Is my overwhelm just an excuse for laziness?

I am confused at the moment. I continue to struggle with who I am. I mean, I know who I am and what I believe usually, but the other pieces of my identity don’t always back me up.

My family really needs me to work so our children and the adults can get all their needs met. We are struggling financially, and not too long ago I was bringing home a good paycheck.

These days, I feel like I can’t work. I am working at getting through the days and taking care of my kids, making major changes to my health, and keeping myself emotionally stable.

The fact that I am functioning by getting out of bed and going out into the world, and actively taking care of my kids everyday is a miracle that didn’t exist 4 months ago.

Yet, there is increasing pressure from my spouse, myself, and our mounting debt to get myself back to work in my old job so I can bring home that money again.

At the same time, I still find myself getting overwhelmed by little things from my old life that were easy then.

Today, my major accomplishments were to make myself breakfast, pick up my son from camp, take him to a park for an hour, and check Facebook a few times. Those few things literally took up my whole day and felt like all I could do.

I hear inside my head “you are so weak. Quit complaining and stop being lazy and get back to work.”

I never considered myself a lazy person, but maybe I am. Maybe the overwhelm I constantly feel is just an excuse to get out of work.

I like giving my family money so we can live a good life. I just don’t know if I can put myself back into that position of doing what I do to make good money.

I am good at this work when all parts of me are working together, and anxiety doesn’t hang close by. Sometimes I miss it, so sometimes I secretly dip my toe in the water and feel overwhelmed like I can’t do it. Then I feel completely inadequate.

Who am I? Am I this smart, talented, strong woman who is a good provider for her family, or am I this pathetic, damaged, weak woman who gets overwhelmed when a door slams too loud?

I don’t know. It seems like this is my fate to be on a polar opposite pendulum depending on the moment.

One moment I am feeling healthy and strong with the health changes I am making in my life, the next I am falling down my stairs again and re-injuring myself, and feeling depressed about the state of my health and the hopelessness of not getting help or answers from the medical community.

I was thinking earlier today maybe the medical community is just writing me off because I am 50. I feel like I am 30 in spirit, so it is confusing to be thought of as old.

My life is frustrating and good. I am smart, but cognitively impaired sometimes. I am strong, but easily hurt. I feel really healthy, then chronic pain consumes me again. I am super stable, and then utterly disabled by the chaos in my brain.

The only thing I know for sure is that I am usually a really good mom.

Other than that, who am I?

The unloved child

Lately, I have been discussing in therapy the fact that I grew up in a loveless home.

My therapist wants me to grieve that my parents didn’t love me.

I haven’t been able to do it as my immediate response is that I feel nothing toward them.

I do not feel love to, or from them, or even want to be loved by them. I feel nothing.

Empty. That’s what I feel the most when I think of them.

My mother was drunk as an alcoholic all through her pregnancy with me. My dad on more than one occasion laughed saying “I don’t know why you don’t have fetal alcohol syndrome given as much as your mother drank.” He always followed it with, of course, they didn’t know about fetal alcohol syndrome back then to make an excuse for her.

When I was born, my mother didn’t let up on her drinking. Both of my parents were alcoholics, and living in a middle class fantasy world. It seems almost every adult that came to our house was an alcoholic, which was weird statistically.

Our minister wasn’t an alcoholic, but I can remember him at the house sometimes to clean up some type of domestic mess.

Like the Catholic Church, our minister served to keep this chaos, violence, and abuse hidden behind closed doors.

Neither of my parents were affectionate with me in a way to communicate they loved or even cared for me.

In fact, it took my mom 50 years to utter the words she loved me. By then, it fell on deaf ears.

My father, who was nicer to me than my mom, never told me he loved me his entire life. I wanted to believe he loved me because he was kinder to me once he stopped drinking. But, as I sat with him for months on his deathbed, I heard him tell others he loved them, but never me, the only one who was loyal enough to see him through his death.

Growing up without love is a hard thing to work with as an adult. The only loving behavior I received was when I was being sexually abused. Otherwise, I was invisible in my world.

I once had an African-American maid who worked for my family in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Her name was Annie, and she had a son who went to school with me named Tommy (he ways my friend until he was taken away from me). Annie tried to look out for me and my brothers. She would try to make sure we had food and other things that children should have. Though she was strict, she was kind to me, and gave me a few moments of stability.

