Floating on the surface

This whole week has been a mess. I’m getting by, but barely. Another week starts tomorrow, and I’m not ready for it. I’m mostly shut down, surviving by playing the part of perfect mommy and perfect wife.

My house is still a giant mess, one I’m still trying to get under control. Why is it I can never seem to catch up on laundry, dishes, sweeping or dusting? Is it the perpetual exhaustion that follows me around due to a mix of nightmares, insomnia and fibromyalgia? Is it the fact that when I should be cleaning and doing my housewife duties, I typically hiding in my swing fort and crying these days? Is it that as badly as I feel about these things not being done– and I feel like a complete failure– I still can’t seem to force myself to care?

I hosted and attended a meeting in regards to Kat’s behavioral analysis program on Tuesday morning. It was a good meeting, although Jamie, the new BCBA, was supposed to take the lead, and Carly had to take over anyway, as he is slightly incompetent when it comes to my child. His post meeting notes show nothing of what was discussed, and completely disregard all of the social and emotional aspects of Kat’s development that we touched upon. Other than that, the meeting went quite well. Carly agreed with the plans I had put in place for Kat’s homeschool program, stating that the curriculum I has designed for this month looked equal to a regular kindergarten curriculum; broken down into task analysis pieces Kat could actually learn understand and generalize.

That being said, I started formally homeschooling this month. It’s gone well so far. Our program is play based. Kat and I have created a town out of the houses, castles, schools, and other things she has. We made some shops (pet store, general store, bank, book store) out of boxes. We also have a pet spa, a park, a beach, and a doctor’s office. Different activities and lessons take place at different stores, offices, locations and houses. So far, it’s worked out awesome. We’ve spent hours each day playing before and after ABA, and I’ve gotten way more than my lesson plans planned for into each day. I’m feeling pretty proud of this.

Hubby has been wrestling with a decision about applying for a new job within his current company; it would mean a promotion of sorts, salaried pay, and less hours than he works now, as well as more consistent hours. His bosses and their bosses actively pursued him this week, and he accepted the position. He starts on Monday. This is a great thing, and I’m really proud of him, but it meant having to ask the nanny to rearrange the hours she is here, again, so that I don’t have to give up my therapy or yoga time slots. Thankfully, she is able to do so, and work with us while we figure out the new schedule.

I’ve been pretty much floating on the surface, just getting by, as long as I concentrate on being perfect in this moment. I suppose it’s a type of mindfulness, although not exactly what the mindfulness people mean when they say to be in the moment.

I forgot about my yoga session on Wednesday, as that’s not the normal time, and Kris called, texted and emailed. She was worried. I apologized up and down, I feel like an idiot. The truth is, I was so preoccupied planning a session for Kat and her new behavior tech (whom Kat is not fond of, and I’m trying to fix that by planning the sessions so it’s stuff Kat likes), that it slipped my mind. Because if I think about myself, I start to fall back into the rabbit hole. And I can’t be there right now. I’m too busy being perfect.

I missed Thursday’s session with Bea, too. I slept through it. Well, actually, I was awake and sitting in bed frozen, thanks to a nightmare; I woke up stuck in the bad dream, unable to move. The phone finally broke the evil spell I was under. And even then, it took me several minutes to make sense of Bea’s text. I told her I overslept. I was lucky, she was able to see me later in the day.

I stayed on the surface for that session. We discussed Kat, and Jaimie. We talked about Kat, and the school stuff I’m doing. Bea pushed me to find a group, or a preschool Kat could go to in the mornings next year. She recommended one; she swears it would be a great fit for us. I’m sure if would be, but I wouldn’t be in control. We could have dived into the fact that I feel a need for my child to be home with me, that while I do believe homeschool is the best option for Kat, it’s also part selfish because I’m afraid to have her away from me that long, with all those unknown people. But we didn’t go there. I wasn’t about to, and Bea didn’t question. She did suggest giving Kat more independent playtime. It’s a struggle, as Kat does not like to play by herself.

