Monthly Archives: April 2014

so incredibly tired

Yesterday, we headed out to the other coast for a day trip.  A friend was down for a visit, and we decided to meet up.  It was a much-needed and quite awesome experience.  My wife and I detoured on the way over and took a road that led into the swamp.  We pulled over a few times to check out some of the wildlife.  I’m so grateful that my wife indulged me like that.  I was able to get some cool pics of vultures, 2 kinds of locusts, and a box turtle (<–really cool coz I have never seen them in the wild before).  Then we headed out of a refuge where we saw more really cool critters.  THEN WE SAW WILD DOLPHINS!!!! We were at the beach taking pics and noticed a bunch of people watching something in the water.  That’s when we saw what it was: 2 adults and a baby dolphin!  L and I were not dressed to go in the water, but we figured it was a once-in-a-lifetime thing.  We pulled our wallets and phones out of our pockets.  I held everything up high in one hand and walked out taking pictures with my camera in the other (I kept forcing myself not to play out any worst-case scenarios of being knocked over by waves or tripping and losing all our electronics to the ocean water).  I waded out farther than L, and got a pretty good view of them.  They swam about 4 feet from a lady and her adult son.  We must have watched them for a good 15 minutes before they swam off towards the gulf.  Luckily L and I had remembered to bring a change of clothes with us so we were not soaked the whole rest of the day.  We were definitely on a high the rest of the day though.

We got home just after 11pm, but my head was already spinning with how tired I was by the time I pulled the car into the driveway.  I slept like a rock and had a lot of trouble getting up in the morning.  I was able to stay awake for a few hours before that same head-spinning, “about to pass out I’m so tired” feeling hit again.  I crawled back into bed to sleep for another 2 hours.   I’ve been up for less than 2 hours, and that feeling is back.  I thought it may be from not eating enough today, but even having dinner has not helped much.  I guess I really tired myself out these last few weeks.  But yesterday was totally worth it. We got to cross 2 things off our bucket list…


internet presence

I had a panic attach.  I searched my name on the internet and found a whole ton of information.  Accurate information.  Complete information.  It scared the crap out of me.  I had always wondered how bitch found me all those times… how can you escape a stalker if all your info is out there for the world to see?  how can I erase it?  oh shit. oh shit. oh shit… someone tell me how to disappear. please?


What kind of warrior are you?

There was a quiz attached to a list of art therapy prompts I found online.  I was really looking for a clarification of the prompt, but it led to the quiz.  I thought it was kinda interesting, but also quite accurate.  I’m impressed.  I didn’t look into who came up with it, but it’s pretty neat.  The following is what I got:

What kind of Warrior are you?

Results:

Your sphere is Guardian (Person of great Love and Altruism), and your class is Defender (Peaceful, yet Potent).

You are a Warden.

To be a Warden is to be the ultimate Guardian. Whether a physical Guardian or an essential Guardian, is up to you. You may be both. To be a physical Guardian is to be a living, breathing testament to the love you carry for a person, or people, whose lives you will always defend if you possibly can. To be an essential Guardian is to be a living, breathing testament to the security that your wards seek, and will look to you for your always kind, always nurturing support.

Get HTML of this result to paste into your online journal

Fun Facts

33385 people have taken this test so far.

55.5% of the 4804 Wardens surveyed say that they are strict about sex, keeping it only for serious relationships.
27.9% agree with you, saying that they love many people, but are intimate with few.


midnight ramblings

My stomach hurts (from an infection due to an antibiotic), my head hurts… and my heart hurts.  And I can’t seem to alleviate any of it.  The medicine doesn’t take away the stomach or head pain, and I don’t think there’s a medicine for the heartache (at least none that would be “healthy”).  So I’m trying to drown it all out.  I’m sitting here bingeing on Grey’s Anatomy hoping that their story will make me forget my own for a bit… It only works half-way.

Friday De asked me to help her help me figure stuff out.  She said that she was willing to work on stuff, but I had to point her in the right direction.  She wanted me to tell her what I need… Great, if only I knew.  This all has eluded me for 2 decades, how the hell am I supposed to come up with insight now? I tried to express what I mean when I say I “get stupid” about things, but I don’t think I did a good job.  What I mean when I say it is that I cannot apply any of my learning to myself, nor can I figure out a helpful strategy for any hypothetical client that may be going through any of what I am. I get lost and I don’t know how to help anyone else or myself.  I’m at that stage now.  I have no clue what else needs to happen to allow me to move on from things.  The only thing I do know is that the flashbacks, unwanted memories, body memories, and nightmares don’t go away… I don’t know how to alleviate them or make them less of a problem.  I just don’t know what to do next.  She had said she could just ask me questions, but that it would not be helpful, more along the lines of torture.  I can handle torture.  I know what to do with that.  I don’t know how to deal with all this though.  I know how to run or numb or cut, but I don’t know how to simply move on.  Apparently, neither does she.  I tried to tell her that the time she sprung talking about Duckboy on me was good, but she doesn’t want to over-do that.  I have no answers for her.  I have no insight or ideas.  I just don’t know what to do (if I did, I probably wouldn’t need as much of her help).

