Tag Archives: acceptance

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. 


Had therapy again today.

We started right into the topic I had text her about last week (she led the conversation there almost as soon as I sat down…). I showed her the page that had been so triggering. We talked about it. For some reason, all I could feel was that she was disappointed in me, like I could do nothing right. I’m sure that wasn’t her intent or meaning, but my inner kid felt so dismissed…

A few hours after I started writing this post, and I’ve since stumbled on an image that sums up the message of today’s therapy:


on trust

Someone on a forum asked about trusting people in life. I believe she meant it in terms of trusting someone to not hurt her, but I defined trust slightly differently. I took it in a more universal scope…

I don’t trust anyone 100%. I trust my wife the most, though I don’t burden her with most of my trauma stuff. I trust her to work on the relationship. I trust her to call me out on my crap. I trust her to tell me when something is bugging her… I trust my critters. They are easy to figure out and rarely have ulterior motives except maybe food and adventure… I can build trust with a therapist. I trusted TM to work with me on what I brought to therapy. I trusted her to be open to helping me figure out my reactions. I trusted her to help build that trust, and to work with my best interests in mind within the bounds of her expertise and ability. I’ve trusted the same with some past therapists… I trust other members of my family to live up to what I have experienced from them in the past. I trust my dad will continue to be an abusive *** who will never learn. I trust my mom will be distant and in denial but loving in her own way. I trust my brother to be a geek and creative and funny but not emotionally accessible. I trust my wife, my mom, and my brother will be there for me. I trust my dad will push the boundaries I put up and bulldoze them (or try his best to do so). I trust his oldest sister will forever be crazy, abusive, and a plight on society. I trust my best friends to be people I can always come back to regardless of the time and distance between us…
So I guess you can say I trust a bunch of people, just in different ways.
I wish I was able to trust someone completely in a positive way, but I don’t even trust myself completely. People will come and go. Critters will come and go. Nothing in life is guaranteed, but I trust certain people will do their best to be loving… I also trust everyone is imperfect…

Who do you trust? How do you define that trust?

Trying something different

I understand the value of trying to accept emotions and flashbacks vs trying to push them away. Today I’m going to try to sit with it all and just accept that it’s here. I’m going to try to put into practice the dbt, cbt, Buddhist, whatever other theory it falls under concept of just accepting that the flashbacks will come today, that my anxiety will rise and fall, that triggers will be here regardless of what else I do.

It’s incredibly difficult.

Been noticing since I woke up this morning that it’s all rising. I’m hoping that understanding “it is what it is” will help the rise and fall come faster. I’m trying to tell myself that if it does feel overwhelming, I will call TM without agonizing over the call before I make it. I’m hoping allowing myself to feel whatever comes up, and to reach out without my own host of judgements around it will make today smoother than yesterday.

It’s hard to resist trying to push the flashbacks and anxiety away. It’s actually quite exhausting trying to just “be ok” with whatever is going on in my head and body. But if I can do it around other difficult things, maybe I can do it around this too. And maybe this will be the “pattern interrupt” TM was hoping I’d find. If not, well then, tomorrow’s another day.

I’m trying to tease out of this is harder also in part because my usual 1 week between appointments has been extended to a week and a half because of the holiday on Monday (though my appointment is on Tuesday, TM will be off. She works Tuesday-Saturday. In an effort to not screw their clinicians out of holidays, if the holiday falls on their regular day off, they get the next day off instead. This is a good thing)… anyway, I wonder how much of this anxiety is over knowing my routine is off. I often have enough trouble bottling things up for the week. The thought of two extra days to keep composure without being able to decompress is a bit anxiety provoking. The stuff I’m trying to keep in check has been brewing and threatening to explode for a while now. With the added stress of pms, I’m kinda holding my breath hoping it doesn’t explode and splatter all over me. On the other hand, I’ve managed to keep it in check this long (however poorly, but it’s stayed put), what’s an extra two days?

Ok. So trying to just accept whatever happens with my body today. Trying to neither push it to come faster, nor to get it to go away. Trying not to panic over the thought of breaking down and crying. Trying to be ok with it all. I’d say trying to breathe also, but I’m leaving that figurative as consciously slowing my breath is a trigger…

We can do this…

Just… weird.

Went out with friends today to a part of the city I don’t frequent. It’s a great section, and I would love to go there more often, but today triggered something weird. I don’t know how to describe it… It’s similar to the post-weird-dream-weirdness, but not quite. It’s a longing, and a familiarity, and a vulnerability, and… I’m not sure what. None of those words describe it correctly, yet they all describe it (at least parts of their meaning describes parts of the feeling). There’s an ache too, but I’m not sure for what. I think I might say it’s part “kid emotion” that got triggered. It’s near the same part of town where De’s office was, and I certainly thought of her, but that’s not it either. I’ve been near and around De’s old office since terminating with her, so I don’t think it’s that. Maybe part of the trigger was parking in the government center garage where we parked when we checked out the display for sexual assault awareness month last April? Maybe it was being a bit disappointed by the activity we were down there for? Maybe it’s frustration with myself that I could have chosen to contact other friends to hang with when we were done at the museum, but the weird feeling was so overwhelming I left instead? Maybe it was that I should have headed to the beach to gather my thoughts but instead choose to wander an art store? Or maybe it was that I didn’t say hi the guy in charge of the event we went for because I didn’t think he had reason to remember me out of the context of the journal class?

