Tag Archives: flashbacks

I don’t have words to effectively communicate what this is…

Been really out of sorts lately. Can’t totally pinpoint what the exact precipitating event was, but maybe it’s just everything from the last several weeks… There have been so many triggers and stressors (L’s mom has been really sick, and recently diagnosed with congestive heart failure; I didn’t get to visit my own mom much in the two weeks she was up because I cought a cold; stuff’s just been seeping back lately anyway; one of the ladies in the trauma group I attend is really struggling, and her struggle really hits home… It’s something I’ve been through over the years; I actually, out loud, explained to my mom why I think having a service dog would be beneficial; I’ve started to look more intensely for a suitable sd candidate…

The triggered feeling had me craving a way to express itself, or feel more pointedly whatever this feeling is, so I ended up watching Unbelievable on Netflix… Watched the whole 8 or 9 episodes last night, so I didn’t sleep well yet again (between being sick for 2 weeks with this cold, and bring concerned about L’s mom, and just scheduling, I don’t think I’ve had more than 2 hours sleep in a row for about 3 weeks now)… I really related to Marie’s character; not so much the rape and police reporting, but the experiences of the flashbacks, of saying whatever just to appease the one with the power, of trying to explain things, but getting confused and flustered, so shutting down instead of communicating, of having huge walls around myself, of being inadvertantly hurt by parental figured who mean well, but can’t see past their own shit… There’s so much of her character that hits home that I don’t even have words for…

I feel like I’m just shuffling in circles and bumping into myself today. This past week has triggered old stuff, but it’s still so far away. I feel it, but I don’t quite know what it is. It’s old, but… I dunno. It’s still walled off.

I really wish I could talk to Dr C about it… Monday feels so far away.

It’s kinda what Marie’s character felt, but it’s much older; I was much younger… Or maybe not? Maybe I was a teenager when I started putting those lessons together like that? They’re kid lessons tough; older than SJ-old lessons… How old was SJ again?

I kinda want to at least reach out to L about it, but I wouldn’t know where to start, or what to say… This is all stuff I stumble over about voicing. I don’t have words for it really. There’s not really a language for it… I kinda wish I could just pull all the clips of Marie’s character from that series, and take it in to Dr C. Maybe at least I could point to the parts that really hit home, maybe… I don’t know what…

I hate feeling so lost and floaty and trapped inside the feeling. Grounding doesn’t really help right now. As soon as I turn my attention from the act of grounding, I’m floating again.

I don’t even know what I’m floating in! It’s this fog soup of the past or something

L offered to go to Dr C with me one day so we could try to talk about this. She had mentioned just now while taking the dogs out, feeling like she wished she could help, but she didn’t know how. I admitted to her that I wished I could talk to her, only I don’t know how. I don’t know what to say, or how to explain this. I don’t know how to put words to whatever this really old thing is… I don’t think I’d know how with Dr C either… I dunno… I… I dunno. I wish I had words or expressions. I wish I could point to a feeling, or have her feel a bit of what this is just to be able to express it, but… That kind of communication doesn’t exist. Even if I had her watch Unbelievable, and I pointed to the moments I relate to, she wouldn’t know how it relates… That’s the trouble with feelings that have no words, or thoughts that only have feelings… If I can’t grasp on to it, if I can’t find a way to describe it or talk about it, then how the hell can I communicate it? I could art journal about it, but would she understand it the way I do? Even I don’t think I understand it the same way twice, so how the hell do you effectively communicate that?

I want to get lost in music and cuddle Beary… I wish I could cuddle the dogs, but they’re not huge fans of that… I miss having cuddly dogs… I really want a huge, cuddly dog to hide with right now… It feels safe… Floppy was safe like that when I was a kid. I really miss her…


Been a while

Sorry for being mia. Time gets away from me easily.

This past week or two (not totally sure on the duration) have been a struggle. I’m triggered on so many fronts, but at the same time, I wouldn’t be able to tell you what they are… I know some is related to the anniversary of my last major self-harming incident 8 years ago; Some is related to G being in the state; some is probably related to my monthly hormone cycle.

I’ve refrained from taking pain meds this past week in an effort to ground into my current body. If I’m feeling and noticing the immediate pain in my arms & legs, I’m not lost in the flashbacks… At least, that’s the theory I’m going by. It’s not really panning out that way, but whatever. I’m not cutting, so, progress maintained.

The flashbacks are a mix of that time frame when I was cutting uncontrollably, and the more distant past of abuse. There’s other stuff I know I talked to Dr C about, but I can’t remember what that was just now.

I’m super dissociative, stirred-up, and generally lost. I finally was able to be a hair more open with L about it (she asked if i was ok because I’ve been listening to a lot of music these last few days; if my phone’s not playing out loud, i have headphones in. I generally only do this when struggling). I was able to acknowledge it when she asked, but I’m having trouble qualifying it… It’s a bit easier when I write, but even that’s a struggle. My head has been very foggy and fragmented lately. I forget what I’m doing a few seconds into starting it. Art has been somewhat helpful for concentration. Been making little things to sell at an upcoming holiday craft fair. We have a 2.5 month lead-time, so hopefully inventory will be good for it.

Anyway… Yeah. Trigger-y & flashback-y of late. Trying to find balance. Struggling to express stuff, even in therapy. Lots of brain farts…

Super exhausted all of a sudden, so gonna sign off and nap for a bit before L comes home on her break. Gotta remember to wish the peanut happy birthday today while L is home… Someone remind me about that?

K, nap time.


Are dementia, Alzheimer’s, and trauma reactions related?

So, something that kinda connected in my head, but may not actually be connected in reality, were memory-related disorders of the elderly, and memory-related disorders connected to trauma.

Dr C often described dissociated trauma memories as “bubbles” of memory and understanding. I happened to be describing dementia in that way to a friend, and suddenly they both made sense in the same way: nothing else exists in the moment of a flashback, only that moment. Often times, the same is true for dementia and Alzheimer’s patients; they exist in the moment of the time they remember, but nothing outside of that. They forget loved ones, major life events, aging… the same is true for flashbacks, only flashbacks seem somewhat easier to ground from. Age-related memory issues seem to make it a more permanent state of being.

I’ll have to look into whether or not there’s research on any potential connections between age-related memory issues, and trauma-related memory problems…


dumb question…

can you have flashbacks of non- trauma memories?

Or, at least I don’t think that bit was traumatic…

It happened at mil’s house tonight, both the kids were doing their homework. Our great niece kept doing anything but reading, and MeeMa kept telling her to “read [her] book”. For a few seconds, I was a kid, hearing that same phrase while doing homework… it was my aunt saying it? Or maybe my mom? I’m not really sure, but it was an adult female in the family and it wasn’t bitch… Or maybe it was?

It was so strong in the moment that it happened, but it’s mostly faded now.

I did recall feeling uncomfortable, like i was waiting for more fighting, but… it was such a weird moment… and it wasn’t a flashback directly to a domestic violence moment (the only kinds that come with visuals and sound for me. The sa memories are 90% physical with only the vaguest sense of what the situation actually was)…

I dunno… it felt so real though, and it’s so dissolved now…


jumbled, confusing, pre-verbal stuff

Some days, the sensations in my body make me want to rip my insides up so I could stop feeling them.

We talked a bit about memories and sensations and interpreting pre-verbal stuff. She said that sometimes the pre-verbal is all a jumbled mess, and sometimes it’s interpreted by what we can later connect to it, even if its not accurate to the moment.

