Your Rainforest Mind

Support for the Excessively Curious, Creative, Smart & Sensitive

Finding Emotional Support During Difficult Times

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My chenille sweater is my other emotional support animal.

These days we all need emotional support. I mean, really. Just when you thought politics and the climate crisis were enough, along comes the coronavirus. Seriously? A pandemic? Now? I try to avoid expletives on my blog. But this moment really requires several WTFs.

I am sure you are reading articles from all of the people trying to put a positive spin on this. Me, too. And, I do hope and expect there is a longer term positive outcome or two that we can’t imagine in this moment when the tension is so high. Did you read the one about how Issac Newton understood gravity when he was working from home because of the plague? This did not soothe my worried soul. Although, you smart people might want to think about it. (No pressure.) Because you have lots more time to think right now. Unless, of course, you have children and they are not in school and you are desperately looking for ways to entertain them. Unless, of course, you or someone you love is vulnerable or has the virus. Then, none of this is very funny. (Apologies, as I try to be funny.)

I know that some people are saying that this is part of a much needed awakening for humanity. Kind of like the breakdown before the breakthrough. The caterpillar becoming the butterfly. I like those ideas but do not particularly look forward to being the post-caterpillar goo. That does not sound appealing. That said, here is a potential positive outcome not yet mentioned in the news: People who have been avoiding therapy for years may finally realize they need it. The anxiety could be great enough to overwhelm their resistance. And this could mean that more dysfunctional families are healed. That deep-seated ancestral patterns of abuse get interrupted, processed, and released. That your neurotic Aunt Nellie is no longer offended when you don’t eat the lime jello mold with marshmallows that she always brings to family functions. This would clearly be a positive outcome. 

So, in the meantime, in the immediate stress of it all, I have some advice. Get yourself an emotional support animal. It can be an actual animal. Or, as in my case, it can be a blog. Blogging is my emotional support animal. Since I found blogging (six years ago!), I have come here for meaning, purpose, creativity, humor, companionship, and love. And, if that is not emotional support, well, what is? 

For those of you who don’t blog or are allergic to dogs, cats, and the like, what gives you comfort? Lately, I have been wearing my soft, cozy, black chenille sweater. (See photo.) I have been wearing it every day hoping my clients don’t notice. (Of course they do. They notice everything.) Do you have a chenille sweater? Music you love? Friends who make you peanut butter cookies? A spiritual practice? Partners who make you laugh? Angels who sing to you at night? Books you long to read? Devas in your garden? A therapist who reminds you that your light shines even when you are frightened?

Get yourself some emotional support. 

And if you want to understand gravity or some such thing while you are at it, please do.

_______________________________________________________

To my bloggEEs: These times are getting stressier. (future word for the urban dictionary) How are you taking care of yourself and others? Where are you finding emotional support? As usual, please try and stay supportive and compassionate with each other. I am sending you big hugs and much love. 

While I am confined for these next weeks, I am seeing clients online and am available for consultations. So get in touch if you want a session. I’m also thinking about how I might provide some video support for you all. If I did that, what kinds of things would you want me to talk about? 

Below you will find a link to my interview from last week’s Evolved Empath Summit. Take a listen! (recorded in January 2020)

This interview is part of the Evolved Empath Summit, a free online event featuring how to turn your empathic gifts into your greatest strength. For more information, please visit https://evolvedempathsummit.com. This recording is a copyright of The Shift Network. All rights reserved.

Author: Paula Prober

I'm a psychotherapist and consultant in private practice in Eugene, Oregon. I specialize in counseling gifted adults and consulting with parents of gifted children. The label "gifted" is often controversial and confusing. I use the metaphor of the rainforest to describe this population. Like the rainforest, these individuals are quite complex, highly sensitive, intense, multi-layered, and misunderstood. They're also curious, idealistic, highly intelligent, creative, perfectionistic, and they love learning. I've been an adjunct instructor at the University of Oregon and a guest presenter at Oregon State University and Pacific University. I've written articles on giftedness for the Eugene Register-Guard, the Psychotherapy Networker, and Advanced Development Journal. My first book, Your Rainforest Mind: A Guide to the Well-Being of Gifted Adults and Youth, was released in June 2016 by GHF Press and is available on Amazon or at your independent bookstore. My second book, Journey Into Your Rainforest Mind: A Field Guide for Gifted Adults and Teens, Book Lovers, Overthinkers, Geeks, Sensitives, Brainiacs, Intuitives, Procrastinators, and Perfectionists, was released in June 2019.

