Tag Archives: distraction

“Weird”

I feel weird. It’s hard to describe. It’s triggery, floaty, disconnected… I’m having trouble putting it into words. 

There were just two of us in group today. Dr C took that opportunity to try to show us both that we are more alike than we might think… 

Dr C and I had been talking about shame around my cutting, and me trying to wrap my head around my recurring “shock” when I hear a dissociative diagnosis in reference to my symptoms…  I think she was trying to allow me an opportunity to talk about it with someone who might understand from a first-hand perspective. 

We ended up talking a bit about extreme dissociation and about coping skills. Something about B describing her DID stirred up my body memories. When she talked about switching, some part of me started to “wake up”… the stirring feelings shifted and swirled and ran through a few “ages”… I dunno. It was weird; and the body memories bubbled up…

Last week, for the first time in almost 2 decades, I connected with a part of myself I had all-but-forgotten ever existed. I suddenly remembered how much I loved to read, and that I used to do it all the time. I connected to the memory and the emotion of it… It only lasted a few hours, but I remembered what it was like. I’m trying to rekindle that part. I’ve started to buy books again and I actually want to read them. I haven’t been able to pay attention to them yet, but there’s an excitement around it (even if it’s just a tiny seedling of excitement). 

Anyway, the rest of today has been emotionally weird. I think I’m still somewhat back in group, trying to process finally not being alone in my dysfunction. I’m also feeling the beginnings of mild flashbacks (at least, I hope they are mild)… I’m guessing the internal stirrings are also playing a part in the weird feeling. It’s like the inside partitions are starting to get hazy and the parts are wandering forward. I’m not sure the walls will always be hazy (they’re starting to solidify again), but they were in group.

I’m getting better at holding conversations, but it’s still difficult. I lose interest pretty quickly… no, “interest” isn’t the right word. I’m not sure what exactly it is, but I lose my motivation to keep talking. I get distracted, and tired, and… yeah. That. 

Sorry, this post is fast losing cohesion. 

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Distractions that aren’t

It becomes dicey when you are running from something, and everything you use to distract slowly loses it’s distracting power… 

Hopefully tomorrow’s day trip will fill the void.


I find certain things incredibly difficult to bring up in therapy. I’m not sure if it’s the way Dr C and I go about things, or the topics themselves, or my fear of disappointing her, or what, but sometimes I struggle till the end of session (or even after season is up) with how to introduce talking about certain things.

Last Monday, we had mentioned some stuff at the end of session that I really had hoped to cover today… only today I couldn’t bring it up again in time. The only reason I brought it up at all was because she caught me looking at the clock trying to calculate if I had enough time to get into it. I didn’t. She gave me the option of coming in again this week if I wanted. I took the opportunity, and also asked if we could talk about the self harm stuff that session. She said we can always talk about it, anytime. I told her I wasn’t sure how to bring it up; it’s one of those things that feels irrelevant unless I’m mired in it… only it’s difficult to talk about the “grand scheme” of it when I’m wrapped up in doing it, so it would be good to talk about it now when I’m not fighting urges… we established that it isn’t a current occurrence, but that it’s always in the back of my head (much like the concept of dying is always there).

I hope she can help me break into the subject next session.

Does anyone else find it difficult to bring up certain things at times? It’s not so much that it’s triggering or difficult to talk about (though it certainly can be), it’s just that we get going on another topic, or we seem to stay lighter, and I don’t know a good way to break into the heavy stuff. I find when there’s something I really want to talk about, I stall and sputter and pick something totally unrelated/surface to talk about when there’s actually something much more specific and heavier to talk about. I fall into the default notion of “they don’t really want to hear that stuff because it’s too deep/personal/uncomfortable so I’m just going to avoid it. I know it’s counterproductive for therapy (I mean, heck, that’s what I see the woman every week for: to talk about the uncomfortable/icky/ personal stuff), but for some reason I can’t get out of my own way and simply open up about whatever it is I really want to talk about most sessions. I’m so nervous and anxious about presenting well and progressing, I can’t bring up anything that might hint at any regression…

I know she says I don’t have to worry about disappointing her, but I always do (worry)… :/ I have this intense drive to please people and make them happy in order to make them like me. It rarely works. Half the people aren’t swayed by my frantic attempts, the other half take advantage. I know I should be more authentic with Dr C, but I don’t want her to give up on me or be mad that I’m just always drama…

I need people to like me. I need them to know I exist, and to want me around or I might blink out of existence… I know I won’t really cease to exist if they dislike me or no longer want me around, but the little kid in me doesn’t get that. She’s still desperately trying to please everyone around her in an effort to justify taking up space and resources… funny how much the kid in me is desperate to be real, while at the same time another part of me wishes and hopes for an end (the depressed part. The part that’s so tired of fighting and struggling and trying)… annother topic for therapy “some day.”

Oh, I’m supposed to make “balanced happy” art for Dr C. She was thinking I should do something that makes me happy/feel loved, surrounded by more things that make me happy and feel loved to keep out the darkness (or create a shield against it). She did some concept sketches in session today, and I think it might turn out really cool, I just have to figure out how to execute them in an interesting way… guess that’s a project for this week sometime. It won’t be done by Wednesday’s session, but maybe for next week?


