Wednesday, 6 April 2016
Life after giving up on life
Dear Ether and you,
Hi! Here I am, I'm still alive. I would like to be blogging but I worry about my privacy. Technology seems to be so good at recognising and linking up accounts these days and I've noticed, my Candycan identity getting linked to my real name at times. I have fixed this but I still worry that by now, family members might know of my blog and read it and I really don't want that.
In general I am much more open with my friends and family about my mental health even though I don't want them reading my blog. Until a few years ago I put a lot of energy into hiding my struggles from people and trying to appear as normal as possible. It's very hard work though and being off work long term because of my health made it much harder to hide it. Now, I'll tell people I have mental health issues and that tends to be more than enough information for the average person. It's a lot easier being myself and it also means my family can try to be a bit more patient with me when I'm stressed or not communicating well.
So to sum up the last few years, I stopped working because I couldn't manage it anymore; had what I suppose people might call a breakdown. I might prefer to call it a disintegration of my capabilities, or losing my shit on a major scale. I wanted to die for a while and couldn't see the point in life, then after I while I decided that suicide was not a good option for the sake of those I love and since then have been trying to make the best of my choice to stay alive, which varies in intention from:
'I'm here so I may do my best to enjoy life and make those around me happy and maybe even contribute something to the world'
'Life is a pointless ordeal; don't ask me to do anything more than just keep breathing because I fucking resent it'
and other views on the spectrum.
My expectations of myself have had to change a lot. My goal was always to have a life like everyone else's, working a full time; stressful job, keep healthy, have friends, family. Since having to stop work because of my health, I really haven't been able to do much at all. I've had to dramatically shift my perspective to trying to achieve what I can in a day. Some days that might just be feeding myself and keeping hydrated, other days it might include leaving the house to go to the shops or doing various tasks. I can get very down very quickly if I start comparing myself to the average person or to how I would like to be or even how I was in the past. I realise that there is no benefit to me in thinking this way. I try to remind myself that I am doing the best I can do for me and that it is enough. I also have to avoid thinking about the future and wondering about progress because both of those things also make me feel very bad.
I always believed I could get better. I mean, not have depression, not have DID anymore, have a normal, productive and happy life. Now I don't know. I still hope to get better from depression and anxiety but I don't know if I believe it. I believed one day I would remember or know clearly what happened to make me the way I am. In reality, I probably will never know why I am so. I also don't know that it is realistic to think that I can become a whole, undamaged person. I am damaged (for whatever reason) and maybe learning to live in contentment with my mental scars is something I should hope to achieve. I have scars on my legs that I've learned to live with. They are a reminder of my past and I know they'll always be there, but they are just part of me now and don't bother me, even though I sometimes feel sad when I think about them. I would like to feel the same about the mental scars.
Yesterday I picked up some daffodils in the park that had been trampled and had snapped stems. I brought them home, rinsed off the muck and smoothed out the petals as best I could and put them in water. I could see that they would never look perfect again, there were stains that water wouldn't wash and creases and bruises in the petals that would remain. Perhaps I need to realise that I will never be a perfectly unblemished flower.
I suspect that as well as DID, I have some form of mood disorder that might always cause me to have episodes of worsening depression and then times where I'm OK. It has been happening for a long time. Generally, I can always identify something that could have triggered it but perhaps that's because life can always be hard for anyone and its the fact that it happens that is the problem, not the events of life.
It's not all bad. For a good while I was not able to do anything much at all and my brain just did not work. I couldn't get from the beginning of a sentence to the end without forgetting what I started to say or struggling to come up with the words I need. This has improved a lot. It's still noticeable in conversation at times but I don't think it's just as bad. I'm doing the cooking at home, where hubby had to do it all. I don't feel like self harming generally and haven't done this in a long time now. That's good.
My three main problems at the moment are feeling unreal, being disconnected from what's going on in my head and lack of motivation. Feeling unreal, or derealisation and depersonalisation as I think the technical terms are, means I very rarely feel like what is happening is actually real. The best way to describe it is as though I am dreaming all of the time. It's a lack of connectedness to the present and to my body. It's not exactly a terrible way to feel, like despair might be but it's frustrating to notice that the months and years are going past and I don't feel like I'm really living.
Being disconnected means I struggle to participate in the work I'm supposed to be doing in therapy. I'm so used to dissociating from my internal world that tuning into it seems impossible or overwhelming. I feel at a loss as to how to change this. It is an unconscious process, I'm not aware that I'm doing it, when I'm doing it. I know it happens more when I'm stressed. I always felt that the more numb and disconnected from my emotions I felt, the more I was actually dealing with on some deeper level. I think I wrote a post about this 'smoke screen' once.
The other problem is lack of motivation but that's a topic for another day.
Understanding myself isn't really helping me to be better. My therapist said last week that she noticed I tend to overthink things and look at every permutation and that I'm looking for a perfect answer but the overthinking saps my energy and then I do nothing. I've been thinking about that. Ha! So I need to think less, but somehow be more connected to what's going on in my head. If anyone knows how to do this, please enlighten me!
Not a lot else has been happening for me (us). On and off medication, various other physical problems. Have been making some progress with managing having a sex life with hubby (varying degrees of success and not currently at its best), other parts are more separate than they used to be (one part more active with bisexual exploration that in past, might talk about that sometime, or might not) and I've developed a few hobbies which are a great thing for me as they are things I can really enjoy.
Feel free to leave me a comment if you like. I'm not really expecting that this post will be read by anyone seeing as I haven't been blogging for years so if you did happen to read it and feel like saying hi, it will be an added bonus and I always love it when people interact with me. Oh and, I'm on Twitter occasionally if you want to get in touch... @Candycanandco
Posted by Candycan at 17:00