It’s been a distressing few weeks, but I’m holding on.  It seems like every upward shift comes with its own opposition. And oftentimes, though there are real external circumstances going haywire, nevertheless the biggest turmoil is internal. Some days, I don’t know how to honorably stand up under it.

I think what I’m realizing more and more is that I have expected my recovery to be more like a going and a coming. I’ve thought, all this time, that “healing” is going to mean a clear beginning, middle, and end. I’ve been under the impression that once I am “healed” my life will crack right down the middle and separate neatly out, into the “Before Healing (B.H.)” period, and the “After Healing (A.H.)” period. In the A.H. period I will always know who I am, never have any problems, everyone will like me all the time and life will always go my way. I’ll have a lot of money, my ideas and beliefs will be readily and widely known and extolled, and changing the mental health and social landscapes to facilitate awareness of dissociative disorders will be as easy as booking a ticket to Ireland. In this same paradigm, in the blissful A.H. period, a situation will never arise wherein I don’t know what to do or what feels right to me or what my needs are or how to meet them. I will have everything I want, and it will be easy to get. Making myself understood will be a breeze. Understanding others will be effortless. Blessings and fortune and favor will follow me wherever I go. All of this because I am now “healed.”


I’m starting to have my doubts about this.


One of my friends, Suzanne Reece, put it this way:

“Because I hit trauma as an adult, I’ve got strong before and after memories. There was sense of being thrown off a moving train up in the normal world into a dark underworld that was populated with victims and perpetrators. The normal world went on above, oblivious to what was happening in the underworld. …One of the reasons I rarely let anyone know what had happened, is because I knew they couldn’t handle it and…I would then have to spend time managing their reactions while compartmentalizing mine to have to deal with later. It was exhausting and often with little payoff. It was easier not to ask anyone to understand.”


I relate so strongly to this feeling of being sucked from the realm I’m familiar with and dumped unceremoniously into a foreign land. A land where people speak a certain suggested language, although the meaning of that language is not always agreed upon or clearly defined. My first flashbacks are the catalyst that I remember pulling me out of the place I had understood as my world, my home, and leaving me stranded in a place I didn’t recognize, couldn’t understand, didn’t want to inhabit. It’s felt a bit like Neo in the matrix, accepting everything he sees at face value, believing at any moment he will wake up and things will return to normal.

Ever since that time, my daily life has consisted of learning how to move in between these 2 places; the “real world,” where everyone else who isn’t damaged seems to live. The real world is the place where everyone smiles all the time, everyone has friends that stay in their lives forever, and everyone except me seems to know how to live and behave as a normal human with a normal propensity for this bizzarely jarring existence. Then there is the other place; the underworld where the survivors live. It’s a dark place, full of suffering, where heavy burdens are placed on shoulders that are not designed to carry them, and relief is the only major short or long term goal.

I’ve never gotten used to the feeling of traveling back and forth between these 2 worlds. The confusion and isolation of not really belonging to either one has left me drifting, with a heart that feels scattered and homeless. In some sense, I feel I should cast my loyalty with the underworld, because I feel such a strong sense of kinship and even responsibility toward it – the drive to try to help however I can. But on the other hand, existing entirely in the underworld is as if I’m suffocating. I don’t want to define myself by a disorder, a diagnosis, or even a piece of my history. I don’t want to live an existence that focuses entirely on avoidance or maintenance of symptoms.

The recovery journey feels to me like a continuous invitation to come back to “the real world,” but I’m starting to doubt more and more that such a place even exists…or at least, not in the way I’ve framed it in my head. If not, what then?

What is recovery? Where does it exist, and with whom, and in what way?

I don’t really have any answers to these questions at the moment. I’ve spent so much time pursuing something, this thing called healing (or recovery), and just considering whether my vision of it might be an illusion has left me feeling a bit lost. I wish I had something more helpful to offer, but perhaps others can relate. Cheers. ~J8

6 thoughts on “Recovering”

  • 1
    ridicuryder on July 3, 2015 Reply


    I look at recovery as uncovering your authenticity. It is authentic to examine and from time to time revisit our underworlds…as time goes by the visits are less sticky, but most of us don’t forget where we come from. Even if it is a shit-show, it’s where you’re from…which partially keeps you grounded. Eventually most of your grounding happens in your present authentic self, your “future” authentic self doesn’t impact where most of your authenticity resides now. But keeping the future in mind is natural and can provide a beacon of sorts…just don’t hang your hat on it.

    As for reality, I would say it’s where you live authentically and are connected to people where everyone values one another’s authenticity. Words like “should” “normal” or “wrong” lose a lot of their relevance when we start to live this way. It’s starting to uncover in various ways with various people and from what I can tell you’re one of them.


  • 2
    Jean on July 3, 2015 Reply

    I’ve known about that other world for about twenty-five years now. I used to think of it as the day world and the night world…it was a two-family house, side by side, a duplex, with identical rooms but very different furnishings and occupants. Except many of the occupants were the same. And that when I was in one side I didn’t know the other side existed. In my real, today, home, I had two bookcases, one with novels and poetry and cookbooks, the other with RA books. No over-lap.

    Now they both feel real. And the books are all jumbled together…I laugh that my bookcases are finally integrated.

    I’ve found that when I thought I had worked through a memory, months later I circled back and dealt with it again, with a lot of pain, at a deeper level. It wasn’t that I had done it wrong the first time, it’s just that that’s the way it is.

    I could write tons more, but I’ll end by saying that you are doing great!

  • 3
    Anonymous on July 6, 2015 Reply

    Jade, I am new to your blog& I like the way you write about how I feel inside, I am 68 years old & started remembering the underworld when I was 29. For me recovery is connecting to all my wounded parts and helping them get to a safe place with me & Jesus. It usually takes a lot more time for them to feel safe with Jesus. That is always their choice. So they just hang out with me. I want them to feel safe for the first time in our life. I honor them, value them even if sometimes they scare me when I meet them for the first time. I love & appreciate them so much for the amazing ways they have protected my heart, even though it works different now that I am adult. I help them learn new healthier ways to protect me. We still have to go to painful places, but I let them know I will never leave them alone once I know they are there. They are starting to love me back, how amazing. I am learning how to love myself. I hit pain & want to shut everything down, but they let me know they want to continue to feel safe with me & that would make them feel unsafe again. I noticed there are no mentions of God & Jesus on this blog Is it ok if I mention them. I know how scary they can be for our parts. I Don’t worry anymore about recovery that means I don’t deal with pain & underworld anymore. I accept the journey because I don’t know if it will end in this lifetime. I live my little ones & don’t want to leave them alone in the underworld.

  • 4
    Anonymous on July 6, 2015 Reply

    I forgot to say my name is Faye ( the 68 year old woman)

  • 5
    Faye Russell on July 8, 2015 Reply

    Jade,Is it too personal for me to ask how old you are. If it is perfectly ok if you don’t want to answer that.


  • 6
    Shiloh on July 15, 2015 Reply

    I totally get it. I used to call it the real world and the pretend world. Thanks for putting this into words. I appreciate your writing.

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