The cycle of dysregulation seems to mostly have 3 part for me. Reaching, then shutdown (which is largely shame), then dramatic reaching (thoughts of suicide and self-harm). It’s in my head. I am not doing anything. I am making the bed or cooking breakfast or whatever. But that’s my inner process.
It’s like a train I can’t get off of, and I wish I had a magic stop button, so that I could just get off. I don’t. Today, I had the idea maybe I ought to try to stay in whatever place I am at that moment, whether is reaching, or shame, or suicidal ideation. Not stay in the thoughts, but with the feelings. Just try to work at regulating that particular emotion.
I don’t know if that helped or not, but I came to this idea later that the fear is really, at core, a sense that people are irreplaceable. They are not interchangeable parts. They are each unique and special. It’s not that it has to be the end of my world if something happens to someone I feel close to, but it’s something. It’s something definite to deal with, and it utterly unlike a spoon, where if I lose it, I can just buy another one. If something happens to me, I can’t buy another one of me either. I am also unique and irreplaceable.
I had this idea because I was remembering C in her own house, when her parents lived here, on days when I was there, but she was in detached mode and very distant. If I touched her, she was stiff, but it didn’t seem unhappy I was there. Just I ought to remain at a safe distance perhaps. And I was remembering that and I thought she is so beautiful, from the inside she is beautiful to me, and she is so precious. I am doing all of this—not just financial support, but trying to work out how I can help her and how I can meet some of her emotional needs at least—because she is precious and irreplaceable. There is no one like her for me. That’s the bond. That’s what drives us to take care of each other and to protect the people we love. They are not like desk chairs or pieces of paper, where you might do a cost-benefit analysis on whether to save the old ones or buy new. There is only one of each of them, and only one of me.
It is an intensely vulnerable feeling, and I think I had to grapple with it too early in life, with no support. I don’t think I could process it. The idea is still sitting there in my head, waiting to be made sense of. I have to take care of me, because I am not a desk chair. I can’t get another one. I want to take care of C, because there is only one of her. I can’t get another one of her either. It’s not about being able to survive the loss of her. There are many things we survive. It’s just about knowing she is unique in all the world to me. That is natural. People are to each other. That is why we have close relationships with some people and not others. But it’s a scary thought, and I could not make sense of the thought until I could regulate the fear.