Sinking… no, sunk

Ever notice how easy it is to lose track of the days, weeks, months… years?  At times it scares me.  I know that the mother visited for three weeks.  I know that when she was here, we had several lunches at The Coffee Club; went to two 3D movies (I think Tangled was one of them); I brought her a new camera; and we went to a nearby town where I purchased a small gift for a friend.  The only reason I know all of that, is I have the bank statements to follow my trail.  I’ve no idea what happened on the days when I might have used cash – that’s one of the reasons I never carry cash on me.

According to my computer, it’s now 10.22am on Wednesday, 12th of January.  Isn’t that strange?  What happened to December and the previous 11 days of January?  I really don’t remember – I have some vague, disjointed images of that time, but not many.

I know friends have been struggling.  I know there have been bereavements, Christenings, excited moments over hope for new life, humour in odd things… yes, I remember more about the lives of the people I consider friends, than I do my own.  I don’t know if that is a dissociative feature, or just some weird thing that happens just to me; but sometimes it does my head in.  Sometimes, it acts as an anchor in my own life.  I use the theory that I can’t be insane, or totally stupid, if I can remember a conversation that was important to someone else.

This time loss, is one of the reasons why I have the next four days off work.  I’m sinking.  Well actually, I sunk a little while ago, and I’ve only just realised it…  I always was a bit slow on the uptake.

On Monday I went to work and said that I needed the rest of the week off.  My team leader and manager were supportive; so here I am, in the kiddie pool of life, getting my balance back.

I spent Tuesday sleeping… I went from getting 1-3 hours of sleep per night, to sleeping 8 hours straight, and then sleeping on and off for the rest of the day.

Today, I’m going to go take photos.  My aim… to reconnect with the moment.  I’ve lost too many moments lately.

Now playing: Missy Higgins – Where I Stood
via FoxyTunes


38 thoughts on “Sinking… no, sunk

  1. Hello – I’m glad you’re taking time off to look after yourself. It’s a good day for taking photos where I live – the sky is grey and the light is gentle. I wish you well in your reconnecting 🙂

    • Hi Annelise,

      It’s a stinking hot here today, with really harsh lighting; so I’m doing something towards this months Arts Carnival before heading out in the late afternoon.

      I thought I was coping pretty well this morning, but then I tried talking to a friend and was all over the place… not anywhere near as connected as I thought! But I’ve got another few days to get back into the rhythm of all things good. In the meantime, I’ll keep myself in the kiddies pool and do what I can to soothe and stay present.

      Are you able to go take advantage of the light, or are you back into work?

      Take care of yourself,

      • That sounds good to me – I like your image of the kiddies pool! Being back at work for me means that everyone else is out of the house at their own jobs/school and I can get on with my work because I am self-employed and work from home. The holidays are a real challenge for me, having people around the house all day and having to entertain and be “present” in all senses of the word – I feel completely exhausted once it’s all over (even though I love other aspects of holidays like camping and warm water and sunshine).

        So now the house is quiet and I’m just beginning my day’s work. I hope that I don’t have to answer the phone or the door or go anywhere for a few days. It definitely feels like I’ve climbed out of the deep end to take a few deep breaths!

        Coincidentally, our local pool has been closed until this week because of earthquake damage. It is being reopened gradually and so far only the learners pool is available for use. So if you came to visit my little town, the kiddies pool is all you’d get anyway! 🙂

        I hope you found some good light and that it is cooler where you are today.

        • I got the idea of the kiddies pool from Holly… and I liked it. So, all credit must go to her 🙂

          Holidays are difficult. No matter how much you may love the people involved, it takes energy to interact with everyone and fulfill obligations. That’s not to be nasty towards those people, but it’s the same whether you are a survivor or not. That’s why kids collapse from exhaustion sometime after lunch, adults get frazzled, and the elderly nap… all the noise and people takes energy to process.

