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. 


:sigh:

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:

image


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


thoughts on who has the control in therapy

A comment from Patricia on my previous entry mentioned that having the control around when she attended therapy gave her a sense of ease around building the relationship. That got me thinking. I don’t think I’ve ever felt in control in therapy. It’s not given me a sense of having any power in the relationship lately until this termination with TL. The first ever official therapist I saw (not counting my guidance counselor in high school) was 1) a requirement of the work-study program at school, 2) was assigned to me, and 3) refered me to another therapist in the program by the 2nd session because of countertransference. 18 therapists later and I’ve only voluntarily initiated termination with 2. All others were either time-limited by school terms (internship guidelines), or I was terminated for “liability”… Oh, and one was ill for an extended period so I saw someone else in the interim. When the original therapist returned, I took the option to stick with the one I had been seeing while she was out… so really only felt in control of major decisions a small handful of times. I guess you could also count the two therapists I never got past the intake with. One was atrocious in first five minutes of the first session, and the other took 3 sessions to cement that we were not going to click (neither handled self-harm or suicidal thinking well).

Aside of not feeling in control of the relationship all that often, I rarely feel like I dictate the path of the sessions (though in reality I do that almost every session. I wonder what keeps me feeling not in control of it?). I constantly defer to the clinician’s focus after an initial overview of what’s bothering me. If they narrow in on something that I don’t necessarily think is more pressing than something else, I don’t often try too hard to change the focus back to what I consider important. Yes, there are times I will insist on addressing something, but it usually takes a huge amount of effort and time to attempt to assert myself. I don’t feel like I am the expert in my life. It’s weird…

On the flip side, I have never felt the need to dictate where a client’s session should go or what they should address. In my professional role, I had aways believed the client was the expert in what needs addressing, and what direction therapy should take. They are paying me to be a sounding board and to offer support through difficult times, but what we addressed was always totally up to the client. Also, aside of scheduling logistics, the frequency of contact was pretty much up to the client. They controlled when and how often they showed up for appointments, and would have controlled when they terminated (for the most part… until I fell apart and ran away. Then they were S.O.L… and I still feel pretty shitty about that).

How can I hold those both true? How can I as client feel the therapist has all the control, and as therapist always feel the client has the control? Maybe it has been my experiencing of the therapeutic relationship early on. Maybe being indoctrinated into having no real control over choice in therapist or choice in termination time perpetuates my inability to feel in control over it all. As a clinician, I could not and would not force my clients to see me. As a client, I could not dictate the end of therapy until relatively recently. Things with JG didn’t click well, so I was ok with my then-wife insisting I stop therapy. I hadn’t become attached to JG, so walking away was easy. I simply did not reschedule one time after having to cancel because of weather… With Dr. C, I was moving across the country so I was the one to say I’m leaving. The termination with TL did not start out in my control (because I had not planned on switching therapists again so soon if I wasn’t moving again), but I ultimately took control. I know it was her intent to have me feeling like I had a choice in it, like it wasn’t a forced and sudden termination happening on her time-line. At the start of therapy with her, I had talked about how difficult it had been to terminate with De. I had also brought up that D before her had sprung immediate termination on me about a month earlier than planned. TL had the flexibility, so she did her best to allow me to set the pace of our termination… It’s been the easiest ending to a therapy relationship in a long time. It certainly has not been easy, but it has also not been as devastating as the others have been of late. I’ll have to remember to mention that to the new therapist, so they can get a message to TL to say “thanks”…

There’s definitely something to be said for feeling in control of your therapy. I keep trying to remind myself that I hire a therapist, so in that respect, I am more of a “boss”. My client self has only recently remembered that I can hire them or fire them as I see fit. It’s not necessarily that simple, but I need to remind myself I have more control than I think. When you grow up with others always in control (and no safe way for you to gain any), you forget that it is even a possibility. (attachment can also make it feel like there’s no control, but that will be a topic for another post some day…)

Anyway, that’s not exactly where I wanted to go with this post, but I have lost my original direction… Maybe I need to start creating outlines like I used to do for major papers in school. That way, when I go off on a tangent, I have something to refer back to in order to keep on track. Who knew my h.s. writing courses would come in so handy later in life?

Oh, I know. I meant to touch on having trust issues, which makes it difficult to open up in therapy. Lately, by the time I acknowledge trusting the person I am talking to, they are headed out the door for new adventures. I never really pictured opening up to someone because I could choose to never see then again if I wanted to. I know that there’s a measure of safety in speaking with someone you don’t see daily (their judgements won’t impact your life as strongly as those of the people around you day in and out), but I never realized I could walk away from therapy. Aside of feeling that the clinician is in control, my desperate need to have a safe person/place for all the ugliness keeps me feeling a slave to it. There’s something very validating and comforting in knowing someone is professionally required to be accepting and trust-worthy…


falling into the stereotypes (some of my internal processing)

I’m trying to figure something out, sorry if this post doesn’t make much sense…

Since TL mentioned termination last week, I’ve gone back and forth between putting up huge walls, and desperately wanting to talk to her again. As tomorrow’s appointment gets closer, I find myself having that regular anticipation of talking to her and happy to be seeing her because she represents a safe place and has been a relatively safe person to talk to until now. At the same time though, I’m wondering if tomorrow should be the last session because termination sucks and I don’t want to draw it out. Then I’m again bouncing back to ignoring that she brought up termination at all.

