I’ve never felt truly engaged in my life. Always like someone on the sidelines or through the looking glass looking in. I think that comes from the disassociating that I do to cope with the pain and uncomfortable feelings that come up in life for me. Unless you yourself use this is a strategy to get through difficult and painful situations, you may not understand this feeling, but I know many of you will relate.
1. Have you ever just stood there and witnessed things happening all around you and seen yourself doing them, but oddly felt like you were just an observer? This is usually called disassociation. I learned this “skill” at a young age when there would be chaos and confusion around me and I was not getting my emotional needs met or soothed as a child. In order to cope with the intense pain and sadness I was feeling in those moments, I would leave myself and instead watch what was happening around myself. Unfortunately, I found this to be a place I would go to when many feelings became to much for me and while it might be a comforting place to go, I think I missed out on a lot of real experiences.
2. Have you ever had the experience of feeling your emotions go from one extreme to another and then back again? It’s like being stuck on a roller coaster for hours. One minute you’re sitting there thinking to yourself, “this isn’t so bad, I can handle this” – kinda the same feeling you have when the roller coaster is standing still. But then when the wheels start moving and your anxiety starts to creep up a bit…..that’s what it’s like inside for me. And that clicking noise are like triggers, warning me that something scary is about to happen and there’s no way out but through. And part of me is excited at the thrill of the ride that lies ahead, but a part of me is terrified that this will be the time the train will go off the tracks and I’ll die or be hurt or won’t make it through. And I look around and everyone else is thoroughly enjoying themselves and I’m too wrapped up in my fears to truly let go and live in the moment. You make it up the first large climb and the thrill and rush of that dive and speed into the next curve takes your breath away and in that moment you feel alive! You made it. And you feel strong and ready for the next one. And in that one ride, you taste the victory of being alive and in the present. The ride comes to an end and everyone gets to leave. Except you. You’re stuck there. To keep riding the emotions over and over again. Fear, anxiety, and then rage because you can’t get off and finally despair because this is your life.
3. Have you ever had you mind so consumed with thoughts of dying that you plan out your funeral more than you do a big event like a wedding? That you imagine your death on an almost daily basis, instead of thinking of your future? They’re thoughts consume my mind and not my voice, so others don’t know what’s going on up there but I do. And people look at me in a strange way when I share those thoughts so I tend to keep them quiet. But I know I’m not the only one.
4. Have you ever wanted to just run away and disappear forever? That perhaps if you started over completely, you could just reinvent who you were? Would the thoughts eventually go away? Could you replace the pain with happiness somewhere else? I want to run away from my mind.
5. Have you ever created rooms inside your mind to put the painful thoughts inside? I have a mansion inside my head. The third floor of my mansion is reserved for these types of thoughts that I don’t like to visit often. Every once in awhile one of them escapes and I have to escort it back into its proper room and firmly close the door. When I’m in therapy or doing insightful thinking, I sometimes have to visit these rooms, and deal with the demons that live there but as we move along, they’re getting better at staying where they belong and I’m getting better at not being so afraid of them.
Have you ever just wanted to be the you you think you want to be? I want to be free of the emotional sensitivity that causes me so much pain and suffering. I want to be able to regulate my emotions easier and somehow cope with intense stress without melting down. I just want to be me minus the BPD.