I told her sometimes it feels like I’m one of those plastic dolls whose legs pop off if you twist them back enough… I know it can’t possibly be an accurate memory because I have both my legs still. She pointed out that it may have simply felt as if my legs would rip off, but I had no other reference for it at the time, so my brain made the connection to those toys, and kept it because it’s the “best explanation”…

We also talked about how there’s still this internal pressure/compulsion to talk about some of the flashbacks sometimes, but it tends to get caught up when I walk in to her building. I no longer have words for it, and the connection to it leaves, so I struggle to bring it up… We talked around that for a bit, and got a tiny bit in one direction, but then time was up.

Some days I wish I could bring her home with me in my pocket so I could pull her out and talk when the strong drive was present… it only still feels ok to talk when it’s almost impossible to do so. I guess there’s a measure of safety in the impossibility of it.


To Dr. C

Dr C,

Talking to A Monday brought stuff up, but I’m not totally sure what. There’s a lot of the past floating around, and I’m finding myself really easily startled and frightened…

My head was literally spinning today, it triggered vertigo somehow.

There’s body stuff I’m feeling, and… I don’t even know what else. My heart races over nothing. I feel shaky, like I haven’t eaten in days, but in reality, I’ve been stuffing my face. I wanted to cut; to destroy my body; to pulverized it and stab it and shred it and break it and burn it… and by my body, I mean my pelvic area, where the feelings are creeping in again.

I wish we hadn’t talked about body. The kid really wanted to reach out, but my mouth was glued shut. I wasn’t sure how to speak about it without just screaming… so I kept quiet.

Only now the things I didn’t say are finding other ways to be noticed.

I really wish you were here coz I could talk to you about it, but you are still away through Monday… I don’t feel comfortable bugging A about it. There would be too much to explain… she kept saying she didn’t know my history; she hadn’t read what you gave her. Part of me wished she had. That way I wouldn’t have to figure out how to cram an explanation into the session and still have time to address what was happening in the moment… or just skip it all together because I couldn’t condense it that far.

I can feel the anxiety rising again. There are memories and fantasies and fears all happening in my body at the same time. It feels like I’m throwing imaginary scenarios in to drown out whatever is trying to surface. Imaginary stuff that I create in my head is much easier to control (and tolerate) than the stuff that actually happened (maybe? They’re memories, right? They’re valid? Or maybe even those are all stories?…).

I want to do that body drawing stuff she mentioned because it feels like something the kid could use to communicate. He still needs a translator, but maybe that would help? He seems connected to the idea…

I want to try some more kid techniques sometimes. Maybe the stuff that’s stuck would become unstuck? The kid that talked to De while I colored really likes that idea too. She wants to do more of that. She liked talking… I think she told the boy, because he keeps peeking around the corner wanting to try it…

There’s really not these others inside, but it just feels like there are others there, and I just don’t have a better way to describe the feeling.

SJ’s gone. I miss her. She was the most brave about talking. She was the face of the other kids. I dunno where she went. The boy misses her too, and the other girl and little blue monster all miss her. She was both 7 and 70. She was protective, but little, but also… I dunno. A container for the other kids? Now that she isn’t here, the others have to speak for themselves? Maybe she split into them when she ran off? She was older when she left though. She felt… I dunno. She wasn’t really older, but now the memory of her feels older? Does that even make sense? She left as a kid, maybe 5 or 7, but now the memory of her leaving feels like a young adult having moved away from home to get on with her own life. She pops by to say hi every once in a while, mostly to the kids, but she’s moved on with her life… like the babysitter going off to college or something.

I know these are all constructs of my head to order and make sense of things (and to keep safe), but it feels so separate. It kinda feels like other people who maybe speak a foreign language, or are extended family, or something… I dunno.

And they shift and change over time. I guess it’s me shifting and changing things as my understanding does the same. Sometimes they make sense as they were, other times the narrative needs to change to compensate for discrepancies. I guess it makes total sense if you look at it all as constructs of my head to help navigate life… they change with my understanding and head-space.

I’m really glad you will be back next week. I hope the trip was fun. I’m really glad you are back (and I was really relieved when I saw you post stuff on ig)…


ramblings about interim therapists and trauma work and body stuff

I’ve been seeing another therapist in Dr C’s practice while she’s been away. It’s been weird, but helpful in maintaining balance, especially with all this physical stuff going on. I didn’t really talk to her about much outside of “safe” things (things going on in the moment, dealing with the physical stuff that doesn’t have a medical explanation yet (or ever?), surface stuff). There were times I wanted to cover other stuff that wove its way into the session, but I couldn’t open my mouth. It felt like my lips were glued together, and even if I did manage to open them, all that would come out were sobs and screams…

That’s not a new phenomenon for me. I’m not sure I’ve ever managed to open my mouth and tried to speak at a time like that. It taps into something I still don’t have an understanding of, and it never feels safe or comfortable enough to just let that part of me do whatever it needs to do for release… maybe I can bring it up with Dr C once she’s back again next week. I wish I could remember what it was that triggered that feeling.

I know before walking into the building, I had wanted to address the body memories that always get triggered (or more intense) when I get my period. We had kinda started taking about bodies, and how comfortable I was in mine (or not comfortable). We had talked a bit about liking or hating any particular part of my body. I said there wasn’t any part I liked. I should have said, there wasn’t any part I liked anymore because at one point, I had liked my eyes and my hands… but both have failed me since. My eyes either hide too much or tell too much; and my hands don’t create to my standards anymore (stupid trembling and fatigue). So no, right now there’s no part of me I like.

She also asked if there was any part I really hated. Of course there are parts I hate more than others, but there wasn’t enough time in the hour to tell her about it and still come out of the session balanced enough to go on with my day… I’m not totally sure I even want to write about it now, though there would be less explanation involved here than with her… I hate my pelvic area, and my stomach, and the insides of my legs. It’s where I feel the most uncomfortable memories, and what triggers the easiest. It’s the fastest way to send me to space…

A had asked if I’d ever done any body work (on paper) with Dr C. I told her I hadn’t, because even though Dr C had offered it, I panicked at the thought of tracing my body. A clarified that she meant doing it smaller scale. No, we never did do that… I’m not sure why the subject changed with A in that session. I think I started panicking and backpedaling into my head, because at some point, she asked how present I was & busted out a ball as a means of grounding (side note: it worked too! Who knew playing catch could actually bring me back? Normally, I can still do that stuff while dissociated. This time, the act of catching and tossing was balancing. Maybe it was the inconsistent way she did it? She would pause, look at the ball, change the speed of her toss… whatever it was, it worked).

