Category Archives: Coping Mechanisms
Protected: Impatient Inpatient
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I’m Going To Give All My Secrets Away
Foreword: Trigger Warning! The following topics include very sensitive subjects. If you suspect that you may have a trigger contained within, please refrain from reading. Reader discretion advised.
Blink. Blink. Blinking away. The cursor sits at a standstill while I stare ahead, poised, awaiting the words to flow out of my mind, through my arms, and out of my fingertips. Nifty title for some heavy stuff. And though there is plenty of content, I have no clue how to provide an introduction. A part of me flinches, and I find my fingers stiffening in hesitation.
No, you’re going to do this today.
Awhile ago, The Voice emerged from the jumbled noise in my head and spoke to me again. The Voice was back at feeding my paranoia and preying on my fears. I cannot understand how this conflicting persona came to be, though I tried to make sense of it in a theoretical psychology essay entitled, “Conscious, Subconscious, and Extraconscious”. I can only recall the emergence in my early teens, probably nearly coinciding with the onset of symptoms.
The Voice had never become external to myself. Until late April, mentioned in Lulu-Lunacy. Moments in time started happening where The Voice had taken on a complete audio hallucination. It had gone beyond paranoid delusion into a complete distortion of my reality. I would have believed that The Voice was a real external entity. It sounded as real as someone sitting next to me on the bus, whispering in my ear. The words were loud, crisp, and clear. But, there was no body to go with it.
I knew it wasn’t real, because I had been hearing it for as long as I could remember. However, I’ve always been able to identify it as a part of my conscious mind. This was detached. The words coming out were not words that came out of a deep, dark place. I had never considered going off of my medication. I had always regarded them as something that made me better. Instead, The Voice was telling me that the medication made me dumb, like cattle, so I could be led around by the neck.
That was my first experience with solid psychosis.
I started to believe that some kind of external source was putting The Voice in my head, and had been doing so for years. I just couldn’t hear it, because I was purposefully not listening. This reason The Voice was always one step ahead of me was because that external source had been monitoring me for years. I was chosen. And it was at this point that they wanted me to finally step up to take back my life from others who were trying to steal it for their own gain.
Yes, it was that real. Do I still think that? I have no idea.
Here’s the truth. I am not one solid person, as I began to mention in Conscious, Subconscious, and Extraconscious. I have a post drafted about my various personas and how some differ greatly from others. Really, it’s more of a spectrum. It’s almost dissociative, but not quite. A part of me is still present as a spectator while other personas take the wheel. But, I am almost in a disembodied kind of state. Sometimes, it feels like I am in a third person kind of state completely outside of myself. Other times, I don’t feel like I am present at all, and clearly I wasn’t. Chunks of time go missing and events get hazy.
Sometimes I feel like I am struggling for control of my own consciousness.
Then, there are the pararealities. I describe them in many of my more lucid, vague sounding posts. Most of the time, I feel like I am a time traveler. Except, I am not really akin to Doctor Who or Marty McFly or other time travelers. I don’t really go from this time period to other time periods. I live in pararealities. These pararealities run alongside and often overlap the linear continuum most people reside in. Here’s a visual representation of reality and pararealities:
To put it in words, I do not experience life and time in a linear way, though I do experience it in the same direction as others. Time speeds up and slows down. Some moments last forever, and sometimes days go by with a blink.
The parareality is a reality that is similar to our own, but doesn’t quite operate in the same way. It’s like living life a millisecond off of everyone else, either faster or slower. Sometimes, the parareality is a little more detached, like in the farther regions of the red and blue zones. But, they are adjacent realities overlapping in areas. More than two pararealities cannot be experienced at once, and although a spectrum may exist, it’s not like a theory of parallel dimensions where there could be dozens totally different from one another. They are much the same, but it’s often like putting a different lens on a pair of goggles.
I realize that what I am saying is complete insanity. It’s the realization alone that prompted me to stop writing and start dodging. Silence fell over me, because nothing I was thinking or feeling really made any sense when propped up against facts. And then The Voice says, “Or maybe it does.”
