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:

LET OUR VOICES BE HEARD!!

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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Nothing

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.

IMG_8196

 

IMG_9000

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).


Insomnia, my old friend…

So, I’ve clicked into “safety” mode.  The depression has taken a back seat and has been replaced by insomnia.  Great.

Heard some more news about my friend. It’s not looking good… I wish I knew better what to do to help support her.

Had therapy today managed to keep it light (unlike last session). We talked about plans to keep busy with while G is here.  We also talked about the mediation walks I’m supposed to be doing.  De said it’s ok to just go and not necessarily follow the prompts, as some of them can be quite overwhelming.  I’m glad I have permission to slack on that a bit.  I feel very overwhelmed by everything and find my brain shutting down when it comes to emotional vulnerability lately. Everything outside of her office comes up blank.  I have not been able to do the homework she had given for the last 3 or 4 sessions.  I hadn’t been able to pull myself into the mediation. I’m finding a huge lack in my ability to express myself or deal with anything.  The lack of sleep certainly does not help, but I think my brain has blown into overload.  I’m hoping that doesn’t spell trouble for after G’s visit… I can’t afford a full-on crash.

Also, we have a rental for the weekend.  We took the car back to the place that fixed it after the pole incident and they are taking responsibility for the shot alignment and resulting tire damage (I had just dropped $400 on new tires a month before the accident, so they are at most 5 months old and worn to the metal threads on the inside of the back tires.  We are lucky they did not blow out on us). Anyway, the guy is not sure how long the repairs take, but has said he will try to expedite it.  At least they are giving us a rental at their expense for the crappy work they did.  I had even taken it back a week after originally picking it up complaining that the car was all over the road.  They assured me nothing was wrong.  This new manager is saying that the car’s poor handling was a result of the bad alignment. Definitely glad they are fixing it. I can’t afford repairs or more new tires at the moment.

Speaking of money, does anyone have tips for sticking to a budget? Both L and I have been known to shop to help alleviate depression.  It drains the wallet quickly. :/

I’m thinking I may want to take something to help me sleep.  De reminded me of the importance of good sleep.  She suggested that, while not ideal, at least one night of solid sleep would be beneficial.  I’m thinking she is correct. I just have to get over my aversion to sleep meds.

On a completely random note, it sounds like planes or helicopters are flying overhead like crazy.  This place is normally quiet at night, and the noise is bothersome (especially when insomnia amplifies every sound). I may go outside to see what’s up. Then I shall take the Benadryl when I come back in.


floating

So, G is here and I find myself “floating” – a combination of dissociation and… I don’t know. I’m still ridiculously depressed, but find myself fake-smiling and saying whatever comes from the years of training of having lived with him… just going through the motions. I just want to hide all day. I am glad we have couple’s therapy today because it will get us out of the house for a time.
I’m anxiously awaiting the 9 days to be over. I’m done already, and the visit just started yesterday…


Adjusted expectations

She said to adjust my expectations.

“Sometimes getting up and getting into the shower is all you can do, and that’s ok. So stop berating yourself over it…”

It’s ok to lower expectations if it means I will not be so hard on myself. Now I just have to believe her.

Desperately need something more, but I have no idea what.  It all just sucks.  The sadness never goes away.  I’m supposed to keep in mind the little good things, but even that’s not helping.


Living With Depression

This! Depression described better than anything I could come up with myself, but oh-so-accurate to what it feels like… my experience of self-injury is different, but the depression piece is spot on for me. A very insightful and descriptive blog. Everyone should read it (just mind the triggers)

cleverclosets

I’m going to advise you now that this post contains triggers, and to take that how you will.

I’ve spent a lot of time merely hinting at what life with depression and anxiety has been for me, but not a lot of depth.

I came across some notebooks the other night. I used to try to keep a running journal of how I had been doing, but I gave that up when my vocabulary never contained the words I wanted needed to say. This blog has helped me channel a lot of mixed emotion over the last while, but I am still majorly struggling.

