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…

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“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…