Author Archives: Samantha Jane

Obsessions…

Does anyone else struggle with obsession?

Mine is rooted in “getting it right” so I don’t get in trouble, but… It often does more harm than good. Even things I enjoy become a chore because the obsession has me doing it well past burnout.

A friend tried to motivate me to to get into doing something from home as a means of income. She suggested that energy and success will come from putting effort into whatever it is I want to grow [as a business]. She is convinced that if I just change my mindset around not having energy or motivation, I’ll succeed at whatever it is I choose to do. I couldn’t explain to her that 1) I don’t have the energy to front to that right now 2) I might get energized in the moment doing some things (like my art, or going hiking, or to the beach to look for seaglass), but then I end up crashing & recovering for days afterwards, and 3) my obsession will inevitably kick in, forcing me to stay up late & wake up early to work on whatever it is I’m doing. I’ll do it to the exclusion of everything else because I need to get it right or I’ve failed miserably at everything including life. Despite seeing the intensity and flaws of that thinking, I’m not able to interrupt the obsession on my own yet…

Speaking of doing things obsessively, I love to go to the beach to look for seaglass and other interesting things. Once the idea is sparked, the only thing that stops me from going is being physically unable to go (no transportation, being in so much pain I can’t do anything at all…), or conflicting appointments that cannot be changed. The friend who got me into it text me last night about going today. I said yes… Only problem is, every fiber in my body hurts from exertion this past week. I should probably stay home and chill, but I can’t bring myself to say no. I must go, or something bad will happen. When I get there, I know I will methodically search the beach looking for what interests me. It takes me hours, and I end up in more pain. I know this will happen, but I still can’t bring myself to refuse. Just the thought of declining the invite brings on a whole host of anxiety and self-deprication; everything from my friend being mad at me for declining (she wouldn’t be, but my brain insists she will) to being mad at myself for not pushing through crap & for wimping out on an adventure that might get me out of my head for a while.

It’s so beyond just enjoying whatever it is I’m trying to do… I know I’m doing it to my detriment at times, but I still can’t refuse…

I have therapy before heading out seaglassing. Maybe this can be something we address (though I know there was something else I had really wanted to talk to her about, but I can’t remember what that was at the moment.

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Clean up, aisle 4…

Group was really triggering again this week, though I think it was that way for everyone (there was a text exchange afterwards, which usually doesn’t happen. We only use the group texting to determine attendance).
Anyway, I feel like a turd because I took my triggered anxiety and unease out on my wife this afternoon. It wasn’t a horrible fight, but we were both cranky, so we both snapped at each other. We’ve talked and cleared the air since but… I feel bad.
On top of that, I’m still on edge from group. If I stop bombarding myself with stimuli, the flashbacks pick right up again.
I dunno. There’s so much going on internally, and stressors from outside keep piling on too. It’s all starting to feel overwhelming.
The teenager is wicked pissed with my therapist for challenging so much lately, and for seeming to change her contact policy without warning. The kids are scared about getting in trouble, & about having her mad at us… the adult sides are the only ones that seem to be dealing ok with her lack of responses, but they’ve also retreated into the basement so they don’t have to deal with the attitudes…
I’m having a lot of trouble finding internal balance…


Anxiety is high again

… And it’s from the weirdest trigger.

A local grocery store chain”s workers are on strike. It’s day 10 or 11 now. I have no direct investment in the outcome of the strike. People I know do, but I do not. L worked there briefly earlier this year, but left since the work was too much for her (physically, and with the added hours on top of her other 2 jobs)…

For some reason, the strike, specifically the support of the workers as we drive by, and even just seeing the striking workers, skyrockets my anxiety. I can’t talk about it with people. I can’t drive by where they are (I’ve started switching my driving routes to completely avoid the plazas). I can’t hear about it…

I become terrified. My chest starts to hurt, my mind races, and I panic that I’m going to get in really big trouble. It takes me a really long time to calm down once the panic starts, and it takes very little time to trigger the full panic.

I have no idea why it causes this. Over a week of intense anxiety, and all I’ve come up with is that I’m afraid of getting in deep, deep trouble…

One of the ladies in my group is personally effected by it. This past week, we spent a good 20-30 minutes in it in group. It was all I could do to not bolt from the room. I didn’t feel I had any right asking them to stop because her daily life is effected by it, and I’m only made anxious by the concept of it…

I guess it was kinda good that I let the anxiety build more (though I did start to mentally check out), because I started to feel the rumblings of flashbacks trying to break through. It made me want to cut my arms and legs, and cry, and hide… The flashbacks never came though, so I’m still stumped. At least I know there’s something specific there. I have no idea what, but it’s something rather than the seeming nothing it had been prior to group.

