Discover more from Digitalpilled Lovergirl
So happy to talk to you again
We are back for good, here's what's been on my mind
If you live with chronic guilt the way that I do, then you probably carry around an archive of evidence tucked away neatly in the trails of your movement - evidence that your existence is a worthless endeavor, that things actually are your fault, that you can’t point your finger at anyone else. The sad thing is that for me, many of the events that become stored in this self-punishing archive are things that actually started out as motivational and confidence-inspiring for me. I don’t want this Substack to become part of this archive - I was so excited when I first started this, I felt for the first time in a long time that I was given a creative medium through which I could actually add meaning to the world. As I started falling off my posting schedule, it has quickly started inching its way across the thin line into the archive of evidence that I am lazy and noncommittal and always let people down and can’t finish anything I start. I was scared of reminding you guys that I am a failure, even though I know you don’t see me that way. And I was so sick of that feeling and so anxious to share everything that I’ve been writing this past month that I am ripping off the band-aid now.
Thank you for those who checked in, your care for me as a person means more than I can say. I will be posting every Sunday or Monday weekly from now on (those are my days off), and if I ever go through crisis again I have discovered the feature where I can go on “vacation mode” and pause your subscriptions until I return to writing. I have a giant collection of things I’ve written over this time waiting to be published, so hold on tight. I love you!
I have always been terrified that I will never feel comfortable, that I will never forgive myself for being like this, that I will never really become a real person. I have been waiting my whole life for it, and now as I look back on the past 22 years I see myself laying terminally limp and useless, an unfinished diagnosis of human condition. I have just been sitting idly waiting for something beautiful, something functional.
I am in a new relationship now, and I am devastated to watch myself repeat the mistakes I made in the last ones. It’s like when you’re dreaming and something terrible is happening to you - last night I dreamt that someone burned all my diaries in front of me, and I wanted to shout at myself to do something and try to stop them but I couldn’t, I just sat idly and watched all of my treasured inner thoughts be lost to the most cruel demolition. This is relationship OCD: you are watching yourself do things, things that hurt you or maybe even things that are mean to someone else, and you feel the full weight of your responsibility to your own actions but at the same time feel like you have nothing to do with it, like you have absolutely no say in the matter.
So over time you accumulate this conviction that you are a monster. Everything you’ve ever done is this heavy mallet sitting in your hands, and you find yourself lifting it and striking down very hard. It used to be something imperceptible, these blows that I made to myself; I maintained the appearance of a functional adult. But now I look like a rotting person - I really mean it, there’s holes in my skin and they won’t heal up and sometimes I’ll walk around bleeding without realizing it. I am brandished by massive, pulpy bruises that came from nowhere and it makes me feel naked, that everyone can see these knots of blood that dilated under my skin and mark me like I did something wrong. I feel like my body is distended and stretched too far over its plane, I wasn’t meant to take up this much space, like I’m swelling from the inside and filling with whatever is wrong with me.
I used to be certain that I love very hard, that you could call me crazy or jealous or clingy, but you could never say I wasn’t loving. One of the worst things that’s ever happened to me has been watching this belief erode rapidly within the past few months. It was like my martyr - it was the thing that was going to save me, this certainty that at least I am a lover. I am not certain of anything I have ever been - I am left to confront these labels I’ve clung to that conveniently organize a set of behaviors in an attempt to make sense of myself. I have locked myself away to confront the fact that maybe I am not a ferocious lover, I am just a selfish person. The worst part of relationship OCD is never knowing if you ever really loved anyone you were with. My disorder is characterized by a total distrust of self and internal experiences - I do not have the luxury of believing my feelings, I do not trust myself to feel them authentically and truthfully, I do not trust my memory of my feelings or life events.
I want to trust that I am a good person. I want so desperately to be able to wake up in the morning certain that I am inherently good, regardless of if I stole mascara from the drugstore or lied to an ex boyfriend or forgot to text a friend on the anniversary of their loved one’s death. I long for the ability to compartmentalize these things as mistakes that are completely separate from deeply immoral things that speak of my character and worth as a person. But I collect them all in the same bin - everything I ever do gets sorted into the same archive of evidence that I am deeply and irrevocably bad. I don’t even have to do anything to make myself think this - it’s like this throbbing vein that runs down my center.
I have been helping a friend who was recently diagnosed with OCD. I feel guilty because it made me hate myself more - it was like holding a mirror up to me and forcing me to look my ugly parts in the eyes. It made me wonder how anyone close to me can stand having a relationship with me, putting up with my constant reassurance seeking. God, I wish you knew how painful compulsive reassurance seeking is. A TikTok friend of mine recently commented under one of my videos about relationship OCD saying, “I’m sorry. This genuinely sounds so difficult and I hope it gets easier to cope with xx.” I wish people did that more in online mental health discourse spaces - just stopping in to show some compassion, so say you see how hard someone else’s struggle is. I feel like we always just want to relate, but sometimes that ends up being dominating. Sometimes I just want someone one the outside, someone who doesn’t get it, who doesn’t live like me, to acknowledge that they wouldn’t trade places with me.
When I look at Gottman’s theory of basic human needs and the consequent flipside of the most triggering experiences/feelings that we can experience, I see that I am different. I am not triggered by the feelings or experiences that would trigger most people; I have a very high tolerance for feeling excluded, powerless, unheard, judged, disrespected, lonely, ignored, forgotten, disconnected, frustrated, uncared for, manipulated, or controlled. But I am extremely triggered by feeling scolded, trapped, blamed, and being the bad guy. To adapt to this, I am a chronic people pleaser. My only long-lasting and sustainable friendships are ones where we haven’t ever gotten into any real conflict together. This means I have about 3 really solid friendships like this. I cannot handle the feeling of possibly being seen as anything other than a completely agreeable sweet perfect friend, and I feel that even having one significant conflict with someone is beyond the point of no return, that I have forever tainted their view of me and we will never be able to get as close again as we did before we fought.
If anyone reading this has OCD or BPD or some similar kind of illness, I need to ask you to never lock yourself away in your room because you think you are bad. I cannot tell you that you are not bad, because you won’t believe me, and I know that. But please don’t ever shut yourself out in quiet places because you think you are too bad for the world. What I’m really asking you, honestly, is please don’t live the way I do. I think that some of you may look up to me in some way or another, and that means the world to me, but please don’t be anything like me. I will keep making my videos and keep writing and sharing with you guys, but please do not take comfort in the way that I am. Don’t look at me as a person who is existing in a way that is sustainable or admirable or good. I want you to be better than me, I want to be shouting up at you from the bottom of my hole that you are at the top of and that you pinky promise you’ll never jump down into because you can see from there how rotten it is down here. These are the terms that I can share my life with you under.