So what do you do?  How do you move on? What makes things like this better?


that hole…

I went to feed the dogs tonight… Twig’s dish was just sitting there.  I can look past her absence during the day, she used to sleep all the time lately (though taking them out is weird. you wouldn’t think one dog out of 5 makes such a difference, but it does…).  At night, the lack of her weight on the bed is chalked-up to her sleeping on the floor (at least in my sleep-fogged head).  But when I go to feed the dogs and her dish just sits there empty and unused, it’s weird.  and sad.  and empty… There’s a Twiggy-shaped hole in the house (and my heart).  I know it was the right choice, but it doesn’t take away the hurt of missing her.  and it adds one more thing to the huge list of losses.

De keeps trying to convince me this is all normal and even expected, but my head and heart wishes it wasn’t.


RIP Twiggy…

Yesterday she took a turn for the worse.  It was decided that she’s just suffering needlessly, and we can’t do anything to make her better at this point. Mom took her this morning… this was the first time in my life I chose not to go. The humane society doesn’t let you be with your pet when they euthanize them, so what would the point have been other than torturing myself? I cuddled her before she left, and told her I loved her… and I cried.

She was the third pet to go this week. Every 2 days… :(…

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Every demon has it’s reasons **triggering**

This post has been hanging out in its infancy stages in my draft folder since April… I keep meaning to add to it, to flesh it out, but I have trouble articulating.  I think I am just going to hit post and hope for the best. I know I didn’t say everything I wanted to, but maybe this can be an ongoing thought process.   TRIGGER WARNING for talk of child abuse, sexual assault, domestic violence…

Recently I’ve been seeing that a county in Florida is posting “public service announcement” signs declaring the residence of sexual predators as such. I’m filled with mixed emotions in this. The survivor in me is happy that others will know, but the clinician in me cringes.

As someone effected by sexual violence, I want others to know that it’s not ok if it’s being done to them. It’s not ok to ever be hurt like that. It’s not ok to live with that fear. I want to be able to spot a “predator” from miles away and warn anyone that may come into contact with them. I don’t ever want anyone to go through anything like that again.  I want all failsafes in place to forever prevent situations like that. I want that as a professional also. I hate to see clients hurt like that. I want to stop the cycle of abuse and victimization. I want to be out of a job (or the prospect of a job, since I don’t currently work). I understand all too intimately the struggles of victims. I know the emotional torture these situations can bring about.  I know the lasting effects af assault and abuse.  I have taught classes on the effects of trauma.  I have interjected my personal experiences to these theoretical classes.  I can speak with some authority on it, but I wish I couldn’t. So totally I understand the need to point out dangerous people and situations.

The other side of me however, balks at the idea of signs proclaiming the presence of a “sex offender” plastered outside their homes. Don’t get me wrong, I most certainly do not ever want to see anyone else harmed like that, but I also know (from training and experience) that most sex offenders have some sort of trauma history.  Most offenders did not get to the point of harming someone else without first being harmed themselves.  Take the story of Aileen Wuornos (made into a movie, Monster, in 2003). She was one of a handful of female serial killers who murdered men in Florida.  She was tried, found guilty, and executed in 2002.  On the surface, she was a horrifically scary woman who seemed to kill her “johns” for no reason.  But if you dig into her story, you find a scared, damaged little girl who responded to the world in the only way that made sense to her at the time.  No, not all (or any? I can’t remember the full story at the moment) of the men she killed harmed her, but several others did.

I think there’s a very fine line that keeps some victims from becoming perpetrators themselves.  Many of us don’t ever cross that line, but some teeter on the edge, and some do cross it.  And not everyone that crosses that line is dangerous.  I worked in a clinic once where a “sexual predator” was receiving services.  To most people, he was a sick bastard who like to get off under women’s windows, or in the backyard by the kids toys.  He was arrested several times for exposing himself and “voyeurism”.  When he came to the clinic, he was quiet and shy.  He looked and acted more like a wounded animal than anything else.  Once he opened up to his clinician, we quickly figured out why he was doing the things he did.  Initially, all but one of the clinicians that had been asked to work with him had refused to do so.  Because of so many being reluctant to engage the client due to prejudices, his case was used in on-going training everyone at the office was required to attend.  The first training had almost all staff leaving either in tears or in a slight fog.  We were floored by the horrific abuse this man endured as a child.  One of his many punishments was being stripped naked and tied outside by his penis for hours at a time in all sorts of weather, and for seemingly innocuous “transgressions” (eating outside of a meal time, taking more food than allowed, not returning home at the appropriate time, simply existing).  He lived this his entire life.  No one made a move to take the child out of the abusive situation. No one helped him when he was “bad”. In turn, he learned that exposure and sexual discomfort were appropriate punishments for being “bad”, and that being bad could be as simple as thinking the wrong thing, or being early/late by a few minutes.  He learned to punish himself. After he grew up, he would stand outside a family’s home and expose himself.  He would stand there until someone called the police, or until he felt he had been sufficiently punished (sometimes hours in the snow). He replayed the same abuse he grew up with, only we didn’t see that part of his story.  All we saw was “some creep” being inappropriate around families, and it scared us… I still cry thinking of his story.

