advice · challenge · experience · inspiration · life · self help · society · truth · Uncategorized

Getting Real about derealization

I know what it feels like to be dead while I’m still alive. I’ve lost my sense of self and connection to this world more times than I can count. I want to share my story in case anyone out there has experienced the same thing, and we can support each other.

As long as I can remember I have experienced depression. I grew up in a very chaotic, stressful, upsetting, and damaging environment and I cried myself to sleep a good amount of it. I was constantly surrounded by emotional abuse, whether between my parents, or my other family members, and it turned me into an adult with a strong outer core, but a crippling mess on the inside. I have never fully processed everything I heard and saw as a child, and because of it I have anxiety about random things like spending money and loud noises, recurrent depression and loneliness, and a fear of abandonment. The year I turned sixteen was the worst year of my life, as my mom was forced to leave our house and she moved far away with her boyfriend at the time. I was lost, heartbroken, and an emotional wreck. My older sister was always at her boyfriend’s house and my dad worked at night, so after I came home from school I cried a solid six hours daily, collapsing on the ground and struggling to breathe while my dog stood by my side in confusion. I could barely sleep, and every night I laid in my bed praying an airplane would crash through the roof and kill me. Luckily I was too scared to kill myself, but several times I tried to choke myself and scratch my arms bloody. I had too much pain deep down in me, and no one to talk to, as my sister was never home, my dad and I had a broken relationship, and I didn’t feel like I could go to my friends for support. I suffered in silence, and I regret that everyday.

When I moved away for college, I felt like I was pushing away all of the family problems that were waiting at home, but whenever I came home for the weekend they came back. My family relied on me as their emotional backbone, and every problem had to go through me before getting resolved. As a result, I lived under extreme stress and when I had to go home, I often sobbed either on the drive there or back. Added into that was the fact that I received no financial help from my family since I was sixteen, so the $40+ in gas to come home gave me a mental breakdown. I have worked so hard since I got my first job at sixteen, but my money has dwindled away so I could buy the necessities like food and school supplies that my friends’ parents all provided them. I grew angry towards my family, for cursing me with financial and emotional instability and I knew I had lasting mental health issues from the years of untreated pain. When I was bullied by my first-ever roommates in college and contemplated dropping out of school, I finally sought help from the free counseling at school. It was nice to talk to someone, but overall I do not feel like these services provide anything revolutionary. The next semester was better, and I stopped the services.

My sophomore year in college was the worst of my college years for mental health. Because I have two majors, I had a 19-credit semester and an 18-credit semester, and those coupled with my numerous involvements on campus meant I left my dorm at 8am and did not return until 10 or 11pm Monday through Thursday. My roommates were often laughing and enjoying themselves when I got back and had yet to start my homework. My sleep suffered, and I did not feel like myself. I spread myself way too thin, and I learned my lesson. It was also in this year that I stopped smoking weed after a traumatic incident where I got too high, had a panic attack, almost called 9-11, and felt high for weeks after. I think this may have triggered the main topic of this post, derealization and depersonalization (DR/DP). This year I again sought out counseling services for the tremendous stress I was dealing with, and I also asked to do an assessment for bipolar disorder, depression, and anxiety, of which the tests determined I had none. I tried to talk to my counselor about DR/DP, but she told me it was all in my head. I felt invalidated and tried to pray it away.

My summers have involved traveling for the past three years now, and that is always good for me, because being in my dad’s house on breaks brings my depression back full force. Old family pictures feel awkward and unfitting, and our large house filled with old things no one cares about and not enough love to go around brings me to the brink of sadness. My relationship with my parents is a lot healthier now, but for me nostalgia is like a ton of bricks dropping on me: it has weight, and it comes with a lot of pain. Things were decent when I was really young, but most of my memories aren’t positive. Every time I travel to a new place, I feel DR/DP for a while, until I’m adjusted.

My junior year I spent the first semester abroad, which was incredible, but I was also in a committed relationship, so it was very difficult at first. I was too attached to my romantic partner, and found myself hyperventilating and bawling my eyes out for the first month, until I made myself numb about it. The second semester I came back and thought the pain of missing my partner would be gone, but my attachment intensified, like I wanted to keep him close so that would never happen again. I became distant with many of my friends from before I went abroad, and my only source of happiness was my boyfriend. I sought a counselor for codependency, and he gave me some techniques for grounding and ways to create a healthy relationship. I continued to struggle with DR/DP, and didn’t even bother to mention it to this counselor.

