Tag Archives: history

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.


The insomnia amplifier (and safe spaces).

Have you ever noticed how everything experienced through insomnia is amplified?

It’s not only the after effects in the following days, but also everything experienced in the middle of the night while I’m lying awake.

Tonight, the cat food smell is bothering me. It’s turning my stomach, and it’s the only thing I can smell… but do you think I’d make a move to throw it out into the kitchen trash? Nope. Because making such large movements would not only “wake me up more”, but it would also wake the animals up, who would then get restless… at least, that’s my excuse. I really just don’t feel like crawling out of bed when I have a mere 30 minutes left here anyway. It would have been 2 hours if I simply did it when it started bothering me, but it was easier to smash my face into the pillow than it was to move the trash. Now I’m regretting it…

It’s not only smell that gets amplified when I can’t sleep. It’s any sound or extra light. It’s textures and temperatures and thoughts…

I could text any number of friends who also deal with insomnia, but that would require a conversation, and I’m not sure I’m up for that just now.

It is also in the middle of the night when, before I think too much about the ramifications, I feel like I might want to talk more about the things my body remembers… before my brain kicks in and I worry about reactions and fall-out, before the shame and secrecy set it, I sometimes think it might be healing to talk about the sexual abuse stuff with someone other than just Dr C… it might be validating to have some honest and uncensored conversations about it.

Then my brain kicks in. I think about what might happen, who might react & how they might react… I think of all the invalidation and scrutiny I would get for it, and the lost relationships… and it no longer seems worth it.

I prefer anonymity. I prefer the safety-net of confidentiality… and my heart sinks a little. I feel defective. Even just thinking of talking more openly about it makes me feel like a bad person. The guilt and shame hit hard.

On the one hand, I know it wasn’t my fault; I know the guilt and shame shouldn’t be mine (but they are). I know they should belong to the person (people) who did those things… I know this, but I also can’t fully accept it.

What if I’m remembering wrong? What if I’m exaggerating? What if I’m really just doing this for attention? What if I’m just that horrible, spiteful child the voice in my head says I am? What if I’m just plain wrong?

The ramifications for the named people wouldn’t be huge, but they’d be there. The ramifications for me would likely be worse. If I mentioned someone, and they didn’t actually do anything, I’d lose friends and family (it’s not like I have proof. It’s just my word against their’s, and I have a history of mental health issues, so… gotta love stigma). I’d be branded a liar & attention-seeking by those closest to me. I’ve already gotten that label from some people, but they are not really people that matter to me; providers I’ve seen only once or twice, family or friends I choose to no longer have contact with…

It’s just easier to talk around it in anonymous circles, or to keep conversations in the safety of the therapy office. That might change some day, but right now, it’s all I can manage. The fear doesn’t exactly stop me from longing to connect more authentically with others, but it stops the actuality of it happening…

I miss the csa group Dr C ran. It was more structured, but we still had chances to connect around the experiences of having gone through what we did, and many of us having dissociation around it… it was a safe place to be vulnerable, and we seemed to share understandings around it all… I don’t really know how the group would work in the long run though. Part of the safety came from the structure and the limited time commitment… but some days I really wish I could sit again in a room of people who understood the struggle without having to search so hard to explain it; and to know it’s safe to give voice to some of the memories.


Me at 20 (assignment for a self – discovery workshop) 

The assignment was to find a metaphorical image of ourselves at a selected age. I had originally picked the number 27 because she first had us just pick a number, without telling us what the number was for.

At 27, I was internally severely depressed, suicidal, and a general mess, but presented as very together to the outside world. I worked almost 80 hours a week. I was a manager at a group home. I had my external shit together… I would land in the hospital for a week, get discharged, and head back to work the day of discharge, or the following day. I worked full-time while attending intensive outpatient treatment around my work schedule… I can’t count anymore how many times I was asked how I could manage that so seemingly easily…

The perfect picture for that would be an ad for the exorcism movie (a b&w photo with a girl sitting in a room alone, her head facing the wrong direction, and the words “there’s a fate worse than death”… I kinda regret not bringing it now…

So yeah, that felt like a bit heavy, and a bit much to bring to this workshop.

The second age I picked was 20 simply because L picked that one. The image for it is an ad for The Good Place…

It’s perfect for me at 20. There were a few bumps, but I was generally unaware. My internal systems did a good job of convincing me everything was fine. I was oblivious except for a few things not going great (hugely depressed, but no real clue why. Trying to work on it in therapy and constantly getting the question “was there anything else?” Because the interventions that should have worked just didn’t…). So yeah, that works well for 20.


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. 


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. 

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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. 


More stupid triggers

Met with the aprn today. I knew she’d be intense, but I wasn’t expecting the plethora of triggers that would come my way. 

