Monthly Archives: October 2013

reflections on the state of the world (or at least my head)

I was re-reading my post from yesterday (the one on si just being “right”) and I realized that my take on why T’s have always been taken aback by the statement “it just feels .right.” may have missed an important piece.  In my training, and in my work with kids in the state system, I vowed to myself to never let their stories become common-place to me.  I vowed to hold abuse as horrific.  I told myself I would never become desensitized to suffering… While I can maintain that with my clients, I have found I have become desensitized to my own struggles.  Things that should cause revulsion, fear, or (in the least) alarm now barely serve as a blip on my internal radar.  It has long-ago become common-place and “old news.”  Things that should make me cry out against injustice have become reflex reactions I myself have adopted.  Things that turn my stomach when a client reveals it barely register in my conscious mind half the time.  I have taken over the role of my own abuser.  In the same breath that I express torment from having experienced it from someone else, I do it to myself.

When does that switch happen?  When does someone go from fear and revulsion to acceptance and self-infliction? How does that happen?  Even when away from the abuse or trauma, how does it suddenly translate to being ok when done by your own hand (or voice)?  Why is it that I can look at a client and feel sad for the things they must have had to endure to get to this same space, but hold none of that compassion for myself?  There is no awe at the thought of slicing my own flesh to relieve emotional pain.  There is no sorrow felt for the child in me who learned that physical pain can cease to register.  There is no gut-reaction to my own story, it’s simply a story.

I feel more for characters in fiction than I do for myself.  While I may be swept up by emotion elicited by the unbidden memories, I have learned to steel myself against the re-telling.   I have learned to separate myself from that same emotion to make it through the days and nights.  When I no longer separate myself is when it gets scary again.  The only thing is, it’s not scary because of anything I may do to myself, it’s scary because I may be lost in that emotion forever (and even though I know better, it always feels like it will go on forever whenever it hits).

See, I know the emotion is there.  I know the disgust and anger is there, but I can’t ever access it from this “outside” vantage point.  The professional part of me never has direct connection to the emotional part.  When I think hard about it, I know I feel something otherwise the depression and the self-injury and the self-medication would not come.  If I didn’t feel anything about it, I would not be haunted by the PTSD.   I would not need therapy.  So I know I feel something, sometimes, but I can’t empathize with my own emotional self when I’m not in the midst of it all.

Ugh! Clinical detachment can come in very handy when working with clients, but it just messes things up when I’m trying to work with myself.  Some days I wish the walls were not so big and thick and ever-present.  I wish I could be aware of the good amidst the bad and vise versa.  I write this blog to be able to remember what it all feels like, but if I’m not in that space, it’s like reading a poorly-written story.  I can’t access the emotions of the characters.   I’m let in to their surface thoughts, but the feelings behind it elude me.  And if I’m reading the more “professional” side while emotional, it all feels foreign.  It rings about as familiar as something a stranger may say to me.  I know I wrote it.  I know at the time I felt connected to it, but that connection is lost when I’m on the other side.  It’s frustrating!

Right now, if someone were to tell me my story as their own, I would feel saddened and angered and motivated to help them out.  When I realize it’s my own story however, it all melts away and the little voice in my head whispers “all is as it should be” …more defenses to help me make it through the days.  It opens the door to the feelings.  As soon as I’m to that side, the door slams shut behind me and I’m trapped until my brain makes the switch once again.

Some days I wonder if any of it really happened at all.  Some days I fear I’m just really really pathetic and made it all up to give myself something to pass the time… After all, people have different accounts of some of it, everyone’s memory is different…

I wish I had made it all up.  I wish I was just a really good liar… I wish this was all a nightmare that I mistakened for reality, and in actuality I am living a happy life.  I will wake up any moment and this will all fade quickly.  I’ll realize that my life with my wife is the truth, and the “memories” of the past are all just bad dreams… a girl can dream can’t she?

Do antidepressants work? Respond to this important global survey. Let your voices be heard!

So, something to get your voice heard about whether or not you feel your meds are working for you. you can supply contact details or not, up to you. I took the survey and look forward to seeing the compiled results.

Everything Matters

Please respond to the survey in the Guardian. It includes questions about withdrawal. We can let people know how gravely harmful these drugs have been to so many of us. You can answer anonymously or use your name. Either way. You can also be from anywhere in the world. Please take part:


ssri_major_brandsProponents say they save lives and help millions of people. Critics say the science is questionable. What’s unquestionable is that the use of antidepressants is surging around the world. In some countries, prescriptions have more than doubled in a decade. Around one in 10 European adults are estimated to take the pills. In the UK, The Health and Social Care Information Centre found that more than 50 million prescriptions for antidepressants were issued in England alone last year, the highest ever number and a 7.5% rise on the year before.

