Monthly Archives: December 2014

2014 stats in review

For my own reference (and in case anyone else cares), I’m going to post this… I think I will likely hide it from the blog next week if I remember (since it’s not quite on topic).

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,000 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 3 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.


Exhausted

I had the hardest time rolling out of bed today. I’m normally up and moving by 8 or 9. This morning, I started at 7:30, but had to get back into bed after feeding the cats because I was about to fall over. I stayed in bed until almost 11. At that point I got up in a hurry because the dogs had not been attended to yet and I felt guilty. I took them out and gave them breakfast. That tired me out almost to the point of not having enough energy to make coffee. I sat for a bit between activities. Getting up to make the coffee was excruciating. I was out of breath just standing there waiting for it to brew so back to the couch I went. It took me a good 20 minutes after it was done to muster the energy to go get a cup (the couch is maybe 15 feet from the coffee maker). It took me about an hour to drink half of my first cup. Even lifting the cup to my mouth was hard.

Later, I decided to try to clean the house a bit (the little dog likes to mark his territory regardless of potty training). I managed to clean up the pee spots then needed to sit again.

I’m not quite sure what is wrong, but I spent the rest of the day in bed. I was tired, dizzy, and short of breath all day, even when laying down. The inhaler helped for a while, but it wore off in short order… then the nausea hit. I really hope I’m not getting sick, because I don’t want to miss the journal class on the first (I don’t have plans for new year’s eve, so I don’t much care if I’m functioning or not tomorrow night). I was lamenting to L that I had just managed to walk 6 miles at the beach last week but today I can’t walk from the couch to the bed.

I think as the day wore on, I associated the feeling with anxiety because my heart was pounding and flopping in my chest. I wish I still had some Ativan. I might have managed to do more today.

I’m still exhausted and don’t have the energy to stand for more than it takes to walk to the bed or the bathroom, but my heart has stopped racing and the nausea is gone. Let’s hope the dizziness, weakness, and exhaustion disappear overnight…

If I had better insurance, I might have gone to the doctor at least for some anxiety meds, but my monthly deductible is way too high. We are trying to save money, not spend it. It’s funny, the country mandates health insurance, yet it doesn’t do anything to help the people that fall between the state and federal aid guidelines. According to the state, I get too much money from disability to qualify for aid, but according to the federal government, the state should be helping me out. I can’t win.


“It’s stupid”

Someone on a forum brought up the concept of thinking something is really important outside of therapy, then getting to the session and deeming it unimportant. It got me thinking about how I decide what to say, and what I will verbalize as being unimportant. I found that I rarely consciously think something is no longer important unless I’m terrified to talk about it. I will have a really strong desire to talk about it outside of session. I feel a lot of emotions relating to it, but when it comes down to talking about it, I panic. I worry about how it will sound, and I worry about judgement. So when I start to say it, I end up pausing and brushing it off as “stupid” or “not important” because I’m really just terrified to talk about it…
It’s times like these I know I really need to talk about it, but I also need some more evidence of trust or acceptance from the therapist. TL had figured out that me labeling something unimportant meant it was actually probably very important but I was afraid to talk about it. We would have conversations around what could make it safer to bring up. She would also remind me a million times that she did not think anything I said was stupid, she held no judgement around it, and she would be there to talk about it whenever I felt ready… I hope she put notes on that down for the next therapist. It might make opening up a bit easier.

I’m holding my breathe for this new therapist to call. There’s something very specific that I need to talk about because it has come up very prominently again. Part of me wonders if I should call the hotline at De’s old office and see if I can talk a bit to someone there. I’m not sure what good it would do though. The hotline is really only there for crisis intervention and emergencies. This is neither. This is just something I really need to talk about with someone in hopes that it fades again for a while… my other thought was calling them to see how long their waiting list was, and if it would be appropriate for me to get on it (not sure how they feel about me having received services there recently and wanting to return). It’s tough to find someone that knows what to do with the sexual assault stuff though…
I wish I had the money to see Dr D (she was D’s supervisor and specialized in trauma). Maybe she could help with this? (Though I would need to have a conversation with her around what is more helpful in response to a crisis. I think I frustrated them when I was there last. It felt like there came a point where they were desperately trying to move me on, but couldn’t find resources to connect me with. I wouldn’t want to put them in that position again. I think when I hit a crisis point, I need someone to remind me that I’m going to figure it out and get through it… it worked with TL, though I didn’t see her for very long. Maybe it wouldn’t work after a few months. I think I would just need to ask that she not panic in response to my panic… I dunno. It’s pointless to think about all this because I can’t afford her anyway…)

I dunno. Thinking about what I label as unimportant in session has me realizing it’s always the most important and scary stuff. Sometimes I just need someone there to hold my hand through it and be with me while I talk. SJ really needs to feel safe. I think that’s why I’m thinking of De’s agency again, because SJ was safe there… there’s something to be said for making the kid feel safe while she cries out her story… I really need it to be OK for her to talk and be heard and be healed. It’s not fair that she has to carry all this alone. I wish I could help her carry it, but I sucked at protecting her when she went through it so what would allow her to think I’d be helpful now?


Weird dream

Had a weird dream, but I don’t remember what it was. Even the understanding of knowing it was a weird dream is fading. The harder I try to pinpoint what it was about, the faster it slips away. It’s leaving me with a weird feeling though. I wish I knew how to describe it. I usually call it “post-weird-dream weirdness” (very descriptive, I know). Maybe it’s a feeling of still being partially in the dream; as if my my body were still there at the same time it’s here? That’s not really it either.
I’m not sure. Anyone else ever have a weird feeling after dreaming? Can you pin down what it is? Do you know how to describe it?