          I’m glad you’re back to your quiet house…

          Take care,

  2. It is good to see you are going out of your way to reconnect with things and looking after yourself… and you still seem to have your sense of humour intact which is good. You have got through a hard time and you have done well. I am not sure if I could manage three weeks entertaining my Mum.

    I hope you have been able to take some good photos. I would go out here and take a few photos, but I am walking around like an old man all cramped up after a long walk a couple of days ago.

    • Hi,

      I’ll always have some form of humour, it just changes depending on the situation 🙂

      Thanks for the vote of confidence… I know the mother thinks she is doing me a favour by coming up. But, she’s not. The next interesting thing will be my birthday this year, as there is pressure to go down South for it. I’m not so keen.

      I took photos, but they weren’t quite what I was intending. I brought a pair of identical dolls, but with different coloured outfits, and trashed one of them. I then took photos of the results. It felt cathartic, and I’ll show the photos to Alison… although she may not want to see them 🙂

      I would suggest heat treatment for the aches, but that’s a bit much in this weather! I hope the muscles ease off soon.

      Take care,

      • Does “the mother” know she is making things difficult during the Christmas break? If you don’t want to go down South don’t do it. It is your birthday, you can do what you like.

        I have to admit I had to look up what cathartic meant. It was a big word for this simple East Coaster. Well at least you did something and if Alison does not like it she is in the wrong business. I mean that in the nicest way. If she sees that, although it may or may not signify something considered bad, it may give her more of an insight on how to resolve the problems… and it was not particularly harmful was it?

        The muscle aches were somewhat self inflicted and I should have been not so stubborn and brought some better boots for walking. I can hobble better now so hopefully tomorrow I can stop resembling Ozzie Osborne’s shuffle.

        Take care.

        • No, she probably doesn’t. She thinks she helps, and I’ve never found the courage to tell her otherwise. I’ll see what happens with my birthday… it’s not til June, so I’ll see what happens.

          Don’t pull the simple East Coaster thing with me 🙂 You’ve told me the books you enjoy reading… not the texts of a “simple” anything 🙂

          Alison said she’s looking forward to the videos and pictures, I think it’s more my nerves about her seeing some of the darkness that is in my head. I still get caught in the role of protecting those around me.

          As long as you’re not talking like Ozzie, it’s all good. Are you wearing the slippers??

          Take care of yourself,

          • Haha slippers aren’t a bad idea… But then I would need Sharon and a troop of rat-like dogs who are not house trained.

            The texts I enjoy are not simple? Like “The Very Hungry Caterpillar”? Joking… Point taken. :p

            Well I think it is safe to say Alison has a fair idea of the darkness that is in your head. It is her job to help you clear the darkness and heal.

            BTW: Don’t be afraid to tell your mother that it is difficult for you to have her around over Christmas. It is probably uncomfortable and difficult for her too.

  3. I’m so sorry you feel “sunk”, CG. You’ve been doing so well, especially with your mother’s visit and the whole Christmas charade. Taking time off work is a great step in looking after yourself. Sleep and photography are more great steps. I hope this week enables you to regroup and recenter, and reconnect.


    • Hi Kerro,

      Was I really appearing to do ok? That’s good. I’ve been terrified to check the blogs I usually comment on, just in case I left a trail of insults and off-base comments.

      Well, you found out this morning how fragile I still am. I flipped out, and I don’t know why.

      I’m feeling better, but very glad to have the rest of the week off.

      You take care of yourself,

      • Hi CG

        Yep, you sure had me fooled. 🙂

        I’ve never known you to leave a trail of anything anywhere, except support may be.

        I’m glad you’re feeling better, but please still take care.


        • Hi Kerro,

          I wasn’t trying to fool ya, just myself maybe 🙂

          I’m taking it really easy. I’m feeling both stronger and more fragile, which I know is an odd combination, but is probably the best description a non-wordsmith can come up with.

          Take care,

  4. “Ever notice how easy it is to lose track of the days, weeks, months… years?”

