Tag Archives: abuse

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…


:/… I flubbed my other opportunity

I’m not sure exactly what I was hoping to get out of talking to Dr F about my memories, but I don’t feel like I got what I needed… I wish I knew what it was I needed. I know part of it was wanting to talk to her about her experiences with her other patient who self harmed like I did (without breaking confidentiality of course), but I didn’t know what to ask or how to ask about it. Other than that, I’m at a loss for what I needed from the interaction. 

She was wonderful about it, but I felt like it was a waste of her time (nothing at all she did, all my own judgements about setting an appointment just to talk about history). I know she was trying to make me feel better, but she kept underscoring that everyone has something they don’t talk about. It worked to help me feel more isolated (everyone else seems to be able to handle their shit, but I cut to within inches of my life because I can’t handle some stupid physical sensations)… 

She was really great about things though, and offered to have me come in again in 6 months or so to check in. I declined as much for financial reasons as for not wanting to be a thorn in her side. She laughed and said that insurance will cover “problem” appointments, even if they only cover one annual ever 2 years… I guess she’s not pissed at me if she offered to have me come in more often just to touch base. Maybe next time I will find a way to talk to her about her experiences with that other patient.


It’s futile

Every once in a while, I get up the nerve to try to explain why someone’s comments in support of trump are hurtful to others; that what the man stands for and how he behaves are abusive… and every time I come up against people telling me how wrong Hillary is. I didn’t bring her into the conversation, but that’s their only defense. 

I’m back to feeling like I did growing up; that there’s no escape because no one believes there’s a problem. 

I know a huge chunk of the country (and the world) is seriously disturbed by the election results, but it feels like our cries are falling on deaf ears… it’s futile to argue or try to change things…


Triggers in random places

I saw this article on my Facebook feed, about a father who sexually abused his daughter several times, but will be spared jail time “for the sake of the family”. I understand the denial and reaction from the family (it sucks, but it’s all too common). What kills me is the court’s validation of that denial (though that doesn’t exactly surprise me either)… I didn’t think I’d have such a strong reaction to it, but it’s hit a nerve. 

I’m angry and crying and so sad…

Some of what the family said to gain leniency for the father are things I’ve heard within my own family growing up. While the circumstances were not the same, the denial of abuse among certain family members took the same path…

My heart is breaking for the little girl in that article. I want to run over and protect her myself, since no one else in her life seems to want to do it… regardless of any “evidence” that the dad will not assault anyone else, the kid deserves to feel safe and supported. She shouldn’t be forced to continue to live with her abuser, or to see him ever again. It’s not fair to her (even if she feels she needs to protect him)… her life will never be the same because of him. She will deal with this the rest of her life. Yeah, she may get to a point where she’s more healed and balanced, but she will be forever impacted by not only the sexual abuse, but her family’s rally around dad… who is there rallying for her? She must feel so invalidated and worthless…

What are they teaching their kids with this, that you can break someone, but as long as you’re sorry it’s going to be ok? Bullshit.

It’s not fair… she deserves so much better.  


Intrusive thoughts and insights

I find myself thinking about the past a lot, even when I’m trying to distract. It’s seeping through both my conscious and unconscious thoughts. I try to distract from it only to find it making an appearance unintentionally…

I think that was what triggered my sudden and “baseless” anger that later faded to resignation and defeat. I wasn’t really sure where it came from, or why it would quickly dissolve into sadness. I think I put it together finally; I had been absent-mindedly messing with watercolors this afternoon. I was trying to rekindle the relief I had found in session by painting “blood”, then later painting the feeling of comfort cutting would bring. Without meaning to, the pattern the watercolor took on resembled an image representative of the images/sensations I struggle with. I noted the resemblance, them moved on to another page to experiment with more watercolor. 

I guess the first image stirred stuff up because in less than 30 minutes, I was feeling rage bubble up. I snapped at L about something stupid, and wanted to isolate. The rage fizzled to resignation and depression shortly after… I wasn’t able to identify a potential trigger though till after returning home and contemplating the mess I made with the watercolors. I realized seeing the first piece that reminds me so much of trauma bubbled the anger again… and shame. I’m ashamed that the art I was trying to use to satisfy the desire to cut turned into a trigger. I’m ashamed at what I see in the splotches. I’m ashamed of the conflicting emotions it brings up.  I’m feeling a resigned sense of acceptance about these “memories” being accurate… and there’s grief there too: grief over losing the life I had thought I lived. I guess Dr C was right; this depression is at least in part fueled by grief. 


