Headache and musings

Feeling somewhat better since I posted. I got a headache, and instead of getting the Tylenol I tried some natural remedies. Such as peppermint and lavender essential oils rubbed on my forehead, yoga stretches and neck rolls, and then a meditation tape to relax. Oh, also magnesium and heat on the back of my neck.

It felt nurturing and caring to do all this. So that was positive. Just popping back some Tylenol does not emotionally take care of things at all. However – after two hours, still a fairly bad headache, and I needed to cook, so I took the pills anyway in the end. I still think this other stuff helped also, and the pills just finished off the pain.

I was thinking about how difficult it is to describe life in parts. First of all, because I don’t really know what it’s like to not have them. What is it like to be whole? Plus, it’s hard to describe daily ordinary experience – it’s hard to figure out what’s out of the ordinary, what’s pathological, what’s fine. I know the end results of fragmentation – the depression, anxiety, distrust, and a lot of experience not making much sense. It’s harder to figure out what it is that I’m actually doing, that I could work at not doing or doing differently.

I’ve noticed with blogs, I tend to follow BPD blogs, a disorder which I do not have. But it seems like for whatever reason, BPD bloggers are great writers and have insight. Often their blogs are tremendously detailed explorations of their feelings and reactions, and I must be able to relate then on some level. But finding a blogger whose main issue is dissociation is very difficult, and I suspect it’s because its is so hard for us to describe something that is by its nature elusive. It’s a bunch of bits that keep disappearing. If something has disappeared, maybe it’s not really a problem, maybe it’s not real, and definitely, should not be mentioned. I think that’s the background for a lot of dissociatives.

That obviously makes writing about your experience a huge challenge. Maybe I need to try harder to find dissociation blogs, maybe I’m not making the effort.

I am also less interested in blanket ‘depression’ or various forms of anxiety, as I do not relate to having a single state that’s there most of the time, especially when the writer pictures this as a medical disease with little to do with their actual life and past.

Maybe I’ll just continue to follow my lovely BPDers, even though we are different. I learn a lot. I kind of admire the large emotions so vividly conveyed, though this is obviously hugely painful for the individual. I need to search  so hard for my feelings (which then promptly do overwhelm me), and with BPD, those emotions seem to be right there, if not expressed, certainly felt by the individual.

  1. hi. I also follow BPD bloggers and often join a chat on Twitter. I used to and still have some of the traits but I don’t have the disorder. Glad your headache went away. I do dissociate though it’s not an every day occurrence.

    • Ellen said:

      Hi GC – Nice to meet you! Glad you can relate. Take care.

  2. I can relate to finding commonality in blogs that aren’t about my ‘thing’. When I first started posting on Pandora’s Aquarium online support group, the people with whom I identified most were those who were survivors of childhood sexual abuse, yet that is not part of my own experience. I think the reason was that my current problems are far more the result of emotional damage occurring in childhood than of my adult sexual assaults. It did make me feel a bit uncomfortable trying to talk within that sub-group though, because of that big difference in our experiences.

    I have almost the opposite problem from you as far as dissociation and parts – because neither of those is part of my own experience, initially I found it difficult to identify with what was being discussed by those who do have this, and also a feeling that I didn’t belong, that I was kind of a fraud for needing as much help as I do if I didn’t have those features. Kind of silly when I think about it now.

    Since I started blogging and reading other people’s blogs I can see that there are lots of people who have come to a similar place to me emotionally via lots of different pathways, and I have found that diversity really helpful. It highlights that pain is pain, and different experiences are all valid. There is always some small aspect of what people are saying that speaks to me.

    • Ellen said:

      Interesting that you relate to the issue of CSA without having it. I think emotional damage is very similar, and SA always included emotional damage as well anyway, so it makes sense the issues are similar. About the dissociation – I’m not surprised you found it difficult to relate. I’m sure I would have also, before I knew about mine. It’s a problem that hides itself by its very nature.

      And I feel like that also – through blogging, I’ve learned similar, how valid it all is, similar and unique also.

      Thanks Dangerous

      • One of the things I noticed in talking to other SA survivors was that the after effects were quite different for those who had experienced it as an adult, especially if that was the only major trauma they’d had. They tended to get pretty straightfoward, obvious PTSD, whereas CSA or multiple traumas caused a complex PTSD picture where the PTSD part of the symptoms were not necessarily all that prominent or were atypical, which is what is happening with me and why it took so long to work out that what was happening was PTSD at all. I have had a couple of episodes of dissociation at the time of other traumas (one after a car accident, the other after getting the news about my mother’s death) so I know what it feels like, but it isn’t something that happens as part of my day to day problems, or at least not to anything approaching that severity, but it’s also not something we’ve really talked about as a symptom in my therapy yet.

