Recently in Emotional Rants Category

Making Sense of Nonsense

| By Paul | | Comments (9)

My life is quite chaotic right now and a little bit out of control. By the way, I do know how to minimize!

As a system, "I" am cognizant of the fact that there is an extremely delicate balance between all the facets of my life. We cannot be too much in any one area for any protracted period of time. We all know that inside even though many of us will deny it if asked outright. This balance is crucial for my internal life as well as external life. On Thursday, hopefully, I'll write more about this from a neuroscience perspective. But now I'll focus on what my experiences have been lately.

Balance is what all of us strive for, whether dissociative or not. But there are extra challenges for those of us who dissociate, and as a general rule, the more dissociative we are, the more difficulty we have finding that balance. While there is certainly a concept of a dissociative continuum, and normal dissociation for "normal people", there is without question a different scale for some of us.

Another way of looking at the problem from an astronomical analogy is that most people stay within the context of their own psychological solar system. For the dissociative, we can be in the solar system, in the galaxy, in the Universe, in some parallel Universe, in a singularity point, or in any combination of the above, at any timescale.

For me, lately, I am experiencing more of the extremes of dissociation, where it's difficult, if not impossible, to distinguish between reality and fantasy, between present and past, between safety and danger, and even to know who I am and what "me" means.

Yesterday, I was not that in touch and already somewhat unstable inside. Yet, I was able to shift things to be what I needed to be. I volunteered at my daughter's school, helped my wife fix her computer at work, got some work chores done, cleaned the bathrooms, told my daughter an awesome story about fairies, and more. But there was something missing. I was able to be functional in all those ways at the expense of loss of control. I have been oscillating between extremes and this is not sustainable.

Not only have I been functional over the past week (or longer), I have had some really amazing experiences. I was in the "zone" for a newspaper photography shoot of a parade. I freed myself from the usual "thinking" associated with playing piano and created some wonderful recordings. I was able to teach my daughter, who is somewhat new to the violin, how to improvise, create and feel music. This was an "Aha!" moment for her and it was so gratifying for me. These are examples of how dissociation can be a very wonderful gift and "healthy".

But there has been too much else going on and too many external and internal triggers. I know that parts have freaked out at night and sought out my wife (minutes or hours after some of these great experiences). I nearly lost my daughter at a hockey game (also minutes after a great experience). And I was unable to keep myself safe today. Plus, I am having an onslaught of memories and nightmares I cannot even remember.

This is not unknown territory for me. I've been struggling with a dissociative disorder for a long time, and have been diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder since back in the early 90s. Many of the feelings and experiences now are quite similar to back then. But what makes the present different is that I try as best I can to pay attention to what's going on and document everything I can. That effort is usually what makes the difference and keeps me safe.

Right now, that effort to document is keeping me out of the hospital and allowing me to "make sense of nonsense" or at least document the nonsense. I have kept a private electronic journal for the past 16 months, and I write at an average clip of 30,000 words a month. I'm usually around a computer and can write to it whenever I need to. As a bit of an aside, about a month ago, I wrote a handy little script for my iPhone that allows me to be virtually anywhere and write to the journal (as long as I have a 3G or Edge ssh connection). As I've written before, I use the journal (as well as this blog) to help me track of my crazy life and learn from the range of experiences I have. It's certainly not a linear healing process, but it absolutely does help.

One post to my journal stands out. At 3:43 pm yesterday I wrote: "I also think something very bad happened inside just a little while ago. But I don't seem to know about it now. It was purely an inside thing." This, I think, had nothing at all to do with planning to be hurt or anything like that. It was just a knowing that something happened inside and I documented it as soon as possible. I cannot explain it. If I didn't take such care to document, these awarenesses would probably be lost in the noise.

But, despite the documentation, I still have been unable to guarantee my safety. And I am not stable internally to the degree I need to be. I believe some of the functional stuff and good experiences and successes threw me off a bit. I kept using those as signs of hope that things would change. I really cannot assess the chances of things changing and becoming more stable if I keep going without some sort of intervention.

The reason why I am on the fence about going into the hospital is because of those successes and good experiences. The hospital removes that. The other times I have been to the hospital, as far as I can remember, were because of complete loss of functionality. That has not happened now. I am wondering if I can build in safety more explicitly and tell my wife and boss that I need to be home for the time being. My wife already knows that I have not been well. She can tell. She has told me she knows this. She doesn't know how to act about the eating, whether to be happy or upset about my weight loss. She doesn't know how to react to parts flipping out at night and then me being completely functional and on the ball in the morning. I acted incredulous with her about it, because when she brought it up that she knows I've been having a hard time, I was in a completely different state.

I want to see how this explicit safety plan goes. If I cannot make it work, and home falls apart and everything breaks down, then I will know I need to be in the hospital. I am not there yet though. For now, I will push ahead, keep documenting, and trying to make sense of the "nonsense" and hope that I take a trip back to our solar system and stay there for a while.

I have written about many of these issues in the past. One advantage to the blog is that it distills a lot of the things I write about in my private journal. It's important for me to know what happens moment to moment, day to day. But it's equally important to know how those experiences fit into the larger picture. The blog serves that purpose. So, while I am glad that people read the blog, it truly is more for me than for anyone else. My apologies for being so selfish!


Giving Up Rant

| By Paul |

I'm so discouraged. The last post sounds like it was written by someone who has no concept of how hard things really are. It sounds like it was written by an academic who understands the theory, but lives in an "Ivory Tower".

The reality is that the theory is not anywhere close to the whole story. But, as I look back on this blog, I cannot help but get the sense that it's very much focussed on theory, lecturing, and intellectual understanding. I never make a post about anything personally difficult, unless it's framed in that way. This means nothing is written "off the cuff" and nothing comes from an intensely personal and emotional space.

That is not where I am right now. So, this post will be different from all the rest.

Right now I don't see the hope.

Right now I want to give up.

Right now I feel sick, bad, dirty, disgusting, evil, worthless, stupid, and foolish. And, out of control.

I've made such a huge effort over the past couple years to control everything, thinking I know so much. My "control everything" strategy is foolhardy. I should be finding a way to listen and communicate. I should allow parts to have a say. But I don't do that, except on rare occasions.

In fact, I am really in the dark on some of the major issues that face me. I know so little about "all of me", yet talk a good game and pretend that I really do.

I don't understand how anything really works. This site may sound like I do a lot of "accepting". But, in reality, I am more often thinking I'm a liar and a fake. I doubt parts me. I want them gone! I doubt any abuse. I think I'm just some pervert making it up.

This all came to a head because I had a part that was destructive and self-harming. He got on board eventually and knew he couldn't be self-harming.

And what happens? There's another part that I barely know that basically took his place. Except now, it's worse! What this part wants to do is more harming than what the other part wanted to do.

I feel so stupid. I just want to give up.

Maybe this is really something that I cannot solve. That I cannot heal from. So, what's the fucking use of trying?

"Emotional Rants" posts have comments disabled because they aren't meant for group discussion. If you want to contact me offline, that's fine and appreciated. That feels safer to me. Thanks for understanding.