Tag Archives: hospital

Smiling for the outside world, and all it’s drawbacks

Many of us are taught to “smile” and “put on a brave face” when dealing with the outside world.  We are taught this by our family of origin, by friends, heck, by the internet (I can’t even count the number of “inspirational” posts I came across this morning on Facebook that mentioned something along the lines of smiling on the outside even when you’re breaking on the inside).  Even clinicians will tell you to focus on the positive.  There is merit to this.  It can be helpful to pull one out of a depressive plunge, it can balance some of the more negative concepts that may be floating around the murky waters of our thoughts.  The problem comes however, when we are so worried about showing any hints of cracks in our armor that we wall it off without ever showing anyone our weakness.

I know this is a big problem for me much of the time.  I function with a smile on my face and genuine concern for others even when there’s an enormous black hole in my chest.  I do it so much, I have a lot of trouble showing that “weakness” even when I am supposed to be allowed to do so.  I don’t know how to express the level of emotions I feel because I am so used to suppressing them.  When I do attempt expressing the intense level of chaos going on inside, no one gets it because they rarely see me in that place (some people have never seen me in that head-space before, so they are confused by my seemingly “together” presentation as I tell them I’m falling apart. I also get a very big grin when truly nervous, something I have no control over. If my anxiety is high, and I need to say something disturbing, it is said with a stupid, huge, and anxiety-filled smile that tends to throw people off, making them think I am lying or being manipulative. In reality, it’s just a weird reaction to anxiety).  I have yet to figure out how to be able to tell people that despite the calm I may be exuding in the moment, when I fall, I fall hard, fast, and completely. I can say those words to a clinician, but unless they have seen the drop off the cliff, they don’t quite understand what I mean. Even when my wife or former clinicians try to express it, no one gets it unless they have seen it in person (and then they get scared).  My perfection at appearing competent while crumbling really throws people for a loop.

Of course, my ability to express myself also gets hindered when overwhelming emotions hit.  I’m very used to pushing things down and keeping a lid on the limit of what I allow myself to feel.  When any of that spills over the quota, it gets incredibly overwhelming.  I suddenly become helpless without any access to my knowledge of how to handle it all.  I say I don’t have access to it because, when I am not overwhelmed, I have a pretty good theoretical grasp on how to handle said emotions.  The problem with them being overwhelming is that I suddenly find all my effective and safe coping skills are buried under miles of turmoil.  I lose the ability to effectively ask for help. I lose the ability to speak in the moment about what my needs may be (I’m horrifically ashamed at having any needs at all, and I was finally able to figure out with De why some of that is).  I desperately seek safety in any form, even if it ends up being outrageously uncomfortable.  There’s a level of comfort in certain uncomfortable things (another thing I was able to figure out with De this past week).  I’m slowly practicing finding safety in truly safe situations that are not also at once very traumatic in their imposition of safety (ie: an inpatient stay at a “regular” psych unit).  I’m learning to keep breathing.  I’m learning to reach out before things hit crisis levels.  They are difficult lessons.  I still stumble sometimes, but I’m learning it.  One part of that is not always smiling for the outside world.  I think that may be that hardest lesson of all…

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deviantArt’s Holiday Card Project

An art forum I belong to is having a holiday card drive.  I wanted to share it with folks here in case anyone is interested.  You can either use store-bought cards or make your own.  More info can be found here.

Both L and I are making at least one card and will be sending them out this week.

One design idea I had tried was a papercut of a sea turtle with lights… I didn’t like the way the card came out, so I will not be sending that one anywhere.  I really liked the little sea turtle though, so I wanted to share him here.  1486781_10152158795649892_2042857757_n I had not done any papercutting since my shadow puppetry class in college, so this was my experiment.  I think he came out ok (definitely better than the card itself).  I made a few other “copies” of him, and I may turn him into an ornament.  I just have to buy some tissue paper (I want the lights to be multi-colored).  I was a bit frustrated by my drawing ability, and I wasn’t sure about my papercutting ability, so I did not put too much detail into him.  I wanted to do a Hawksbill (hence the beak), but couldn’t get the shell to look right when I tried to draw in the scutes.  Hawksbills are the ones that were almost hunted to extinction because of their pretty shells.  I just could not do them justice, so I left them out.  I hope you can still tell what he is…  It’s a bit easier with a colored background, but this is just the outline.

