Author Archives: Samantha Jane

More on feeling defective…

Despite all my labwork that insists I’m ridiculously normal, my brain certainly doesn’t feel it.

I went to physical therapy today because I tweaked my back a few weeks ago, and my range of motion since then has sucked. Specifically, I have trouble lifting my left leg over the dog gate. I go over with my right, and kinda just drag my left over after me…

Anyway, I remembered why it was I failed so miserably at pt last round; it sparks intrusive memories I’d rather not have.

I’m supposed to go back on Monday, but I think I will cancel.

Even if it doesn’t trigger full-on flashbacks, it does trigger anxiety and dissociation. The longer the pt goes on, the worse it all gets, and soon I can’t remember what we did, and what I’m supposed to do between sessions. It’s a waste of time and resources that I know could be used by others (they book 2 weeks out on a good week)…

So, yeah. I’m going to cancel. I’ll do the exercises she gave me today, then try to remember to start planking to help build my core strength up again.

And maybe I’ll mention it to Dr C, and we can work more on the body stuff so maybe if I ever need pt again for my back I’ll be able to follow through…

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Learning my new limits

As much as this muscular stuff has been getting better, it’s still here. I’m able to do more and function better, but I’m still bumping into my new limits on a regular basis.

Yesterday, we cleaned the apartment (it desperately needed it). We both took it slow, but both did quite a bit. By yesterday evening, I was feeling the effects.

I found I get pressure headaches from changing position often (bending and crouching to clean under furniture, or to move things around). This morning, I noticed it’s helped a bit if I put slight pressure at the base of my neck, pushing upwards.

My muscles are also cramping again. They are sore and tense.

So what am I doing today? Being stubborn and getting laundry done.

I’m sure I’ll be a lump for the rest of the day. Heck, I’d love to be a lump right now, “but I have shit to do, and an appointment on [Thursday]…” (ani difranco).

I finally managed to get to the lab on Monday at the proper time for them to send out my bloodwork for the specialized test the neurologist ordered. I also got a chance to look at the name of the test so I could look up more info about it; MuSK. I can’t remember exactly what it is, but it’s looking for specific antibodies that interfere with something or other, that then causes muscles to tire faster. (Great explanation, I know. But I just skimmed the info while at the lab, and can’t remember details right now). Anyway… yeah. It’s looking for indications of a disease called myesthesis gravis? Maybe that’s what it’s called? I dunno. Again, memory on specifics is sketchy, and I’m being lazy about looking it up.

So yeah, waiting on those results. I’m not sure if I should hope it’s that, or hope it’s still all just related to the OSDD. It would be nice to have some definitive answers, and a course of treatment (though there’s apparently no cure)…

Back to the grind now. Laundry will need to be folded, and then I’m back home for a few before jetting off to pick L up from work…


family

I think that word has very different meanings for me.

We were always taught separation. My dad’s blood family was all that mattered to him, so that’s all he acknowledged. Everyone else was just “shit”. He didn’t promote contact with anyone outside his immediate family of origin (foo). We were isolated from almost everyone else, and even within his own foo, bitch was top, then him, then grandma, then K. Mom factored very little. K’s husband, T factored very little. Moms family was just unheard of (he made sure of that). We talked a bit about them and to them, but overall, they were essentially non-existent (in his eyes anyway).

I’ve only recently (like maybe the last decade or so) gotten in somewhat more regular contact with one of my cousins. We chat online a bit, but I think I’ve only seen her maybe 6 times my entire life (and we lived relatively close, like maybe a 4 hour drive, for several years). I’ve seen her parents a few more times, but that was only after she & her siblings had grown up and moved out… even then, I think I can count less than a dozen times.

Tonight, my mom informed me that her brother (my cousins’ father, my uncle) had gone to the hospital for a head injury. Apparently, this happened sometime last week, and no one thought to tell us (at least my brother and I. Mom may have known, but she’s not big on communicating stuff like that about/with anyone).

