Emergence From an Emotional Coma

Hi, I’m Lulu. Remember me?

I return with no heroine’s song or an epic detailing profound successes. I do not bear tragic tales of unspeakable horrors or profound loss.

This is the story of a 28 year old woman who fell into an emotional coma and awoke (insert comment about what I awoke as).

The loss of my emotional consciousness happened gradually. Emotions started to become fuzzy, and reactions started to dull.

One day, I decided that I would sleep in. I planned a “vacation day” from my life and responsibilities.

One day became two. That became a week, and it continued until it was habitual. I had completely disengaged from life as I had known it.

At first, I considered it to be “human hibernation”. Sleeping had become my favorite recreational activity. It had gotten to the point where retaining consciousness was a willful action. Other than my martial arts training, I was entirely sedentary. Any activity that required active participation simply did not interest me.

During my initial “vacation”, I discovered a wealth of mindless activities that suited me. I started watching syndicated daytime television of my favorite programs I had seen dozens of times before. My phone became a source of unending video games. And eating had almost become a sport.

My hibernation wasn’t symptomatic of a depressive state. It initially was a choice. I chose to engage solely in mindless, hedonistic activities to fulfill an overwhelming desire for indulgence.

However, the hibernation slipped into a depressive state that was completely foreign to me. It can only be described as something far past apathy.

It was emotional paralysis.

The emotional coma began.

Necessary functions of my life became automatic. Cook, clean, care for Beast. Wash, dry, fold. Feign listening with Xan and occupy the same sofa until I fell asleep on it. Rinse. Repeat.

Things that used to bother me failed to even make a scratch. Conversely, things that used to bring me pride, satisfaction, fun, and joy no longer existed. There was no past and no future. It was as if I remained still on a conveyer belt while the whole world moved independently right in front of me. There was me, like driftwood in the currents of time. Dead wood.

But, as the first buds of Spring spouted, I began to slowly regain consciousness.

On a whim, I grabbed a journal out of a discount bin. Within a few days, I was writing again.

I finally got on the scale, and was horrified.

Then, the mission back to health was born. It was not just a matter of getting my figure back. I not only wanted to feel, but I strongly desired true emotional wellness. For the first time in fifteen years, I yearned for spiritual peace.

I had my mission. And I was determined to finally succeed.

To be continued…

33 thoughts on “Emergence From an Emotional Coma

  1. It is so good to hear from you sweetie! You never strayed too far from my thoughts. I even considered asking Ruby Tuesday if she had heard from you. So, glad you have surfaced. I look forward to your posts. xx

    • I’ve got quite a few more coming. There’s so much to say about nearly a year. I missed everyone so much. I thought of you and everyone else too. I just couldn’t reach out at certain times, both because of the negatives and the positives. I can’t wait to finish writing and connecting with everyone again.

  2. Welcome back, Lulu. I have been thinking about you, wondering where you were, and in fact thinking about writing you to see if you were OK, still on the planet. But as you see, I didn’t manage it, so I am really glad to see you back in this world. I’m kind of in the same space, glued to my recliner until little Noga demands my presence, but after doing whatever she wants me to do (take my pills, get up from the recliner and go to bed), there I am back in my chair. Hoping to hear more from you, and so glad you’re back in the world!

    • Thanks! I’m back to it.

      It’s so hard to be in that position. It wasn’t as if it would have been too exhausting. I literally could not think of anything to write about. I mean nothing. No negatives, positives, perspectives, theories, philosophies. Just plain blank.

      It’s been like almost a year now, and there’s so much to say. Believe it or not, the bulk of it is from the last three months! Can you believe that I have this six month gaping hole of nothingness?

      • Yes, I do believe it. Been there, done that, don’t like it.

        • I don’t much care for it, but I can’t say it was awful. I’d call it a waste if I didn’t feel that it was probably necessary in terms of taking steps in recovery. The presence of episodes usually prompts desperate acts. Without them, I lost that sense of urgency born from panic.

  3. It’s nice to see you back. Nicer still to hear that you’re getting better.

  4. i entered a year long ‘vacation’ several years ago, the same place you describe. there was simply nothing. it was painful to even be awake. this was excruciatingly hard to emerge from, i didn’t think i could when i finally began to start to feel again, to be alive again. but i have mostly returned to the land of the living, land of feeling, again. glad you are back. lets not slip back there again!

    • The oddest thing about it was the absence of pain. I had just been in so much pain for so long that I guess something gave it up. There was just nothing. Being awake was just boring and tedious. Sleep felt so warm and nice. It was like being nestled in a soft, gentle coccoon. It was the only thing that made me feel happy.