On another note; I had found the blog from the summer when TL had finally called for the first time. I was struggling a lot back then (more so then this time) and I was so relieved that she had called… while I’m not as desperate as I was then, I still wish the next new therapist would call. I know, I’m probably too reliant on therapy right now, but I also know it’s not a permanent thing. I’m just a bit lost. I could use the support. When I can figure out how to get back to a meaningful life, it won’t matter as much.

I think I remember part of the weird dream… I think it was… gone again. Oh well…


Shared from WordPress

wpid-img_20141228_215439.jpg

Saw the above pic on this blog yesterday, and it really spoke to me. I think it’s a wonderful description of depression…


Memory is a shifty thing

I have a slight obsession with skulls and human anatomy… I keep trying to draw it, but my memory of what it should look like is seldom accurate. I tend to be a bit stubborn about reference pics (more so lazy as sin about having to look for an adequate pic from which I can draw), so my sketches are off until I get frustrated with the result. Then I look up a reference pic and do better…

 

It got me thinking about memory. There’s an interesting TEDtalk by Elizabeth Loftus on the inherent errors in memory. She demonstrates how malleable and suggestive we can be around reporting events… So what makes me think that my memory is all that reliable about the past? I mean, yeah, there’s the flashbacks which may or may not be altered by perception and time, but what about the rest of it? We get so riled-up in emotion around things we remember, but how accurate are they really?

Just something to think about…


can’t drag myself out of this…

The break from the heaviness is so fleeting. Today there was about an hour after I woke up where I wasn’t trying to battle tears or thoughts of suicide. It’s relentless. I try the positivity stuff, I try getting out of the house, I try reminding myself that all things change in life so this will have to change also (though with my depressed brain, it’s translated to the knowledge that the relief will always be replaced by the heaviness)… nothing is working and stresses are pilling up. The full mortgage payment comes due next month which is a $900/month bill I cannot meaningfully contribute towards. The house taxes will again come due in March, and we again are so far behind that there is no way to pay. If the bank doesn’t take the house, the county will. I still don’t have money to move back up north with my wife…

The body memories are coming more frequently than they have in a few months. The desire to self harm because of them is through the roof. L and I have frequent arguments about any time I drink (which admittedly is often, but better than cutting or OD’ing). I’m in that limbo between therapists still. It kinda sucks, though I wouldn’t know what a therapist could do at this point. The depression is too oppressive. I’m not sure what can change it. Medications are kinda tempting to try again, if for no other reason then to give me a way out at some point… I can’t really afford any more intensive therapy or any meaningful hospitalization, so it’s pointless.

I’m tired. I’m so tired of this struggle. I just want it done. I want the sadness to stop and I want to be able to move on with my life… not even art or music is bringing any relief at this point.


Art idea and Elise’s blog

A friend from college did this activity with her son. I think it can work well for adults too… it’s a good reminder that we are not our poor choices. I would probably use the shredded old script in an art piece that represents strengths. Hmm, there’s an art journal class coming up this week doing a page on 5 of our strengths. If I write out and shred the “old script” before the class, I can use it in the piece. I’m a believer that even the more negative things in our lives can be used as foundation for the positives. The cutting and dissociation got me through a lot. The breakdowns allowed me to look at some ickier stuff from the past that I was not facing. The isolation helped me understand that sometimes people need others to reach out to them, even if they are pulling away…
I guess keep an eye out for Friday’s post. It might be a follow-up to this.


Explosions (art journal)

“On the day you woke up, needing somebody and you learned, that is OK to be afraid. But things will never be the same. You left my soul bleeding in the dark. And I’ve lost faith in everything.”
(Explosions, Ellie Goulding)

image

Still going to work on it a bit, but this is most of it…

It started as a raw journal entry that was covered by 2 failed image transfers… finally finished the page 5 months later. 


I don’t stand up for myself

It’s a chronic thing…
Tonight, I took a risk and tried to talk to someone at a hotline about stuff that I have not yet been able to talk about. I had to wait a while for a response, so I took the time to type out what was in my head. Once they responded, I checked that it was OK for me to talk about this stuff. I asked specifically if I could dump something heavy on them, and not just be alone in it. The person hesitated and I offered to leave the chat, but he invited me to vent. So I copy/pasted what I had written out while I was waiting. Then I panicked. I triggered myself when I put that stuff in writing and sent it off for someone else to see. I asked that he not read what I had typed out, and I apologized over and over again. I then recognized I was freaking out, and told him as much. I apologized for that too.

I’m not sure what part of our exchange made him think I had been there to talk about this before, but something did. He became curt and asked if I needed additional resources to the ones they had “already given [me]”. He sent off one link and then advised me to contact a local resource. I was taken aback. I didn’t remember talking to anyone about this before, let alone any time recently. I read anger and frustration into his sudden change in response. That impression sent me off on a triggered set of responses: I apologized for wasting their time and left. Emotionally, I shut down. I started questioning my memory around things. I wondered (then panicked) if I had lost time again (hasn’t happened since termination with De, but even then there were signs that made me aware I had. This time there was nothing I could point to as evidence, though now that I think about it, hours have seemed to fly by at times. One minute I’m waking up and going about my morning routine, the next thing I know it’s 2 or 3 in the afternoon and I can’t tell you what happened in between). Anyway, I didn’t challenge what I believed to be a false assumption, I just went with it. I gave up my chance to find some relief from the thoughts weighing on me because I run at the slightest hint of rejection or annoyance with me. It’s always better to run and hide than face pissing someone off. So I ran. I closed the chat and shut down completely. I felt like shit because I thought maybe I had forgotten that I was there already. Maybe I was there and was a jerk. Maybe they were correct…

Once I finally calmed down from the multiple-trigger frenzy in my head, my instinct was to go back and correct the assumption: to tell them they had me confused with someone else, as I had not been to that chat in months… I wanted to do this because I felt the need to head-off any anger or ill will. But the opportunity was gone. The misunderstanding happened and I had no way to undo it. That triggered me again. When misunderstandings happen, I need to try to make them right if I can (though even that can get awkward). Generally though, very few misunderstandings lend themselves to resolution. This whole freezing and not being able to stand up for myself in the moment gets in the way of a lot.

