Friday, April 14, 2017

Feeling "Insane" Is Normal








You know how there are some memories in your brain that you can’t erase no matter how hard you try? You wish you could scrub them from your memory banks like burn marks with a Brillo pad, but you can’t. Those sucker are seared in there real good.



That’s how a majority of my disclosure days are with Devin. There are certain moments I can recall with such clarity, it’s like it happened yesterday, not so many years ago. I’m thankful that some of those painful memories have slipped away, but that ability to recall with such vivid detail what happened so long ago provides me with a good explanation why I felt so utterly "insane" for such a long time.



I had Relational Trauma. I suffered a form of PTSD and I had no idea that all I was going through; the anger, hurt, fear, hypervigilance, nightmares, panic attacks, loss of appetite, hyperarousal followed by not wanting to be touched or looked at, compassion for the addict, hatred of the addict, fear of certain places, and so many other things…were 100% normal.



Not only was it normal, it was expected. My brain was trying to process the fact that someone I had put my complete faith and trust in had betrayed me. I was trying to figure out how to make sense of my new world. In a matter of days, what I thought was my marriage, my future, had been flipped upside down. I was expected to have a whole new way of living. My life had been derailed and so had my brain. I was in shock.



There were moments, literally moments, that I felt compassion, then hatred for my husband in the days following disclosure. I wanted revenge, then I wanted to hug him and tell him it would be okay, we would figure this mess out together. I wanted to make love to him, then would be revolted by the mere touch of his hand on mine.



Those first few weeks were brutal. B.R.U.T.A.L. The myriad of emotions I experienced from moment to moment, hour to hour were so confusing, it left me exhausted, depressed, anxious, angry, confused and devastated.



The only way I know how to explain it is by comparing it to an egg. My brain was the inside of the egg. The shell was my world as I knew it before disclosure. After disclosure, the split happened and the egg cracked. I tried to keep my brain from oozing out.



The harder I fought, the more the egg white slipped through my fingers. I feared that my inner core, the yolk, would be next, so I held on as tight as I could to my emotions and tried to keep them from spilling out of the egg and through my fingers.



However, that Relational Trauma just doesn’t go away on it’s own. The nightmares persist. The anxiety attacks continue. The fear of going to places that trigger you still remain and I stayed stuck and thought I was bananas for feeling this way, until I read, Your Sexually Addicted Partner.



Inside was a list of all of my symptoms and then some. Ka Bam! I realized I’m not alone! I’m not "crazy" to feel the way that I do. I was elated! Beyond words. It gave me courage to move into action and not wallow with the people I had chosen to surround myself with. No more Negative Nancy’s for this chick. They were doing more harm than good.



Now it was time to do something about that egg I was trying to keep control off, but what? The hatred of Devin had gone away after the first few days…thank God. So did the desire for revenge, but I was struggling terribly with hypervigilance, anger, guilt, distrust, and my all time favorite: control.



I found that I needed help. I couldn’t travel this road alone. I sought out S-Anon, counseling, shut down my old curse-filled, negative blog and opened up this new one and the rest is history. I found that the egg didn’t need me to hold it together. That sometimes, when we break a few eggs along the way, add ingredients like a healthy recovery, the end result is a beautiful cake.



I only wish I had known that the emotions I’d been experiencing immediately after disclosure and for months afterward were totally normal.



What do you wish you had known?








18 comments:

  1. There's something about knowing someone else feels the same way that is comforting. We're not alone. That's also proof we were never meant to be alone. (We'd probably all go crazy then.)

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    1. I agree, Diane. Knowing that I wasn't alone was key in my recovery. I had isolated myself for so long, I didn't know how to interact with people anymore. I think that's why I was so willing to surround myself with negative people...just so I wasn't alone. I used to think I'd be fine if I was alone when I got older, but now, not so much.

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  2. Don't worry, you're still bananas, just in a whole other way lol cat had to.

    Having that click moment where one knows they aren't alone can make all the difference indeed. We remember the old one eye blog, name stuck with the cat.

