It took me a long time to share my last post, The Long Road Back, on my blog. See, there’s a monster in my head. Not the depersonalization. No, thankfully, Michael (my counselor) and I have worked out that depersonalization is on the retreat for now.
This? This is something stronger. Read Monster in My Head
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.
Read Reconnecting and Dealing With One Negative Emotion at a Time
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.
Read Reducing Anxiety Through Staying Present
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?
Read Recovering from Depersonalization