Monthly Archives: March 2015

old defenses kicking in

I know I had therapy today, but… what did we talk about? I was there the whole hour… I think I knew when I had left her, but now a ton of walls went up.

I know at the end of the session, she offered me another one this week. I was really conflicted about taking it. I couldn’t voice to her why. I still can’t really put it into words. There’s a lot of transference. It’s definitely a block to me being able to speak in session with her. It’s kind of blocking me even now. I can’t remember all the reasons I had in the moment…

I think maybe there was also some worry about… I dunno. It’s all kinda just gone. Was gonna call and leave her a message telling her why I was hesitant, but I guess there’s no point now. I can’t figure out what to say. I wouldn’t know what to say in the session. Sure, it makes the days a bit easier to get through, but… 😦

I hate when my old defenses shut me off from everything. It was great when I developed it, but now it just sucks.

art journal page – “view with caution”

been working on this for a few days… still a work in progress.



Wet cement

I feel like my brain has shut off. It feels heavy like wet cement. I can’t concentrate on anything or hold a conversation for more than a few sentences. It’s jello, but I’m not sure why… maybe the lack of quality sleep is catching up to me?

containment – a penseive

Saw TM today, and it was a really good session. I had planned on going in asking her to “do” something together (game, coloring, play cards, something) and she was apparently on the same wavelength (woo-hoo!). Either last session or the session before, she had mentioned containment and having a metaphorical “place” to keep all the memories between sessions. We kinda brainstormed a bit, and she suggested the pensieve from Harry Potter lore. I liked the idea a lot. Pretty much, it’s a storage space for Dumbledore’s memories. If he wants to recall something, he pulls it out and “plays” it in the water…  It’s a very cool concept if you ask me.

wpid-20150326_220911.jpgAnyway, so we spent the rest of the session drawing and coloring one out. TM did the pensieve, and I did a person pulling a memory from their brain. Thinking back on it, it matches how our roles have worked in therapy: I pull the stuff out, and it is contained with her in her office and notes. At the end of the session, she gave me her drawing to keep with mine. I want to do something representative of it actually containing stuff, but that might wait till next session. I know the point of the activity was to help me develop a method of internal containment. Her original sketch of a box with “stuff” in it was to give an example of how to metaphorically put my stuff away. I kinda feel like this week we did the ground-work for that (creating the vessel), and maybe next week we can chat about how to actually put stuff away.

When she first brought up the concept, I mentioned my metaphorical closet, and how it used to be neat an organized (before ever starting therapy). things all had their little boxes on orderly little shelves in the very back of a large walk-in closet. These days, it looks much messier, more along the lines of Monica’s secret closet at the end of the hall. If I try to open the door (sometimes even without trying to open the door), everything comes tumbling out. I think I like the idea of the pensieve much better. It doesn’t rely on organization so much as simply storing stuff away safely. It doesn’t require much to retrieve anything, and nothing ever comes tumbling out unintended. Much safer and more practical than a closet.

It was nice to have a lighter session…

(I think I may also want to make a little pensieve model for myself, where I can write stuff down and drop it in, maybe a bit like a piggy bank for thoughts and memories… and I’m itching to do more with the extra UTEE I have… I could use it for the liquid surface of the pensieve, adding shimmery pigment to help give it a magical look… Must play!)

it would be easier if…

  • he was always an asshole
  • he was always mean and angry and violent
  • I didn’t recognize the broken human being behind the monster mask
  • I could hate him completely
  • he was never loving
  • he was never kind
  • he was never gentle
  • I didn’t feel it in my body
  • I could write it off as a bad dream
  • I could just say it was an overactive imagination
  • I could say I was making up stories
  • it never happened
  • there was nothing to remember


I feel ok today despite the heavy things that were talked about in therapy yesterday. It has me wondering if I should keep my appointment with TM tomorrow… But then I also wonder if it’s not easier to handle and contain that stuff because I know I am seeing her again tomorrow. I alternate between wanting to cry my eyes out, and being fine, but it’s not overwhelming right now.

