Eleanore Vs. Nobody Cares

Dearest readers,

My life recently has been intense to say the least, but now it’s settling down and I am relieved. The past week I have been even more full of anxiety than usual topped off with sheer panic about anything and everything. I have felt lonely despite being surrounded by incredibly loving people, my depression creeping up on me like the wicked Dementor that it has become. Though several of the stressors have now subsided, my panic is still here and as always, my anxiety disorder isn’t going anywhere. I think I need a million hugs.

Thankfully, I spent a mostly calm weekend with my boyfriend. I was laying in bed, waiting for him to shower as I  scrolled along Facebook when I came across a link that had to do with anxiety and relationships. It seemed right up my alley, so naturally, I clicked it. Within the article was a quote that instantly brought me to tears, for the truth of it stung at my heart. I can’t find the exact quote or article, but I still have that first sentence fresh in my mind:

People who have anxiety disorder are convinced that at some point, everyone will leave.

I was stunned by how one sentence could relate so much to one of the darkest parts of my mind that I often try to stifle.  To add to it, John Green, an author who suffers from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, said that when it comes to mental disorders such as mine and his, you must come to the realization that your brain lies to you constantly; and he could not be more right.

My anxiety and depression cause my brain to lie to me incessantly. Whether they are telling me I’m physically unattractive or screaming that I am not good enough for anything or anyone, they never quiet. They force me to rethink and constantly doubt, always feeling unsure about myself. When I commit to any outward expression of myself, my mental disorders instantly reply, “nobody fucking cares. Why are you even trying?”

Most recent I have noticed this with social media. I am painstakingly cautious about what I write and post, and even still, I have to look at each picture or read each post a dozen times over to be sure I want it to be seen. I regret nearly everything I do and constantly question every single word I post, wondering if it is important enough or clever enough to be read by others without wasting their time. At least a few times a day, I will write a post or a blog and then quickly delete it, because my brain convinces me that nobody cares.

Having an anxiety disorder makes it so that trusting anything is a difficult feat to accomplish; but the fact that many times I am afraid I can’t even trust myself makes everything far more difficult. The worst part of all is that I am fully aware that my brain is doing things wrong and isn’t working properly, but I cannot seem to stop it.

A while ago I was talking to my counselor about all this, and she suggested that anxiety disorder is much like a Chinese finger trap. The more you pull, the more tension you create. Since I’ve lived nearly 27 years with the illness, I’ve come to realize that she is incredibly accurate in her statement. In the words of the Borg, “resistance is futile.” Who knew they all had Generalized Anxiety Disorder?

If that is the case, I am left in a conundrum, because a mental disorder has a firm grip on my brain, but any attempts to fight it only makes the grip tighter. It seems the third option, and only way to actually get better, is to teach myself to turn the mental tables on my mind. To begin to tell my disorder what it has always told me. While it may take years of practice to get it right, at some point, I may be able to have a thought, and let it pass rather than latching onto it and obsessing for days, letting it consume all my other thoughts making it impossible to think clearly.

I look forward to the day I am able to tell my disorders with confidence, after all it’s kicking and screaming, “you know what? Nobody cares.”

Dig down, dig down, dig down,
And find faith.
When you’re close to the edge,
With a gun to your head,
You must find a way.

~Dig Down – Muse ( I encourage everyone to watch this video featuring the gorgeous Lauren Masser, a disabled actress/model).

 

 

Eleanore and the Magic Ring Vs. Everything

Dear dancing phalanges (if you don’t understand that reference, click here, you’ll be glad you did),

After much struggle, I finally found a counselor to help me and I am so thankful for her. We have been working on my mental health and though it has only been a month I am already feeling small differences. My counselor, Erin, is smart and compassionate, exactly what a counselor should be. Surprisingly, she’s a psychology student, but despite her still being in school she’s better than most of the counselors I’ve ever had. I am fortunate she was assigned to me.

During my last few appointments we have been discussing one of the problems I have that I really hate talking about, for fear that people will think I’m either crazy or lying. Or both. After speaking with her and realizing that this is surprisingly not just me, I’ve decided to come out about it, so it’s super transparent Eleanore time. Aside from having PTSD, Anxiety Disorder and depression, I have struggled with disassociation for as long as I can remember. I understand that this makes very little sense. Allow me to remedy that.

