Category Archives: history

They feel far away

It doesn’t feel real anymore, those “memories” that felt so real when I lived down south. The further I get away from having lived there, the less convinced I am that they were real…

Dr C says that it’s “normal” for trauma memories to be encapsulated & only accessible during certain conditions… I believe her because I trust her expertise, but at the same time, I doubt the validity of my own experience. Yes, if they are true, they explain a lot of seemingly random and unexplained things (like my strong negative reaction to male genitalia, my intense dislike of being touched unexpectedly, the weird body sensations that seemingly never leave, the huge gaps in my memory…). But…none of those memories feel real anymore. As out-of-touch with my earlier adult life as I felt while living at home again, that’s how out-of-touch I feel with what came up living “at home”. The only difference is that I had proof of my early adult life (a resume I could look back on, friends, my wife, journals to re-read, etc). I don’t have that for my life growing up. The only journals I still have are ones that talk about friendships and kid things. There’s nothing in the book I found that would corroborate the story in my head. There’s no person that could or would validate it. Bitch took my journals from middle and high school when she stayed in my room after I had moved to my aunt & uncle’s house down the street for my senior year in high school (they were already dead and the house had been sitting empty for a few years. Some vandalism happened. I jumped at the chance to get away from my parents’ constant battles and offered to “live” there). It started as only sleeping at their house, but eventually I spent more and more time there. At the point I left for college, I had been living at the house full time for several months. My mom moved in there shortly after I left for school; she needed an escape from my dad also… he was really abusive to her. I think she used the excuse that I had left my animals at the house and they needed tending, combined with the house needing the “security” of being occupied. My brother stayed with him in their house, but he had always been safer with G. There were a lot of double-standards flying around when I was little, from both sides (though it took me a lot longer to see some than others). My brother got away with a lot by my dad. He was held to much different standards by my mom & K. The same was true on the flip side; I got away a lot lighter with mom & K than I did with G… I realize now that so much of what I thought was normal growing up was actually really abusive. I had thought my brother escaped much of it, but in reality, he just caught it on another front. 

I’m connecting with some of those memories that came up while living down south simply by having talked more about growing up, but they still feel just barely out of reach. It feels like something I can just barely brush my finger tips against if I reach out really far. They don’t feel totally fake when I think about the specifics of growing up there, but they still don’t feel real either. Part of it is that I don’t want to delve into describing them too much here. What if they really are simply a sick, twisted story I tell myself. If I wrote about them, they would potentially be damaging to those others involved. Unlike the domestic violence incidents, I have no corroboration to them and they are not “public knowledge” within my circle… it feels irresponsible to write too much about them right now. Another part is simply that they are very disturbing to me. I’m afraid of thinking about them and accidentally flooding myself with trauma memories I can’t contain. They do enough of that unbidden, there’s no use inviting it outside of the safety of Dr C’s presence… 

They’ve faded again for the most part. It’s back to the faint tingles in my body, the echos of touches… these I can handle at this level for the time being. There’s no drive to cut the memories out of my body. They don’t trigger a desperation to be rid of them at the moment. They had in the past; it’s how I ultimately ended up at The Center in DC 5 years ago this past week. They had tripped me over into desperately doing anything to change the sensation in my body. I didn’t understand them at the time, I just knew when they got bad, I needed to cut the feel of duckboy out of my body… and in my dissociated state, I admitted to the doctors that there were other memories I was trying to cut out, but the only ones I consciously remembered then were the duckboy ones (it was a combination of disturbing and validating to go back and read that the concept of other sexual abuse had been brought up years before I “remembered” it down South. I have no memory of telling the doctors at the er, but apparently I did during more than one visit. And I didn’t read those files till after the memories surfaced with De; after I had switched to TL)… if I think too much about them, or let my brain wander towards those memories, they intensify and threaten to flood again. I can’t afford that right now…

Now I’m afraid to write any more and also afraid to put this down to try to sleep. They feel closer again, threatening again… I feel like I have to keep rambling to “hold the door” against them, but not rambling in a direction that helps them push forward. Maybe if I put this away and try some music I’ll be able to sleep for the hour or so before I have to wake up. I could ease some of the tension and just cut, but that would bring about a whole host of external consequences I really dislike. Better to sit with those urges instead of giving in. I’d break my “clean” steak also, and that would be frustrating to realize in the morning… yeah, better to try to listen to music and sleep a bit more.