It’s a rabbit hole situation. I am Neo, and I’m opting for the red pill, though I am not entirely sure whether it is going to lead me to the real reality, or deeper into the delusions and hallucinations. It just feels like I’ve been taking the blue pills too long. Everything feels so forced. Life shouldn’t be forced, right?
Now, we get to the sick parts.
I have been keeping secrets. Apparently, it is what I do the best of all. I am so skilled at illusion that I can deceive myself without even knowing it to begin with.
Enough with the pomp and circumstance. Get on with it.
I am still taking my medication, though I do not want to. I don’t want to drink alcohol anymore, not because alcohol is bad for me and it makes me feel bad. (It is and it does). Alcohol is distorting a reality that my mind is already challenging as being real. That’s all good right?
No, I have ulterior motives.
I am continuing to take my medication and to stop drinking alcohol for a very disturbing reason. These are all efforts to continue to sustain an obvious mania that has been going on for – since at least late March, but it was a component of a mixed episode at that point. It didn’t become clear mania until late May.
I am also doing these things to keep my weight down. Did you know that Wellbutrin has been known to exacerbate symptoms of eating disorders?
Wait, Lulu. You don’t have an eating disorder.
It’s probably pretty clear to those that have ED. The restrictive diet, the compulsive exercise, talk of negative body image. It’s never been something I wanted to admit. First, I didn’t think that it was a problem. It’s not, not physically anyway. Second, even if it was a problem, I didn’t want anyone to catch on to the behavior. First, because I so fear obesity. I didn’t want anyone to stop me. And second, because I didn’t want anyone to look down on me anymore than they already do. It’s bad enough that I hate me most of the time. (Unless, I’m manic when I love me).
I binge sometimes when I’m sad. I purge it when I’m disgusted. I purge when I’m nervous. I purge when I feel self-destructive. I purge when the scale is giving me an unacceptable number. I restrict when I’m very sad and self-loathing. I run to run away from all of this, to run away from myself. I run to see that number plunge. I restrict to spite myself. I restrict to self-destruct.
I have an eating disorder(s).
Finally, I am still in the grips of self-injury.
Serious trigger warning ahead. Pictures.
I am not proud. I am not showing off. I am not crying out for help, because at this point, I don’t even think I really want help. I am being honest, because my dishonesty was killing me. I’m supposed to be discussing mental health topics. And here we are. The very start of everything. Honesty in the face of the monster.
Conscious, Subconscious, and Extraconscious
I began the original discussion of my theory of multiple consciousness in a response to An Open Letter of Apology. To summarize, the theory of multiple consciousness stems from the existence of a conscious, thinking brain, a subconscious brain working in the background, and a third “extraconsciousness” that works somewhere in between.
This is not to be confused with the idea of paraconsciousness, or a consciousness that can be external to the person. It’s not dissociative in the way the way that a person becomes detached from themselves, as in depersonalization. Rather, this is a theory of the co-existant “personas” that perform different functions within the operations of conscious, subconscious, and extraconscious.
First, we’ll start with defining the conscious mind, the subconscious mind, and the third mind, which I refer to as the extraconscious mind. The conscious mind is the thinking brain, the one that interfaces with the world in a real-time way, and processes immediate information. This is the mind that takes in sensory information, begins the process of storing memories, uses cognition, and is the immediate persona, meaning set of behaviors and emotional responses based on external stimuli.
The subconscious mind is a mind that we aren’t immediately aware of. The information that is taken in by the conscious mind is usually stored temporarily in the subconscious mind. The subconscious mind then works at making sense of all of this information, and stores it where it belongs. In other instances, the information needs to be worked out for a solution, and instead of being stored, it is continually being worked on. These are operations that we aren’t aware of, until solutions and thoughts come out of nowhere. That is when our subconscious mind has paired with other operations of the brain (cognition, memory) and then passed it over to the thinking brain, even while the brain isn’t active in that function.
