Category Archives: note to self

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…


“Out of the norm”

So much better today! Still got a touch of vertigo, and congested, but the brain zaps and the psychotic thoughts are mostly gone.

It’s nuts what some of these meds can do to people…

How many unsuspecting folks take drugs prescribed to them, hoping to feel better, but end up with something so much worse? How many people find themselves trapped in a vortex of side effects that medical professionals insist are not side effects simply because they are out of the norm?

For all we have advanced in medicine, we still know so little about so much of what goes on in our bodies.

I tend to be weirdly sensitive to meds; some work way better than they should, while others work in very weird ways. My reaction to gabapentin is just one example. I’ll also sleep for 3 days straight with 5mg of haldol; meloxicam works like speed when I first take it; geodon & abilify have a heavy intoxication effect; mood stabilizers, antidepressants, and gabapentin make me hypomanic & psychotic; Novocaine only works at really high levels, but then it takes forever to wear off…

My body works differently than most doctors expect, yet they dismiss my experiences and chalk them up to mental illness because they don’t fit the mold.

I’ve had more than one doctor deny my sore throat, because it didn’t look inflamed when I complained about it. Then they are surprised if I walk in with all the physical symptoms of one, but I don’t feel the pain anymore because the swelling and redness show up after it no longer hurts.

Having “norms” to judge disease by is great, as long as the person in front of you fits the norm.

There are people out there with low baseline blood pressure. Unless they’ve been seen & measured at their normal baseline, no one will figure out that what looks like normal blood pressure for everyone else is really high for them (and that’s only assuming they’ve seen the same provide or group enough to establish a lower baseline, and have it flag for said provider when it goes up).

Anyway, I wandered off on a tangent, sorry.

Keep advocating for yourself out there. Know that not everyone fits the “norms” medicine has established, and sometimes you might need to put your foot down if you are not being heard. I’ve been lucky enough to find providers that are willing to listen, and people willing to help me advocate for myself. Hope you can find that too. You got this!

(Sorry, brain is still a bit zappy & foggy, so this might not make the best of sense)


Hard NO on gabapentin ever again. **Trigger warning – self-harm thoughts**

I really need to remember (and underscore) that psych meds and I really don’t play well together.

I’ve noticed, and been able to label, psychotic thoughts getting stronger with each dose… The biggest “aha” moment came tonight after my evening dose (#3 in total) when I scratched an itch on my scalp, and thought “I should just rip it off”, and I pictured myself ripping off a large chunk of my scalp to relieve the itch. That is not a normal thought!

I may be experiencing psychotic thoughts, but I’m aware enough to recognize them as such.

After figuring that out, I did a quick Google search; apparently, psychotic agitation is a “rare” paradoxical effect of gabapentin…

References on this phenomenon:

There’s more out there, but I’m having trouble concentrating… My tongue is very present at the moment, and it’s flashing up a thought to “just chew it off to stop it from feeling that way”… Seriously not fun right now…

I feel like I might cry and laugh maniacally at the same time… My emotions are all over the place, mostly hypomanic & psychotic. I know I need to turn over and try to sleep, I just need to stop being scared of the thoughts. They are just thought. I don’t need to act on them. They will pass. I just need to let myself sleep…


jumbled, confusing, pre-verbal stuff

Some days, the sensations in my body make me want to rip my insides up so I could stop feeling them.

We talked a bit about memories and sensations and interpreting pre-verbal stuff. She said that sometimes the pre-verbal is all a jumbled mess, and sometimes it’s interpreted by what we can later connect to it, even if its not accurate to the moment.

I told her sometimes it feels like I’m one of those plastic dolls whose legs pop off if you twist them back enough… I know it can’t possibly be an accurate memory because I have both my legs still. She pointed out that it may have simply felt as if my legs would rip off, but I had no other reference for it at the time, so my brain made the connection to those toys, and kept it because it’s the “best explanation”…

We also talked about how there’s still this internal pressure/compulsion to talk about some of the flashbacks sometimes, but it tends to get caught up when I walk in to her building. I no longer have words for it, and the connection to it leaves, so I struggle to bring it up… We talked around that for a bit, and got a tiny bit in one direction, but then time was up.

Some days I wish I could bring her home with me in my pocket so I could pull her out and talk when the strong drive was present… it only still feels ok to talk when it’s almost impossible to do so. I guess there’s a measure of safety in the impossibility of it.


More on feeling defective…

Despite all my labwork that insists I’m ridiculously normal, my brain certainly doesn’t feel it.

