I will do whatever it takes to convince myself, and others, that I am normal. I will deny, ignore, suppress, and hold it all under water til my arms get sore. It’s not coming up. Not here, not today, no how, no way. And for the most part, this strategy works. For the most part, I can pull off passing as a fairly normal person with fairly normal experiences, moods, feelings, and reactions. Albeit, a bit kooky, but still within the realm of “reasonably normal.” However, there are times where the evidence overwhelmingly supports the idea that the way I experience things is not the norm. It is during times like these that I begin to question anything and everything, and I feel like just one tiny little tug and I might come apart at the seams. As you might have guessed, this is one of those times.
My mind seems more compartmentalized than most people. I was discussing the notion of memories with a friend today. During the conversation I realized that I don’t have any feelings connected to any of my memories. He conveyed to me that in his opinion, this isn’t the norm. I don’t know what’s normal, because I only know how I interpret the world. I always figured that everyone else experienced things the same way that I do. I am starting to realize that this might not be accurate.
When I think about past events, I may be able to give you details of what happened (if you’re lucky), but I am completely disconnected from any feeling associated with those memories. What I mean is, the event may have been extremely sad, or painful, or difficult, or traumatic, or even happy. I can think about the event, and I may remember how I was feeling at the time of the event. But it is nearly impossible for me to have access to any sort of feeling in the present pertaining to that past event. What usually happens is, typically I know that I still have feelings attached to a past situation or event because I feel a pressure rise up in my chest when I think about it. I have a sense that the amount of pressure in my chest correlates to the amount of feeling that is related to the memory. And yet the feelings are not accessible to me.
Let me see if I can give you some examples. I think about my beloved dog getting hit by a car when I was little. No feeling. I think about my grandma dying when I was younger, someone who I was very close to. No feeling. I think of losing the first cat I ever owned living on my own. I wandered the streets of the city, into the wee hours of the morning, calling out for him, feeling tortured and devastated, like my heart had been ripped out of my chest. I never saw him again. When I think about that incident? Nothing. No feeling. When I think about any of the romantic relationships that I’ve been in in my life, some good, others not-so-good. Nothing. When I think of losing the therapist (T2) who I grew extremely close and attached to. Well… no feelings come up, however that pressure sensation in my chest grows very strong when I think about her. I think there is still a lot of pain and a lot of hurt there. I just don’t have access to those feelings.
That’s all I’ve got in me for now. I apologize. Stay tuned for Part II.