As of tonight, the biggest blessing yet greatest curse under my name is the ability to have no feeling. None, zero, zilch, zip! Growing up in the environment I did, always being on watch and always being hurt, I learned to shut myself completely off. I learned at a young age to disassociate myself and go into my own little world {if you want to call it that}. I learned to block the pain of the abuse and shut down the emotion that went along with it. Without doing that, I wouldn’t have survived. I call this my biggest blessing because there are times that I am able to control it. Not always, sometimes it just happens…but on that rare occasion that I am able to control it, it is so nice to be able to slip out of this world and into safety once again. Hypervigilence has been my way of life for years…always aware of everything–my system constantly on edge. I can function shut-down. In fact, that is how I maintain my job. I don’t like having contact with people and my job requires I have contact with 100+ a day. I also don’t like loud noises or not knowing where everyone is and what they are doing. Again, my job is loud and often times co-workers are everywhere, doing one thing or another. This is another example of why shutting down is a blessing. It has saved my life… However, tonight it’s a curse {also a blessing but mostly a curse}. A curse because no matter how safe I know I am…I am struggling to control it. I am dealing with a lot of things in my life at the moment and that is causing my nervous system to bounce out of whack causing my body to completely shut down. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind, but I know others do. My sister does. My friend does. It affects them more than it affects me because I am not the same, happy, fun-loving, Ruby they know and love. They love me regardless of my presence, but I believe more-so when I am present. Shutting down and dissociation has helped me succeed in all aspects–except for relationship. How can you have a relationship if you shut down and refuse to allow people in or yourself out? I talked to my sister tonight over the phone and immediately she could tell I was shut down…I try to hide it, but she knows me too well. Shutting myself down blocks my ability to connect at a level deeper than basic communication. When I shut down it is near impossible to let my sister “snuggle” with me. It is near impossible to even let her come near me or talk to me because I feel so distant from her and it feels safe to be so distant. I like the closeness of the relationship I have with her and with her kids…but the distance that is created through shutting down is safe…it is comfortable…it is home. I’ve known my sister for a long time {she’s not a biological sister} and even over the years we’ve known each other I feel our relationship has been hindered due to my lacking ability to connect, because of survival. Typical relationships flourish within the first few months, if it is going to work out, but not ours. In just a year and a half I have barely come to allow her to love me at a level deeper than a temporary place holder or life updater. Shutting down blocks my ability to love not only others, but myself. I don’t love myself. I don’t know how, to be honest with you. How can I know? How can you love yourself if you are never truly present inside yourself, if that makes sense. You can’t.  It’s as if I’m waiting for someone to pull me back, and keep me back, by allowing enough safety to last forever. But I know that’s not going to happen. It’s up to me to come back, whether this world is safe or not, and to connect and bond with others. It is not until I am able to do that, that I will be able to make a relationship work, mutually. It’s not until I am able to do that, within my own control, that I will be able to live life to the fullest, happily.

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