Monthly Archives: September 2016

When art holds more power than you think it should (the baby, revisited) 

Why is the concept of this baby in a painting so disturbing to me? 

I couldn’t stop the panic around this painting of a baby existing. It was as if it was something from a Stephen King novel; that simply by having a painting of a baby, I was putting that baby in danger… 

I asked Dr C if she had a bit of time after group to either destroy or alter the painting. She had a few minutes, and we took the time to make the painting feel a bit safer. I really had just wanted to destroy it, but she suggested altering it first in case that helped. We added some elements and removed a few others. She then gave me a few options where to store it till our next session. I had her leave again it where she had originally put it (it was a high-up, safe place with other client art so it wasn’t all alone) … 

As I was leaving her office, I realized I really wanted to be at the beach… I needed both to not be home alone, and to be somewhere that felt healing & safe.  I weighed my options, and figured the beach would do me good.

I took the 50 minute drive there, and wandered around for a bit. I sat by the water. I let the waves wash over my legs and get my pants wet. I didn’t care that they would be damp for the rest of the day. I collected rocks and shells and feathers and bones. It helped distract me…

Since leaving Dr C’s office, I’ve had a mantra running through my head, trying to convince myself that the baby in the painting is safe in Dr C’s care. I’m really not sure why it means so much to me. It’s just paint on paper, and it’s not even spouses to be me as a baby. It’s a little boy with no face. I’m not totally site why it feels so in-danger.

Hopefully it will feel safe for the remainder of the weekend.

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Kinda lost

Saw Dr C today. We did some art. It was around the concept of a baby, and how to keep that baby safe…

It came about because of my panic yesterday around the concept of ever having been a baby. I don’t really remember yesterday’s session, but I remember the dread and fear and panic and denial around her statement that I was born a good baby. All I could think was that I was never a baby… I couldn’t even fathom the concept of ever having been a baby. I knew at the time that pictures of “me” as a baby existed. I knew somewhere in my head that it’s impossible to be alive without ever having been a baby, but I couldn’t admit/understand/connect to ever having been one.

Later, after the session (and again today), I am mad at her for suggesting it. Part of me knows it’s a simple biological truth; I was at one time a baby, but… I wasn’t (or I can’t bring myself to accept it). There’s this huge fear around acknowledging that I may ever have been a baby. It pisses me off to think about it. The image that comes into my head when I think of myself as a baby is scary… I don’t want it.

Even now, as I write this, I’m angered by the thought of being a baby… angered and scared terrified. It feels like someone might die; like I might die… and my heart rate soars through the roof… and I want to shred my body into a million little pieces so I don’t have to feel the fear and body sensations…

I don’t really know what to do with myself. Whatever was stirred yesterday in session, and re-surfaced today, is continuing to stir and bubble. I don’t know how to process it. I’m not sure what to make of it. The thought of more surfacing is intimidating. It’s creepy & scary & enraging… I hate it.

The baby in the art today had no face, or feet, or hands (though I painted in hands after she suggested it). If the baby has no face though, it can’t see the scary, or hear it, or cry (and get in trouble) or smell anything. The baby doesn’t know if anyone is coming, if they are good or bad, until whatever it is that’s going to happen will happen. It kinda protects the baby, but it also scares him… Dr C was looking for something. In the time she was searching, I grew more and more uncomfortable looking at the baby I had painted. I wanted to scribble over it, or spill paint over it – anything to obliterate the image of the kid. I censored telling Dr C that I wanted to erase the kid from the page. Instead, I asked what we were going to do with the baby because it was making me uncomfortable looking at it (what an understatement!). She said we were going to to make the baby safe. I had no idea what to do, so I tried to draw a protective person in the picture. Unfortunately, she turned out scary. I wasn’t sure how to fix it. I did a few other layers but it was only making everything worse. Dr C offered to help. She drew in someone holding the baby. I added a blanket to cover him… then time was up. As we were cleaning up, she asked if the baby was safe now… I told her he was “safer”, but I wouldn’t go so far as to call him safe. I blew out of there somewhat fast after cleaning up. I wanted to stay and change the picture more, but her light had gone off (indicating another client was waiting). I also felt like I needed to run away from there. It felt like trying to make the kid in the picture safe was a forced thing and wouldn’t really actually do anything to keep him safe. It felt like a facade…

Suddenly I’m out of that head-space. I know I have reactions to things, but once it disappears, it feels foreign. Those walls are back again, and are really high and thick. It feels like all my experiences happen in isolation chambers. If I’m not in the chamber, I really have no concept of what goes on there. I guess that’s the dissociation… I should ask Dr. C what the new name is for that diagnosis. It used to be DD:NOS, but I know the newest DSM changed that. I definitely have isolated experiences, but they are not so severely isolated that I would have “alters”. I just can’t really access much of the experiences unless I’m in that particular head-space. I may know they happened (or the general gist of it, most of the time… there used to be a time where I totally had no memory at all of days or even months), I just understand them as something someone else described to me once…

I should stop writing. My head is beginning to spin, and I’m losing focus on what I want to say.