58 thoughts on “Finding Emotional Support During Difficult Times

  1. For those of you needing resources for your kids right now, this one looks good: https://www.notsoformulaic.com/resources-gifted-kids/

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  2. my emotional support or outlet is gardening, and lucky for me the weather has been okay ish to good over here the last few days. I hope it stays this way because the stay home and work by phone thing is lasting till april 6 at least.
    good thing the dentist appointment for april 4 isnt going to happen, bad thing, I still have to go once the social distancing is over.
    my days off are still happening, but no going to Germany so hopefully that week is also good weather and the garden is going to look amazing end of april.
    if it starts raining non stop I am in trouble, because sure I love to read but not all day. work, it should be 6 hours a day but by phone it takes me like 3 to 4? if that. sometimes I hate my fast working ways. in the office I can then go annoy my co workers. there is always somebody to talk to. but home? not so much.

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  3. Thank you for reminding me that my light shines even when I’m frightened.

    I may be too anxious to get around to discovering a law of physics, but I am reminded of how much we need each other, and how many people do care.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Oh Paula, just your daily presence and reaching out to us rainforesty folk is tremendous emotional support!! 🙂 And video support sounds super too.

    And that really soft t-shirt and my blue-tick beagle Dougie who has been my rock for many years.

    Great time to take up meditating – I imagine others of “us” have difficult time figuring out ‘how’ to meditate – the racing mind, body & spirit rebel at sitting quietly BUT am happy to say I finally found (after decades) a successful meditation practice that may help others too. Stumbled across Deepak Chopra’s free 21-day ‘Perfect Health’ meditation online. It works for me because it involves an intricate photo of nature close up, creative complex music, sensible words spoken gently about life, and it leads you into relaxing before a short meditation (10 minutes). The combo of involving a complex sight like the veins of a leaf in many colors/textures which I can keep implanted on my retina with eyes closed, the rise and fall and cadence change and volume change of the music and the lead-in which gives each meditation a purpose had made all the difference. If anyone has struggled with trying to let go and meditate, this may be just the peaceful way to do it because your mind can still hum away in the background analyzing the photo and music 🙂 And yeah, the 1st time I didn’t make it 10 minutes but since then it is a delightful relief every day.

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  5. And just going outside listening to the birds and frogs and complex sounds of nature waking up. The sun warming your bones or the rain sprinkling your hair. And there are microbes in the soil that are good for your health so grand time to go get dirty and hang out in the garden. When you work quietly outside or walk silenty thru a forest or meadow, you will always see something amazing; the intricacy and creativity of life is incomparable.

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  6. Love your cozy sweater, Paula! My emotional support comes in the form of copious amounts of fresh brewed coffee (Maxwell House, nothing special) and reading Lois Lowry’s “The Giver Quartet”. With 3 kids suddenly home around the clock, I need the coffee and the books are soul supplementing!

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  7. My emotional support is my music. My latest is https://soundcloud.com/lauralynnwalsh/towards-the-end

    I know my style is not popular, but it is soothing to me.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi Paula, Finding ways to stay sane is important. We here in HK have been doing this for the past six weeks or so, and may be ahead of the curve on this. In the month of March, I have left the house twice.