The third operation is a new concept. For me, anyway. It is the extraconscious mind, meaning the mind outside of the defined states of consciousness. This mind exists somewhere between the conscious mind and the subconscious mind. Sometimes, it operates as a bridge between the subconscious and the conscious minds, relaying information between the two. For instance, a person can feel vaguely aware of something, but not be fully aware. That information is retained in the extraconscious mind. Other times, it acts as a storage unit for the conscious mind and subconscious mind alike, until the information can be processed and passed back over. And in some cases, the extraconscious mind acts as a place where semi-dormant things exist, that would ordinarily exist in the subconscious mind.
Why the third consciousness? Why does a extraconscious mind exist? I’m not saying that it exists in all individuals, though it probably does to some degree whether it is recognized or not. The extraconsciousness exists for a number of reasons. First, to bridge the gap between the conscious mind the the subconscious mind. Second, in instances where there is repression of memories, thoughts, emotions, etc, the conscious mind is unable or unwilling to process that information and make sense of it. The subconscious mind cannot store it indefinitely, because the conscious mind is already aware that it exists. So, it becomes a part of the extraconscious mind. And lastly, the extraconscious mind exists to house semi-dormant constructs and concepts.
Now, this ties directly into my still developing theory of multiple personas as a part of splitting and dissociation. It is similar to Depersonalization Disorder, in that a person feels as if they are watching themselves from a place outside of the conscious mind. However, the feeling is not completely external from the body and mind. It is a vague awareness that the primary persona is not currently active or in control.
It is also similar to Dissociative Identity Disorder, which is that there are multiple “personalities”. However, in DID, full blown personalities are completely separate from one another and aren’t aware of the other. It produces states of complete amnesia. The theory of multiple personas residing in the extraconsciousness is slightly different.
First, the personas are not full-blown personalities. They are variations on the primary persona based on their function, which defines the predominant characteristics of the persona. A person may be, at least, vaguely aware of the existence of these personas, as they make themselves known through the extraconscious to the conscious mind.. They may even be aware when a different persona switches into the conscious mind, where the primary persona is forced back into the extraconscious mind, as a helpless bystander during the event. Typically, there is only a vague awareness of the events that took place during a dissociative state, where another persona resided in the conscious mind. It doesn’t produce complete amnesia, but there may be some haziness to smaller events, while larger events aren’t quite as detailed.
As the same with DID, the theory of multiple personas allows for an indefinite number of personas. Many of these personas take different stations within different consciousnesses. For instance, one or more may reside in the extraconscious mind, making the primary persona residing in the conscious mind vaguely aware of their presence. The awareness comes from subthreshold auditory hallucinations. Since the hallucinations aren’t external, then it is not considered a complete hallucination. However, the internal voices are still separate from the conscious mind, though not always active. Multiple personas often reside in the subconscious mind, almost completely inactive, save for performing functions related to processing information. This is how delusional thinking may begin, as misinterpreted information in the subconscious mind, colored by the multiple personas. However, it is uncommon that multiple personas exist in the conscious mind.
Sometimes, the extraconsciousness may be completely devoid.multiple personas. This is preferable. It means that the symptoms are largely inactive, since there is no persona to interfere with the conscious mind, and the information coming from the subconscious mind is less distorted.
However, in other times, the conscious mind may be completely devoid of personas, making a person largely catatonic. This usually means that the primary consciousness has receded into the extraconsciousness. Sometimes, this is to prevent psychic harm. Other times, it may be a struggle to see which persona prevails in the consciousness.
In the next segment, I will define the multiple consciousnesses, describe how they came to be, define their functions, and detail how they operate between the consciousnesses.
