Dissociative Identity Disorder & why exercise helps

I had a really tough day Monday, but have picked up again throughout the rest of the week. I was not very grounded Monday and was way back in my head with difficult voices and intrusive images, heightened emotions and crashed confidence. Seeing my nephews Monday night instantly brought me back to myself and I was laughing and having fun again. It is so weird when I am not myself, as it is actually really not me at all, it seems like its me, parts blend so well as mostly, they don’t want to get caught or embarrass me, but it is so not me. When I came back to fully grounded Tracey again I wondered what on earth I was in such a state for before, those thoughts, images, beliefs were not mine. It is a bit like being possessed by another person, only the other people are also a part of me and I am ultimately responsible for anything they say or do as its coming from my one body – even though its not how I would ever choose to behave or act. I don’t even feel my body belongs to me when I am in these states. Dissociative Identity Disorder is the weirdest thing to live with, it is not well understood and I often feel like a freak and feel very alone with it all.

Exercise has been another source of coping for me. When I exercise I am fully grounded and present, I think bi-lateral movements help you use the part of the brain that brings you to the forefront. When I am dissociated playing catch with a ball can sometimes bring me back to the front again. I feel connected to my body when I exercise and I become aware of my peripheries, something that gets lost sometimes when I dissociate, causing me to be clumsy at times. Exercise is also really useful in setting goals and having a reason to get out of bed in the morning.

I am now half way there to reaching my 5k running goal. It has been a bit of a tricky process finding the right trainers, but I think I am finally there now with a pair of Brooks. I had set a goal to have been running 5k by now, so I am well behind, but I am not going to beat myself up about it. It takes as long as it takes. My pace is still pretty slow, but I am heading in the right direction. I ran the London Marathon in 2012 and now to think I struggle with a mile is just so weird, but it is what it is, I am where I am and theres no use comparing myself to 8 years ago or to compare myself with anyone else. I just need to stay in my lane and stay focused on what I want to get from it.

London Marathon 2012

I hope to get back out on the road bike again soon too, just not got round to it with lots going on. I am glad the gyms will be opening soon, will be good to get to some classes, especially spin.

Exercise is a great release and gives me a focus and a purpose. I am still struggling with weight loss, I just enjoy food and food enjoys my waist line. I am trying not to think about it too much as it just makes me feel heavy just thinking about it. I think the weight will drop off when I am less anxious, less hyper-alert, as the cortisol levels in my body (caused by sustained stress) will not be helping with weight retention.

Mostly, I exercise because it is good for my mental health, it helps me regulate my emotions and my thought patterns and I get to visualise something I want to achieve that is just for me. Exercise helps me to feel connected and energised. When I have finished a run or a bike ride I feel so much better for it.

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