The Person Living In My Head

For as long as I can remember, I have always looked for aspects of myself that I should hate. These aspects are including physical and internal/emotional aspects. However, because I have been conditioned by my parents to criticize every detail about myself, I am just now learning how to validate these emotions.

Almost everyday of my life, I have changed my outfit multiple times a day. This was mostly because I had so much anxiety about what was appropriate to wear for certain occasions and what people would think of me. I have always found something about myself to be dissatisfying, in regards to the way I physically appear. This was an aspect my own mother made fun of me for. She knew the difficulties I had with my self-esteem and used it as a means to make me feel even worse about myself. She intentionally encouraged me to wear more revealing clothing. Along with this, she continuously tried to discourage me over the idea that I didn’t have a boyfriend. This recurring toxic shame caused a feeling of being unworthy of anyone’s attention, including my parents.

Furthermore, I also very clearly remember holding a smile back that showed my teeth when I was younger. My teeth were extremely crooked and I had always been self-conscious of it until I got braces in 5th grade. My piano teacher, at the time, had even asked me to smile for recital pictures. He also asked my mom about why I wouldn’t smile and in response, she would essentially tease me over it. I was self-conscious because of her.

As I continue to validate my feelings, I realize more and more about my self-critic. This critic in my head is always the voice of my mother. Until I recently removed her from my life, she deliberately tried to make me unhappy. For example, every year for Christmas/my birthday, she would give me something she knew I would hate. One time, she had gone to the beach and had come back with gifts for everyone. My gift from her was a razor with shaving cream because, at the time, I was in 5th grade and had expressed that I wanted to start shaving my legs. All of my other siblings received an actual gift and I received a necessity as a “gift.”

Recently, I’ve found it even more difficult to fall asleep. I’ve always had issues sleeping because of insomnia, but recently it’s because I am genuinely afraid of falling asleep. Typically, when I do fall asleep, I will have a nightmare with someone from my past who happens to make me uncomfortable. Most of the time this person being my mother. Although, she has been in my nightmares for years, my past few nightmares have included eye contact with her.

Due to the fact that I am still living at home and I am surrounded by past/current negative energy, it is particularly difficult to receive any kind of mental recovery. The past couple of weeks have revealed to me how serious depression is. I used to invalidate those feelings of emptiness and hopelessness. I’m finally learning to validate the feelings of my inner critic and my inner child. As a way to help cope with this, I like to place myself back into the mind of my younger self. I give myself feedback like, “You weren’t safe before, but now I will keep you safe,” or “you’re not alone.” Although, it has been particularly difficult recently, I know I can learn to protect and love myself more than what my parents have ever been capable of.

Neglect

As I continue to come to different realizations, they become more in-depth and detailed. I’m in the process of forcing myself to remember certain scenarios, along with how those scenarios made me feel. It’s brought up a lot of difficult emotions and becomes exhausting. Even though I’m fully aware that these realizations are a part of the healing process, it’s still one of the most challenging things I’ve had to work through. In regards to the recent flashbacks and realizations: they have all been centered around the idea of ‘neglect.’

Furthermore, as I’m getting older and continuing to mature, I’ve seen my childhood in a completely different light. In this perspective, I have come to realize how little my parents paid attention to me as a child and even more so now. I was taught for as long as I can remember that my feelings were invalid and I believed this to the point that I even began telling myself that my feelings were not real. Even as I work through difficult emotions with my therapist, they’ve had to stop me to tell me that I need to validate my own feelings because I’m still subconsciously invalidating them.

I remember growing up with health issues that were inhibiting me from reaching my fullest potential and I expressed this to my parents from a young age, but as I got older I learned not to say anything at all. Reason being, the invalidation from my parents, of what I was feeling. This goes along with physical health, as well as mental health. With that being said, my ability to notice these things from a young age has helped me mature and grow from the situation. However, it is still one of the most painful aspects about my childhood that I can recall so far.

Seeing as I’m still living in my house, it seems almost suffocating. I feel a significant difference in my house than I do in anyone else’s. It feels as though there is a weight on my chest and I’m unable to speak freely. Its difficult to be around family members constantly while also working through flashbacks of things that occured in this house. Although, I have made a lot of progress, I find it most challenging that I am treated the same way I’ve always been and I have absolutely no control over it. This concept of not being cared for in the way that a child needs is known as, neglect.

The Benefits Of A Sensory Deprivation Tank

While being in Colorado during the month of February, I not only had the opportunity to experience beautiful exhibits of nature, but I had the privilege to try out a sensory deprivation tank. For anyone unfamiliar with this kind of therapy, a sensory deprivation tank is in the form of a pod/tube with water and an abundance of epsom salt. The epsom salt that is within the water, allows the body to float effortlessly, while also providing proper support and a sense of relaxation.

My first experience with a sensory deprivation tank, was a bit unsettling at first. I was placed in a room that provided a shower with shampoo/conditioner/body wash, a toilet, a couple towels, and the floatation tank. The tank was in the form of a tube and looked rather intimidating at first glance. However, after the process of removing clothes, putting in ear plugs, showering with shampoo/body wash, I climbed into the tank and prepared for one of the most relaxing experiences of my life.

This experience included a complete cutoff from any external stimuli and with the ability to float, the body is in an effortless mode of relaxation. As I had been practicing meditation for months leading up to this, I found it easy to ascend into a peaceful mindset. I focused only on my being in the isolation tank and found myself in a state of complete relaxation. With this being said, it did take a little bit to adjust and find the most comfortable position to float in. Another thing that was difficult, was the idea of being in a small space. But I was able to ease my mind by thinking only of the breath and the relief I would feel afterwards.

After a ninety minute session, stepping out of the isolation tank I had felt almost magical. I felt a sense of weight and pressure completely lifted from my chest. I could feel myself glowing and felt a sense of peace and contentment. After this session, I made it a priority to look into this kind of therapy in York, Pennsylvania. Seeing that I prefer natural remedies over any kind of medication, I found it best to invest in a monthly membership with an organization providing sensory deprivation tanks.

Furthermore, the benefits that the isolation tank had on my anxiety and C-PTSD, are unmatched compared to anything else I have tried. The sensory deprivation tank, after three total sessions, has improved the following: focus, insomnia, creativity, intuition, stress/anxiety/depression relief, and clarity. These are just examples of how it has improved my health, but it benefits people in many different ways. I highly recommend this to anyone struggling with anything similar to what I’ve struggled with. Seeing as medication is always a gamble, the sensory deprivation tank provides one with a sense of clarity in many aspects. But the most important being that medications are only crutches and true relief comes through natural remedies and realization.