I am not in a very good place. I am relatively stable, but so far away. Dissociation and low energy are kicking me this past week, although I think maybe I had a day, or half a day, where it was not so bad and this morning I actually felt energised and fairly present as I cycled to work. It wasn’t long till the dissociative clouds crept their way back in though, and most of the day it has been a struggle to stay awake and the dissociated haze engulfs everything and makes functioning such a struggle. I just want to curl up and sleep forever, but when I sleep it is filled with turbulent, vivid, intense, emotionally charged dreams which pull me down into places I don’t want to be. The dreams refuse to let me go, pulling me back under time and again, and it takes forever to come to in the morning – the dreaming place is so intense and has such a strong hold on me, it is like there are arms grabbing me and pulling me under the surface of a whirlpool. It is no wonder I feel so exhausted as the dreams seem to last all night (according to Judith Herman this is common with dreams in C-PTSD, they are more emotionally intense and occur for longer periods and at different times of the sleep cycle than standard dreams) and it is like I’ve had no rest at all when I wake up.
Today is day 9 of my August therapy break, but it is not really feeling like a break because K and I will be ending fairly soon after she returns in September. I want to be okay about it, I really do; I want to be able to stay connected to myself without her, but it is hard. I have been meditating and practicing yoga and journalling every day in an effort to stay aware of my internal process and connect with my emotions, but I have been experiencing such high levels of depersonalisation (DP) and derealisation (DR) since she has been away and it is feeling really hard right now to keep going. I don’t think it is just about the break – I think there are big feelings around the estrangement from my Mum too, and worries about dating and who on earth will want to be in a relationship with me, and how I will manage a relationship with all that goes on for me attachment-wise – but the break is not helping because it does not feel safe to feel big feelings when K is far from me and not really coming back. It is hard knowing there is no space to take myself for 90 minutes each week now where I can just be, however I am. I really don’t want to need a therapist when K is gone, I want time and money and space for other things, new things, but I cannot seem to connect to myself. I am so cut off and disconnected – I am watching my fingers typing this and I have no sense they are mine. My front room looks like an alien landscape. My mind feels so fucking weird, I can’t even explain what it is like trying to look through my eyes right now.
I am still dissociated pretty much all the time when K is here, it’s not like her presence is some kind of magic wand, but it doesn’t usually stay this bad for so long. And the other hard thing is knowing that therapy really isn’t going to be the thing which ‘cures’ (reduces, alleviates, anything is better than the chronic DP and DR of the last few years) my dissociation – K is not enough to end it, therapy and the therapeutic alliance isn’t enough. It is a starting point for healing of course, an essential one I would say, but ultimately I need to learn to feel safe in my body and safe with the big feelings that arise. And that feels like a lifetime’s work to me.
I don’t want to miss K because it hurts too much – this is just a small taste of what it will be like without her. And also I want to take a break from therapy, I really do – I want yoga and other things that strengthen the mind/body connection to be enough to help me feel safe in my body, and I guess with time maybe they will be, but it is hard to work out what is happening for me emotionally without K to help me make sense of it all. After our hundreds of hours together over the past 3 years, she knows me almost as well as I know myself – better even, sometimes. She knows my ‘I’m not here’ face and I usually leave feeling more real and present than when I arrived (even if not necessarily ‘better’). With her I can usually work out why I am, or have been, in this extremely cut off state, and it feels safe with her to let some of it out, and to let some of it go. There are other ways to do this I am sure, and tomorrow I have my first of three kinesiology sessions which I am hoping so much will help me shift some emotional energy and feel connected to myself and the rest of the world, but I am used to seeing K. Young parts are very quiet and subdued – maybe they need some writing and body time this evening, maybe not letting them out is part of what is keeping me so cut off.
Everything feels such a struggle. I couldn’t really work today as I am too far away and fuzzy. I am worried about returning to work full time in another week. How did I do it all those years? Am I just at the end of my coping capacity with it now? I am worried because the past few weeks I’ve seen just how draining and stressful my day-to-day life is. I have been really trying to stay mindful of my triggers and where my emotional energy goes, and it just seems like my life is so full of things that need doing. Single parenting, running a house, working full time, fitting in self-care. It is endless. It doesn’t always feel like this – there were times towards the end of last week and over the weekend when life felt spacious and manageable – but the dissociation is so bad the last few days that I don’t know what to do. The dissociation wasn’t any better when I was on annual leave last week, but it is less noticeable when I am not trying to think for work. I know it is my brain trying to protect me from feelings that it deems it unsafe for me to feel, but I really wish it wouldn’t! It makes everything feel a million times worse. It makes life feel unmanageable. I try to remind myself that I dissociated like this because of complex trauma as an infant, and that now I have a dissociative disorder because of complex-PTSD, so that if I can reduce the PTSD symptoms maybe the dissociation can ease too… But then I wonder if it will ever really get better?
I just want to be here, a living, feeling, emotional, present being. I don’t want to feel so far away. I don’t want to live life from behind this veil, with everything blurry and distorted and feeling like I am not real. The world looks fuzzy and unreal, everyone I’ve spoken to today has seemed like a robot, and I feel as though I don’t really exist. I don’t even know if I do exist. I hate all aspects of having a dissociative disorder, but the constant DP-DR is the absolute fucking pits I swear because even on a “good” day it strips away everything good and turns me into a shell of a person. I am sliding around inside myself as the world lurches and it is frightening to feel that way whilst trying to be a competent person at work and an engaged parent. I would just like to remember what it is like to not feel this.