I am constantly on high-alert. I am (painfully) aware of things that other people don’t notice, or don’t think twice about: sounds, people, cars, everything. I know that is related to my PTSD.
In some ways, it benefits me. I had someone following me in the dark a couple of weeks ago and I noticed right away and took action.
In other ways, I can do without the hypervigilance. It’s tiring. I am constantly questioning every little noise and every movement. It makes it impossible to focus.
You would think that, with being so aware of my environment at all times, I would be aware of what is going on within me. If I know the outside, I should know the inside, too. It seems like common sense. It seems like it should be that way. But it’s not for me.
Yesterday, I was putting labels up at work. I started noticing splotches of reddish-orange. I thought it was just marker or something, so I tried to rub it off, but that just seemed to spread it more. Then I noticed my hand, which had the same color splotches on it. Then I noticed my finger, entirely covered in it. It took me a minute to realize that it wasn’t marker on the labels. It was me.
I was bleeding. Profusely. I didn’t even notice I had cut my finger. How, I don’t know. I didn’t feel a thing. No pain. Nothing.
I could understand if this was a one time thing. I could rationalize it by saying that I was just too tired. But this wasn’t the first time something like this has happened. Years ago, I leaned over a burner while it was on and burned my abdomen. I didn’t feel anything. The only thing I noticed was the smell of my burning shirt. I’ve injured myself countless times and not felt any pain.
Why can I notice everything going on outside me, but I can’t notice anything going on inside me? I notice the blood on the paper, but not the cut on my finger. I notice the smell of burning fabric, but not the burns on my skin. It doesn’t make sense.
It scares me. How can I know when something is wrong if I can’t feel anything?
It frustrates me. People ask me how something feels and I just don’t know. Isn’t it hot in here? Well, I guess it is hot since you asked. But I have no idea. What does this pillow feel like? I don’t know, but since I can see that it’s silky, I’ll take a guess and say that it’s soft. I use context clues so I can seem normal. The truth is I really have no fucking clue how anything feels to my body half the time.
It worries me. You could cut the head off of my body and I feel like I’d still function the same. I don’t feel connected at all. There is no mind-body connection here.
I feel like a robot. Robots can’t feel, and neither can I.
6 thoughts on “Robot”
It is so hard to be in touch with that when you have survived by not being in touch with those feelings. Be gentle with yourself – it will take time and it will come. I highly recommend 1:1 trauma yoga, if you are looking for something new to possibly help. Xx
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This sound completely normal for dissociation. It can be scary connecting to the body. It’s a living entity.
Can any of you connect? if so, maybe someone can help you feel more connected when the time is right.
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It’s frustrating because I don’t feel dissociated. Like I am there, I feel there, but the connection isn’t there.
It makes complete senses to me that your mind and body would have disconnected from one another to spare you some of the pain of the abuse you’ve experienced. That was a healthy disconnection at one time. I’m sure you can rebuild the connection, but it will take time. You can’t undo 29 years of severe mistreatment all at once. Until you are able to do it (via yoga as Paper Doll suggests, which has helped me too, or meditation or TRE or some combination of approaches), you will probably need to be especially alert to protect the lovely person inside your detached body.
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Oh yes, I’m sure it will take lots of time.
Being especially alert is the difficult part, especially when I am rarely ‘myself’.