Need your help

I need advice and help.  I can’t talk to anyone.  Therapy has gotten too hard for anyone to understand, and when I try to share, I can’t explain in any way that can be meaningful to others.  Or in a way that helps them support me.  I’m stuck in the chaos of my head alone.  I’ve had to swear to myself to “be normal” and not talk about this to them anymore.

This is partly why I haven’t been here lately.

I’ve also truly learned what “fair-weather friend” means.  And how that shatters ability to trust.

It’s no one’s fault – I know how complicated this is, and I know how fucked up I am.  Shit from my head has started to come out first person and I am starting to lose it.   Finally the way they advise in therapy, lowering the wall, is just leaving me in confusion, chaos and rage.

I need advice.  Wednesday AM, I have to get on a plane for a trip to see family – haven’t been there in a while.  They don’t know anything.  It will be 24/7 – I am sleeping on their couch. Last time I was there, I was just “really tired” from a conference I’d just come from in the same town.  I felt so fake.  You guys know how this goes with all the threads of thought.

I am already going nuts and don’t think I can be “happy normal” for 4 days.  I am self-injuring with the stress of the trip and with my own rage inside.  Today was horrible.  Tomorrow is my birthday and it will suck.  I just need to somehow get through Sunday.

Right at this moment, trying to formulate these thoughts, is the most rational I have been able to achieve in more than a day.

Probably because I just realized that you all are the only ones I can truly talk to, and who can truly understand.

I am losing my ability to dissociate and “be normal”  and fake it.

I don’t know if it is even possible for me to find a way to even partly enjoy this trip, but 4 days of being fake to hide, I don’t know.  I’ve used that strategy a lot in the past, but don’t think it’s going to work this time.

Advice please.



  Secret Shadows wrote @

Oh, that is hard…..I can identify with losing the ability to dissociate and act as if everything is fine. I can also identify with the concept of “fair weathered friend”. The best advice I can offer is to empower yourself with what supports you do have. Keep in touch with your support system in some way if you can (email, journalling???) When I am with my family, I also use my time wisely. For example, I “have to go to the bathroom” sometimes for the sake of wanting a moment no matter how small alone. Maybe you offer to run an errand for them, or you have to go to the store for something. It is lucky for me that I have 4 kids (a family of 6) and no one in my family can have all of us at their house. 🙂 I am also lucky that I have friends who usually want to see me. Now granted, they are friends more of the fair weathered type, but they are better than hanging with my family 24/7. If you need to email someone and vent, you have my email. If you have lost it you can find it by going to “Contact Secret Shadows” on my blog. You have to click the Email link to see my email address, but it’s there. It’s just hiding from spammers. LOL Sometimes just knowing you have a connection with someone that gets it can help a lot. I mean it, feel free to write,and I will write back.
Take care dear friend,
Secret Shadows

  Bob wrote @

I am so sorry you are hurting. I have been in therapy six years and one thing I have learned is that you HAVE to keep looking back and accepting the progress you have made no matter how small, because after a while it will be enormous, regardless of how far you still have to go. Just like at work or everyday routines, some days I don’t think I accomplish anything at all but when I look back at the day and realize what I did get done it is a lot relative to not doing any of it at all. Therapy is slow, especially after the initial honeymoon period when things seem to be falling in place and you can feel that help has arrived.

Lowering the wall is what you need to do for therapy, but it helps me to engage some type of routine afterwards to bring my outside-world walls back up. For me I always go and get a coffee or donut.

My birthday was two weeks ago and I can tell you it’s the longest day of the year for me. I wish no one knew about it or ever mentioned it. No advice, just to say I think I understand. Try to keep distracted and busy w/ your family so you won’t have too much dwelling on how hard it is. Let your therapist know how tough it will be and let him/her know you might call and leave a message if you are struggling. That they don’t even have to call back, sometimes it helps me to simply know I can call and tell her on a voicemail.

Feel free to contact me, too. I will be thinking of you and sending good karma your way.

B. Martin

  Emily’s Camigwen wrote @

Hi Bob,

Thanks for your thoughts and advice. You shared some things I hadn’t thought of. Like purposely remembering things I accomplished the day before. I realize in yesterday’s horror in the alternating periods of zombie numbness, I did frame some pictures I took as gifts, and get a present for their 2 year old.

I also like your advice about a way to put the wall back up after therapy with a ritual. After a bad session, I have to sit in the car. I can’t drive for a half hour. Sometimes I take notes about what happened because I have trouble with remembering things at stressful times of therapy.

Thank you.

  mo wrote @

omg, I thought I had wrote that post there for a second. I know what you mean about being in your head, chaos, fair weather friend..not having anyone to talk to that understands, its feels so lonely or scary. But you do have us, on here. You will pull it off, I know you will, something T said to me yesterday about people really dont notice things that we think they do. I know this is also cliche but I guess we have to trust the T actually said those words yesterday, I laughed out loud and then cried. Hang in there, like secret shadows email me if you need to, I dont know how much help I can be, but I can listen or read, Thinking of you

  Emily’s Camigwen wrote @

SecretShadows and Mo. I am crying at your support. For some reason I didn’t think to come to you all here – I hate asking for help. And it’s really hard to take your own advice, you know?

