Undiagnosed revitalising self-identification throughout the healing process

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ematt

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Growing up the youngest of 10 children in a fundamentalist, Christian home I believe that I was desperate to find some way of distinguishing myself from my siblings. See, in our home where authentic self-expression which invariable deviated from the "biblical model" was repressed, the available roles seemed to be singular. To me, it seemed that each of my siblings had some characteristic that made him/her unique; by the time I came into the world my family already had the athletic one, the smart one, the dumb one, the troublemaker, the musically inclined one, etc.

So, it seemed to me that the vast majority of roles were taken so for a number of years I passively accepted my role as the "baby" of the family and did my best to conform to the role, still desperately seeking some recognition (especially self-validation) for my budding identity. Flash forward through years spent in a fundamentalist home, isolated from boarder social circles outside of my family's local homeschool co-op, raised with an emotionally abrasive mother and a emotionally withdrawn father and siblings who were too concerned with licking their own emotional wounds to offer any semblance of guidance or emotional support.

I vividly recall my first anxiety attack in the public library in my early teens. More than anything else, once the initial physical sensations had worn away, I remember being thrilled that I had finally found something which made me... me. As embarrassing and insensitive as those thoughts appear to me now, I remember feeling relieved to have recognised something that set me apart. Suicidal ideation came later and was persistent throughout my teen years, I withdrew and became increasingly cynical and sullen. In those years I built up my sense of identity around this notion of me, I couldn't separate my depression or anxiety from my sense of identity - it simply consumed me.

Autopilot is a strange way to pass years, you feel trapped in a predestined script, acting out of something that is not quite freewill. Disassociation and numbness were how I learned to experience my emotions, through this hazy mist. I remember thinking it somehow was my inherent strength in life to not experience my emotions in real time, but rather suddenly, unexpectedly months later in a sudden rush. How many relations did I burn through? How many people did I devalue and trample in my insensitivity? How long did I delay my own happiness or sense of self-worth? Years I suppose, but it didn't feel like a loss. It felt like me.

Only years later, in university, after semesters of binge drinking, late nights and stress did I start wondering if how I lived, how I felt had to be the only way. After one particularly bad anxiety attack which left my disoriented and visibly shaken did I realise that I no longer wanted to live and thoughts of suicide crept back in on a regular basis. My hatred and self-critic, always outspoken and vicious, had no mercy for me. One particularly bad nights I would drink and start punching myself in the face. Those nights typically ended in tears, frustration surges of emotion. Thankfully in one of my darkest periods, I fell in love and someone fell in love with me. The relationship was a struggle for me, I genuinely did not believe that someone so wonderful could actually find me lovable and it initiated a new pattern of thought in my mind - maybe my former sense of self and understanding of my emotional life was warped. I started breaking through the walls and started asking questions that I had always avoided "maybe my happiness matters", "maybe my emotions matter" and "maybe I matter."

But not all relationship stories have Hollywood endings, after five years, moving halfway across the world and pursuing my first career my relationship fell apart. Upon reflection I recognise that I had fallen into old habits; swallowing my emotions and my needs. I had started drinking - not heavily, but regularly - and that old self-critic had crept back in and become louder and louder. I was miserable and miserable company. I think I had mistakenly assumed that my growth and recovery was over - I grew complacent and lost what seemed like everything.

Still, the seeds which had been planted had at least taken root. I have becoming increasingly convinced that, rather than being defining, positive characteristics, my social anxiety, my depression, my disassociation are in fact warped responses and self-identification. And, more so than ever before, I have the hope that I can continue to grow and to heal. For years now I feel like I have put my life on hold, waiting for some realisation or breakthrough to hit so I can start living. But I see now that that silly illusion has cost me valuable time and negatively impacted me life, I am ready to start living, to push through my self-induced barriers and understand myself has a full human; a delicate and beautiful mosaic of complex, often contradictory thoughts and emotions.

