Am I Unattractive or Unapproachable?

I’m sure a vast number of women (and men) have asked themselves this at some point. Honestly, I think I know the answer for myself–both.

Yes, I have pretty severe body dysmorphia; I spend copious amounts of time inspecting my face in mirrors, going over what I think is wrong with it. One of my eyebrows is slightly higher than the other, my nose is too wide for my face, I have low cheekbones, no jawline, my eyes are too small, my upper lip is too thin, my skin is flawed. The discrepancy go on and on with my face and my body. What I would give to not have the shoulders of a linebacker…

My self-esteem has gotten worse with each year. With each week, really. To be honest, I thought it couldn’t get any worse, but 23 has been the age I’ve experienced the lowest self-esteem of all time. When I look for books to possibly aid me, they really don’t delve into physical self-esteem issues; it’s almost entirely about emotional self-esteem issues. And no, I am not one hundred percent confident in that area either, but I am extremely confident about who I am as a person. I know my values, I know I’m intellectual and intelligent. I’m rational yet also emotional. I’m good at communication. I know I’m talented and capable, and I’m a great friend. I know my self-worth.

Except not when it comes to how I look, which seems to trump everything else.

It’s difficult to feel confident in how I look for a lot of reasons. I’ve analyzed my appearance with such scrutiny, and I’ve found “rational” explanations to explain why I’m so unattractive. And yes, my friends occasionally try to tell me otherwise, but they’re biased because they think my personality and who I am is attractive–not necessarily how I look. Also, throughout my entire life, no one ever told me I was attractive. Distant relatives and friends of my parents would comment on my brother and I and they would automatically declare that he was attractive. Me? I honestly can’t recall ever hearing that from anyone. It probably didn’t help that throughout childhood and adolescence, my brother actively berated me about being unattractive.

No one’s ever really complimented me (and it happens very rarely now–although I do have one friend to thank for telling me I look nice ever now and again), so I find it hard to believe.

I also know I’m unapproachable. I definitely have “resting bitch face.” In fact, I’ve had multiple people tell me I actually look like I’m on the verge of murder. At the very least, I know I look angry a lot of the time. Everyone I’ve ever become friends with has told me that before I actually talked to them (and sometimes after), they thought I didn’t like them and that I would be an unpleasant person.

Last night my friend and I went out for St. Patrick’s Day–sort of. I got looped into it, but I was glad I was sober for the multiple and extensive interactions with new people.

Soon after sitting myself down outside, I lit a cigarette and silently observed my over-stimulating surroundings: two very drunk girls standing next to me, a group of well-dressed men smoking a blunt on the other side of the picnic table, a man climbing a hardened snowbank to write something in chalk on the cement wall. A guy sat down across from me, and we made eye contact, so I gave him the inverted head-nod gesture. You know, when you quickly jerk your jaw forward in recognition? That’s usually what I do.

He was also silent, and out of my peripheral vision I caught him shooting me glances quite a bit. Eventually he asked me, “How are you?” I replied with, “I’m alright. How are you?” to which he responded, “Are you sure you’re alright?”

I laughed. “I’m alright,” I assured him. I knew why he was asking–I looked fucking pissed. “I use anger as a defense mechanism.”

We sat in silence again until I asked what was going on with him. It didn’t take me long to realize he was plastered. At one point he asked if I was single, to which I said yes. He asked why and I said, “Have you seen my demeanor?”

Nevertheless, I was happy to have talked to my new and very drunk friend.

Later in the night, my friend and I sat around the fire pit. Two of her friends had joined us as well. A bearded man in a short-sleeve button-up sat down next to my friend.

Listen, I actually love meeting new people, but I’m usually unwilling to break the ice–mostly, if not entirely, due to how I feel about the way I look. This guy eventually broke the ice for us by asking my friend what she studied at school. Then he asked her female friend. He didn’t ask me. So my friend came to my rescue and told him which school I go to, and then he asked what I studied and what I wanted to do.

It’s being an afterthought that really makes me feel hurt. It’s a pattern, and it’s a shitty one.