I’m not sure. I don’t want to cancel the appointment only to realize that seeing her again to talk more about that stuff is what is allowing me to contain the emotions around it. I definitely have points of really needing to talk about it more with someone, but not knowing how to do that. I tried to explain that urge to L last night. The stuff I want to talk about is super heavy. I’m not done trying to re-frame my own world view because of it, I’m not sure I’m ready to help someone else have to re-frame theirs. Also, I’m not sure if talking about it outside ofthe relative safety of TM’s office won’t make the current flashbacks more intense. At least with TM, we work on grounding before I leave. I wouldn’t have that with L or mom.

I guess I will keep this appointment, and just not make a second one next week if it’s still offered (or I will talk to TM about my worries around it all). I know there are times I do better with more sessions in a week, but I don’t want to push my luck.  I don’t want to get comfortable with something I shouldn’t bet getting regularly.

On another note, starting to process some of this stuff has me wondering if I should try a residential program for it. I guess I can answer that question in a bit when I figure out if I can handle processing stuff at once a week. There’s a program I looked into that is relatively local, but I can’t find info on it besides what is said on their website. It is also advertised as a “luxury treatment center” which has me guessing insurance would not cover much of it at all (though my soon-to-be insurance is listed as one they accept)… They claim to work with trauma (though most of their programs revolve around substance abuse). They also have a “women’s mood disorders” program with all female clients and treatment providers. It looks like it overlaps with the trauma program… The pro’s: it’s only an hour from home, so if anything happens like insurance refusing to continue to pay, or the program doesn’t click with me, or something like that, I can come home relatively easily. It’s not a locked program, so I’m assuming they work with people not in immediate crisis… The con’s: I’ve never heard of them before, I don’t know how good they are in dealing with trauma, they will probably cost a ton and insurance will not cover most of it.

Whenever we get closer to dealing with the various traumas on an outpatient basis, my anxiety kicks in. So far, every time I have tried to deal with it outpatient, it was too triggering and I needed a higher level of care. There’s lots of fear around it. I don’t want to get to a point of needing inpatient because I am too mired in my PTSD reactions. But at the same time, I’m starting to trust TM and be more open with her. I think if I can keep my coping in check, we can get somewhere in the next month or so… It’s just a matter of maintaining my coping.

Grounding/Relaxation tools: Art of Glow

I’ve had the Art of Glow app for several years, but only recently re-discovered it (I would re-install it on every phone, but have not used it much again till this week)… It’s fun to doodle with, but it can also act as a relaxation tool.

If you set it like this:


you can hold your finger on one spot for a few seconds to create a starburst effect that slowly fades. Once it fades, it pauses then repeats the same cycle. It’s similar to watching a snow globe or a glitter ball… I love it. (wish I knew how to take video of this rather than a screenshot, but this is what my settings end up looking like when used… the stars slowly float away from the focal point until there’s nothing left on the screen, then they will replay if you don’t do anything else to it).


It’s available for both Android and Apple devices.

I just wish there was a way to save settings or “artwork” on it. It’s apparently something people have been asking for since the introduction of this app, but the developers have done nothing to accommodate the requests.

hit the transference motherload…

So, I was able to ask TM if she hated me today. I was also able to explain why I needed to ask, despite intellectually knowing I didn’t experience her as hateful in the moment (only after I left, and after over-thinking kicked in)…

We talked about the roots of it (or started to). She pointed out a bunch of stuff that made total sense.

I got lost a few times though. There were points of the conversation where she brought up ideas that scared the crap out of me. I struggled to “come back” to the room and the moment and recognize it as safe. I had trouble seeing her genuine reactions to it because I was so lost in fearing she was mad at me for checking out. I finally was able to tell her that I was scared of her reaction, and being able to give voice to that fact helped me come back a bit more.

I’m hazy on so much of the session. The fog comes and goes around it.

She offered another additional session this week. My hesitancy was two-fold around it. On the one hand, I really wanted to take the time. On the other however, I worried not only that it was a “trap” to test my neediness (she would be mad at me for wasting so much of her time), but also that I would get too used to the safety of knowing I can go back. If I get too comfortable with it, it will suck a whole lot when I have to wait a week again… She left it open for me to call back about the extra time if I needed it. After getting more grounded and getting some distance from the triggered fears, I was able to call her and set up another appointment. Some things are easier to only have to contain by myself for a few days vs. a whole week… A ton was triggered today, and I’m glad I get to go back and address it again before I put too many walls between it and myself. I definitely don’t want to get too used to it though. I don’t want to wear her out, or be too much. I also need to know for myself that I can hold myself together between sessions…

