I thought I would write something, although my heart is not entirely in it.
I had tea with C’s biological father and it did something to me. I don’t know what really. It made me feel settled. I have an idea there is something biological to it. Maybe it’s nothing like that. But I wonder if, because I am attached to C, and he is like her, I settle around him in the same way I settle around C. Only he doesn’t have an attachment disorder as far as I can tell, so I am not trying to sort out how to respond to his disorganization.
I think actually you can see an attachment disorder in certain moments because we have unnaturally sparkly eyes. I have seen them in the matron, and in VP Ma’am, in C’s mom, and in a former boss who first loved me and then fired me.
He doesn’t have them, although he got teary a lot when I spoke to him. Of course, that could be just that it wasn’t that kind of moment.
So I will tell you what has been on my mind, aside from meeting C’s dad and talking with him.
I noticed one difference from the last time I was here in the Capital City is that I feel less confused. Things in my mind are smoother.
It seems as though in times of stress, something cognitive happens that is quite significant. My working memory seems to fall apart, and I cannot coordinate similar situations into models for what to do, which leads to things like putting my shoes on before my socks.
Not literally, but it is that kind of thing.
I don’t know what causes it—if I am trying to avoid certain kinds of memories that might be too intensely dysregulating when I am already dysregulated and that is affecting everything, or if it just that trauma shrinks your ability to coordinate your thinking. But it is something you feel. I had never thought about that. You feel this difference in how your brain is working. And this difference in how my mind is working is distinct from any emotional response. I can have my emotions under control, feel pretty grounded, but if it is a disorganizing situation, it still happens. I’ll walk out of the house, lock the door, and realize I have no shoes on.
This distinction between the emotion and the cognition was not apparent before, because my emotions were not under control in those situations—I think I was pretty numb and anxious—and it makes sense when you feel anxious that you would be forgetful. But if you don’t feel anxious, and instead you feel sad maybe but grounded and okay, then it is really noticeable that my brain is still working in this other way.
It also made some of my behaviours make sense that I have never thought about: at these moments, I instinctively try to reduce the number of variables involved. Like, it’s much easier if I don’t need to carry on a conversation at the same time. In a stressful situation, I usually prefer to be alone, because then I have less to juggle. I come up with very organized lists in my mind for the sequence of events so that I don’t forget anything. If it’s a routine disorganizing moment, I have a very strict routine. Because then I don’t forget things. I can keep track of what needs to be done.
Generally, I think those are good strategies, but if you don’t know why you are doing them, they just seem kind of OCD.
I also tend to avoid mixing my worlds. If I know someone from one context, I tend not to mix them with people from another context—like it’s hard for me to be around foreigners and Country Xers at the same time. Because I have more to keep track of then, don’t I? There are more connections then, because there are two different contexts.
The thing is that that disorganization creates these very disorganized experiences. It goes beyond the inconvenience of not being able to get my shit together. It creates a patchiness about every situation. And it is very nice to experience life at the moment in a way that is much more linear, and less patchy.
The other thing is that I have never had anyone I could tell that to, that life is this way for me. I couldn’t have explained it, probably, but I also don’t know who might have worked hard enough to listen if I did try to explain it. And it is so important to have someone that does understand how life feels on a daily basis when it is so different from what seems to be average.
Anyway, I guess that’s not wildly fascinating, but it is really interesting to feel inside myself and to have an awareness of when it is happening. It is also nice to feel it