When I found out, it hit me just how disconnected I am from my extended family; I have no real emotions around him being in seriously ill health… I’m not even all that connected to any emotions my mom may have around it (though she’s never been big on emotions either. None of my family has).

I feel like it’s wrong somehow, like society is generally connected with their families unless there’s been some big rupture. The only rupture was my father. I should be connected with my aunt & uncle & cousins, but I’m not… and I think I’m a bit resentful about it.

I see L with her family (it’s a HUGE family), and I feel like we got the short end of the stick.

My dad made enormous effort to keep us isolated from everyone.

It sucks.

So now I have no real connection to family. I get the concept that we have an extended family, but… it’s just not in my radar for the most part. And I’m mad.

His isolation enabled the abuses that happened night after night. His anger resulted in a fear of reaching out, or attempting to connect with anyone (after all, any connection would be promptly severed once found out). We weren’t allowed to care for anyone outside the little dysfunctional circle that happened to include his foo…

The dissociation doesn’t help any. I feel like I’m just floating in a world where I don’t belong (or even truly exist). People have no clue about so much of my life. Everyone’s merely an acquaintance. Aside of L (and as of today, our friend DO), no one knows I have a dissociative disorder. At most, they’ve been told I have ptsd, but no one knows what it’s from; they assume I served in the military…

Most everyone in my life sees this shell, this act. They might notice I hit some bumps along the way, but mostly, I’m either shy and awkward (99% of the time), or chatty and awkward. I’m the crazy animal lady with the pet snakes, who also does art here and there…

I feel like I don’t actually exist. I must just be a ghost floating around.

I never expect people to remember me from one meeting to the next, or care about anything about me. I’m the awkward tag-along friend you invite because you feel sorry for them. I’m the wife you tolerate because we come as a package deal. I’m really not sure why L married me. I’m just the awkward one tagging along behind her to family functions. I don’t deserve to be there, nor am I really wanted there, but I’m crashing the party…

I shouldn’t be here still. I have no purpose or usefulness… but here I am, tagging along in this weird body that feels like a poorly-fitting borrowed dress. If I think hard enough about it, I can kinda find some connection to the C they think they’re supposed to get, but… I dunno. It just feels like a suit, like pretend. That girl who graduated college? Not me. The one who had a career? Not me. The one with friends and family? Not me.

I’m just that shadow in the corner… nothing to notice or want to be around; no substance, no presence, no worth…


Re: dissociation

You know how sometimes the universe just smacks you upside the head when it really wants to drive something home? Well, that’s been happening a lot these last few days.

I spent a fair amount of time yesterday and the day before going back over old posts. I do that sometimes simply because I can’t remember much from day to day. Everything is compartmentalized between emotional states…

Anyway, in my fb feed today, there were several posts about trauma and dissociation. The latest one I read was a fairly in-depth article on DID, OSDD, and dissociation. It covers symptoms and diagnostic criteria, as well as links to assessment tools (though none are meant to diagnose alone, but rather in conjunction with assessments by a trained professional).

Anyway, I know I have an OSDD diagnosis. I remember that even when I’m not directly confronted by it. The part I seem to forget is that there has been conversation around changing that to DID… so imagine my reaction when reading the article and finding I petty much fit the diagnosis to a T… I was taken aback by it for a while, then I started to vaguely remember conversations with Dr C about me being on the DID end of the spectrum.

As the realization hit (apparently “again”), I started to panic a little. I decided to try the self assessments they mentioned. Yup. Wouldn’t you know, they peg me as correlating highly with others having a DID diagnosis. Great. So now I’m remembering a bit more about my conversations around it all with Dr C. I want to say I remember at least 4 different times when I was shocked by her mention of it, and then settling on calling it something more benign, like “severe dissociation” or “fractured ego states”…

It frustrates me that I seem to forget these conversations so completely until something pointing to it shoves itself into my awareness… how many more times will I “forget” about our conversations around the intensity of my dissociation? I guess I’m improving on it though, as it seems to take less time to “remember” we’ve talked about it before. The first two times or so, I didn’t realize it till she asked later if I remembered having that conversation before. At least now I don’t need her prompting before the memory sparks.

