Monthly Archives: April 2015

I worried about my walls for no reason…

I managed to keep my walls relatively intact today until the very end, when she asked about something, and I looked at the clock “oh, sorry, time’s up.” I said. She looked at me, looked at the clock, back at me, and said we’ll tackle it next session. She threatened to write a note for herself so we’d be sure to get to it.

There were a few moments I almost cried as we talked about the move, but I held it together and quickly changed my line of thinking. It was relatively easy since I had nearly 10 days to craft my walls. Everything is at a distance right now. If it threatens to come rushing up on me, I hide in bed, or blast music at myself, or listen to one of the meditations, or force myself upon my friends so I have plenty of distractions. Oh, and alcohol. There’s plenty of reliance on that right now too.

Part of me wishes I hadn’t wasted a session when we have so few left, but another part of me is really happy I didn’t activate all the neediness and hopelessness that’s just beneath the surface.


violence breeds violence, regardless of the motivation…

I write this with full awareness that I may have my head bitten off by several people for posting the following opinion… I will also remind any commenters to please keep their comments civil and respectful. I’m ok with discussion, but not bashing.

I am in the minority of people appalled by a video of a mother beating her son for partaking in the Baltimore riots this past week. I will not hail her a hero or “mother of the year”. I do not care what her reasoning was, I think she was wrong. I also think her son was wrong for participating in the riots in the manner he did. It was stated that the woman was trying to prevent her 16-year-old son from being killed. Reportedly, he was about to throw (or continue to throw) things at the police, and join in the general havoc. This apparently justified the mother smacking her son repeatedly on his head and torso as she berated him.

I was told by many friends and family that they “would have done the same” or they understood her fear/anger reaction. My problem with the whole thing was that she used the same logic and behavior he did to try to dissuade him from further action:  I am more right, and have more power for X reason, so I will beat you into submission… That’s up there with cursing someone out while you tell them not to curse.

I’m pretty sure that’s a huge double standard right there (not to mention a mixed message). It’s suddenly ok to beat your child (and have it filmed, then applauded by millions) because you are trying to prevent them from getting hurt?! If I see my kid almost run into on-coming traffic because he didn’t look before he ran, is it suddenly ok for me to yank him back and start beating on him? Would the media and millions of Americans tell me I am “Mother of the Year”?? No. I would have the child taken from my custody (even if temporarily), and I would have CPS up my ass for the next year or more. “But I didn’t want to see him killed, and he wasn’t listening to me when I told him to stop.” would never fly as a valid excuse for beating my child…

There’s pages and pages of articles on the generational cycles of violence. It’s a safe bet to say that the 16-year-old kid witnessed (with some regularity) violence growing up. It didn’t have to be his mom, though her reaction to his poor choices leads me to believe she likely has done something similar before. It’s also safe to say that she was probably witness to violence in her childhood. People repeat what they learn. Even those with the best of intentions can succumb to early learning. Heck, I see in myself some of the very things I hate in my dad. I try to make a conscious effort to not behave as he did/does, but I’m certainly not perfect (super-far from it actually). I find myself angry and yelling more than I would like. I can feel rage bubble, and fists want to fly. I do my damnedest to not act on those urges though… Would my anger at my early life excuse abuse I perpetuate on others? Absolutely not. It would be understandable, but not excusable. I would still be expected to change my behaviors… I am expected to change my behaviors. I mainly turn my violence onto myself. Even that is not acceptable. I hear from person after person that I need to be kind to myself; that I need to stop treating myself so abusively…

So why is it ok to see this mother hit her son repeatedly? People come back with responses along the lines of “I would do anything to keep my kid safe.” or “What would you do if your kid was about to walk into his death?” I maintain that my response would be non-violent. I would step in his way to block his path, I would pull him away, I would do my best to hold him in place, or move him back if possible. I would not strike him. If for some reason, I lost my head and started beating my child, I would hope someone stepped in and pulled me away rather than film it and laud me with praise… But I guess I have a different perspective than most.

That same day, when I questioned the logic of rioting and looting within the community, it was defended by some as “displaced anger”. This also bothers me. Why is displaced anger from a mob more ok than displaced anger in say, a romantic relationship? If the mob were a man, and the destroyed property his beaten wife, he would have been arrested on domestic violence charges (in the very least, there would have been some outcry of injustice from women’s rights activists and a public push for charges). So why are we excusing it because it’s fueled by institutional racism? When my dad came home pissed because he got mugged on his lunch break, then proceeded to yell at, threaten, and hit my mom, it was not okay simply because it was “displaced anger.” When a parent beats a child because of financial stressors, it’s not excusable as “displaced anger”. Why are we so quick to step up and excuse other violence as such? Why is mass-perpetrated violence ok when individually-perpetrated violence would be scorned?

I do not believe racism should be tolerated. I do not believe young black men should be singled-out and harassed or harmed. I do not believe anyone should be harmed. I do agree we should be outraged by the state of our society. I believe we should stand up and “fight” for change, but I do not belive rioting, looting, and violence are the answer. They get us nowhere but deeper into the cycle of violence. I really wish more people understood that…

 


Do You have Athazagoraphobia?

An interesting concept to think about.

I used to chalk my belief up to a weird perversion of object permanence. I guess this kind of is exactly that. I tend to believe if people don’t see me and interact with me regularly, they forget me. I get the impression it actually happens. I also fear that people find me really annoying and distasteful to be around. I have trouble reaching out to friends and family because I worry that 1) they hate me, and because of that, they 2) consciously try to forget me or remain away from me.

Lemme tell you, it frustrates my friends. I can’t tell you how often I get asked why I didn’t call or come by… How do you explain that you feel like people would rather gouge their eyes out than have to spend a moment with me?

There was another part that stuck out to me: the fear of forgetting. I often hoard memorabilia, and I journal incessantly in an effort not to forget more than I already have. People call it materialistic or anal, but I keep hoping an object connected to a memory will keep the memory alive. When so much of my past is a huge blank, I grasp at anything that may help me to not forget… Sadly, it doesn’t really work. I go back and read journals but cannot connect to them or remember accurately what I was talking about. I look at items from my past, and have no clue what they were from, or who gave them to me. I take pictures all the time hoping photographic evidence will trigger a memory, yet so much is still lost. It’s not as bad as it had been before college, but it’s still there. One of the worst memories to have lost is my first date with my wife. I know what she has recited to me over the years, but the rest is super foggy. I have snippets of moments from the night, but most of it is gone. It’s no reflection on her or the night (because I’m still with her, and we went on a second date relatively soon at my initiation). It’s just “the story of my life”…

But I digress. This is an interesting blog on a phobia I had not heard of before, but one that makes perfect sense to me.

 

Discussing Dissociation

Drawn by ... On deviant Art. Drawn by rhyme-my-name.deviantart.com

Athazagoraphobia.

I have learned a new word today.

Athazagoraphobia.

Athazagoraphobia is the fear of being forgotten, ignored, or being replaced.