  3. Ashana M said:

    I relate to what you are saying–about having to kind of dredge up the feelings. With me, it’s a lot of work. I realized when I feel unsafe, the feelings disappear. I can’t access them. This used to be nearly all of the time. Now it is only sometimes. Like I began to feel anxious and flat this morning and I wondered why. Suddenly, I realized I was talking to VP Ma’am and that was triggering me. My feelings just disappeared. I can’t get them out again actually.

    But I wonder if in BPD that flat place where things are under control is seen as desirable–that’s what you are trying to arrive at, and you keep failing to do it because the emotions are so strong. I wonder if it’s also more a matter of degree. If you are more impulsive, you can’t stay in this dissociated place that long.and the emotions feel more of the problem. If you are less impulsive, then the flatness is soul destroying.

    At the same time, I think the lack of a continuous sense of existence is a problem for everyone on the dissociative spectrum anywhere, but there is no real space for that narrative. I think there is a core shame about that, about being different in that way, and absolutely no one talks about it. But it exists. I am not the only one.

    • Ellen said:

      Yes, it’s such a lot of work to find the feelings, and then, unless they overwhelm completely, hanging on to them. Interesting about feeling unsafe – maybe it’s like that for me, not sure.

      About BPD, I wonder. I know a huge goal for that problem is to be able to hold emotions and not act them out. I think some also struggle with dissociation, so they can banish feelings as I do, but it’s not the most prominent problem they have perhaps. And I think some approaches to it seem to encourage banishing emotions, which for me would be counter-productive. For me too, I have strong feelings sometimes, but have very low impulsivity. So I really don’t relate to BPD in terms of the same issues much. And yet I remain drawn to these bloggers.

      About the continuous sense of existence – no you are not alone there. This is hard hard hard to explain, and so no one does IMO.

      Thanks Ash

      • Ashana M said:

        For myself, there was a point when I thought banishing feelings was the way to go. I wouldn’t have thought of it in those terms, because I could identify feelings without feeling them very much in my body. I didn’t know that I was intended to feel emotions in my body more than I was. I just assumed I was feeing too much and needed to feel less. I think I assumed that was normal, and what everyone else was able to do and I couldn’t.

        I think there is some element of the dissociation that just seems impossible. It seems impossible and bad. I think it’s hard for someone without it to imagine that actually you never get to the place that is their normal. I never feel what someone who is not in parts feels. It is not that There is not actually a wholeness that gets disrupted. I think there is an element of trying to cram your experiences into the normal box so that they can at least be communicated to someone else in some way.

  4. I’m sorry you weren’t feeling well, but I think all the caring things you did for yourself were awesome! I’m sure those things helped, even if they didn’t get rid of the headache. Xx

    • Ellen said:

      Thank you Alice. Nice to hear from you! I think the caring things helped me emotionally, plus, I think they eventually helped the headache to go away. I didn’t have one the next day, which I usually do. I’m going to keep trying these slower more caring approaches.

  5. You do come to my blog and I was a multiple. Integration occurred about 8 years ago. One of the ways I described my experiences with parts is I would go to sleep on Monday wake up on Wednesday and wonder what happened to Tuesday and why am I in trouble for whatever happened then. Surreal and real intertwined in a confusing push me pull me dance that left me frustrated and confused. I also started writing my blog because I couldn’t find very many about living with multiple personalities. I felt sad when I found out that one blog I was following was a person close to a multiple that used there experiences but it was made up. This heightened my feelings of distrust. Since I started my blog, I’ve become friends in real life with another woman that also was a multiple. I think there are more out there that don’t know they are functioning in parts and no words to describe what happens. Reading information about people’s feelings is something I do to because my feelings can slip away because a certain part was the keeper of that feeling. Cheering for you.

    • Ellen said:

      Yes, your blog is one of the few blogs I do follow written by a fellow dissociator. Though my impression is that you chiefly write about PTSD, which I certainly also relate to.

      I never have lost time, which I think must have been tremendously frightening. But then for you, integration would mean you no longer lose time. I wonder what it would mean for me, as that is not an issue I have at all.

      Finding out a blog was fake would really disturb me also. And I really relate to feelings suddenly disappearing – that is what happens for me also.

      thank you Ruth

      • You are right I do focus mostly on PTSD and that is why I started a PTSD blog separate from my Weareone blog. I am heading back towards a more day to day reaction to living. I stopped losing time before integrating. What was the most significant for me was feeling a unified emotion. The first emotion I felt as a unified self was boredom. I find that my experiences are the difference between black and white photographs and color. You are amazing and your courage to believe in yourself is outstanding. Cheering for you being a happier you.

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