- Being Human-Consciousness (thementalshovel.com)
- What is the difference between the conscious and subconscious / unconscious mind? And why is working with the subconscious mind so effective? (neurowissenschaft.wordpress.com)
- Ego as the Self-Programmed Subconscious Mind (chiefkevinblog.com)
- Dissociative Identity Disorder & Multiple Personality Blogs, Websites & Support Groups, Forums, & Discussions (jeanettebartha.wordpress.com)
- Dissociative Identity Disorder (allaboutcounseling.com)
- What the Belief in Dissociative Identity Disorder or Multiple Personaltiies Teaches (jeanettebartha.wordpress.com)
Sorting It Out
I have always felt like I had a “base mood”, which is the state I’m in. Depressive, hypomanic, stable. I noticed that there was kind of an “atmospheric mood”, which was a wispy, temporary mood state that would come through. I’ve always characterized this as weather.
This emotional weather is just about as predictable as meteorological weather. Forecasts can go out based on current information and predictable outcomes. But, things can change quickly, and suddenly, storms crop up. Unfortunately, they don’t make an emotional barometer. There are no external instruments to sound an alarm on the emotional accuweather forecast.
I considered the weather to be just regular “moods”. I know one thing that is difficult for all people who have bipolar disorder is to draw the line between typical and symptomatic. It becomes a nearly impossible task when a person is actually symptomatic. That’s why it’s considered a disorder.
Over the last three years, I’ve become pretty familiar with episodic behavior. I cannot always identify it straight away. But, eventually, I tease it out. What I encountered in January was genuine symptoms, starting with an ultradian cycle I wasn’t even aware of until I reviewed my logs.
What I started to experience toward the end of that depressive episode was uncharacteristic. I hadn’t experienced those types of symptoms in some time. It didn’t look as if it was a coincidence that my mood chart started jumping at the same time my marriage got thrown on the rocks. And now, two months later, I’ve seem to hit some semblance of a period of stability coinciding with the start of my husband’s admissions and treatment.
He broke the silence. Now, I’m breaking it too.
Criteria 1: Fear of abandonment:
My fear of abandonment isn’t typically characterized, because of the keen awareness of the consequences. My fear is very real. The frantic efforts are a little unusual. It’s not outwardly frantic, because I know that behavior actually drives people away. Instead, I take huge strides to make myself more appealing. That feeds into the destabilization of self-image.
There’s a hidden switch, though. At some point, when I’m overloaded with anxiety, I shut down. I will shut down on a person, and it will be over. It will be difficult for me to feel anything for them until they have been out of my life for awhile, or they take a big leap of faith to me.
This disrupts my ability to make friends. I keep everyone at a distance, because I know that I will drive them away. I know that I am intense and strange. And I know that most people are passing ships in my life.
Criteria 2: Unstable Relationships and intense relationships:
I’ve been in a serious relationship with two different psychopaths, one diagnosed (Avi, the abusive one), and I’m now in a marriage with a man with MI. I always swore that these men found me. I think it was a little bit of both.
But, the catch about my marriage is however intense it is, it is stable. Go outside my romantic relationships. Looking at the intense dysfunction between my parents and me tells the tale.
Those people hurt me. And yet, I still love them. I hate them for everything, but I still vacillate between pandering for their affections and shutting them out. I know that they had their hand in this. And still, I blame it exclusively on myself.
Criteria 3: Identity Disturbance:
I used to dye my hair everytime I had a serious mood shift. When my first ex and I broke up, it shattered my whole world. And I said “F*ck the world.” At that point, I let go of everything. It was at that point in time that I started partying my life away.
That wasn’t me. I was a control freak. I always wanted control of my reality. I wanted control of the direction of my life and was always goal oriented.
My ex, Avi, was the worst agitation. I let him tell me who I was, what I should and shouldn’t be doing, and how I should live my life. I let him victimize me, because he told me I was a victim.
C.S. helped me find my way back to me. The me that I liked and was used to. The me that read, wrote, played music, and enjoyed artistic expression, not mindless video games. He helped me find my way back to goal-orientation and showed me that he could love me. That was the only reason I could even be me. Because that’s what he loved.
Criteria 4: Impulsivity:
After I had experienced sexual assault for the first time, I had come to the conclusion that I was a slut. So, I started to act like a slut by having sex with any man who looked at me sideways. I wanted to convince myself that I was at least good for something.