Soon it became just myself, my friend, and this man. The three of us talked, and we were both enthralled by his personal life for a few very specific reasons. I thought, “This is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity to speak to a man like this” so I decided that no matter what, I would ask for his phone number. I ended up asking to add him on Facebook, since that seemed more approachable (ah! That word). He seemed to happily agree to this and added the two of us. He also invited us to a party he’s having this weekend.

As the three of us were talking, a young man, extremely plastered, sat down next to our new friend. He asked the names of us “ladies.” After my friend introduced herself, he repeated her name and said “pretty” and licked his lips. Then I said my name. Boom. Not a person of interest, clearly.

We parted ways with our new friend as the lights of the bar came on and the bouncer shooed us out (although he seemed genuinely pleased that I wished him a good night; I’m sure it was a tough night for him). As I stepped outside, a dude said, “Hey girl” but I honestly don’t know if he was talking to my friend or myself.

As I pulled the car up, a man driving by honked at my friend.

Okay, I’m not wishing for myself to be sexually harassed in any way, but I’m the only female I know who hasn’t been (insert laugh track here).

And now I have this party to figure out. My friend actually can’t go, so I have to fly solo. And there’s no fucking way I’m gonna be sober for it, so I’ll have to shell out money for an uber. But that’s not the problem. The problem is, I’ll be alone. I’ve never been to a party myself. That’s terrifying enough, but even more terrifying is the fact that I barely know the host.

However, I’m very much into the host. It may be a little rash to declare that, but the more we talked with him, the more I realized how much I was aroused by him. It didn’t help that he put on an incredible red velvet blazer as we exited. What a dreamboat. Viewing his Facebook photos sealed the deal. Well, for me anyway.

Basically, I can’t determine if he was more into my friend than me. I would guess that he probably was. I just imagine him being disappointed that she didn’t show up. Also, I don’t flirt well. I never do it consciously and when it does happen inadvertently, I’m usually extremely aggressive or become a little self-deprecating to try and avoid actually becoming flirtatious.

This is a conundrum. And I don’t have therapy again until after the party happens, but perhaps that’s a good thing. I don’t know how to end this post–I guess my original statement still stands. The answer is both.

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Temporary 

I don’t know what I’m doing.

I don’t even feel like a person anymore. At least , I don’t feel like me, although who else could I be? This is just another facet of who I am but it seems so foreign and feral and disconnected. I can’t even jerk off without disassociating. I lie on my back and stare at the ceiling, feeling inhuman.

Everything feels cinematic and unreal. I feel reckless, on the brink of frenzy. All my instincts are primal and I keep them in check because I’m not completely psychotic, but fuck, I just really want to beat the shit out of someone or get beaten by someone else, spit blood, break my knuckles, something. Snort a bunch of lines and never come down because the goal is to never come down. I’m functioning incredibly well on less than 6 hours of sleep a night for at least two months. 

And I fear that whenever I wake up, I won’t be like this anymore.

I would take the compulsive masturbating and rage and OCD and racing brain and agitation over deep depression any day. 
I remember not being able to get out of bed. I remember needing 12 hours of sleep just to barely function. I remember dozing off in every class, pushing my work until the last minute, being a zombie, the constant mental breakdowns and wishing I would die because I already felt like I was.

I would do anything to not be that way again. And every time I have a second to myself, I fear I will slip back into that place and I won’t be able to escape.

Porno Flickers

Am I doing the right thing?

I mean, everything feels like a wrong turn.

My manic energy, however wavering, and lack of sleep has given way to a compulsive, stressed, panicked being who needs to cum six times a day just to distract themselves.

That is, until the questions pop up as pounds of flesh and blood swirl around on my computer screen, and suddenly I can no longer feel my own body.

It all just feels so…hopeless.

I know that’s a cliche.

It actually feels surreal–to know there is no right answer, no correct choice, no way out, no solution to anything.

When I was younger, I didn’t even think about the possibility of my whole life becoming, well, shit.

Every smile feels forced. Every laugh is followed by internalized anxiety and paranoia. Every conversation is emotionally draining, usually followed by irrational rage at people I love. I’m tired of the blank stares, the tired half-smiles that are a poor attempt to reassure me that I’m not going to sit on the train tracks and wait for my body to be run over and crushed into nothing.