Anyway… yeah. There were so many times I could have said more to her, but I didn’t want to get into it knowing that the hour would end too son, and I’d be left dealing with whatever came up for the rest of the week. At least with Dr C, I can reach out during the week if I need to. A did say to call if I needed anything, but I wouldn’t bother her. It takes me a long time to trust that it’s really ok to bug someone outside of the time they are getting paid to interact with me. Even with Dr C, I still hesitate much of the time, and I’ve worked with her on and off for almost 10 years now…

Oh, I remembered what I was originally going to say about the body drawing; it’s another thing where I feel frozen for fear of what I might do or say. There’s still that urge to destroy my body, even if it’s just a drawing. I still want to take a knife and stab the drawing on the parts I hate the most… or, since I no longer carry a knife with me, stab it with the pencil… that would probably freak her out, so… maybe some day I can mention that to Dr C, and we could find a way for me to be ok doing it in some form. The kid really wants to talk about it still. He has no words, just screams and sobs and anger… or silence. He’s usually just silent because the other stuff is not acceptable…

I really wish Dr C was back now. I wish this could be addressed while it’s still here & “relevant.” It’ll be gone again by next week. This is when that concept of easily accessible, more intensive treatment would be helpful; when stuff comes up and would benefit from being addressed in the moment, so it would be nice to be able to walk back into the room and get to work… let’s tackle this shit coz it’s here. Gimme that little body drawing, tack it to a tree, and let me stab the shit out of it. Let me rip it up and scream and cry and cover it in red paint so it bleeds like my body would if I did that to myself. Let me burn the page so it all goes up in smoke. He needs the release. I need the release…

Let me rip the legs off a toy, and bash it and destroy it… but then I’d need to apologize, because the toy did nothing, it’s just a receptacle for the anger. So let me run out into the woods and scream until my voice is hoarse, and my legs are so tired they want to fall off, and my breath burns in my chest (maybe my lungs would actually burn up. That would be an interesting medical & scientific impossibility)…

Sometimes the anger and the hurt is too much. Sometimes I want to disappear to a safe place where I can do something about it without weird looks and panic over my safety, because ultimately, I’ll be safe, this just all needs a release…

Why aren’t there trauma treatment centers in the middle of the woods, with animals and drop-in massage and art and yoga and holistic therapy like they have for substance abuse? And why is nothing local? Why is the only treatment center even remotely like that all the way across the country, and religious?! I want something with no BS about higher powers or gods or spiritual anything. Why does that not exist?! And why aren’t there more art or play therapists around? The kids want time too, but everything’s in an adult world, so they use translators instead…


update on Neuro appointment

I had an appointment with the neurologist yesterday morning. He took history, did a Neuro exam, and did some nerve testing on my arm. I have to go back tomorrow morning for the same testing on my legs… I’m kinda anxious about the testing on my leg. It’s not really painful or scary, but I expect it to be triggering. He’ll use mild electric current and sensors to test nerve conduction (there’s also a needle part, but I’m trying not to think about that).

There are two potentially triggering times; 1) if he tests nerves above the knee (I’m thinking about insisting that the testing remain below the knee. I don’t really care if it doesn’t yield complete results. My goal is to avoid flashbacks and panic while he’s got needles stuck in my muscles). 2) later tomorrow night when the points he tested are sore and cramping. With my arm, it felt like someone was pushing their thumb into my arm at those spots. It was uncomfortable, but I could talk myself out of panic because it was just my arm. I’m not confident I’d be able to do that if I felt the same on my thigh. I don’t really think the leg test will show any results different from my arms, so there’s no need to risk a flood of triggers and flashbacks, especially with Dr C still on vacation for 2 more weeks. I know I could talk to her fill-in about it, but that would only come after a weekend of dealing with it… I’m not really up for that right now.

Is that a stupid choice in terms of diagnosis? I dunno. So far, everything’s come back normal except for the d-dimer test. If nerves in my arms aren’t damaged, there’s little likelihood nerves in my leg are. After all, my arms often hurt more than my legs, and I’ve not experienced the same weakness with them. So, yeah. I think I’ve decided to insist that he keep the testing below the knee.

He’s also ordering a special blood test, though I forgot to ask what he’s testing (will do that tomorrow).

I’m not really much closer to answers at this point. It’s still very frustrating.

L and I took the dogs out to a park today. It was really nice to get out, and I pushed myself physically because I’m stubborn and I really miss being in nature. We sat or rested 2/3 of the time (much to the dogs’ frustrations), but it was nice. I’m now paying the price for my stubbornness. My muscles are complaining (weak, tense, painful), and I’m super fatigued. I’ve even gone back to taking pot several times since the outing because of the pain… on the plus side, while I still had a lot of trouble breathing, it wasn’t nearly as bad as 2 weeks ago. The inhaler helped some. The Advil helped some. The pot helped some… and I was able to catch my breath about an hour after getting home. Not bad considering it would have taken more than twice that long even last week.

Anyway. I guess I just needed to write out my reasoning for limiting the testing he will do tomorrow. I know it might sound stupid to some, but… flashbacks suck.

Here’s hoping something brings definitive answers.


Rough day…

I hate being so defective.

Was at a urologist today for an initial appointment. Didn’t think to ask them if there would be any uncomfortable exams. 15 minutes in, the doctor sprung the concept of a pelvic exam on me. I kinda started to panic, but tried to talk myself down.

She’s nice. She seems nice. Dr F recommended her, so she trusts her, so I can trust her. L is here with me. It’s all good. No worries. Dr F trusts her, so she’s safe…

That worked for about as long as it took me to think the words one time. By the second round, I was already drifting away. I know I spoke to L about my anxiety, but I can’t remember what was said.

By the time the doctor came back in, I was barely breathing and about to jump out of my skin. I managed to mutter someing about panic rising, and as she looked at me to ask if anything in my past would make this more difficult, I could only nod. Tears were welling up in my eyes. I was flying away hard and fast in my head.

I’m not really sure what she said next; everything was happening miles away. All I could do was keep biting my lip (I actually managed to accidentally bite off a bit of it)…

I think she said something about changing the treatment plan, but I have no idea what she said it would be. I will have to ask L later…

I hate being so defective. I want to be a normal human who can go to a new doctor and get through the visit without any major triggers…

After the appointment, L reminded me it was bingo night. She asked if I wanted to go. My first instinct was to stay home and hide. Then I figured distracting would probably be better…

We went to bingo. I took some meds to help me calm and ground a bit more. I’m so thankful I did! Someone who ended up sitting next to us sounded and acted so much like bitch most of the night. Had I not calmed myself down, I would have been more of a triggered mess…


Medical marijuana

I don’t understand why marijuana is still mostly illegal in the U.S… (well, ok. I can probably tease it out: cash flow, and maintaining the power structure).

Anyway, I’ve been exploring the wonders of the herb in dealing with chronic pain and ptsd (legally, in my home state). It’s pretty useful for so many things. It’s quelling my anxiety. It’s dulling the pain. It keeps flashbacks from breaking through. It stops overwhelming flashbacks in their tracks. It’s lifting my depression. It’s allowing me to get quality sleep at night, even if I have to get up to take the dogs out in the middle of the night… 

And my only side effects so far? Uncontrollable laughter if I take too much (I’m still figuring out the best dosing), slight paranoia (again, if I take too much), some flakiness (isn’t that the same with most psych drugs?), and relaxation. Hmm… such shitty side effects (<– sarcasm, in case you were wondering).

I was hoping it was going to allow me an easier time in talking freely with Dr C about some of the ickier past things, but the remaining effects from the previous night didn’t allow for enough dis-inhibition… I was able to bring up that I wanted to talk about it, and that I wasn’t sure what part of it I needed to talk about, but I still had trouble actually translating what the kid wanted to tell her… we tried something different around it, and it might have worked had session not been over… 

Oh, the pot also dulls the effects of triggers… there was a scene in Nashville that would have normally been very triggering (Juliet recovers some sexual abuse memories). I was able to listen to it,  and all it pulled up was a vague recognition that something along those lines occurred in my history. There was no overwhelming flashbacks, no unbearable physical sensations… I’d say that’s a huge win. 

Hopefully, I’ll get to a point where I can integrate the crap that hits me at times… maybe I’ll even be able to return to “functioning human being” eventually. That would be nice. 

Here’s to hoping out government continues to move towards legalizing marijuana at the federal level. 