Art instead of other things

As much as I didn’t want to be in therapy on Monday, I was really looking forward to group on Thursday… only group got cancelled 😦

So, in an effort to keep on the right track with my coping skills, I did art all day…

I’m not sure if I posted about my experiment making my own canvas journal, but I worked on that and some ATC’s that will be going out on a swap (if I can ever decide which ones to actually send. I like them all for various reasons. Some have deeper meanings than they may appear to just by looking at them).

Anyway, here are pics of it all. Some are WIP pics, others of completed pages/cards… I used Inka Gold on the canvas. It doesn’t work well. The paint is cracking and chipping already. I need to come up with something as a hard cover for the journal to help protect it better. It works fine on solid objects, but it’s not meant to be pliable once dried.

I’m glad I had the distraction today. Between pms, the passing of one of L’s family members (and what it’s bringing up for me), increased body sensations, stress around one of the dogs having eaten a spoon a week ago and still not passed it, and the thought of a crazy day at work tomorrow, my thoughts have been hovering over the more negative coping skills. Similar to what I mentioned to Dr C on Monday, I just wanted to be drunk, high, and bleeding. Instead I played art and listened to the Ellie Goulding station on Pandora… yay for picking the more socially acceptable coping skills.


how to plan for an empty weekend

image

I’m trying to keep myself occupied and busy this weekend, only there’s nothing to do.

I saw TM yesterday. It helped a lot, and she helped me feel a bit more at ease around contacting her. We  covered the time-line that had triggered so much this past week. It was easier with her there. It didn’t feel so terrifyingly alone and overwhelming. I was pretty detached from it all actually. I didn’t really give details, but we did talk about everything that was on it. I think she was a bit surprised about how much was actually there (and even that wasn’t all of it, just what I got down before it became too overwhelming). It felt safe there though. And we sat on the floor, which I think I actually really like and may do again. It was easier to curl up and feel safe surrounded by the furniture. She was physically closer to me too while on the floor, but in my head it looked miles away. :shrugz:

I followed through on my plan to visit the beach after session. It was nice and empty. The water was cool, but not too cold. I bobbed among the waves for about 1.5 hours before I started to get cold just floating there. Then I sat on the sand and watched the birds run around the waves to find their little food prizes. It was a nice change of pace. Part of me wants to head back there today, but it’s going to be hot and crowded. There’s also a lot to do around the house. I keep looking at the tumbleweeds of dog hair and vow to vacuum… once I stand up. Gotta get to the “standing” stage though, lol. My excuse in the moment: the dogs are quiet and relaxed. I don’t want to disturb them.

Physical flashbacks are still happening, but they are more “background noise” at the moment. I’m feeling the sensations and reminding myself “they are just physical sensations from the past. I don’t have to pay attention to them or act on them right now”. It’s helping. TM is out of the office for 3 days (they have an off-site function today). She wants me to call their crisis line if things get overwhelming, but I really don’t like speaking on the phone, so I just have to keep things from getting overwhelming. She said I “concerned” her. I really dislike worrying people, so I have to prove to her that her concerns are unfounded.

On that note, my head is starting to slip into an unwanted train of thought, so I’m gonna wrap this up and move on. The dogs are starting to shift again anyway, so now may be a great time to tackle vacuuming the house. Wish me luck 😉


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)…


Hesitation around Tuesday

I find myself looking forward to finally being able to speak to TM again, but also not holding out hope for it to actually happen. Part of me is worried either she will cancel again last-minute, or my back will still be hurting too much to make the drive and sit for an hour… I tried to go out yesterday and even a 5 minute drive hurt so badly that I turned around and came home.

I’m not sure at this point I even know what to talk about with her. I think I need to find a box of crayons and just plan on coloring. I need to figure this trust thing out with her, because right now there isn’t much. I’m not trusting there will be any consistency in our sessions, I’m not trusting that we will accomplish any of the goals I went in there with, I’m not trusting she hasn’t shoved me into a diagnosis box… I’m also not trusting that I will open up to her, or want to talk much about anything of substance. I’m not trusting that I will be able to come out from behind my walls far enough or long enough to make any of this work. She says I have disengaged from therapy, but it’s not only that; I’ve disengaged from myself. It’s still been forever since I’ve done any art (besides the journal class this past week, and even that was a struggle). There’s no connection to my emotions. It’s all nicely sealed away. Even the flashbacks are only playing out behind a wall. I get snippets of them in dreams, I get a sense that they are occurring in the back of my head, but nothing is coming forward except vague body sensations. I feel very disconnected from everything right now.

Maybe it’s better that way? Maybe it’s safer to go through the days without any connection to anything. I have no energy, but I’m also not thinking. My body doesn’t want to do anything; my brain doesn’t want to do anything. Maybe this is ok? Maybe when I go in Tuesday, I will keep the detachment and be able to tell her about the things she wants to know without drifting further?

I dunno…