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I'm feeling a little blank.

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Dante

In the SF doghouse with Burt
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#1
Several days ago (Sunday night I think) I made 2 revelations in 1 evening:
1) I discovered that I could voluntarily "step out" of the feeling of depression, just as I seemed to involuntarily "step out" of feelings of happiness when I was having a bad mental health day.
2) I learned about Ego State Theory which aside from describing many dissociative disorders also presents a new model of human self-identity (even in healthy people) which I found fit me SO much better than the one I was using so far and made it simply easier to understand and thus BE me.

I intended to test the "Step Out" thing again the next time I felt any strong emotion to see if I really could repeat the trick at will, but since then I haven't FELT any strong emotion, my usual stress at work has been entirely absent (a minor miracle in and of itself, my excitement from driving through deep puddles or taking a sharp corner in my car a little faster than I should is similarly gone, my mirth at annoying my boss... gone, and any sense of depression also seems to be missing, there was a moment yesterday where it reared its ugly head again but it seemed to fizzle away with the slightest mental effort to cheer up. Almost more intriguingly I can listen to either happy or sad music for hours without it affecting my mood...

One very interesting thing about being kind of blank is that I am suddenly more effective, playing games, cooking, driving, I am simply better at it because all the emotions which got in the way are not getting in the way anymore, impatience, worry, frustration, not an issue, I even beat the end boss of a game I have been playing quite trivially when previously I simply couldn't beat the bastard.

As I did on the first null day, I am still finding this all quite relaxing, I do still feel emotion, but rather than "happy" I briefly feel just a vague warm appreciative feeling, but I am starting to miss excitement, though this is still certainly only temporary, its only been 4 days at this point.
 
#2
Hi @Dante How has today been since you posted this? It sounds like quite a nice break from the constant feeling of depression and dark thoughts. Was it the revelations that have created this break or is there something else that you think may have caused it? Perhaps, as you say, enjoy it while it lasts but is it something you would like to last for longer? I tend to describe my better days as ‘nothing’ days, no emotion either way, more empty than anything. Feeling the appreciation is a good start to feeling a more positive emotion. Is it something you would like to continue, and if so how might you go about doing that?
Sorry for lots of questions, you don’t have to answer if you don’t want to. I hope things continue to feel better for you. Take care XX
 

Dante

In the SF doghouse with Burt
SF Pro
SF Supporter
#3
@Holding my breath
I have started to feel more today, still no stress to speak of, though my positive emotions have made a showing, humour and happiness, though I found I can easily turn them off again which makes me wonder how much of my emotions are voluntary, or perhaps even "pretend" something I act out and convince myself I'm really feeling.

So research and theories on Ego States is sort of all over the place, no two papers completely agree, but one version suggested that our sense of self is split into multiple "Egos", like different versions of the same person, we switch between these egos as needed, using whichever one fits the situation better, work persona, social persona, parent, etc, we can feel and act and even believe differently depending on which we use. (If one of these Egos is dysfunctional and starts to get dissociated from the rest of the mind you get DID and so forth, but thats a different thing) The thing is, because I heavily self-programmed whilst growing up, training myself to not just act normal but BE normal, despite Asperger's, my personality and sense of self is horribly self-contradictory, what I enjoy are also the things I hate, things that make me feel alive also drain me, and emotions are prone to suddenly appearing, disappearing or triggering unexpectedly, it was just difficult being me, but then the Ego States theory just fits SO much better. If I split my mind, my likes, dislikes, beliefs, automatic reactions, etc into 2 or 3 separate Egos they all make perfect sense, I then started spending time as an Ego I was neglecting, my original self before I trained myself to be normal, this is a calmer, more cognitive and emotionally stable me, and its been so damned relaxing taking a break from being the other me (sociable, fun, outgoing, a bit of a performer)

Furthermore, I think this "stepping out" of my emotions is essentially one ego negating the other, the "Rational" calling out the "Actor", and this emotionless state I have been in is because I have been the "Actor" for so long that finding out I can willingly be the "Rational" for a while means I have stayed there for days in a row, but now that the novelty is wearing off I am slowly venturing out again. I want to stress that I dont have DID, I just have several conflicting natures, a love of peace and isolation and a desperate loneliness, a love of being the centre of attention and a social awkwardness, getting great enjoyment from action packed social craziness but also finding it unbearably draining, being deeply cynical and valuing my religion, knowing who I am, and also not knowing and being proud of who I know and dont know I am?... and I think several issues, stress, anger, depression etc, are caused by trying to be all those things at once and finding out I can just be 1 set of non-conflicting things at a time has made it all so much easier.

