Category Archives: SJ

Brain fog 

My head is in a complete fog, and I have no energy. I think it’s because my body is fighting off some ailment. L had a wicked stomach bug this weekend, and others I know have had the flu or respiratory things… I’m just hoping I make it through without succumbing to anything…

Last session, we were taking about the extent of my dissociation (when it happens), and ways to try to pool the knowledge from the various emotional states. Dr C suggested trying to “bring all the emotional states together, like at a conference table”… I had trouble wrapping my head around that concept, but I think it was mostly being uncomfortable with the conference table idea. The more I sat with the concept this weekend, the more I was able to ease into the idea. Though I switched the thought of a board room to the concept of a living room, it’s kinda sounding more possible. I’m not sure if I can make it happen, but I was able to doodle out what the different emotions look like, and to write out what I think of when I think of them… they kinda have personal appearances, though they are not actually totally seperate entities… I understand then as all just different emotional states, and can notice when I “slip into” the different mind sets, well, for most of them. There’s two that feel like completely seperate characters. While I’m consciously aware of feeling different in the others, and can access what it feels like to be, say, the brooding teenager, there are two kids whose heads I can’t get into. Those I walled-off more efficiently than the others… 

I’ve always felt like my head was set up kinda like a house, with doors that closed to each room. When I was in one room, I was totally in that room. I had agreed of the existence of the other rooms, but I couldn’t tell what was going on there, nor did I have efficient working memory of what may have happened when I wasn’t in a particular room… More recently (like the past decade or so), it’s been closer to different characters in each room; like an actor slipping into different roles in different sets. The two “kids” are different actors though…

I dunno where I was going with that. Brain fog offs moving back in…

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Impossible things (a letter to no one) 

Sometimes I wish I could materialize you here in my living room, where I’m comfortable and engaged in art. It’s easier to talk sometimes when I’m distracted by the flow, but still connected to the inside. 

Sometimes it’s hard to fit all the talking into that hour. Sometimes it would be easier if we could just do art together and I could talk when things popped into my head; when they felt ready and comfortable to come up. 

It’s safe here alone with just the dogs and my art. Sometimes I wish I could start that way, but bring you in to talk to when I was able. Sometimes I wish you were here without me knowing, so I could get past that censor and shame, and maybe you could help me with the stuff that’s too raw to bring up out loud and in your presence. 

I could get lost in my art and music, and you could watch without me knowing. Then, you could blink in when I wanted to talk… it would be safe and non-threatening. I could communicate the things I’m too scared and ashamed to tell you about. 

And while we are on the topic of impossible powers, maybe it would be good if you could read my mind and tell me for sure if I’m making this all up. You could point out the lies and show me where I’m exaggerating. You could look at the stuff that’s all a jumble and help me understand it. You could take an outsider’s perspective without the emotion, and you could tell me I really am making it all up just because I need to feel worth your time and attention. I want attention… (and even as I think that, I can feel hands on my body and between my legs. It’s creepy. I don’t want attention. I don’t want to be special or pretty or paid attention to. I want to melt into the fibers of the carpet and hide away from everything. I want to disappear).  


Good at something

In session today, we talked about the total disconnect I have with everything relating to the “memories” these last few days.

She says it’s because I’m really good at dissociating things.

I guess.

I reiterated that none of it feels real. (I left out that nothing feels real at the moment. None of my history feels like it belongs to me, not even the things I’ve known all along). I reiterated that it’s all just a story I made up, though I can’t figure out why I would do it.

She said that she believed me anyway. She said I might not have any connection to it at the moment, but she was there when the part of me who experienced it also re-experienced it when I told it.

She said she’d hold the “trueness” of it for me…

Ok… that’s good. Because it feels like a tornado whipped through a store-room full of cabinets and sent the papers flying everywhere. Things are mixed up, employees are battered and confused, and the secretary is running around trying to put it all back together again in some semblance of order (hopefully back where it all belongs). It’s nice to have someone take the weight of the truth away from all that running around and fixing… I picture a woman carrying a huge manual while trying to also pick up random scraps of paper. As she bends down to pick up something else, the manual tips to the side and starts to open. It’s tall and held together with flexible rods through one side. It’s much easier to pick all the stray papers up if the manual is not in her hands…

The boy grew up while we were talking (briefly?). For the first time in several sessions, I actually left feeling ok; like I had stated to talk about what was pressing to come out. I’m not quite sure what the boy wanted to cover, but he seemed satisfied with whatever it was we talked about.

I still don’t like this process. I still feel like I’m falling apart more than coming together, but she says that’s a good thing. She says the system has outlived it’s usefulness and now it’s time to move on… I’m not sure I believe that last part. At least, I’m not sure I want to believe it.


Out of Phase

That’s it! He feels out of phase… I think maybe that’s why communication is so difficult.

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this past week

So, I managed to get in to see Dr. C on Monday. It was weird, awkward. I didn’t know how to answer her questions. I was too stuck on the functioning, “everything’s good” side of things to be able to access and verbalize much of the more difficult parts of the past 3 years. I noticed myself telling her things in a very detached and scattered manner. I jumped around and skipped things and back-tracked. A few times I told her I didn’t really know how to answer her questions. What I really meant was that I didn’t know how to answer them succinctly. I told her the truth of the moment, which was pretty watered-down and wrapped in that happy newness post-move.

