Letting people in

October 4, 2008 at 8:42 pm 6 comments

Last night was a fairly major step forward for me. Rob (a friend) and I went out for a few drinks and he crashed here.

This doesn’t sound like a big thing, but it is. The last time anyone stayed here overnight was April 2006, when Rebecca (an ex) came to stay for a couple of days. I’ve often been intensely paranoid about keeping my space private. Part of this has been because my flat (and most of the spaces I’ve occupied) has been horrible untidy. I seem to have that sorted now. I went on a three day cleaning binge before Rebecca came to stay. Before Rob came over, I had a quick tidy which took maybe 20 minutes. But even when the flat’s been tidy, it’s been difficult letting anyone in.

This all goes back to my childhood (like lots of other stuff), where my room was the place I’d run away from my father to. And then when I got a bit older it became the place where I could hide from the world. My room was a kind of physical “LEAVE ME ALONE!”. It was also a way of asserting a little bit of control over my father. It was the one thing I could really defend from him. My reaction to anyone coming in was so extreme that it was easier for them to stay out. Every so often my father would invade my privacy for no good reason (which continued until I left home) and there’d be some terrible argument.

My therapist and I talked about this briefly. It was one of the things we didn’t really have time to cover. So I’m glad I’ve been able to go forward with it on my own. I tested the waters a bit a couple of weeks ago, when Rob and I were going out for some food and, instead of hurrying out the door, he came in for a bit (mostly so I could get his opinion on how my guitar playing’s coming along). It helped that it was Rob – he’s someone I know really well and he’d have been able to cope if I’d have been really freaked out by the whole thing. There was no chance of me really fucking anything up. It’ll probably still hit some panicky feelings if other people come round, but I think I’ll be able to cope.

And it’s another step towards the life I want.


Entry filed under: Friends.

KZZZZZAP (or: What’s been going on with me these last few days.) Shoes/Work/Teeth etc.

6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. thestranger  |  October 5, 2008 at 1:04 pm

    I relate to this a lot. I holed up in my room and it was my sanctuary, and eventually installed a deadbolt in an attempt to keep my father from invading my privacy. After reading lots of similar stories I found out I even have “door bell dread” where I have little panic attacked when people show up unexpectedly…

  • 2. experimental chimp  |  October 5, 2008 at 1:24 pm

    I always wanted a lock, but they’d never let me get one.

    “Door bell dread” is a great term. I guess mine would be “knock dread” since I don’t have a door bell. I’ve spent a lot of the last couple of years feeling panicked that my landlord was going to turn up unexpectedly. This was kind of weird, since I don’t think I’ve ever even seen the guy. I’d guess I was putting him in the role of my father – the authority figure who wanted to invade my space and find fault with the way I was living.

  • 3. my sad alter ego  |  October 5, 2008 at 5:55 pm

    I relate to this so much I might have to link to it. It’s not for me an issue of cleanliness or embarrassment…rather, it’s my privacy and my fortress and my place to break down alone and have silence. It’s really hard to bring someone in without feeling invaded.

  • 4. adifferentvoice  |  October 9, 2008 at 7:32 am

    I, too, relate to this. Apparently I spent most of my childhood holed up on my room. Having my own house made a real difference, though. It was my space, my safe space, and I love having people round – people I choose, of course. Best of all is seeing people having fun, enjoying themselves, liking the food, in my space, which is, of course, now my family’s space. It wasn’t always like this, and I remember how I used to keep a big piece of furniture between me and anybody who came to the house …

    I’m loving reading all your positive posts. Hope work went well.

  • 5. experimental chimp  |  October 9, 2008 at 10:18 am

    I wonder if having a house would be easier. Up to now I’ve had rooms, and even my flat is essentially one big room plus a bathroom (it’s like the next step up from a bedsit). I think having a bigger space which I could separate into private and less-private spaces would help.

    The meeting at work did go well. Looks like I’ll be back there before the year’s out. It’s so much easier talking to people now.

  • 6. adifferentvoice  |  October 9, 2008 at 10:34 pm

    Goodpoint – about the private and less-private spaces. I hadn’t thought of a house like that, but I would certainly be less reluctant to entertain all and sundry in my bedroom…

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Hi, I'm James. I'm a 26 year old guy from England with bipolar disorder (currently well controlled). I also have a circadian rhythm sleep disorder (not so well controlled). This blog has charted my journey from mental illness, through diagnosis and, recently, into recovery. It's not always easy, but then, what is?


Self-righteous note about smoking

As of 12th September 2008 it has been forty five weeks since I quit smoking. So in another seven weeks it'll have been a whole year.

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