There’s a huge disparity in the treatment provided to victims vs offenders.  This is evident not only in the way we treat sex offenders, but in the way we treat perpetrators of domestic violence, or anyone in the criminal justice system.  We tend to forget that traumas wound deeply. Sustained traumas or early traumas tend to wound more deeply than later ones, but all of them have long-lasting effects on the people who experience them.  I think a good recent attempt at illustrating this is the Netflix show Orange is the New Black.  While it centers on one woman’s journey through the prison system, it does a good job of telling the stories of others also.  The characters we are introduced to as vile and unsavory turn out to be some really endearing and struggling women.  I don’t like every character on the show, and I don’t agree with all their life choices, but I can understand them.  And the show reminds me to take a breath before judging someone.  I try to let the anger wash over me, but then wash away.  I try to remember this for myself also when I get too down on my actions and behaviors.  I could easily have been one of those perpetrators with a sign in front of my house, but I’m not.  I had the presence of mind (and the support of others) to realize that certain actions are not ok.  I wasn’t pushed as far as some others have been, but that does not mean that if I had been in their exact situation I would have behaved differently.  I still very much struggle with the concept of some of the thoughts I used to have as a child.  It’s something I had only started admitting to De very recently, and only in the most vague sense (there is SO MUCH shame around it).  But I think it’s very important to realize every action or inaction has a reason. The more I learn about trauma and abuse, the more I deal with in my own personal life, the more I begin to think that the “nature” side of the debate is less and less pivotal than the “nurture” side of things.  Yes, there are very much differences in the way people are wired. There are different levels of sensitivity and resilience that have no known root in nurture, but nurture goes a long way in dictating the rest of our lives.  Had I not had the conversations with my mom and aunt that I did as a kid, had I not overheard their conversations, or seen the way they and others reacted to some horrific stuff, I doubt I would have set out on this “different” path than some others who became perpetrators.  I could have easily become the violent and out-of-control “monster” my father was (and still can be). I could have easily been in jail by now, but I’m not.  And I’m thankful for that every day…

I don’t want anyone to think that this blog is meant to advocate no punishment, or no consequences for actions, because that is certainly NOT my intent.  I just want to get wheels turning and people thinking.  I want to advocate compassion in everyday life, and an awareness that sometimes acting out is just the tip of the iceberg.  There are certainly people who are beyond scary. There are people who will likely not benefit from treatment or leniency, but there are also a lot of hurting people out there in the world.  I think we need more compassion for that…

I’m suddenly reminded of a TED talk that I first heard about last year or the year before.  It’s a different way to look at mental illness, and it speaks about “psychosis” with similar insight. It’s definitely worth a listen (or re-listen). Abuse and trauma has long-lasting effects, and maybe as a society, we need to start being more trauma-informed when dealing with perpetrators of abuses and crimes. We certainly need an over-haul to the mental health system in this country.


Feeling antsy tonight.  The dog had taken another turn for the worse. M will not entertain taking her to the vet so we could be with her, so I don’t want to go.  There’s no point in me being there to torture myself if I can’t sit with her when she goes.  So fuck that.

Couple’s therapy was weird. But like L pointed out, we only have two sessions left. So whatever to that too… at least I see De tomorrow (hope that goes better than stuff today).


Insomnia

I think I’m seeing a cycle to this, but I’m not sure so I want to note it somewhere. I’ve been sleeping ok for about 4 days, then tonight I can’t sleep at all. It’s 4 a.m. and I have not slept at all. I’m not even tired… tomorrow’s gonna suck.


a need to be occupied

I find when things start to get hairy, I feel the need to be occupied by something or other 24/7.  Earlier today we had gone out with friends to a local museum/gardens. Then L was asked to come in to work 2 hours early (making it an over-night shift), so she had to go to bed by about 5pm.  I find myself bored and in need of something to occupy my thoughts.  The house is SO quiet right now (except for the dogs occasionally barking).   M’s not big on conversation, so the human contact is at a minimum.  I really want to watch tv or something, but she dislikes the noise.  I’m not really sure what to do with myself.  I know if I head to the art room, the dogs will get antsy and make more noise than they already are.  Yet I feel like I need to engage in something.  Everything at my disposal easily leads to boredom.  I could take the kids for a walk, but all 5 dogs by myself is kinda killer (when “the puppy” walks with us, competition to get ahead ensues.  everyone else has since figured out that I lead the pack and they need to walk with me, but he fights me for that status when the others are around.  the walk then turns to me being dragged behind 5 dogs running in slightly different directions.  I don’t think my arms and shoulders can stand that at the moment).

I put music on in the background, but I’m plugged into the computer… Figures this would be the moment the puppy decides he needs to pee… Well, at least I was able to get all the dogs out to potty before the frogs came out for the night (saves my arm, much like not walking them all at once does).  That took care of about 10 minutes.  Now what?

I’ve noticed that there are times I need to be entertained; to keep my head occupied so the less-desirable obsessions don’t float to the surface.  I’ve really been struggling with self-harm thoughts and urges these last few weeks.  I’ve been doing ok keeping them at bay, but they are stubborn.  I’m trying to be more stubborn.  It’s difficult though.  Really difficult.  I keep finding nothing soothes them for very long, and that I need to keep occupied at all times so they don’t overwhelm me.  The Wreck This Journal had helped for about a week but I find I’m losing steam in it.  The paper cranes helped yesterday, but I can’t bring myself to do more today.  Being out at Morikami helped today, but it’s over now.  I want to watch more Grey’s Anatomy.  Maybe that would help keep me distracted for a while.  But I have to wait till M goes to bed.  It would stress her out way too much (and she hates most tv programs).