I’ve had to walk away from my support system. I’ve radically lost my ability to judge honest and true relationships. I *think* they understand, but then I get slammed with stuff from nowhere that sends me crying – often little stuff that they later apologize for, but that doesn’t stop me from being so hurt because I’ve opened myself to them.

My “best friend” put a knife in my gut, used me, and then used my personal struggles against me. I misread it incredibly – someone I trusted with nearly everything has now pushed me away because I am “sick.” He threatened withholding his friendship unless I continued to do XYZ. My therapist read everything and helped me recognize his need for control, so I wrote back and acknowledged it was over. I don’t think he expected that.

I guess that’s the crux of it and an extreme example – I’ve tried opening up and giving people trust. Putting out my hand thinking it will be held, but now no longer knowing if it will be held or slapped. I can’t take the slapping at this point in my healing, so I have to remove the opportunity for the unexpected slams.

Thank you both for your thoughts and supportive words. I’ll hold on to it.

I’ve already decided I need to take walks, and I have to work on the computer for my job search. I just pray the stress doesn’t overwhelm me. Yesterday was the worst day in months and this morning is definitely better compared to it. But still … So I am trying so hard to hold on to that and have a decent birthday.

Thank you both.

My husband and I are going out for dinner with ice cream afterwards. Fingers crossed.

  Secret Shadows wrote @

You are strong, even though you do not necessarily feel that strength at the moment. You will get through it, and you will be ok.

  mindparts wrote @

Have you ever wondered what it is inside that gets us through things that we think we will never be able to get through? That’s what I wish for you. I do not know that will happen, but it’s something we can hope for.

I see you’re going through a rough patch. And I don’t think there are any magic bullets. It sounds like you are torturing yourself. The bringing the walls down is only a good strategy if those parts you connect to share the same goals. If not, it causes chaos. But I do hear that you are losing your ability to dissociate, or have temporarily. If I’m waffling on giving you advice, it’s because I don’t know what to say. I’m not sure anyone can give you advice, but we can support you.

It’s quite possible that your system will snap into focus when you go on the trip. And that will be what you need.

But the trick is to pay attention to what happens afterwards. The strict barriers needed to get you through a very stressful situation may collapse when you get back. So you need to be ready for it. Do things to self-soothe. I know this must be impossible to imagine when you are self-injuring. So don’t think I’m trying to minimize your experience. I’m not.


  Becky wrote @

Happy Birthday!

  Emily’s Camigwen wrote @

Thank you! It ended up being better than I expected. My husband suggested an early start to the Cico de Mayo tequila and things became “easier” after that. Although getting up for the flight the next AM was NOT a pleasant thing. OMG.

  mo wrote @

I know how you feel about trust and being let down by someone you trusted. Its like the the rug is pulled right out from under you, and leaves you feeling off kilter . I know when this has happened to me, it hurt so much and I seriously doubted my ability to judge people correctly, and I would say shut people out even more as a result.

you are strong and honestly have been a source of inspiration for me and many many laughs in moment of feeling insane 🙂 You will get through it, I just know it, it might not be graceful or pretty, but you will I just know it.
Hang in there

  Emily’s Camigwen wrote @

Thanks mo. I can tell you understand a lot. Wow – for me to be an inspiration – wow – that makes me feel good to be able to make that kind of an effect on someone. And for me to accept that gracefulness and prettiness are not required … 😉 Thank you for writing – makes me feel more centered.

  castorgirl wrote @

I second the idea of getting little breaks where you can. Often these can be disguised as being “helpful” to the family you’re staying with… “Oh, you need milk, let me go get it…”

Mo’s correct, we often perceive our behaviour as being odd when those around us don’t know anything else is going on. We can see and feel the struggle to keep it all together, while those around us might just see a lack of focus in our eyes or maybe we’re breathing faster.

Try to be gentle on yourself. You are stronger than you know. Give yourself credit for the huge steps you’ve made and go prepared with distractions.

Take care…

  Emily’s Camigwen wrote @

Castergirl – yes, this idea of going out to help is good. It is a challenge to do that specifically since the area here I would get lost in a minute! But yesterday I did have a stress and panic relayed meltdown that was completely understandable in terms of my joblessness, so that actually was a good thing for my SIL to see that this is really affecting me. So, it was spontaneous (I had nearly no sleep, cross country flight, some hang-over issues), and they knew I would be tired from all of that anyway.

And amazingly, she is seeing a therapist too for normal new mom stuff, so she completely understood that I need routine and is totally cool with it. So, morning “wait for drugs to kick in/coffee/computer work” is a very good thing since mornings are particularly hard for me.

So, I am less freaked overall. Thank you for your suggestions. My job issues are a great cover.