I have alcoholism. It is mostly controlled now. That’s no secret.
Now, here’s the big secret. I likely have an eating disorder. In times of serious distress, I deny myself food. I don’t deserve to eat. I’m a fatass. No one loves a fatass.
I have pindged and purged. It’s not often. In times of depression and self-depreciating behavior, I will binge to feel good. And then I’ll purge, because I worry about my weight. But worse than that. I’ll purge, because getting rid of that overstuffed feeling feels good. There is no better feeling than an empty belly.
I would excessively spend. But, you can’t spend without money in the bank. As a teen, I used to shoplift. And I got caught and got in the worst trouble of my life with my parents. I get the impulse now and again, but the fear and embarrassment is enough to keep me from doing it.
Criteria 5: Recurrent Suicidal / Self-Injurious Behavior:
Admittedly, as a teen, I was more satisfied with cutting with a steak knife than a razor. A razor was too easy, and the cuts were always thin, sleek, and healed without incident. The serrated knife left jagged cuts that never healed right.
I used to pick at the scabs. I only recently started scraping them with a luffa.
I take scalding showers for two reasons. First, there is the whole germ part. But, secondly, sensitive skin burns easily. Scrub it with a luffa, and it flakes and peels. It hurts so nicely, I can’t think about anything else.
I don’t ever threaten. I warn. Because I know certain stressors will set it off.
I used to attempt suicide. I have probably a dozen serious attempts under my belt. I probably have about a dozen more half-assed attempts where I hoped I’d die of alcohol poisoning. Or, if I let an infection go long enough, I’d cause organ failure. (I almost did that with my kidneys that started as a UTI).
I don’t anymore. It’s pointless. I have never come close to succeeding. And I’m convinced that there is a reason for that. Besides, I’m not so cruel as to leave my husband and son like that. Not now. My son is old enough to remember me. My husband might actually go down with me, although he’s never indicated as much.
Criteria 6: Affective Instability
Rage. I’m almost always irritable. I’ve always thought that irritability and reactivity were hallmarks of bipolar disorder. I was wrong.
I have bouts of intense anxiety. Especially when I feel like I’m not in control. It is expressed in OCD-like symptoms when it goes critical. I start hoarding. Or purging items. I check constantly. I do mental checks. I fear contamination.
Dysphoric moods. It’s always been suicidal ideation in the past. It’s only recently that I’ve had homicidal ideation, and it’s enough to scare me. But, I don’t imagine harming loved ones. No, I imagine harming people who are a perceived threat to my family and me.
That emotional weather, that was affective instability. When it produces serious storms, it becomes separate from bipolar disorder completely. Layered moods.
Criteria 7: Chronic Feelings of Emptiness:
Curiously, I don’t have the typical definition of this. Most of the time, I feel too full. I’m full of emotion, turmoil, life. I’m bursting at the seams.
But, if you examine the criteria a little closer, it can be characterized by never feeling good enough. I’m bad. I have never achieved anything noteworthy. No one really loves me. I feel as if I am worthless, rather than empty.
Criteria 8: Inappropriate Anger / Difficulty Controlling Anger
Sometimes, yes. I have a temper. I try to be careful at expressing this anger. It’s usually restricted to times when I am alone. I scream. I break things.
I don’t want to scare my family. I don’t want the shame and guilt I would suffer from such impulsive, inappropriate behavior. I don’t want anyone to leave me, because they fear me. I try so hard to practice restraint. I’m not always very successful.
Criteria 9: Transient, Stress-related paranoid ideation, delusions, or severe dissociation symptoms
This was the key to finally prove the potential for BPD to me. I’ve always had delusions. I’ve always had the berating voice. But, my paranoia has always turned out to be justified in the end.
When C.S. and I were very rocky, I was convinced that a man, who I would never otherwise suspect, was cheating on me. The voice separated into a an auditory hallucination, free of any rational mind, feeding me horrible things. I had my first real break from reality.
