“Nightmares exist outside of logic, and there’s little fun to be had in explanations; they’re antithetical to the poetry of fear.”
~ Stephen King~
“Close your eyes and think about all the things in your life that have caused you pain, distress, anger and frustration. These things could be brought to the fore as you work through the workbook so it useful that you write them down so that they do not take you by surprise later in the process. These can be states of mind as well as actual occurrences and symptoms of your mental health problems.”
This particular exercise in the workbook is incredibly difficult for me to do, which is probably why it’s taken several months for me to attempt it! There’s something about revisiting my ‘nightmares’ that causes such distress I’m often left unable to function, and without someone to help pick up the pieces and put me back together again, my fear of such an occurence increases ten-fold.
However, as it’s an important part of the workbook I will endeavour to do my best. The manner that I’ve chosen to complete this exercise is to separate the list into three different sections: actual events, symptoms of illness and emotional states/reactions. Please note that these lists are in no particular order.
- The emotionally abusive relationship I was a victim of
- The (numerous) physical assaults I’ve been the victim of
- The sexual assault I was a victim of
- My sister’s mental illness
- The bullying I was a victim of during my primary and high school years
Symptoms of illness
- My greatest nightmare when it comes to symptoms of illness is who I become whilst manic. In fact, it wouldn’t be an overstatement to say that I live in constant fear of ‘becoming’ that person again!
- I abhor my socially anxious self. This part of me is a source of great frustration and anger.
- Incidents of self-harm often bring on feelings of fear, emotional pain and anger, more often than not after the act.
- I am terrified of the frequency and severity of my suicidal ideation, especially in times of severe depression.
- The frequent nightmares and random night-time behaviour that occur as a result of PTSD scares the bejesus out of me!
- The negative (nay, abusive) content of my voices – especially from Vanessa and Shay – causes tremendous distress.
- As does Shay’s preoccupation with misogynistic and sexist content, as it goes against my values and beliefs.
- I am frequently distressed by my lack of self-esteem, confidence and image of self, not because it scares me, but because I know when trapped by these emotions I am incapable of showing the world my awesome self.
- The same can be said for the mute-idiot I become when in any social situation – be it conversations with support workers/GPs, supermarket queues, support/social groups or the rarity of an actual social situation.
- Although it doesn’t happen all that often, when I become truly angry I scare myself; which is why I’ve spent many years honing my skills of controlling my anger so that no-one ever sees this side of me…ever.
- My lack of physical and emotional intimacy, i.e. hugs, kisses, sexual intercourse etc.) causes pain so intense it’s impossible to describe.
- For that matter, my isolated state in its entirety is a source of tremendous negative emotion.
- The unfocused and lost to pain states I fall into during the evening and weekends cause me great distress.
My fears about the ‘Victim to Victor’ process…
As mentioned above, my primary fear of the Victim to Victor process is opening a Pandora’s Box of negative emotion that will cripple my ability to function. The work-book recommends you work through the book with the help of a supportive person, but as I am isolated, I lack such a person so have to brave through it myself.
As such, the actual work-book could be classified as a personal nightmare, for it is yet another reminder of my loneliness.
But, as I’ve managed to work through various negative situations all on my lonesome (such as the anxiety I feel whilst shopping or pushing myself to attend support groups), I’m hoping that the skills I learned in doing these things will hold me in good stead throughout the remainder of the book.
Only time will tell, I guess!
~ Next ~
Identifying Your Experiences