Life Experiences: An Alcoholic Parent

Certain positions you’re in are able to teach lessons you never really wanted to learn.

Case in point: Being the child of an alcoholic parent.

When you have a parent who is an alcoholic, there are a lot of hushed words that are never cleared up. Direct communication is waived as a way to avoid conflict, which could actually help the situation if used correctly. Hurt feelings go without elaboration, and wounds become scars that somehow break and fester in the wake of new offenses. It’s tough when the other parent is not alcoholic, because they have had to struggle with this experience years before you were even thought of. You may refuse alcohol, becauseΒ what if I turn out like them?

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Filling the Gap

…by keeping busy,

coffee ice cream,

playing an MMORPG,

watching YouTube videos,

and trying to cultivate the motivation to clean my room.

These are all things that I try to fill the gap in my chest. It’s a feeling that empties my head of thought and saps me of happiness. I find it hard to express myself genuinely at such times, faking smiles and expressing emotion where there is no basis for either. I feel lonely, yet the thought of seeking out someone to sit next to isn’t something I necessarily want, either. I’m trying out everything that usually makes me happy in order to make myself feel better, but it’s not working—none of it is working. Such things stay in the chasm for a while, but they eventually slip out and I’m left empty again. The joy is fleeting and only lasts a little while.

In these times, I feel like a truly worthless human being.

 

Needs vs. Fears

I have been lazy for the majority of my summer, and on one hand, I don’t regret it. I took on far too much last semester, and I had resolved to make my vacation between semesters as stress-free as possible.

On the other hand, I’ve been lazy for the majority of the summer. I’ve been waking up as late as five-o’-clock in the afternoon for the past few weeks, and I’ve gone through the same routine. I wake up, eat and/or watch YouTube videos, have dinner with my family, then either get straight back into watching videos or playing an MMORPG. I do sometimes add to the fan fiction I talked about in a previous post, but aside from dates with my boyfriend and errands with my mom, I don’t get out much. That ordinarily wouldn’t bother me, except that now…it does.

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Empathy on Steroids (not the drug)

I’ve been thinking for a long time about how to put this into words, and it hasn’t been easy. Heck, I’m not even sure the following words will be the best way to explain it. Even so, they’re the only words I have right now, and I hope you’ll be able to understand all the same.

Maybe you remember that time in your childhood when you knew for certain that something you’d done or said was wrong. I’m talking about the immediate feeling afterwards that comes from observing the effect, such as seeing the other kid look sad or start crying. It’s the feeling that tells you that you messed up, and that it wasn’t right that something you did hurt the other person. For me, it’s always felt like a pit that opens in my chest, somewhere above my stomach. It appears instantly, and depending on the situation, the hole may or may not close. It’s the feeling that compels you to apologize, to try making up for what you did. It’s a learning moment, one in which we begin to understand what empathy is.

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What it REALLY Means to be “Triggered”

If you’ve been on the Internet for any amount of time, chances are you have encountered the word “triggered,” or have seen a “trigger warning.” It became a meme, but as many things often unfortunately do, it was then turned into a disqualifying phrase. To say someone has been “triggered” has been synonymous with calling someone overemotional, their responses overdone, and designating what they have to say as less-than because they responded in a certain way. It has also been used to mean someone strongly disagrees with a stance. I have seen this most often used against the discussion of social issues, namely feminism. Because of course, “overemotional” responses can be disqualified as valid right out of the gate, right?

As someone who has struggled with mental illness–as well as someone who has known sufferers of mental illnesses–I started using this word about six or seven years ago, and it wasn’t meant to disqualify a position or a person. Me and other sufferers I’ve known have used it to alert someone to our mental state, which could mean the difference between a good mental day and a bad mental day. It could even go unsaid verbally, but there would often be clear nonverbal signals that let other people know, “I’m not okay.” Likewise, “trigger warnings” have been used to alert people with certain stressors to avoid content in order to not experience undesired symptoms.

But don’t just take my word for it. Let’s take a look around, shall we?

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Why My Brain Sucks 3

Tomorrow is the research competition, and I’m hardly excited about it. This sucks because not only is this my first time participating in something like this, but it is also my sponsor’s first time participating in that role. He puts a lot of stock into my ability to give a great presentation tomorrow, and I can’t help but think someone else should be doing this instead of me.

My suit is hanging out so I don’t forget that’s what I’m putting on tomorrow morning, and I’m about to put the finishing touches on my presentation. However, there is only a hint of nerves. Everything else is a dark hole in my head where excitement usually comes from. Other people might think I’m being really calm despite the circumstances, when the truth is that I don’t want to be. I’d welcome those emotions, because they’re normal.

I have exercised caution in telling even the closest of friends about my darker days. I don’t want to mar whatever positive image they have of me inside their head. It could be considered a dishonest thing to do, but can anyone blame me for wanting them to feel okay, even when I can’t muster it? I say this because I opened up to someone, and I fear I’ve lost them. This could be real, or could just be my stupid head talking, but either way I do feel like they’re gone. Even if this person told me everything was fine, I would have to disagree–things don’t feel like any semblance of okay.

There is an abyss in my head where thoughts and emotions should sprout from. A chunk of my chest has been cored out and hidden from me, and the absence is most definitely felt. I feel like less than half a person today, sitting in a classroom full of people who were really super happy. The guy next to me even remarked on it, and then noticed I didn’t exactly blend in. He didn’t ask further, because maybe he sensed I didn’t want to chat about it. It could have also been the fact that class was starting, but either way, it was one of those moments when I felt like I really didn’t fit in.

I’ve started to feel like I shouldn’t have been in certain places, doing certain things. Nothing illegal, mind you—sitting on the bus yesterday morning, talking to people at school, other such daily activities people don’t normally think twice about. It’s like I made a last minute decision and everything somehow feels wrong. All the while, life goes on around me, and no one knows the storm brewing inside me.

Why My Brain Sucks 2

I spent today trying to convince myself that it was going to be a good day. I had at least gotten my class reading done for today, even though I had totally forgotten about the minor group speech in class. I don’t know how my introduction managed to “blow away” our professor, but I’ll take it. I wasn’t in the mood to do much of anything today, much less talk to other people and present. I know that may sound antisocial, but such is the nonsense of an addled mind—I can be peppy and talkative one day, and run on autopilot anywhere from minutes to hours to a day later.

I asked for an egg and cheese omelette and got mac-n-cheese, instead. Normally this wouldn’t bother people, but for some reason today this had a profound effect. All I could keep thinking were things like:Β You should have just gone next door for a burger. No, you’ve been eating too many of those; the sandwich stand is healthier. You could have even just asked for the basic pasta+sauce combo and avoided the trouble. It seemed like just another notch in a day I couldn’t put faith into being a good one.

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