Tag Archives: change

Good at something

In session today, we talked about the total disconnect I have with everything relating to the “memories” these last few days.

She says it’s because I’m really good at dissociating things.

I guess.

I reiterated that none of it feels real. (I left out that nothing feels real at the moment. None of my history feels like it belongs to me, not even the things I’ve known all along). I reiterated that it’s all just a story I made up, though I can’t figure out why I would do it.

She said that she believed me anyway. She said I might not have any connection to it at the moment, but she was there when the part of me who experienced it also re-experienced it when I told it.

She said she’d hold the “trueness” of it for me…

Ok… that’s good. Because it feels like a tornado whipped through a store-room full of cabinets and sent the papers flying everywhere. Things are mixed up, employees are battered and confused, and the secretary is running around trying to put it all back together again in some semblance of order (hopefully back where it all belongs). It’s nice to have someone take the weight of the truth away from all that running around and fixing… I picture a woman carrying a huge manual while trying to also pick up random scraps of paper. As she bends down to pick up something else, the manual tips to the side and starts to open. It’s tall and held together with flexible rods through one side. It’s much easier to pick all the stray papers up if the manual is not in her hands…

The boy grew up while we were talking (briefly?). For the first time in several sessions, I actually left feeling ok; like I had stated to talk about what was pressing to come out. I’m not quite sure what the boy wanted to cover, but he seemed satisfied with whatever it was we talked about.

I still don’t like this process. I still feel like I’m falling apart more than coming together, but she says that’s a good thing. She says the system has outlived it’s usefulness and now it’s time to move on… I’m not sure I believe that last part. At least, I’m not sure I want to believe it.


Wow, this turned long. and tangential. Sorry.

They say insight helps move you forward. But what if you have all this insight, and don’t know what to do with it? It doesn’t magically change things. It still takes a lot of work, and struggle, and… I’m tired of having insight and not knowing what to do with it.

I called TM and left a message because I realized that my pattern was to crash if I didn’t reach out. So I told her I needed to reach out, and I was hoping just leaving the message would help. It did in the moment, but now I want to crumble again… knowing the reason for the “crisis” isn’t helping to avoid it right now. And having alternate coping skills is not making much of a difference. I guess it’s the small victories: I made it out of the house for a bit. I put off crashing… I guess that’s a positive. And I called TM in hopes of heading off a bigger, harder crash (so far it’s working). Only what happens next week when she suggests an iop again? And what happens when she refers me out even though we have maybe a month left? ūüė¶

I hate that trust comes so hard. I hate that I need to find a paid someone to trust and reach out to. I hate that it always ends so soon. I’ve seen more therapists than I have been in years of therapy. There have only been 3 I was able to see for more than 10 months (and 3 out of the last 4 I only saw for about 4 months each)… JF was an intern when I started seeing her, but she got hired on to keep working at the clinic, so I saw her for 2.5 years (until I graduated). LKB was the first private-practice therapist I saw. She ditched me after 2 years because I was too acute… then Dr C I saw for 2.5 years until I moved. Everyone else was an intern, except De & TM, who were/are limited by agency policy.

There was JJ, DJ (saw her one year during two of the school breaks, so maybe 10 times total), B, CS, JF, TB, JG, LKB, SC (dbt), Dr C, BGR (iop), L (dbt), Dr GD (the center), D, JP, De, TL, and TM… I’m missing a few because last count TM was #18 or 19… who am I missing? I hadn’t included therapists I saw fewer than 5 times, or any psychiatrists, or clinicians associated with hospital programs who I would have only seen a very few times.

Anyway, yeah. Trust is hard, but I seem to have to get around to starting again every few months. It gets tiring. It makes it really difficult to get anywhere. I finally get through the “data dump” stage and it’s time to switch again. That’s why I’m so stubborn around trying to tackle more stuff with TM before our time is up. I need to get further in all this… and I am not sure I will find a therapist I trust would know how to handle the blowout from the sexual assault stuff. I know Dr C tried to get me to deal with it, but I couldn’t get over the shame. Maybe if I can get back in with her, it wouldn’t be so hard this time, but I don’t think she will be around… and I’m still not sure I trust her not to think horrible things of me. There’s some safety in TM working for the sexual assault clinic. She’s likely heard it all, or her colleagues have heard it all, and the judgement would be less… I still have trouble telling TM some things because of the shame involved, but I think the chances of her having heard the same thing before are higher than with Dr C… I dunno. I really miss Dr C though… and JF… and Dr GD… and De. They felt safe. TM feels safe when I’m not caught up in walls and transference… I miss TL, but more in a colleague sense than a therapist sense. She kept me in a more professional head-space during sessions. She was the first to be able to keep the more adult side of me present more times than not. I think it came from her expecting me to be more “professional” and aware. There was something about the transference with her that allowed me to be competent as an adult and a professional. I don’t really know how to explain it…

…I hate that the emotionally safest relationships are all paid ones. But I guess that contributes to the safety. If it wasn’t so one-sided and professional, I would be seeing the judgement and emotional reactions to my crazy, and I would be walking on eggshells with them to the same extent I do my friends and family. I still walk on eggshells with therapists, but it’s not as careful and distanced as it is with people who could really hurt me with their reactions…

Anyway, I digress again. Trying to avoid being the drama queen De saw me as. Trying to pull out of the crisis cycle that is threatening to come barreling in full force. Trying to put all this insight to use. Let’s hope it all works. o_O


violence breeds violence, regardless of the motivation…

I write this with full awareness that I may have my head bitten off by several people for posting the following opinion… I will also remind any commenters to please keep their comments civil and respectful. I’m ok with discussion, but not bashing.