We discussed Jaime as someone I have a conflict with, because he isn’t really fitting into our lives so well, or seeing eye to eye with us. Bea thinks I should talk to him, practice conflict resolution. I run from conflict. I mean, sure, I yelled at the life guards, but I was out of control. Which is Bea’s point; confront a conflict when I’m not out of control, with a cool head, and face to face. I told her I can’t do that. That I don’t “do” conflict. She told me I wasn’t having any problem explaining the issues right then in her office. Which isn’t my problem. It’s explaining the issues to Jaime. I’ll feel guilty. I’ll feel whiny, and like I’m being difficult. I’ll feel bad. So, I’ll agree with him, even if I really don’t. And then I’ll be more mad after the fact. Ugh. It’s all so complicated. Bea said I could have hubby with me, but he shouldn’t talk to Jaime alone. I don’t know. I haven’t decided what I’m going to do. I hate conflict. I don’t want to confront Jaime. So that was my session; floating on the surface.

This whole week has been one big fight to stay on the surface, to keep my head above water. I’m drowning in this mess of my life, this mess of my past and I feel like no one sees it. I feel very alone. Just adrift at sea, floating on a life raft that is slowly leaking. I can’t maintain this facade much longer, and I’m afraid of what happens when I no longer can.


23 thoughts on “Floating on the surface

  1. It’s a tough balance and my house is so bad I can’t even have people over. Literally it is that bad. Ughhh. So you are doing better than that!!!
    This whole post doesn’t even read like your writing, it is surfacy just as you feel. Maybe it is okay to be on the surface for a while, I don’t know. We are all actors of sorts and wear many hats for our different life jobs. Be mindful and you will come back to being imperfect.
    I think the hard part is that you and I don’t have a middle ground. We are either off or on…dissociative or connected….Hyperaroused or hypoaroused. And it feels not so okay and actually quite crazy at times.<3


  2. I wonder what single thing might help you to feel a bit better right now?

    Does feeling floaty feel good to you? I find that when I had been as floaty as you describe, it actually makes me anxious, underneath everything. My therapist recommended simple mindfulness techniques to help bring me more into the here and now, in a non threatening way. Things like paying attention to washing the dishes. The warmth of the water, the glistening of the soap bubbles, noting each surface as I clean it, etc. It did seem to help, but needed practice. What I most liked and did the most was to go out for walks in nature and pay attention to the changes of temperature of the air on my skin, the play of light through the trees, the different structures of the different species of trees, the sounds of the birds singing, etc. This all helped to get me into my body, so I could start to take in that my body was safe. It was very important that I resisted temptation and didn’t let my mind wander and go down paths that I needed a break from. That was the very, very hard part. Taking my daughter along helped with that part. We could notice all of the details together and she helped to keep me from thinking too much about the abuse.

    I don’t know if it would help you or not right now. I do know that the white knuckle approach only works for so long. Really, try working with Bea on some calming and soothing skills, if at all possible. You need something that will allow you to bring down the intensity level, at least a bit. Are you continuing your yoga practice at home? Maybe you could ask Kris for a set of poses to help you calm, when the intensity level is too high? I’m just thinking that giving tools that you can work with will help to give you back some control, since you probably feel really out of control at the moment.

    Sending thoughts of peace and quiet right here ( ).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes…there is a lot of anxiety underneath it at all. I’m just numbing it out at the moment..I don’t know. I have yoga. And knitting. That’s about it. Those are my mindfulness things that don’t give me more anxiety. Maybe I’ll do some knitting today. Maybe I’ll watch a funny tv show. I don’t know. It’s hard to figure out how to take a break without shutting down and being floaty like this. The worst thing, for me, is the floaty feeling still comes with tears that I either have to block or hide so I can cry. Ugh.


      • Ugh. This is a really hard spot for you… I’m sorry that you have so few things that help right now. Other than urging you to work on ways to find safety and a sense of calm and to stay as connected to Bea and your hubby and daughter as possible, I’m not sure what to suggest.

