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TOPIC TITLE: Walking through a fog
Created On 9/21/06 9:55 AM
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Debbi
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9/21/06 9:55 AM
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Sometimes I say things in therapy that I never really knew that I "knew".

For example, I will describe the way I might have felt when I was five or six years old, and then afterwards I would wonder how on earth I am able to recall such detail.

It confuses me alot, and that is when I begin to doubt my own thoughts and feelings.

This very thing occured to me yesterday.

I was trying to access my feelings towards my father, and how I must have felt as a young child being molested.
I sat there on my therapists couch, and tried so hard to "feel". But the more I tried, the more distant I felt.
Then my therapist asked me: "If you could allow yourself to feel, how do you think you might have felt as a five, six or seven year old?"

That was easy.

Without hesitation, I proceeded to describe the way I (might have) experienced my life as a child. Most of the time I felt that I was walking through water, or thick mud.
My body would feel slow and heavy. I went through my days very carefully putting one foot in front of the other. Trudging slowly through the hours and minutes.
I kept on walking though.
I never stopped.
I was afraid to stop, afraid that if I stopped moving, the world would collapse around me.

I can very vividly imagine a picture of a small child trudging slowly up a huge mountain. Each step carefully taken, trying to make it to the top, with the knowledge that would be nothing there anyway, yet knowing that the act of moving forward was vital for survival.

How would I know this at such a young age?
How would I even "know" this now?
How do I remember with such clarity the way I felt, all those years ago?

Am I crazy?
And who would believe me anyway?

And yet if it is true, I feel so sad for that little girl, who lived her life in such pain. I feel unbearable sorrow. For who? Was that really me? Or just a story I made up.

So confusing.

Deep down, in my heart of hearts, I know this is how I experienced my childhood, yet today, it is difficult to connect the me, from "then", to the me from the present.

Sometimes I watch my kids ride their bikes. I can see the exuberance on my little girl's face. Her hair flying behind her, her face pink with excitement. She speeds past me, her short legs pedalling for all she's worth, her grin reaching from ear to ear.

How does she do that? I wonder.
How is she so full of the act of riding her bike? I can see the fullness of her experience, the way she puts herself completely into what she's doing.
She feels safe, knowing that I am watching on the side, and knowing that if she stops, the world wont come crashing down around her.

I used to ride a bike too.
But I did it slowly.
Carefully.
Peering through the fog. Trying to see through the thickness surrounding my being. Never knowing where things ended, and when they might begin again. Always wondering when the inevitable crash would occur. When the world might tumble at my feet.

I dont understand.
Is this what children who are molested experience?
Is this how they go through childhood, and perhaps adulthood too?

I am begining to realise the enormity of it all.
I am begining to see what was stolen from me.
I am begining to comprehend the terrible sorrow of being a child alone in a world which is about to collapse.

I dont know where all these thoughts came from. I suspect there must be some truth in them.

I am feeling drained of energy.
At a time when I need every ounce of strength, I am feeling weak and tired.
It is Almost Rosh Hashono. So much to accomplish, yet all I really want, is to lie down and sleep for a hundred years.

Does anyone know what I am talking about here?
Has anyone ever experienced this "fog"?
This, walking through life as though you are looking through a screen?

I wish someone could understand.
Because I don't.

debbi
 
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liar
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9/26/06 11:51 PM
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Unfortunately I understand. I am living life blindly. I went through years and years of depression and I didn't even know why I was depressed. Years passed without anything, no satisfaction at all. I found no meaning to life I was just wandering without a path. I didn't have much people to talk to for support including my family. Then I found out I had bipolar. I am in the middle of treatment and I hope to get better soon. I want to get married also. So basically, I hope this qualifies as walking through a fog.


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traitorsam
 
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frumsw
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10/3/06 12:43 AM
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I think this fog is a defense mechanism called "dissociation" (please somebody who knows correct me if I'm wrong) when a person emotionally distances themselves from their feelings because it's too painful. So yes, it could be from the molestation. It was the only way you could survive as a child. The problem is these things hang around years later when they cause problems with current relationships. And yes, those were your real feelings, you just blocked them all this time.


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frumsw
 
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Dr. Lynn, Psy.D.
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10/4/06 1:03 AM
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Yes, Debbi, it seems you dissociated yourself from the pain you experienced. This is very common for children that have been abused. It is very common to feel almost like two people; the one who experienced the pain and the one who observed it. Thus, what often happens is that a person's intellectual and emotional realities are split, causing the kind of relationship problems that SW alluded to.
a lynn
 
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Debbi
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10/28/06 10:50 PM
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Thanks for all your replies.

I have been away for Yom Tov, so was unable to be here.

Yes, this "dissociation" really is problematic in current relationships.

I often feel as though I am observing life through a video screen, almost as though I am watching a movie of some sort.
Sometimes I sit in my therapists office and watch her talk. I can see her lips moving but I cant "hear" what she's saying. Her words are audible, but they do not penetrate my mind.

She talks, yet I cannot "hear".
There are times when she actually seems to recede from my vision. It is almost as though her chair sprouts wheels, and she rolls backwards until she is far away from me.
I believe that this is also some form of "dissociation".
Very unnerving to say the least.

Often when i am in an uncomfortable social situation, I will suddenly begin to feel as though every one in the room has dissapeared behind a thin layer of mist. I can faintly see them, but I can no longer make out what they are saying.
Since I started therapy, this has happened less and less, and I have learnt some ways to deal with difficult situations.

Dr. Lynn do you think that "feeling like two people" is what you mean when I say that I can describe situations even though I have no real memory of all those details
I hate it when I do this, because I feel as though I am lying, or making things up which are "crazy", and are absolute untruths.

Iwould be really interested to know if you have successfully treated patients with this type of dissociation, and if so, is there anything else I can do to help myself get out of that feeling of being miles away.

Would love to hear from anyone who knows anything about this, or who has actually experienced it.

debbi
 
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Dr. Lynn, Psy.D.
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11/22/06 12:03 AM
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Debbi-
Sorry I have not responded in such a long time. Dissociation is different from "two people" feeling I was speaking of. Feeling like two people refers to the split experience of emotional reality vs. intellectual reality. Dissociation is like the mist you refer to. I have had success bridging emotional and intellectual realities via EMDR, and I find group therapy helps people to be less dissociated from themselves, b/c each member of the group is always giving and receiving feedback to each other, almost forcing people to be engaged.
a lynn
 
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