Tag Archives: attention

Remembering to breathe

Trying to not let the tension in the air get to me.  It’s difficult.  I forgot how negative of an environment this was… she’s always angry at something,  and the bad energy rubs off on everyone. Just have to remember to breathe.  It’s temporary and it will all be for the better.  There is a huge adjustment.  It doesn’t help that the wife is struggling with this change. Just keep breathing…

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goodbyes suck.

she was so nice.  by nice I mean kind.  she gave me a belated card.  I will not let that go.  she got teary when we started, when we addressed this being our last session… I bumbled on through topics, avoiding talking about anything meaningful for very long…  I touched lightly on the fears that have pushed back into my head.  I flitted around the stress of not having the money to move.  I did not voice the memories that have floated up.  I did not acknowledge the thoughts that skimmed across the surface of my mind.  I refused to go too deep into those waters because I knew I only had an hour left in person with her for quite some time.  I wanted to say all this, but it got tangled on my tongue and never made it to my lips.

she refuted the irrational fears I managed to speak.  she reassured me that I will not be forgotten.  she offered a spot to come back to… then she asked a difficult question: what will you do there without therapy?  my brain drew a blank.  I smiled coyly and answered: breathe… then I giggled nervously.  she offered that I could call her if I needed.  I joked that I would be calling her every hour if I did decide to call my dad to help us get down there…  she smiled, then shook her head: “how is that a good idea?” (referring to calling my dad)  I had no answer other than: “at least we would get down there”  she then reminded me that getting down there would be of no use if I proceeded to fall apart after the drive… ok.  so calling dad and sacrificing my sanity is not a good option.  “it’s an okay last resort, but why would you pick that option if you had others to choose from?”  I don’t really feel like there are other options.

at the end of the session, I awkwardly tried to stand, but my body felt glued to the chair.  I was willing myself to shift my weight to my feet, but I was having a very difficult time convincing my muscles to move.  I was trying hard not to cry.  finally I managed to stand, then came the battle to move my feet to the door… I flailed around mentally, and found some random topics to get myself distracted enough to shuffle along.  just then, she touched my arm and gave me a hug.  it took every fiber of my being to not burst out in tears at that moment.  someone actually cares and I believe she is genuine… and she has no other reason my brain can come up with for “having” to care, she just does.  she can’t retire in the time I am gone… she has to be around to come back to.  she didn’t run when she saw my worst.  she believed (without any real evidence) that there was a real person somewhere deep down inside of that mess that presented at her office.  she believed in me when I didn’t think anyone would, and she trusted me to make my own calls to keep myself safe (despite the fact that I didn’t always manage to do so, she kept giving me the benefit of the doubt that this time, I will reach out).  she didn’t try to convince me that I was one diagnosis or another.  and she was ok with different approaches to therapy and treatment when the traditional therapy wasn’t doing the trick.   please still be here when i get back…

now I have to contact that new therapist.  only I don’t have insurance for a month after getting there.  it’s hard to find someone who will do a sliding scale and bill me for later…

my heart is just a little broken over this “extended vacation”


It’s all coming back to me now…

All the insecurities and fears that i had managed to put in neat little boxes in the back of my mental closet have found their escape routes and made it to the forefront of my brain.  Loss is hard, and there are a ton coming up right now with this move. I woke up with an immense headache.  I’m secretly hoping we win at least some of the money from this powerball drawing, at least enough to get us safely to our destination…

But first there are goodbyes… this one will be really hard… I’m sitting waiting for my therapy appointment. I have a lot of crap around having to change therapists… this time will be no different 😦


Thankful

I am thankful for everyone and everything in my life: my wife, friends, family, critters; that i have a roof over my head and a car to drive; that I can wake up and walk… freely.  That i have the ability to make money and struggle to support myself and my family… the ability to up and move to help make life better. They make it meaningful and loving. They make me see the good in life…

I am also thankful for the things I don’t have in my life: the constant, looming cloud that was present for so many years; the people that have left and taught me many valuable lessons… the screaming taunts of my addictions.  These are things that have been so prominent in the past, but today they are short struggles that can be more easily overcome…

While I still believe that people should have the freedom to end their lives when they wish, I am glad mine did not end when I tried…  life is still difficult at times, but there is so much happiness also…  if you read this love, thank you for sticking by me and not giving up. You are truely a wonderful person, and I’m so glad we met… ♥


She just wants attention…

These words haunt me, and I find myself saying them in relation to the girls I work with…  One girl had a crisis and it triggered a few of the other girls.  At first I agreed with the staff that said she was doing it for the attention, but I hesitate to keep agreeing. Having been in a congregate care situation myself, I know that even the littlest thing that hits home can spark a tidal wave of emotions that wash over and bring to the surface so much other shit.  So no, I don’t agree anymore that she cried because she wanted attention.  I was not the one to talk to her, so I do not yet know what it was about, but it was not about attention.  Some of the other girls pestering staff, yes, that was for attention. But not the girl that cried.  Something stirred in her. They are not here just for shits and giggles. They are here because they are forced to be; because something has gone horribly awry in their lives and it is no longer safe to be at home with their families.

