So I went to this clinic with its outpatient section today to discuss the lingering symptoms I am still feeling. Prior to going in and while getting the required paperwork and questionnaires sorted out, I noticed that I had already applied for an appointment about two years ago, but obviously never went. I only noticed this last night, the night before the actual appointment and kept wondering, what had me decide in this way. I suspect I had flattered myself into believing I could get it pulled off all by myself, if only the external parameters changed a little for the better. They have changed and I finally got to find some better sleep after decades of really, really poor sleep. But unilateral major depression and other comorbidities have not subsided. So I went there today after getting no more sleep than for around 3 hours or so.
The interview lasted for about 90 mins. and got pretty heavy for me at times. I’m not talking about becoming emotional, but my body clearly signalled some unprocessed “items in storage”. I felt fairly drained after the interview and I noticed how much energy these unprocessed things claim. I am very sure that the recurring bouts of depression are on account of the first, the unprocessed events from the past. I mean, if I take a 3rd person’s view and string the mere events together, I can’t help but wonder that I’m still around and made it until here. I don’t mean to flatter myself, but from what knowledge I was able to obtain through self study, clearly this hasn’t exactly been an easy ride and wouldn’t have been one for anyone. Compounding aspects might be that I think to fall into the category of a Highly Sensitive Person as defined by Elain Aron as well as being a highly empathic person. The latter aspect might account for the fact that I have never really rebelled as a youth, but tried to understand first, why I seemed to make my caretakers so unhappy at times. (shaking my head today…)
I realized something else as of late: First, I am more convinced than ever that my mother was subject to major abuse herself and probably developped a borderline personality disorder from it. Her absolutely crass and highly erratic mood swings are a strong indicator to me. As for me, it’s probably fairly obvious to even non-affected persons, how this didn’t exactly help me to develop a sense of natural trust or experience close relationships as potentially rewarding, at least for the most part.
As far as her abuse, I think, she shared this with me at some point. Telling from her abuse with me, this is how she got rid of her own unprocessed feelings of shame, anger and sadness. She passed them on and I probably was used as some sort of emotional lightning rod. In that regard, this is 100% proof of Alice Miller‘s finding that this kind of rearing and the violence therein is self-perpetuating, if and when victims of such a past have children of their own without having prior processing of their own past. I am a teeny weeny bit proud of myself of having found the strength and resolve to stand up to my ex-wife about having children of our own, knowing full well that this would be the beginning of the end of my marriage. And sure enough, it so happened.
The other thing I seem to have identified is that I must have subconsciously accepted toxic guilt en lieu of my caretaker(s). This will be the major driver of depression, I am almost sure of it. How badly does it suck that to this day I have never gotten the chance to actually address all of this??? I could have been over and done with the bulk of things by age 21 hadn’t I dealt with completely incompetent idiots at the time and largely throughout… But let’s not go there. What’s lost is lost. I get the feeling I will have to say this more often than once from here on.
The perspective/prognosis? No idea. The doctor lady – b.t.w, she was probably about half my age… – suggested outpatient treatment including EMDR. Now I have to get creative as to how to “boost” my health care plan without the remaining means of actually just booking a larger package. Damn. I’ve tried before and hit the wall with it. But at least, I have finally received a clear diagnosis: Complex post-traumatic stress disorder, as I had assumed myself from my own research into the subject and from conversing with similarly affected individuals.
What am I going to do, if the health insurance guys don’t play along? I have no idea. But from looking at the present results and telling so from spending the entire rest of the day in the city without freaking out or blowing a fuse at least, I can’t have been so wrong about the measures I took per my own intuition and research. Which were:
- move from the sickeningly noisy appartment into a quieter place with a neighbor/landlady, who isn’t the equivalent of a modern day Neanderthal as the other guy was
- spend as much time outdoors as possible and enjoy nature in a number of ways like e.g. riding the bicycle, going for long walks in the woods or along the lakes, where quietude and few other people are the key aspects, shoot photography, allow my thoughts to take me whereever they took me
- listen to and practice music, compose when I felt it
- afford myself moments when I felt safe and unobserved in order for unprocessed, bottled up feelings to come forward, no matter their nature (and yes, there have been melt downs to end all melt downs. It staggered me to notice how much pain and also rage for some time I seem to have compartmentalized or simply been in denial about)
- watch movies that felt reminisicent of my own story in order to trigger the bottled up feelings and allow expression of those (in a safe environment, that is, which means when being by myself. I understand it to be a likely necessary step to begin to express them at others times and in front of people, too. One step at a time…).
- laugh as often as possible. Silly comedies or other humour would accomplish that. Unfortunately, I don’t get to hang out with people much any more, or else laughing together would have been much easier a “task” to accomplish.
- release myself from self-imposed pressure that was probably the result from perceived and inherited expectations
- allow myself to be a slacker when feeling depressed or sad or otherwise not “up to it”, whatever “it” is.
- learn to set boundaries with other people and exercise the first rigorously. I can’t possibly stress this point enough. You have to learn to say no and be firm with it. If I had to choose for a single thing in this list to start the healing process, I’d opt for this one. Learning how to say no – and “do” no, too – is a jump start to your healing process in my opinion and according to my experience. But beware: Things don’t automatically become easier this way. In fact, some people – I call them the “drama people” – are likely to give you plenty of grief for it, as they feed on empaths or otherwise compassionate or simply struggling people. In this case – them giving you grief – add a healthy fuck you! to the no 😉 If you have to exclude them from your life for not “playing along any longer”, do so without regrets or second thoughts, regardless of who they are. Drama people are personified illness. Tell them to hit the road and rather try to bear the consequences than to keep them around. Admitted, I may have had an easier time with this, as many a previous friendships and connections had started to fall apart or cease to exist altogether. But in hindsight, I say with all confidence that these were fortunate events. They liberated me from more excess and unnecessary burden. Drama people feed off on you until you are all empty and possibly destroyed. They can never be satisfied and some part of them doesn’t want you healthy to begin with, because you don’t serve them as a resource for emotional exploitation any longer. Send them away.
- allow myself to stay uncommitted, if commitment put me at risk of feeling under a strain again. This one needed – and still needs – plenty of exercise as well. Breaking free from previous conditioning is an ongoing exercise. Like anything that requires exercise, you get better over time and things will feel easier. Maybe they’ll even become your new first nature at some point. I am not sure about this and still stand to deliver proof of it. Hopefully so.
- in short: Release myself from any previously perceived belief system that wasn’t my own. I will admit that being single when going through this process is probably a whole lot easier than when being with a significant other. I had consciously made this decision after my ex-wife had finally broken up with me and when we stopped seeing each other. Some books I read on the subject may suggest otherwise. As I will admit to a more or less pronounced and ongoing OCD condition in terms of having maximum perceived control over things, compartmentalizing in this way feels a lot safer to me. If you have someone to support you in the process, all the better. However, I think one should be aware that the nature of the relationship and other relationships as well are likely to change, too, as the process unfolds. For if one partner changes, the other person is unlikely to remain unaffected by it.
How do I feel about today? Like I said, it drained me a little. I needed some time to myself afterwards. What made it even harder is the fact that I’m currently grieving the passing of my aunt. She was the one person in the family that Alice Miller calls the empathic witness. She saw, respected and loved me for who I truly was. In fact, she probably knew before me who I really was. I am only beginning to see my true self for the first time – or so it feels.
Anyway. Gotta rest. Plan on doing a little bicycle tour of some 30 miles tomorrow. Oh, that’s a bullet point I forgot to add: See to a healthy sleep-waking-cycle and eat healthy, exercise moderately. Ok. I think, that’s about it for now.