        I all too well remember how frightening it was to find my through the maze of wanting to connect and lean on my therapist and having so much inside of me screaming that it was dangerous, I couldn’t trust anyone, everyone hurt me in the end even when they didn’t mean to, I couldn’t believe that she wouldn’t change into someone untrustworthy as soon as I fully let her in, I felt like I was stepping off what I saw to be a cliff, but she kept on asking me to trust her wasn’t actually the way that it looked to me. I wanted so much to feel safe and contained and share with her those things that I had held alone for too long, but I was terrified that as soon as I revealed just how deeply wounded I was by such disgusting acts, she would draw back from me in disgust and horror and I would never dare to let anyone in again.

        There were several times when I would tell her about something especially difficult and then it would never come up again, so I felt like she didn’t want to talk about it. I needed to talk about it, but I needed her help bringing such painful material back up. She thought that I needed a break from the topic and was waiting for some clue from me that I was ready to talk about it again. It was a bad combination. Eventually, I had a meltdown about it. It caused a lot of insecurity about our relationship from my side, but it got us talking and now she knows that I need for her to check in with me in the few sessions after talking about something big and see if I need follow up on it. She also is extra careful to talk with whatever part has shared with her and say that the part is welcome to come back in the next session or later and share more, because she knows that we are not yet done.

        The “do not talk” prohibition still runs strong in me, but at least I now know that it’s all about internal issues. My therapist has proven herself over and over at this point, but I needed to test her over and over so she could prove herself to me. It drove me crazy that I needed to keep on testing her, because it seemed “unreasonable” to me, but it was what I needed to do in order to get to where I am now.

        From everything that you have said about Bea, it sounds like she is well enough informed about Complex Trauma to expect for you to have trouble trusting her, to need to question or otherwise test her. I bet that she would be happy, not annoyed, ifyou asked her “difficult”questions, because your doing so would mean that you feel strong enough and trust her enough to say that you are having trouble trusting her.

        Sorry, I’m rambling. If this is too much, just ignore it, ok? If any of it is helpful, great. I just feel for you, I hear how alone you feel, and I remember what it felt like to be where you are at.


      • So….this response turned into a mini post…but I had a lot to think about…..

        I’m trying….it’s so hard to be connected to hubby right now. I feel like I’m either trying to be connected to him, which lasts all of a few hours before I push him away with cruel words, or a fight, or the cold shoulder, or I be perfect robot facade wife, which works for us, makes our relationship seem amazing and great and easy and so loving and wonderful. It’s just lacking in the feeling of authenticity and connection from the inside, if you are living in the relationship. Kat..well, Kat is easy. She knows when I’m dissociated; she may be the only person on earth who ALWAYS knows, every single time. She knows when I’m even just a little gone, when I’m faking my way through something. She’ll ask what I hear, what I’m looking at, what is in my head, where I went, why I wasn’t really paying attention to that lady, or whatever. She always knows. Bea…I want to be connected to her. I do. I want to tell her everything, be honest and real, because she is the one person I should be able to do that with. But I falter. I’m afraid. I still believe she will judge me, she will find me bad and wrong and evil and lacking in some unforgivable way.