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Damaging things adults say to kids (link) 

Damaging things adults say to kids… http://erinjanus.com/6-psychologically-damaging-things-adults-say-to-children-all-the-time/

To this day, I still have trouble crying, let alone doing it in front of anyone (and how this was challenged yesterday as I grieved the death of a favorite pet both as she was being put down, and a few hours after)… 

Another one that sticks with me too this day, and prevents me from explaining myself or saying much at all most of the time was “don’t talk back” (similarly final as the “because I said so” in the article). There was no defending yourself, clearing up misunderstandings, or speaking at all while being reprimanded. You took the wrath and punishment regardless of fairness, and you simply did what you were told…


Surprise! Another trigger…

There was a scene in the Empire pilot where one of the sons was remembering the first time he dressed in his mom’s heels in front of his dad. The dad got really mad and grabbed the kid. He stormed out of the room with the kid under his arm. The mom yelled after him, scared and angry…

Something about that scene hit home, but I’m not totally sure how or why. It hit really hard. It winded me and made me cry. It felt overwhelming and heavy. It still feels overwhelming and heavy… I can’t tell if I related more to running after him screaming, or watching him storm off with the kid, or being the kid under his arm… or maybe all of it? But it dug at something deep.

Part of me wants to reach out to Dr C, but I can’t justify bothering her on her weekend. I’ll just try to cover it Monday (along with everything else I want to cover – how to deal with her month away, more of what was in that journal entry from 2 weeks ago, the anniversary, the growing depression…)

I want my heart to creep back into my chest; it’s still on the floor…


train of thought crashes into a memory?

Was on the way home from a friend’s house. In the lane next to me there was a dog barking out the car window. I mentally noted how happy I was that this set of dogs doesn’t do anything like that… I thought how annoying it would be to have to drive with a dog that needed to pace back and forth between windows and bark at everything. I remembered an old dog who did not ride well in the car. She would do ok on short trips, and if the windows were open, but the long drive I took was a tough one. I remember her sounding like a squeaky door the whole way. I remembered who was with me on the drive. I remembered how annoyed he was with her, and some of the mean things he said… and then I started feeling things in my body. I had a brief flash of something specific, but it had to have been a mixed-up memory. The angle of the image I got was off… actually, it’s a near-impossible angle to get (at once laying down and sitting up)…

Can’t shake the creepy feeling since. Can’t shake the body memories.

It’s one of those times where it hit at a moderate level and has remained that way since. It’s bearable for the time being, but I hope it fades soon.


Write the saddest story you can in 4 words…

I saw this on fb…

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“I loved you once…”

it can have so many endings:

…but then I remembered.

…and you betrayed me.

…then you used me.

…and I saw your true colors.

…you broke my heart.

…I still love you (and I don’t know why)…


Insights

In talking to TM today, something hit me. We were discussing my utter surprise any time someone actually likes me or wants to see me again. She asked if I’d heard it often growing up. I realized that the only person who ever told me I was worthless was bitch. Everyone else kept telling me how wonderful I was (but don’t let it go to my head). G always felt fake and over the top. Then I realized that hearing how good I was, and how smart I was is coupled with memories of some pretty shitty stuff. It felt like such a revelation when I was able to voice to her that I didn’t want to believe I was good because that would mean crappy stuff was going to happen, yet I don’t want confirmation that I’m as horrible as I believe I am…

Part of my shock when people like me comes from the incongruence of knowing those people won’t deliberately hurt me. How can I be good if that’s not coupled with abuse? That doesn’t compute in my brain, at least not in the emotional one. She was trying to ask if being aware of it made a difference. Sadly, the negative voice in my head is so loud and overpowering, I have trouble believing my rational side.

When I say people should hate me, I’m not looking to hear the opposite from them, I’m just mired in an old emotional/cognitive pattern. I’ve been aware for a while that I have a confusion around associating violation with “genuine care”, but I hadn’t put together that my emotional brain associates being liked and worthy and good with abuse…

Too bad this is coming at the end of working with TM… at least I heard back from Dr C this morning, and she is willing to work with me when I return. It’ll be much easier working with her. And I’m SO glad I don’t have to “start fresh” yet again. (Telling TM about returning to working with Dr C was what prompted the admission that I’m constantly surprised when someone wants to associate with me again).

