Wrapped In Cotton Wool

I’ve nicked this from Lottie’s blog:


I read it last week and thought, wow, that’s really good, it sums up the way I feel with this depersonalisation thing, and then I pretty well forgot about it.

Until today.

I’m writing this post at home, at ten past three in the afternoon. In other words, I didn’t go to work today. I was awake ontime (in fact, as usual, I was awake at half past four) but I just couldn’t face another day of having everything happening miles away, while I carried on inside my head full of cotton wool. I feel a bit mortified now, I’ve rung in sick when there is nothing physically wrong with me, but just for once I decided to be selfish.

This thing has been going on for two years now, since the time when my blackouts were at their worst, and when we still had no idea what was causing them. One day I realised that I wasn’t really experiencing anything anymore, that I felt permanently numb as if slightly drunk. I realise that this was a defence mechanism, that my brain was shutting down my emotions so that I could continue to function, without sitting transfixed by terror at the fact that I might have something fatal. It’s the same numbing process that gets people through bereavements, and then it passes over time.

But mine hasn’t. I can still work, converse, write brilliant blogs, delude myself about my blogs, entertain and be entertained by the wonderful kids that I’ve been blessed with, but I’m not fully experiencing any of it.

And this morning I just gave up. The idea of another day in the office with noise going on all around me, but slightly muffled, of being asked sometimes why I’m so quiet, of facing two packed train journeys (I’m also now panicky in crowds since the blackouts) just felt like too much so, like a teenager with a hangover, I pulled a sickie.

Still, I’ve spoken to my doctor, and I’m going see someone next week (great, now I’m in therapy). And between that and the one day off, I already feel that I can cope better. I’ll have no problem going to work tomorrow, and having missed today I’ll be so busy tomorrow that it’ll just fly. Then next week I’ll hopefully begin the process of getting rid of this.

I’ve fought heart problems, and depression, and now I’m going to fight this.

Don’t worry, I’m going to win.

11 thoughts on “Wrapped In Cotton Wool

  1. Mwa

    Oh, I feel for you.

    I, too, have been there. Even given up my job because I just couldn’t do it any more.

    Hold on! Starting to work on it, you are doing the right thing.

    Oh, I don’t really know what to say except there’s another side to this tunnel, and it looks a lot better.

  2. laughykate

    How awful. I reckon everyone experiences stuff like this – just in differing degrees. Hang in there, go see your talkie-helpie person and look forward to the next bit.

  3. SaS

    When I read that you were going to be in therapy, I thought it was the band. Maybe thats what you need, a good dose of loud, heavy, Northern rock – bring out your inner drummer…

    Hope you get through this, been there myself and I know how disconcerting it can be…

  4. Jo

    Agh, I missed this. Sorry.

    I am in love with the idea of joining Therapy? as solution to depressive problems. Just in case they don’t take you though, the other is a good back up plan.

    Be aware Xbox is from North Cork, and that not everybody finds therapy humiliating. Some people find it liberating, enlightening, supporting, strengthening.

    I think you’re spot on in identifying the depersonalising as a coping mechanism, one that has just outlived its usefulness but that you’ve got into the habit of, for want of a better expression – it could well be that cognitive behaviour therapy could help you establish a different response and interrupt the habit, if that is what’s happening.

    It’s all about strategy. And hopefully not medication… but good work for going, one way or the other.

  5. Xbox4NappyRash

    I don’t think he needs to ‘beware’of me actually.

    I did NOT say that therapy is humiliating and it doesn’t help anyone to suggest I did.

    I found it liberating and I use what I learned from it every single day.

    Facing the fact you are not invincible and have things you struggle to handle when you think you should be able to manage everything and anything that comes your way is what I found humiliating, personally.

  6. holemaster

    As usual, I’m coming late to this! Great move Tinman. You’re doing the right thing. It will be a very interesting and times stressful experience. But you will be very happy you did it at the other end.

    Don’t feel ashamed or embarrassed. It’s the people who never do anything about mental health issues I feel sorry for.

    Good things are coming to you!

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