Whoa…dissociation again

I found myself wanting to post about my very recent (past two days) experience with dissociation due to massive stress about my moving in less than two weeks…then I got to my blog and noticed my last post was about dissociation.

Man, I worry waaaaayyy too much :/

Anyway, here’s what’s been going on, as conveyed to a friend (names omitted):

Hey [friend]: do you have dissociative or depersonalization episodes? I don’t feel like I’m watching myself live someone else’s life, but I definitely feel very fuzzy (things seem almost cloudy vision-wise, and I want to do things slowly to compensate; I thought I shouldn’t drive to the store to get food because I thought my reaction times and decisions wouldn’t be good enough..though perhaps having a concrete thing to do might help) and a bit physically imprecise…like I’m not real. I slept so much yesterday, and I thought that would mean I’d not fall asleep quickly last night–I actually fell asleep quickly and slept for 4 hours (until a few minutes ago). Not at all surprised by the lack of a full nights sleep. Another symptom has been being easily affected by sudden noises, and going back n forth between feeling little anxiety to feeling a bit more. Either way I feel fragile.

Does any of this sound familiar to you personally? Or if not does [friend’s husband] or anyone else you know experience this the way I’m experiencing it? I read a bit about dissociative states and anxiety disorders and one person said that dissociation is the brain’s way of protecting itself from more hurt. The blogger suggested breathing exercises and other things that I have in my DBT manual for coping with anxiety, such as keeping a unique-feeling object in my pocket and squeezing it and touching it, concentrating on feeling it.

In any event, I want this feeling to go away because it’s a bit distressing, but I think distress has led me to the dissociation, so I’m doing my best to not think of anything in the future…which is difficult since I’ll be moving in less than 2 weeks. God I can’t wait til that’s done.

Forgot to mention: yesterday I felt like I could experience any emotion at all at the drop of a hat and for no discernible reason. The intensity of certain emotions changed as well. I felt like the future was going to be ok one minute, and suffering-filled the next.

Anybody else ever feel like this? Wanna weigh in?

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Feel not real.

Over the weekend I did things to be celebrated.  I celebrated them because they were mastery experiences–things that I was afraid of but did anyway. (People who have read some of my other blog entries will know about my anxiety issues)  I hadn’t been on a bus by myself (a 2+ hour trip to Boston) in over 15 years.  I factually knew there was little danger, and so I spent the time managing anxiety with breathing and strong thoughts.

Between this, staying at my brother’s place, walking everywhere (my elliptically-trained muscles didn’t prepare me for the fatigue I felt a lot of the time), going to see the Red Sox (an amazing game, though the physical seats themselves were and are positively terrible comfort-wise), going out to eat a few times, all in the presence of my brother and my cousin…I was managing a good deal of stress all the time.  I did a good job of it too.  I didn’t panic.

When I got home Sunday, I was so relieved I started crying a little.  Mostly though I was very fatigued but glad I did the weekend.

But right now I feel not real.  Fuzzy.  Like I’m in a cloudy dream.  Anxious, mostly in my tummy (the fact that I strained by back earlier today isn’t helping).  My ability to read at much speed and my comprehension is a bit off. (So much for getting some more work done tonight).  I think all the stress of the weekend is finally affecting me.  I feel like I could either cry all over the place or sleep for 2 days.  Thoughts are coming in of “you did too much this weekend”, but they are secondary to the not-realness.

I’m listening to soothing music and working to do things more slowly tonight, like typing this at a slower speed.  Deeper breathing too.  I have a medication I can take if things get worse, but I’d rather see if I can manage this with skills.

I’m not going to die.  This isn’t a panic attack, but I’m experiencing some of the accompanying unreal-ness.  It could lead to one.  But I’m not going to die.

Closing my eyes and resting between sentences.  Slow.

Money vs Happiness and fear of work.

Saturday’s successful social outing leaves me wanting to do more…and then I realized I don’t really have the money. Being social several times a week is actually a therapy goal of mine, and I want to be happy and feel like I’m not so alone in the world. There may be some small areas I can cut back on budget-wise, but nothing all that substantial.

I’m not making excuses to stay home either. Saturday helped me rediscover after years that people can be interesting to hang out with, and that new places can be interesting to go to.

Money vs Happiness. Should I play the lottery and pray or something?

Full disclosure: I do not have a job.  I subsist through other limited means.  I’m actually terrified of working.  I may have mentioned that before.  Major problems with authority.  I’m not rehirable at most of the jobs I’ve had, because, in the mire of depression and anger that was the rule of my world in my 20’s, I got mad at a supervisor or two and got myself fired.  I also quit a job without giving notice because I had just taken an emergency break from said job in order to put my mental health first (I attended–and bawled my soul out at–a co-dependency workshop), and didn’t think I could go back to my job.  Being ashamed of myself, I never told HR why I suddenly quit.  Never told them that I had so much depression that everything hurt and I wanted to die.  Not sure it would’ve mattered to them all that much.

