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Sunday, September 10, 2017

In spite of my better intentions, I have been disconnecting. It would be very easy for me to talk about all the reasons this makes me a terrible person, but the truth is, it's not intentional. I'd like to pretend I have a great deal of control over it, but I don't. This is a stress reaction that is nearly as old as I am. Have I been trying to combat it? Replace it with a healthier coping device? Choose a different result?

Yes. A thousand times, yes.

But sometimes, especially when one is very tired, the body and mind revert to what worked before. It's not about loving or not loving people. It's not about relationships. It's not about the importance of people in one's life. It's simply a need to to remove anything that causes stress because my ability to manage that stress has hit an all-time low. And people, for me, are stressful. All people.

I understand that's not fair. I have people in my life who do everything they can to be supportive and nurturing and loving. I have others who just settle for supportive. But it's not really about what they're trying to do or who they are or how much they love or support me. It's simply a reaction. And I react to people.

There are certainly other people in the world who have more intense stress than I do and who cope with it brilliantly. I would love to be able to do that.

That being said, the amount and types of stressors in my life are uniquely tailored to trigger me. And I'm not coping well. I've not been coping well for more than a year.

What this all means is that old habits have begun to rear their ugly heads. The ugliest one is the one that erases people, events, and time from my life. I don't even realize it's happening when it starts. Then one day, someone mentions a memory. "Hey, Sam, do you remember when..." And as they chuckle while the memory plays out on the flat screen in their brain, I'm experiencing nothing. Panic begins. I've not just forgotten, I've removed that chunk of life. And how much more is missing? What has happened? Why don't I remember?

So I laugh and nod, but say nothing. Because people will fill in the gaps for me. They'll recount what happened. And I'll file it away for later.

When later comes, I sit alone and concentrate. I do everything in my power to recall events, sounds, smells. And if that fails, then I commit the narrative I heard to my memory. My friend's or family member's memory becomes the one I rely on. It feels flimsy and fragile. If I'm called upon to provide details, I have none beyond what I've been told. The memory is not mine.

Then there is the emotional separation. That one is worse because I do remember. I remember how it felt to really connect. I remember feeling intense love for someone. I remember wanting to be with them. I remember how my whole body relaxes when I'm touched by that person because there is relief and sanctuary in loving and being loved in return. This is not "in love" that stupid romances depict. This is not me finding my one and only. This is what others would call friendship, perhaps, although I'm certain what I'm describing is not what other people feel for their friends. I have often speculated that I am broken when it comes to feeling what other people feel.

Regardless, the memories persist, but the ability to actually FEEL what I remember is gone. I try. I touch. I interact. I concentrate. Nothing happens. What I end up feeling is that I am hopelessly wrong in every way. Which increases the stress. Which increases the detachment. Which increases the feeling that I can't ever have healthy, strong relationships. Which increases the stress. Which increases the detachment...

In the midst of all this, my strength has slowly been returning. I have to remember that I've had some pretty serious physical problems in the past five years. I have to remember that I've had equally difficult emotional setbacks and life changes. That's a lot for anyone to deal with. Add to it the fact that I have PTSD and have been dealing with past trauma, especially during the past six months, I think it's understandable that there would be some things that might spiral out of control.

Back to therapy? How I would love to say, "Nope. I've got this. I know what to do. I have the tools to repair and rebuild. Everything will be fine." But I don't and I can't. Not alone. And I'm so desperately tired of seeing Therapist so he can tell me how to be a real human being. I want to be able to do this life thing and have a bit of success.

But I also want to reconnect with people I love. And I don't want them to be upset because the disconnect happened in the first place. And I don't know how to make those things happen. I don't really have any control over the second thing. If they're upset, I can only hope for forgiveness. But it seems unfair and stupid that I have to apologize over and over again for something I never meant to do in the first place. Which isn't to say I won't apologize. Just that I'm really tired of having to do that, as well. I'm tired of always being the one who is wrong.

That's all. I'm just facing some yucky realities today and wishing I didn't have to. I need so much help. Someday, I would like to stop that.

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