Other people

I’ve been fairly social, for me, this weekend, and will socialize even more tomorrow it looks like. At the same time I’m remembering things from the past that make me really sad. It’s an odd combination.

Yesterday I went to my 12 step group, and out for tea with them after. I wanted to share a bit of what I was going through (well, why else go really) but it’s difficult. They won’t understand about memories coming back or problems with dissociation. If I had more of a story to tell, it would perhaps be easier, but I don’t know really what the story is to go with the body memories I keep coughing up. So I just share that I’m having issues with the heat in my apartment. Then, discouraged with this stupid topic of mine, I share again, this time that I’m having these memories of my past and they make me feel bad. At least I said a bit about how I was feeling, even if no one could really relate to me. Most people share about stuff from their current life, which is very valid. I’m just obsessed with this remembering process right now, myself.

Tonight I went off with another group for our monthly dinner. It was OK. It’s tough sometimes chatting to people I’ll never be good friends with….There was one fellow there though, and I talked to him a bit after the dinner, whom I realized I really do like and do enjoy talking to. Not quite a friend, but could be one.

With both groups, during the social part, I really started getting depressed sitting there, trying to chat. I started thinking I’d be better off dead. Which is a depressing thought for sure. This isn’t any kind of plan or intention – this is just thoughts. But when they start happening, I want to see what is the cause. And I think I’ve discovered a cause. Which is that I have to stuff down whatever pain I’m feeling and pretend I’m great, so people will like me. When really I’m in the depths of sadness over remembering I was abused as a child.

I’m sure this is what I had to do as a child, when I actually blocked these events out. When I have to pretend now, as an adult, now that I’m remembering this badness – I start to think about death.

It’s actually good to realize that may be what is happening to me, and that’s why I’m having these thoughts. When I left the group tonight, after the dinner, I felt sad, but the dark thoughts stopped. It seems like I need to feel this stuff, and I can’t pretend any more that it’s not happening or never happened.

Unfortunately I need to pretend a lot of the time when I’m with people. I’m not going to go around weeping at work, or with people I know socially. Come to think of it, I don’t have anyone really where I can just say how I feel, if it’s bad. Well, no. Actually I’d say there are three people I could say I’m depressed…but not go into any details really. And there’s Ron. And there’s this blog. And the twelve step group, in the group part, I could share more if I can figure out how to say it.

  1. gniz said:

    Hey Ellen. Just try and remember, it's all happening in its own time. You can't rush it unfortunately…i know you want to skip the hard, rough, nasty parts…as do we all. Who wants to feel like shit or like they'd rather be dead?No one wants to. But the fact remains, it takes time to process, to work through these things. Right now is hard but slowly I can see you sorting through and learning to feel, learning to follow your own sense of things. This is good work Ellen, much harder work and much more significant than perhaps you realize.Keep it up Ellen, there are more people listening and caring than you realize!!Aaron

  2. It is sad that we have to pretend. But sometimes, at least for me it is better to pretend around certain people. I feel like I have to be careful who knows what I am really going through…sounds like you feel the same. But, like you, I have my T and one good friend that knows everything. For me, that is better than how it used to be…NO ONE! Take care.

  3. a very wise woman once told me that pretending is ok. She says that if you pretend you are social, people will treat you as social and they will resond accordingly and then you will learn to respond back. As a fairly unsocial person (in the going out with groups of people sense), it has worked for me. It's very stressful sometimes; other times it is a lot easier.The other thing she told me (she really is very wise) was that its also ok to be a quiet person that enjoys socialising in a quiet way.. being on the sidelines of a group and socialising by simply quietly 'being there'that works too!You are doing really well… don't be too hard on yourself

  4. Dear one I hear you on this with the depression and forcing myself to put on a positve front. Chatting and talking to people I know will not be close to me, is also a major struggle with me. In fact to the point I get exhausted making conversation. Because it is an effort. Here supporting you Ellen.

  5. Ellen said:

    @ gniz – Thanks Aaron. Yes it's hard work, thanks for recognizing this. Not sure I would choose it if I had the option, but once on this path, it unfolds itself pretty much it seems. Appreciate your support.@ Interruption – You are lucky with the one good friend – I don't really have that. But people do support me in other ways, and I am grateful for that. I agree – of course we can't share a lot with everyone – social awareness is needed, figuring out what people would be comfortable with. thanks for the comment@ still – those are wise words, ty. I especially like the part where it's ok to be quiet…nice to meet you on my blog!@ JBR – yes, that's how I feel also. It's so much harder to socialize when feeling down…thanks for the support! take care

  6. Em said:

    hi ellenmaybe when you was young and the horrendous events happened to you, you knew you didnt want to be there. as an adult to 'not be here' means death.i have been going over similiar issues in therapy. today, she noted that i suppress things, block them out, takes me alot of effort to be around people because im never truly myself. that has a knock on effect on my energy. theres only a few people i can be me around. im really glad you put yourself out there, even in the most difficult situations, you still go. please take a pat on the back for doing this. try not to see what your doing wrong, but actually what you are achieving. well done. xxxx

  7. gniz said:

    Em makes a really, really great point. I also find that social situations and particularly work situations can be draining for me because the way I am around my wife or close friends is very irreverent, making silly and sometimes obscene jokes, or I tend to want to talk "deep stuff." So this isn't very appropriate for casual acquaintances or proper conversations where I might likely offend people who don't know or get me…I think a lot of my "path", for lack of a better word, has been to become more comfortable being myself in my life. It's still a work in progress.

  8. gniz said:

    BTW, I also do believe that people who were mistreated or criticized as children struggle more to be themselves and be comfortable in their skin because they've been taught and had it drilled in to act differently from a young age, to a point where it's hard to tell where the "real" person begins and the fake persona ends…

  9. Ellen said:

    @ Em – thanks Em, I'll take a pat on the back, A for effort etc. Suppressing things does take a lot of energy, I find that also, and of course my T also points that out. Glad you have some you can be yourself with. interesting to hear a bit about your therapy Em.@ gniz – Interesting Aaron. I bet I'd like your real self also. But yeah, work and casual chat – I can see you'd really need to dial it down. I think these are all real interesting points. For me, right now, it's more the case that I'm going through a bunch of crap that scares me and leaks out all over the place, and it's just difficult to shut it down to socialize. The 'being myself' issue is definitely one that I also have though, it's just not top of mind right now, if that makes any sense whatsoever. Once i'm in a more settled place I'll be struggling with that one I'm sure. Your point about kids who were mistreated is good – I was definitely taught to never show how I felt and to always 'toe the line'. cheers

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