Category Archives: liiiight bulb!

Re: dissociation

You know how sometimes the universe just smacks you upside the head when it really wants to drive something home? Well, that’s been happening a lot these last few days.

I spent a fair amount of time yesterday and the day before going back over old posts. I do that sometimes simply because I can’t remember much from day to day. Everything is compartmentalized between emotional states…

Anyway, in my fb feed today, there were several posts about trauma and dissociation. The latest one I read was a fairly in-depth article on DID, OSDD, and dissociation. It covers symptoms and diagnostic criteria, as well as links to assessment tools (though none are meant to diagnose alone, but rather in conjunction with assessments by a trained professional).

Anyway, I know I have an OSDD diagnosis. I remember that even when I’m not directly confronted by it. The part I seem to forget is that there has been conversation around changing that to DID… so imagine my reaction when reading the article and finding I petty much fit the diagnosis to a T… I was taken aback by it for a while, then I started to vaguely remember conversations with Dr C about me being on the DID end of the spectrum.

As the realization hit (apparently “again”), I started to panic a little. I decided to try the self assessments they mentioned. Yup. Wouldn’t you know, they peg me as correlating highly with others having a DID diagnosis. Great. So now I’m remembering a bit more about my conversations around it all with Dr C. I want to say I remember at least 4 different times when I was shocked by her mention of it, and then settling on calling it something more benign, like “severe dissociation” or “fractured ego states”…

It frustrates me that I seem to forget these conversations so completely until something pointing to it shoves itself into my awareness… how many more times will I “forget” about our conversations around the intensity of my dissociation? I guess I’m improving on it though, as it seems to take less time to “remember” we’ve talked about it before. The first two times or so, I didn’t realize it till she asked later if I remembered having that conversation before. At least now I don’t need her prompting before the memory sparks.

Anyway… I’m not really sure where I was going with this other than to link the page on DID.

Maybe I’ll post screenshots of my results from the 2 questionnaires. (and maybe next time I’m faced with this info, I’ll remember that I’ve heard it before)

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Long-term effects of growing up around violence

…Well, one long term effect. For me.

I worry about and see anger in everyone. I want to appease it, and apologize for it, even if it has nothing to do with me.

Perceived anger frightens me.

Someone was trying to get in the front door of our complex, but it’s locked. They walked back around. I’m assuming they grabbed a key, then tried again. They looked frustrated when it didn’t work.

I started to become scared. I wanted to both hide, and walk over to see if I could help in any way.

It had nothing to do with me, but I reacted as if I needed to fix it because they were mad at me specifically (I’m not even sure the woman knows anyone is home in my apartment)…

My heart is still racing. I’m still ambivalent. It happened 20 minutes ago.

I’m doing nothing wrong. The woman isn’t here for anything related to me, yet I’m scared she will come in and yell at me…

G would have done that. He was (and is) unpredictable and volatile.

This woman is not G.

I will keep repeating that to myself until my inner kid believes it (or stops the panic)


ramblings about interim therapists and trauma work and body stuff

I’ve been seeing another therapist in Dr C’s practice while she’s been away. It’s been weird, but helpful in maintaining balance, especially with all this physical stuff going on. I didn’t really talk to her about much outside of “safe” things (things going on in the moment, dealing with the physical stuff that doesn’t have a medical explanation yet (or ever?), surface stuff). There were times I wanted to cover other stuff that wove its way into the session, but I couldn’t open my mouth. It felt like my lips were glued together, and even if I did manage to open them, all that would come out were sobs and screams…

That’s not a new phenomenon for me. I’m not sure I’ve ever managed to open my mouth and tried to speak at a time like that. It taps into something I still don’t have an understanding of, and it never feels safe or comfortable enough to just let that part of me do whatever it needs to do for release… maybe I can bring it up with Dr C once she’s back again next week. I wish I could remember what it was that triggered that feeling.

I know before walking into the building, I had wanted to address the body memories that always get triggered (or more intense) when I get my period. We had kinda started taking about bodies, and how comfortable I was in mine (or not comfortable). We had talked a bit about liking or hating any particular part of my body. I said there wasn’t any part I liked. I should have said, there wasn’t any part I liked anymore because at one point, I had liked my eyes and my hands… but both have failed me since. My eyes either hide too much or tell too much; and my hands don’t create to my standards anymore (stupid trembling and fatigue). So no, right now there’s no part of me I like.

She also asked if there was any part I really hated. Of course there are parts I hate more than others, but there wasn’t enough time in the hour to tell her about it and still come out of the session balanced enough to go on with my day… I’m not totally sure I even want to write about it now, though there would be less explanation involved here than with her… I hate my pelvic area, and my stomach, and the insides of my legs. It’s where I feel the most uncomfortable memories, and what triggers the easiest. It’s the fastest way to send me to space…

A had asked if I’d ever done any body work (on paper) with Dr C. I told her I hadn’t, because even though Dr C had offered it, I panicked at the thought of tracing my body. A clarified that she meant doing it smaller scale. No, we never did do that… I’m not sure why the subject changed with A in that session. I think I started panicking and backpedaling into my head, because at some point, she asked how present I was & busted out a ball as a means of grounding (side note: it worked too! Who knew playing catch could actually bring me back? Normally, I can still do that stuff while dissociated. This time, the act of catching and tossing was balancing. Maybe it was the inconsistent way she did it? She would pause, look at the ball, change the speed of her toss… whatever it was, it worked).