So I’m scared to work, but I need to self-actualize through social channels.  Theoretically, the best course of action would be to take steps toward working.  I have not worked in probably 9 years.  For reasons I’ve discussed in other blog posts on this site, I often feel broken or like I’m simply not good enough and that people will hate me, regardless of what the facts might actually be.  One very real issue is not having a positive work history…or really much work history at all, given the length of time I’ve been out.

Job applications often say “List your last X number of employers over the last 10 years”.  I really don’t have any.  My last employer doesn’t even exist as a company anymore.  I’d have to write some kind of explanatory letter.  That could be something I could discuss with my therapist…if I were to seriously consider working.  To me, working under any kind of supervisor or corporate entity feels tantamount to being stabbed in the gut and oh my god oh my god get me the fuck out of here.  I last tried to work in 2010, and this happened, and I fled crying from the store.  (I also haven’t worked enough quarters to qualify for SSDI, if that’s how it works)

So I don’t know what to do.  I don’t want to tear my insides out preparing for a job (even serious conversations about it most often lead to self-hate and shame; telling a former supervisor to fuck off comes readily to mind) and then get the job and be terrified and run again.  Or stay and have the resentment build like it always used to.

Perhaps what I need to do is go against what my gut tells me and get a job.  I don’t know how to make myself do it, my need for socialization or no.  Part of me would rather hang myself.

Does anybody else have this issue, or feel this way? Most people have to work because they have to work or else they’re on the street.  I don’t have that issue, but I certainly am not what you’d call “independently wealthy”.  I have a set income.   I could supplement that, if only I could work maybe 2-3 days a week.  And again, the horrible thoughts of emotional upheaval and explosion.

Dammit.

Losing friends

No, not in the death kinda way.  In the “just sorta melting away into the night, I’ll-call-you-soon-but-never-do-again” kinda way.  I know paths diverge.  I know people have issues (oh boy, do I know that).  But it still hurts.

And it’s difficult not to blame myself. (Granted, it always has been.) I am generally not happy, and my emotions are very strong–particularly anger, and fear can get out of control if I don’t stop the train from flying off the tracks.  At times I have acted out of emotions instead of wise mind, and this has meant snark and/or dismissiveness or sometimes even outright personal attacks.  Mostly online.  Which means I can be that guy I despise: the internet jockey who takes pot shots.

That last point is pretty apt.  I don’t really like myself.  I try to do positive things for myself (exercise and being proactive with regard to certain of life’s necessities), but I don’t feel them as positive most of the time.  When I post these positive things on social media, the intent is supposed to be that I celebrate what I’m doing.  Instead, I’ve noticed that I desperately want validation.  The validation I never got growing up.  The validation that will somehow calm these rough seas of emotion.

But that isn’t realistic.  Getting validation is great, but as I’ve been told repeatedly ad nauseam happiness has to come from within me.  But how does this come in, basically, a vacuum? Having no friends I hang out with, and having no people I know that I *want* to hang out with who are actually talking to me, means I need to start over.  It’s much easier to make friends in school, work, and other regular social settings.  I don’t have those social settings, so I need to create them, through the fear and anticipatory anxiety and pre-judgment that invariably come up.

So, as I rhetorically asked so eloquently a couple days back on social media, why does everything have to be so fucking hard?

Dreams (or, How Do I Truly Live?)

The tags on this are gonna be fun.

Ok, where to begin on this fully-sleep-deprived morning (getting zero sleep has never happened to me before).  I guess I need to purge this out on the blog before I go rest.

My dreams generally fall into 2 or 3 categories.  The halfway fun category involves me kindling light sabers with my breathing (it doesn’t always work) and/or having a Gandalf/Dumbledore type mentor following me and protecting me (hmm…daddy stuff?). The more common ones however involve me fucking up, through no fault of mine–being blamed for something that is utterly unreasonable or simply factually wrong.  And there’s almost always a girl(s) in there somewhere.

Example: Two nights ago I dreamt I was at Ithaca College (I’ve never been there, but my brain simply knew it was Ithaca), and I couldn’t find my classes, my books, my schedule, and the place itself was a massive labyrinth of distractions: dark corridors that led downstairs into cobwebs, or up into dorm-like areas; cliquey areas I felt insecure in (though I felt insecure most of the time as it was), indoor campfires…it’s like the whole place had no electric lighting and was built in the Middle Ages (complete with serving wenches serving beer I cannot drink in real life due to health problems.  And yes I play too many RPGS).  I was frustrated and didn’t know where to go.  Once I found a place to go, something became my fault, and none of my protests mattered even though I knew I was correct.  As usual, this grew into me futilely shouting obscenities and death threats…when I could get the words out.  This type of dream, maybe 65% of the time, comes with this wonderful feature: the louder I try to be, the more choked I am, the less air passes through me, the less I can actually form words.  It’s like someone is clamping over my mouth and twisting it, yielding gibberish.  Quiet, inconsequential gibberish too, since I can’t seem to put air behind what I’m saying.

That’s the second type: college/high school setting, not knowing anything, getting accused and reviled, becoming mostly verbally paralyzed.