Aside of her abrupt and incredibly direct manner, she started to talk more about ect after I told her I was strongly against it. I started to run away inside myself, and was about to walk out when I stepped back and was able to ask her to stop talking about it. After she recovered from the interruption, she apologized and moved on. 

I had trouble grounding again, but managed by the time the hour was up. I stood to leave. She offered a handshake though I was already turned towards the door and on my way out. I turned to shake her hand more out of obligation than anything. I was expecting a quick one, but she held on to my hand with both of hers, continuing to shake even as I tried to pull mine away twice. She’s not a big woman, but she has quite a grip. My panic was rising when she finally let go.  I had group right afterwards though. I was able to feel safer in Dr C’s presence for the duration. 

I stayed distracted enough during group, but as soon as I left, the sensation of my hand being held grew louder. The memory of the aprn quickly got overlaid with a sense of bitch, and my whole body stated to feel like it was crawling. I wanted rip my skin off and my insides out… 

I really want to cancel the next appointment with her. I’m not sure the potential benefits of getting this generic test done are worth the intense triggers… correction; I know they are not. I just don’t have the courage to call her (or even text) to cancel the appointment. Maybe next week I’ll find the courage  (or I’ll suck up the no-show fee and just skip the appointment)…

I wish I could have communicated during the appointment that my impulsiveness only happens when I take psych meds. The whole mess of hospitalizations happened mainly while I was on meds (save the two instances after I moved back home). 

I also didn’t verbalize that my ptsd kicked up big-time after that move, and that, while home, the flashbacks were 24/7 and incredibly intense. They aren’t as bad up here, nor as pervasive, though they do happen…

I’m not sure I want to keep triggering them by continuing to see this aprn. I’m sure she’s probably a nice person, and good at her job, but… when I try to remember anything about the appointment, she’s replaced by bitch and the things bitch did. 

I’m really not interested in trying psychotropic meds again (even ones I’ve not tried… all three of them). 

I’ve been feeling pukey and exhausted since the appointment. I really wanted to sleep, even on the drive home. I got home ok, then back out to pick L up at work, but fell asleep while waiting the 7 minutes for her to get out. I slept about 2 hours. I’m not as tired now, but still feel gross. I’m thinking it’s related to the triggering. 

She had asked what was behind the ever-present suicidality. All I could think to say was that I’m so tired… I wish I knew how to qualify what it’s like to struggle through every day. The best I can do is keep journaling the days, but even that doesn’t do it justice… how do you explain carrying a hell no one else can truly understand (nor do you ever wish them to)…


Barbie gets a makeover; steps to an altered doll

Last week, I decided I wanted to turn an old barbie I had bought for mold-making purposes into an altered doll. It started because I’ve been struggling with some really graphic self harm thoughts. I was hoping expressing it on the doll would help alleviate them… it’s kinda working I guess. Either that, or the doll has me distracted enough to put the thoughts on the back-burner.

I had cut most of her hair off back when I thought of making a mold, so I decided to pluck out the rest of it to be able to sew in something else (it might be useful to note that hand-sewing doll hair is a pain, and painful. Even with a thimble to help push the needle through the plastic, my fingers are raw and sore from having to do it so many times… I’m not even half done yet!).

Anyway, I started with her hair change. I also removed her existing makeup. Painting a new face will be challenging, but I’m looking forward to that. I’ll have to thin even my high flow paint to avoid the brush lines visible with the white I had tried…

I’m planning on articulating her better as well. Currently, she’s only movable at the shoulders and hips. I’d like to bring a greater variety of motion to her other joints also. I did a quick YouTube search and found this video. It’s about articulating a Bratz doll, which is pretty much the same structure as Barbie, so I’m hoping it will work. I need to get my hands on some of the plastic molding stuff she’s talking about. I’m guessing I can find it online (amazon smile has been my best friend in finding random art supplies)…

I have ambitious plans for this doll. I want to figure out how to make it look like she’s pulling her own heart out. It seems that her body is hollow, so that should be easy enough… I just have to perfect my sculpting skills so I can make a heart I’m satisfied with. I’d also like to figure out some way to express dissociation. I’m not sure if I want to alter her head to accomplish that, or simply utilize facial expression…

There’s a measure of therapy involved in making this doll. It will be a blend of artistic expression and autobiographical depiction. I guess something along the lines of Hollywood creative nonfiction; the backbone of the story is true, but the details are exaggerated and embellished for dramatic effect…we’ll see how far I actually get with her. 

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I’m going to put some YouTube videos below for reference. I haven’t tried them yet, but I want to know what to come back to later. I would normally do this in a “private” post so you don’t have to see my note-taking, but it might be useful to others if they are also interested in making dolls… and if any of you have experience, feel free to critique or offer up suggestions.