Anxiety and stress in my body

I’ve had an “off” cardiac history for most of the time I can remember. I’ve seen cardiologists, worn monitors for varying times, but nothing ever gets recorded or noticed as problematic when they are actuality searching for things.

When I was hospitalized, tech’s were constantly either retaking my vitals, or sending a nurse in to check it.

My average resting heart rate runs about 95bpm (i believe the “normal” for women my age is somewhere significantly lower than that).

No one’s been able to give me a solid reason, though the more research i do into ptsd and trauma, the more i realize it’s likely that.

Anyway, this week’s average had been in the 120’s. My doctor noted it when i went in for having sent my back into spasms on Sunday, but quickly dismissed it a a result of the coffee i was finishing… i should have mentioned to her the “poprocks” in my chest several times this past week, but I’m no good at bringing up something other than what she’s focused on in the moment… it kinda feels like someone lit a sparkler or trick candle inside my chest. It lasts for a few minutes, then fades. It comes more frequently as my stress levels go up. It’s not bad though, since it normally feels like a flopping fish…

Anyway, no doctor is really sure what to do with it all. I’m finally figuring out it is highly correlated with my stress and anxiety levels. This week, not only was i pretty triggered, but i injured my back, and i was fighting off something that drained all my energy (though that energy drain seems to correlate much higher with my tachycardia, just not sure if one causes the other, or both are responses to something else)… it’s not really surprising my pulse has been really high all week (if it ever sustains at about 250bpm for more than a few minutes, I’ll take something).

Today’s therapy was highly emotionally taxing, as were the earlier flashbacks…

(I clearly had something else in mind to write, but i was interrupted, and now have long forgotten what it would be).


Oh. I guess that makes more sense…

Dr C managed to piece together for me that today’s flashbacks were probably related to a duckboy anniversary i never really paid attention to: he stalked me at my college freshman year right around thanksgiving… i knew it was an event in our relationship, but i never really thought that it would cause ripples so far forward.  she hypothesized that, since it was finally the last interaction with him, it stuck with me. 

I guess it makes sense then that today’s flashback involved him… 


Flashbacks (**trigger**) 

I was laying in bed, trying to avoid waking up, when a memory of duckboy hit me out of nowhere. 

**trigger** I could feel his hand holding my wrists above my head. I could feel his crushing weight on top of my body. I could feel his fumbling hand. I could feel his slimey, sloppy kiss, his grinding body… and everything else he did that time. **trigger**

It was all condensed into about a minute or less, but my body is still tingling. There are still echos of the memory…

He used to insist it wasn’t sexual because we had our clothes on. I only resisted so many times before giving in. It was always easier to get it over with than to try to squirm away from under his almost 300lb frame…

For the longest time (we’re talking almost 20 years), I was adamant on only calling it “very insistent”. Whomever was hearing it tried to rephrase it as assault, and I would correct them. I refused to put that label on what he did (partially for his sake, partially for mine)… I had flashbacks at the time, but I wouldn’t remember them after they passed (or even understand that I had one). It wasn’t until my long bout of hospitalizations, where medical records contained notes of me crying and trying to explain the memories, that I finally realized something more than just the memories of my parents fighting was bothering me… Dr C was the first person who heard me admit that what duckboy did might have been rape. I was still terrified to tell her any details, but at the same time, I started desperately trying to write down what I remembered in the flashbacks while they were happening. I knew if I didn’t write in the moment, I’d forget it again as soon as it faded. 

The first time I wrote it out, I was journaling on my phone. It was the early days of smartphones though, before apps saved what you were doing should you be interrupted. A call buzzed in and erased everything I had tried to write down… I took that as a sign that no one needed to know the details. I also switched to trying to capture it on paper. I was anxious someone would find it, read it, and know the things I had done, but i really wanted to be able to read whatever it was I kept remembering and forgetting… It was maybe a year later before I tried to bring up the content of my flashbacks again in treatment. 

—————————-

I was hoping writing about the flashback this morning would help it fade faster (it sometimes works that way), but I’m still feeling echos of memories. I guess my body wants to make me listen. Stuff had been stirring all week, but none of it had been this explicit; there were no real defined cognitive memories, just body sensations. Now, even the echos have snippets of whole memories attached to them… I guess its good group was cancelled and I was able to get individual instead. I don’t want to have to keep sitting with this all weekend. 


Authenticity (of expression) 

Authenticity of expression is something I struggle with often. I’m constantly worried about what people may think, and the consequences of their opinions. 

This is especially true of my art. While it’s often the most authentic expression of self I’m able to reveal, I worry a lot that people will change their opinion of me based on what they see. I worry they will hate me, and deem me less worthy than even I deem myself. Sometimes I’m able to get past that in my art journals, but lately, even that has been censored. 

I feel stuck around being unable to express what needs to be expressed in any authentic manner. I find myself replacing the reality of what I want to create, with a “rainbows & butterflies” edit. I’m stumbling in therapy and focusing on the same, safe methods of expression; the ugly, scary stuff is replaced with a unicorn sticker…

There’s so much “icky” stuff floating around in my head, but I go silent when it comes time to talk about it. There’s a buffer between my brain and my mouth, and my brain and my hands. Things leave my brain one way, but get “prettied up” before they have a chance to be expressed. 

This piece wasn’t supposed to look so peaceful and serene… it was supposed to represent the struggles around trauma. It was supposed to express the loneliness and alone-ness of experiencing flashbacks and memories no one else knows are even there. It was supposed to be more graphic… but in the last minute, I froze, and changed the “gore” to “pretty” and ” socially acceptable”… 

Lately, no matter what I do, no matter my intentions at the start, everything gets censored for the comfort of everyone else. That all just leaves me feeling more alone and distant than before I started. 

I want to be able to convey what it feels like to constantly remember the physical sensations of things long past. I want to express the hopelessness and fear and loneliness and frustration and betrayal… but I end up stuffing it down and covering it up. 

It’s a betrayal of a different kind; a betrayal of my inner voice… it’s really frustrating. 


Flashbacks from unlikely triggers…

Financially, things have been rough with L’s medical leave. Friends of ours’ very generously set up a donation campaign. It’s been doing really well. We are getting closer and closer to the goal set (enough to cover 1 month’s rent, car payment, phone bill, gas for the car, and a few other things that wouldn’t be covered by my money).  It’s really awesome, and I’m really grateful; we both are. We are blown away by the generosity of not only friends & family, but also compete strangers. 

On the flip side of that, it’s been triggering. I had to turn off the notifications for new donations… I had a slight meltdown earlier today because all I could think was that I  would owe so many people. It wasn’t after it subsided that I realized it was a flashback… I knew the obvious body memories were flashbacks, but I didn’t really connect the emotion or line-of-thinking to it. 

Dr C happened to have some availability to text between appointments.  She was patient enough to listen to my panicked rambles and try to help me calm down. L probably would have done the same if I had given her the opportunity, but I didn’t know how to let her in… maybe if I were in a different headspace, I could have explained it all to her, but in the moment, I didn’t know what to say… she tolerated my bottled panic, and accepted me being useless for most of the day… I dunno why she puts up with me, but I’m grateful. 

Anyway, so yeah. Getting donations seems to be a trigger. Having to ask for help is a trigger… I feel worthless and like a fraud. I mean, if I were a real, functioning adult, I would be able to at least work more to help us out when L has legit reasons not to be at work… my rational brain knows these donations don’t come with strings attached, but holy shit, is my inner kid ever terrified… 😓


Triggered

I want to rip my insides out. The body memories are back… 

Between the new group, added work days, recent attempts at contact from my dad’s sister, and other stressor, I’m feeling really triggered lately. 

