Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A Sense of Self by E

What is a sense of self and when do you know that you have it?

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this here, but I have depression.  I am not depressed, I am not my disease.  And that is what this is, a disease, an illness, the mental equivalent of the flu. Except there is no vaccine.  I see a therapist for talk therapy and a psychiatrist for medications and both agree that one of the big roots of my depression is my lack of a solid sense of self and values.  Okay, well how do I get that?  Where do I go within myself, or without, that will help get a sense of self?

Two big aspects of self and values, for me any way, are sexulity and belief of what lies beyond.  I don’t have solid thoughts on either of those.  I like men and women, but up until a few weeks ago, I thought I was gay, that I’d never sleep with another man after my ex-fiance. But lo and behold, I am currently sleeping with Cowboy, crushing on Coffeeshop Guy and going on dates with Mormon Boy; ALL MEN! I don’t have any women in my line up right now and that is weird for me because I really want a girlfriend.  On the other hand I love having sex with men.

My therapist thinks that the human body gets depression when something is wrong; wrong relationship, wrong sense of self, wrong program in school, wrong roommates, wrong town, wrong religion.  He also thinks that everything in life is fluid and rarely stays the same.  And that goes for sexuality as well.  Combining those two thoughts, maybe my bisexuality was trying to save me from getting married, something that was wrong for me, by completely turning me off to guys for a while and once I was clear of marriage, I reverted back to being bi?

There are a lot of different kinds of sexuality and the two that I’m trying to decide between are pansexual and bisexual.  I don’t quite understand the difference between the two.  I’ve heard many definitions and they don’t make a lot of sense to me.  From what I’ve heard, pan is being able to love and be attracted to and connect with all people regardless of physical sex and gender identity, where bi is able to love and be attracted to and connect with men and women.  Yeah, I don’t see a difference, but oh well.

I think one thing that I need work on in order to build my value system is to say “no” when my guts tell me to.  I talk big about following your instincts, that they know best and will help you more than any advice you could get from anyone, but I don’t do it myself.

Isn’t that another part of depression, not following your values? I think that is what I’m going to work on next, but how do I do that? Suggestions please :)


  1. I am 60 years old. When I was young, I wanted to be straight so I fought my homosexual feelings with all my might. I had a great career but I hated what I was doing. I was so conflicted and felt so out of sync. I learned the hard way to trust my intuition when it comes to important life decisions. Intuition helped me where logic had failed me.

    My intuition served as a moral compass; telling me when I was on the right path, not necessarily the right path for anyone else or the easiest path for me but the right path for me.

    What trusting my intuition allowed me to do was to narrow the discrepancy between my inner and outer worlds. Before those two worlds were so out of synch. The inner world (my feelings, values, gifts, needs, and passion) did not jive with my outer world (my job, relationships, home and social life).

    Trusting my intuition showed me what changes (sometimes painful changes) had to made before I could align those two worlds. When I listened to my intuition, my life improved. When I ignored my intuition, I lived to regret it.

    Maybe intuiton doesn't work the same way for everyone but my intuition has never failed me. And my values became apparent along the way.

    It was difficult at first to develop my intuition. But as I learned how to recognize my intuition, I got better and better at picking up the feelings and hunches and my confidence grew.


  2. I consider myself gay and technically I could be considered bisexual but I also might have experienced what it means to be pansexual.

    I experienced love and attraction for a woman that was so strong that I did not notice her gender. I know that sounds weird but I was so turned on by her person (being, spirit, whatever you want to call it) that her body was just background.

    So maybe the difference between bisexuality and pansexuality is that one focuses on gender and the other does not.


  3. Yikes, I am sorry I am so chatty.

    Here are a few things I did to develop my intuition:

    1) I learned to notice what happened while I was depressed. For instance, I noticed I didn't have the energy to put up defenses so I could no longer surpress the unwelcomed gay feelings that at other times I could surpress. My thinking now is that during depression I would always go back to what felt most natural; to my strongest feelings even those feelings I didn't want to have.

    2) I learned to ask myself questions and notice my reaction. For instance, when I was doing something or with someone, did the time drag or fly by? What things would I do even on my free time? What things seemed to take me forever even though they were easy? What did I see as a problem and what did I see as a challenge? Who did I want to spend my time with and who did I want to avoid?

    3) I noticed when I was living too much in my head (i.e., daydreaming) or when I was most engaged with the outside world. Living in my head meant I was not living the way I needed to. Being engaged meant I was.

    4) I would entertain scenarios and see how I would react. I learned to pay attention to what lifted my spirits and what brought me down.

    5) I kept an intuition journal; writing down what I felt or what hunches I had and then later determined if my intuition had been right or not. Answer: I was right most of the time.

    6) If I kept revisiting the same decision over and over again that might not mean I wasn't committed to the decision but instead that the decision might not be the right one for me.

    7) I learned that if something didn't feel right that didn't necessarily mean that something was broken that needed fixing; that feeling might mean that something was missing. So I learned to also look for what might be missing.

    8) I used to focus on my weaknesses. I learned to focus on my strengths and, if necessary, mitigate my weaknesses.

    9) I learned to trust my intuition. Sometimes that meant taking a leap of faith. For instance, for years I yearned to come out but couldn't understand why. I just couldn't rationalize doing something so risky. But my yearning to come out got stronger and stronger until I finally did it. Now I realized that the cost of being in the closet was that I couldn't discover the real me as long as I was hiding the real me from the rest of the world -and- that I needed to come out to discover all the many fundamental things about myself that could only be discovered through open and honest interaction with others.

    10) It is all relative and I am always evolving so what might have worked before might not work after a while so I need to keep up with the changes.

    11) The only regrets in life I have have to do with things I wanted to do but never did; not the things I did but failed at.

    I am sure I have missed something important but I will stop here.


  4. Good post. And I would agree that depression, and anxiety, are manifestations of something that is out of sync in our lives. It's like grandpa always said to me, "What does your gut say?" Trust yourself. You're the best expert on Erin. (Even better than Erin's mom!)