I don't think there is a greater point to this post. Except that I have always hesitated in communing with others, I have always tried to keep my struggles private and swallow as much hurt as I could possibly endure. But I see that that strategy won't get me far. Does my story resonate with you? If so, how have you substituted the old, broken forms of self-identification for newer, more healthy forms of understanding yourself? How do you handle fringe bouts of depression/anxiety/suicidal ideation?
 

mumstheword

MyPTSD Pro
Wow...beautifully written post. And to answer your question, let's just say that ...the inner essence of "the word" became a living reality for me, after much adversity, isolation, even psychosis, I realized I didn't know reality and I called out, I prayed to know what was true...It turns out, reality, the living, loving essence and all that is noble and good, is real, and we are all part of it, if we choose, because it's more "many are called, but few CHOOSE", than "many are called and few are chosen".

It's not reliant on other's, it's an inner relationship, a sweet, the sweetest love, that grows with the attention we give it, but it takes the commitment to give ourselves that love, too, and to find "fertile ground" to pour our love and the truth of our being into.

"Pearls before swine" will only deplete us, so go on your own, individuating journey; garner the courage to look within and find your living essence and the beauty of relationship with the Heart Master.

It's ONLY through the heart and with the willingness to open your inner eyes and ears, to develop yourself, your body of truth, authenticity and commitment to lovingness, truthfulness, integrity and fierce compassionate regard for life, creation and the mysterious Presence and Source and to cultivate that " inner knowing".

Jump into faith, dare to believe, FIRST and see the results increase your faith and then, you will grow, your courage and conviction for righteous living and generosity of Spirit, and doing and being the you who you can't help but respect and feel that you have INTRINSIC VALUE, and are LOVED and you are TOTALLY UNIQUE, will flourish.

It's not easy, AND it's the easiest thing because it's.. it's natural and it's your birthright. It's not approval from anyone in the world, it's an inner experience you cultivate when you decide you want to drop falsehood, any cultish thinking, needing approval from worldly sources and you get into connection with the EVER LIVING reality that is within.
It's breathing with awareness, it's gratitude for that every breath, it's honouring that we are all looked after and guided, all we have to do is ASK AND YOU SHALL RECEIVE. Simple. It doesn't take money, or status, in fact, they will often distract you from developing this beautiful relationship with the most loving of them all. So drop your preconceptions, your projections, your weariness and let the ONE you KNOW wants nothing more than to be allowed in to your heart to heal you from the inside out and be free. For it is said "The truth shall set you free". You don't need anyone else, it's all inside of you.
You may and probably will, have to let yourself grieve, to feel all that is uncomfortable, that you have outgrown, to let it fall away. To forgive your own failings, as you perceive them. You may need to go through this, and many "Dark nights of the Soul" but each time you do, and you don't let the lying, treacherous and self hating win, each time you commit to being led to what is true and good, you will deepen, you will grow stronger, and your compassion and understanding will grow. Your light will grow, every time you fearlessly face your own shadows, fears and vulnerabilities, for that is part of what makes us great, we need to keep in touch with our weakness, our frailty and our tender hearts to "suffer the children" and our own childhood wounds. Tend to them with kindness and responsibility as you would have wished your parents could have, for they are flawed and just as human and lost as we are, oftentimes.

So again, the one who loves, eternally, will be there, inside your heart, if you only dare to, care to, open and trust, ask and be willing to receive.
 
Hi @ematt, I'm sorry your life has had so many struggles. I'm glad you've decided to try to live life to the fullest.

Just wondering - have you been diagnosed with PTSD?
 
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ematt

New Here
Hi @ematt, I'm sorry your life has had so many struggles. I'm glad you've decided to try to life life to the fullest.

Just wondering - have you been diagnosed with PTSD?

Hi somerandomguy,

Actually no. growing up psychological health took a backseat to seeking "spiritual guidance" in my family. As such my siblings and I did not have much exposure to formalised, professional support. In university I sought support from the university's professional counsellor but found little support in that setting.
 

joeylittle

Administrator
Hi, @ematt - welcome. I've moved your thread into our 'Introductions' area, since it seems to be a better fit, here.
I am ready to start living, to push through my self-induced barriers and understand myself has a full human
Do you see your trauma as something you've done to yourself?
 
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