I am in the minority of people appalled by a video of a mother beating her son for partaking in the Baltimore riots this past week. I will not hail her a hero or “mother of the year”. I do not care what her reasoning was, I think she was wrong. I also think her son was wrong for participating in the riots in the manner he did. It was stated that the woman was trying to prevent her 16-year-old son from being killed. Reportedly, he was about to throw (or continue to throw) things at the police, and join in the general havoc. This apparently justified the mother smacking her son repeatedly on his head and torso as she berated him.

I was told by many friends and family that they “would have done the same” or they understood her fear/anger reaction. My problem with the whole thing was that she used the same logic and behavior he did to try to dissuade him from further action: ¬†I am more right, and have more power for X reason, so I will beat you into submission…¬†That’s up there with cursing someone out while you tell them not to curse.

I’m pretty sure that’s a huge double standard right there (not to mention a mixed message). It’s suddenly ok to beat your child (and have it filmed, then applauded by millions) because you are trying to prevent them from getting hurt?! If I see my kid almost run into on-coming traffic because he didn’t look before he ran, is it suddenly ok for me to yank him back and start beating on him? Would the media and millions of Americans tell me I am “Mother of the Year”?? No. I would have the child taken from my custody (even if temporarily), and I would have CPS up my ass for the next year or more. “But I didn’t want to see him killed, and he wasn’t listening to me when I told him to stop.” would never fly as a valid excuse for beating my child…

There’s pages and pages of articles¬†on the generational cycles of violence. It’s a safe bet to say that the 16-year-old kid witnessed (with some regularity) violence growing up. It didn’t have to be his mom, though her reaction to his poor choices leads me to believe she likely has done something similar before. It’s also safe to say that she was probably witness to violence in her childhood. People repeat what they learn. Even those with the best of intentions can succumb to early learning. Heck, I see in myself some of the very things I hate in my dad. I try to make a conscious effort to not behave as he did/does, but I’m certainly not perfect (super-far from it actually). I find myself angry and yelling more than I would like. I can feel rage bubble, and fists want to fly. I do my damnedest to not act on those urges though… Would my anger at my early life excuse abuse I perpetuate on others? Absolutely not. It would be understandable, but not excusable. I would still be expected to change my behaviors… I am expected to change my behaviors. I mainly turn my violence onto myself. Even that is not acceptable. I hear from person after person that I need to be kind to myself; that I need to stop treating myself so abusively…

So why is it ok to see this mother hit her son repeatedly?¬†People come back with responses along the lines of “I would do anything to keep my kid safe.” or “What would you do if your kid was about to walk into his death?” I maintain that my response would be non-violent. I would step in his way to block his path, I would pull him away, I would do my best to hold him in place, or move him back if possible. I would not strike him. If for some reason, I lost my head and started beating my child, I would hope someone stepped in and pulled me away rather than film it and laud me with praise… But I guess I have a different perspective than most.

That same day, when I questioned the logic of rioting and looting within the community, it was defended by some as “displaced anger”. This also bothers me. Why is displaced anger from a mob more ok than displaced anger in say, a romantic relationship? If the mob were a man, and the destroyed property his beaten wife, he would have been arrested on domestic violence charges (in the very least, there would have been some outcry of injustice from women’s rights activists and a public push for charges). So why are we excusing it because it’s fueled by institutional racism? When my dad came home pissed because he got mugged on his lunch break, then proceeded to yell at, threaten, and hit my mom, it was not okay simply because it was “displaced anger.” When a parent beats a child because of financial stressors, it’s not excusable as “displaced anger”. Why are we so quick to step up and excuse other violence as such? Why is mass-perpetrated violence ok when individually-perpetrated violence would be scorned?

I do not believe racism should be tolerated. I do not believe young black men should be singled-out and harassed or harmed. I do not believe anyone should be harmed. I do agree we should be outraged by the state of our society. I believe we should stand up and “fight” for change, but I do not belive rioting, looting, and violence are the answer. They get us nowhere but deeper into the cycle of violence. I really wish more people understood that…

 


More art journal progress

I was all about avoiding stuff yesterday. To that end, I played a bunch with my art journal. It doesn’t look like much progress, but lots of time was spent organizing my supplies because, well, avoidance.

wpid-img_20150425_223137.jpgI finally got around to making use of the little buckle findings from the Tim Holtz line (had gotten an “as is” pack several months ago and meant to make a closure for my first art journal, but that didn’t materialize). Anyway while catching up on Arrow and a Sleepy Hollow, I did the buckles:

 

wpid-wp-1430025053079.jpgI also worked on the tiger wing page more. The writing is excerpts from lyrics to Faith Hill’s “if you’re gonna fly away“. I changed two lines where she spoke of prayer to more accurately reflect me. “Has the sun gone down on you?/Have you given up on truth, oh?/I wish I could say all the right things/To make your pain go away/I wish you knew how beautiful/You are in every way/…So you’ll take a thousand pills/Hoping to be numb/Lie awake in bed/Counting all that’s wrong//No one understands/No one ever will/Trust me when I tell you/I know just how you feel…”

 

wpid-wp-1430024972849.jpgAnd finally, I added lyrics to the rose page from the other night. There’s a Tori Amos song called Blood Roses that fit the page pretty well… “Back on the street now/Can’t forget the things you never said/On days like these starts me thinking/…Now you’ve cut out the flute/From the throat of the loon/At least when you cry now/He can’t even hear you…”

 

Like I said, it doesn’t look like much progress, but it took me all day (probably because I couldn’t concentrate to stay on task for the life of me).

