General Question

LeavesNoTrace's avatar

I don't think I'm depressed or bi-polar, but I'm super sensitive. How do I stop crying so much?

Asked by LeavesNoTrace (5674points) May 16th, 2016

Hi y’all. As those of you who have read many of my questions over the past few years know, I’ve had some ups and downs in my life. Just like a lot of people.

For the uninitiated: my mother passed about three years back when I had just turned 24.

I had a really traumatic sexually and emotionally abusive relationship I escaped.

My childhood was kind of dismal. My parents were “providers” but not super loving or encouraging. My father was very physically and emotionally abusive and I’ve disowned him.

Those are the main things I’ve dealt with that I’m still kind of processing. My life is much better now though. I have a loving partner, a few good friends I don’t see often enough, and stable work as a freelancer. Overall, I consider myself to be pretty lucky and have a lot of reasons to be happy.

The problem is that I’m not really “over” a lot of stuff that I went through. I really try to be but those old demons keep rearing their heads. It’s hard for me to let go of my hatred for my cruel father, my mixed grief and anger toward my flawed dead mother and my disgust and pain over my ex raping and manipulating me.

The thing that makes it harder sometimes is that it’s hard to find people in my age range who can relate to my experiences. I feel like I’ve been through more than many people my age—especially in NYC, where a lot of people I encounter are from privileged backgrounds. I’m not saying their pasts are perfect but sometimes I feel embarrassed when they ask about mine and I either have to gloss over a lot of things or risk making them cringe or pity me.

Anyway, the reason I’m asking is that lately I’ve been getting choked and crying a lot about the past. Especially when I have one too many to drink. This has only become a problem recently and I’ve felt like I’m having a delayed reaction to some of the things I went through and alchohol removes the barrier that keeps me from expressing it. I don’t drink a lot but I’d like to be able to have some cocktails without having to worry about tears flowing and burdening my boyfriend with some really traumatic story about when my father told me I “deserved” to be raped or my ex making me throw out my mother’s ashes, etc.

I really wish I could afford therapy but I’m uninsured at the moment and it’s really expensive to pay out-of-pocket in my city.

My partner has been really patient and kind and never makes me feel embarrassed but I am. Luckily it hasn’t happened in public but I clearly need to stop drinking or learn some coping mechanisms. I’d rather not give up my weekly cocktail date either!

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6 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

First of all, stop drinking more than one or two a day. Drinking to blunt the pain doesn’t work for more than an hour or two.

The thing about feelings is that unless you fully feel and process them, they won’t go away, even if you do other things to avoid them, like eat or exercise or have a lot of random sex, or gamble, or drink.

If you can’t afford therapy, call for a referral for pro bono therapy, or a local intern who needs hours for licensing. Therapy will help you process your feelings in a healthy manner.

LeavesNoTrace's avatar

@zenvelo I don’t drink to numb the pain, I’m a social drinker and I never drink alone. In fact, I make it a point not to drink when I’m unhappy because I don’t want it to become a coping mechanism.

I’ll look into pro bono therapy but most of the options are pretty pedestrian and I feel like I’d rather talk to someone highly qualified. Sadly most of those people charge $400 an hour. :-/

canidmajor's avatar

I’ll look into pro bono therapy but most of the options are pretty pedestrian and I feel like I’d rather talk to someone highly qualified. Sadly most of those people charge $400 an hour. :-/

Don’t underestimate “pedestrian” therapy. The people whom you deem to be not “highly qualified” probably have good training, but not a high price tag. I am not minimizing your anguish when I say this, honestly, but your concerns, as you state them in the details, are not unusual or unique, and a qualified person would likely be able to help you sort them out.

Seek's avatar

Oh, gosh, if I had a dollar for every time I inadvertently ended a fun night out partying by bawling my eyes out over shit I can’t change, I could at least get a Starbuck’s.

I wish I had some great advice for you. The best thing I can suggest is to keep doing what you’re doing – Be mindful of when you drink and who you’re with. If you’re in a low, skip cocktail night or order a virgin whatever. Offer to be designated driver on those nights if you don’t want to explain why you’re abstaining.

I come from a long line of dedicated Irish alcoholics, and I’m determined not to be one of them. But I do enjoy a drink now and again. I just have rules for myself. My own personal rules:
1. Only drink things that taste good. Never drink anything just for the alcohol content. It’s helpful that I really dislike American lagers and rum, which are the most commonly-available things.
2. Only drink in a completely safe location. Preferably at home, at a place I’m spending the night, or when I have a reliable designated driver.
3. Follow every drink with water. Yes every one. Yes, especially that shot.
4. Never Drink In A Low. Ever ever ever. It only makes things worse.

Buttonstc's avatar

You’ve actually described both the problem and the solution when you wrote : “alcohol removes the barrier that keeps me from expressing it.”

Alcohol is a disinhibitor and you recognize that. As someone already pointed out, NOT dealing with these issues will not make them magically disappear.

