Tag Archives: group

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. 


Sorry I haven’t been around much lately. Losing Chow has been difficult to adjust to. I’ve been withdrawing into myself, yet, paradoxically, throwing myself into things outside the home. It sounds contradictory, I know. 

I’ve been burying the emotional part of me behind a bombardment of stimuli and activities. There’s rarely a moment when I’m not desperately distracting myself.  I’ve not been doing much by way of art or writing though. It’s been mostly “mindless” stuff, like going to dinner with friends (and avoiding anything other than surface conversation), taking the dogs to the park, that kind of stuff. 

I’ve even avoided taking much in therapy. At least, I have up to now. Today’s session might be different. I’ve started attending a group Dr C put together for adult survivors of [mumble, mumble, mumble]… I still cringe and have a small freak-out moment when I hear the title… we’ve met twice so far. The first one was mostly intros and basic group guidelines. The second one was a bit more topic-oriented around explaining PTSD, the symptoms, and how early abuse plays into it. I was ok for the psychoeducational piece of the group, but struggled to stay present when it turned more into talking about the effects on a personal level. 

I think part of my problem with that comes from the walls I’ve put up around the abuse “memories”. I know I was totally convinced at one point that what I was feeling and experiencing were true, but I’ve detached from that the last several weeks. This last group started stirring things below the surface but they still remain below the surface. 

I dunno. On the one hand, it’s a huge relief to have people that seem to struggle with similar symptoms and experiences. On the other hand, I feel like an interloper. They all seem to know what happened to them, and to connect with it. I’m here still trying to remember what the hell it was that came at me in those flashbacks. I know I struggled a lot with them, but they feel foreign to me at this time. It’s like I watched a movie a long time ago, and can kinda remember the plot, but have no idea of the details. And i’m certainly not connecting to it emotionally…


Mandatory distraction can be good

Thursday’s appointment with my doctor was super triggering. Not only did it bring up the distant past, but it brought up the events of 5 years ago.

I had hoped to have individual therapy after the appointment, but Dr C had asked if I was ok moving group to the later time (since I would have missed group for the doctor’s appointment). I agreed to making that individual slot group instead. I regretted it almost immediately, but I had already agreed, so I wasn’t going to reneg…

I’m glad I at least had group. Between group and the triggering appointment, I had asked Dr C if she had additional individual time that day. She didn’t, but suggested I try to talk in group. I wasn’t at all sure I would know how to make what I needed to process group-appropriate, but Dr C managed to lead me there. It helped being able to be a bit more open, though I felt bad for being so self-absorbed during group…

Anyway, today was more distraction: a former college roommate is visiting from another part of the country. We’ve been hanging out quite a bit. It’s nice to have someone around during the day. She gets the depression piece intimately. We don’t talk too much about it, but it’s nice to have someone other than L with whom I can be honest.  She’s also an awesome motivator to get moving. We ended up walking just over 5 miles today with the dogs. I have not done anything like that since several weeks (if not months) before the move. It was good to get out, even if it reminded me exactly how out-of-shape I am…

Tomorrow will be another forced distraction: I will be working a 9-hour day. They generally wear me out. Being at work, interacting with customers all day, also forces me to be out of my head whenever they are there. Then when I finally get home, I don’t want to do much of anything other than veg on the couch… I hope that will all accumulate to be enough to keep me stable.

Speaking of stability, I’m contemplating asking Dr C what she thinks of trying to increase session frequency in an effort to jump-start progress. I’m so tired of feeling so stuck. I will figure the financial piece out somehow…

I’m tired of being so triggered by so much. I’m tired of not being fully in my relationship. I’m just tired… all week I’ve been battling increased self harm urges. I’m tired of that also. I’m tired of struggling with one coping skill or another. I just want to be fixed already.

I mentioned to my friend today that I never pictured myself living to this age. I always thought I’d die by 24. To still be kicking at 36 is almost beyond my comprehension. I need to get my shit together and get back to living a someht productive life. I’m tired of being a failure because I can’t get out of my own way long enough to succeed at something.