Why is it that we jump to the conclusion that everything is done for attention? Is it so unfathomable to think that something can just be that wrong?  How is it still acceptable to think, by any professional, that our drastic actions are always to get someone to notice.  We are supposed to work from a trauma-informed foundation – one that ascribes all behaviors to a very real contributing factor… How is it then that we can get away with saying the girls are negative attention seeking when they act out, and attribute it only to that. Is it not more in line with our theories that these actions are in response to a stimuli or trigger?  Triggers are just that: they bring up a reaction that is primal. It’s for survival, especially with trauma survivors.  Whether we think them manipulative or not, they are trying to get what they need. We are trying to get what we need.  We act on instinct to alleviate some immeasurable hurt.  I know why she ran. I know the anxiety she faces; the actions she is forced to take. I can’t say I would do it much differently in terms of doing something I know will ultimately make things worse, but they alleviate shit for the moment. In that instant, that is all that matters.  While I know for myself, in this state of rational thought, I could talk myself out of something stupid. But what if I were suddenly faced with what I saw as a terrible future? I can’t guarantee I would make a rational choice. Yes, I am miles from last year, but if the same triggers came up, with the same intensity and desperation, I cannot be 100% sure I could handle it with more poise then last year…

So again I ask: why do we ascribe it to attention-seeing… Or more accurately, why do we make it such a crime?  What is wrong with looking for attention, for care, when we are in distress?  The methods may be unhealthy, but we are simply trying to ensure survival… Or an escape from that to which we can’t accurately give voice…  It brings me back to thinking about that day last week when I so desperately felt the need to share my trauma in vivid detail… In reality, no words could describe what it was that I went through. I could tell you the events. I could put vague words to the emotions, but nothing could truly describe what it was like… And on many levels I hope no one would ever know that for themselves… But the truth is that it happens to more than just me. It happens. Other things happen. Others know the intense weight of it.  But the one thing we all share is the knowledge that words and actions are not enough to fully convey the experience. Pictures and sound cannot fully evoke the level of violation, terror, hopelessness… I can’t even find the right words to describe everything that is impacted.  Thought patterns change. Reactions change. Your brain changes.  I may not remember every detail in my conscious mind, but it’s there. It’s buried deep down so that I can function on a daily level. I can wake up in the morning and not implode or explode from it.

Another thing I think all trauma survivors have is an ability to dissociate in some way. Be it getting lost in what we do every day, or actual dissociation, we all must leave parts (if not all) of it behind. During the dark times, it’s closer to the surface, but I can’t imagine anyone knowing the full impact of the hurt (whatever it may be) and not dying, literally.  I feel that to know the full impact at all times would lead to destruction.  I think moving on has an element of disconnect. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but a needed thing.  To be able to leave a hurt behind, we have to step back and not sit in whatever it brings up; we have to break from it and move away from it.  Other professionals will not accept it as dissociation, because that is seen as a negative, but that is what it is.  We disconnect from the full impact and start to heal the wound.  We pull out that which caused the hole and encourage ourselves to step away to allow healing to happen.  This is a necessity. Call it what you will, but we all do it…  When we stop doing it, we start to have problems.  When we unlock that closet, we take the risk of being bowled over by the messes we stuffed in there… Packing it away requires distance. Distance requires a disconnect, a dis-association with it. If we don’t dis-associate with it, we are mired in it.  My dissociation is different then yours or your neighbors, but it all accomplishes the same thing.  Ok, so maybe mine is not packed away as effectively as the next person’s, but it’s away.  I can breathe in the mornings. I can sleep at night.  If it comes crashing back again, I will deal with it again. But for now, my closet door is closed (remind me to keep the cat away from the door so she doesn’t accidentally open it on me). I have dis-associated from it to be able to live my life. I deal with it from a safe distance and with those who can help me stuff it back away again.