    I have been so lucky with my trips last year and I can immerse myself in making videos for my YT channel (joy in HK). Apparently there are a few others who enjoy them as well which is an added bonus. I think more of us could find joy in taking their wonderful experiences and sharing them with others, whether writing a blog, making music and uploading, making videos of travels or their own garden. Anything and everything is grist for the mills of our minds.
    Keep safe.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’ve just seen video footage of a dolphin swimming in the now beautifully clear water of a Venice canal. So, there’s that. there can be good things.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Yes, blogging! Although I have to confess this unimaginable reality filled me with so many words that I remained speechless. Just posted my first blog in a week this morning.
    And yes, nature walks, gardening… Seeing nature come to life in the spring temperatures is stress-relieving. I hope at least we are allowed to go outside into nature for as long as possible…
    I also try to think of positive consequences of this global reset. Maybe we come to better conclusions, having to think so much about saving ourselves. Maybe we are now really going to save this planet we live on. That would be nice.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Hola Paula y saludos a todos los seguidores del Blog RFM! He estado un poco fuera de línea porque tengo deficiencias con internet (como cereza de pastel!) y porque además en mi país estamos en cuarentena total. Lo cual es bueno, por así decirlo. Hay apenas 40 casos confirmados de personas que llegaron del exterior y se tomaron medidas preventivas antes de que se extienda. Creo que es inevitable, pero cualquier esfuerzo vale.
    Más allá de las interpretaciones (a las que particularmente les doy menos crédito) tenemos una realidad. En lo personal, la práctica espiritual me a ayudado bastante, y he aprendido a no perder la serenidad tan fácil. Me sirve racionalizar lo que es: Cada especie tiene factores de regulación, nosotros también. Es todo. Eso no implica distanciamiento emocional con las personas que lo están padeciendo de distintas formas (enfermos, familiares enfermos o vulnerables, o incluso ansiedad por la incertidumbre o el encierro) sólo que he aprendido que en la medida en que dejamos de buscar interpretaciones extraordinarias a la realidad y la aceptamos como es, podemos afrontarla mejor. Sin embargo, transmito desde aquí mucha fuerza a quienes luchan con esta situación.
    Mi animal, en este caso, es recuperarme. Paso por una transición, y aunque mi mayor preocupación en este momento es la comida -o cómo o con qué comprarla-, estoy enfocada en lo que tengo pendiente por resolver (interno y externo) para “aligerar el equipaje”, porque luego de que pase esta crisis -siempre las crisis pasan… y llegan otras… y pasan… y así- HAY MUCHO POR HACER.
    Además. creo que La Tierra se merecía un breve descanso de nosotros…

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I’m a toucher and a hugger and a social butterfly and this is isolation hurts so much.
    I’m single and live alone. My apt complex doesn’t let me have pets. I have nothing living to cuddle.
    And we’re supposed to see 18 months of this?
    I don’t know how I can. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Hi. I’m new here. I contacted Paula and asked her how to proceed, with sharing some food for thought or some random comments; and these forums were her suggestion. So, here goes. I’m bad with “writing short” so apologies in advance for the length of this.

    Have any of you folks heard of a concept called “Hikikomori”? It’s something I’ve been looking into, for some time now. It’s a term for “social withdrawal” as practiced, not only in Japan (where it was first noticed) but has been confirmed in many other places. In terms of length of time: it goes back at least a few decades. Normally, me mentioning the subject might feel, in most other time periods, like something that very few people in what we think of as “normal society” could grasp. Now that the health situation, globally, however, is forcing many people to self-isolate, or to increase their “social distance” in ways that many people are not used to, I figured I’d throw it out, as food for thought; and just see what people thought of it. (I’m betting it’s a “lost tribe,” for some of us? And might make others deeply sad?)

    I should mention this, fairly early on: I’m one, myself. For me, it’s voluntary and the way I want things.

    For others, it’s not at all that way: they wished they could “be normal”. It’s worth mentioning, too, in passing, that there is no one commonly-agreed-upon, totally rigid definition. A number of experts, over time, “loosen” or “tighten” their way of seeing things. Loosely, it’s self-isolation for a period of six months or more; sometimes in a very strict (never leaves the house) way; and sometimes in a “just mostly stays inside” way.

    If anyone is interested, they can check out these short videos, to find out more about it.

    Anime Academy — What is HIKIKOMORI — YouTube

    Ivano Skey — Hikikomori short documentary — YouTube

    There is a lot more information out there — in books, in official studies, and so on. For instance, there is an official study (called the HQ-25) which was created by the USA’s V.A. (Veteran’s Administration) for use in seeing if Veterans may be tending in the direction of what society, before this health problem arose, considered problematic.