If I stop for too long, my head starts chattering away at me; my body picks up with a vengeance… 

I can’t slow my heart rate down with any reliability lately. It’s been in the 100’s for the past week straight. That hasn’t happened since the move (or, I haven’t noticed/kept track). It’s nowhere near the 140’s it used to be, but it’s also an increase from the 90’s it had been of late… I can feel it working. I wouldn’t call it pounding so much as quite noticeable. At least the “flopping fish” feeling isn’t back, and the tightness from last month is gone. 

I should just go take my sleep aid, but that’ll require a bit more conversation with myself. When I told Dr C that I knew it was only L and the cats in the bedroom, and that the dogs were lose in the apartment overnight, yet I still couldn’t bring myself to walk in there easily, she changed the perspective. She pointed out that L and all the animals are in the house with me. No one can come in or do anything without being noticed. Maybe getting to look at it that way will help. 

I still have to take the dogs out one last time before bed. As cute as he is, I’m hoping the little skunk isn’t back tonight. It makes taking them out a longer process (they are easier to handle one on one when there’s prey around, and the skunk is only prey if the little guy gets riled-up. The girls don’t much care about wildlife when they are on their own). 

The “hands” won’t leave me alone… they get quieter if I can be distracted enough, but then they return. 

I was trying to see if my insurance would cover a weighted blanket (something I’ve found to be helpful in feeling safe enough to sleep), but they were dodgy about it. I have to get the appropriate treatment code to bill under or its not even considered. They won’t tell me the treatment code though. I wonder if I asked Dr C about it, would she know? She has a fair amount of experience working with autistic clients and definitely trauma clients. Maybe she’s come across the code before? I wonder if her recommendation would be enough, or if it’d need it to come from an OT or a medical doctor. 

We’re still working on the “hall pass” idea, though I’m no closer at having something to try than I was last night. Maybe she’ll think of something to suggest? 

I feel weird going back every day this week. Originally it was to try to get some emdr in, but since that’s not been something I think I am ready for at this moment, we’ve just been talking… Maybe tomorrow we’ll get to the art… I’m not in crisis, but the pressure to keep talking about the memories is strong. I’ve opened them up recently, and now they are spilling out. I’m relieved I can spill them to Dr C rather than try to contain them till next week. I hope she doesn’t get too sick of me.


Dear Dr C (an unsent text) 

​I’m totally wasted right now, and I feel bad for enjoying the peace it brings… for the first time in weeks, I’m ok with feeling stuff in my body because I’ve disconnected it from the memories… I finally don’t want to destroy myself for a few minutes. Yet, I worry you will be mad because I’m “dissociating” it through etoh… :/ do I even really want to tell you this? (If I actually end up sending this, please don’t respond… you can lecture me tomorrow about the pitfalls of using whiskey to cope. It’s not a regular thing, just tonight)…


When remembering hurts

It’s agonizing… I know why I dissociated it all in the first place. It hurts like hell… had therapy today and it felt like I was searing my own skin off… Dr C believes me even when I don’t believe myself, but I wish she didn’t. I wish she knew I was lying. I wish I was psychotic, because at least then there would be meds to obliterate the “knowledge”… 😦

Why does it hurt so much to remember? 

I miss my inner kid, and her holding the trauma…. I wish I didn’t know it (though Dr C was right; not knowing it made me feel crazy because I had no idea where this was coming from)… I’m not sure what’s worse: answers or psychosis…


Exhausted

Therapy was difficult today. I’m back to insisting I’ve made everything up. It’s too much to swollow to believe it’s not all made up…

I think I started crying like three times with her. I rarely cry, but lately it seems to come more freely in therapy… I felt really small. And the thought of ever having been a baby terrified me. 

I’m really lucky Dr C is so patient. She puts up with all my crap, and still agrees to see me again…

We were going to try to do some art today, but I digressed. I showed her some [graphic] stuff in my journal, and then we talked more about it. I still need to come up with an acceptable “pass” to allow myself permission to step away from triggering situations. I think we are going to work on that more tomorrow and next week. I’m not sure I have a good idea of what might work. I need something that will not only give me internal permission to step away, but also that would potentially make it ok for anyone else I’m with. When triggered, I feel an obligation to stay in the triggering situation if there’s someone else there that may disapprove of my leaving… it’s difficult to find something that may meet all those conditions. 

So yeah. More therapy tomorrow. I didn’t want to leave her office today, but at the same time, I wanted to be out of there already. It felt safe, but I was really overwhelmed. I wanted to keep the safe feeling while escaping the overwhelm. 

The feeling of desperately wanting to shred my flesh off so I stop feeling the flashbacks has abated somewhat. I still want to obliterate my brain, but that can temporarily be accomplished through alcohol…


The circle grows by 1

So, I ended up telling my friend a bit more specifically why I couldn’t participate in the retreat activities fully… she was understanding, and supportive. So now there are maybe 5 people who know more about it.