Recovering a bit

I’m still fatigued from the flu. Today I left the house for the first time in days. Sat in the cafe to prove I could. I actually forgot about no dairy – I ordered a latte, and didn’t specify soy. The barrista made me a new one, very kindly. I couldn’t believe I’d forgotten. When I’m sick, my life goes out of my head I guess.

I even took a walk. Shorter than normal, but still.

I’ve read four complete books in the last week. Two mysteries, two a bit more challenging. I’m getting more pleasure from reading again.

I did end up in a kind of flashback yesterday. I have this problem where I fall asleep for naps, and wake up in a bad state. Foggy, really sad, down at the bottom of a well. Plus very dissociative – the kid comes uppermost, and other parts. I can’t decide whether this is an emotional flashback, or whether I wake up in a young, traumatized part. It always seems as if some awful thing has just happened to me which I can’t explain or describe. It’s like the immediate aftermath.

This nap situation happens to me a lot. This time I decided to write it down for Ron, as it was happening. The kid wrote something, and I wrote something. Over several hours, I saved one email and wrote a few times to describe things.

Writing it down made it seem more concrete, more real. Then sending the email made it even more real. Usually I struggle for a few hours to get out of the feelings, and then forget them. I never tell anyone. It doesn’t make sense, and is too difficult to try and explain.

Well, then I got mad at Ron. He didn’t respond very quickly. For some reason, I felt he was my enemy – he completely changed in my mind. I tried to tell myself I wasn’t thinking straight, and it kind of helped. Then he did respond, and said something about how it’s hard to be alone, he’s glad I’m reaching out.

Hmmm….That made me really mad. But why? It’s not a terrible thing to say, and he was quite accepting.

I wrote back that I wasn’t the least bit lonely, and that people are too much trouble anyway. I did thank him for responding though.

I felt he didn’t understand that I was describing a flashback. I want him to understand. He just seemed to think I was lonely.

I don’t really long for people when I’m struggling to get out of these dark states. It always seems to me, if anyone was around, I’d have the even worse struggle of trying to hide what I was going through, or explain it at least, and I just don’t feel up to it. I’m better off struggling with it alone.

Describing it all by email definitely made it more solid and real. I still felt it around the next day, and spent some hours in bed in the morning because I couldn’t deal. I was hoping the email would help me work through it more, so I don’t have to keep having this experience over and over. Not sure if it did that. I did feel all this anger though, which is not a usual part of the experience. I wonder if that’s also a memory – of not having anyone to help me, of being misunderstood.

Well, at least I’m on the mend physically if not psychologically. Huge struggle to cook dinner tonight, but when I finally pulled something together, two hours later than usual, I was proud I’d powered through and cooked. If I can just get started, it picks up momentum and is not as bad as I think it is going to be.

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12 comments
  1. leb105 said:

    the “nap thing” sounds like another piece of the puzzle, E. that’s great that you caught it on paper so you could take a look at it. You’re brave to do so when you’re sick and feeling vulnerable and wobbly. Glad you’re on the mend, and taking care of yourself.

    • Ellen said:

      It actually was kind of difficult to write it out and send it. Thanks Laura.

  2. one brave duck said:

    Glad you are starting to feel better. Your anger at his acknowledging your loneliness interests me, as it’s something you write about often on here. Maybe he is modelling how a caring adult might respond in this situation – “I”m glad you told me” “how sad to wake up upset and feel alone” and the implied “I care for you” and those types of things which in the end are also all things that “adult you” can say to little you, as well. I think it’s great that you have spoken about the horrible disorienting feelings after a nap, squashing them down or ignoring them or just enduring them until they leave seems so cruel. It’s hard to minister to ourselves in crisis, though, at least that’s been my experience.

    • Ellen said:

      Yes, it is harder in a crisis. I wonder why that is – maybe we automatically take on a role like an uncaring parent, as we experienced originally? Food for thought.