Athazagoraphobia.

Ooooh boy, what a powerful word that relates to intense feelings held by soooo many dissociative trauma survivors. And since abandonment and neglect is often a huge and prominent part of the trauma history, is there any wonder?

First, let’s learn more about athazagoraphobia.

Here is a quote from http://www.fearof.net :

“Athazagoraphobia is a rarely discussed phobia. It means the fear of forgetting or the fear of being forgotten or ignored. Thus, Athazagoraphobia is of two types or has dual components: it might be seen in dementia patients in their early stages (or patients suffering from other medical conditions where memory loss occurs) where they fear forgetting their own identity and other things. Alternatively, it may be seen in spouses or caregivers of Alzheimer’s/dementia patients…

View original post 950 more words


rawr! depression and pms are a fun combination

:/

you know when you put something out into the universe, and it’s supposed to come to you? why the heck can’t that ever happen with the really awesome stuff? why is it always the stuff I really don’t actually want, or stuff I fear?

last night I journaled to myself about my hesitation to meet with TM today b/c I want to maintain my emotional distance… I recognized that I really didn’t want to not meet with TM today, but that I was just uninterested in losing my distance (there’s something about her office that allows me to drop my walls after I spend all week carefully crafting them… grr!).

anyway, she called today about 40 minutes before I was to leave the house to say she was going home sick.

why can’t I win the lottery when I put that out there? or why can’t we find an apartment that allows all our dogs? I would prefer that to stuff like missing an appointment or someone getting sick.

there were other “stupid” reasons I was disappointed about the cancellation: I was going to get pizza from one of the only good pizza places in this state; I was going to drop an art piece off for a local art show the weekend after next; I was going to get my favorite coffee from my favorite coffee shop… :sigh: sure, I could have gone out of the house regardless of my appointment with TM, but that area of town is about 30 minutes away. If I was going to go anywhere, it would have been to some shops to look around (reptile stores and fish stores are particularly relaxing)… but again, I just didn’t have the energy to make the effort. mom went to run some errands, and the thought of having to drive “all over” (3 stores all within 3 miles of the house) was too much effort.

sigh.

I also made the mistake of posting an “unpopular” opinion on my fb page. I couldn’t think of any eloquent ways to rebuke their stances, so I just closed out the page and left them to rant at me without bothering to read on. maybe tomorrow (or next week, or next month)… I napped instead.

now I’m watching tv re-runs with mom because I need some sort of background noise. trying to find my zen, happy place, but it feels out of reach. hoping TM feels better soon, and I can actually meet with her this week. aside of dragging me to that part of town, there’s comfort in seeing her. stupid feelings of connection. rawr! walls back up please.


More art journal progress

I was all about avoiding stuff yesterday. To that end, I played a bunch with my art journal. It doesn’t look like much progress, but lots of time was spent organizing my supplies because, well, avoidance.

wpid-img_20150425_223137.jpgI finally got around to making use of the little buckle findings from the Tim Holtz line (had gotten an “as is” pack several months ago and meant to make a closure for my first art journal, but that didn’t materialize). Anyway while catching up on Arrow and a Sleepy Hollow, I did the buckles:

 

wpid-wp-1430025053079.jpgI also worked on the tiger wing page more. The writing is excerpts from lyrics to Faith Hill’s “if you’re gonna fly away“. I changed two lines where she spoke of prayer to more accurately reflect me. “Has the sun gone down on you?/Have you given up on truth, oh?/I wish I could say all the right things/To make your pain go away/I wish you knew how beautiful/You are in every way/…So you’ll take a thousand pills/Hoping to be numb/Lie awake in bed/Counting all that’s wrong//No one understands/No one ever will/Trust me when I tell you/I know just how you feel…”

 

wpid-wp-1430024972849.jpgAnd finally, I added lyrics to the rose page from the other night. There’s a Tori Amos song called Blood Roses that fit the page pretty well… “Back on the street now/Can’t forget the things you never said/On days like these starts me thinking/…Now you’ve cut out the flute/From the throat of the loon/At least when you cry now/He can’t even hear you…”

 

Like I said, it doesn’t look like much progress, but it took me all day (probably because I couldn’t concentrate to stay on task for the life of me).

The depression is definitely still here. I was going to try to go to the beach today, but it took all my energy just to shower (which was a first in 5 days). I could have left the house, but I’m finding it harder and harder to do. The overwhelm of what it would take to get out of the house, coupled with the huge lack of reward, is making it seem nearly impossible. What’s the point trying?

I also find myself once again doubting these recent memories. If they really are accurate, how come I didn’t remember them before? Sure, they explain my intense anxiety around going to bed, and some other behavioral or cognitive things, but… memory can be unreliable. It could all just be something I’m fabricating in order to make sense of those symptoms that make no sense. The visceral reactions to certain triggers may just be a learned response. If they are false, no restructuring needs to happen around my understanding of life. If they are false, then it was all just for attention… If they are true, the world changes. I’m not sure which I prefer: am I narcissistic and unable to survive without a sob story, or did yet more really crappy stuff happen in my life that will change my understanding of childhood? Can I pick neither?


Tiger wing butterfly

 

wpid-20150408_084058.jpgWhenever I find a poor butterfly in the pool (or any bug), I always try to net it out in hopes the little guy will make it. Two weeks ago, there was a monarch. I thought he was going to be okay, but I found him a few days later dead among the orchids (He will be used in a belt buckle eventually). The pic is from when I first pulled him from the pool.

wpid-20150424_190507.jpgThe little tiger wing I found today isn’t looking so hot though. He’s not moving much, but I keep hoping he will make it. After sunset, he’s barely moving at all, just an occasional twitch, so I brought him inside… Poor little guy. He will be immortalized in art, though it’s little conselation to him.  😦

 

In the mean time, I thought I’d try my hand at colored pencils again. I still need lots of practice with them, but the tiger wing seemed easy enough to attempt. It came out okay.

image

Still feel like doing more art tonight, but not sure what. I’ll let you know if/when I decide on the next project.


Tonight’s Art as Therapy

Yeah… kinda had a melt down on the phone with my wife. Wasn’t her fault. The way she reacted to something I said was just “the last straw” for the day. And lemme tell you, that meme that points out that angrily hitting “end call” just doesn’t fill the need to slam the phone down is SO accurate… not that she deserved me slamming the phone down, but I was having a moment. Being able to slam the phone would have helped get the churning emotion out. Instead, I pushed “end” about 30 times as I gently set the phone down next to me… anyway, there was no real reason for my outburst. I felt bad about it, but I just couldn’t rein it in in time… the stress of the day finally cracked me. I almost cried…
We talked about it a few minutes later and I apologized. She apologized also, though she didn’t have reason to.