My hatred for others has grown immensely and quickly. I lash out. I make jokes but they’re meant to burn. I dread seeing people I call friends.

And you know what? They don’t actually care. Nor should they have to.

They have their lives. And despite all their own problems and all their own complaining, I would take any single one of their lives over my own.

I feel like my best friend and I are drifting apart. And I’m self-aware enough to know this isn’t because of my current state–I’m always in a good mood when I see her, but that mood is dissuaded throughout our interaction because she just seems so…distant. So irritated by me.

I have my guesses as to why.

But I don’t want a repeat of last year, where she held everything in until she exploded via text message and I had to drive to her house and threaten to leave if she didn’t fucking talk to me about what was going on.

I know she doesn’t like to talk.

I just keep feeling like I’m letting her down and I don’t even know why. I feel insecure. I don’t really ask her to hang out anymore. I’ve almost stopped completely. I’ve learned not to text her because she never texts me back.

Every time I’m with her, it’s like we’re not actually together.

It makes me even more sad.

I just want to sleep for a while, stop jerking off so much, eat an actual meal, wear clothes that aren’t work clothes or gym clothes.

But tomorrow I’ll be back to staying up until 3am watching porn to, what? Distract myself?

I’m running out of distractions.

Kurjuus

Your room is beginning to feel like a prison.

Even outside doesn’t feel much better. The air is thick and oppressive and you feel like you can’t really go anywhere–not that a change of scenery would really make a huge difference. Your problems follow you everywhere you go because your problems are, quite simply, yourself.

You want to eviscerate yourself and inspect every organ, every muscle, every piece of tissue that spills out of your belly. Your throat burns. You light another cigarette and feel like you might fall over for a split second. The phone rings but it’s not a number you know.

Hearing about everyone else’s lives is exhausting. You have nothing to say. Yet being alone wears on you–you want someone else to talk to. The silent conversations that take place in your head make you feel insane. But again, everyone else is exhausting. The way they smoke their cigarettes annoys you. The way they purse their lips when they want to say something cruel but don’t. The way they sigh. The way they look at you in anticipation of some sort of emotion, some sort of visceral reaction, only to be dumbfounded when they receive nothing.

Your self-deprecating remarks have worn down on those you call your friends, and you can feel them distancing themselves from you. But you are not happy, not even close, and you don’t know what else to say.

You may be completely lucid, completely self-aware, but that is not always a good thing.

You want to be able to breathe without feeling like you’re suffocating.

You want everything to stop hurting your heart so much. That’s all you really want.

 

I’ve Had Worse.

I can’t explain anything anymore. My words are incongruent and incohesive, my mind is an anxious, dying cluster-fuck of depressive, intrusive thoughts.

I wake up at noon. I pull on a pair of pants that, mind you, are not clean. I sign the back of a check. It’s raining outside and I worry that my car will do that stupid thing when it rains, where it stalls and acts like it’s going to break down but somehow it doesn’t. I drive to the bank. The man in line behind me surprises me with his presence. I’m glad he can only see the back of me. I hate the bank. I’m not enough of an adult to be at a bank. I deposit the check.

It’s raining even harder when I walk out. I drive down Panorama Trail and have to stop and wait for a mail truck, while part of me wishes someone would slam into me at 60mph and destroy me, but that won’t happen. I spend $16 on hair dye because my priorities are screwed.

At home, I try to smoke a cigarette in the garage, but it’s so stuffy and dank in there that after three drags I give up. I go inside, fall asleep on the couch for an hour. Wake up to people talking, so I go upstairs. All I want to do is sleep. That’s all I feel capable of at this point. Somehow, I don’t. I fuck around on the internet all day. I masturbate without an ounce of satisfaction. It’s a miracle I don’t cry after coming, honestly.

I smoke more cigarettes. I feel anxious. My face feels greasy. I listen to Radiohead. I wish to feel something other than misery. I wish for someone to genuinely give a fuck, but I also am happy, in a sense, I’m alone, because I don’t want to bring anyone else down. I eat and feel disgusting about it. I consider going for a walk, but I don’t like the dark.