Anyway… yeah. There were so many times I could have said more to her, but I didn’t want to get into it knowing that the hour would end too son, and I’d be left dealing with whatever came up for the rest of the week. At least with Dr C, I can reach out during the week if I need to. A did say to call if I needed anything, but I wouldn’t bother her. It takes me a long time to trust that it’s really ok to bug someone outside of the time they are getting paid to interact with me. Even with Dr C, I still hesitate much of the time, and I’ve worked with her on and off for almost 10 years now…

Oh, I remembered what I was originally going to say about the body drawing; it’s another thing where I feel frozen for fear of what I might do or say. There’s still that urge to destroy my body, even if it’s just a drawing. I still want to take a knife and stab the drawing on the parts I hate the most… or, since I no longer carry a knife with me, stab it with the pencil… that would probably freak her out, so… maybe some day I can mention that to Dr C, and we could find a way for me to be ok doing it in some form. The kid really wants to talk about it still. He has no words, just screams and sobs and anger… or silence. He’s usually just silent because the other stuff is not acceptable…

I really wish Dr C was back now. I wish this could be addressed while it’s still here & “relevant.” It’ll be gone again by next week. This is when that concept of easily accessible, more intensive treatment would be helpful; when stuff comes up and would benefit from being addressed in the moment, so it would be nice to be able to walk back into the room and get to work… let’s tackle this shit coz it’s here. Gimme that little body drawing, tack it to a tree, and let me stab the shit out of it. Let me rip it up and scream and cry and cover it in red paint so it bleeds like my body would if I did that to myself. Let me burn the page so it all goes up in smoke. He needs the release. I need the release…

Let me rip the legs off a toy, and bash it and destroy it… but then I’d need to apologize, because the toy did nothing, it’s just a receptacle for the anger. So let me run out into the woods and scream until my voice is hoarse, and my legs are so tired they want to fall off, and my breath burns in my chest (maybe my lungs would actually burn up. That would be an interesting medical & scientific impossibility)…

Sometimes the anger and the hurt is too much. Sometimes I want to disappear to a safe place where I can do something about it without weird looks and panic over my safety, because ultimately, I’ll be safe, this just all needs a release…

Why aren’t there trauma treatment centers in the middle of the woods, with animals and drop-in massage and art and yoga and holistic therapy like they have for substance abuse? And why is nothing local? Why is the only treatment center even remotely like that all the way across the country, and religious?! I want something with no BS about higher powers or gods or spiritual anything. Why does that not exist?! And why aren’t there more art or play therapists around? The kids want time too, but everything’s in an adult world, so they use translators instead…


Medical marijuana

I don’t understand why marijuana is still mostly illegal in the U.S… (well, ok. I can probably tease it out: cash flow, and maintaining the power structure).

Anyway, I’ve been exploring the wonders of the herb in dealing with chronic pain and ptsd (legally, in my home state). It’s pretty useful for so many things. It’s quelling my anxiety. It’s dulling the pain. It keeps flashbacks from breaking through. It stops overwhelming flashbacks in their tracks. It’s lifting my depression. It’s allowing me to get quality sleep at night, even if I have to get up to take the dogs out in the middle of the night… 

And my only side effects so far? Uncontrollable laughter if I take too much (I’m still figuring out the best dosing), slight paranoia (again, if I take too much), some flakiness (isn’t that the same with most psych drugs?), and relaxation. Hmm… such shitty side effects (<– sarcasm, in case you were wondering).

I was hoping it was going to allow me an easier time in talking freely with Dr C about some of the ickier past things, but the remaining effects from the previous night didn’t allow for enough dis-inhibition… I was able to bring up that I wanted to talk about it, and that I wasn’t sure what part of it I needed to talk about, but I still had trouble actually translating what the kid wanted to tell her… we tried something different around it, and it might have worked had session not been over… 

Oh, the pot also dulls the effects of triggers… there was a scene in Nashville that would have normally been very triggering (Juliet recovers some sexual abuse memories). I was able to listen to it,  and all it pulled up was a vague recognition that something along those lines occurred in my history. There was no overwhelming flashbacks, no unbearable physical sensations… I’d say that’s a huge win. 

Hopefully, I’ll get to a point where I can integrate the crap that hits me at times… maybe I’ll even be able to return to “functioning human being” eventually. That would be nice. 

Here’s to hoping out government continues to move towards legalizing marijuana at the federal level. 


Oh. I guess that makes more sense…

Dr C managed to piece together for me that today’s flashbacks were probably related to a duckboy anniversary i never really paid attention to: he stalked me at my college freshman year right around thanksgiving… i knew it was an event in our relationship, but i never really thought that it would cause ripples so far forward.  she hypothesized that, since it was finally the last interaction with him, it stuck with me. 

I guess it makes sense then that today’s flashback involved him… 


Liiight buullbb…

It hit me the other day why I would have dreamt about De recently: we terminated on July 1st (4 years ago), and she left for her new job. 

That makes sense now…


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…