Anyway, my brain is shot at the moment. I hope this post makes sense. I still feel like I’m in a fog, but it’s more because I am tired from the effort of holding it together in session while revealing some stuff that took great effort. I think I need a nap…


today has been so exhausting. while I did finally figure out that I was having flashbacks in my sleep, I had trouble shaking the emotional aftermath of them. then something I knew was coming eventually (but wasn’t sure when) was finalized: one of the snakies has been sold and is off to his new home. I had him for 2 years and 4 days. :/ I know it’s something that needs to be done, but it doesn’t make it easier…

i’m so tired, yet I am afraid to go to bed. I don’t want more flashbacks. there’s little I can do during a dream to stop them or change them or deal with them (I have not mastered lucid dreaming). I really want some sleep though. I want to be able to rest.

I see TM tomorrow. we are going to talk more about my disclosure from last week. I’d prefer to be rested and not so raw for that.

no amount of comfort food is filling the hole today…

hug teddybeary might join me for session tomorrow. i hope TM reacts to her like De did (understand she is there for comfort) rather than as LK-B did (fear that I was headed to the hospital imminently, so helped facilitate the trip).

(random picture from the internet. sadly I didn’t save the link so I don’t know who to credit, but it’s not mine) –>


Waking up on edge

I woke this morning wanting to scream and cry and break things… I have no idea why. I don’t remember any nightmares or scary dreams. I can’t think of any good reason I should be this cranky and upset, yet I want to destroy myself. :/

I hate when days start out like this. What prompted it? Why are the tiniest things setting off a huge emotional reaction in my head?

I’m back to thinking if I could just smash my body, I wouldn’t have to feel this anymore… only, I’m not consciously feeling anything. That’s normally a though that goes along with overt and intense flashbacks. I can’t recognize any today.

This is very frustrating. Apologies in advance if I can’t keep this in check when interacting with anyone online and in real life… I don’t mean to be an ass. Sorry…

Took a nap, and realized I’m having flashbacks in my sleep. I remembered it and felt it the first few seconds after waking up, now it’s just the aftereffects of them without too clear an idea of what was going on in it… :/ at least I know why I was reacting as if I’d been dealing with them.

Are they worse in dreams for anyone else?


can’t shake the shame right now. nothing I tell myself takes away the heaviness of it all being my fault, that I somehow wanted it and asked for it and perpetuated it…

I know all my past therapists would tell me that is inaccurate, but my emotional side is just not listening.

Is Tuesday here yet?

brilliant way to explain consent

…though quite a bit sad that it must be explained this way.

full article found here.

If you’re still struggling, just imagine instead of initiating sex, you’re making them a cup of tea.

You say, “Hey, would you like a cup of tea?” and they go, “OMG, f*ck yes, I would f*cking LOVE a cup of tea! Thank you!” Then you know they want a cup of tea.

If they are unconscious, don’t make them tea. Unsconscious people can’t answer the question, “Do you want tea?” because they are unconcious.


Mirror – Kat Dahlia (art journal)

I started this page a while ago (note the Jan 2015 date), but it was only a bg for a long time. A week or two ago I added the lyrics, but it still wasn’t finished. It needed something else. Finally, today I added the flowers. I’m not totally happy with it, but I’m ok with it…

wpid-img_20150322_194416.jpgAnyway, Here’s the page. The lyrics are from Kat Dahlia’s “Mirror” – I wear my heart on my sleeve/Don’t act like that’s a disease/Need y’all to bear with me please/I just say what I see/We all just chasing a dream/In the land of the free/While we paying a fee/To stay on this concrete/Well, I don’t know the price of your roof/But the first of the month we all pay our dues/When the rain falls it don’t rain on a few/When the sun shine it don’t shine just on you//I don’t know the monsters you knew/But I’m trying to forget the ones I met too/Baby, you could help me/Baby, I could help you//You look at me and you see what I see/Because you’re looking in the mirror/When you’re with me there’s no use in hiding/Because you’re looking in the mirror/Baby, baby, baby, don’t look away/Because you’re looking in the mirror/’Cause maybe, maybe, maybe we’re just the same/Because you’re looking in the mirror//We’re all crossing paths/For a reason I know that/Hoping just to share some laughs/Avoid the broken glass/Have I met you in the past/In a life that I lived last/You know they go too fast/God knows they go too fast//Well, I don’t know the monsters you knew/But I’m trying to forget the ones I met too/Baby you could help me/Baby I’m a help you//You look at me and you see what I see/Because you’re looking in the mirror/When you’re with me there’s no use in hiding/Because you’re looking in the mirror/Baby, baby, baby, don’t look away/Because you’re looking in the mirror/’Cause maybe, maybe, maybe we’re just the same/Because you’re looking in the mirror//Baby, baby/Baby, baby/It’s the same pain/And when I wake/I hear the same wave/Of sirens coming down my way/And I’ll never try to leave you/Baby, you’re the one I cling to/Baby, don’t look away/Baby, don’t look away/I am you.

