I’ve been decreasing my dose of Seroquel (doctor’s orders) for the last few weeks. During this time, I’ve had some withdrawal symptoms. One symptom that has really been bothering me is stomach upset and cramping, which is a common symptom of antipsychotic withdrawal.
At the same time, I’ve been dealing with fevers associated with Epstein-Barr Virus. What has been going on, though, is that I’ve been fluctuating between hot and cold. Sometimes I’m freezing and chilled, and sometimes I feel really flushed. This has resulted in me changing clothes during the day, and even in the middle of the night, and has been quite uncomfortable.
And I just could not figure out what was causing these symptoms. It seemed like a mystery to me. I saw a doctor on Monday who said that it is a mix of withdrawal symptoms and Epstein Barr. But, even though I’ve had stomach issues my whole life, have gone through antipsychotic withdrawals probably four times, and have had Epstein Barr on and off since I was 14, I just couldn’t seem to understand what was going on. The symptoms all seemed mysterious to me, which is basically what has been happening for four years, ever since I had a system collapse.
A system collapse is a very serious thing for a person who has DID. What it means is that the system that the person has set up, likely since he or she was a kid, gets overwhelmed and overworked, and completely collapses. The results of this can be devastating and totally disabling to the person with DID, even if before the collapse the person appeared to be and felt like he or she was doing quite well. My system collapse seemingly came out of nowhere and was more terrifying than any of the severe trauma that I’ve been through. I had (and still have some) symptoms of global amnesia and very severe memory loss. I lived life based off an outline that I had for myself in my head about what my life had been like, who was in my life, and what I needed to do to survive for a couple of years. And, I built up memory during that time and do remember the last four years somewhat (and I remember some things better than others). But, for example, even though I knew who my cats were, I didn’t fully remember them or things about them for a couple of years. Yet, I still loved them, but couldn’t always remember why. It was really disturbing and heartbreaking, and even today I don’t know how much of my memory of them is actually from the first 10 years that I had them, before the system collapse, or it it is mostly from the last four years. This means that I have a lost of lost memories of them, which is a really hard thing to accept and live with for me. I countered this memory loss by constantly explaining things to myself throughout the day that I didn’t remember how to do or didn’t understand. It has been really exhausting. Over time, though, I have begun to get accustomed to living with this severe of memory loss.
Yesterday I needed to run an errand. The weather was in the 50s, so I put on pair of warm sweatpants. I immediately felt too hot. Terror and panic struck because I didn’t know why. Then, all of a sudden, I remembered that I have always gotten too warm easily when I had any type of cramps, and that the flushing and hot spells that I’ve been having feel exactly like what stomach issues have always felt for me. My fear and terror quickly dissipated. It was quite weird.
Even though this was a good thing, it is also quite terrifying for me to know that for four years I’ve been living in a state where I do not remember what life is like from moment to moment, down to the very basics. I have been able to teach and re-teach myself quite a few things, but it’s not the same as it was before the system collapse and global amnesia. It’s no wonder that I keep panicking and having symptoms of severe anxiety, because I can’t remember, say, what fear feels like to me, even though I am fearful all of the time. I’m literally living moment to moment in terms of understanding what life feels like and trying to figure it out over and over again as I go along.
So it’s no wonder that I’m having a hard time shaking things like depression, and that I feel so awkward and uncomfortable. I’m doing the best I can to deal with this, though, and do have a lot of help from people in my life. My cats help me with my memory loss issues as well.
While it’s good, then, that I’m beginning to get actual memories back, it’s still scary to face how bad things really are for me. I knew that life was much different now, but since I couldn’t remember what life was like before the collapse in June 2015, I didn’t fully have a vantage point to compare this to. Now I have one.
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