But, it was in fits that never lasted longer than a few hours to maybe a few days. And it could be broken by immediate distraction.
I’m nowhere near as volatile as I used to be. Medication has tamed my symptoms, and nearly domesticated me. There are a lot of behaviors that I don’t engage in anymore.
But, I am a far cry from ridding myself of all of them. And if I keep going on this course of alienating people, disabling my supports, and self-sabatoging, I’m going to end up in a very bad place.
So, I made an impulsive move yesterday morning. Finally, a good one. I called and made an appointment to start meeting with a qualified professional with an objective eye. I could’ve gotten in today, but my hours are restricted right now due to work.
So, next Thursday. In one week, I will take my first baby steps back into the world of therapy. Honestly, I don’t have high hopes. Thankfully, I have a number of therapists to choose from. And if it doesn’t work out, at least I gave it a try.
I want to keep trying and not get discouraged. But, I’m so picky about my professionals. I know there has to be some hope for recovery.
I had never considered Borderline Personality Disorder.
The term “Personality Disorder” carries so many negative connotations. It assumes that it’s a defect of someone’s personality. That in itself assumes that a person can just snap out of it, or just change it.
BPD gets such a bad rap in the media. I thought of “Fatal Attraction” and “Single White Female”. “That’s not me,” I insisted. I even reviewed the DSM-IV criteria, and still could only see a portion of it.
- Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment. Note: Do not include suicidal or self-injuring behavior covered in Criterion 5
- A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation.
- Identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self.
- Impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., promiscuous sex, excessive spending, eating disorders, binge eating, substance abuse, reckless driving). Note: Do not include suicidal or self-injuring behavior covered in Criterion 5
- Recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, threats or self-injuring behavior such as cutting, interfering with the healing of scars or picking at oneself (excoriation) .
- Affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood (e.g., intense episodic dysphoria, irritability or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days).
- Chronic feelings of emptiness
- Inappropriate anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights).
- Transient, stress-related paranoid ideation, delusions or severe dissociative symptoms
First, my fear of abandonment and the way I react to it is complicated. True, if I sense that there is something off with my partner, I do come to a conclusion that I am responsible and this person will eventually leave me. But, I didn’t feel as if that was unreasonable.
Yes, I do have a history of intense, explosive relationships. Now, the intensity of my relationship is usually shared up until a certain point. I have never had this problem in my marriage where I was “too intense”. In fact, it is preferred that I am so invested in my marriage and co-dependent. Not “dependent”. Co-dependent. We depend on each other very heavily. It works just fine, and I was pretty sure that a good marriage was a marriage that worked for both people.
I never considered an identity disturbance. Not frequently anyway. I have always been mostly the same person who liked the same things. Everyone goes through periods of change and self-renewal, right?
I’m not very impulsive. I am too anxious for impulsive behavior, because I fear the consequences. Impulsive behavior doesn’t allow for fear. I have too much fear. I don’t sleep around; I’m a devoted wife. I’m very careful with money, because I never have had or have any. I have had a history of alcohol abuse though. . .
Yes, I self-harm. But, self-harm happens in affective disorders.
Of course I have affective instability. I have bipolar disorder. But, the mood doesn’t usually last only a few hours to days, unless I’m ultradian cycling. That’s rare.
I don’t feel empty. As a matter of fact, sometimes I feel too full.
I do have a temper. But, I’m usually very good at controlling it. When I go off, I’ve just gone beyond my limit. Everyone does that.
I have always been paranoid and delusional. But, I’ve spoken with doctors about this problem in the past. They don’t seem to see it as a problem, nor do they really see it as full-blown delusions anyway. Despite that voice.
I was set on disproving it. Well, until I started reading personal accounts that struck me. Then, I read explanations of the wide variety of behaviors that fall into the diagnostic criteria. And finally, certain characteristic statements. “If people actually got to know me, they probably wouldn’t like me.”
