Monthly Archives: May 2016

Weird nightmare, and how do you describe a flashback before you know what one is?

Woke up from a weird nightmare:
I think I had been at work or something, but it was a congregate care setting. We were trying to hide from nuclear bombs, but the places we were hiding weren’t good enough, so between bombs we would switch up hiding places. At one point I saw an old lady confused and not really hiding well, so I pulled her with me under the sink. That wasn’t a good enough place, so we moved again after the bomb. The last place we picked was under some blankets. The dog that had been under there (a rottie I know from work) that we went to hide with, moved and went out into the open. The stranger I was with and I both screamed for him to get under the blankets but he refused. Then the bomb flashed outside. As the flash was fading, aliens dressed in military uniforms used a tractor beam to pull anything living, and out in the open,  out of the apartment. The dog dissappeared in the tractor beam. I stopped screaming, but the woman beside me kept screaming for the dog, so the aliens started to notice her and started to come over. I held my breath and tried to get her to stop, but she kept screaming for the dog. The aliens hadn’t exactly seen her, but they were almost at us… and I woke up.

Couldn’t go back to sleep after that. I had to keep repeating over and over that it was a dream. Funny how your brain can forget that, despite how absurd the dream may be… there wasn’t even any cold medicine I could blame it on last night.

I certainly had no hesitation in calling this a nightmare because I woke up afraid, but other times much scarier and more gruesome dreams don’t make any emotional dent, so I simply call them weird or scary dreams… I guess that’s a good thing though, right? (The few “nightmares”). The less-absurd dreams, the ones that might actually happen in real life, and make sense that way, I simply consider them dreams. It’s the off-the-wall, can’t-happen-due-to-laws-of-the-universe type dreams that I have an easier time calling nightmares. Oh, there’s also the flashbacks and memories that happen in my sleep, but I don’t often remember them in detail. Those I’m just left with emotional echos in the morning, so they don’t count towards anything. If I happen to remember them and they leave an emotional echo, then I might call them a nightmare, but lately I label those for what they are: flashbacks.

Before I know what flashbacks were, I used to call them “daymares” because they were as scary as nightmares, but they came while I was awake… I knew they weren’t happening at the moment, but I couldn’t escape them either. Weird how we can make sense of things any way possible before we really understand what’s going on… I remember trying to describe daymares to some people along the way, but not really knowing how to explain it. I’m sure at some point I tried to explain it to a therapist. I didn’t think they were true at the time, so I described them as something imagined/made-up. They were real scenarios in that they were not outlandish like nightmares often are (like tonight’s was). They were “normal” in terms of “laws of science” kinda things. I wonder if anyone I described them to thought they were hallucinations, or if they guessed they might be real. If anyone told me at the time, I don’t remember. I do remember some people looked at me with pity when I described them…

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Out of Phase

That’s it! He feels out of phase… I think maybe that’s why communication is so difficult.

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Defragmentation of drive…

The system will now defragment the drive. This process may take a while. Do you wish to proceed?

I’m kinda wishing there were more warnings about this process. I wish I had more of a choice…

I’m disliking the concept more and more. I can’t seem to function under pressure anymore. I’m getting incredibly flakey in general, but add on any stress and I can’t keep track of details, I fluster easily, I lose my words… it wouldn’t be so bad if I didn’t have to be competent at anything I do, but that’s not the way life goes. Instead of anxiety switching on a backup system that allowed me to do what needed to be done, now anxiety wipes everything. I forget the basics of what needs to be done at work, the things people tell me fly out of my awareness as soon as the words leave their lips… my chest constantly feels like it’s caving in on itself.

This sucks…

Can I go back to airtight containers for everything?

I’m tired of the panic over nothing. I’m tired of the flashbacks. I’m tired of the overwhelming emotions that have no basis in the present. I miss being able to function…


More connecting of the dots (or, the elegance of the avoidance dance)

When you’re “allergic” to dbt, you and your therapist have to get creative about integrating ideas from it into therapy.

Yesterday, I was having trouble identifying what was causing my rollercoaster emotions. Dr C and I came up with a chart to help figure it out… she used the dbt diary card and the behavior chain as a jumping off point. We had events, people around/involved, emotions, sensations, and thoughts as the first level. Then another two levels of emotions, sensations, and thoughts, and finally a level of just emotions and sensations. I could fill it out haphazardly and incompletely, then she helped fill in some of the blanks & connect some of the dots… at the root of everything behind the emotional ups and downs is terror (and the avoidance of it)… it’s weird, because the word doesn’t do justice to the overwhelming and crushing nature of the feeling, but it’s the closest word for it.