Anyway, join in the project and send some cards to people in hospitals.  You never know, you could totally make someone’s holiday 😉


coercion as standard “best practice” (vent/rant)

I thought about this all weekend.  I finally worked up the courage/resolve to call the IOP  that had refused to let me back.  In speaking with the case manager (who had never actually met with me in the 2 days I had been there), I was told that any consideration of readmission would depend on my agreement to take psychotropic medications.  She heard/listened to nothing beyond me refusing meds. I tried to explain that I have had really bad experiences on meds, and they tend to de-stabilize me more than I can do on my own.  I tried to tell her that I am better able to control my impulses and urges to harm myself when I am not taking anything. She brought up the meds I was discharged on from my inpatient stay.  I reminded her that I had only been given something for sleep.  I told her the only medication I was willing to take would be something as needed (for sleep or anxiety).  She tried to tell me that antidepressants were not PRN meds, to which I responded that I was not willing to take antidepressants.  She clarified that I was looking only for a program to provide support and not med management, then reiterated that I would not be accepted back to their program if I did not agree to take medications.  She asked if I had kept the med appointment the hospital discharged me with.  I told her again that I was not willing to take medication on a regular basis, so I did not want to waste my time (and a doctor’s) on a useless appointment.  The case manager told me she will call the original program she had mentioned to the hospital social worker to confirm whether or not they accepted my insurance.  She said that she would get back to me by the end of the day.

After I hung up with her, I thought of who I may be able to contact about my change in presentation once off meds.  Clearly, because I have an mh diagnosis and am refusing medications, I must not know what I am talking about and simply be resistant to treatment.  I need a professional with credentials to tell them that I tried way too many meds, and they all just mess with me.  I think I may contact the IOP I attended several times and ask for my records.  I may also contact my old therapist and see if she would be willing to speak with whichever service provider I end up trying to utilize…

When the case manager called back with some referral numbers for me, we again spoke a bit about medication options and the things I had tried.  She spewed one of my most hated lines: “There has to be some combination or med that you have not tried that would work, you just have to find it.”  Why is it so difficult to understand that I am no longer willing to put my life on the line to go through more chemicals that make me worse instead of better?  Why is it so difficult to believe that meds do not work for everyone, and sometimes people just need support and talking?  The other numbers she gave me also all have a med requirement… ugh!  Maybe if I just tell them I am willing to sit down with a psychiatrist to talk about options, I will be able to get in somewhere?  The issue then becomes whether or not they discharge me for refusing to take anything.  L had suggested I accept a prescription for something along the lines of citalopram (Celexa) and just never fill the script or take the med.  I don’t want to lie to my providers.  That just seems counter-productive.  I may end up having to do that though.  I really still want the added support of a day program at least through the holidays.

The practice of forcing people into a corner to get them to take medication is very frustrating, and I will argue also very unethical. Why is it so common practice in mental health?  A physician could not coerce me this way if it were for a physical ailment.  I am allowed to search for non-medical alternatives to physical ailments, but it is out of the question for mental illness.  I hate that they are allowed (and encouraged legally) to force unwanted treatment, even to the detriment of the client/patient…


rifts in the therapeutic relationship

I don’t know.  I think I’m too worried about the inevitability of being referred out, and the chaos of the holidays.  I put up walls after being inpatient, and I don’t know how to take them down.  I don’t feel comfortable getting into anything of substance with De (or with anyone).  It’s a really weird feeling, because I’ve generally felt like I could count on whatever T I happened to be seeing at the time…  there was a lot of care-taker transference before going inpatient tho, and I think to protect from the inevitable abandonment feelings, I have stopped trusting that she will be there when I need it.  On one hand, we are planning out the next six weeks and taking about beginning more intense trauma work come January, but then the next sentence is planning being referred out for more long-term therapy because the center generally only does short-term work to deal with the immediate crisis of assault (only, I can’t be in crisis, so I’m a bit confused)…

