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Messages - Liminality

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Having an Exceptionally Difficult Day / Re: self-neglect
« on: September 18, 2017, 01:29:04 PM »
Yeah, I've been getting that too a lot recently. Grieving/emotional pain/tiredness leading to lack of motivation leading to lack of self-worth leading to lack of energy leading to lack of motivation again, rinse repeat ad nauseam. Usually I manage to sustain myself through being creative, but haven't been able to do that for a while.

So, yeah. I'm sorry that's happening to you all. Not a good place to be. Don't know how you feel about antidepressants/anti-anxiety prescriptions? I personally hate it and mostly try to avoid it, but when I saw that bout of depression and self-neglect wasn't going to get away on its own, I didn't let myself think about it and called my doctor to get an appointment first thing in the morning (it was really hard to do though, that's why I didn't let myself think on it too much and just did it on autopilot, as early as I possibly could).

Other things I found that helped me when I'm in that kind of mood are very small self-soothing activities. Drinking lots of warm herbal tea, listening to rain or fireplace sounds on Youtube (or both at the same time, recently found this amazing one called "Crackling Fireplace with Thunder, Rain and Howling Wind Sounds" if you want to check it out), watching a Disney movie (or any "feel good" movie with a happy ending and maybe a few cathartic moments, that's why Disney movies are so great for the job). Just a way to give yourself a small break from reality, gather strength and courage again.

And when you have enough energy (because I'm aware of just how taxing it can be), taking a shower, washing your hair, and changing your sheets before bed is a great and simple way to feel better. Sometimes it doesn't last up to morning, but most of the time it can allow yourself to sleep better, wake up less tired, start breaking the hold of the pattern.

Sending warm thoughts your way, and safe hugs if you don't mind them.

You're not crazy. It's a "normal"/invasive/sensory flashback, meaning it includes visuals and other sensory input as well as an emotional charge, unlike "emotional flashbacks" where you just get the emotional charge.

I experience that a lot, and not just with negative memories either. Most of the time it's actually very normal memories where nothing special happens. The process is very similar to the visual negative flashbacks I get when I'm having panic attacks, but without the emotional charge. I'll be doing my own business, often focussing very intently on something, then suddenly I'll get distracted/a little daydream-y (meaning I'll stop focussing onto whatever I'm doing at the moment, my thoughts will wander away from reality), then as you say, bam! For a split second I'll be sitting on an uncomfortable plastic chair, listening to a teacher explain how to multiply simple numbers, feeling the sticky laminated desk under my fingers and how cold the classroom is and how bored I was at the time, then bam! Back again, with a slight disoriented/displaced feeling and renewed sense of awareness of my surroundings.

No idea where it comes from, but as it's not overly problematic in my everyday life (meaning I can get back to doing whatever I was doing in no time, unlike when it's a negative flashback), to me it's not a cause of concern as long as the memory I got access to doesn't trigger a rush of negative emotions. Not sure if I'm clear here. Let me try to explain better.

Possibility 1: Wave of anxiety => negative flashback (often related to abuse) => hypervigilence => strong emotional flashback (fear, horror, pain, etc.) => panic attack.
(This is what happens when I have the "negative" kind of flashback. The ensuing emotional flashback/panic attack usually lasts at least an hour at best, several days at worst, and I get completely non-functional while it lasts.)

Possibility 2: Intently focussed on something => thoughts start to wander => neutral flashback => hypervigilence => no perceived threat => back to normal.
(This is what I was talking about earlier, the kind I don't mind so much. It's invasive, but neutral in nature so for me there's no cause for concern.)

Possibility 3: Intently focussed on something => thoughts start to wander => neutral flashback => hypervigilence => mild emotional flashback (guilt, shame, etc.) => back to normal but with a pervasive sense of dread/lack of self-worth.
(This happens when I flashback to a moment where I was unkind to someone, or did something even just mildly wrong. With that kind of memories I'll usually be able to keep doing what I'm doing, but I'll tire easily and will feel down for a while as long as the memory is "active" in my head. It sometimes can lead to waves of anxiety that can later trigger a negative flashback.)

As far as I know, I never flashback to a positive memory. I guess it's just one of the many ways trauma can hijack our brain. :Idunno:

I don't have amnesia in my day-to-day life now (as far as I know), but have dissociated fragments/separate parts and used to have some amnesia until late in my teens. Lately some parts have been acting up more than usual, so I'm actually seeking a psychiatric evaluation in three days to see if I can get help.