I started to text Dr C. about it, but she stopped responding. I’m guessing she got busy and distracted with other things… She didn’t directly say that we will talk about it another time, or tell me to stop texting, but she wasn’t engaging in the exchange, so… Not gonna bother her outside of session with it. It’s time I started learning to leave her alone outside of the office anyway. She’s getting older, and closer to retirement. I’m gonna have to find another therapist at some point, and I doubt they will tolerate between session contact… Not looking forward to having to find someone again. It’s been so difficult to find a good therapist who I can work with… Maybe I just won’t need one by the time she fully retires…

Here’s hoping.


Conversations with myself

In group on Thursday, we talked about things we do before going to sleep; what’s helpful, what’s not, and other things that keep us awake.

One woman brought up replaying instances where she needed to stand up for herself, times she wished she had handled things differently, or practicing for upcoming conversations she would have that might be uncomfortable.

That topic brought up something that I’ve been [doing? experiencing?…] in the last several months, and I’m not quite sure what to make of it, though I haven’t given it too much thought till I was reminded of it in group: dialogues that start as rehashing experiences, but that divert into more of something along the lines of listening to a tv show playing in the background.

I start out in control and participating in the dialogue, but somewhere along the way, it becomes something I simply listen to. It’s not necessarily related to the topic or experience I was rehashing in my head originally, thought branches off from there. I would say it’s me falling into dreamland, but my eyes are open half the time, and I’m still doing my bedtime routine…

It kinda reminds me of the time I’d get into a zone, and just write fiction. It’s really similar to the feeling of disconnect from the stories I’d put to paper, and it’s definitely not memories or current events… I similarly forget the details and most of the topics once out of “the zone”. I’m guessing if I’d written it down, it would be one of those things I reread over and over again as if it were new to me at each reading…

It’s such a weird experience, and not weird at the same time.

I’ve been trying to figure out if it’s hallucinations, or dreams, or something else. Sometimes I worry it might be hallucinations, which would be really scary, coz that would mean there’s something wrong. I have no history of non-drug-induced hallucinations, so them starting this late in the game means problems… And then I feel like I might be developing some hypochondriac tendencies, coz none of the testing this far has revealed anything, which means there can’t be anything actually wrong or they would have found it by now… Right?

Someone please convince my brain to stop messing with me…


Disconnect (dissociation?)

Still feeling so disconnected from any part of the past… It almost feels like “living in the present” taken to an extreme level; nothing from the past holds connection right now.

The furthest I feel connected to is maybe this weekend, but even that’s sketchy.

I don’t know… Hope it resolves in short order.


Inappropriate?

I’m struggling a bit with understanding if the physical therapist I saw today was inappropriate with his comments. L says he definitely was, as his comments were very devaluing.

I was telling him about my bad days since this whole muscle thing started (basically, load up on pain meds, and veg on the couch because I physically cannot do anything else). He said something along the lines of “Netflix and bon bons… So you’re basically the person I’ve been making fun of all this time”. He kinda laughed as he said it, and it wasn’t in a mean tone. I was a bit taken aback by it, but tried to roll with the “teasing”. He seemed to be joking with everyone in the office as we were walking back, so I assumed he was just being goofy.

Prior to that, he also commented “so you’re scared” at one point when he was reading my paperwork. When I looked at him confused, he elaborated that he saw I wanted to be told everything he was going to do before doing it… At this point, if he hadn’t been giving me negative vibes, I probably would have disclosed my PTSD, and maybe given him some cursory info, but… I wasn’t consciously sure why I didn’t offer more info, I just didn’t. In hindsight (and after several hours of processing the encounter in my head), I’m glad I didn’t disclose anything beyond what he immediately needed to know for the PT.

At another point in history-taking, I was explaining my anxiety and agoraphobia since this muscle thing happened, and he commented “how’d you ever find anyone to marry you with all this anxiety & not going out?”

There were other things that bothered me also, like his distinct lack of personal space. I’ve been to physical therapy before, and I’ve not had any of the PT’s sit so close while doing the initial assessment. At one point, he rolled his chair right up to mine, and basically blocked me from moving when his legs touched my knees. I pushed my chair back, and to his credit, he moved away and to the side with his, but that didn’t last long. Within a few minutes, we were back in that position. He was a hair further away the second time, but it still made me really uncomfortable. I’m not quite sure why I didn’t move away again.