I went to physical therapy today because I tweaked my back a few weeks ago, and my range of motion since then has sucked. Specifically, I have trouble lifting my left leg over the dog gate. I go over with my right, and kinda just drag my left over after me…

Anyway, I remembered why it was I failed so miserably at pt last round; it sparks intrusive memories I’d rather not have.

I’m supposed to go back on Monday, but I think I will cancel.

Even if it doesn’t trigger full-on flashbacks, it does trigger anxiety and dissociation. The longer the pt goes on, the worse it all gets, and soon I can’t remember what we did, and what I’m supposed to do between sessions. It’s a waste of time and resources that I know could be used by others (they book 2 weeks out on a good week)…

So, yeah. I’m going to cancel. I’ll do the exercises she gave me today, then try to remember to start planking to help build my core strength up again.

And maybe I’ll mention it to Dr C, and we can work more on the body stuff so maybe if I ever need pt again for my back I’ll be able to follow through…


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)


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. 


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…


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 sessions 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!


Six kids books that use psych techniques to help kids (link)

Got this through my feed and want to save it somewhere for later reference.

Six books that use psychological techniques to help kids (from smithsonian.com)

Also, I picked up some cool finds while tag-saleing this weekend, one of which is an antique (from the 70’s?) book that explains death/grief to kids. I will take some pics when I remember to bring it in from the car.


Note to self: it’s ok to need

Met with Dr C today… some things to remember:
-it’s ok to have needs.
-even if that need is simply to check that she is still there (it doesn’t bother her or significantly impact her time away from the office).
-keep trying coping skills, but she is also ok with reaching out. She will respond as she is able. If texting doesn’t work, it’s ok to call her too (or ask her to call).
-it’s ok to change the topic of conversation with a friend if it’s triggering.
-try to notice the dissociation before it’s happening or as it’s happening so the trigger can be dealt with and I don’t have to keep exposing myself to it.
-Dr C will not drop me or refer me out if I’m struggling (same as last time), so it’s ok to say if I am (preferably before a crisis point, and most certainly before I need to show up at my doctor’s office or the ER bleeding out).
-I’m still miles above where I was the last time I was hospitalized, and many more miles above where I was in 2010.
-it’s going to be tough, but it will be ok.


twolah blog entry “what they don’t tell you about trauma”

I came across a blog entry on To Write Love on Her Arms the other day and wanted to share.

I don’t totally agree with all of it all the time, but maybe I need the reminder…

 

7/4 – just found this also… To Those Who May Not Understand


Thank you :)

Thank you for the wonderful words of support around my last entry. You all rock and know how to make a girl feel loved! the entry came about when thinking about the question of why goodbyes are so hard. I’ve been told I have a particularly difficult time with them (they can be excruciating). There’s more to my reasoning than what I talk about there, but I’m not ready to express that publicly just yet (it’s nothing major, just a confirmation of what I’ve suspected in relation to where my attitudes originate)…

I do have to admit though, I’m feeling like a fraud reading your amazingly wonderful comments. The inner critic doesn’t even let me finish reading before she starts on her tirade: “drama queen! You’ve made people lie about wanting you around. You’re fishing for compliments. This is so manipulative. You know you’re not worth anything to anyone. Even L just stays out of pity. People don’t actually like you, they just think you’re pathetic and a decent charity case…” She drones on and on, but you get the gist.

I do my best to block her out and counter her words. Compliments are really difficult for me to take, but I’m learning. So thank you again for your wonderful words of support. They spark my inner critic, but they also help shut her up. You all have no reason to lie. There’s no obligation to like and follow my blog. She needs to stop talking and take a seat for a while 😉


My attempt to express my stress… through Harry Potter Images ;)

I like these. Must try it myself next time…

Dearest Someone,

When times are tough, when times are dark, and when times aren’t at all fun I guess we draw upon the things that we hold closest to our heart in order to find something to hold onto. Photos of my family, photos of my friends, and knowing I have an amazing support system of incredible, fantastic people all give me something to grip onto tightly. They are my safety net, they are what I clasp when things are too tough, when I’m slipping away slowly and the depth and darkness of PTSD have got the better of me.

