Tag Archives: balance

Phew!

No nightmares about L dying last night.

No nightmares at all last night actually ūüôā

I’m itching to play art again, but I’m at work at the moment. I did bring one of my art journals, but I’m not sure what to draw in it. I couldn’t exactly bring all my paints, and I don’t have a travel paint set put together. I could have brought the gelatos, but I didn’t think of it till after.

It’s all ok though. I’ll have time tomorrow before group to play art. Then tomorrow evening, a friend is giving a talk on paper arts at a local gallery. I was planning on dragging L. It should be fun.

Other than that, progress on the therapy front: I was able to watch what would have been a triggering scene in a TV show without falling into intrusive memories. HUGE, HUGE step for me, even though it was “just” around the domestic violence stuff. I was kinda excited that I was able to be aware of the memories but still remain engaged in the show (it was a scene from Flash about Zoom’s back-story). I kinda laughed when I noticed that I had witnessed a similar scene numerous times (minus the murder part) and marveled that I wasn’t a sociopath…

Anyway, so yeah, little victories and happy-dances all around.

Note to self: engaging in expressive art, and seeking support around the ickiness are both helpful in regaining balance when things are starting to fall apart again.


It’s weird…

For the second week in a row, I’ve only had an individual session this week. It’s kinda weird. For the last 6 months, I’ve had at least group on top of the individual session every week. Many of the weeks lately have also included a second individual session… it’s weird not having all that additional contact. I really miss going to group, and I miss the opportunity to touch base with Dr C again during the week. It’s weird having to carry what’s in my head for a full 7 days. I’m not in dier need of the extra contact, but to apply a concept TL had pointed out: why wouldn’t I miss someone/something I see/have weekly for the past several months?

I’ve been working, so I’ve been distracted, but I still look at my phone at about the time I should be leaving for group… I missed it so much today that I ended up texting Dr C during group to say I missed it :/ 

I don’t think it helps that i’m feeling really exhausted with this new schedule. All the things I normally do to balance myself or relax have been pushed to the wayside. I haven’t done any art. I haven’t gone to group. I can’t focus on television much… I haven’t even paid much attention to the critters lately. I feel like all I’m doing is “going” until it’s time to go to bed. Even at that point, I feel pressure to get to sleep so I can get enough of it before I have to wake up and start again… I don’t know how L does it with her intense schedule. I can’t even remember how I had done it in the past…

I love this temp job. It’s super-fun and interesting. I’m just not adjusted to the schedule change yet. Sadly, it’ll probably be over before I can get used to it. Maybe I can talk to the boss and have her keep me in mind if they need help again down the line?

I dunno. I should probably get to bed now. I don’t have a good closing paragraph, sorry…


found some comfort

So, TM doesn’t hate me.

She doesn’t think I’m a worthless, annoying, frustrating piece of shit.

I didn’t piss her off by calling for support the other day.

She returned my call and even said I could call her back to talk.

She was patient and kind and reassuring¬†when I did. It was during her lunch, but she didn’t rush me.

She reminded me that there’s only a few days left anyway. Either I will be all set for the move or I won’t be, but it won’t be the end of the world.

She’s all for me going out with my friend tonight for one last trivia night. Her enthusiasm over that made it much easier to tell my friend I’ll be there.

She didn’t say much of anything particularly inspiring or profound, but she managed to say what I needed to hear: that she know’s I’m struggling with this; it’s ok that I’m struggling with it; and it will all be ok soon (for whatever reason, it sinks in when she says it, but it feels merely obligatory when L says it…).

 

Dr. C does not hate me either.

She doesn’t think I’m a worthless, annoying, frustrating piece of shit.

She scheduled an appointment with me for after the move despite me being so needy before even officially returning to her.

She has seen me at my worst, and is still willing to take me back as a client.

 

I get to hang out with M&B tonight.

M & I have known each other forever, and she still likes me.

B likes me by default I think… at least, he puts up with me.

I’m really gonna miss them when I go, but tonight we will kick ass on trivia.

Some friends will be there forever; M is one. I’m really lucky to call her a friend ‚̧

 

L will be here in less than 4 days!

I will physically see my wife again for the first time in 7 months!!!! ūüėÄ

I don’t know who will be happier: me, the kids, or L… I think maybe the kids, b/c there’s 4 of them, and they have not see her at all since she left last May. They get super-excited when someone returns from getting the mail, and that takes less than a minute. I’m sure they will not know how to contain themselves when L arrives.

 

 

 


wondering

I feel ok today despite the heavy things that were talked about in therapy yesterday. It has me wondering if I should keep my appointment with TM tomorrow… But then I also wonder if it’s not easier to handle and contain that stuff because I know I am seeing her again tomorrow. I alternate between wanting to cry my eyes out, and being fine, but it’s not overwhelming right now.