    Just because I’m curious about things, when I took that HQ-25 Hikikomori self-test, I did it two ways: first, to get a lifelong baseline, I skipped following their instructions about “only consider the past six months, as you answer these questions” mental box or limit, and I opened it up to “in all prior periods of my life” instead. I still scored above their baseline or “worry” number: even with a “lifetime average” attempt at a baseline. To get a more recent estimate, I waited until a really bad day, when the last thing I wanted to do was to “people,” or go out in public and deal with society — and I did the test again, but answering in a “right now, this day, this moment” sort of way. And I scored in the 150% of “uh-oh” range. (Somewhere in the 60s.) So, personally, I think I’m definitely a “Hiki” and I’ve been that way for a long time. As much as I can avoid human society, I do. And it doesn’t bother me: I have books; an Internet connection; a phone, if I want to use it. In comparison to Kings and Queens of old, I think most people in the West are “rich” and “spoiled for choice” as it were. Not that I’m complaining; quite the opposite.

    I don’t wish to make light of other’s suffering, in cases where other people DO want to go out into society, and interact more than they do. I get that it’s hard for some people; and that “social rejection” and “loneliness,” really massively hurts, for some people. I’m just not one of them. To be sure I wasn’t kidding myself, I looked up the “Preference For Solitude” test, online, and (more or less as expected) scored as high as the test can be scored. So, I must prefer solitude, pretty strongly. I took various versions of the UCLA tests regarding loneliness. Worst case, I scored a tiny bit above the “normal range” – which, again, is pretty much what I expected to see. Other (less directly related) tests, such as the ACE (Adverse Childhood Experiences) gave clues as to why I’d be the way I am (if memory serves, I had ticked off seven of the ten kinds of possible trauma children go through) but, I don’t regret it (My current life, I mean.) I think it’s just a matter of being true to myself. After many, many years of living, I’ve figured out that my needs are “simple and stable” and it doesn’t take much beyond the basic-basics (by Western Standards) to satisfy me. If the world had oodles to offer me, I’d be out in it. I’m happy enough, doing otherwise. I say that as an HSP, who has the “HSS” traits as well (“High Sensation Seeking,” as seen in Dr. Tracy Cooper’s books); and an introvert (INTJ or INFJ: both are a good match); and as a person who, back when schools did the usual aptitude and/or intelligence tests, on me and the kids around me, the testers typically freaked out, and tested me a second time, before they believed the numbers. Even the USAF did that. After testing me again, on the ASVAB test, they offered me nothing but jobs that required me to get paid to think. And kept asking me, even before Tech School began, “What are YOU doing HERE?!” The way I see it: I’m just not a very good fit, for being in “Gen Pop”. I had nearly 60 years to figure out what would hold my interest; I pursued it; it worked. So, even if society wants to keep thinking voluntary social isolation is weird, I’m not bending in terms of my habits. From time to time, they make me feel guilty: but I seldom change.

    There are some web sites, too, by and for Hikikomori. “Hikipos” is one of those (and they do have a fairly lengthy / detailed section, helpfully already in English) and “Hikikomori News” is another such place; with some scattered English content. I love the interviews of “real” Hikimori that places like that do. Hearing those people’s thoughts, gives me a lot of validation. (Makes me feel “less alone, in my alone-ness”?)

    Anyone else out there have any comments, one way or the other, about this subject? Again — apologies, sincerely, if I’m offending anyone, by posting this. Just because I’m “okay with alone-ness,” doesn’t mean everyone is … or should be. So I’m not only hoping to see posts that match my feelings on this matter.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I edited out a couple of the videos, Frederic. May do a little more editing. But thanks for sharing. I’m guessing that there are some readers who will find themselves in these descriptions and others who just find it a fascinating topic to explore.