        I think the thing is, the only person who is safe to lean on, is myself. And myself is falling apart. So I need someone, but no one is really safe. Which means all I have is me. And so it’s scary. Does that make sense?
        I want to lean on Bea. But I feel like she doesn’t believe me about how bad this all is. I think that because my affect, my demeanor, my outside is presentable, that it doesn’t matter what I tell her, she sees me as still functioning and okay. And it’s this kind of war with myself, too. I could be really honest, tell her exactly how I am eating, and show her my cutting, and tell her the suicide ideation and how close it came the other night when I fought with Hubby. I could tell her how I cry everyday, and how I never sleep, and how when I wake up from a nightmare it takes me a long time to realize I’m not a child in my parents home and to be able to move. I could tell her how I’ve had flashbacks hit me out of no where and send me running to hide behind my bed, in the bath tub behind the shower curtain and in the closet this last week. I could tell her how i barely keep up with wifely chores, and how I keep initiating sex with my husband in a twisted way to almost punish myself. I could tell her how I have migraines after flashbacks so bad I can’t function, and I’m back on my heavy duty migraine meds, but even those don’t touch these headaches; I believe they are more PTSD related than anything. I could tell her all these things. Instead, I smile, act totally fine, and say that things are really hard, and I’m pretending they are fine, I’m struggling with ED stuff and cutting has been an issue and I haven’t been sleeping well. When I say that, I need her to look at me, and ask me what it really happening. I know she isn’t a mind reader. I KNOW that. But I have told her often enough that I will pretend and pretend and I can’t stop myself from pretending. I need help to not pretend. I’ve told her I can fool my best friend, whom I’ve known almost my whole life. So why, why, can’t Bea just ask me if I’m truly as okay as I am acting? That would give me some kind of permission to tell the truth, or at least more of the truth. I know, that makes no sense whatsoever. My mind is a scary, insane, twisty place, with crazy OCD rules that make no sense.

        This is it, exactly. It’s like I feel, for the first time ever, in my life, I can talk about my past. I never had that before, ever. I always had to pretend to be normal. When people around me were being nostalgic and wishing to relive childhood over, and my heart would beat faster, I would feel nauseas, and a little scared, and like a part of me really wanted to run and hide, I would pretend everything was fine, and go on about how great it would be to be a child all over again, and how easy and lovely childhood was– completely ignoring the alarm bells going off in my head.

        But now I can say, I never want to be a child again, being a child was scary because I had no power or control over anything and oh my God, I really just realized that right now this moment, and being a child meant doing what my parents expected and always performing and being perfect and good enough in order to earn their love, and it meant never saying a word about the bad things happening with Kenny, because I was a good girl, and good girls don’t play games like that. Even I knew that. But I couldn’t say no. I had no power to tell anyone no.

        And so I have this thing, about my daughter being able to tell anyone and everyone no, all the time, anytime, anywhere, over anything. It doesn’t always mean she gets her way, but that “no” is acknowledged and validated and celebrated and I want, I need, her to be able to say no to anyone, to any adult. Because I couldn’t. And now I’m off track, off subject, and this is going on way longer than intended.

        I’m terrified of I tell all the details, the real story, Bea will leave. Because it is disgusting and horrible. And some of it is so bad, I don’t even remember if. And I NEED to know it. I need to remember it. I am losing my mind, not knowing. I go over and over it, and I can’t remember some things. Worse yet, is the college boyfriend, the horrible details. Because I stayed. Even after certain horrible, disgusting, degrading, painful things, I stayed. I forgave him, even when he didn’t ask forgiveness, as he didn’t see he’d done anything wrong, and I stayed. Who does that? I’m insane. I don’t know what was wrong with me. I stayed.

        Yes……..I want so badly to talk about “the thing.” But I can not, will not, shall not bring it up. And Bea has not brought it up. I want to talk about the r word, and I did say that in email, but Bea has not brought it up. I can’t bring these things up. I can’t do it. It’s too much. I need her to bring it up and talk. Maybe you are right, and she is giving me a break, ants doesn’t know I need her to help bring it up. But she should know. I never bring anything up. I’m better now, but I’ve needed her help to talk about everything, and anything since I started therapy. I’m just so worried she is done with me, thinking I should be healed and over it. I don’t know. I’m confused.

        Maybe I am just testing Bea again…ugh. Poor Bea. Do not talk feels safest. I’d don’t know if it’s that I feel I shouldn’t talk, or if Bea really is done and thinks I’m fixed and better and healed. I’m getting myself more confused by the moment. The basis Is, it feels like Bea is done talking about ugly stuff, and that she thinks I should be over that stuff and all healed and grown up out of it, and better, and that she doesn’t want to hear anything else I have to say that is ugly, or negative or not good. She wants to direct me to present day and to positive stuff. So, is that the truth, or am I projecting my “do not talk prohibition” onto her? Ugh!!!