De asked me what I thought of what she had said.  I couldn’t find the words, because my head often needs time to process stuff like that.  She threw a couple of feeling words at me, and I was able to tell her that it was sad, not angry.  I was able to say that the sad came from getting so close to being able to process things so many times only to have the processes interrupted every time.  We talked about what “processing” meant.  I said that I did not expect to forget things, but just not handle them so poorly (and to not be so alone in so much of it)…  I told her that I was tired of having to keep building up trust with new people all the time just to get to a point of stalling.  I want to get through this at least once.  But I don’t know if I trust that I’ll be able to complete it with her, so I am not sure I even want to start.  I mean, yeah, I really want to start, but not if I have to abruptly stop again…  she can’t promise not to refer me out.  I get that.  But…  I just don’t know.  She also doesn’t seem to want to put any effort into helping me get that safety net we both know I need.  I’ve never had so little help when trying to get more supports in place…  I have always experienced that the provider helps secure services.  Having to fight for it all by myself is very overwhelming.  J (couple’s T) is willing to go to bat for me, but it’s disheartening that De (who insists extra support be in place before we start processing stuff) is unwilling to help.  I think that’s contributing to me feeling so lost in being able to trust her again. :/  I can’t even talk about this with her for 2 weeks because of the holiday.  Ugh.

I hate that this (not so) irrational fear of abandonment gets in the way of  anything and everything meaningful in my life.  I’ve shut down my feelings because I don’t want to risk destabilizing again over the next few weeks.  De dislikes that I’m not in touch with anything because she says it points to not being stable, or st a bigger risk of losing my sh*t when we actually start going through stuff.  I think it’s more that I need to have distance from the internal chaos before trying to face it again.  I’m afraid it’s all still there under the surface.  If I allow myself to see it at the moment, it will come barreling back.   I’m not willing to risk that right now.  So yeah, I guess things are a bit unstable.  I don’t want to let them get out of hand.  I want to be able to get through this stuff with De and not have to try all over again with someone else.  I don’t want to burn L out on me.  I don’t want to frustrate everyone in my life.  This all just sucks.  I’m feeling very defeated.


thinking

I have found a few resources on life with mental health issues without meds since I have chosen to stop taking those prescribed to me, and refuse to return to them for anything more than the occasional PRN (as needed).  I feel lucky that I have a family that supports my decision (backed by my continued over-all improvement).  I know that even if doctors or the courts were to try to force me into it, my family would stand up and fight for my right to refuse any treatment I disagree with… Some people don’t have that support.

I was reading a blog on the coercive and abusive nature of the psychiatric industry here in the US.  While I experienced some of that living up north, I see more of it down here.  When I had sought help last week in the form of a brief inpatient stay, I was told by the psychiatrist that “people can’t be in the hospital without meds!”  I agreed to let him prescribe something for sleep and something for anxiety (though he only wrote the sleep script, and I refused it 2 out of the 4 nights I was there).  Meds can have a time and a place, as I really needed something to help with the flashbacks Saturday night after they had restricted all my other coping skills while there (I was unable to talk to anyone without being blamed or preached at, I was not allowed to watch TV as they had “closed” the day room for the night, I could not call my wife before they closed the day room because I could not make a long-distance outgoing call, and no one was willing to make it for me, I had no access to music, I was not allowed to draw or write because it was “too late”… that left my option at: continue to escalate my discomfort with the flashbacks or take something to knock me out… I opted for the meds.  I’m pretty sure they do this on purpose to keep people reaching for the pills).  I watched more than one patient get drugged to the hilt because they were agitated or annoying (one man was on 100mg of Haldol shots every 4 hours because he was mischievous (just to give you an idea of how much that is, the guy was similar build to me, but if I were to take 5mg pill of Haldol, I would be out for 3 days… they gave him 20x’s that every 4 hours), but really, what do you expect us to do when you only provide entertainment/engagement for max 4 hours out of a day.  There is 1 TV for 18 people, and if you don’t happen to like what’s on when someone else picks the channel, you are stuck being bored).  There are 3 phones, but you can’t really call out (and how much time can one person spend on the phone anyway, especially when 17 other people are also trying to communicate with people).  Access to books, art supplies, music, and supportive others is severely limited.   Staff are short-tempered because they are burnt out and working with limited resources… So yeah, they medicate people to shut them up.  It’s easier to deal with a unit full of drooling, asleep patients than it is to try to provide even brief therapy.   Psychiatrists admit that most meds do not take full effect for several weeks, but they discharge patients after a few days of “stabilization”… So how are those meds really helpful at that point?

