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masturbation & other self-soothing measures

I once had a therapist tell me that I started masturbating at a young age as a way of self-soothing and expelling pent up energy and tension that I had picked up from others around me. I have been called a ‘psychic sponge’ and I believe I’ve always been particularly sensitive to the energy in my environment. As a youngster I had no way of knowing how to deal with this so I just reacted instinctively. A primal reaction, if you will. Sure masturbation is hot but it also is healthy for your body energy-wise, and can be calming. Anyway, as an adult my self-soothing practices expanded although not all of them were healthy. My drinking addiction for example. But here are a few more ways that I cope with life and the anxiety that goes along with it.
When I am being particularly virtuous I meditate, but that ain’t often. And when I was younger I used deep breathing exercises to manage my panic attacks. I would stop in the middle of a crowded shopping mall, sit down, and focus on counting my inhales and exhales. It worked great too, but now that I am older and wearier, I rely on my emergency pills that I keep in my purse. Interesting that I only get panic attacks when I am out in public. It’s that other people and their energy thing because I went to Walmart yesterday and practically exploded. Why can’t people keep their energy to themselves?!
Then I have a ritual to take a shower. I hate taking showers. I am a fire sign (Aries) and I don’t like to get wet. Also I hate standing around naked and feeling vulnerable. But the real clincher that makes me anxious is that when in the shower, water pounding noisily down on my head, I can’t properly hear what is going on in the house. I might hear alarming noises, like somebody has broken in. And lest you think I’m being paranoid, I have been in a house when a stranger has broken in (he left without incident when he realized someone was home). Plus there’s that shower scene in the movie Psycho; I have always taken that seriously. Because of all this I probably don’t take as many showers as most people and when I do I have to have several things in place to coax me into it. I have to light a candle and turn on a space heater even if it’s the Summer. Then I bring in my laptop and play YouTube videos of someone talking in a comforting voice; usually one of my favorite British beauty influencers. And even still I try to get the whole thing over with as quickly as possible. I am not one to luxuriate in the shower.
Another thing I do to self-soothe is play reruns of Sex And The City. I have must have watched it hundreds of times since its first release. I like to think of myself as a bit of a fashion maven and the first hundred or so times I ran it I watched with laser vision every outfit, earring, and purse; every colorful detail. By now I know most of the dialogue and there is no shoe left unturned but it still comforts me to watch it. It is like being with old familiar friends. Is that sad? There is something about the dynamic of a small group of female friends that speaks to my soul and I really wish I could have that in real life. Even back in the 90s before SATC was a gleam in Darren Starr’s eye I compulsively watched reruns of Designing Women – another foursome of women friends. Actually, I wouldn’t mind seeing if I can find that on dvd…
If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you know that I suffer from depression as well as anxiety and mornings are particularly rough to me. First of all, I don’t even properly wake up until after lunch no matter how much coffee I consume. Secondly, I wake up depressed. Pretty much every single day. So I set my alarm for 2 hours before I have to leave the house because it takes a lot of coaxing and comforting to get me going and feeling ok. I have to light incense. And journal in bed with a cup of coffee at hand. Then I pray, hoping it does some good because I’m not sure if I feel anything while I’m doing it but it is best to have faith. And I try to remember to read from a self-help or spiritual daily reflections book. I’ll do some yoga stretches (but not actual yoga) and run through all my social media along with the weather app to see local weather along with the weather in all my favorite places to be (Boston, London, NYC, Palm Springs). I avoid talking to anyone at all costs but I might text a bit after my coffee.
Ironically late at night I am wildly optimistic and full of energy. It’s awesome and exciting and just comes naturally but can make it hard to get to sleep, in which case I try to read or journal some more. Or physically attend to myself if you know what I mean. Unfortunately eating also calms me down but I am trying to cut back on that.
So that’s me, the neurotic human that I am, and if I can get myself to an AA meeting that generally helps too. But I think I have some good self-soothing techniques just in case anyone out there might want to take a page from my book. I mean, do you ever feel that way? What are some of your ways of self-soothing?

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