I’m confusing myself and not explaining that well… I think I’m stuck between pushing her away and denial of the termination conversation… :/

I want to go see her because she represents a safer person. I want to talk about what this all brought up, but at the same time I feel like trust has been lost and it’s no longer ok to look to her for support with anything beyond logistics of possibly being hooked up with a new therapist. I don’t know how to straighten that out in my head. Not sure how to proceed… I think my hesitation with looking to her for more support comes from knowing that it’s opening myself up again to that horrid feeling of loss and being lost. I don’t like it, I don’t want it. It’s overwhelming and (again) way out of proportion for the relationship. I have so much trouble with changes like this. I really don’t know how to handle it, and I have not been able to address it in therapy yet with any meaningful results (even after so many therapists and so many attempts at tackling all the issues)…

TL wasn’t clear on what exactly the time-frame is. She refused to answer when I asked how long she had left, and she again asked me how long I thought therapy should take… I don’t know for sure if she meant she was leaving next month, or within the next six months. I’m assuming she meant the next month because she had given one month as a reference point twice when asking how much longer I thought therapy should take.

I have a LOT of trouble with loss. She knows this, so I don’t know if she’s trying to ease into the termination conversation, or if we are just trying to tackle the loss issue. The thing is, my thinking went immediately to “f-this. she’s leaving so why bother dragging it out. no more talking, no more trusting. I’m done”. I know this is a cognitive leap, and that I’m throwing up walls without really knowing exactly what’s going on. Sometimes I can recognize this and think more rationally about it. Other times the emotions take over and I’m totally lost. I think that’s playing a huge role in the back-and-forth I have about wanting to talk to her about this more, and wanting to run away. I’m recognizing the diagnoses and history this all plays into/off-of.

I just can’t consistently figure it all out though. I don’t know how to be ok with it. I am not sure I want to take down any of the walls to open myself up to talking about this just to find out that I am right and she is leaving next month. My head goes SO dark if I try to let myself feel anything more or not take this total detachment right now. I don’t want to land back in the hospital. I don’t want to be the stereotype of my diagnoses, but at the same time, I’m finding I’m nothing but that stereotype…

Years ago, my records indicated I was hopeless and will struggle with this forever. As much as I hate the thought of that, I’m afraid they may be right. I think I live in a fantasy world that I can move out of this behavior when this stuff isn’t actively triggering me, but as soon as it’s triggered, I don’t know how else to react. I’m ashamed by it and frustrated beyond belief that I can’t seem to figure this out once and for all. I wish I could find a therapist that I could stick with, and that was consistent with the “you’re not hopeless” stance so they could remind me once in a while, but the way I fall back into all this every time loss comes up I doubt that will ever happen. It’s really crappy. I don’t want to be hopeless, but I think they are right. I think I really am. If I can’t learn to navigate losses, how the hell can I learn anything else? I think some things are just too broken to fix…


More wrecked things

I think I am obsessed with this thing!

Here are some from this weekend.  A lot are “WIP” or Work In Progress…

 

 


playing with wrecking things

wreck this journalI had seen the “Wreck This Journal” books a while ago and brushed it off as something in which I wasn’t interested.  I looked down on it thinking it was stupid after having looked at only a handful of the pages… then I started to see what people were doing with them.  I fell in love with the idea.  I know I could come up with my own prompts, but it’s just so much easier (and uncomfortable) to use the ones in the book.  I caved and ordered 2 books off amazon (one each for L and I) and they arrived yesterday.  We got to work pretty much as soon as they were out of the box.  L has done a lot more with her’s, but I’m getting there.  It’s a fun, creative process.

Here are a few of the one’s I’ve done so far.

doodle over this pageThis first one was done during couple’s therapy yesterday (we met at Starbucks because it was closer for all involved. It was a bit weird, but not too bad).  The leaves were inspired by the plant on the property across the street, and the bird was inspired by all the birds flying around… I used chalk to color in the line drawing later on that night.

 

 

 

 

you forgot your flash driveThis next one was also done during couple’s therapy, and inspired by Big Bang Theory. If you watch BBT, this is from a pretty iconic scene. The prompt was to doodle or write on the outside edges of the book.

 

 

color outside the linesThis one was inspired by the chalk box that I had decorated several months ago… I love spirals, the sun, and water. This one is also done in chalk.

 

 

 

 

batik sunflowerThis prompt was to tear out the page and crumble it up.  I remembered seeing a kid’s art project where the students drew and colored sunflowers with crayon.  They layered the crayon really heavily, then crumpled up the page to create the creases.  The pictures were flattened again and painted over with black paint.  The excess paint was wiped off before it dried  onto the wax, which created a really cool batik look.  I thought this was the perfect place to try it myself.  Here is the result. (sorry for the blurry pic.  I didn’t realize how bad it was until I saw it on my monitor.  I will take a better one tomorrow).

 

 

rip it to stripsFinally, this page was a white page with dotted lines.  The prompt was to tear it into strips.  I wanted to color it first, so I did.  The following page instructs you to glue, staple, or tape the two pages together.  I sprayed the bottom half of that page with adhesive and stuck the strips to it.  I had intended to keep them flat, but the unruly strips had other plans… I just went with it.

 

If you have not seen these books around yet, I suggest looking them up.  If you are like I was and hesitant because they seemed “stupid” I suggest taking another look.  It give you the chance to be creative, messy, inspiring, social, destructive, and experimental all at once.  If you are not quite sure what to do for any one prompt, just set it aside.  There is no set order to go through the pages, and you can choose to do what it asks, or ignore it and do something different.  Play around, have fun, and try not to judge what you do.

Most people will only publicise the more interesting pages they did, but I will try to keep a balanced log.  I think I may also end up creating my own version that has more of a therapeutic spin to it (maybe something along the lines of a journal version of the 100-theme challenge). Wreck This Journals do have maybe 5 more-introspective prompts, but I think the concept leans towards the creative process rather than any introspection.  It is pretty much the surface aspects of art therapy in a book, but I would want one that entices me to dig a little deeper about stuff… and maybe something that has paper made for art.  The stuff used for this book is pretty porous, which leads to a lot of bleed-though. Being a perfectionist and rather anal about my pages all being useful, this bothers me a bit (though I’m working on accepting the “mess” of it all).