    Boy oh boy. Yes. I feel awake for the first time in months. It is scary, I agree. Not because the time is gone, that just gets me sad or frustrated. But the choices that get made, choices that shape my life, without me being present enough to fully engage in the decisions … that frightens me every time. If I’m gone long enough, I wake up and don’t recognize my life.

    What you said about knowing what’s going on with others … I don’t know how that works either but I definitely relate to it.

    Really great job setting some limits, i.e. taking time off work. And getting the rest you need.

    “I’m sinking. Well actually, I sunk a little while ago, and I’ve only just realised it …”

    Does it help at all to realize it? I feel vulnerable, unsteady on my feet, and a little frightened, but in addition I feel alive and … relieved, I guess now that I waved my white flag. I’m wondering if recognizing that you’ve sunk helps at all. It doesn’t quite make sense to me why that helps, but it seems to.

    Welcome back!

    • Thanks Holly 🙂

      I don’t think I’m fully back yet, I can tell there’s still some internal shuffling going on. But I’m better than I have been in a long time… or more accurately, I’m more honest than I have been in a long time.

      I agree with you about the decisions made while in the fog. Thankfully, it seems as if many of the decisions made have been incredibly healing and aimed at my overall safety.

      Regarding the friend thing, I wonder if it’s because friends are an anchor for most of the system, so there’s common memories? As a less optimistic option, it could be because the system considers friends to be more important than we are.

      Are you able to cut back on your commitments too? It’s the one thing that I could proactively do that has helped beyond belief.

      Oh, I’m more vulnerable than I was last week. I’m terrified that I’ll never be able to go back to work. But, relieved that I admitted to myself and to those around me, that I needed the break. No one at work even blinked twice (that I’m aware of), when I said I was taking the rest of the week off. I was honest, as I had the flu for about 10 days and they all know the stress that having my mother with me can bring.

      I didn’t realise how low I’d sunk until Monday. But, even Monday is fuzzy. I’m told that M was strongly present and organising the week off – which is very counter to what would happen when she is present. She did get an awful lot of work done in that day though, so old habits aren’t totally gone 🙂

      Please take gentle care of yourself… simplify, soothe and breathe.

      • Hi CG,

        Sometimes it can take time to come back fully when you’ve been gone for a good period of time. It sounds like you’re being gentle on yourself as you go through that process. If so, nicely done. Really. Positive self-care choices are something to celebrate, even if it’s just a mental, “Go me!” 😉

        “But I’m better than I have been in a long time… or more accurately, I’m more honest than I have been in a long time.”

        Our experiences are so parallel right now! How funny. I wonder if the honesty feels good because it’s increased awareness? Because I know the system members who’ve been carrying me for months now weren’t being DIShonest, per se. They were speaking and living their own truth. But I personally feel truly better with the honesty … I’m thinking maybe I’m just glad to finally be out in my own skin. I don’t know what that’s about, but I get your distinction between “better” and “honest.”

        “I wonder if it’s because friends are an anchor for most of the system, so there’s common memories? As a less optimistic option, it could be because the system considers friends to be more important than we are.”

        I guess it’s probably a little of both, but I really do place a lot of stock in the first explanation.

        I’ve definitely eased up on some things. I still feel that drive, that pressure from within to Accomplish Things. But it doesn’t feel as frantic.

        “I agree with you about the decisions made while in the fog. Thankfully, it seems as if many of the decisions made have been incredibly healing and aimed at my overall safety.”

        That’s positive on so many levels. One thing that pops out at me is system trust – these things go a long way towards solidifying and building on that trust.

        Simplify, soothe and breathe … good advice. Thanks CG.

        • Thanks Holly,

          I needed a bit of cheerleading, as I’m really struggling today for some reason. I don’t know if it’s showing Alison the videos and pictures later today, or that I’ve made a couple of the pictures that were taken yesterday and added to Flickr as only viewable by me. I was worried about people stumbling across them as they view my typically boring and safe Flickr stream. I set them as being “protected” so that people with the safe filter on won’t see them. I don’t know, I just know I’m feeling out of it again.