I’m not sure. I don’t want to cancel the appointment only to realize that seeing her again to talk more about that stuff is what is allowing me to contain the emotions around it. I definitely have points of really needing to talk about it more with someone, but not knowing how to do that. I tried to explain that urge to L last night. The stuff I want to talk about is super heavy. I’m not done trying to re-frame my own world view because of it, I’m not sure I’m ready to help someone else have to re-frame theirs. Also, I’m not sure if talking about it outside ofthe relative safety of TM’s office won’t make the current flashbacks more intense. At least with TM, we work on grounding before I leave. I wouldn’t have that with L or mom.

I guess I will keep this appointment, and just not make a second one next week if it’s still offered (or I will talk to TM about my worries around it all). I know there are times I do better with more sessions in a week, but I don’t want to push my luck. ¬†I don’t want to get comfortable with something I shouldn’t bet getting regularly.

On another note, starting to process some of this stuff has me wondering if I should try a residential program for it. I guess I can answer that question in a bit when I figure out if I can handle processing stuff at once a week. There’s a program I looked into that is relatively local, but I can’t find info on it besides what is said on their website. It is also advertised as a “luxury treatment center” which has me guessing insurance would not cover much of it at all (though my soon-to-be insurance is listed as one they accept)… They claim to work with trauma (though most of their programs revolve around substance abuse). They also have a “women’s mood disorders” program with all female clients and treatment providers. It looks like it overlaps with the trauma program… The pro’s: it’s only an hour from home, so if anything happens like insurance refusing to continue to pay, or the program doesn’t click with me, or something like that, I can come home relatively easily. It’s not a locked program, so I’m assuming they work with people not in immediate crisis… The con’s: I’ve never heard of them before, I don’t know how good they are in dealing with trauma, they will probably cost a ton and insurance will not cover most of it.

Whenever we get closer to dealing with the various traumas on an outpatient basis, my anxiety kicks in. So far, every time I have tried to deal with it outpatient, it was too triggering and I needed a higher level of care. There’s lots of fear around it. I don’t want to get to a point of needing inpatient because I am too mired in my PTSD reactions. But at the same time, I’m starting to trust TM and be more open with her. I think if I can keep my coping in check, we can get somewhere in the next month or so… It’s just a matter of maintaining my coping.


Happy Tofurkey Day!

1897012_10152868130329892_2569156459545851216_nHappy Thanksgiving to all my US readers. Happy Thursday to everyone else ūüėČ

I’m trying to not break down in tears. I pushed myself to hang with friends this morning for “Friendsgiving”, which was good. I was able to laugh and be social. I was very ready to head home after about 3 hours however… The best part though (aside of hanging with friends), was that they set out colored pencils with a paper table-cloth so we could doodle. They are big into the Wicked Queen from Snow White, so I drew them an apple… I figured it went with the theme of the day, and with their decor.

Now mom and I made some of our own dinner, so there’s take 2 on food for the day (I swear this is more food than I eat in a week, all crammed into 1 day. Gotta love the tradition of gluttony with the excuse of it being a holiday). Just have to wait for the last of it to be cooked and I sit down for another round of stuffing myself…

___________________________

It’s just after 9pm, and I find myself cruising Netflix and hulu+ for movies that might trigger tears. The feeling of needing to cry has not left, and now I just want to get it over with. I want the tears to flow and the relief to come. I know even with the growing depression, at least some pressure would be released by crying, but it’s not happening. I can’t seem to let my defenses down long enough or fully enough to let the tears escape¬†(though they threaten at every turn). I really need the relief. I need the break in the intensity of the emotion.

I suddenly don’t know how to cope with all this. I don’t know how to lessen the emotional experiencing right now. The more I think about the implications of some of the BPD diagnosis, the scarier it gets. I keep being reminded that individuals with BPD experience things much more intensely. I keep being reminded that it’s never a matter of lessening the emotional impact of things, but more so learning to deal with it. The prospect of that is terrifying. If I have to keep going through life feeling things this intensely, I don’t want to do it. I don’t want to just learn to ride the crazy waves of emotion. I want to lessen the whole experience.

I’m not sure I can explain the intensity of the emotion. It’s more than just really sad, it’s debilitating. When anger hits hard, it’s more than just anger, it’s blow-out rage. When it’s really happy, it’s really incredibly happy. Yes, there are times when it’s not incredibly intense, but when it crosses that line, it leaps over the line and the next 10 lines after that. It’s like the difference between getting a paper cut and eviscerating yourself… Strong emotions for me are on the self-evisceration end of the spectrum, only I have no idea how to anesthetize myself for it. I know how to turn off the emotions completely, to block feeling them. I know how to put up walls and keep them at bay, but if they start to gush, I have no idea how to lessen the hurt. I have the theories and the intellectual skills, but it doesn’t help the emotions. All the learning in the world makes no sense to my emotional brain, the one that feels every emotion with the intensity of a burn victim. I know DBT and CBT are supposed to help with it all, but it doesn’t translate to the emotional side. It also doesn’t translate well to the kid inside who interprets everything as not doing good enough, not being good enough.