Anyway, I figured after my craptastic display of assholery, I needed to let off some stream. I started finger painting a journal background. It was too bright though, so it got covered in crackle medium then black paint. Ahh, the comfort and security of a black background…

image

I played some more, added more paint, and am now waiting for those layers to fully dry before I figure out where to take the page next.

image

While watching paint dry can be spectacularly entertaining, I needed to risk missing the excitement and move on to another project. I decided I was going to put more effort into the happy timeline TM asked me to do. I came up with this:

image

It was supposed to be a rose vine with leaves (and thorns), but after putting down the vine, I realized it kinda also looks like a dragon. The vine would have great symbolism (growing the “happy” in life), but I just like the thought of a dragon better… so I’m undecided where to go next with the artistic “line” of my timeline. I’m going to sleep on it, and see what I decide another day.

I wanted to put more effort into this one because I want the positive stuff to be a more salient memory than the negative stuff. This is also less overwhelming, even if it does have its triggers and sore spots. I might end up gluing it into my art journal as a fold-out spread. I want it to be something I want to look at and remember.

Anyway, yeah. The cats did their best to hinder progress, but I figured out how to work around them.

Rora is weighing the value of sitting on the project I’m currently working on vs walking through the wet paint on the journal page.

image

And Biz absolutely had to have a bath immediately as I started drawing… he actually woke up from a sound sleep on the coffee table to make the most of this unique opportunity.

image

What can I say, they are too cute trying to be annoying for me to actually be annoyed at them.


o_O

This move is so anxiety-inducing… and then the decision around whether or not the anxiety and depression warrant a check-in call to TM today is anxiety-inducing. I think I will ask that it’s either scheduled, or that there isn’t a call expected, but that it be decided before I leave session either way. I’m leaning towards “I’ll call and leave you a message if I need to” but not set a day and time for a check-in call that may or may not happen. Having to make that decision (even though she said either choice would be ok) is worse than having to make a decision to simply leave her a message. I keep landing on the side of “this isn’t important enough to warrant a check-in”. It feels like a check-in would only be ok if it was something hugely impossible to get through (kinda like last week). This week is difficult, but not as bad as last week…

The depression is still really bad, but it’s manageable at the moment. Going out for a bit yesterday helped (so did that nap). The flashbacks are once again just “background noise” in my body. Though I would love to get them to stop completely, as well as this newer pain that comes with them, I don’t think it’s enough to bug her today… I can still change my mind for the next 2.5 hours, but at this point, I’m settling on “not gonna be annoying and needy”.

On another note, I don’t know why I thought that the happy memories timeline would be emotionally easier than the aversive memories one. There’s no real emotion attached to the happy memories, but they trigger more aversive memories that are connected to them in one way or another. Those negative memories definitely come with some serious emotions. :/

I keep telling myself I need to handle all this differently. I need to not be so triggered by it. I need to be able to deal with it without contacting TM. And then I cycle around to wondering what use trying to deal with all this is with only a few sessions left. I want to hide and put up walls and push TM away (or, push myself away). I don’t want to feel a need to talk to her about anything. I don’t want to find myself looking to her for support. I don’t want to feel like she is a safe person. I don’t want to trust her. I want to be able to walk away without looking back. I’m trying to prepare for this loss that will be huge when it shouldn’t be… Attachment and trust and safety are sticky and messy things for me. I’m not sure how to navigate them as easily as I should. It plants a lump squarely in my throat, and a huge weight into my chest.

The other day I had a lightbulb moment around why I cling so desperately to anyone I care about right before an immanent ending. I’m not really sure why didn’t realize this sooner. I was journaling when it suddenly jumped out of the screen at me: I pulled away from my aunt before she died. I didn’t spend much time with her in that last year she was sick. It was hard. She was cranky and mean from the chemo. I didn’t want to be around that, so I stopped going to see her. I stopped spending time with her. She was one of my favorite people, and I abandoned her because I couldn’t handle her being sick. Then one day, my parents tell me I should go see her because “she doesn’t have much time left”… I think I might have seen her 2 or 3 more times before she lost consciousness in her final week. Then the hospice nurse told us she was likely going to pass that night. Her body was giving up, it was out of fight. She was out of fight. So we spent several hours with her. We would talk to her, and hold her hand. And then it got late, so my mom, brother, and I left. She died later that night…

I felt cheated. And I was angry at myself for not having been there for her. I was mad that I had let my fear and anxiety win to push me away from “my other mother”… I think because of that regret, my reflex is to cling desperately to any relationship right before it’s over. Be it romantic or therapeutic, if I know it’s ending, I become annoying and needy and ever-present… I’m trying not to do that with TM. The only alternate though seems to be building huge walls and lots of distance. It’s another thing I can’t find a middle-ground with. I don’t know how to take an impending loss and not feel giant emotions around it. It was easy to recognize in the termination timing with De, but it’s been harder to put together when it wasn’t so obviously entangled. With De, termination came 6 days before the anniversary of K’s death. I would trip up and use K’s name with her. It was painfully obvious much of the gravity of emotion came from the first loss (and from the coinciding anniversary of my first suicide attempt, thought that came 13 years after K’s death)… Other losses have felt as huge, but never were that easy to put together. I’m not sure what prompted me connecting the dots with the impending loss of TM, but it finally clicked. I am well aware that most of the emotions going on right now are transference. Yes, I will miss TM. It was a good fit for the most part. I know though, that most of my issues with loss go further back… I know losing people I trust and feel safe with just picks at an old wound that never truly healed. 😦


how to direct readers to a random post on your blog

in case anyone else wants to allow for “random viewing”

Rohan

is this possible?

Update:

1. Go to Appearance -> Menus

2. Create a Menu, doesn’t matter what you call it.

3. Click Links and type your WordPress URL and after the URL make sure you put ‘?random’ and then type your Link Text which can be ‘Read A Random Post’ or whatever you want.

4. Go to Manage Locations and put your menu in the Header Menu.

View original post


can’t get a grip on these emotions

I know, you’re probably sick of reading from me… Skip if you want (nothing of worth anyway, just me documenting mostly for myself).

I can’t get a handle on my emotions this week. I’m flying from being ok when I saw TM yesterday, to crashing last night and not being able to pull out of it today. Everything seems hopeless and useless and pointless…

I want to call TM and say next week will be it. I’m not seeing a point to it right now, since I hope to be moving in just over a month. What can we possibly accomplish in that time? Why did I bother to trust her or work with her in the first place. I knew it would end fast. I guess I was hoping it would be easier if I tried to just push through things. It’s not. And now it just sucks. I’m not totally sure what triggered this crash, but I’m back to another transference reaction, similar to the one around De’s leaving (only this time I’m doing the leaving). I don’t think it helps that I feel like TM “gets” me. She responds to my not-always-spoken fears, and we seem to click. I want to take her with me when I go, but I know it’s not possible…

I’m back to really just wanting to hide forever. F-this. I’m cooked right now. And I’m being stubborn and I’m not going to call her tomorrow. She’s right, I need to get back to a place of not needing her. So…

At the same time, I want to go hide in her office and get through all this emotional b.s. I want her to tell me it’s ok to be a mess, and that it’s gonna suck, but eventually it will get better. And I want her to tell me I was stupid for thinking I’d be able to get through any significant progress around all this in 4 months… I want her to agree that I should have known better. And I want her to hate me, and do something so I can be mad at her so it’s easier to just walk away.