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…


They feel far away

It doesn’t feel real anymore, those “memories” that felt so real when I lived down south. The further I get away from having lived there, the less convinced I am that they were real…

Dr C says that it’s “normal” for trauma memories to be encapsulated & only accessible during certain conditions… I believe her because I trust her expertise, but at the same time, I doubt the validity of my own experience. Yes, if they are true, they explain a lot of seemingly random and unexplained things (like my strong negative reaction to male genitalia, my intense dislike of being touched unexpectedly, the weird body sensations that seemingly never leave, the huge gaps in my memory…). But…none of those memories feel real anymore. As out-of-touch with my earlier adult life as I felt while living at home again, that’s how out-of-touch I feel with what came up living “at home”. The only difference is that I had proof of my early adult life (a resume I could look back on, friends, my wife, journals to re-read, etc). I don’t have that for my life growing up. The only journals I still have are ones that talk about friendships and kid things. There’s nothing in the book I found that would corroborate the story in my head. There’s no person that could or would validate it. Bitch took my journals from middle and high school when she stayed in my room after I had moved to my aunt & uncle’s house down the street for my senior year in high school (they were already dead and the house had been sitting empty for a few years. Some vandalism happened. I jumped at the chance to get away from my parents’ constant battles and offered to “live” there). It started as only sleeping at their house, but eventually I spent more and more time there. At the point I left for college, I had been living at the house full time for several months. My mom moved in there shortly after I left for school; she needed an escape from my dad also… he was really abusive to her. I think she used the excuse that I had left my animals at the house and they needed tending, combined with the house needing the “security” of being occupied. My brother stayed with him in their house, but he had always been safer with G. There were a lot of double-standards flying around when I was little, from both sides (though it took me a lot longer to see some than others). My brother got away with a lot by my dad. He was held to much different standards by my mom & K. The same was true on the flip side; I got away a lot lighter with mom & K than I did with G… I realize now that so much of what I thought was normal growing up was actually really abusive. I had thought my brother escaped much of it, but in reality, he just caught it on another front. 

I’m connecting with some of those memories that came up while living down south simply by having talked more about growing up, but they still feel just barely out of reach. It feels like something I can just barely brush my finger tips against if I reach out really far. They don’t feel totally fake when I think about the specifics of growing up there, but they still don’t feel real either. Part of it is that I don’t want to delve into describing them too much here. What if they really are simply a sick, twisted story I tell myself. If I wrote about them, they would potentially be damaging to those others involved. Unlike the domestic violence incidents, I have no corroboration to them and they are not “public knowledge” within my circle… it feels irresponsible to write too much about them right now. Another part is simply that they are very disturbing to me. I’m afraid of thinking about them and accidentally flooding myself with trauma memories I can’t contain. They do enough of that unbidden, there’s no use inviting it outside of the safety of Dr C’s presence… 

They’ve faded again for the most part. It’s back to the faint tingles in my body, the echos of touches… these I can handle at this level for the time being. There’s no drive to cut the memories out of my body. They don’t trigger a desperation to be rid of them at the moment. They had in the past; it’s how I ultimately ended up at The Center in DC 5 years ago this past week. They had tripped me over into desperately doing anything to change the sensation in my body. I didn’t understand them at the time, I just knew when they got bad, I needed to cut the feel of duckboy out of my body… and in my dissociated state, I admitted to the doctors that there were other memories I was trying to cut out, but the only ones I consciously remembered then were the duckboy ones (it was a combination of disturbing and validating to go back and read that the concept of other sexual abuse had been brought up years before I “remembered” it down South. I have no memory of telling the doctors at the er, but apparently I did during more than one visit. And I didn’t read those files till after the memories surfaced with De; after I had switched to TL)… if I think too much about them, or let my brain wander towards those memories, they intensify and threaten to flood again. I can’t afford that right now…

Now I’m afraid to write any more and also afraid to put this down to try to sleep. They feel closer again, threatening again… I feel like I have to keep rambling to “hold the door” against them, but not rambling in a direction that helps them push forward. Maybe if I put this away and try some music I’ll be able to sleep for the hour or so before I have to wake up. I could ease some of the tension and just cut, but that would bring about a whole host of external consequences I really dislike. Better to sit with those urges instead of giving in. I’d break my “clean” steak also, and that would be frustrating to realize in the morning… yeah, better to try to listen to music and sleep a bit more.