I’ve noticed the old “failure” tape has gotten louder and more insistent of late. It screams over everything. I’ve noticed that I need to apologize to TL when I write to her. I need to find a way to make up for being “less than”. I’ve noticed that I cannot bring myself to easily tell her that I need the weekly appointments even though I really feel like I need them. I feel this need to “be good” and muddle through the two weeks between sessions. I need to do this because I don’t want to disappoint TL. I need to manage within her boundaries, even if they are just my interpretations of her boundaries. I’m aware that a lot of this is a reflection of the transference I feel around her, only I’m not sure if I can or should try to talk to her about it. We have only about 3 sessions left at this point. If I wasn’t about to terminate with her, I might consider addressing all this, but I’m confused about the value of it if we are ending. I guess there would be value in talking about it at least in so much that then I could more easily talk to the new therapist about it (or it may be more easy to spot if I tell her about it? and easier to help navigate it?). I don’t know. I guess I should talk to TL about this. It’s really difficult though. It’s the battle between the old learning (the child inside) and the new learning. I struggle to quiet the child and make her feel safe so I can implement the new learning. It’s most certainly a struggle.

I’m realizing again that TL managed to afford me a measure of balance that I hadn’t found before. I can’t seem to allow myself to attribute the balance to any changes within myself, so I have to call it something with our interactions or how she relates to me… I don’t have enough faith in myself to believe I could accomplish something like that myself, it has to be the other person…


What is your fantasy, idealized treatment?

If you could design your own “treatment center”, with no regard to limits on finances or what seems “impossible”, what would find most helpful to you?

I am not sure how this topic came up this morning, but I ended up having a long discussion with my mom about what my ideal treatment would look like. It does not exist at this time, but it is based on¬†my experiences both professionally and personally. A lot of it sounds impossible with today’s treatment models and financial limitations, but I think, at least for me, it would be hugely beneficial.

I have found I need a certain level of intensity to safely and effectively get through my issues, so I would want something that is residential, however I would want to keep my freedoms (access to my music, animals, nature, ability to leave if I need a change of scenery even if it means going with someone, access to my positive coping skills, access to my social supports and the community). I would want access to supportive and trained people at all hours of the day and night (because let’s be honest, most crises don’t keep themselves to a schedule, so if one arises, I want to be able to deal with it appropriately in the moment); a holistic treatment team (medical, psych, yoga, animal therapy, arts and expressive therapies, CAM) that takes my input into account and helps me implement my ideas (as appropriate and available); a safe environment where added supervision is available, but personal choice is also a key component; staff that maintains a level of compassion even if I get super annoying and needy; availability for staff to decompress and engage in self-care as needed; down-time for myself to regroup from dealing with something very heavy without the threat of having all the support taken away just because I seem better in the moment; people who are open to challenging me on my trouble points but also understanding of places I may be stuck; flexibility in treatment plans; openness to new ideas and new ways of doing things; limited judgements on how I present and a willingness to look at what may be underlying my symptoms/presentation; freedom from stigma around any particular symptom, behavior, or mood-state; people who listen to and hear what I have to say; people with patience around helping me figure stuff out; people to help me build a vocabulary and a method of expression for things I cannot adequately express; people who are willing to sit with me through challenging times, and gently insist that I get through the triggered symptom to find out what’s “on the other side” of it (not simply implement grounding at the first sign of distress, because I have recently found that there’s important stuff on the other side of a dissociative episode or a flashback); catering my treatment to me as an individual, and respecting me as an individual with certain likes and dislikes; going at treatment with “kid gloves” knowing that sometimes things will get way worse and way more challenging before they get better; having a treatment team that is ok taking over when my judgement goes south, but still open and receptive to what I am trying to communicate… Also an openness to “thinking outside the box” and coming up with new treatment ideas if the current ones do not work. Also I would include a transparency in all treatment methods, with access to everything by the client, and ultimate veto powers by the client.

Therapy sessions would be daily, and for maybe 90+ minutes to be able to tackle the harder stuff, then have the therapist available later in the day as needed to address what comes up. Arts/expressive therapies would be daily, animal therapy daily, visitors allowed daily with housing for family either on-site or nearby as needed, assessments to figure out what is helpful, and what might be helpful, organic treatment plan that evolves with new developments. “Family” therapy available (with whomever is involved in the person’s life), ability to return to treatment as needed, creation of “safe spaces” to help with processing things, personal choice around negative coping skills until the person is in a place to change them, but with the stipulation that they must be reported immediately and checked out as necessary, and taken on an individual basis, with constant monitoring and revaluation. I understand this is a huge liability and highly controversial, but it’s something I feel strongly that an element of personal freedom makes a huge difference in getting over it in the long run. Teaching accountability and responsibility around choices would be a huge component. I know I can walk away from something much easier if I have a choice around it than it I am simply told I cannot have it or cannot engage in it. It’s like the concept of thinking about a yellow school bus when someone tells you not to think about it; you will think about it more, and likely obsess over it. If negative coping can happen in a safe environment with buffers to ensure overall safety, I think it would go a long way to helping a person turn away from those negative coping skills in the long run.