Recovery Journals / Re: Snippets of my Agony
« on: September 17, 2017, 08:15:55 PM »
Your dad's behaviour sounds so frightening. I'm not surprised you dissociated.
What justdontknow says. I'm really sorry you went through that. Hopefully you'll be able to find yourself a safe place soon.

An unhealthy obsession with food is also something that occurred in my FOO. Both my parents were health nuts, both of them taking something that in theory should be healthy in all sorts of wrong ways.

Until he was arrested, my father forbade any of us to eat anything containing refined sugar (honey was "safe" though) or salt (food with high salt content like cheese was safe, but adding salt to a meal was forbidden). He was so neurotic about it, my mother told me later that one time when I was 5 the bus driver gave me some peppermint candy and that, after eating it, I asked her in tears if I was going to die.

My mother on the other hand was a lot less strict about our diet. But she's a survivor of neglect and emotional abuse, and she read somewhere in a psycho-pop book or magazine that "anorexic kids stop eating as a way to reject their mother", so she literally forced food on us. She always took pride in the fact that my two brothers were huge eaters, probably because it sort of confirmed to her mind that she wasn't a bad mother. As for me, I'm a Freeze/Fawn type -- so whenever I got to lose a bit of weight from exercise, she went all sad and worried, asking if I was anorexic, and I started eating like mad just to prove that I still loved her. As a result I was always just on that side of pudgy at best (and massively overweight at worst).

Recovery Journals / Re: Standing On The Threshold (Triggers)
« on: September 17, 2017, 07:39:18 PM »
September 17, 2017
Triggers for this post: Mention of self-hatred toward the end.

This morning I gave Kaylee a blanket.

I never tried interacting with my "others"/"inner children" -- something in me refused to even think about it until now, refused to even acknowledge them, because if I do it means they're real, it means I'm really not alone in my own mind. The idea of not being in complete control of my own body and mind (because I can't control the whole world, isn't it? so at least I thought I could control myself) is nightmare-inducing. But I've been hearing screams in my head for days now, and everything I read about DID and OSDD says "communication between parts" is the key to healing. I still don't know if I'm multiple or it's just that I have very strong mental representations of inner children, but I'm exhausted and ready to try anything right now.

So I closed my eyes, tried to see her in my mind. She had crawled under the last shelve of a small cupboard, one I remember from my childhood home that used to hold towels and linen, but in my mindscape was empty. She was naked and dirty, with huge dark eyes focussed intently on me, obviously scared out of her mind. So I just pictured myself leaving a soft blanket there, beside the door. She latched on it so quickly I nearly didn't see it happen, wrapped herself in it until only the top of her head was visible, then went to sleep.

Blessed silence.

It's an extremely alien sensation to feel tenderness for any part of myself. But as I watch over her, the only thing I can think of is how scared and helpless and hurt she is, and that the last thing I want is for her to keep feeling that way. My level of self-hate reaches unmeasurable heights, but when I look over Kaylee -- well, she's cute. Endearing. I'm not quite sure how I feel yet about parts of myself not being completely horrible and disgusting. (Please don't offer positive validation that I'm not, I don't react well to kind words about this and get triggered easily.)

I've been unable to do what needed to be done these last few days, so now that she's sleeping again, hopefully I'll be able to gather a little fortitude (or at least a few spoons) and get back to "work" (aka, writing the next chapter of my ongoing online publication). Despite hating being "hooked" on antidepressants, I can't wait to have a new prescription and get back on my own two feet.

(Sorry to answer months after the last one, I hope it's allowed?)

I also experienced that. Remember when I was a child, maybe 6-7, we had choir practice and I started having strange visual hallucinations. The choir master's head suddenly growing and becoming disproportionately big, then shrinking back to normal. Or feeling like suddenly I was floating over my own body, or the entire room going dark except for the pianist.

What's funny is, at the time it didn't appear scary to me, it just was. I remember feeling detached and vaguely intrigued by the phenomena, but not scared. Same happened later, when I was in my late teens. I remember I was in class one day, early January not long after hitting 18, writing this in my diary: "It's like sometime around Christmas I fell asleep and never woke up, and now my life isn't real anymore."

I also experience these things. It's like each collection of similar memories is a separate person inside my brain. I can't remember my life because the memories are locked away in those other selves. I definitely have EF where those people take over and I go away but I also hear their thoughts in my mind almost all the time. It's very noisy in my head sometimes.
Could have written the exact same thing, with the exception that most of my amnesia is centred in childhood.