back at the farm

wpid-20150322_092353.jpgEven though my back hates me because of it, I enjoyed myself today. I worked with the same horse again and got a picture of him this time. He’s a cutie, though definitely trying to assert who is in charge today…

Horse behavior is so foreign to me. I have SO much to learn about them… but they are fun, and as long as I don’t have to be too close to the big ones, I’m fine working with the little ones.

wpid-20150322_073825.jpgHaving to be at the farm by 8am, I am able to catch the sunrise on my way out the door. I forgot how much I miss watching the sun come up.


Fear of going to bed

After yesterday’s conversation with TM, my fear of going to bed returned last night. I couldn’t move off the couch until 4:30am. I managed a few hours though.

A friend passed on some meditations for kids (in looking for the Relax Kids website before I knew what it was called, I also stumbled upon Magical Meditations 4 Kids), and having them on repeat allowed me to get past the anxiety enough to walk to bed. I have to find a way to make the “reality checks” around my current safety help me with this. I tried so much last night to get over it: grounding, reality checks, trying to reach out to the crisis chats (super busy and lagging last night), distraction, music, talking to friends… finally the meditations worked.

I haven’t had to deal with this fear for several months. I thought I had moved past it, but it seems to be making a re-appearance… Another thing to address with TM (time to make a list for all this stuff so I don’t forget).

This fear has been with me on and off at various intensities for many years. I finally think I know why, but it doesn’t seem to make it easier to overcome. I am better able to reality-check around it. I’ve got a semblance of a reason why the fear is there. I know the monster I’m scared of, and I know what to try to tell myself to refute the fear, but it’s old and huge. The anxiety can take a choke-hold at night. But now I have a new tool for that toolbox: the meditations. I also have a video of L reading a book to one of the kids in the family. Hearing her voice and losing myself in the story helps also…

speaking of containment…

At the end of session today, TM asked if I had done anything around developing containment strategies for stuff that comes up in session. I described what I do after session to help balance again. She described that as more “discharge” rather than containment. I couldn’t think of anything that would qualify in the moment, but after I left I thought of the closet analogy. It’s not the best, or even very refined, but it’s my metaphorical containment strategy. Stuff is tossed in there haphazardly though, and it’s no longer as effective as it used to be. I need to work on cleaning up my mental closet as much as I need to work on cleaning up my actual closet. Both used to have neatly arranged containers that held things in check. Now both are bursting at the seams. Oops…

She tried some guided imagery grounding with me before we wrapped up. Unfortunately, the one she picked happened to be really triggering. I managed to ask her to switch it. A specific word made me involuntarily startle and shudder. The second one she put on was a bit better. I couldn’t tell her why it bothered me (would have taken too long), but will next session. I’m ok with guided imagery generally, but this one combined three triggers from what we had talked about/around in session. I wrote out some ideas for what works better so I can give it to her next week (nature sounds are good, beach and other nature imagery is good, but concentrating on my breathing or body are not so good).

Ultimately, I managed some containment before leaving her office by leaving my homework from last session with her. I also asked her to read one part of the homework that we had not covered in session. I originally hoped that she would read it after I was gone, but she did it while I was still there. It turned out ok though. She said we would go over it next session. I’m kinda glad I know she knows for sure now (not just wondering when/if she will read it). It helped me leave that there with her. My container right now is TM and her office. Pretty effective at the moment, and relatively safe.