The thing is, the "Actor", which comprises the majority of the personality everyone sees and the basis of ALL my relationships, well, I think it may all just be an act, I think it and all the emotions it brings are kind of me kidding myself and everyone around me, because it is ALL TOO easy to simply turn it off, the emotion, the responses, the opinions, it makes me wonder how much of me is really real and what constitutes real in the first place.

All in all, these two revelations did change how I view myself as a person, my sense of self, how I handle and view emotion, but its kinda new so I dont know if it is a lasting change or just one of those shower thoughts that seem so poignant and life altering at the time but dont survive once the water is turned off.
 
#4
This does seem like quite a revelation and if you are able to chose which ego to use at particular times it could give you a level of control which you didn’t have before. Understanding you can be one at a time without conflict and chose the most appropriate for what you are doing sounds like things could be getting a little easier for you. I have some understanding of Aspergers as my husband and two children have Aspergers. Although everyone is effected differently, understanding emotions can be challenging and I wonder if you developed ways of copying other peoples emotional responses as a way to feel that you were able to fit in with those around you. Leading you to be able to switch on and off your emotional response. Just a thought. My daughter is a great mimic; when she was little she used to rehearse responses through play so that she learnt how to react to certain situations. I sincerely hope that this is a more long term turning point for you because you deserve good things. Take care. Xx
 

Dante

In the SF doghouse with Burt
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SF Supporter
#5
This does seem like quite a revelation and if you are able to chose which ego to use at particular times it could give you a level of control which you didn’t have before. Understanding you can be one at a time without conflict and chose the most appropriate for what you are doing sounds like things could be getting a little easier for you. I have some understanding of Aspergers as my husband and two children have Aspergers. Although everyone is effected differently, understanding emotions can be challenging and I wonder if you developed ways of copying other peoples emotional responses as a way to feel that you were able to fit in with those around you. Leading you to be able to switch on and off your emotional response. Just a thought. My daughter is a great mimic; when she was little she used to rehearse responses through play so that she learnt how to react to certain situations. I sincerely hope that this is a more long term turning point for you because you deserve good things. Take care. Xx
Yea... I started rehearsing when I was young, not through play, but whenever I found myself alone, I had no illusions about what I was doing, I was training myself to fit in, I wrote out what I did on a different thread so I'm just gonna copy paste here, from primary school I:

1) Repetitively practiced conversations whenever I was alone to make them flow more naturally and program which responses I would instinctively reach for
2) Repeated phrases over and over to myself with different intonations until I found the one I thought sounded good
3) Practiced facial expressions and body language in the mirror for different emotions, not the ones I felt, but the ones I "should be feeling" and trained with them to be more natural
4) Implemented the above together in real situations practicing feigning the "correct" social and emotional response to stimuli and trying to feel the corresponding emotions tweaking my responses based on people's reactions
5) Repeatedly exposing myself to "correct" stimuli and involved social situations to force myself to become comfortable with and derive enjoyment from them.

I did 1-4 early on, and added step 5 at university, but it has been a life-long training and I still practice 1 and 2 when I'm alone, you have no idea how many times I have read this post out loud trying different tones, and though it made interacting with people so much easier, it made being me so much harder until I realised last week I can separate from who the "training" made me, I can see that persona I made as a separate Ego and be one or the other not always both all the time. I have been keeping up the act now for over 20 years, it hadn't occurred to me I could turn it off again. *sigh
 

Dante

In the SF doghouse with Burt
SF Pro
SF Supporter
#6
Well, my emotions are largely back, even stress is starting to make tentative inroads, though I am pleased how anger and stress are still at normal-person levels rather than my original extreme level, however, this afforded me an opportunity today to FINALLY try out that "voluntarily stepping out of an emotion" thing I wanted to try, which didn't work, well it did, but also didn't.

I was having trouble at work this morning, for no reason I could identify I just wanted to cry, it was an aching and miserable feeling and I tried the "stepping out of the emotion" trick I managed before and it kinda worked, but the feeling returned over the course of seconds, I kept trying and each time the feeling seemed to blank out and then return very quickly, like windscreen wipers trying to fight off heavy rain, which was worthless to me, I suppose last time was like a feedback loop, the feeling feeding into itself, and this time something was causing it, so last time when I stopped it, it stayed gone, but this time it just started up again, or maybe there are differences in the mechanics of different emotions, who the hell knows, still in experimental phases here.

Well, the weird part was when I tried to apply the Ego States theory, I dont know if this is proof I have ESD or I just discovered a cool visualisation technique, but I remembered that peaceful null feeling from before and tried to go from "jumbled me" back to just the primary ego, the "Rational Aspie" me again, excluding all the rest, and in a few seconds I did manage to hold an uneasy version of that null from before, and I then tried quietly talking to the other Egos like they were distinct entities and were listening, I told them "Look, I am in charge, and you cant be doing this here, you can have your time when I get home but right now I need to work, all those things you use to make yourself feel better, I need to do this so you can have that." and right away I changed to that peaceful null I found so relaxing and I even felt a little happy. I had no more trouble the rest of the day.
 
