I ended up at the beach last night. It was nice. I will really miss the beach after the move (it’s a mere 20 minutes from here, but will be about an hour from where we will be living… and there will be no palm trees or wading in the winter months). I really needed the time away. I needed to think and drown in my music.
I can’t remember which blog turned me on to Angel Haze, but I am in love. She’s inspirational, positive, and kicks ass. I can’t pick a favorite song because I like almost all of them. Dirty Gold is my current obsession, but there’s also Battle Cry (ft. Sia), Angels and Airwaves, A Tribe Called Red, Same Love (remake)… and ok, just about all of them…
I have been fighting strong self-harm urges since the TSA line back up north. I guess it’s a good thing they no longer allow sharps in the airport because I would have shredded my arm and leg in the airport bathroom before boarding, they were that intense (and I had that little resolve at the moment). Music has been my centering tool. I have not picked my art up again yet, but the iPod is glued to my side, with earbuds wedged into at least one ear. If I don’t have my iPod on, I am playing music through the computer or my phone. I am sure I will run through the gamut of coping skills in my repertoire before De returns from vacation. This weekend is a long weekend and most people already have plans. M and I will be spending more quality time together. It’s not a bad thing, but we have forgotten how to interact. We don’t have simple casual conversations, it’s only ever stuff that lights one of us on fire (if not both). I wish I remembered how to talk to her. I wish I knew how to rekindle that close relationship we had back in the day (or at least I think we had). We are both lost in our own drama. When we meet, we tend to collide because the spinning arms of the drama hit before we meet causing sparks to fly and fires to light.
I volunteered for a research project on reporting sexual violence. I’m not 100% sure what they are looking into, but I believe De had said they are looking into how to improve the reporting experience, and what causes barriers to reporting. I was supposed to meet the lady tomorrow at De’s office, but they will be closing early for the long weekend. The lady will be coming here later on this afternoon. I hope the dogs don’t maul her while trying to get her attention (they LOVE people SO MUCH they are not quite sure how to contain themselves. I also suck at keeping up with their training, and they don’t get out as much down here. They do better when they have seen other humans recently). The questionnaire should take no longer than 15 minutes she says, so it shouldn’t be too painful. I don’t think it will be too triggering either, so it should be well worth the money I get from it… I miss research opportunities. While I was never a fan of writing the papers, I did enjoy coming up with the ideas for the papers. I love expanding the knowledge base on things that we don’t quite know too much about. I love education, and helping people understand things. I wish someone would do more research on the after-effects of sexual violence. There’s so much anecdotal stuff out there, but so little “official” understanding of a lot of it. I recently found a blog entry on a topic I have never really seen discussed in print. I know I have been told that it is not uncommon for assault/abuse survivors, but I had not seen anything even remotely close to educational about it anywhere before. It is also one of the few places to write about it as a function of coping with the abuse vs a pathology simply deemed psychotic. I wish medical professionals had access to that information. I think I may have gotten some more effective treatment earlier on had the doctors seen it as something that makes sense in the context of my trauma. I’m fighting with the thought of posting a link to it here because I don’t think it’s something I’m ready to admit to anyone outside of a few select people. I know it would have helped me immensely seeing it before now. It helps ease some of the shame to know (other than just hear one or two professionals tell me it is not uncommon and it makes sense) that others struggle with it. I was surprised to see the number of comments on that post (well over 200?!) from people all struggling with it in one form or another. I’m just not ready to go public with that aspect of my struggle. I guess I could post a link to the blog itself, and let you wade through the posts to find the one I’m talking about… I just… I can’t say it right now. Not yet. It’s still something I’m working on with De (and eventually with whomever I see up north)… Anyway, the blog is called Blooming Lotus. She has not written recently, but there’s a ton of good stuff on there (at least stuff that can help you feel less alone). I hope, if you struggle with anything she speaks about, you will find some peace in knowing that it really is something others struggle with… and that’s coming from people who know it first-hand, not just through trainings or clients…