TL and I had tried to work on it in therapy. Many conversations were had around misunderstandings and how to handle them. Many conversations surrounded miscommunication on my part, and trying to develop the ability to go back and make things right… I was finally getting better at it with TL (I could bring it up in later sessions either by writing it out or talking about it), but it clearly didn’t get to a point of resolution. I learned way too early that any attempt at correcting a misunderstanding was “talking back” (my aunt’s favorite phrase was “shht! Don’t talk back”). Explanations were not to be had. Rewording things and trying to express myself better a second time was unheard of. TL and I had many conversations around that also. It often took me too long to respond to her or try to spit something out so we would move on to other topics. I would consider my words very carefully. There were several “false starts” to my speaking. I would stumble over my words and get flustered. A lot of things went unsaid until I could later find the courage to print out my journal entries and hand them to her… I took blame for anything that was misunderstood, and I apologized profusely for it. I think by the third go-around on the topic, she started asking if misunderstandings really were that bad, and if someone misunderstood me, was it always my fault in miscommunication, or was it the other person just not paying attention or not understanding what I was saying. She even unintentionally modeled handling misunderstandings when she didn’t explain something well a few sessions later and I became confused. She tried to impress on me that going back to explain things again was very possible and not the end of the world… she also tried to get me to see that the error in communication was not always my fault (I have a tendency to take the blame whether I’m the one doing the speaking or the listening)…

Anyway. I guess the work we did on it helped some because I wanted to go back and correct the guy’s assumption. Unfortunately, I was too late and had already ended the chat. It’s a learning process. As De said to me a few times, “this took a lifetime to learn. [I’m] not going to unlearn it overnight.”


You Owe Me Nothing In Return by Alanis Morissette

You Owe Me Nothing In Return by Alanis Morissette

I’ll give you countless amounts of outright acceptance if you want it
I will give you encouragement to choose the path that you want if you need it
You can speak of anger and doubts your fears and freak outs and I’ll hold it
You can share your so-called shame filled accounts of times in your life and I won’t judge it
(and there are no strings attached to it)

You owe me nothing for giving the love that I give
You owe me nothing for caring the way that I have
I give you thanks for receiving it’s my privilege
And you owe me nothing in return

You can ask for space for yourself and only yourself and I’ll grant it
You can ask for freedom as well or time to travel and you’ll have it
You can ask to live by yourself or love someone else and I’ll support it
You can ask for anything you want anything at all and I’ll understand it
(and there are no strings attached to it)

You owe me nothing for giving the love that I give
You owe me nothing for caring the way that I have
I give you thanks for receiving it’s my privilege
And you owe me nothing in return

I bet you’re wondering when the next payback shoe will eventually drop
I bet you’re wondering when my conditional police will force you to cough up
I bet you wonder how far you have now danced your way back into debt
This is the only kind of love as I understand it that there really is

You can express your deepest of truths even if it means I’ll lose you and I’ll hear it
You can fall into the abyss on your way to your bliss I’ll empathize with
You can say that you have to skip town to chase your passion and I’ll hear it
You can even hit rock bottom have a mid-life crisis and I’ll hold it
(and there are no strings attached)

You owe me nothing for giving the love that I give
You owe me nothing for caring the way that I have
I give you thanks for receiving it’s my privilege
And you owe me nothing in return


it was nice while it lasted…

yeah. just that. the easy day was nice while it lasted.

today I want to cry and throw things and break things and break myself. when does this end?


Because most people need to hear this more than once…

I follow To Write Love on Her Arms on FB, and this was reposted today. I like it. Read it. Believe it. Share it.

THERE IS STILL SOME TIME.

Posted on: 11 August 2014
By: Jamie Tworkowski
If you feel too much, there’s still a place for you here.

If you feel too much, don’t go.

If this world is too painful, stop and rest.

It’s okay to stop and rest.

If you need a break, it’s okay to say you need a break.

This life – it’s not a contest, not a race, not a performance, not a thing that you win.

It’s okay to slow down.

You are here for more than grades, more than a job, more than a promotion, more than keeping up, more than getting by.

This life is not about status or opinion or appearance.

You don’t have to fake it.

You do not have to fake it.

Other people feel this way too.

If your heart is broken, it’s okay to say your heart is broken.

If you feel stuck, it’s okay to say you feel stuck.

If you can’t let go, it’s okay to say you can’t let go.

You are not alone in these places.

Other people feel how you feel.

You are more than just your pain. You are more than wounds, more than drugs, more than death and silence.

There is still some time to be surprised.

There is still some time to ask for help.

There is still some time to start again.

There is still some time for love to find you.

It’s not too late.

You’re not alone.

It’s okay – whatever you need and however long it takes – it’s okay.

It’s okay.

If you feel too much, there’s still a place for you here.

If you feel too much, don’t go.

There is still some time.

(Originally found here.)


thoughts on who has the control in therapy

A comment from Patricia on my previous entry mentioned that having the control around when she attended therapy gave her a sense of ease around building the relationship. That got me thinking. I don’t think I’ve ever felt in control in therapy. It’s not given me a sense of having any power in the relationship lately until this termination with TL. The first ever official therapist I saw (not counting my guidance counselor in high school) was 1) a requirement of the work-study program at school, 2) was assigned to me, and 3) refered me to another therapist in the program by the 2nd session because of countertransference. 18 therapists later and I’ve only voluntarily initiated termination with 2. All others were either time-limited by school terms (internship guidelines), or I was terminated for “liability”… Oh, and one was ill for an extended period so I saw someone else in the interim. When the original therapist returned, I took the option to stick with the one I had been seeing while she was out… so really only felt in control of major decisions a small handful of times. I guess you could also count the two therapists I never got past the intake with. One was atrocious in first five minutes of the first session, and the other took 3 sessions to cement that we were not going to click (neither handled self-harm or suicidal thinking well).