Because, at the end of the day I’m slowly starting to realise and accept that I have achieved incredible, surreal things. From speaking at the Houses of Parliament to holding on when things have reached there spikiest, toughest, most brutal, horrifiying (almost the end) moments. I am made of tough stuff, we…

View original post 284 more words


constant triggers and a perpetual state of flashbacks…

Two years after this post, I am noticing the flashbacks are not as intense all of the time. I have habituated to the triggers to a degree. They are still easily accessed, and still difficult to ground from, but it’s not as much of a confusion of reality anymore (though after reading this post again I find myself slipping back into that feeling-state rather easily. I don’t mean to, it’s just that close to the surface still)…
I’ve certainly dealt with a lot here. Both L and I knew this move would be life-altering in some way, however neither of us knew exactly how. It’s proven to be life-altering on so many levels… L finally escaped the vortex of her draining big-box retail job to find something new. I faced more of the past than I even knew existed… It’s been an eye-opening experience. There’s still a lot to work out around it all though. It’s been over-all positive. I don’t mean the financial worries, the insane depression, the triggers, the flashbacks, or any of that stuff, but it has set both our lives’ onto an adjusted course. Had I not returned and been faced with all of this in a form of unintentional flooding, I don’t think I would have had the breakthroughs I did. I think I would have been struggling with faceless demons for a lot longer. At least now I know what I’m fighting. Now I know what to wade through to be able to come out on the other side…
As stressful as this was, I’m grateful for it. We met wonderful people, learned new things, went places we’ve never been… and I was reminded how much I love the beach ❤

both sides of the wall

In talking to D today, I finally found a way to describe what it feels like to live here again.  We were talking about what is different down here, and how I feel like I can’t ground effectively.  I likened it to lucid dreaming – where you know you are dreaming, but are also lost in the dream.  That’s what it feels like most days (almost always) to be back here.  I have snippets of the past constantly playing out in my head, be it emotions, sensations, or visual flashbacks, there’s always something there.  I am aware that it is memories of the past, but I can’t shake them.  I live alongside them daily.  I am at once 34 and much younger.  I remember sights, sounds, and smells.  I can feel the sensations in my body.  I can tell myself that they are the past.  I am aware that they…

View original post 298 more words


GREGORY AND THE HAWK –
“A Wish”

I wish to feel smaller
Under your sheets
I wish for the whole truth
Every time you speak
I’m thinkin’ about how you care half as much for me
As I watch you arrive, smoke cigarettes, sleep…

And I guess it doesn’t matter what I say or what I seem
You stuck what I felt for you in the pocket of your jeans
Ignoring me the morning after isn’t enough
And I swear I’m gonna cry
I’m sick of tryin’ to be tough

And my blood won’t stick
To the confines of my veins
And your heart
Is gonna tear mine away

And I wish to feel smaller under your hands
Though you seem satisfied
As you slip mine down your pants
And I’m thinkin’ about how you care half as much for me
As you lift up my shirt after asking politely

And I guess it doesn’t matter what I am or pretend to be
‘Cause it’s her you’ll always love and it’s her I’ll always envy
I want to end this now so dreams of you won’t keep me up
But I swear I’m gonna cry
I’m sick of tryin’ to be tough

And my blood won’t stick
To the confines of my veins
And your heart
Is gonna tear mine away

And it’s hard to find
What I want
When it’s buried beneath the biggest rock
I could pay lots of money
To help lift it with machines
But I’m not sure you’d cooperate
Not sure you’d come clean

And I wish to feel smaller
Under your sheets
I wish for the whole truth
Every time you speak
And I’m thinkin’ about how you care half as much for me
As I watch you arrive, smoke cigarettes, sleep…

And I guess it doesn’t matter what I say or what I seem
You stuck what I felt for you in the pocket of your jeans.
Ignoring me the morning after isn’t enough
And I swear I’m gonna cry
I’m sick of tryin’ to be tough

Yeah, I swear I’m gonna cry
I’m sick of tryin’ to be tough

And my blood won’t stick
To the confines of my veins
And your heart
Is gonna tear mine away

Is gonna tear mine away


Life round here – Ellie Goulding & Angel Haze

ELLIE GOULDING
“Life Round Here”
(feat. Angel Haze)

[Chorus: Ellie Goulding (x4)]
Part time love is the life round here
We’re never done
Everything feels like touchdown on a rainy day

[Verse 1: Ellie Goulding]
Now we’re at square one
And we wait too long
Til’ we’re at square one

[Chorus: Ellie Goulding (x2)]

[Verse 2: Angel Haze]
I wonder how you’d feel if you were lost in my mind
Since you barely understand my thoughts sometimes
Little bit of depth and a little bit of God
Cause I swear that I be livin’ in the dark sometimes
And it sets in here, nobody gets let in
‘Til I let my emotions out on every single page and instrumental I’m left with
Shit, I wonder, will I ever really feel shit?
And if it all takes time and I ask why, will time eventually reveal this?
Cause… the remedy, I’m searchin’ for the remedy
Cause I’m fucked up and my heart’s just another ghost of my memory
Knock real hard on real real wood
Things still feel bad when they real real good
And my brain just a vessel and the knowledge suppose to heal
But the more you fuckin’ know, less things feel real
Less things feel real, and the time shifts
And my mind shifts and ain’t really anyone or anything I can really vibe with
Cause… I’m searchin’, but I’m terrified
And by the time I find what I’m lookin’ for, I’ll be dead inside

