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Old 11-06-2017, 09:18 AM #1
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Default When 'functioning well' gets in the way of healing

I'm sick of constantly putting on a 'brave face' to the world, having a constant smile, telling people I'm 'fine'. It's become such a habit this smiling and trying to appear 'well', been doing it my whole life, that it's making me feel worse because a) it's a lie, and b) it's such hard work to maintain and it's wearing me out the more I have to put into it and the worse I feel inside.

And yet I also don't know how not to be 'well' - I'm so afraid of people seeing me as someone who can't cope and I've always been the one who copes with anything (because inside nothing really touches me - I just dissociate). I don't know how not to habitually smile or say 'I'm OK' when asked.
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Old 11-06-2017, 10:03 AM #2
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Default Re: When 'functioning well' gets in the way of healing

I know what you mean. Not that i have ptsd or anything, but i can still relate. You can either force yourself to smile and say you are doing fine (when you are not). It´s possible, it´s the route i´ve chosen. It´s exhausting and will serve you no purpose in the end. You´ll feel alone, weak, scared. I don´t recommend it.
If you´re brave you´ll share your feelings with others, be honest and open. You don´t even have to be that brave, you can start small. If someone asks you how you´re doing you can reply "actually, not doing too good right now..."
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Old 11-06-2017, 10:25 AM #3
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Default Re: When 'functioning well' gets in the way of healing

Carmina, thank you so much. I could have written this post. I know what this feels like too well.
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Old 11-06-2017, 02:32 PM #4
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Default Re: When 'functioning well' gets in the way of healing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carmina View Post
I'm sick of constantly putting on a 'brave face' to the world, having a constant smile, telling people I'm 'fine'. It's become such a habit this smiling and trying to appear 'well', been doing it my whole life, that it's making me feel worse because a) it's a lie, and b) it's such hard work to maintain and it's wearing me out the more I have to put into it and the worse I feel inside.

And yet I also don't know how not to be 'well' - I'm so afraid of people seeing me as someone who can't cope and I've always been the one who copes with anything (because inside nothing really touches me - I just dissociate). I don't know how not to habitually smile or say 'I'm OK' when asked.
I could have also written this post.I hate to lie. But it's better than expressing what I really feel to people and seeing their "get over it" expressions. Or them changing the subject so not to listen to me. Just easier to lie and avoid the extra stress. I don't remember what it feels like to be different, to enjoy life, to love. Not sure that is attainable anymore.
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Old 11-06-2017, 02:49 PM #5
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Default Re: When 'functioning well' gets in the way of healing

Me too. I'm trying to be more open about my mental health issues. And, surprisingly, it feels quite good.

Not good. But a relief.

Things came to a head when I flipped with an aggressive superior at work. Not just once, but twice.

Basically, I was pretending to be happy when I wasn't happy.

Instead of making an excuse, in the conversations that followed my blow up, I just decided there and then to say thing's as they were.

People think my company is a 'soft' employer. But they're not. Behind the scenes, no-one speaks back to the higher-ups.

Joining this forum had an effect. I got to know some people on here a little bit. They were nice! Sensitive. And my heart went out to them, seeing how they struggled to maintain their integrity in a bruising and indelicate world.

I don't know how it will turn out but I'm genuinely impressed so far with my superiors response.

I have made a space for myself in which I can say what I need and what I won't accept.

I am prepared to quit the job, if necessary.

So, those things in combination (saying for the first time that I wasn't happy, and being ready to leave) made me feel like I was no longer trapped.
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Old 11-06-2017, 04:46 PM #6
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Default Re: When 'functioning well' gets in the way of healing

Thanks

Well this is pretty much it

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog...ing-depression

I can, occasionally open up to people, the real problem is the reflexive habits - the smiling and 'I'm OK' as if I have some deep seated need to appease others (which I probably do)
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Old 11-06-2017, 04:56 PM #7
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Default Re: When 'functioning well' gets in the way of healing

Interesting article, thanks for sharing it.

Could you experiment with a different phrase?
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Old 11-06-2017, 05:26 PM #8
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Default Re: When 'functioning well' gets in the way of healing

Yes I could but I would still find a way to make it another way of coping. I don't think I'm explaining myself well - it's not the surface behaviours in themselves, they are just manifestations of the fact that I need to maintain this exterior level of functioning and can't fundamentally 'let go' of that - it's blocking me from really dealing with how I am. I wish I could take time out from myself. I feel like I'm surrounded by layers of obfuscation - they don't let people really see me but they also block me from being me. If that makes sense.

It's not so much that I can't say "I'm not coping" - it's that I can't allow myself to be... not coping.
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Old 11-29-2017, 12:06 PM #9
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Default Re: When 'functioning well' gets in the way of healing

Were you by any chance the "high-functioning" member of a dysfunctional family growing up? One of the hallmarks of dysfunctional families is that they don't allow family members the space to act outside their designated role, so the high-functioning one can never fall apart (b/c if they do, everyone else falls apart).

Everything you've written in this thread is exactly how I feel. And now my brain or body or something won't allow me to ignore it anymore, and my life circumstances no longer allow for my habitual ways of coping, so I feel like I'm going crazy and out of control. The people around me won't let me "not function", and my-self won't let me "function", so I'm just in free-fall.
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Old 11-29-2017, 03:21 PM #10
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Default Re: When 'functioning well' gets in the way of healing

Oh yes, very much so

I had to watch my behaviour all the time because if I didn't my mother would be the one to fall apart and then everyone would be upset and we'd get suicide threats and worse

......

Actually though now I think of it perhaps my fear of falling apart myself is also a fear of becoming her? (not just like her but that she is inside me - when I was a child I had 2 nightmares, one was that she burst into my room at night just screaming uncontrollably - and that was so scary I'd wake up and it would be me screaming)

I think this is what the object relations psychoanalysts call 'introjection'
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