This is by far the most embarrassing post I’ve written. I am actually quite anxious about having posted it. But if just one person relates and maybe feels less crazy because of it, it will have been worth it.
I just got one of these moments of disorientation so I wanted to attempt writing about it/explore it/see where it takes me/help me not fear it. I doubt that I can give it justice. [I get weird shifts in reality at random from time to time. No idea why. My ex-best-friend with temporal lobe seizures experiences something like that, too, which has made me wonder. But it doesn’t seem to matter since even if I did, I wouldn’t want to take even more medicine. The shifts can affect different parts of my perceptions at different times. This will only describe this one moment in time, where a perfectly normal-for-me way of viewing the world suddenly changed for no reason. And it’s really only me writing about THE RESULT of the shift, not the shift itself. That would be too hard to explain. Dang, now I want to try… So… Like I’m having a perfectly ‘normal’ day and suddenly **BLAM** Suddenly it’s like reality is a bit different than it was, and I’m thinking about the world in a different way, and viewing things a different way, experiencing things a different way. Feelings could be different, or sight, or sound, or mood, or thoughts. My sense of Reality is just somehow *different* and for NO reason. I could just be sitting there watching TV and have it happen. I can almost describe it, sometimes, a bit like when your ears have been plugged for ten days straight and you’re used to it that way, and then suddenly your ears unplug and in that instant, things feel a bit different. Man I wish I could describe this better.]
I was thinking about a particular person and suddenly felt a shift in my head. Suddenly, I was thinking about, is this person insane or completely grounded? I mean, please excuse the words I use to describe this. (A lot of the words I use to describe the rest of the post are offensive, but I don’t mean to be offensive. I am trying very hard to be honest about the anxious thoughts I have/had, and offensive words are part of it.) But I mean it quite literally. I realize, I have no idea. I have no idea if he’s perfectly normal and grounded or is actually quite out there. I get so insecure. Because it’s really a crazy feeling. I genuinely don’t trust whether or not another person is experiencing the average “reality” or is actually quite insane. It leads me to think about other people, too. So many people I know experience/view reality VERY DIFFERENTLY and they don’t even realize it. Differently from each other, I mean. Different people I know view the world and life COMPLETELY DIFFERENTLY from each other and that is very disorienting for me sometimes. Going between different people is a bit like traveling between completely, completely different realities. I can’t find words BIG enough to describe what I mean! It’s like a COMPLETELY alternate life when I’m with different people, even for short amounts of time.
And of COURSE leads me to wonder if I’M insane and can I trust my own perceptions? I wish I could figure out how to explain this! And there’s no way of ever, ever believing. What if people are just going along with the things I do and say because I’m actually insane and they’re just humoring me? MAN I wish I could explain this but I just can’t figure out a way! I’ve re-written these top paragraphs for at least an hour or more so far. (The rest of this post is even more of a mess, because I was trying SO hard not to censor my words and to be quick enough that I could still remember the feelings so as to write this.)
This is one of my deep, down, insanely strong fears. It rears its ugly head time and time again.
Here’s the thing. I will NEVER KNOW what ANY of you actually think of me. I’m talking you amazing people who read this. I’m talking anybody I’ve met in person in the past year. I’m talking anybody I’ve known my whole life. I’m talking the people who humor me and chat with me in text or over the phone on the occassion that I call somebody.
I have the deep down paranoia that every person I interact with is just humoring me and that really I’m insane or have mental retardation and I just don’t realize it. These memories are coming back right now. In elementary school, I used to be SO SURE that really I was mentally retarded and in a wheel chair and that the way I was viewing the world was all in my head and that the people around me were all humoring me. I used to feel that way strongly and worry about it aaaaallllllllllllllllllllll the time.
Literally speaking, the ONLY PEOPLE I BELIEVE are people who are so messed up themselves, that I trust they are not just pulling the wool over my eyes. These are the people who are extremely depressed or have other severe emotional problems, -OR- people SO socially awkward and have such symptoms as they are actually on the autistic spectrum and don’t read people very well.
Holy. Shit. I think I may have just found the “why” of why I only date and gravitate toward untreated-mentally-ill people. I. never. thought. of. this. before.
I can’t even believe it. You guys don’t know how hard I’ve thought about this and how many times I have grasped at straws in trying to come up with an explanation when people ask me.
If a person seems “normal”, I am afraid of them! Afraid of them humoring me and being “in” on my issues that I don’t know I have. That my every movement is SO LAME and is actually quite offensive at times, and I’m the only one who doesn’t know it. That I am a buffoon.
I honestly believe it is impossible for me to ever not feel this way. I will. NEVER. TRUST. that you are not “in” on it.
So yeah, I was super, super paranoid about this in elementary school. I do wonder if this is related to the childhood ‘abuse’ I previously wrote about. Because he did tell me time and time and time again how I was so stupid and lame and mentally retarded and everyone was humoring me and nobody liked me. And he did set up things to make it seem that everyone was ‘in’ on it, like the time I wrote about already. And I was always the butt end of jokes. When I read, “Flowers for Algernon,” I cried and cried because he was me, or exactly how I felt, at least. That was me completely. I was always the butt of the jokes but I laughed right along with everybody. I just loved being included in the group.
When I came back from college and was having my first mental breakdown, the paranoia got WAAAAAAAY worse. I constantly worried that maybe my parents had set up cameras all around their house, to be watching me all the time because somehow they knew how insane and suicidal I was. I worried that the medicine I was prescribed were actually being written and filled as placebos. That placebo pills were stopping my panic attacks, proving that it was all in my head and nothing was “wrong”, etc. That the therapists were actually humoring me and watching me make a fool of myself day after day. At the same time, I worried that I was losing my mind completely and losing all touch on reality (I kind of was, though, in hindsight). I was worried that I was going to somehow make myself schizophrenic. (And I was extremely sure that all of my thoughts were going to cause me cancer.) I was extremely worried I’d be diagnosed bipolar. (I have nothing against bipolar now, but I was PETRIFIED of it back then.) I told one of my therapists that I would kill myself if I was diagnosed bipolar. Months later, I finally had the nerve to ask her if she thought I was bipolar and she said no and explained her reasoning. But of course, I didn’t know if she was telling me the truth or knew I was still not ready to hear it (and, as with all of these thoughts, there IS NO WAY for me to believe you, no matter what you do or say). When I read that the first antidepressant I was prescribed was to be avoided for those with bipolar (because it can worsen the symptoms), I did believe her just a tiny bit. To this day, I always wonder if I’m bipolar, but it doesn’t scare me like it used to.
All of these things are IN me, surfacing from time to time, but otherwise living just barely beneath the surface.