Tag Archives: dissociation

Lost in translation

Things have been a bit crazy/chaotic/strange these past several days. So much so that I don’t even know how to put any of it into words. I’m sure the withdrawal from the nicotine and cigarettes is contributing, although exactly how much is hard to say. Suffice to say at the moment that I’m doing my best to ride out this storm. More thoughts later if/when I can verbalize what is going on.

Hope you all are having an okay Friday so far.

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Holding my pieces together

I just got out of therapy a little bit ago. I feel as though I am hanging on by a very thin thread. I told her about the weekend, about the dissociation, about the depersonalization, the disconnection. About the crying. I spent most of the session moving in and out of these states that I can’t even identify. Some more familiar than others. Angry and glaring, terrified and hiding, unable to speak, feeling as though I was wading through mud, feeling as though I were lost in a thick fog, disorientation to where I kept having to remind myself where I was and what Bean had just asked me. Or I wouldn’t be able to remember and would just sit there arguing in my head about whether we should say something or not. [Most times the part who didn’t want us to speak won out.]

Bean thinks that stuff is pushing up. Memories. She thinks that the feeling states for the memories are starting to surface, and that they don’t have a “narrative” yet but that they will come. She said not to be afraid of the dissociation (because to be completely honest, I was feeling very afraid of all the dissociation I’ve been experiencing over the last several days). She said the dissociation is actually is there “to protect.”

I said, “Protect who?”

She said, “Protect you.”

She said the role she sees dissociation playing at the moment is to titrate* the memories so they don’t come at me all at once and overwhelm me. She says, however, that things are loosening up and shifting, and she sees this as a really good thing. She reminded me again not to be afraid of what’s happening: of either the memories or the dissociation. Although I have to say, both are a bit difficult at the moment. The memories, because I’m afraid of what’s there and what I don’t know, and the dissociation, because it’s making me feel crazy and all over the place and not tied to this earth.

I told her that over the course of the weekend, when the dissociation would get really bad, I would think to myself,

I’m not well. I’m not well.”

She told me that I am, in fact, quite well, and doing quite well, I’m just in the midst of processing some big stuff. I suppose I’m a little bit relieved to hear that, but on the other hand I’m not sure if that makes it any easier. All I know is that it feels like I’m coming undone, and it’s all I can do to simply hold the pieces of me together.

She said that the answers (and memories) will come when they are ready. I do also wonder just how long I will have to wait. And if there’s even anything there at all…

Ugh why is healing so hard?!

*I had to look up this word, and here is the definition that seemed most fitting:

Titrate: Continuously measure and adjust the balance of (a physiological function or drug dosage).

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A fall-apart night

Yesterday was, what should I say… intense? I was tired, I was moody, the heat wasn’t helping. Also what didn’t help was going clothes shopping. Some people might enjoy clothes shopping. I enjoy the end result, but the whole process to me is just awful. Having to browse through the racks, all the people also browsing through the racks, trying to avoid eye contact, waiting for the dressing room, the dressing room itself, having to assess whether an item of clothing looks good on oneself… I was already in a triggered state when we left to go shopping, and the shopping only made it worse. By the time I got home, I was tired and hot and extremely moody.

The party was fine, although when we left I could tell something was wrong with myself/inner world, I just couldn’t figure out what. Anger was pushing up from inside but I couldn’t tell what was prompting it or where it was coming from. Screaming voices inside… Once home, I then got triggered when my partner turned off the fan and I asked her to please turn it back on. She said, “well, why don’t you take your long-sleeve shirt off first. Maybe you wouldn’t feel so warm then.” This triggered off inside the equivalent to world war III. Intense switching, then everything being stuck inside and body is paralyzed, then fuming anger, and then finally falling asleep in the living room on the couch. My parter came out and woke me up, at which point (and this is where things feel foggy and uncertain), I cried and sobbed for what felt like a long time. It was a bizarre experience though, because “I” didn’t feel sad, yet I was watching myself crying and sobbing. I also heard myself say, “My body was never mine,” and “I don’t even know what it’s like to have my own body.” Quite honestly, I’m not exactly sure why I was saying that or what I was referring to, although I imagine something related to the abuse. I know that I was in an extremely dissociated state. Not really sure if it was “me” talking or another part of me.

