Inside & Outside

My outside doesn’t match my inside.

I can talk about my emotions. How I’ve been feeling. How I’m currently feeling. To everyone else, it looks like I’m okay. Yet in those moments of talking about my feelings, my outside doesn’t reflect how I’m feeling on the inside. There’s a disconnect. And I don’t know why, or even how that happens.

In group today, when it was my turn to share, I told them a little bit about my experience on Friday, and how I’m still in that dark place. In our session last week Tuesday, OT told me I need to open up more in group, and use the time to its fullest. Therapist told me the same thing. So tonight, I tried. It was terrifying and extremely uncomfortable, but I did it. But once again, my true feelings didn’t match the way I spoke about it.

At one point during group (when someone else was talking about something), I had to leave and go to the bathroom because I could feel tears starting up. I don’t know how long I was in there, but I couldn’t stop crying. Then I intentionally this time, shut down those emotions. I walked out like nothing had happened, and went back to the group. Yes, I know. I probably should have stayed. Instead, I was rude and selfish.

One of two things happen when I talk about emotions and what I’m struggling with. Either I feel it all inside, but it doesn’t show on my face, as if I’m two different people. Or I just shut down completely and become numb. And the worst part is that 99% of the time, I don’t do it intentionally. It happens automatically.

Do any of you experience this? And how do I move past it?

I’m still feeling terrible since Friday. All I can think about is death. I see, and feel it all around me. I’m having nightmares. The kind that haunt me, and show up out of nowhere throughout the day. Like flashbacks. I get frustrated. After all, it’s just a dream. It’s not real. But then why does it feel so real? It’s past events, but with a twist. Like memories, mixed in with current fears. Some of these fears are those that I never even knew I had. I’ve also been struggling a lot with anxiety. I’m living off my Benzo’s (I’m not overdoing it- just enough to cope).

I feel disconnected from everyone and everything.

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38 thoughts on “Inside & Outside

  1. What horrible and scary feelings 😣 I think the disconnection is a BPD trait. Though I am unusually honest and direct in my emotional expressions to others as you know. The mismatch you speak about is confusing, but a product of what you learned to do as a child suffering abuse and trauma. You did what you could to survive. It makes sense in light of your past…it’s just hard to reconcile that with how you’re now an adult who us supposed to follow certain social norms. I am struggling with that myself xx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. When we first met, your honesty and openness scared me a little, haha! But now you know that I admire you so much for it. You inspired me, and always encourage me to not give a damn what others think, and to speak my truth. I’m becoming better at it, right? 😉

      “it’s just hard to reconcile that with how you’re now an adult who is supposed to follow certain social norms.” That’s so true. Love you, my friend. ❤ xx

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Rayne. I’m not sure I can be of much help. When I talk about my past trauma, I cry like a baby. Maybe it’s just part of the process and it’s still too painful for you so you kind of check out when you talk about it. That is a very normal reaction to events that are too heavy to think about. Have you every tried EMDR? It has helped me so that, now, I can talk about some significant events without falling apart. As for your statement about dreams/flashbacks and them not being real… they are real. Just because they happened in the past or become entwined in current moments, doesn’t make them any less real. You had REAL trauma, it’s not just some random dream. It is you, your heart and mind trying to make sense of things and work through it on a subconscious level. Also very normal. You are doing the right thing by reminding yourself that, in the moment, you are safe. I would encourage you to let yourself cry in group… the next time you feel the tears coming, don’t leave. Everyone else there has experienced something similar (I’m guessing) and your tears will not be unfamiliar, nor will you be judged for letting them show (if you are, that is their problem, not yours… who cares what they think. You are there for YOU). Also wondering if you have tried writing down your experiences, thoughts, nightmares, fears, etc., like a diary (throughout the day). That can sometimes help bring things out of your subconscious and ease nightmares. Sending you all my love, encouragement and support ❤ ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You WERE helpful. 🙂 Your comment was very insightful.

      “I would encourage you to let yourself cry in group… the next time you feel the tears coming, don’t leave. Everyone else there has experienced something similar (I’m guessing) and your tears will not be unfamiliar, nor will you be judged for letting them show (if you are, that is their problem, not yours… who cares what they think. You are there for YOU).” Thank you for this. I really needed to hear it.

      I don’t think EMDR is right for me. But I’m just guessing here, I could be wrong. I do have a personal journal, but for some reason I struggle to be consistent with it, and sometimes go a week or more without writing anything down. I use this blog as an outlet as well, so it’s also part of a “journal”.

