When I was a child, my environment was unhealthy. My parents are alcoholics and were emotionally and sometimes physically unavailable to meet my needs.
I felt rejected, I was hurting and constantly anxious. Being present while I lived at home was too painful. So as a child and a teenager, I escaped. Not physically but emotionally. I learnt the art of dissociation.
I made up characters and would act them out, like imaginative play, but it wasn’t imaginative to me, it was real and the game wouldn’t end, it would keep going for as long as possible so I didn’t have to be myself in my own reality.
I would sit at school and not be present but imagine myself somewhere else, doing something else where I was happy, not anxious, where I was accepted not rejected. I was daydreaming, but it was permanent. I was immersed in fantasy. I imagined myself anywhere, in any context that wasn’t my own life.
Now I am an adult and I am never present. I don’t know how to be. It was never safe to be present when I was a child, but it is safe now. My survival mechanism of dissociation that did so well at protecting me has no real need anymore, but unfortunately, it can’t seem to leave.
In 2017, at 26 years old, I’m going to learn how to be present, how to live in the moment, not in a fantasy world. I’m going to use the tool of mindfulness to learn how to connect with the present and to connect all of the parts of me that don’t connect together.
I’m going to learn to face my trauma, to sit and feel the pain, rather than constantly escaping it. It is hard. Incredibly hard.
My target is to set myself little challenges…”I’m going to be present and not dissociative for 20 minutes”. After all, Its safe for me to live in the real world now, I better learn how.