He seems to know what he is doing in terms of the physical therapy (maybe?), But he either has no filter, doesn’t understand social norms, or just doesn’t care…

I told L about my interactions, and she was able to label it as devaluing and inappropriate (I had simply presented it as being uneasy about the guy, but not being sure if I was taking things harder in light of my history). She was mad enough that she wanted to call the office and get me either switched to another PT, or to switch offices completely. Unfortunately, the office was closing by the time she decided this, so we tabled it for another day. I suggested I return for my Monday appointment & see if that was just a fluke. If he still makes me uneasy, then I’d either confront him about it (unlikely, as I suck at confrontation, but big dreams of standing up for myself), or cancel my other appointments with him and ask to switch PT’s and/or offices…

Part of me still thinks he was just kidding around and being a jerk, but then, that’s not his place as a new-to-me medical professional… Sure, I joke and kid with people, but not in that way, and not with people I’m not more familiar with…

:Sigh:

I don’t want to get him fired or anything. I don’t want him in trouble, but I don’t really want to work with him either. I keep going back to feeling like I’m just taking things the wrong way, that I shouldn’t be bothered by these interactions, but… I am.

Ugh! I have bring so unsure of everything. L is sure, why can’t I trust her insight?? I keep thinking maybe I presented it to her in a biased way… I’m probably just overreacting. It’s probably nothing, and I’m just attributing meaning that isn’t there…


I feel like a fraud (derealization, depersonalization)

… i feel like a fraud. It’s not a new feeling. Been struggling with it for so, so long. The depression in high school felt fake because I couldn’t think of a legitimate reason for it (read: blocked out the ickier stuff, and felt the domestic violence at home wasn’t reason enough). Getting into an out-of-state university felt like a pity move on their part; they must have needed to fill a certain quota of out-of-state students, so they let me in. Passing any of my classes at all was both a miracle & a fluke. It was both easy and incredibly difficult. Mental health was nose-diving hard, but for some reason they didn’t kick me out; another pity move on their part. I frequently dissociated weeks or months at a time (landing in the emergency room, or not making it to classes due to major depression), but some part of me showed up and did enough work to get a degree.

After graduation, I’m not totally sure how I landed the jobs I landed, or kept the ones I did. The only one I’m not surprised at is the kennel job. I busted my ass at that, and the animals helped balance me. I don’t know how I convinced my supervisors that I was good at what I was doing, but they seemed to think I was. I even got promoted, and hired away for better jobs with better pay… Still totally baffled by that. It’s such a stark contrast to what my life is currently like… I’m half waiting for L to figure out I’m worthless, and finally run in the other direction.

I can’t hold down a job because stress and physical stuff inevitably takes me down… But almost all my testing comes back “normal”, & I don’t believe my own stories of some of the things I remember. There’s again zero connection to any concept of abuse (until my mind & body reacts to something vaguely reminiscent of something from the past… Then Dr C reminds me that’s how trauma works. But… Then why don’t any of my medical tests confirm this? Even the neuropsych testing pointed to me being prone to exaggeration of the negative due to high levels of depression…).

There’s no conscious connection to any of the stuff I remembered while living in my old house again. It seems fake; like a story line from a book I read long ago. The story line is present in my memory, but the emotional connection isn’t. It can’t be a real memory of real events if there’s no connection to it, right?

Even things that happened in the past decade+, and I have documentation of happening, don’t really feel real. My emotional connection to memories doesn’t seem to last. I have a concept of the relationship with my ex, and there’s physical evidence of it, but it still feels just like a plot from a story I read once. Everything I remember from the past feels like a well-rehersed script. It’s frustrating. It leaves little room for feeling like a real human being (though, as I mentioned in group today, there’s stuff lower than pond scum; I’m that… So, technically, not human).

There’s also a whole lot of shame and embarrassment and… Feeling like I have no right to feel sad around the death of L’s dad 2 years ago today. Part of it stems from G being such an ass around who “truly mattered” (read: #1=him, #1.2 & 1.3 = my brother & I, and everyone else was miles below). It feels like I would fall into the “miles below” category for L’s family, so I have no right to feel anything at all around his death (when in reality, I know L thinks I should feel something. Wants me to admit to feeling something around it). It’s just so difficult to get past that early training sometimes…

I feel so undeserving of taking up space & resources.

Part of me feels strongly that I would benefit from having a service dog trained to mitigate both the mental health stuff, and the physical. When I’m put on the spot and asked to explain my reasoning though, I falter. There are other people out there who really need a service dog to get through their lives. It would just make mine more comfortable. That’s not a good enough reason. I don’t deserve the special considerations, or special accommodations. I’ve gotten through life this far, I should be able to get through the rest of it without asking for special treatment. I don’t deserve it. There are others out there way more deserving than me. Who do I think I am asking for something so huge?! It wasn’t freely offered by someone without prompting, and I’m being entitled for asking. How dare I?!

Old tapes are often impossible to erase…