The depression is definitely still here. I was going to try to go to the beach today, but it took all my energy just to shower (which was a first in 5 days). I could have left the house, but I’m finding it harder and harder to do. The overwhelm of what it would take to get out of the house, coupled with the huge lack of reward, is making it seem nearly impossible. What’s the point trying?

I also find myself once again doubting these recent memories. If they really are accurate, how come I didn’t remember them before? Sure, they explain my intense anxiety around going to bed, and some other behavioral or cognitive things, but… memory can be unreliable. It could all just be something I’m fabricating in order to make sense of those symptoms that make no sense. The visceral reactions to certain triggers may just be a learned response. If they are false, no restructuring needs to happen around my understanding of life. If they are false, then it was all just for attention… If they are true, the world changes. I’m not sure which I prefer: am I narcissistic and unable to survive without a sob story, or did yet more really crappy stuff happen in my life that will change my understanding of childhood? Can I pick neither?


Tweaking the piece for TL

image

I really hated the way the gel transfer looked on this piece, so I peeled it off (one of the nice things about working over embossing enamel is that very little permanently sticks to it. If I dislike something, I can simply peel it off). I had to let some of the gel dry more, but that came off later with some coaxing. A few of the tissue paper pieces came off also by accident, but it turned out ok because the mountains that I painted in cover the missing pieces.

The last thing I have to figure out is where and how to put the writing. I had originally wanted to do it inside the silhouette, but it’s too textured… I also want to balance out the white in the mountains so something white will have to go on the bottom left.

Anyway… I hope I like it enough to give to TL. And I hope she can accept it (I know the agency has a thing against gifts, but since it’s made and not purchased, maybe she will take it? I’m not even sure she will like it, but whatever). I guess if she doesn’t take it I can always frame it and keep it for myself. I don’t do it often with my own work, but this one will have meaning behind it (I’ve only ever framed and hung a small handful of other pieces, one of which was a photograph. The piece I did for De was the only one that was ever given away). I did manage to find a frame I like for both of the recent pieces, just not 100% sure they will fit the frame the way I want them to. I may go back to the store with the bigger one tomorrow and see if they work. I have a 50% off coupon, but the frames might be on sale anyway which means no coupon, though I could use the employee discount…

Oh, here’s the other pieces I’ve framed and hung:


a safe space for shame

I really miss De sometimes. I miss having someone I trust to talk to (even if it was frustrating at times). ¬†I miss feeling safe with her, knowing that even the really shameful stuff hadn’t changed her opinion of me (she said it hadn’t and I believed her despite what my head was saying at the time). ¬†I miss having a safe space to let out the shameful stuff, because so much is surrounded in shame… I miss being able to write about what was bothering me, and know that she would read it. ¬†We would address stuff as needed, but I was able to communicate in ways other than simply speaking (where I often get tripped-up). ¬†I think I can bring myself to ask for that with TL, but not sure she can accommodate it…

De & I had gotten past the awkward “getting to know you” stage. ¬†We actually did some work. ¬†She heard, read, and held stuff that I had not ever told anyone else. ¬†I felt safe enough with her to take an honest look at what I was getting out of the crisis cycle I tend to fall into. I felt safe enough not only to write it out, but to share it with her. ¬†I learned something from all that shameful sharing… and I got some measure of relief from it. ¬†There’s some weakness with secrets that saps their power when they are shared.

Stuff definitely came up that we didn’t get a chance to cover, or that I didn’t feel finished with, but at least it was safe enough to start on it. ¬†I’m not sure how long it will take to get to a similar point with TL. ¬†I wish I could say that all that shameful and difficult stuff could be set aside until after the move, but it still haunts me. ¬†It’s itching to be addressed. It floats through my head, and comes back as incredibly strong tidal waves of emotion. I don’t know what to do with it at first. It catches me off-guard, and I don’t know what it is while it’s happening. ¬†I’m getting better at identifying it in hindsight though. ¬†Sadly, that doesn’t help in the moment. I still get bowled over and sent flailing when it happens (case in point, last night with TL).

So yeah, I miss De a lot. I wonder how she is doing, and if she likes her new job, or if she regrets her change in focus. I wonder if I’ll ever bump into her before I leave the state (doubtful, since I don’t often go downtown). I wonder if she’s happy to not have to deal with me anymore. ¬†I feel like such a bother so much of the time. ¬†I’m sure there’s a measure of relief for her.

It’s weird, because I have never really missed a therapist this much. ¬†I don’t think I’ve ever felt this type of transference, and to this degree… well, scrap that, maybe with JJ & JF way back in the day… but that was easily 15 years ago. ¬†I haven’t felt this way about a therapist in a long, long time. ¬†J (couple’s therapist) was different. There was a very definite sexual attraction (on both L & I’s ends) because she’s a really attractive, confident, and personable woman. ¬†I know that even L’s therapist had said that most people were attracted to J not only for her looks but her personality. ¬†She has this air about her that draws people in, and they want to spend time with her. ¬†So yeah, the transference with J was very different. ¬†The stuff with De was more parental, then changed to younger sibling. ¬†I went from her feeling like a safe care-taker, to feeling like a safe person I wanted to take care of. And it has not faded yet. I’m desperately searching for that safe base again. I wish it was easier to find. ¬†I wish the places I looked for it didn’t trigger me so heavily… ugh! it’s all so frustrating.

