Tag: memory

I don’t remember why – the guilt of my dissociative episodes

It is scary sorting through piles of possessions I do not remember buying.

As part of my recovery work I’m allocating time to take care of my home, household related tasks (bills, organisation, housework etc), in order to take responsibility for living an ordered life, to not get into trouble or overwhelmed with unpaid bills and tasks ignored until they become insurmountable, and to make a safe calm and even beautiful home. I had no home for many years, moving from room to room, moves often prompted by my mounting distress. When I was blessed to find this place, it took a long time to feel at all safe or dare to believe in any stability. Then gradually, it became an escape, flight not by constantly moving around but by means of a protective enclosure. Which is good in some ways and something I still need when things are too much, which is frequent, but now it is time for my home to be more than that; even a place and a life that supports my health.

Part of this is continuing what I’ve been trying to do for some time, which is clearing through accumulated items and clutter and organising the things I decide I do need. I’ve been working on this for some weeks or months on and off, tackling different areas. I’ve acknowledged for several months in therapy and with my support worker how I bought and accumulated items as a desperate attempt at escape, distraction and protection. I acknowledge how out of control my spending used to be and too often still is and how impulsively I buy things when in my dissociative episodes, apparently driven by some desperate need at the time that leaves me sick at myself and painfully empty afterwards when my consciousness returns, a massive blank missing in my memory and emotion, but the fallout of my actions apparent – money spent, arguments had, horrific things said, tablets taken, sometimes alcohol drunk and most of all items bought (usually clothes, makeup, accessories, things I’d never buy for myself “normally” or rationally). I hate myself then, most of all for the money spent on myself and the hurt I’ve caused other people.

I’m coming face to face with all this as I’m clearing through hoarded possessions. Much as I’ve been aware of and fighting these problems for months, it’s still very scary finding things I don’t remember purchasing and don’t know why I have. Perhaps it’s even scarier because I don’t really know why I do this when I’m dissociated. Why? Why do I buy things? Why do I become what the evidence means I am in these times – selfish, irrational, irresponsible, needy, childish, bad? What else am I doing in these times? The violent emotion that takes over and hurts people around me, but still I can’t control it – who am I and where is it leading? Why do I behave in ways I can’t remember, that people close to me say are terrible?

I’m scared. I want to take responsibility. I’m trying to carry on gradually sorting out my home. It occurs to me whether looking at items I bought in these dissociative states where there are huge memory gaps, will help me connect at all with what I was doing and who I was at these times. I don’t know.

Ginny xxx

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“To one who will forever dwell in love and cherished memory” – Remembrance Day 2017

“To one who will forever dwell in love and cherished memory” – Remembrance Day 2017

11 November – Remembrance Day…

I think this year I feel more thankful than ever to be living in a stable and peaceful part of the world and feel the call stronger to pray for and work for those who do not have stability and who have been impacted by the effects of war. So many have given and are giving their lives.

…Yet while onlookers stand and see the simple, moving ceremony

There is a home, a place somewhere, where sits a waiting, vacant chair

And one great yawning empty space in someone’s heart, no last embrace

To bid a final, fond farewell to one who will forever dwell

In love and cherished memory, a Husband, Son, eternally.

– From “Home at Last”, by Tony Church (former Royal Electrical & Mechanical Engineer)

Inexplicably disturbed

Near the end of the day at work today, someone was apprehended in the store for shoplifting. She looked young, about 14 or 15 or maybe younger; a small,  plainly dressed girl, who would have been almost studious looking in another context.

Something had been going on all day because all afternoon whilst I was working on the till, our security staff were on the shop floor in much higher numbers than usual, all apparently observing a particular area of the shop. It was one of those situations where your gut tells you “something is not right” – apart from the security presence my attention kept being drawn to a similar area of the store as if clocking something unusual that was slightly off.

I get those feelings. I group them with the way I pick up too strongly on others’ emotions and sense and know things others don’t. It can be a help, empathising, or sensing danger faster, but it’s so draining and an aching weight too.

For some reason as I watched a policeman and two security guards handling this young girl and escorting her, gripped tightly, off the shop floor, suddenly I felt a surge of fear. Not just anxietybut fear. I was completely disturbed. I wanted to run. It took a massive effort to concentrate on helping close down the till and complete my tasks. I can still feel this fear now over an hour later.

Why? Why was I frightened? What of? Was I frightened for her? She was silent but struggling and clearly very strong. I couldn’t read fear in her eyes exactly but something was wrong, not there. After some time the conscious thought occurred to me that she wasn’t alone shoplifting, she was someone’s marionette.

Admittedly I was stressed already, tired and feeling physically ill from the latest OD (don’t worry not life threatening or anything) and I’d had several difficult interactions with customers already.

Yet I can’t understand the level of fear I felt. Perhaps I was reminded of the police having to forcibly “escort” my mother into the transport to hospital, restraining her, with her alternately violently struggling or “playing dead”. Did I remember that? But I didn’t see and hear it although the level of emotion was the same as in a flashback.

Can you have a flashback only of emotion?

Ginny xxx

Losing time

I know we all lose track of time and sometimes time flies by, other times it drags.

When my emotions are very high or when I’m rocking between dissociated and cut off and very distressed, I lose time. It’s not the normal “time flies”. I do not know what I have been doing. Impossible-feeling amounts of time pass and I don’t know how or what I’ve done. Or large periods (maybe half a day or sometimes as much as 2 days) vanish from my memory. It usually precedes and/or proceeds a time of intense distress. It’s frightening. 

I thought it would get less as therapy progresses but if anything it’s more.

Also, I feel a greater dissociation between different states of need or emotion and rock between them more precariously. I thought the distance would close with therapy, not widen.

Does anyone else feel in this way? If so do you mind me asking what do you do to cope with it?

Ginny xx

Scared of imagining

My imaginary world used to be safe. My escape and my protection. I’d call it up at first and hide myself in it.

Later it came unbidden, with an invitation to slip through the ‘door’ to safety.

Later still, I just suddenly find myself there. Protected and dissociated. I’m safe and maybe others are too. Usually I know I’ve gone there and can hold on to an imaginary line and fight my way back into the present world.

But lately I dissociate into a place I don’t like where there’s anger and hurt and uncontrolled expressions of needs left wide, raw and empty.

And another where I’m the scared and frightened child and I’m back THERE again.

The latter two I can’t choose to leave. I have to wait til they eventually chuck me back out. I am terrified of who I am in them and how they hold me.

The lines between the worlds are blurring with more and more of my hallucinations and flashbacks. The scared child world is flashing into the present.

Knowing that as a child I could enter, at will and without will, the alternative worlds, I’m scared that other things are also false. That things I thought were in the present world then, are actually not true. That this means the awful frightening things – the abuse – things my mother did and said – did not really happen. What if I’ve somehow imagined it happened? And it didn’t really and I’ve invented it? What if I was a horrible sick evil child? Or what if I was psychotic?

So much that happened when my mother and I were alone means it can’t be corroborated.

What about the things I’m sure happened when my father was there or that I told him? And that he now says he didn’t know?

I do not know what the answer is I just know it could mean I’ve done something terrible I can never make up or make right or hurt myself enough to punish myself for.

How ever do I get an answer?