The Hunger Games trilogy is great, albeit a bit triggering…

L and I went to the movies today.  It ended up being a bit of a bumble.  First, we went to the wrong theater, then got to the right one too late – our original movie was sold out.  We also wanted to see the Hunger Games sequel, Catching Fire, so she got tickets for that.  It started an hour later, and lasted an hour longer, but it was REALLY good!  I was a bit on edge most of the movie, but it was an “ok” on-edge feeling.  The first several scenes involve her going through various PTSD symptoms, and I picked up on the others throughout the movie too.  Either this movie did better presenting the symptoms, or I read a whole bunch more into it than I did the first one.  I could feel her fear, anger, hyper-vigilance… I know it all too well.  But anyway, it was good.  And it leaves you hanging.  Fuckers.

Most of the way through the movie, I remembered that mom had expected us home around 4pm… oops!  It was now 5:30 and the movie still had 30 minutes.  I knew she wouldn’t check her texts, but I shot her one anyway.  I called her as soon as we got outside, and apologized for not showing on time.  Normally, this isn’t a big deal, but being Christmas and all, she was a bit miffed.  We got home in time to watch her down more wine and finish the last bites of her chicken.  We will have to atone for this with a gift of more alcohol sometime in the near future.  We really didn’t mean to get to off-track, but we rarely do.  After apologizing and chatting for a while, the tension eased and we enjoyed our dinner.  L even tried to translate some words into Hungarian through the internet, and we found the weirdest translation for cheesecake yet: “pictures of naked women’s legs to look at”… we laughed at that for a good 20 minutes.  I think either slang has gotten really wacky, or someone is trying to screw up poor, unsuspecting English speakers when they try to translate stuff to a language they don’t know…

Anyway, I’m again renewed in my desire to read The Hunger Games books, but I have to find them in hard-copy ( there’s just something “not right” about reading books on a tablet… I guess I’m old-fashioned that way.  I really like the feel and smell of a book, and they never run out of charge just as you get to the good part).  I wish we had paid better attention to the books my landlord had  left us before we donated them.  I know we had the whole trilogy, but I managed to keep only the second book… then that was donated when we moved out of the place.  oops! I should have known better, I liked most of the books C had left behind…


mostly-finished Inside-out Box & WIP painting that I have also given up on for the time being

ok, so I lied about updating that post… It’s been about 3 weeks since I declared it finished and showed it to De.  Sitting there looking at it in session, I realized how much I hated the ribbon around the outside lid and ripped it off as I walked back out of the building.  I felt much better.  i replaced the ribbon with black sand, but i still want to make a wall of small river stones or gravel along the curtain-line. To do that, i will have to buy some stones though.

Sometimes I get frustrated with my lack of supplies, or expertise in technique, or ideas, and just let the project rest indefinitely until I either get what I need, inspiration strikes, or I scrap it and change it all together.  This box has been sitting “mostly finished” since the beginning of the month.  It will likely stay like that for another several weeks as I have mentally moved on from it.

So, to keep from leaving too much suspense over the mostly-finished product, here are some pics.  I don’t know where the pics of the outside of the box went, apologies.

And here’s the WIP painting I mentioned.  It was born of an in-session assignment.  I got frustrated with the way I was painting the chair as well as my lack of definition/direction with the person in the chair, so I moved on to other things (specifically, a shadow-puppet piece based off the same image – also stalled due to my lack of knowledge about where to take the performance of it, and technical know-how to accomplish what I am picturing in my head).  I will finish this painting some day, but I doubt it will be any time soon.  All my current energy is focused on making that shadow-puppet piece work out.  I really miss puppetry.  I’m having a blast trying to figure stuff out for it, and it’s getting me in contact with puppet-arts people to help get things correct.  It has also renewed my interest in puppetry in general.

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there she is… (the daunting thought of recovery from depression means the depression is still very present)

there’s the analytical side again. the professional, composed, and “knows her shit” side. the side that could sit with clients for hours on end prodding and supporting and fostering growth and promoting the will to live… she’s working from underneath. it’s a very weird feeling. normally, she would take over and I would feel like this side was in the background. now she feels like she’s lifting a drape of my currently-dominant self and sneaking a pen from underneath to let herself be heard. she’s being more subtle this time. i guess she has no need to overtly take charge at this moment, but she’s making her presence felt. good thing?

yesterday, when talking to De, I couldn’t bring forth my training for the life of me. my head was stalled in itself and I felt horribly stupid. I could not come up with one single need a child may ask for. I couldn’t put myself in the place of anyone else to even guess what a client may need when they reach out. I was stuck at whatever age it was that I first learned that any needs outside of life-or-death would not be met by anyone (a very overt and spoken rule growing up, though I have no idea when I first heard it). it was extremely frustrating. I can only imagine what it feels like at the start of Alzheimer’s, because that is the closest thing I can relate it to: I know I should know the answers, and had in the past, but I just could not raise them from the depths for the life of me. I had wondered to myself where the hell my analytical side was at the time, why wasn’t she able to jump in? and I remember being worried that her jumping in might mean that I lose connection to whatever emotional space I had contacted during session… maybe that’s why she’s less obvious. she’s respecting that I need that connection to the emotion, but she also wants me to know she hasn’t gone away too far.

again I’m catching myself referring to my “sides” as individuals. it’s just more comfortable that way. it’s easier to express how mutually exclusive they all feel. they are not alters in that they have their own way of dress or speech and you see a noticeable difference immediately when one or the other comes about, but they all have their individual roles. they only come about one at a time, and I have trouble seeing the info/perspective/emotions of any of the others at any given time. I may intellectually know something happened (have a memory of the concept of being a competent professional, or the memory of the concept of feeling depressed) but they never occur at the same time, and I can never connect to anything other than my current state. I have learned to successfully and completely compartmentalize myself.  it worked really well in the past, but is causing a lot of hardship in the present.

