sounds so ridiculous typing it out. I know, rationally, that there are much bigger things to focus on, but distractions are a great way to get through some of the difficulties in life and I am welcoming this distraction with open arms. Plus, this blog is about my life and this is a big thing in my life.

New relationships often make me anxious, but this time it is in a different way. See, there has been a lot of bad people in the past; harmful, painful, brutal, made-me-suicidal relationships. This person feels different. He makes me feel safe and not in a way that is overbearing, but in the way that I can say I’m upset about x, y, z and he will say “okay, let’s work through it.” Hold up, you’re telling me I can just talk about my feelings and I won’t be made to feel like an insane person? What is this magic?

All of this sounds wonderful and grand. Except for the fact that because I am not used to it my anxious brain is like there is a catch and you need to protect yourself and he is going to destroy your life and we should probably eat everything in the fridge and make your skin bleed… for protection, of course. That part of my brain really is something. She can create the wildest scenarios anytime, anywhere. It is really impressive. The other day she was like “what if he actually is a murderer and is just waiting for the right moment to get you alone.” Like damn, dude… calm down. Next level kind of shit. I know this is all to protect me, so I let the thoughts in and digest them. I just need to work on not letting them take over.

Because the other message that it is sending is an old favorite- I don’t deserve good love. My attachment style- fearful avoidant- isn’t a very healthy one and tends to perpetuate that message. I operate a lot out of attachment theory when it comes to my work with clients, and like to practice what I preach. Attachment theory explores how we relate to others through the way we learned to relate to people as children. It poses that we carry those styles into adulthood and often replicate/perpetuate them. When we know our attachment style, we can better understand how we act in relationships (both platonic and not) and, hopefully, avoid recreating unhealthy attachments. #breakthecycle As someone who is fearful avoidant I typically want to be close to people, but am also terrified of being hurt and therefor try to avoid it. This can result in some really wonderful self-sabotage.

Earlier this month I talked about listening to my gut when it came to ending a relationship and I want to do the same in wanting to grow a relationship. Despite my anxious brain, my gut is telling me that this person is a good person. So, whether he is in my life for a month or for a long time, I want to accept that I deserve to have good people in my life. So, how am I working through all these feelings and desires of running away? Mostly by talking about it.

Every time I feel myself pushing him away, I vocalize it. If it is out there, there is no hiding from it. I can’t just melt into the feeling and let it take over. There is no rationalizing with it and justifying it. There is only reality testing it. This is the way we work through the hard things. We release them into the world and let them be heard. My anxiety has taught me this lesson. The feelings that live in our bodies will come out, and if we don’t let them out they will break out in ways we didn’t agree to.

The best part about working on this, is that he is so open to it! *Spoiler alert* he is also a therapist. My gut is telling me that it’s a great (healthy) sign that he is good at communication. My anxious brain probably won’t trust him for a little bit, but we’ll keep talking it out like mature adults do until she feels safe.

So, for this week, maybe we could try voicing how we feel. When you’re sitting with your significant other try letting them know if you are upset or even if you are happy. If you’re roommate just did something that didn’t feel good, let ’em know. If your dog is the goodest baby in the whole world, please, for the love of Beyoncé, tell them that. I think you might find that it will feel good to say how you are feeling and you’re body won’t be holding all of these things that it needs to release.

And as always, if you’re like ‘nah, I like my emotions right where I keep them buried’ you do you, booboo.

A[wo]men

falling in love

is easy,

like lazy afternoons.

being in love

takes work,

like building

your dream home,

from the ground up.

-attachment style renovations

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