Most of the time, my "others" (don't know how to call them, "alter" doesn't seem right, "head mates" either) don't speak though. Possibly a consequence of being told to "shut up", "keep quiet about this", "never say a word"? If they communicate it's through bursts of emotions, abstract shapes and colours, sometimes wordless screams. One of them spends months "sleeping", only waking up to scream as if someone was trying to kill her, then goes back to sleep again. Another one is constantly terrified and freezes when confronted to a trigger. She's probably responsible for my panic attacks. Then there's the cat, a playful, curious and happy little thing, and the soothing guardian tree, and the super observant ghost who's protected by being invisible but as a result cannot interact with the outside world. And many others.

It's as if every positive representation of myself is non-human. I guess it talks of how I feel unable to trust people, and see most of humanity in the very worst light.

Sexual Abuse / Re: no memories (triggers)
« on: September 17, 2017, 05:44:06 PM »
I'm so sorry this is happening  to you, CepheidVox. You are very right, being afraid of male genitalia isn't a normal occurrence for a non-traumatised person. I don't know what else to say, except that you are being heard.

Recovery Journals / Re: Standing On The Threshold (Triggers)
« on: September 17, 2017, 04:07:11 PM »
Thank you, Blueberry and Aphotic! I'm sorry I didn't answer before, these last few days have been difficult. Lots of dissociation and anxiety, confusion and lack of focus up to the point of sometimes being unable to understand the meaning of everyday words, insomnia and nightmares. Anyway. It's a little better right now, so I'll try and answer before it starts again.

I know that in the country I'm in BPD is often diagnosed after about 5 minutes to mean 'patient = difficult'.
Same for where I live. There's also a tradition of being very self-deprecating and sarcastic in my culture, which doesn't help as a lot of people (including professionals supposed to help you) feel entitled to joke about lack of self-worth as if being laughingstock material is something normal in everyday life, and having a sense of humour means being able to "take jokes", aka laugh when people are making fun of them no matter how mean the "joke" is. (Not sure if that sentence was as clear on paper as it is in my head. If it's not, I'm very sorry, my brain currently seems to be wired in my mother tongue instead of English.) Since I've been really sensitive to any jokes made at my expense since I was very young, I've often been labelled as prickly and difficult, something that no doubt came up when the doctors were interviewing my mother after I was admitted to the ward. (That, and the fact that my mum -- the main person they interviewed to corroborate what I was saying -- seems chronically unable to make a difference between "acting rashly/on impulse" and "verbally lashing out when triggered". Seeing as the first one is a criteria of BPD and the second one is not...)

Anyway. I just hope my doctor will agree when I ask for a new evaluation. She's been known to dismiss my concerns very quickly in the past, so I'm a little worried she'll do it again.

Apparently I used to start screaming with no apparent provocation, at least according to FOO. If it's true then undoubtedly the amnesia is there (and was there when I was much younger) to protect me. Maybe for you too?
I relate a lot to this, yes. Apparently my "screaming" episodes used to be triggered by having to go outside the house, something that is still extremely difficult for me today. I have no memory of this, except for one really strange upside-down and red/yellow-tinted image of rice crispies flying in the air (my mum said I grabbed a box and flung it in the air the very last time I had an episode, so at least I know it happened).
Those episodes occurred between the ages of 14 months and 6 years old, and stopped when my mum grabbed my shirt and held me against the wall, telling me "that's enough". She says it was done firmly but not violently and I believe her, but still I can't help thinking how absolutely terrifying it must have been for six years old me, used to see adults as looming monsters always on the brink of causing harm.

I feel rather privileged - like I've struck gold when I tell people my second (and current) therapist has been the most helpful and kind therapist I know of.
Actually the first T I saw as an adult (discounting all those I've seen as a child and teen) was great. A fantastic no-nonsense woman who had some experience dealing with trauma victims, just the right amount of both warmth and clinical distance, and was patient enough to avoid rushing me, but still called me out a few times when she noticed my mind was going in circles. She wasn't perfect, but she probably was the most helpful T I saw since I was diagnosed. Unfortunately she had to take a sabbatical year -- the few Ts that followed weren't so great, felt completely helpless before my problems, kept dropping me on other Ts, and in the end pushed me to agree to a transfer (from the public system to a BPD-specialised centre). By the time my first T came back, I was two weeks away from being officially transferred and couldn't stop the process anymore.