Once again, I’m saying our mental health system needs an over-haul. I think we need more focus on therapy and providing social supports for people.  We need less focus on lining pharmaceutical companies’ pockets with cash.  We need to listen to people.  We need to hear their stories and help them work through whatever it is that is causing this pain.  Meds can be used primarily as short-term interventions, but ultimately leave it up to the patient to decide.  I hate when a provider asks “Do you think the benefits out-weigh the side-effects?”  because they never want to hear “no”.  They only say that to make us feel like we have a choice, and are choosing to feel better by taking meds.  The truth is, most of the side-effects are not less hazardous or annoying even when weighed against the “benefits.”  Is feeling numb or drugged or insatiably hungry all the time really better than feeling waves of incredible depression?  To this day, I maintain that I have more control over myself and my impulses without medication.  The years since coming off them have proven that.  I no longer move to OD or attempt before I ask for more support.  I can think clearly through problems, and easier identify poor lines of thinking (even if I don’t necessarily work to change them at the time).   The few times I have taken even sleep or anxiety meds this past year, I have found my mood is exponentially more labile and uncontrolled.  I get irritable and lash out without a thought to the consequences of my actions.  A few days after having taken my pill, I find I blow up without provocation.  Once the meds have been processed from my system, I am back to my “normal” self – able to control my temper, which I had never had a problem with before starting meds. That processing time by the way, it’s much longer than they tell you.  Doctors will say many of the meds leave your system in a few days after stopping.  The truth for me is that they affect me much longer.  Trazodone, when used for sleep, is supposed to wear off within a day (according to numerous psychiatrists and a few of my therapists).  It takes my body up to a week to get rid of the effects of having taken it only once.  The longer I take it, the longer the effects last in my system.  The last “regular” med I took caused my body to withdraw from it for months even though I had only taken the med for about 3 weeks.  The over-all expected effect may wear off faster, but the side-effects and withdrawals can last much longer than they tell people.

Sadly, the mental health system is coercive in more ways than simply pushing meds.  In FL, you can be Baker Acted for simply “appearing to have a mental health problem”.  This means that a person can be held in a locked psychiatric facility for up to 72 hours while professionals decide if you actually are a danger to yourself or others.  Many times, they will medicate first, and make the decisions later.  If you refuse meds, you are considered “resistant to treatment” or “non-compliant” and can be deemed “problematic”.  Those labels will then increase your chances of being held longer.   The doctor at my most recent hospitalization made it clear that if I chose to refuse even the prescription of medication, I would be held under the Baker Act until I “accepted the help.”  Prior to my voluntary hospitalizations in SFL, I was involuntarily hospitalized several times (a few without merit, but since the psychiatrist was not on the DBT bandwagon, she deemed me a danger to myself and I was hospitalized for 7 days.  Had she bothered to look into the DBT goals, she would have realized that I had accomplished a lot that weekend and not actually been a danger to myself because I held things in check).  I was also threatened with being forced into ECT treatment after I refused to undergo the procedure voluntarily.  The doctor bullied me and threatened me (while I was involuntarily hospitalized under his care) for 5 days before he could not find other psychiatrists to concede I was incapable of making my own decisions.  Had I not felt as strongly, and not been as educated about my current condition and the uses of ECT, I would likely have given into his tactics just to shut him up (I guess being terrified of my dad for all those years, then learning to stand up to him, helped me stand up to this jerk).  There were times during his tirades that made me wonder about his own sanity.  When asked to provide studies and evidence that proved ECT was effective in treating addictions, or actually recommended for abuse/child sexual abuse trauma survivors, he told me it was my responsibility to look that up myself (please keep in mind he knew I had no access to journals, the internet, or any research information while on this locked unit, but still felt I should be the one looking it up).  It made me wonder if there was any evidence at all to back his claims.  I asked my family to look it up for me, and then I continued my search once out of the hospital.  I have yet to find any articles (peer-reviewed case studies or scientific research) proving that he was correct.  I had found several articles saying that ECT was in fact contraindicated for abuse survivors, but not a single one saying it was more help than hurt.  I had to fight this battle against a “professional”.

I think a huge problem today is that we, as providers, have fallen into a rut with our available treatments.  Money talks, and no insurance company is willing to pay for novel treatments.  There are very few funding sources for research into any new treatments, and large-scale studies need funding.  Students and researchers need to live after all.  They need to support themselves, their families, and their work.  They need people to take risks in backing the trial-and-error needed to come up with viable alternative solutions.