#7
This all sounds like a success to me. Not only are you fully aware of your emotions but you were able to control them. May I ask what happened when you got home? You said the other egos would have their time when you got home. But great success that you were able to get on and do your work. I am often told that I need to engage my rational thinking brain because my emotional brain takes over most of the time and causes a great many bad decisions to be made. My rational, logical brain is far better at making the important decisions. I like the way you engaged your ‘Rational Aspie’ version of you. That’s a good version to have around. Hope your evening is equally successful.
 

Dante

In the SF doghouse with Burt
SF Pro
SF Supporter
#8
This all sounds like a success to me. Not only are you fully aware of your emotions but you were able to control them. May I ask what happened when you got home? You said the other egos would have their time when you got home. But great success that you were able to get on and do your work. I am often told that I need to engage my rational thinking brain because my emotional brain takes over most of the time and causes a great many bad decisions to be made. My rational, logical brain is far better at making the important decisions. I like the way you engaged your ‘Rational Aspie’ version of you. That’s a good version to have around. Hope your evening is equally successful.
I remembered my promise and just in case I am crazy I talked to them again when I got home, I said thank you for waiting and if they had anything for me to feel, to go ahead. I did feel some sadness hit me almost immediately, but it was a soft hit and didn't last long, I just felt a little heavy for a while afterwards.

So what do you think? Am I a mental case? To be honest I'm beginning to wonder.

Just to be completely clear, I'm not seeing or hearing anything, I'm just "addressing" "them".
 
#9
I think whatever works for you. If you find a technique which allows you to function then why argue? It might need some fine tuning but if it makes life better for you and you are in more control then I say go for it. I only wish I had that level of control. I constantly have a suicidal undertone that can take over at any given moment and often without cause other than just stopping for a moment. Keep up the good work. Xx
 

Dante

In the SF doghouse with Burt
SF Pro
SF Supporter
#10
I think whatever works for you. If you find a technique which allows you to function then why argue? It might need some fine tuning but if it makes life better for you and you are in more control then I say go for it. I only wish I had that level of control. I constantly have a suicidal undertone that can take over at any given moment and often without cause other than just stopping for a moment. Keep up the good work. Xx
Thing is, I always find better control comes from better understanding, knowing your triggers and motivators are good, knowing why those are you triggers and motivators helps you find more, if in my exploration of my mind I uncover a hidden personality, repressed memories and a gender identity I wasn't expecting, all of this would be good because knowing the landscape just helps you navigate it better. This theory of ego states just seems to be a step forward for me, perhaps if you can not only uncover what underlying cause made you feel the way you do, but how your mind has adapted around the cause to make you feel the way you do, then maybe you can throw a wrench in it all and finally get free from it.
 

extraterrestrialone

untwisting the pretzel
SF Supporter
#11
Several days ago (Sunday night I think) I made 2 revelations in 1 evening:
1) I discovered that I could voluntarily "step out" of the feeling of depression, just as I seemed to involuntarily "step out" of feelings of happiness when I was having a bad mental health day.
2) I learned about Ego State Theory which aside from describing many dissociative disorders also presents a new model of human self-identity (even in healthy people) which I found fit me SO much better than the one I was using so far and made it simply easier to understand and thus BE me.

I intended to test the "Step Out" thing again the next time I felt any strong emotion to see if I really could repeat the trick at will, but since then I haven't FELT any strong emotion, my usual stress at work has been entirely absent (a minor miracle in and of itself, my excitement from driving through deep puddles or taking a sharp corner in my car a little faster than I should is similarly gone, my mirth at annoying my boss... gone, and any sense of depression also seems to be missing, there was a moment yesterday where it reared its ugly head again but it seemed to fizzle away with the slightest mental effort to cheer up. Almost more intriguingly I can listen to either happy or sad music for hours without it affecting my mood...

One very interesting thing about being kind of blank is that I am suddenly more effective, playing games, cooking, driving, I am simply better at it because all the emotions which got in the way are not getting in the way anymore, impatience, worry, frustration, not an issue, I even beat the end boss of a game I have been playing quite trivially when previously I simply couldn't beat the bastard.

