Attachment Theory

My therapist quoted/read some of this to me in my last session and said that a lot of the people he treats for major depression with multiple recurrences have “disorganized attachment.”

In lay person’s terms, I gathered, this means that you have a feeling of being unsure where your place is and you don’t ever feel safe.  Even when you are safe and secure, you feel like the very ground is about to swallow you up. This sense of distress often causes you (meaning me) to walk around feeling under siege until you (I) internalize the threat and decide to destroy myself because at least then I know when it’s coming.

I think this is a great metaphor or actually lived reality for children with chronic illnesses. We know that we are going to die. We are confronted with that often and early. The adults in our lives don’t have the tools to handle taking care of us because our bodies refuse care. We decide to take on that job ourselves but we do a really shitty job of self soothing or self care. Our instincts is to decide that we are better off dead.

It was recently the anniversary of September 11th and the feeling I remember strongly having that day was not the sense of security being taken away and needing to be shorn up, but merely another confirmation that the world was always already falling apart. That we are never safe.  And I wished, in my 20yo everything is about me way, that I had been in the towers when they fell, because that would at least explain coherently why I experience life as a free fall.

Looking around my apartment this morning, I have a sore throat and the political climate is awful but I’m not being flooded, nobody is coming after me, and I have people who love me. And yet my experience of life is still that I’m in so much pain and mortal danger.  This is not true. I am okay. I just don’t feel okay.


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