          I think you’re right about the honesty being an increased awareness. I was being honest for the last six weeks, but it was from a certain viewpoint. I was still me, still accountable for my actions, but it was “me” from a certain perspective. A very protective, but younger perspective. Most people would never have known… most people didn’t. I’m not sure anyone did, as I appeared to be coping so much better than last year, but I think that was a cover to ensure that I didn’t end up in crisis care again.

          I’m so glad things are easing back for you. It’s amazing how much better things feel when you can be more realistic about what we can and can’t do. It’s a difficult lesson though.

          Take care of yourself… remember that you are worth that care,

  5. I too thought you were doing fine, CG. I’m sorry that’s not how it really has been. Good on you for looking after yourself now that you are aware enough to know what you need. One moment at a time…

    Take care,

    • Hi Dawn,

      Thank you… It’s amazing how the dissociation can mask so much, especially from ourselves.

      I’m glad to hear that you are safe from the flooding, it’s just awful.

      Please take care of yourself,

  6. I feel like an idiot for not knowing that you weren’t ok. The “trail” you left behind was nothing but kindness and thoughts of wisdom CG.
    I am ridiculously proud of you for taking time off work to take care of yourself!

    I knew that your mother’s visit wasn’t going to sit well and I worried about it the whole time. May I make a suggestion? When the time comes, think long and hard about your birthday ok? You don’t need to do go anywhere and if someone cares about you they will understand that. And if they don’t understand that well…then you find out how selfish they are. You come first. But don’t worry about that stuff right now, just focus on you.

    I don’t want this to become a negative comment so I’ll go back to being happy that you’re off for a while, wishing you success on reconnecting and hoping that you find something beautiful to look at!

    • Hi tai,

      Please, don’t feel like an idiot. As I said to Holly, I really doubt that anyone knew. I was with the mother for most of that time, and she didn’t notice anything. Remember that dissociation is about hiding. Last year, I had a really bad holiday season and ended up in respite care for several days. While that was a healing place to be, it meant dealing with the Crisis Team, who were anything but healing. So I think this year, there was an internal decision that going into respite wasn’t an option, and this was the way of making sure that didn’t happen. I still ended up at the hospital on Sunday, but that was minor and M got us through it.

      I’m worried about my birthday for lots of reasons. I’m leaning towards not going down South, or if I do, I’ll just stop in for a day or two and keep on travelling in the car. I’ll see what happens, I need to get back on my feet from the holiday season just gone, before I can make any really good decisions.

      There’s always beauty around us, we just have to be open, or able, to see it… That’s why I like photography, it encourages you to look at things in a new way 🙂

      Take care of yourself,

      • I’ve been wanting to take pictures myself but even when the snow is pretty, I’m stuck in the house because I can’t drive in the snow. So I can’t get out to take pictures. Annoying.

        By the way, if you decide that you need someone to look at the pictures you did on Flickr, you don’t have to worry about my reaction. I just want to offer support if you need it. If you’re not comfortable with it no problem. 🙂

        • One of the photography books that I got mentioned an exercise in looking at things in new ways… the exercise was to stay in one room in your house and take 10 photos of interesting things around you. If you’re not grounded, this can be a scary exercise to do, or it can help you ground in the present. But it’s one way to take photos inside. Some of my best photos are of things I take inside the house – but my social phobias sort of work to make macro shots what I prefer to do. So the exercise won’t work so much if you like landscape photography 🙂

          Anyways, just a suggestion if you’re bored one afternoon.

          I’m sorry you’re sort of housebound though… I heard there was another fairly big snowfall over some of the States yesterday.

          I’ve sent some of the safer images to Paul to see if they’re ok to be included in the Arts Carnival for this month. I sort of lost perspective on whether they were safe or not. If he says they’re not too triggering, I’ll put a couple up here.