I really want to be ok trusting TL. ¬†I want her to turn out to be someone I can work with while I’m still here. I’m tired of simply biding my time. ¬†I hate the flashbacks and the anxiety and the depression. I hate the struggles with the urges to self-destruct. ¬†I need to get over them. ¬†I’m sure it won’t happen completely in the time I have with her (it hadn’t happened in all these years of therapy, why would now be different?), but I need to try. ¬†I think opening the door on some of that stuff with De increased the urgency I feel in needing to address it. ¬†I was looking through my entries to De, and I think there’s a more recent one that I really want to share with TL because it explains so much of what’s going on right now for me (or at least the motivations behind all of this). ¬†I just hope I can gather the courage to not only go back, but to also read it to her. ¬†It’s a giant package of embarrassment wrapped in shame and padded with guilt. ¬†If I can get past all the defenses around it, I think it would be really good to attend to it. ¬†I just need to find the courage to face it with TL (again, that urgency to talk about all this stuff. ¬†I don’t know if it comes from the deadline to our work together, or from knowing that I have carried it for so long). I really need to share it and look at it for a change. ¬†I had shared it with De, but we didn’t exactly do anything with it other than me answer a few of the questions she had… and then we got into some details about where the roots of those feelings might lay, and it morphed into dealing with the memories and feelings admitting all that stuff brought up, instead of addressing what was written).

I feel like if I could find the courage to tell TL that stuff also, we could look at it, and maybe help me break out of this really self-defeating spiral I tend to get caught in. ¬†I’m a believer in the idea that stuff comes up when you are finally ready to deal with it (well, at least when it comes to insight into behaviors). ¬†I think I’m ready to deal with this, but I need to do it now, immediately, or I will lose the motivation. ¬†At least, that’s the way it feels. ¬†And I really need to know I can share it with another human being, talk about it openly, and not be overtly judged for it. ¬†I know even the best clinicians have initial judgements, but it’s what they do with them, and how they deal with them that allows for a feeling of safety. ¬†I know I jump to conclusions and judgements about others, but I am able to talk myself into a point of greater understanding and empathy after that impulse thought… would be great if I could put that to work for myself also. ¬†Someone recently reminded me that we can be our worst enemies much of the time. ¬†I know I certainly am one of my biggest critics at this point, and I judge myself infinitely harder that I would any other person on this planet. ¬†It’s not because I have to be held to higher standers out of any inkling of “betterness”, but because I am so far below every other being on the planet that I must have higher standards if I am ever to even remotely get close to “normal, deserving human being” status… it’s something I hope to one day be able to work on successfully in therapy. ¬†I know there have been times in the past that I was not this hard on myself, but those are hard to come by. ¬†My default always seems to be self-deprecation and worthlessness to an intense degree. ¬†De had pointed it out to me one session. She reminded me that I tend to get to a point of such all-encompassing worthlessness when I hit bumps in the road, it will take a lot of work to leave it behind. ¬†She’s right. ¬†I get there hard and fast at the slightest sign of stress. ¬†I’m sure it hinders therapy often…

Anyway, I totally got side-tracked here. ¬†My brain is slowly turning to mush at the moment, so I need to sign off. ¬†I’m wholly impressed if you made it through all that. ¬†I may have to come up with an award for that accomplishment. Maybe the “I can follow SJ’s rambling and tiresome posts” award… hmm…


Therapy today

I saw De this afternoon,¬† and it was a good session. I was able to talk about some stuff (well, acknowledge some stuff, we didn’t talk in-depth about too much). I was able to tell her that I was having trouble with writing my story as hers, and that I thought I needed to talk more about my story. She confirmed that it wasn’t the same story. She was really gentle about it, and I’m really glad she didn’t make me feel like an ass for admitting that I felt like I burnt her out. She talked about the turn-over rate at the agency, and how long she had been there. She reassured me I was not the reason she was leaving, but that the cumulative effect of working there for the last handful of years has taken its toll. We compared notes on burn-out rates for various concentrations in the field. I noticed again the weight was gone from her. I told her I thought it would be a good idea for me to find another therapist for the gap between our termination and my move. She agreed. We brainstormed a few ideas, and she asked how likely I was to be able to make some calls between today and Friday. We agreed that proactive is good, and that what I’m looking for is pretty restrictive in terms of choices (someone who either can take my useless state insurance, or someone who has a sliding scale; someone without a huge waiting list; someone who can be consistent through the time I move; someone with more availability than once a week). She brought up the idea of a php again, which I would totally be open to,¬† but I don’t qualify for either of the two that take my insurance. We even contemplated me lying about taking meds just so I could get the support I need.¬† She said she will think more about it, but that maybe we can create a “php-type” structure that involved frequent contact with a professional, but also gave me some structure. I hope we can come up with something. I know that type of stuff helps me a lot.
The session was over before I knew it. There’s still a lot weighing on me, but at least this one felt productive on more than one front. I see her again on Friday.¬† On the way home,¬† I placed the two requests for information she had asked me to make. Now it’s just a matter of hearing back from them… I would feel better knowing I’m not totally on my own when we are done.
Changes are hard.¬† Goodbyes are really hard, and loss feels like an enormous black hole in my heart…¬† I wish I knew how to work through it.¬† I guess that’ll be a topic for another therapist…


Loss in any form is difficult, especially when you have not dealt with the past ones yet.

