Tag Archives: comfort

believing myself

I find myself struggling with the believability of my memories once again.

In the moment of re-experiencing them, I know they are true. They feel very real on every level when I’m actually remembering them. It’s the times between the flashbacks and body memories that have me doubting. They don’t make sense when looked at in terms of other memories. They actually feel contradictory at times.

We covered the doubts a bit in session. Dr. C isn’t so worried about the validity of them. She keeps reminding me there’s no one she would tell, so even if they are all a story in my head, then we can address that too without hurting anyone’s reputation. She asks about the concept of “doing it all for attention”, and as soon as that concept hits my awareness, there’s a panic: No! DON’T pay attention to me. Let me hide and melt away. PLEASE don’t see me or hear me or even know I exist… It’s a little-kid fear. It’s in a little kid’s voice in my head.

I’m not sure why I’m so worried about the validity of the memories all over again. I had gotten to a place with TM where we were just addressing the concept of the memories & how they impact me. I was “talking” about them & getting them out. All of a sudden, I feel like I’ve taken several steps backwards with Dr. C. I feel the need to figure out if they are real. I need to justify voicing them once again. I’m not totally sure why. Part of it may be that I have to re-tell her the stuff I had already told TM (even if it’s just the existence of the memories, not necessarily the details of them). It may also be that Dr. C is an older woman. There was that parental transference with TM and there’s definitely some going on with Dr. C also, but maybe I’m feeling that as well as what I might have with a grandparent this time… The disapproving voices in my head that are louder are from the older women in my family this time around.

Working on containment since the session. I keep visualizing the pensieve holding everything, and hiding in a pillow fort in Dr. C’s office for most of the day. Keeping the desire to bug the heck out of Dr. C and/or TM in check. I know I’m looking for a sense of safety and comfort, so I’m trying to find that around here. Music is playing, doggies are cuddling. I even had one of the snakes out for a while (really wish I could train him to do deep pressure on command).

Anyway, how’s everyone else doing?

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Finding comfort

Where do you find comfort when you are overwhelmed?


Dotty in 8-bit (updated)

Dotty has been itching to make another appearance for several days now. She tried last night in a journal page, but then changed her mind, citing a bad hair day. She liked that page though, so tried again today. She wanted to pay homage to classic 8-bit graphics from back in the day. She said she was still feeling the bad hair day and didn’t trust me with anything more complicated just yet.

She brought my attention to some ancient graph paper I had lying around waiting to become a background; “That. Draw me on that. You can erase easy, and the squares should give you a decent guide.”

I tried to explain that the size of the squares on the graph paper would mean she would need to be quite a bit bigger to look anything recognizable as herself; “no one will be able to tell it’s you if I make you too small. These squares are too big for smaller detail…”

She insisted on the graph paper anyway.

“Ok, but that means you won’t fit the page you like…”

“That’s ok. I’ll figure something else out for that page.”

I set to work lightly sketching her lines in. I then dug out fine-liner markers with which to give her some color. She complained about the background after noticing how pale her cloth was against the cream paper. We chatted for a bit. She threw around the ideas of a colored background (she really liked the green and purple markers I had). We talked a bit about contrast, and she eventually settled on a black background; “black is the most comfortable surrounding anyway… but don’t color in the whole page. I like this paper. Make sure some of it shows. Just do the black around me.”

“Will do. You’re the boss…”

If she could have smiled at this, she would have. She likes to think of herself as in charge. She picked the classic pose, though decided against the stool. She likes to use her noose as a swing; “the stool will get in the way of my feet and I won’t get the momentum I’m looking for…”

Check. No stool.

Dotty in 8-bit

 

Now she is occupying herself swinging back and forth while we wait for another page in the bigger journal to dry. She tried to get me to put her on that page, but I had to explain she would cover too much of the happy timeline. I reminded her I have a hard enough time remembering the happy things, I don’t want to have to push her around trying to see what’s written. She pouted for a bit, then got distracted swinging again. It must be nice to have no spine, or lungs, or any other pesky vital organs that would make playing at the end of a noose quite impracticable…

(Dotty would like me to remind you that her more-complete story can be found here)

_______________________________

She got a bit excited when I told her she could go into the journal tonight. She feels at home now. She almost looks like a macabre cross stitch…

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just want to cry

Flashbacks are returning hard. Got really triggered in therapy last time and I can’t seem to pull out of it. I want to bawl my eyes out, but there’s no place to do that; no safe person to do it with… the flashbacks bring more complete memories, and they are unrelenting. I’ve been rehearsing my mantra that is supposed to remind me I’m in the here and now, not the past. The words are starting to blend together and not make sense because I’ve said them so often recently.
Every little thing makes me jump again. I thought that it had finally calmed down a few weeks ago, but it’s back. None of my usual coping skills are helping. I hate this so much. I just want to be able to get through the days without feeling so terrified and alone…

I keep going back to wanting to run from therapy because it’s so triggering. Maybe if there were more resources during the down-time, or I had more in-person support around what we talk about, I wouldn’t feel so lost. But there’s nothing else. Nothing that TL can offer or suggest. Nothing I can afford in terms of additional supports. And I just want to isolate from everyone and everything 😦

Is it Saturday yet? Does it really matter anyway when the hour flies by so fast leaving me feeling raw and triggered? My neediness is through the roof today, but it’s very specific: I don’t want to have to talk. I just want to sit and feel supported. I want that closeness without the pressure of being “on”… I want to be understood and have all this figuratively held for me so I am not so alone in it. I don’t know how to do that with what I have in the moment. I can’t talk about what was triggered with anyone close to me because I need to still process it first with someone objective (translate that to: safe & non-judgemental & relatively unaffected).

