One of the biggest insults that can be colloquially hurled at someone in conversation; sometimes as a unfunny joke, and sometimes with rancid bitterness is, “you’re psychologically disturbed!”- usually meaning broadly that you are ‘crazy’, ‘off your rocker’, ‘unbalanced’, ‘abnormal’, ‘socially bonkers’, ‘deviant’ ‘manipulative’, or other such derogatory & stigma-loaded assumptions.
“YOU ARE PSYCHOLOGICALLY DISTURBED”.
I have been called that once, go me!
But I was thinking earlier, I very much am psychologically disturbed, so am not going to take offence.
What does psychologically disturbed really mean? Stripped down to the basics.
Well, my interpretation would be that it means that emotional disturbance is being caused by some intrusive unwanted ‘thing’ from the outside, that is affecting your thoughts, feelings and go-to instinctive behaviours in a way that makes it obvious to onlookers that you’re struggling or rebelling against something pretty shitty and pretty heavy; doing that maybe by lashing out or showing irritation, or even the opposite, intense clinginess and neediness.
As a society we hate this.
We hate the outward manifestations of how inwardly people feel. Because we don’t like what we see, we attach negative labels. I include myself in this. Except I prefer the adjective “twat” with people who behave in ways that antagonise me.
Not everyone who upsets me is automatically a twat though. I probably toss out my twat insults a bit too readily (although I have met two people who objectively were twats lately, also narcissists, the worst kind.) Anyway, maybe I got annoyed with their behaviour without making allowances for how they were behaving from the standpoint of being themselves psychologically disturbed. Maybe I should have more sympathy? Something to work on I guess.
But all that said, psychologically disturbed is what I am, and also what they were at that time.
Both they and I were disturbed by something emotionally that is deep rooted and raw and bleeding us empty. We react from a place of emotional disturbance and turbulence, rather than peace, love and light.
Sometimes I’ll read spiritual blogs and wonder how people can have such profoundly different experiences of life. But I know (or at least am fairly sure) the spiritual and undisturbed people are in the minority, and the psychologically disturbed in the majority. Remember when you read this that I am not using the term in a derogatory way, I am using it in a factual neutral way, to describe how it feels to be emotionally disturbed and suffering.
I am emotionally disturbed as a result of my past experiences. My psychological makeup is (not wholly but substantially) messed up and incomplete. I didn’t learn the emotional resilience lessons that most learn, because my whole upbringing was trauma-based, therefore my whole identity was built around keeping me safe from relentless traumatic experiences perpetrated by people I was meant to trust.
I AM psychologically disturbed, and no one can use that against me or as an insult aimed at me, because I fully admit this to be the case. I AM PSYCHOLOGICALLY DISTURBED. The fact I am chronically suicidal is a red flag that everything is not as it should be in the summerSHINES brain, physiology and psychology systems of my body. My soul hurts. My wounds bleed. My heart aches. The pain of living is too much to bear very often…. But I made a pact with my husband that I’d never attempt suicide again, so I have to learn to tolerate a life ahead of me of ongoing emotional disturbance.
Lots of things in life are deeply disturbing to me, and upset my uber delicate balance. Travel, relationships, change, uncertainty, attachment, difficult anniversaries and annual events that remind me of painful memories. That all disturbs me. Traumatic intrusions disturb me, flashbacks, bad dreams and restless nights, excessive noise, sudden movement, bodily aches, pains and fatigue, hormones- you name it, I get disturbed by it.
So what is the antidote to psychological disturbance? I guess in essence, it is removing the chances that you will be disturbed.
My whole life is oriented towards removing things that make my life even more stifling and unbearable and disturbing. This can be people, situations, pressures, novelty, demands or any number of things.
I am a prize-winning disturbance minimiser.
I basically am trying to want to obsess over thoughts of wanting to die as little as humanly possible, by minimising optional disturbance in my life, and that is a constant goal to aim for.
If you add on more disturbance on top of my trauma stuff, I will cut ties with you.
If a situation is too much pressure, I will say this is too much for me, and I will walk.
I NEED for my sanity to minimise external disturbance, so I don’t continue to be as intensely internally psychologically disturbed. That is my justification for my ruthlessness in minimising optional types of stress or disturbance. I think people still think I’m cruel though, whereas I prefer to think I’m just not being cruel, to me, by making life any more difficult. That’s fair, isn’t it?
This week, therapy has become a disturbance. I have dreaded it since last Friday when I was last there, so I cancelled it. Therapy is too disturbing, too upsetting, too destabilising, too confrontational, too risky, too exposing, too pain-inducing for me while I am working on reducing my inner disturbances. I cannot cope with the disturbance of the optional thing on the outside that is meant to be making me better but actually really fucking hurts. So, I cancelled, which is unusual for me.
I need time out from disturbance currently. The social media break is helping lots. Being careful who I give my time and attention to is helping. Basking in simplicity and being in the moment is helping. Reducing my internal self-generated pressure is helping. Being alone is helping too.
The sad fact is, my world is more disturbed the more people I add into it. Harsh but fair. I am less disturbed on my own, because there is only the everyday intrusions of trauma, not the added interpersonal and social bits that others add into the potential disturbance mix.
Today I have enjoyed sitting in one spot all day under a soft blanket, hiding, feeling the warmth of a sleeping dog on my lap. That is not disturbing me. That is HELPING me and comforting me. I will only feel better when I reduce my externally sourced optional disturbances. That is how I will become less psychologically disturbed.
I can cope with the inner disturbances by myself. Just please don’t add anything extra. There is already enough disturbance to tolerate.