When I started this blog, I was in a bad place. I was deeply depressive and couldn’t see a way out of it. I had a hard time staying in the present. I felt uneasy with myself and in my own body. I had a compulsive drive to go back to what triggered this depression and relive everything over and over again.

I felt extremely vulnerable, as if my skin had been peeled off and I was exposed to the elements. I often felt helpless about what was happening to me. Emotions, bodily reactions, moods – they were all out of sync and seemingly beyond my control. The feelings of guilt and loss were overwhelming. I felt there must be something seriously wrong with me for being so vulnerable and unable to get myself together.

Although my posts sometimes refer to this period, I haven’t started the blog as a sort of self-therapy (although I guess it serves that purpose too). The details of my experience, no matter how twisted, are not important beyond my particular case.

What is important, beyond myself, is to understand how we lose ourselves. How we get disconnected from our body and our emotions. How trauma works. How we build self-stories that are supposed to help but end up reinforcing our dysfunctional beliefs and behaviors. How we react to the present through the lens of the past. How we delude ourselves and become prisoners of our delusion. And how incredibly difficult it is to take distance from our toxic story and replace it with something that is anchored in the present and helpful.

So when I say, as written on my blog homepage, that I am interested in how stories work, it’s not an academic interest in the technicalities of storytelling. For me, what counts is the concrete human experience of living in our own story. And transforming that story – sometimes.

We live in our story in the sense that there are beliefs and assumptions that become so deeply ingrained in our mind that they drive our emotions and behaviors without us realizing it. They take hold of us and drive us. They make us disconnect from the here and now. They make us react to what is happening now according to a script that was created in the past, as a way of coping. This way of coping has stopped being useful a long time ago, but we return to it as if under a spell.

We return because these scripts become our behavioral defaults, the go-to response when something triggers a strong emotional reaction and reactivates our story.

Understanding cannot do miracles. It’s one thing to understand your self-narrative, it’s quite a different thing to transform it. But there can be no transformation without insight.

And, who knows, this may also help others look at their own story with a different eye.

18 thoughts on “Disconnected

  1. For the past two years, I have been recovering from a burnout. I’m getting better quickly now, almost ready to get a job and work maybe four days a week. But the burnout was caused by deep-seated problems in my personality. Social fears that slightly warped the development of my personality in youth and teenage years. In order to work through the burnout, I had to change parts of my personality, my emotional matrix, on deep levels. Fears, trauma and grief came up again. Some of it was a decade old, some of it came all the way from my childhood. But this time I was strong enough to feel them and let them dissolve. I am changing enormously during this process and it is not finished yet, but this personal crisis is like a singularity point that splits my life right in two, the person I was for the first 30 years, and the person I am now becoming for the rest of my life. And it is so much better.

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    1. Thanks, Jeroen. It’s not every day that people open up like this in response to my posts.
      I think I have a pretty good idea of what you’re talking about. In my case, I was amazed to realize that I lived so much of my adult life in partial denial – I felt there was a problem somewhere but I had no clue of its depth and its sources. I had to go through a long crisis to start understanding this and doing something about it. I was too used to handling problems with my rational brain, of which I was quite proud. It turned out that this had little to do with intelligence or reasoning. Quite a humbling experience.

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      1. I recognize much of what you wrote in your post. I also felt that there was a problem somewhere, but the emotions, mostly fear, were tucked so far away that I was hardly aware of them and almost not away of how they influenced my behavior. With the current changes I am going through, many memories come back from the past 30 years that need to be reinterpreted emotionally, to have better emotional reactions to them. I feel no shame in talking about these things. It is mostly just fascinating to me. It just is.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. A couple of years ago a close friend suddenly ghosted me. Without an explanation, stopped reacting to my social media posts, replying to e-mail or messaging and won’t answer the phone. The story of a good friendship was suddenly replaced with a story of rejection,abandonment and lack of empathy. I asked myself, over and over, why did my friend go away? That was unsettling and terrifying, and I made up a number of stories in my head trying to explain what happened, but since none could be verified, I let go of all of them. One day I finally settled for no story at all. Five months too late, my friend contacted me trying to apologize, but by that time I was no longer interested in knowing how the story ended. Since then, I have tried to tell less and less stories about things that happen. Bad stories, good stories, it’s all I our heads. I want to flow with life. It is hard, but it is freeing.

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    1. I’m sorry you went through this.
      Funny that you mention ghosting in particular, Alessandra. This happened in my case too. Regularly, from the same person.
      Combined with indifference and often meanness in between absences, it made for a nice little toxic cocktail.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Dear Florin, thank you for sharing these thoughts, the transformation and giving another reply this time to the same traumatic experience is totally possible and I also experienced this. Letting go it is also possible, the most courageous step is the realisation and to be able to see ourself with different eyes and forgive us, this is also possible, after we see all the creativity and freedom coming, it is so nice. For me the only way to realise who we are and what we want is to go there where is very emotionally difficult and to touch these emotions in order to accept them and not hide from them. At the end of the tunnel the present is the freedom and happiness. Good luck and continue sharing, it is very generous what you are doing, sharing your deepest reflections. Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, some things seem to come to us at the right moment.
      While I cannot say I’m happy that my text made you feel that way, I am glad it can make somebody connect or identify with it. Somebody I don’t know, so the only connection is through these few paragraphs.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I love words, I also have a special relationship with written words. Sometimes they are the most powerful for me.
        I think words have power for everyone, I wish everyone was aware of their power. Especially while wielding them

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Te-am descoperit adineauri iar ceea ce scrii e fix pe gustul meu, nu mai zic de fotografiile minunate, e destul de rar, sau poate n-am dat eu până acum peste astfel de bărbați care să scrie atât de deschis și sincer despre trăirile lor. Felicitări, Florin!

    Liked by 1 person

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