So I’ve had a few hours to sit with the concept of De leaving the agency. ¬†I had cried about it (yup, actual tears spilling down my face. Not just tearing up, but real crying complete with gross boogers). ¬†I was somewhat able to “talk” to L about it. ¬†I have thought about it, and processed it, and moved past the anger (it was fleeting). ¬†I’m in a weird flat place right now. If I think too hard or too long about it, I will cry again (have I mentioned I hate crying?). ¬†So I’m concentrating on little things. ¬†I’m concentrating on typing my words correctly (I’m sure there will be many mistakes, and I suck at proof-reading, always have). ¬†I’m concentrating on keeping the dogs from going nuts because they are tired and want to get to bed. ¬†I am taking breaks to take them outside one by one so I can finally put the boys to sleep. ¬†I was concentrating on listening to my mom as she talked about how we may go about fixing the fridge. ¬†I’m concentrating on the decision-making process of whether or not to start into Game of Thrones again tonight, or go with something easier, like Orange is the New Black, or Grey’s Anatomy or Dexter. ¬†I’m concentrating on wanting to find a way to express myself either through art or writing, but certainly no more crying.

I’ve been able to formulate and articulate to L that this overwhelming loss I feel at the termination with De is really the compilation of losses that I have yet to deal with. ¬†It goes back decades. ¬†It’s disproportionate to the relationship because it is so much more than just this one relationship. It’s the loss of friends and family and memories and innocence. ¬†It’s the loss of supports and home-bases. ¬†It’s the loss of a sense of security. ¬†And it’s the premature loss of someone I had expected to lose, but managed to trust anyway. ¬†I am not good with loss. ¬†I never have been. ¬†Sure I can smile through changes, but the tears always glisten in my eyes. ¬†This time they broke free. ¬†I don’t know if was because of how worn-down I feel lately, the creeping depression, or the fact that De was the first (only) person to hear some really heavy stuff. I was prepared to walk away from this relationship at the time of my move. ¬†I was expecting it to help keep me balanced as my stress rose. ¬†Just last week I had asked her for more support. ¬†This week it’s all going away much faster than I had thought. ¬†It’s pointless to try to find another therapist for those last 6 weeks, so I guess I will have to just figure it out on my own (though I am toying with the idea of trying to get a referral to someone for those 6 weeks)… I know it will be ok, because it always is in the end, but right now it feels really shitty.

When she first told me, I couldn’t exactly speak. I was too busy trying to hold back the tears and the sobbing because I knew it was disproportionate to the situation. ¬†My tears didn’t listen to my insistence. ¬†They spilled down my cheeks anyway. ¬†When she asked me to articulate what was going through my head at the moment, all I could muster was a half-whispered “whatever” through clenched teeth. ¬†I was afraid that if I opened my mouth more than that to speak, I would either sob uncontrollably and loudly, or I would speak out of my fear-driven (and old) anger. ¬†She challenged my “whatever” by saying that she knew this was hard for me, and she knew it wasn’t “whatever”. ¬†All I could do was shake my head as more tears streamed down my face. ¬†I couldn’t look at her, so I looked everywhere else in the office and just repeated “whatever” one more time. ¬†We sat in silence for a bit longer as I looked everywhere but where she was sitting. ¬†More rogue tears. ¬†She asked if I could tell her what I was thinking, if self-harm urges came up. ¬†I realised then that my head was frantically backpedaling in an attempt to halt all thought (much like pedaling backward on a BMX bike to brake). ¬†There was a forced-stillness in my head. ¬†Conscious thoughts had stopped. ¬†All efforts were being diverted¬†to stave off any melt-down beyond what had happened. ¬†It struck me as odd that there were no self-harm thoughts or suicidal thoughts. ¬†There just were no thoughts. ¬†She eased into a verbal safety contract, and was able to joke around it, which helped pull me back into the room and back to functioning. When I stumbled over concepts as I tried to agree to what she was asking, she helped out by saying “Whatever you need to agree to to get back here in one piece next week is what we are going to agree to”. ¬†In the past, she had always wanted specifics, but I don’t think I could have given those to her in the moment. ¬†I think I recognized a bit of freedom in that change (and I think I just now recognized how the weight was off her this session. ¬†It was familiar in that I had felt it after I had given notice at the group home, but still had to deal with the kids for 2 more weeks. I no longer cared about the strict rules of etiquette because I was leaving soon. I was able to be more genuine, and the girls had picked up on it with me. ¬†I¬†think that’s what I felt from De today. ¬†It was a¬†freedom from the pressure to be “perfect” in the role… It’s funny how some guidelines are in place to help us do our jobs better, but in the end we are burdened with the pressure to stay within the boundaries – we lose our genuineness…) but I digress. ¬†We chatted about other things for the remainder of the session. She had asked something about letting “us” know if I ever figured out a way to apply my knowledge-base in psych to myself. ¬†I think she was going to go somewhere else with that, but she stopped herself. ¬†I talked about my complete inability to have access to both my emotional and intellectual sides at the same moment. ¬†We talked about this blog, and how it had been born of the idea of being able to look at all of it over time (the more professional side of me when I am in a more emotional space, and the more emotional side of me when I am locked in professional mode). ¬†I told her about an early entry on the concept of ¬†“attention-seeking” and how it is not always as sinister-ly manipulative as the field makes it out to be… ¬†I kept a close eye on the clock because I had brought my Wreck This Journal with me to show her. ¬†With about 5 minutes left, I changed the topic to that. ¬†She always seems genuinely interested in what I bring in, but this time there was something else again. ¬†I showed her the piece with the prompt to “make a paper chain“. ¬†She seemed excited about it. ¬†It was weird because the excitement was different… I’m not sure how to describe it. ¬†She said something along the lines of wishing she could show it to other people because it conveyed so much more than just words could. The way she said it made me feel like she was trying to make a point to someone. ¬†I had wanted to tell her she could (I may have imagined it, but it looked like she was ready to get up and walk out of her office with the book. She scootched forward in her chair as she had said that about showing it to others), but I was caught off guard. ¬†The words “you could” spun around in circles in my brain, but never made it to my tongue… We moved on to scheduling after she looked a bit more at my book. ¬†She pondered the best way to fit in the second appointment. ¬†I put my vote in for Tuesday & Friday citing my “OCD-ish tendencies” for wanting to space out the days a bit more. She actually laughed and said she prefered that for the same reason (more genuine-ness). ¬†So I will be seeing her twice a week for the next few weeks until she leaves. ¬†We will be figuring out the content of our sessions as we go. ¬†She checked-in about the possibility of doing more Duckboy work on Tuesday, and would I be ok if she sprung it on me that day. ¬†I told her I was open to whatever, but that I needed her to lead if it was the Duckboy stuff because I feel totally lost on what to do with it. ¬†I think she was still deciding on how to approach Tuesday. ¬†There are a lot of days between now and Tuesday, so my opinion may change, but for now I’m ok with pushing the assault topics. ¬†I guess it depends on how far I get with this internal processing of her leaving instead of me leaving. ¬†I may decide by Tuesday tha I really need to talk to her about some of this stuff and whatever else it will bring up.