I’m not quite sure what else to do with myself.  I may draw or try collaging later if Grey’s doesn’t catch my attention for long.  I need to stay with the dogs to head off most of their barking (so L can sleep some before work). Maybe the music will make the web surfing bearable…


Paper Crane Invasion

It was suggested that I keep my hands busy when the self-harm urges get stronger, to take care of myself instead of destroy myself. So I made a paper crane,  and 100 of his closest friends. Some ended up looking like dragons to me… (and then I rewarded my hard work with ice cream).  I could probably fold these in my sleep now.

 


Friday

I’m not quite sure what happened in session with De on Friday. She talked a lot. I colored a drawing I had done in my Wreck This Journal. I know she recognized something was up because at the end of session she asked what kind of space I was in. She wanted to know if I was more or less triggered than the beginning. I really didn’t figure out I was spacing until she asked about it. She wanted to see what I was coloring, and I didn’t want to show her at that moment. I rarely have issues showing her what I’m doing, but I guess I didn’t want to let her in right then. It was too raw, too close to the moment, too vulnerable. It was the only time she has ever leaned in without permission and I recoiled when she did that. She sat back and changed the topic. I changed what I was coloring. She then asked if she could see it later on, but I wasn’t sure.  After session, I wish she had asked to see it again. I would have shown her (I was removed enough from it by that time). I don’t really remember what else we talked about though (she talked about, I colored quietly for the most part I think. I don’t remember talking much). I think she validated my statement that I was in a weird space all week.  I think she was trying to have me be ok with it. I kinda wish she had asked more and talked less. I think I might have gotten someplace with stuff if she did that. I think she asked if I had made space to cry, but when I said no, she just launched into it being an important release and that I should try to make space for it. She acknowledged that it was difficult to do at home, blah, blah, blah… if she had left silence and space in session, I probably would have gotten around to it there, but it didn’t happen.
She talked more. I know there were points where I slowed in my coloring, and I just started doing very small lines of color, very controlled, but I don’t remember what she was talking at me about at that moment. I just made mental note that my coloring style changed. I don’t think she paused, though she might have asked me questions then, I really don’t remember. I guess I was pretty checked-out. I think this is the first time I regretted coloring during session. It was easier to check out, and she didn’t figure out what it was that I needed to talk about (I certainly have no memory of it now). I know there were a few points where I just couldn’t say anything because the only words that made it remotely close to my mouth were nowhere near the meaning I was looking for, so I didn’t say them. I wanted to, but the words were all wrong for my meaning. I think we had been talking about being kind to myself and my body. I wanted to tell her that my concept and her concept of being kind are very different, but I didn’t know how to explain that. I couldn’t bring voice to the idea that hurt is kindness in my messed up little brain. Cutting is kindness. Being put into uncomfortable situations is kindness. Being forced into things is kindness. Pain is kindness. I didn’t know how to explain that, in that very moment, as much as I should know better, I couldn’t see beyond that line of thinking. I didn’t think I could handle her challenges to it at the time, so I stayed quiet. I tried to voice it a few times, but silence prevailed and all I could repeat was mumbled, half-uttered “I don’t know.” She continued talking on at me for most of the session. I know she had asked something about small steps towards something or other, but again, I’m not really sure what she was talking about. I knew at the time in that I understood her words, but I didn’t retain it past nodding at what she had said. There was also something about not necessarily getting to everything in the time we have left working together, but that we could at least get to something. Again, I didn’t retain what that something was.

It’s so frustrating not to remember. It happens more often then not again. It frustrates everyone around me, not only myself…

I think she also tried to point out the progress I had made, but I disagreed with her assessment. She said I’m better at communicating a lot more to her through writing. She said we got through a bunch of stuff, and she said my coping is much better than it had been when I first started seeing her. I know I was in a really bad space at the time, but I don’t see my progress in such leaps and bounds. I think it’s because I know I’ve pulled back into myself a lot including with her. My walls are up for everything and everyone. The thinking hasn’t really changed, but my presentation has. A huge fear of external consequences coupled with a lack of available help has me stuffing a lot. I guess I use art a ton more lately, so I guess that’s progress. But it doesn’t feel that big inside. It feels like I’m holding my breath with everything because I have to. Care down here sucks. Networking help sucks. There’s no additional support, so my survival instinct has kicked in. Falling apart is not an option unless I’m ok with falling completely to pieces and losing all hope of freedom or any right to have a say in my treatment. Fear and having no choice but to do stuff on my own forces that old thinking to kick in again. I can’t rely on anyone but myself. I guess that’s a good thing…

I really want to do some more graphic art, but I’m afraid it would be a trigger rather than a release at this time. So I’m sticking to tame subjects. And I’m just sitting here staring at the page with no results. Maybe tomorrow I can collage or something to get some of this out. It’s there under the surface. It has been for a few weeks, but I have not been able to safely look at it and get it onto paper.

I really wish we would have talked about that drawing this week. I know she is not a mind reader, but at the same time I didn’t know how to ask her to talk about it. I didn’t know how to start, or what to say, or even how to ask her to ask about it and push the subject. Sometimes it sucks when therapists take the safe road and avoid pushing the things we try to avoid (at least outwardly). I get the concept of meeting clients where they are at, and letting them direct how much they reveal or what they talk about, but sometimes I need a push because I’ll tiptoe around things to keep from making others uncomfortable, or out of embarrassment and trepidation… I wish I didn’t have to wait again until Friday. It’s so damn far away. And the weeks are creeping by.


Ugh.

