That Was Me

Today, I decided to go through a small trinket box that had some cards in it. Business cards of people I have met, key cards for places I’ve stayed, reward cards, even a ticket stub to a concert and a receipt having to do with my wedding, six years ago.

I honestly don’t remember the concert, but I know it is something I would go see and that I was probably there with my ex. It bothers me a bit that I don’t remember things that ought to stick out. I have a key card for a ritzy hotel in NYC in there. I remember it, but I haven’t thought about it in years, until I saw the card.

I went through each business card and smiled, thinking of interactions with these people, thinking, “that was me.” Those people don’t know who I am any more. I disappeared, like I always do. I even changed my name and my lifestyle. Very few people from the past know me today.

It’s so strange to look back and remember that I was married and that people might remember the old me, when I barely even remember myself.

Even back then, I didn’t feel like anyone. I thought I knew what I wanted and I went for it. I went to school and earned my BA. I worked hard and the professors all wanted me to be their research assistant. The Astrophysics teacher even said I ought to consider physics as a major. I did great and felt maybe I was going somewhere, then I kind of just faded away. Maybe I was wrong. Maybe I wasn’t, and I just lost my way. Maybe I really am no one. I don’t know anymore. I’m not even sure that it matters.

I feel very stuck in life, and very lost with who I am and what I want.

Feeling Robbed of Identity

The things that I have experienced early in life have left me feeling disconnected from my own life. I hesitate to look in the mirror, because all I see is a shade of the person I once was. There’s no resemblance of anything any more. 

I don’t understand how I can be so full of hurt and still feel void at the same time.  Maybe it’s some sort of resistance to change because I have been living in fear for so long. 

The components of my life now seem to be: 1. Fear. I’m in constant fight / flight/ freeze mode which is draining. It affects my ability to sleep and to relax enough to enjoy myself. 2. Love. I think I have love for my partner, but I feel disconnected. 3. Thinking. I’ve been processing thoughts and feelings nonstop. I’m unraveling who I am so I can build myself back up with a better foundation. 4. Stuckness. Been feeling stuck in life and with my progress. I have trouble sticking with plans, especially ones that involve years of time. 

I’m taking things one day at a time. I’m trying to maintain some semblance of order through maintaining certain social connections and trying a different approach to my situation (namely, not judging myself or shaming myself). 

I am surviving so far by living out of the suitcase most of the time. It’s nice to be able to crash on couches, but at the same time, relying on others causes me distress. 

What am I even doing with my life? I’m tired of just surviving. I want to thrive and this existence feels like it’s killing my soul. So back to square one. Who am I? What do I want to do with my life? This just isn’t cutting it any more. 

Losing Touch: More Effects of Living with Trauma

There’s this sense that people are volatile and dangerous. This nagging feeling that people say one thing and do another that leaves me unable to connect. Sometimes I get caught up in the moment and actually enjoy a momentary connection to another human being. I am lucky in that I have met a few people along my journey who cared enough to pause, and to share insight with me during some trying times. 

It amazes me how many people there are and how few I really get to know and love. I hold these people close to my heart, though we often part ways after many wonderful conversations over a few months time. Two sentient beings who recognize each other, and share with each, along our paths. 

The rest of the time, I tend to feel very disconnected. I have no interest in small talk and no patience for rudeness and ignorance. It’s like I’m in my own flow of things and other people either have a similar flow or my flow jams up. 

Some may call this irritability, but to me, it is a simple matter of being hyper aware of my own “being”, “essence”, “understanding of the world”, “rhythm”, or whatever you may call it, and I notice how everything effects everything else. When I feel this way, I am just in observer mode, so anyone asking for my attention is diverting me of my task to observe. 

Other times, I don’t understand what is going on around me. I start to not understand the words being said to me in a conversation, so I just try to feel the conversation based on tone, expressions, and body language. Then I just mimick whoever is doing the talking. If they smile, I smile, etc. It’s a weird feeling because I’m trying not to get caught being so lost, but at the same time, I’m being calm and present, despite my inability to understand. I wonder if this is a preverbal type of awareness that comes forth? It is some sort of dissociation. 

Then there is the fear component when I’m in a group of people. I just get quiet and my muscles feel tight. I usually feel strain throughout my core, neck, and pelvis / hips. It makes me lose my appetite and often times I get tense to the point of throwing up. 

Fear in My Experience with PTSD

I spent six days at a facility which is supposed to help people get through crises and feel better, you know, so I could feel well enough to at least get through the day. Everyone there is automatically on suicide watch, regardless of their voluntary status or mental faculties. That means I was to be checked upon every fifteen minutes. Sometimes the staff would flip on the room light in the middle of the night, because they supposedly couldn’t see me. Other times, the door would slam shut. They also would shine a flashlight in my face.

Let me explain something about post-traumatic stress disorder: I am afraid. My fear isn’t tied into any particular train of thought or memory, but rather the patterns in my environment. I am controlled by this instinctive fear, from the reptilian part of the brain. Raw fear.

That means that every little sound: footsteps, chatter outside my door, doors being opened and closed, every single little sound and changes of light reminds me someone else is there—that people are volatile and potentially dangerous, and it keeps me awake at night.

I have been on all sorts of sleep medications and most of them either don’t work, send me into a panic, or only give me about 3 hours of solid sleep.

Over the six days I was there, I slept collectively 15 or 16 hours. I felt exhausted and often found myself thinking of ways to tell off the staff for keeping me awake all night. I was frustrated and I was sleep deprived.

During night three or four, I explained to the staff that sleep deprivation is a form of torture. It is actually classified as a torture by the government. And I asked how I was supposed to recover when I couldn’t rest.

Needless to say, the visit was unproductive in and of itself. In fact, I felt worse in some ways by the time I was released. However, on my way home, I was struck that the root cause of my problems is actually fear; intense, gut-wrenching, instinctual fear, because my home situation activates that response in me. It’s not even that the situation is unbearable; it’s the fear that was instilled in me coming back.

This intense fear pushes out all of my other feelings. I could easily endure the suffering if it was balanced with joy, but the capacity for joy seems unreachable. I have no place to go to call my own. I have no place I feel safe. I do my best to keep making healthy choices: to go outside, to go for walks, to avoid processed food, to spend more time with people I care about. I still feel so stuck. I’m tired. I can’t imagine spending another 30 years living like this.

I know this is temporary. Everything is just a blip in the grand scheme of things. I know that people are inherently good. I know the world is rich, beautiful, and vast. I just feel cut off from all of that. I feel cut off from others. That leads me to wanting to be alone with my thoughts.

I’ve mostly stopped talking to people. I don’t know what to say anymore. My personality is blah most of the time because I’m lost in thought.

I’m still changing things up in my life though. I want to give myself a chance at something more.

Basically, there are only a couple of interactions I’m interested in. Expanding Horizons and Playful Mode.

Expanding Horizons: Each person operates at their own frequency, in fact, every cell does and so every person is configured similarly but differently. In other words, each person has their own unique energy signature. Let’s call this energy a Horizon. Each person has their own Horizon, and interactions which involve authenticity and learning from one another’s perspective. This expands a person’s Horizon.

Playful Mode: This is where I adapt my humor to the person I’m interacting with. I get playful and tease sometimes. It’s like a game of creative reactivity.  This Mode is nearly always a success in a social situation. People would rather laugh than be serious.

Sometimes I just can’t get into whatever mode I need to be in for those interactions and I just need to be alone. Even sound and light bothers me when I feel this way. I have a strong desire to be away from everyone – at least, anyone who wants to interact with me.

I need to work on accepting the fear and living my life regardless of my fear.  And a nap would be nice.  Haha.