our beautiful brain – the altered book

very cool idea. I think we have to try this L…

Where I Stand

IMG_3098

What you will need:

‚Äď A Hard Cover Book to alter ‚Äď if you don‚Äôt have one -Thrift Stores often have hard cover books for a dollar or less.

‚Äď Something to stick things down with ‚Äď I use all types of things when gluing, Mod Podge, White Glue, Double Stick Adhesive, you can use whatever works for you.

‚Äď Mod Podge to seal your Masterpiece

‚Äď Acrylic paints, colored pencils, crayons, pastels, markers, and pens to doodle with and to add color

‚Äď Anything that you would like to use to collage ‚Äď virtually almost anything can be used in a collage. My favorites are pictures from old books, vintage jewelry, and patterned textured paper.

How it works:

An altered book is an artist-made book recycled and modified into something new in appearance, and meaning. An altered book offers a long-term art-making process for healing. Altered books can be…

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Disappointed in myself

Do you ever wonder how you got to a  particular space in life? What triggered the change? What prompted you to think the change was good, or even acceptable?
I realized just moment’s ago that I’m the reason our cat doesn’t want to come home.¬† Somewhere along the way I made it acceptable to be anything but loving. I wasn’t nice to him or kind to him when redirecting his behavior. I listened to someone when they said that fear was the only motivator he would comprehend. I became my father… I know better. I know that fear only motivates resentment and more fear. I know that’s not how people or animals should be treated, and yet I fell into that trap without even thinking about it. Once again, I am a person I despise.
Time to change that. Time to take a hard look at myself and put my foot down with myself. I refuse to continue to be this way. I refuse to have my animals scared of me… I’m sorry kitty. I didn’t mean to be an asshole. I didn’t mean to change into this. I didn’t mean to be my parents (because somewhere along the way my mom picked up my dad’s habits so, she too is like him, despite knowing better)…


Gifting

…because dealing with the loss is more painful than I care to experience at the moment. L and I tag-teamed a bracelet for J. Hope she likes it. Took 4 revisions, but I think we are both happy enough with it to give to her next week (which, incidentally, will be our last session with her. Last week she had said 3 to 4 more weeks. This week it was cut down to one more week… still better than D telling me the day-of that it would be our last session. What is it with therapists and shitty terminations? I hope my ending with De is handled better)…
I also did 2 additional bracelets: one for myself and one for L. It was good practice. The one for J had the pretty blue geodes. L’s is the rainbow skull one, and mine is the girlier black skull one… I may still redo mine, but J and L’s are both set.

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Grief

No bombs were dropped by De in session today, though I did have a few panicked seconds when she started out a sentence with “my supervisor is all over me about…” (heart stalled and breath caught mid-exhale) “…asking you if we can keep your piece for further use” (resume breathing and pumping blood). I didn’t know what to say. I guess they really liked it. I asked if I could get back to her about it. De said that it will be displayed for the month of April, but that they would like to keep it to put up in the building. I’m not opposed to that, but I’m also really attached to the piece. I think if I leave it there, I will ask that my real name be used. Might as well get credit for it.¬† I also told De that I had been toying with asking for it back so I could tweak it because I had a million other ideas since I handed it in. She laughed and reminded me that was why I had given it to her when I did, so I wouldn’t mess with it and end up getting frustrated when it didn’t turn out how I pictured. She’s right, because I would over-work it and feel that I need to start all over again.¬† I don’t think I would have a fourth rendition in me before the beginning of April. It’s good I don’t have my hands on it anymore.
We spent the rest of the session talking about the pending move and how I will need to grieve the loss of the house and such, but that the overall result will be positive (the house does hold many negatives, as does this state. But it also was a “home base” for so long, a safety net if I need it. Hope I can get some sort of other safety net from it. I’m not going to hold my breath for that though).
I’m still adamant about not crying in front of others. She was trying to convince me that it would be ok, but all the judgements and fears around crying screamed in my head. I did tear up a few times with her today but refused to cry. I really don’t think I would have been able to stop if I had actually started. So I moved the conversation along (much like I keep my head moving all day and night so I don’t crack with tears). I had wanted to ask her to focus our work on the assaults and history with DuckBoy. I just didn’t find an appropriate way to slip it in to the flow. I needed more time to explain the rest of the week. I don’t think I expressed my distaste for loss in any meaningful way. I don’t think she gets how hard that is for me. I tend to stuff it all down, so it’s easy for people to miss the little hints. I just don’t do well with loss. A whole lot of loss is coming up real soon. It’s panicking me a bit, but I’m sure it will all be ok in the end (isn’t it always?). There’s always loss. There’s always change. Just gotta learn to go with it… don’t open your heart too much to prevent excessive pain with the withdrawal of whatever it was that you let worm its way inside.
The session flew by before I knew it. On the way out I asked if they had a shredder so I could get rid of the last pictures I found of DuckBoy yesterday. She suggested “making a moment of it” and that we could do it next week. I gave her the pictures to hold on to till then (I certainly don’t want them)…
(Strangely appropriate song just came on my playlist: Goodbye My Lover by James Blunt… covers the feel of all this. ¬†It works for the house, the history, and everything else).
Is it weird that I miss my best friend from high school so much lately? I found some pics of her and of us the same time I found the DuckBoy pictures… one relationship I’d rather forget, and one I wish was still going. But I guess loss and grief are the themes of the moment (sadly there’s only the loss of DuckBoy for which I’m relieved, the other losses just hurt). I wish I had the gumption to track her down and show up at her door. I wish I had been a better friend. I wish I had fought harder when she ran away. But what do you do when a friend ceases wanting to be your friend? …I still have the mug she gave me for Christmas one year. It’s my favorite one. I really miss her.
The loss of this house means the loss of that last connection to a bunch of positive stuff. There will no longer be a safety net here… it sucks…