I was reading through some forums last night, and responded to someone’s post. the response was given from the analytical side. it was weird reading it again and again knowing the emotional space I am currently in.  the poster had mentioned feeling like a fraud because s/he was afraid of getting better.  s/he was afraid of having responsibilities increased and expectations raised at the slightest sign of improvement.  i can relate.  I very much have those same fears (in fact, I’m dealing with the ramifications of my own raised expectations and responsibilities at the moment).  the response I typed out validated the poster’s feelings but also said that the fear comes from the depression: while the depression is still present, it is very difficult to think of not feeling too drained by all the demands of daily life.  once the depression lifts however, things become easier. the little things no longer make you feel like you are walking through waist-deep mud for miles on end… (I can’t take credit for that little gem if a theory, I had read it a few months earlier on that same forum but can totally relate).  when I am not as depressed, I can handle the daily chores and the socializing and the (gasp) work demands.  when I’m depressed however, all of that feels unthinkable. getting back to a point where I have to do all that feels unbearable.  that is just the depression talking though. when the exhaustion lifts and the fog lifts, it’s possible to do all that and not be overwhelmed.  
while I was able to say all this on the forums, I’m having trouble seeing the validity of it at the moment.  everything feels overwhelming and difficult.  the thought of having to feed the animals is daunting.  the thought of being social is almost unbearable.  i want to hide.  i want to back out of everything that I am committed to participating in…  yet I was able to pass on that insight last night.  I have re-read that post at least 5 times this morning, and I still read my response as if I had not seen it (and it was written by someone else).  I re-read it to remind myself that there is truth in it…  but I still can’t connect to what I wrote.  the analytical side came out from underneath the drape, wrote that post, and has slinked back off into the shadows to let me figure out how to deal with all of this myself.  she’s made her presence known, but is not taking over (at least not as obviously, or to the exclusion of either the emotional, dark, or child sides of myself).  if she is taking over, she’s doing it slowly and not totally kicking out everyone else.  it’s very weird. I’m used to her taking over quickly and completely.  the others will take over slowly (most of the time, sometimes it’s a split-second event without warning), but she has always been the one to snap into place in an instant…

anyway, I’m rambling… i still desire space and peace, but not in as much of a fog as I was yesterday.


making things meaningful

So, in an attempt to find a way to make money fast, and relieve some of the financial pressures on us, I stumbled upon a blog that is all about doing what you love, and making what you do meaningful (the guy makes money off of this, which is how it connected to making money fast), but his original idea is founded in doing what you love…

That got me thinking… I have this blog that, while mainly started for myself, I would really like it to also help others. I began thinking about my struggles to find treatment that works. What are the barriers to finding other helpful and effectual treatments for trauma? What are the instinctual defenses and coping strategies we turn to when we don’t know what we are supposed to turn to?

It reminded me of the way EMDR came about. The woman who developed it noticed that she would go for a walk thinking about her problem, noticed that she unconsciously looked from side to side during her walk, and noticed that she felt better when she returned from her walk. So I began thinking about what my instincts are when I’m stressed. I thought about what others do. People around me are constantly talking and talking about the things that bother them. I do the same thing, I need to get it out and tell someone (or more than one person) what happened or what is bothering me. I think it is not only the telling, but also the audience. So I have 2 ideas that I need to flesh out.

The first is to actually tell the details of the trauma. This poses some dilemmas. One is that it triggers the hell out of me to think about or tell my trauma, so I will need to have support after the telling (that, or I am rendered speechless by the pure force of the emotion and the events in my head, which makes the telling piece difficult). The other is that it has the potential to overwhelm the other person… Clinicians and treaters are just people. They are people with their own troubles, fears, and vulnerabilities. To come up with a viable treatment model that utilizes this spilling of trauma, I’d have to develop (or utilize) a really good support system for the treaters as well as the clients. I would want someone to be able to talk to whenever I needed them, either in person or over the phone. I would want to provide this, or something similar, for the treaters also. I would want to ensure that talk about suicidal thoughts or self-injury would prompt support, and not automatic hospitalization. This somewhat builds on the DBT concepts of riding the wave of emotions, but this time with support and someone “holding your hand” through it all.  While I see the value in learning to handle your triggers and urges on your own, there is also something very powerful about having someone there with you to witness it.  I have always felt this want for someone to be there through the experience; to help keep me safe when I can’t do it anymore.  I turned that desire into action one day while I was working with a particularly difficult adolescent.  She was bent on destroying the house, and pushing the limits of all the staff present (and her house-mates),  At one point, she managed to turn on the stove and was about to put her hands on it to burn herself.  None of what we were saying was getting through to her, so I stepped in front of the stove and took her hands.  I held them as she tried to push past me (she was about a foot taller and a good 80lbs heavier than me, and I’m not small).  I told her again and again that I would keep her safe and I would keep the house safe.  In that moment that I held her wrists, she looked at me and something clicked.  She moved away from the stove after several minutes (and a few half-assed attempts to pull her hands free of mine) and stopped pushing my buttons for the rest of the day.  It only lasted like that for the rest of the shift, but it made a difference for that time.  I think it’s a very powerful thing to have someone there with you in a non-threatening way to help keep you safe when you cannot do it yourself…

The other idea is a spin-off of having witnesses to the journey.  It also builds on a theory I saw on a PBS special.  That theory advocated the telling and re-telling of the trauma until it lost its impact.  They did not flesh out all the points of the treatment plan, but from what they showed, I think it has some merits.  Anyway, and please tell me if this is a horrible idea, I think it might be helpful to do this in an intensive group setting.  Wait! you may say, this will cause a huge domino effect of triggering… Well, that’s kind of the point.  I noticed in groups, the most benefit I got from many of them was when someone’s experiences triggered something in me and I got a chance to deal with it.  This would be tricky as a group where the point is to tell triggering things, and not just walk on eggshells around topics.  But I think with the proper support available (MANY treaters on hand, at least 1.5+ per person in group, because some people need more than one person to bring them back), this could be a viable path to dealing with all the crap we don’t always think of accessing during treatment.  The groups could start with a topic and go from there.  Forget necessarily censoring the details of the event… While I understand that ambiguity of the event to another may help them access their own demons, I find it tends to limit me in the telling of the event.