I want to run away so badly right now. I want to erase everything and just disappear…

I’m so done with this constant roller-coaster. I wish there was some magic that worked. I wish meds didn’t make things worse… I wish I could just blink into nothingness.


complex ptsd

so, been following kati morton (an lmft out of california) for a bit now (at least 8 months), and I think she’s a pretty good resource.

a few days ago she posted a video on complex ptsd… I may or may not have cried watching it…

check her out. she’s a good resource. she’s got her own community site, is on facebook & twitter, and has an enormous library of videos on mental health…


thoughts and ramblings… (apologies for this wall of text)

I had my usual appointment with TM today. I struggled to explain to her what was different about this weekend. She asked what the motivators were for my change in attitude. I couldn’t put my finger on the tiny “half-spark” of internal motivation for the change, but I also could not adequately describe the difference in external motivators either. At one point, I tried to explain that I disliked being a cause for concern. I don’t think I explained the “why” behind that very well though… Just now, reading through an older post from another blog I follow, I found a wonderfully concise and accurate description:

“I have always reacted badly to emotionally affecting other people; it’s like I should exist as a neutral entity. Especially when it comes to people who matter to me.” ( blogged about it in this post from last year)…

I’ll have to try to remember this the next time I see TM.

Anyway, we talked about the weekend, and she challenged me to find what it was that allowed for that tiny bit of internal push to change how things turn out. I kinda thought about it already while running errands on the way home… I don’t think she will like the answer (though maybe she will be able to put a positive spin on it): Since I don’t have a fool-proof, guaranteed-to-work method to kill myself, I might as well work to make the interim as pleasant and productive as possible. If I’m in crisis and falling apart at the slightest sign of stress, I will certainly not be making the most of this time I’m “stuck” here. I will also never progress past the initial “dump” of info in therapy. I need to be able to get past this point.

To that end, TM pointed out what should have been obvious to me but wasn’t: I’m still pretty depressed. We talked about what my barriers are to accomplishing even the simplest things. I had reported to her Friday that I had tried several times between Tuesday and Friday  to go to the beach without any success. She wanted specifics around what had me turning around. I explained that it should have been easy enough for me to go, since I always have a “beach bag” in the car (shirt, shorts, blanket, towel, bathing suit). I could simply head out and either change when I got there, or go in jeans and change into dry shorts after. But I would get stuck on all the steps needed to make it to the beach. Sometimes I would start to go, get much of the way there, then turn around because the remaining effort was just too much. The slightest hinderance to making the full journey (which is really only about 6 miles or less, and maybe takes 20 minutes) had me losing my resolve to go. It became overwhelming to think of having to make all those turns, go through all those lights, find parking, gather my stuff, walk “all the way out” to the water, find a spot to consider “mine” or walk along the shore… And if I decided to go in the water, I would have to make sure my stuff didn’t blow away, and my valuables were safely hidden, and battle the waves to get to a point where I can just chill… It was so much easier to just turn around and go home. (I also described my thought process around going to the mall several weeks ago to exchange my bra. She was surprised at how far I broke it down, and admitted that having to think about doing all that would exhaust her also). She agreed that my miles-long list of “steps to get there” could seem to out-weigh the single acknowledged gain. This was where she pointed out “what [I] probably already know, but…” that’s all depression talking. I sometimes forget that depression can also manifest as a lack of energy or enjoyment from things. I’m so used to it being a horrid, hopeless, lifeless mood that as soon as the mood lifts a bit, I don’t see the depression anymore. I think the universe has been trying to bring this to my attention of late. Not only has TM now pointed it out, but I had followed a few forum posts where it was suggested that the poster still was experiencing depression despite the lack of depressed mood. It was more of a behavioral presentation. If I take an honest look at myself lately, I have to admit I’m still obviously depressed. Not only do I find it incredibly difficult to motivate around anything or take enjoyment out of what used to be enjoyable activities, but I also actively battle a higher intensity of “self-destruct” thoughts than would be considered my baseline… So much for moving past the depression. :sigh:

Anyway, she left me with cognitively challenging homework this week (a good balance to the emotionally challenging timeline from last week). I’m supposed to document (timeline or otherwise) some happy/good events in life. I laughed at her and said it would probably all fit on a post-it, compared to the large piece of brown paper I brought the other timeline in on. We laughed, then commiserated on the salience of negative or traumatic memories as opposed to positive/happy ones. I pointed out that we probably wouldn’t have gotten very far in the history of humanity if we forgot tigers might rip our arms off when we tried to cuddle them in the forest. She laughed at that. I like that we have a similar sense of humor, and our thought-process is somewhat similar. I again almost asked her if I could take her with me when I moved…

The other piece of homework was more of a reflective exercise: to figure out what happened to give me that internally motivated little half-spark of hope that helped me get through the weekend. That is so much more challenging. I can easily figure out the external motivators: L, the animals, not wanting to wind up in the hospital, not liking the feeling of causing others to worry or be concerned… easy-peasy. Internal factors though? maybe the discomfort with causing worry? (because it has changed somehow from not feeling worthy or deserving of worry, to disliking the feeling I get within myself when others say they are worried. I know I’m not describing that well, but…). So yeah, I dunno. This one may take me forever to accomplish.

On another note, though TM offered the possibility of a scheduled phone check-in, we ended with leaving it up in the air. I told her I really wanted to prove to myself that I can be self-sufficient (because I used to know how to do that at one time). She made it a point to say that neither calling nor not calling her would mean a failure of any kind. I’m glad she has been listening to all my fears, lol. While I still am seeing calling her as a failure, I will keep playing her statement over and over again in my head. Regardless what happens this week around seeking support, I will not have failed… (some day, I might believe that).

 


almost didn’t, but I’m calling it a win

I was so close to giving in today. I was so close to throwing up my hands and resigning myself to the fact that I am hopeless and will never change. But something propelled me to keep trying…

If I don’t do the dog nails first, no one will do them any time soon. I might as well at least do that…

It was quite a physical feet. While my dogs were relatively easy to do, mom’s dog was a handful. Not only did he not want his nails sanded, but he was going to try to get away the whole time. Lemme tell you a secret buddy, it goes a lot faster and easier if you just let me do it… But no. He didn’t want to stay put, he didn’t want to lay down and be pinned (he thinks he’s the boss after all), he wanted nothing to do with the pedicure. I was more stubborn them him though. He was placed back down every time he tried to get up and run. He got pinned and dealt with it. I stayed calm despite his frantic efforts to get away. Eventually, he submitted. The cardio I got from it though made up for anything I may have lacked last week. Picture a 65lb lanky, muscular dog who is also really good at squirming away…

Anyway, I won. I finished the mani/pedi’s for all 4 dogs. And it gave me the release of pent-up anxiety I so desperately needed.