I told Dr C. I also voiced that I was afraid she might tell me group was not a good idea, since it was contributing to the triggering. She didn’t say I’d have to leave though, so that’s good. I hope she doesn’t change her mind. Yeah, group is triggering, but it’s also nice to know some other people who can relate. I’ve never sat in a room with other people who understood (and voiced their understanding) my symptoms. They understand what it’s like to dissociate, to jump at triggers, to feel things in their bodies that were over decades ago… there’s a sad relief in knowing I’m not alone. 


Impossible things (a letter to no one) 

Sometimes I wish I could materialize you here in my living room, where I’m comfortable and engaged in art. It’s easier to talk sometimes when I’m distracted by the flow, but still connected to the inside. 

Sometimes it’s hard to fit all the talking into that hour. Sometimes it would be easier if we could just do art together and I could talk when things popped into my head; when they felt ready and comfortable to come up. 

It’s safe here alone with just the dogs and my art. Sometimes I wish I could start that way, but bring you in to talk to when I was able. Sometimes I wish you were here without me knowing, so I could get past that censor and shame, and maybe you could help me with the stuff that’s too raw to bring up out loud and in your presence. 

I could get lost in my art and music, and you could watch without me knowing. Then, you could blink in when I wanted to talk… it would be safe and non-threatening. I could communicate the things I’m too scared and ashamed to tell you about. 

And while we are on the topic of impossible powers, maybe it would be good if you could read my mind and tell me for sure if I’m making this all up. You could point out the lies and show me where I’m exaggerating. You could look at the stuff that’s all a jumble and help me understand it. You could take an outsider’s perspective without the emotion, and you could tell me I really am making it all up just because I need to feel worth your time and attention. I want attention… (and even as I think that, I can feel hands on my body and between my legs. It’s creepy. I don’t want attention. I don’t want to be special or pretty or paid attention to. I want to melt into the fibers of the carpet and hide away from everything. I want to disappear).  


More anxiety

My chest is still tight. 

Woke up today… triggered? It’s not exactly the right word for it, because triggered implies more intensity. I was “on”, activated. I started journaling about the story playing out in my head. When I went back to it later to proof read it, it felt hollow and substance-less. I thought I had put more detail, but I guess most of it only played out in my head only. 

The story I woke into left me feeling triggered and on edge. I really wanted to cut. I was aware of the intensity of the desire for the release and balance that comes from it. I was also aware that I needed to try to avoid it… I decided to take a shower.  My usual showers last about 30 minutes on a good day, without that loop that has me feeling unable to get clean… Anyway, today’s shower took almost an hour and a half. I can’t recall any reason it would have. For some reason, I lost an hour in there. And when I was done, I no longer needed to cut. I know I didn’t (I wasn’t bleeding at all), but the desire was abated and my body was a bit sore… 

The loss in time caused me to run late for therapy…

I talked to Dr C about it a bit. She then mentioned something related to family that I had apparently told her previously. I don’t recall telling her anything like that, and I’m not sure I would have necessarily described things in that way, but I believe her when she says it’s something I’ve said to her… that got us onto the topic of dissociation and memory gaps. I expressed my frustration at being faced with more recent episodes of amnesia. I understand the function of it for traumatic events, but this random trigger that somehow connects to the trauma thus leading to dissociation frustrates me. I thought I had gotten to a point where I didn’t completely lose time anymore, but apparently I’m not. I still forget spans of time. Today it happened twice totaling over two hours. The second time happened while shopping after therapy. I thought I had been shopping for maybe an hour, but I had been there for 2.5 hours. Nothing notable happened, but it’s occurrence confuses me. Maybe it was left-over triggering from either the “memories” this morning, or my session with Dr C…

With this sudden increase in noticed loss of time, Dr C suggested I leave pen and paper around in hopes I may journal while checked out. She suggested journaling on my phone may be too complicated in a dissociated state. I dunno. It’s comfortable enough a medium for me… I’ve checked out while trying to journal in my art journal before and ended up just sitting frozen in that position while I was “out”. I’m not sure leaving a pen and paper around would do much. I think i’m more likely to journal on my phone. I know I’ve done that in the past while I was dissociated. Sadly, the app I had used at the time glitched and I lost most of that journaling. I do recall at one point before the app failed that I read several entries I had no memory of writing. Since I’ve started blogging, I’ve found a few entries I don’t recall at all, along with several I’m aware I wrote but cannot feel a connection to. I also know I’ve written quite a bit while dissociated in my private journal blog… none of it looks like anything vastly different than what I remember writing except for the entries that detail the flashbacks and memories; those I constantly have to reread in order to know what they contain. I have the general gist that they describe details, but I wouldn’t be able to recite most of it without reading it. It feels like someone else’s story…

Anyway, I think I lost my point for this post. I feel a bit better though. The anxiety isn’t as crushing after writing for a bit. I don’t necessarily feel grounded, but my chest isn’t tight and twitchy. I still want to cut, but I think I can get myself to bed without giving in. I just hope I can actually sleep tonight. I have work tomorrow. It’ll likely be a 10-hour day again. They are so exhausting, even though they “only” involve camp…

Oh, another stressor; my disability is being reviewed. I think I filled out the form correctly, but I was partially dissociated while doing it. I’m a bit worried I might lose my benefits. I felt weird getting it in the first place, though the providers I worked with seemed to think it was appropriate. I know I don’t have the energy to look for (and accomplish) full-time work. I currently don’t have the emotional head space to succeed at it even if I tried. I feel fake though. I should be able to suck it up and plow through all this. I should be able to be productive in society. I shouldn’t be so lazy and unmotivated… I feel like i’m wasting resources, but Dr C says it’s not a waste. She says having needs and taking time isn’t wasteful… I dunno. I think being so needy is wasteful and a pain in the ass, but she disagrees…

There’s that anxiety again. Guess I should sign off before I send myself into a tizzy over something which I have no control…

Sorry this post is so long-winded. I hope it makes sense and that autocorrect didn’t butcher it too badly because I have no energy to proof read just now…


If I stop for too long, my head starts chattering away at me; my body picks up with a vengeance… 

I can’t slow my heart rate down with any reliability lately. It’s been in the 100’s for the past week straight. That hasn’t happened since the move (or, I haven’t noticed/kept track). It’s nowhere near the 140’s it used to be, but it’s also an increase from the 90’s it had been of late… I can feel it working. I wouldn’t call it pounding so much as quite noticeable. At least the “flopping fish” feeling isn’t back, and the tightness from last month is gone. 

I should just go take my sleep aid, but that’ll require a bit more conversation with myself. When I told Dr C that I knew it was only L and the cats in the bedroom, and that the dogs were lose in the apartment overnight, yet I still couldn’t bring myself to walk in there easily, she changed the perspective. She pointed out that L and all the animals are in the house with me. No one can come in or do anything without being noticed. Maybe getting to look at it that way will help. 

I still have to take the dogs out one last time before bed. As cute as he is, I’m hoping the little skunk isn’t back tonight. It makes taking them out a longer process (they are easier to handle one on one when there’s prey around, and the skunk is only prey if the little guy gets riled-up. The girls don’t much care about wildlife when they are on their own). 

The “hands” won’t leave me alone… they get quieter if I can be distracted enough, but then they return. 

