7 Years After the 22 February 2011 Quake

Memorials at the CTV site, where 115 people died in the building’s collapse on 22 February 2011. Credit: Joseph Johnson/Stuff

Today is an anniversary date in my life that I could live without.

Actually, it’s so bad that the other day Noel asked me, “Isn’t the anniversary of Grandpa’s passing about this time of year,” the day after that anniversary, and I felt guilty about forgetting that. (My Grandpa passed away on 19 February 2004.)

Last year, I spoke about feeling stuck, like 22 February 2011 is a fixed-point in my timeline, and, like a black hole, the rest of my life slowly spins around it, stuck in its gravity.
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Avoidance of Feelings

Yesterday in my counselling session, we spoke about how I tend to speed up when talking a lot of the time. Of course, most of the time I don’t actually know when I am doing this, but it is something I have done for most of my life. This isn’t the first time we have spoken about it, and lately, I have been trying to be very conscious of slowing down my speaking and pausing between when someone else talks to gather my response and then reply. (It sounds like it’s a long process, but it is still pretty quick.)

My mind can work in this fashion too. It throws out a million things at once to distract me from the here-and-now and what I am really feeling. Both the speeding up of talking and the multipronged thought processes are away I have learned to avoid what I am feeling. It is rather automatic now.

Something like this takes time to unlearn. I may never fully unlearn it, but it will take a lot of practice and time to discover the best way forward for me. By doing this, it will help me live more in-the-moment and be more “present” to things.
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Familiarity in Dreams

Bottle of Dreams by David Urbanke
Bottle of Dreams by David Urbanke

Dreams play an important part in my life. I don’t mean I follow what my dreams show me or I let them rule my life, but I find they are an important part of inspiring me and exposing the hidden places in my psyche.

I have many different types of dreams, as I think we all do, and I could go on and on about them, but in this post, I think I’d like to focus on familiarity in dreams.
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Depersonalization and Creativity: An Afterthought

Okay, so I wrote and published my whole blog yesterday about Depersonalization and Creativity, and how my creativity has been hampered by the illness, but, mulling it over in my mind last night, I realized there were exceptions to that.

What I have taken solace in, from time to time, is photography, using my iPhone mostly.

Taking a few steps backwards from that statement: what some of you may not know is that I used to draw. A lot.

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Depersonalization and Creativity

I know my blog has covered a lot about the dissociative disorder known as depersonalization, but since there are so few people who are diagnosed with it, and some people who have been diagnosed with it have reached out to talk about it, I thought it was best that I cover my experiences so others might learn from them.

Anxiety is not really fun, as probably many people can attest to, and it affects various aspects of our lives. When anxiety and depression combine to create depersonalization, this can have a profound effect on a person’s livelihood and outlook.

One of the most frustrating parts of my journey with depersonalization has been the impact it has had on my creativity.

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25 Years Ago(-ish), I Started College

Around 25 years ago, in late August 1992, I started college (erm, university for you British English speakers out there). It’s a right-of-passage many Americans go through every year when they’re 18, and I’m sure there are many stories about how that first year went for a great many people. Maybe my experience was unique, but I’m pretty sure it’s not.

What I can tell you is I remember my Mom crying when I started college at Northern Illinois University. My excitement due to my freedom was tempered by how upset she was. Being the very anxious person I was and continue to be, I wondered if I’d made the right choice. As an aside: my counselor keeps telling me I do things to please other people instead of myself, and I’m not living my life authentically if I keep doing this. On the other side of this argument, I stayed at college because it was what I wanted, even though it did hurt my mother initially (and maybe it was more of a, “Oh my God, my oldest son is 18 and leaving home and I can’t protect him any more”, which I understand but I’ve never been through so I can’t compare that experience to my own experiences).

Sorry. I digress. You should be used to that by now if you read any of my blogs.

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Living In The Here and Now

I originally wrote this blog in May 2016 but never published it. I’m not sure why I didn’t, but here it is, updated slightly.

Over the past few years I’ve written about emerging from a period of suffering from the dissociative disorder known as depersonalisation, the result of a lifetime full of anxiety and a short, rather deep bout of depression. (You can read the latest entries: “Recovering from Depersonalisation” and “Reducing Anxiety through ‘Staying Present’“, or any entry on depersonalisation through looking up the tag #depersonalisation on my blog.)

But I want to take you a step back to the 1990s as a kind of example of why living in the here and now is important.

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