Yesterday, my counselor and I were speaking about my recovery from the dissociative disorder known as depersonalisation. I’ve written about it a few times if you want to check out the backstory — you can in my posts “Recovering from Depersonalisation” and “Reducing Anxiety through ‘Staying Present’“, or any entry on depersonalisation through looking up the tag #depersonalisation on my blog.
I am not sharing this because I want any pity or my friends and family to feel they need to wrap me in cotton wool. I am writing this so people who are diagnosed with depersonalisation or any similar dissociative disorder or similar disorder can understand they are not alone, that this does happen, and they may be able to recover. This is my personal experience with dissociation and depersonalisation, so mileage and outcomes may vary from case to case. Now on to my post…
Learning how to deal with emotions again is difficult. I’ve touched on it before in previous posts, but yesterday’s discussion touched on this again.
My mind seems to try to distract me from dealing with negative emotions. I internalise anger, grief, sadness: all these emotions churning inside me. Anger has been easier to confront; instead of letting a simmering rage build within me, I’ve found a way to express my frustration verbally, which, in turn, helps empower me to push through my anger and emerge a strong person. It sounds easy to do, but it’s not that easy, sometimes.
Grief and sadness have been harder. I clam up. It feels like these emotions run around as I try to catch them, sit with them, and let them run their course. My previous counselor — the one I accessed post-quakes — felt I may have complicated grief, where grief builds up over a period of time and expands exponentially until it is difficult to manage.
In my last post I spoke about my recovery from depersonalization and what a difficult journey that has been. One of the problems I have — and this was diagnosed years ago as well — is my mind often is full of random information, so whereas you may see a rose and think, “Wow, that’s a beautiful rose”, my mind starts going through different random thought-pathways like, “What type of rose is that?” and “If the wind were to blow really hard all the sudden, what would happen to that rose?” and “How difficult would it be to grow that rose at home?” and then those thoughts take on several thought-pathways of their own, and soon, my mind is super-busy processing a million different thoughts. The thoughts unfold like a flower blooming.
Recovery from illness is difficult, especially a major one. I have dealt with recovery before: from broken bones, from earthquake injuries, from depression, from inflammatory disorders, from a mystery virus that caused me physical exhaustion and mental anguish. But somehow, this recovery from depersonalization is different.
I hadn’t really noticed it much in the last few months since I became mostly free from this somewhat rare yet very disturbing disorder that robs a person of access to the feelings his emotional responses create, but I’m more disturbed now. Feeling happy? As the feeling goes along its merry little way, an analytical section of me hijacks the afterglow of the feeling, scanning every second, demanding to know what triggered the happiness, why it faded, how long it took to fizzle out, and, finally, the fear of wondering: will it ever come back? Will the happiness ever return for longer than a few seconds? And the double-edged sword of a question: will I always be this numb from now on or will I return to normal ever?
It’s been a while since I’ve posted. Part of me feels I should say I’m sorry but I’m not sorry. A lot of shit has been going on in my life, and I’d like to hope most people would agree that real life takes precedence over a blog or keeping others entertained.
There’s a lot to write about, a lot I need to tell you, but I had a bit of an epiphany today, and I wanted to share it with you all.
Last night, I was feeling a bit nostalgic, very awake, and slightly under the influence of a few glasses of vino, so I rummaged through our cabinets below the bookcase with our DVDs and Blu-Rays in them to haul out my old photos from my pre-New Zealand days.
Some bring tears to my eyes. Some make me long for yesterday and for those who are no longer with us. Others make me smile. Others again make me laugh heartily.
I found a photo of someone I haven’t spoken to in a long time, someone who, to be totally honest, hasn’t crossed my mind a lot lately. He does once in a while, but with time marching on and a million other memories cramming their way into my head every month or three, and having seen each other last in 1995 when we were both totally different people, these thoughts grow fewer and farther the more distant that year becomes.
This week, with the second anniversary of the devastating 22 February 2011 Christchurch earthquake yesterday, I’ll be blogging about several issues relevant to our situation here in Christchurch and natural disasters in general.
Yesterday was a mixed-bag of emotions for me.
Work was proving to be a bit difficult to concentrate on, and, while I did do a bit of it, right after the clock hit 12:51 PM, I decided I needed to do a few things for me.
This week, with the second anniversary of the devastating 22 February 2011 Christchurch earthquake approaching, I’ll be blogging about several issues relevant to our situation here in Christchurch and natural disasters in general.
Nearly every week, I talk to my Mom on the phone. This has become a ritual since the 22 February 2011 quakes hit. She listens patiently as I tell her how the city has changed, how I feel about it, the week’s earthquakes, and so on. I’m not sure how I would react if the shoe was on the other foot because I always seem too quick to dispense advice. She has always been a good listener.
This past weekend was the latest time I spoke to her. We talked about the content of my blog late last week about post traumatic stress disorder and how I still have some problems dealing with the fallout. I’m not sure if I mostly have moved on and feel in a better position to handle things or if I am fooling myself and in reality, I’m still bottling most of the feelings inside. Spurred on by friends and family, I did seek help and that sorted things out quite a bit. I’m not really sure if I need to continue on that course of action, though.