Monday, January 18, 2010


I brought it up in my last post, and can't stop thinking about it. Dissociation is an extremely useful survival tool for those in chronic pain. I'm just not sure where to draw the line.

I want to be a participant in my life. I want to meet people, and go places, and eat and drink and make bad decisions and maybe a few good ones. But my life, the way it is now, is not really living.

I was once accused by a doctor of hiding from the world. He was right. Not about the why; he thought I was having somatic pain in response to anxiety and fear, totally missing that I was actually anxious and fearful from all the, you know, pain. So, yes, I use my earplugs and sunglasses and hats as a shield against anything and everybody, a way to keep it all out. I have a smartphone, a laptop, a television, an ancient gameboy and a thousand books to take my mind away from the pain and seclusion. Visualization and self-hypnosis are also very helpful, if I can find the focus. And even if I can't form a coherent stream of thought, I can usually get lost in om, or a singular thought, like my brother's smile or that vacation we took a few years ago. In a pinch, I have a few drugs that help me waft gently away from the pain, giggly and light. It's escapism. Mostly I know it's a survival skill, distancing myself from the pain. But when I think about it, I start to wonder if it's healthy to be living this much in my head. What's the difference between imaginative coping and dissociative depression?

And I have been depressed lately, I can't deny it anymore. I just haven't decided yet what I'm going to do about it. I'm taking positive steps in my life to find small happinesses, I'm just not sure if I want to explore the world of anti-depressants, herbal remedies, if I want to keep doing this on my own or if I want to call in a professional. Until I figure it out, this is my therapy.