My thoughts still float towards self-destruction, but they are not as desperate and intense as they had been earlier this afternoon. I almost left TM a defeated message saying I had failed a mere 20 hours before I would be seeing her again. I’m glad I didn’t. As I told L a bit ago, if you never change how you react to stress, nothing will ever change. Don’t get me wrong, I so wanted to give in and shred my body. I wanted to OD on everything I could get my hands on. I wanted to relieve the stress and anxiety in any way possible. I even contemplated giving the crisis line a “courtesy call” saying that I was pretty much going to cut, but that I had promised TM I would reach out first. I was going to tell them I had no idea how they could help me, or even that they could help me, but that I was simply going through the motions (keeping my word to TM is very important to me). I actually probably would have if doing the dogs’ nails hadn’t taken so much out of me. I’m kinda glad the puppy was such a jerk about it. If he had been easier, I would be admitting to TM that I failed…

Anyway… yeah. So, I battled all those crazy-intense self-destruct thoughts. I even gave myself permission to give in to them after first doing the mani/pedi’s for the dogs. But in the end, I won against the thoughts also.

Here’s to changing even if the change is excruciating.
image


Trauma Informed Organziations

I thought I had re-blogged this, but it isn’t showing up on my site…
Something really important for all organizations…
Funny how it’s very in-line with something my wife was saying about a new potential job: everyone has their reasons and their struggles… Maybe even retail needs some trauma-informed training… (PS – My wife rocks because she is the one wanting to point this out to everyone at the new job! See, I haven’t totally spoiled her and made her hate the world…)

Out of the Rabbit Hole

crystal light

I am currently working on a certification from the University of Buffalo on Trauma Informed Organizations.  I have been studying trauma related materials for a while. It has been fascinating and helpful  healing for me.

What is a Trauma Informed organization? It is an organization that has taught trauma informed care from the person who answers the phone to the CEO. It is the basis for policy and procedures. Trauma informed agencies and organizations are totally aware that every contact with a patient makes a difference in their reaction to the care being offered and also in their ability to get well.

For example, a person with mild PTSD is coming to see a doctor for stomach upset. The admission person snarls at them because they are lacking some information on their admission form. She tosses the clip board at the patient and says snottily, “you need to fill out…

View original post 641 more words


change is hard…

I am still struggling so much this weekend.

The one thing keeping me from completely falling apart is the mantra that “I can never get past this point if I keep reacting the same way as I always have…”

Yes, the fear of dealing with all this is huge. Yes, I want to self-destruct more than almost anything… but that “almost” is the hope that maybe this time I can change things. This time, if I don’t fall head-long into crisis (self-harming severely, making risky decisions about safety, winding up in the hospital…), I can finally get through to some progress. I can maybe finally settle my past into the past. Maybe this time I can find a way through the darkness…

So I talk back to the voice in my head that tells me to shred my body, or that tells me to quietly end my life.

I really don’t like that I caused TM to be worried about me. I don’t like that my wife worries, or my mom. I don’t like that my dog gives me that look when she sees me in bed too long, or wrestling the desire to whip out a blade… She was there the first time I seriously attempted to take my life. She stayed far away from me for weeks after that. She came to me for the basics, but nothing else. I see that same worried look on her face again. The other dog will try to coax me out of bed. I hate that I worry them…

So I’m still here. I’m distracting and reaching out, and finding that “pattern interrupt” that TM wants me to find.

I spent time at the beach again today. I might do the same tomorrow… I need to keep doing things differently than I have in the past.

:sigh:

It would be so much easier to just give in and cut, or OD, or disappear… but I can’t do that. So I keep pushing myself to not fall into the old ruts. I’m sure I’ll slip up, but for now I’m trying.


how to plan for an empty weekend

image

I’m trying to keep myself occupied and busy this weekend, only there’s nothing to do.

I saw TM yesterday. It helped a lot, and she helped me feel a bit more at ease around contacting her. We  covered the time-line that had triggered so much this past week. It was easier with her there. It didn’t feel so terrifyingly alone and overwhelming. I was pretty detached from it all actually. I didn’t really give details, but we did talk about everything that was on it. I think she was a bit surprised about how much was actually there (and even that wasn’t all of it, just what I got down before it became too overwhelming). It felt safe there though. And we sat on the floor, which I think I actually really like and may do again. It was easier to curl up and feel safe surrounded by the furniture. She was physically closer to me too while on the floor, but in my head it looked miles away. :shrugz:

I followed through on my plan to visit the beach after session. It was nice and empty. The water was cool, but not too cold. I bobbed among the waves for about 1.5 hours before I started to get cold just floating there. Then I sat on the sand and watched the birds run around the waves to find their little food prizes. It was a nice change of pace. Part of me wants to head back there today, but it’s going to be hot and crowded. There’s also a lot to do around the house. I keep looking at the tumbleweeds of dog hair and vow to vacuum… once I stand up. Gotta get to the “standing” stage though, lol. My excuse in the moment: the dogs are quiet and relaxed. I don’t want to disturb them.

Physical flashbacks are still happening, but they are more “background noise” at the moment. I’m feeling the sensations and reminding myself “they are just physical sensations from the past. I don’t have to pay attention to them or act on them right now”. It’s helping. TM is out of the office for 3 days (they have an off-site function today). She wants me to call their crisis line if things get overwhelming, but I really don’t like speaking on the phone, so I just have to keep things from getting overwhelming. She said I “concerned” her. I really dislike worrying people, so I have to prove to her that her concerns are unfounded.

On that note, my head is starting to slip into an unwanted train of thought, so I’m gonna wrap this up and move on. The dogs are starting to shift again anyway, so now may be a great time to tackle vacuuming the house. Wish me luck 😉


Art therapy: change your art to change your understanding

Been having a really rough couple of days. Trying to distract through art and getting out of the house and all sorts of other things. Been having trouble with my “containment” as everything has yet to be transferred from the messy closet to the pensieve. Then last night I remembered a concept from art therapy that suggests changing elements in an expressive piece can help change your understanding of them. Makes sense…

So last night I took the journal page with the closet busting at the seams, and added a pensieve. It’s a magical object, so it doesn’t need to totally work the way Rowling suggested in Harry Potter… instead of having to individually retrieve memories and place them into the bowl, this pensieve is set to “automatic upload”… it won’t dump anything without my initiation, but it will transfer all the memories from the closet to itself, kinda like my Dropbox is set to automatically upload photo files from my phone. There’s too much to move one by one, so the creators of this pensieve set up a batch file upload 😉

image

Other distractions worked on recently: (complete with gratuitous kitty-sleeping-on-mom’s-art-supplies shot)

image

image

This last one is still a work in progress. I added some glass bead gel to it, but I really am not liking how it’s looking, so I’m just going to post a pic before I ruined it with the gel.

image

I’m supposed to meet with TM for an additional appointment today. I’m feeling guilty for taking up her limited time today. She just called to change the appointment time because of a last minute change in her schedule. After hanging up with her, I wanted to call back and tell her to just cancel. I know her time is super-limited this week. She shouldn’t have to juggle things to fit me in. I should stick to the original schedule and not bug her for more support. I should be able to figure this out on my own by now. I should have a better handle on things… ok, I admit I’m handling this better than a year ago, and certainly better than I would have 4 years ago, but the progress is too slow. I should be so much further along by now. I shouldn’t need to waste my therapist’s time with stupid shit like not being able to handle the flooding and flashbacks… :/

I’m mad at myself for needing so much support over this. But mostly I’m disappointed that I just can’t seem to “get it right”. I can’t seem to learn how to shake off the past (even when it comes busting into my living room)…

My plan for today: try meditation for a while. Go to therapy (and try not to feel too bad about wasting her time). Go to the beach and try to float mindfully in the water. It’s supposed to storm today, but that just means the beach will hopefully be less crowded.