There are definitely details to flesh out, and many, many conversations with other professionals to figure out the viability of these theories… But I’m determined to figure out a treatment option that works for me… and hopefully I can come up with something that may help others too…

Bring on the firestorm of criticism for this horrible idea! (It goes against all convention and current thinking and insurance company standards…)


On Suicide

I think this is an interesting and important conversation that needs to happen more often. I think suicide is an elephant in the room that so many are afraid to talk about because of the taboos around it, and the knee-jerk reactions even some providers have to it… I have been privileged enough to have many thought-provoking conversations with my former therapist…

Gukira

Writing on suicide is dangerous because suicide is deemed unthinkable. To think about it, then, and here syntax betrays what I’m going to claim, is understood as thinking about how to do it or when to do it. To think about it is to contemplate it. Thus, one says that one is not thinking about it, but even raising the prospect elicits concern and paranoia: why would one think about it if one were not thinking about it? I want to stay with this formulation, because I think its unthinkability is a problem, albeit a problem tied to the unthinkability of death, and the political and aesthetic imperative to think through life and to cultivate thriving life.

Because suicide always elicits confession, let me tell someone else’s story.

My cousin killed himself when I was a freshman. I was in Kenya during my first (and only) summer vacation, and, as…

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Fears

I ditched the job I accepted earlier in the week… it sounded sketchy. They wanted me to do “creative billing” and tack on extra charges… I just don’t feel comfortable with that. So now I feel lost. I gave up the only work prospect because my gut gave me an uneasy feeling about it. I have learned to go with my gut. The only reason I regret it is that now I have to start over again with the job search. I have no leads, and there are no hopes of any money coming in soon. It’s frustrating. I want to have some resources, but there are none… and its making me feel depressed and hopeless. Everything I used to do to make money is unavailable to me right now. That leads to wanting to hide from the world. Luckily, it hasn’t triggered my self-harm urges. Oh, and I need to cancel next week’s appointment with D because I don’t have the $8 to see him. It just all sucks…


My comfort with him blew my mind

I’ve always had difficulty trusting men in positions of power (real or perceived). I was very,  very cautious about the thought of seeing a male clinician,  but since the rest of my visits so far have been less-than-productive, I decided to try. 
I met with D for the first time today.  He is a doctoral student at a local university,  and supervised by the psychologist I had hoped to work with.  He was calm and affirming and in no way intimidating.  I found myself easily taking to him,  and spilling more than I intended.  I was also more honest than I have been since I got down here.  Yes,  he used the textbook responses,  and I could pinpoint what technique he was using and when… but as much as he seems very inexperienced,  he had a very calming presence.  Everyone has to start somewhere.  I just hope I’m not too much for him and he runs screaming from the building one day…
I see the new EAP lady again tomorrow. It will be my last session. While she was nice,  I just didn’t feel like we clicked.  Our focus lays in different spots… and today was too late to cancel. Maybe she can get me hooked up with other services to see if we can get out of this hole we are in.


Early morning pre-coffee thoughts

Why is it that certain words trigger such a strong reaction in me?  There are sentiments that,  when expressed to me, make my blood boil and take away filters for kindness and respect.  I’m specifically thinking about all the references to god and how people have a need to tell me that their god will make it all better if I just believed… The truth about that is that, yes,  your beliefs can improve or deteriorate a situation. But it doesn’t mean that if I don’t believe in your god,  things will stay the same or get worse for me.  Faith can be very helpful,  or very crippling depending on your beliefs,  but it won’t change an abusive situation,  or help your finances. 

As I was trying to figure out why religion is such a triggering issue for me, I remembered the first time I disclosed my abuse to someone that should have been able to help.  I was told to “pray about it and God will make it all better.”  That was the sentiment that was supposed to help keep me and the people I cared about safe. There was no follow up requesting details.  There was no mention of other possible help on the way.  “Just pray about it” and all the physical and emotional anguish will disappear.  Bullshit.  Things don’t work that way.  No amount of prayer healed my aunt. It didn’t stop my dad from being a huge jerk. It didn’t stop his sister from doing all the shit she did.  It didn’t stop my then-boyfriend from assaulting me.  And it didn’t bring me any solace in the least.  So bullshit. Prayer,  gods, and religion don’t make anything better.  Standing up for yourself does. Reaching out to the right people does.  Fighting like hell does.  But religion?  It brings guilt, resentment, and learned helplessness. 
That’s why those stupid posts about bringing god back to schools, and those about trusting god make my blood boil.  I had religion in my schools and it didn’t stop, or even lessen, the violence and abuse.  It didn’t make kids more tolerant of others (quite the opposite actually).  It didn’t prevent students from making bad choices, and it didn’t make the campus safer…  Don’t force your belief system on me or anyone.  You are free to believe whatever you want,  but please stop acting like it’s the only valid belief system in the universe.


i was used to it, and now it’s different

I was all comfortable in my blog page being the way it was when I first came onto wordpress, but now they have gone and changed it… I love blue and all, don’t get me wrong, but the black and grey felt so much more appropriate… and what’s with changing the titles of the functions… now they have me all confused.