You’re asking how can you get back to the good times where you can drink socially without the backlog of repressed emotions bubbling up to the surface.

In essence you’re asking how to be able to repress everything better so that even alcohol won’t loosen your grip on keeping the lid on tight.

Unfortunately that’s the wrong question. Repression solves nothing. It merely enables one to TEMPORARILY cope and keep on functioning without going off the deep end.

But sooner or later it has to be expressed or it will just keep manifesting in one way or another whether it’s crying jags, irrational anger or long term and serious somatic illness.

I really don’t think you’d prefer that last choice so don’t keep bottling this poison up. It will eventually kill you sooner or later.

Trust me. I won my shrinks gold star award for being “the most skillfully repressed person” he’d ever seen in 25 years of practice. That is really not an award that anyone in their right mind wants to win. But, at the time it was the only coping skill I had. But, as he explained it, Repression takes an enormous amount of energy to maintain. The older one gets, that energy level begins to diminish and keeping that lid firmly in place gets harder and harder.

Right now that’s where you’re at also. You think that you want suggestions on how to keep that lid on more tightly. But your subconscious mind is screaming at you that you can’t keep doing that and the only time it can get through is after a few drinks.

You need to start paying some serious attention to that and not just go back to “business as usual”

You think you can just let everything wait until you’re in a better place financially and can afford a highly trained $400 an hour therapist because anything less is pedestrian.

You need to get out of that stupid high priced NY state of mind. Truth be told, the best and most expensive therapists are highly trained in the arts of 1.) knowing when to shut up and 2.) non judgemental listening.

And believe it or not there are tons of people who’ve learned the exact same things by going through the same life shattering experiences as you’ve described.

So, you ask, where do I find these people? They’re all around you every day but you just don’t know it.

They can be found by going to any one of a number of self help groups for which you abundantly qualify at no charge to you other than time.

There are groups for those dealing with grief from losing a parent or loved one. (And there is a whole lot of anger toward the deceased mixed in with all the rest so you certainly won’t be out of place.)

There are plenty of groups for survivors of sexual/emotional abuse. And would you like to take a guess at the percentage of women in those groups who were first emotionally abused by their father? Yes, it follows a pattern. That’s what made them vulnerable to being both sexually and emotionally abused later in their lives.

One of your complaints is that you can’t really talk to friends or people your age because they’ve been privileged and unable to identify with your struggles.

Trust me, if you’re in NYC you are surrounded by them. You just don’t know it because they’re just not going to walk up to you on the street and announce themselves publicly. They’re busy meeting in groups of people dealing with the same crap you’ve faced and worse. I know it’s difficult for you to imagine anyone having it worse than what you’ve experienced but, trust me, they are there.

HINT: being privileged or rich provides no shield at all from what you’ve been through (unless your definition means privileged to have a truly loving and supportive set of parents)

But having terrific parents has nothing to do with NYC or any other location so I take it you meant rich or well off. Again, no shield.

So, you can choose to keep trying to repress all this shit until something gives out (either your sanity or your health ) while you’re waiting until you can afford that magical highly qualified expensive therapist or you can go and find others like yourself and start talking until you’re all talked out, which could take a few years.

Believe me, you will find some highly qualified people in these groups ; qualified by virtue of experience. And all it will cost you is an investment of some time.

If you, in addition, can find some pro Bono or sliding scale fee therapy, then do that also. But you are in desperate straits, whether you recognize it or not, and even a beginner might prove to be tremendously helpful. But you really do need to reevaluate your point of view on who is qualified to help you and why.

I’ve only mentioned two possibilities of groups which you might find helpful but you are in the world’s largest city so you never know what else is out there until you look.

Please do something now before it gets worse for you. Your subconscious is letting you know that it won’t settle for being kept all bottled up forever. You really don’t have the luxury of time to wait until you can see YOUR IDEAL of the perfect therapist. There are all sorts of perfectly qualified people who can be of enormous help to you RIGHT NOW..Go and find a few.

And as @Seek mentioned, when you are feeling low , don’t drink. Perhaps even consider suspending drinking until you’re in a better place emotionally and psychologically. It’s up to you.

JLeslie's avatar

Stop drinking completely.

Remember that you have no idea how crappy other people really feel. My assumption is if I met you I would think you are pretty, healthy, have a nice boyfriend, and are happy, young, and free.

Focus on the future. Plan some fun things to do. Take advantage of all the tourist things New York has that are free or cheap, and plan a “vacation” day here and there on a day off.

You can’t change the past. I do think it’s useful to sort out your past, and figure out how it effects you, but I also think too much focus on the past can be difficult. Try to compartmentalize. Try to be in the happy moments fully when they happen. Realize you are having fun or in a moment of bliss and put your whole mind in the moment. It stretches the good times.

It’s harder when you are younger too. The brain feels more emotional upset when we are younger according to studies.

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