There is a disorder called Dissociative Identity Disorder, known more commonly as multiple personality disorder. This is not the illness I suffer from. What I do suffer from is dissociation between my soul and my body; at least, that’s the easiest way to explain it. It makes me feel as if my soul and body are separated, my soul happily floating in the atmosphere while my body hops about the Earth. When I was younger, I used to imagine my soul swimming about the galaxies, an airy and carefree version of myself tethered to me by only a thin string of stars. I explained this to a few people, all of which thought I was being imaginative at best and strange at worst. So, I stopped talking about it while continuing to living feeling as if I was not a whole person.

My dissociation also affects my senses. When I touch certain items it seems as if I can’t completely feel them. I’m only feeling 50% of what is really there. Extremely smooth materials such as tiles, satin, and leather bother me because not only do their textures make me uncomfortable, but it also seems I can’t get much sensation from them. Things that are textured such as stone, carpets, and beardy faces, however, are my favorite things because since they are a bit more rough, I can sense them more. If you have a beard, beware, because I will try to touch it. I’ll ask permission first of course, I’m not a weirdo, but I will work to be as convincing as possible that I should be allowed to do so. #sorrynotsorry.

When I was first diagnosed with Celiac Disease I struggled with numbness and tingling in my hands. I had found out that nerve damage was often associated with Celiac Disease and was worried that my hands would go numb forever. However, as I received more care the numbness improved, and while my hands still shake and hurt many days, I’ve never been diagnosed with any nerve issues in my hands. While this was somewhat of a relief, it also made me frustrated as I could not figure out while I often felt like I couldn’t sense half the world.

Several counselors I have had before would mention disassociation here and there, but would never think much of it. Until I saw Erin, it became a fact of my life. I was doomed to feel disconnected from my soul, from my world, unable to feel all that I wanted to. Somedays it is worse and some days it is better, but it never fully goes away, and with my attitude, it never would. As I became more comfortable with Erin we began to dissect my disassociation, and to my relief she helped me to discover that this problem is actually symptomatic of PTSD. She explained that it was as if my whole being was attempting to protect me from experiencing more pain than I’ve already had to deal with. This made everything worse because my lack of senses depresses me, which in turn makes my disassociation worse, which makes me more numb. After we contemplated my situation she gave me the idea to find something I can keep on me that is a texture I enjoy, so that when needed I can touch it and bring back my feeling.

Since finding a cute, beardy hipster guy to follow me around forever might be a little weird, I thought for quite a while what I would ideally have on me, and I settled on a ring. I’ve always liked rings, and it would be something easily carried while remaining inconspicuous. The material that popped into my mind was Marcasite, a type of pyrite stone. When my siblings and I were younglings, all three of us had rock collections. My sister had a beautiful, dark piece of pyrite that I was always quite jealous of. Thinking about it now, I liked it so much because of its texture; rough enough to allow me to feel while not being painful or uncomfortable. Marcasite is used to make jewelry that often looks like this:

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It’s the perfect texture and I would get a ring such as this but the whole being poor as balls things means that I can’t afford a damn thing. I felt particularly frustrated until I realized that I had an entire box of beads and everything I needed to make a ring myself. So, I broke out the beads and made my disassociation ring. It looks like this.

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I’ve ended up absolutely loving it. As soon as I put it on my finger, I began to play with it, and I have been doing so ever since. While I hope that I can get a marcasite one eventually, for now, the little black beads hanging out on my finger are a lovely start. It’s comforting for my anxiety and my dissociation, and while this is a very tiny step thanks to a very tiny ring, I’m hoping that it’s the first of many on my way to being healthier mentally and physically. The idea that my dissociation is something that can be treated and helped gives me so much hope. While I wish I could eventually knock off every single illness on my list, I realize that’s not entirely possible; but if I can remedy just a few and refrain from getting any others I’ll be more than satisfied.

Here’s to all of us being on the way up, and as always, a step closer to living the best versions of our lives despite that which deters us.

You have become what you have always been,
Life, figuring out, peripheral vision
No words we can speak, our paths have been chosen.
But all the trails that we trek, should lead us back to here.
Because our love comes again,
Just when I’ve broken down I found love can come again.
You gotta believe that love comes again,
Just when I’ve broken downI found love can come again.