Mood is not in a great place today and when I text J to see if we were still meeting today, she cancelled last-minute. That just makes me want to stay in bed.  The day is not off to a good start. Money issues, crappy mood, no therapy… I see De tomorrow, but it feels like forever away. We were supposed to save money, and we spent it all. We suck at this. I suck at this. And I have no motivation to try to find ways to make more right now.  L’s hours have been cut so much that her check was less than half of what it had been lately. That really screwed up our ability to meet our monthly needs, forget about saving. Ugh. Can I hide in bed all day (week, month, year)?

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Today’s progress with Wreck This Journal

I can’t seem to put this down for long. Creativity took a while to kick in today, but I pulled a few pieces together that I really like…

the last one I worked on tonight (Ugly Things) is sticking with me.  It took the most thinking to pull together, though the general idea came pretty quickly.  I wanted to represent my struggles with… life, and show the reasons behind those struggles.  I wanted to pull some more meaning into this book because I need to balance out my light and dark sides.  I’m still working on the rest of it (want to figure out how to add in something about my struggles with eating/body image, as well as the sh).  The girl in the corner was supposed to be contemplating suicide by multiple methods, but it just looks like she is using the pills and booze to numb the nightmares, and fending them off with the knife… While metaphorically accurate in that sh keeps the nightmares at bay, I want the sh to be a bit more explicit in the piece because it has been so explicit in my life for so long.  I want the viewer to know that she is thinking of slicing herself up, not just the monsters in her head. I also want to do something with hands being held down. I can’t find a satisfactory reference pic though, so it has not materialized yet.


More wrecked things

I think I am obsessed with this thing!

Here are some from this weekend.  A lot are “WIP” or Work In Progress…

 

 


playing with wrecking things

wreck this journalI had seen the “Wreck This Journal” books a while ago and brushed it off as something in which I wasn’t interested.  I looked down on it thinking it was stupid after having looked at only a handful of the pages… then I started to see what people were doing with them.  I fell in love with the idea.  I know I could come up with my own prompts, but it’s just so much easier (and uncomfortable) to use the ones in the book.  I caved and ordered 2 books off amazon (one each for L and I) and they arrived yesterday.  We got to work pretty much as soon as they were out of the box.  L has done a lot more with her’s, but I’m getting there.  It’s a fun, creative process.

Here are a few of the one’s I’ve done so far.

doodle over this pageThis first one was done during couple’s therapy yesterday (we met at Starbucks because it was closer for all involved. It was a bit weird, but not too bad).  The leaves were inspired by the plant on the property across the street, and the bird was inspired by all the birds flying around… I used chalk to color in the line drawing later on that night.

 

 

 

 

you forgot your flash driveThis next one was also done during couple’s therapy, and inspired by Big Bang Theory. If you watch BBT, this is from a pretty iconic scene. The prompt was to doodle or write on the outside edges of the book.

 

 

color outside the linesThis one was inspired by the chalk box that I had decorated several months ago… I love spirals, the sun, and water. This one is also done in chalk.

 

 

 

 

batik sunflowerThis prompt was to tear out the page and crumble it up.  I remembered seeing a kid’s art project where the students drew and colored sunflowers with crayon.  They layered the crayon really heavily, then crumpled up the page to create the creases.  The pictures were flattened again and painted over with black paint.  The excess paint was wiped off before it dried  onto the wax, which created a really cool batik look.  I thought this was the perfect place to try it myself.  Here is the result. (sorry for the blurry pic.  I didn’t realize how bad it was until I saw it on my monitor.  I will take a better one tomorrow).

 

 

rip it to stripsFinally, this page was a white page with dotted lines.  The prompt was to tear it into strips.  I wanted to color it first, so I did.  The following page instructs you to glue, staple, or tape the two pages together.  I sprayed the bottom half of that page with adhesive and stuck the strips to it.  I had intended to keep them flat, but the unruly strips had other plans… I just went with it.

 

If you have not seen these books around yet, I suggest looking them up.  If you are like I was and hesitant because they seemed “stupid” I suggest taking another look.  It give you the chance to be creative, messy, inspiring, social, destructive, and experimental all at once.  If you are not quite sure what to do for any one prompt, just set it aside.  There is no set order to go through the pages, and you can choose to do what it asks, or ignore it and do something different.  Play around, have fun, and try not to judge what you do.

Most people will only publicise the more interesting pages they did, but I will try to keep a balanced log.  I think I may also end up creating my own version that has more of a therapeutic spin to it (maybe something along the lines of a journal version of the 100-theme challenge). Wreck This Journals do have maybe 5 more-introspective prompts, but I think the concept leans towards the creative process rather than any introspection.  It is pretty much the surface aspects of art therapy in a book, but I would want one that entices me to dig a little deeper about stuff… and maybe something that has paper made for art.  The stuff used for this book is pretty porous, which leads to a lot of bleed-though. Being a perfectionist and rather anal about my pages all being useful, this bothers me a bit (though I’m working on accepting the “mess” of it all).


It’s not about my sudden support for the Huskies

I’m not a sports fan.  I could care less about sporting events 99.9% of the time, unless it’s my alma mater sweeping the men’s and women’s basketball championships.  The UConn women clinched their 9th championship, and the men their 4th.  I’m proud, if for no other reason than I was indoctrinated to 5 years (I was on the longer-term plan due to mh issues) of Husky Fever when basketball season rolled around.  There was no choice.  The campus would erupt for the games, and pride ran high.  There was no escaping it (and I worked at the school’s campus bookstore during and a bit after college).