On another note, I got a job offer. The pay sucks, but the potential for advancement is great. I also get no benefits (which sucks because I will be losing the ones through my wife as her company continues to drop the ball with her transfer), no paid time off… but I set my own schedule, and work as much or as little as I want (and clients need me) in a given week. It will be tough, as I like having the security of knowing I will at least be getting X number of dollars every paycheck, but again, this is better than nothing, and the learning opportunities are HUGE. I have to formally accept the position on Monday, then meet with my only other co-worker in the state for shadowing, training, and meet-and-greets with my new clients. I will start out with 5, so that guarantees me 5 hours a week… now to get up to the other 35… There will be meetings, calls, and paperwork, so hopefully I can turn that 5 clients into at least 20 hours every week. Here’s to hoping… and hopefully soon I will get a bigger case-load. This will also help me in getting my wife signed up for state services (and possibly myself), as this state does not recognize my marriage, so she’s technically below the poverty level even if I’m working.

Now, I will have to pull it together and function at my best to make this all work, but it sounds cool. Case Managers here have more responsibilities and authority than they did in my last state… That will be cool. While I won’t be doing therapy, I will have more therapeutic contact with my clients and gain the skills I have been dying to get and use since graduating with my BA… And maybe we will be able to save enough money to get our credits out of the endless pit they are in and be able to buy a house… We need our own space.


I can’t win against my defenses

When I have no support,  I’m falling apart. When I finally get someone to talk to,  I suddenly can’t remember why it was that I needed it so badly just a few days ago. 

That’s the story of my defenses.  I freak out when I don’t have the support,  but can manage to hold it together when I do. Great.  When the clinician asked me today what I hoped to get out of our remaining 2 sessions together, I couldn’t think of a single thing other then support… 4 days ago,  I couldn’t see past the huge black cloud surrounding me.  Today I can’t remember the look of it. 

Maybe part of it comes from knowing that I will likely not see her after these 3 sessions.  I don’t think I will have insurance again any time soon,  and I can’t afford a self-pay if it’s not a sliding scale.

I see the intern guy for the first time next week.  I’m hoping I am comfortable enough to work with him.  I can afford his fee ($8) once in a while until I get a job… and maybe I can work on my distrust of men with him.  I was able to connect with a male clinician at the trauma program.  Maybe I can do it again…


Hanging by a thread

The universe is conspiring to screw us… I swear,  someone up there hates me.  Things go ok for a moment, then everything crashes again.  Our phones are shut off again. We had paid enough to just get it back on, and now it was apparently only for 2 weeks.  It went offat noon today… all my applications for work have my number on it, but it is useless.  And I still can’t find a therapist to see… I had to cancel my Friday appointment because I will not have the copay… I’m so on my last thread… maybe that EAP lady was right… maybe I’m just a lost cause… hoplessly doomed to this shit for the rest of my life.


Simple Steps to Save A Borderline from Suicide

Simple Steps to Save A Borderline from Suicide.

I kinda like this in a dark comedy kind of way… I resent that I was ever diagnosed bpd, and I wholly resent the way I was treated by several clinicians & psychiatrists because of the diagnosis, but she puts it well… and I guess I can see myself in the diagnosis the way she describes it (some of it… the abuse history, the fear of abandonment, the preoccupation with death as a means of escape, the self injury, the lack of identity…)


hiding inside the wall

I’ve retreated into my shell. That experience with the EAP clinician triggered a fear deep inside me that has sent my mind scurrying into the wall. This is quite unusual, but happens from time to time. It happens when I’m terrified for my life, or my sanity. It’s that moment when even my analytical side hides, and I shut down. I neither ask for help, not do I have access to the part of me that is crumbling. I fly below the radar. My heart breaks, and I feel the weight in my chest, but I’m suddenly too terrified to even recognize that. The insanity in me takes a back burner…

It’s helpful in a way. I can function again, though every fiber in my being is shaking and pulsing with fear. It keeps the urges at bay (to an extent… i know they are still there and screaming, but they are isolated inside a sound-insulated room). It enables me to move about my day. My only worry is when it will burst free again. It always comes back louder and stronger after it hides for a while.


Defeated

4:36pm – I had a horrible experience with the clinician recommended by the EAP.  Just about as soon as my butt hit her couch, she strongly insisted I see a psychiatrist for meds. I am strongly opposed to medications for myself.  They make me a million times worse than I ever was without them. In the 4 years I was on meds,  I was hospitalized upwards of 30 times.  Before and after,  not once.  She didn’t want to hear that I do not want to entertain the idea.  I thought at one point she may commit me for my refusal.  It was the biggest waste of my time,  and caused way more anxiety that I could ever have dreamed of it alleviating… my heart is still pounding nearly 2 hours later… this sucks.

