If you’ve been following my journey through the dissociative disorder known as depersonalization, thank you. Writing about it, and knowing it is being read about, has helped me cope a great deal, and that means a lot to me. Maybe my words are helping you understand what I’m going through, or maybe you’re going through depersonalization too and my words are helping you feel less alone. I hope they are helping someone. Read The Long Road
There was a period in my professional career where I heard almost every other applicant bounce into my office and tell me she was “passionate” about beauty therapy. It drove me absolutely stark-raving bonkers because how could so many people be so “passionate” about the same thing?
(As an aside, as I type this blog, I figured out that, yes, working in a beauty therapy school will tend to bring a higher ratio of people “passionate” about beauty therapy through the front door to study, well, beauty therapy, so “duh” to me being oblivious to that humdinger of a fact. As another aside, the cynic in me wants to share that some of these applicants became students to only find that they were not, in fact, “passionate” about beauty therapy, and maybe this is why that word has become tarnished in my book.)
Yesterday, my new colleague Paula and I were discussing several different things in an informal and impromptu meeting in my office. (Paula is off on vacation in Rarotonga for a week, lucky woman. So, with yesterday being her last day in the office before vacation, I thought I would try and give her a pretty cruisy day, especially since she has been working very hard since she started with us a few months ago.) Paula is really into songwriting, and I, obviously, am into writing, so we started discussing this.
Read Being Passionate About Something
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.
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.
Seriously, though, yesterday was a very difficult day for me. It honestly didn’t start out that way. I woke up early as I had an appointment with the sleep specialist to check on how my CPAP machine was going. It went very well, and it made me very happy, which made my mood quite bright and cheerful.
On to our second chore while we were out: work. I needed to swap over the back-up drives (which I’d forgotten to do last Friday) and also some work on allocating student loans to the appropriate Public Trust accounts. The second part really didn’t need to be done yesterday, but because I was at work, I thought it would be easier to get everything done in one fell swoop, so I could spend the time during this school holidays actually relaxing without much work at all instead of working every day, a little here, a lot there, and forgoing the whole reason of having a break like I normally do. One of the things I am learning in counselling is I need to step-back and have some “me” time a lot more often than I have been over the past 20 years or so.
Originally, I was quite an artistic person. I think everyone who knew me up until about ten years ago could tell you I was always drawing or writing down ideas, doodling, making comics, all sorts of stuff. My skills weren’t extraordinarily fantastic, but I enjoyed it.
Sadly, when I was young — about 8, I believe — I broke my right hand in several places, and as time has marched on, it has become harder and harder to hold anything (pens, pencils, forks) for long periods of time. This has meant less and less drawing for me.
Still, I am a creative person, and I started making the shift to writing when, as a freshman Art Major at Northern Illinois University, I realised that I couldn’t keep up with my hand the way it was. My writing was not exactly excellent in my mind but I have then, and continue to get, quite positive feedback about my skills all together.
In late 2013, after the earthquakes started settling down and I came to terms with the horrors that had unfolded around us (not all made by nature, I might add), I realised that 40 was approaching quickly, and I still had not really written much of anything other than this blog, a few Star Trek fan fiction pieces, and a few scripts for various (and more often than not, failed or defunct) Star Trek productions.
I decided I’d start writing a novel.
In the second, larger 13 June 2011 earthquake, two of the large decorative concrete panels came off our work building. That, in turn, made the engineers unsure how the building would perform in another large earthquake (and since we were on the third quake above 6.0 at the time in a rather rich aftershock sequence, no one was ruling out anything by that point… Mother Nature seemed to turf the rule book out the window). So, Unit 7 in Amuri Park was red-stickered, and the owners came to see us to tell us that it was cheaper for them to demolish and replace the building than to repair it.