Friday, January 27, 2012

Making Connections

Making connections with people, places & memories is an important part of anyone's life. But for a lot of people with mental illness making & maintaining these connections can be quite problematic. Being unable to attach emotions to places, events & people can at times be quite difficult.

It is one major problem for me, making long term connections to people in particular. Besides family, I have no-one I could call a long term friend. There is no-one in my life I have known for more than a couple of years, and almost all of them are just people I've met through relatives, only a couple I would consider to be really my friends.

It's been like that throughout my life. I have no old school friends, army buddies, workmates etc. The connections just aren't there. Unless someone is in my face on some sort of regular basis, they just fade away, often to be forgotten totally - people who at the time I would have considered great friends. Probably the only way I managed to stay with my ex for so long is because she was always 'there'.

The issue for me, besides having troubles getting out to meet people in the first place, seems to be the long periods where I am emotionally dead. An almost total lack of empathy with anything at all. A lot of time music, movies or a sad (usually true) story will produce an emotional response where I just have nothing when it's associated with someone I know. Added to this is the lack of emotional connections with almost everything, making it difficult for memories to take hold. A lot of my past is very hazy for me, or simply not there.

Of course, this type of thing creates problems of its own. You know how people EXPECT you to feel about someone or something but for some reason you just can't feel that way. So you fake it. And then you sit there wondering why? Why can't I be like others? Why don't I feel the way they do? Is there something wrong with me? etc. And this type of thinking can start you on a downward spiral into a period of depression.

I am yet to find a solution to dealing with this emotional black hole. It just seems like you're absorbing all the emotions and when you get down towards the lowest ebb of your cycle they rush back all at once. It can just be so overwhelming, making things seem so much darker than they should be.

Over the last 12 months or so I've been getting out trying to establish new connections, hoping to be able to build a few lasting ones. Changes to my medications have helped with that, allowing me to get out & interact more. It lets me keep people in my life, getting to know them & building the links needed to create lasting connections.

Will it work in the long term? I have no idea at all. There are still so many times I feel emotionally empty, looking at the world around me as if I'm not a part of it. But I also know from past experience the emotions will return, even if only for a little while at a time. The secret is not letting them carry me away when they do.

So how do you deal with connections to the past? Do you ever worry about them or have you developed a way to help create lasting attachments to people, places & events?

Cheers for now.

The information contained in blog can not be considered medical advice. These are only my own thoughts, feelings & ideas. If you or someone you know are having problems with mental illness please seek qualified medical advice.

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