This brings me to today. I have been stuck in this episode of DR/DP for over a week, which happens quite frequently and which I have never been able to defeat. It defeats me. DR/DP makes me feel like I am high, but worse. There is no joy, there is no love, there is no happiness. Bodily sensations like pain, having to use the bathroom, and hunger seem distant, and I can ignore them if I want. I would starve myself when I’m in an episode, but I fear I’d get too sick and throw up. The worst part about it is that life doesn’t stop. I have to go to work, keep plans with friends, drive places, etc. even though I feel like I’m asleep.The only thing I want to do when I’m like this is sleep. I could stare at something all day. I’m not myself at all. I can’t smell, taste, or feel emotionally or physically. It is, in an essence, being dead. I imagine it is worse than death though. There is no meaning to life when I’m in this state. Sometimes it lasts for days, sometimes for weeks, but it always comes back and there’s nothing I can do to make it go away.

I’ve sought online support, and it has helped validate this and let me know that many, many other people go through this too, but I have yet to find a professional who can help me. School counselors are either unknowledgeable or unqualified, and everywhere else is too expensive. DR/DP is caused by extreme anxiety, or a traumatic panic attack, and it could be both for me. Recently I have dealt with anxiety more than ever before, and panic attacks for no apparent reason. My mind is a dark and twisted place, and I cannot figure it out. I tried to seek help in Los Angeles, but because my health insurance isn’t from this state, I couldn’t get free counseling. I don’t know where else to turn. Mental health services should not be this hard to come by. People die slow and painful deaths due to mental illness, and if this continued to go untreated, I will be in the same boat. I have so much passion for life, but having an unexplained and untreated mental illness takes every ounce of passion out of me and convinces me I am a machine that lives my life on autopilot. That’s the reality of derealization and depersonalization. It sucks the life from you. My DR/DP is worse than my depression and anxiety combined. It’s like living in purgatory with no way out but to silently suffer. I have only dared to tell a few people about this, because I’m scared many will think I’m insane. Even a counselor thought i was over exaggerating. But I’m tired of having to pretend like everything is okay when I talk to friends. I want to help end the stigma of mental illness by being completely transparent about my lifelong struggles with emotional instability. This won’t help it go away, but it will give me a sense of freedom to not hide what I go through on a daily basis. That’s too exhausting, and not fair to myself.

I truly hope I can find some treatment for anxiety, which will hopefully cure my DR/DP. There are many success stories online, but everyone is different, and I’ve been going through this so long that I have no hope. I will keep looking though, and I hope everyone suffering inside does the same. Don’t give up on yourself just because it feels like everyone else has given up.

If anyone thinks of me differently now, then they must accept the fact that this is the real me. We can’t pretend to not suffer, because it encourages other people to stay silent too, and suffering in silence is self-destruction. If someone can’t accept that lately I have had more days with panicking, crying, numbness, confusion, and sadness than without, then they can’t accept me wholly.

If anyone out there is going through something similar, don’t hesitate to reach out. We must care for each other in this society that treats mental illness like a burden.

 

Rapper Logic has opened up about his struggle with derealization disorder.

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challenge · experience · friendship · inspiration · life · love · poetry · positivity · self help · society · support · truth · Uncategorized · writing

Lifted

Some would say I’m floating on a cloud

Because convention means nothing to me

I will save every penny

So I can afford to live my fantasy

Every day is a brick to build my dream house

And I am tired of hearing that

My youth dictates my naivety

That all of my experiences amount to nothing

Because I don’t have a trail of debts following me

That life will suddenly catch up to me

And I will find myself in your shoes.

But with all of the intentional decisions I have made-

Why do you think I will suddenly lose my autonomy

And forsake all I have worked for

To live a life of safety?

There is nothing within me begging for comfort

I force myself into discomfort so that with squirming I grow

I scare myself straight so that nothing may scare me

I experiment with life so that I find what feels right

Trusting my instincts in the path that I take,

And knowing that nothing is enough to be the end of my fate

Nothing is so threatening that I will succumb

To the societal forces that drive others numb

There is no living on a cloud when you come to accept

life is built from dreams when you take concrete steps

towards passion and purpose and a generous path

in which you unfold with joy and others can laugh

sharing in how life rarely goes as planned

but if you continue seeking better, in a paradise you’ll land

with contentment and success in the deepest sense

not a pawn in the mundane game, but forever blessed

embodying the living in life and accepting nothing less

than the fruits of your labor and lovingness

for all aspects of living a life of cold truth

that may pain you to follow but to which you must commit

that’s why I’m vowing when I’m young to never submit

to the easiest path of instant gratification

my dreams are worth more than an occasional vacation

I will build my dream life so there is no need for escaping.

challenge · experience · friendship · inspiration · life · love · poetry · positivity · self help · society · tips · truth · Uncategorized

On forgiveness

There is more to be earned from forgiveness than from bitterness.

