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Quickie followup: trying to get some needs met

November 14, 2012

I’d already been having to do a lot of thinking about this kind of thing, but the last ranty post (and the necessity of writing it) got me thinking even more.

My quality of life has been much lower than it could be, because I’m just not getting a lot of needs met. This is a long-term problem, but has become even more pressing because these days I’ve got more disability-related needs and less support readily available.

I think part of the problems already described are also coming from problems with communication. Even being aware that this is not healthy or balanced, I still have a lot of investment in the idea of being “Strong”.* I know I learned this directly from my mom, and it sure as hell didn’t work well for her (even before throwing in the martyr-type attitude/behavior I hope I have mostly avoided). It’s still hard to stop, to the point of even admitting that you do need help with things sometimes. And I have no reasonable expectation that anyone is waiting to use any admitted needs against me in some way, these days. I am still afraid of coming across as a drag, though, and at the back of my mind expect to encounter low patience. That is not the kind of situation I want to live in, and (rationally) don’t think I am.

“I’ll bite your legs off!” Source. Maybe not the best approach to life. 😉

OK, I couldn’t resist. It does feel that way, sometimes.

If I have trouble even articulating what needs I actually have, they’re unlikely to get met. That’s pretty basic, but still a persistent problem. One of the reasons I crashed out of college was that, while I did have access to accommodations–both through the disabled students’ office and the honors program, with a director who was unusually aware that many of the “gifted” students had special needs–I had no freaking clue what might even help, beyond a couple of obvious things like extra time on tests involving math. (For the dyscalculia quadruple-checking, and my mind going blank from the stress. I did manage to ace mid-level trig and calculus, though.) Now I have a better idea of what is actually going on and what might help, day to day, but often have a hard time feeling like reasonable help/accommodations are reasonable for me, very specifically.

One example that popped into mind, from yesterday, involving an extremely basic need: I actually stood there and wondered if it was reasonable to get a comfy-looking £5 pair of fuzzy slippers, when my feet have been cold a lot lately, with the delays getting the boiler fixed. There are multiple layers of absurdity there. (But, I am wearing the slippers now, at least.) It is honestly that bad at times.

Situational depression and learned helplessness don’t make this easier. Things also get very overwhelming, and it’s hard to think of solutions to even simple problems. Sometimes I do have trouble imagining how things could be different, much less better. Which makes it hard to figure out how to get there. Withdrawing also does not help.

It’s kind of embarrassing to admit, but that’s also part of the problem here.

So, I am going to try going back to super-basics, and making an explicit list of what needs are not getting met. Then trying to figure out what might help get them met, working with Mr. U where required.

I actually think he’s not totally aware of how much trouble I have been having with a good number of things, because I haven’t been able to talk about it outright in a lot of cases. And I try way too hard to keep a stiff upper lip. Expecting mindreading is a losing proposition. He can often tell something is wrong, but I feel like a whiner going into details. This is also a huge part of the problem.

It’s still a daunting prospect, but will hopefully get easier once I dive in. I may share some of it here; we’ll just have to see how things go.


* From the last post, for the links:

Much less labor under any version of a Strong Woman myth, which combines really freaking badly with some of the other roles here. (Truth: Strong People Don’t Have Needs & Other Myths That Can Kill You, with content warnings for rape culture. Mostly included for the title.)

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