So maybe there’s a bit of regret in this jumble of weird emotion. There’s also a lot of stuff that simply has no words… maybe going there this weekend was different because not only was I thinking of De, but I’m anxious about the re-intake with the new therapist in 2 days. I’m going to be asking her to push me through some tough stuff, and I’m pushing myself to try to be very open from the first session. I don’t want to screw up this second chance to tackle this stuff. But I’m also terrified of what I’m supposed to be tackling. Before this, I’ve hinted at it, and talked around it, and denied it, but never said: “I think these were real events. I think I know they are accurate memories, and I think I’m ready to know that.” I have no idea how to process it (internally), but I’m going to try to process it with this new person… and then I hope it leaves me alone. I hope talking to her about it, and working on it (at this point I have no real concept of what that even means) will let it fade into the background. I hope it will fade the body memories, like it did with the DuckBoy stuff. And I hope it will allow me to move on.

So maybe the weird feeling is the little kid stuff mixed with some adult stuff and topped off by the concept of nightmares ultimately always being real…

“I’m friends with the monsters inside of my head…” – Eminem & Rhianna “monsters”
I think I figured out part of that feeling is also a dissonance with respect to time and place. It’s not quite dissociation, but I feel out-of-sync with the present both emotionally and mentally. I know my physical body is in the here-and-now, but it feels displaced and wrong. Mentally, I’m elsewhere, though I can’t tell you where because I’m not sure. After a dream, it still feels like I’m simultaneously in the dream and in the present. I have no frame of reference for where I would be this time around. It wasn’t a dream that triggered this feeling. I’m actually not totally sure what triggered it. I know it came on while at the museum, but I don’t know the trigger…

“It’s stupid”

Someone on a forum brought up the concept of thinking something is really important outside of therapy, then getting to the session and deeming it unimportant. It got me thinking about how I decide what to say, and what I will verbalize as being unimportant. I found that I rarely consciously think something is no longer important unless I’m terrified to talk about it. I will have a really strong desire to talk about it outside of session. I feel a lot of emotions relating to it, but when it comes down to talking about it, I panic. I worry about how it will sound, and I worry about judgement. So when I start to say it, I end up pausing and brushing it off as “stupid” or “not important” because I’m really just terrified to talk about it…
It’s times like these I know I really need to talk about it, but I also need some more evidence of trust or acceptance from the therapist. TL had figured out that me labeling something unimportant meant it was actually probably very important but I was afraid to talk about it. We would have conversations around what could make it safer to bring up. She would also remind me a million times that she did not think anything I said was stupid, she held no judgement around it, and she would be there to talk about it whenever I felt ready… I hope she put notes on that down for the next therapist. It might make opening up a bit easier.

I’m holding my breathe for this new therapist to call. There’s something very specific that I need to talk about because it has come up very prominently again. Part of me wonders if I should call the hotline at De’s old office and see if I can talk a bit to someone there. I’m not sure what good it would do though. The hotline is really only there for crisis intervention and emergencies. This is neither. This is just something I really need to talk about with someone in hopes that it fades again for a while… my other thought was calling them to see how long their waiting list was, and if it would be appropriate for me to get on it (not sure how they feel about me having received services there recently and wanting to return). It’s tough to find someone that knows what to do with the sexual assault stuff though…
I wish I had the money to see Dr D (she was D’s supervisor and specialized in trauma). Maybe she could help with this? (Though I would need to have a conversation with her around what is more helpful in response to a crisis. I think I frustrated them when I was there last. It felt like there came a point where they were desperately trying to move me on, but couldn’t find resources to connect me with. I wouldn’t want to put them in that position again. I think when I hit a crisis point, I need someone to remind me that I’m going to figure it out and get through it… it worked with TL, though I didn’t see her for very long. Maybe it wouldn’t work after a few months. I think I would just need to ask that she not panic in response to my panic… I dunno. It’s pointless to think about all this because I can’t afford her anyway…)

I dunno. Thinking about what I label as unimportant in session has me realizing it’s always the most important and scary stuff. Sometimes I just need someone there to hold my hand through it and be with me while I talk. SJ really needs to feel safe. I think that’s why I’m thinking of De’s agency again, because SJ was safe there… there’s something to be said for making the kid feel safe while she cries out her story… I really need it to be OK for her to talk and be heard and be healed. It’s not fair that she has to carry all this alone. I wish I could help her carry it, but I sucked at protecting her when she went through it so what would allow her to think I’d be helpful now?

You Owe Me Nothing In Return by Alanis Morissette

You Owe Me Nothing In Return by Alanis Morissette

I’ll give you countless amounts of outright acceptance if you want it
I will give you encouragement to choose the path that you want if you need it
You can speak of anger and doubts your fears and freak outs and I’ll hold it
You can share your so-called shame filled accounts of times in your life and I won’t judge it
(and there are no strings attached to it)

You owe me nothing for giving the love that I give
You owe me nothing for caring the way that I have
I give you thanks for receiving it’s my privilege
And you owe me nothing in return

You can ask for space for yourself and only yourself and I’ll grant it
You can ask for freedom as well or time to travel and you’ll have it
You can ask to live by yourself or love someone else and I’ll support it
You can ask for anything you want anything at all and I’ll understand it
(and there are no strings attached to it)

You owe me nothing for giving the love that I give
You owe me nothing for caring the way that I have
I give you thanks for receiving it’s my privilege
And you owe me nothing in return

I bet you’re wondering when the next payback shoe will eventually drop
I bet you’re wondering when my conditional police will force you to cough up
I bet you wonder how far you have now danced your way back into debt
This is the only kind of love as I understand it that there really is

You can express your deepest of truths even if it means I’ll lose you and I’ll hear it
You can fall into the abyss on your way to your bliss I’ll empathize with
You can say that you have to skip town to chase your passion and I’ll hear it
You can even hit rock bottom have a mid-life crisis and I’ll hold it
(and there are no strings attached)

You owe me nothing for giving the love that I give
You owe me nothing for caring the way that I have
I give you thanks for receiving it’s my privilege
And you owe me nothing in return