Friday, 14 June 2019

Judgement and Entitlement: Counselling Session 6

(TW sexual assault)

My Depression wasn't as bad this week, but my Anxiety was pretty bad. I think this was due to some arguments my parents had been having, about moving house. We haven't found anywhere yet, but Mum doesn't feel ready. Unfortunately, Dad wants to move as soon as possible. Because of this, they argue whenever the topic arises.

I really hate arguments. They make me panic, and sometimes dissociate. When I was very young, I used to worry that my parents would divorce and I would be made to live some time in one house, and some time in another. I also used to worry about how they would be able to afford a place to live each. Nowadays, I know that they have a strong relationship and only argue as much as any other married couple would.

Raised voices make me panic too, and I'm not entirely sure why. If I remember correctly, I was shouted at my bullies, but that didn't affect me as much as being jeered at, judged, left out of play, humiliated etc. My abusive ex used to shout too, but again, that wasn't the worst thing about the things he did.

Apart from this, I had been (and still am) feeling very emotional. It's not taken much to make me cry, and things have overwhelmed me far too easily. Because of this, I've found it hard to concentrate and the only thing I've been able to focus on at least a little, is watching the "Chernobyl" series on Now TV.

We then went back to talking about my abusive ex, as well as times I have been sexually assaulted by other men. It has happened a few times, but I've not reported it for various reasons (being drunk, feeling like I led someone on etc). It has really affected my ability to trust most men. If they act in a flirty way towards me, and I don't feel attracted to them, I become hypervigilant but will find it hard to make it clear to them that I do not want anything apart from friendship. I will avoid them if they persist. Men who do not get the message make me feel unsafe. It feels as if they have no regard for consent, and will do what they want. It has even gone so far as to feel as if they feel they have ownership over women's (or people they perceive to be women, I am non binary for instance) bodies.

From there, I don't remember how we got onto this topic, but we discussed society's judgement of people who cannot work; specifically due to chronic illness/disability. I still feel as if society judges me for not working, and for claiming sickness and disability benefits. I also feel they judge how disabled or sick I really am. I get so scared about being contradictory, having a fluctuating illness, and being able to prove my disabilities.

I have said in previous blogs, and I explained to my counsellor how I think about my inability to work. I try to think of the least amount I could manage in a workplace, and the least taxing job I've had in the past. I struggle to sit up for long, concentration is a big problem, pain and fatigue (as well as dizziness when sitting for a while) affect my productivity, and I would be in agony by the end of even a part time shift working at a desk.

My illnesses fluctuate but even on my best days, I simply could not be productive throughout a shift, even with some breaks. I would have many days where I could not get to work either, because of being too exhausted, in pain, or nauseous even. I would have to call in sick so many times that I would lose my job within months. I know this because this has happened even when my illnesses weren't so bad.

And that's not to even mention my mental health problems. The OCD that makes me feel the need to control everything, know what people are thinking and gain reassurance constantly, so I can be prepared, coupled with the Generalised Anxiety that makes me worry about everything, and fixate on things to such an amount that I cannot focus on anything else, finally, the Depression and BPD that affect my moods vastly, that zap my motivation and either slow me right down, or make me so agitated I cannot concentrate.

Even in my blog posts, I feel the need to justify why I am not working. People may assume I do nothing with my day, but that is not true. I try to socialise, clean when I'm able, bake on very rare occasions. The rest of the time, I am managing my illnesses. Managing chronic physical and mental illnesses is a full time job. You have to balance exerting yourself, with resting. You have to pace everything you do. If you move too much, it flares up various symptoms. If you don't move enough, your joints stiffen and your mood is affected. You have to do something each day to feel some sense of purpose and achievement, but not put too much pressure on yourself as it will make you feel mentally and physically drained and overwhelmed. You have to try and attend every appointment, ordering prescriptions, collecting prescriptions, chasing up test results etc. It's a lot to cope with!

This counselling session didn't include an exercise. It just involved a lot of chatting and venting. My brainfog kicked in unfortunately, and I had to keep stopping to remember what I was talking about/what my point was. I became very dizzy and fatigued towards the end too. My counsellor had to get me a glass of water, and let me rest for a few minutes before continuing. Even talking can be exhausting and overwhelming!

After my session, I had to go and collect a prescription. In the pharmacy, I'd just queued up when I felt a breeze on the back of my neck. I turned round, then felt a hand on my shoulder. It was a creepy old man who was standing far too close. He apologised for accidentally blowing on my neck. He continued to touch my shoulder while saying he could see my ponytail moving in the breeze. I forgave him, smiled politely, then stepped away. I flinched until he let go of my shoulder, but he continued to stand far too close for a while, before sitting by the consultation room and staring at me. I got a really bad vibe from this man, and I actually got a flashback to a time when I was sexually assaulted by a strange middle-aged man in the bus station. I had been sitting, waiting for a bus, when I noticed this man staring at me as he approached me. He sat down next to me and told me to give him a hug. I was scared of what he'd do if I said no, so I gave him a quick hug, then tried to ignore him. He then put his hand on my leg as he told me his name was Everton and he was going to Stourbridge. I flinched away when his hand starting moving up my leg. He eventually went away, but the next day, I saw him in town. He commented on me being "sexy" and this sent a shiver down my spine. I didn't want to see him ever again.

The main points of this post are about society feeling entitled to do some things, and judgemental of people who don't do certain things (primarily, working). Consent needs to be respected much more in my opinion. It is so important and can mean the difference between someone trusting you or never again.

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