Happy New Year’s Eve Day!

(did that make sense?)

So, I’m not going to do a re-cap or anything… 2013 had its ups and downs, and now it’s over. ¬†Good.

2014 will be better.  Growth is happening, change is always happening.  It has to get better.

Today is being spent no different from any other day. ¬†L has to work tomorrow (early – 5am), so we won’t be doing much tonight. ¬†I’m ok with that. ¬†I outgrew partying a few years ago. ¬†I’m sure I will be up with my insomnia, but I don’t think I will be worrying about the clock hitting midnight.

No flashbacks yet today, so it’s a good day. ¬†I’m hoping tomorrow will follow the way today has gone so the year will start off on the right foot. ¬†I need it to go well. ¬†I need to get past all this trauma crap, and resume living my life as a productive member of society. ¬†I’m so over being the “crazy wife”…

Anyway, happy new year all. ¬†Hope it’s a good one.


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

rifts in the therapeutic relationship

I don’t know. ¬†I think I’m too worried about the inevitability of being referred out, and the chaos of the holidays. ¬†I put up walls after being inpatient, and I don’t know how to take them down. ¬†I don’t feel comfortable getting into anything of substance with De (or with anyone). ¬†It’s a really weird feeling, because I’ve generally felt like I could count on whatever T I happened to be seeing at the time… ¬†there was a lot of care-taker transference before going inpatient tho, and I think to protect from the inevitable abandonment feelings, I have stopped trusting that she will be there when I need it. ¬†On one hand, we are planning out the next six weeks and taking about beginning more intense trauma work come January, but then the next sentence is planning being referred out for more long-term therapy because the center generally only does short-term work to deal with the immediate crisis of assault (only, I can’t be in crisis, so I’m a bit confused)…

De asked me what I thought of what she had said. ¬†I couldn’t find the words, because my head often needs time to process stuff like that. ¬†She threw a couple of feeling words at me, and I was able to tell her that it was sad, not angry. ¬†I was able to say that the sad came from getting so close to being able to process things so many times only to have the processes interrupted every time. ¬†We talked about what “processing” meant. ¬†I said that I did not expect to forget things, but just not handle them so poorly (and to not be so alone in so much of it)… ¬†I told her that I was tired of having to keep building up trust with new people all the time just to get to a point of stalling. ¬†I want to get through this at least once. ¬†But I don’t know if I trust that I’ll be able to complete it with her, so I am not sure I even want to start. ¬†I mean, yeah, I really want to start, but not if I have to abruptly stop again… ¬†she can’t promise not to refer me out. ¬†I get that. ¬†But… ¬†I just don’t know. ¬†She also doesn’t seem to want to put any effort into helping me get that safety net we both know I need. ¬†I’ve never had so little help when trying to get more supports in place… ¬†I have always experienced that the provider helps secure services. ¬†Having to fight for it all by myself is very overwhelming. ¬†J (couple’s T) is willing to go to bat for me, but it’s disheartening that De (who insists extra support be in place before we start processing stuff) is unwilling to help. ¬†I think that’s contributing to me feeling so lost in being able to trust her again. :/ ¬†I can’t even talk about this with her for 2 weeks because of the holiday. ¬†Ugh.

I hate that this (not so) irrational fear of abandonment gets in the way of ¬†anything and everything meaningful in my life. ¬†I’ve shut down my feelings because I don’t want to risk destabilizing again over the next few weeks. ¬†De dislikes that I’m not in touch with anything because she says it points to not being stable, or st a bigger risk of losing my sh*t when we actually start going through stuff. ¬†I think it’s more that I need to have distance from the internal chaos before trying to face it again. ¬†I’m afraid it’s all still there under the surface. ¬†If I allow myself to see it at the moment, it will come barreling back. ¬† I’m not willing to risk that right now. ¬†So yeah, I guess things are a bit unstable. ¬†I don’t want to let them get out of hand. ¬†I want to be able to get through this stuff with De and not have to try all over again with someone else. ¬†I don’t want to burn L out on me. ¬†I don’t want to frustrate everyone in my life. ¬†This all just sucks. ¬†I’m feeling very defeated.


