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Dear Cherie:

You sound like you're describing my life!  Before I was in counseling with my present counselor, health and life issues also caused my functionality to spiral downward.  The more I needed to be understood, the more panicky I got.  The doctor I had at that time even wrote on my chart that I was a hypochondriac and instead of treating me, sent me to others to cover herself.  But because of her comments, even the high blood pressure I was experiencing at the time was brushed off.

Before this, I'd had several years of good functioning as well. I was able to complete a Master's degree and begin a new life after leaving a cult my parents joined when I was a child.  All of that took its toll on me emotionally and my health suffered.  Part of the reason for that was that I also experienced something you wrote about--I was afraid of my own emotions.  As soon as I'd start to sing or draw, or whatever, and would feel something, I'd panic.  I'd go off in another direction.  It was maddening.  I felt like I was sabotaging myself, which I was, but also my own emotional energy was so scattered that I just couldn't hold onto a feeling.  All feelings were threatening.

What has helped is knowing that.  Putting words to it.  So that when I do sit down to write, and when the words really do start to flow, I don't freak out and run away, though sometimes I write with sweat pouring off of me.  Until I do it enough times for all the parts of me to realize that 'we' stuck with it and nothing bad happened.  Before, whenever I'd get anything published, I had to be at least partly amnesiac about it.  In other words, I had to not know completely what I was doing or whether or not my work was good.  That approach was hit and miss at best, though the times I was paid for my writing felt good.

Now I am choosing more consciously what I would like to do and--this may sound weird--gritting my teeth when I feel something good.  It's still easier for me to write about bad things than about nice things but the things that the world seems to want from me are the nice things--the real things that are part of the deepest part of me.  Which is scary, even terrifying.  But the alternative is to let life pass me by, which doesn't feel good, either.

Another thing that helped is knowing that I was feeling anyway.  Most of the time I would feel either numb, pressed down or constrained, or emotional pain.  Those were feelings just like happiness and feelings that were less familiar and therefore scarier for me.  I realized that my resistance to feeling these things that are for many people a normal part of the day, was causing a lot of my unhappy feelings.  When I stopped resisting, I was able to let myself simply feel.  At first it seemed boring, not to have the drama and the constant need to be hyper-aware.  But it's gradually feeling more natural.

I hope this helps.



Dear Cherie,
I've heard that lots of people who integrate 'split' later on, at least partly. This doesn't mean you can't get yourself put back together again. It might be good for you to go back to a therapist who can help you negotiate this difficult time in your life. On the other hand, if you don't want to or can't afford therapy, you might be able to create an internal Leader or a Leadership Committee with the goal to work harmoniously on one or two money-earning projects, so you're not so scattered and falling apart. I found that if I concentrate on just one or two tasks at a time, and channel my energy, things work out better than when I bounce off the walls trying every possible means of earning money.

I hope this is useful. Good luck!