(9:10pm) In talking to my wife about the whole experience, we noted several other ways in which she judged me and lumped me in a “hopeless” category… She suggested I go to a day program to “help [me] deal with everything” (not that she knew what exactly I was dealing with, but she assumed my history of depression, PTSD, SI, etc were all current and looming).  She asked if I was employed, and when I said “not yet, but I’m looking, since we just moved across the country…” her response was: “I figured”  Really?! WTF?!  She continued to insist that I see a psychiatrist for “at least a full and proper diagnosis” Um, Lady… I HAVE one!  I just listed it to you… She then implied that she had no reason to trust me, and stated I had no reason to trust her… Hmm… great! She also wanted copies of my recent hospital records and seemed put-off when I said I did not have them.  I told her I thought my old therapist did, though, and offered to pass on her number so that EAP lady could get in contact with her.  EAP’s response: “I don’t have a release to talk to her”.  I just looked at her with that one.  I was already in flight-or-flight mode (flight being my instinct), and had little energy to retort that I was sitting right there, she could easily get one… She then proceeded to tell me that she is “a straight shooter” and doesn’t “play games”… Like I was looking for someone to play games with?! I took a shaky breath and thanked her for her “honesty”.  I told her I had worked with someone in the past that did not know what they were doing, and it just messed everything up.  I did not want to repeat that… I sat through the rest of her little speeches, and then launched into one of my own.  I told her of my experiences with medications, doctors and hospitals.  I told her about the work I had done with my old therapist, and the work I hoped to continue.  I explained my dissociative symptoms to her (dumbed it down for her, since she wasn’t getting the more clinical terms), and my reasoning for not wanting meds, DBT, or ECT… to which she tried to interject that I should really give it a second thought, but I cut her off.  I told her that the topic of ECT was a hot-button one with me, and came with it’s own mess of trauma.  She seemed to get the hint and moved away from that topic.  She then spent some time trying to convince me that the local university’s psych clinic was wonderful, with students “experienced in dealing with this sort of stuff”.  I cut her off again and told her that I had called the clinic now 8 times in the last 2 months and have yet to receive a return call.  She suggested I just show up… to which I replied: “I’m not interested in begging for what I need when they don’t respond to me over the phone”.  She suggested I “give it a try”

In the end I left her office with no intention of ever talking to her again.  She did the obligatory “call me if you need anything” and actually wanted to hug me as I left… I don’t know her.  I dislike her.  Why the hell does she want to hug me?!  I’m not big on being touched by people I don’t know, let alone don’t like… Don’t hug me.  I’ll take hugs from people I’ve built a relationship with, and only if I feel comfortable with them, but perfect strangers creep me out…

My wife looked at me as I walked out the door and commented “How was it? you’re smiling” to which I was able to respond through clenched teeth: “I just need to make it out of the office…”  I told her all the things this lady said, and she wished she had gone in with me… I kinda wish she had also… Whatever.  I won’t be seeing her ever again that’s for sure.

The whole way home I was worried about the meds issue with the other therapist I’m supposed to meet next week… The anxiety was enough to prompt me to call her.  She was very nice when she called back.  She said that the clinic had no prescribers, but if I was interested, we could always talk about it.  She said she never refused to see a client just because they refused to take medications…  She did mention though that she prefers if her colleagues do the intake session, and it would be good if I could manage to come in earlier in the week to do it… I told her of my money concerns for 2 copays in one week.  She again suggested the non-profit aspect of the office, and I reminded her that I was very uncomfortable seeing a male clinician in the long-term.  She said it was always an option… The more I think about it, the more it may be my only option, as I’m not having any luck with call-backs… and it looks like my wife’s company is totally screwing her over and she will be timed out of their system by the end of the month. That means I lose my insurance, and would have to start all over again looking for a new therapist… This is just way too difficult.


torn

2:45pm – one of the therapists that I had contacted prior to my move was supposed to call today to get me into the system at a non-profit associated with her clinic… she did not.  I know she is likely busy with her actual clients and her life, but please don’t give me a specific time that you say you will call me and then not do it.  it makes me anxious and brings back all sorts of crap… I had simply asked her for the name and number to the clinic… she gave me the name, but not the number, and I can’t find their number online.  she also said she would call me this morning to set me up… I know I’m not at the breaking point, and this is not an emergency (far from it) but I would like to know I have something in place to help me keep from ever getting to the breaking point.  holidays are tough, for a lot of people.  they are triggering and highly charged with all sorts of emotions.  please don’t leave me in the dark at this time… I was quite anxious making the call to her in the first place to see about finding someone else with this move.  the thought of having to trust a whole other person is scary.  the thought of having to build up a therapeutic relationship is scary.  I just want to get it started so I can alleviate at least that bit of anxiety from my life.  is that too much to ask? am i being too pushy? too needy? am I over-reacting? I don’t want to call her because I don’t want to bother her.  I know I’m not her client, and at this point won’t be.  I know I have no priority there.  So I don’t want to be over-bearing… I just don’t want to crash either.  Things come up, and I package them away neatly once again, but I wouldn’t mind help in that department… and I really just want the anxiety of getting this all started to be behind me… I want someone I can talk to about all those thoughts in my head who won’t over-react and won’t get all worked up over just thoughts that come and go… and memories…

::sigh:: to steal a line from an Ani Difranco song: “the English translation is…”

I’m just anxious and unsure of where to turn to next… I could call my old therapist, she left that option on the table.  but again, I don’t want to bother her.  I don’t like bothering people.  I don’t like coming off as too needy… I am terrified of pushing people away… I don’t want to do that.  I don’t want them mad at me or frustrated with me.  I just want to be quietly liked…

It’s hard to hear my wife get texts and calls from friends and family… It reminds me again and again that I am not memorable. I don’t have very many friends, and even those people want to forget me… It’s hard to battle these negative ideas when I have no real strength to push them away and refute them… and I don’t see any evidence to the contrary in front of me… Either I chose not to see it, or it’s not there, but I can’t grasp it when I start to feel so doubtful of myself.  All the old, negative voices and mantras come back, screaming in my ears.  Everything I thought of myself growing up (because I can easily recall so much of the fears and doubts) comes flooding back, and it takes everything I have not to get carried away by it.  I start to think that people only talk to me out of obligation… they only see me when they want to (like the ghost girl in the series we just started watching)… I could easily disappear and very few would notice…

and there it is again, that screaming voice of doubt… I need to find a good way to drown it all out… music maybe, the park, nature… I need something positive to take it’s place…

5:22pm – still spinning.  trying to motivate to find a job and a volunteer opportunity, but it goes as fast as it hits me… I found the contact info for that clinic she told me about, so I sent an email.  I’m hoping they call me back sooner rather than later… You know that feeling you get when you know things are tipping in the wrong direction, but they haven’t fallen yet?  I have that feeling… I don’t know how far things will fall if I don’t figure it out, but I know they will fall to some degree.  I can’t afford the “craziness” of the past, so I need to keep it all together and fight like hell to do so.