      I mean, karate is gratifying, but it didn’t give me that safe, warm, gentle feeling. My favorite thing to do was get in my fleece pajama pants, curl up in bed, and watch Netflix while eating a snack cake. It was no surprise that I gained 20 lbs.

      Conversely, I didn’t feel bad, exactly. I wasn’t sad and crying. There was no hopelessness or complete dispondency. It was just nothing. Like someone came along and wiped me out.

      I hesitated to write as I was coming out of this. It was almost as if I didn’t want to jinx it. I wanted to make sure that I was actually me again, recovered, and ready to return in good shape. Nothing would have been worse for my recovery than to have called it too soon, and then taken a tumble.

      But, I am back. I would have been back sooner, but I was suckered into a “management” job that demanded all of my time and tried to suck the life out of me. No, been there, done that. It wasn’t worth it. I wasn’t about to let these people con me into undoing months worth of recovery and jeopardize my wellness.

      • Lulu,
        I can relate! I can remember three times in my life where I experienced something similar. Feeling “wiped out.” nothing. life on autopilot. gradually slipping into depression but not the sad & crying depression. Lack of pleasure.

        I’ve missed you. I would check your blog once in awhile to see if maybe I missed a posting. I’ve been somewhat missing in action due to being on the last leg of my grad school journey.
        Welcome Back πŸ™‚

        • Thanks! I’m trying to shake off some rust right now. It’s a little more slow going than I anticipated. But, check out the new banner when you’ve got a moment. I made it completely by hand this time.

  5. Welcome back Lulu. I missed you. My only advice, whether you want it or not? Take it easy, and be good to yourself. πŸ™‚

    • That’s kind of part of my new philosophy. I have always fallen into the trap of overambition fueled by idealization. Maybe I can’t change the initial idealization, but I can be more structured and cautious about my approach. No disillusionment. No crashes.

  6. Yay! You’re back!

    I did miss you. Every so often I thought about coming over here and knocking and asking if anyone were home. πŸ™‚

    • I missed you too. I missed everyone. But, for some reason, I just couldn’t break this cone of silence. I didn’t really talk to anyone, whether it was IRL or here or anywhere really.

      I need to do some serious updating. Hopefully, I can get that done sometime soon. Maybe this weekend or something.

      • Hey, at least you have a “new” project, right? πŸ™‚

        • Well, I’m working on becoming employed again. There is a really long story about me getting this great new job, finding out it was a complete nightmare, and then deciding to jump ship. I’ll get to the occupational hazards part of the story soon.

  7. Welcome back Lulu!
    It’s great to see you back on here again πŸ™‚
    Good news too that you are on the road to recovery ..
    You have been sorely missed.

    I agree with Cate, take it easy, and be good to yourself, ease yourself back in to life again πŸ™‚
    love n hugs

    • Aww, sorely missed? Now I feel awful! LOL, though it is a little nice to know my absence was more than noticed.

      I’m doing better about going with the flow. I know that one of my issues is my rigidity in my thinking and planning.

      This morning, I had a second thought about getting up to write, because it’s a holiday. Holiday or not, I wanted to get up. And because I had the drive, I got a lot accomplished before anyone was out of bed.

      And that’s the thing. My thinking about bucking up and knuckling on through was not even my own ethic. That was a familial and societal “rule” I governed myself by, and as a result, I spent a lot of time being unnecessarily miserable.

      The truth (for me) is that ethic doesn’t work. It’s counterproductive. I actually end up struggling for that one step forward to tumble two steps (or more) backward. I’d rather be standing still, and not losing ground in a battle that I can’t win, or maybe don’t want to fight anyway.

      That’s another thing. I’ve learned when enough is enough. Another topic for another time πŸ™‚

  8. So wonderful to see you have returned to the WWW. I have thought of you different times and sent off a note. Not sure it was sent it to the correct e-mail. I simply prayed for you.

    • I have two right now, so it may not have been to the right one. No matter. It’s wonderful to talk to you again! How are you?

      • Umm…. Well. I’m still adjusting to a different life and will continue for some time. Still in and out of a disasociative cloud bank. Otherwise, I am doing well. I am still having hiccups in other areas and am receiving lots of CBT and have had DBT and am wrapping up an Anger Solutions group.

        Currently trying to figure out what to do now for the rest of my life. So many choices! I will try e-mailing you again soon.

        Again, so glad to hear you are doing well and gaining ground.

        • The threshold of new experiences are always open doors to the unknown. As habitual creatures, we can perceive them as intimidating and frightening. Especially when we’ve been thrust into something completely foreign due to circumstances that are beyond our control. And we can find ourselves mourning the loss of the life we once had.

          We can find ourselves in a series of new rooms with a plethora of unfamiliar doors. But, as written above, it’s absolutely about perception. It’s not about which door is the “right” door, but which door is the best fit for us. It’s a series of trial and error, but the discomfort we experience is simply growing pains throughout a new period of exploration.