It would also be standard of care to always look at every symptom, no matter how un-related it seems, and not discount any “medical” issues that may arise simply because I am there to work on psych issues.

I would prefer this to be with easy access to secluded nature and the beach, because that just makes me happy, but I guess anywhere with access to nature and water would be good…

It would be incredibly expensive, and incredibly intensive, but I think it would work for me. A girl can dream, right?

So, if you could design your ideal treatment based on what has and has not worked for you in the past, or what you have seen work or not work for others, what would it be?


Balance

So, my mood had been super cranky these last two days in part due to my monthly friend. Today was filled with negativity and anger boiling under the surface. I had every intention of expressing that in my art, but the piece took on a life of its own (as they often do).

I started out with intentions of depicting struggles with self-destruction. I painted a basic black background and added a razor blade and some red designs. Some of my paint tubes had dried paint around the openings. When I pulled it off the tubes, I thought they looked either like little volcanoes or like bullet holes. I decided to add those to the piece also. I had tried some stamping with some liquid silver, but it didn’t work out well. I washed the whole thing over again with black… then I ended up covering that in the purple paint. I covered in the holes with more black, but still had no real idea what to do next.¬† I thought of making it like a cave and later drawing in a small figure in one of the dips.¬† I liked the idea of the interference paint, so I added that to the little “bullet holes”. Then I wanted to play with the liquid silver to see if I could “line” the black blobs. For some reason, after the first blob was outlined, I just wanted to do my swirls. I started putting them randomly around the black blobs. I still wasn’t sold on how “cute” the swirls looked, so I added some silver “line” to the bottom of the biggest blob on the left. I stepped back for a moment and was totally lost on the direction to take the painting.

wpid-img_20140804_182552.jpgAs I looked at it,¬† the blob with the two ends painted with the red interference looked like a cute bean or little baby. I decided to add eyes to it. Then I added eyes to the round blob, then the one leaning over…¬† Suddenly the little goddesses appeared out of each black blob. They needed little lips then, and they became kisses. After the kisses came the hearts, and it ended up feeling very happy and safe.

And that’s how this originally dark, angry painting morphed into a love-filled one… sometimes we need to just let the art take over and fill the need we don’t know is there…

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I had gone to a social group at the Pride Center after finishing the goddesses (on Friday TL had suggested I take down the info for several groups and consider attending one or more this week). I hadn’t intended to go back to the women’s group because it had been an uncomfortable experience when I had gone with L last year, but the goddesses had me feeling more positive and balanced. ¬†It was a wholly different group of women for the most part, but there ended up being a really militant, aggressive woman in the group yet again (though this was her first time at this meeting). She and the group succeeded in making me uncomfortable yet again. I took off as soon as the group broke, and I again have no intention of ever returning.

wpid-20140804_232235.jpgAnyway, upon returning home, I was still pretty on-edge, so I sat to do more art. ¬†I did a collage this time, and it was back to the usual darkness. What can I say, it’s where I am most comfortable these days…

 


Honesty in treatment

I’m a believer (most of the time) that honesty in treatment is the key to making any progress. ¬†I say “most of the time” because sometimes my fear gets the better of me and I want to hide the ugly or scary parts of myself.

In an attempt to “just breathe” and get through the weekend, I tried to take a step back from myself for a moment. ¬†I opened up my journal and started to write a list of what I get from my behaviors and actions. ¬†I wanted to be as brutally honest as I could be with myself, so I resolved not to show it to anyone. ¬†I wrote all the contributing factors down no matter how shameful or embarrassing they may be. ¬†I was originally going to make it a cbt/dbt-style exercise with pros & cons, and some challenges to the reasons, but I eventually decided to stick to simply listing the reasons. ¬†I am not necessarily in a place to objectively challenge any of those thoughts or beliefs, so I didn’t want to torture myself further by trying (honesty can be scary, especially with all the judgements flying around in my head). ¬†I came up with a pretty comprehensive list. ¬†I think I covered everything I get from my behaviors. I even managed to cover some stuff I do not like to admit to myself that I get, but I wrote them down in an attempt to be brutally honest with myself. ¬†I find myself very stuck in therapy partly because I cannot get past the shame and embarrassment of a lot of things. ¬†I’ve made some progress with De on some of the shameful stuff, but there’s heaps more back there still.

