Tag Archives: balance

Phew!

No nightmares about L dying last night.

No nightmares at all last night actually 🙂

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.

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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!!!! 😀

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 😉

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…

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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…