      Thanks for the love, encouragement, and support. You mean a lot to me. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m glad I could be somewhat helpful. I really feel your pain and wish I could help more. I was skeptical about EMDR as well but there are a few really traumatic events that I used to never be able to talk or even think about without crying. After EMDR, i can now talk about them… it’s not that they don’t still upset me, they do. But I can manage the feelings they bring now and it helped with some of my PTSD triggers. That being said, I also understand that what works for one, may not work for another and we should each follow our hearts. Blogging has been a great outlet for me too. I’ve tried journaling and it wasn’t for me either. I’m always open to chatting if you would like, you can email me. Love and peace to you my sweet and strong friend ❤

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Thanks for telling me about your experience with EMDR, and I’m glad that it helped you. I never write anything off, so I’m not opposed to it. Thanks for the offer to email. 🙂 ❤

          Liked by 1 person

  3. You’ve written about dissociation in the past. Is the experience you describe here a dissociative one? (You needn’t answer this). Your courage continues to manifest itself.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I wish I could help, but this is happening to me too. I think part of my problem finding help has been that others can’t really see the extent of my suffering. I always dread hearing the words, you seem like you are doing good.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. For me, when I explained those same symptoms, my therapist said it was dissociation. And it all started to make sense. Because i didn’t feel like me, but I was me, but i was disconnected. It was and is an unsettling feeling.
    Going to the bathroom was a great idea so you could reaclimate and ground yourself

    Liked by 3 people

  6. “One of two things happen when I talk about emotions and what I’m struggling with. Either I feel it all inside, but it doesn’t show on my face, as if I’m two different people. Or I just shut down completely and become numb. And the worst part is that 99% of the time, I don’t do it intentionally. It happens automatically.”

    Yes, this happens to me quite often in therapy, or whenever I decide or think about sharing any aspect or effect of my trauma. You are not alone in this. You are still there. You are still you. I know it doesn’t feel like it, it doesn’t for me either when it gets that bad, but you are still there. My guess is there is something you need to work out internally and emotionally and your mind is fighting it out of fear, shame, or whatever. I think that the fact you are recognizing this is actually good and part of the healing. Before, it was automatic for survival and you probably had no awareness. Now you do. I know how confusing this feels. I am so sorry you are struggling in this way.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m sorry that you also struggle with this. I sometimes get so frustrated with myself when it happens.

      “I think that the fact you are recognizing this is actually good and part of the healing. Before, it was automatic for survival and you probably had no awareness. Now you do.” This makes a lot of sense.

      Sending hugs your way. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Have you seen Katy Perry talking in therapy on YouTube? You should watch it would really help you x someone in your life told you that your emotions were wrong and not validated. Therefore when you get them you feel guilt. That’s why I self harm. I have found that spending time by myself and finding out who I am as a person and what hobbies I like etc has helped me to get some self confidence so I feel strong enough to be able to open up. You shouldn’t be pressured to open up in group of it makes you uncomfortable. You have to cope with it in your own time x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I just searched YouTube and I see that video is almost an hour long. Will definitely be watching that one a little later. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. I grew up with the message that any emotion other than happiness is not acceptable. At least for me. I couldn’t express anger, fear or pain. I would get “disciplined” for it, so I learned to just keep it all inside, and pretend that I was fine and happy. I’m an introvert, so I enjoy (and need) time alone. I’m slowly starting to find myself, piece by piece.

      My therapist and OT aren’t putting any pressure on me to open up in group. The problem isn’t that I’m not ready. I AM ready, but I struggle with social anxiety, so even when I want to open up, respond to something someone else is saying, etc, I’m too afraid to. So they’re only encouraging me to not be afraid to speak up. To not silence my voice, when I really want and need it to be heard.

      Thanks for your comment Amy. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It is a very insightful video, and I hope you enjoy and relate to it as much as I did. It sounds like you have a very mature and good insight into your mental health and where you want to be at. Sometimes in life we need to take a deep breath, a big step. Stay strong x

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I can totally understand this and the confusion dissociation brings. It gets easier the more you trust yourself and your surroundings. I think the awareness is an awesome step. You keep moving forward Rayne. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Rayne, could this be because no one ever validated your pain? These reactions were how we survived through life when we were not allowed to exist. Everything we experienced seemed trivial to everyone around us, we had to hide it… even from ourselves. These feelings are very confusing. We spent our lives hiding our pain from everyone, so yes it is an automatic response. Unfortunately, it has also kept us feeling alone and misunderstood. I don’t know how to stop this, hopefully therapy will help. You are not alone and as confusing as it is, it is understandable if you think about all you have been through!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I understand you completely. I normally always feel numb but when I do actually feel my emotions I don’t match the inside either. I think because I’m afraid to show what I’m feeling. When I was little doing that got me hit and or worse. I do totally understand what you are saying. We have a lot in common.

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