          It’s cliche to say that life is an adventure. My son is a remarkable little boy in the sense that he perceives every change as an opportunity for a new and exciting adventure. He jumps in head first, and doesn’t seem to look back much. It’s pretty impressive for a four year old boy with autism, which is usually a disorder rooted in routines.

          I take a lot of lessons from him. Every day is a new day, ripe with new promise. He doesn’t find a need for fear and anxiety much, because he hardly has any sense of generalization. Yesterday is hardly applicable to today in his world. And in a way, I think that makes him the happiest little boy on the planet.

          You sound like you are making incredible strides to settle into the new phase of your life. I really commend you on your bravery. I do hope that it is doing you a world of good.

          I’ll get to the story of how I managed to get a great paying management position, only to find out that it was a complete nightmare. To say the least, I decided to cut it off, before it started to cut away at me. I don’t mind evolving to accommodate new situations, however, I refuse to compromise my entire journey toward wellness to conform to them.

        • Thank you for your insightful words. I like your mention of “it not being the right door but the door which is the best fit.”

          I have come to realize that if I go back to school for something and work at it for a bit and it does not pan out, I am not pigeon-holed into it forever. I have choices. This may sound strange, but if there was a hole to be stepped in, I would get stuck in it for some time before cluing in all it takes is a decision to lift my leg a little higher to be free. And I don’t mean peeing on the boss’s desk either. (I have my little Shih Tzu dog close by my side and could not leave the leg lifting part alone. πŸ™‚ )

          Looking forward to hearing of your exploits at management.

        • I’ll tell you, the exploits of management, well, they were a little less than management. But, I’ll get to that. I want to try to keep the chronological order going for now.

        • Sounds good. And I’m trying door number 2, cookie business. Lor’s Cookie Connection, or Just Cookie’s – by Lor or some semblance. I’m moving ahead with registering my business name. Here comes the COOKIE MONSTER!

        • Oh that’s awesome! Luh-ve it!

        • Thanks!

          And I just finished reading your most recent post. Again, quite insightful. I see myself in it as well as a few others did.

        • My biggest fear? Do you seriously want to know? Because it sounds kind of silly in a way.

          I was really worried that it would come off as preachy.

          More than anything, I wanted it to be inspirational. It is really meant to be a part of the Emergence series, but it can stand on it’s own. I know what it’s like to be in a really dark place, and how it feels to read something like that. I’d think to myself, “It’s so easy to say it, isn’t it? But, how easy is it to live it?”

          Eventually, I mean for it to be a part of a bigger wellness series. In truth, it’s really difficult to live. While it’s torturous to live in such a dark, hopeless state, it’s exhausting to be living toward wellness. It’s a constant cognitive and emotional exercise. Sometimes it’s repetitive to the point of redundancy. And that’s the point where perspective has to be forced, things need to be reworded and reworked, and a whole new mental process takes place.

          I can see while wellness seems so elusive. The path isn’t clear cut. It takes so much practice. And sometimes, it takes faith beyond imagination. Everyday, I have to reaffirm my values and have faith in myself. That might be harder than having faith in something bigger than me.

          I want people to be able to look at it, and think, “If she can do this, why can’t I?” Not in a way that implies, “What’s so hard about that?” But, in a way that generalizes this to everyone, even people who consider themselves to be outside of the mental health community.

          Wellness was really the last thing I thought I could achieve. I didn’t embark on this journey seeing that as an ultimate goal. I took a look, I thought, “Whatever I’m doing now isn’t working”, and I desired change in my life. And block by block, this is where I got to.

        • No, it is not silly at all, and I am glad you shared this. But I do know what you mean. It takes courage to be open and honest, and to shed expectations and live our values.

          I am understanding more why so much of my married life, I spent it angry and on an emotional roller coaster. My values and that of my husband were really not in sync in many ways. I had this fear of standing firm and knowing unequivocally what it was that I valued. I began to doubt myself for a variety reasons putting his values and whatnot above mine…. and therein lay the problem. But I am off to bed and will chat again soon.

        • I understand the dissonance and the tension that can bring. Though my husband and I share a lot of the same values, there are places where we don’t quite agree. It’s painful, especially when I can clearly see that he is attempting to manipulate a situation to push his agenda. I’m not very susceptible to suggestion, so it’s kind of insulting at times.

          Incompatibility like that on a basic level probably left you pretty resentful when you compromised yourself for him. It feels so unfair and one sided. In a way, it is.

          I’m glad that you’ve come to certain resolutions about the dynamics of your marriage. That kind of closure is important in healing.

  9. Pingback: I’m Coming Home | A Canvas Of The Minds

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