Object Permanence

2 Apr

On Monday night I was over at a friends house struggling with the fear that my identity is in mental illness and I don’t know who I am now.  I am still struggling but not with the “severe mental illness” symptoms, so some how I was feeling like I wasn’t crazy enough.

My life has changed a lot in the last 6 weeks.  I have went from hearing voices on a daily basis, almost constantly, to rarely hearing voices at all.  Many days I just did not want to get out of bed or to live though I was not actively suicidal.  I had almost resigned myself to a very limited life because of my instability and inability to function on a consistent basis.  In the past year I have thought about more independence but that was moving out to family friends, getting disability, and trying to keep the friends that I have made in the last two years.

Now it seems the possibilities are endless, (I know they aren’t in actuality endless.)  And the thought of that has been overwhelming and terrifying.  I need to incorporate new things into my identity, as the mental illness is not taking up all of it now.  I’m not delusional and know I will struggle with symptoms, especially under stress.  I also need to process and grieve all the time and opportunities I have lost.

One of the things that was bothering me the most was the thought that maybe all those years of living with the mental illness were made up or exaggerated by me.  People don’t usually just “snap out of” symptoms like I had.  I had been on so many medications and treatments to try and live with and eradicate the symptoms.  I had somewhat submitted and was just going to the hospital to give my case manager some relief.  While I wasn’t up to my usual tricks of get in, get out, and get on with life- I wasn’t expecting anything like this.

While obsessing about what the past 20 years have been, obsessing is one of the things I do best, the phrase “object permanence” came into my head.  I vaguely knew it had something to do with developmental psychology since I have an associates degree in Early Childhood Education (similar to Child Development) and a lot of psychology classes under my belt.  So according to Wikipedia Object Permanence is “the understanding that objects continue to exist even when they cannot be observed (seen, heard, touched, smelled or sensed in any way).”

Since some of my severer symptoms have seem to disappeared or can’t be sensed in any way, I am beginning to doubt they ever existed.  Also my memory issues and invalidation about my experience play in as well.  I must be really crazy to think I was never crazy.  Looking back at my blog posts and my mental health history, I must have been really good to “fake” all of that.  But I didn’t. It was my experience, it was how I sensed the world and just because it isn’t like that now doesn’t mean it never existed.  The voices, depression, self harm, hospitalizations, despair, ECT, fear, anxiety, avoidance, trauma, and everything else was real it was real to me and for me and I am happy I am not dealing with it as bad as I was.

I am happy that there are new opportunities for me, I’m even thinking that I might be able to work part time or go to school full time, sometime in the future.  I am beginning to think I am not so screwed up that I don’t deserve or can’t maintain a relationship.  The numbness and over thinking has been replaced with emotional overload- it is sort of like the BPD but not just “negative” emotions.

I feel like I am a little kid and have referred to myself in “kid mode” to others recently.  Like I have a new crack at life.  I still however have the body and mind of a 13 year old.  My emotions are raw and I need constant reassurance and validation but I am getting better.  I can print out things people have said and use that instead of needing to hear it straight from their mouth.  I can calm myself some what and am not as hard on myself.  I feel positive emotions, even love for some people, and want to express my affection or emotions.  It’s odd, it’s new, it’s scary but IT’S GOOD!

11 Responses to “Object Permanence”

  1. manyofus1980 April 2, 2014 at 3:48 PM #

    I am so proud to know you Marcie. You are a good friend. You’ve been an awesome support. You post great resources and information on your blog. And of course your struggles are real and not made up. Everyone has a story, you included, I am so glad things are looking up for you. Way to go, hugs xxx

    • mm172001 April 2, 2014 at 5:48 PM #

      Thanks so much. You are so kind with all your comments in this comment. I hope things continue to look up! 🙂

  2. Nataly April 2, 2014 at 11:58 PM #

    I loved this 🙂 I want to say more but it will have to wait as I am about to travel and can’t use my phone. I just wanted to say how proud I am of you; not just the changes and progress you’ve made but also the way you’re able to document the ups and downs and associated confusion because it’s not a simple process. It’s complex and difficult and you’re persistent and determined. I need to stop writing but I’ll write more later. xo.

    • mm172001 April 4, 2014 at 5:28 PM #

      Thanks for stopping by and just saying something. I feel like I am not always persistent and determined but that would probably be the ups and downs.

  3. bpdplanet April 3, 2014 at 12:43 AM #

    none of this stuff is easy, what Im finding is it is better to be mindful if you can and in the moment now than keep going over past mistakes/wishes if this is self destructive, only to say “I did the best i could” at the time with the abilities I had at the time…

    • mm172001 April 4, 2014 at 5:29 PM #

      Thank you, mindfulness is something I definitely need to work on.

  4. Hope April 3, 2014 at 6:31 AM #

    Object permanence is hard for me too–although for me, it’s with people/relationships. When people aren’t with me, I have trouble believing they still care about me. It makes things really hard sometimes, and I let relationships wither and die because of it.

    But reading your post, I realized that happens to me with symptoms too. When I’m doing okay, I start to wonder if I was just faking it when I was having symptoms. For me, that comes from years of being told I was just faking it for attention, and it’s hard as hell to get those messages out of my head.

    For what it’s worth, I believe you. I validate your struggles.

    • mm172001 April 4, 2014 at 5:32 PM #

      Thank you, it is worth something. I as well was told many times that I was faking things for attention or given other excuses on why my illness and experience wasn’t “real.”

  5. Amy Gamble April 4, 2014 at 3:22 PM #

    Good for you Marci! Recovery doesn’t mean what you went through wasn’t real, if anything recovery validates the struggle and lets you know you can do more. I’m very happy for you and wish you the best on your journey! Enjoy!

    • mm172001 April 4, 2014 at 5:30 PM #

      Thank you, I like that “recovery validates the struggle and lets you know you can do more.”


  1. Accomplishments 2.0 | Marci, Mental Health, & More - April 5, 2014

    […] Realizations and the posts on Feelings of Inadequacy and Emotional Throw Up and Object Permanence. […]

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