HEAD IN THE CLOUDS

“I have to feel worse before I can feel better.”

I pulled this quote from a previous blog post of mine because it is still relevant to my current life experiences. Although frustrating for me, it is not surprising that I have been having an incredibly challenging time creating or posting anything onto this blog for quite a while.

My goal has always been to share my thoughts and experiences in a manner that is authentic, vulnerable, and honest. I take pride in delivering content that I feel is exciting, meaningful, relatable, helpful, insightful and/or self-reflective. For a while now, my brain hasn’t been in a space that feels safe or organized enough for me to discuss what’s been going on in my life in a longer format than the character count provided on Twitter. Crafting and sharing a filtered narrative on my blog isn’t helpful or satisfying for me as a writer, even if my brain (occasionally) tries to convince me otherwise. I know that many people enjoy reading and relating to an authentic storyteller. For me, this means that I often need to take a break from writing so that I can continue creating content that I feel accurately depicts my reality.

The last year of my life has been a rollercoaster ride; filled with major highs and crushing lows. I’d love to be able to share more about these events at some point, but I know that right now is not the most appropriate time for me to do so. Instead of divulging into these aspects of my life, I want to share a little bit about where my head is at right now. Simply put, my head is feeling up in the clouds…

I cannot pinpoint exactly when my dissociative tendencies became so pervasive and persistent because I’ve struggled with dissociation for most of my life. More recently though, it has come to a point where I am now way more cognizant of it and its become quite debilitating in my daily life. I have always mentally struggled to pursue the things that I’ve wanted to do, but somehow have been able to persevere and function through the discomfort of my dissociation. Navigating life with a dissociation prone brain has made all of my creative endeavours particularly challenging. I have drafted so many blog posts over the last year, but I have avoided publishing any of them because everything I’ve written feels foreign to me when I’ve read it back. Although a lot of the content is quite honest and vulnerable, nothing feels truly authentic to me. I’m not sure if that makes sense, but that’s mostly why I’ve chosen not to post very much as of late (even if I had once expressed enthusiasm online about a particular post!)

I’m still working alongside a team of various health professionals to help me understand and work through all of my challenges, but for right now, I am taking a little break. Working on my mental health is important to me, but I can also recognize when I need to take a step back, take a breather, and regroup. That is what I’ve been trying to do these past couple of weeks. I’m exploring what it’s like to simply live my life, and not be so focused on trying to “fix” me all of the time. None of this is easy, and to be honest, a lot of the time it feels isolating and sometimes frightening. Living in persistent and varying states of dissociation just makes life difficult to participate in. It doesn’t really matter to me whether I’m around people, engaging in conversation, doing something that I would typically enjoy; it all feels surreal, unfulfilling or muted. That is, if I am able to remember any of it at all…

I know that healing and processing my traumas will take time, and that I have to be patient with the process. Slowly but surely, my brain will figure this out. At least, as of now, I am pretty certain that (despite the road being bumpy) I am headed in the right direction in my recovery journey.

Thank you for sticking around and always being so kind and lovely, especially when I’ve been extremely quiet and distant. I truly appreciate your support.

Linla

AVOIDANCE: MY UNHELPFUL COPING SKILL

Authenticity. Vulnerability. Honesty. Ugh.

I’ve been trying my best to be gentle towards myself for struggling immensely with tackling these concepts in my every day life, but the truth is it’s really fucking difficult. Trying to get out of the habit of unconsciously (and consciously) filtering myself by recognizing and calling myself out whenever I do it, feels like a never-ending game of “tug-of-war” that is incredibly exhausting to play.

When it comes to blogging, part of my brain is like, “This is your space to write about whatever you want, so write!” and the other part of my brain is like, “No one needs/wants to hear about the constant negative shit that is/has been going on in your life so its better to not write anything at all.”

Needless to say, my depressive and anxious thoughts have been getting the best of me these days. I haven’t felt like sharing what’s been going on in my life because I have a strong tendency towards avoidance. I’m still learning how to manage, work through/challenge, and embrace those (helpful and unhelpful) negative emotions, such as: shame, guilt, anger, hurt, sadness, disappointment, and anxiety that are currently consuming me.

I spend a lot of my time in both individual and group therapies. This year, I have been in, or am currently in a combination of therapies such as: CBT, EMDR, DBT, and TTED (I made up this last acronym, although it is essentially just another type of CBT-based therapy). I’m grateful that I currently have access to these therapies but going through them often feels like a “Catch 22” situation. It’s a situation where “I have to feel worse before I can feel better” – Except I already feel pretty fucking terrible to begin with… and I’m supposed to feel this even more? It’s hard.

Understanding the basics of how emotions work, then learning to recognize them, sit with them and feel them, instead of repressing or avoiding them is still challenging for me. Avoidance has always been my go-to unhelpful coping skill; whether I’ve repressed or avoided my emotions through overworking or overscheduling myself, taking care of others instead of taking care of myself, doing school work or procrastinating doing school work, procrastinating tasks in general, over-exercising, controlling food, substance use, withdrawing myself from events, situations, activities… As you can see, my list isn’t exhaustive by any means, and I have definitely mastered the unhelpful coping skill of avoidance. But I’m actively working on challenging my avoidant tendencies, even if it’s uncomfortable. “No (emotional) pain, no (emotional) gain” can be my newest saying, I guess?

I try my best to stay positive and optimistic about my healing journey, but it’s honestly been nothing short of an uphill battle. I feel exhausted battling my brain all day, every day; trying to notice, challenge, change, or accept my thoughts and emotions for what they are – just thoughts and emotions – without feeling the need to act based on them. More often than not, I succeed and can manage and go about my day. But sometimes, usually when I’m feeling particularly overwhelmed, I’m not as successful at challenging my thoughts and then my “Fuck this. I’m tired. Repress. Avoid” mindset wins. I’m human – a work in progress – and that’s okay. At least I’m still trying, and I’m attempting to blog about my feelings rather than continuing to avoid them.

“Healing isn’t a linear process and change takes time.”

Linla