9:00pm – the anxiety is building.  little tingles are playing under the scars… I need to keep my head above water for this.  No losing it here… I think I’m making it worse in my head, but I don’t really know how to stop it.  Does everyone experience the same disconnect of intellect and “head” when things start to crack?  Intellectually I know SO much about how to keep this all at bay, but emotionally, that’s a whole different story.  Maybe I should just call my old therapist to get some support until I can find someone new…


the legitemacy of tears

“I know I need to cry… but I don’t have a reason.”

“You do have a reason! We are far away from everyone we love, except your mother.  We have no jobs, no money, and it’s Christmas…”

Why, despite knowing better, can I not let myself cry without “reason”?  Why do I feel like I have to… I don’t know… like I can’t justify being sad without something huge and “legitimate” to be sad about… I can’t just have a bad day or a bad moment.  I can’t just cry.  I need to justify every emotion, every tear… I know better, intellectually.  I know that people can just cry without real reason.  I encourage my clients to cry when they feel like it… but I can’t seem to do that for myself.  How can I ask of others what I can’t (won’t) do myself?


Merry Christmas

No tree,  no decorations,  no presents.  But being with people I love,  so that makes up for it. I truely hate this time of year.  I can’t wait till it’s all over with.  Then life can go back to the normal stresses without the added crap brought up by all this… peace to all…


Flashback or spirits?

I was sitting at the computer, feeling down and sad, wanting to cry.  All of a sudden the air smells like my aunt’s perfume… I know we do not have it in the house anymore, not even anything that smells like it… the part of me that believes our loved ones are with us even after they die jumps to it being her here… my mom had been smelling cigarette smoke in the house lately.  None of us smoke, but my uncle used to.  We live in their house now. They have been gone for 18 years… my heart believes it’s them… my head says it’s a flashback brought on by the intensity of the emotions from being back here,  and from the season.  I prefer to go with my heart…


i feel like i should write something…

…but i have no idea what to write. i hate the holidays. they were never happy for me. they always meant forced get-togethers that ended in vicious fights… It’s been better since I moved out, and better still since I met my wife, but the old days haunt me this year. Being back home is weird. The memories are around most corners… and the lack of distractions facilitates more thinking. I’ve been trying to get out of the house. I’ve been trying to keep occupied. It works for the most part. I go window shopping, I occupy myself with my hobbies… I try not to think.

It’s been weird not having a therapist. I had made contact with one before the move so I would have someone to touch base with once I got here, but finances have prevented me from following through.

What is it about the holidays that brings back all this crap…?  I guess the fact that they’ve commercialized the hell out of it doesn’t help… nor does the fact that they start throwing Christmas at you in August… There’s no way to escape it.  They start triggering memories before the end of the summer, and they don’t let it up until after all the returns have happened.  The movies, the music, the religion… it all makes me cringe.  I am scrooge around the holidays… I don’t want others to not enjoy it, but I want nothing to do with it all.  I like the thought of giving to others, but I do that anyways…

The one good thing Catholic school taught me: give to others until you have nothing left to give, then find it in yourself to give more… be it monetary or emotional, I give until I’m in the negatives… It doesn’t work out all that well in practicality tho.  If you have nothing left for yourself, it’s hard to give to others.  It’s hard to smile when you are a void… It’s hard.

It’s hard to miss people… losses suck.  This time of year always reminds me of them.  This year we are surrounded by images, thoughts, and well-wishes to those effected by the Sandy Hook Elementary shootings… I’m glad I knew no one in the school at the time, but I wonder how their families are coping now.  I think of those people and my heart breaks… and I feel somewhat selfish in that heartbreak.  I’m not really crying for them (tho my empathy for them triggers the tears) so much as I cry for all my losses. That’s one thing I was never good at.  Processing loss is something that eludes me.  My greatest losses happened more than a decade ago.  Any little thing brings them up though.  Big things really bring them up.  The Newtown shootings were a big thing… I feel particularly connected because… well, because I do.  It hit too close to home.  It makes me cry every time I see something about it, and the news is flooded with it all still.  Facebook posts ask you to pray for the victims and families.   Gun-control is a hotly debated topic.  When it’s not a blurb directly about Newtown, it’s a debate about how to fix things like that from ever happening again… How about talking about mental health?  How about making it accessible and not stigmatized?  How about… how about help?

I keep this anonymous because I don’t want my family and friends identified.  But I also don’t want more of those looks than I already get.  I have a bunch of things stacked against me when it comes to judgments and hate.  I don’t want to add a full-disclosure to those very obvious ones.  I especially don’t want it now, when mental health issues are brought into the limelight by one very unbalanced and sick individual’s horrid actions.  It’s tough that I still have very visible scars on my arms.  I don’t want to have to explain that away whenever any little kid asks (they have no filter) or whenever any adult looks at me with either disgust or pity after seeing my arm.  I’m glad most everyone says nothing.  It makes it easier to forget about that point in life… even if for just a few moments.

Why is it that I have such a fog around so much of my life, but I can’t forget the trauma totally?  Why does that have to come back?  I know the psychological answer, but I want to know the purpose of it in our lives… Aside of the evolutionary benefits of remembering dangerous situations so we can avoid them, how does remembering the actual event, and not necessarily what lead up to it, help us survive?  It does just the opposite.  It takes away your will to see another day.  It makes you live in darkness and eventually crave fading away.  So how does that help the species as a whole?  What scientific purpose does it serve?  What survival purpose does it serve?  How does it help humans live longer as a collective?