Tag Archives: coping

Dear Dr C (an unsent text) 

​I’m totally wasted right now, and I feel bad for enjoying the peace it brings… for the first time in weeks, I’m ok with feeling stuff in my body because I’ve disconnected it from the memories… I finally don’t want to destroy myself for a few minutes. Yet, I worry you will be mad because I’m “dissociating” it through etoh… :/ do I even really want to tell you this? (If I actually end up sending this, please don’t respond… you can lecture me tomorrow about the pitfalls of using whiskey to cope. It’s not a regular thing, just tonight)…

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5 am, we meet again.

It’s 5 am. I’ve been awake since 3:30 after having fallen asleep around midnight… this has been a trend for about 3 weeks now, interrupted only by me remembering to take benadryl a few nights here and there (when I don’t have to function at all the following day). This insomnia is certainly not helping my depression or functioning.

If we weren’t in the process of referring out and termination, I probably would have reached out to TM about the increasing lack of sleep. Now? I dunno. I can’t get over feeling like there’s a boundary there I need to keep to. We are ending. Reaching out for anything other than scheduling feels like a big “no-no”…

I keep coming back to frustrations around a lack of support. I’m guessing the IOP will not work out due to finances. I don’t want to ask TM to extend our sessions until I leave merely for support. She’s got limited availability as is, I don’t want to keep wasting her time… that leaves me with trying to muddle through on my own.

I’ve thought about reaching out to friends and family for support, but I feel like a huge bother. There were a few times I wanted to talk about stuff with L, but she’s got so much on her end, it’s not fair to bug her with it (and I’m not totally sure how to talk about it). I had tried to process Wednesday’s appointment with TM, but she quickly switched back to talking about whatever was going on for her that day. I didn’t attempt to revisit. I know, my fault. I should be more assertive in wanting to talk, but I feel so defeated and overwhelmed, I’m not going to beg anyone to sit through my struggle to articulate things; not TM, not L, not anyone. It’s just all pointless.

Part of me wants to call insurance today to see what can be done in terms of accessing additional support, but I really don’t like asking for favors. I don’t want the hospital program to do anything out of the norm for me. I don’t want to bother TM with anything. I don’t want to ask for more. I’ve taken plenty already, I should be good with all this… only I’m not. I’m coping on the outside and crumbling on the inside. My internal resources are running dry again. Bed is looking more and more inviting 24/7/365… there’s other things that are yet more inviting, but they are not an option despite being on my mind all the time…

I just have to get through this move, then I can worry about what to do up there again. I gotta get through this move…


trauma work as a “distraction” is not the best reason to do it, smarty-pants.

I probably shouldn’t have gone to therapy today. I know she was probably trying to help me find my hope, but all I could see was how hopeless everything actually is.

I was more present though, so I guess that’s good. I didn’t noticeably dissociate, however I don’t necessarily explicitly remember the session either… She was trying to assess my level of emotional availability for dealing with the trauma stuff in the midst of the bigger housing crisis. I told her I needed the distraction (of the trauma work) to avoid completely shutting down around everything. At least with the trauma work, I feel like I’m getting somewhere. Maybe that was the wrong reasoning to give her today, but it was true in the moment. I don’t want to keep feeling like I fail this therapy stuff all the time (something I am so glad she understood and mentioned without me having to bring it up. kinda made me feel like she understands where my head is). There needs to be something in my life I feel that I have done right. I’m just not finding anything at the moment, not even therapy. I always feel like a failure and a disappointment. I can’t seem to finish anything I start because I peter out along the way. I don’t know how to maintain that energy at a level needed to succeed at anything. I really want to keep trying with this though. I’m fighting to keep coping, and to keep going back, and to stay present. I’m fighting the instinct to run away or shut down. I’m trying to keep my more adult/intellectual brain on hand to get through things. I’m trying to realize and voice when I know my thinking is distorted… I’m trying so hard to keep the little pieces glued together.

We talked about the hierarchy of needs. She asked me to rate where I felt I was on that. Honestly, I’m not sure. I haven’t really given it much thought… I guess I need to look the concept of working on the trauma  kinda like trying to work on the top of the pyramid while I’m watching a flood wear away at the foundations of it. But at the same time, working on that top piece helps reinforce some of the layers below. My sense of safety is very much impacted by the flashbacks, as is my concept of being loved/loving, and my self-esteem. The physiological needs are still being met at the moment. I’m working on at least faking a plan to keep those needs met (and TM can’t help with that part anyway). I really need her help with the trauma stuff. I asked her if she knew of any additional help for the housing stuff, she had no resources, so why bother wasting our time on that? I know I need to be able to cope safely with things, but can we agree that I will cope however I cope while also committing to returning to her weekly (in one piece) to deal with the trauma?

She wrote down my homework this week 🙂 It was another thing she did without me having to ask, though I would have if she hadn’t done it. I’m supposed to 1) figure out what my primary need is for the day, and if it’s something I need to act on, then do so. I think the concept of this one has me a bit scared, because I often don’t know what I need, but maybe it’s as simple as having a list of tasks for the day? 2) to assess my physical and emotional state and come up with a way to cope with it if it’s distressing (I’m guessing part of this came from me linking some of the vertigo to taking benadryl the night before for sleep). I’m picturing this step as “self-care”… and 3) read the handouts she gave me. I’m also supposed to journal (art or written) about how I feel or what I’m thinking each day. We were doing this at the end of session, so I didn’t voice how blank and empty I’ve felt lately. It’s been really difficult to express anything these last few days, but I’ll try (and keep trying) in an effort to do the stuff she wants me to do.