I think I need to ask her to remind me to color during session. It helps me stay more grounded, and to speak easier…

Don’t burst the bubbles (art journal)

That Donna Downey wannabe journal took a turn in another direction. I think I like it though:


more tests needed…

So, a huge wait and a short appointment later, it has been determined that I function pretty well between episodes (duh!). Because the vertigo at the moment it so mild, and the cognitive impairments are brief and so far between that he can’t think of anything it might be. He suggested neuropsych testing but it is quite expensive. I am scheduled for an EEG and some balance testing, but that’s only because it can happen before the end of the month (so my crappy insurance will pay for it). The neuropsych testing would take much longer than that to schedule I guess.

I really do want to figure out what all this is though. I’m hoping something will show on the upcoming tests so I can get some answers. Right now, I just get looks from professionals that make it seem like they are simply indulging my stories as they smile and nod (because nothing is really being observed or measured).

My biggest concern is losing my independence with driving. I don’t want to be told I cannot drive, but I also don’t want to put people in danger. It’s just scary when I suddenly can no longer process visual or auditory information in a meaningful way.

I did tell the doctor that at first I wasn’t sure if it was part of my normal dissociation, but the increasing frequency is causing some anxiety.

I’m supposed to go back for a follow-up in a month, unless the tests show something hugely alarming. Then I’m sure I will go back sooner, but I doubt they will show anything much because it’s so sporadic…

seeing inside of my head (literally. there’s a scary clown in there, and a fat & happy pumpkin)

I picked up a copy of my CT  scan to take to the neurologist with me today. I’m glad I picked it up with enough time to look at it myself. It’s neat to look at, though I don’t understand the totality of what I am seeing beyond the basics of: “cool, that’s my brain”… I saved a copy of the file for myself, and will probably post a still once I can figure out how to get it onto this computer (I don’t have a disc drive on mine, so I needed to view and save it to another one)…

I will have to get a copy of the scans done a year ago also. I will want a copy myself, but that hospital is suggesting I should have the Dr’s office send a request via fax. I’ll be interested to see if it’s any different now.

Anyway, so yeah, going to the neurologist today in hopes of getting closer to figuring out where my symptoms are coming from and why they are getting more frequent.

I was going to try to drive myself to pick up the records at the hospital today, but driving makes my vertigo much worse. It’s not so bad when I walk or sit, but driving really messes me up. I had to ask my mom to drive me, and she will be driving me to my appointment shortly.

One of my big worries is losing my ability to drive if this keeps up. I like having the independence and freedom to get places myself. Right now, when the vertigo and confusion hit without warning, it suddenly becomes unsafe for me to drive (think of driving while quite buzzed, bordering on drunk, only not having had any alcohol). I am super-paranoid about safe driving, and would not want to endanger other people on the road…

I really hope this guy can figure out what is wrong and how to fix it (crossing fingers).

So, just in case anyone wants a laugh (or scare) here’s a fat & happy pumpkin, and a creepy clown:

happy brain scary clown in my head

The more I look at the “clown”, the more it looks like Kermit in sugar skull makeup… hmm…

Therapy, Saint Patrick’s day, and vertigo

TM was back today. I’m not sure anymore why I thought she hated me, though I left there wanting to cry (they would have been happy tears).

We talked about values I grew up with vs values I’ve instilled in myself. I’m supposed to contemplate that and put it on paper for next session.

I held true to pulling out my coloring book, though I had to borrow her crayons since the dogs ate mine last night (I think crayola flavors them or something because the dogs hunt them down and devour them). I had given her my list from last month, though I was really reluctant to pull it out. Everything I write between sessions always feels stupid and trivial by the time I get in to see her. I put huge judgements on them and never want to hand it over… She, like TL and De, says that nothing I’ve given her has been stupid. I dunno, but she says she’s being genuine, so I’m gonna go with it.

I know we talked the whole hour, but I’m not sure what else we covered. I was having a lot of trouble paying attention and retaining anything she said for longer than 30 seconds.  I’m not totally sure where I went, but it was bothersome. I couldn’t formulate responses, or even process a lot of what she had said…

She offered another session this week to help get back in the groove. I hesitated, because I didn’t want to come off as annoying or needy. She caught the pause and asked about it. I was able to tell her that I didn’t want to be annoying. She assured me she would not have offered it if she thought I was too annoying (actually, I think she said something along the lines of having had already passed me on to another clinician if she thought I was as bad as I thought I was). So we scheduled another session this week.