Sometimes I regret agreeing to the move, but at the same time when she came back I couldn't trust her anymore (as a small part of me feels she left me alone to fend for myself). It's very possible I could have rebuilt trust with her after a while, but at the time I felt it would be easier to start over with someone new who didn't carry that kind of baggage.

Thank you both for hearing me out. It helps a lot.

Recovery Journals / Re: Standing On The Threshold (Triggers)
« on: September 14, 2017, 09:04:05 PM »
Thank you Three Roses! :))

September 14, 2017
Triggers for this post: Medical Abuse, Child Sexual Grooming/Brainwash

Where to start.

I was proud of myself this morning. Despite my irritable bowel syndrome acting up in the middle of the night and leading to pain and insomnia, I gathered enough courage to call my family doctor first thing in the morning and got an appointment. I've been meaning to for about a week now, but using the phone is hard and extremely anxiety-inducing, so I kept pushing it back.

Not this morning though. I'm seeing her September 20 in the morning.

The reason I wanted an appointment is two-fold. First, I've been out of medication for a little over a year. I used to take a whole cocktail of antidepressant pills and such, but stopped because it didn't make any difference except messing with my thought process. Writing replaced my meds, and for a while the sheer exhilaration of being creative again made me feel a lot better than anything else did since my 2010 meltdown. However, I've been worse lately and I'm running out of PRN anxiety medication, so I need to ask for a refill.

The second reason is because I think it's time for me to ask for a second psychiatric evaluation.

The first one was done late 2010 when I got admitted in the mental ward of my local hospital, and it was nightmarish. I used to SI a lot at the time, and the psychiatrist there latched on that one thing to try and fit me into the BPD box despite me only having a max of 4 symptoms from the DSM IV category (now reduced to a max of 3 because I'm SI-free since 2011). She dosed me with heavy medication, pushed me over the edge deliberately to "prove" I wasn't in control of my emotions, and completely ignored my other, way more important claims of debilitating anxiety and panic attacks, invasive visual flashbacks, severe dissociation (derealisation/depersonalisation), and what I shyly tried to describe as "screams sometimes echoing in my head". And that was before I even heard about emotional flashbacks.

Nope. I was self-injuring, I couldn't possibly be anything else than BPD, which means that everything else was either imagination (aka, I was the bad guy) or somatisation (an excuse she legit used on me to gaslight me/dismiss my claims of harmful side-effects once after dosing me with anti-psychotic medication -- thankfully I was validated later with a basic google research).

I'm not ashamed to call it one of the worst experiences of my life, and like most of us here, I've been through a lot to put that one into perspective. It literally burned my sense of self to the ground, and made my Inner/Outer Critics so much stronger.

I got out of there after six weeks, following which I was passed along from therapist to group therapy to new therapist, none of them staying with me more than a year, none of them being able to provide any help at all. From March 2011 to December 2015 I saw 7 different therapists and was part of... 3 or 4 different support groups, can't remember anymore, it's all a blur honestly. With each new therapist/group, I was a little less able to trust, and of course was shamed because of it ("if you're hiding things from me, how am I supposed to help you?" and "If you can't trust me, why are you here at all?"). I quit early January 2016 because the program I was in at the time used a very "sink or swim" approach, and clearly I was drowning.

But now I've been out of therapy for a year and a half, and I realise the longer it goes on, the more I'm scared to try again. The least I trust people, and the more I hate humanity in general because of my Inner/Outer Critics. And I desperately need help, now more than ever since I'm starting to come to terms with the fact I may not be alone in my own mind. Those "echoes of screams" I tried to describe without having the words for it so long ago? They're a lot clearer now, and I can "see" some of them when I close my eyes. Children. Teens. A tree. A cat. They don't talk to me in words, but they communicate with screams, bursts of emotion and abstract colours/forms. And some of them have names.

I don't have amnesia (as far as I know). But I used to as a child. A few times (at least two that I remember of) people came to me and told me about things I did or said, which I still can't remember saying or doing. And my mother is very fond of talking about how I used to go berserk at times, screaming and crying and throwing things around before calming down and going on as if nothing happened. And this is textbook one of the kids in my head, this is Kaylee, and she needs help. We both need help. And I think I owe it to myself to get that help. Try again, one last time at least.

Have no idea if it will amount to anything, and I'm terrified. I'm having panic attack over panic attack since I called. But if I keep doing nothing, I'll waste my whole life away.

My father brainwashed me into thinking that my whole worth was embodied by the fact I was a child. That when I reached adulthood, I could as well just go and die, because I would have reached my "expiration date". I'm extremely aware of how toxic it is, I haven't seen the man since I was six, and still I can't shake that thought away because something, maybe someone, is holding on to that false belief desperately.