        I used to ask her, when we would be done, an end date. Every session. And she would say that it takes as long as it takes. Then, I started asking of she would get tired of how long it was taking me to get everything out. And she would say no. (And I still don’t have it all out). Then I would ask her if she was going to get mad that I have such a hard time talking. And she would say no. Then I started asking if she was going to get angry at me for emailing instead of talking. And she would say no. Then, I asked her once, if she would leave me. And she said no– not even if she knew the horrible thing. So we’ve been through the question asking before. I’m just not sure I want to ask questions again. And I don’t know what to ask. “Do you really want to head the ugh stuff? Are you tired of hearing my ugly stuff? I feel like you don’t want me to talk about the yuck stuff? I feel like you don’t want me to talk about the negative things?” I don’t know. Ugh.
        It’s not too much. It’s perfect. I love rambling. Really. My favorite comments are rambling comments…it’s like a conversation, and it makes me feel connected and not so alone. I hate that you remember what it felt like to be here. But I’m thankful, too. And I’m thankful your heart is big enough, that even in the midst of your pain, you are willing to reach out to me. Xx❤️


      • I’m okay…or, at least, functioning. You know. I’ve been working on two posts, and somehow am going to finish them at the same time…I don’t know. I just need to edit them, proof them and publish them. Thank you for checking…

        How are you? Xx


      • I am glad that you are doing ok enough, at least.

        Things are intense for me, but they are showing signs of coming together into a useful way. I need to try to write it out, at least for my own sake. Maybe I will post it. I’m not sure that it will make much sense to anyone outside of my own head, though…


      • I’m glad they are okay enough. Writing always helps me process and figure things out. Something about putting stuff into words helps it make sense to me. If you do choose to post it, you may be surprised that there are people who can make sense of your writing. I hope everything comes together soon.


  3. Can you organise a cleaner? I do that. I can’t stand a messy house but rarely have the energy to keep up with it. It’s such a minor consideration in the large scale of things but you might find it incredibly useful. Just a thought xx


    • I don’t know. I’d feel guilty. I already have a nanny, and I’m a stay at home wife and a mom. There’s so much in that “job” description I don’t do already. I don’t know. Hubby changing jobs means he will be home more, and so may help more with that stuff. Which also makes me feel guilty. I’m jealous you have a cleaner. Xx


  4. I have been wanting to start a post about this. When I try to “pay attention” and be mindful I get anxious and end up going to that floaty place to feel safe. So I guess it’s opposite at times for me. I’ve been trying to cuddle and memorize my hubby’s scents, the feel of his face, etc and I get overwhelmed and start to feel incredibly sad and I want to feel but I stop. Sometimes I practice breathing so that I can hear myself and I try to be present but then I begin to cry and stop because, again I am afraid. So floaty is safer, deeper but more unconscious or I don’t know how to explain that,it’s just a disconnect from people and reality.


    • I get that. Paying attention is a different kind of anxiety. It’s the being present anxiety. The here and now. The floaty anxiety is the buried, not dealing with feelings and being numb but underneath it all knowing I will have to deal with it all when I fall apart at some point. And it’s having anxiety about being caught using my “bad coping techniques” which usually are what help me stay numb and floaty. I don’t know. Surface floaty sucks. It seems good, I think I want the facade and the feeling, but I don’t. And now I back here, and all I can do is pretend I am okay, because that is one of the “rules” I have…which means if I even try to explain to Bea that I am so not okay, she will be looking at someone who is presenting as perfectly fine. This sucks. Horribly.


  5. Sounds like you are doing a lot and keeping up with what is expected. IT may be harder and harder to keep the perfect image up. I tried to do that for years and eventually I had a breakdown. Today I see it as the best thing that ever happened to me. So much new and authentic life has come out of it. I am my essential self and I am aware of my needs and I feel connected to the global community. I know that where you are at is scary and I hear and hold your fear with you. Be gentle with yourself.