On the way home, I wanted to go to the beach, but I have yet to find a parking spot. I never realized how big of a deal they make out of St Patrick’s Day here, every city is having a beach/block party that is already underway… hopefully the next parking area I try will have a space (I stopped to grab a slice of pizza coz I was starving, so no worries, I’m not driving and writing). If I do land at the beach, I’ll share some pics 🙂

I didn’t end up at the beach. I forgot spring break season is upon us. There was too much traffic, so I turned around and came home. It’s a good thing too, because my vertigo started up again. I was having trouble processing my environment on the drive. Shortly after getting home, I got really incredibly tired and slept for almost 3 hours. Last time this happened, I told myself I was going to go to the doctor about it, so that’s where we are headed. My gut is telling me this is more than vertigo.

A 2.5-hour ER visit later (complete with a few vials of blood and a CT scan), and I’m back where I started. They did give me a referral to a neurologist though, so I will try to follow-up with them tomorrow. The confusion and extreme exhaustion is what has me thinking this isn’t just vertigo, though I may be wrong. Hoping this bout leaves quickly…


experimenting with ink

In hopes of trying to recreate my own version of this Donna Downey canvas in my art journal, I ventured into the world of printer ink. I can’t afford spray inks. They are just too costly at $5+ a 4oz bottle. I also don’t have the cash for any airbrush extender medium to help turn my acrylics into useful spray ink… So I grabbed some of the bulk printer ink we have chilling in the office. I was hoping for something akin to the coverage provided by liquid acrylics or drawing ink. I got neither. Turns out the ink we have has some kind of oil base to it. Acrylic acts as a resist, and it dries a charcoal gray color (assuming it will every dry completely).

wpid-20150316_130107.jpgIt gave me the darker over-all look, but not quite as nice on coverage as I hoped (also, I forgot to attach my masks to the page, so they went flying when I sprayed them).

I had originally intended to try using food coloring (someone on YouTube had made some spray inks from the Wilton food color gels), but when I checked the ingredients, it had high fructose corn syrup and regular corn syrup among the first 5 ingredients. Living in a sub-tropical climate that is bug-friendly, I thought this may be a bad idea. I ordered some concentrated liquid food coloring online, but it has not arrived yet (expected at the end of the week). I was getting bored waiting, and had found our supply of bulk black ink while digging around for other stuff in the office. It sprays ok, but to get the saturation I was looking for, I needed to apply a fairly heavy coat of it. Needless to say, I feel my journal may take several weeks to dry. I guess that’s ok though. TM will probably not be available tomorrow anyway even if she is back 😦

“50 shades” controversy, & the lasting effects of childhood trauma

So, after first writing this up almost a month ago, I have yet to put more effort into it. I had contacted a few people claiming to be connected to the BDSM community in an effort to get “honest” perspectives. Publically, they strongly supported the notion that the community is respectful and vigilant of “safety”. Privately however, some denounced the community as seedy and very unsafe. I was warned to “stay far away” from anything even remotely having to do with BDSM, including looking further into the different aspects of it. The few people I know personally and trust, and who also have some experience with the community express otherwise: that their experiences have been safe and respectful… This has me confused. I am more apt to believe the people I know in real life, so I guess I will go with that… Continue reading

interesting concept as a middle-ground for suicide prevention

saw this article via fb. I think it’s an interesting concept, though I am hesitant on the heavy focus on peer-counseling. While I think it can be an amazing thing, I personally am more comfortable with a clinically trained therapist or crisis worker. Regardless, I think this is a great idea and a good step in the right direction.

The “Living Room” model of crisis intervention.

What do you all think?

Did it.

I couldn’t sleep much from the anxiety, but I was able to drag myself to the farm. It was nice to be around the animals and it was nice to do something on a farm again. The people were friendly, but I didn’t have to interact too much except with the girl that was training me…

I was stupidly stubborn though. I worked to my normal physical exertion level despite still having nagging back pain. About half way through my duties, my back started aching and bending became much more difficult. By the time I finished, the only thing I could do comfortable was stand “at parade rest”.

Luckily, the drive home was significantly shorter than from my journal class. I managed to shower, and now am staring at my last muscle relaxer… time to put the brace back on, and learn to sleep like a horse (even laying down is really painful right now).