The third type is quite similar to the second type, only the setting is work.  95% of the time, it’s Borders, even if it’s not recognizable as such (again, I know it’s Borders in the dream).  Somehow the POS terminal isn’t cooperating, I can’t type, or I’m not doing something right, and then I get accosted so hard that I quit in a fiery rage and try to destroy everything around me.

And then there are the girls that show up probably 90% of the time, in the latter two types. I say “girls” and not “women” because that’s how I grew up saying it.  To me “women” feels stuffy, “girls” feels playful and young.  That might be unfair, and I take care with my distinctions when discussing the sex with others, but that’s simply the semantics that have always felt comfortable to me.

(Why I feel the need to defend myself on my own blog…So cognizant of potentially offending someone.  I hate it.  I hate it because it extends into me censoring and censuring myself, as though I don’t deserve to live and be happy.

I read that back to myself, and rather obviously this way of thinking has many of the same roots that my dreams have)

Anyway, girls.  I haven’t been in a serious relationship in a good many years, and have had sex extremely rarely, and have never actually enjoyed sex though I want to (*that* topic is something that I’m not getting into in this post.  Too much shame involved right now). In dreams sometimes the girls are those I worked with (not solely at Borders), sometimes they are women I fell for and had fallings-out with, sometimes they are unknown to me. And often I touch them, yet if they protest, even if I know I’m dreaming, I will stop because it’s upsetting to me.  I don’t want to hurt anyone.  “But it’s a dream!” my mind sometimes says.  But it doesn’t matter, I stop and I feel bad for touching them.

I find the interpretations of these dreams to be pathetically obvious.  They are manifestations of the following: a childhood squelched, where it was unsafe to feel or say anything (it was even unsafe to say nothing or even agree with the person picking the fights.  I’m not going to name the person who picked the fights every single fucking day.  However, the tags might hold a clue…).  No one ever soothed me when there was shouting, fighting, broken bones, cops called…no one ever told me I was ok.  No one ever showed me it wasn’t my fault. (There’s psychological evidence that indicates that, in absence of an explanation, a child will often take on the blame him/her/themselves).  This, in addition to be told explicitly all the time “you’re selfish” and that things were my fault (when they weren’t, they were HER fault, the bitch), resulted in my internalizing just about every negative thing I could possibly internalize about life and myself and my place in the world.  The only semi-safe place was my room.  I say semi-safe because I witnessed beatings in there, in my sanctuary, in the only place I felt remotely comfortable.

Alone.  I wanted everyone to leave me the fuck alone.  I was so emotionally wrecked that I was one of those kids who fantasized about shooting his high school up.  Now, I was a coward, I didn’t have access to guns and didn’t know how to go about getting any, and anyway I was a coward who was afraid of EVERYTHING except his own bed.

All the childhood stuff happened, as far as I can remember, from birth through about 15. Fifteen was when the bitch went off to college and she wasn’t in the house anymore.

I expect I’m rambling now, but do you see all the fuel for the dreams? Emotional unfulfillment, self-blame (in the dreams, someone always blames me instead of me blaming myself), sexual frustration, major self-esteem problems, PTSD, depression, anxiety….a family that, in short, could be counted on for one thing: to fuck me up.  Actually, two things: we never lacked for money or material stuff, but I’d have traded that for a loving father.

So now you see the other part: How Do I Truly Live? My interest levels in a lot of things are quite small because 1) I’m just about always afraid of them, and 2) I don’t love myself.  If I don’t love myself, it really mutes enjoyment of anything.  Hard.

No wonder I spent the last 8-10 years getting drunk all the time.

So I need to live, but don’t know how.  Or, I need to live and perhaps know where I might start, but the fear can be so great that I rush to the toilet a lot.  (This is my blog, I had diarrhea, deal with it).  Somehow I have to overcome this and take smalls steps.  But the steps seem large, and all the steps produce enough anxiety for my abdomen to hurt.

But I’m still here.  Which probably means one or two things: 1) I’m still a coward when it comes to suicide–I’ve had suicidal thoughts many times in the past, but in the last decade no actual plan to go about it; 2) I, somewhere buried inside me, have hope for myself.  If I truly had no hope I think I wouldn’t be here.

But I need to live.  I’m not living.  I’m existing.  I don’t know what’s fun (outside of video games), I’m not terribly social anymore–some friends have decided to go on with their lives without me (activating my abandonment issues, regardless of their reasons for moving on, which I usually don’t precisely know), or otherwise I have told them to get out of my life because they became poisonous to me.  It really feels like I have no close friends.  I know I share some things with others, but I see people talk about “besties” and I sure don’t have those anymore: one of them was passive-aggressive repeatedly with me so I told her I was done with us, and the other I’d fallen in love with and couldn’t emotionally cope with her being with another guy (it was like reopening a wound every single time I talked with her).

This blog is entirely too fucking long.  In my blear I have no idea if this is coherent or even if I covered everything I wanted to.  But there’s always other days.