Two places at once

How could I be moving in two directions at once?  While I feel like my professional life is taking steps forward (albeit stressful ones), my emotional life is taking a serious hit.  I’m back to the place where I’m either completely numb or I’m feeling way too much and thinking about things that I shouldn’t.

I called T in crisis this week, which is the second time I’ve ever done that.  I had several days of suicidal thoughts that prompted the call.  The anger at my mother was/is fueling such self-hate, and anything, even death, seemed better than being angry.  Anger was something my father expressed, and I can’t have anything in common with him.  I’m used to having occasional suicidal thoughts, but the point where I knew I should probably call T came when I could actually feel that suicidal “desire” in my body.  Like each of my limbs was aching to find a way to end my life.  Talking to T helped, but in an odd way.  Because now I’m just numb.  I don’t have any suicidal thoughts, but I really don’t know if I have any thoughts at all.  No thoughts, no feelings.  Just nothingness.  I feel like I’m quickly heading down a rabbit hole into my old coping methods.

Work is the opposite.  I’m 22 years old, and I have a huge office with windows, a couch, and chairs.  I have an ivy plant on a filing cabinet.  An ivy!  I’m taking on even more responsibilities starting Monday due to the temporary loss of a second colleague on medical leave.  Everyone is telling me I’m doing a great job, I’m learning really quickly, and they’re all being understanding and supportive of how much I’m having to learn in such a short amount of time.  I feel like these should be reasons for me to stay in this world.  Reasons for me to feel more self-confident.  But it’s like those comments have gone into a bottomless pit.

I’m squeezing in a session during my lunch hour tomorrow.  I already feel guilty, because I feel like it’s going to be a waste of her time.  I put up such a facade for work that it’s going to be hard – maybe impossible – to remove it for just an hour.  Especially because my workload is going to double tomorrow.  I just wish I wasn’t so confused about where I am right now.  It doesn’t help that I’m not being healthy at all, but part of me doesn’t even care at this point.  Part of me wants to be unhealthy because it’s a passive way of SI.  How have I taken so many steps backward?

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2 thoughts on “Two places at once

  1. Hey There Kashley –

    Firstly, I just want to give you a hug. I can hear how frustrated you feel, how defeated, how unsettled. Please know that you are not alone, and please know that these feelings will pass. They have passed by before for you, and they will continue to do so. I know it must be taking lots and lots of strength and courage and resiliency to just. keep. going. But I see you keeping going, and I’m cheering for you.

    I don’t have what I would call suicidal thoughts, but I have sudden, intense thoughts of “I have to get out, I have to run, I have to get out.” But the “get out” and the “run” are really feelings of wanting to “get out” of or “run” away from my actual self, my actual body, my actual feelings and mind. I can get into such states of upset that it feels unbearable to be in my body and there (feels like) there is no safe place to “go” because *I* would still be wherever I went. It’s a terrible, terrible feeling. For me, my worst feeling is a feeling I call “trapped.” When I was a kid, my mother beat me, and when things got really bad I was “trapped” between not being able to bear staying in the room, or staying in the house with her and the reality of what it would mean to run away. I did often bolt (or was thrown from the house, or the car) with no money, no possessions, no phone, and no help. It was terrible. And the terror was often just as bad on the outside of the house. For me now, all that gets projected. If it feels super unsafe to be here in my house, then I want to run, but running isn’t safe either. So I get that “frozen” feeling, and I literally want to go out of the top of my head and fly away (I sometimes think of Forrest Gump’s Jenny when I get that feeling).

    I’m telling you all of this on the off chance that it feels familiar, so that you will know you are not alone.

    I hear so clearly your own version of “trapped.” You are angry. That is the feeling inside of you. But it’s not safe to feel angry, because anger means your father. So you get this unbearable tension inside of you, of the feelings building, but it isn’t safe to let them out, and it’s unbearable. This is exactly what I feel. So instead of being able to let them out, you are dissociating (my T calls this going off line). As a child, this was the way you coped.

    I haven’t been following you for that long, so I don’t know your whole trajectory. But I empathize with the whole, “My life outside of my body is going so well! Why can’t I feel that, why can’t I let it in? Why do the good comments just bounce off me or hurt me?”

    I’m not at all connected to my anger at my mother. I haven’t gotten there yet. But I do have such despair/seeds of anger that NOT ONLY did a have a f’d up childhood that was horrible, but NOW that my life is wonderful and safe and filled with people who love me I can’t feel any of the good stuff and I’m running around feeling all of the horrible feelings/trauma of my childhood. I want to scream sometimes, “I HAD A CRAPPY CHILDHOOD! MY LIFE IS GOOD NOW! LET ME HAVE IT!” It feels so cruel that we had a rough time then, and we get to process it/have it again now.

    Sheesh. This is long. Okay, let me wrap up by saying I see you doing wonderful things. You are reaching out to your T when you need help. You are somehow managing to do all this internal work at the same time that you are kicking arse at your outside professional work. You are doing such a good job.

    But only my adult self (that I call Grown-Up-Girl) can hear/feel/accept the words of love and safety and support that people give her. If I am at all identified with my injured child self (that I call 13 or 6 for their ages), those things just bounce off of me. Before I started therapy, my wife said to me one day – “Do you have any idea how many times a day you ask me if it’s ok, or if I love you?” I kept asking because I didn’t know, because 13/6 needed to know, but when she said it, it wouldn’t land. I’m learning in therapy that my wife can’t take care of that child. That is MY job. My wife can hold grown-up me, and then I have to hold 13. I know it sounds sorta strange, but that’s what I’m finding.

    Anyway. Thinking of you. Keep going. You are not alone. And you are so much stronger than you know you are sometimes. A good friend told me that trauma/attachment/PTSD work is one of those “feel worse before you get better things”, so that if we feel like are are approaching HELL, “KEEP GOING.”

    Keep going.

    1. Hey 3M,

      Sorry it’s taken me so long to reply. Yes, it’s that trapped feeling that triggers the suicidal stuff. Sometimes (and it took me a long time to figure out why I do this) I will just get in my car and drive. And I always end up driving in a circle, because I know I can’t go anywhere, really, so I go back home. Driving itself is my actual action of trying to get out of that trapped feeling – but I can’t. And so I always end up circling to go back home and find another way to deal with the feelings, or lack thereof.

      I’ve dissociated the anger away again. I guess it just felt too dangerous to my system. But now, since the suicide stuff is still around, I just have these thoughts lingering but no causal connection as to exactly why I’m having them. I mean, logically, I would say they’re due to anger, but there isn’t anger anymore! Or, I guess there is. I just don’t feel it anymore.

      Anyway, thanks so much for the support and encouragement. I really relate to a lot of what you’ve shared.

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