I wanted to go today to conquer the emotional wall. I was so focused on that, I forgot to take it easy and spare my back. Oops.

It was a good experience though. If I can stay focused on that aspect, and remember that I do enjoy it once there, maybe I can get past the anxiety of having to get myself there.

Also, I need to invest in muscle relaxers and a back brace that will help with the “heavy” lifting.

Here’s a picture of the donkey I worked with today. He was quite the stubborn one as well. We’re a good pair.


anxiety around starting again

I start my “horse hours” at the therapeutic farm tomorrow morning.

I’m terrified.

I don’t want to make a commitment I can’t keep. I don’t want to have to be reliable (because I worry I won’t be).

Maybe it’s not the right environment to try back into. Maybe it’s too close to the mh field (though not at all involving therapy, simply support presence). Maybe I worry that I haven’t dealt effectively with my own grief issues enough. Maybe I worry too much about my stability. Maybe the depression is worse than I care to admit because I really don;t want to have to drag myself there. I’m sure I will like it once I get there, but the getting there and smiling and being social is the hard part. I can pick up horse care fairly easily (at least the basics), I’m not worried about that or interactions with them… It’s the people I’m worried about. It’s having to smile and be competent and not as painfully socially awkward as I have become. It’s the thought of the upcoming weekend intensive training that will likely trigger me (and be a large expense I can’t necessarily afford)…

I want to curl back into myself and hide. I want to shrug off responsibilities and give in to the screaming anxiety; “How the hell did I think this was a good idea? What crack was I smoking?!” Sure, I love animals and helping people, but… this is really scary right now. o_O


site on suicide prevention, support, and treatment resources

someone pointed me to this site. it’s really good. check it out. Speaking of Suicide

it has resources for suicidal people, friends, family, treatment providers… all around good info. (I will also list it under my “resources” page so it’s always relatively easily available).

thoughts on getting an mh service dog certification?

It has been recommended to me for several years (by psychiatrists, therapists, and my pcp) to try to get a service dog for my symptoms. I took the step today to contact a training center about training one of my own dogs (because she already seems attuned to my dissociation, depression, and flashbacks). I’m wondering though, what she really could do at least for the dissociation. I know she could probably fit the definition of an emotional support dog, but I’m not sure what else she could do…

Does anyone have a PTSD or Depression (or any mental health issue) service dog? I was trying to look into it, and the examples they give for PTSD dogs wouldn’t fit my symptoms so much. My flashbacks are mostly emotional and physical sensations. There’s very little outward evidence of them. Right now, she’s just more present and literally in my face when they happen. Sometimes she crawls on top of me. It helps in grounding… I guess I’m wondering if anyone has any thoughts on the severity of the symptoms that would warrant a service dog. Also, would needing a dog around for personal accountability and safety meet the requirements of having a service dog? If I’m driving when triggered, I can get quite impulsive at least in my thinking. At one point, Dr. C strongly recommended I don’t go anywhere without the dogs in the car because she knew I wouldn’t do anything to endanger them. It’s much harder to do that and have to leave them in the car at my destination in this hot weather. Having one of the dogs be a service dog, I would pretty much be guaranteed impulse control with my driving… Would it qualify if I need my dog to be able to help ground from either flashbacks or dissociation more effectively, remain physically safe from myself when triggered, help keep functioning when the depression gets really bad, help drag me out of a crowded/anxiety-provoking situation, stuff like that? This stuff is not necessarily a daily occurrence, but when it does hit (goes in cycles of weeks or months) it is very debilitating.

I think I also am wondering if I’m not just enamored with the concept of being able to take my dog with me everywhere… I can see the benefits of having her there and trained during stressful situations, but is that then conceding that I’m more messed-up than I want to believe myself to be? Does getting a service dog mean I’m hopeless? If I get to a point of “remission” enough to be able to function more freely on a daily basis, would I need to give up my service dog? Will this end up making me feel as defeated as the disability determination did? While having disability helps in so many ways, it also makes me feel so hopeless about recovery and how well I can manage my life… I must be really fucked-up to have qualified. Would having a service dog, while hugely helpful in the day-to-day of the ptsd/depression/anxiety, also just prove to me how worthless I am?