I was trying to see if my insurance would cover a weighted blanket (something I’ve found to be helpful in feeling safe enough to sleep), but they were dodgy about it. I have to get the appropriate treatment code to bill under or its not even considered. They won’t tell me the treatment code though. I wonder if I asked Dr C about it, would she know? She has a fair amount of experience working with autistic clients and definitely trauma clients. Maybe she’s come across the code before? I wonder if her recommendation would be enough, or if it’d need it to come from an OT or a medical doctor. 

We’re still working on the “hall pass” idea, though I’m no closer at having something to try than I was last night. Maybe she’ll think of something to suggest? 

I feel weird going back every day this week. Originally it was to try to get some emdr in, but since that’s not been something I think I am ready for at this moment, we’ve just been talking… Maybe tomorrow we’ll get to the art… I’m not in crisis, but the pressure to keep talking about the memories is strong. I’ve opened them up recently, and now they are spilling out. I’m relieved I can spill them to Dr C rather than try to contain them till next week. I hope she doesn’t get too sick of me.


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)…


Exhausted

Therapy was difficult today. I’m back to insisting I’ve made everything up. It’s too much to swollow to believe it’s not all made up…

I think I started crying like three times with her. I rarely cry, but lately it seems to come more freely in therapy… I felt really small. And the thought of ever having been a baby terrified me. 

I’m really lucky Dr C is so patient. She puts up with all my crap, and still agrees to see me again…

We were going to try to do some art today, but I digressed. I showed her some [graphic] stuff in my journal, and then we talked more about it. I still need to come up with an acceptable “pass” to allow myself permission to step away from triggering situations. I think we are going to work on that more tomorrow and next week. I’m not sure I have a good idea of what might work. I need something that will not only give me internal permission to step away, but also that would potentially make it ok for anyone else I’m with. When triggered, I feel an obligation to stay in the triggering situation if there’s someone else there that may disapprove of my leaving… it’s difficult to find something that may meet all those conditions. 

So yeah. More therapy tomorrow. I didn’t want to leave her office today, but at the same time, I wanted to be out of there already. It felt safe, but I was really overwhelmed. I wanted to keep the safe feeling while escaping the overwhelm. 

The feeling of desperately wanting to shred my flesh off so I stop feeling the flashbacks has abated somewhat. I still want to obliterate my brain, but that can temporarily be accomplished through alcohol…


triggers…

I went with a friend to a retreat/yoga thing today. It was described as more buddhist/spiritual. That kind of stuff I can handle… Only it was in a catholic retreat center, complete with religious symbols all over the place. Luckily, my friend is atheist, so she was as uninterested in the religious aspect as I was (only, I was really triggered, not just uninterested).

I did my best to ground from all the flashbacks, but it was really difficult. My friend was frustrated that I refused to do the meditations. She was convinced it would help my head. I didn’t know how to tell her that being mindful and present in my body brings up intense flashbacks to csa. It was all I could do to distract from them before they came on full-force just by walking into the retreat center. She told me I should have at least tried the breathing… only she doesn’t know that focusing on my breath was something I did to get the abuse over with faster (he would wait till he thought I was asleep to start things).

Even the yoga was problematic. I’m used to doing more standing poses, but these almost all involved laying on the floor… I did maybe 3 of the poses because all the others sent me right into flashbacks.

I feel like such a loser. There are all these things that are supposed to help, but they only make things worse for me. Aside of all the csa stuff coming up, I got flashbacks to the times I was hospitalized… the stupid hallways looked so much like the hospitals…

I know Dr C is more understanding when I tell her things like this trigger me. I get that they make sense in terms of my history. It’s just so difficult to explain to everyone else. I’m not just being stubborn and resistant. It doesn’t feel safe, and it sends me into a tailspin… As is, all I want to do at the moment is self-harm and dissociate. I don’t like feeling the things in my body. I don’t like “remembering” this stuff that should never have happened… and I really don’t like being seen as difficult and resistant.

I should have excused myself and sat outside while my friend and her mom did all the meditations and talks. I could have avoided all this extra triggering. I didn’t want to disappoint my friend though.


They feel far away

It doesn’t feel real anymore, those “memories” that felt so real when I lived down south. The further I get away from having lived there, the less convinced I am that they were real…

Dr C says that it’s “normal” for trauma memories to be encapsulated & only accessible during certain conditions… I believe her because I trust her expertise, but at the same time, I doubt the validity of my own experience. Yes, if they are true, they explain a lot of seemingly random and unexplained things (like my strong negative reaction to male genitalia, my intense dislike of being touched unexpectedly, the weird body sensations that seemingly never leave, the huge gaps in my memory…). But…none of those memories feel real anymore. As out-of-touch with my earlier adult life as I felt while living at home again, that’s how out-of-touch I feel with what came up living “at home”. The only difference is that I had proof of my early adult life (a resume I could look back on, friends, my wife, journals to re-read, etc). I don’t have that for my life growing up. The only journals I still have are ones that talk about friendships and kid things. There’s nothing in the book I found that would corroborate the story in my head. There’s no person that could or would validate it. Bitch took my journals from middle and high school when she stayed in my room after I had moved to my aunt & uncle’s house down the street for my senior year in high school (they were already dead and the house had been sitting empty for a few years. Some vandalism happened. I jumped at the chance to get away from my parents’ constant battles and offered to “live” there). It started as only sleeping at their house, but eventually I spent more and more time there. At the point I left for college, I had been living at the house full time for several months. My mom moved in there shortly after I left for school; she needed an escape from my dad also… he was really abusive to her. I think she used the excuse that I had left my animals at the house and they needed tending, combined with the house needing the “security” of being occupied. My brother stayed with him in their house, but he had always been safer with G. There were a lot of double-standards flying around when I was little, from both sides (though it took me a lot longer to see some than others). My brother got away with a lot by my dad. He was held to much different standards by my mom & K. The same was true on the flip side; I got away a lot lighter with mom & K than I did with G… I realize now that so much of what I thought was normal growing up was actually really abusive. I had thought my brother escaped much of it, but in reality, he just caught it on another front. 

I’m connecting with some of those memories that came up while living down south simply by having talked more about growing up, but they still feel just barely out of reach. It feels like something I can just barely brush my finger tips against if I reach out really far. They don’t feel totally fake when I think about the specifics of growing up there, but they still don’t feel real either. Part of it is that I don’t want to delve into describing them too much here. What if they really are simply a sick, twisted story I tell myself. If I wrote about them, they would potentially be damaging to those others involved. Unlike the domestic violence incidents, I have no corroboration to them and they are not “public knowledge” within my circle… it feels irresponsible to write too much about them right now. Another part is simply that they are very disturbing to me. I’m afraid of thinking about them and accidentally flooding myself with trauma memories I can’t contain. They do enough of that unbidden, there’s no use inviting it outside of the safety of Dr C’s presence… 

They’ve faded again for the most part. It’s back to the faint tingles in my body, the echos of touches… these I can handle at this level for the time being. There’s no drive to cut the memories out of my body. They don’t trigger a desperation to be rid of them at the moment. They had in the past; it’s how I ultimately ended up at The Center in DC 5 years ago this past week. They had tripped me over into desperately doing anything to change the sensation in my body. I didn’t understand them at the time, I just knew when they got bad, I needed to cut the feel of duckboy out of my body… and in my dissociated state, I admitted to the doctors that there were other memories I was trying to cut out, but the only ones I consciously remembered then were the duckboy ones (it was a combination of disturbing and validating to go back and read that the concept of other sexual abuse had been brought up years before I “remembered” it down South. I have no memory of telling the doctors at the er, but apparently I did during more than one visit. And I didn’t read those files till after the memories surfaced with De; after I had switched to TL)… if I think too much about them, or let my brain wander towards those memories, they intensify and threaten to flood again. I can’t afford that right now…

Now I’m afraid to write any more and also afraid to put this down to try to sleep. They feel closer again, threatening again… I feel like I have to keep rambling to “hold the door” against them, but not rambling in a direction that helps them push forward. Maybe if I put this away and try some music I’ll be able to sleep for the hour or so before I have to wake up. I could ease some of the tension and just cut, but that would bring about a whole host of external consequences I really dislike. Better to sit with those urges instead of giving in. I’d break my “clean” steak also, and that would be frustrating to realize in the morning… yeah, better to try to listen to music and sleep a bit more.


