Expectations and Regression

'...And for future reference, Mr. Glynn, you don't need to 'get in character' for regression therapy.'

Christmas wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be. It wasn’t easy either. I’ve given myself permission to take breaks to recharge just because I haven’t been around people much lately. Husband was helpful and supportive, and asleep. A lot of what I expected came true though. People were concerned about what I’ve been doing and how I’ve been because they haven’t seen me, and they were concerned about the future and how I’ll function. These are all valid concerns, ones that I share. But I’m trying to be positive. Things are different for me than they used to be. For one, the ECT really changed my brain and I don’t think that’s something that just goes away.

As an aside, I’m heartbroken that Carrie Fisher (who just came out with another book) had a heart attack but I’m hopeful that she’ll make a complete recovery. I love her so much, she’s such an interesting woman. She had ECT back in the day and said that it helped her break out of a depressive cycle that she’d never been able to escape from before. I hope that’s true for me as well. It feels like it’s true. The underlying deep depressive symptoms aren’t quite noticeable anymore. Even when it gets bad, it doesn’t get bad like it did before. Now I feel like the bad will always pass. I rely much less on hopelessness. It creeps in from time to time but always dissipates with the light.

The insecure me is still very embarrassed about everything that happened over the last few years, but the hopeful me is ready to tackle the issues. I don’t want to be stuck in the past because I believe some story about myself. I have the power to change my narrative, and I have made a lot of edits already. Simply having the desire to apply school was a change. I had no hope for the future before. Getting in to school was a wonderful surprise and helped bolster my confidence. While I have a healthy concern for how difficult classes are going to be, I am not panicking irrationally. In fact, I am excited. I even bought an organic chemistry primer just so I could start reading something to prepare my brain for the onslaught that’s about to happen. It’s also been a way of coping with dealing with humans again, a distraction.

The holidays are difficult for most people. Sometimes social media white washes the holidays. What we see on Facebook, etc, are the highlights: the pretty posed pictures, the fancy dressed-up lunches and dinners, the well groomed children, happy children opening presents, the meals, the gifts, the trees, the walks, the animals.Generally we don’t post all of our misfortunes, though everyone has a different method of communication. I stopped going on FB too much because seeing joy without balancing it with reality leads to such unhealthy envy, at least in me. I have talked to a few friends and everyone was stressed out going home but would I see that on FB? Probably not. It depends on the person. (And how many family members can see their posts on FB.)

I always regress a little when I go home. I pick up old habits that I had when I was younger, when I was angsty, when I wasn’t in control. I have to remind myself that I’m adult, I have free will, and the old patterns don’t have to dictate what I do. I get very stuck in routine. Regressing is routine. I’d like to break it. I think I’ve made progress. I’m not as much like the old me despite my best efforts. I think most people regress when they’re with family. Old triggers come to the forefront that wouldn’t necessarily bother us in other situations. Family bothers us like nothing else. It is unique. It’s like losing a layer of skin and being thrown in with all your old insecurities. It seems to span generations: no matter how old, we regress. It’s difficult for everyone. Some people love being with their families. I do sometimes, it’s always fun in certain ways and tough in others, recharging and draining. Everyone’s different, but I think the general experience that we have with family is regression and childlike fun. And that’s ok. We go back to our worlds after our visits. I’m speaking in generalizations, but everyone’s situation is unique.

I’m equally glad for the holidays and glad when they are over.

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