I was once a burning-bridges type of human

The one that feels the sting of rejection and malintent

And cannot forget it.

And cuts ties to reduce the persistent pain.

But I have learned there is much to lose from not forgiving.

Even if I have loved more, given more, been more for the other person,

They may still have something genuine to offer

It is enchanting: the power of pushing away what has proven difficult

But what bewitches me more these days is the idea of not how others can improve

But how I can improve, for one

Doling out more chances for imperfect humans

To provide some sort of shelter for us both

Sometimes the strongest bonds are also the most volatile

And other times, if a mountain of energy is gifted for little to no return

It is time to let them go.

But one should know

Only after trying, really trying,

To form something real-

Because deep below the surface, profoundly, within all of us, exists

A desire to connect and an obscured ability to do so

So maybe all our comrades need is a reminder

That the effort is worth it

That their humanness means something to you.

experience · inspiration · life · love · poetry · positivity · Uncategorized

How blessed I am, I cannot begin to comprehend

My life outstretched in front of me, I decided to extend my arms longer although I thought my arms had made up their mind. No farther.

I hijacked my body for hundreds of miles, although each fiber conspired to remain.

I lost everything that ever meant anything to me and found my meaning in having none of it.

I laughed at how painful it was to keep moving, and moving, and abandoning the world I had claimed previously.

Realizing, the world is not mine to claim.

I am simply its pawn.

It has claimed me and assigned me to this mission.

So if you love me, let me go far-

Let me go tell the others the heaven that awaits them

When they take that next step, and

Grasp their chance at living.

20170712_150403.jpg

advice · experience · life · self help · Uncategorized

Am I a Fake Minimalist?

Moving back into my father’s house, I was unpacking suitcase upon suitcase. It wasn’t an extreme amount of stuff, since it could fit in my car to make the journey home, but it was enough to take me over an hour to organize. It was too much.

After downsizing my life and trying time after time again to sell and responsibly ditch my possessions, I had too much.

Was I a fake minimalist?

What is a minimalist anyways?

You apparently must buy a very small number of things from the day you start bringing things into your life. I will be twenty this year and I am still drowning in possessions.

This is a warning to everyone: stop buying stuff. You don’t need even half of what you buy.

Re-evaluate why you bring things into your life. Do you feel better when you buy things? How long does it take for that feeling to fade? Then you’re stuck with less money and more junk. More things and less space in your home, and less time since you must spend some of your time organizing and tending to your possessions.

Your possessions will possess you.

It happened to me.

I went through an emotional process of purging myself of possessions, and I still have too much. I have repeatedly had to confess my sins: my past prioritization of possessions and my past purchases from unethical businesses. The businesses I paid to enslave other humans for my benefit.

I have been disgusted and disappointed with my former, ignorant self. And I have drastically transformed my habits. Now, I only buy what I need. I shop from responsible retailers, and I promote sustainable choices to others. I try to repent for my sins, but I still have the evidence of my former self.

I have realized nothing I do now can erase my past mistakes. I will be shedding these remains for years to come, as I learn, my style evolves, and I let go. I realize I am more myself, less stressed, and can travel more easily with less stuff. I can’t erase my past mistakes, but I can make better decisions today. Now, I am extremely hesitant to purchase anything that is not a necessity. Now, I stay woke about the movement for fair labor, and I stay active in pushing for this. But still, I can do more. I can write to companies asking for better. I can use my voice to speak to mainstream companies, rather than just opting for ethical alternatives (a boycott might not always be the best solution- more on this later).

I am less concerned about the “minimalist” label, and more concerned about the role I play in the overconsumption that swallows this country whole. Now when I stumble upon my mindless purchases, I can acknowledge where I was when I made the decision to bring that item into my life. I realize how far I have come, and how healthy it is for me to keep letting go of my old possessions. When I brought these things into my life, I was trying to fill a void. Now, when I let go, I can fill that void with something more meaningful: travel, introspective time, and exploring. The less I have, the freer I am.

Heed my warning now and save yourself some heartache: stop buying so much stuff.

