Fifteen years of therapy, eleven hospitalizations, in and out of partial programs, so many different services and different therapies (DBT, CBT, talk, etc.) Hell, I’ve even undergone ECT, (electroconvulsive therapy), and have had MRI, CT scans, EEGs, test after test, been on medication after medication, dose after dose, and I am sitting here on my couch, full of weeping lethargy but sleeplessness; a restless, nauseated anxiety and hunger for cessation and quiet. I feel so sad and so broken. Beyond tired, beyond depressed, beyond reparation. I know myself well. Years of [self-]interrogation, years of being poked and prodded by doctors, neurologists, psychiatrists, psychotherapists, counselors, and my own reflection have given me near crystalline photographs of my subconscious. I am betting I know myself more than most people know themselves. I am betting I understand myself more than most people understand themselves. And I am sure as hell that at this point, if I can be saved, only I can do it; and that, that is torture.
Throughout my life, I have had some pretty exhausting and long-lasting periods of deep self-hatred in which I could not look in mirrors or tolerate the idea of genuine self-care. Against my better judgment and against fifteen years of therapy and against eleven hospitalizations, I am in a dark period again. I am avoiding the nightmare of my reflection so I don’t have to deal with this annoying and hostile disconnect I have with this body I’m in; this annoying and hostile disconnect and disgust; this broken relationship with the vessel that carries my soul.
For most of my life, I believed I did not belong here on Earth, or even in this pocket of the universe. I feel like an outsider in my own family, country, society, culture, species, world… I am out-of-place. As someone with schizoaffective disorder, I have heard this is not “uncommon;” that believing you are from another planet or another dimension is not “uncommon;” to feel disconnected from the rest of humanity is not “uncommon.” Another major part of me explained by a diagnosis, I guess. Because it was–and still is–a core part of my identity. I never felt “at home” with anyone. I never felt the company of anyone. I believed I was so utterly and totally alone so vehemently that I created a whole creed centered around that core belief. And while someone has broken through some of the walls, I still can’t shake the whole structure down. Because, you see, throughout my life, I have hated myself more than I’ve hated anything else, and I’ve also gotten very close to loving myself and admiring myself and respecting myself, but regardless of how I feel, and regardless of how commonly symptomatic my feelings and ideas are, I know I have always been a remarkable person. Always.
A. 3 things I need to let go of:
- the resentful, regretful, and shameful cocktail I feel over not having lived a normal childhood, adolescence, and/or early adulthood
- the damage of interpersonal debris
- that no matter what I do, this body will never be “enough” for my disorders
B. 3 ways to let go:
- learn to value the lessons and experiences I’ve gained through my unique journeys. Journal what I’ve gained from my life and note what is important to me and what is of great importance to me and what has made me better as a person. Evaluate the strengths and traits integral to my identity and virtues because of my experiences and learn to see them for what they are.
- perhaps give support groups a second chance and find others who have struggled with similar experiences in which they also have not undergone normal lives. Commiserate and provide comfort to one another in ways we could not get comfort from people who do not understand.
- recreate some childhood, adolescent, and early adulthood experiences. When I get my GED, maybe have a graduation party of some sort. Plan a party for one of my birthdays, etc. Try to have a “normal” experience, even if it is a couple of years “too” late. Maybe it is never too late.
- stop holding onto irreparable relationships. Let go of relationships that are draining, toxic, or whose problems outweigh the benefits. This is something I am getting better at but still need to work on.
- like with point A, try to value the lessons I’ve learned, the wisdom I’ve gained; try to seek the light that the darkness may shed. Write down positive things I’ve learned and positive things I’ve gained from my experiences, positive or negative, with people from my past, and how they have shaped me to become a better and more multifaceted person.
- surround myself with positive people. Seek positive interpersonal relationships that help uplift and motivate me. Join Meetup groups. Start clubs, go out. Do things. Meet likeminded people who are kind and supportive.
- Focus on my health and take the numbers out of the equation: Try to weigh myself less, count calories less, and stop doing “skinny mathematics.” Instead, focus on getting the appropriate amount of fuel, motion, and love this body needs.
- Try very hard to integrate this body into “my” body; try to feel united with it and make peace with it. Stop fighting a war against myself. Think positive thoughts. Post sticky notes as reminders in the mirror if I have to.
- Be mindful. Drink water when I’m thirsty. Pay attention to hunger cues. Eat until I’m comfortably full. Eat healthy meals. Put good fuel in, not “junk” fuel. Do good things for myself.