My problem comes now in the sense of urgency I feel at needing to talk about this stuff. ¬†I’m afraid that if I don’t talk about it right now, in the moment, and to someone who can follow-up with me on it, I will lose my drive. ¬†I will find ways to talk myself out of the reasons. ¬†The thick walls of shame will fly back up in a flash, and I’ll be stuck again. ¬†My hope is to be able to talk to De about all this, but there are boundaries in place over extra contact (boundaries that I desperately need right now). ¬†I have to wait until Tuesday to talk about it. ¬†Intellectually (and from a professional perspective), I totally get this and know I should wait. ¬†The little kid in me is having an emotional shit-fit however. ¬†She’s stomping her feet and dying to beg for a chance to address this in the moment. ¬†I’m trying to calm her down. ¬†I know I cringe at admitting¬†most of the list to De (a professional I have grown to trust), let alone anyone else I may not know or that may not have the professional perspective. ¬†I know this needs to wait to be addressed in an emotionally safe environment, but damn I wish it was now. ¬†I am trying to compromise with the emotional side of myself. ¬†I wrote it out where De will be able to see it and know it exists, but I have asked her not to read it. ¬†I am trying to commit to myself to leave it up where she can see it, and to trust that she will not read it before Tuesday (I have no reason to believe she would not do as I ask). ¬†I know I need to address this stuff to be able to move past it, but I also know shame can cripple me in it.

On one hand, it’s really good that I have the freedom to show or hide from De whatever entry I need to. ¬†It helps me censor myself and practice self-containment. ¬†On the other hand, it allows me to hide things I may need to address but am too ashamed of ¬†admitting. ¬†My ability to communicate is ever-evolving. ¬†I am still learning balance. ¬†I’m hoping the blog helps with that. ¬†I know if it were something I could not edit (like an email after it is sent), I would drive her and myself nuts more than I already do. I think honesty is incredibly important in treatment, but so is self-control on my behalf. ¬†With the blog I am learning that I can be more honest when writing, but I am also learning that there are some things I need to learn to reign in. ¬†I am able to spill a lot to her, but also go back and hide things or reveal things after the initial emotional spillage. ¬†As L reminded me this morning, sometimes things need to “marinate” before being addressed. I’m grateful De puts up with me and my alternating emotional explosions and implosions (sometimes she gets way too much info, other times I am unable to give her anything at all). ¬†I’m learning the balance with honesty also. ¬†Right now, I am at the stage of needing to be able to tell her everything and be taught what needs immediate addressing vs. what can wait… I hope she doesn’t hate me for this learning process. She only has to put up with me for another 2.5 weeks anyway (I know, not an excuse to completely lose my shit right now)…

::deep breath:: the process of learning things as an adult that I never learned as a kid is incredibly trying and painful… and way more difficult because as a kid, it was expected that I didn’t know this stuff. ¬†As an adult, I¬†should know better by now and be past these little hissy-fits.


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).


I admitted something I never expected…

… and it’s not what you may think: I told my wife that I had actually seriously considered giving up our little dog on more than one occasion. ¬†The people who know me in real life would know how incredibly out of character this admission is, but the rest of you may not quite get the full impact. ¬†My animals are my children, and my dogs are held highest of all of them. ¬†My little dog (we shall call him “Fred” to protect his real identity) is joined at the hip to my lab. ¬†He would not know how to survive without her (he is a totally different dog when he is separated from her, shaking and moping even when it’s just for a few hours). ¬†When he’s near her though, he is a little punk. ¬†He has been known to kill cats, and will try for the kill any chance he gets. ¬†We had managed to get that under a measure of control a while ago, but he’s back to his antics again (totally our fault). ¬†Recently, out large male cat has decided to move in with a couple at the other end of the neighborhood. ¬†We think this is because a few weeks ago, Fred managed to slip between my legs and chase the cat, most likely cornering him and hurting him in some way. ¬†After that incident, the cat refused to return to the house. ¬†Today, we had to go pick him up after the couple trapped him in their garage. ¬†I feel bad for him (and our other cats). ¬†They are social. ¬†They miss spending time with us. ¬†They miss the cuddles, and so do I. ¬†I really love Fred, but he’s such a pain in the butt. ¬†I won’t actually move to give him up (I would also be forced to give up the lab who happens to be my favorite dog), but I just need to remind myself that consistency matters a lot, especially with Fred. ¬†There are some dogs you can be more lax with, but then there are the ones that will become a menace if allowed to take any hint of leadership. ¬†Sadly, we give Fred a lot of room to walk all over us. ¬†I need to remember what my trainer friend told me and keep him on a short leash (figuratively).

