This is a descriptive entry I read for my therapist in session. When I wrote this, it was not intended for anyone else to read but I share it with you now in hopes that you may find something you need in my words…
It feels like my mouth is saying words and even though they are usually accurate to what I am trying to speak, I still somehow feel trapped inside my head fighting to say what I actually mean. It is like I am not connected to what I am saying, even though the words are coming from my mouth.
I cannot look at myself in the mirror with the focus being on my actual self without it causing severe derealization, a sense of doom, and intrusive thoughts. For example, I can look in the mirror at my make-up or my general appearance but anything further and I feel transported to another space. I question if I am who I am looking at. Which turns into the question of “who am I, even?”. Alongside this, the direct thought of myself is also baffling to me. I would like to figure out ways to help with this identity instability.
I constantly replay conversations, over and over again, and I obsess how people have interpreted what I have said. I think of what I could or should have said, how what I said has influenced their image of me, or how I can be taken advantage of because of the information I shared. Rationally I understand that this trait is actually quite common, but this in itself feels like a whole separate world for me to reside in.
I feel a constant sense of not belonging while around any other people aside from my spouse and kids. This is to the point where I often feel as though my “friendships” are not real. I have always battled with the intent behind the way they move in life or with how they are participating in our friendship. I unintentionally interpret their actions or lack of actions, on a much deeper scale. Now I am actually highly intuitive when it comes to character and intent in others, but I do also have these intrusive thoughts and paranoia that like to chime in as well. Also just knowing they usually cannot relate to the traumas I have lived or to my mental illnesses can be really hard for me too. I feel this desperate need to be understood beyond what people seem to be capable of, or at least beyond an effort that people are willing to put in. I feel like I am never loved by those around me as much as I have loved them and I think that prevents me from feeling like there is a real connection in friendship. I feel like a charity case being around friends, which is my own minds doing I know. None the less, I am always just in here feeling like I am stupid or the odd one who is painfully awkward and unable to connect.
On that note… I do believe I have an extremely skewed self-image, but even being incredibly self-aware of this, I still cannot understand how other people could even perceive me differently then how I believe they perceive me.
I wonder often lately if I am holding myself back from doing everything I can to change my own well being. I feel like I have the power to overcome my mental health battle, but what if I then find out that all along I am just in fact lazy and don’t want to work? What if I still start things, only to give them up prematurely when I am no longer satisfied with them? What if I find out that I am just a shitty person who doesn’t want to control their emotions because I like the attention I receive when I am struggling with them? What if all of this time I can just “let things go” but I have just been choosing not to and I just didn’t realize it? What if I am just a controlling narcissist and I somehow have managed to trick myself and those around me into believing otherwise? Have I done that? I don’t know. How do I even find that out about myself?
I have debilitating vivid imagery of something happening to my spouse or my kids. I am even having trouble typing this now. What will my kids and I do if something happens to my spouse. They would be left with me and how will I take care of them? I know this is the most selfish thing I could even think of but how would I be able to function enough to pay our bills, to take care of my entire world, and by my entire world I mean them? I have these thoughts about how I hope to God that I will be the one to go if a tragedy like that ever came. (Side note: I feel stupid writing all of this now. I feel like I am questioning how if I do end up reading this to you, that you might think this is all inauthentic or stupid, or unimportant to have written out. You will rightfully think that I am trying to control your perception of me because I am honestly. I think I do that because I desperately want to be understood when it comes to how I live in this mind, especially with my therapists, because only then will I feel like they will have the best understanding of how to help me) I don’t mean I hope to die of course, I just mean I openly don’t see myself being able to care for my children in many ways and I could never live with myself if I were to damage them because of my failures. I am beyond terrified of something happening to my spouse because he takes care of all of us, and I just don’t have faith that I could do that in any capacity if something were to happen to him. I am already emotional writing this and I honestly don’t even have it in me to discuss the scenarios that go through my head when it comes to the thought of something happening to one of my kids, so I will move on.
