Saturday, January 25, 2014

The Silent Storm

A continuation from my last post, What a Bad Mental Illness Day is Like.


For the most part, when I am struggling, I am not obvious about it.  I get very quiet and avoid people and activities when I can.  Because I have to for self-preservation.

Do I hide it on purpose?  Sometimes.  When I cry and cry all day long at every little thing, I fight those tears around my kids.  And around most other people.  I don't want my kids to worry.  I don't want to have to explain myself to others.  And seeing the pain in others' eyes because I am hurting is hard.

But sometimes I have to explain.  And then I cry and pace and shake my arms to try to make the feelings go away.  It's so exhausting and it hurts!  After an hour of trying to explain and process, I feel like I've done the hardest workout of my life.  I have to change my clothes because I sweat so much.

This last week I had to do this twice.

First with my bishop (pastor).  I snapped at him at church.  Later I apologized and told him I was not in a good place.  He asked if I needed to talk.  I try to keep my life off his plate because I know his plate is full.  But this time I absolutely needed him.  I needed a priesthood blessing.  And he needed to understand how bad it was.

We visited for an hour.  He listened well and asked good questions, but not too many.  And he gave me a blessing.

But I scared him.  Enough that he asked about hospitalization.  It's not the worst I've ever been, but it's the worst he's seen me.

He asked me to promise to communicate with him more often when I'm struggling and let him worry about how much is on his plate.  I promised to try.  It's very difficult.  I also promised to talk to my therapist about hospitalization and medication.  That was Sunday.

Yesterday, I met with my therapist and had to do the whole thing again.  So exhausting.

We did an EMDR scan to see if this was connected to some trauma we haven't worked on yet.  Nothing came up.  We did a couple of EMDR tracers to see if it was connected to either of the two traumas we've recently worked on.  Again, nothing.  My symptoms have been a lot like PTSD, but it doesn't seem like that's what this is.

When my PTSD gets triggered, I usually have at least an inkling of what it's connected to, even if I don't want to talk about it.  This time there is nothing.  I have no idea where any of this is coming from.  I don't know what's causing it.

My therapist said we treat it like an anomaly and treat the symptoms the best we can until it passes (unless it doesn't).  He suggested it might be SAD (seasonal affective disorder).  He offered to put my name on the list for the DBT group (dialectical behavior therapy -- mood regulation training).  We established a medication plan.  He gave me permission to isolate myself therapeutically (you wouldn't think that permission matters, but it does).

He asked what one symptom was the worst.  I thought for a minute and answered, "The way the emotions of others overwhelm me."

You see, right now I feel everything those around me feel.  It's like I am permeable and can't keep their emotions out.  They saturate me and drown me.  It feels like everything is a crisis.  When my daughter complains about someone she works with it feels the same as someone talking to me about the death of their child.  Everything is a ten on the pain scale and it all comes through into me.  Like they are drowning and clinging to me to save them, drowning me in the process.  It hurts.  The emotional pain is so intense that it becomes physical.

So I have to protect myself from it.  I have friends who have been going through a tough time and I haven't been able to reach out to them because it's too much for me.

Even when I'm not with people I hurt.  I feel like all my nerves are on fire.  It's like I'm wearing a coat lined with little needles and they are all pressing into my skin.  And it feels like if anyone bumps me they will press those needles deeper.  Plus, people give off their own electrical field.  When anyone is closer to me than about three feet, it feels like their electrical field is being conducted through those little needles into my body.  Having people near me hurts.  It just hurts so bad.

I cry a lot, over anything.  My heart races.  I feel like I am shaking (although I am only occasionally actually physically shaking).  And I am so sensitive to everything.  Today, even the shower hurt.

But this doesn't show.  There's no visible sign that I'm not okay.  Except for my red eyes when I'm crying.  Or when I cringe away from people when they get too close (which so often hurts their feelings).

I still can't connect to myself.  I've tried.  And I can't connect to God.  I keep trying.  I don't think he's pulled away, but I just can't seem to connect.  It's incredibly painful to not be able to connect to myself and to God.  I feel so lost.

I've had similar symptoms in the past, but I've always been able to figure out why.  I can't this time.  And it's usually been of short duration, but this time it's been a month with almost no break.  I know my behavior doesn't make sense.  I know my reactions are completely out of proportion.  I know I am angry way more than I should be, but I can't stop it.

So if you see me, please be kind.  I may look okay, but inside there is a storm raging that threatens to submerge me.


Bonnie said...

I thought you looked like you'd been beaten up Thursday night. I sent silent prayers your way and a few loving looks. I understand what I understand, even if it's not precise. I love you. I describe my experience of what you're describing as not having skin. I have a son who deals with this too and I pray much for him, looking forward to a coming day when we are all healed.

The Dose of Reality said...

I hope you're able to connect to yourself soon. I'm thinking of you. -Lisa

MaggieJo said...

I love you. And I believe you.

Dana Hemelt said...

I'm sorry you are in such a bad place right now. I hope sharing has been therapeutic for you in some small way - it certainly is brave. Thinking of you and praying things get better soon. said...

I'm so sorry, Robin. I hope this runs its course quickly. I know it's much harder to deal with and fix when you don't know where it came from. Praying for you today.

Anonymous said...

Your journal sounds just like me and I understand and physically FEEL every word. And I know how you are struggling...and I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.

I don't know exactly what to say other than "I get it" and don't give up.

Anonymous said...

Been there, Lady. Oh gosh, I know these things too well.

I'm going to tell you what my people always tell me. Don't be too hard on yourself and take it as easy as you can.

I know what its like to overreact to everything because everything feels so big. I know the needle feeling and the on fire nerves.

Keep hanging on. Keep swimming because if I have to, so do you! ;)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for helping us know how you feel. We can be more effective pray - era for you. I had no idea! Praying from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. It will be wonderful to hear your story as you come back to the sunshine again!