Oh, and now TM and I are back to the original end date… we talked about it, I avoided making the decision. I attempted to distract her, then we returned to it at the end of the session. I told her that I was unsure, but that I needed to feel in control of the ending. In a moment of weakness, I admitted that I would really like to keep seeing her through the next 2 weeks if it was still an offer. I started to give voice to that negative stream of thought that said she was probably really just wanting me gone, then I stopped myself and let her tell me what she thought or felt about it. She said the offer still stood, but that it was also going to be accompanied by the plan to call her or the crisis line if I started to get overwhelmed. Check. I can promise that. I work really hard to keep my promises, especially to people I care about. Now I just have to keep from getting overwhelmed because I really don’t want to bug her between sessions, and I certainly don’t want to have to call their crisis line.

Now I’m off to the beach for some centering time. And I’m feeling good after talking to TM today, so hopefully no further planning will happen while there (like I said, don’t want to bug TM between sessions). I’m sure I’ll post pics later. It’s funny how I used to hate the beach, now I want to be there all the time.


Wow, this turned long. and tangential. Sorry.

They say insight helps move you forward. But what if you have all this insight, and don’t know what to do with it? It doesn’t magically change things. It still takes a lot of work, and struggle, and… I’m tired of having insight and not knowing what to do with it.

I called TM and left a message because I realized that my pattern was to crash if I didn’t reach out. So I told her I needed to reach out, and I was hoping just leaving the message would help. It did in the moment, but now I want to crumble again… knowing the reason for the “crisis” isn’t helping to avoid it right now. And having alternate coping skills is not making much of a difference. I guess it’s the small victories: I made it out of the house for a bit. I put off crashing… I guess that’s a positive. And I called TM in hopes of heading off a bigger, harder crash (so far it’s working). Only what happens next week when she suggests an iop again? And what happens when she refers me out even though we have maybe a month left? 😦

I hate that trust comes so hard. I hate that I need to find a paid someone to trust and reach out to. I hate that it always ends so soon. I’ve seen more therapists than I have been in years of therapy. There have only been 3 I was able to see for more than 10 months (and 3 out of the last 4 I only saw for about 4 months each)… JF was an intern when I started seeing her, but she got hired on to keep working at the clinic, so I saw her for 2.5 years (until I graduated). LKB was the first private-practice therapist I saw. She ditched me after 2 years because I was too acute… then Dr C I saw for 2.5 years until I moved. Everyone else was an intern, except De & TM, who were/are limited by agency policy.

There was JJ, DJ (saw her one year during two of the school breaks, so maybe 10 times total), B, CS, JF, TB, JG, LKB, SC (dbt), Dr C, BGR (iop), L (dbt), Dr GD (the center), D, JP, De, TL, and TM… I’m missing a few because last count TM was #18 or 19… who am I missing? I hadn’t included therapists I saw fewer than 5 times, or any psychiatrists, or clinicians associated with hospital programs who I would have only seen a very few times.

Anyway, yeah. Trust is hard, but I seem to have to get around to starting again every few months. It gets tiring. It makes it really difficult to get anywhere. I finally get through the “data dump” stage and it’s time to switch again. That’s why I’m so stubborn around trying to tackle more stuff with TM before our time is up. I need to get further in all this… and I am not sure I will find a therapist I trust would know how to handle the blowout from the sexual assault stuff. I know Dr C tried to get me to deal with it, but I couldn’t get over the shame. Maybe if I can get back in with her, it wouldn’t be so hard this time, but I don’t think she will be around… and I’m still not sure I trust her not to think horrible things of me. There’s some safety in TM working for the sexual assault clinic. She’s likely heard it all, or her colleagues have heard it all, and the judgement would be less… I still have trouble telling TM some things because of the shame involved, but I think the chances of her having heard the same thing before are higher than with Dr C… I dunno. I really miss Dr C though… and JF… and Dr GD… and De. They felt safe. TM feels safe when I’m not caught up in walls and transference… I miss TL, but more in a colleague sense than a therapist sense. She kept me in a more professional head-space during sessions. She was the first to be able to keep the more adult side of me present more times than not. I think it came from her expecting me to be more “professional” and aware. There was something about the transference with her that allowed me to be competent as an adult and a professional. I don’t really know how to explain it…

…I hate that the emotionally safest relationships are all paid ones. But I guess that contributes to the safety. If it wasn’t so one-sided and professional, I would be seeing the judgement and emotional reactions to my crazy, and I would be walking on eggshells with them to the same extent I do my friends and family. I still walk on eggshells with therapists, but it’s not as careful and distanced as it is with people who could really hurt me with their reactions…

Anyway, I digress again. Trying to avoid being the drama queen De saw me as. Trying to pull out of the crisis cycle that is threatening to come barreling in full force. Trying to put all this insight to use. Let’s hope it all works. o_O