      I felt as if Ron didn’t understand I was telling him about a flashback – I thought he just thought I was lonely and that was why I was writing. I really wanted to be understood. At the same time, it was still a caring comment, and the anger doesn’t seem justified, with a cool head. I’ve thought of emailing an apology, but didn’t. It’s true, I can use his responses as models for caring for myself. I’m so used to trying to squash these things down and cope instead. Thanks for the insights OBD.

  3. plf1990 said:

    1. Thank you for sharing this post. I have nominated you for a Brave Heart Award:
    Stand Strong You Are Not Alone
    I call you a survivor, because that is what you are. There are days when you don’t feel like a survivor and there are days when the memories trigger your past and it feels like you are loosing the fight – but you are not. Take the past and heal with it. You are strong. I want you to know that the abuse was not your fault. It does not matter what age it happened. You did not deserve it, you did not cause it, and you did not bring it on yourself. You own no shame, guilt, or remorse. In your life, you have faced many demons but look around you and you will see there is hope, and there is beauty. You are beautiful, You are loved, there is hope. You deserve to be loved and treated with respect. You deserve peace and joy in your life. Don’t settle for anything less than that. God has plans for you. Your future does not have to be dictated by your past.
    Each step you take you are not alone.
    Stand Strong.
    Please follow the instructions on my blog to accept your award 🙂 thank you for blogging.
    http://www.understandingmeandher.wordpress.com

    • Ellen said:

      Thanks for the award plf – I’m honoured. I don’t do awards on this blog, but I’m always happy to receive a nomination. Cheers

  4. Bourbon said:

    I hate waking up from naps in that state!! I so get what you are describing there… really really unsettling 😦 xx

    • Ellen said:

      Not too many people seem to have this problem. Thanks for understanding Bourbon.

  5. Momentum’s a big one for me, too – and not just when I’m sick! BB (Before Breakdown) I could be superwoman, and just do whatever I set my mind to. These days, life’s quite different. Still, life goes on.

    • Ellen said:

      Yes, it’s all about momentum and habit for me. I never was superwoman though. Thanks DB.

  6. I have exactly the same problem with naps–I also have it with sleep at nigh, but maybe I notice it less or maybe it’s just less severe. But I’m usually in a fog for a good hour and sometimes several hours when I wake up and just feel really weird. Sometimes I feel really horrible also the way you describe. Mostly, I try not to take naps. Maybe it’s hard to put myself back together again after sleeping or maybe waking up naturally prompts a sense of vulnerability that is a part of that something-horrible-just-happened state and that brings it on full-force. I really don’t know. But I think I do feel confused when I wake up, and confusion is a terribly painful emotion for me.

    The hard part for me about being misunderstood, especially by a therapist, is that it seems like if someone doesn’t understand they can’t help me. I don’t know if that’s also an issue for you. In therapy, I really felt I needed help, that I couldn’t understand it all myself and I didn’t know what to do and I needed some guidance, and being misunderstood meant that I couldn’t trust any guidance that was offered, because it would be directed at a problem that wasn’t there.

    Also, it sounds like you felt your experience was being minimized. That post-nap feeling is so much more intense than just being alone. It’s more like your head is being bashed in. Or maybe I feel that way because the terrible thing was having my head bashed in and waking up from sleep still reminds me of waking up after losing consciousness. Anyway, it’s a strange thing, but I think I also experience the post-nap-phenomenon you describe.

    • Ellen said:

      I often also have that problem in the morning, just it’s not so severe. If it was, my life would be a complete disaster frankly. I’m sorry you suffer similarly but interesting you have this also.

      Being misunderstood feels awful to me, because I trust Ron to be the one person who can understand. However, sometimes he does, and sometimes he doesn’t – it’s not black and white.

      I did feel my experience was being minimized – thank you, that’s the word exactly. I was never violently attacked as you describe – must be terrible.

      Thanks for understanding Ashana.

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