L knows I generally don’t pay attention to sports.  She enjoys them, and gets frustrated when I don’t join her excitement.  The last 2 weeks however, I have posted a few things on my fb account about the Huskies going to Championship titles again.  I rooted for them a few times… But as I said in the title, this isn’t about the Huskies.

Stress is running high at home.  L’s move back up north is in about 4.5 weeks.  The house is physically in chaos with the work we are doing on the walls.  Couple’s therapy is soon to wrap-up.  L’s individual therapy is ending.  Changes are ever-closer on the horizon.  It’s scaring us both.  There’s no guarantees that things will be better up north financially or in terms of our living situation.  We may have to find a long-term foster for one of our dogs.  We will live apart for the first time since we moved in together 6 years ago… The stress has brought about more than one “tiff” between L and I.  She reacted strongly and negatively to my “sudden” support for sports.  We argued about it, and she admitted there was more to it than that.  I, in my frustration at her anger, told her to figure out what’s beneath it.  She came back later saying that it’s a self-esteem thing. She said that she looks to my validation of her (and everything she does, likes, supports) to bring her some semblance of self-worth.  It makes sense then that she 1) was upset when I told her again that I didn’t care about sports, and 2) suddenly seemed to become a fan.  She berated herself for needing so much outside validation from me.  She had no idea my frustrations this week were rooted in similar places.  One of our arguments has been about the animals and her resentment towards them.  She is cranky about them, and we disagree regularly about how many we should keep, and what the ideal amount of furry and scaley kids would be.  We argue over spending any money on them at all.  Earlier this week, I was hurt that she seems to resent or hate “most everything” that means a lot to me.  That was the fuel behind argument one this week.  It kills me when she snaps at the animals, or gets cranky, or gets frustrated when they need something.  Instead of telling her how hurt I was by this or why it hurt me (I didn’t really know how to put it into words at the time), I snapped at her.  I was curt and passive-aggressive in not wanting to talk to her or be around her… We also had the sports argument more than once this week, but this morning she was able to put her finger on why it bothered her.  When she voiced that, I realized that I also look to her for a lot of my self-worth.  When she doesn’t love something I’m passionate about, I question the validity of my passion.  When it’s something as integral in my life as my animals, her disapproval hurts that much more.  How can I reconcile the fact that my wife really hates a huge part of “me”?  (she will say she does not hate them, but that she thinks they make our lives more difficult.  I know she has valid points, and I know she does not, in fact, hate them.  My head however, interprets that as hate for one huge reason: G used to say things along those lines but with actual hate.  L is NOT G.  She never could be.  But my head takes the smallest similarities and blows them up into triggers that set off complex emotional reactions.  My self-worth is tied hugely into the animals and my ability to give them a good life (let’s forget for a moment that a lot of the time depression makes this really difficult to accomplish with any regularity).  It is also tied heavily into my wife’s acceptance and love for me.  The animals are “part” of me, so when she gets mad at them, I see it as her getting mad at me.  When she resents them, I take it as resentment of me. Huge cognitive leaps, I know, but I’m good at those (and so is L, because she says she feels the same way about things she holds dear)…

So now we have recognized and labeled all of this.  We have talked about it briefly.  We have come to an understanding of sorts, but I am not sure if that will necessarily change our individual reactions to rejection by the other.  I hope we get to see J this week because I think we need someone else off of whom to bounce all this.  We need J to be her regular “Ms. Obvious” and point out what we are missing.  My emotions are still really raw.  If L’s are anything like mine, this will not be the last argument we have this week.  I know I have a tendency to instigate frustrations with someone who is about to leave (even if only physically and only for a few months).  It is easier to separate physically if you are angry at someone; you don’t long for their touch or presence (or you try to convince yourself you don’t), and the days of suddenly being apart are hopefully made easier by the buffer of anger (no matter how ridiculous or nit-picky)…I know I do this.  I can see it just after I have done something to anger the other or myself.  I just don’t really know how to catch myself before doing it.  I don’t know how to think things through without opening my mouth too early.  I know how to look back and point out how stupid I was being.  That’s not very helpful though once the person you care about is now genuinely angry or hurt.  :sigh:  As I have been fond of saying over the last few weeks: anger suddenly seems easier to deal with than sadness or fear…


PTSD on tv. (Nashville spoiler alert for this past weeks episode)

