In the months since I last blogged, I have left another home, lived with my Mom again for a couple of months, moved into a new place, left a training program circle under circumstances of conflict, begun working–very part time–again, experienced several suicidal crisis’, and a break-through hypnotherapy session. I haven’t felt suicidal since that session a couple weeks ago. So there is new ground I am standing on since I last wrote. It has been too intense and too much to write about until now, to summarize it into a nice little paragraph of words.
My most recent trigger sent me into my shock place last Tuesday. In my shock place, my body goes cold, and the emotional pain is so intense that I can’t feel it; instead, my body takes on a sensation of being “dead.”
I’m happy to say that this time I was able to stay present with myself in this trigger. I layed on my bed and listened to what my body wanted to do, to express what I was feeling. I curled up into a ball and felt dead for a while, breathing into the feeling, and the immense sorrow behind it.
I then had to cook a large amount of food that day, and so found it in myself to head downstairs to the kitchen. I told my roommate that I was in a bit of an altered state, didn’t say much to anyone, and just began chopping veggies there.
That afternoon, I found myself alone in the house, cooking away. I put on a mix of Mumford and Sons, and soon found myself weeping loudly and deeply to the words. I don’t fully understand yet what I was grieving, what exactly made me so sad, but letting it out and giving it a chance to express itself helped to keep it moving in me.
For the next 3 days, I was out of town with a group of women in a small FN village, doing a healing practice with the people there. I noticed how insecure I felt. Everything I did seemed somehow flawed, and I noticed I was taking things personally from others. I also knew that this state of insecurity and oversensitivity was a direct result of the trigger I’d experienced on Tuesday. If it had happened earlier, I probably wouldn’t have gone on the trip. I would have told them I wasn’t well. But having it happen the day before, I didn’t have clarity in time to cancel the trip for myself, and so, there I was, in this vulnerable state. The only way through was to be transparent about it, take breaks when I needed to, and give myself the space I needed.
I got back from the trip on Friday night and looked up the psychiatric reference of the word Factitious, which my psych had used on a form he filled out for me, which was the trigger. The trigger is to imply that I am making up what has happened to me, or that I am making up / somehow dramatizing my feelings in order to get attention.
Several kindred spirits close to me, in many different eras of my life, and in many different ways, have told me the same thing — that I’m seeing myself as ill or hurting, when in actual fact, I am a truly gifted soul. That I’m seeing the negative, keeping myself small, not stepping into my power. People who tell me this often seem to hope that by telling me I’m somehow going to see what they see in me, and stop “making myself” small. They don’t understand maybe that I can see what they’re seeing too, and that if it was that easy, to just stop doing that, that I surely would.
A great deal of my existential angst these last few years has been around my confusion at this. How can I seem truly gifted in moments, and come across so well and strong and wise to so many people; and yet also feel so week and helpless as to experience such things as panic, dissociation, and chronic suicidality?
The insight I returned from my travels with is that both are deeply true in me. It’s not like one is true and the other false; both are truly, deeply true, and integral to who I am. Both need to be made real, acknowledged and cared for in my life. Now, after 2 and a half years of therapy, I see how the pain is real, and I’m beginning to see how the gift is also real in me, through my experience of Circle (Way of Council, Family Constellations, and 12-step work). I’m proud to say that I no longer doubt that my feelings are real. If I perceive that my hand is burning on the stove, I don’t doubt the pain; I remove my hand from the stove. The length and immensity of that journey is beyond words to me.
Part of my response to the word Factitious is to shout out loud, “I am not making it up. It is real. My feelings are real.” (you fucker! fuck off!)
What’s harder to acknowledge, even blogging here, is that part of me also feels seen on a ground-breaking new level of depth. The trauma in me is that my fears and insecurities, feelings of weakness, sadness, and need for connection were so intensely and chronically dismissed and denied as a child and young adult that in my adult life, I cannot stop trying to prove that they are real. I want the helplessness to be seen, but this want has become chronic and insatiable. A rigid thought pattern that my humanness will never be seen unless I prove it to people continuously, and to do this, I must never be successful or self-sufficient.
I can understand how this could be seen as making it up, but even my psych acknowledged quite intentionally that it’s not like i am consciously making it up or faking anything that I’m feeling. However, there is a subconscious part of me that is feeling chronically unseen, and trying to be seen by recreating helplessness in my life.
From my experience in my recent travels, I can see the truth of how I hold myself back, diminish myself. I see those close to me realize this and be baffled by it. What my deepest voice says in return to them is that they have no idea how “baffled” I am by it as well. It’s not conscious; it’s not in my control. The unseen part will not let go. What will it take for her to be seen enough to relax her hold on me?
I say, ‘See it not as stupidity that I insist on seeing the weakness and helpless part of me; see it as a result of very deeply damaging emotional neglect I experienced as a child.’ And as I say that, I soften, I feel compassion, I feel the truth in my bones.
It’s as if I see the mountain. I see the hurdle and appreciate deeply how difficult it is to overcome, and it is a relief to have it defined and made visible. I see its truth and appreciate the painful and futile effect it has had on me.
At the root of it is this experience in childhood, which I wrote about after an ACA meeting last week, in metaphor:
the wounded leg in me that no one would admit they see:
My leg is missing and I’m about to run a marathon.
I say that my leg is missing.
My parents tell me, “What are you talking about? You’re fine. There’s nothing wrong with you at all. You’re a champion runner. We love you!”
ie. “You’re making it up. You’re not seeing yourself or your needs accurately. Your perception of yourself isn’t accurate. You’re not seeing reality.”
“In reality, you don’t need anything. You don’t require self-care. You’re not hurting right now; you just think you are.”
I carry on and interact as if my leg is not missing, going to run the marathon.
I wonder why no one votes or cheers for me, and people seem uncomfortable around me.
Unfortunately, no one wants to burst my apparent bubble and tell me that I have a missing leg, and that running the marathon without addressing that is an impossible feat.
I’m unable to complete the marathon. I look around and realize that all the people who told me my leg wasn’t missing, including my parents, are now nowhere to be seen.
I soon trick myself to stop seeing the wounds either, and this becomes my greatest peril.