The Guardian…

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it just is what’s right (and the fluidity of time)

De sparked a thought about this a few sessions ago, and reading it on several forums has me wondering: am I the only one who si’s because it feels “right” and not as a form of punishment? De (and other T’s before her) seemed taken aback when I told her it was never really something that felt “deserved” so much as just what simply “must be”… In my head, there’s no real judgement towards it. It just is what it is. It’s what’s “supposed” to be. Things don’t feel right if I avoid si when I really need it. It’s a release. It’s an actuality, but never a punishment.

Am I in the minority with that? Where does that stem from? I can’t remember a time when I was hurt like that just because that is what was supposed to be… but there were other times that simply felt like the crap that happened in life just happened because they were supposed to…

I don’t know if that’s making much sense. Sorry if I’m unclear. I have yet to be able to describe it well to any T also, so I don’t think I communicated that correctly…

kinda like a kid who gets beaten every day just because – they grow up expecting that to always happen because it HAS always happened… no real judgement, just acceptance.

That’s what si has been like for me. The judgement has always come from the outside.

anyone else feel that way?

(weirdest sense of deja-vu writing this just now… I had formatted this exact post this exact way some “when” ago… It floated to the surface as I was finishing the post. Sometimes I remember things that are happening in the present as if I had been through them before. Sometimes it’s a dream I’m remembering, other times it’s a memory, but I know it’s not the first time I had done the exact thing in the exact way… only it was… time is fluid whether we care to acknowledge it or not)…

Being sick sucks

So, I have had this crappy cold/flu thing since Thursday.  It’s slowly getting better (or maybe just evolving), but had kept me in bed all weekend.
I’ve confirmed that the person I feared got ahold of my blog address indeed had not, so I can continue to post here.  Phew.  It would have been quite the ordeal trying to sort out which of my followers he was, and been able to give everyone else the new address.  I’m thankful he doesn’t know about this.
On a totally-unrelated-to-anything-about-this-blog note: someone declared today national chocolate appreciation day.  Who am I to argue with this wise soul?! So I shall eat chocolate today and appreciate it extra. You can’t go wrong appreciating chocolate (unless you are allergic or you hate it, but then, simply don’t appreciate it and leave that to those of us who love the stuff. I will appreciate it extra for my friends who don’t). Brownies are in the oven. I can hardly contain my excitement for when they are finally finished. ♥

I may be back here later tonight with some thoughts on sex offenders and abuses… I may not though, it all depends on the state of my head and the efficacy of the cold meds…

When Doctors Discriminate

I’ve noticed that when you compound being a woman, a minority, poor, or younger with mental illness, all credibility shoots out the window. I was hospitalized (voluntarily) a few months ago and had a small stroke. I was repeatedly dismissed by the staff and doctors as complaining because I disliked the treatment I received there. While I was very put-off by their lack of concern for my confidentiality and their opinion that I was suddenly incompetent because I was on a psych unit, I was not making up the stroke. It was not until 3 days later that the doctor finally offered me a neurology consult, but said that it would likely extend my stay on the unit by a week or more. As much as I worried about the stroke, I couldn’t bare the thought of being there any longer (my discharge had been scheduled later that day and this was my exit meeting with the psychiatrist). Luckily, I have not had a repeat event. It’s sickening that you are automatically considered attention-seeking and malingering if you report any health concerns as a mental health patient. It wasn’t the first time my concerns were dismissed, not will it be the last I’m sure.

recovery network: Toronto

Juliann Garey writes in NYT Sunday Review of her experience of her experience of being discriminated against by doctors after receiving a diagnosis of serious mental illness.

Doctors do this – some recognise it and some use a fancy name for it “diagnostic overshadowing”.  If you have a diagnosis you likely have been on the receiving end of it and you’ll know it doesn’t feel like “overshadowing” -whatever that would feel like.

What it does feel like is being disregarded as a person and treated as less than human.  If it were directed at any other group of people it would be illegal.