And then quite suddenly, almost like a genie being sucked back into a bottle, all the sadness and grief (?) got sucked back inside my body, I felt like I was back to myself (rather than watching myself), and I could quite literally feel the physical weight and pressure of the sadness and grief pushing up inside my body. I no longer felt the sadness as sadness (even though I’m inclined to say I never “felt” the sadness at all), I felt it only as an intense anxiety. The sadness and grief that had been pouring out of me with tears and sobs virtually disappeared in the matter of a few seconds, and I was back to being my typical numb and shut down self.

By this time, it must have been well past 2am, although I don’t remember looking at a clock through any of this, and finally we came back to bed and I fell asleep in my partners arms. Upon waking this morning, screaming, angry voices in my head. A typical start to a typical day I suppose.

I just wonder, if I could feel all those feelings of grief and sadness, without feeling the need to shove it all back inside like what happened last night (even though it felt like an unconscious process much more than a conscious process), I’m wondering if I would then heal? That the key to my healing is feeling the pain and sadness and grief from the betrayals of my childhood, both physical and emotional? Do I actually have to “remember the trauma” in order to heal? Or perhaps simply feeling the feelings and releasing them will release their hold on me? I really don’t know. What I do know is that I feel no better as a result of my hours of crying last night. In fact, it didn’t even feel like “me” who was crying, and perhaps it wasn’t. Where does that leave me then…?

I guess I am left with myself. The numb, emotionally shut down self. The functional yet dead-inside self. The fake, the phony, the fraud, the lie. The mask, the pacifier, the pleaser, the chameleon. The empty, hollow shell with nothing inside. That is me. Whoopee.

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This fear that holds me under

I sit

Waiting.

For what

I do not know

But the anxiety has wrapped itself around my chest

Waiting.

For something

For whatย 

For something

An impending doom

Clutches at me

Not letting me breathe

Not letting me think

I want to run

I want to scream

But I can’t move

I am paralyzed

By this fear

That holds me under

All peace, all joy

That were once here

Is gone

What I would give

To be free

Of all that has a hold on me

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Birthday reflections

So today is my birthday. It’s been a great day so far. I got to spend the whole day with Little Guy. I can’t imagine anyone else I’d rather spend the day with – well except for my partner of course. Soon I’ll have my therapy session. Then I’ll go home and my partner and I are going to order a roasted chicken from our favorite Mediterranean place. Yummm. Then tomorrow the big adventure – jet packing! I have no idea if people actually say that but I like the way it sounds. ๐Ÿ™‚

I also want to acknowledge how far I’ve come in the past year. One year ago exactly, on my birthday, I spent the entire weekend in bed. A very depressed part of me, who was mourning the death of my grandmother (which occurred almost ten years ago) was very present, and it was near impossible to function.

Last year, as some of you who’ve been following my blog may know, I was in an extremely unhealthy therapy situation. My therapist, who I do admit was trying to help, was making me much much worse. I was spiraling downward into chaos and dysfunction. My life felt unmanageable and completely out of control. I’m amazed, looking back, that I was able to function at all and to continue working. She finally ended the relationship, saying that it would be “unprofessional” of her to continue treating me. Even though at the time it felt like my heart was being ripped out – I was extremely attached to her… and I mean all of me – I now see it as a huge blessing. I probably would have ended up in an in-patient facility, and would have had to build my life up all over again. Fortunately it never got to that point.

I feel, more or less, like I’m now on steady ground. The relationship with my therapist has very much aided in this. So has going back on psych meds. I am no longer being flung this way and that, on a daily basis, or being constantly flooded with painful and unbearable emotions and constant, out-of-control switching. I know I have a ways to go in my healing process, but I feel more steady and more grounded than I have in several years.

I have a feeling this upcoming year is going to be a good one.

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I am not okay, and that is okay. (Thank you WeeGee)

Lovely WeeGee over at How do you eat an elephant wisely told me that I can be “not okay” and it doesn’t necessarily mean that I must fall apart. It’s funny isn’t it the beliefs that are so engrained in your head? I always thought that if I allow myself to not be okay, or perhaps more appropriately if I admit that I am not okay, that falling apart is the obligatory next step. This friend helped me to realize that this isn’t true. Not being okay is just that; you are not okay.

