Friday, August 14, 2009

Resisting Trust

In my last post, "What a Difference a Day Makes", rather than feeling better, (I am not), I think despite feeling unwell I was able to have some insight into how my perception of other's motives might be skewed by my own beliefs about how I want and need to be supported when I am unwell.
I feel like I had an epiphany about other people. It seems obvious now that I have embraced the idea, but I am NOT the centre of the universe. Ha, ha...sort of:>( I often worry that I am narcissistic...can you be narcissistic if you think you might be? Hmmm).

Given that others deal with their depression in many different ways, it is probable, and even likely, that if they try to support me or you, or help us, they will do so in the way they understand to be helpful to them. This may or may not be the way in which you want to be supported or helped.

I know I try hard to approach friends difficulties the way I think they might need supporting, but I bet I get it completely wrong much of the time, because of my reference point. I need love and affection, nothing that indicates dismissiveness, or anger, and honest feedback.

I realize now that I block people from providing me with honest feedback because I so often feel hurt and criticized by what others perceive as honesty and even support. Difficulty trusting others is a key component to my reacting negatively i.e. fearfully, or hurt) to honest feedback.

I have great deal of difficulty trusting others, even those who consistently prove themselves trustworthy, (eg. Dr X, my boyfriend, friends etc.). I think I have made progress in this area, especially with Dr. X, but I falter all the time.

I remember just last week how intensely hurt I felt by a letter he had written to my Family Doctor (in Canada specialists need re-referrals from the referring physician every 6 mos...seems ridiculous when a psychiatrist has been seeing me this long). In the letter to request a re-refferal he said something like (paraphrase), "Aqua's mood cycles. She sees this component of her mood and is afraid to commit to regular activities". Honestly, I feel okay about what he wrote now because he and I talked about how I felt hurt by his comment.

At the time, after I left his office and read the letter, I was so hurt and angered by his comment. I felt so bad about myself and the way I was, that when I wrote my post, "Concrete and Practical Help" I could not even write about the situation that lead to my needing this help.

I felt like he was saying that I "could" commit to work etc., if only I would; that it was ME stopping myself from committing and not the fact that my mood disorder, my depression, was so intensely unpredictable and severe. It felt completely contrary to what I thought he had been telling me for years; that my mood disorder and its cycling affect my ability to maintain the momentum, motivation, mood, and energy to commit to regular scheduled activities. As I read the letter, all the trust and honesty Dr. X had worked so hard to maintain dissipated in front of me.

Obviously, not ALL the trust disappeared, because I was able to discuss my anger and hurt with him in my next appointment. The discussion helped me understand what his intentions had been. I understood more clearly. What really strikes me today, as I write this, is how, after years and years of building a trustful relationship, I can so suddenly feel hurt and distrustful.

As I read the letter to my physician I tried so hard to tell myself I was mistaken in my interpretation of the words. I tried so hard to believe and understand that Dr. X was so good to me, was so compassionate, honourable and trustworthy. I tried to remember how consistently supportive he has been all these years...but the worm of distrust, suspicion and paranoia kept digging itself into my brain.

...and I wonder why Dr. X and others might be apprehensive and not completely forthcoming about providing me with open and honest feedback. Given my pathological difficulties with trust, given my fear of being punished and plotted against, how can he be sure I will accept his feedback is thoughtful, caring and therapeutic?

Why do I resist trusting people so much?


munkyspooker said...

I have a very hard time trusting anybody I meet or know, because they simply don't understand me, or where I'm coming from. They don't have the disorder, how can they possibly comprehend what it's like?

I still don't trust a lot of the people around me. My mother garners the most trust out of me, but even then it's not my full amount of trust. I've been burned too many times by the "normies" out there that I just won't give it up, until I know that other person get's the big picture.


Harriet said...

Firstly, I think the support you offer me is exactly what I need. Maybe it's because we're alike in what we need from others, or maybe because you just know how to give good support.

As for trust - when we trust someone we become very vulnerable. Any type of mental illness already puts us in a vulnerable position, and why would we want to be even more vulnerable? So trusting someone compounds the issue.

Plus there is your history with your family. The relationship you had with your dad didn't foster trust at all. We learn how to trust or distrust at an early age. For some reason I learned not to trust people when I was quite young and I'm still not sure why.

I think it's important to trust one or two people, you don't need to trust everyone, and you probably shouldn't. But if there is one person who understands you and supports you, you can consider yourself lucky. IMO, of course.