I am really good at hiding.
When I was three or four, my parents were fighting, so I went and hid in a suitcase in the hall closet. Then I fell asleep for several hours. My parents panicked, and my father put out an APB on me. When I woke up and came out, I couldn’t understand why they were so upset. (Having a dozen cops in the house, however, did not seem strange to me.)
In high school, when I started having panic attacks for the first time, I spent a lot of time hiding in bathroom stalls and trying to cry silently so no one would hear me.
Even now, at 25, my tendency when I’m upset is to hide in some small, enclosed space with a minimum of sensory stimuli. Bed is usually the safest for me now. I can curl up into a little ball under the covers with Hildegaard, one of my stuffed hippos. I can turn out the lights and close my eyes. As long as my upstairs neighbor isn’t blasting his music, it’s generally quiet.
Today it was a discussion of my future that sent me into a panic. My team was all gung-ho about getting me to go back to college. They were talking about grants and loans and scholarships and trying to get Mass Rehab to fund what isn’t covered by grants, etc. I kept saying, “I’m not sure you’re hearing the part where I’m not sure I can handle this.” I mean, if I have another breakdown and fail out, then I’ll have a ton of loans I can’t pay back, and the banks don’t exactly care about my broken brain when it comes to getting their money back. There’s also the small matter of not knowing where I’m going to live or how I’m going to buy food when my grandfather throws his next temper tantrum and cuts me off for good. And Housemate kept pressuring me to ask my grandfather to help, and she just wouldn’t stop when I said there was no way he’d help me. Add to that whole conversation the fact that this is also Hormonal Hell Week, and it’s just a recipe for trouble.
So I spent all afternoon/evening in bed–I even skipped my knitting group. You know, the one I’m in charge of running. God, how can I manage school or a job when I can’t manage a team meeting? I have zero stress tolerance. When things get bad, the only way I can stay present is to do something self-destructive. I don’t want to self-destruct anymore, so I’m pretty much just left with hiding, and you can’t exactly skip classes or call in sick to work so you can curl up in bed to shrink the world down to a manageable size.
Just because I’m suddenly not depressed anymore, that doesn’t mean I’m totally ready to take on the whole world and function like a normal person. I’m not a normal person. I have C-PTSD and DID. I’ve had brain surgery and 29 ECT’s. I’m half deaf. At least while I’m starting out, I’m going to need accommodations to function, as much as I hate to admit that.
I have an initial appointment with New Therapist 2 tomorrow morning. I hope that she’s a good fit, as I really think I need support outside my Windhorse team during this transitional period. That being said, I’m also trying to remind myself that I don’t have to stick with her if it doesn’t feel like a good fit. No, it hasn’t been easy to find someone, but I’ve also learned the hard way that ignoring my instincts with therapists has made situations worse. But I really hope this therapist works.