Tag Archives: emotional

Tonight’s Art as Therapy

Yeah… kinda had a melt down on the phone with my wife. Wasn’t her fault. The way she reacted to something I said was just “the last straw” for the day. And lemme tell you, that meme that points out that angrily hitting “end call” just doesn’t fill the need to slam the phone down is SO accurate… not that she deserved me slamming the phone down, but I was having a moment. Being able to slam the phone would have helped get the churning emotion out. Instead, I pushed “end” about 30 times as I gently set the phone down next to me… anyway, there was no real reason for my outburst. I felt bad about it, but I just couldn’t rein it in in time… the stress of the day finally cracked me. I almost cried…
We talked about it a few minutes later and I apologized. She apologized also, though she didn’t have reason to.

Anyway, I figured after my craptastic display of assholery, I needed to let off some stream. I started finger painting a journal background. It was too bright though, so it got covered in crackle medium then black paint. Ahh, the comfort and security of a black background…

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I played some more, added more paint, and am now waiting for those layers to fully dry before I figure out where to take the page next.

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While watching paint dry can be spectacularly entertaining, I needed to risk missing the excitement and move on to another project. I decided I was going to put more effort into the happy timeline TM asked me to do. I came up with this:

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It was supposed to be a rose vine with leaves (and thorns), but after putting down the vine, I realized it kinda also looks like a dragon. The vine would have great symbolism (growing the “happy” in life), but I just like the thought of a dragon better… so I’m undecided where to go next with the artistic “line” of my timeline. I’m going to sleep on it, and see what I decide another day.

I wanted to put more effort into this one because I want the positive stuff to be a more salient memory than the negative stuff. This is also less overwhelming, even if it does have its triggers and sore spots. I might end up gluing it into my art journal as a fold-out spread. I want it to be something I want to look at and remember.

Anyway, yeah. The cats did their best to hinder progress, but I figured out how to work around them.

Rora is weighing the value of sitting on the project I’m currently working on vs walking through the wet paint on the journal page.

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And Biz absolutely had to have a bath immediately as I started drawing… he actually woke up from a sound sleep on the coffee table to make the most of this unique opportunity.

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What can I say, they are too cute trying to be annoying for me to actually be annoyed at them.

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transference sucks ass

This transference crap is such a pain in the butt. I got past the stuff that was blocking me from taking TM up on the offer for an extra session (was able to leave her a message after many false-starts). Now that I have though, I’m panicking because I think she’s pissed at me again. Rationally, I know she’s just probably not gotten a chance to check her messages and/or return calls. Irrationally, I think I failed the test. I think she is mad at me because I dared to try get more than I was originally offered; that I thought I was worthy of something else.

I know the rational line of thinking is likely the true one, but the emotional line is the one that is screaming in my head. It’s the loudest one. It’s the one I can’t drown out or talk away with reason… I think TM and I talked about it last session, or the session before (I’m not really sure which). I know she knows about it, and we will continue to address it in the remaining sessions, but right now it’s a huge barrier. I don’t know how to reach out without guilt and fear. I don’t know how to hold on to a consistent, caring, and genuine version of her in my head. She keeps getting mixed up with the past. It’s very frustrating.

I want to ask her how to move past this, but I can’t get the words out in front of her. Most everything gets stuck in my throat (then it erases everything in my head). I’m lost on how to communicate, or even what to communicate to her. I tried writing it down after a brief monologue in my head, but as soon as I tried it, I lost everything I had figured out. Ugh!

Can someone shoot me already?! I’m so tired of this struggle. Stress is building, sleep is waning… I’m out of ideas. Any plans that may be in the works feel hollow; like a smoke-screen to try to assuage the anxiety. It gives the illusion of competence and togetherness, but it’s the furthest thing from it. None of the plans are actually realistic or viable. I know I need to ask for help around them, but I have no idea how. I feel like I should actually know how to fix the issues before I ask for help figuring out how to fix them. I know, that’s not really how asking for help figuring things out should work, but I guess that’s another throw-back to the past. Asking for help should only be done once you actually know how to accomplish whatever it is you are asking about… :/


the rollercoaster continues

Yesterday was horrid, today was better. Hung out with a friend. Though I was pretty distracted, I managed to make some headway on holiday cards.