I am literally driving myself insane, and it never came to term until I saw a therapist who was the one to tell me I have all of these things wrong with me in the first place. Originally it was dysthimia, then depression, maybe anxiety too…

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Can’t shake feeling awful

Called to get info on services for a friend, and they filed a report.  Hoping she can get the help she needs tho.  Feeling shitty.


there she is… (the daunting thought of recovery from depression means the depression is still very present)

there’s the analytical side again. the professional, composed, and “knows her shit” side. the side that could sit with clients for hours on end prodding and supporting and fostering growth and promoting the will to live… she’s working from underneath. it’s a very weird feeling. normally, she would take over and I would feel like this side was in the background. now she feels like she’s lifting a drape of my currently-dominant self and sneaking a pen from underneath to let herself be heard. she’s being more subtle this time. i guess she has no need to overtly take charge at this moment, but she’s making her presence felt. good thing?

yesterday, when talking to De, I couldn’t bring forth my training for the life of me. my head was stalled in itself and I felt horribly stupid. I could not come up with one single need a child may ask for. I couldn’t put myself in the place of anyone else to even guess what a client may need when they reach out. I was stuck at whatever age it was that I first learned that any needs outside of life-or-death would not be met by anyone (a very overt and spoken rule growing up, though I have no idea when I first heard it). it was extremely frustrating. I can only imagine what it feels like at the start of Alzheimer’s, because that is the closest thing I can relate it to: I know I should know the answers, and had in the past, but I just could not raise them from the depths for the life of me. I had wondered to myself where the hell my analytical side was at the time, why wasn’t she able to jump in? and I remember being worried that her jumping in might mean that I lose connection to whatever emotional space I had contacted during session… maybe that’s why she’s less obvious. she’s respecting that I need that connection to the emotion, but she also wants me to know she hasn’t gone away too far.

again I’m catching myself referring to my “sides” as individuals. it’s just more comfortable that way. it’s easier to express how mutually exclusive they all feel. they are not alters in that they have their own way of dress or speech and you see a noticeable difference immediately when one or the other comes about, but they all have their individual roles. they only come about one at a time, and I have trouble seeing the info/perspective/emotions of any of the others at any given time. I may intellectually know something happened (have a memory of the concept of being a competent professional, or the memory of the concept of feeling depressed) but they never occur at the same time, and I can never connect to anything other than my current state. I have learned to successfully and completely compartmentalize myself.  it worked really well in the past, but is causing a lot of hardship in the present.

I was reading through some forums last night, and responded to someone’s post. the response was given from the analytical side. it was weird reading it again and again knowing the emotional space I am currently in.  the poster had mentioned feeling like a fraud because s/he was afraid of getting better.  s/he was afraid of having responsibilities increased and expectations raised at the slightest sign of improvement.  i can relate.  I very much have those same fears (in fact, I’m dealing with the ramifications of my own raised expectations and responsibilities at the moment).  the response I typed out validated the poster’s feelings but also said that the fear comes from the depression: while the depression is still present, it is very difficult to think of not feeling too drained by all the demands of daily life.  once the depression lifts however, things become easier. the little things no longer make you feel like you are walking through waist-deep mud for miles on end… (I can’t take credit for that little gem if a theory, I had read it a few months earlier on that same forum but can totally relate).  when I am not as depressed, I can handle the daily chores and the socializing and the (gasp) work demands.  when I’m depressed however, all of that feels unthinkable. getting back to a point where I have to do all that feels unbearable.  that is just the depression talking though. when the exhaustion lifts and the fog lifts, it’s possible to do all that and not be overwhelmed.  
while I was able to say all this on the forums, I’m having trouble seeing the validity of it at the moment.  everything feels overwhelming and difficult.  the thought of having to feed the animals is daunting.  the thought of being social is almost unbearable.  i want to hide.  i want to back out of everything that I am committed to participating in…  yet I was able to pass on that insight last night.  I have re-read that post at least 5 times this morning, and I still read my response as if I had not seen it (and it was written by someone else).  I re-read it to remind myself that there is truth in it…  but I still can’t connect to what I wrote.  the analytical side came out from underneath the drape, wrote that post, and has slinked back off into the shadows to let me figure out how to deal with all of this myself.  she’s made her presence known, but is not taking over (at least not as obviously, or to the exclusion of either the emotional, dark, or child sides of myself).  if she is taking over, she’s doing it slowly and not totally kicking out everyone else.  it’s very weird. I’m used to her taking over quickly and completely.  the others will take over slowly (most of the time, sometimes it’s a split-second event without warning), but she has always been the one to snap into place in an instant…

