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Hello. It's difficult to create an intro when you're utterly lost. When you're unreal.
I can ramble about what I went through. The years of severe abuse in childhood, and later, marriage, but it's the same story told a thousand times before, just a few different details. The short version is I was abused in every way, also manipulated, isolated, developed social anxiety, so on and etc., and eventually it changed me to the point where I stopped feeling.

It was a bizarre thing that most couldn't understand, to not feel. I certainly didn't understand either for a long while, due to the surrealism of it. I felt beyond broken without pain or sadness, only an awareness of disintegration from the inside out.
"You seem the same to me" was the reply I'd hear when I finally reached out. Sure. I get it. I use the same words, same tone. The same ingrained facial expressions. All the mannerisms that I developed in imitation over the years since youth thanks to high functioning autism. A kind of defense mechanism I developed early on in order to be left alone, to avoid bullies and further abuse. And that worked, sometimes. I survived.
I did it so well that after a time I didn't have to try anymore. Like learning a new language, it became part of who I was. I went from a monotone childhood prodigy nerd to almost charismatic, and lingered there for years. Despite all I went through since early age I never understood when people went to "find themselves". Now I get it.

Before, even through all the hardships, all the disturbing abuse, I had a healthy ego, a strong sense of self, likes and dislikes. In time I found my own and grew into someone intense, fun, adventurous, loving, giving, empathetic, some would even say brave. I knew when I was treated poorly and stood up for myself and others. I was a right little justice warrior, dreaming of a peaceful utopia of fairness and equality who wanted to heal the world, until I learned how it actually works. Other than the mimicking speech and tone, I did my own thing. Sometimes I did my own thing so much I'd forget it was odd to others, weird, eccentric even, and when they made my appearance and beliefs an issue I did not care. It was still jolting, the bullying, but I refused to conform. That cruelty was on them, not me. I wasn't doing anything wrong. I was simply different, expressive, creative, wild.

Was. It seems like another life.
According to therapy I've been detached for a long time with PTSD and Chronic Depersonalization. It's been my constant norm, I simply didn't notice until my emotions vanished. Years back, while still married and after discovering another affair, a shift occurred within me, following an extreme mental breakdown. Not my first breakdown but this one differed. Suddenly I became robotic on the inside. Not empty, but filled with numbness. I compared my insides to the fluffy, white, synthetic stuffing in a toy.
Anxiety remains, panic attacks, flashbacks, nightmares, but the rest is auto pilot. I fear, yet I can't even feel bad about it or miss myself, I just know I'm not me anymore. I used to know who that was, a balance of logic and emotion, or so I liked to think. I also don't get angry or hurt, which is zen-like... without the peace. And don't get me wrong, it hasn't always been an endless nightmare. I had good friendships, other good relationships, I traveled, experienced love, joy, quiet, even mundane times, and had chaos that was not harmful but indeed abusers stole integral parts of my life from me.

Next month I will have made 48 trips around the sun. I cannot fathom it. I don't recognize myself. I reside with my two adult children, who also have mental health issues from their father, my abusive ex, whom I escaped 4 years ago. I no longer work and I don't leave my house, pre-pandemic. (That actually went on for years as part of the abuse in my marriage, a kind of imprisonment.) Immediately after escaping him, I spent almost 2 years in therapy, with a great therapist who moved away, certain I was healing well. Somewhere in there I began a new relationship that revealed itself to be similarly toxic, which I admit is ongoing. Then the pandemic hit, some bizarre situations where I was trapped for months overseas, and when I desperately needed mental health help, none could be found. Then there was me, taking several steps back mentally.

It's been over a year and other than a few random interactions with my kids and constant surveillance from my current abusive partner, I talk to no one. I trust no one. I fear all. Not social anxiety from being judged, but I feel threatened by others, unsafe. I can't find mental health care and I know I desperately need it. I keep trying to end my current relationship but as he is my only human contact. My physical health is nose diving, but that's another constant norm in my life. My days are empty, motions in a dream-like state, as if I am a ghost haunting myself. Plus I am drowning in a flood of legal problems still involving my ex; his bigamy, controlling my house that I do not want to be in, and his smear campaign that drove me from social media into further seclusion. I keep trying to convince myself I'm alive, that I do exist, and am failing at it. I can't find anything that's real, including myself.
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