What's going on with me right now

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Oscen

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What's going on with me right now
« on: July 08, 2021, 09:26:45 AM »
For the last week or so I've been on this site a lot. I've been feeling like there's an itch to scratch but haven't quite got it. Now I think I've got it.

I think what's kicked it off is that it was my birthday last week :cake: - second one during lockdown - and it's been a catalyst for a realisation surfacing.

The thing that's been surfacing for me is that I've been in denial about how bad my whole childhood and family situation is, and how my dad was just as crap a parent as my mum was - (actually worse; much, much worse - so neglectful, detached, cold, selfish and emotionally immature), and there's not much hope for my relationship with my sisters either. I didn't know how much I'd been clinging to the idea that it could be ok, if I just did better, learned better, if I doubted myself in order to give them the benefit of the doubt. It doesn't even feel good to be doubting myself like that; it has left me suspended in childhood, unable to trust my own judgment and be decisive about anything or commit to living my own life in the present. So why would I choose that? Well, as I know you all know very well, it's depressing to give up hoping about having a family; a family of origin that is; a background, a place I come from, a place I belong, something to come back to. A tribe, I suppose, or the closest thing we have to one in this soulless modern world. It's a loss to be grieved, but I wasn't even able to admit that it was that bad, or that I needed or was entitled to better.

I can feel the deflation in me. It's not completely deep and dark and despairing; it's not the worst depression I've ever felt in my life; not even close. I actually feel some optimism and relief from realising it's ok to believe myself and let go. Does that mean that I'm just not connecting with it properly, or does that mean that I've already grieved some of the loss in stages along the way? I'm not good at letting myself cry when I need to, so I may be suppressing some much-needed tears. :bawl: Well, it'd be nice to know but I won't have that luxury of course. Time alone will tell.

The things that have helped me get to here are:
-education, especially learning about trauma, and what normal development looks like and what happens if that's disrupted
-improving my relationship with myself with self-care, self-compassion, and paying lots of attention to how I feel, what I think, what I believe, what I like, and what's important to me
-community, like this forum and even more so the support group I'm a member of, with face-to-face and video call meetings, where I have been able to express myself and feel heard, and also hear other's point-of-view and get reality normalised (instead of being gaslit by society as a whole because they don't like to talk about familiar abuse so pretend it doesn't happen)
-lastly, I've found useful exercises like journalling that help in trauma recovery; they are a combination of education and improving my relationship with self

As I've mentioned in several other posts I've made, I'm just completely blindsided by the realisation that I've been in denial. Not because I thought that I was above that - not at all - but because I had this information about the way my family treated me, and I had the information that that kind of behaviour is abuse, and I just for the love of god was unable to mix those two beakers together for fear of the chemical reaction it was going to cause in my tiny little brain!  :doh: I think I stayed blind to too it because I didn't feel strong enough and worthy enough to take the logical resulting steps if I acknowledged it was abuse; I still didn't think that I was good enough and I had somehow caused it all and that was more comfortable because then somehow I could buck up and fix it all. *sigh* And I can't fix them and so I'll never have a family and that means I've got to be the bad guy and cut off contact even from my sisters because it's just not working, it's hurting me. And that makes me a certain type of person, with a certain type of past and a certain type of life. I didn't think I was that type of person; didn't think I had to be. Didn't think I had the right to be.

Anyway, what I can learn from this week of sitting around in my pyjamas until midday posting on this forum instead of showering and meditating and being a productive member of society is:

Letting my self-care go is a pretty good indication that I've got an emotional nugget surfacing, waiting to be dealt with.
I have a pretty solid self-care regimen, including daily journalling and meditation, which I've been letting slide, because my self-care regimen includes emotional literacy exercises that force me to engage with any issues coming up. However, as my routine's scheduled into the beginning of my day (takes about 2 hours all up, including physical exercise), when there's something big to deal with, I can't actually get a resolution before I need to put my journal aside and go about my day. So, I'm avoiding picking up the pen and even getting started, but then without my daily routine I struggle to get on with my day and do non-urgent but important stuff, because I'm not grounded emotionally. I've been in an avoidant, dissociated procrastination-fuelled limbo.  :stars:

Another clue I've got something surfacing is that I'm obsessing over elements of someone else's story, where I can see they're not processing something and I'm imagining advice I'd like to give them. I don't, of course, but I didn't realise that things that get under my skin like that are because they still apply to me. I noticed someone in my group expressed sympathy for her enabler father instead of calling him out for parentifying her and not protecting her and it stuck with me for weeks. I thought I'd processed my enabler dad being a crap, neglectful parent. I hadn't. I'd made an observation, but slipped back into denial out of guilt, and hadn't processed the emotions or even the information that came up from that. I didn't feel ready to take the logical steps that proceeded from the observation. Forgiveness without appropriate blame and accountability is not forgiveness. It's just denial (with a sprinkling of bargaining). I know this. But I'm not objective with my own life and that's ok, that's normal.

