Recently my therapist and I have been talking about and working on my hypersensitivity to criticism. I have always had some hypersensitivity to any kind of criticism or rebuke. As a kid, I was the one you could make cry by looking at me wrong or even gently scolding me. I still tear up over things like that, even though I wish I didn’t.
This inability to deal constructively with any kind of feeling of failure has haunted me throughout my adult life, especially in the work world. I think this fear of not living up to expectations is partly why I struggle with immense anxiety around any kind of authority figure (bosses, teachers, doctors, police, etc.) Many times this anxiety is so strong that I am almost struck dumb (probably a type of selective mutism), such as when I have had to go for job reviews or any other kind of personal evaluation.
I have noticed though that my hypersensitivity to criticism focuses mainly on 5 areas. If I am criticized on something outside of these 5 topics, I am likely to be able to shake it off better or not let it bother me in the first place. Here are the subjects I am referring to:
- My art or writing. I am extremely sensitive to any criticism about my art and writing. However, I think this one is fairly normal for creative types. We all put a bit of our heart and soul into the things we create, in a sense they are our “babies” and we gave birth to them. This does create problems for me when it comes to having the confidence to share my art and writing publicly, especially in person.
- My looks and weight. I have always felt that I was rather plain or average-looking, so I have a bit of an achilles heel here. I was bullied quite a bit in middle school when I gained some weight after my dad died, and although I lost the weight a couple years later, those mean words about being “fat” have stuck with me. I have always relied on my intelligence, not my looks, to get me anywhere. I am proud of that fact, but sometimes I wish I felt more confident about the way I look.
- Any accusation of laziness or incompetence. I think the laziness thing bothers me because my mom would accuse me of that all the time. “Lazy”, “good for nothing”, “useless”…words like that stick with you. As for the incompetence, it doesn’t even have to be someone else that says something. If I feel even slightly incompetent (at anything) within myself it is enough to send me into a meltdown, probably a result of my perfectionism.
- Any perceived insult to my intelligence. As I said before, I have always relied on my intelligence to get through life, so if that is questioned or doubted, I feel worthless.
- Any insinuation implying that I am childish/immature or a crybaby. I have a lot of “childlike” qualities, as do many with Aspergers syndrome, and those can be endearing, but when people turn it into a bad thing and accuse me of childishness or immaturity, I feel misunderstood and hurt. I am extremely sensitive in some ways, but I hate the term “crybaby”.
So, what do you guys think? Do you share any of these insecurities? Are you also hypersensitive to criticism in these areas or others?
Today was a busy (but good) day! I had therapy this morning, which went well. I am a bit hypomanic, so I think I talked for the entire hour straight with my therapist not getting much room to say anything. We discussed my difficulty dealing with criticism (which I may do a separate post on later this week) and we also talked about my long list of things I would do if I weren’t so anxious and scared to try. It was a long list! Maybe I will share that sometime too if anyone is interested.
After therapy, my husband and I went to the local Sweet Corn Festival in Fairborn, Ohio. We shared a delicious funnel cake, then bought some homemade soap, a jar of a concoction called “Black Bear Jam” (made with blackberries, blueberries, and black raspberries), and a little bit of handmade maple candy.
Lastly, we went to do a little shopping and I found these awesome 35th Anniversary My Little Pony Windy and Skydancer toys for sale at Target:
They even came with 80’s style puffy stickers! I had been hoping they would re-release some unicorn and pegasus ponies, so that made my day!!!
The other day my husband and I were sitting on our outside swing watching the clouds, when I saw a fully formed image appear in the fluffy whiteness. I quickly ran inside to grab my sketch book and created a drawing of exactly what I saw in the sky. To me, it looked like some kind of ancient God, alien, or weird fantasy creature:
I didn’t embellish the image at all, other than adding color. What would you think if you saw this looking back at you in the sky?
This drawing is currently for sale on my Ebay store, along with many other original artworks. Check them out!
My personal astrology chart
I don’t know if any of my readers are into astrology, but I’ve always found it fascinating (one of my Asperger obsessions maybe). I don’t give any credence normally to the daily astrology forecasts you find in newspapers and magazines, as I figure much of that is probably made up and not even necessarily written by people who really have a good grasp on astrology, but I do find that there is some truth to the fact that people born under specific signs seem to share certain personality traits, characteristics, and life themes.
One thing that many people don’t realize is that according to true astrology, it isn’t just your sun sign that makes a huge impact on your personality and life path. Your moon sign and ascendant sign matter a lot too. There are websites where you can put in your birth information and find out what all three of these signs are, as well as lesser astrological influences.
When I looked mine up, I found out that all three of my major signs are water signs: Sun – Scorpio, Moon – Pisces, Ascendant – Scorpio. And what are water signs known for? Being emotional and intuitive. Just like large bodies of water, we are fluid, constantly shifting, and often unstable. With three major water signs, is it any wonder that I often feel ungrounded (lack of the earth element), apathetic and lazy (lack of the fire element), and heavily weighed down by uncontrollable feelings (lack of air element)? Seems to me water signs were made to be bipolar lol.
I know some people think this is all mumbo jumbo, and I respect their opinion, but I still enjoy studying it. If any of you would like to hear more about astrology in the future, let me know!
Just like with my thoughts and feelings, my self image changes so wildly with my mood. A good example of this is my view of my looks and/or attractiveness. Most days I think I look average when I look in a mirror. I’m not delusional, thinking I am some kind of supermodel or show-stopping beauty, but I also don’t feel like I am a troll or a goblin.
Once in a while, when I am slightly or fully hypomanic, I look in the mirror and think I am beautiful. I will never be gorgeous in the artificial Hollywood kind of way, but when my mood is just right I can see a kind of classic or wholesome beauty in myself that I like.
But then there are days, like one I had recently, when I feel as if I am sitting in the rock bottom level of despair and gloom. On days like these, I may accidentally catch a glimpse of myself in a mirror (because I wouldn’t intentionally look), and upon viewing my reflection, I feel down to my very soul that I must be the ugliest thing in existence.
Bipolar and other mood disorders can skew our view of reality so much, sometimes I feel like I am living in different realities from day to day. Today isn’t too good, but it ain’t too bad either, so I guess average wins out again.
Any Rick and Morty fans out there? I’ve watched the tv show whenever I happen to catch it on Cartoon Network and enjoy the weird sense of humor, goofy characters, and the alternate dimensions sci-fi feel of it. Not too long ago I was looking for something fun and simple to draw and decided to do my own abstract version of Rick:
What do you guys think? Did I catch his vibe with the art or can you even tell it is supposed to be him? This drawing did already sell, so I guess someone liked it at least!
I recently sold this oil pastel drawing shown above, but I wanted to share it because it is one of my favorite pieces I have done recently. If you can’t tell, the image is of a person and a little dog walking through a rainbow world (which represent happiness and life), but ahead of them lies the darkness of depression and they either don’t see it coming, or are impelled to continue walking, perhaps against their own will.
As someone who struggles with bipolar type 2 and chronic severe depressive episodes, this is clearly a personal feeling conjured into a visual image. I thought I would share though, because I bet some of you can relate to it too.