We watch Nashville. Mostly L got hooked and has hooked me. This most recent episode (Crazy) dealt with a lot of drama amongst the characters. It also highlighted child abuse and the effects of it on adult survivors… and then it left you hanging with Scarlet having a major flashback on stage. I can’t speak to the validity of the scene because, quite frankly, I’m stuck with her hiding under the piano. In my head, I’m berating Juliet for not being understanding, but I also relate to Scarlet’s reaction to having her request dismissed. It’s something with which I’m familiar. You could argue that she should have insisted, should have taken a stand for herself and refused to perform, but in reality, she did what many kids who grew up like that would do; she did what I would do.  She swallowed her fear and her needs to comply with what she was told to do. She asked once, but being the “good girl” she is, she never pushed the issue. I can recall any number of times when I tried to take care of myself only to be told to smile and keep “performing.” There’s a training that kicks in. It takes over to keep you going until you can’t go any further. It has you following direction even when your heart screams in agony at the thought.  It keeps you upright until the moment you crumble, and it hides the signs so no one understands the gravity of the situation until the moment everything falls to pieces. We are gifted at understatement and minimizing. Because of this, our desperation often gets overlooked. I don’t blame people for missing it because I’m so good at the act. You have to be when any sign of needing anything for yourself is seen as weakness; when you are constantly told that you cannot rely on anyone because they will always fail you when you need them (and then you live through it). You have to be all smiles and perfect because “what happens at home is none of anyone else’s business”… you smile outside to keep the illusion going, but you find little escapes. There are pills or drinks or drugs or blades or food or any number of other quiet coping skills you utilize to be able to keep up appearances.
Before I wound up in the hospital for the first time after a suicide attempt, only my therapist, my roommate, and my then-wife had any clue things were not all butterflies and roses. I smiled through work and life until I just couldn’t do it any more. Then, a week later I was released to return to work the next day.  Only my boss and the house therapist knew what really happened.  I was back to smiles and faking it…
I’m sure Nashville will either turn this into a huge drama moment, or they will sweep out all under the rug as the scene accomplished the cliff-hanger they were searching for to keep viewers tuning in for the following week.  I hope they do the topic justice. I hope they can shed light on what it’s like to live as the person who went through crappy shit growing up.  I won’t hold my breath though, because its prime time tv. I’ll give it to them though, they did a pretty decent job evoking the emotion and triggering my head to spin around with my own experiences. We have to wait till next week to find out what they do with it.  If the way they handled another characters suicidal ideation/actions is any indication, the majority of the story line dealing with the ptsd is over. They likely won’t mention it until the very end of next week’s show, and even that will be in passing.  I’m hoping for more, but I’m not putting faith in it… when I get on my computer, I will post a link to the song Scarlet sings about her experiences with mom. It’s a really haunting ballad, but worth the listen if you can handle it.


“It’s 3am I must be lonely…”

The title has nothing to do with this post, but the song popped into my head when I looked at the time just now…

I’m wide awake again; have been since 1. Too much is going on in my head. At the same time it’s nothing. There are thoughts that meander through but are gone as soon as I think them. It’s worries and fears and clutter. I want to curl up into a corner and hide under a blanket. I want to cry for no real reason at all. I’m feeling very small. I’m not quite sure what to do with that. Part of me wants to talk to De about stuff, but it’s nothing specific. It’s nothing and everything. I want to be able to be vulnerable and grown up at the same time. But all I feel is vulnerable. I am grown up, but it doesn’t feel that way.  I feel like I need to prove to someone that I can handle “grown up” things even though I’m not grown up (Only I am, so it makes things confusing)… like I said, I feel very small. And helpless (or powerless?) Because I should know what to do but I don’t.  Very much a small kid feeling, but not the small kid I was. Or at least not the small kid I don’t remember being (the few times I do remember being a kid, I knew what to do; had to have confidence in my decisions). It’s also weird because I don’t know exactly what I feel like I should know how to do. It’s just a feeling of being small and wishing I didn’t have to struggle to figure things out. It feels like a kid who is stuck making a big decision though an adult should be making it. But there’s no concept of what that decision should be, or why I feel like this. Gotta love the middle-of-the-night weirdness that goes on.  It’s as if the daylight keeps things in better perspective, but night time is free reign for my brain to mess with me. I should be hiding under some dense bushes with a fox… I’m not sure why that image popped into my head.
L will be up in half an hour to go to work. At least then I’ll have some company while she is getting ready. Or maybe my brain will finally shut off and I’ll fall asleep before then.  I don’t know. The little kid feeling is gone. That’s good. It was unsettling…
I’m worried about the changes to come, and the inevitable losses. I don’t like loss. I don’t deal with it, just stuff it away so the past ones burst out with each new loss… you’d think I have figured out by now that this is not productive. Clearly no one told my head.
I may try to sleep a bit, or cuddle the dog, or both.  She moved closer to my leg and I can feel her shuddering. I don’t know if it’s because she is chilly (the fan is on and she is right under it) or because she’s hurting. I hope it’s from the cold because I can fix that… (It’s now 5 a.m. and she must have just been cold. I covered her in my part of the blanket and she stopped shaking).


absence makes the heart grow fonder

… or something like that (with blogging at least), right?

Anyway, sorry I have not been around much.  Life has gotten in the way.  There’s too much to do, and too little time in which to do it.  We had planned this Saturday to be a “wallpaper removal party” complete with friends and festivities.  It ended up being just us… and the festivities… and it took us all weekend just to get the paper off in 3 areas (we still have most of the house to go, plus the glue left on the walls).  I think we may have been a tad delusional at thinking it would have all been done this weekend, even with more help.  It kept the dogs quiet though (they were too confused by all the moving, scraping, and fabric softener).  The house still smells like the generic stuff we got, and the snuggle we broke into later on when we ran through 2 bottles of the generic.  The floor is a greasy-waxy mess, and none of us have the desire (or energy) to clean it.  It makes for fun times watching the dogs trying to stand in place as their feet slip in 4 separate directions (think of Bambi on the ice). We really should clean it all up, but that takes more effort, and we are all wiped out.

