Blocked

Been trying to process everything going on lately, but this past 2 weeks I’ve been blocked. It was a gradual shutting-down… art hasn’t happened, I’ve not let myself get too deep into anything in therapy, though Dr C and I figured out that I would probably benefit from trying to integrate bilingual processing into my therapy. 

For whatever reason, I never mentioned that most of my trauma happened in another language; I simply struggled to translate as best as I could, and make sense of it enough to express it in English… it doesn’t help that I’ve lost most of my ability to speak said other language. I understand it to the extent of the basics I learned as a kid. It’s the vernacular from nearly 50 years ago when my parents emigrated… when I hear it today, it takes several minutes before I can recognize it as a language I should be able to understand. Most of the time though, I can’t understand it even after it’s pointed out. 

Dr C supervised a student once who developed a method for processing traumas in a different language. She loaned me the manual to peruse while she is away at a conference next week. 

I guess the idea is to start processing the trauma in English, then go deeper into the memory in the language in which it happened, then backing off by switching back to English. The theory is that processing it in that way not only processes the trauma, but also provides a measure of safety by being able to gain distance through switching languages… 

The problem is, neither of us knows what to do when the primary language of the trauma is mostly forgotten. I experience many of the flashbacks in a language other than English, but I also translate them somewhat automatically in order to understand them at this point.

The concept of processing things in the language in which they occurred makes sense. It makes sense that a language barrier would impact the processing. It makes sense that simply translating an event might not allow the brain to put it all away properly… I’m just not sure how we will accomplish that if I can’t remember the stupid language.

I’m going to try to read the manual. Dr C says it’s written in plain enough language that I should be able to absorb it… it’s really frustrating that my brain is in such a fog. I used to be able to concentrate enough on things to read and understand scholarly papers. Lately, I have trouble reading and understanding Meme’s…

Gotta love mental health issues that debilitate your brain… it makes me feel useless and broken… worthless… there are moments I can pull really intelligent things from my head, but other times I feel like a rock could accomplish things easier. Sometimes the fog fades for a bit, but it’s not for long. Even when it does fade, I get confused and overwhelmed really easily. The slightest stress sends my few remaining brain cells running for cover. 

Will this ever get better? 

I used to look at disability benefits as a helping hand till I figured my shit out. I’m beginning to think I’ll never get out of this mess…


Every Little Thing – Carly Pearce

My current song obsession is “Every Little Thing” by Carly Pearce.

It’s written about a guy she wants to move on from, but the majority of lyrics can work for traumatic memories & flashbacks…

:shrugz:

I dunno.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted, mostly because I haven’t really known what to write… lots has happened since I last wrote, and most is just stressful and overwhelming. I’m still not really sure what to write about any of it.

Currently in a depressive funk. Finally gave in and got med samples for a class of antidepressant I haven’t tried before (the most recent ones that they hadn’t released at the time I was last on medications 6 years ago). I got them last week. I haven’t taken them yet, still building the courage. The nurse and I are in agreement that if the impulsiveness shows up, I’m stopping the med instead of piling anything onto it… needless to say, I have very little faith in it 1) having any positive impact, and 2) not sending me into a terrible spiral… I might try them tonight, since I’ll have a few days without having to be at work or engaging in mandatory activities. The art show I’m a part of is closing Saturday, but I can probably make that 2 hour commitment unless side-effects are outrageously bad in 3 days (it’s been known to happen with me and meds, but supposedly this class of meds works better with my system. We’ll see).

This is also that time of year that is traditionally difficult. There are a handful of anniversaries that give me trouble at the beginning of summer. Hopefully it will all be over after the first week of July, and I can get back to dealing with the present stressors…

I dunno. I thought I’d be better by now. I thought I’d have my life together and I’d be back working in a field that I not only enjoy, but one in which I can make a decent wage… instead, I’m struggling to get to a part-time job 2 days a week that pays minimum wage, but should at least be fun. I’m not even sure I know what fun means anymore. L showed me a video this morning that she found hilarious. I think, if I weren’t so down, I’d probably have found it hilarious too… :/

I’m just so tired and spent. I’m sure L is even more spent… I’m ready for 2017 to be over, and for things to greatly improve.


