I was wrong. It wasn’t the first time, and it won’t be the last. I thought I had analyzed and processed what led to my acting out, and that I was on the road back to a better state. But it was only the beginning.

Now there are diagnostic signs that are harder to miss. Certain thought patterns; intrusive images. Volatile emotions that depart more than usual from reasonable points of origin. A choking feeling of shame and unworthiness. Masochistic acting out, not only off and on with food but with other self-neglect. Preoccupation with death and tragedy.

In short: a depressive episode requiring more help than my frequent three or four day dips.

How, you might ask, can it be that bad if I can still diagnose myself this way? It’s true that it could still be much, much worse. I could be nonverbal, or an imminent danger to myself. But I’m also fortunate to possess (or have developed) what the psychologists call a strong “observing ego.” This is the ability to be aware of one’s feelings and experience as a separate entity–to say “I feel angry” or “I feel sad” or “I’m thinking this thought” with the knowledge that there is something bigger than the thought or emotion of the moment.

So it’s that observing ego writing this post. It’s that observing ego calling my psychiatrist and making status reports to my husband and taking my meds. It’s that observing ego organizing my intrusive thoughts and estimating whether they are too far toward the dangerous end of the spectrum.

It has to be in charge right now, because the other aspect of me can’t be trusted. Under most circumstances, my thoughts and feelings are a useful tool for self-management: they help me figure out what I want, or need, or don’t want anymore. But when a psychiatric problem crosses a line, my thoughts and feelings are no longer useful. If I am trying to find my way out of the jungle, the wrong map is worse than no map.

If I trust the data from my thoughts and emotions, I’ll write my last post today and you won’t hear from me for a long time, if ever. If I trust that data, the post will consist of an apology for daring to think I had something to offer. For pretending to believe anything good about myself, or the future, or life in recovery. For masquerading as a human being worthy of life instead of admitting all along to being the disgusting, maggot-like mass of shameful inadequacy that I am. For being a drag on the planet’s resources and wasting the time and energy of everyone I have ever encountered.

Should I trust that data?

Do you?

4 responses to “Observing

  1. You are worthy. You always have been worthy. You know that within.

  2. You are worthy. We all are worthy. I’m one big hot mess. I self harm. I don’t eat. I do self destructive behaviors of which I’m not very proud of. I’ve been voluntarily hospitalized 5 times and what I learned from that is that they don’t really do anything to help you. What they do is keep you safe when you feel like checking out permanently. After 5 times and learning that I was not actually getting any help, all I was getting was a gigantic bill that I cannot pay, I’m trying my best to stay away from there. No promises because when dealing with all these demons you never know from day to day what you’ll be dealing with or how you’ll be feeling. I’ve chosen to go the extensive outpatient therapy route. I have 3 therapists because I have so many demons. One I see mainly for all my pain issues. One I see for anything and everything, depending on which demon I’m dealing with at the moment and the third one I see for DBT group. I see each one once a week. The help is out there, but you have to want the help. That is the first step. Then you have to find the right therapist and you may have to go to several before you find the right one for you. Then you have to work really hard and it takes a very long time. I still slip up and go into those very dark places, of which I’m just about getting ready to do, again. I’ll cut myself and do all that other stupid shit I do because I’m having a rough time myself right now. It’s a never ending roller coaster ride we ride and it sucks, it really, really does. But, for me the therapy and blogging is what is saving me from myself. Just know you are not alone. You are not the only one feeling this way. You are not some kind of freak. For some reason we’ve been the chosen ones to be sick and all we can do is to take it moment to moment. Forget yesterday. don’t worry about tomorrow. Take a deep breath and just breathe and try to focus on the here and now and nothing else. I’m trying to convince myself to do just that at this very moment. I wish you the best on your journey. I’m here if you ever want to talk. Take care and never forget that you ARE worthy!

  3. What honesty. It is beautiful and painful to see. I have been there. It is hard. One truth in life is that nothing stays the same and everything changes. We move and we change. It wont always be this way. Love

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