When I started this blog, almost 10 years ago, I did so as a place I could hash out my thoughts and ideas. I could have kept a private journal but figured maybe I would connect with other single parents by choice, and I did. I rarely to never shared the link with people I knew in my personal life. Friends, girlfriends, family… nope.
I needed a place to be me without that kind of close contact judgement. I needed a place to talk things out, the verbal processor that I am, but not with anyone I know. Sometimes feedback and interaction is a good thing and this was before Facebook groups. But I really just needed to write it all out.
After, finally, being diagnosed with Chiari in November of 2019, I’m not sure why I didn’t come here again because anytime I reached out to people about the emotional impact of my symptoms, the diagnosis, and the impending surgery I got shut down. Most evenings I sat down at the computer and tried to get school work done but ended up either crying or researching Chiari and crying. If I reached out to people via text it just didn’t feel like a real connection and I didn’t feel heard or understood.
Now with a year into this isolation (I had 4 illnesses in January and February of 2020 so we were basically at home before stay home orders started here) I find myself choosing not to reach out to people as much as I had been. That grasping and feeling stuck thing happens and the cycle repeats. Pulling back from social media has helped a lot (and with getting myself to bed on time!) but I think what made it sink in the most was starting to write things out on here.
I will let connection come to me and keep writing here. It doesn’t mean I’m not going to stay in touch with friends, but yearning for that constant interaction, especially in the evenings, isn’t good for me. It’s about learning to be alone with myself, not some kind of depression or desire to shut myself off from people (I’m super extroverted and will risk a huge energy crash in order to get the deeper rush of social interaction).
Here’s an example of a cycle of this “what you seek is causing you to seek.”
I kept thinking to text my dad today and tell him a random bit of a dream I had last night. I know it won’t matter to him and he possibly won’t even reply. I stopped myself from texting him because if I do and I don’t get the genuine connection I crave (I don’t think I actually need it) then I feel unfulfilled and keep reach out to someone else. Then I feel unfulfilled and keep reaching out. Etc.
And it’s not like I didn’t interact with anyone today. Wallace is in my face pretty much all day. I had pleasantries with the lady at the grocery store who brought out my order. I chatted with some people on a group chat, all fellow chronically ill folks. I got to snuggle my sweet Alice. I had a short call from a social worker. And a friend and I texted about coconut (I’m still in shock).
This is different than when I realize a friendship is one sided and stop initiating contact with them. This is just me learning to be okay with not “seeking.”
The relevant bits of the dream: I was on a long dock and there was a slow river, maybe 3ft deep. I don’t know why, but I had my oversized Wheatland hoodie on the dock a few feet from me. The wind picked up and it somehow lifted it off into the water where it quickly went across to the other side and headed downstream to my right. At the same time a funeral procession was headed on foot up stream to the left and it passed right by them. I yelled asking someone to grab it because I really love the sweatshirt (can’t say I’m that connected to it in real life), but no one would stop whatever part they had in the funeral procession and pluck it out of the water.
I don’t ascribe much meaning to dreams and only wanted to tell it to him because of the hoodie he got me being in it. There were other things in the dream and lots of random details but I can’t recall any plot now. It’s just weird what things stick out in dreams and can be remembered so many hours later. Sometimes even days and weeks, which can be a bit creepy.
That said, I am 100% down for social interaction. I’m quite bad at limiting myself when I don’t have the energy for it, but I always reply to emails and texts and answer my phone when my one friend who is weird like that calls me (only joking, phone calls are great). It would be so interesting to see who is out there reading and not just following me randomly.