L and I got into a tiff this morning… well, I was in a mood, and she happened to be the recipient of the frustrations.  I felt bad afterwards, but at the time I thought she would be better off without me since we disagree on some key points.  We’ve since kissed and made up.  I’m also trying to keep my frustrations on the objects and situations to which they belong.  It wasn’t fair to take it out on L.  We’ve talked about this, and I think we are ok right now, just both stressing a ton.  This move will be more involved and more expensive than we had thought.  The break will likely be a roller-coaster, but we will make it and get back to living our lives in relative harmony.  All couples fight, and we are no different except maybe in that we do it silently and with distance until one or the other is willing to talk about things.  Then, we have hopefully thought things through enough before we open our mouths (not always the case on my end) and say things out of displaced anger… I did realize again that (recently) it’s easier to be angry than sad.  I don;t exactly know when this shift happened, but it did.  I used to have an easier time being sad as opposed to angry, but something switched.  I dislike this new turn of events, because anger spurs more stupid words/actions on my part.  At least I know how to handle sadness (mostly… ok, not really, but maybe I have a better and less-harmful-to-others approach with sadness).  I dunno.  Anyway, I’m just glad she doesn;t hate m and want to divorce me (and she is glad the same is true on my end).  Funny how talking clears up so much… I was all worried that she hated me and my animals obsession enough to divorce me, and she thought my animal obsession would cause me to divorce her.  We were both really just scared of losing the other, but we were pinning the withdrawal on the other though they made no move to actually do so… gotta love communication.

I’m tired but I’m not, and the worry about going to bed is back.  I have the iPod tonight though. It had spent 2 nights in the car between Thursday and Saturday because I had forgotten to bring it in.  Last night I finally broke down and went out to get it.  I slept much better with my music (ok, I’m sure the Benadryl also helped some).  I just like having it to sleep with… I need to go switch the laundry now before I forget again.  Twigs has been peeing in her sleep more often than not, and we need to wash her diaper every time.  We forgot till later tonight, but I think it’s all done now.  Also, L is bored in there (also can’t sleep) so someone needs to keep her occupied 😉


Well, that wasn’t what I expected…

Today was another really long day. After therapy (nothing too exciting or interesting), we had about an hour to kill before picking up a friend at the airport. I decided it might be cool to see the display that my piece is in.  We drove over (didn’t realize it was only about 5 blocks from where De’s office is). It was a mixed bag of emotions for me. There were a bunch of really moving pieces, and some that made me sad-angry… L took pictures of them, and I just looked at everything. They told stories and gave hope. I’m not sure how many people actually took the time to look at it though. Part of me wanted to ask the people walking by what they thought of it all, but another part of me wanted to hide. L was just as moved by everything if her comments were any indication. I wanted to find the other artists and make everything safe for them. I wanted to fix all the broken little pieces. I wanted to give the little ones their childhood back. I wanted to give the older ones their lives back. I wanted to make everything better. I felt out of place. I wanted to be the care-taker… I spent a bit of time just staring at my piece because it looked so foreign to me. I suddenly didn’t connect to it at all. But at the same time I wanted to rip it off the wall and tear it to pieces… there was definitely two very opposing emotions playing out inside me. I wanted to help, to yell at people to pay attention. But I also felt very small and just wanted to hide from the world. I suddenly didn’t want anyone knowing anything there was mine. I felt ashamed and scared… I kept switching back and forth between those two emotions… I wish more people took this kind of thing seriously.
The desire to hide came about again later in the afternoon when L showed my friend a picture of the piece.  She started to ask about it, and I couldn’t look up from my lunch plate. I felt so vulnerable. It’s weird because this friend happens to be an ex, and she knows the basics of what happened. She knows this is part of my history, but suddenly being faced with speaking about even just the art made me feel small and exposed. She didn’t ask more about it (or if she did, L answered because I have no memory of talking more about it).
Speaking of this friend, I wish we had gotten the chance to hang out some more.  As it was, we saw her for about 3 hours between picking her up at the airport, going to lunch, and heading out to drop her off at her brother’s house. I’ve only seen her a handful of times in the last few years, but it only seemed awkward these last 2 visits. L and I try not to pry too much, but she always seems unhappy or distracted with work (she was on the phone or checking work email about half the time we spent together. I would have not felt so brushed-off if she had been talking to her wife, but work while on vacation seems excessive). I guess it makes sense for her personality, but it was still a bit frustrating.  Maybe the awkward brought about the work obsession? I was trying to figure out if L or I said anything to make her feel unwelcome. If we did, I wish she would have pointed it out…
Anyway, it was good to see her and spend some time catching up again.
Oh, cute and only somewhat related:a momma duck had situated her nest under the bushes right outside the restaurant. The eggs hatched today and she had cute little fuzzies tucked under her when we went. I managed to snag a picture, but it’s mostly mom complaining about us getting too close. She hid the kids under her.

image

I think L got a better picture of the babies, but I’m not sure. She was very protective of them.  I hope they do ok, because that’s a really busy restaurant in a really busy retail area. The closest water is quite a ways away.


People can now be forcibly drugged in their own homes in every state in the country.

Scary prospect. I need to look more into this law, but no one should ever be forced into treatment. As someone that was almost forced into a horrific treatment after being forced into the hospital, the idea of being forcibly medicated even outside of a psychiatric hospital scares the shit out of me. We, as consumers of mental health services, can already lose our rights at the drop of a hat. We don’t need this brought into our homes. It really scares me that someone might think I “need” meds and can force me into it easier than they already can…

Everything Matters

The out patient forced treatment bill passed…people can now be forcibly drugged in their own homes in every state in the country.

What tragedy befalls us. This is dangerous legislation.

More:

And from Beyond Meds:

A collection on Forced Treatment:  Coercion, subtle or otherwise, is the rule in psychiatric care…

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