So tomorrow is work. Sunday is spent with the wife. And Monday we’ll work on an accelerated plan for therapy. Maybe some day that will lead to being able to being settled and stable.


Murphy’s law strikes again…

I was describing my anxiety in group yesterday. I had mentioned that the ptsd symptoms seemed to have quieted only to be replaced by the anxiety. About 5 minutes later, we started talking about breathing as one way to deal with the anxiety and…

bam!

There came a body memory so strong I shuddered & jumped a little in my seat. Dr C looked at me, but didn’t ask. I’m guessing she will either bring it up in session or wait for me to bring it up then… in the moment (and actually a bit before), I was fighting the urge to walk out of the room. I wanted an escape from the sensations and memories threatening to burst forth, but I was a good girl. I stayed in my chair and struggled to stay in the moment. I forcibly refocused my attention to whomever was talking several times throughout the last 15 minutes of group… I also refrained from bugging Dr C for more of her time to help ground. I was pretty sure I could manage it on my own if I got out of that room and away from the conversation on breathing.

I was successful in distracting myself and not letting it escalate too far into a full-blown flashback. I did spend quite a bit of money on some comfort items (food, because I know that’s always ok in our house. I deliberately did not head to an art store or general merchandise store to avoid spending too much on stuff… I shouldn’t have spent on the extra food either, but… oh well).

Dr C also pointed out that the anxiety and ocd-like stuff sounded like it stemmed from a fear of something going wrong & it all being my fault.

Yup!

When I stopped to reexamine the thoughts at the times I get stuck in a loop of checking and rechecking, it’s all worries about me screwing things up royally :/ It’s part trauma response, part… I don’t even know what.

On a side note: I’ve managed to engage in only positive coping skills since the move. I even put my sleep aid away into the freezer as I have not used it at all since getting here (though that may have something to do with close neighbors, but in all honesty, I almost forgot I even had it). So, go me! 🙂


this past week

So, I managed to get in to see Dr. C on Monday. It was weird, awkward. I didn’t know how to answer her questions. I was too stuck on the functioning, “everything’s good” side of things to be able to access and verbalize much of the more difficult parts of the past 3 years. I noticed myself telling her things in a very detached and scattered manner. I jumped around and skipped things and back-tracked. A few times I told her I didn’t really know how to answer her questions. What I really meant was that I didn’t know how to answer them succinctly. I told her the truth of the moment, which was pretty watered-down and wrapped in that happy newness post-move.

It was weird because I didn’t feel as comfortable with her as I had prior to leaving. I guess I expected to be able to pick up where I left off (in terms of trust and comfort-level). That’s not how it is shaping up… She did make a few comments that caught me off-guard though. One happened when I was telling her about my reaction to reading the records provided for the disability determination. She said something along the lines of me trying hard to present one way, while still having all this darkness underneath (accurate point). The other happened when I told her that my inner child had left after starting to tell TM more about the newer flashbacks/memories. Dr. C called my inner kid a “personality”. That threw me. I never saw her as one. To the best of my knowledge, she never took over or anything like that. She was just a kid that lived in my head. She was ok to love and care for and protect. She was just a construct of my head though. She was a vessel for that other ickiness… Yeah, she felt really separate and distinct from me, but more of a character that I had lost creative control over than another personality… I dunno. The thought of her as another “real” person makes me uncomfortable; like if she really was, then I am even more “off” about my projected image vs. reality.

Anyway, at the end of session, she brought up the women’s group I had been in (LKB had suggested I attend the group back when I was still seeing her as an individual therapist). She asked if I was interested in joining it again. Apparently, it has dwindled to 2 of the original members. I agreed to join back up. It was good to see the old group members again. It was nice to catch up. I again found myself at a loss for what or how to say the things that had transpired in the past 3 years. My cheery, happy face was on and I had almost no connection to anything that wasn’t “good”.

