Ever since I wrote my Reflections series it has felt like my mind has been freed from a prison. I had felt trapped in my brain for many years... while the 3.5 year depression had pinned me in, the true prison had been built up in my early teens, 20+ years ago.
The best way to describe things is that any happy memories of my youth were blocked out. All I could really feel were the painful ones. This wasn't ordinary memory recall, this was some random trigger pulling up a memory in a flash and all of the associated feelings of pain and loss that accompanied them.
I had a favorite children's book when I was young. I wanted it read to me almost every night. Over and over, over and over. I knew it almost by heart. It still filled my heart and head with wonder. I still longed to be a part of that experience. These were happy experiences before my father changed, before my family collapsed and everything turned into an ugly pile of burning shit.
If anything triggered a memory of the book, I would not remember any of those happy memories. What I would remember is when I was 6 that my parents wanted to give it away. They had given away many of my treasured possessions before and this was just another one of those. I threw a tantrum and told them just to take anything and give all of it away and stormed out of the room. When I returned, roughly 1/3rd of my toys, games, and books were gone. This hurt. A lot. I hid in a private spot and cried for hours. I never wanted to remember any of those things again so that I wouldn't have to remember losing them.
When I was in college, I was out to dinner with a friend of mine. She was a bit random and funny, so she asked for a kids menu and some crayons. She mentioned the name of the book and started drawing things from it. I burst into tears. They wouldn't stop. I cried for 10 hours and ended up in bed for 3 weeks from a complete mental breakdown. The last memory that I had before it started was a flash of one phrase: "All of my happy memories are gone and I will never feel that way ever again."
This was an extreme example, but there was never any process, never any "I see something, I remember, I feel something, it makes me sad," sort of a thing. I would just randomly see something, a flash in my brain of an image, and then I would be hit with a terrible wave of emotions that went along with the experience. This plagued me for 20 years. I trained myself to shrug the feelings off, citing them as "fake" and "inappropriate feelings for the moment." They would still take their toll on my heart.
At this point I expect someone to be thinking: "Dude, why didn't you go on meds?" I did. While meds were able to block the impulses, they also took away a lot of my mental capacity and completely flattened my personality. This happened with many of them. I eventually just learned to manage things as best I could. If I had stayed on meds, I can assure you that this blog never would have existed, nor would I have ever been able to experience the depth of emotions and intensity of love that I have over the years.
In the weeks following Reflections, something has changed. The impulses still happen, but not as frequently: maybe 3-5 a day instead of 5-10 times an hour. I have started to regain happy memories. When I recall something bad and the pain starts, I cry it out. After that, I can look upon it and remember "that was painful when it happened," but I don't feel everything as if it was happening right now.
This provides a lot of peace of mind, but at the same time, I'm starting to harbor some greater frustration with the way that I was raised. The emptiness and lack of joy from accomplishing something isn't an attractive quality. I see clearly that I've become narcissistic in many ways as a coping mechanism. That makes me mad at myself as well.
I've been giving advice to a lot of subs lately about being open and honest with their Dommes. My relationship with T has been very... distant for the past 4 years. She had a tendency to "beat me down" when I would show vulnerability and it scared me a lot. I would keep trying every week or two, testing to she if her ability to show warmth to me had returned. Last night this led to an argument where she stone-walled me and then unleashed a barrage of terrible words with the intent of hurting me. I let it go until she cooled off and tried again later. She reacted similarly, saying things exactly in a way that she knew would make me cry. I cried. She belittled me for crying.
I stuck to my guns. I kept pressing. She said "I don't want to talk about it, there's nothing to talk about, sometimes I just feel down." When she stopped, I remained as calm as I could, and told her, "If you feel down, just say so, you don't have to tell me why. Tell me you are down and I will be there to hug you and love you and be whatever you need me to be. I'm not perfect, but I will give you all of my love and be there for you." She finally let her guard down and hugged me back.
This process hurt like hell and took hours, but it also led to the best talk we have had in a long time and I felt connected to her more so than I had in a very long time. I would gladly walk into attacks that will leave me feeling sad and broken if I can show her my love openly.