Sorry, Who Am I Again?

I went back to work today. My anxiety was back, and bad. I struggled from the early morning with feelings of low-level dissociation alongside very physical anxiety; the same anxiety which I had had a reprieve from whilst on holiday.

I am babysitting the girls I look after right now, who are both asleep. It’s been a long and busy (what will be 10am-11:30pm) day. I suppose it has been helpful to be busy and on my feet doing activities to some extent, and I do enjoy my time spent with them. At the same time, however, I can’t get this nagging feeling of anxiety and unsettled spaciness to budge. I’ve felt inately low and discontented all day. I just can’t connect.

Reflecting on my thoughts and fears from yesterday regarding the “transition” back home after a week away in Mallorca, I think I’m just a bit out of whack with my London-based reality, and that it may take a few days for me to get back into the swing of things. 

As someone who often relies heavily on my external world – people, job, environment, etc – to dictate my sense of self, when my external world changes (even for just a week), it can easily throw me off kilter. My system needs some time to reset and sync with my “old” life, until it becomes my norm once again.

I can’t help but feel this loss of a sense of self upon returning to work today. It’s as though I can only feel connected to myself and know who I am when I’m strongly attached to a momentary experience or relationship. When I’m not, it becomes hard to recognise myself as anything other than the role I have taken on within a moment, and even this feels like a false label of sorts plastered onto me. I suppose it is difficult to see myself as a human in my entirety with my many roles and experiences and memories; instead I define myself based on my immediate surroundings, and so when these change, it is suddenly disorientating. I feel like I’ve forgotten that this is my life at home and how to be a functional adult within it. And, when I can’t quite grasp the reality of the world around me and my part in it, I forget who I really am, too. It’s like I can’t remember who I am and which *me* is real or not. I lose myself. 

It also feels like time is stretched and shrunk and quick and slow and doesn’t flow in the same way as usual. 

I think it is pretty common for me to get this post-holiday anticlimactic disorientation. It can be hard coming back to reality where things are not so simple and I have to get back to facing some challenging interpersonal relationships, responsibilities and realities which have the potential to throw me off kilter. 

Hyper-vigilance returns with the onset of a working week. Anxiety is back on my back like it has been waiting for my return to London all along. I feel things more deeply and with more pain. My behaviours are less balanced. I question myself and my capacity to “cope” more. I dislike myself more. I feel empty and sad.

On holiday I was immune from London life and barely in touch with society or triggers (considering things with family are going well at the moment); all I did was read and swim and colour and eat well and basically self-soothe for a week. Now I have to face the music and my usual relational (and other) anxieties which I had been able to avoid for a week. 

I think this may have something to do with balance. I go from full-on, hectic, working, responsible “adult” to do-nothing-all-day, free-from-responsibilities, slightly-regressed “child”, and back, with no in between or slow evolution. On one hand I am also neither of these two people, but then again, I am both. Maybe if the sides of the coin weren’t so extreme, it wouldn’t be so hard to readjust each time the coin flips. 

I’d really like to have a stable and consistent sense of self. I keep thinking that I do, and then circumstances change, and I forget who I am all over again. I feel like a floating head; aimless, purposeless. Life hurts, and I struggle to find meaning and motivation within it.

I doubt the above ramblings make very much sense. My head is a bit jumbled. I feel strangely dissociated but in an overly-thinky way. I just wanted to vent some thoughts. Now I’m going to indulge in some crappy TV and try forget, whilst I somehow continue to “be responsible” for the girls, despite feeling barely able to do so for myself.

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10 thoughts on “Sorry, Who Am I Again?

  1. This is really interesting- why do you think the upheaval of travelling (the early start, the airport, the aeroplane, the anticipation of getting to somewhere new/unknown) didn’t trigger your feelings of being disconnected etc as much as returning to somewhere familiar with safe routines? Do you think its because you were able to ‘escape’ reality for a while? xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • 100% yes. Although I did feel similarly on the way there, it took a few days to settle in and realise I was “safe” within the context, get a feel for my surroundings etc. But mostly I struggle when I return home because well, sometimes, reality bites. Also I think maybe I’m just generally having a hard time at the mo. Thanks for your words.

      Liked by 1 person

      • That makes a lot of sense- it does take a few days of somewhere new to feel settled and grasp your surroundings. And you’re so right, reality bloody bites! That’s why I’m so obsessed with going on holidays myself. Love a bit of escapism, me 😉 xx

        Liked by 1 person

  2. that finding one’s sense of self is a biggie in BPD eh….I can only assume its because we try so hard to please others, due to our fear of rejection, that somehow we lose who we are in the process…sometimes I ask myself, who would I be and what would I look like if nobody’s elses opinions mattered one iota, and as such that anxiety didn’t exist either?? And is the answer a lot different from how we actually are? Worth a ponder eh..

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Your description of sense of self being dependent on situation was a revelation for me. It made me realise why I struggle with unemployment so much. As much as I’ve hated the stress and unrealistic expectations the jobs prevented the feelings of boredom and nothingness that comes with borderline and unemployment. Thanks for writing! Reading others’ writing helps me to understand myself when I’m having trouble making sense of the emptiness and confusion.

    Liked by 1 person

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