Aside of not feeling in control of the relationship all that often, I rarely feel like I dictate the path of the sessions (though in reality I do that almost every session. I wonder what keeps me feeling not in control of it?). I constantly defer to the clinician’s focus after an initial overview of what’s bothering me. If they narrow in on something that I don’t necessarily think is more pressing than something else, I don’t often try too hard to change the focus back to what I consider important. Yes, there are times I will insist on addressing something, but it usually takes a huge amount of effort and time to attempt to assert myself. I don’t feel like I am the expert in my life. It’s weird…

On the flip side, I have never felt the need to dictate where a client’s session should go or what they should address. In my professional role, I had aways believed the client was the expert in what needs addressing, and what direction therapy should take. They are paying me to be a sounding board and to offer support through difficult times, but what we addressed was always totally up to the client. Also, aside of scheduling logistics, the frequency of contact was pretty much up to the client. They controlled when and how often they showed up for appointments, and would have controlled when they terminated (for the most part… until I fell apart and ran away. Then they were S.O.L… and I still feel pretty shitty about that).

How can I hold those both true? How can I as client feel the therapist has all the control, and as therapist always feel the client has the control? Maybe it has been my experiencing of the therapeutic relationship early on. Maybe being indoctrinated into having no real control over choice in therapist or choice in termination time perpetuates my inability to feel in control over it all. As a clinician, I could not and would not force my clients to see me. As a client, I could not dictate the end of therapy until relatively recently. Things with JG didn’t click well, so I was ok with my then-wife insisting I stop therapy. I hadn’t become attached to JG, so walking away was easy. I simply did not reschedule one time after having to cancel because of weather… With Dr. C, I was moving across the country so I was the one to say I’m leaving. The termination with TL did not start out in my control (because I had not planned on switching therapists again so soon if I wasn’t moving again), but I ultimately took control. I know it was her intent to have me feeling like I had a choice in it, like it wasn’t a forced and sudden termination happening on her time-line. At the start of therapy with her, I had talked about how difficult it had been to terminate with De. I had also brought up that D before her had sprung immediate termination on me about a month earlier than planned. TL had the flexibility, so she did her best to allow me to set the pace of our termination… It’s been the easiest ending to a therapy relationship in a long time. It certainly has not been easy, but it has also not been as devastating as the others have been of late. I’ll have to remember to mention that to the new therapist, so they can get a message to TL to say “thanks”…

There’s definitely something to be said for feeling in control of your therapy. I keep trying to remind myself that I hire a therapist, so in that respect, I am more of a “boss”. My client self has only recently remembered that I can hire them or fire them as I see fit. It’s not necessarily that simple, but I need to remind myself I have more control than I think. When you grow up with others always in control (and no safe way for you to gain any), you forget that it is even a possibility. (attachment can also make it feel like there’s no control, but that will be a topic for another post some day…)

Anyway, that’s not exactly where I wanted to go with this post, but I have lost my original direction… Maybe I need to start creating outlines like I used to do for major papers in school. That way, when I go off on a tangent, I have something to refer back to in order to keep on track. Who knew my h.s. writing courses would come in so handy later in life?

Oh, I know. I meant to touch on having trust issues, which makes it difficult to open up in therapy. Lately, by the time I acknowledge trusting the person I am talking to, they are headed out the door for new adventures. I never really pictured opening up to someone because I could choose to never see then again if I wanted to. I know that there’s a measure of safety in speaking with someone you don’t see daily (their judgements won’t impact your life as strongly as those of the people around you day in and out), but I never realized I could walk away from therapy. Aside of feeling that the clinician is in control, my desperate need to have a safe person/place for all the ugliness keeps me feeling a slave to it. There’s something very validating and comforting in knowing someone is professionally required to be accepting and trust-worthy…


Beach Distractions

I followed through on my plan to head to the beach today. It was nice. I walked almost 3 miles up to the lighthouse which I had not done in years. It was a nice walk. There were tons of shredded moon jellies washed up, a handful of man-o-war, and a mystery blue thing. Looking back at the picture of the blue thing, I should have tried to pick it up and flip it over. I’m thinking it was one of those really pretty, and quite rare blue mollusks that look like glass critters… I should have tossed him back into the water in case he could make it. I didn’t see him on the way back, so I hope someone else did it.

Trying to work on making the day my own. Will have to find another distraction for tomorrow… Maybe I’ll head back to the beach, maybe I’ll pay the alligators a visit. I’m not really sure. There will be a group hike at Everglades National Park on Jan 3rd that I may attend, but I would need to find a carpool person to go with. I’m not in the mood for all that driving by myself (almost 2 hours away, though further for most of the herp society members because they live one county north of me). Anyway, We’ll see…

Mom and I did our christmas thing tonight. We exchanged gifts and enjoyed dinner and dessert. Now I’m hanging out on the phone with L and watching the dogs. It’s nice that I could get a break from the stress of the season… now, to find some chocolate…

I was asking L earlier today if it was weird that I really wanted to talk to TL about today and my ability to follow-through on the distractions she had suggested… I guess it makes sense though, since it was something we were working on in therapy. It also makes sense in terms of the transference, because it feels very much like a little kid wanting to tell her parents that she did well in school. even the way the conversation went in my head, it sounded very little kid-ish – excited and bouncy and proud… wish I could have worked on that a bit more with her. maybe it would have lessened all this.


