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(I just want to go on record to say that if you don't think I get the biggest, goofiest giggles out of my own Blog titles, you'd be very, very wrong...because I do).

Anywho, where was I? Ah yes:

In the beginning there was the Panic...

Sudden, distinct episodes of acute fear. Seemingly for no obvious reason. Leading one to think that oneself was not okay. Oneself (for example) might have been lead to believe that she was going insane, contracted syphilis, a brain tumor or at the very least, early signs of cardio myopathy. Which made perfect sense to a precocious, healthy 14 year old virgin who was left to take care of herself. At which point, one was forced to assume that the doom & gloom was quite imminent. This epiphany was thusly followed by a leisurely 6-8 hour wait in the local ER (mainly cuz I had to wait for a psyche consult) which was usually some green, doe-eyed, tree hugging MSW who would then draw the obvious conclusion that I was neither delusion nor psychotic. In fact, imagine the shock & bewilderment of such a sad little gal when they would tell her that they believe she has had a panic attack or may suffer from a "Panic Disorder"...(which the geniuses only concluded after my 5th visit in two months)...Further imagine, her ignorant relief when she would conclude that "oh, this is just emotional. Thank god, I'm not going to die"...but really that's just semantics.

Ahhh...good times.

(Yea, not so much).

This was me in the 80's.

(ya know when music was music ya little bastards!! lmfao).

This loopty loop was actually years following what I affectionately refer to as my 2nd world war. The first world war (or my initial trauma) I've decided to coin as "ground zero." But let's rewind to the WWII. I want to give you a real, thick slice of trauma in retrospect. Because all I've ever written about thus far has been the internal development and the environment which provides us with the why. But the word "trauma" will always be too impersonal for the depersonalized to understand. When I hear people say here.."I'm tired of the whole trauma bullshit with DP" their is ignorance is profound. Because it's just word. Like saying "park bench". I sat on a park bench & I have been traumatized. Both are said with the same affect because both statements are said from the same perspective. Both are said without feeling. And this distance from it-this lack of acknowledgement and ultimate lack of ownership of an emotional experience that has happened to you (or me) is what helps keeps us strangers to ourselves.

But Trauma is an injury that has a face- a moment, circumstances, and a feeling. And those feelings are attached to you (or me, in this case). Talking about the hard details gives ownership to an experience that we don't want to belong to us -but are ours to have. You cannot know yourself without your feelings. You cannot take the whole of yourself everywhere and into everyday awareness with taking it ALL with you. When I said this is a rescue mission, I'm not freaking kidding. The problem is from a non feeling perspective, you not only don't know what you're rescuing this person from but also don't know how hard that road is until you're on it.

Disowning the details reminds you that person you're trying to retrieve is none other than yourself. In my last, post I talked about how people intellectualize DP. This work here will help you get in contact with feeling. And this is what I meant that you'll realize this isn't about intellect at all.

This is about feeling and trauma has a face.

Here's what it looked like for me:

When I was 14 my Mother was diagnosed with Lou Garrett's disease which I didn't understand but knew was terminal. Wanna guess who had to be her caretaker? Days after her diagnosis I had a terrible headache. My affect was flat, almost zombie like. Then seemingly out of the blue, I had a panic attack. Things became unreal permanently. My eyes glazed over, my hair fell out in clumps, I didn't sleep or eat for weeks, I was in a constant state of confusion. I was constantly afraid. I would shake horribly. I couldn't understand what was happening to me and there was really no one to tell or help me. I was alone and I was falling apart. One thing I knew. I wasn't safe and never would be again. But here's the part that was most damaging: I had to act like I was okay. I was too afraid to say what I was feeling and even if I did who would understand? They would lock me up. They would think I was crazy...and maybe I am...what is going to happen to me?

These feelings are a windows into myself. Into my own moments. They are hard to talk about and hard to feel as I type but they are necessary. I share this because I want to help you understand the honesty required to face Dissociation for what it is. You have to be: Honest, humble, sad, feel shame & accept your own ultimate denial.

Hindsight is always 20/20 isn't it? If I had just known back then that what I was looking for was safety and not my sanity I may have been put on a better path. The truth is: I was a 14 and too young to care for myself. I was 14 and older adults should have stepped into help me. I should have been taken care of emotionally but I wasn't because again, my caregivers were too preoccupied with their own shit to care for me. Someone should have loved me.

Those of you that are "In the beginning" and do not understand the nature of the panic are at a grave disadvantage and deserve a lot of help. Panic happens when your attachment needs are triggered or threatened. And because your base or "ground zero" has been damaged you are not going to feel safe.

Panic speaks to us. If fact, it never stops talking. It's has an inconvenient way of reminding you about something YOUR FEELING or should be feeling. It taps you on the shoulder and says:

"Psst...stop acting like this isn't happening to us. We're not okay..we're not ok...WE. ARE. NOT. OKAY!!!"

Someone sooth me.
Someone freakin help me.
Tell me it's going to be OKAY.

But no one answers us. And the truth is, the reason you're feeling uncertain, afraid or alone is very likely because part of that is true. I know that hurts to say. But that's what you are: uncertain, alone, afraid. Not crazy. Your mind had to cut off this experience to survive.

Depersonalization by itself is rare. Usually is a subset of some other disorder like, Borderline Personality. I don't believe that is what I am because despite my poor circumstances, my Mother was more consistent in the affection and ultimately more safety was provided to me and for longer. Borderlines were not. What draws those distinctions are simply a matter of degrees in the abuse. Of course, when they present, the severity of symptoms and the matter of the fixes too. This distinction is important because the voice and the persistence of panic's volume will be attuned to the level of damage. People with Panic Disorders that morph into permanent depersonalization I don't believe are borderline but I'm no professional.

The bottom line is. Panic Disorders are babies that did just that "panic." I'm not safe. I'm not safe. I'm not safe." Hopefully once you know this and accept that this is a way of telling you that you're not okay. That you need to acknowledge that emotionally you're hurt is a big step in ridding yourself of DP.

I think the hardest thing about owning trauma is to realize and accept that we were venerable when all we've ever had to be was strong. And we can't accept feeling so weak or being so hurt. But being weak is part of being human. Being hurt means we're not robots, that we can be damaged. It gives us boundaries that remind us that we're not invincible.

So let the panic blab... And the next time it shows up unexpectedly let her in. Sit her down and try to listen. Her story can help us find ourselves....
 
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