Monday, July 23, 2012

Why I "Left"

Please note, this blog is not meant to be used for blame. It is not an excuse for everything that has happened. It is an epiphany, nothing more, nothing less!!

This has been weighing heavily on my mind of late. I've been wondering if I should say anything or let my mind clarify what has been bothering me first. of tonight, my mind is clear, but my heart still isn't. People will take from this what they choose. Some people will take from this the opportunity to blame. Others will realize that there is no blame being placed by what I have to say, only me relieving my heart of a burden I can't carry alone.

I remember why I left. I don't remember how or the events immediately leading up to and during my disappearance, but the stress behind the fugue is something I truly believe I understand.

I don't believe I ever made the conscious decision to leave, but I do know that the mind can only handle so much stress before it just shuts down. Some people just need a "day off" from the world. Some people hide in books, movies, or television, temporarily escaping from the stresses of every day life. None of that was enough for me. When that's not enough, some people suffer from a nervous breakdown, but others box off their life and go into a fugue state to escape what they can no longer process. This is what my subconscious did to survive.

I was drowning. Oh, not literally, obviously, but drowning in stress and the feeling of complete and utter failure looming on the horizon. I had been told by different people since my childhood that I was a nobody, a nothing, not worth listening to or believing, and definitely not worth the mud on the bottom of certain people's boots. I was still being told that by one person in particular every time that person would get angry about something they construed as insulting or threatening to their reputation or well-being. Being told you're worthless and a failure wears on you after a while. The feelings those words inspire get to the point where they are always inside you. You are so sure that they are correct that you start to self-sabotage to make it true.

Never was that more true that what happened April 9, 2011, for me anyway.

I felt like life was too much. I was exhausted, but determined to keep wading through the quicksand. I refused to give up. I thought this meant that I was a strong person. That this would prove to everyone once and for all that those naysayers were wrong. That I was worthwhile, but all I was doing was setting myself up for the biggest fall yet. I piled on more and more stress, but through it all I continued to allow myself to be verbally attacked and continued to make excuses for those attacks instead of defending myself and talking about my problems with people who would have gotten me the help I needed.

That day, I failed to turn in a school assignment that was due by noon. That was it. That was the last straw, I guess. I felt like I couldn't breath when I realized what I'd done. I was exactly what they had said I was. A failure. That was when I decided to step out, run to the store, get some ice cream, take a breathe, and start again later after I'd calmed down. (That's the missing piece to the puzzle. That's why I gave in to the urge to grab a snack. That is what I wasn't ready to remember. It's so small a thing in retrospect, but at the time it was the end of everything I was trying to build for myself.)

That didn't happen, though. Something else happened. I don't know what, but I am extra glad I am not that same person. Yes, there are a couple of people left out there that my reactions to are controlled completely by my subconscious. Those people who have ingrained fear into my reactions to them so deeply that I can't think about them without feeling it and an immediate need to protect myself the only way they would let me in the past, just obey. However, overall I am a much healthier person now than I was in my "past life."

Before, I would talk some about what bothered me, but then I wouldn't talk it through fully and would continue to worry about it, wallowing in my fear and eventual self-loathing. Today, I don't let stress rule my world. There is always someone who will listen. A friend, a family member, or my blog followers. No stress stays locked up inside. No decision remains unmade. No situation is allowed to fester. Apparently, when I was reset, my brain learned healthy ways to deal with the daily stresses that come with being human.

I've been told by two psychiatrists and a psychiatric nurse (in the hospital in Joliet), that I have less of a chance of ever experiencing another dissociative fugue than someone that has never experienced one in their life, and the chance drops even further if I can figure out why it happened and deal with the problems. Well, apparently my mind already knew the problem and started dealing with it before it let my conscious mind discover the truth. I am thankful to know that my friends and family will never have to experience what they did for those 3+ weeks that I was missing (with a 99.999% certainty anyway.)

If any of you are in a situation where you don't feel like you can talk to others about your stress, but you are drowning in your troubles, please find someone to help you before it's too late. Don't let what happened to me happen to you, or something different and just as bad. Please remember that there are people who care. I care. I may not know you personally, but I still care.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Sometimes we get a gentle reminder that life is fragile and finite. Softly, like the brush of a butterfly's wings, we are reminded that we will not be here forever and while we are here, we need to be thankful for anything and everything, the good and the bad. Sometimes those gentle reminders also show us how one very small incident, something we might consider inconvenient at the time, can change the course of a life.