Merry Christmas (the happier post)

After crying all day yesterday, I made the executive decision to relax with a drink (knowing full well L would be frustrated, but I didn’t plan on telling her). I needed the mental break. As much as alcohol can be a depressant, it can also be an effective coping skill when used in moderation. It also allowed me to sleep (which definitely doesn’t happen if I have too much). The break in heavy thoughts and the rest are allowing today to be lighter. I’m smiling for the first time all week…

As De (and many other therapists before and after her) had mentioned last year, and two followers mentioned today, I need to make today my own. It’s just a day, and there’s nothing holding me to the traditional celebrations. I’m planning on venturing out to the beach before it gets too late. I may take art supplies and try to draw or paint there. It’s a relaxing place 90% of the time, so why not try to use it today? I will be back in time for dinner with mom; that’s all she really asks on holidays (well, outside of helping with the dogs)…

What will you be doing today to make it your own?


merry f*cking christmas

I woke up and checked my fb. Scrolling down, 2 of my friends had wished everyone a “merry christmas”… for a second I panicked: I thought I had lost more time (last I knew, it was only the 22nd). I backed my phone up to check the date. phew! ok, only the 23rd still…

then the panic came again. the holiday is almost here…

I hate it. I hate the thought of christmas and everywhere being closed and annoying music and so many reminders that I’m nowhere near where I want to be with my life. I’m spending the holiday without my wife (I miss her a lot). I can’t afford presents or entertainment or food I would like to eat that day… I don’t want to think about another year gone with mostly struggles to show for it. I have not learned responsibility yet. I haven’t learned how to move through all the baggage I can’t seem to put down. I can’t snap out of this depression vortex…

I want out. I’m tired. I don’t want to spend every day fighting tears or self-destructive thoughts. I don’t want to have to keep learning to trust someone just so that relationship can be lost in short order. I don’t want to remember the really shitty things I think I remember (the stories my brain attaches to the physical feelings that allows the emotional and physical memories to make sense, only they potentially shatter even the few shreds of happy memories from growing up)… I’m just done. I’m done begging for support and relief…

bed is calling. going to go hide under the blankets and blast music into my ears so I can forget this fucking stupid time of year and everything it shoves into my face… or maybe I’ll shower for the first time since seeing TL on Thursday, and head to the beach or the Everglades and forget what time of year it is (and going to stay off social media for a while)…


New art journal pages

After almost 2 weeks of nothing artistic happening, I worked on 2 pages. There’s been a lot going on that I am not comfortable expressing directly (though it needs addressing. Maybe with the next therapist?), but it’s finding its way into the art, even if no one knows it but me…

Safety MeasuresThis page was started while I was visiting L last weekend. I was stalled on the dog image transfer. Finally figured it out tonight. “Safety Measures”… whatever it takes to keep breathing, because monsters are real.

 

remember meAnd this one was started yesterday. “(don’t) Remember Me”… not sure how I feel about the visual balance of this one, but going to call it “mostly done” (for now) until I decide what else needs to happen to it.


another song… conflicted about it though.

so, I cringe at religion, but these stupid-ass christian songs tend to have great messages of love… grr. (you have no idea how much this bothers me. it’s at once triggering and comforting: the lyrics are comforting, the belief behind the song is triggering). but I know I’ve heard this song before and liked it before I knew it was some stupid christian rock stuff (I have the same inner conflict with Plumb, Lifehouse, Creed… it’s all really relatable while being triggering)…

anyway, the song is good, so I wanted to share it…


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a love/hate relationship with therapy

(sorry this is not a very cohesive post. I’m rambling a lot…)

I hate the therapeutic relationship… I love the benefits of therapy, but the nature of the relationship makes it hell and like a bad break-up when it’s over. I mean, when else do we risk/tolerate getting incredibly emotionally intimate with someone who doesn’t open up in the same way? All the while knowing full well that they never will, and that the relationship will end with a near-complete severance? While many people are able to find one good therapist and work through their issues with that one person and feel natural with the break in the relationship, many people will bounce from clinician to clinician. Trust will need to be built with each new person, and will likely break before things are resolved in the person’s life. For me, it comes as a bi-product of having limited finances which necessitates seeing students or seeking community resources. This pretty much guarantees me a break in the relationship within several weeks at worst, and several months at best. Having been on both sides of the therapeutic relationship, I am acutely aware that a change in the relationship after termination is unlikely to go well. It’s not to say that becoming friends is impossible after (I am still friends with my h.s. guidance counselor), but chances are it will not work out nicely (it took us quite a while to settle into our routine, and even now it’s more of a mentor/mentee relationship than a truly reciprocal friendship). In therapy, we (as clients) are somewhat lulled into the one-sidedness of the whole thing. We “take” and “take” without ever having to “give”. We have a relatively neutral picture of the clinician, and we are expecting a lack of moral judgement around anything we bring up in therapy. We expect (and pay for) an ally who will at least “have our backs”, if not be totally in agreement with us. We pay them to have our best interests in mind when interacting with and reacting to us. We pay for “professionalism” in situations they may otherwise be wholly opposed to when outside of the office environment…

“Unconditional positive regard” is something we will likely only ever find in therapy. It’s a wonderful feeling. It’s warm & fuzzy. It’s nurturing… and it’s contrived. Not to say it’s not genuine, because in that environment it is. When training and working with clients, I was acutely aware of the factors motivating behavior, even if it would be considered “deviant” or “immoral”. I would not judge my clients, but try to help them resolve the turmoil in their lives. Every demon has it’s reasons… This has somewhat spilled over into my personal life, but I still have a very visceral response to things in my personal life where I would genuinely not react in the same way in a professional role… It’s not hypocrisy as much as it is a different mind-set. When working with a client, I try to look at their past experiences and how those have shaped everything they do or experience in the moment. I can work with a sexual offender without judgement. I can work with a domestic violence offender without judgement. I can hold their truths without harshness or anger. In my personal life, I can look at the past, understand it and how it shapes the person, and still hold anger and judgement around their behaviors (though, I generally dislike the concept of judging anyone except myself and a very few select people. Judgement about actions and behaviors comes easier). In my personal life, my own emotions and thoughts on things get in the way. I react out of anger or hurt or sadness or judgement when I would not do so in my professional life… I mean, where outside of therapy can you be guaranteed (I use that word loosely as there are some very judgemental and/or unprofessional therapists out there) a genuine acceptance of all the “crud”?

