I try to share how to better manage living with PTSD.  Lately, I listened to someone talk about not depression but feeling empty.  She expressed frustration when others tried to call that feeling depression, she was right that empty feeling makes depression almost reasonable.  I suffered severe depression.  I lived through cancer.   The emptiness is one of the hardest for me to cope with.  Depression, sometimes known as the black dog, is somewhat tangible.  When described to someone else they often have felt something similar in varying degrees. However, the emptiness….  I called the feeling, the VOID…yes all caps.  It was a terrifying place to be.  My first counselor gave me a name to work with dissociation.

NAMI has a link to a description… http://www2.nami.org/Content/NavigationMenu/Inform_Yourself/About_Mental_Illness/By_Illness/Dissociative_Disorders.htm

I learned that like many psychological events it works on a continuum.

ContinuumIt has to do with memory and feelings and our connection to ourselves.

This was a piece I wrote early in my counseling.

I’ve worked too long to be afraid now. Fear has taken too much of my life. I am afraid. Being hurt is my word for “normal.” This time I feel the pain as it happens. I cry but no one sees the tears. I hurt but no one knows. Why must there be more? I hide the wounds but that doesn’t stop the bleeding. The pain pours in and no one sees the scars.    When you bleed internally as long as you smile no one knows you are dying. I have prayed for death I have begged for death but dying would bring no relief to a battered soul. I prayed for oblivion body and soul and there was only the oblivion of passing out and knowing you will wake up and do it all again.  My heart aches for the child I never was. I cry for what can not be. No one can undo my past and give me back my childhood. No one wants to enter my pain. I change to become acceptable to monsters or those that I want their love. I change until I can’t even recognize myself. I change and it is still not enough. I am tired but fear grips my sleep. I am awake and fear drives my every action. I work but it is still not enough. Lost, i feel so lost. i don’t want to play any more but like a crazed puppet the strings jerk me around.

No control.
No hope.
such sadness.
such pain.
let me sleep without dreams.
let the noise in my head stop.
let me rest.
just let me rest.
let me slip into the grayness of
the void.

Emptiness, void, empty shell, nothingness, hell – this place of lacking all connection to memories, events, life is difficult to describe to someone else.  I felt isolated.  Alone.  Unheard and unseen.  My counselor was surprised that I didn’t use alcohol, drugs or sex to cope with this all encompassing emptiness.  Trying to show this feeling I took pictures of gray….lots of gray.  Emptiness with nothing to fill it.  I work very hard not to slide back to that place again.  A place where I felt more dead than alive.  Emptiness.

graycurves graydesat1 graydoor Graydoor2 Grayflatline grayground grayground2 graynochange grayrailing graysidewalk graystairs graywall graywall2

I finally found a picture that describes emptiness……………..

RM4_7060A mine shaft so deep you could loose the Empire State Building in its depths.





3 thoughts on “Emptiness

  1. You helped me give a name to my emptiness. Now I finally understand what dissociation means. Thank you.

    (Too bad it also means that I fill another criteria for borderline personality disorder.)

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