As embarrassed as I am that we had a maid, I am grateful God put her in my life for a brief reprieve of some of the horror that was happening to me. I was so sad when she was gone.

It turns out you can grow up without love, and not always turn into something horrible. But the price of that admission is to walk around feeling empty, not getting too close to people, and not needing anyone outside of myself.

Interestingly, the main place I feel strong love is with my children. I love them with every ounce of my being, and I know they love me. I don’t know how I learned how to love them like this since I never saw this in person. I am grateful that somehow I have this inside of me when it comes to them.

I don’t feel lonely, which is strange for someone who doesn’t get too close to people. I think I am so used to living on my own, and in my head that it is comfortable this way. When I am alone, I don’t have to worry about someone hurting me.

I don’t know how to get close to the grief my therapist thinks I need to experience to heal. I suppose my intuition believes my world will come to an end if I touch on this type of grief. Maybe I am better off staying numb to it.

Lost on Planet Earth


Some days I can lay in my bed all day and have little recollection as to what I did while in bed that day. I don't usually sleep. Sometimes I write on this blog or somewhere else. Other times I stare into a wall or window without really seeing anything for many hours at a time.

Time is a mystery to me. Has been my entire life. A sign of someone who has a Dissociative disorder is that they have a very distorted sense of time. For me, most of the time speeds up, and I don't know what happened to it. I might feel as though ten minutes have gone by, and really 4 hours have passed. This can frustrate those around me, and it often makes me late to my appointments.

I have learned recently in my haze of being disconnected from reality on this planet that although my body may be floating around on it, and even showing up to events in my life, I am often not really present. I am really somewhere else, which has always been a mystery to me.

The therapist-types always ask me where I go when I go away, but I never have any answer other than I have no idea. I suppose they think I have some elaborate fantasy place I go to, but I don't. Just more nothingness.

I have realized as of late that I am more absent than present. This is disturbing to me, especially because I realized I prefer to be absent from life. Life has been cruel to me, so can you blame me from trying to skip out on it?

Yet, if I don't change my mind and decide that I want to exist in this world, I won't get better. It is so hard when a fantasy of nothingness is better than a potentially rich life of reality.

Oh reality. For the past 3 years real life has beat the shit out of me. Betrayal and deep wounds have been delivered to my soul time after time so much that I have lost faith in the loving God that I once knew.

It is impossible to make sense of what I have experienced other than to believe that God has wanted to punish me.

So, I drag my body through life so as to not hurt the ones I love by leaving this planet, but my compromise has been to not really be present. People don't really notice because they tend to be so focused on themselves.

I don't really hear the words spoken to me, or notice the beauty or ugliness around me. It is kind of like the walking dead. But sometimes I decide to connect, usually with my kids, and it feels good, but not good enough to give up my addiction to merely floating on planet earth.

My escape to nothingness beats the suffering I endure when I show up for life.

And that I don't know how to change.

Searching for life

Many days I find myself wandering, and wondering what I am doing and whether there is any real purpose to it.

Sometimes these journeys searching for my life take me far from home. Many of the times they have been clearly for nothing, and have just left me with the feeling of being further lost than when I started.

I keep searching for my life, and just can't let go of the idea that one day I will find me, and get to live that life that has been missing.

I read and study and talk and write about my search for my life. So often it seems pointless for me, but I stay inspired because I know I am slowly putting enough pieces together that I can help other damaged people suffering from severe trauma find their way back into the lives they were meant to have.

Being lost is lonely and pointless. Today I walked 7 miles along the beach and busy touristy streets, and did not really have a connection to it all. In fact, I had no idea I was even going to do it until I had done it. I still don't know why I did it.

My whole life I have been lost, and never meant to find my way. Living in confusion land protects me from feeling my pain, and the herds of people who abused me.

There are moments, though few and far between, in which I can reach through the depression and despair and believe I will find answers for myself and the others who come behind me.

We all deserve hope, but I realize sometimes it is just not there.

Each day I choose to wake, I know I still have a little hope. This little bit of hope keeps me searching for the answers for those of us who are lost and need to be found.

I am closer to the answer. Hang in there with me, and together we will find our missing lives.

The pieces to the puzzle are coming together. Have hope because I am going to put them together for us.

Then we will have life.