Knowing that I admitted out loud that I have considered re-homing Fred has messed with my head a bit. ¬†Like I said, my dogs are my kids. ¬†To seriously think of giving one up has only ever been admitted when I was suicidal. ¬†I have moved more times than I can count to be able to keep my pets. ¬†I have bent over backwards and given up a lot to have them in my life. ¬†To know I actually thought of re-homing that little punk because he upsets the rest of the family dynamic has my head spinning…There’s a voice in my head screaming at me; telling me I’m worthless and useless and I just don’t care. ¬†There’s judgement beyond belief for even having the thoughts. ¬†There’s fear and resentment, and there’s anger. ¬†The anger comes not only from what other people think of all the animals, but also from my changing attitudes. ¬†They still fill a void, but I’m finding that they also create a whole lot of drama. ¬†My depression makes it hard to motivate to do anything beyond the basics for them. ¬†They are going stir-crazy, and we are all slacking on the training (especially for the puppy). ¬†I find myself becoming angry at them for misbehaving when it’s all my fault for not being consistent and giving them what they need. ¬†I’m turning more and more into my father, and I hate myself for it…

I look around myself and see all this material crap that I really don’t want anymore. ¬†It feels like all of this is weighing me/us down. ¬†I wish I didn’t waste money on a lot of this crap. ¬†I wish I didn’t have piles and piles of “junk” lying around… I wish I had motivation to take care of things. ¬†And I wish I knew how to remember to save money. ¬†The animals need more flea stuff, and they need to get out of the house. ¬†If I had the money, I would have gotten the puppy training also. ¬†There are a bunch of behaviors I just don’t know how to tackle anymore, nor do I have the energy to try. ¬†The same with Fred. ¬†And I hate myself a lot. ¬†I know I made this commitment to them, but I’m not following through… ¬†I know the steps to take for some of it, but the energy and motivation disappear quickly. ¬†The more I fall into the cycle of wanting to do things but failing, then being hard on myself for it, the more I just feel like crap about everything. I start spiraling down a litany of things that I see wrong with myself: my weight, my social life, my motivation, my lack of working, my self-worth, my worth to others… De is right that I get trapped in my thinking and it just makes everything worse. ¬†But then there’s that tiny voice in my head that whispers possible solutions… Maybe it’s time to start with baby steps to fix things…


100-theme challenge 2014

I have participated in 100-theme challenges twice now, and I really liked some of what I produced because of them. ¬†This year however, I wanted to put my own spin on things. ¬†I wanted to come up with one myself. ¬†A lot of my list can be interpreted in therapeutic ways (though admittedly, some were inspired by objects/events in the living room at the time of its creation), so I thought I would post it here in case anyone wants to participate. ¬†The rules are simple: interpret the prompt however you see fit. ¬†You can choose to post your work publicly somewhere, or keep it to yourself. ¬†It can be in any form you wish as long as it can be considered creative in some way (drawing, painting, sculpting, writing, music, sounds, pictures, words, collages, performance, anything). ¬†It’s really just supposed to give you topics you may not have thought of on your own to help spark creativity… I have liked the challenges in the past because I did things I never expected to do. ¬†It forced me to take time out for creativity and story-telling. ¬†Since I have been focusing more on my own art therapy of late, I figured this next one could be a way to help me express to De what I need to get out. ¬†I will try to post anything I do of relevance. ¬†I must warn you however, I go in spurts with these things. ¬†Sometimes a whole bunch of work will show up at once, other times, there will be months without anything. ¬†What I’m trying to say is: don’t hold your breathe for me to get the list finished in a timely manner. ¬†I have had 2013’s list for the past year and only this past month have I started it… ¬†I really liked that list though, so I will continue working on that one as well (rather than incorporate stuff from that list into this one).

Without further adieu, here’s my 2014 100-theme challenge:

