9th April 2018 at 2:39 pm #56916
I had another mini mental health crisis yesterday. I had decided to go to one of my favourite countryside areas, somewhere I had introduced my ex to and have been trying to mentally reclaim back the space as it’s one of my favourite places to go. I had been feel calm and quite confident and even positive, and reflected that the memories of him there felt like they were lessening. I did some sketching and had a coffee and sat down to watch some beautiful graceful animals in a nearby field. I’m not 100% sure why but I noticed it was soon after that that my mood started quite a rapid descent. Earlier an annoying man had sat on a table next to me talking loudly on his phone about a (detail removed by moderator) that had taken place that day. My ex always takes part in this event so I was instantly reminded of him doing it, feeling sick thinking of him being all fit and healthy and appearing all virtuous to those around him while I sometimes find it hard to get out of bed. Like he is the successful one who moved on ages ago while I am still stuck feeling terrible and crazy and depressed half the time. I also felt upset by how passers by had been making fun of the animals, letting their children chase them and it made me feel a bit disgusted by and detached from other people as I love animals and nature and don’t understand people’s ignorance and apathy towards them. I think a combination of being in this place, hearing about the sporting event and seeing these ignorant people triggered me into feeling terrible suddenly.
When I got home something strange happened, I started to feel like I was partly leaving my body, like my soul was sinking into myself or something. I felt extremely depressed and despairing. From what I understand this symptom might be ‘depersonalisation.’ I remember having it twice with my ex. Once, when I met his parents, it was like I was on the ceiling watching the scene below me, like I wasn’t in my body. I remember feeling really anxious with his parents and that week kept waking up needing to vomit so it seemed to be caused by a really high state of anxiety? Another time I had been at his house all weekend and thought I’d had a nice time, but a few days later I was hit with a flashback of his hands around my neck in bed, but at the time I don’t remember it happening? It makes me feel scared that he was doing other things to me when I was at his house and I blanked them out, it’s very scary. I also have huge memory blanks in my past going back years. I’m scared something happened to me as a child, I feel like something happened, it would explain why I’ve had so many problems with depression, anxiety, memory loss, sexual problems and abusive relationships.
I sat down all evening ringing helplines and spoke to people but didn’t find anyone that helpful, like nobody really understood. I feel exasperated and desperate for help from a therapist that understands abuse and trauma. I’ve been waiting a year. I spoke to one of the gps this morning and he wasn’t very helpful and said I just have to wait for IAPT. I feel like nobody wants to help me. I feel very alone and sometimes like I am slipping away as it’s so hard to keep fighting for the right help, none of us should have to fight for it, if I had a broken leg they wouldn’t tell me I’d have to wait a year before someone could look at it.
9th April 2018 at 3:12 pm #56920AyannaParticipant
We need to dissociate to cope.
I am dissociated and cannot find the way back.
It causes lots of issues in my daily life. Hardly anyone understands that and GPs are the worst.
Only several years of specialised therapy can help here.
I got to know women who could never again find back to themselves, even with years of therapy.
Childhood trauma sits very deep. At least the therapy leads to a profound understanding and helps to function in the daily requirements of life.
9th April 2018 at 10:48 pm #56955
Thanks for your reply Ayanna, yes that is what I fear, that there is deep rooted trauma and only therapy can help, and therapy is the thing I am finding so hard to access right now. I am not dissociated most of the time, I think it is just occasionally. It’s good to understand what it is, a coping mechanism that the brain creates to help us deal with trauma. What confuses me is that some of the dissociation memories are not of a trauma, for example the one where I am just sat having a drink with him and his parents. I think it’s because I felt deep anxiety that day, a terrible sense of foreboding. I remember beforehand feeling so awful, hoping when I met them I’d relax, but I couldn’t, his father seemed to have all this terrifying rage hidden just beneath the surface, and was cold and rude, and his mother just kept being weirdly defensive of her son, I’m not sure what she was defending him against as I was just sat there smiling trying to be the ‘perfect girlfriend.’ I had this strange feeling that I shouldn’t be there, that I wasn’t ever meant to be his girlfriend, that someone else should have been sat there instead, and that is when I dissociated and floated to the ceiling. I think at the time my gut was picking up on all this crazy stuff going on under the surface that my conscious brain hadn’t yet figured out which was why I felt so sick and terrible but didn’t know why. A week later he escalated the abuse and threatened to hurt me and suddenly it all made sense. What a shock that was after thinking I had the perfect boyfriend, I had been blaming myself for feeling so unhappy!
9th April 2018 at 6:59 pm #56936FreedomfighterParticipant
I’m so sorry you’ve been going through all this and having to wait so long for help.
I have found it difficult to find the right help and support over the years as I have suffered with anxiety, stress, depression etc for years.
I know you are right about the counselling being really helpful to actually deal with the causes of the problem, but on a purely practical level I have found alternatives extremely helpful in dealing with every day problems.
They don’t actually deal with the root cause, but help me cope on a daily basis. For example, your problem with trying to reclaim your favourite countryside spot:-
You could try taking a like minded person along with you and make new memories
You could try wearing earplugs or better still listen to your favourite music next time so you don’t have to listen to other people.
You could try visiting new places to make new memories. You might discover somewhere you love even more.