Fictional parallels

So, the plotline of one of the characters on Blindspot continues to unfold. I had initially thought that they dropped the story line, but they moved forward with it the last several episodes. 

It originally stared last season when one of the agents ended up arresting his former coach/mentor on child sex abuse charges. The agent (Reade) initially thought that only his peers had been abused, but one of his old friends from that time clued him in to his own abuse. Reade had no memory of any of it. His only hint at proof came from a tape with his own name on it that he found in the coach’s apartment among the stash of tapes the coach made of the abuses.

They introduced some minor hints around it being accurate, but they didn’t focus much on it. Mostly, they showed Reade’s avoidance of it. Looking back, they did a pretty decent job of portraying the denial/overwhelm stage of remembering abuse. 

The most recent episode ended with Reade sitting down with Zapata to watch the tape he had stolen from the apartment. 

The whole story has my interest piqued. I can relate to so much of it: the total dissociation of any memories for decades, the sudden confrontation with an alternate “truth”, the anger, the denial, the pushing it away… I find myself holding my breath to see what happens next. I want to know that I’m not totally alone in how I’m experiencing things… and I want to have some sort of guidebook through all of this. I know Dr C says this isn’t abnormal, but it’s nice to see it presented that way more places than just her office. It’s kinda like feeling alone for so long, then finding someone else that sees things the same way you do. I know it’s just a TV show (and they can still take it in the direction of Reade never actually having been abused), but it’s relatable… it’s the same relief I find in going to the new group (though that is technically over as of Monday). 

I dunno… I forgot where I was going with this post. Maybe it was about finding something to relate to? I dunno… Blindspot is proving to be a decent show despite the frequent cheesey-ness. And unlike Nashville, it’s handling the child abuse ramifications more accurately. Nashville introduced ptsd basically in one episode, then “resolved” it in the next. Blindspot is taking a more accurate approach to the topic. I just hope they follow through on it rather than end it with the whole thing simply being a “scare” for the character…


More loss

Tuesday evening, L’s dad passed away quite suddenly. We don’t normally stop by on Tuesdays (it’s usually a day spent being at home after I return from work), but this week, L wanted to go hang with her mom. I’m so glad she chose to do that…

A short while after we left, she got a call from her mother that she thought her dad had died. I was taking the dogs out at the time L ran past me in a panic, yelling that she thought her dad died. It took me a minute to process what she said as she was running towards the car. I dragged the dogs to the car (I’m pretty sure one was pooping at the time I yanked them with me). I drove us the 5 minutes to their house. It was the longest, slowest 5 minutes I’ve felt in a long time. It seemed like every car was going 30 miles an hour too slow. 

We turned on to their street, and you could see fire trucks and police lights on both sides at the end of their drive. The truck driving in front of us had to slow down to figure out where/how to get past them. It took everything in me not to lay on the horn and fly up their driveway (their house is set back quite a way). I know he was just being safe, but I really wanted to get L there to be with her mother. 

Up the driveway, there were yet more police cars and ambulances. I’m not sure how many first responders were there, but there were easily a dozen or more emergency vehicles. L’s mother was sitting in her car watching them work on her father… 

They worked on him there at the house for a good 30 minutes to an hour, then took him to the er. I had L and her mom ride to the hospital with one of the officers. My car had been blocked in by one of L’s brothers, so I stayed till after they took her father away,  and the rest of the family went to the hospital. I ran home to drop off the dogs and pick up a few things for L. By the time I got back (maybe 40 minutes later… I kinda got lost on the way to the hospital…), he had been pronounced dead…

We were all kinda in shock. We knew he wasn’t feeling well, but he wasn’t one to let on how sick he really was, not even to his doctors. Heck, he had even been to the doctor that morning and they bs’d about country living… 

The hours and days since then have been spent with L’s family making funeral arrangements and just hanging around. It’s not totally sunk in yet. Tears and sadness comes in waves… the worst part for me had been seeing the emergency vehicles every time I turn down their street. I can’t get the image out of my head even away from there, but it’s most intense there. 