I have a private blog entitled, “If You Only Really Knew Me”. I don’t update often. But, sometimes I do. Times where I am too much of a coward to stand up and confess on Pendulum. Those words that bang at the inside of my skull, but I’d never dare reveal.
I had absolutely no idea that BPD was so diverse. The stigma would have everyone believe the “I hate you, don’t leave me” thing. But, there’s so many different ways it can operate. I started to see the pattern emerge in early adolescence, as is described. I saw how it dominated my previous relationship and sustained the mutual abuse. And I could see it in me.
For Now, Not Farewell
First, and foremost, I wanted to let all of my wonderful blogging friends know that I am alright. The gaps between posts keep getting larger, and I worry that others are worrying. I will make you a promise now that if something serious happens and there is a critical situation, I will not hesitate to inform everyone.
There are a lot of things that are happening in my life right now. Many personal matters need attending to. I’m probably getting laid off in three weeks, although my boss doesn’t seem like she wants to drop that bomb on me. Personally, I find that incredibly irresponsible. I could have been looking for other work. Well, in any usual situation.
Still, it creates a serious blow to my self-esteem at a time when it is not well received. I know everyone has been passed over for a job and has suffered layoffs before. It’s really unpleasant, to say the least about it. Then, there’s entire summer, twelve weeks ahead of me, where I have to sit on my hands and wonder if I’m getting recalled for the school year. Something tells me that I’m not.
There are an increased number of incidents that have been happening on my watch. I see my faults and flaws as a teacher, though I have little help on my end establishing my role and developing my skills. I feel as if I am not well accepted or even really respected at my job. I feel undervalued and underutilized. Each project I have suggested has been shot down. And, each time I volunteer for something, I am assured that my assistance is not needed.
I realize this could be the ever present paranoia that has been occurring where I get this idea that I am being persecuted in my life (including at my job). This includes ideas what someone / something is out to get me. Or, it could be the subconscious vibes I get from others. My immediate employees that are on the outer circle of the program seem to be unaware.
However, those on the internal circle are treating me as if I am a ghost. They mumble a sort of hello as I walk by, hardly acknowledging my presence. No one is keen on engaging me in conversation. And those that are my higher-ups have taken to lambasting me at every chance they get for things that aren’t entirely my doing.
I’ve always kept Xanax on my person at all times, in case I encounter a situation that flares the anxiety. Typically, this is an unexpectedly crowded area. Lately, Xanax has become part of my diet. I can’t fathom the idea of going back there. And I tick the days off of my calendar. Twenty-two left before I am unemployed. Twenty-two left before leaving my house becomes optional.
(I’m exhausted this morning and not very inspired. Please forgive the bland post.)
I had told my husband at one point, “I feel as if there are many things that have gone neglected in my personal life, especially my home life that other things are interfering with. Maybe it’s for the best.” I believe that there is a rhyme and a reason to everything, whether it is God or just the pattern of the universe. Choose whichever suits you.
My husband agreed. I’ve mentioned that he needs tended to more now than ever. I’m not the only one who thinks so. His best friend has been sending check-in messages, noting that C.S. “hasn’t been himself for awhile.” I am very focused on keeping my resolve so that I can be a part of his treatment. It’s difficult. He has always been my rock, the stable touchstone that I could rely on to keep me in check. Now, it seems, the tables have turned.
Six more days until the appointment. I’m checking the days off of my calendar, holding onto the wild ride as hard as I can to get us there.
Then, there is the matter of my son. Though he has made significant gains without therapy in the last six months, he still requires it. He still remains behind his peer group in terms of speaking and social interaction. And because of everything that has happened with his parents in the last six months, I have been unable to navigate the labyrinth of services.
That is something that takes a lot of time. I recall from the first time we had to go through this. There were a lot of evaluations in places that were at least a half an hour’s drive from here. Even the ones in home took an hour at the least. There were meetings with counselors, social workers, specialists, and all manner of people. It took a great deal of time, effort, focus, and all of the things I’m sorely lacking in my position right now.