I know I often have trouble grounding, and that deep pressure helps me ground. I’ve been trying to teach the pack a “cuddle up” command that would have any or all of them pile on top of me when I’m sitting or in bed. The few times they did this during flashbacks on their own accord, it helped a lot. I would love to be able to utilize that at any time (maybe TM would be less frustrated with me if I could manage to stay present during therapy). It would also be helpful to be able to have help “finding the exit” when I start to get overly anxious in a store (holy cow does walmart ever bring that out in me?!). Chow already bugs the heck out of me if I’m in bed for too long or too often in the middle of the day. It would be good if that was one of her trained responses.

I dunno. I really like the concept, and even the thought of being able to bring her with me everywhere is calming… but then how does that impact pack dynamics? Will she be able to adjust to the new role? Will the others? Will I have the dedication to keep on her training? When I get too depressed, I stop functioning. That includes being consistent with what is acceptable behavior at home for the dogs. Would that make having her trained as a service dog not work? She’s been a pet with us for 3 years, can she handle the switch to becoming a “working dog”? I know she is super-chill and generally non-reactive. I think that would help her a lot in her duties. She already seems to have a lot of the skills/behavioral traits of service dogs, so does that help? Will the other dogs resent both me and her?

Also, how in the world will I pay for this? The guy I contacted today is MUCH less expensive than a lot of the national places, and he’s local, but it would still be most of my annual income to get her trained… I will have to check to see if my insurance will cover the training somehow, or at least cover part of her training. One pamphlet on my horrid state insurance seems to imply covering at least the care of a service animal. Other resources (not the state pamphlet) claim that service animal training and care is not covered. I guess I should call the state or 211…

If this doesn’t pan out, I could always hire my trainer friend up north, but that would require me to wait till I return there to get her trained and certified. If it’s at all possible, I would want to get Chow trained and certified asap. My symptoms are all worse down here anyway… :/

stuck inside myself

I want to talk or journal or something, but I find myself starting and stopping before anything materializes. I’m not sure what to say or how to say it. My responses to people are short and substance-less. I dunno. This whole uncertainty about therapy combined with flow is fucking with me today. I just want to cry and sleep.

Those walls that go up are good at keeping emotions at bay, but they also make me blank and stuck.

I have a feeling TM’s not back yet, nor will she be any time soon (or I fear that). I’m not sure what to do with it, how to process that right now. Because I worried about her dropping me based on the direction of the last session, I feel like we are done, and I need closure on this. Only I don’t know how to get it. There’s no closure if she’s out and we can’t meet. There’s also no correcting/confirming my assumption that she wants me out.

I’m also worried about her. I hope she is ok… I don’t want to think she’s really hurting, or worried about a loved one or herself, or sick. I want her to be ok. She seems really nice. I don’t want anything bad happening to her. :/

Well then…

Just got a call from TM’s office. She’s out sick today.

I had kinda expected this, but it still sucks… the receptionist asked if I wanted TM to call tomorrow about rescheduling for this week, or if I wanted to keep next week. I think this week would be preferable. I guess I won’t expect anything to materialize for sure. I think I’ve become a bit gun shy around actually ever getting another session with her.

Now, do I bring up my doubts around her being there for our next scheduled appointment whenever it is that I speak with her? Or do I just hope she doesn’t cancel again?

:/ It’s weird that I had contacted JF recently because the canceling happening with TM is reminding me of the canceling that happened with CS before I transferred to JF because of the absences. Is that how this is going to end up? Am I going to wind up switching again? 😦 I know it ended up being good with JF, but… I don’t want to keep doing this “building trust” thing. It’s so exhausting. 


First art piece in 3 weeks, and I feel stalled on it. I want to communicate feeling blank and mute and stalled and unable to be expressive. It feels unfinished, but maybe it’s actually finished in it’s lack of background or definition. No words, because there are no real words to put there… There’s nothing stopping me but myself, my own walls and fear. There’s no face because I’ve shut off everything. There’s no background because I’m not in touch with what’s going on underneath. Outside forces started the chaos that’s keeping me silent, but it’s purely my own defenses. I’m hiding… not totally intentional, but works in unintended ways.


I keep thinking a few words should border her flying hair; small, unobtrusive… but nothing fits, so nothing materializes. Maybe later, or not at all.