You are viewing datan0de

Previous Entry | Next Entry

It's all in my head

Robot Heart
I had a minor realization this morning that I think shines a new light on my current tribulations.

If you went back in time 6 years you'd find that I had a general sadness about me. It wasn't pervasive and all-encompassing, but it was clearly there. The reason was plain; my family had broken up. The Smoosh (as that incarnation was called): redheadlass, femetal, and zensidhe, and I, had recently parted ways and gone back to the original two couples we'd been, and even though we parted on friendly terms and even though we were still socializing together it was a huge blow. My family and my relationships are parts of my self identity, and to suddenly lose half of my family was terrible. Additionally, I sincerely (and foolishly) worried that my time as an actively polyamorous person was over. And as a bonus, my work schedule was, to put it nicely, problematic.

So if you went back 6 years and told me about where I am today - not the circumstances that lead up to it but instead just the situation, with the four of us back together, happier & closer together in a much more stable relationship, and the fundamental problems that had plagued the Smoosh well behind us - I would be dumbstruck and elated. Back together? Intractable problems solved? Even my work situation fixed? Fantasy!

And yet that's where I find myself now; in a situation that not long ago would've been the absolute best case scenario. I love my family dearly, and appreciate them more than I know how to fully convey. These are three people who I know will go to the mat for me because they've done so when I needed it most. They've carried me through the darkest times of my life and shown nothing but love, patience, and true compassion. I love the more stable configuration where everyone is closer, happy to be with each other, and there are no swords are hanging over anyone's head. It just works. While it may look much the same from the outside, from the inside it's built on such an improved foundation that the name change from the Smoosh to the Horde is really necessary. (I'm ignoring for the moment the recent changes in me personally, since that's a bit off topic.)

So why then am I having such a hard time finding joy? Why am I on medication and in therapy? Why do I cry at random, why does my hand twitch and shake, why have I gotten exactly one full night of sleep in 3 1/2 months, and why does a sense of sadness and loss color every aspect of my life? Because I once again have had half of my heart ripped away, and even the strongest heart can't sustain you when half of it is missing.

My current situation would be heaven if I'd jumped straight to it from where I was six years ago, but that's not how it happened. Life is vectors, not static values, and in the last year (and in particular the last 4 months) my vectors have involved so much deep loss that it's crippling.

I was recently clued into a useful metaphor about turtles. A turtle kept in a small habitat will stay small, and will happily live its life adjusted to its environs. If it moves into a bigger environment it'll grow to suit its new home. The problem is that if you then move it back to the smaller habitat, it dies.

I'm happy to report that I have no intention of dying, but I don't know what to do about this hole, and at the same time there's a sense of guilt over my seeming inability to feel truly happy and complete in a situation that would be the envy of so many - including earlier me.

Somehow, knowing that it's all a matter of perspective and therefore literally all in my head doesn't make it any easier.

Comments

( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
lightgatherer
Sep. 23rd, 2013 05:53 am (UTC)
I don't know the details of what you've gone through, but I'm sorry for the headspace and heartspace that you're in. *hugs*
moonshadowdance
Sep. 23rd, 2013 10:56 am (UTC)
The heart is not logical. Hugs and love!
datan0de
Oct. 8th, 2013 03:08 pm (UTC)
"The heart has reasons which reason cannot know." It may not be a useful observation, but at least it's poetic! (and true)

Hugs back!
terriaminute
Sep. 23rd, 2013 12:23 pm (UTC)
This is something Mark is working through. He loved having a girlfriend, as broken as she was, and now very much wants one again (although she's going to have to be more interested in males, and him specifically, than the first one was). But it took him a long time to sort out and deal with all the fallout.

The turtle analogy makes perfect sense. You've been forever altered. This happens all the time, although much less traumatically. You already know how to adjust to fit new dynamics. This is "merely" orders of magnitude harder. It will take a lot longer. Meanwhile life is still happening and insists on changes whether you're ready or not.

The alternative to hurting the people who love you is to not have them. That would be so very much worse for you that we won't even go there.

"For better or for worse" is actually the promise in marriage vows that means the most to me, the part I wish more people would pay attention to before they make that promise. "Worse" can be heart-shattering. "Worse" is suicide watch, despair as a cuddle-buddy, and feeling worthless while your loved one implodes. And that's just the surface. So, I know you appreciate your Horde with all your being... and you don't know the half of it yet. That's okay. This kind of "worse" is a long process. You are very busy getting your shit together again, doing your hard work of learning how to live fully again. Learning just how much they gave to your process will be part of your healing. But you just don't have the spoons right now.