Anyway… I’m not really sure where I was going with this other than to link the page on DID.

Maybe I’ll post screenshots of my results from the 2 questionnaires. (and maybe next time I’m faced with this info, I’ll remember that I’ve heard it before)


Was that real?

I had originally started writing this blog to give myself something I could easily look back on when I found I had lost touch with various things in my life.

I’m often reading and rereading my posts in an effort to connect to them (and maybe memorize what I talked about?). There’s so much I forget from one moment to the next.

I now understand the forgetting to be a function of my most persistent and pervasive coping skill: dissociation. It’s taken me a long time to remember that understanding. Much like my continued shock and confusion around my extreme level of dissociation, I find myself “realizing” that I forget so much because I dissociate so often.

Much of the time, I find myself reading my posts as if I were reading someone else’s writing for the first time. It’s quite a surreal experience. I’ll recognize bits and pieces, but it still predominantly feels like someone else’s stories.

Its happened again this week. I found myself bopping around from post to post, taking it in as if for the first time. I recognize the people I’m referring to, but not the content of the posts. I wish I could come up with a “good enough” analogy to convey what it’s like… I’m not sure there is one. Maybe the closest I can come is comparing it to reading a creatively penned biography about yourself. The author has taken licence and added to the story you know your life to be, and has found others to corroborate their embellishments… it all feels like an aggrandized version of my life, with a lot of Hollywood “extra spice” thrown in… Maybe akin to reading the tabloid stories about yourself while at the checkout. It feels foreign.

I was telling A how my education and professional history was in mental health, but even as the words left my mouth, they felt like a lie. How in the world could I have done any of that? Sure, I have a decent understanding of basic psychology, but I also have a descent understanding of basic anatomy & phys, of animal behavior, of art techniques… most of those I picked up simply by reading because it was interesting. If I didn’t have my paperwork from school, and people who corroborate that I went to grad classes with them, I doubt I’d believe that it were possible.

I feel miles and miles away from that competant human being.

If I didn’t still have contact with the people I used to work with in the field, I would say my work history was made up… even my recent work in the kennels feels contrived (yet I have pictures to prove I was there).

Who the fuck dissociates so badly that they don’t remember so much of their life?!

It feels lately like all my memories are up in the air & uncertain like the trauma memories.

If I sit down and concentrate hard enough, I can pull together what I think is an ok narrative of a specific time in my life, but it feels like a rehearsed skit. To paraphrase an Ani Difranco song “I feel like an actor just reading my lines…” Its something I’ve practiced over and over again until I can recite it with confidence, even if I have no connection to it.

I’m going through life without actually connecting to any of it.

There are times I feel like an imposter; like a clone with implanted memories, but they forgot to include the emotion portion of it…

When I was reading posts from even last year, I found myself trying to analyze what I was reading, to figure out what parts could possibly be true, and figure out how to integrate it into the current narrative.

Part of me feels like I have written about this before, or at least talked to someone about it, but I’m not sure who or where…

There was a flicker of understanding a moment ago, but it’s gone now. My fingers weren’t fast enough to catch the thought on paper before it slid away again.

I’m slipping away again. I can feel things erasing from my awareness (like what I was writing about in the rest of this post). A fog is settling in.

Gotta love dissociation for no reason…


To Dr. C

Dr C,

Talking to A Monday brought stuff up, but I’m not totally sure what. There’s a lot of the past floating around, and I’m finding myself really easily startled and frightened…

My head was literally spinning today, it triggered vertigo somehow.