It's been seven years since my meltdown, and I'm in my 30s already. If I don't get help, it's like letting him win, and I can't do that. I just can't.

Recovery Journals / Standing On The Threshold
« on: September 14, 2017, 07:29:04 PM »


I've learned the hard way that a lot of people can't handle me when I'm deep in depression, and I desperately need a place where I can free myself of the darkness inside. As such, I won't go out of my way to describe graphic events and be deliberately triggering to others, but I will not censure myself -- I've done too much of that already.

So please, please stay safe. I promise I won't be hurt if you can't read or comment my posts, for now or at all. Thank you. :disappear:

Sexual Abuse / Re: Age limit? *trigger warning*
« on: September 14, 2017, 05:49:23 PM »
Yes, I've read a few of your posts, most of them which I relate to strongly. You've been through the mills, there's absolutely no doubt about it.

I was just offering validation to anyone who has been sexually abused as a late teen/early20s, and I named you because I wished to include your 17-18th years old experience. That's all. :)

Sexual Abuse / Re: Age limit? *trigger warning*
« on: September 14, 2017, 05:15:22 PM »
[...] there's something about someone calling you a 'child' - supposedly the epitome of innocence and the happiest of people - and you're none of that. I guess that's just me though.
Definitely not just you. By society's standards (where "being a child" means being innocent, happy, carefree, with no "real" fears/responsibilities/problems/life experience, etc.) I've never been a child. How could I? I was (among other things) sexually abused from birth, every week non-stop until two months before I turned 6. My experience of childhood is so very removed from how everyone portrays it it's not even funny anymore (and never really was to begin with).

However, I gained perspective since I've been out of my 20s. Any situation where you are taken advantage of specifically because of the helplessness of your youth (and yes, that also includes you Andy) can be seen as child abuse if you wish so. You can struggle to see it that way, but it doesn't make that assessment less valid.

You can choose not to apply that label to yourself though, especially if you're still young and the idea of being seen as a child makes you feel more vulnerable.

But if it helps you understand it wasn't your fault (because it definitely wasn't!), then please allow yourself to think of your past self as a child who was taken advantage of. Because for all intent and purposes, it wouldn't be a lie.

Frustrated? Set Backs? / Re: thread for people who are not recovering
« on: September 13, 2017, 03:04:28 PM »
I relate to this a lot, Frederica. Could have written that post myself. Sometimes you're happy for recovering people, sometimes you just wish they'd leave you the f--- alone with their optimism.

Our Relationships with Others / Re: Let's talk about Hypervigilance
« on: September 13, 2017, 02:37:45 PM »
Sorry I'm late to the party. But I'll throw my two cents anyway.

To me, hyper vigilance is like being the last human in a society of zombies. To feel safe I have to stay inside, out of sight and completely alone. Every time I go outside, I'm on high alert. There are zombies everywhere. What if they notice I'm not like them? What if they talk to me attack me randomly? What if they try to lure me into complacency, then try to become friends eat my brain soul, mind, energy, whatever fits best?

I walk the streets sweating and short of breath, eyes and ears trying to be everywhere at once. When I meet someone a zombie in the streets, I never cross their eyes, but take everything else in. The way they walk. Their body language. Their voice, if they're on the phone. Are they displaying interest in me? Try to be invisible, walk quickly, appear preoccupied. Are they distracted by something, not paying much attention to their surroundings? Keep an eye on them, stay prepared to run for your life.

I do have zombie friends. Sometimes I even go out with them. They don't seem to care I'm not a zombie, or maybe they don't realise. It's easier when I'm with one of them. They can shield me from others, and if I trust them enough to focus all of my attention on them then it gives my brain respite. But if I don't trust them enough, everything else distracts me. I don't always hear them talk because my mind is too busy processing the threat of others. Then they get mad hungry and attack my brain. It's understandable. My fault, for befriending a zombie.

Our whole society is made for zombies. Their senses aren't as heightened, so they don't mind crowds, they don't mind being bombarded with loud noises, flashy colours, bright contrasts. They only mind temperatures extremes, hot and cold and rain and snow, because of how it harms their bodies. That at least we can all relate on the same level, or nearly enough.

I could keep going on with the analogy, but I think you get the picture. To me, hyper vigilance is tightly knit with severe anxiety and integral to the experience. Most people have trouble relating to the experience of a hunted animal. But everyone understands the horror of zombies.

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