It was weird because I didn’t feel as comfortable with her as I had prior to leaving. I guess I expected to be able to pick up where I left off (in terms of trust and comfort-level). That’s not how it is shaping up… She did make a few comments that caught me off-guard though. One happened when I was telling her about my reaction to reading the records provided for the disability determination. She said something along the lines of me trying hard to present one way, while still having all this darkness underneath (accurate point). The other happened when I told her that my inner child had left after starting to tell TM more about the newer flashbacks/memories. Dr. C called my inner kid a “personality”. That threw me. I never saw her as one. To the best of my knowledge, she never took over or anything like that. She was just a kid that lived in my head. She was ok to love and care for and protect. She was just a construct of my head though. She was a vessel for that other ickiness… Yeah, she felt really separate and distinct from me, but more of a character that I had lost creative control over than another personality… I dunno. The thought of her as another “real” person makes me uncomfortable; like if she really was, then I am even more “off” about my projected image vs. reality.

Anyway, at the end of session, she brought up the women’s group I had been in (LKB had suggested I attend the group back when I was still seeing her as an individual therapist). She asked if I was interested in joining it again. Apparently, it has dwindled to 2 of the original members. I agreed to join back up. It was good to see the old group members again. It was nice to catch up. I again found myself at a loss for what or how to say the things that had transpired in the past 3 years. My cheery, happy face was on and I had almost no connection to anything that wasn’t “good”.

Anyway, that was Monday & Tuesday. By Wednesday, the “newness” of being back had started to wear off. I find myself easily bored, though my sleep is a bit better. It’s more regulated by the natural rhythm of the days. I go to sleep when L does (rarely later than 11), and I wake up with the sun (which happens to be about 6am at the moment). Most of our stuff is still in transit. It gets here tomorrow afternoon. Finally!! I had forgotten to put my sneakers into the car, so I have not been able to take the dogs for any longer walks or hikes through the woods. Flip flops just are not conducive to hiking uneven terrain, or even to longer walks on flat surfaces. So they have pretty much stayed in the apartment. Hopefully next week I can get out on some of the trails with them.

I must say, I really miss the beach though. And it’s been chilly here: only the mid to upper 70’s. I’ve been used to the mid to upper 90’s for better part of every year these past few years. Brr!

I’m so glad our stuff will be here tomorrow though. I can’t wait to get things more situated, and to be able to get back to my art. I’ve done a bit with L’s supplies, but there is no real table set up yet. Once everything is placed, I’ll feel better about spending time on my art again. I miss it. I will have to look into local classes…

I have yet to call TM with the update. I thought to call her on Wednesday, but I was feeling too needy that day, so I refrained. I don’t want to turn my update into a support session. I just want to be able to let her know I’m here and settling in. I also kinda wanted to get her take on what Dr. C had said (or more correctly, her take on my reaction to what Dr. C had said), but thought maybe I should clarify with Dr. C first. If I wait for that though, I won’t be calling TM for over a week since Dr. C is on vacation next week. Though maybe TM could provide me with a reality check while Dr. C is gone. I dunno. I guess I’ll just take it as it comes.


Self-compassion & recognizing limits

An article on self-compassion and understanding your limits was definitely something I needed to read today.

The last few days have me slamming hard into my own limits around processing my trauma. I am working towards acknowledging them to myself, and admitting them to TM (as much as I don’t want to in the moment because it means we will need to tweak our approach). I certainly want to push past my limits, but I need to do so carefully. I really wish I could keep seeing her for longer, and maybe a bit more often to help move past this, but therapy has its own limits and boundaries.

On another note, a friend pointed out something to me last night that was hard to hear, but definitely something that needs addressing. She was suggesting some coping strategies that I have used in the past, but have become huge triggers in the last year (mindfulness around breathing, and progressive muscle relaxation… well, they were always triggers, but not this intense in the past. I could utilize at least breathing techniques in the presence of someone I trusted. I can no longer do that without triggering or intensifying flashbacks). My problem comes from the memories that have surfaced recently. In them, I would pretend to sleep in order to “get it over with” faster. Pretending to sleep involved slowing my breath and relaxing my muscles so the person would believe I was asleep… I didn’t understand why these two techniques were so difficult for me until last year, when the cognitive memories started accompanying the physical and emotional ones. Since then, my reactions to the two techniques are incredibly intense and visceral. In the past, I would panic when I tried them, but I was able to try them without my whole body shaking; not so much any more. I know I need to work on this, but I’m not totally sure how. Time with TM is limited in so many ways, and there is so much to cover. 😦

Anyway, back to the article on self-compassion. It can be found here on GoodTherapy.org. While their articles are often geared towards professionals in the field, they have a wealth of articles for clients, friends, and family. I don’t always agree with what they post, but some are spot on, like the one mentioned.


art journal page – “view with caution”

been working on this for a few days… still a work in progress.

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