Part of me really had wanted to directly address the hopelessness today. We talked about it a bit, but I’m kinda glad she didn’t grab it and run in the direction of stopping all other work to address safety. As much as I was hinting at it and indirectly throwing it out there, it would have accomplished nothing but distraction. I know I’m safe. I know I’m going to keep myself safe. The thoughts and impulses are just a fear reaction to all this stress. I’m glad she was respecting that I had labeled it as a distraction tactic back when we started. Sometimes I don’t realize the frantic attempts to distract the course of therapy with that stuff (at least not in the moment when I break down and admit to feeling so utterly hopeless). We’ve already got one huge distraction, and that’s the housing situation. I don’t need to add another to it. What I do need is to re-attach my head and figure out how to move on with things.

After I left session, I found the courage to call 211 and the local SSA office. Unfortunately, there really are very little resources. There are even fewer when you don’t quite know what you need. It’s funny how, when asking for help, not only are we under the impression that we should know how to help ourselves before we ask for it, but that there really isn’t anyone available to help us figure it out if we have no clue. If by some miracle you do know what you need, chances are that particular type of help doesn’t exist. I know I don’t always function well when overwhelmed. I know I could use some gentle hand-holding and direction, but that service doesn’t exist (at least not for me)… so, guess it’s “sink or swim” around this. :/ (cue string of dark and hopeless thoughts followed by some good ole’ fashioned self-deprecation). I really need someone to help me see a gray area around what to do. I keep jumping to the catastrophic line of action that ends with all the animals being re-homed and me feeling beyond guilty and worthless. TM had asked if I had motivation to keep living outside of that provided by external forces (L, the animals, some family members). Honestly, at this moment there’s nothing, so I’d really prefer to keep my small pool of external forces as large as possible. While the dogs are the biggest obstacle to attaining suitable housing, they are also one of my biggest reasons to continually choose to live. The snakes couldn’t care less where they live, as long as they get food, water, clean living space, and mental stimulation. Maybe my big guy would be thrown by me no longer being his keeper, but the others don’t seem to be phased. Actually, I don’t even think he would be all that phased, but I’m very attached to him… Speaking of the snakes, I need to go thaw their food before I forget again today (yesterday was feeding day and I slacked)…


wondering

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

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

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

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

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


And so begins the three months

I’m headed back down south after our “vacation” up north, where I’m leaving L to get us settled before I come up with the zoo. This is the first time we have voluntarily spent time apart for longer than a week, and definitely the longest we have been apart since meeting 6 years ago.  This will be a test of our relationship, but it will hopefully help us ease out of our intense co-dependence…
I’m a bit nervous about my eventual relocation. I was hoping to get back to being able to see Dr C, but she has not responded to any calls or messages since I mentioned we were coming back.  I know I have time yet, but I like to plan when it comes to this stuff. I like to know I have support through transitions. We’ll see.  She may return a call when it’s finally closer to the move. If not, I will have to find someone else that can take state insurance and has expertise in trauma, sexual assault, and “bat-shit crazy” (lol)…


“One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, …”

I like this. we are so often told to be mindful of the moment, but remain silent in our pain. It’s in our pain that we need to speak out and have someone share it. I even struggle with this in therapy lately. De isn’t big on talking about what’s eating me, just how to cope with it. Sometimes that’s helpful, but a lot of the time I need to be able to give voice to what’s inside. It took me so long to be able to talk about things, then I get a therapist who focuses on the distractions and coping skills without much energy devoted to just being in the moment of the struggle. I know she has helped me learn some invaluable skills, but at the same time, I feel more alone than I ever have much of the time. My family does not hold a culture of speaking about what bothers you. L tries, but I resist much of the time. It’s so easy to fall back into pushing things away. We need to pay more attention to opening ourselves, to feeling and being less alone in our hurt…

I Dont Want To Talk About It

wolf-howl-silhouette1 “…but by making the darkness conscious.” I went to my Men’s meeting the other morning.   As usual it was an interesting place to be.   One of my issues with AA is the unwillingness to making the darkness conscious at the meeting level.   My wonderful friends who are suffering from the effects of PTSD and other “mental health,” issues express confusion that when they are in meetings and they struggling, most of the other people in the rooms are speaking of gratitude, acceptance and/or tolerance.  They ask me and I question also whether the people speaking of gratitude etc. aren’t just “imagining figures of light,”  because they can’t/won’t deal with the darkness that they carry.

When I am struggling, and much of the time my depression makes me feel like I am searching for a life raft in the middle of this sea of hopelessness, I have a hard time with…

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A tad bit stressed

I’ve done it again; ignored something until it’s too late… now there really isn’t much of a choice. J’s fire that she’s been looking for is firmly lit. We will be moving back up north sooner than expected and under a lot more pressure. This sucks… I’m kicking myself for putting off the asking for help for this long. Now we just have to suck it up and move on. It looks like we will have to re-home two of our pups (one of mom’s and one of our’s), which is totally breaking my heart. I knew we wore out our welcome, but now it’s also our grace period. The house needs to be sold and we will be left with nothing to show for it but more debt. I just want to hide from everything right now (lot of good it’s done so far). Trying not to panic, but not sure how to make things happen. We either find roommates that can cover half the mortgage and stand living here, or we throw in the towel and lose what we have. Pretty shitty choices since I don’t think anyone would want to live here (too many critters, too much stress, too little space)… :/