          Stay safe and warm,

  7. Hi Castorgirl,

    I am so sorry that you are feeling sunk, it is a hard place to be. Though it sounds like you are being really strong about it and taking care of yourself. That is so important – you definitely deserve it!

    I love the idea of taking photos to reconnect – I really enjoy taking photos but never considered doing it as a grounding exercise, though it makes so much sense.

    I have this game we play when I need to ground myself it generally is name 5 things that are the colour blue in this room, 5 things that are soft, 3 sources of light, etc. I go through them until I feel more aware of my surroundings. I will often do art to help deal with any negative feelings. Your photography seems to be mixing these things together – you have to be aware of your surroundings when taking photos and the photos can be a form of creative expression.

    You should be so proud of yourself for recognising you are in a hard place and taking the time to look after yourself. Keep it up and know that you are in my thoughts.

    Take gentle care of yourself, especially now

    From Kylie

    • Hi Kylie,

      Thanks… it’s so easy to forget how important self-care is when you start to go under. It makes sense, as these are the newest skills we’ve learned; so they are often the first to go because they’re not embedded within our daily lives like the other coping mechanisms. But one moment at a time…

      I’ve found photography grounding for me, mainly because I take macro shots of plants. I have a Horticultural background, so it takes me back to the familiar, while still keeping me in the present… sort of like a gentle awareness of where I am.

      I’ve often played that game of naming the things in the room, or 5 things from the different senses. Sometimes it works really well, sometimes I can name everything in the room and still not be grounded… that’s when medication is my friend.

      Take care of you too, I know you’ve had a lot going on.

  8. HI CG! So sad to hear your feeling sunk? I am sure after hanging in there or out there for 3 weeks with your Mum was hard on your system and exhausting! I can’t imagine. Great you took the week off tho to settle back down and level out. It’s so important. Photography is one of my hobbies. I love it. We got slammed with 18 inches of snow that started during the night and went all day today. UGH! What a terrible mess. I don’t know if your on facebook or anything but I put some pictures up there. I have been free floating this week and just winging it. Had some major crisis’s going on with two of the kids for the last 3 weeks and it has been so hard on me. Sometimes I feel like a ball that just ricochets off of everyone elses emotions in life and that’s what my life is all about. I know it’s weird but true. It’s like I am hollow and there for everyone elses everything with nothing inside or needed by me. I don’t know how you handled your Mum for 3 weeks…really? I hope you continue to level out and bounce back….Take care of yourself! Hugs!

    • Hi Nansie,

      18 inches of snow!! I’ve never even touched snow, let alone seen that much!

      It doesn’t sound weird at all. As soon as I’m exposed to stress of any kind, I’m very much as you describe with your children too. I also identify with the hollowness… All I can say is that it does get better as we learn more skills and coping strategies. More importantly, as we learn that we have boundaries and a sense of self.

      I’m sorry you’ve been having such a rough time of it all. I hope this year brings more healing and good stuff your way.

      Take care,

      • Thanks CG…I have all kinds of things going on this year already…UGH. I am so onboard with goals one day and then the next feel like I am caving in from the weight of them! One minute I feel empowered…the next powerless and that feeling lasts alot longer. What is the weather like where you are? Are you near the ocean at all? I would love some heat right now! 🙂
        Thanks again!

        • Hi Nansie,

          Those fluctuations that you talk about seem to be a fairly common theme when you’re healing. Like all new things, it takes practice and testing. Sometimes we lose the skills temporarily because they are so new, but if we keep coming back to them, then it will eventually pay off in the long term. So, keep with it and don’t let it get you too down.

          It’s our mid-Summer, and we’re in drought conditions with water restrictions. New Zealand has a temperate climate, so we don’t get the huge fluctuations like the States.