There’s body stuff I’m feeling, and… I don’t even know what else. My heart races over nothing. I feel shaky, like I haven’t eaten in days, but in reality, I’ve been stuffing my face. I wanted to cut; to destroy my body; to pulverized it and stab it and shred it and break it and burn it… and by my body, I mean my pelvic area, where the feelings are creeping in again.

I wish we hadn’t talked about body. The kid really wanted to reach out, but my mouth was glued shut. I wasn’t sure how to speak about it without just screaming… so I kept quiet.

Only now the things I didn’t say are finding other ways to be noticed.

I really wish you were here coz I could talk to you about it, but you are still away through Monday… I don’t feel comfortable bugging A about it. There would be too much to explain… she kept saying she didn’t know my history; she hadn’t read what you gave her. Part of me wished she had. That way I wouldn’t have to figure out how to cram an explanation into the session and still have time to address what was happening in the moment… or just skip it all together because I couldn’t condense it that far.

I can feel the anxiety rising again. There are memories and fantasies and fears all happening in my body at the same time. It feels like I’m throwing imaginary scenarios in to drown out whatever is trying to surface. Imaginary stuff that I create in my head is much easier to control (and tolerate) than the stuff that actually happened (maybe? They’re memories, right? They’re valid? Or maybe even those are all stories?…).

I want to do that body drawing stuff she mentioned because it feels like something the kid could use to communicate. He still needs a translator, but maybe that would help? He seems connected to the idea…

I want to try some more kid techniques sometimes. Maybe the stuff that’s stuck would become unstuck? The kid that talked to De while I colored really likes that idea too. She wants to do more of that. She liked talking… I think she told the boy, because he keeps peeking around the corner wanting to try it…

There’s really not these others inside, but it just feels like there are others there, and I just don’t have a better way to describe the feeling.

SJ’s gone. I miss her. She was the most brave about talking. She was the face of the other kids. I dunno where she went. The boy misses her too, and the other girl and little blue monster all miss her. She was both 7 and 70. She was protective, but little, but also… I dunno. A container for the other kids? Now that she isn’t here, the others have to speak for themselves? Maybe she split into them when she ran off? She was older when she left though. She felt… I dunno. She wasn’t really older, but now the memory of her feels older? Does that even make sense? She left as a kid, maybe 5 or 7, but now the memory of her leaving feels like a young adult having moved away from home to get on with her own life. She pops by to say hi every once in a while, mostly to the kids, but she’s moved on with her life… like the babysitter going off to college or something.

I know these are all constructs of my head to order and make sense of things (and to keep safe), but it feels so separate. It kinda feels like other people who maybe speak a foreign language, or are extended family, or something… I dunno.

And they shift and change over time. I guess it’s me shifting and changing things as my understanding does the same. Sometimes they make sense as they were, other times the narrative needs to change to compensate for discrepancies. I guess it makes total sense if you look at it all as constructs of my head to help navigate life… they change with my understanding and head-space.

I’m really glad you will be back next week. I hope the trip was fun. I’m really glad you are back (and I was really relieved when I saw you post stuff on ig)…


Long-term effects of growing up around violence

…Well, one long term effect. For me.

I worry about and see anger in everyone. I want to appease it, and apologize for it, even if it has nothing to do with me.

Perceived anger frightens me.

Someone was trying to get in the front door of our complex, but it’s locked. They walked back around. I’m assuming they grabbed a key, then tried again. They looked frustrated when it didn’t work.

I started to become scared. I wanted to both hide, and walk over to see if I could help in any way.

It had nothing to do with me, but I reacted as if I needed to fix it because they were mad at me specifically (I’m not even sure the woman knows anyone is home in my apartment)…

My heart is still racing. I’m still ambivalent. It happened 20 minutes ago.

I’m doing nothing wrong. The woman isn’t here for anything related to me, yet I’m scared she will come in and yell at me…

G would have done that. He was (and is) unpredictable and volatile.

This woman is not G.

I will keep repeating that to myself until my inner kid believes it (or stops the panic)