Throughout the course of this entry, I already cut off my hOMETOWN. I’ve started on this. I’m doing this. I have to.
Embrace today and a) write down three things you need to let go of and b) from there, write three things you can do to help you do so.
I know I’ve written about my PTSD before, but this is something I want to continue elaborating on because it haunts me in more than just the way of sexual trauma. I have let it ruin so many of my interpersonal relationships and have gone charging, barreling through red flags because of it. I have compromised myself more than a thousand times; belittled myself, pleading on my knees to the wrong people for things I didn’t even want. I am still so caught up in a cycle of self-abuse that it is hard for me to understand what to value, what to drop, and how to manage either/or.
I am deeply sad tonight. I have made a trip to the hospital this year already and have already relentlessly put myself in bad situations. Being assertive is difficult. Being honest and being clear are difficult, too. I am often, in many cases, neither/nor, but I am working on developing ways to cut through the bullshit and be honest and clear with myself and other people.
I still hurt a lot. My memories still hurt a lot. The wash of hopelessness once I cross that stateline, that pain of reliving every object, word, and trauma that had hit me and shocked me in that town.
My suicide does not look like razorblades or cocktails of pills. It does not look like a noose. It looks like a town in western Pennsylvania, made of bland, collapsing houses and trailer parks on grassy hills. At times, I feel like my suicide was sown there; handcrafted by the children and adults of that town, who tried to rob me of my dignity, strength, and love.
I met a few good people there. But while I was there, they could not unstitch the fabric that was sewn for me. Even after, they could not retrieve all of the seeds that were sown. Besides the sexual assault, other things festered in me. Ugly, gross, sad, miserable things. I felt hatred and loathing towards myself and the world. I did not have a normal childhood. The friends I made and in early childhood were sick people, and the things that happened in my childhood were sick things. I did not have a normal adolescence. I had no dates, was invited to no parties, didn’t get a job, didn’t go to prom, didn’t graduate from high school. I was, however, abused. I was raped. I starved myself. I self-harmed. I purged my meals. I attempted suicide. I was hospitalized. Out of those few good people I had met, every one of them had their own hell to go through, too. I felt really alone, even in the company of my own little “group.” There was one particular person who went to great lengths to help me, and she did, but I still felt so alone.
I feel bad, because I cannot make it there for weddings. I cannot make it there for funerals. I am not okay with that town. I am not okay with what the people there did to me and what I did there to myself. Every corner, avenue, and structure teems with horrors I’ve memorized and relive on nights like these. Every slam to my psyche. Every rock to my legs, every plush animal thrown over the fence, every threat, every rumor, every lie, every jeer and jibe and rejection and bruise.
I have not come far enough to really handle a recovery blog. Let’s just be real. I thought I was, but I’m really not. I tell all of you that this blog is part of my recovery; that I’m still recovering; that I’m still not where I want to be. All of that is true. It remains true. This blog is a work in progress. It is the story of my journey. Part of my PTSD is realizing how much power I have to relinquish to people and events to feel this horrible way, and to do horrible things to myself. That in itself is too much for me tonight.
Sleep well. Let’s make tomorrow a better day.
First, let me state:
I have never liked the term “bullying” when it comes to a student’s peers. It diminishes the effect of their abuse and harassment. There are definitely an infinite amount of “grades” (as in severities) when it comes to “bullying,” but many of these “grades” are enough to damage a person. I understand we are all responsible for our own actions, but even in CBT the general consensus is that you can control your thoughts and invariably take charge with your feelings, but feelings themselves are natural and often do what they want.
I’ve actually had this draft open for two weeks now. My manifestation of PTSD is hard for me to “defend,” because most people don’t understand why the manifestation occurs the way it does. With Schizoaffective Disorder, I feel like no one understands anything about a schizo spectrum disorder unless they have it themselves are “aware” enough to recognize it, so it’s harder to describe. The PTSD has, by far, been the worst illness in my life, but the Schizoaffective seems to want its turn now. From paranoia to disconnect to delusion to hallucination, I know I’m really sick, and it’s something I have to fight every single day. It gets so tiring. The coupling of PTSD and Schizoaffective is particularly hard for me because I am hypersensitive and prone to anxiety and chaos. Is that me, though? Or the illnesses? Sometimes I don’t think we will ever be able to tell.