September 2019
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learning from dating Kylei, 5 years later: tools for managing my anxiety w terrible memory & ADD

icon: "ADD-PI (two electromicroscope photos of crystallized acetylcholine, overlaid & warped in several ways)"

As my ADD has gotten more unmanageable and my memory has gotten worse at the same time my anxiety has risen to disorder levels, I find that I am needing a lot of the same tools I helped Kylei create when we were together (or tools I thought of back then).

I started a reassurance book for the worries that crop up over and over: for instance, feeling like Topaz doesn't value being immersed in me-ness and therefore doesn't want come to my house. In reality they are allergic, but I forget all the ramifications of that when I'm in the grip of anxiety. I wrote down all the reasons in clear, bold phrases so that I could re-read them and reassure myself rather than asking Topaz to reassure me of the same thing again. I actually can't remember, so the same things will give me relief every time I am reminded.

I am keeping this little book in my purple bag that I carry everywhere. Anytime I have a conflict where I am feeling unvalued, I'm going to write down whatever reassurances the person gives me. Anytime I'm feeling unvalued, I will check my book before asking for reassurance, so that people don't have to do it over and over. I'm probably going to go through my love bank also and write down things that feel like proof people love me. My own handwriting is comfortingly concrete: when I read my handwriting saying "So-n-so values my time and energy" it feels more real even then when they say it to me.

I'm also going to offer people the option to use 'check' as a code word like I used to use with Kylei, where they can say that to me if they think I'm feeling anxious and blowing things up. If I am feeling anxious, I will respond by going away, taking a few minutes to think about the situation through the lens of best intentions, calming myself, and coming back when I am not all mixed up with worries. All people have my permission to use this, but it is unlikely I will talk to you while anxious unless we have a close connection, and I won't go away unless I'm actually having an anxiety overload, so it's not an easy out of an uncomfortable conversation.

Thinking of other things I suggested for Kylei, I'm going to read back through old texts and emails when I am feeling disconnected or unloved (for Kylei I suggested they read my LJ, especially stuff tagged with their name). I was reading though old texts with Topaz to find other things they may have already reassured me on, and just skimming over the loving texts made me feel more connected, so I think that will be a good tool also. Hopefully I can remember it.

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sandracaprice ══╣╠══
Useful tool
This sounds like a great idea! And I know someone for whom this might work well; thanks for sharing.

This brought to mind something I did recently when trying to decide whether to stay in a relationship. I got two glass jars and drew a plus sign (+) on one and minus (-) on the other. Every time my partner did or said something (or obviously refrained from doing something that's triggering to me) that made me feel loved, I wrote it down on a slip of paper and put it in the + jar. Everytime they did or said something that made me feel unloved, I wrote it down and put it in the - jar. After a few weeks, I had a visual reminder that there is more good than bad in the relationship. I made my decision and tossed out all the slips of paper, but now I wish I had saved the + jar as a reminder that I am loved and appreciated so that I could feel reassured when things were not so great.
belenen ══╣artless╠══
Re: Useful tool
Sounds like a great experiment! I can understand the regret at not saving the +s, I'd have felt the same.

Did you weight them based on how much energy they gave or took?
ghostwriter ══╣╠══
belenen ══╣gentle╠══
I am so glad you have that continuous source of strength from the love and warmth <3
brujah ══╣Grover╠══
I can relate.
I have a folded piece of ten year old paper tucked in the top drawer of my desk. I always keep it close to hand so that I can reread the things folks once said about me in an LJ poll when I asked, "please tell me something positive about myself."

Sometimes all we really do need is a reminder.
belenen ══╣beautiful╠══
Re: I can relate.
mmm, yes <3 glad you have that reminder!
peachpai ══╣cats╠══
That's a really good idea, I hope it help you!
belenen ══╣effervescent╠══
thanks! it has so far!
the_hag ══╣╠══
Thank you...
Your honesty and self reflection are amazing and it's difficult to have to deal with these issues, I know! I just wanted to comment and let you know that I think you are wonderful (form what little I know about you) and to let you know I think something like this might be helpful for Liam, they struggle with this as well and I have been at a loss as to how to help them. I will talk with them tonight after they get home from work and see if they are open to the idea.

I have already started a banner project that will use the words awesome as a sort of affirmation (it's one of their favorite words) and then another project (I haven't decided on a format yet) that says I am Enough, for them to hang over the closet in their room, so they can easily see it 90% of the time they are in there. I'm gong to try to make it fun and whimsical. :-)
belenen ══╣effervescent╠══
Re: Thank you...
thank you!

I love the idea of the banner project and the other one! they sound wonderful.
seifaiden ══╣╠══
You talk about things using terms like "feeling valued" and "unvalued", which are unfamiliar to me. I know these words and their meaning, but I have never thought of them in the context of human relationships re: myself, to be valued or unvalued. I'm not sure what that implies about me.

What does it mean for someone to be immersed in you-ness? That sounds kind of intense.

Your writings always interest me, but your thoughts are still mysterious and foreign to me. On the upside, it keeps me on my toes, mentally.

I hope my tone doesn't transmit here incorrectly, I worry that I sound confrontational (when that isn't the intent).
belenen ══╣honesty╠══
Hm. I guess I used 'valued' to differentiate from 'loved' -- people can have loving feelings toward someone while (for instance) wishing they were different in significant ways, whereas for me valuing someone means knowing them, knowing what they offer and respecting and appreciating that as it is. It doesn't even have to contain affectionate feeling; I want to be understood and I want people to be glad that the individual aspects of me exist.

Immersed in me-ness: I make my house into an external expression of me. My bedroom most of all but also the living room and to a lesser extent the rest of the house. I collect art and put it on the walls. I arrange furniture to best accommodate activities that matter to me like crafting, talking, and smoking hookah. I organize my books according to subject matter. Nearly all of my objects have a story, either from being gifted to me or from me finding them for very cheap somewhere. Also, when I moved into this house I did a cleansing & dedication ritual that ended in everyone drawing/writing on the walls in chalk, and this has continued sporadically since then. So, coming into my house one is surrounded by me, as expressed by the decorations and intentionality of all the things. People usually tell me how good it feels, which I take as a compliment and a statement that my intentions for creating safety, creativity, and connection are working.

No worries, you don't sound confrontational. I'm emotionally puzzled by the idea that I contain mystery as I am so unsubtle, but I logically understand that thought patterns which differ significantly from ones' own can be baffling!
(Anonymous) ══╣╠══
belenen ══╣artless╠══
Yes, please do! It is a relief to be able to remind myself in this way and I hope that it is a relief for you too <3
on communication, social justice, intimacy, consent, friendship & other relationships, spirituality, gender, queerness, & dreams. Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.
Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.