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  14. In case anyone here is curious enough to read some “slice of life” articles, located elsewhere, and ponder how others live, and/or deal with various situations, here’s a few “possibles” regarding self-discovery. I’m throwing these out there in hopes that some people who are truly struggling with being isolated, and with “not having enough stimulation” (or having too much of it) can think about their lives, a bit differently.

    “Highly Sensitive Refuge”
    has an older (Jan 2019) article called “8 Signs You’re Highly Sensitive and High Sensation Seeking” which might apply to some reader’s lives, and social distancing.

    https://highlysensitiverefuge.com/high-sensation-seeking-highly-sensitive-person-signs/

    = = =

    On “Introvert, Dear” there’s some more food for thought,
    https://introvertdear.com/
    which may or may not apply to this site’s reader’s lives. I’ll mainly just list the article’s titles:

    “Extroverts, Here’s How to Survive Social Distancing, According to an Introvert”
    (This one is the one that made me think of posting this stuff; and to supply the “HS Refuge” article about the delicate balance between under-stimulation, and over-stimulation, as it applies to some lives.)

    There’s some other articles on “Introvert, Dear” that some readers might want to check out:

    “Social Distancing Is Business as Usual for Introverts”

    “I’m an Introvert, But Honestly, This Quarantine Sucks”

    = = =

    On Dr. Tracy Cooper’s blog he has an article about burnout, which talks about “flow states” and the like … which, while not written for the purpose of coping with social isolation, might be thought-inducing, in terms of people who are outside of their “groove” being able to figure out what to adjust, and where.

    https://drtracycooper.wordpress.com/2020/03/13/burnout-runs-deeper-than-too-much-work/

    = = =

    As Bruce Lee supposedly once said, “Absorb what is useful”. Hopefully, some of it is helpful to folks here.

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    • These look like good resources. Thank you! (I’ve written for Introvert, Dear and HSR!)

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      • You’re welcome, Paula. I knew about your articles, over there. Besides reading this site, and those two, I’m currently also reading the (2019) “Rainforest Mind” book you wrote; which came in a couple of days ago. (Good stuff so far; and I’m sure it’ll continue that way.) Come payday, I have your other book on my Amazon want lists; and of course, some others, too.

        Dumb question mode ON: I see from the book some references, here or there, a “2e” or “Twice Exceptional” ways of summarizing people. I looked up some resources, and read them, online. Also good stuff. From that, I realize it’s mostly an “early-education-age thing” and is, for the most part, geared towards allowing adults who are teaching kids to best understand gifted-plus-also-differently-able’d persons … and by describing myself (to myself: journals, and the like) I can put that “2e” concept to immediate use, in re-framing my earliest school years. So the “2e” thing, which your book made me aware of, is already finding some uses: even though I’ve never married or had kids, or anything like that, to have heard of “2e”.

        I’ll be wondering, as I move forward, if other resources are out there, for post-school-age people like myself (late-ish fifties) who are doing some re-framing work, along those lines?

        To shorthand things, a bit, regarding my life’s arc or “plot lines” or whatever: for me, ages zero through eight were pretty much the first half of the story line for “Flowers For Algernon” — with the next few years being essentially the back half of that (“still out there, in reprint form”) April 1959 story from “The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction”. It wasn’t until third grade or so, that one teacher, then another, around fourth grade, began to figure out that “big problems” in my life (such as a home life that even cops and judges could barely wrap their heads around, and mostly automatically went deeply into denial about, regarding the treatment of me, and/or my siblings) had been masking intelligence that was much higher than the norm for kids my age, etc. Reading was what caught their attention: back when all questions were verbal, by teachers, etc., my inability to trust adults, etc., kept sabotaging my answers; and everyone, including me, was convinced I was the “stupidest kid in (any) class”. The teacher who first figured out I could not actually be as unintelligent as prior teachers had sort of “misdiagnosed me as,” actually had to get my same-age peers to convince me I “could read good” because I was simply unable to buy into that idea, if it was an adult saying it. By my fourth grade experiences, that teacher and my then-most-recent were feeding my mind in ways I could actually believe in, and get behind — but I was still “sabotaging” and to a degree, “sand-bagging”. Enter the other kids hating me — just like in “Algernon” — the more I got to be authentically myself, and I ended up sort of “secretly feeding my own mind” while pretending to not be any smarter or skilled than any of the other kids around me. Later school years — after my parents had finally split up — were almost like the back side of that same fictional story’s arc in that I was essentially put back a year, on math, not due to ability or lack of it, but an unexpected across-country move had left all the “appropriate” classes, 100% filled: so even if I’d been willing to show my true self, it wouldn’t have worked, the way things worked out. By the end of high school, I was doing anything “interesting” on my own, at home, and just sort of going through the motions, at school. As a result of all of that, later stuff, for me, in post-high-school years, would pretty much be like watching “Good Will Hunting”. Now, I suppose others, looking at my life, would see various similarities to “Finding Forrester”. But it is what it is, and it’s cool to see, in your books and postings, that lots of others are “like this”.