I am not okay. And I’ve realized that I don’t think I’ve ever been okay. My life has been a fluctuation between the two extremes of acting okay (or pretending to be okay) and then really not being okay and falling apart, during which time it’s nearly impossible to keep up the act of being okay. But I’ve never just admitted that I’m not okay, and allowed that to be okay. Is everyone still with me? ๐Ÿ™‚

For most of my life, I’ve known that something is really really wrong, I’ve just always had a hard time pinpointing what that “thing” is. I had a “good” life after all, with loving parents and a happy family; what possibly could be not okay?

What wasn’t okay was that I was overlooked and ignored for much of my life by my family. I was the “compliant” baby of the family. Never complaining, never causing waves, always happy, always agreeable, always successful. Well… I had to be. That’s the only way I got noticed.

As a young child, if I cried or threw a fit, I was put in my room and told I can’t come out until I had stopped crying. I learned at an early age to ignore and suppress my own needs and my own feelings. Other people’s needs and feelings were what I paid attention to, not my own. As far as I was concerned, I didn’t have needs, nor did I have feelings. And that set the stage for the later abuse.

Fast forward to later abuse ***trigger warning: sexual and emotional abuse***

When I was twelve, I met someone who was sixteen. Little did I know at the time, this person was controlling, manipulative, and… well… an abuser. I remember small snippets of our time together, but I know he sexually abused me and humiliated me in front of his friends. Forced me to get drunk. If I didn’t drink the alcohol that he had so “kindly” bought for me, I was ungrateful. If I didn’t perform sexual acts on him, I was unloving. I knew nothing about boundaries or limits. I had never been taught to look at my own feelings about things and to trust them. And after years of thinking my parents were in the dark about this whole thing, I’ve learned that they weren’t. They just looked the other way. Until it was too late.

Fast forward to years my early twenties

Things began pushing up in the form of anxiety. I began having debilitating fear and unexplained panic attacks. When it all came to a boiling point, I broke down and cried in front of a group of people. It was the first time I had cried since I was a little girl. My mom was present, and she walked out of the room. Everyone else stayed to comfort me. What a strange feeling: to be comforted while crying. Strange; foreign; uncomfortable; strangely comforting. That was about ten years ago.

I have spent the last ten years trying to solve the mystery that is me. Trying to solve the mystery that is my anxiety, that is my panic, that is my PTSD, that is my dissociation, that is my fragmentation, that is my DID. I’m finally with a therapist who gets it. Who knows her shit. Who supports me. Who doesn’t push me too hard to try and access the trauma.

I am still trying to solve the mystery, but I know one thing: there are reasons I am not okay. I may know only a fraction of those reasons at the moment, but just knowing there are reasons behind it, that I’m not just broken for no reason, that I’m not just crazy for no reason, is more than reassuring. One step at a time, one feeling at a time, one memory at a time. I will get there. And in the meantime, I am admitting that I, in fact, am not okay. And I’m trying to be okay with that.

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Holding tight to okay

On the outside, I’m doing great. Things are going well with my partner. Things are going well with my therapist. I had a good first day back at work. (Little Guy has grown so much!) Yet why is there this haunting feeling. Dread. Pushing. Aching. Insides hurting.

I don’t know. I also don’t know how I can appear to seem as “okay” as I am. I suppose that’s what I’ve done my whole life. Pretended I’m okay. When I’m really not.

If I’m not okay, then what am I?

Good question Brandic. I wish I knew.

I feel like I’m holding off a storm. That I’m like some weather god in the sky, forcing the storm back with my will. I won’t allow it to come. But why? I suppose, who wants a storm?

My therapist Bean left for a trip today and will return Sunday. Then I see her Monday, and then she leaves again on Wednesday for a whole week. I’ve been not allowing myself to think about her absence. But I think it’s affecting me. To what extent, I’m not sure.

Why do I cling so strongly to okay? Why do I try so hard to maintain this image of normality? (I borrowed this phrase from Feral55 – I hope you don’t mind Feral!) I want to be able to let go. To drop this image of okay. To allow myself to become a mess and to fall apart. To allow these body sensations to tell me something. To listen inside, however painful it might be.

And yet I can’t. I just can’t do it. It’s like telling someone who has walked on their feet their whole life to begin walking on their hands. I can’t see it happening. My whole being wont allow it to happen.

I long for the day where I can not be okay, and that it will be okay.

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