I maintain an internet presence to cover up the fact that I’m suicidal.

All of my desires are impure and vile. They’re full of self-hate and sabotage. All of my wishes are only wishes to destroy myself, to just waste myself for once and for all. My thoughts are barely strung together. I want to cry but I can’t, which is worse than actually crying. I feel overwhelmed by the empty space around me, and by the concept of time. I want to see my organs spilling out of my abdomen. I want my brain to be taken out of my skull and probed. Just tell me what’s so wrong with me. I’m doing something wrong, clearly. I’m all wrong. I’m all wrong.

Email to Psychiatrist II

Long time, no speak. Or see.

I am emailing you tonight because…well, there’s not a simple reason, I suppose. To start, my new therapist is fine, I suppose. She obviously doesn’t really compare to my relationship with you since we have four years of that and you know me very well, and you know I like to put up fights and you tend to deal with my bullshit pretty well. I actually skipped my last appointment with her. Most of it had to do with scheduling, but I also just felt no desire to go. The other woman, the one who deals with my medications, I have only seen once and she has failed to fill out my prescriptions for Latuda and Klonopin so I have been kind of floundering. I called to see what was up the other day but the receptionist never got back to me like she said she would. But I see this woman on Wednesday, so let’s hope I get my meds.

I was actually doing okay for a couple weeks, and then Monday I woke up and immediately was hit over the head with all these stressors (mostly expenses I don’t have the money for), so that was a shitty start to my day. Tuesday was worse. I got stuck in traffic on my way home from work (which I am quitting, even though I have no backup plan. Whatever.), for 45 minutes, and I was already in a rough mood so I started to cry, and when I got home I cried a lot more.
The rest of the week I have been exceptionally anxious. I’m having those feelings of derealization and it’s so unpleasant, scary, and uncomfortable…I do not know what to do. I feel very alone in this, and I feel as though something is deeply wrong with me. I have been passively suicidal, because, well, I’d rather die than feel insane.
What a cheery email.
– Zara

The Plague of Anxiety (I)

I’ve been an anxious person all my life. Even as a child, I never felt truly capable of relaxing. I worried about school constantly, despite how easy elementary school was, looking back now.

My anxiety has worsened with time and especially with a particular drug experience which I can’t remember if I’ve written about in length or not. Anyway, in 2012 I started taking Klonopin to help ease my anxiety. As much as medication can help, I feel like it has more of a placebo effect than anything else. When I start to feel anxious, these days, I take a pill, and my mind is eased. Usually.

I’ve been reading this book titled Don’t Panic: Taking Control of Anxiety Attacks by R. Reid Wilson and though very dated (it was published in 1996), there is a lot of useful and interesting information. Just seeing what I experience in writing, in someone else’s words, is validating. As I’m reading the book I’m thinking, “Yes, yes! This is me. This is exactly what I do!”

Something I found particularly interesting is how chronic anxiety can manifest itself in other ways than merely just feeling panicked or anxious from time to time. These symptoms, linked to anxiety, caught my attention because I experience them: headaches, the need for frequent urination, cramp-like pains in the stomach, difficulty becoming sexually aroused or achieving orgasm, irritability, and impatience.

Anxiety literally rules my life. I’m constantly on edge, just waiting for the next panic attack, wondering how I’m going to get through it, and sometimes my constant vigilance and preparation actually causes me to go into a panic. My mind is its own worst enemy. My mind likes to play tricks on me. My emergency response is miswired, for whatever reason.

When people ask me how I deal with anxiety and panic, I wish I could offer better advice. I’ve heard meditation helps. I was unable to commit to it. I’ve heard yoga helps, but any green-juice-drinking white yuppie will tell you that yoga cures all ailments. Medication can help immensely, but you have to find one that works for you (and have health insurance). Many people with anxiety use drugs and alcohol (hello, self) to cope, which just really backfires because of the physiological response that occurs. I don’t have better advice because I’m still constantly struggling.

I will leave you with my favorite quote from the book: “No one has to earn the right to be loved; we are already loveable.”

-Zara