          I live in a small city about an hour drive away from the beach; although I prefer the other coast, which is 1.5 hours drive. Most New Zealanders live within a hours drive of a beach, one of the advantages of being a small island country.

          Take care,

          • Wow CG…sounds like a very cool place indeed. I will have to look up more on the climate online. Just curious. I know what you mean about the skills thing. Very frustrating when they come and go and sometimes are hard to find. UGH…I just feel so all over the place lately! Lets make a deal and promise to hang in there together! Hugs!

  9. I’m sorry that things are so hard now and that you feel like you are sinking or sunk. For what it’s worth, I think I know why. I think because you’ve made a decision not to self-harm that you have had other coping mechanisms come into play (dissociatively based coping). This is not a bad thing because I know that during the past month you have been doing things to take care of yourself.

    Or, another way to look at it is that the self-harming was something you could focus on (i.e., it bothered you, it was representative of what was wrong in your life). Without it, the rules change and with that comes disorientation.

    Have you tried keeping an electronic calendar? And having all parts of you agree to add events to it? This way you can keep track better.

    Or have parts agree to write in your private journal, so that you can look back on what’s been happening.

    The big key, though, is that you have been safe. You need to give yourself credit for that, and now work on trying to reconnect, which is what you are doing.

    • Hi Paul,

      Possibly the self-injury changes played a part in everything, I don’t know.

      I’ve never managed to maintain a journal. I was doing really well with one system, but that fell apart over the last six weeks. It wasn’t seen as important.

      Don’t worry.


  10. Hi CG,
    I’m glad, you’ve taken a couple of days free off work. Hope you can recover from the whole stress. We had to smile, when we have imagined the picture of the kiddies pool 🙂 It sounds like much fun 🙂
    Can’t you send us a little bit of the heat from the summer?? Maybe it would help to chase away the winter.

    What you have written about how easy it is to lose track of the days, weeks, months… years *sigh* 😦
    We know this too. Only to well. The whole life are fragments. The past and the here and now are always fragmented too. I try every evening to reconstruct the past day and try to write the tracks I’ve found in a diary. Meanwhile, I really believe, that this problem will never disappear.

    Your last Polyvore Sets speak volumes in every way and your new photo session on flickr….although it has a really very sad content, it is implemented perfectly in a artistic way. It’s a talent to express something difficult like that with it.

    Take care and warm safe hugs to all who want them
    ((())) LSC

    • Hi LSC,

      Thing about the kiddies pool is that everyone is welcome at any stage, there is no cliques or nastiness, it’s just low stress and low noise. It’s a good place to be when the other pools get too overwhelming.

      It was so hot yesterday… 34C/93F. Something in-between that, and the snow I see in the Northern Hemisphere would be good 🙂

      I’m so tired of the fragments, but healing is the solution.

      I was so worried about triggering you with those photos, that’s why I warned you. Things got scary yesterday, so most of them are now gone. Only a few are left. But thank you for the compliment, it means a lot to us.

      Sending warm safe hugs your way,

  11. Oooo…three weeks with the Mom Unit…you seemed to take it well. I’m sorry you feel sunk now. I hope these days off will help.

    I have trouble sometimes with the journal thingie, too, so I made a secret folder on the computer and keep adding to it. Then I print it out and bring it to therapy and let her pick something to talk about. I never look at it again until then.


    • Hi Lisa,

      Yeah, twas a bundle of laughs. I just can’t wait til next time 🙂

      I sort of do something similar to you, but I have a tendency to rip up the paper if I take in any printed journal material. Instead, I have a system where things are emailed to Allison, she collates them and I read through them at the start of the session to choose what issue to work on. Because I can email from my phone, this seems to work pretty well. Allison gets the immediate thoughts of different ones, and it often acts as a way to open up communication with her. Luckily, she is the one who suggested this method. There is a boundary in place which states that she never responds to the emails. So, in some ways it’s very freeing; in others, it can be a bit like talking into a vacuum.

      Take care,

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