Or join an art group or conservation group and make new friends to discover new places.
I totally understand what you are saying and please don’t think I belittling your problems. I hate it when I’ve plucked up the courage to go somewhere on my own and someone decides to come and sit right next to me making me feel uncomfortable so that I get up and leave. I do understand what you mean. It puts me off venturing out alone for a while. But people will always be around being idiots, poking fun at others, littering the countryside, invading our personal space etc. We can’t let our abusers, our bad experiences etc stop us from doing what we love, what makes us happy etc. As for your worries about your childhood and what else you might have blocked out when you were with your ex, I am no expert in just giving an opinion based on my own personal experiences. But might I suggest that you don’t worry about these things for now. I say this because worrying about something which may or may not have happened can only bring you negative thoughts and feelings. Also I think they would be easier and better dealt with when you have the help and support of a good counsellor, which I hope you find soon by the way.
Reading your positive posts in the past has brought me such hope and peace of mind. I have tried to give you some positive feedback and hope you find some ideas and support which may bring back your inner peace and happiness
9th April 2018 at 7:08 pm #56937FreedomfighterParticipant
Sorry, I forgot to mention I too have felt that sensation of viewing a stressful situation as an onlooker so to speak. Very weird and unsettling feeling from my own experience. I have no idea what causes it or why it happens. I have also heard of people experiencing it in near death situations. Maybe it’s one of the body or mind’s way of dealing with situations which scare us to such an extent that we disassociate ourselves with the situation because we are afraid, feel helpless and just don’t know how to react. I’m sorry I can’t help, but you are not alone in having experienced the phenomena
9th April 2018 at 10:40 pm #56954
Thanks for your response, it has helped me calm down a bit about all of this. You make a good point, about not needing to deal with it all now. I think I keep panicking periodically because I haven’t been given a date from the organisation whose waiting list I am on for therapy. They just keep saying it will be ‘soon’ so I panic and think ‘I need it to be now, I can’t keep waiting, my life is rolling on, time is going on and I’m getting older and older and none of this is getting resolved.’ It’s connected to my fear of not having it all healed and resolved in time for me to have children. It’s also frustration caused by previous therapists not letting me talk about my childhood or sexual issues so I feel a huge amount of anger and frustration about it.
I was thinking today that it is probably a good idea to explore some new places, as this place is still triggering. It would be good to make some new memories somewhere else. Unfortunately I don’t have many good friends. I realised a lot of my friends were controlling, critical and bullying after the abuse so have got rid of most of them, and am unsure of the ones who remain as I often feel worse after speaking to them. I have a couple of good friends who aren’t like this but unfortunately they don’t live nearby and both are going through big life changes at the moment so they don’t contact me often. I’d love to make some healthy new friendships but having gone to various clubs, groups, events etc I don’t find it easy which compounds the loneliness, and definitely contributed to me getting drawn in by the abuser because he pretended to be similar to me, like and understand me which felt wonderful after feel so abandoned and alone.
It was definitely scary realising I have been dissociating for a long time without even realising it. I was thinking of getting some books on trauma to work through while I wait for therapy, and just hope that it available sooner rather than later. Reading what you wrote also reminded me of my CBT information on unhelpful thinking styles and I think I’ve been catastrophising about the lack of therapy, so I will have a look at these sheets again as it might help prevent me getting into these cycles of despair.
I’m really glad my previous posts have helped, sometimes I feel so positive and hopeful, it is incredible really how the healing journey can have you feeling fully healed before plunging you into pain and utter despair yet again. I still feel shocked when I get flashbacks about my ex which happen daily, shocked that he was not the person he pretended to be in the beginning. I feel sick at how convincing he was. I hope these flashbacks start to lessen soon as they are another thing making recovery feel so slow, because they make me feel like I am still back in the relationship sometimes or that I’ve only just left which makes me feel like I’m going mad and am trapped in a nightmare. Do you feel like that at times too?
10th April 2018 at 12:24 pm #56974freedomtochooseBlocked
there are alternatives to IAPT services. IAPT services have been criticised for not being tailored enough for people like us. I am sure there are good therapists working within the system now, but personally I wouldn’t touch NHS services with a bargepole on this one.
There is a lot of evidence that yoga, practised regularly, helps. This has been proven to help with war veterans. Google around this if you need to.
Personally also self-compassion meditations may helps sometimes.
There are lots on (Detail removed by moderator)
There are five minute ones for a self-compassion break and twenty minute ones for really difficult situations and you can listen to them when you are out and about with headphones.
I have regularly had disassociation and depersonalization at times and I realise how distressing it can be. However it is better than it was in recent years. Although it pops up sometimes.
I can only say the things that help me are actually, watching a really gripping action movie (I know, I think it puts me back in that ptsd coping state, but it has helped at times).
Asking someone to hold my hand on the bus (my child?)
Asking someone to pinch me (my child) to bring me back to earth.
Favourite music I listened to played loudly on a jukebox (along with a glass of wine or two) – significantly music that I used to know associated with positive moments and times before i met my ex.
Don’t think any of the above would be recommended by nhs practitioners but then maybe some of them need to think outside the box. After all, we are the ones with the experiences of this condition.
Good luck and all the best
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