Category Archives: note to self

Talking about level of dissociation (for the first time… again…?)

My level of dissociation came up again in therapy.  She mentioned DID. Apparently she’s mentioned it before, but I just filed it away. Deep away. 

I cringed at her labeling it DID, so she called them “ego states”.

I dunno. I’ve been trying to wrap my brain around it all week…

I feel like I need to reach out to everyone I’ve ever worked with to find some corroboration… did anyone else notice the intensity of the dissociation? Did I mention anything about the abuse? Was there any inkling of anything other than major depression and anxiety? Did any of the 18+ therapists I worked with over the years try to clue me in and I just forget? 

There were times I remember being told there was more behind my symptoms than just the domestic violence, but no one could tell me what.  There were large chunks of time I don’t remember, but I  also don’t have any info on what went on during those times… 

I have a few records of what happened while I was “out” and hospitalized, but they aren’t very detailed…

I dunno. 

I feel like I need someone else to say “yes, this is what we’ve seen all along”; not because I don’t trust Dr C’s assessment, but because I don’t trust what I’ve presented to her… it feels like I’m exaggerating everything, and the words I use give the wrong impression. It feels like I’ve fabricated it all for some reason I don’t really understand.

I dunno…

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So… I’m not really around right now (“thanks captain obvious!”), but I wanted to put something down so I can come back to it later, when I have energy and emotional space for it. 

I was telling Dr C how I didn’t feel like I had a right to be sad that my boss is transferring. I explained it along the lines of not having a right to be attached to her in any way, as well as having been taught that emotional intimacy equates to sexual intimacy, and that my expressing to my boss that I was sad she was leaving might be taken the wrong way… not because I think she thinks that way, or that I think that way, but because G thinks that way. It is what he warned us against, and what he was always going on about when anyone at all showed even casual friendship towards him. My adult brain knows that’s a skewed line of thinking, but the emotional, kid part of me can’t seem to step away from it…

Anyway, I explained that to her…

Her response; “Wow. G really did a number on you to have you believe you are both incredibly worthless, and also irresistible all at the same time…”

It’s not the first time I’ve explained something to a therapist only to have them be awed by the level of dysfunction he lives in… TM commented on the extent of his grooming. Dr C has commented on his ideals on more than one occasion. De & TL commented on the general dysfunction of our family dynamic, and the level of domestic violence I grew up thinking was “normal”…

How did I get so old without realizing any of this stuff before it’s pointed out to me? Or maybe; how can I continually & repeatedly dissociate the reality of my childhood so completely? 


Dissociative experiences scale

Dr C had mentioned the dissociative experiences scale a few seasons back, but she couldn’t find a copy in her files at the time. I forgot to mention it again in session. I thought I’d look it up online. I found one at CounsellingResource.com and took it…

While not quite at the DID end of the scale, I did apparently score closer to it than to “normal”;

I also took some of the other screenings they had. I scored really high on depression and anxiety… fun. 


Emdr (TRIGGER) 

Did some emdr kinda spontaneously on Monday. I was really struggling with some intrusive memories/body memories, and Dr C had extra time. 

We aimed for my resistance to emdr, and to deal with the fears around it. That quickly progressed to the body memories. It was fragments of things flooding in and washing each other away just to come back in a few minutes. It was intense. I think I was dissociated through some of it because we worked on re-centering and returned to the fear around exploring these memories. 

One of them was really weird. I think it might have been a memory of both the dissociative experience and the abuse melding together. It was similar to a strange dream, where impossible things are happening, and I’m at once experiencing them and watching them. I was at once floating in the ocean feeling the sun on my body, and being molested in a bed… 

It was incredibly intense afterwards and I kinda freaked out. It was the longest I’ve sat in Dr C’s parking lot after a session (almost 50 minutes) trying to center again. I’ve text her a lot since then. I feel like I might be pissing her off. 

Part of the emdr also covered the self-harm. It feels like the shame and guilt around it are gone, but at the same time, there’s a fear of the consequences. I guess that’s good. I want to destroy the parts of my body that remember the abuse, but I also want to avoid the hospital. 

I made another appointment for later this morning to process this with her. I felt like I was bothering her too much through text. I’m also hoping that seeing her in person and talking about this will help set my mind at ease about the process. I’m starting to remember some of this discomfort and turmoil after the first round, and I’m starting to remember that it passed in a few days. It’s been a bit better this morning. 

I had a really weird dream/memory/thing last night (another thing she said would be normal and expected). In it, I was a kid curled on my bed trying to sleep (similar position to how I was laying in bed last night, so I’m guessing the position was a lead-in to the memory)… it was another impossible situation though. There was a snake moving around the backs of my thighs and found its way between my legs. It felt very strange, not what my pet snakes feel like when I hold them, so I’m guessing it was something my understanding substituted for what was actually happening at the time… it reminded me of an article I read a few years ago that described the arrest of a man for animal abuse and assault when the kid said the man molested her with his pet snake. I think the man told the kid his penis was “his python” and so the kid kept calling it that… it’s quite difficult to make a snake do something it doesn’t want to, and a snake has no interest in worming it’s way into tight body orifices… 

Anyway, so… yeah. I’m waiting for time to pass before I have to leave for my appointment. My body is still shakey from my lack of sleep, and probably also from everything the emdr has stirred up… I wish I had the availability to do that intensive emdr now, but I have to be at work for the next few weeks… I might dissapoint my boss and end up needing coverage soon if I stir up too much. I’m trying to be available out of a sense of obligation to help out (staff vacations need coverage, and one of the main customer service reps is leaving for a full-time job after my boss gets back from her own vacation), but maybe I need to be a little less available. I have the option at this point not to work at all and just concentrate on my therapy. In theory, I should take the time I need to help me alleviate my symptoms… but at the same time, work is a good distraction. I didn’t exactly plan to be less available when we are already under-staffed, so I shouldn’t feel guilty about needing to say no, but I do… L and I need the extra money to help fix the car situation… and I have a huge thing about helping out, even to my own detriment, when someone needs it (especially someone I like/respect/care about). When I first started working there again, I was a bit better about maintaining my boundaries and not taking on too much. I’m falling back into that need to please everyone. I can see it heading to a huge disappointment when I finally find the courage to say I can’t cover too much… ugh. 