 

To become more aware of the impact of your consumption, visit:

Slaveryfootprint.org

experience · inspiration · life · poetry · Uncategorized

Dream House

What do you have to say for this love we built like sand castles

For the way you let my legs drape over your shoulders so that I could use our combined height

To create our dream house

For the way you stood on your tip toes and stretched your arms longer than I have ever witnessed

To build our dream house

For all of the wind and the weather and the waves we ignored to keep building and building, building

To create our dream house

What do you have to say for the fact that we chose a beach and we chose sand

To build our dream house

What do you have to say for the fact that we chose the water but we live in Michigan where it’s cold

What do you have to say for the fact that we took our separate dreams and amputated them from our bodies

To birth our dream house

What do you have to say for the fact that we let these limbs wash away

To create this dream house

What do you have to say- what do you think- what do you think about the separate realities we have attempted to merge

What do you have to say for the fact that I was building a sandy ranch on the beach and you wanted floors, and floors, you wanted a palace

What do you think about the fact that we were both working on the same house but a different dream

What do you have to say about the names I wrote in the sand, how I perfectly merged our names

How nothing ever really stays

in sand- it either blows away, or is crushed, or washes away

What do you have to say. What do you think about the fact that we have not washed away

But the floors of this dream house keep collapsing

Each gust of wind is like a spell against us

To build this dream house

What do you have to say of all the sand covered spells we cast on each other with eyes and tongues

What do you have to say of all the sand covered love we have shared in the sun

When the winter we live in has crept up slowly on our backs

And the tingle on my spine has a name written in the sand but it washed away with ours

And what do you have to say. What do you have to dream about anymore?

Now that the water has come and gone are the walls and the floors and every imaginary door

Of our dream house

sandcastle

 

poetry · Uncategorized

Unraveling

You came to me in a dream

I saw a light and followed it like a moth without a reason

Other than it’s light. And this might

Be the sun from which I radiate

I unraveled my skin and bones to let you in

But you quickly realized blood is thicker than water

And you can’t even swim

And within this likelihood of finding hope and finding home

I lost my voice by failing to scream when I needed to the most

There are objects that felt my rage passion and desire stronger than you did.

Now my dreams are flooded with other men.

I wake up in a sweat and cry in the darkness.

No one really knows how much I am-

Unraveling

Unraveling

Unraveling

For you. To give myself to the light and not the moon. To tell myself that constellations connect stars that are millions of miles apart and there is a reason I was drawn to you. Even if I forgot it.

And there’s a reason for everything right?

And why do I feel like this, why do I charge myself with crimes I didn’t commit why am I not committed

How does one be committed

How do I keep a promise I never made?

To you. Because truly it’s true I made every single promise to me and not you because I am just that incredibly unsure of my words when I am around you. and I hold them in until I am away and can let my mind run free and play and proclaim myself a sunflower, a shining star in the night sky on her own, in her own poetry, in her own galaxy, in her own darkness. Lost in her own darkness.

And I am sorry if I didn’t spin on my head for you or turn the world upside down.

Magic does not come from me when I am numb, you took my words from me and escape was the only method of liberation. With you I feel tied down like you are my only obligation. Like I cannot even fall off the face of the earth without dealing with some sort of repercussion. Because there is a whole branch of you that is me, and to me you are leaves.

And I am devoid of hope and there isn’t a fire in me now because I tried to clear my mind out to love you. I folded in my limbs and made myself compact so if you ran me over I wouldn’t be crushed, I could still walk again. Remember I gave my spine to you. there is nothing to break. Don’t try there’s no use

And is it wrong to say I could never protect you?

And if there was a bullet I wouldn’t let you

Save me. There is no saving a woman who is her own hero, her own lifeblood, who breathes fire, and can expand and contract herself when needed. I contracted myself but you never see it

Your eyes are pointed downwards and you are encumbered with yourself. I am a world to you, but I am not your world. Love comes in waves, but is no ocean. When I found the source I thought it was never-ending, but it really was just accumulation from a storm. There isn’t enough clean drinking water for all of us

Each day I bend my back over to look at the world, burn holes in my eyes to withstand the collective pain of humanity. I ache for others, and repair myself-

You ache for yourself and I will never be able to accept your lack of investment in the living of others. I carry their weight on my back.

But I do not want to carry yours much longer. I am weary from the long winding road and I have much time ahead.

This vision had prospects but lost itself midway. Neither of us wanted to get wet we just dipped our toes in and I wanted to be fearless but I don’t think that you are ready to release yourself like I have

You cling to your bones like your name is engraved in them

I lost my skin years ago