Two weeks ago I was binge eating, generally over eating, purging, and including junk food and processed sugar in my diet… Today I am fasting for roughly 18 hours a day, eating WFPB (whole food plant based), even limiting oil and salt, and I happen to be staying in a calorie deficit again… Tomorrow, I may decide I want to have a more intuitive approach, without any limits, but with hopeful moderation. Then next week, I may have decided that I am just an idiot who is only feeding into my sugar and food addiction by allowing this “moderation” and that I am making excuses for myself, so back to WFPB and restriction I go. Then I crack again, and here comes the almond milk ice cream, because “I have been doing so good, and I can enjoy this occasionally”… Boom, another week later I will have spiralled out of control, with self-hate, disappointment, frustration, and desperation, all the while shoving my face with vegetarian taco bell…
That may be common I know, but it gets even deeper than that. I question and endlessly research these things. Should I eat high carb low fat – WFPB under Dr. Mcdougall guidelines or can I allow myself to simply follow along with the general WFPB guidelines and let that be good enough? Should I focus on building muscle or losing fat – oh I know! – just research the best ways to accomplish both simultaneously. I am either power lifting and pushing myself to injury, training for hypertrophy, including plyometrics, or doing only cardio and then feeling like I am not doing enough. Then I think I have really figured it out and I try to create a plan to incorporate bits of everything I have obsessively learned and I quickly start wearing myself down. If I do too much I can’t maintain it and I cause physical damage, but if I do too little my mind will not allow me peace. I either work out 6 days a week for months and cause myself severe adrenal fatigue, because lord knows my mental health already causes my cortisol to be high enough as it is, or I don’t work out at all. Or I work out 2-4 times a week and I somehow manage to feel like I am an idiot who is not doing enough for myself because I am “just being lazy” and I can’t get back on track. It goes far beyond this but I imagine you get the point.
I don’t leave my house unless the place I am going is deemed important enough that the possible “side effects” I will experience will not be outweighed by the benefits. Even then, the lights in the grocery stores make me question my reality, I freeze in the gym and feel like I am almost physically swirling around and about to pass out. I panic as I have to find my spouse so we can leave. These are safe places… How can I help myself even consider venturing beyond that? The car terrorizes me. It is bad when my spouse is driving, but miles worse when I attempt. I find myself only and desperately wanting to be home with my dog and my blankie in my lap, and enjoying the comfort of my spouse and kids, safe and happy in our own home.
I feel like I am multiple people very often. By this I do not mean Dissociative Identity Disorder. However I believe that DID traits can be extremely similar to someone who experiences BPD, C-PTSD, Derealization, etc… I know it is usually just another way our brain has learned to cope. I see how DID could have easily been the route my brain could’ve taken through all of my early trauma. But man, I couldn’t imagine having to share my mind with actual other people and I just genuinely have so much empathy for everyone, in every mental illness. Although I would never wish upon any mental illness, the very definition of DID itself might have made it easier for me to understand all of the vastly different and contradictory parts of myself that forever drive me into a whirlwind of constant identity crisis.
I understand that certain things about me are so “normal” but because I experience them so differently it makes me feel so confused, stupid, and dramatic. I don’t understand how my opinions can change so rapidly and drastically. From person to person, as well as with scenarios, or from day to day, in different times and moments. What am I saying? What do I actually think or feel about these things? Why does the thought of that completely overwhelm me and make me feel so stupid?
I can and I do turn nothing into absolutely everything and all of the logic in the world cannot stop me. Do I suppress this *thought/feeling* because I know I am being irrational? How can something be so clearly unreasonable, but feel so immensely real? If I were to even try to suppress these things, there is no denying it would hurt me. Even if I was able to suppress them, I would still hold onto these things for as long as it took until I found some way to let it out or to find some kind of resolve. What do we do with all of this?
(That is where I ended the entry)
I could have kept going with this entry and honestly it only scratches the surface of what I feel and experience, but reading this entry out loud to her was actually very satisfying and also where I got the inspiration to start this blog.
When I left her office that evening, I was overcome by the thought of how many of you must also struggle with getting your emotions out in the way you intend for them to be heard. I can’t imagine how many of us exist that consider it painfully difficult at times to find the words to explain what really goes on in our mind. I know how agonizing this can be. My motivation for sharing this, is the hope to help even one of you to feel less alone in life and in mental illness.
OKAY BYE! 🙂