The whole time I was swinging from ok to really sad and distant. I felt bad because my friend picked up on it. She asked me a few times what I was stuck on… There’s only so many times you can say “I’m not quite sure where to go with this”. I landed on “I’m just tired”. She took it at face value. I was ok with it. I didn’t feel like explaining it all.

The sadness hit again pretty fast after I left her house. It made it hard to concentrate on driving home. I intended to stop at the grocery store, but found myself at walmart for some reason. I know I wanted cookies, but I also know walmart doesn’t have the yummy cookies I was hoping for. I went in, walked around, and it took me several minutes to realize I was at the wrong store. I wasn’t dissociating, because I knew which¬†store I was in, but I didn’t seem to register that it wasn’t the store at which I had intended to stop. I left and headed to the grocery store (and proceeded to spend way more money on comfort food than I care to admit).

The sadness keeps coming in waves. I’m ok, then I’m drowning in sadness, then I’m ok, then I’m drowning again… I caved and left a message for TL. When I left the message (or tried to), the receptionist was confused. I had to explain that TL was still seeing me through the end of the year, and that in the past either the clinical director, the office manager, or the receptionist had gotten a message to her for me. His confusion underscored to me how uncomfortable I am with this arrangement. Either way, next time I see her, I need to talk to her about this. I need to not be her only client there anymore. It makes me so uncomfortable to be different. I really like TL. I don’t want to lose her as a therapist, but if she’s not there anymore for anyone but me, I don’t want to be the reason she’s coming back. I don’t like considerations. I don’t like feeling “special”. I don’t like anything that makes me stick out. I want to blend in. I want to be the same as everyone else. I don’t want to be seen, or have the chance to be seen… I really need to talk to her about this. I think I want the next session to be our last… It’s that uncomfortable.

That realization is making me more sad. I think I need to tell her over the phone that the next session needs to be the last… ūüė¶ No matter how bad the depression gets, I can’t handle this being the support structure. I’ll deal through the end of the year. I’ll figure shit out, and if I have to find support elsewhere, I will. I can’t do this though. It triggers too much. I already have strong emotional reactions to her because something about her reminds me of the past. This just complicates things… ūüė¶


Happy Tofurkey Day!

1897012_10152868130329892_2569156459545851216_nHappy Thanksgiving to all my US readers. Happy Thursday to everyone else ūüėČ

I’m trying to not break down in tears. I pushed myself to hang with friends this morning for “Friendsgiving”, which was good. I was able to laugh and be social. I was very ready to head home after about 3 hours however… The best part though (aside of hanging with friends), was that they set out colored pencils with a paper table-cloth so we could doodle. They are big into the Wicked Queen from Snow White, so I drew them an apple… I figured it went with the theme of the day, and with their decor.

Now mom and I made some of our own dinner, so there’s take 2 on food for the day (I swear this is more food than I eat in a week, all crammed into 1 day. Gotta love the tradition of gluttony with the excuse of it being a holiday). Just have to wait for the last of it to be cooked and I sit down for another round of stuffing myself…

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It’s just after 9pm, and I find myself cruising Netflix and hulu+ for movies that might trigger tears. The feeling of needing to cry has not left, and now I just want to get it over with. I want the tears to flow and the relief to come. I know even with the growing depression, at least some pressure would be released by crying, but it’s not happening. I can’t seem to let my defenses down long enough or fully enough to let the tears escape¬†(though they threaten at every turn). I really need the relief. I need the break in the intensity of the emotion.

I suddenly don’t know how to cope with all this. I don’t know how to lessen the emotional experiencing right now. The more I think about the implications of some of the BPD diagnosis, the scarier it gets. I keep being reminded that individuals with BPD experience things much more intensely. I keep being reminded that it’s never a matter of lessening the emotional impact of things, but more so learning to deal with it. The prospect of that is terrifying. If I have to keep going through life feeling things this intensely, I don’t want to do it. I don’t want to just learn to ride the crazy waves of emotion. I want to lessen the whole experience.