Anyway, that was Monday & Tuesday. By Wednesday, the “newness” of being back had started to wear off. I find myself easily bored, though my sleep is a bit better. It’s more regulated by the natural rhythm of the days. I go to sleep when L does (rarely later than 11), and I wake up with the sun (which happens to be about 6am at the moment). Most of our stuff is still in transit. It gets here tomorrow afternoon. Finally!! I had forgotten to put my sneakers into the car, so I have not been able to take the dogs for any longer walks or hikes through the woods. Flip flops just are not conducive to hiking uneven terrain, or even to longer walks on flat surfaces. So they have pretty much stayed in the apartment. Hopefully next week I can get out on some of the trails with them.

I must say, I really miss the beach though. And it’s been chilly here: only the mid to upper 70’s. I’ve been used to the mid to upper 90’s for better part of every year these past few years. Brr!

I’m so glad our stuff will be here tomorrow though. I can’t wait to get things more situated, and to be able to get back to my art. I’ve done a bit with L’s supplies, but there is no real table set up yet. Once everything is placed, I’ll feel better about spending time on my art again. I miss it. I will have to look into local classes…

I have yet to call TM with the update. I thought to call her on Wednesday, but I was feeling too needy that day, so I refrained. I don’t want to turn my update into a support session. I just want to be able to let her know I’m here and settling in. I also kinda wanted to get her take on what Dr. C had said (or more correctly, her take on my reaction to what Dr. C had said), but thought maybe I should clarify with Dr. C first. If I wait for that though, I won’t be calling TM for over a week since Dr. C is on vacation next week. Though maybe TM could provide me with a reality check while Dr. C is gone. I dunno. I guess I’ll just take it as it comes.


%#@$@^%*!!!!

How deep is too deep for a drop in support group? Why do I resist participating in even that these days?

L brought to my attention that I “never go there” in terms of participation…I admit, I have not been covering much lately, but it’s because I don’t even know how to address it without going in way too deep for my comfort level.   I don’t feel it’s an appropriate forum in group to cover that stuff (and I don’t know the new group leader well enough to be able to even try skimming the surface).  I cover a lot of that in individual.  It’s safer that way.

Do you want me to admit that I never allowed myself to get angry at anyone else until about 2 years ago?  Do you want me to admit that it scares me, because the anger is everything I feared – I am everyone I feared when I get angry.  I don’t want to do it.  I don’t want to learn to be ok with being angry, because that would mean being ok with being that monster inside (she shows herself sometimes, and I die a little more inside whenever she surfaces).  She’s one scary sonofabitch.  It’s beyond anger, it’s rage.  She could break the house down, and beat the pulp out of anyone in her way… She is so far from who I see myself as.  So, no, I don’t wan to go there.  I don’t want to talk about it, or tell you that all the things I do to myself out of anger I feel as if I could do worse to someone else when I feel her there.  It’s terrifying to hear some of the thoughts that go through my head when I am angry.  It’s scary how little control I feel inside.  I never ever want to hurt anyone or anything else, but I fear I may lose control to her and hurt those I care the most about.  I’d rather hurt myself than anyone or anything else…

Do you want me to admit that I’m terrified of having to trust someone else again… and risking so much with that trust?  I’m scared she will over-react to the complete mess that is me.  I’m afraid she will under-react.  I’m afraid I will not be able to tell her what I need to because I’m afraid she will commit me.  I’m afraid that talking to her about duck-boy and that asshole will be too triggering and I won’t know how to handle it.  I’m afraid I will have no glue left to hold me together.  I’m afraid she won’t be helpful, but by then I will have lost D, so there will be no one again… I’m afraid of saying the wrong thing and then being labeled for it.  I’m afraid I won’t know what to say. And I’m afraid I’ll not care anymore, and get back to that place where it’s a battle just to keep alive.

I was all “whatever” today because I needed that veil.  I needed to avoid this fear and insecurity…