It doesn’t take a lot of strength to hang on, it takes a lot of strength to let go. – j.c. watts
Monthly Archives: August 2015
Progress on “flashbacks” & some other stuff…
In group on Tuesday, Dr C opened up the door for me to be able to talk a bit more about the things I’m struggling with. I spoke about believing these new memories. At one point, I mentioned having a really vivid imagination, and suggested that these memories were just some elaborate story I had made up. She countered with the concept that my really vivid imagination was perhaps helping me believe they were not true
I think I need the “out” not necessarily believing myself just yet provides. It’s so much harder to believe when the triggers are not as “in my face” as they had been before the move. From a distance, it all feels fake. There’s physical and emotional distance right now (except when it comes back to haunt me).
L and I have hit a few bumps around my lack of desire to engage in anything remotely sexual. I keep getting stuck on how to convey that it’s not related to her in the least. She’s just caught in the after effects of remembering past events. She told me that she doesn’t even really know what happened, just that some people have hurt me over the years. I tried to explain at least the Duckboy stuff but the words got caught in my throat. I couldn’t use the labels my therapists had given it. I couldn’t force even mild descriptive words past my lips… I started getting lost in my head again. I’m not really sure how the conversation ended. It’s not that I don’t want to tell her, but I get stuck in the process of it.
I had told Dr C about not knowing how to let L in more around any of this. She suggested either doing a joint session with L and her therapist, or bringing her in to talk to Dr C. I’m not sure what would work better. I’m not even sure what I would be comfortable speaking about since most of this stuff is left so unprocessed yet… I guess we (L & I) will figure it out at some point. In the mean time, I hope I can find ways to communicate with her. How do you explain to someone that any touch (even the safest and wanted kind) can sometimes trip the switch in your head that releases a flood of unwanted memories? It doesn’t always happen, but I worry when it does. Suddenly having sex with my wife is no longer sex with her; it’s being forced into sex with someone else. Even when I work hard to ground from it, the memories keep taking over… it’s anxiety inducing… It’s also a killer to our sex life.
Maybe that’s how I know it’s true? Maybe the interruption of happy moments with these scary ones means they happened and I just forgot? Maybe it’s more than just a story if I can’t get through intimate moments with my wife without flashbacks to other moments? I want so badly to be able to enjoy sex again. I want to stop remembering the times it hurt or I was scared. I want to stop remembering the times I just lay there because it was easier to do that. I want to stop remembering…
There’s a confusion in my head that equates “real” care with violation and submitting. It’s a caregiver transference thing I think, because when De asked if I believed L cares about me I realized I know she does. That belief doesn’t transfer to her (though on some level in still sometimes shocked when she doesn’t physically hurt me or threaten to hurt me). It’s more just for people in power/perceived power… I dunno.
Anyway… yeah… gonna try to keep ahead of the depression I’m beginning to notice more strongly. Hoping I can keep it at bay. It’s such a tiring cycle…
Got this through my feed and want to save it somewhere for later reference.
Six books that use psychological techniques to help kids (from smithsonian.com)
Also, I picked up some cool finds while tag-saleing this weekend, one of which is an antique (from the 70’s?) book that explains death/grief to kids. I will take some pics when I remember to bring it in from the car.
Went to a doctor’s appointment today. I normally really like this doctor. she’s normally really cool, but today I felt like all she could see was my m.i. diagnosis… I’m trying to tell myself it probably has more to do with my anxiety and being one of her last patients for the day (the one after me was probably due to deliver this week from the part of the conversation I overheard while checking out) than it does with me as a person. I’m still having trouble feeling the validity of that though.
I felt like she rushed me and didn’t give me a chance to explain why I was there… again, likely due to the time of my appointment, and the nature of the appointment after me.
Whatever. I’m going to keep reminding myself that she is generally an awesome doctor.
On a slightly related note, I want to talk to L more about what is going on for me lately, but I don’t know how to do it. I doubt the validity of my memories too much to be able to talk to her about them. She kinda guessed about it tonight, but I couldn’t bring myself to confirm it. How do you tell someone about something you are not even sure is real? I mean, it certainly impacts our relationship significantly, so I owe it to her to talk about it… but I don’t know how to do that when I can’t even say for sure they are real memories. I keep faltering and being convinced I made them up for some weird reason. I go through periods of questioning everything I remember. I think it’s all a lie. I think I just need the attention having that history brings me. I don’t know how to come to terms with some other disturbing stuff, so I weave stories around it to allow it to make sense. It’s all a lie…
And then I can physically feel it again. The sensations of it play on or in my body and I know it’s real, but only while I can feel it happening. Once the sensations quiet, I doubt it all over again.