As I did on the first null day, I am still finding this all quite relaxing, I do still feel emotion, but rather than "happy" I briefly feel just a vague warm appreciative feeling, but I am starting to miss excitement, though this is still certainly only temporary, its only been 4 days at this point.
I'm wondering Dante if you'd agree, you are compartmentalizing, because you are aware that you can. This is just a thought coming to me at the moment, but thinking about our recent conversation (which I'm still pondering and will get back to), it must be on your mind. If it is turning out to be mellow or dull, I wonder how it might be fulfilling a need or even the need to move away from something not needed. The mind does seem to start doing things without out consent of that same mind at times. I'm - just today - being confronted with the things I'm still trying to hide from. I'm in a group therapy group which is a part of an intensive program and this puts me in front of a bunch of observers. Today I was bombarded with a bunch of points of view. A group could make the various parts start thinking harder about what they do. Hopefully in this thread you can have something similar happen. From my own observation, I'm wondering if you are unknowingly yet deliberately seeking something you actually are not drawn to. It might happen that you could slip back into an older routine without even necessarily noticing. I think I've experienced something like that at times.
 

Dante

In the SF doghouse with Burt
SF Pro
SF Supporter
#12
If it is turning out to be mellow or dull, I wonder how it might be fulfilling a need or even the need to move away from something not needed
Im not sure what you mean by a need to move away from something not needed? All the null feeling is (as far as I can guess) is what I remember feeling when I was smaller, I was always a very emotionally passive observer when I was young, I processed things cognitively, not emotionally, with the exception of fear and anger (one provoked by my dad, and the other instilled by my dad). I didn't smile, I didn't feel any great compulsion to require comfort from others, not like now where my emotions are wild and unsettling, though I think those wild emotions are a mixture of that fear and anger that never went away, and the more vivid emotional pallet I trained myself into when I was smaller (fake it until you make it seems to work for emotion). All I'm attempting to do is discard anything but who I am underneath the anger, the training and the fear, to view them each as separate people. with their own provocations and desires, and viewed in that context they arent that complicated. Once you understand something you can begin working to control it.

I again felt kind of damaged and uneasy this morning, but viewing my mind as 4 different people it took less than 10 minutes to idly figure out what was wrong and I spend the next few hours happy and grinning from ear to ear as I worked, whatever it is, it is helping.

Today I was bombarded with a bunch of points of view. A group could make the various parts start thinking harder about what they do. Hopefully in this thread you can have something similar happen.
I think I would quickly want to throttle everyone in the room if I was in group, having a whole group of people sitting around judging me would make me feel ganged up on, as for this thread, its just a way of sorting and validating my thoughts, I have this annoying feeling that if I dont share a thought, or at the VERY least record it, it is somehow less real.

From my own observation, I'm wondering if you are unknowingly yet deliberately seeking something you actually are not drawn to. It might happen that you could slip back into an older routine without even necessarily noticing. I think I've experienced something like that at times.
Ok, i dont actually know what you mean by any of this.
 

extraterrestrialone

untwisting the pretzel
SF Supporter
#13
Im not sure what you mean by a need to move away from something not needed? All the null feeling is (as far as I can guess) is what I remember feeling when I was smaller, I was always a very emotionally passive observer when I was young, I processed things cognitively, not emotionally, with the exception of fear and anger (one provoked by my dad, and the other instilled by my dad). I didn't smile, I didn't feel any great compulsion to require comfort from others, not like now where my emotions are wild and unsettling, though I think those wild emotions are a mixture of that fear and anger that never went away, and the more vivid emotional pallet I trained myself into when I was smaller (fake it until you make it seems to work for emotion). All I'm attempting to do is discard anything but who I am underneath the anger, the training and the fear, to view them each as separate people. with their own provocations and desires, and viewed in that context they arent that complicated. Once you understand something you can begin working to control it.

I again felt kind of damaged and uneasy this morning, but viewing my mind as 4 different people it took less than 10 minutes to idly figure out what was wrong and I spend the next few hours happy and grinning from ear to ear as I worked, whatever it is, it is helping.

I think I would quickly want to throttle everyone in the room if I was in group, having a whole group of people sitting around judging me would make me feel ganged up on, as for this thread, its just a way of sorting and validating my thoughts, I have this annoying feeling that if I dont share a thought, or at the VERY least record it, it is somehow less real.


Ok, i dont actually know what you mean by any of this.
i’m sorry! i think i was in kind of a disrupted state when i wrote this message. i’m not so sure what i meant also. i will go back and read it and try to figure it out. i hope you are not too bothered by this answer. at the time i thought i was making sense. i’m sure i had something pretty specific in mind but i guess it got lost when trying to say it. 😬
 

Dante

In the SF doghouse with Burt
SF Pro
SF Supporter
#14
i’m sorry! i think i was in kind of a disrupted state when i wrote this message. i’m not so sure what i meant also. i will go back and read it and try to figure it out. i hope you are not too bothered by this answer. at the time i thought i was making sense. i’m sure i had something pretty specific in mind but i guess it got lost when trying to say it. 😬
I understood most of it, but the end escaped me.
 
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