Avoidance

I think I need to have a conversation around avoidance with Dr C… I find it difficult to go in after a week and try to delve right into difficult stuff. I tend to talk about the weekend and allow the session to veer from the heavy things I’ve been holding onto for the week. I was able to eventually mention the memories from the weekend, but I didn’t talk about it to the degree I wanted to address it….


I don’t have a good working title for this piece

This whole “reorganization” of how I handle stress; the shift from instant dissociation of emotions in order to deal with the situation at hand, to an overwhelm of emotions and feel incompetent, has my little world in a sort of chaos…

Flipping through some junk mail, I found the perfect image: a long-exposure picture of a barn and night sky. The long exposure made the stars look like circular steaks in the sky, and the angle of the image gave the barn a “funhouse mirror” effect of stretching and angling it to look ominous and looming.

I did an image transfer onto a page in a journal that already had some paint and ink on it (one of those “hey, let’s not waste this extra stuff” pages with stencil “stamping” and other random effects). The stuff that was already there can be seen through the image transfer. It gives some added depth, but also goes with the feeling in trying to convey (they were Halloween-themed stencils I had been testing out)… the transfer came out grungy; again, it fits the feel of the page. Sadly, much of the detail of the streaking stars was lost. It just looked like a glowing barn next to a large black area. I accented the streaks with my white pen. Sometimes I’m glad that my supplies don’t work “perfectly” because the intermittent lines made by the pen mimicked the steaks in the original image. It was frustrating when I tried to use the same pen to write lyrics from a Tori Amos song on the page, but it worked perfectly for the stars…

The page has a few different sets of lyrics on it. I don’t normally mix lyrics on pages, but the the two tori songs are connected in my head… and the telepop music inspired words are a reminder to balance the chaos (“just breathe. just be”… I was limited to the words printed on the washi tape, so not totally accurate to the song).

The lyrics in white at the top of the page are from Upside Down, by Tori Amos;

“god, I love to turn my little blue world upside down…inside my head the noise chatter chatter chatter chatter chatters… you see I’m afraid I’ll always be upside down… but my head it says I’ve been shatter shatter shatter shatter shattered… you see I love to turn my little blue world upside down”

The black lyrics in the barn are from Silent all These Years (also by Tori Amos);

“Years go by/ will I still be waiting for somebody else to understand/ years go by if I’m stripped of my beauty and the orange clouds raining in my head… years go by will I choke on my tears till finally there is nothing left/ one more casualty you know we’re too easy easy easy… let’s hear what you think of me now but baby don’t look up/ the sky is falling/but what if I’m a mermaid in these jeans of his with her name still on it/ hey but I don’t care cause sometimes, I said sometimes I hear my voice/ and it’s been here/ silent all these years”

There’s more to be done on this page, but I’m not quite sure what. Going to let it lead me wherever it wants to go…

image


train of thought crashes into a memory?

Was on the way home from a friend’s house. In the lane next to me there was a dog barking out the car window. I mentally noted how happy I was that this set of dogs doesn’t do anything like that… I thought how annoying it would be to have to drive with a dog that needed to pace back and forth between windows and bark at everything. I remembered an old dog who did not ride well in the car. She would do ok on short trips, and if the windows were open, but the long drive I took was a tough one. I remember her sounding like a squeaky door the whole way. I remembered who was with me on the drive. I remembered how annoyed he was with her, and some of the mean things he said… and then I started feeling things in my body. I had a brief flash of something specific, but it had to have been a mixed-up memory. The angle of the image I got was off… actually, it’s a near-impossible angle to get (at once laying down and sitting up)…

Can’t shake the creepy feeling since. Can’t shake the body memories.

It’s one of those times where it hit at a moderate level and has remained that way since. It’s bearable for the time being, but I hope it fades soon.


Weird nightmare, and how do you describe a flashback before you know what one is?

Woke up from a weird nightmare:
I think I had been at work or something, but it was a congregate care setting. We were trying to hide from nuclear bombs, but the places we were hiding weren’t good enough, so between bombs we would switch up hiding places. At one point I saw an old lady confused and not really hiding well, so I pulled her with me under the sink. That wasn’t a good enough place, so we moved again after the bomb. The last place we picked was under some blankets. The dog that had been under there (a rottie I know from work) that we went to hide with, moved and went out into the open. The stranger I was with and I both screamed for him to get under the blankets but he refused. Then the bomb flashed outside. As the flash was fading, aliens dressed in military uniforms used a tractor beam to pull anything living, and out in the open,  out of the apartment. The dog dissappeared in the tractor beam. I stopped screaming, but the woman beside me kept screaming for the dog, so the aliens started to notice her and started to come over. I held my breath and tried to get her to stop, but she kept screaming for the dog. The aliens hadn’t exactly seen her, but they were almost at us… and I woke up.

Couldn’t go back to sleep after that. I had to keep repeating over and over that it was a dream. Funny how your brain can forget that, despite how absurd the dream may be… there wasn’t even any cold medicine I could blame it on last night.

I certainly had no hesitation in calling this a nightmare because I woke up afraid, but other times much scarier and more gruesome dreams don’t make any emotional dent, so I simply call them weird or scary dreams… I guess that’s a good thing though, right? (The few “nightmares”). The less-absurd dreams, the ones that might actually happen in real life, and make sense that way, I simply consider them dreams. It’s the off-the-wall, can’t-happen-due-to-laws-of-the-universe type dreams that I have an easier time calling nightmares. Oh, there’s also the flashbacks and memories that happen in my sleep, but I don’t often remember them in detail. Those I’m just left with emotional echos in the morning, so they don’t count towards anything. If I happen to remember them and they leave an emotional echo, then I might call them a nightmare, but lately I label those for what they are: flashbacks.

Before I know what flashbacks were, I used to call them “daymares” because they were as scary as nightmares, but they came while I was awake… I knew they weren’t happening at the moment, but I couldn’t escape them either. Weird how we can make sense of things any way possible before we really understand what’s going on… I remember trying to describe daymares to some people along the way, but not really knowing how to explain it. I’m sure at some point I tried to explain it to a therapist. I didn’t think they were true at the time, so I described them as something imagined/made-up. They were real scenarios in that they were not outlandish like nightmares often are (like tonight’s was). They were “normal” in terms of “laws of science” kinda things. I wonder if anyone I described them to thought they were hallucinations, or if they guessed they might be real. If anyone told me at the time, I don’t remember. I do remember some people looked at me with pity when I described them…


Body memories suck.