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    1. So true cat, so true. Wait did I just agree with the cat. Dammit!

      Ugh. That blog was such a hot mess of curses, rants, and raves. A part of me wishes I hadn't deleted it. It would be good to see how far I have come. Maybe I can find a way to get it back. And that name will always haunt me with you around! haha

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  3. I think I like the egg thing. Oozing grey matter.

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    1. Thanks. I was definitely oozing my sanity!

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  4. That's a question to vast to answer. How to be a happy, healthy human being would be one. A giver rather than a taker, outside myself rather than inside, and only trying to control what is within my purview to control. That would be a good start.

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    1. It is a vast question to answer. Especially if you're searching inward. How to be a happy, healthy human being...whew! That took me a long, long time to figure out and I had to experience a lot of heartache to get there. I don't think it would it would be that way for most though; I tend to get in my own way sometimes. I love what you said about being a giver rather than a taker. I'm trying my best to do that now because I have a lot of time to make up for.

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  5. Hi Elsie - you've expressed it so well here - and I'm glad you sent the old blog into oblivion ... when I was starting out people said why don't you write about your mother's illness etc - and I just thought no thank you - I don't want to be tied there ... so I'm glad I started my positive blog.

    It's wonderful you letting us know about your journey - certainly helps others ... cheers Hilary

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    1. Your words are always so uplifting, Hilary. I thank you for them, Hilary. There is a part of me that is glad the old blog is gone. I checked yesterday and it is truly gone forever. However, I found some old posts on here that I transferred over (yikes!), but the only reason I would want to see them is for reflection, not dwelling. I think I understand what you mean, not wanting to be tied to that memory of your mom's illness because it's so painful. I'd rather not get stuck there because I was there for so long. I like going to your blog because it's positive and informative. :)

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  6. Hi I have realized since reading your blog that the healing side of addiction whatever that addiction may be is pretty much the same for any and all addictions. Those who suffer an addiction has to heal in order to recover as well as those of us who love them has a lot of healing to do also. All the birds of a feather flock together in whatever our fight may be. I love your posts, they are refreshing and healing and allow others to know they are not alone in whatever fight they are fighting today!

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    1. You have no idea how grateful I am for your kind words. Thank you so much. I understand that these posts can be difficult for some to read because it's such an unusual topic...and well, let's face it, I'm beating a dead horse here. The reason I'm doing the series is so, hopefully, when people do a search on these topics, the page will pop up. :)

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  7. What do you wish you had known? I have sat and thought about this question but I cannot for the love of me come up with an answer. I can say that I do like all these posts

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    1. I'm on the opposite side of you, Jo-Anne. I wish I had known so many things! :)

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  8. Great question. I'm not sure. You and I are the type to make juicy lemon aid out of lemons when we realize that's what we've got to work with. I tend to believe it's not so much about knowing versus not knowing as it is about what we do with what we learn. It's incredibly healing to know you're/we're not alone in any or all of our particular struggles. You're bravely and persistently sharing that message, my friend. Keep on. I love you. Happy Easter.

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    1. I think after the initial shock of what happened wears offs, it comes down to attitude about how you're going to handle the situation. Yes, there will be pain and struggle as you move through the emotions, but there can also be a time when you learn how strong you are too. I feel like there always has to be a silver liner somewhere. I love you too!

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  9. I love that you're able to so openly share these experiences with us. It breaks my heart to read them, and yet they make me so happy for you, that you have overcome--even if there is still trauma and difficult days. I think your sharing helps more people than you can imagine, even if it's hard to put out there. You're a trooper.

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    1. I appreciate you telling me this, Crystal. To hear this from a "civilian" helps me because I still struggle with knowing whether or not to post these because I fear people will stop visiting my blog, but then I'd be drifting away from the true meaning of why I started this blog and that was to help those who are going through what I went through. So, thank you again for letting me know you read this. I'm grateful to you.

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Thank you for taking the time to comment. I'm here to help any way I can.