I’ve been trying to keep up with filling out the chart more often, but I’m finding that it becomes pretty triggering to look at the things I’m trying to avoid (duh!). At least in therapy, it was safe to open up that can of worms. Dr C kept talking with me about it, and that prevented me from getting too lost in the bottom layers. I’m kinda worried/scared that looking at it at home wouldn’t give me the same ability to pull out of what is stirred up. Yeah, it’s probably a cop-out to avoid addressing it, but I need to keep functioning this weekend. There’s work and social stuff happening. I can’t be a wreck… so I keep avoiding.

There’s a fear behind the avoidance: what if it overwhelms me? What if I can’t regain control over the impulsive thoughts? What if I fall back into a cycle of hospitalizations?

Sure, I could reach out to Dr C for support, but how much can she really help if the panicked child and the angry teenage are both triggered and overwhelmed at the same time, and I lose my connection to my adult, competent understanding of things? I know I’ve come a long way since the last cycle of hospitalizations, but the potential of it coming back scares the crap out of me.


A little slow on the uptake

So, sometimes connecting the dots takes me a while.

I just figured out how it is that I can manage to be “fine, until I’m not” (like literally, just before I opened my WP app to write this)…

Anyway, all the discussions Dr C and I have had about dissociation and her finally labeling it as “fragmented ego states” led me to realize that I can work/function immediately before and after a major break-down because I dissociate it all. I compartmentalize the emotions. I check out from the turmoil to be able to function in daily life. Once I finally can no longer hold the mask in place, I fall apart. When I can figure out how to hold the mask up again, I go back to functioning in my every day life (at least when I have to maintain appearances at work or school).

It should have been easy to figure this out. I’ve always utilized dissociation and fragmentation to survive. I should have known that would be how I got through my breakdowns… so many times clinicians would marvel at my ability to work until the moment I entered the hospital, stay there for a week, then return to work the day of discharge. I kinda get why I didn’t figure it out at the time, but why didn’t they? Dissociation has been a part of my diagnosis for ages, how did they not put it together? They were outsiders, they had a “whole picture” perspective, but not once did they think to clue me in when I was baffled by my cycles… Maybe they didn’t figure it out either. Most of them did not work regularly with fragmentation or severe dissociation. I guess I wonder why The Center at PIW didn’t figure that out. They discharged me as soon as I seemed “together” enough to function in daily life…

Dissociation was a lifesaver at one point, but now it hinders everything, including moving forward in treatment. Just this week I pulled it together long enough to get through my session with Dr C yesterday. Today I’m back to seriously depressed and ready to cry. I made it through work, but now I want nothing more than hide and cry… this sucks.


No sufficient distractions

Nothing occupies me sufficiently. Nothing keeps my attention. My head alternates between screaming and silence (and sometimes the silence screams).

We are watching G.o.T. to catch up. I can pay more attention to it than other things, but even that doesn’t mean much.

My usual social media distractions are frustrating me…

Went to L’s parents’ house earlier to celebrate a birthday. Part of me was excited to see the kids and have a cookout, but a bigger part of me didn’t know how to function. Even L’s mom commented on me looking sad. I brushed it off as being tired… how do you explain that your whole world is in flux? How do you admit that everything hurts so much you wish it would finally kill you? So I said nothing. I did my best to stay in the background. I sat in corners and helped man the grill…

Since getting home, I’ve wanted nothing to do with anything… I’m just so tired (so it wasn’t a total lie I told earlier).

When will that chest-crushing feeling be over?


Letters to no one

Dear Dr C,
I don’t want to bother you, but I kinda just want to hide in your pillow fort…
Just about 90 minutes left of the work day. I’m so tired. I’m impressed I made it without crying and breaking down. No guarantees that won’t yet happen next week, but it didn’t Happen yet today.
Would it be ok if I asked for more sessions again next week? The black hole in my chest is still collapsing. My  throat hurts. I’m tired. I’m feeling impulsive… this is hard.
I don’t want to break you with my neediness.
I hope I don’t break you. I’ve broken enough therapists…
Can I bring cow with me Monday to sit in your pillow fort? I got her groomed today, so she shouldn’t shed all over the place now.