        I’ve figured out a lot of stuff, already, via limited therapy-by-others; and lots of auto-therapy; and much reading; and by literally thousands of pages of journaling, over the last few decades — but if other resources exist, for (“post-2e”?) adults, it would be fun / helpful to know about.

        If nothing else: in years past, during the few times I’ve tried to explain my earliest school years to others, it met with little success in allowing them to “walk in my mocassins” — but now, armed with this “2e stuff,” if anyone asks, I have another tool for explaining myself. (Not that explaining myself to others, even other Rainforest Types, feels super relevant to a grown person’s life, when a person like me has decided to live as a “three quarters Hikikomori”.)

        Liked by 1 person

  15. for me, strangely enough, there hasn’t changed much, I’m recovering from years of chronic fatigue, so I don’t go out much anyway, I always work from home and my main socializing and relaxing passtime is walking with my dog. So I keep on working, I keep on walking my dog, and I even see more people now (talking from a safe distance) in the park because everybody who is otherwise busy with other things, now comes to the park because walking is one of the few things you can do now. I’m very glad I have my dog, now more than ever. And one of my favourite persons in the world owns the foodmarket where I buy all my groceries, so even him I keep seeing. So it’s very strange, it’s not that my life changes now, its all the other people who seem to live more like I do always, a simple, quiet life. I live in a city and there’s no more noise of the busy street next to my house. It seems like the world is on pause

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Here is something lovely. An idea from @YoYo_Ma. Go to Twitter to #songsofcomfort.

    Like

  17. And from Brene Brown: “This pandemic experience is a massive experiment in collective vulnerability. We can be our worst selves when we’re afraid, or our very best, bravest selves. In the context of fear and vulnerability, there is often very little in between because when we are uncertain and afraid our default is self-protection. We don’t have to be scary when we’re scared. Let’s choose awkward, brave, and kind. And let’s choose each other.” Her podcast and blog are full of comforting ideas. https://brenebrown.com/unlockingus/

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hola paula. Entre las dificultades del aislamiento contamos que aquí, que nos hemos tomado en serio la cuarentena, el internet está saturado. Apenas puedo medio navegar con mi teléfono y por eso no paseo mucho por aquí. Casi todo está enfocado en el recurso de estudio a distancia de mis hijos. Pero creo que este comentario vale la respuesta, porque das con una muy importante clave: Como las circunstancias inciden en las decisiones que tomaremos, profundas, de vida, y que nos definirán. No importa si la opción es ser introvertido, o estás abrumado por la necesidad de socializar. No se trata de un patrón específico de conducta. Ni siquiera de si esta situación es un “mensaje divino”… Se trata sólo de decisiones. Hay una pandemia, la pregunta correcta sería: ¿y porqué no haberla? hay condiciones para ello… pero la respuesta es si la aprovechamos para sufrir, padecer, retorcernos en nuestras propias crisis, o para desafiarnos y ser lo que al final -creo muy personalmente- es lo único que importa: “…un tilín mejores, y mucho menos egoístas….” de eso se trata quienes somos, de lo que podemos aportar, desde nuestras capacidades, para que la estancia humana en este mundo, tan breve ella, pueda ser mejor… Desde pasear a nuestro perro y confortar a otros, hasta aprovechar el tiempo, para reencontrarnos, rediseñarnos y recrearnos.
      Ese es mi desafío ahorita… Y este grupo me hace mucha falta… porque me dan fuerzas y el optimismo que a veces me falta… Pero tengo la convicción de que vinimos aquí a ser felices nosotros y a hacer felices a los demás….
      Namasté y mucha buena vibra!!!!