anyway, I’m rambling… i still desire space and peace, but not in as much of a fog as I was yesterday.


tired and spent and…

I’m so overwhelmed right now. I want to back out of absolutely every commitment right now. Only guilt is eating me about it, so I can’t. And G is coming for his 8-day visit on Wednesday. I see a crash coming, but I have no idea how to contain it. Saw De today, and she told me she would rather see me overwhelmed at the moment than with too much time on my hands. I think both are equally detrimental. I feel trapped by so much. If I had the finances, I would escape for a few days… My head hurts and my brain is scrambling for a legit and safe way to back out of things for a bit. I think I need to take a break from both therapy and commitments. It’s all too much right now. I wish G were not coming down. I wish I could have the house to myself for a few days (no humans, no dogs, no one) so I could just re-charge myself… Can I hide for a while?


Milestones in the blogosphere

WordPress notified me that today has been my best day yet for followers.  I got a whole… (wait for it. Waaiit for it…) 3 new watchers! Loving the milestones 🙂  (and as sarcastic as that sounds, I’m truly humbled that 3 more people decided my blabbering was worth a follow.  Thank you all!) (Also, 3 is my favorite number, so stop knocking it).
I hope I can keep you all entertained or in the very least, awake.


Dilemma decisions

So, in talking to our couple’s therapist (whose main job is working for hospice), I just need to suck it up and call adult protective services on my friend’s mother.  It is highly unlikely any of the girls will do anything to help their mother (historically the family dynamic) so I would be the one left to care for her and make sure she gets what she needs.  Since that is way more than I have energy for, I’ve been told I need to just call APS. I’m totally feeling guilty about it, because I know how shitty it can be to suddenly have a stranger take over, but I also know that she will just get overwhelmed and not be able to care for herself very soon.  It’s really sad.  I wish I had the energy to help her out in a more personal way…
I was able to avoid J questioning too much about my mood today by taking up the last part of the session with this stuff.  Of course, this stuff brought about a whole other layer to the depression… and I was reminded that P’s daughter is probably in as bad a state, and they left her alone. Ugh.  I hate having a conscience and a heart… it just hurts.  I’m pretty sure I will be making that call tonight. :/


homework is tough

I can’t figure out how to do the homework De assigned. I try the collage, but I end up staring at the pictures and words without a concept of how to put them together… It makes me incredibly tired, so I go to bed. It doesn’t help that the depression is incredibly strong and it’s clouding my mind. I just want to cry all the time. and sleep (though it helps that our bed smells incredibly wonderful right now, and I don’t want to leave it. Who knew Gain fabric softener could smell so good?!). I want music in my ears, but I’m trying to be more present. I’m not sure how long that will last. We have couple’s counseling later today. I don’t think I’m looking forward to it, but at least I can fake happy for her reasonably well (well enough to keep her from grilling me).

Tomorrow’s our one year anniversary, and that’s the only thing that brings a genuine smile to my face (I noticed it last night when talking about her with the ASL teacher actually made me smile a real, genuine smile when all I had wanted to do all day was cry and cut).  I really do love my wife, and she really does mean the world to me.  I just hope it can keep cutting through the depression so that we can have a nice day tomorrow.  All bets are off before and after…  I’m saving my happy for tomorrow.