The a/c was fixed yesterday, so I moved my art supplies back out of the bedroom, but I don’t want to sit out there to do anything. I like my little cave at the moment, even though mom is shopping and the house is empty. Feeling very vulnerable, so the tighter space is welcomed. The comfort of the bed and the dogs and the music through the speakers helps… Fuck, really miss De right now. SJ is very much here and very much out and very much missing her comforts and safety…


Grounding objects

A long time ago, I realized that certain objects helped me ground or de-stress.  As long as I can remember, I have always had a squishy toy, a small bean bag, a beanie baby (they are good for something other than collecting dust!!), a lavender eye pillow (the sound of the insides swooshing as I rotate it around my hands is incredibly calming, as is the lavender scent), spinning rings, things to meticulously shred, Tangle toys, objects of various different textures (I tend to prefer smooth & soft, but sometimes I go for rougher things), things to peel, etc.  Throughout college, I was known to hoard stress toys in my bag, at work, and in my dorm room.  I still carry at least 1, if not 5, stress objects with me daily.  Heck, even our wedding rings serve as stress objects (they are 3 interconnected rings that I can either take off to play with, or easily roll up and down my finger if I need my other hand for something like driving or writing).  I try to keep most things unobtrusive, as I’m supposed to be an adult now, and carrying around a beanie baby just gets me a whole bunch of weird looks (I rarely carry anything I cannot fit in my pockets, and lately they happen to be “girly jean” pockets, so space is at a premium).

I realized I have a piece of jewelry that I use quite a bit, but had no concept of it until I wound up at The Center (a dedicated Trauma Psych unit in DC).  They did a lot with creative expression and making tools to help ground.  One of the things I made while there was a “grounding bracelet”.  It’s pretty much a single enclosed loop of beads with an additional length of beads – long enough to wrap again around my wrist a second time.  When I have it on, it looks like a double-stand beaded bracelet.  If I need something to fidget with however, I can unwrap the long strand and play with it.  It’s really easy to make, and has come in handy when I need a way to ground or calm myself.  Some of the girls I had worked with in the past really liked the concept (though I never disclosed it’s purpose to them) of having something they could wear that they could also play with.  I remember one night sitting down with a handful of them and everyone making a bracelet.

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To make a grounding bracelet you will need: (see also here)

  • thicker stretchy jewelry string
  • beads of your choice (I used glass beads but you can use any beads you like)
  1. cut a length of jewelry string long enough to wrap around your wrist twice, plus about 3 inches (to allow for knots and a length to tuck under the loop when not in use)
  2. tie a temporary knot at one end and string your beads (can also loop the string back through the bead so it stays in place while you add the others). Make sure you do not string them too tight because it will make the next step difficult. I used a larger bead at the loose end help keep it in place when not in use (doesn’t slide out as easily.  It is also a nice “focal bead” to fiddle with – slightly bumpy in texture for when I want to feel something a little more rough).  I used a variety of shapes and colors, but kept to colors I find soothing.  Some of the beads used to have a sand-blasted texture, but that has since worn off from too much fiddling.
  3. tie one end (without the large “end bead”) back onto the string so that you have the closed loop portion of the bracelet (once around your wrist). Make sure you tie a solid knot at both ends, but especially the loose end. Voila! You have a grounding bracelet!

To wear, simply slide the loop over your wrist, wrap the long portion around a second time, then tuck a length of it underneath the closed-loop portion of the bracelet.  I found mine slips loose if I only tuck it under once, so I loop it back onto itself again and tuck under a second time.  It looks just like any other piece of jewelry, but can double as a therapeutic tool when needed without advertising what it actually is.

wpid-PicsArt_1388899069631.jpgI also made a keychain there with similar intent.  It is a “tassel” of different glass beads attached to a larger bead on a silver ring.  There are about 5 or 6 different strings, each with different colors, textures, and shapes of beads.  I do not use it quite as often as the bracelet (it’s a bit bulky), but I carry it with me when I need extra choices for stress toys.  If I have my backpack with me, my current selection offering of stress relief is: 3 different scented lotions, a squishy ball, a sandalwood scented travel candle, a squeezable ghost, a tangle toy, my stress keychain, my iPod, silly putty, and a glass heart given to me by my first ever therapist.  When I’m feeling particularly vulnerable, Beary, my stuffed bear, will make her way into the bag.  If I only have pocket-space, then I take my heart, the candle, and my iPod. I have taken to wearing the bracelet daily regardless of space for other things to bring.  It has come in very handy while shopping (holiday crowds can be crazy!), in therapy, and any other time I need help reducing anxiety.  I even find myself playing with it randomly when there’s no anxiety or stress present.  I’m really glad I was given the opportunity to make it.

Does anyone else have a “portable stress kit” they use?  What’s in it? Do you find it helpful?


More for the 2014 100 Theme Challenge

I was messing around with water colors today. I have a LOT of practice to do before I’m reasonable versed in the techniques, but I think these came out ok. The first is a “practice” piece that came out better than the one on the intended painting…
55) Comfort

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The next is the painting I wanted to have the dog in… It’s still in the works, as it’s bottom-heavy.  I need to figure out what to put on the top portion to make it feel more balanced.

60) Superpowers – there’s comfort in the dog’s protection and the wings and the bear.  There’s comfort in the blackness also.  It’s a place to hide and blend in to avoid attention.  Sometimes kids need superpowers to get through the darkness, even the inner kids.

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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.