Letter about an unintentional lie that hurts, not feeling like a person, and autopilot

4th of February 2020


I’m just here with a short extra letter, that more than most of my letters really embodies what writing to here means.

Autopilot as been on a lot lately. As in the last 3 months.

The last week or so has been weird. It’s like I am fine, but I know I am not. I just can’t feel it- I just can’t reach and act on it. It’s like I have given up on all the things that matter and that fine is all I have. And fine today is better than in pain today. But at the same time, some part of me is screaming, some part of me doesn’t care about today, because I was supposed to have a life ahead of me, and I am not okay with letting that die. But there is no hope. There is no future. There is no life ahead of me. There is only know and if now is fine autopilot is happy to take over and function for me. Guess that’s the thing. More than feeling fine (because I don’t feel) I am functioning. And functioning is a good sign to everyone that things are fine and so I think they are fine. But they are not. I know they are not. The state of things are killing me, and if I don’t snap out of functioning I’ll never be real or alive or here again. I’ll just die, when the pain comes back.

I think I have been doing a thing I used to do as a kid. Not consciously but maybe as an old reflex, as an old habit I thought I had lost. I used to try and keep my mental state at this place where I was completely numb. That way I could function. I wouldn’t be a person, just a thing. But I would function. And everyone would be happy with me. My mom always needed help with everything around the house. Laundry, dishes, stuff like that. And there was homework and school. And if I didn ’t feel anything I would just do all those things and not be a problem. I would just sit down and do my homework after school. I would automatically help my mom when she needed it. I felt more machine than alive. I stopped being a person and became a thing. Sometimes I could find and keep myself at that exact level for a few weeks. But I would usually fall a little too close to feeling bad again, and then something would have to give. Helping mom or homework. My mom needed help and got mad if I didn’t just help her automatically, so usually it would be homework. I don’t know why housework is so important to my mom, but I think the importance it has to her is why I hate it so much and why I cannot find it important at all. If I got worse, which I almost always did, I wouldn’t be able to do either homework or help mom. And I would have a hard time with school My stomach would hurt and my parents would tell me I was making it up so I wouldn’t have to go to school. But I didn’t think I was making it up. They weren’t really mad at me for it. Maybe a little sometimes. But more often it would dismissed with a small laugh or smile. Like they were thinking “This again? Really? I thought we went over this.”
My mom always told me she wanted me to be happy. That my happiness was important. But that was just words. The moment I was happy I was distracted by whatever made me happy and I forgot to help her. I didn’t mean to forget to help her, but I did. Because something else felt important to me. And she would get mad. And homework wasn’t fun if there was something else that caught my attention. So the only way to do all the right things and be what others needed of me was to feel absolutely nothing and want absolutely nothing and need nothing. And then I wasn’t really a person. I was just a thing. Just a thing doing what I was told to do. I never thought of it like that of cause. I just thought of it as the only state in which I functioned. Like the rest of the time I had too many broken parts, too many feelings, too many needs. It was better for everyone if I wasn’t those things and instead just functioned. And I tried so hard for years and years to just stay at functioning. But it was a hard setting to find and I often just missed the right level and ended up in pain or sad instead of numb.

My mom used to hug me and tell me I was ahead of everyone. Not right now but in the long run. Because of my dedication to homework and school. Because of my intelligence and niceness. I think I am finally understanding that that was a lie. Not an intentional one of cause. I didn’t even know I had bought the lie. I didn’t know I cared. But I did. And somehow that lie just breaks my heart at the moment. I wish we had all known about my autism back then. Then that kind of lies wouldn’t have been needed. My social difficulties would have made sense. I would have made sense. And no one would have felt the need to tell me it would all be okay later when my peers all caught up to the idea of taking school seriously. Maybe I wouldn’t have expected things to get better. Then again, if I hadn’t expected things to get better I would have killed myself. But maybe with the autism diagnosis things would have been a little better. Enough better that I didn’t need lies about the future. I don’t expect it would have made everything a lot better, but a little would have been nice.

I’m thinking about the man who raped me. He was a part of my life for almost seven years and the sexual abuse happen through most of that time. He made me feel like a thing too. With him it was also better to not be a person. At least during those things. And it was so easy to just disappear and stop being a person. It was like I could make myself not exist. The biggest conflict, the biggest problem was that he didn’t want me to disappear. He wanted me present. He wanted me to participate and like it and have thoughts and feelings about it. But all I could think and feel was disgust and how much I didn’t want this. But that answer was unacceptable to him. And I could never give him what he was really asking for. Because I could never really like it, never be present, never be a person when those things happened. I think I just didn’t understand why he couldn’t just accept that I wasn’t that kind of person. All I could do was stop being there and let myself be nothing but a thing. And he tried so hard to change me, to get me to be what he wanted.

And as I write this I realise that has always been my response to people trying to change me. I stop being there. I stop being present and real and here. I become an empty thing they can ask things of. But under that, hidden inside, somewhere, I am still a person. Unchanged. My quiet defiance. Refusing to be what I am asked to be, refusing to change what I am asked to change. Making myself an object to survive the situation

And that is why I am afraid of my current autopilot. Why I am not grateful when I function. I am scared because it makes me feel unreal, unalive, not here. It’s like I am returning to a pattern I hate and that I know do not help me. And recently I have twice been told it might be good not to feel all time. But that is not what I feel is happening, but my voice was too lost for me to tell them that. It’s not a break from felling. It’s being a passenger in my own life, while autopilot drives me in the wrong direction. I don’t need to flee the pain. I need the pain to tell me what is happening, where I am, if things are getting better or worse. I need hope and a future. And autopilot is the opposite of that.

I want to be alive, to feel real, to find my way here. I spent too much of my life felling like I wasn’t real. Like I wasn’t a person. Like maybe I was a ghost, walking through the world but not really here, not really present, with no power to affect anything. And somehow it’s like my voice is failing again, like it’s at a risk of getting lost. I feel so disconnected to the world and to people. And all the systems I meet makes me feel unwelcome in the world. Not the people, just the systems that don’t know what to do with me and makes me feel like I have no value.

Hope died a long time ago. I need it back, alive and well. And I am so desperately looking for it, for ways to revive it, for truth and meaning and connection. For a future. And autopilot has no setting for that, no one has programmed it to know what those things are.

I feel like I should write more about the man who raped me. About the ways in which he made me feel like I was real and not a ghost. But honestly I can’t do that to myself right now. But I will say he did manage those things. And that is part of why he is so on my mind at the moment. I don’t miss him. But I do miss some of the things he did for me, some of the needs he fulfilled and some of the ways he made me feel. Mostly that he made me feel like I was real and like I mattered. And I didn’t know those feelings before him. It’s been difficult to separate him from the things I miss. But I am getting better at it. There are kinds of progress.

I’ll try to write again as scheduled on Friday. If I fail I’ll call this this week’s letter. But I’ll try to write something.