      P.D.: Paula, si es posible, podría enviarte un correo?

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Some ideas:

    http://radio.garden (you’ll see the arth full of green dots. They are all the radio stations of the world. Click and you’ll have that station live)

    Some museums to visit from home:
    https://pinacotecabrera.org/
    https://www.uffizi.it/mostre-virtuali
    http://www.museivaticani.va/content/museivaticani/it/collezioni/catalogo-online.html
    https://www.museodelprado.es/en/the-collection/art-works
    https://www.namuseum.gr/en/collections/
    https://www.britishmuseum.org/collection

    World Digital Library:
    wdl.org/en/

    Enjoy!

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Pingback: A Quick Guide To Living With Uncertainty For Super Smart Overthinkers, Perfectionists, And HSPs | Your Rainforest Mind

  20. Dear Paula, thank you for being altruistic as usual.

    Please allow me to post below the messages I sent to the counselling centre at my university, because they are not replying (due to the holiday) and the matter is quite urgent. I know that you do not provide counselling services on this website; I am just posting this in case someone wants to write a few words that might be helpful. Thank you in advance. Here are the messages:

    MESSAGE 1:

    Dear Sir/ Madam,

    I am writing because I feel very bad and I can’t see a solution.

    I have a history of depression and eating disorders that I proudly overcame without help, but this lonely journey exhausted me and problems have resurfaced.

    I used to ask for help but when I got rejected I stopped. I also used to have a therapist but she retired. So I did all healing alone, spending all my days at AUB to distance myself from my family’s negativity.

    But now the solution I was relying on (i.e. distancing myself from my family) is impossible. I am stuck with the four of them in a small apartment where I do not own a room for myself. I cannot even go out for a walk alone since I moved to a new country, and I don’t drive. (Also, I used to live with only two of them so it was easier to manage. I would get overwhelmed during holidays when the other two joined us, but it was for a limited time and I could go to AUB or wait for the holiday to pass.)

    To explain to you how my relationship with my family is, I will use my therapist’s words: “you are the family scapegoat”. I guess this summarises it.

    It’s like a loop. One of them bullies me, I contain myself, they try again until I react, then I am accused of starting a fight and “ruining the ambience”.

    I used to believe these accusations, but my therapist explained they were manipulating me because I have the ability to second-guess myself. But now that I’m stuck with the four of them, the bullying is so frequent I am experiencing insomnia for the first time of my life.

    I just want to sleep, eat and study.

    But it seems like this is too much. My binge eating disorder has resurfaced and now they have found something new to point out because I eat more than my share of cookies. They do not acknowledge the eating disorder (saying I’m a liar). Sometimes they do acknowledge it, when arguing, to prove that I am crazy. So I do not bring it up anymore to explain why I didn’t intend to eat their cookies. I just wait for it to be over.

    The worst part is I cannot study anymore. I was never allowed space or silence, and when I ask for it I am accused of being selfish.

    All of this is not new, but the increased frequency of bullying is making me so emotional I cannot focus on my studies.

    I urgently have to regain my focus because the only way out for me is to graduate and find a job so I can afford living alone. It’s the most inoffensive solution. I just want to protect myself.

    Danielle

    MESSAGE 2, sent two days later:

    Update:
    I was just yelled at and insulted for “sleeping till 10:45 AM”, so I started shivering and losing my breath.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Erratum: “AUB” here means “university”. I forgot to edit it. Sorry.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I am so sorry you’re going through this, Danielle. I hope your university responds. I’m sure many people are struggling with having to stay home in a situation that is difficult in some way. One idea is to remind yourself that you made it through when you were younger, and you can do it now as you have more inner resources and strength!

      Like

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