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Avoidance of "real life"

Ecdysis

MyPTSD Pro
So, during my childhood trauma, there came a point when part of my brain decided that interacting with what was going on around me (abuse, neglect, trauma, mental illness) was simply pointless - that my personal efficacy in terms of being able to affect any outcomes so that they would be "good" was literally zero. That part of my brain got totally into dissociation and avoidance and basically adapted to living inside my own little bubble.

(Another part of my brain did compulsively keep trying to "change" things - kept getting entangled in the fight/ flight drama of trauma survival, but that's another story).

Now, at mid-life, in a major personal crisis, for the first time, I'm seeing how full-on that instinctual avoidance of "real life" has been. Basically what I do is that I'll leave my little bubble and force myself to do some chore or errand and then I'll race back to my bubble and mentally shut down again. That's been my life, ever since childhood. Just breaking free of dissociation briefly, to do some arbitrary task (the dishes, taking out the rubbish, buying groceries) and then diving straight back into dissociation and avoidance again, as fast as I possibly can.

It's like living on a hostile planet like Mars, in some kind of little pod and only leaving the pod for specified tasks that are necessary for survival.

I'm not really sure what to do about it.

Theoretically, I'm now living in a situation, as an adult, that's not comparable to childhood trauma. Theoretically, I'm able to make my own choices and take influence on situations so that they turn out favourably.

I say theoretically, because... well, as a child, I assumed that as an adult, I'd have a lot of free-will and power to make choices, but I think anyone that's been a adult for more than 5 minutes knows that "adulting" is not much fun and that we're entangled in so many responsibilities, duties, expectations and other mind-numbing limitations that as an adult you can end up feeling every bit as powerless and trapped as a child can.

So I'm not sure whether my avoidance is just something that I'm instinctively carrying on as a PTSD symptom and it's now out of place and I may as well let go of it... Or whether it's actually still appropriate because I'm still dealing with stressors that I feel little ability to change for the better, but they're just adult stressors as opposed to childhood stressors, now.

My best guess is that my avoidance has become quite extreme and that it's excessive. While there are probably stressors in my life that I *am* unable to change, my avoidance has gone rampant and is applying itself to things (dishes, rubbish, groceries) that I *can* impact and that do positively affect my quality of life, if I interact with them and get them done.

I guess maybe now a problem is that my depression has gotten so bad that I can no longer *feel* those things making a difference. I feel every bit as depressed whether the dishes/ rubbish/ groceries are done or undone - it literally makes zero difference at all to how I feel, so finding motivation to cut through the avoidance is such a difficult task these days.
 
what you are when you are young, you are more so when you are older. ~folk axiom

at almost 69, the coping mechanisms/social skills i learned as a child prostitute are still very much with me. i don't believe i have the power to change that. i don't get to rewrite herstory. my daily question is, "what do i do with those habits and not-so-functional social skills?" with mindful awareness, those habits and skills can repurposed into some surprising innovation.

so believeth the arf. . .

steadying support while you find your own path, ecdysis. stay true to you. stay brave.
I feel every bit as depressed whether the dishes/ rubbish/ groceries are done or undone
gentle empathy on this score. what's more is that catching up on housework is never as hard as breaking those depressions. in the grand scheme of things, dirty dishes and over-filled trash cans don't change much. i hate wallowing in filth, so i will catch up eventually, but the weeks i let them sit have yet to hurt much.

the unbought groceries are a bit more critical. i tend to starve myself when i am symptomatic and still have to nag myself to eat.
 
@Ecdysis perhaps a schedule would help? Since we need to do much we don't necessarily enjoy. Innovative things: putting on music, timing yourself, rewarding yourself. Shutting down the thoughts. Getting sleep. It can be going through the motions, but small steps lead to success. Making something the way you want it/ like.

There's a thread somewhere on here about 'bubblizing'. You are not alone.

Gentle support and hugs from here, too. 💝💜
 
I say theoretically, because... well, as a child, I assumed that as an adult, I'd have a lot of free-will and power to make choices, but I think anyone that's been a adult for more than 5 minutes knows that "adulting" is not much fun and that we're entangled in so many responsibilities, duties, expectations and other mind-numbing limitations that as an adult you can end up feeling every bit as powerless and trapped as a child can.
This is why (not exactly, no childhood trauma, here) I ascribe very strongly to my own personal hedonism. IE make EVERYTHING fun. If it touches my skin? It feels amazing. If I’m looking at it? It’s beautiful. If I’m smelling it? It’s pure pleasure. Sensory shazaam. Whether cool & clarifying, or luscious & deep, complex or simple.

Because if I don’t? I tune out. Everything becomes a wash I don’t really see/hear/taste/touch/experience but just sort of move through.

Even when I had kids, so I had to have a “basically normal” sort of living space (instead of the circus, dojo, armory, library I usually live/lived in)… with all of the boring living/dining/kitchen/bedroom/yawn sort of layout? I still created play spaces, and bought furniture on the “how many hockey players can jump on this at the same time with zero damage?” scale.

Similarly? Because I like to save my decision making abilities for things that actually matter? Both my kitchen and wardrobe have 2 basic “sides”. 1 side of my wardrobe was the exact same pair of jeans, back camis and shirts, no thinking requires. The other side a riot of colors, textures, moods. My kitchen? Ditto. All the same everything. And not. <<< Which MIGHT not seem like hedonism at play? But? It’s clear/clean/simple, no thinking, BLISS + when I am capable of making decisions without effort, every shade of beautiful. Win/Win.

I guess maybe now a problem is that my depression has gotten so bad that I can no longer *feel* those things making a difference.
Cannot even begin to help you, here.

I have zero tips/tricks/workarounds for depression.
 
Yes I love too having that you need there to use. Half the battle is done. I think they said the first 20% of a job takes 80% of the energy. Getting started and the last 5% can be harder than the rest too.

This is probably controversial- just MHO for sure- but I think lack of sleep is one of the biggest factors in SI, if not also depression. It's one thing that saps every ounce of ability to fight or turn thoughts around. At least that's as much as I can tell. Stand alone it's not the only factor, but it sure will sabotage everything else when already precarious.
 
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