Why didn’t I remember it till now?
What if I’m just putting the wrong face to the body?
What if I’m talking about the wrong person?
What if it’s just all something I saw on TV and somehow translated into a “memory”?
Memory is a shift thing after all…
I’ve been in this weird head-space all day. I don’t know how to describe it. It’s like living elsewhere while my body is going through the motions in this world. It’s two realities at once, but not completely either of them.
I don’t recall any dreams while I napped today, but it’s that “stuck in a dream” feeling. It’s continuing just out of my cognitive awareness, but I know the emotional experiences don’t belong to this moment. It doesn’t feel like a flashback because I can’t tie the emotions to anything real. They feel detached and belonging to some other reality. It feels as unreal as a dream, like walking in a fog.
Struggling with self-harm desires too… “desires” isn’t the right word, but neither is “urges”… self-harm thoughts? They’re more than mere thoughts though. I dunno. It’s not just cutting thoughts/desires/urges. It’s wanting to go out clubbing complete with mass amounts of alcohol and drugs (something that was never “my thing”, nor have I ever done more than smoke some weed)… It’s imagining a release, an escape from the prospect of what I’ve been addressing in therapy. The scared little kid has given way to a reckless teenager. The scenarios (or emotional scenes) going through my head are all very out of character for anything I would actually do. Just a really good imagination I guess. Dreams can feel real in the moment after all.
The body sensations are still really uncomfortable. They have not gotten unbearable though, so that’s good. Maybe Dr C is right. Maybe this can be done safely… I have not fallen apart yet, and so far the “safety net” we talked about seems to be lessening the impact of stirring things up. :shrugs: Hope it keeps working.
Sorry. I’m rambling. I dunno if any of that makes sense…
This page has been one of the slowest yet. I’ve had the general idea for the top layer for over 2 weeks (though it went through at least 4 revisions before that. The original bg sketch was done back in June), but can’t seem to execute it the way I see it in my head. I totally screwed up the skeleton… now I’m waiting for it to dry before I can try it again.
Also, faces in profile are my toughest draw. They always look wrong, so I tend to just do a mass of hair covering where the face would be…
Here are some of the steps that I remembered to take pics of:
I find myself struggling with the believability of my memories once again.
In the moment of re-experiencing them, I know they are true. They feel very real on every level when I’m actually remembering them. It’s the times between the flashbacks and body memories that have me doubting. They don’t make sense when looked at in terms of other memories. They actually feel contradictory at times.
We covered the doubts a bit in session. Dr. C isn’t so worried about the validity of them. She keeps reminding me there’s no one she would tell, so even if they are all a story in my head, then we can address that too without hurting anyone’s reputation. She asks about the concept of “doing it all for attention”, and as soon as that concept hits my awareness, there’s a panic: No! DON’T pay attention to me. Let me hide and melt away. PLEASE don’t see me or hear me or even know I exist… It’s a little-kid fear. It’s in a little kid’s voice in my head.
I’m not sure why I’m so worried about the validity of the memories all over again. I had gotten to a place with TM where we were just addressing the concept of the memories & how they impact me. I was “talking” about them & getting them out. All of a sudden, I feel like I’ve taken several steps backwards with Dr. C. I feel the need to figure out if they are real. I need to justify voicing them once again. I’m not totally sure why. Part of it may be that I have to re-tell her the stuff I had already told TM (even if it’s just the existence of the memories, not necessarily the details of them). It may also be that Dr. C is an older woman. There was that parental transference with TM and there’s definitely some going on with Dr. C also, but maybe I’m feeling that as well as what I might have with a grandparent this time… The disapproving voices in my head that are louder are from the older women in my family this time around.
Working on containment since the session. I keep visualizing the pensieve holding everything, and hiding in a pillow fort in Dr. C’s office for most of the day. Keeping the desire to bug the heck out of Dr. C and/or TM in check. I know I’m looking for a sense of safety and comfort, so I’m trying to find that around here. Music is playing, doggies are cuddling. I even had one of the snakes out for a while (really wish I could train him to do deep pressure on command).
Anyway, how’s everyone else doing?
My brain feels like mush lately. I feel as if I’ve been running non-stop for weeks (when in actuality, it’s only been 5 days… and they were not even consecutive days). I can’t hold a conversation or pay attention to much of anything.