Self-compassion & recognizing limits

An article on self-compassion and understanding your limits was definitely something I needed to read today.

The last few days have me slamming hard into my own limits around processing my trauma. I am working towards acknowledging them to myself, and admitting them to TM (as much as I don’t want to in the moment because it means we will need to tweak our approach). I certainly want to push past my limits, but I need to do so carefully. I really wish I could keep seeing her for longer, and maybe a bit more often to help move past this, but therapy has its own limits and boundaries.

On another note, a friend pointed out something to me last night that was hard to hear, but definitely something that needs addressing. She was suggesting some coping strategies that I have used in the past, but have become huge triggers in the last year (mindfulness around breathing, and progressive muscle relaxation… well, they were always triggers, but not this intense in the past. I could utilize at least breathing techniques in the presence of someone I trusted. I can no longer do that without triggering or intensifying flashbacks). My problem comes from the memories that have surfaced recently. In them, I would pretend to sleep in order to “get it over with” faster. Pretending to sleep involved slowing my breath and relaxing my muscles so the person would believe I was asleep… I didn’t understand why these two techniques were so difficult for me until last year, when the cognitive memories started accompanying the physical and emotional ones. Since then, my reactions to the two techniques are incredibly intense and visceral. In the past, I would panic when I tried them, but I was able to try them without my whole body shaking; not so much any more. I know I need to work on this, but I’m not totally sure how. Time with TM is limited in so many ways, and there is so much to cover. 😦

Anyway, back to the article on self-compassion. It can be found here on GoodTherapy.org. While their articles are often geared towards professionals in the field, they have a wealth of articles for clients, friends, and family. I don’t always agree with what they post, but some are spot on, like the one mentioned.


a bit of insight…

I think I’m realizing I need to initially decline any offer of support before I can come around and admit I need it. thinking it’s a combo of being SO worried about pissing her off and desperately needing to believe I’m self-sufficient…


That declined quickly

For some reason, my filters were “off” in session yesterday. I think it might have been a combo of anxiety, having a ton of stuff I wanted to cover, too much coffee in the morning, and excitement over free cone day at Ben & Jerry’s…

image

I was bordering manic-level with my chattering to her. I was honest about my thoughts around processing stuff, what I expected my reactions to be, and that I wanted to push through anyway. I told her why I worried I’d be a pain in the ass. I told her I was sure my neediness would kick into high gear, and I’d end up calling frequently if the overwhelm got too high. I think she kinda gave me permission to call in her reaction to my statement, even if in the next breath she had to acknowledge the reality of her limits (I said something along the lines of “if we did that, I’d probably be calling you every five minutes” to which she responded that she would then pick up the phone every five minutes for the next week, “well not every five minutes, that would be impossible…”). I don’t think I’d honestly call that much, though I would want to reach out a lot. I would likely just agonize over it and maybe call her once or twice, but it would feel as annoying to me as calling her every 5 minutes.

Anyway… yesterday was productive I guess. I didn’t cover what I really had hoped to be able to say, but I was honest about a lot of things. We agreed to push on this processing stuff. She was trying to figure out of it would be better for me to put off the homework till closer to the next session since I tend to think about stuff right away which gives me too long to stress over it and put up walls around it. We decided to just do it however it happened, and she again told me to call if stuff got too much. I’m not sure if I was taking her permission into account, or I was simply distracted, but I didn’t start my homework from her till late last night (I usually at least start to think about before I even leave her office; way too many years of being conditioned to do homework before anything else).

The actual homework she gave me was to write down some of the fragmented memories that are bothering me, put them in some sort of chronological order or categorization, add in what emotions went with the memory, write out an alternate ending to the memory, and finally, write out the positives in my life despite those memories.

My immediate thought when she first mentioned it was to find a roll of paper and do a time-line style thing (in crayon, coz I found a nice big box on sale. They need to be used at least once before the dog finds them and I’m left with nothing again). I’m not really sure how else to depict how unsure I really am about the chronology of it all. Some of it I can kinda place based on the setting of the memory or how old I look based on what my body looks like in it, but saying something came before or after something else is about the best I can do. To place even that much, I need to put in the other landmarks I am sure of (births, deaths, moves…) so a visual time line feels easiest for me.

Unfortunately, nothing is ever that neat and tidy. I started my time-line with the intention of keeping it to the basic landmarks while trying to place the fragments accordingly. It was going ok until I forgot how unstable everything in my closet actually is. Suddenly I was at the bottom of a giant pile of memories and emotions. All I could do was sit there with music pumping into my ears. I stared blankly at my time-line for a long while (long enough for the cat to sit on it, then realize he wasn’t actually obstructing anything by sitting there so he left – his plot for world domination foiled again…). I think after about an hour, I was able to move again. I left TM a message asking if it was ok to do that part in session with her, and that I would do the “positives” stuff she asked me to do even if I didn’t do the rest.

We had briefly talked about the concept of flooding with all this processing. I’m not sure what part of my brain prevents me from understanding the full impact of stuff like this when I’m sitting safely in her office, but I was so convinced it wouldn’t be as overwhelming as she was cautioning it to be. I understand the concept of flooding. Been through it before. Clearly got stupid around remembering what it is actually like in the moment… I think my bravado around it comes from the concept of not going there alone, when in reality, it wasn’t supposed to be something I was going to do with anyone else around. While the flooding technique to deal with anxiety is generally done with a trained, supportive person around, the flooding that comes with this processing would happen alone… why do I always forget that? I’m always expecting more support around it than is possible… 😦

When all gung-ho about getting through this stuff, I need to try to remember it will always be done alone unless I were to try residential treatment for it. :sigh: it’s not that I’m mad at any person for this, it’s just the nature of available trauma treatment out there. Funding sources pay for only so much, the rest needs to happen as it can, without additional support. This doubt around the thought of processing stuff on a regular outpatient schedule always comes up when I start to get to work. I remember the panic of feeling so alone in it all, and I wonder if I shouldn’t hold off until I can afford an inpatient/residential option… as helpful as that would be, I can’t afford it any time soon, so what do I do with all this ickiness in the interim?


