Well fuck me. It is the fucking middle of the night, and I’m up. Exhausted? Yes. But sleep isn’t coming and my mind is running faster than I can seem to keep up with…so maybe writing things down will not only slow it down, but maybe help make sense of all the gibberish running wild.
After my therapy session on Wednesday, I’ve been thinking a lot about this little girl M. Who is she? What is she experiencing? Feeling? Needing? And it feels super strange, and weird and uncomfortable. It also feels really disconnected. Like, I know that it’s me…I know that these are my experiences…and yet it doesn’t feel like it’s a part of me.
I think about about some of my earliest memories and try to remember all the senses that surround them…touch, taste, smell…and I am there and I remember it, but it feels like a story about this little girl named M. It is crazy hard to mentally connect that moment…that little girl to who I am now. And maybe that’s a good thing? When I take a look at this kid, and see her so scared…I have feelings for her. Compassion, sorrow, wanting to just give her huggies and snuggles, just like I give my boys when they’re upset or hurt. But then when I try to remind myself that that little girl is me…that we’re the same person…all I can think is that she needs to be brave. Face her fears. Be strong. Not in like a demeaning way….but like…an encouraging, helpful way. Because those are the traits that I had to develop over the years to protect myself. That’s what I’ve trained myself to be. Strong. Brave. Fearless. And I’m not entirely sure what it would look like to be anything other than that. What if this little girl gets to feel scared, but protected? What if she gets to feel soothed? What if she gets to feel that her big feelings are validated and understood? Who does that little girl grow up to be?
I just read up about the ACE study and am anxious to read the study in full. I took the questionnaire and got a score of 5. The research shows that individuals who score 4+ have a 460% increased chance of having MDD, and a suicide attempt is 1220% more likely. SHIT! And I know…there’s a lot of other data surrounding resiliency factors and other variables…but damn! That’s pretty fucked up.
The thing I can’t understand about myself is why it’s so easy for me to have empathy and understanding for others, but not myself. I’ve learned so much about mental health, trauma, healing and I can be a helper right alongside the best of them. And I can explain the effects of trauma to them and help them understand that their reactions, their negative coping skills, their irrational behaviors are due to experiences they’ve had and it takes work to make changes, but that change can happen. I can preach that to anybody and everybody and legit believe it. Believe that they do what they do because of what they’ve been through. And that’s okay. And that can be fixed or changed. But there’s a disconnect in my mind. That I’m somehow different…I’m exempt from that group. That I shouldn’t be defined by what I’ve been through. That I’m just supposed to be stronger than that. I know it doesn’t make sense. I know it’s faulty thinking. But just because I know something in my head…that doesn’t mean it can translate into feelings.
Okay, and now that it’s fucking 4:30 AM, I have one final thought that I’ve been thinking about on and off throughout the night. As I was thinking about why sharing my feelings, my experiences, my struggles…why it’s so difficult, I had a thought that it’s because I’m not entirely sure what’s accurate and real.
It’s like, I have these events that happened. And I know they happened and that factual details are there. BUT…I’ve had a lot of really big emotions, things I didn’t understand where they were coming from or what they even really meant. Feelings that came from events I couldn’t remember. And throughout my life, I think I tried to find a place for those feelings by attaching them to significant moments that seemed appropriate for those big feelings. And so it’s confusing, even to me, as I work to sort it all out…because there are events and emotions that don’t match up the way they should.
Like when J died. We were classmates, acquaintances, friendly with one another. But how close were we? Close enough that I knew things about her, but distant enough that we didn’t hang out after school. And yet, when she died, I fell apart. And yes, suicide is traumatizing, particularly for a teenager. But I think there were already a lot of really big feelings that I felt were inappropriate, or uncalled for because there was no significant event to attach them to. And it was socially acceptable and understandable to be really upset by a suicide. And I think I had such a huge reaction to it because I finally had something to attach those feelings to…even though the feelings aren’t really so much about her death as they probably are about many other things.
And I have NO idea if that even is making sense. It’s now starting to be morning and my vision is blurry, my head is throbbing, and my heart is racing. And I’m sure these thoughts are just scratching the surface and there will be much more reflection and introspection as time goes on. Just trying not to fuck it up.