The Struggle to be Present

An issue that I have had for a long time (and seems to be getting worse instead of better) is that I struggle to be present. I dissociate pretty easily and I have a hard time pulling myself back into my body and reality. It’s like I leave the building mentally. The lights are on, but nobody is home. I struggle to stay focused, even on activities that I enjoy. I become a zombie of sorts.

There’s a lot of negative consequences that come with this frequent dissociation and I will openly admit I am struggling to cope with it. I was understanding of its existence when my life was complete misery and I was engulfed of the sorrows of grief and PTSD. It made sense to me that my brain wanted to check out and I found it to be a perfectly effective and understandable coping mechanism. But now? I’m in a pretty good spot in life (especially considering the circumstances) and I still can’t seem to consistently connect in with any regularity. It affects my memory (I don’t remember much, if anything, when I’m dissociated) and it has a negative effect on my personal relationships, too. I disappear mid sentence, sometimes. I frequently accidentally or unknowingly tune someone out when they’re talking to me, which I feel guilty about more often than not. There are times where my poor boyfriend is trying to tell me something and I see that he’s speaking – I’ll be looking directly at him – and he might as well be speaking a different language because my brain refuses to receive and interpret the incoming information. It’s a frustrating process for both parties involved.

I want to be here. I want to be present. I want to listen. So why can’t my brain seem to hop on board that train of thought? Why is it so impossible for me to stay connected? I’m not sure. I think some of it is a result of the fact that I still have high stress levels (transition is stressful and I’m smack in the middle of some major transition). Perhaps my brain has gotten lazy and got used to being checked out and is disinterested in engaging. There’s also the possibility that I lost mental stamina along the way and just have to keep trying my best to be here as much as I can be and push myself to keep growing in a positive direction. Your guess is as good as mine.

I hope that some day I can overcome this obstacle. I often fear that it’s from permanent damage as a result of the trauma I have been through. It’s probably something I should discuss with my therapist next week, who knows! All I know is I will keep trying to push myself to be here like I want to be. As exhausting as that effort may be.

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