Dear TM

Dear TM,

I apologize in advance for the mountain of writing I will be taking in tomorrow.

I know it’s way too much to cover in one hour, but… parts of all of it kinda relate to each other, and it’s all stuff I need to address.

Sorry 😦

~SJ


Pride

I woke this morning wanting to cry and stay in bed. A few days ago however, I had told myself I was going to go to pride today. I didn’t really feel like driving into the city (it gives me anxiety), but the train/tram/bus/walk route would have been 3 hours (2 hours longer than driving), and a whole lot more frustrating. So, after double-checking that none of my friends would be available to drive, I took myself. Traffic sucked, but it wasn’t as bad as I had feared. My anxiety about driving in city traffic was not activated. I parked at a garage we had parked at last year, and I walked the 20 minutes to the beach. I ended meeting up with some friends for a while, them struck out on my own again after they left.
I’m glad I went. It was fun people watching, and I found out my anxiety is not nearly as bad when I feel in control and I know what I’m doing.
I’m not sure when the anxiety started, but it’s gotten frustrating the last few years. I used to make the drive to that part of the city quite often during high school. In college, I lost my fear of having to drive in unfamiliar places. Then it came back recently. I used to have no problem striking out on my own to go places; driving 10 hours to visit a friend in another state for the weekend; heading to the islands on my own for a spontaneous weekend away… now I get anxious going to the store down the street… I miss my independence. Today was a good reminder that I used to love doing stuff like this.
Anyway, pride was fun. Going by myself and not having to worry about what others wanted to do was nice. And leaving when I wanted was liberating. I would have preferred L with me, but I didn’t mind not having to go with friends…

image

image

image

image

And on the way home, I saw my dream car: (googly eyes for the Kermit jeep)

image


Building Walls (art journal – WIP)

TM wanted me to do art this week…
Started Tuesday, and it’s progressed a bit.

Still working on it…

 

 


The Impact of Domestic Violence on Children (link to an article on goodtherapy.org)

Another article that resonates, so I wanted to share.

With my recent trauma processing with TM, so much of this is in the forefront of my experiencing. Even the unintentional trauma of watching those who are supposed to protect you go at it brings up a fear that is so shattering. It’s nice to see that there is understanding growing in the field. I remember trying to explain some of the effects to clinicians, and it simply not being understood for the full impact. This also explains a lot around my issues with attachment. Yes, members of my family were not abusive, but those who were overshadowed their efforts… It was never safe… Poor TM, she is getting the brunt of those fears lately.

found at GoodTherapy.org right here.


getting “profeesional” – books on grief (for kids in kid bodies or kids in grown-up bodies)

Funny how when I get overwhelmed with my own stuff, my “profeesional” side kicks in. I take a detached and intellectual jaunt through all of the professional resources I keep around… It’s just much easier than being mired in my own emotional mess.

Anyway, I stumbled across this list of books for kids that deal with grief. I may have to find some of them (especially the pop-up ones, OMG, pop-up books are the best!!!!!… ok, putting my inner child away now).

the list is on brainpickings.org. It’s a site I’ve liked articles from in the past, but never really ventured through. One day it might be worth the wander.

anyway, the list can be found here… One that piqued my personal interest was The Flat Rabbit(public library) by Bárður Oskarsson

 


My attachment style, in 5 frames

found this on FB…

I was originally going to say this is me with just my wife, but it’s really me in every significant relationship (family, friends, therapists…)

10689448_10152916417186840_6457048730088989012_n


distance = safety

I desperately want to talk to TM right now, in the moment. I know it’s only so strong because I have distance, and because I can’t actually talk to her in the moment. It’s safe to want to be vulnerable because it’s not a real possibility right now…

If I were to be seeing her later today, the walls would fly back into place. I would deem all this “stupid” and not be able to speak about it. But I’m not in danger of seeing her for another 6 days, so it’s ok to feel this need to spill to her. It’s ok to want to talk about details and impact and insights. It’s safe right now.

Only this pattern makes for difficult therapy. I throw other things at her. I create distractions and talk around things. I disappoint myself in my inability to move forward in therapy… I only want to be vulnerable because I can’t really be vulnerable right now. Even if I were to call her, I wouldn’t be able to voice any of this.

I want to commit to handing her what I wrote today, but I am predicting I will label it “stupid” at the appointment and not give it to her. Or maybe I’ll write too much other stuff this week and this will lose place to something that is more of a summary. I’m not sure. But I know so far every time I wrote something intense with the intent of giving it to her, I always find a reason not to. There’s always something more pressing, or I judge the important stuff too harshly, or I lose my nerve…

And the stuff I wrote today would count as trauma processing. I’m not sure she wants to go there right now. I think she still wants to gauge how well I cope, how far I will fall if I put too much on my plate…

Problem is, it’s on my plate regardless. The flashbacks are there whether or not I talk about them in therapy. The memories are there; the nightmares, the hopelessness, the confusion… It’s all there even if I don’t take it to her. I cope poorly or I cope well regardless of her knowledge of it. At least if I’m talking to her about it, I might find some support. (maybe if I print it out now and stick it in my art journal, I might be more inclined to show her?)


trauma work as a “distraction” is not the best reason to do it, smarty-pants.

I probably shouldn’t have gone to therapy today. I know she was probably trying to help me find my hope, but all I could see was how hopeless everything actually is.

I was more present though, so I guess that’s good. I didn’t noticeably dissociate, however I don’t necessarily explicitly remember the session either… She was trying to assess my level of emotional availability for dealing with the trauma stuff in the midst of the bigger housing crisis. I told her I needed the distraction (of the trauma work) to avoid completely shutting down around everything. At least with the trauma work, I feel like I’m getting somewhere. Maybe that was the wrong reasoning to give her today, but it was true in the moment. I don’t want to keep feeling like I fail this therapy stuff all the time (something I am so glad she understood and mentioned without me having to bring it up. kinda made me feel like she understands where my head is). There needs to be something in my life I feel that I have done right. I’m just not finding anything at the moment, not even therapy. I always feel like a failure and a disappointment. I can’t seem to finish anything I start because I peter out along the way. I don’t know how to maintain that energy at a level needed to succeed at anything. I really want to keep trying with this though. I’m fighting to keep coping, and to keep going back, and to stay present. I’m fighting the instinct to run away or shut down. I’m trying to keep my more adult/intellectual brain on hand to get through things. I’m trying to realize and voice when I know my thinking is distorted… I’m trying so hard to keep the little pieces glued together.

