The thing that I love about Zhanna is that she is not afraid to be who she is while around me. She is just as silly, outgoing, outspoken, goofy, and nuts as I am, if not more. Often times when we hang out, we lose track of time and what’s going on around us. It’s like we have our own little world and everyone else just kind of exists as a buzz around us. The other night Bailey was working, running a very important meeting, while Zhanna and I were hanging out. This usually doesn’t pose a problem because Zhanna and I just watch cartoons, but this time we ended up getting loud. Bailey was less than pleased and got upset. Zhanna and I didn’t realize we were being loud and so when she started getting frustrated we both fought back. Luckily it didn’t turn into a blow out, but it did open some deep waters for me. I woke up that day and from the get go was struggling. I was upset about not having a family, the idea of not being able to partake in the Thanksgiving celebration, not having supportive parents, my mom, my adoptive parents paying my brother’s way home for the holidays and not asking me, and so on. It was kind of a “whoa is me” day. I was not okay. Typically when I get this way I do one of two things, I either become super clingy or super shut-down. This day, I shut down. I disconnected myself from the world. I didn’t talk much. I didn’t want to be touched. I played with Zhanna, but it was much like when I first came…when she made all the decisions and I just followed suit. During dinner Bailey came and sat with me in an attempt to connect and my body immediately freaked. Her touch made me feel like my skin was going to fall off and all I wanted to do was scream. During Bailey’s meeting, Zhanna and I started talking and giggling–none of which I have a clear memory of–and we interrupted the meeting. Before I went home I went in to give her a hug and things kind of just fell apart. I didn’t remember being loud. I didn’t even remember talking to Zhanna, no matter how hard I tried. I was completely shut down and out of my body. I couldn’t even hear myself talk and couldn’t recall giggling with Zhanna. It was overly frustrating. When I am out of my body, I am just numb. It’s like that always. Very rarely do I actually feel in my body. I don’t mind being out of my body, it’s great for pain, I don’t feel any. When I shut down, I am alone. The world around me, though visibly there, ceases to exist. Just like when Zhanna and I start to play, it’s as if I’m somewhere completely different, and I am. Though still overwhelmed, scared, or angry I am able to not feel it as well as manage it and not have a complete meltdown. It’s comforting. I am still capable of functioning, I have done it my entire life, but it’s a different type of functioning for each “level” of shut down. Just like being out of my body, I am often shut down at some level. This is something I’ve never actually talked to anyone about because, honestly, I have no idea how to put it into understandable words. When I am overly tired, super upset, or not feeling well, I shut down completely leaving me completely alone in this world. I exist in the world and it exists around me, but it is just noise and I am alone. When I am overwhelmed or scared, I shut down to where the world is not just white noise, instead it’s like a buzz. It’s not at such an intensity as when I’m not well or mad. Most of the time I am shut down at the level where I’m in my own world but it’s not very noticeable to anyone else. I still function like a normal (or sorta normal) person of society, I still work, I still allow touch and conversation, I am able to “fake” emotions better–such as: excitement, laughter, etc.–and I’m able to see the world through a short, harsh rhythm instead of just a buzz. The problem is, I don’t like to be shut down at all. I have had moments of complete in-the-body, awake-ness and have enjoyed them greatly. They never last long though because they become too overwhelming to handle and my body immediately goes back to being shut down. So while I do a lot of things that I like, often times it’s what I like in my own little shut down world–things that I can do regardless of who is there. I want to get to a place where I am able to pick and choose the things I like and what I find the most joy in doing, I want to be able to feel without shutting down.