safe mode

safe mode

Safe mode is a feature in Windows where your computer boots up in a basic state, with most features and abilities disabled. It’s intended as a way to safely rule out bad settings and rogue hardware drivers that can be causing issues, and give you a more stable place to start fixing things. As a result, what you’re able to do when you’re in safe mode is rather limited.

My brain has been in safe mode for the last year.

Every little thing, every perceived “threat”, any time where there is a lot of sensory input happening, and my brain shuts down. It freezes. It panics. My body stops reacting how I want and starts shaking and tensing up more. It feels like I cannot breathe and I’m drowning and everyone is so far away. And once the dust finally settles, it feels embarrassing and humiliating and I just want to shut myself off from everything and everyone. I go numb, I return to my safe mode.

This is the general pattern of my brain, for years and years, since before I could even remember. It is exhausting. It wears me down. I’ve stopped being able to go out and enjoy things or have hobbies or spend meaningful time with my friends. It pushes away the people I love because I’m terrified of being hurt and abandoned.

I went through some kinda fucked up events over the last couple of years that I won’t get into. But these have all stacked up on top of each other and really messed with me. It manifested mid last year as mixed depression/anxiety disorder (see Surviving). I got treated for this. Antidepressant medicine—I tried three different types—did not work at all for me. CBT for anxiety did help me understand my symptoms and build some coping techniques. But it was just a plaster over the main issue which was repeated, sustained trauma I’ve experienced.

I think I might have complex PTSD. How the fuck do I fix that?

It’s unclear honestly, I’m trying to work that out. I have an appointment with my GP surgery to try and see what’s out there. The health insurance my work provides is referring me to see a psychiatrist to “evaluate” me, but waiting lists are long. And then when I do finally get seen, will I get the help I need or will they just throw some pills and CBT at me and send me on my way? I have no clue.

I just know I cannot go on like this. I’m tired and exhausted and constantly overwhelmed and I need help. And I need to get better at asking for and receiving help.

Maybe, just maybe, I can reboot out of safe mode and live a full life, with all of myself online and present. I’ll keep trying.