But I digress. I hate the emotional experience of therapy. It’s like asking you to strip naked (while the other remains totally clothed), jump around in thorn bushes for a while, then leave (often times, still naked and now sore and raw). It’s totally shitty for someone who feels emotions so strongly on top of everything. I admire (and am envious of) those people who can walk into therapy and walk out relatively unscathed. It takes me ages to trust anyone, let alone feel any attachment. It’s risky and scary and I dislike doing it. I prefer to keep everyone at arm’s length because it lessens the inevitable roller-coaster. Once I get attached though, I cling for dear life. You could run me over, smiling and laughing maniacally as you do it, and I would come back giving you chance after chance to apologize or change the behavior. It’s not so much a sense of masochism as it is a disbelief that I could have misjudged someone so badly that I finally grew to trust them… I know this is counter-productive to healthy relationships, but it enables me to return to therapy despite the emotional toll it takes. I focus on the positives (one of the few times I am able to tenaciously hold onto something positive despite all the negatives; it’s usually quite the opposite to when I focus on the negative despite mountains of positives). I convince myself that all the struggle and pain is worth it. Yes, my emotional experiencing seems very much out-of-proportion to the relationship, however if I go with the theory that I generally experience emotions either out-of-proportion to the situation or not at all, then it makes sense. Considering the amount of effort it takes to open up and trust a therapist, it makes sense that there would be a tidal wave of emotion surrounding the relationship… So yeah, I hate it. Yet I continue to subject myself to it time and again…

:sigh:

Tears have snuck out of my eyes more times than I’d like to admit today… It sucks. Also because I hate crying. I mean really, truly, emphatically HATE it. It’s messy and uncomfortable and slimy… I get the benefits, but I still hate it. And I hate admitting to crying…

:sigh:

I’m told it gets better. The professional me is trying desperately to convince me of this. I’m told there’s hope… The emotional me is saying a big “fuck you” to the professional side right now. The teenager is throwing a hissy fit in her own sulking and brooding way. She’s reminding the rest of me about all the times it’s gotten worse. She’s throwing out all the negatives and the hopelessness because that’s what she does the best. I can’t have lied to TL though, so she’s just going to have to deal… One day the teenager will admit some of the tears are her’s also…

Oh, and just so I can keep track of it somewhere: distraction need is set to super-high today. I was playing on the computer, listening to music, watching tv, and messing around on the phone all at the same time earlier. At the moment, I’ve got music pumping into my ear, typing here, on a forum, and playing on the phone… need to find some way to ride this wave of emotions without a self-destruct creeping in.


:gulp: I did it…

All my defenses were up and I had my opening lines rehearsed going into session today.

Before we even sat down, I told TL that all my defenses were up and asked if we could please not poke any holes in them today. After some clarification and checking, she agreed. We talked a bit about my trip up north and how I had been doing recently. We talked some about future plans and the possibility of me volunteering. I totally forgot to ask her for the number that she had mentioned the session before… Then I think she noticed me keep glancing at the clock. She asked what the papers were that I had stashed under my leg, and suddenly they felt stupid. I told her so, then looked at the clock one more time and blurted out that I needed today to be our last session. She looked sad; a bit like she might cry. I really hoped she wouldn’t because I would not have been able to keep it together at that point. She recovered quickly and asked why I thought it would be good to end. I was able to tell her it was mostly the transference stuff, and how it brough up really negative feelings between sessions. I also mentioned that the bi-weekly thing wasn’t working for me (which she acknowledged and said that she had planned to address it today had I not asked for it to be the last session. She agreed that my walls went up enough between weekly sessions, and that every other week seemed to really wear on me). I tried to explain the transference piece to her (what part felt bad, and how I didn’t think it was fair to her because she was nice and I wanted to not feel scared of her), but I didn’t really explain it well. We joked a bit about it and the ending. Then we talked about what would be helpful in my next therapist, and what I thought had worked; what positives I was taking from therapy with her. Ok, we tried to talk about it, but I went blank (this wasn’t something I had rehearsed talking about so the anxiety took over). I tried to explain how the dissociation had been different, and how I wasn’t sure exactly why it was, but there was something about working with her that allowed me to be more aware of the present even when I checked out on her. It often felt like I was still there sitting next to another part of myself that was doing the emotional experiencing, but I was able to translate some of it to her and be honest in the moment even when I was dissociating. It was difficult to explain even with my clinical knowledge, and she agreed that there wasn’t much vocabulary out there for what I was trying to convey. I think she ended up understanding what I meant though… She asked her routine questions checking in around the safety piece. Then time was up.

