Compartments…

I’m slowly becoming aware of how my life exists by living within various compartments, completely blinkered/detached to whatever else is going on.

I can trace it back to teenage days, maybe earlier. I would meet friends around 7pm, but had to be home by 10pm. Of course, I was completely lost in that compartment and time would quickly disappear. Whenever I was late, Dad would sternly knock 15mins off the next night’s curfew. This battle of wills progressed through teenage years, infuriating Dad and bewildering me.

The next night, I would leave home fuelled with determination to return on time. Inevitably, Dad would be furious at the sheer insolence. I couldn’t articulate that I was having problems thinking outside the box.

In recent weeks, there has been a vague awareness of not embracing therapy in the way intended. The recent inconsistencies would impact on anyone’s sense of stability. But, there was also a niggling feeling that something else was at play.

Getting ready for therapy and driving to the venue have been strange experiences. Part of me doesn’t want to go; the other part is desperately trying to think of what I might want to talk about. Somehow that original extensive list was no longer fluent. It even crossed my mind if perhaps I had already “healed and moved on”.  Depression wasn’t just a distant memory; it felt like it didn’t exist at all. I was having a hard time connecting to the reasons that took me there in the first place.

When I woke early this morning, tangled in the sheets from a bad nightmare, I immediately knew why there was no connection. I had forgotten how heavy and hollow deep depression can feel as I dragged my feet towards the kitchen. It almost feels like waking up a different person. The body and hair (or lack of it) is still the same, but the eyes hold that old familiar pain; that vacant stare, struggling to hold on.

In retrospect, the last three months have been free of major depression and while I was living in that compartment, I certainly forgot what it’s like to be trapped in this desolate place. At the moment, little else exists outside the darkness, but I’m trying to see over the compartment walls.

During yesterday’s therapy session, I was trying to explore my detachment issues with Paul. I’m supposing compartments are one of the same thing. This is a weird one. It’s difficult to articulate something I’m not fully aware of. When I’m in one compartment, another barely exists.

What nightmare woke me this morning? As many already know, I lost both my beloved cats; Oscar in Nov ’13 and Missy Feb ’14. In my dream, I was wracked with guilt because I had given them up to an animal shelter. The next day I was eager to get them back, but when I arrived to collect them, both had already been adopted. The devastation and guilt were very real and set me back a few months in the grieving process.

If there’s anything positive that can come from this, then it has to be for the continuity of thought surrounding the compartment/detachment issue. It will be something to explore further in therapy.

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7 thoughts on “Compartments…

  1. Eric Tonningsen

    Unsolicited, Cat… as you continue to explore, you are emerging — into new views, perpsectives, and possibilities. This is awareness and growth. Applauding you here and remaining hopeful that you don’t get tied to any one construct or definition for who you are, were you’ve been and/or what is unfolding for you. Perhaps, simply appreciate being in the present moment. Strength and supportive thoughts your way!

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  2. mandy

    I’m sorry you’re in this place right now, Cat. Three months feeling better and then waking up to old tapes, I’m familiar with that. And it always feels bad. The only good thing, since this has happened many times, is that it passes, and things get better again. It is frustrating though that we can’t beat depression once. and. for. all. I wondered how you were doing after losing your precious kitties. The nightmare is telling. I don’t understand dreams or why you would have any guilt weighing on you regarding your little darlings. I had a very sick dog that I had to put down years ago. I woke one night months later, sobbing. I dreamed I had an abortion and it was my dog! Somehow I felt like I had a choice about it dying and I was a terrible parent. You definitely wanted your kittens back in that dream, and in real life, too. Well, there I go rambling again. And what do I know? Other than I hope so much you can feel the peace that you so deserve.

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    1. Cat Post author

      You’re not rambling, Mandy, but make perfectly good sense. Yes, I do miss the kitty-babies and the dream does convey that. Thank you for your understanding

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  3. sensuousamberville

    Compartmentalization is a defense mechanism, I think there are ties too, to black and white thinking, compartments can be formed to sort this out, to help rationalize black and white thoughts, but not just this. The walls of a compartment that you may exist in now, can be high and strong, so much so that you may not see other things, I think you realize this.

    Some memories, powerful ones exist in compartments that your mind may have sealed. This is not an uncommon feeling/thing, compartmentalization.

    So yes you can exist in a narrow compartment and be detached from another, or reality even.

    I am not sure if these words help you Cat, but perhaps that it is not just you that feels this way will, that it is a part of BPD. Sometimes compartments are a good thing, if you can control them, to eliminate anxiety or push a memory away.

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    1. Cat Post author

      Thank you, your comment is really helpful. I’d never thought of the ‘compartment thing’ as being a part of BPD, but I certainly recognise it as some kind of defence tactic. I’ve did it for so long it’s almost second nature and difficult to stop!

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