That's okay. We all see progress in you, and although it may appear false to you too often to be real, it's real. It feels faked so often that you'll lose faith now and then (going on Mark's reports from the inside), but that really is a part of how one gets through this crap. Brains are weird, in their alterable chemical soup. You determine what you need, and you fight for that in every way possible, and fuck it, you cry when you need to. Meatbags are messy! Then you grab your stubborn stick and you beat your brain until it behaves again. Please adjust metaphor as needed. :)
datan0de
Oct. 8th, 2013 03:15 pm (UTC)
Thank you, thank you, thank you! Your observations are both touching and spot on. You've really struck a chord here (as you've often done, particularly lately).

I'm glad that you're seeing improvement. I've been told the same by others. I've also seen my ability to function day to day getting better, but I worry because the actual pain and the extent to which it dominates my thoughts haven't really improved appreciably. I don't feel better, but I hope that this is at least a step in that direction. I wish it would hurry, though. I can't live like this forever.
terriaminute
Oct. 12th, 2013 10:21 pm (UTC)
"Forever" is a concept the human brain doesn't grasp. Except subjectively, of course! Subjectively, this seems interminable. Parts of it are. Aspects of this level of hurt don't go away. Those are the parts that you learn how to store safely, all part of the process of regaining control of your life. It takes too long, all bad things take too long. But control will happen, and you are actively seeking it, accelerating that process. (It still takes too long.)

I am glad I've been of help. I think maybe I've helped more so lately because you are approximately where Mark's pain level was. That's scary, his was bad enough. But that's a lot of progress for you! And since you have sought professional help much sooner, you may move faster through some of it than he could. This is my hope!
zandperl
Sep. 23rd, 2013 02:38 pm (UTC)
Before I forget, are there any types of support that, if expressed here, you wouldn't want or would make things worse? For example one of my friends is okay with anecdotes but not advice, and saying "hugs" isn't good but "Jedi hugs" is fine.

So asides from that, I have two thoughts.


1) Just because something's awesome doesn't mean it's perfect - or that perfect is possible or even something worth striving for. After T$ and I first dated for a few months I actually broke up with him, and then a semester later begged him to take me back. (And he freaked me the fuck out by telling me he had to think about it for a while.) Our relationship now is amazing, and is so much better than and different from the first time. But it's not perfect - it can't be, we're just humans - and in some ways the imperfections and problems are worse, because we should know better by now (11 years later) and have so much more at stake now than we did when we first dated.

2) Stupid brain shit doesn't care what your reality is before it decides to implode. Sure, blame your brain for choosing now when you're "supposed" to be happy to instead be depressed, but don't blame *yourself*.
datan0de
Oct. 8th, 2013 03:29 pm (UTC)
I gladly welcome any and all support! And thanks for asking. That's very considerate of you.

The Horde is definitely stronger than the Smoosh ever was, and getting back together didn't seem like a possibility at all when the breakup actually happened, so I can completely relate to your situation. We remained civil and social, which made all the difference. In this case though, all contact has been "officially" cut off, I've been unfriended on Facebook, etc. So I see no mechanism for salvaging any kind of net positive out of this relationship, or even for building basic amicability or civil discourse. Needless to say, this only compounds the sense of loss, as even to this day it all seems so unnecessary. It didn't have to happen like this.
redheadlass
Sep. 24th, 2013 02:14 pm (UTC)
Your situation has changed and thus your perspective has changed, as you've stated. However, I don't think you need to feel guilty over your reaction or the effects that the new situation and perspective has had on you. You may not be able to help it, but it doesn't really benefit you.

I know we've all said this to you (and you've said it to you), but it's going to take time to get through this. Time to move past it. Time to readjust how you see the world to match the way it currently is.

You loved hard and deep and then lost it. That's not something you're going to recover from overnight. In addition to the love, you suffered a huge amount in that relationship and with the loss of it, and you have to recover from that, too. It's just the way it is. There's no need to feel guilty over it.

Someone once told me that it takes an entire year to begin to get over a long-term relationship. You have to make it through every holiday and significant occasion without the significant other(s) before you can move on.