Yesterday, because I misplaced my keys for a minute at my mother's house, I missed witnessing (or worse yet, being involved) in a horrific car crash. I was only a minute behind the vehicle that rolled on the interstate, but it took 10 minutes to get to where it happened because immediately traffic came to a standstill. As I drew closer, I knew it was bad. People in the opposite direction had pulled over and were getting out of their vehicles to run across the highway.

After passing the scene and saying a prayer for those involved and their family and friends I suddenly realized why I wasn't there when it happened. One little thing that at the time was slightly annoying and inconvenient saved me from something I quite possibly couldn't have processed (and, more frighteningly, couldn't have survived if I'd been hit.) How easily a life was lost. How easily my life could have been involved. I am now thankful for the minor inconvenience of having to look for my keys for less than 60 seconds.

I'm sure there are times we don't realize how the little things change our lives. Your son lost a shoe, your daughter can't find her favorite sweater, your spouse can't remember where their wallet or purse was set down last, the dog won't come in after being let out, etc., etc. These things frustrate us, but what if every one of these happens for a good reason, and we just never see what would have happened otherwise.

Sometimes we get a not so gentle reminder that life is fragile and finite. Hurtfully, like the swipe of a tiger's paw with it's claws out, we are harshly forced to face realities that as humans we try every day to avoid thinking about. We have a major annoyance or horror that changes the course of our life entirely.  I am human, so naturally I often wonder about my disappearance and amnesia. Why me? What good could actually come of my family's worry, my kids' hurt hearts, my ex-husband's anger, my friends' confusion and fear?

Just like the things I never experience because of the little things in my life, I may never know. I just have to remember to trust that God sees how my life would have otherwise been and He knows truly what's best for me. My life is where it is now. It is going in a direction that NEVER would have occurred otherwise because I am not the same person I was. The change to my life is so big it's incomprehensible.

Life is fragile and ever so changeable. For that I am thankful.

Friday, July 6, 2012

He Knows Best....I Just Have to Trust

It is always hard to admit that God knows best for us what should happen in our lives, but this song reminded me when my mind chose to try to forget. Everything that happens does so for a reason. We have to let go of our need to know all the answers and the reasons. Whether God chooses to give us the answers or not, we should accept that He loves us and puts obstacles in our path for a reason.

I rest in knowing He loves me and I don't need to know it all. I will most likely never know, and that's okay. I will follow the path that I feel He has led me to and if, someday, He decides I need more answers than He has provided at this time, I will accept those answer with as much calm as He can grant me.

It is enough to know that He loved me and took care of me while I was in the middle of my "black hole". If He can protect me through the truly unknown, He can lift me up and carry me through the new challenges I face today.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Shockingly, I Have Amnesia

Okay, I realize this isn't a surprise to anyone, but sometimes my life is going so smoothly that I forget that I have amnesia. There is so much that I do remember that I don't think about it every moment of every day like I did in the beginning. This is fantastic for me.....until my mother, speaking about something my brother posted online, says his middle name and I realize I didn't know it....or my sister, casually discussing where I used to live with my parents, husband, and kids, says something happened and I suddenly realize I have no idea what she's talking about....or someone asks me if I've seen a certain movie and I don't know what to say, because chances are good that the answer is yes, but I'm not sure and I don't remember the story regardless.

It's unnerving to realize how much I don't know about who I was. I know there are things I remember that I still have no emotional frame of reference for. I remember that things happened and that I made decisions, or that I was shy about putting myself out there, but I don't really understand why I behaved that way, or decided what I decided, or where that shyness came from. I'm not shy and I don't make decisions for the sake of hurting people who have hurt me and I don't hate people no matter their past behavior towards myself or others. That's just not who I am....but that is who I was.

Faced with these random statements from others about what has happened in my life and how I used to behave and memories of decisions I've made, I am forced to remember I have amnesia. Not HAD, have. It doesn't define my every day life like it did for the last year plus, but it's there and I am still dealing with the questions of who I really am versus who I was, what I don't remember and the possibilities of why those memories haven't returned, and how much I'm going to allow my past to dictate my future.

And I move forward every day, because (still sometimes) shockingly, I have amnesia!!

GROUP HUG!!!! Friends make everything better.

GROUP HUG!!!! Friends make everything better.