Finding Yourself


I want to talk about me. Not about relationships with others or what I look like or what I am doing, but, really, me.

What makes up me? Or really, you, or anyone else? What are those things that are important? How does your brain work? What is the good and the bad?

I already see that I might not be fully able to do this in a vacuum because I am a wife and mother and daughter and friend and employee… but I don’t think any of those things really make up ‘me.’ They are roles. Not to belittle or minimize the importance of them – but, I was a jobless, childless, single person – I would have the same values, the same mindset, the same coping skills. Those constants – the things that never change – are the important parts of you.

And, admittedly, sometimes when we can’t find ourselves, we have to cling to the roles. Just go through the motions. Find what in your mind would make you the best at that role and work backwards to figure out what’s underneath.

Sure, we can change over time and with experience, but those truly set values and priorities in our lives – they never change.

So, back to me…

… and I’m struggling. So, I will start with the concrete.

I like things in their place. I feel comforted and like everything is ok, when there are straight lines, symmetry, neatness, organized. I’m the kind of person that will rearrange the cans in my pantry by size, color, alpha, calories, etc until something else distracts me. It’s not OCD or even cleanliness, but order and patterns.

I like being alone. It gives me the best time to think. I constantly talk out loud to myself. It’s when I come up with the best ideas and feel more energized to be social afterwards. When I’m the center of attention or feeling like an expert in something, I feel more comfortable talking. I’m not funny, but I can be goofy and off-the-wall, especially when I feel like I’m getting good feedback.

Anxiety is a big part of my life, but I don’t like to acknowledge it. I want people to understand me and just “get it” because if I have to sit and explain why I feel a certain way or why I act a certain way, it makes me feel weak and needy. I like being seen as confident and high-achieving, even when I feel the exact opposite inside.

A downside to constantly talking to myself is that I can easily talk myself into being angry (having both sides an argument without the people actually involved) and I can talk myself into paranoia also. There is a constant level of suspense and the feeling of pins and needles in my head. Part of that is the PTSD I have, but part of it is just who I am.

Now, ok, I have PTSD, which in part does alter ‘who’ I fundamentally am, like I value safety, whereas before I was more of a risk-taker. I used to be far more adventurous and constantly walking into danger, but now – if I do something even mildly adrenaline-pumping, it becomes out of control. I can see my whole world spiraling, my vision narrows, my memory is suddenly lacking (unable to process anything new), and I feel like my brain travels outside my body and I am merely watching the show. Words come out of my mouth and my hands move, but I am merely a terrified spectator. This is dissociation.

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It can sometimes last for a few minutes or for months. It just depends of the situation. The more I am pushed to feel scared, overwhelmed, in danger, hurt, or out of control – the more it sticks and won’t go away. I am just slowly coming down from a pretty long period of being dissociative. It’s really hard still, but I do grounding exercises and try to work through it when I feel like I’m going crazy.

Above all else, I value intellect and discourse. There is nothing as thrilling to me as having a good conversation, writing about something new, or doing research. I know – sounds boring to most, but banter, spiraling a conversation to a million places and finding new ideas – that is definitely my idea of fun. I can fall madly in love with a word or thought or phrase. It’s beautiful.

So, there we go – that’s me. INTJ, Capricorn, and Strengthsfinder: Input, Learner, Acheiver, Analytical and Strategic. They all basically say the same thing.

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