I know that look! – empathy and trauma-consciousness

There was an interview with Hannah Anderson on the Today Show this morning.  She is the young girl who was kidnapped 2 months ago by a family friend after he killed her mother and brother.  She disclosed that prior to the kidnapping, he had made some inappropriate comments to her signaling jealousy and lusting for her.  She said she did not tell her parents because he was her dad’s best friend and there for her mom a lot…  The signs were present, but hidden out of (what I read as) fear of pushing out a support, respect for her parents’ friendship choices, and possibly a hint of worry in not being believed.  This scares me.  It scares me on many levels.  While the push is for kids to return to being more respectful because they are disrespectful so often, I wonder if sometimes we need to stress to our kids that they need to stand up and be heard.  Was there a fear that she would not be believed because he seemed like such a valued friend?  Did she have a contentious relationship with her parents (like most teenagers do as they work on individualization) that lent itself to her not being believed if she would have said anything?  Did she fear her parent’s reactions to any accusations of impropriety on the part of this friend?

I think back to the accusations made by some of the kids I used to work with.  I think of how, while they were investigated by DCF, the attitudes of the staff were mostly ones of “closing ranks” to protect the person accused.  How often do we ignore the things kids are telling us?  Part of it comes from our own fears.  We don’t want to think that the people we trust (either in work or in life) can actually be that scary.  We put fail-safes in place for organizations that work with kids, so we expect a higher level of safety.  But what about with friends?  How can you ever be sure?  I don’t want to be paranoid, but I do want to encourage parents to listen to your kids even if it means asking friends and family some really uncomfortable questions.  I do not have children yet (or maybe ever, who knows) but I will always encourage the kids in my family to speak out.  If something scares you or makes you uncomfortable, come out and say it.  Say it until someone hears you.  Say it to whoever you need to tell, however many times it takes to be heard.  Say it in whatever way you can find to say it…  I can only imagine how difficult this would have been for Hannah to say to anyone (especially since she revealed that she was having difficulties with her mother during her parents’ divorce and turned to this guy for support).  He creeped her out with some comments, so she tried to distance from him.  This tipped him over the edge.  It pushed him to do unthinkable things to her family in order to get close to her again.  I can only imagine the guilt she must hold… (or, I would hold incredible guilt if I were in her position).

On another note about the interview; I hate that our culture is so heavy on hugging without express permission.  While I see the value of human touch, it needs to be comfortable and consensual.  Savanah brought out the hikers that had spotted Hannah and her kidnapper.  She told Hannah that they wanted to give her a hug.  The look on Hannah’s face was incredibly telling about her trauma reaction to the thought of having a stranger near enough to touch her.  Her face dropped into fear and confusion: this was a live tv interview.  I still panic and cringe at the thought of touch from a stranger and my traumas happened over a decade ago.  When the two couples came out and started to hug in succession, she looked visibly uncomfortable with the hugs from the women, but she looked panicked and kept her distance with the men.  I know they were trying to be supportive, but I think they would have been more supportive by knowing some basic trauma reactions (especially with bodily assault).  Showing up and meeting face to face is probably somewhat helpful (for both the people who helped in her rescue and for Hannah), but the physical touch seemed to have been a huge trigger for this poor girl who had only had 2 months to deal with all of this.  I may be reading a lot of extra into her reactions, but I think some of it is also valid.  I think we need to train not only first responders in trauma reactions, but we need to train the media.  Many times, their pushing and “facilitating” simply exacerbate the trauma reaction.  I’m pretty sure they are not intending to make things worse for people, but they do so none the less…

While hugs are meant to be supportive (and most often are), to someone with a history of assault or trauma, a touch can be horrendously triggering.  Asking permission before invading someone’s personal space is always a good idea when you don’t know the person well or when they have a history of trauma.  Be aware that they may say no, and it likely has nothing to do with you.