Essentially, once we’ve been put in a diagnostic box then everything we do, everything we experience, everything we think, or say, or feel,  is taken as  evidence of that diagnosis,  registered not as important information but as another tick in the box against the list of symptoms, confirming the…

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I got nothing.  I’m not sure this is a safe place to write anymore, so nothing may be all there is from now on… I’ll let you know.

the voices inside

This is the first time I’ve heard my doubts as voices…
I was showering for the second time today, and feeling frustrated with my reactions to G and mom (at times I can see it’s all in my reactions, other times, it feels like my reactions are justified). I heard an angry and “evil” voice in my head telling me I’m a fraud, and all of this is in my head. She said I’m making it all up… The voice composed an non-existant email to De telling her all this, and, in my head, she also “wrote in the email” that I would wake up with fresh cuts, and she hoped I wouldn’t wake up…
It’s weird, because I have not felt like self-harming for the last 2 or 3 days. I think this is my head’s way of rectifying that – I can’t si, or even deal with the urges while G is around, so it creates another “being” that has the excuse to think that way or do that stuff. I really hate my head for that.

Today was an ok day. L and I took a drive out to the Japanese gardens to do our meditation walks. We ate at the cafe (rated in the top 3 best Asian restaurants in the nation, and for good reason). The service was not the best (our meal came out as it was prepared. My meal came out first, then 15 minutes later, L’s meal arrived… then we waited another 15 minutes and out appetizer made it’s debut. Dessert came right on time though). The food was amazing! I would say it was THE BEST Japanese food I have ever had. Ever. And it was cheaper than most of the local places that are highly rated…

IMG_8143  We then walked the gardens. I started at the “end” and L tackled it from the “beginning”. I have been unable to do much mediation or contemplative thinking outside of the safety of De’s office, so I busied myself with pictures. The prompt I chose was awareness (once again, since I do not think I did it well after the meeting). I chose to be aware of nature, the flow of nature, and the changing shadows as well as light and dark. I took over 1000 pictures there today. I had my “good” camera, but still felt like some of the pics were lacking (I need a better filter to help keep the sun-heavy pictures from washing out too much. I also need to find a better lens to be able to capture shots faster). I took a while watching a Great Blue Heron stalk some fish. We both stayed very still for about 15 minutes. The second I turned away to focus on the fish, turtles, or another bird near-by, he changed spots… I missed it each time except for once, when I caught a shot of his shadow as he alighted onto another rock. I’m quite frustrated with myself for letting the distractions change my focus.




Anyway, the gardens were great. I only wish they stayed open longer, I would love to have taken some sunset pictures from there. (also wishing we had gone earlier so I could have explored more of the gardens. There are so many nooks and crannies to check out, you really need a full day there to see everything).







We returned home and my frustrations soared once again… I know most of it is my reaction to my father, but there are some things he says/does that simply drive me nuts. He is constantly critical of everyone else, he holds very bigoted views, and he does not respect that my “kids” need to be treated a certain way – while I look for respect from them, I also expect them to be respected. G tends to forget he is a guest in this house, and he treats the dogs like he would at his house, which is totally unacceptable… I know he is a guest, but that does not give him the right to dictate how the beings that LIVE here will behave. I ask him time and again to not threaten the dogs because I do not want him to get bitten… he does it anyway. I refuse to lose my kids because he is being stupid… and he often treats my wife as “less-than” and encourages my mother to do the same. He believes only HE is worthy of anything, and will treat anyone else as beneath him. Then he artificially tries to raise up myself or my mother in hopes of lowering/diminishing everyone else… he doesn’t get that his sarcastic agreement with everything I say is disrespectful and patronizing. And he fights to maintain every shred of control he remotely can. A month ago, he decided that he would sign full ownership of my car over to me. We talked about it, but when it came time, he refused to do it because, in his eyes, my wife would screw me and take the car… Only L would never do anything like that. HE would, but L would not. So he maintains half-ownership of my vehicle, even thought he pays nothing towards it, and never drives it. He just wants to be able to screw my wife should anything ever happen to me… gee, thanks.

But I digress… (or maybe this is where the inner voices are founded?). I am feeling particularly down on myself tonight. Only, it doesn’t feel like it’s coming from me; more like someone outside myself. And it’s a particularly disparaging voice that is also threatening. I would talk to De about it, only the messages in my head remind me that she would likely think I am faking… I’m just a spoiled little once-privileged kid who needs a reason to feel like shit… (forget the abuse and the assaults and the depression and the losses. I have no reason to feel this way. It’s all in my head. I deserve nothing good. I deserve no compassion, no empathy, and certainly no help).