1) candlelight
2) magnified
3) left standing
4) aftermath
5) breaking ground or ground breaking?
6) reaching out
7) trust
8) broken
9) in the daylight (everything is different)
10) rats in the walls
11) shattered
12) open to interpretation
13) flashbacks
14) heaviness
15) lighter than air
16) combustion
17) lights
18) hope/hopeless
19) under pressure
20) disclosure
21) history
22) presence
23) disappearing from…
24) gone away
25) at the dinner table
26) unbalanced
27) highlights
28) even snakes get the blues
29) enlightenment
30) despair
31) rave with me
32) the itch you can’t scratch
33) slippery slope
34) in my travels
35) it’s the end of the world
36) here there be dragons
37) firefight
38) spirals/spiraling
39) a blank canvas
40) just a thought
41) reflections
42) big trouble
43) happiness
44) wrath
45) associations
46) to the world
47) on the inside
48) truth in advertising
49) memory
50) deception
51) hollow
52) survival
53) turmoil
54) bad choices
55) comfort
56) falling (is like this)
57) open up
58) feety pajamas
59) what would you do?
60) superpowers
61) once upon a time
62) AWOL
63) hunger
64) the light’s gone out
65) running
66) awareness
67) transition
68) humility
69) conscience
70) memorable
71) convergence
72) destroy
73) buildings and bridges
74) the last time
75) vision
76) burning bridges
77) why
78) the first time
79) meditation
80) technology
81) walls
82) containment
83) distraction
84) anxiety
85) heart
86) it hurts like this
87) play it again
88) talk to me
89) open book
90) animals
91) brutality
92) nature
93) family
94) obsession
95) release
96) skeletons
97) peak performance
98) water
99) drowning
100) rescue
In case anyone is interested, the list I’m working on for 2013 is this (I think I have pieces to cover 7 of the topics… I’m seriously slacking!):
1. Break Away 2. Bites the Dust 3. Innocence 4. Drive 5. Sound of Settling 6. Mother Nature 7. No Time 8. Standing Still 9. Two Roads 10. Foreign 11. Breaking the Silence 12. Keeping a Secret 13. Blind Man’s Bluff 14. Waltzing 15. Traps 16. Mischief Managed 17. Lazy Days 18. Hot/Cold 19. Anyone Out There? 20. Seeing Red 21. Through the Fire 22. Between the Raindrops 23. Safety First 24. Puzzle 25. Gateway 26. Fantasia 27. Everyday Magic 28. Irregular Orbit 29. Change in the Weather 30. Nowhere and Nothing 31. Charge 32. Turn the Car Around 33. Colorless 34. Assassin 35. Daughters 36. Instant 37. Don’t Be a Hero 38. Born Without Time 39. Sound Effect 40. Little Bombs 41. Freak 42. American Boys 43. Clue 44. True Believers 45. Portable 46. Caption 47. So Close 48. Under the Red Hood 49. Dragon 50. Making History 51. Rivalry 52. Death 53. Excuses 54. Colors 55. Family 56. Music 57. Off Topic 58. Black and White 59. Memories 60. Song Title 61. Fighting Chance 62. Childhood 63. Shenanigans 64. Elements 65. First Time 66. Lost 67. Strangers 68. Insanity 69. Mirror 70. Silhouette 71. Zodiac 72. Dreams 73. Hope 74. Misunderstanding 75. Relationship 76. Stay Gold 77. Beauty 78. Alice in Wonderland 79. Runaway 80. Our Own World 81. Kiss 82. Little Things 83. Secret Admirer 84. Sweet Dreams 85. Past 86. Present 87. Future 88. Forgotten 89. Human 90. Silence 91. Breathe Again 92. Breaking the Rules 93. Fairy Tale 94. Death 95. Umbrella 96. Pattern 97. Season 98. Clothing 99. Animal 100. The Ones We Left Alive

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.


boundaries are hard

physical ones, yes, but emotional ones too. I have a difficult time setting them when I am feeling less-than-stellar. I have trouble balancing wanting to hide with taking care of myself.

Today, I really want to hide. I called out of my volunteer job, but was unable to reschedule the get-together with an old family friend. She will drain me, and I will want to hide more. I can barely get my own shit together, forget about trying to help her with her stuff… But now I will have to drive 30 minutes to meet up with her for a few (bringing L to help me stick to making the meeting last just a short time), then drive 30 minutes back home… I would much rather stay in bed (or the couch as the case may be). I slept a lot last night, but I do not feel rested. I would rather do a whole lot of nothing… but is that just feeding the depression? or is it taking care of myself when I’m already struggling? I’m not really sure…

There’s so much going on in my head right now, and so much I need to keep at bay. I keep trying to focus on our wedding anniversary coming up at the end of the week. THAT I’m looking forward to.


the drinking helped…

yeah, I found that magic balance of alcohol in the bloodstream that caused the depression to take a step back for the moment. I’m glad for the brief relief… it doesn’t happen often, but I like when it finally does.


what is this?