Before session (we had taken the elevator up together, which was a first), I had mentioned having something for her in my car that I wanted to give her, but that I left it in my car because the varnish fumes were very strong. After session, she walked down with me and I gave her the painting. She seemed really touched (mentioned that I was going to make her cry and she wasn’t supposed to cry… later I thought that I could have used one of her lines on her; that crying would be “modeling healthy expression” since I had earlier mentioned that I was ashamed to cry in front of others, but I didn’t think of that in time), and I got all flustered. I managed to thank her for working with me, and I kinda explained some of the painting to her. I told her I was bad at goodbyes, but that they were really important to me. She offered up that I could contact her again (via telephone tag at the agency) if the referral didn’t work out, or if I needed to touch base before the referral went through. Then she gave me a hug. I kinda freaked out a bit at that. I was afraid I’d contaminate her and cringed involuntarily when she hugged me. I think she kinda misinterpreted that though, because it ended up being a super short half-hug thing… Then we got in our cars and went our separate ways. Well, she pulled out and I sat in the parking lot for a moment…

I really hate goodbyes, and I really kinda wish she had asked if I was sure I wanted to end after today (though I also kinda set it up for her not to ask when I asked that she not poke holes in my defenses and not push me on stuff today. Maybe I should have been clearer about being ok talking more in-depth about why I wanted out)… I’m a bit intimidated with the prospect of having no additional support for the next month or so. I was a wreck with the bi-weekly thing, what really makes me think a month will be any easier (especially a month of uncertainty combined with the holidays)? But I really needed to wrap things up. I really needed to halt some of the intense neediness and the uncomfortable transference-related stuff… Honestly, I really wish I could have just followed her to the other agency, but it would be pointless since she is planning on leaving there too (and I’d have to figure out how to pay out-of-pocket at ten times my current session rate). :(…

I took a detour to the beach on the way home (seems to be an after-termination-session tradition lately)… I walked about a mile, and did a bunch of sitting watching the birds and the water. I even waded in the water (though not until after a few false-starts with getting my feet wet. Water in December is cold – not for the tourists, but for us “natives” it is… some kids playing in the water laughed as I jumped backwards when my toes first hit the waves). Also, do not tempt mother nature (I should know this by now from L’s adventures with her). I was sitting at the edge of the dry sand watching the waves come up to my feet. No sooner had I completed my thought about moving higher up before the next wave hits my butt than the water washed up around me… Now, not only was my bottom chilly, but I looked like I peed myself :/ Oops… Don’t tempt mother nature because she finds shit like this hilarious 😉

 

 


Ellie Goulding love & some ramblings

Recently got my hands on 2 Ellie Goulding albums and I must say I am in love with Halcyon Days!!! I think there are about 7 or so tracks that I absolutely can’t stop listening to. At the moment, I’m loving on Explosions. “on the day you wake up/Needing somebody and you’ve learned/It’s okay to be afraid/But it will never be the same/It will never be the same//You left my soul bleeding in the dark/…/And I’ve lost my faith in everything”… the tone of it matches my mood today (though I am interpreting it to be about her leaving due to domestic violence now that I read the lyrics. eh, whatever. the way she sings it still very much fits my mood right now)…

I’m also really loving Dead in the Water (apparently from the Divergent soundtrack)

 

and How Long Will I Love You

I see TL tomorrow. Still thinking I want it to be our last session… I’m finding I’m obsessing way too much about it/her so best to just walk away. I do that when I’m about to lose someone out of my life, I need a stranglehold on them before they slip away, and it’s never been a healthy thing. So I’ll take the painting (which today I am concluding it stupid and I hate it, though I may feel different tomorrow about it) and give it to her and tell her it needs to be the last session, and can we talk about whether or not I will be seeing someone at the agency (and hopefully not have to switch again) after her. I know she had said that was the plan, but it doesn’t feel like it right now. And I’m not sure I want to go through this again (I know, I say this every time). It just sucks to learn to trust someone only to know that you have to figure it out again with someone else down the line. Also, I had visited with Dr. C for a bit while up north. She will be retiring in the coming year, so unless I get back up there soon, I will be looking for yet another new therapist. It’s an exhausting process. I just don’t want to keep doing it… (though at the same time, know the neediness is worse when I don’t have that support)… I don’t know. I wonder what the point of it all is sometimes. Why bother trying to trust someone with the heaviness if I never do get around to talking about the really heavy stuff before I have to switch again and start it all over again. I’m tired. I’m spent on building trust and trying to figure things out every few months. I’m tired of finally getting to a comfort point of being able to bring up the ickier stuff only to find out that the person is leaving and all that vulnerability was for nothing…

 

Explosions

You trembled like you’d seen a ghost/And I gave in/I lacked the things you need the most,/You said where have you been?//You wasted all that sweetness to run and hide/I wonder why/I remind you of the days you poured your heart into/But you never tried//I’ve fallen from grace/Took a blow to my face/I’ve loved and I’ve lost/I’ve loved and I’ve lost//Explosions…on the day you wake up/Needing somebody and you’ve learned/It’s okay to be afraid/But it will never be the same/It will never be the same//You left my soul bleeding in the dark/So you could be king/The rules you set are still untold to me/And I’ve lost my faith in everything//The nights you could cope,/Your intentions were gold/But the mountains will shake/I need to know I can still make//Explosions…on the day you wake up/Needing somebody and you’ve learned/It’s okay to be afraid/But it will never be the same//And as the floods move in/And your body starts to sink/I was the last thing on your mind/I know you better than you think/’Cause it’s simple darling, I gave you warning/Now everything you own is falling from the sky in pieces/So watch them fall with you, in slow motion/I pray that you’ll find peace of mind/And I’ll find you another time/I’ll love you, another time//Explosions…on the day you wake up/Needing somebody and you’ve learned/It’s okay to be afraid/But it will never be the same.


The sunset’s pretty

Flying is boring, but the scenery is nice.

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Quote

“If you just get out of your own way… it’s amazing what will come to you.” -Laird Hamilton


Update on TL’s painting

I finally finished and framed TL’s piece.`

I’m not sure how I feel about the matte, but I need to stop working on it before I screw up the entire piece.

I’ll give it to her next week when I go… She can change it up if she doesn’t like it after I give it to her, but I need to be done with it…

wpid-img_20141211_133219.jpg

 


Just breathe

I had tried to leave a message for TL, but I don’t think she received it. She’s normally pretty good about at least calling back even if she doesn’t have time. I really was hoping to have a session this week, and having it be the last one. It’s a crazy rollercoaster with what this arrangement triggers in me. I want it over with.