Woke up with body memories again. I’m getting tired of them. I keep reminding myself that they are from the past, but it’s uncomfortable and difficult to sit through the sensations of being touched all the time… at least L is home today. That’s helping me ground simply because I have to be mindful of her presence.

I’m trying to get through the day without bugging Dr C. It’s mothers day, and the weekend, so I’m going to do my best to keep muddling through.

We need to talk more about the sh tomorrow, and the body memories… :/


There’s fiction in the space between…

Sometimes, I “remember” things that at other times I’m positive couldn’t have happened… but in the moment of “remembering” they feel so real I could taste and touch them.

I know exactly how it feels on my lips. I can taste the mix of sweat and cigarette smoke… in that moment, I know what’s playing in my head was a real event. But then the moment passes, and I can list a million reasons that event could have never happened…

I know the difference between my imagination and reality. I know those were never my fantasies… but what else could they be because I also “know” they are not actual memories. I should have remembered them all along. I should have know. I would have known.

But… ugh! I know they are at once real and fake. I know they are not only a cry for attention, but also a plea for attention. I know this, but I don’t.

I never talked more about duckboy at the time because I “knew” I consented by not fighting, by not screaming, by not pulling away, by obediently doing what I was told (MY had argued the point over and over again. She convinced me that a situation like that was consenting in its lack of resistance. The people that had experience with sexual abuse disagreed with MY, but her stance was easier to swallow. If it wasn’t abuse or assault, then I had nothing to worry about)… but why was I so compliant? I know I had learned somewhere that to simply do what I was told, or let him do whatever he wanted, meant that it would go easier and faster. I knew what it would feel like, I knew what to expect from my body. At the time, I couldn’t tell you how or why I knew this, but I knew.

When I first “remembered” the other stuff, it felt like an elephant kicked me in the chest. It took my breath away. I was driving home from therapy and I had to pull off the highway. I remember calling De in a panic and begging her to tell me all the reasons why what flashed through my head and body wasn’t actually true…

I repeat those same defenses against its truth to myself often: it was something I saw on TV or read in a book, It’s my imagination, it’s the stories of my clients’ pieced together and told with people in my own life…

And at the same time, it can feel so damn true. I know things because “I just know.” I don’t know how I know, I just know… I feel things for no reason other than I have a very active imagination; I’ve pieced together different events and written them with all new characters and story lines. I have a really good imagination. My body plays along with that amazing imagination to give me a better fantasy life… yeah. That’s it.

In the shower today, I remembered something, but it quickly gave way to something I know for sure is not a memory (feels different, and was drastically embellished from the actual events. I think I do that as a defense and a means to keep distance from the other stuff)… but now I’m not sure if the start of it was actually a memory, or just a play going on in my head. I can’t even really remember the beginning part anymore, just that it was disturbing and felt very real.

How can something feel so real and so fake at the same time? How come I can’t talk about it even in vague terms outside of therapy?

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Blergh… (ok, honestly, I dunno an adequate word for this feeling/sound… also **POTENTIALLY TRIGGERING – SH, SUI**

I had another session today. I have been feeling so crappy lately, I asked for some extra time after group yesterday…

It was productive (and long). We talked about what’s causing so much anxiety, and what I get stuck on. At one point, I mentioned some of the financial obligations causing stress. She asked if I wanted to take care of the most stressful one there, and she offered to take over the phone if it became too much for me to keep talking. My responsible side kept bugging me to say yes, but my scared little kid side couldn’t move. We talked a bit about that, then she talked me through the phone thing (literally starting with telling me to take my phone out and find the number). Before actually placing the call, I mentioned the correlation with making an arrangement with this company in particular, and a subsequent hospitalization (so far, it’s happened after every time, and I wasn’t sure if I only had the courage to call them in an effort to lessen anything L might have to take care of in my absence, or if calling them triggered a hard and fast spiral)… she said we’d make a plan after the call to get me through the weekend.

The call was uneventful as usual. The lady I spoke with on the phone was professional. An arrangement was made, and I hung up. Almost instantly, the berating voices started screaming in my head “I’m worthless. I’m a piece of shit. I should have my shit together. I’m a failure. Why can’t I amount to anything? What a waste of space!…” and many more unkind things. Tears started spilling from my eyes, and I managed to choke out that this is what always happens after calling them. About 30 different self-destruct plans flashed through my head. In an instant, I assessed each for viability. More tears flowing unchecked from my eyes. I don’t really remember what else was said, but I was able to communicate the self-hatred and hopelessness.

I guess I started demolishing my soda can because she asked if the pieces I was playing with were sharp enough to hurt myself with. I was a bit taken aback. I’d never consciously self-harm in front of anyone, let alone in her office (it’s a safe space… though I must admit she’s pointed it out to me in the past when I didn’t realize I was clawing my arms during session).  Anyway, we talked a bit more, and she started saying something about me not being bad, and being allowed to make mistakes and ask for leniency. I can’t remember exactly what the words were, but they triggered a flashback… I just cried on the couch and tried to become as small as possible. Part of me kept silently apologizing and begging her not to hate me or be mad at me. Another part of me tried to remind myself that she would not do what I was remembering at the moment, that she was not the person in my memory, and that she was safe. The two inner voices warred to drown each other out.

None of it was voiced till after she stopped taking and I had continued to silently cry for several seconds. I think I actually interrupted her to try to explain what had been going on in my head… I found safe-enough words with which to speak about it; saying how frustrating it was when seemingly innocuous/nice (and common) responses to emotional upheaval and intense self-hatred were such instant triggers… I’m not sure if she was angry or sad that things like that had become so twisted in my head (not angry or sad at me, but for having gone through situations that caused the perversion of those basic concepts), but at one point I think I saw her hands move to cover her face…

We wrapped up that conversation and moved on to a plan for the weekend. I rated my intent to “harm myself” upon leaving. I said a low number, and she was incredulous (that sounds more distrustful that she actually was… more like pleasantly shocked?). I clarified that I wasn’t going to off myself after leaving. She clarified by asking if I’d self-harm. That number was higher. We talked about that a bit, then she again said we’d make a plan for the weekend. I was expecting to have to come up with the standard “what are you doing when you go home today? How about tonight? Tomorrow? Sunday?”. Instead, she asked me to hold on while she checked on her weekend plans… :gulp!: I panicked for a half-second and asked if she truly was just calling her husband (she’s never hospitalized me without talking to me about it, but others have). She showed me her phone dialing out to her hubby. I tried telling her I’d be fine over the weekend; that I didn’t want to interrupt her time with him. She promised she wouldn’t schedule anything if it interrupted their time together. She also said that she had promised to be there for me if I was having a rough time, and this was her way of being there this weekend… a few phone calls later, and we are going to meet again tomorrow either at her office or at her home office (tbd)… I’m still trying to be ok with wasting so much of her time, but she insists it’s not wasting it…

The ride home was “interesting”… I had trouble paying attention to the drive. There were points of the drive where I struggled with myself to keep the car at a safe speed and away from stationary structures. The whole time I worried that if I did crash, even accidentally, she’d think I had lied to her when I rated my safety. I try to be as honest as possible with her about things like that; it’s what built and keeps the trust. I’m more likely to say nothing at all rather than lie about that… I’ve remained silent in response to the safety question before, and we arranged for me to go inpatient like that in the past. I need the trust to be there. I get so low sometimes, I need us both to know that I’ll be honest about my safety even at the lowest times so I’m not again in a revolving hospitalization cycle…

:/

Sorry, that was probably tmi…

I think I need a nap now… catch you on the flip side.