Lessening the pressure

I’m having such trouble with sleep at night again. I can often fall asleep during the morning hours tho. I guess it’s better than nothing. De has taken to saying “I’ll take what I can get” and it seems to relieve some of the pressure I place on myself with certain things. I think I really like that about her. It helps take away some of the panic about so much “being wrong” at the moment… I think that’s the first time I have been able to internalize her support. Huh. Cool…

She kinda gave me conditional permission to stay in bed for the time being if it means safety; “it’s not ideal and I don’t say that often, but if it means you’re safe, I’ll take what I can get.” It’s kinda sad that we are at that point, but I’m glad the outside pressure is less from her. I get a lot of it from others and myself. It’s a relief that she can just be supportive right now.¬†I’m also wondering if there is some “reverse psychology” in there. Does giving me permission to do it in the moment help motivate to change the behavior? It certainly lessens the judgement that I’m doing yet another thing wrong, which makes it easier to not be stuck in it as long as if I was constantly worried about screwing everything up… yet another reason I’m glad I’m getting the chance to work with her.¬†

Maybe I should have looked for a therapist that works a lot with kids a long time ago.¬† I swear I’m stuck at grade-school-level processing when I am in crisis. It’s nice to have someone be able to know what to do with that.


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.


another thought: vocabulary and context is everyhting

Ever have a day where you feel like shit? ¬†You’re thoughts would generally be along the lines of “I feel like shit today” ¬†Well, that would likely be your thought if you were not dealing with depression or PTSD or Bipolar or some other fun diagnosis… ¬†My thought would go something like “I am shit” ¬†and it wouldn’t be limited to today either… My self-esteem has been so low as to even¬†categorize¬†myself as less-than-shit for many years… It’s all in how you formulate your sentence, and the words you chose for it (consciously or unconsciously). ¬†You can take the meaning of a negative thought and ascribe it to the day, or to your whole being… It’s like Hiccup’s conversation his mentor in How to Train Your Dragon, only it’s all within myself:

Gobber:

See, now this right here is what I am talking about. If you ever want to get out to fight dragons… you need to stop all… this!

Hiccup:

But you just pointed to all of me!

The dissatisfaction with myself can be huge and overwhelming… I think it’s a problem for a lot of people… It’s quite sad. Though I do not know what is worse: being dissatisfied with yourself and hating your core; or having everyone else be dissatisfied with you for who you are.

I read a post on a forum today where a woman asked if PTSD was commonly treated by advocating for a complete change in person: changing name and “killing” the person you once were… I have not heard of it as a treatment for PTSD, but I can see it as a way to cope with hating yourself as a result of the trauma. ¬†This person was one who had been deployed several times. ¬†I am guessing he participated in some acts that went so against his image of himself, that he felt the need to obliterate that person… I think I could see needing to completely change if I had killed innocent people, or participated in a war… It goes so against who I see myself being that I don’t think I could reconcile that with the actuality of having done it. ¬†While I would be more likely to make a less conscious split (ie: fall headlong into DID) than to consciously legally change my name and act like someone else, I could see it happening. ¬†When you see yourself as something so fundamentally different from the reality of the situation, I can’t imagine having to know that and live with it every day… I’m actually a bit surprised more veterans don’t come away with a DID diagnosis or go ahead and change their identity all together… but then again, I would never volunteer for “service”…


how quickly things can change…

just a half hour ago, I wrote the following:

“today was easier than the last few days have been. Even though there were low moments, overall I was able to be more social and pleasant. The one time I was reminded of a truly unpleasant thought, I was quickly able to re-direct the conversation and forget the mention of it.

This is really a pleasant surprise. I have been so low lately, it’s nice to make it through a day without wanting to obliterate myself…”

And now, I feel about as polar opposite as I can get from that. ¬†What the heck happened in half an hour? nothing. nothing happened. ¬†nothing changed, except my thought patterns. ¬†I had been pleasantly floating along in my bliss of a “happy” day, when all of a sudden, out of nowhere comes this thought: “You have to do this again tomorrow…” ¬†Now, if one were simply following along the train of thought mentioned above, this would be no issue. ¬†But I am not the average person. ¬†I battle depression and PTSD and self-injury almost daily (tho my random online screening test scored me a zero for PTSD symptoms this last week…), so my brain works differently. ¬†I tend to focus on the negative, and the thought of having to struggle again through a day is a daunting¬†challenge. ¬†Even when I try to focus on the positive, the negative has a slick way of creeping into the picture… I don’t necessarily fit all the stereotypes of my afflictions, but I do fall into the categories. ¬†(I give my treaters a run for their money, and if they don’t know me, they often think I am BS’ing them because I don’t fit what they know… it’s frustrating…). ¬†So yes, to a normal person, that thought would have not meant anything at all, but to me, it brought my little sunny world crashing down. ¬†Thoughts of shiny objects and intoxicating liquids dance in pretty little circles in my head… wtf? I was having a good day. ¬†It had it’s bumps, but overall it was good. ¬†Now I want to take something to knock me out for the night so I don’t have to fight the pictures behind my eyes. ¬†I don’t necessarily want to act on those pictures, but they are comforting and there. ¬†comforting. yes. ¬†that’s the word for it. ¬†They bring me a sense of relief and peace. ¬†Maybe that’s why today was good, because I took the time to indulge in the fantasy of a comforting image and it took over for the act itself… Maybe that is all I need today. ¬†Maybe that will be all I need tomorrow… until the images cease to be enough, and I crave the act…


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.