Another clue that I need to process something is when I keep reaching out for more books or more youtube videos. I thought I was just avoiding my self-care; I through it was self-sabotage or something. Now I think it's because I need to process something that's coming up but I don't yet have the emotional tools or intellectual understanding to deal with it, to frame it correctly, so I keep unconsciously gravitating to that font of all knowledge, The Internet (praised be its name). I'm surprised by how much of recovery is based around knowledge; learning; facts; information. It seems to be 50:50 emotions and knowledge. I was inclined to over intellectualise, like many are, and I've had to learn about my emotions. Yep. I'm 100% on board team emotions now. But the correct knowledge seems equally important. Thank god I was born in this era, with easy access to youtube, and thank god for the generous souls who share their knowledge there - they have saved my life. I've found a wonderful resource in Judith Herman's "Trauma and Recovery" and I'm renewing my commitment to no contact and expanding it to my sisters, with no notice or warning to them; doubt they'll even bloody notice tbh (oh- didn't notice how bitter I felt about it all till I said that. hmmm - more info to process); and I'm just going to keep plugging away.

So I need to pay attention to when I'm avoiding my daily self-care routine, jot down a few possibilities of what I think might be up, then put it aside to complete my routine/getting ready, go about my day, and make time to come back to it in the evening. This is a good example of higher executive function (using mindfulness, controlling focus, transitioning effectively from one task to another, planning ahead, thinking of the long-term best outcome rather than what feels good in the moment, etc) that would have been impossible for me in the past, and is challenging now but possible, learnable, doable. So I'll make a flashcard to remind myself and put it in my flashcard box.

And now I need to take a shower.   :D

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Sheppane

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Re: What's going on with me right now
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2021, 05:40:06 PM »

 "I didn't know how much I'd been clinging to the idea that it could be ok, if I just did better, learned better, if I doubted myself in order to give them the benefit of the doubt. It doesn't even feel good to be doubting myself like that; it has left me suspended in childhood, unable to trust my own judgment and be decisive about anything or commit to living my own life in the present. "

Hi Oscen and thanks for this wonderful post. Yes what you said there really hits home. That lingering idea that maybe if I did XYZ it would all be OK. Maybe if i tried EVEN harder. Giving them the benefit of the doubt. Giving me the benefit of the doubt. It is exhausting. I know this place well.

What i have learned is that acceptance brings grief along with it. The letting go of hope. That tribe and unconditional belonging you wrote.

" It's a loss to be grieved, but I wasn't even able to admit that it was that bad, or that I needed or was entitled to better. "

I applaud this amazing insight. Its made me think too.  " it's not THAT bad " keeps many of us on this forum in harmful situations. I find I have such tolerance that it's only when things are really bad I notice . But through recovery I now tune into myself much faster and can pick these situations up in advance - I can see the avalanche on its way. Its strange isn't it , all of the hypervigilance which is so externally directed/ eggshells around others means that the ( healthy) vigilance towards ourselves ends up so suppressed that we cannot pick up these early warning signals. That's a big thing I've learned- listen to what my body is telling me.

" I can feel the deflation in me. It's not completely deep and dark and despairing; it's not the worst depression I've ever felt in my life; not even close. I actually feel some optimism and relief from realising it's ok to believe myself and let go. "

Yes ! This too. IME it comes at different times. Sometimes raw , sometimes empty.  Acceptance gives me a stramge mix of relief/ emptiness / sense of void. I always thought it would feel more " grief like " in the raw emotional form.

"  Does that mean that I'm just not connecting with it properly, or does that mean that I've already grieved some of the loss in stages along the way? I'm not good at letting myself cry when I need to, so I may be suppressing some much-needed tears. "

Yup. Been there too ! I have a fear around am I really grieving " properly " which I think is based around wanting to know how much worse it might feel !! Am I going to get hit with a dumpster of grief at some unsuspectingmoment. But I do agree with what you said about possibly grieving slowly,  already, along this journey. I have a feeling many of us here are grieving a long time already before we come to this site  .

Letting my self care go is always a sign there is some disturbance deep down in me. It can literally take me days and days to identify it. I've been in this place a lot recently and still not 100% sure what's going on . But with the help of recovery I am trusting that when the time is right I will know what it is.  For me learning to ask myself what my wants and needs are FIRST has been a large part of this journey as has recognizing what truly reciprocal healthy two way relationships look like. And as my self worth has grown the feelings of guilt are fading.

I've realised reading your post I am stuck in some sort of avoidance at the moment . My morning routine also takes me a long time and I have not been shown up for any of it for the past few wks- sort of feeling that I'm OK but also that sense of huh? What's up with me ? I feel a bit off balance and can't quite tell. I also can obsess a bit around what is / isn't going on . Maybe like you wrote its because I know it will take ages to get to the bottom of it I'm kinda avoiding getting started at all !  :stars:

I really like the idea of jotting down the possibilities,  setting aside and coming back to it later. I'm gonna give that a try ! Sounds like a good halfway stepping stone.

Thanks for sharing all this.  I got a lot from it.  :)

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Oscen

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Re: What's going on with me right now
« Reply #2 on: July 12, 2021, 09:11:51 AM »
Thank you for sharing Sheppane, and I'm glad to hear it's some use. I'm also glad to hear it's not just me avoiding things! Good luck and let's continue to be kind to ourselves  :)