  MeMyself&Who wrote @

*hugs* Have missed you and am sorry to hear all you’ve been going through. Ditto to the email offers, I’m a lot better about checking that then I am checking here though I swear lol!
Have you ever tried or had success with containers? It’s not stuffing. I had a hard time getting that line drawn for myself at first cause that’s my usual habit to stuff. Containing is just temporary. Sometimes I can just do a mental image and that works (sometimes it’s a little bottle sometimes it’s a big cardboard file box that all my parts throw stuff in ha they get creative), sometimes that doesn’t work and I have to write or draw it out. (meant to put up a post w/ pics a while ago, oops! just reminded me) Just put say I’m acknowledging all these feelings/issues/worries/etc, I recognize they are important but need to put them aside until I can give them the full attention/care they deserve.
Sometimes it just doesn’t work though but I thought I’d throw it out there for you.

I could never get down with the “Fake it till you make it” thing either. Seemed like the harder I tried the harder it was to try and fake it or something. Just didn’t work for me at any rate I guess.

One step at a time. I hope you do something good for you for your birthday. (Read as: something positive. I know for me it’s hard to treat myself or let others treat me so I sometimes go do something positive either in general or for others that in return makes me feel good).

You have come a long way, you might surprise yourself at some point. I know sometimes for me I expect things to go one way (or even in away give in to the fact they will go that way) and am surprise when they don’t, everything turns out fine and as someone else said realize nobody else really noticed that I was really wacky!

Anyway best wishes and yup we’re all always ‘here’ for you!

  Emily’s Camigwen wrote @

Hi MyMyself&Who – Thank you for the hugs! Hugs are always such a nice thing – funny how (at least for me) I feel like I can feel them.

My therapist is trying to help me understanding some of the compartmentalizing – that it’s not ignoring or denying but trying to get parts to take a back seat. I am not in control of that very well. I am only just sometimes able to provide support from the back. So when she suggests asking for some to stay in the back seat, so to speak, I have some problems – room to grow.

One step at a time – I think I can do it a little better now. Fingers crossed – thanks!

  BTC wrote @

First I saw.. yay! a post! then I read it 😦

I’m so sorry you have to go through this. Is there no way you can get out of it? Or is that the stupidest question ever?

What advice has T come up with? Is there some way that you can be supported by contact with T or transitional objects?

Is there a way that you can stay in a hotel or with a friend rather than on their couch? Can you plan to be off running errands/ hiding in coffee shops rather than actually spending time with them?

Have you got some kind of internal house with safe areas where you can nurture parts inside and protect them from the family battering?

I know its so hard to deal with these people when the walls are coming down – its almost like we need to go back and put the defenses in place again to deal with it. I think that anyone going into therapy to deal with this should be given a legal-enforceable letter of no-parental-contact for the duration of the therapy.

Huge amounts of non-intrusive virtual hugs and support.

Sorry I can’t be more help.

Will be thinking and worrying about you and sending positive thoughts.


  Emily’s Camigwen wrote @


Boy, it sure makes me feel good that you were excited that I posted! Makes me feel good – truly.

“Stupidest question”? NO! My therapist asked if it was possible, because I made the plans so suddenly and we really didn’t have time for me to prepare for it. But, due to circumstances and schedules, rescheduling was not ideal.

But, you make great suggestions for me AND TO OTHERS. Doing errands – good stuff. Hotel, good stuff. I couldn’t do these because of the circumstances tho. There really was no “family battering” but more my fear of just the 100% interaction – positive tho it was, but potentially overwhelming for me.

THANK YOU SO MUCH for your hugs and support.


  David wrote @

Sorry I came to this so late.

Since I started therapy, I too can no longer fake it. So I don’t. I tell people what I need, and if they can’t handle it, fuck ’em.

Some of these needs are along the lines of “I’m sorry I can’t stay with you when I visit; I really need my own space and down time, so I’ll be staying at a hotel while I’m in town.” People’s hurt feelings and misunderstandings are about them, not you. Ditto their rejection, if they reject you.

If people can’t respect your needs, there’s no reason for you to respect their disrespect. Give yourself what you need. And if what you need is to stop faking that everything’s OK … well then … that’s fine. It really, really, really is.

  Emily’s Camigwen wrote @

Hi David

There is no “too late” – I’m not the only one who will go through this.

It is good that you have a very clear sense of what works for you and protects you. Sounds like you have much more experience than I do for this type of experience … probably because of where we are in our processes. Hotels are *always* wonderful escapes that I need, especially on business trips and conferences. Sanctuaries.

Respect and disrespect is a tough thing … so much depends on the specific situation, the people, the history, etc. And I’ve found lately that the definition of “disrespect” differs from person to person! But you make a good point – if you’ve tried everything gently and it doesn’t work for you, then to just extract yourself and do what you need to do. Standing up for ourselves and our needs.

Thanks for writing!

  Tigerweave/Anna wrote @

Argh! I completely missed this. Probably because I am at a really similar point in my therapy and really not coping to well with it all falling out of my head either. I see from your next post you did well. I am glad!

I am also really glad to see you posting again too. I have missed you.

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