I wasn’t very close to her dad, but way closer to him than my own father. I wrestle internally with feeling like i’m intruding on their sadness. I know to a large degree that’s old family values leaking through on my part, and not much basis in reality (her family has been nothing but loving and welcoming). It’s still difficult to shake though. I’m sure I’ve driven L nuts with my constant checking and asking if they’d rather I be away… I’m trying to do most of the reality checking within myself…

I have to work tonight, so that will be weird. Hopefully I can get lost a bit there… I’m sad for L. I’m really sad for her mother, who had to find her husband. I’m sad for L’s family. We’re all going to miss her dad. He was the kinda guy that might talk a lot of shit about people, but he also wouldn’t hesitate to drop everything and go help someone out if they asked… I’m pretty positive he knew most of the town. Almost everywhere we’d go, we could find someone who knew L’s family through him (it’s not exactly a small town. I know I keep saying “town”, but it’s actually, technically a city)…

I dunno… there’s been so much loss lately. I’ve become even more paranoid about the dogs. I worry about L’s mom. I worry about my own mom. I worry about Dr C… 

These recent deaths bring up stuff from decades ago when my aunt and uncle died a few months apart. I start to worry that similar things will happen. I worry we will lose Sadie & Alex a few short months after Chow died (it happened that way with my last pair of dogs also, and even with my favorite snakes. We had to euthanize Sandy, then Gizmo got really sick less than a year later. Sugar Cane died suddenly, then Almond Joy had to be put down several months later…). I worry something may happen to L’s mom (she’s talking already like she’s going to be gone soon. I get some of that is grief. They would have been married 60 years this year, but given the patterns I’ve experienced, I worry)… I really don’t want more loss right now. 

Like Dr C said, grief is complicated…


Triggered

I want to rip my insides out. The body memories are back… 

Between the new group, added work days, recent attempts at contact from my dad’s sister, and other stressor, I’m feeling really triggered lately. 

I told Dr C. I also voiced that I was afraid she might tell me group was not a good idea, since it was contributing to the triggering. She didn’t say I’d have to leave though, so that’s good. I hope she doesn’t change her mind. Yeah, group is triggering, but it’s also nice to know some other people who can relate. I’ve never sat in a room with other people who understood (and voiced their understanding) my symptoms. They understand what it’s like to dissociate, to jump at triggers, to feel things in their bodies that were over decades ago… there’s a sad relief in knowing I’m not alone. 


So. Restless. Today. 

Nothing is keeping my attention. I start to write, then I get distracted or bored. Can’t pay attention to TV or music or art or anything.


Sorry I haven’t been around much lately. Losing Chow has been difficult to adjust to. I’ve been withdrawing into myself, yet, paradoxically, throwing myself into things outside the home. It sounds contradictory, I know. 

I’ve been burying the emotional part of me behind a bombardment of stimuli and activities. There’s rarely a moment when I’m not desperately distracting myself.  I’ve not been doing much by way of art or writing though. It’s been mostly “mindless” stuff, like going to dinner with friends (and avoiding anything other than surface conversation), taking the dogs to the park, that kind of stuff. 

I’ve even avoided taking much in therapy. At least, I have up to now. Today’s session might be different. I’ve started attending a group Dr C put together for adult survivors of [mumble, mumble, mumble]… I still cringe and have a small freak-out moment when I hear the title… we’ve met twice so far. The first one was mostly intros and basic group guidelines. The second one was a bit more topic-oriented around explaining PTSD, the symptoms, and how early abuse plays into it. I was ok for the psychoeducational piece of the group, but struggled to stay present when it turned more into talking about the effects on a personal level. 

I think part of my problem with that comes from the walls I’ve put up around the abuse “memories”. I know I was totally convinced at one point that what I was feeling and experiencing were true, but I’ve detached from that the last several weeks. This last group started stirring things below the surface but they still remain below the surface. 

I dunno. On the one hand, it’s a huge relief to have people that seem to struggle with similar symptoms and experiences. On the other hand, I feel like an interloper. They all seem to know what happened to them, and to connect with it. I’m here still trying to remember what the hell it was that came at me in those flashbacks. I know I struggled a lot with them, but they feel foreign to me at this time. It’s like I watched a movie a long time ago, and can kinda remember the plot, but have no idea of the details. And i’m certainly not connecting to it emotionally…

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