[Outro: Angel Haze (Ellie Goulding)]
Cause part time love is the life round here
We’re never done
(We’re never done)


Themes much? (Art Journal)

Done over the last few days. I’m obsessed with the pebeo mirror foil… and needing some reminders apparently.
Also, new gelato colors are wonderful.

image

image


universal messages

It’s amazing how, when you are ready & the universe wants to hammer home a message, it certainly does that.

In the past 3 days, I’ve heard and been reminded multiple times that I have worth. I have been reminded that it wasn’t my fault and I didn’t deserve it. I don’t deserve it…

Hard message to swallow.

Originally from a source I can’t place, brought up by TM, and re-inforced by an episode of Private Practice (s1e6 minute 33)… (wish I could find the clip to link it, or the patience to transcribe it – maybe tomorrow?)

I’ve got a combo of warm-fuzzies and the creeps…


almost didn’t, but I’m calling it a win

I was so close to giving in today. I was so close to throwing up my hands and resigning myself to the fact that I am hopeless and will never change. But something propelled me to keep trying…

If I don’t do the dog nails first, no one will do them any time soon. I might as well at least do that…

It was quite a physical feet. While my dogs were relatively easy to do, mom’s dog was a handful. Not only did he not want his nails sanded, but he was going to try to get away the whole time. Lemme tell you a secret buddy, it goes a lot faster and easier if you just let me do it… But no. He didn’t want to stay put, he didn’t want to lay down and be pinned (he thinks he’s the boss after all), he wanted nothing to do with the pedicure. I was more stubborn them him though. He was placed back down every time he tried to get up and run. He got pinned and dealt with it. I stayed calm despite his frantic efforts to get away. Eventually, he submitted. The cardio I got from it though made up for anything I may have lacked last week. Picture a 65lb lanky, muscular dog who is also really good at squirming away…

Anyway, I won. I finished the mani/pedi’s for all 4 dogs. And it gave me the release of pent-up anxiety I so desperately needed.

My thoughts still float towards self-destruction, but they are not as desperate and intense as they had been earlier this afternoon. I almost left TM a defeated message saying I had failed a mere 20 hours before I would be seeing her again. I’m glad I didn’t. As I told L a bit ago, if you never change how you react to stress, nothing will ever change. Don’t get me wrong, I so wanted to give in and shred my body. I wanted to OD on everything I could get my hands on. I wanted to relieve the stress and anxiety in any way possible. I even contemplated giving the crisis line a “courtesy call” saying that I was pretty much going to cut, but that I had promised TM I would reach out first. I was going to tell them I had no idea how they could help me, or even that they could help me, but that I was simply going through the motions (keeping my word to TM is very important to me). I actually probably would have if doing the dogs’ nails hadn’t taken so much out of me. I’m kinda glad the puppy was such a jerk about it. If he had been easier, I would be admitting to TM that I failed…

Anyway… yeah. So, I battled all those crazy-intense self-destruct thoughts. I even gave myself permission to give in to them after first doing the mani/pedi’s for the dogs. But in the end, I won against the thoughts also.

Here’s to changing even if the change is excruciating.
image


note to self:

  • There’s a very good chance she will not have the answers I am looking for.
  • There’s a very good chance she doesn’t remember me, let alone specifics (It’s been 13 years since I last saw her).
  • It doesn’t mean I’m totally worthless if she does not remember me or what we talked about.
  • It’s ok if she doesn’t call back.
  • Yes, that relationship meant a ton to me, but it did not hold the same weight for her (nor should it have).

the trouble with borderline personality disorder is…

There’s a whole lot of stigma around bpd, and the people diagnosed with it.  Talk to just about any mh professional about their clients diagnosed with bpd and you get shudders, eye rolls, and a litany of complaints (ok, this is coming from the perspective of someone not only once/sometimes dx bpd, but also as someone who had candid conversations as a peer with other professionals who work with clients diagnosed with bpd without said professionals knowing my own dx).  I think one thing that has been missed in all this is that there is a reason for these traits.  We did not simply wake up one day thinking “how can I be really difficult to those around me?”  Life happened.  Shit happened.  Things that no kid should ever have to endure happened.  So we learned to deal with that as best we could.  We learned that even the best-intentioned people can sometimes (or always) fail us…

While I think it’s slowing some, the trend to diagnose someone as bpd is still more prevalent that looking at the reasons behind their presentation.  And a diagnosis of bpd brings with it a world of hurt (not only from the client, but also the mh system).  If you think credibility is lacking for a person diagnosed as depressed or bipolar, it’s out the window for someone diagnosed as bpd.  The average clinician or psychiatrist that encounters a bpd diagnosis on paper will write that client off as difficult to work with and highly dramatic.  Someone who specializes in trauma however, may look at things differently.  I have yet to meet a person diagnosed with bpd who does not have some significant trauma history.  I think most (if not all) bpd diagnosed clients are simply trying to communicate things they have no idea how to express.