I have therapy in about an hour. This should be fun with mush-brain… at least I have some stuff written out that I can show her, and my first art journal…
My brother and his wife had their baby on Tuesday 😀 Went to see her that day for a short time. They are going to be awesome parents! (Though it’s a bit weird to think my little brother has a kid). I want to go back and see her again, but I know they need their time to get adjusted. L and I are hoping to head there Sunday for a bit…
Really have to take some time today and try to clean the house. We never did it this past weekend, and it shows in a big way…
Little dog is coming to therapy with me. He’s been locked up a lot this week, and I feel bad telling him he’d have to be locked up yet again… He will also be a good balance for the session. There’s some heavy stuff that’s been making waves in my brain for a while now, and I really want to address at least some of it. Having Little Dog there will give me an easy grounding object (or so I hope).
Anyway, sorry for the jumpy nature of this post. Hopefully I will be back to reading and writing with more regularity soon.
I was describing my anxiety in group yesterday. I had mentioned that the ptsd symptoms seemed to have quieted only to be replaced by the anxiety. About 5 minutes later, we started talking about breathing as one way to deal with the anxiety and…
There came a body memory so strong I shuddered & jumped a little in my seat. Dr C looked at me, but didn’t ask. I’m guessing she will either bring it up in session or wait for me to bring it up then… in the moment (and actually a bit before), I was fighting the urge to walk out of the room. I wanted an escape from the sensations and memories threatening to burst forth, but I was a good girl. I stayed in my chair and struggled to stay in the moment. I forcibly refocused my attention to whomever was talking several times throughout the last 15 minutes of group… I also refrained from bugging Dr C for more of her time to help ground. I was pretty sure I could manage it on my own if I got out of that room and away from the conversation on breathing.
I was successful in distracting myself and not letting it escalate too far into a full-blown flashback. I did spend quite a bit of money on some comfort items (food, because I know that’s always ok in our house. I deliberately did not head to an art store or general merchandise store to avoid spending too much on stuff… I shouldn’t have spent on the extra food either, but… oh well).
Dr C also pointed out that the anxiety and ocd-like stuff sounded like it stemmed from a fear of something going wrong & it all being my fault.
When I stopped to reexamine the thoughts at the times I get stuck in a loop of checking and rechecking, it’s all worries about me screwing things up royally It’s part trauma response, part… I don’t even know what.
On a side note: I’ve managed to engage in only positive coping skills since the move. I even put my sleep aid away into the freezer as I have not used it at all since getting here (though that may have something to do with close neighbors, but in all honesty, I almost forgot I even had it). So, go me! 🙂
While my ptsd symptoms have lessened considerably since the move, some intense anxiety has started up. If I’m the last one to leave the house, I go back and check that the windows and doors are locked and secure several times. I almost cried on my way home from work yesterday because I couldn’t go back to check all the doors and make sure the animals were ok after I left (I had forgotten my keys at home. It’s possible to lock up without them, but not possible to get back in). It takes me about 15 minutes to wash each dish when I’m doing them by hand. I think I’m done scrubbing, put it out to dry, then pick it up again and re-wash it just to be sure it’s clean. I’m ok with a dishwasher running a cycle and thinking they are clean, but if they are done by hand, I keep going back over them. I’ve forced myself to leave dished L does and not redo them…
The dishes thing has always been an issue, but the checking and rechecking of the doors is new. I even recheck the car multiple times to make sure it’s locked.
I have no idea why this is happening now. Things are still stressful around money and settling the last bits of the apartment, but it shouldn’t cause a sudden ocd-like flare up…
Other than that, things are ok. My back is still really painful, but I’m learning to get used to it. We still have to figure out the bed situation (I’m thinking both the pump and the air chambers in our sleep number bed need repair or replacement), so we are still sleeping on the couch. I’ve noticed I have trouble with anxiety about going into our bedroom similar to the anxiety I had about going into the reptile room when I lived with my mom… but yeah, other than that, things are good.
I have group with Dr C later on today. If we have time, I may bring this up…
Working is good except for the anxiety. I like the chances I get to play with the dogs at camp. I’ve told my boss that i’m willing to do camp any time she needs another person to cover it. There’s a lot less anxiety just watching the dogs and making sure they don’t kill each other…
I’ve been lugging some stuff back and forth to my appointments with Dr C since I stated seeing her again. Yesterday I was able to tell her about them. I ended up showing her one of the art journals & that icky timeline I had done for TM. She encouraged me to keep bringing in the art journals, and we made a tentative plan to show her the rest of the stuff I have been lugging around at the next session…
I was also able to voice that I’m still building trust again both with her and the group. She said it was normal and expected. Phew!
It was a good session. I’m glad to be back working with someone I know, and who knows me. While things have changed since the last time we worked together, there’s a lot less of the “getting to know you” stage and that’s a huge relief.
When I started writing this entry, I had the intention of covering more, but distractions happened and I no longer remember what I wanted to write… oh well. Next time (which may end up being another week, because life is pretty busy right now).
Hope you all are doing well. Catch ya later!