I know I shouldn’t be so bothered by this, it feels like I’m taking it all too personally.  I’m raw these days though, and little things make me cringe.  The intense empathy I feel for this kid in today’s interview comes from having opened up a lot of my own little trauma boxes lately.   On top of the overwhelming depression, a lot of the old wounds have been “picked at” and are once again a breath away.  (and the protective side of me is out wanting to help shield this girl from the crap I’m sure is washing over her.  I hate to see anyone in pain, and she is certainly in pain).


the power of distraction in therapy (some potentially triggering stuff in here too – nightmares, relatively graphic self injury talk…)

I was again reminded how much a slight distraction can help me open up in therapy.  De and I were covering some tough stuff (expected) so I brought a coloring book (I couldn’t find our crayons at home, but she came through on that front).  I think I had half expected her to read the stuff I had written to her.  Maybe I had even hoped she would read it before session, even though I consciously wanted to challenge myself to be able to disclose it verbally.  I was going to struggle through telling her about the content of the entry, so I brought the minion coloring book.  I also started off joking as we walked in (not my normal presentation, but I tend to use humor to off-set an uncomfortable situation) and she kept the laughter rolling into the beginning of the session.  I do much better with heavy subjects when they are offset by humor and distraction, so I was pleased she was willing to keep it going.  Then she broke it to me that she decided to see if I had written anything new this week.  She said she had not had a chance to read it all because she had not left herself much time.  She said she skimmed the entry, but there were some things that stuck out to her.  She wanted to leave it up to me if there was any way I had wanted to direct the conversation.  My head was still catching up with the fact that she had decided to check on her own if I had written anything.  I told her that I did not want to alert her to the entry because I had wanted to see if I could tell her about it, but I had wanted to leave it accessible to her in case I could not succeed in doing so.  I began nervously flipping through the coloring book as I told her I would let her direct things (I was suddenly way too flustered to do anything meaningful).  I settled on a picture and we began to talk.  She covered the main points she wanted addressed (coincidentally the same ones I had wanted to talk about), and I was able to give my honest responses to some of her question.  I found myself censoring less when I was concentrating on finding just the correct yellow for the minion.  The veil of self-consciousness was there, but not as inhibiting as it normally is.  A lot of the stuff that floats through my thoughts never makes it past my lips.  This time, some of the stuff that I really needed to say managed to come out.

She called me on my topic-shifting and avoiding some of the touchier things.  I think I was still able to laugh it off and switch back to what she was looking to hear about because my head was still playful from my humor earlier on.  Anyway, I managed to get back to talking about the important stuff.  The session flew by again… I think I made eye contact once or twice, but that’s ok.  It’s much easier to talk without eye contact.  Growing up, I was trained to look away.  Looking at someone was considered disrespectful, unless of course you were in trouble, then you had to look to make sure they knew you understood the gravity of the situation…

We covered self-injury.  We talked about it in terms of the addiction to it (I had mentioned the addiction in my entry, and she concurred).  She had me describe my “relationship” with it.  That was a concept I couldn’t really grasp though, and don’t think I managed to describe it in the manner she had asked… I skipped a lot of years, and she called me on it.  I back-tracked and tried to cover the main points…  When she asked where the initial introduction to cutting came from, I explained that I did not really remember, but knew I had written about it years ago.  I started to tell her the story of the table (the one I only remember because I had read it over and over again).  She asked if I had been introduced to self harm by someone else, or if it had just appeared as a coping mechanism randomly on it’s own.  That’s when I remembered my old recurring nightmare.  I told her of the dream where a guy came into our house, but it was also a mall.  He was killing people.  My aunt pulled me into the little bathroom at the front of the house and closed the door in hopes of hiding.  He shot her several times through the door, then sat me on the sink.  He used a Swiss Army knife to start carving intricate patterns into my legs.  That always signified the end of the dream.  When she asked, I could not remember if anyone around me had ever hurt themselves like that, but I thought not.  I think I may have been 5 or 6 when I started having that dream.  It lasted for many, many years.  I did not start hurting myself until I was about 13 or 14 though.  I was reminded of it at about that age when one of the times I accidentally walked into the corner of the table, it suddenly stopped the inner turmoil.  She had suggested that the physical pain stopped the emotional.  I had to think about that for a second.  I never feel pain when I self-harm.  If it starts to hurt, I don’t follow through.  It’s only ever accomplished if there is no pain with it.  I think I may register the pain at some level, but it’s never consciously felt.  I think it’s just the body shock of pain receptors going off that quiets my mind.   And nothing else works as immediately and as completely as self harm does, even when it’s not working as it should (back to the addiction piece).  Much like a substance addict, cutting is always “chasing a high” so to speak.  I almost always need more than the previous time, and more intensity, just to get the same relief.  If it’s pretty bad, then I need it more intensely and more often.  That last really bad time, I was cutting about every 15 minutes.  The only reason I paused that time was because the blood stopped and it frustrated the hell out of me that I could not get more to materialize (kinda happens when you lose a lot of your volume)… But I digress.  I told De this in somewhat more detail, but still have difficulty talking about it too graphically (mostly out of shame).  It was validating to hear her responses to some of what I said, but I also worried that at times I said too much.  Having been on both sides of the desk (and assuming others can be as empathetic as myself), I did not want to give too much detail with a lot of it.  I know being there for it caused a lot of trauma to a lot of people, I don’t want to increase that number just in the re-telling.

