I noticed a very odd thing yesterday while playing FarmTown on FaceBook… My issues with having a large personal space, seem to translate to my online avatars. In FarmTown, you can go to market to sell your produce and see if someone wants to hire you to harvest their crops or plow their fields. If you’re waiting to be employed, your avatar can be “standing” with a number of other avatars for a period of time. There is a certain amount of psychology that goes into the strategies behind being hired – the “spammer”, where you repeatedly ask to be hired; the “dancer”, where you move around or get your avatar to dance on the spot; or the “loner”, where you get your avatar in a spot alone so they’re easily noticed. I’ve always adopted the “loner” strategy, and have always attributed this to my game strategy. I now realise there might be something more to it. I can sometimes cope with another avatar being near or overlapping mine for a short period of time, but never long – even my ugly little avatar must have a large personal space. For those of you who think I’m being cruel about the relative ugliness of the avatar, you obviously haven’t seen FarmTown graphics – they’re UGLY!
I wonder if this is an indication that I’ve been playing the game too long and are therefore personalising it too much, or whether I have extreme boundary issues. When Carol (previous therapist) asked me about arranging the room in a way that I felt comfortable, we did an exercise about personal space. In order for us to feel even mildly comfortable, we had to be in one corner of the room and she had to be in the opposite corner. We would’ve preferred for her to be outside the room, but that wasn’t feasible. During therapy with Carol, we’d often end up on the floor tucked around behind a cabinet that she had – this was mainly when the young ones were present. They often felt a need to hide and create physical barriers between us and Carol. During sessions with Liz when the young ones are present, there is still a pull to sit on the floor in the corner, but we’re too scared to do it in case it makes us look too odd.
We felt that need to sit in the corner today during our session with Liz, Aimee and SO were strongly present and felt like hiding. It was a rough session in many ways – the main topics of conversation were denial and self-injury. It brought up a very odd concept of how to cope with the denial. We’d tried to construct a basic timeline of events to try and create some order out of the memories, but had found it too difficult to write them down. We got about four events written, but then the derealisation started. As this way of coping and “getting the memories out” hadn’t worked, Liz suggested something which is too bizarre for my very literal brain – think the memories or whatever is bothering me onto a piece of paper, fold it up and give it to Liz to keep. This will mean that we don’t have to worry about those pieces of information again as they are being kept safe and separate from us. To us this didn’t make sense… How do you “think” something onto a piece of paper without writing it down? How does giving Liz that piece of paper signify anything? It was all too abstract and alternative for our very concrete, narrow way of thinking.
A therapist once told us that our education was lacking because we hadn’t studied any of the Arts. That’s true, we don’t understand the beauty in art, music or philosophy. In many ways we deliberately avoid studying them, because if the intellectuals amongst us get hold of the ideas they have this tendency to strip away the magic and enjoyment. So we take photos because they’re fun… we listen to Beethoven, Foo Fighters, Brooke Fraser or any music because it moves us at the time… But when it comes to having to think through an abstract idea, we need the intellectual ones to come on board with some assistance. This is fine, unless they get faced with something which they can’t dissect or reason through logically, then it sort of gets lost in their cynicism…