If I could find a way to just do therapy super intensley until I got to a point where I could get a handle on the symptoms and triggers and side-effects, then I could be a real, functioning human again. Insurance has limited that though. They don’t want to pay my therapist for more than one session a week. They don’t want to pay for an iop or php because I’m not in crisis (and if I was, they would want me inpatient first)… it’s frustrating how little they help when the whole reason I have them is because I struggle with mental health issues enough to make regular functioning near-impossible… there’s hope though. I just switched to the basic Medicare, which I’m lead to believe covers stuff easier than the crappy advantage plan I was on… starting September 1 st, coverage for therapy should theoretically be easier. 

There’s a tightness in my chest from all of this… Maybe I will ask Dr C about trying an iop as adjunct to the emdr we are doing. Maybe medicare will pay for it in hopes of getting me to a place where I can get off disability and get back to a real life. I just wish there was a close trauma iop or php… Maybe I could get into that place in Boston this time around (I was too acute 5 years ago when we first tried it. I landed in DC because their program was able to do crisis stabalization).
Sorry this was so disjointed and scattered…


A little slow on the uptake

So, sometimes connecting the dots takes me a while.

I just figured out how it is that I can manage to be “fine, until I’m not” (like literally, just before I opened my WP app to write this)…

Anyway, all the discussions Dr C and I have had about dissociation and her finally labeling it as “fragmented ego states” led me to realize that I can work/function immediately before and after a major break-down because I dissociate it all. I compartmentalize the emotions. I check out from the turmoil to be able to function in daily life. Once I finally can no longer hold the mask in place, I fall apart. When I can figure out how to hold the mask up again, I go back to functioning in my every day life (at least when I have to maintain appearances at work or school).

It should have been easy to figure this out. I’ve always utilized dissociation and fragmentation to survive. I should have known that would be how I got through my breakdowns… so many times clinicians would marvel at my ability to work until the moment I entered the hospital, stay there for a week, then return to work the day of discharge. I kinda get why I didn’t figure it out at the time, but why didn’t they? Dissociation has been a part of my diagnosis for ages, how did they not put it together? They were outsiders, they had a “whole picture” perspective, but not once did they think to clue me in when I was baffled by my cycles… Maybe they didn’t figure it out either. Most of them did not work regularly with fragmentation or severe dissociation. I guess I wonder why The Center at PIW didn’t figure that out. They discharged me as soon as I seemed “together” enough to function in daily life…

Dissociation was a lifesaver at one point, but now it hinders everything, including moving forward in treatment. Just this week I pulled it together long enough to get through my session with Dr C yesterday. Today I’m back to seriously depressed and ready to cry. I made it through work, but now I want nothing more than hide and cry… this sucks.


Phew!

No nightmares about L dying last night.

No nightmares at all last night actually 🙂

I’m itching to play art again, but I’m at work at the moment. I did bring one of my art journals, but I’m not sure what to draw in it. I couldn’t exactly bring all my paints, and I don’t have a travel paint set put together. I could have brought the gelatos, but I didn’t think of it till after.

It’s all ok though. I’ll have time tomorrow before group to play art. Then tomorrow evening, a friend is giving a talk on paper arts at a local gallery. I was planning on dragging L. It should be fun.

Other than that, progress on the therapy front: I was able to watch what would have been a triggering scene in a TV show without falling into intrusive memories. HUGE, HUGE step for me, even though it was “just” around the domestic violence stuff. I was kinda excited that I was able to be aware of the memories but still remain engaged in the show (it was a scene from Flash about Zoom’s back-story). I kinda laughed when I noticed that I had witnessed a similar scene numerous times (minus the murder part) and marveled that I wasn’t a sociopath…

Anyway, so yeah, little victories and happy-dances all around.

Note to self: engaging in expressive art, and seeking support around the ickiness are both helpful in regaining balance when things are starting to fall apart again.


holy links batman!

Ok, so in a (seemingly futile) effort to find an article on parenting to the emotional needs of your child that my brother wanted to read, I keep stumbling across a bunch of other stuff I want to read. I have no time at the moment to devote to the tons of articles I’m finding, however I do want to save them for later. If I simply bookmark them, I’ll never look at them again…

So, in case anyone else is also interested, here’s a dump of some of the stuff I came across today. I have not read any of them yet, so I dunno how useful or interesting they are, but either the topic or title piqued my interest:

now that I have those written down, time to hurry my butt up and get to work – doggie play day!!!! 😀 I love when my boss puts me into camp.

Oh, also, if anyone finds any articles on parenting to the emotional needs of your kids, could you link me to them? a week later and I still can’t find the article I’m looking for. The wealth of info available on the internet is amazing, but quite overwhelming at times!