I struggle with the stigma attached to bpd. I think a lot of t’s and pdocs have this image of a bpd client being impossible to work with. While current trending is to try to change that stereotype, it’s true to an extent. A client with bpd symptoms can be incredibly taxing at times, but also someone I would use “kids gloves” with. You didn’t just wake up one day and think to yourself “how can I be difficult to those around me”. Things happened. **** happened that brought on this set of behaviors and beliefs. I think maybe to make therapy work, a focus on what happened (not so much only what is happening now) might be a good place to start. Maybe also finding a t and pdoc whom you can have conversations with around your reactions (if you feel you are in a place to have those conversations at the beginning of therapy). I think the most helpful thing for me was finding a therapist who shrugged off the diagnosis and worked with me as a person. We had conversations about my reactions to things and what I thought fueled those reactions. We had conversations about how she would handle those reactions. We talked about what I thought was helpful, and what she thought may be helpful. When I was stumped about some of it, we went over my last reactions to therapy and attachments. She was incredibly patient but also really helpful. She stayed really level-headed when I’m sure there were times she wanted to strangle me (kinda like Homer does to Bart in every Simpson’s episode) or smack her head into a wall because sometimes taking to me is like taking to a wall.
From what I remember of your other posts, you seem to not be in a place to give up self-harm at this time. Maybe finding a therapist that can help you with the reasons behind the sh without making you give it up completely right now might be a good place to start? I’m not advocating continued sh without regard to damage, but I found it was helpful for me to work with someone who asked me to limit it, but not give it up right off the bat. We focus on the crap motivating the sh, but not necessarily stopping it. We focus on limiting it, and limiting the damage. it’s a bit on the dbt side of things, so maybe a dbt program might be a good place to try?
I can recognize (in my own past) some of the things you were talking about, I just have no real idea how I moved from that space (except making the decision to stay off meds, but I don’t want to recommend that to people because it’s a highly individual decision that is not right for everyone. It was taking a huge risk, but I had a great support system that included a current, trusted therapist, an intensive outpatient program, and major support from friends and family. I was actually inpatient when they weaned me off everything, and that helped a lot. So please don’t take my experience as a suggestion to do it).
I think the biggest motivator for making therapy work for me was fear of the alternatives… if I kept going the way I was, my path would have lead to legally being declared incapable of making my own decisions. Permanently losing that control of my own life scared the crap of of me… What are the pros and cons of therapy for you. What do you fear about it? What do you want to get from it? Can you find a t who is willing to work with that? Are you willing to work with what they ask of you? If something scares you about what they want you to do, can you find some way to talk about it with them instead of just reacting? Can you come up with a plan ahead of time with the new t and pdoc that allows them to see your reactions as a way to communicate (or need to communicate) something rather than just react themselves? It may take time, but finding people (or at least one treatment provider) that can work with you even when you are kicking and screaming may go a long way to finally figuring out how to make therapy work…

 

I think it’s important to look at the roots of behavior as much as it is to work at changing that behavior.  And I think DBT (while good for some) is not the be-all and end-all answer to healing the trauma wounds.  I think we (as treatment providers) and we (as cients) need to take a look at how DBT can be a spring-board for a new and improved treatment model.  The idea of teaching missed lessons is great, but take away the school-like model.  Make it yet more human and accessible.  Add back that availability component.  Add in a kid-glove theory of practice.  Add more individual processing time.  Group can be helpful, but so is that one-on-one connection.   Take away the punitive measures and make it a conversation.  Treat the trauma behind it.  Do it intensively and with caring.  Work on safety while still allowing for personal choice (there’s little scarier to an abuse survivor than the thought of losing control again).  Allow for distractions.  Take things at the client’s pace.  Allow them to have that alternate coping skill (or skills)… Give me space to scream and cry and be triggered.  Help me come out of it safely on the other side (even if I’m a bit more beat up than I was going in).  Promise you will be there when the dust settles, because most people are not… and don’t hate me for it.