Positives within the chaos

This year, one of my constant refrains has been about not being connected – to myself, and others. This lack of connection has been most glaringly evident in the minimal activity on this blog; withdrawing from my online network of friends; and my disordered eating. I consider all of these things symptoms, because they are outward signs of the internal turmoil that I’ve been experiencing. The problem is that the symptoms – especially the disordered eating, has become so all-consuming and dysfunctional, that it is easy to use it as a distraction…

I use the word “distraction” cautiously here, because in many ways it has distracted me from the real issues that I am facing… but, in other ways, the dysfunctions tell their own story about my past and present.

Through my disordered eating, I’ve learned how I felt abandoned in the past – by others and myself; massive amounts of confusion about my life and it’s meaning; isolation; and feeling so dirty that I doubt that I will ever be clean, good, or “healed”.

I’ve also learned about many of my fears… fears of being seen; being invisible; doing damage through the disordered eating; and not doing enough damage through the disordered eating… There are always so many contradictions… I used to get lost within these contradictions, and become so overwhelmed by them, that I would turn away from trying to understand what was happening… but now, I’m beginning to see the meanings inherent within them…

Those contradictions hold so many truths about my past. They revolve around issues that are hallmarks of a dysfunctional childhood (abandonment, perfectionism, disconnection, etc); yet, they are being enacted out because I am so very fearful of what I’ll see when I really look at my past, and it’s impact on me in the present…

This fear has been ramping up over the past year, and coincides with an increased awareness of the emotional impact that my past has had on me. It seems as if the closer I come to connecting with the emotions, the more dysfunctional my present day behaviours become. This became obvious when I was showing Allison some of my art… her comment was that the extreme pain that was evident in the artwork, was not being seen in therapy, or any other area of my life… except my dysfunctional behaviours.

It feels as if there’s a cycle happening – I’m terrified of giving a voice to those emotions… which leads to the required emotional outlet being shown in dysfunctional behaviours… which causes confusion, desperation and resentment… which means that I again turn away from the emotions… and so the cycle begins again.

The thing is, I know that healing happens within an emotional context… but, I know that on an intellectual level. I find it difficult to transform that knowledge into practice. Despite this, there have been connections made… I’ve started to take photos again, renewed my efforts to draw, and sometimes have been able to understand the impact of my dysfunctional behaviour through the eyes of people who care about me. This last one is possibly the hardest to cope with, but also the most vital… it’s easy to get lost within dysfunction, and lose touch with the reality of the impact those behaviours have on myself, and those around me. But then, I see the look on a friends face when I tell them the results of my blood tests… My cynical co-worker asks what she can do to help me with my eating… These are reminders that I’m not as invisible as I’d like to think I am, and that my actions have consequences.

It may not seem it, but this realisation is possibly the biggest healing step that I’ve made in a long time. I grew up with the idea that if I was only invisible, then things would be perfect… I would be safe from harm, and no one would miss me if I was gone. That idea has been challenged on several fronts… one of the most noticeable can be summed up in a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. ~

Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.

I’m now trying to navigate a world where many of my core beliefs are being challenged… I’m not invisible, and my actions do have the potential to affect others… There is a huge discomfort in that knowledge… but, it’s also healing. I’m no longer that awkward kid that the teachers turned away from when things were obviously wrong… Instead, I am able to make choices that were denied me when I was that awkward kid… Positive choices…

Positive choices, like going to the zoo and taking a photo of a Spider Monkey whose body language mirrored my own…

Spider Monkey

In all of the chaos that has eventuated this year, it’s been easy to forget the things that have helped… Connections matter, no matter how fleeting they are… so a moment of connection to the external world through my camera is huge… it gives me a voice, an outlet, and lessens the sense of isolation that I seem to foster at times. It’s been a difficult year on so many levels, but also a good one on so many levels… yet another contradiction that I’m learning to live with, and understand a little more.

As a note, this post is for the December edition of the Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse… There is still time to submit a post of your own, just fill in this form.

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Now playing: Dave Dobbyn – Welcome Home

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9 thoughts on “Positives within the chaos

  1. Hi CG,

    I used to believe that I was invisible and that no one saw me, and that they would forget me. They surely never treated me as though they saw me and cared. Invisibility was something I practiced from a young age to avoid further abuse, so I could relate so much to what you wrote.

    No you aren’t invisible. I love and care about you. I know I am not in person with you, but I care and love you, you matter to me and I see you. I’m glad that you are taking photos again. I love to see what you have taken and posted. You are right, what you do impacts others.

    I submitted two posts for the Blog Carnival. I hope it wasn’t too late, as I have been dealing with the flu the last week. Good and healing thoughts to you.

    Kate

  2. CG,

    You know I’ve said before … I am always impressed by how you put your ideas together, and express complicated things in a way that makes sense for those reading your blog. And what you’re describing here is such big stuff … even given the contradictions and the painful stuff. In fact, you have a way of putting those latter things out into your writing in ways that helps us to see some of the feeling behind the painful stuff … and even why the contradictions can make sense. It really does bring things you struggle with to life for the reader, provokes thought, and helps people understand so that they may either relate it to themselves and their own struggles, or to understand you better and offer support.

    Good to read your writing, as always! By the way, thanks for hosting the Blog Carnival this time … I know it is a valuable thing, and certainly helpful for those who participate or follow it.

    Please take care … Best,
    Michael

    • Hi Michael,

      I always struggle so much with communication, that when someone compliments me about it, I’m a little stunned 🙂 I think it’s again a sign of my perfectionism that I never seem to get it “just right”… Thank you though, I appreciate and value you giving me your opinion and perspective.

      I’m beginning to learn about the contradictions, and what they mean… There are so many stories within them, that I need to pay attention to each of them. Sometimes they’re about different perspectives, and sometimes about different truths, or stories. It’s complicated, but vital to understand.

      Thank you for your ongoing support…
      Please take care,
      CG

  3. Pingback: Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse: December edition | Scattered pieces

  4. Hi CG,

    I think you made some important connections here. There’s a difference between knowing something intellectually and knowing it emotionally or accepting it emotionally. Making bridges between those two is important.

    Challenging core beliefs is another big step but it’s something that has to be done, it has to. I’m really glad you made these connections between your past and its effect on your present.

    This was very well done.

    • Hi CI,

      Yes, the different types of knowing are HUGE… I know I’m doing damage with my disordered eating on one level, but can’t seem to hold that knowledge in any other meaningful way…

      I’ll see how I cope with the challenge to my core beliefs… There’s going to be a big test of them early next year… Will see what happens 🙂

      Please take care,
      CG

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