My lack of initiative makes me feel like a bad parent. It makes me feel as if I’ve robbed him of crucial developmental time. My self-absorption in my illness makes me feel as if I have precipitated and then ignored serious signs and symptoms in my husband. I find that I am destabilizing to the point where I don’t want to return to work. And the paranoia and the anxiety it produces when I think of all of this are too much to handle.
I’ve determined that I need a break. Please, don’t take this as I am self-isolating. I have been feeling this way for months now, starting in my depressive state. I wasn’t sure if it was the trickery of depression, or if it was a genuine need to crawl inside my shell for solace. My emotional reserves are tapped, and I’m really running on empty. My support system is crumbling, and I feel like I can’t run my life anymore.
I have even made the consideration to file for disability. Making the admission that I might not be of sound mind enough to work with any stability is very difficult for me. It’s difficult to think that I am having such a hard time managing my personal life. I do understand that things are unusual in the way of stress and function (or lack thereof). However, I seem to think that others who aren’t quite as affected may stand a better chance against life’s little upheavals.
For myself, to collect my own emotional fortitude, and to prioritize what little there is left to go around, I must limit my writing. This is so that I may stabilize my personal life, and have reflections that may be useful to those in my immediate vicinity. I would like to focus primarily on my personal journal at the moment, in order to keep a solid documentation of what is going on, free of any flare or censorship (yes, sadly, there is a little that happens here).
I adore each and every one of you. I am always available via email at firstname.lastname@example.org If you’d like to touch base with me, or just need to talk about something, I am always available and always willing.
Just for now. This is not a farewell.
Theories on the Development of Disorder
When something, an emotion, an urge, an impulse, is so severely suppressed that a person becomes oppressed, we can often observe extreme opposite reactions. This is consistent with the laws of physics and the universe, “Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.” Except, one thing. I believe when it comes to emotions and behaviors, the opposing reaction is more like equal plus. The plus being an x-value holding place for a value with the meaning “a little more.” Determining that exact value in numerical terms may be difficult, since there is no numerical value for emotions.
It basically conveys the message that the situation perpetuates itself. Any potential absence of behavior or action can still be perceived as a positive value. Inaction can still be considered an action in this case, because there isn’t really such a thing as a complete absence of behavior.
This is potentially a huge factor in mental illness. Obviously, we are aware of the psychological damage abuse and neglect in childhood can cause, even throughout adulthood. It is thought to manifest in anxiety disorders, particularly Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. However, that does not account for people who did not experience what is typically considered childhood trauma.
Even as adults, we are susceptible to psychological damage. This is a fact that is well established through research involving war veteran and victims of sexual assault. However, we only consider extreme forms of trauma as something qualifies as such. Such is also true of childhood trauma.
Other qualifying trauma often happens over a period of time, and goes consciously unrecognized. This does not mean that it is also subconsciously unrecognized as well. In fact, the subconscious is likely keenly aware, but unable to translate to the conscious mind.
Once the conscious mind becomes aware that there is something amiss, the traumatizing behavior seems commonplace. The person has likely become desensitized to what was once a subtle, but generally constant external stressor. By then, it becomes internalized and often mistaken as an internal stressor.
Those are the seeds for maladaptive behaviors in both children and adults. At this point, unhealthy coping mechanisms have already been adopted as part of a person’s behavioral repertoire. This is directly the result of an extreme reaction to the accumulation of what may be considered subtle long term stressor(s).
The maladaptive behaviors are recognized as such, and perpetuate trauma through mistreatment of oneself. It can be behaviorally observed by an unusual response to certain unpleasant stimuli. Unfortunately, the subject is often unaware that their responses are abnormal. By the time it is either pointed out or realized by oneself, the original cause is well buried under layers of self-abuse / neglect.
The result of this is much larger than anxiety disorders. It reaches out to grab behaviors typical of a variety of psychological disorders. Behavior repertoires are often observed in personality disorders and mood disorders. it would stand to reason this is true, due to the nature of long-term external stressors, particularly subtle abuse and neglect.