Well hello again!
It’s been a few years. Lots of things have changed but I am still learning about my mental health and trying to understand and take care of myself.
I have found out relatively recently that I do something called dissociation. It is normal for everyone to sometimes “zone out” to a degree. The description I’ve often seen is one about driving: that sometimes you arrive at your destination with no real awareness of doing the journey. This kind of “autopilot” seems innocuous enough. In my situation, at some point in the past my emotions or situation felt so big and dangerous and impossible to handle that my brain just detached from the reality of it all. Since that worked to protect me, it has continued to do so since.
This makes it hard for me to connect with and understand my emotions. It stops proper memories from forming or being accessible to me. It keeps me out of touch with my body. It makes it hard for me to be sure of who I am. It takes a lot of energy from me and leaves me tired. It makes it difficult to be present with people in relationships.
I still don’t know quite what set me on this path of dissociation, but here I am with an unspecified dissociative disorder (UDD). This diagnosis is what I’m stuck with – there’s no expectation that it will be “specified” later as I don’t fit other diagnostic criteria.
Here I am with an unspecified dissociative disorder
This has felt very confusing. Most of the information I can find online is oriented towards people with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). So it helps me understand to an extent, but there are aspects that I don’t relate to and it has left me feeling like there is something I do not understand still. I don’t know anyone else who has dissociation like I do (although I know they must exist!) and I have only been able to find charities that deal with DID, not other forms of dissociation. I understand it’s important for people with DID to have support but I can’t help feeling that I wish there was something out there for me too.
Mindfulness is still something I do from time to time and it is helpful, but I find it hard to stick to. Any kind of routine is a struggle for me.
Today I went to a creative writing group at my local Mind for the first time. The people there were nice and open to sharing their work and ideas, which I found made me feel comfortable. I was a bit nervous about going but I still went. I had lost my necklace on the way in and only noticed as I sat down but I managed to not get carried away into worried thoughts about it. After the session I went to retrace my steps and found in in the road – a chain link to the clasp had broken as I got out of the car. I feel grateful to have found it but also grateful to myself for not letting that take away my presence in and enjoyment of the session from me.
We began by looking at an apple as a group. We all contributed words that came to mind as we looked at it. Some were descriptive of its image. I was struck as I held it that in places it looked as if small red brush strokes had been gently applied before it left the orchard, so delicate was its colouring. Some words we thought of were about how it would be to eat – the russian roulette you play every time, unaware whether it will be crisp or smushy, sweet or sharp. And we also discussed all manner of things that link to apples in other ways. Newton’s discovery of gravity; an apple tree struck down during a storm in childhood; an apple a day keeping the doctor away! It was nice to hear everyone’s ideas but it was hard to push my voice out there to speak mine aloud. Hopefully I’ll get better at it with time. We were then introduced to a teddy bear, and invited to spend some time inspired by it. I wrote a piece and then read it to everyone as we all shared our work at the end. You can read it here.
I feel proud of what I wrote today and with myself for sharing it with the group. They were all very kind about it too, and I enjoyed hearing what each of us had come up with. I don’t want to just lose the piece I wrote today, so I thought I would resurrect this blog and try to have a space to gather together the mishmash of my continuing recovery. After all, isn’t that what an amalgam is!
I thought I would resurrect this blog and try to have a space to gather together the mishmash of my continuing recovery
Photo taken by me