Anyway…

She gave me homework to do, but I’m suddenly drawing a blank as to what it is… needs! that’s it.  We had talked about my difficulty in asking for help because I don’t always know what I need when I reach out (ok, I rarely know what I need when I’m reaching out) so I just don’t do it.  She wants me to collage what it is that I need (or draw, or express in some way).  I tried to get out of it by saying I’m pretty sure it will turn dark.  She countered by telling me to make multiple pictures then, one that expresses my needs, and one that takes care of the darkness.  I’m still horribly unsure of where to even start with my needs, but I’m pretty sure I could cover a million pages in the darkness.  How do you even figure out what your needs are?  How do you represent that?  I honestly don’t know what I need beyond safety (physical and emotional).  That’s the only time I do know how to ask for help: when I desperately need physical safety and it’s about time to go to the hospital.  Outside of that, I don’t know what my needs are.  Support – What does that look like?  Peace – Can someone else even provide that?  What does a normal person need when they are in distress?  I grew up knowing only that my most basic need for safety was not met.  The people I turned to for safety either did not come through with it, or ended up leaving in the long run.  I don’t know what else to look for… This will be a really difficult assignment.

Sorry, I’m getting distracted, I’m waiting at a coffee shop for L to be done with her activity.  I love this place.  It’s chill and friendly and always has something fun on tv.  Tonight it’s Modern Family… I’ve never seen it before, but know the general premise.  It’s quite funny at times, so it has me looking up and losing my train of thought.


Technical question

So, um… can people trace my other blogs to this one even if I don’t provide a link? Because that would freak me out and I would be switching the association’s of that blog… Not ready for my real life to find this one.


dilemmas

I visited with an old friend today (well, ok, an old friend’s mother). I was taken aback by her state of being. While she is trying to look together, it’s quite apparent that she is having issues. I am unsure if it’s something along the lines of early-onset dementia or Alzheimer’s, or something else, but she is a mess. While I think she made a decent effort to have her house look clean for my visit, I don’t think it’s normally that way. The ammonia levels in the house are outrageous. The animals look clean, but I can’t imagine they are always that way with the smell being so bad there. I feel really bad for her. She is really attached to her animals, and I totally understand that. But she is losing her house, and she can’t afford their food or even food for herself. The care-taker in me has clicked on, and I really want to go help her out. But I also know that I am struggling myself. I can’t take all of her problems as my own… It just makes me really sad to see her decompensating so badly…

I contacted our couple’s therapist (her other job is working in hospice as a health social worker) to get some resources for P.  I have passed along those numbers to one of her kids, and will be talking to that daughter later int he week.  I offered to help get P set up with in-home services, but I think that will be all I can offer.  I don;t have the energy to go all-out with my help for her. I love her like family (more than most my f.o.o.) but I don’t have the energy in me to fix everything.


boundaries are hard

physical ones, yes, but emotional ones too. I have a difficult time setting them when I am feeling less-than-stellar. I have trouble balancing wanting to hide with taking care of myself.