On a totally random note (random because I’m not 100% sure what train of thought led to this) but how can you hold two completely opposite and contradictory ideas as true at one time? I know DBT covers some of this, but I am allergic to DBT, so I don’t really remember the concept behind the “dialectics”. I’m talking about such opposing ideas that they should not be able to be held as true at the same time because they virtually cancel each other out. If I tweak one idea, it’s a little easier to understand how I can hold them both true and correct at the same time, but they are not tweaked, nor do I wish to tweak them. One is the concept of “never, ever give up.” The other is the right to “bow out” as each individual sees fit. Suicide is seen as giving up, so how can I hold that sentiment with the belief that everyone has a right to give up if they choose to do so? How can I advocate for life at any cost in one breath, and the freedom of choice to end your own life in the next? I am not currently suicidal, though the freedom to have that “escape route” is calming to me. I hold at once the obligation to fight any and all demons, and the option to give in to the desire for peace and an ending. How is that even possible? Maybe it’s that I understand the pain on both sides. I have felt the desperate need for relief, and I have felt the devastating black hole born of the death of someone I care for deeply. I grew up with the women in my family (and possibly even the men, but I don’t remember that as explicitly) lamenting about death being around the corner. My grandmother said that she would die soon (should die soon, needed to die soon) since before I was born. My mom would always say she wanted the right to kill herself should she ever be incapacitated (she wanted to make sure we all understood and agreed with her right to choose to end her life if she could no longer live it the way she was used to living, be it physical or mental). I think I recall my father saying similar things. No one ever expected to “get old”, yet the only person who did not speak regularly of death died at a young age. My grandmother was 94. Both my parents are still alive (despite saying neither of them wished to reach the age they are currently). Bitch is still alive in her late 70’s (all of us wish she wasn’t). But K is gone, and has been for 20 years this year. She was 52 when she died, but she was the only one who wanted to grow old… I was indoctrinated to believe that every human has the right to decide to end their own lives. But I’ve also felt the loss, and had the training that ingrained in me the instinct to preserve the life of others (and maybe even my own)… so I hold those opposing truths at once. Sometimes it’s a mind-fuck.
pass almost 2 hours: The lady for the research study came and it took me an hour and a half to complete the survey. Her computer was slow, but I also think I kinda spaced on some of it. it was only supposed to take 15-30 minutes. Clearly, I did not fit that time frame. It was ok. I thought it would ask more about any history, but most of the questions revolved around the last 12 months. I remembered an incident I had not thought anything of because of where it happened and the circumstances surrounding it. It was during a hospitalization last year. It happened on a locked unit, by another patient, and in front of staff. It wasn’t anything major, he was having a psychotic episode (or so they said) and tried to grope me after another patient mentioned that I was a lesbian. I pulled away. I was able to re-direct him in no uncertain terms, and staff told him to stay away from me (and really everyone). Despite the fact that I was in there due to my PTSD reactions over past assaults, I was never spoken to about the incident, no one asked if I was ok. I simply stayed out of the common areas for a while, and later had some really bad body memories that ended in an uncomfortable verbal incident with another staff member. The thing is, you lose all rights when you are hospitalized for psych issues. You lose your personhood. You become a thing without feelings, needs, or any control over anything. They treat you like prisoners (though I tend to think prisoners may be better off in some respects). If you don’t do what you are told, you are lectured and called “defiant”. Things slide that would never slide outside those locked doors. People (other patients as well as staff) can treat you like crap, violate all sorts of boundaries, order you to do things, and you just have to accept it. You have no rights, you have no decision-making capabilities, and anything you say is clearly an exaggeration due to your mental instability. I was expected to have no real reaction to this man invading my space and trying to invade my body because he was a patient and so was I. It’s counter-intuitive that a patient’s reactions and feelings are not taken into account on a psych unit, but it’s true way too often. The minute you step foot onto that floor, you are no longer a functioning, reasonable human being who is simply having a difficult time, you are a crazy person that needs containment (even if you are there for depression or anxiety). With or without a psychotic diagnosis, you are treated as if you are actively psychotic. At least, that is how the hospitals in this state are. Up north, I felt a bit more human, a bit more sane.
Anyway, I digress… the survey took longer than I had expected, but I did get paid, so that’s good.