Feelings Rise

Emotional overload. My feelings rise up so quickly and leave me cornered. I strike out in anger, my favorite defense. I don’t know why these people love me, but I wonder if my emotional disconnection has affected them. I try to be happy and kind, but my nature is angry and suspicious.

All my life I have been waiting to be understood. I want to say and do the things I want, but the reality is that as soon as I do, I encounter resistance from others. When I am well, things move along nicely and everyone is content. When I am struggling, they vacillate between concern and anger.

I am so angry inside. I feel like all of the people that were supposed to guide and support me to adulthood failed to do anything but the basics. I was fed and clothed, but emotionally starved. I grew up nervous and suspicious but I did my best to hide it under an amiable, people-pleasing exterior. Now that I am not interested in saying what others want to hear, I realize I am going to start finding the conflict I have always avoided.

My heart feels heavy and alone. I am loved by my husband more than I deserve to be loved. He puts up with my shit and supports anything I decide to undertake. He accepts people unconditionally, and is the most genuine person I have ever known. He has changed my life for the better in too many ways to count. He accepts me, but he doesn’t understand me. When I begin an emotional freefall, all he can do is love me until it passes. I truly wonder how long another person will put up with emotional instability. I know he loves me, but someday, I am afraid this will be too tiring for him to continue.

I live in some kind of emotional freezer. I fight to keep everything neutral, but the wrong look, tone or words send me instantly into a raging animal. I feel cornered and trapped and all I want to do is explode and hurt the person in front of me the way I am hurting.

I see my children triumph and I cry tears of relief, pride and joy. Then the feelings turn, and I am them, alone on an island of isolation in my own childhood, wishing I had a parent like me who enriched my strengths, and helped improve my weaknesses. The tears are selfish then, for a middle aged woman who never stopped being a child waiting to be loved and accepted.

I ache to be understood. When I was in grade 10 or 11, I read a Steven King novella, “The Body”. There was a passage that made my heart skip a beat.

The most important things are the hardest to say. They are the things you get ashamed of, because words diminish them — words shrink things that seemed limitless when they were in your head to no more than living size when they’re brought out. But it’s more than that, isn’t it? The most important things lie too close to wherever your secret heart is buried, like landmarks to a treasure your enemies would love to steal away. And you may make revelations that cost you dearly only to have people look at you in a funny way, not understanding what you’ve said at all, or why you thought it was so important that you almost cried while you were saying it. That’s the worst, I think. When the secret stays locked within not for want of a teller but for want of an understanding ear.”

Some part of my teenage self started when I read this passage. I read it over and over, and highlighted it. Something about it felt so authentic to me.

This is who I am. This is my fear. I am afraid I will never find those friends who think like I do, and dream like I do. I want to be understood so badly. I’ve been to therapists and psychiatrists, friends and acquaintances, teachers and mentors; I’m still waiting to find my people. I’m afraid it’s been too long, and their beautiful, brave hearts have grown old, waiting to be recognized.

My cheese slipped off my cracker a bit today

Maybe it’s because of all the blogging in the past few days, dredging up the shitstorm of the past 12 months.  Maybe it’s because it snowed a lot last night, and the blanket of white viscerally took me back to the fear and confusion of last winter.  Maybe it’s because I am finally starting to address the fact that after 12 months of fighting, this isn’t getting any fucking better, and I am tired of waiting to see a specialist and get some fucking help.   Or perhaps it’s just my minds way of celebrating a year of hell with a real emotional bang.

I had a break with my usual consciousness today, and met a couple of alters head-on.  While I was experiencing the break, I was consciously aware of the differences in their physical posture, their ability to withstand stress, and what it felt like to be inside of them.  When it was over, and I was back to my usual ‘self’, I knew that I had just experienced altered states, and not just a bad mood, or a difficult time.

I see now that today had a few triggers.   Winter had arrived with a flourish, and I was feeling uneasy in general.  I was stressing over money before I left to drive a friend to pick up a rental car.  By the time I was at her house, I had already experienced several fits of unexpected tears.   I cut our lunch plans out completely, and decided to head back home after I dropped her off.  She is my friend who has had her share of difficulty with mental illness earlier in her life, and she was very understanding.

As I drove home it was increasingly difficult to control my emotion, which is not usually a problem for me.  It’s actually one of my specialties.  I felt pressure in my head, all over my throat and neck, and my hands had retracted into odd, pincer-like shapes.  They felt stiff, old and foreign to me.  Somewhere in the back of my head I wondered if I was having a stroke or something, but it didn’t feel like it was serious.  It felt like a very weird version of me.

I’m not sure who was at the wheel.  She wasn’t a child, but she wasn’t much of an adult either.  She was consumed by sadness, was physically distraught, and was unable to remain calm and lucid.  My thoughts centered on trying to pull my shit together before we got home.  The two distinct thought processes were happening simultaneously.  I was of two minds; a crisis oriented mind, and a mind that was losing its shit.

Without me ‘standing on top of her’ inside, and forcing her to breathe slowly, she would have had us hyperventilate.   I found her fairly easy to stay on top of up to this point.

About this time, a train that was traveling alongside the road let out a whistle and I had one of the worst startle responses I have ever experienced.  She cried out, and moaned like she was in deep pain.

Shortly after that, I encountered a fragment that was new to me.

I will call it DeadInside.

It was not completely new in theory, but this was the first time I consciously spent time in its space.  It wasn’t pretty, but it was controlled and it got me home safely.

It was literally dead inside.  There is no other way to describe what it was like to see life from inside this alter.  It had no emotion, only apathy.  It was completely depressed physically and spiritually.  There was no life behind its eyes.  I could feel how dead it was.

No matter what I thought about, there was no reaction, just emptiness.   It was calm and empty, but it was much safer than the fragment that preceded it.

I had plans to visit a good friend at her home later in the afternoon, who insisted on coming to my home to sit with me and help me process the situation.  It was so good to have someone to hold that space with me.  Loving, supportive and non-judgmental friendship got me through the afternoon, and by the time she left, I felt completely normal, with no trace of the earlier hysterics.

I have not consciously shared space with my alters before that I am aware of.  I have certainly seen how they react to things,  and remembered the experience from a 3rd party perspective, but never before have I seen through their eyes, and felt completely untethered from my own usual state.   It was scary and out of control, but not as bad as I thought it would be.

I have been so disconnected from my own body for so long, that I could not feel where I ended and they began.   Today I felt the edges of both of them, and I felt the differences in how they reacted, and what it was like to BE them and not me.

I’m glad I have an appointment with my therapist tomorrow.

Uncharted indeed.