Today, I really want to hide. I called out of my volunteer job, but was unable to reschedule the get-together with an old family friend. She will drain me, and I will want to hide more. I can barely get my own shit together, forget about trying to help her with her stuff… But now I will have to drive 30 minutes to meet up with her for a few (bringing L to help me stick to making the meeting last just a short time), then drive 30 minutes back home… I would much rather stay in bed (or the couch as the case may be). I slept a lot last night, but I do not feel rested. I would rather do a whole lot of nothing… but is that just feeding the depression? or is it taking care of myself when I’m already struggling? I’m not really sure…

There’s so much going on in my head right now, and so much I need to keep at bay. I keep trying to focus on our wedding anniversary coming up at the end of the week. THAT I’m looking forward to.


memories

how awful must it have been Floppy Dog to be living in that house alone for over 6 months? K would come over to feed her and take her out and play a bit, but she was locked in an empty house alone in one room for the better part of 6 months… Dogs are social. That must have hurt so badly, especially not knowing why she was left there, and if she would ever be retrieved…


Is Child Abuse as Harmful as they say?

This is SUCH an important message. Having grown up in a seriously chaotic household with NO stable bases (no one was really safe), I wonder how I became the person I actually am… or maybe I have a better idea of where my rage and chaos comes from…


National Coming out Day October 11th

I’ve never seen this video, and absolutely fell in love…
National Coming Out Day, L & I’s Wedding Anniversary, my aunt’s birthday. going to be a charged day 🙂

Stop the Stigma

 


IHDcm

I just love this note!! Don’t you?!

National Coming Out Day celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. We still need to embrace and celebrate this day. Approximately one out of every two persons knows someone who is   LGBTQ and making this day known not only promotes equality but encourages persons who have not “yet” come out.  October 11th is a day that should be shouting, “It’s okay to be you” and every day thereafter should be a safe place to just be “you”.  Youth Line is one helpline and resource for youths who need support…who don`t feel quite ready “come out” or are just confused.  It is an Ontario based helpline that trained teens answer and their website offers other supports.  For national support across Canada there is always Kids Help Line that offers phone support, web counselling  24 hours a day, 7 days a week as well as LiveChat 4 evenings a…

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planned ignoring (how frustrating yet liberating)

something just hit me: with all her focus on coping skills and changing behavior, my frustration with not feeling heard about my inner dialogues feels like it may be planned ignoring. She’s not focusing on the self-destruction urges and depression because that has (historically) not really gotten me anywhere. She’s honing in on the coping and changing cognitive stuff because that has not yet been tried and failed (at least not outside of DBT. it has certainly failed me in DBT time and time again). But with De I have more of an opportunity to get into the gritty emotional stuff.
I am only guessing this is what she is doing, but I know I have used it with some of the kids I used to work with. We would focus their attention and treatment differently to try to get a different result. Indulging the self-harm thoughts/conversations and the negative thinking was rewarding in a way, so we would take the reward away by turning attention to the things that did make a difference to talk about (normalizing their feelings, dealing with teasing out the past from the present, hearing their stories that lead to the feelings of self-destruction without focus on the actual feelings aside of doing a quick risk assessment…). I recognize some of my reactions/feelings about therapy similar to what I saw with my kids. While it’s frustrating as hell to not be able to talk about the current feelings, having someone hear (and understand) where they are rooted is pretty freeing. Yes, my brain throws more intense emotions at me. Yes, I feel incredibly overwhelmed by not being able to talk about the thoughts flooding my mind. BUT it’s also incredibly validating to be able to talk about some of the things I have never really mentioned in such detail before… I know exactly why my kids raged against the process (the only way you have know how to get the help you need is suddenly failing you). It’s a very unsettling feeling. It at once feels like I’m being ignored (yup) but also indulged (again, yup). The rewards for more “balanced” ways of seeking help are pretty great, while the denial of old help-seeking habits (conscious or unconscious) is infuriating. Suddenly my brain is struggling to figure out how to work within this new constraint.
I will have to ask her if this is actually what she is doing, or if it’s just the best way my brain can put meaning to my frustration without turning out to hate her for not feeling heard… It may put a wrench in her plans if it is actually what she is doing, as I can see myself unintentionally rebelling against that strategy, but it may also just lead to some deeper conversations. Hmm… food for thought.