I was also hoping to figure out what happens next for me at the agency. Something tells me that they want me elsewhere. I’m not quite sure where I’m reading that, but I think it’s a combination of briefly speaking with the clinical director, some of TL’s word choices, their 12 week “reassessment” policy, and TL’s responses to my questions around it (she seemed evasive)… there’s a chance I’m reading into all of it, but there are times my “gut suspicions” are accurate…

I’m emotionally wiped. I’m really excited about this weekend, but I’m also apprehensive. We have so much planned, but I fear we will just both be depressed lumps. I’m still on the verge of tears every other minute… as L said though, at least we’d be depressed together instead of 1500 miles apart.

I think mother nature is trying to get me ready for the drop in temp up north. We are having January weather here in early December. I boxed up the more mobile tropical plants and took them into the garage. It’s already in the low 40’s out there, and it’s supposed to get close to freezing overnight. I have to catch the two outdoor cats and bring them inside. They are used to 50’s, not freezing…

Anyway. I guess I won’t see TL before my trip. That means more time sitting with this triggered anxiety. Whatever. Maybe it’s time I learn to deal with it without therapeutic supports. I used to cope without additional support. Time I learned again.


Again?

Woke up crying again today, but it’s not as debilitating as it was Saturday. There’s just this underlying current of sad permeating everything, but I’m more able to function. There’s stuff I know I need to do today, and want to do it, but when it comes down to actually heading out, I lose the motivation (eg: I need to purchase a new bra. I want it, but the thought of going to the mall to check pricing and confirm size is daunting. If I could simply walk into that one store, it might be easier, but the thought of having to navigate the mall (even if it were not crowded) is frustrating. It involves too much process, too many steps (both in terms of walking and in terms of what has to be done) to achieve my goal… it’s overwhelming. I’m trying to think of it as simply going to Frederick’s and looking at prices in the store (looked online, and the bra is on sale online, but would have to order two to get free shipping. Shipping for one is nearly as expensive as getting two bras, which is just too costly right now. The store doesn’t always have the same sales as online…). My problem comes when I break down the steps involved in getting to the store. First, I have to get presentable. Then I have to get in my car and drive to the mall. I have to try to remember where in the mall the store is so I can park close. Then I have to get into the mall and find my way to the store. Then I have to chat with the sales lady. Then I have to politely decline her sales pitch if its more expensive in the store. Then I have to make my way back to the car and back home. I already became exhausted at the concept of getting presentable, forget the rest…

I hate having to be “on.” I hate having to hold this mask of “I’m fine. Everything’s peachy.” It’s so exhausting… TL and I talked about it last week in terms of the upcoming trip (pretty much social interaction for 56 hours straight. Exhausting to any introvert even without the added depression). She asked what it would be like to drop the mask, to not be “on” for the whole trip. The problem with that is the expectation from others to keep pretending no matter what… no one wants to see the reality. No one wants to have to be faced with the discomfort that comes from knowing everything is not “just peachy”… so I have to pretend. :heavy sigh: it would be so much easier to just hide. 😦

I asked mom to go with to the mall. Hopefully having company and someone else driving will make it easier… and I’m hoping the bra is on sale there too. Don’t want to expend the effort for nought…

Some days I wish there was a pill that actually worked to make this all better. I wish the struggle wasn’t so much of a struggle…


the rollercoaster continues

Yesterday was horrid, today was better. Hung out with a friend. Though I was pretty distracted, I managed to make some headway on holiday cards.

The whole time I was swinging from ok to really sad and distant. I felt bad because my friend picked up on it. She asked me a few times what I was stuck on… There’s only so many times you can say “I’m not quite sure where to go with this”. I landed on “I’m just tired”. She took it at face value. I was ok with it. I didn’t feel like explaining it all.

The sadness hit again pretty fast after I left her house. It made it hard to concentrate on driving home. I intended to stop at the grocery store, but found myself at walmart for some reason. I know I wanted cookies, but I also know walmart doesn’t have the yummy cookies I was hoping for. I went in, walked around, and it took me several minutes to realize I was at the wrong store. I wasn’t dissociating, because I knew which store I was in, but I didn’t seem to register that it wasn’t the store at which I had intended to stop. I left and headed to the grocery store (and proceeded to spend way more money on comfort food than I care to admit).

The sadness keeps coming in waves. I’m ok, then I’m drowning in sadness, then I’m ok, then I’m drowning again… I caved and left a message for TL. When I left the message (or tried to), the receptionist was confused. I had to explain that TL was still seeing me through the end of the year, and that in the past either the clinical director, the office manager, or the receptionist had gotten a message to her for me. His confusion underscored to me how uncomfortable I am with this arrangement. Either way, next time I see her, I need to talk to her about this. I need to not be her only client there anymore. It makes me so uncomfortable to be different. I really like TL. I don’t want to lose her as a therapist, but if she’s not there anymore for anyone but me, I don’t want to be the reason she’s coming back. I don’t like considerations. I don’t like feeling “special”. I don’t like anything that makes me stick out. I want to blend in. I want to be the same as everyone else. I don’t want to be seen, or have the chance to be seen… I really need to talk to her about this. I think I want the next session to be our last… It’s that uncomfortable.

That realization is making me more sad. I think I need to tell her over the phone that the next session needs to be the last… 😦 No matter how bad the depression gets, I can’t handle this being the support structure. I’ll deal through the end of the year. I’ll figure shit out, and if I have to find support elsewhere, I will. I can’t do this though. It triggers too much. I already have strong emotional reactions to her because something about her reminds me of the past. This just complicates things… 😦


Quote

If I wrote you, you would know me, and you would not write me again…
– Dar Williams, If I Wrote You