  6. To me, your session doesn’t sound completely surfacey. This idea of confronting Jamie in a sensible way seems key to your issues, from what you’ve said. You would stop pretending, allow some of your real thoughts to be heard, yet do this in a mature way – i.e., not so much like the swimming pool incident. It seems like in many posts, you are discussing how distant the way you show up in the world (your idea of perfect) is from how you are actually feeling – traumatized, angry, sad, overwhelmed, etc. So it seems like Bea is actually zeroing in on a big issue. Maybe what’s absent though is you – you are not expressing your underlying feelings, so you feel all is ‘surface’ only.

    IMO, we do have to present a certain persona to the world – it’s not appropriate to share our trauma with everyone, and we need things to function. Kat needs her mom to mostly be able to be an adult for her. But there also needs to be a balance – some people need to hear the real us, and we can let our real feelings out to others, but in a more partial way. We need to find that balance – either extreme doesn’t work very well.


    • Hmmmm…..this is a good point. You are so smart, Ellen. Stop pretending, allow some of my real thoughts to be heard in an appropriate way.
      There is a huge disconnect in how i behave on the outside and how i feel on the insdie. I get that we have to have a certain persona for the world– i certaintly should not tell my mail lady how badly i slept and about my nightmares; but when one of my best friends, whom i cut out of my life for getting too close calls, and asks how i am, and really means it, why can’t i be honest? She is honest with me. But i tell her life is great. I list out all the happy things. And if she were to call me on it, i would cut her out again. THIS is what is wrong with me. I can not even be honest with those i should be able to be honest with. I am the least authentic person i know. And i want so badly to be real. 😢


      • There is a children’s story about becoming real – the velveteen rabbit – do you know it? I think you’re on the path to being real, for what it’s worth. This happens to be your struggle. We all struggle with different things. My T is always talking about how I hide myself from others. But with parts – how can I not? Anyway, I know what you’re talking about here. You will show more of your real self when you are ready. take care.


      • Yes, I know the story, I loved that story as a kid. Well, I loved most books as a kid (and now, too). Hiding feels safer, doesn’t it?

        I guess what I don’t understand, and can’t seem to figure out is what IS real. I say the polite smile, the well mannered, public persona is fake. It’s who I was taught to be, expected to. The cheerleader, the popular girl, the smart one. It’s not ME, it’s someone else, it’s “Miss Perfect”, it’s who I pretend to be because that’s safer and easier than being me. But Bea says I am all those things that I say I pretend I am. I just feel…fake. I don’t know. Maybe I should make this into a new post, and not a comment, because it’s turning around and around in my mind.

        Bea has this “experiment” she does with kids, and teens. She has these big plastic test tubes. She uses them to make a “recipe” for each person. She has the kids make different color water and then pour it into the tubes. Each tube represents a part of them. So maybe there is an angry tube, a bad girl tube, a perfect girl tube, ext. When they are all done, she has them dump all the tubes holding all the parts into a bowl, together. She got the tubes because she had a little girl who was really splitting parts of herself –“good girl” and “bad girl”– and couldn’t understand that they were both her. Bea says she thinks I’m the same way, like that little girl, unable to see that all the parts are me. Ugh.

        Sorry for the ramble….I may turn this into a post, yet.


  7. Having to hide and keep secret so much of me, my life and history is what made me feel invisible, fake or not real. The more I was able to share what my real life entailed and not have to hide or run from it, the more I began to feel whole, with a rich and deep interior,
    And you are going deep. As much as that tears, and rips and hurts, it is worth it. You will feel whole (real) and be known for all that you are and all that you’ve been through.


    • I have to think about this. “Having to hide is what made me feel fake”…..so the thought would be that I’m not fake, those are all parts of me, but I feel fake because I’ve had to hide so much of myself for my whole life until 8 months ago? And really, I’m still hiding in a lot of ways. This is a lot to wrap my mind around. Hmmmmmm….it’s definitely something to think about.

      Liked by 1 person

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