The Hits Just Keep On Coming

I love analogies. It’s a good writing mechanism to relate an experience or feeling to a reader that connects with something they feel internally. You’re appealing to a thing the reader feels, not trying to get them to share in yours. I have a theory that I developed a predilection for them as a way of expressing emotions, a thing I’ve always struggled with. I have another theory that sometimes I use them to express emotions in a vague way so that I don’t have to accept responsibility for/ownership of them, or risk rejection for stating them. In that sense, they’re a self defense mechanism. They’re like that nervous laugh when you deliver hard news, meant to soften the blow and soothe the central nervous systems.

See? I used an analogy to describe my use of analogies. I love them that much. I especially love car analogies. So…

Have you ever had a car that is always breaking down or that has issues that pop up in perpetuity? A car that’s an absolute money pit? That you can’t keep up with the maintenance on? That you’re constantly fixing, and the more things you fix the more fucked up and in-need-of-fixing things you find? A car that you don’t even fucking like and wish you could get out from underneath of? A car that for one reason or another you can’t get rid of, can’t trade in or sell for a different car, and so you’re stuck dumping endless amounts of your limited supply of time, energy and other resources into? I feel like that car. I feel like that car, a lot.

Neverminded my widespread chronic pain, bad joints and back, and the myriad of other physical ailments I deal with. There is a pile of mental health issues I’m trying to out live and survive. And as I try to navigate the complex maze of mirrors that is the expansive hell scape of my psyche, (are you ready for another analogy?) it’s like tugging at a string to clip, and every time I do my sweater unravels a little further.

The other day I was talking to my therapist about how rejection destroys my sense of self worth and she suggested that maybe I have some sort of rejection dysphoria. “You know,” she said “outside the standard rejection issues that go along with being borderline. From what you’re describing I’m wondering if maybe there’s some sort of rejection dysmorphia.”

Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria (RSD) is a hypersensitivity to and intense amount – often times overwhelming – of emotional pain to real or perceived rejection. Behaviors designed to cope with an intense fear of rejection, criticism, or disapproval cause maladaptive behaviors that create significant difficulties forming and maintaining relationships.

It daily life it can look like self-isolation, intense emotional reactions to rejection or criticism, destructive relationship patterns, and deprioritizing ones own needs to over- accommodate others. People with RSD tend to be locked in a cycle where fear or anticipation of rejection causes self protective behaviors that shut people out or cause relationship issues that result in rejection (real or perceived). It’s common in folks with ADD and borderline folks like me.

I let out a heavy sigh. Yep. Sounds just like me. Add it to the list of diagnoses that I’ve been collecting like baseball cards. Sometimes I like to add them to my post nominals: Keith Wagner, BA, MPS, VUSAF (OIF 2006), C-PTSD, GAD, BP, BPD, RSD. Hot damn, that looks impressive.

I try not to let it all define me. I try to see myself separate from all those things and remind myself that they’re a small list of attributes. But, regardless of what I have planned for the day or what I need to do, my days are dictated by which ever symptom(s) are presenting the fullest or most urgently that day. Between all the pathologies, symptoms, disorders, dysmorphias, phobias, nervous system responses, trauma response, attachment issue etc., I feel like I have to pick and chose which ones to deal with and which ones get put off – sometimes just a bit longer, sometimes indefinitely.

These choices are made easier, at times, by availability (or lack there of) of the right kind of mental heal services. Sometimes, like I said, there isn’t a choice. I deal with which ever is most urgent. I came up with about five really awesome analogies, but I feel like I hide behind analogies a lot. So, instead of trying to describe what it’s like I’m going to state how it feels. It’s exhausting. It’s embarrassing. It’s demoralizing. It’s excruciating. It’s miserable. It’s debilitating. It’s infuriating. It’s depressing. It’s lonely. It’s suffocating. It’s consuming. It’s overwhelming. And it’s fucking obnoxious.

I wish I could just take a spa day, like I did with my car a few weeks back. A relative guarantee to get another 60K miles before anything major is expected to need attention. I’ll pay $1,200 for that assurance any day. Instead it’s like “oh, ok. so now this broken, too. i see. and how long before that results in catastrophic failure? mm-hm, i see. and you say there’s no fixing it, just constant maintenance? like all the others, right. i see. well, ok then. let’s hit the fucking road.”

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