Nothing can really be done to shorten the process of getting over a lost love, a lost relationship, trauma, abuse. It takes the amount of time it takes. As you've said, you may never recover fully. You know I still carry scars and behaviors and feelings from what happened to me when I was a kid, and that was thirty years ago. You've seen me every time I cut up eggs or eat the cake before I eat the frosting. You know.

This is no different, so try to cut yourself a break and try to accept that it's going to take a while. Try not to beat yourself up over the things you have to do to get through it or the feelings that you have about it. Accept that you have those feelings, feel them, and keep working to get past them. You've done a wonderful job so far, and I'm so proud of you for the distance you've come.

Oh, one more thing. In my experience, the fact that it's all in my head makes it worse, not better, because no one else can see it or feel it, and so they don't KNOW how it feels. They can only offer support, but no one but you can understand how much it hurts so deep inside. No one but you walks your woods. Other people can only understand through their own experiences or through you explaining or just in theory. That's what makes it so damn hard and so damn isolating, so please, please, keep sharing with us so we have some idea and can keep supporting you. Don't disappear. We love you and want to help, even if it's only in a woefully small and general way.

I love you so much. Thank you for working so very hard at this. I know you can make it to a place where things are more stable. Just stick to it, one day, one hour, one minute, one second at a time.
datan0de
Oct. 8th, 2013 03:39 pm (UTC)
I love you so very, very much. I fell in love with you all over again as I read this. You've shown that you really "get it", both in this and in our day to day interactions, and that's been invaluable to me. I could write many pages in response to this, but since I'm at work and short on time I'll start with "Yes!!", and we can discuss it further in person.

I do have to say though, the length of time this is taking (and is likely to take) is daunting. It's been 4 months but feels like at least an entire lifetime, and from my admittedly-skewed perspective it's so hard to see progress. The prospect of years or even decades of this seems like a real possibility, but an absolutely unbearable one. To even contemplate it is exhausting. :-(
violet_flames
Sep. 26th, 2013 12:03 am (UTC)
I think it's a really positive step to realize that it's in your head and it's a matter of perspective. Everyone of lives in their head, so saying something is in your head still means it is your current reality. One thing that I think helps me is to realize that reactions are normal and even predictable to some extent. However, just because something is normal it doesn't mean one can't work hard to get to the next normal step and so on. (And also be easy on oneself, because desiring the next step is not equal to obtaining the next step)

I think the turtle analogy makes a lot of sense. It can both be very true and not the only way of looking at it. By that I mean, try on many ways of looking at the situation. Then hang on tightest to the ones that get you through it and less tightly to the ones that accurately express the situation but aren't moving you forward.

And the last thing I just thought of is maybe to figure out some way to get in touch with the idea that you are whole. Just you. My only idea for that would be to seek out writing of fabulous single people who live fabulous happy rewarding lives. I know that's not what you want for yourself (nor do I), but I find those stories inspiring and maybe it would help with reframing. OTOH, it might be the opposite of useful for you, if so pretend like I never mentioned it ;)

I'm glad you're doing better. I can see progress. You will continue getting better and better. I'm certain of it.
compass_rose
Oct. 1st, 2013 06:25 pm (UTC)
I'm handy with a shovel and good at filling holes.

Honestly, I really enjoy spending time with you and have enjoyed getting back in touch with you again. While not a part of the poly smoosh, I love being your friend and would relish being a more active part of your life.
datan0de
Oct. 8th, 2013 04:03 pm (UTC)
I'm handy with a shovel and good at filling holes.

You've always been my go-to person for wet work, but in this case I have no ill intent whatsoever. If I could flip a switch and fall out of love then I think I'd be much happier, but falling out of love is not a skill I've ever developed, and in this case the love goes to the core. (I suspect that this is what a blood bond or love potion would feel like. It's awful.)

And yes! There needs to be more Rune Child in my life/our lives! I realize that scheduling is a nightmare, but there needs to be a way to make it happen. I'd love to make the Shared Suffering Night a regular thing, and possibly intersperse it with positive experiences like sushi and bad movie grief counseling.

Let's not fall off of each other's radars, okay? I can give you access to my Google calendar if that'll help. Just remember that "Flensing Night" is a solid commitment that I dare not miss. ;-)
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )