Monthly Archives: June 2017

Dear De

Dear De,

I dreamt about you last night. You were happy in your new job, and your life. I can’t remember much else about the dream, but we connected again in it. I caught you up on everything since we ended, and you let me in on some basics about how you were doing. 

It was nice to reconnect, even if it was just a dream… 

Peace, 

Sam

It’s weird. I don’t often dream about my therapists, but De seems to pop up in them more than most. I think it’s because I feel like I helped break her. I know it was a combination of the job, a lack of appropriate supervision/professional supports, and a lack of effective self-care while she worked in such a stressful position, but I was part of the job… so, yeah. I helped break her. 

I still feel guilty around it. 

What if I hadn’t been so open about my struggles? What if I tried harder at the techniques she presented? What if I’d made more of an effort to keep myself together? What if I’d have not given her access to my journals? What if I’d have been a better, less demanding client? What if…?

Ultimately, I know it was her responsibility to keep herself balanced and supported. I know that quitting work at the sexual assault counseling center was part of her self-care. I know it was her choice, rather than something she was forced into… yet I feel guilty. 

I think my guilt partially stems from my own experiences of burn-out in the field. I let my own experiences build up so much that they broke my defenses. I definitely feel guilty about the way I left my clients at the domestic violence counseling center. They had no notice, no termination, no chance to either say goodbye or run from the experience. I took their choice away. I took my choice away. I let myself fall apart too much before I finally was forced to pull away… I left because I landed in the hospital again (and again, and again). I could no longer function in the basics of my life, forget about in an intense and emotion-filled work environment…

De never got to that point before she realized she needed out. I’m grateful for that. 

I guess I dream about her more often because I worry about her more than other therapist’s I’ve had. I need to convince myself that she’s happy and thriving, even if I don’t know that for sure…



Learning can take time

So, I kinda realized today that the hyperarousal state Dr C had mentioned in group back in February is what I’ve been calling anxiety… bit slow on the uptake, but it finally clicked. 

It happened earlier today as I noticed my heart starting to race. I noticed myself starling at unexpected sounds, and I caught myself constantly glancing around… 

I felt like I needed to be on my guard,  but I couldn’t tell you why.

Anyway, so… yeah. Figured that one out. 4 months later. Go me… 😒


Strange “memories”?

Sometimes I get these… memories? They are weird. They come from the visual perspective of the adult, but the physical perspective of the kid… it’s very confusing and uncomfortable. 

Any emotional memory connected to it isn’t immediately apparent, though I might hazard a guess that there’s fear and anxiety that comes along with them. Most of that is muted though. It’s quickly overtaken by discomfort/disgust at the thought of ever having possibly perpetrated anything like that. 

It’s really weird to experience…

It’s mostly triggered by seeing infants or young kids just in diapers. I feel things in my body as if it were happening to me, but I see it from an outside perspective, as if I were the one doing it. None of the physical sensations go along with being the one doing things, but all the visuals are of that… 

Super disturbing.

Really want to talk to someone about it, but Dr C is still away till Monday. Gonna have to sit with it till then, unless I text her, but I don’t really want to interrupt her week away…


I never realized how depressed I was…

…until I tried fetzima and I could suddenly function again. I wish it had worked out better. Maybe one of the other two will work w/o such crappy side effects?

Seriously though, for the first time in a long time, I could get out and do things without extending a huge amount of emotional effort. I was so used to having to drag myself kicking and screaming to things that it felt normal. Sure, the med made me a bit hypomanic, but before that point… it was nice to be able to move off the couch, and be more social without dreading it. The anti-anxiety aspects helped also… too bad it started making me a bit psychotic.

I’ll have to talk to the nurse about something less intense (though I was only on the lowest dose, and for longer than they generally suggest).

Wtf with all these meds making me impulsive and suicidal? Can’t I just get the anti-anxiety & anti-depressant effects without all the added junk?

I miss functioning like a normal human being…


It was worth a shot…

I started hallucinating this morning. I’m guessing it was the meds, since hallucinations aren’t a normal thing for me… it was quite disturbing; black holes were opening up around me, and everything got distorted. The worst was the first one. It came up in front of me while I was driving to work. It took me a few to figure out what happened, and I slammed on my brakes to avoid hitting the car in front of me once I realized it hadn’t just disappeared. 

Needless to say, the other side effects adding up with the hallucinations is enough for me to call it quits on this med. It was worth a shot, but it’s clearly not something my body can handle. 

I text the nurse this am, ultimately telling her I was stopping the med. She’s ok with that. I might try one of the other two next time I see her, but I’m not convinced it’s worth it… I guess we’ll see after we talk in person. 


 Fun with meds (<–sarcasm) 

So… that new med I started is having a strange effect. I’m not sure I know how to describe it… 6 days in, and it feels like my brain is short-circuiting itself. I’m simultaneously experiencing a brain fog/wanting to sleep, and racing thoughts/insomnia/feeling hyper. It’s a very strange combination. My brain feels like it’s buzzing, but also like it’s stuck in thick mud… it doesn’t make sense though, because the two feelings shouldn’t be able to happen at once. They’re contradictory… 

I’m not sure I’m explaining it right, but I don’t really have words for this experience. 

L sees an improvement. I’ve moved off the couch and started doing things again, only I feel like I can’t stop. A few days ago, it was that agitated depression. Today it feels almost hypomanic (but through mud)… 

My brain is running circles around itself. In one moment, I can’t shut my thoughts off as they race around with the million things I need to do; in the next, I can’t stay awake another minute, and I can’t form words or sentences that make much sense (even just in thought). 

I feel like I’ve taken a massive dose of sedative and a massive dose of an upper, and they are both working full-strength at the same time. One takes over for a bit, then the other overpowers it. They go back and forth like that all day & night. 

I’m toying with the idea of at least telling the APRN what’s going on, but then I wonder if I’m not just being anxious about it all… I’ve crashed so hard on meds in the past, but I can’t remember if it felt like this. Maybe this is just my body adjusting to the med, and things will calm down shortly… but what if things don’t calm down? What if they get worse, and I miss the warning signs? I definitely don’t want to end up hospitalized again. It’s such a horrid experience, and they just push more meds. That would be the last thing I need…

Other than the psych side-effects, two of the physiological side effects are sticking out as noticeable. The main one is that my heart rate is definitely up by about 30bpm on average (it’s high to begin with). The other is not really one I care to talk about, but it’s sufficiently annoying…

I dunno. 

Maybe I should just text her to describe the brain buzzing/brain fog thing? Even if for no other reason than to express my frustrations about it… I might not be bothering her if Dr C were not away this week, but not having that other objective set of eyes makes me nervous… maybe just schedule the text for tomorrow so it doesn’t go to her at midnight, and hopefully feel better about at least having mentioned it to her? I dunno…


Still blocked…

I tried to get myself to do something artistic yesterday, but everything took too much effort or wasn’t interesting…

The day was spent alternating between pacing the house and zoning on the couch. Towards the end of the day, I managed to put on the TV to at least have some noise.  


Blocked

Been trying to process everything going on lately, but this past 2 weeks I’ve been blocked. It was a gradual shutting-down… art hasn’t happened, I’ve not let myself get too deep into anything in therapy, though Dr C and I figured out that I would probably benefit from trying to integrate bilingual processing into my therapy. 

For whatever reason, I never mentioned that most of my trauma happened in another language; I simply struggled to translate as best as I could, and make sense of it enough to express it in English… it doesn’t help that I’ve lost most of my ability to speak said other language. I understand it to the extent of the basics I learned as a kid. It’s the vernacular from nearly 50 years ago when my parents emigrated… when I hear it today, it takes several minutes before I can recognize it as a language I should be able to understand. Most of the time though, I can’t understand it even after it’s pointed out. 

Dr C supervised a student once who developed a method for processing traumas in a different language. She loaned me the manual to peruse while she is away at a conference next week. 

I guess the idea is to start processing the trauma in English, then go deeper into the memory in the language in which it happened, then backing off by switching back to English. The theory is that processing it in that way not only processes the trauma, but also provides a measure of safety by being able to gain distance through switching languages… 

The problem is, neither of us knows what to do when the primary language of the trauma is mostly forgotten. I experience many of the flashbacks in a language other than English, but I also translate them somewhat automatically in order to understand them at this point.

The concept of processing things in the language in which they occurred makes sense. It makes sense that a language barrier would impact the processing. It makes sense that simply translating an event might not allow the brain to put it all away properly… I’m just not sure how we will accomplish that if I can’t remember the stupid language.

I’m going to try to read the manual. Dr C says it’s written in plain enough language that I should be able to absorb it… it’s really frustrating that my brain is in such a fog. I used to be able to concentrate enough on things to read and understand scholarly papers. Lately, I have trouble reading and understanding Meme’s…

Gotta love mental health issues that debilitate your brain… it makes me feel useless and broken… worthless… there are moments I can pull really intelligent things from my head, but other times I feel like a rock could accomplish things easier. Sometimes the fog fades for a bit, but it’s not for long. Even when it does fade, I get confused and overwhelmed really easily. The slightest stress sends my few remaining brain cells running for cover. 

Will this ever get better? 

I used to look at disability benefits as a helping hand till I figured my shit out. I’m beginning to think I’ll never get out of this mess…


Every Little Thing – Carly Pearce

My current song obsession is “Every Little Thing” by Carly Pearce.

It’s written about a guy she wants to move on from, but the majority of lyrics can work for traumatic memories & flashbacks…

:shrugz:

I dunno.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted, mostly because I haven’t really known what to write… lots has happened since I last wrote, and most is just stressful and overwhelming. I’m still not really sure what to write about any of it.

Currently in a depressive funk. Finally gave in and got med samples for a class of antidepressant I haven’t tried before (the most recent ones that they hadn’t released at the time I was last on medications 6 years ago). I got them last week. I haven’t taken them yet, still building the courage. The nurse and I are in agreement that if the impulsiveness shows up, I’m stopping the med instead of piling anything onto it… needless to say, I have very little faith in it 1) having any positive impact, and 2) not sending me into a terrible spiral… I might try them tonight, since I’ll have a few days without having to be at work or engaging in mandatory activities. The art show I’m a part of is closing Saturday, but I can probably make that 2 hour commitment unless side-effects are outrageously bad in 3 days (it’s been known to happen with me and meds, but supposedly this class of meds works better with my system. We’ll see).

This is also that time of year that is traditionally difficult. There are a handful of anniversaries that give me trouble at the beginning of summer. Hopefully it will all be over after the first week of July, and I can get back to dealing with the present stressors…

I dunno. I thought I’d be better by now. I thought I’d have my life together and I’d be back working in a field that I not only enjoy, but one in which I can make a decent wage… instead, I’m struggling to get to a part-time job 2 days a week that pays minimum wage, but should at least be fun. I’m not even sure I know what fun means anymore. L showed me a video this morning that she found hilarious. I think, if I weren’t so down, I’d probably have found it hilarious too… :/

I’m just so tired and spent. I’m sure L is even more spent… I’m ready for 2017 to be over, and for things to greatly improve.