It’s been a minute since I last wrote for the public, at least a prose piece, and update piece if you will. You’ll notice that we are not on my previous wordpress account, it was time to move it to a more official location on the internet, as my previous website was a tough one to keep up with between costs and other things. I’ve also be writing quite a bit more than I’ve been creating visual art, so for now, while I’m still figuring out literally everything in my life my place is here.
Extra good thing is I now have an e-mail that’s not flooded with spam, so if you’d like to contact me it is now bri@bri-Dougherty.com. What fun.
As far as an update into my twisted life, I’ve had a really good couple of weeks, I’ve had a really hard moments in those weeks, but overall I’d say the suffering is at a dull buzz instead of a loud roar.
Today I’m going to talk a little bit about what is most frustrating to me right now, it’s a hard to understand symptom of trauma survivors called disassociation, for me it’s been on rotation with high anxiety. I’m not depressed, I’m not manic, so the borderline has come out to play. It’s not such a kind playmate, and it is relentless.
This has been an ongoing thing for quite some time now, and unfortunately has only become something that interferes in my life very recently.
Right now, the most frustrating thing is not being 100% aware of what those triggers are, and not being able to predict it, and therefore I want to be alone a lot more often than I want to go out. I think what I’m trying to say here, is it’s 100% okay to prioritize your own safety over obligations you feel you need to fulfill (don’t check out on everything though, people still love you).
I’m going to try to explain what it feels like for me to disassociate, what I feel before and after, and how I’ve learned to deal, and how I’m currently learning how to know when I can’t deal in the situation. It is different for everyone.
For me the first few times it happened I wasn’t aware it was happening, but other people pointed out that my body language had changed, my speech became robotic, and I stopped making eye contact. Later I was able to start identifying feelings or lack there of that would be the beginning of a slide. It’s almost as if my skin, my muscles, my brain are all at a slightly different time, a half second each, and because of that they are unable to fully communicate with each other. It’s a defense mechanism, if I shut down, what’s hurting me will stop. Even if that thing is not a real threat.
With borderline, everything is raw, your brain wants you to think that every single person is going to walk away from you. So you shift your personality a little bit to try to fit what you think that person will respond best to.
The best thing I ever did for myself was make the conscious decision that my friends were here to stay. That I can’t expect even on a subconscious level for the people who love me to prove that they won’t run. It still takes daily reminders, that a lot of those thoughts are disordered thinking, that because that has happened to me a few times in the past, every person is ready to do that.
Before a dissociative episode there are always a few clues, first the aphasia gets worse, mine is pretty bad in general, and admittedly frustrating to both me and the people around me. Then I feel very hot, this is usually the last stage that any sort of trick can bring me out of it.
Afterwards, sometimes for days I have to consciously bring myself out of it because if I’m not actively concentrating on it I will slip back in.
So I’m getting better, so very slowly, and it is certainly not linear, but I do still feel hope that I will be able to be fully present eventually in my life.
I will say that as frustrating as this season in my life has been, it’s kind of made me really appreciate how incredible our bodies are at trying to protect us. It often comes at an incredible inconvenience but in theory these are things that our brain has done to help.
It’s also made me realize that working on yourself works. I am not a person who will ever believe that self help and self care are things that will cure a person. I think hard work that pushes us is what makes the demons calm down a bit. It wont ever go away, but it is manageable, at least right now.
All I can do is feel love for the manageable days. I know I will sometimes have more unmanageable days than manageable ones.
My soul is so raw right now, scraped of it’s first layer and burning with the slightest touch, but wounds heal, and I’m no stranger to scars. They are both part of me and apart from me.
On that note, love yourself. Reach out. Love the manageable days, for some that sounds absurd, for many that sounds like the thing they can do.
And don’t give up too much of your energy to people who are only willing to take it.