Knifes in your soul

I have come to realize this past year that even though I was for an extended time extremely high functioning and stable, that I am actually among the most severely injured from a childhood filled with abuse and other horrific things.

It is not cool to be in this club of the severely injured because with these injuries comes damage, lots of it. And I have found that the mental health system doesn't like messy, severely damaged people.

I am complicated. The affects of my abuse have left behind a complicated and difficult set of symptoms. As a result, my soul has been repeatedly ripped out this year by people rejecting me or my symptoms or my diagnosis of Dissociative Identity Disorder.

It seems no one who knows how to treat this disorder and my symptoms in a way that would be effective wants to help me.

Rejection. Rejection. Rejection.

Laughingly, I am not supposed to take it personally, or believe there is anything inherently wrong with me.

I am wished good luck in my future treatment and sent on my way knowing there is no future treatment to be had. I fear I have looked under every stone and have run out of options.

But don't give up. Stay alive. It doesn't matter how miserable your life is. This I am told over and over by those who reject me.

The injuries to my soul have been brutal. Especially since it is over and over. To be rejected your whole life, even by the so-called angels who are supposed to help those of us with these injuries.

It is hard for me not to believe that God is punishing me. I haven't had this kind of knife into my soul so much until this last year. I try to find hope, but then I get the knife in my soul again.

How many knifes to your soul can happen before it is completely dead?

But I am not supposed to give up. I am to keep fighting as if that has ever really gotten me anywhere. Big deal, I'm alive.

I would be better off dead, which is a hard sentiment to swallow knowing I have children I should live for.

It is a double bind. Live in torture or harm my children by leaving them.

Oh, but I am supposed to get better by some miracle that hasn't come for 50 years now……

A Decade Lost


I never had a true suicidal thought until I was 21. Sure, in my teens I did plenty of things that looked like they were unconscious, wreck less suicidal behaviors, butnit really wasn’t conscious.

I’ll never forget when I first started having true suicidal thoughts and feelings. My life up to then was always extremely busy, and I was not the type of person who stopped to smell the roses. Then one day, it was Spring of my Senior year in college and my life came to a screeching halt. 

I suddenly found myself sitting on the benches of my beautiful undergraduate college and just staring at the trees and watching all the happy people walk by.

I had no idea what was happening, but I turned into someone else overnight, and my first response was to hide it from my closest friends. None of them knew I was circling the drain moreso as each day went by.

I was so confused. I had everything going for me and I was overwhelmed with sadness, depression, anxiety, and a desire to die. Where was this coming from? What was happening?

I went to college prior to the internet, so I had nowhere to turn to to learn I was having a Major Depressive episode. 

Though I don’t remember how, I did manage to find help through a wonderful therapist and psychiatrist who provided me with great care and concern.

The irony was I was living next to a private psychiatric hospital, and used to watch the patienrs down the hill as I walked my dog on the path of my apartment complex. Maybe I knew I would be one of them one day.

I was thrust from never having a suicidal thought to having them everyday. It’s a big change in your brain to make that switch.

Fortunately for me, I found help, and this was pre-managed care, so the hospital kept me for about six months until I was kind of better.

True to my frequent Identity shifts, I left that hospital and went back to the major city I was supposed to live in post college, and moved into my condominium I had purchased just before things went South for me. Oddly, I walked right over to the private psychiatric hospital in town with the best reputation and got a job there much to everyone’s puzzlement. I already had a contract signed with a major corporation for a job I accepted pre-breakdown.

It turned out what I had learned for my myself in the hospital all that time turned me into a great mental health clinician, who could truly empathize with the patients I worked with.

I was good at that job, and loved working with the patients and co-workers. It felt like home to me. 

Unfortunately, as time went by and I continued in therapy, my life slowly started to unravel in the most curious way. I started realizing I lost time, couldn’t remember my childhood, had a fake relationship with my family, and had voices in my head frequently talking to me, and eventually taking control of my body.

I was privileged to be in the right place at the right time, so I didn’t have to wait the typical 7 years to get correctly diagnosed. I went to a reputable DID specialist who worked at the same hospital to find out what I suspected, I had DID.

The revelation of the DID seemed to cause my life to unravel even quicker. Sadly, I eventually became a patient at the dissociative disorder unit at the hospital I was working at. And from there, a decade of my life was lost to the mental health system. A decade I can never get back, and is mostly lost to dissociative amnesia.