I’m in an uncharted place emotionally. I am somewhat aware of things going on in the background, but they are not as hectic and frantic as they normally are. I am not quite sure what to do with this. I feel like I’m trying to out-run something (some break-down), but I don’t feel like I’m running too hard, more like that quick pace you get right between noticing that someone is following you in the shadows and the point you head out in a full-on sprint. It’s the quickening steps in the middle of the cones of light cast down by the street lamps as you walk the sidewalk at night. But it’s not yet the run or even jog. I’m noticing the presence in the shadows, but I’m not quite worried about it yet. I still think it’s a cat or something equally harmless. It’s not stopping me from my hell-bent distraction though. I need to keep moving. I need to keep my head and my hands busy… And I’m again anxious about sleeping (monsters seem to fill the shadows in sleep). Something about going to bed at night causes near-panic. I can nap during the day and finally sleep well just before sunrise, but the thought of going to bed and actually sleeping before 1 or 2 a.m. raise my heartbeat and hastens my breathing (and not at all in a good way). There’s something that worries me about sleeping at night. I’m not quite sure what. I could take my anxiety meds, but that would require going to the bedroom. It’s not even like the room or the bed is scary. My wife is asleep and all the dogs are in there. I’m out here alone with the cats and the uneaten crickets in the lizard tanks (anyone that says they can sleep better with the sounds of chirping crickets never had to breed/house them… It’s only about 40 crickets total right now (better than the thousands I used to house to feed my chameleons daily) and the noise is deafening. I wish the lizards would get on with the eating process).
Anyway, I like the dark and the night-time, but something is triggering an anxious response lately. I think it’s the monsters that come out to play in my dreams. Somehow they are safer to dream about in the daylight or near-daylight, thought I don’t remember the dreams.
This morning I dreamt about an old therapist. I was to meet with her after she spoke to my mom (much like therapy with kids), and she had her own kids in her office waiting for her to be done with her work day. My mom stepped out of the office and I began talking to L. After a few sentences, I realized that her daughter and her daughter’s bf were still in the office. I asked her to make them leave because she knew I had enough trouble talking about “this stuff” without having others around to hear it. She refused to ask them to go out of the room, so I stood up and angrily walked out. I sat with my mom in the waiting room while L ended up calling 911 (or her supervisor, the call was weird). She was upset that I walked out and was going to have me committed even though I had just told her that I was not cutting recently. She begged her supervisor and “everyone” to call her back. I waited in the waiting room hoping she would come out and I could convince her I wasn’t a danger to myself. Then I woke up, I wish the dream had finished, but something jolted me out of it. I know it’s a totally ridiculous scenario and would never happen. I’m wondering however, why my brain brought her back to my awareness, and why I was a kid-adult in the dream… and why was she committing me for no real reason?
I want to know how it ended. At the same time, I am not eager to return to the anxiety of the dream situation. Even this one dream doesn’t explain all the anxiety I have been having going to sleep for the last few months… This was just last night. What happened all the other nights? I can’t really remember any other dreams. I’m just filled with dread about going to sleep. I can be incredibly exhausted and still have a difficult time convincing myself to get into bed. Then the anxiety keeps me up at night, and I don’t sleep until just about sunrise. It’s very frustrating.

I wish I could step out of my head. I want away from the anxiety. I want to avoid the dread that is seeping in. I don’t know where I want to go or what I want to happen, but I just want to blink out of existence for a while until this all goes away. I feel like I have lived lifetimes in the past week. We have not done much out of the ordinary though. It just all feels like last week was forever ago… weird. Again back to the feeling of quick-stepping away from whatever is stalking me. Does it all settle out finally? I’m so tired of this back and forth and spirals and scribbles. I could use a straight emotional line in a positive or positive/neutral direction.


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.


dilemmas…

So, I found out today I have insurance for at least a while… I also got a call back from the clinician from the EAP program… but that happened after I made an appointment with the original therapist I had contacted down here… The EAP appointment is free, but the psychologist will cost me the copay… I kinda want to see both to figure out who I click better with, but I also don’t have the $25 for tomorrow’s intake with the psychologist. ¬†And, I don’t know when I would be able to get in with the EAP lady… i don’t know. ¬†I feel like I should at least call the EAP lady back because the¬†likelihood¬†of continuing with her is greater if I lose the insurance… I’m so confused.

_________________________________________________________________________

I called the EAP lady. ¬†She seems nice, and had time tomorrow, so I decided to make the appointment. ¬†It’s free. ¬†What is there to lose?

I also called the psychologist’s office and told them I did not have the money for tomorrow’s intake. ¬†They kept me on to see her next Friday. ¬†If I don’t call them back before then, she will just do the intake at that time (I hope to have some money to be able to see her by then). ¬†I’ll let both the EAP clinician and the psychologist know I am interviewing both… then I will make a decision after having met both of them. ¬†I’m hoping the psychologist works out, because I know she does EMDR. ¬†I really want to keep up with that. ¬†It helps immensely.


Striking a balance.

The trouble with the new year is that everyone expects things to just change.¬† Life does not know the difference,¬† it’s only marked on a calendar.¬† The days will continue to be the same if you let them;¬† if you don’t work to change them… the same is true for every day.¬† We need to put forth effort to improve or change the way things are.¬† Life is not something that simply happens to you. You make big and little choices daily that help steer it in the direction you go.¬† Even not doing anything is a choice…

So I choose to keep persevering in the direction I want my life to go,  bumps and all.  And maybe I will stop kicking myself for not reaching out. I might actually stop worrying about bothering people on their day off and reach out (or at least try) so I can stop feeling like so much crap.


why…

is it so fucking hard to just find someone professional to talk to?! 2 crisis lines that have since been disconnected, 3 places that are not taking new clients or you have to be on state to get in… UGH!!!!!!!!!!!!! ¬†I’m not suicidal. ¬†I don’t feel the need to call a suicide hotline just so I can talk to someone and not fall apart in the next few days. ¬†That’s really all I want, just to talk to someone… why is that too much to ask?