We talked about the hierarchy of needs. She asked me to rate where I felt I was on that. Honestly, I’m not sure. I haven’t really given it much thought… I guess I need to look the concept of working on the trauma  kinda like trying to work on the top of the pyramid while I’m watching a flood wear away at the foundations of it. But at the same time, working on that top piece helps reinforce some of the layers below. My sense of safety is very much impacted by the flashbacks, as is my concept of being loved/loving, and my self-esteem. The physiological needs are still being met at the moment. I’m working on at least faking a plan to keep those needs met (and TM can’t help with that part anyway). I really need her help with the trauma stuff. I asked her if she knew of any additional help for the housing stuff, she had no resources, so why bother wasting our time on that? I know I need to be able to cope safely with things, but can we agree that I will cope however I cope while also committing to returning to her weekly (in one piece) to deal with the trauma?

She wrote down my homework this week 🙂 It was another thing she did without me having to ask, though I would have if she hadn’t done it. I’m supposed to 1) figure out what my primary need is for the day, and if it’s something I need to act on, then do so. I think the concept of this one has me a bit scared, because I often don’t know what I need, but maybe it’s as simple as having a list of tasks for the day? 2) to assess my physical and emotional state and come up with a way to cope with it if it’s distressing (I’m guessing part of this came from me linking some of the vertigo to taking benadryl the night before for sleep). I’m picturing this step as “self-care”… and 3) read the handouts she gave me. I’m also supposed to journal (art or written) about how I feel or what I’m thinking each day. We were doing this at the end of session, so I didn’t voice how blank and empty I’ve felt lately. It’s been really difficult to express anything these last few days, but I’ll try (and keep trying) in an effort to do the stuff she wants me to do.

Part of me really had wanted to directly address the hopelessness today. We talked about it a bit, but I’m kinda glad she didn’t grab it and run in the direction of stopping all other work to address safety. As much as I was hinting at it and indirectly throwing it out there, it would have accomplished nothing but distraction. I know I’m safe. I know I’m going to keep myself safe. The thoughts and impulses are just a fear reaction to all this stress. I’m glad she was respecting that I had labeled it as a distraction tactic back when we started. Sometimes I don’t realize the frantic attempts to distract the course of therapy with that stuff (at least not in the moment when I break down and admit to feeling so utterly hopeless). We’ve already got one huge distraction, and that’s the housing situation. I don’t need to add another to it. What I do need is to re-attach my head and figure out how to move on with things.

After I left session, I found the courage to call 211 and the local SSA office. Unfortunately, there really are very little resources. There are even fewer when you don’t quite know what you need. It’s funny how, when asking for help, not only are we under the impression that we should know how to help ourselves before we ask for it, but that there really isn’t anyone available to help us figure it out if we have no clue. If by some miracle you do know what you need, chances are that particular type of help doesn’t exist. I know I don’t always function well when overwhelmed. I know I could use some gentle hand-holding and direction, but that service doesn’t exist (at least not for me)… so, guess it’s “sink or swim” around this. :/ (cue string of dark and hopeless thoughts followed by some good ole’ fashioned self-deprecation). I really need someone to help me see a gray area around what to do. I keep jumping to the catastrophic line of action that ends with all the animals being re-homed and me feeling beyond guilty and worthless. TM had asked if I had motivation to keep living outside of that provided by external forces (L, the animals, some family members). Honestly, at this moment there’s nothing, so I’d really prefer to keep my small pool of external forces as large as possible. While the dogs are the biggest obstacle to attaining suitable housing, they are also one of my biggest reasons to continually choose to live. The snakes couldn’t care less where they live, as long as they get food, water, clean living space, and mental stimulation. Maybe my big guy would be thrown by me no longer being his keeper, but the others don’t seem to be phased. Actually, I don’t even think he would be all that phased, but I’m very attached to him… Speaking of the snakes, I need to go thaw their food before I forget again today (yesterday was feeding day and I slacked)…


Getting unstuck

My anxiety is through the roof. I’m not sure why it is so bad lately. It’s not helping that I had less than 3 hours of sleep last night. Trying to get myself unstuck from the couch so I can drag myself to the beach. I know it will help, just need to dissolve the glue that’s holding me in place.
If I can shower and get my beach clothes on, I can convince myself a bit easier to get moving… I can do this…
________________________________
I don’t know what crack I was smoking earlier, but everyone in the state is at the beach today. I drove around for a while then came home because there was nowhere to park…
Second to the beach, the patio is good I guess. :shrugs: (and there’s better company here… also free food and beverages)
image image


friday

Today is jam-packed & full. I guess it matches my brain…

I didn’t sleep well again last night. I woke early, but I also couldn’t get out of bed this morning. I finally dragged my butt up, but everything was slow in happening. I ended up visiting a friend with the intention of working more on art. I did the background for the piece I want to enter into a mother’s day show, but that’s as far as I got. I was quite distracted. Then I had to jet off to therapy. TM and I talked, but I’m hazy on what it all was. I know we addressed the current huge stressor a bit. I know I asked her to keep focusing on the trauma anyway because I feel like I keep getting to a point of opening up about it, but never a point of really working on it. I can’t really remember what we talked about. I think a thread through everything we touched on was safety (she took notes this time, which she doesn’t normally do. the word “safety” was highlighted). I think we had talked about some symptoms, because she ended up calling something “hypervigilance” and it kinda clicked as such after she labeled it. I don’t exactly remember what it was, but I know I told her that I hadn’t thought to call it that because it didn’t manifest in the way I thought hypervigilance would. We talked about it a bit, and came to the conclusion that I do tend to be hypervigilant at a certain level of being triggered…

image

I can’t really remember most of the session though. In the past, doodling & coloring had helped me stay grounded. It’s no longer as effective. I noticed that because we had talked about grounding, and she asked if noticing and describing helped at all (if I had ever done it). I remember telling her that I had long ago gotten good about being able to interact with my environment while still being “far away”. I used the doodling as an example. I told her I knew I was putting lines and shapes on paper, but I wasn’t aware of what I was doing. I think I also mentioned to her that the doodling had been effective in the past, but no longer was. We talked more about grounding techniques, and I think it helped me come back a bit. She asked me to do something between today and the next appointment, but I couldn’t remember what it was. I called her later and she reminded me it was to try meditation twice a day. I have those short, kid meditations, and I’m supposed to try them during the day and before bed. Hopefully, it will help with my sleep issue also…

That’s right, we talked a bit about sleep as well. I guess sleep disorders are one of her areas of interest. We chatted a bit about it and she told me about a documentary she had seen on it. I guess a steady “diet” of merely 4 hours of sleep for even just a week brings about a drastic decline in coping and functioning… I totally agree.

Anyway, I was supposed to be napping in my few short hours at home this evening, but my head was racing again. I’m playing the meditations though, so it’s at least a bit relaxing. I have tickets to a play tonight (the last of the season tickets from a friend I will be using). I should find something to eat, but I’m not sure what. Maybe I will splurge on food at a restaurant between the parking garage and the theater. Or maybe I will just stop for pizza or something along the way. I dunno… I guess I should get going though, since traffic will be a bear (It took me over an hour to get home from that area around 4pm. heading back down there during peak rush hour on a Friday will likely be worse). I’m bent on enjoying the play though. Gotta take the dogs out first…