I’m not sure I can explain the intensity of the emotion. It’s more than just really sad, it’s debilitating. When anger hits hard, it’s more than just anger, it’s blow-out rage. When it’s really happy, it’s really incredibly happy. Yes, there are times when it’s not incredibly intense, but when it crosses that line, it leaps over the line and the next 10 lines after that. It’s like the difference between getting a paper cut and eviscerating yourself… Strong emotions for me are on the self-evisceration end of the spectrum, only I have no idea how to anesthetize myself for it. I know how to turn off the emotions completely, to block feeling them. I know how to put up walls and keep them at bay, but if they start to gush, I have no idea how to lessen the hurt. I have the theories and the intellectual skills, but it doesn’t help the emotions. All the learning in the world makes no sense to my emotional brain, the one that feels every emotion with the intensity of a burn victim. I know DBT and CBT are supposed to help with it all, but it doesn’t translate to the emotional side. It also doesn’t translate well to the kid inside who interprets everything as not doing good enough, not being good enough.

I’ve noticed the old “failure” tape has gotten louder and more insistent of late. It screams over everything. I’ve noticed that I need to apologize to TL when I write to her. I need to find a way to make up for being “less than”. I’ve noticed that I cannot bring myself to easily tell her that I need the weekly appointments even though I really feel like I need them. I feel this need to “be good” and muddle through the two weeks between sessions. I need to do this because I don’t want to disappoint TL. I need to manage within her boundaries, even if they are just my interpretations of her boundaries. I’m aware that a lot of this is a reflection of the transference I feel around her, only I’m not sure if I can or should try to talk to her about it. We have only about 3 sessions left at this point. If I wasn’t about to terminate with her, I might consider addressing all this, but I’m confused about the value of it if we are ending. I guess there would be value in talking about it at least in so much that then I could more easily talk to the new therapist about it (or it may be more easy to spot if I tell her about it? and easier to help navigate it?). I don’t know. I guess I should talk to TL about this. It’s really difficult though. It’s the battle between the old learning (the child inside) and the new learning. I struggle to quiet the child and make her feel safe so I can implement the new learning. It’s most certainly a struggle.

I’m realizing again that TL managed to afford me a measure of balance that I hadn’t found before. I can’t seem to allow myself to attribute the balance to any changes within myself, so I have to call it something with our interactions or how she relates to me… I don’t have enough faith in myself to believe I could accomplish something like that myself, it has to be the other person…


feeling raw & needy

The relief from yesterday’s session is now accompanied by feeling emotionally raw. I want to cry my eyes out (and I’m sure it would help), but I can’t seem to do it. It feels like tears should be flowing freely but they are just not there. Really glad I see TL again on Saturday, though I am not sure how to express all of this to her. I don’t want to not process this stuff, but I also don’t want to have to hold it alone for another week if we do more on Saturday. I wish I knew how to hold on to some of that sense of support throughout the week. I suppose I could call and leave a voice mail (or just listen to the greeting). There’s hesitancy around that though. I fear becoming too needy and annoying. I fear relying on it too much. I fear hitting her “point of frustration” with it. She didn’t offer it again this week. The worried/anxious part of me interprets that to mean that she is rescinding the offer. Intellectually, I think she may just not want to be over-stating the permission, but I think I need that over-statement on an emotional level. I need to know it’s ok to be “bothersome” (by my definition). I need to know it’s ok to need. When I get stuck in this raw, little kid space, I have a hard time being ok with being either.


Honesty in treatment

I’m a believer (most of the time) that honesty in treatment is the key to making any progress. ¬†I say “most of the time” because sometimes my fear gets the better of me and I want to hide the ugly or scary parts of myself.

In an attempt to “just breathe” and get through the weekend, I tried to take a step back from myself for a moment. ¬†I opened up my journal and started to write a list of what I get from my behaviors and actions. ¬†I wanted to be as brutally honest as I could be with myself, so I resolved not to show it to anyone. ¬†I wrote all the contributing factors down no matter how shameful or embarrassing they may be. ¬†I was originally going to make it a cbt/dbt-style exercise with pros & cons, and some challenges to the reasons, but I eventually decided to stick to simply listing the reasons. ¬†I am not necessarily in a place to objectively challenge any of those thoughts or beliefs, so I didn’t want to torture myself further by trying (honesty can be scary, especially with all the judgements flying around in my head). ¬†I came up with a pretty comprehensive list. ¬†I think I covered everything I get from my behaviors. I even managed to cover some stuff I do not like to admit to myself that I get, but I wrote them down in an attempt to be brutally honest with myself. ¬†I find myself very stuck in therapy partly because I cannot get past the shame and embarrassment of a lot of things. ¬†I’ve made some progress with De on some of the shameful stuff, but there’s heaps more back there still.