therapy, teddy bears, beers, and depression

Saw De today. She did most of the talking after acknowledging my shutting down. She tried to help me see that a lot of the stuff is rooted in the past. She wants me to acknowledge and keep in mind that a lot of this reaction is falling into a pattern of the past. I wish I could care right now, but I don;t have the energy. I feel like a fraud and a waste taking her time when there are others who would be better served by her skills.
Other things have been contributing to my depression today (whole cell phone provider fiasco and lack of success finding a suitable replacement. I hate Sprint).
There’s also other thoughts intruding, but trying to keep them in check. So tired. Just want to sell off all the geckos because it would make life easier. The snakes can stay for now, but the geckos need to find a new home. I am neglecting them pretty badly… I made ads for a few of them. There are still a small handful I cannot bare to part with. Contemplating re-homing 4 of the snakes also (a red tail boa, a milk snake and the 2 scaleless rat snakes), but I haven’t settled on that quite yet.
Been drinking a lot lately… not the best coping skill, but better than others…
Even Beary isn’t bringing enough comfort today. I’m losing my temper left and right. I hate myself for it… I fucking hate myself, and all of this shit. I’m surprised more people don;t hate me too… or maybe they do and just haven’t told me yet, but simply slinked off into the distance…


That post-weird-dream weird feeling

I know I was dreaming right until I woke this morning, but I can’t remember what it was about.  I know it was “weird” and I know this hollow-but-heavy feeling I have today is from the dream. I can’t shake the wet cement in my chest. It feels at once empty and heavy.  I hate this feeling.  I wish I knew how to describe it better (maybe figuring out exactly what it is would help leave it behind?). I wish I remembered the dream as more than just this feeling.  It’s close to the feeling of waking up from anesthesia, but not quite it. It’s lonely and hollow and fragile/broken, but at the same time very far away and thick – so full of contradictions.  it feels like floating in space but all contained in a body-shape made of thin melted sugar.  It’s vast but contained. I feel like I’m at once the easy-break-sugar container and the tiny thing floating inside. Wtf?

I’m also starting to feel very much like a little kid who knows she has a ton of stuff to do, but just has no idea how to do it or how to ask for help in doing it… I’m feeling like I ducked something up really badly, but not sure what or how (or how to fix it). There’s an impending doom feeling that I can’t shake.  There’s mistakes I can’t bring myself to admit to.  I don’t know what they are, but there’s a feeling inside that I need to admit fault for whatever it is (if I don’t admit fault and apologize, something else bad will happen, only nothing bad has happened).  Not sure where this is all coming from, but it’s overwhelming and very intrusive.  Part of me wants to call De to talk, but I’m not sure what to say. There’s a fear in reaching out, especially since I don’t know what’s going on or what I need. Ugh… and I don’t think I could actually talk about it anyway. Duck!


Tired for no reason

For the last few days, I have been incredibly tired; to the point of feeling like I had taken something when I actually have not.  It’s really difficult to wake up in the morning, and just as hard to stay awake during the day. My eyes will close unintentionally and I will be asleep in no time. They constantly feel heavy, and my brain is in that fog of sleep. I don’t know what happened.  I feel like I have been awake for weeks and now have to sleep to make up for it.  I have not done anything differently.  I have not been taking anything (even my sleep meds don’t make me this tired anymore). I’m not liking this. :/

Also, I cannot draw what I have in my head and its pissing me off. The drawing is itching to come out, but it’s trapped.


So, um, yeah.

G is coming back in 2 weeks. For 8 days. Wtf?! I’m done with his visits. I think plans will need to involve being out of the house for a solid 8 says. That, and I think De will be sick of me in those 8 days… also, L and I might kill each other from all the tension. Someone shot me?