My problem comes now in the sense of urgency I feel at needing to talk about this stuff. ¬†I’m afraid that if I don’t talk about it right now, in the moment, and to someone who can follow-up with me on it, I will lose my drive. ¬†I will find ways to talk myself out of the reasons. ¬†The thick walls of shame will fly back up in a flash, and I’ll be stuck again. ¬†My hope is to be able to talk to De about all this, but there are boundaries in place over extra contact (boundaries that I desperately need right now). ¬†I have to wait until Tuesday to talk about it. ¬†Intellectually (and from a professional perspective), I totally get this and know I should wait. ¬†The little kid in me is having an emotional shit-fit however. ¬†She’s stomping her feet and dying to beg for a chance to address this in the moment. ¬†I’m trying to calm her down. ¬†I know I cringe at admitting¬†most of the list to De (a professional I have grown to trust), let alone anyone else I may not know or that may not have the professional perspective. ¬†I know this needs to wait to be addressed in an emotionally safe environment, but damn I wish it was now. ¬†I am trying to compromise with the emotional side of myself. ¬†I wrote it out where De will be able to see it and know it exists, but I have asked her not to read it. ¬†I am trying to commit to myself to leave it up where she can see it, and to trust that she will not read it before Tuesday (I have no reason to believe she would not do as I ask). ¬†I know I need to address this stuff to be able to move past it, but I also know shame can cripple me in it.

On one hand, it’s really good that I have the freedom to show or hide from De whatever entry I need to. ¬†It helps me censor myself and practice self-containment. ¬†On the other hand, it allows me to hide things I may need to address but am too ashamed of ¬†admitting. ¬†My ability to communicate is ever-evolving. ¬†I am still learning balance. ¬†I’m hoping the blog helps with that. ¬†I know if it were something I could not edit (like an email after it is sent), I would drive her and myself nuts more than I already do. I think honesty is incredibly important in treatment, but so is self-control on my behalf. ¬†With the blog I am learning that I can be more honest when writing, but I am also learning that there are some things I need to learn to reign in. ¬†I am able to spill a lot to her, but also go back and hide things or reveal things after the initial emotional spillage. ¬†As L reminded me this morning, sometimes things need to “marinate” before being addressed. I’m grateful De puts up with me and my alternating emotional explosions and implosions (sometimes she gets way too much info, other times I am unable to give her anything at all). ¬†I’m learning the balance with honesty also. ¬†Right now, I am at the stage of needing to be able to tell her everything and be taught what needs immediate addressing vs. what can wait… I hope she doesn’t hate me for this learning process. She only has to put up with me for another 2.5 weeks anyway (I know, not an excuse to completely lose my shit right now)…

::deep breath:: the process of learning things as an adult that I never learned as a kid is incredibly trying and painful… and way more difficult because as a kid, it was expected that I didn’t know this stuff. ¬†As an adult, I¬†should know better by now and be past these little hissy-fits.


Sadness

So, De was right. There’s a ton of grief over this whole thing. After the tag sale today (and my short nap following it) I woke up feeling lost. I had spent the last 3 days frantically occupying myself with the logistics of the garage sale. I woke from my nap without purpose or distraction. There was an overwhelming urge to cry uncontrollably, hysterically, and wholeheartedly. I didn’t let myself though. The last time I felt this urgent a need to cry, I was hysterical for over eight hours. I ended up calling a crisis line then being involuntarily committed to a psych unit. I’m in no mood to go through that again, especially in this state with such poor mental health care.
We tried to find someone to go out with as a distraction (L is the only person I consider safe enough to cry in front of, so I would end up crying wherever we went out). None of our friends were available today (or this weekend)… we ended up just going to buy food and drink. Eventually, the hunt for my preferred beverage managed to distract me from the pending tears.¬† They didn’t come today, but I’m sure they will soon enough… I hate crying. I hate that tears this loaded don’t seem to end. It doesn’t help that I have my monthly mood swing.