My idea for a competent and flexible treatment center is ever-evolving.  The more I learn about treatments that don’t work, the more I wish I had the knowledge, funding, and resources to provide options to others (and myself).  I know I need to work on my own stuff before I can initiate such an under-taking, but I don’t have the funds to find and hire people I think could actually help me.  Ideally, I would want a safe place to intensively work through all the crap in my head.  I want that safe place to allow me to utilize my known positive coping skills, but also help me develop new ones.  I want to have the option of talking about, communicating about, and sorting through everything that comes up when we open the topic of my traumas.  I want to be able to do that daily, or even several times a day.  I want to be able to take a break from it for a few days if it gets overwhelming, and not be deemed “stable enough” to be discharged.  I want to be able to have someone gently guide me back to dealing with things after a break.  I want to be able to face my triggers and work on coming through them safely on my own, but I also want to know there’s support there if I can’t accomplish that.  I want access to music and my social network.  I want access to my animals.  I want to be able to get out into nature (on my own or with someone else, depending on the situation).  I want to be allowed to cry, and learn that I can safely do that in front of another person.  I want to have people challenge me to get through things without resorting to self harm, OD, suicide, or PRN medications, but I also want them to support me if I do slip up and cut or need to take something for anxiety.  I want to have access to art therapy, music therapy, “alternative” therapies (basically anything that is not the western medical model), meditation, and holistic options.  There are places out there that offer much of this, but don’t accept insurance or payment plans.  That limits their treatment to the independently wealthy… and even then they limit what you can listen to, read, watch, or get support with…  If you happen to disagree with a “core” part of their philosophy, you might as well not show.  The place that looked best on paper had two major draw-backs: 1) it was self-pay only and very expensive ($16,000/wk and you are expected to stay a minimum of 4 weeks), and 2) you could only engage in recovery-oriented activities.  No music outside of meditation chants, no reading if it wasn’t directly related to recovery and treatment, and no TV or movies.  I’m a big proponent of diving head-on into your recovery, but every now and then your brain needs a break.  Even if I end up triggered or craving, it helps in the long run.  After all, I want to know how to handle those triggers once I leave the program.  Totally cutting me off from anything that may or may not cause a bump in my road to recovery only serves to disadvantage me once I leave the padded safety of the treatment center… but it’s a moot point anyway, I could never afford the place…

So yeah, we need to seriously re-think mental health care in this country.  Everyone is different.  Everyone responds differently to treatments, so let’s start catering to individuals… I just wish I had the resources and the voice to start the process.


Say Something, I’m Giving up on You…

My wife asked why I liked this song so much.  At first I wasn’t able to put an answer into words.  I knew it in my head, but a combination of embarrassment and fear kept me from being able to say it… that, and it wasn’t totally cohesive in my head at the time.  I was able to give her a hurried explanation later on, but it still feels inaccurate or incomplete.

Say something, I’m giving up on you.
I’ll be the one, if you want me to.
Anywhere I would’ve followed you.
Say something, I’m giving up on you.

And I am feeling so small.
It was over my head
I know nothing at all.

And I will stumble and fall.
I’m still learning to love
Just starting to crawl.

Say something, I’m giving up on you.
I’m sorry that I couldn’t get to you.
Anywhere, I would’ve followed you.
Say something I’m giving up on you.

And I will swallow my pride.
You’re the one that I love
And I’m saying goodbye.

Say something, I’m giving up on you.
And I’m sorry that I couldn’t get to you.
And anywhere I would have followed you.
Oh-oh-oh-oh say something, I’m giving up on you.

Say something, I’m giving up on you.
Say something…

I think it hits close to home, not with what I would say, but what I would hear.  I’ve lost so many in my life because my mental illness is too much for them to handle.  And each time I swallowed the news from that person without a word.  I cried to myself, or behind closed doors, or after they left, but not to their face.  In their presence, at the sound of the news, I shut down.  I switched my brain off, because it was too much of a loss (it had always been significant people in my life, never just an acquaintance, because acquaintances never knew)…

I first heard this song last week on the unit (I rarely listen to mainstream radio).  It struck me because L had just mentioned the night before that she was getting burnt-out on all this.  It brought the fears elicited by that statement into focus, and put words to it.  It put words to the other losses that had happened under similar circumstances.  It spoke my fears of losing De to being “too unstable”… and then seeing the video piece with the little girl… it just struck a cord.  I can relate to this song on so many levels.

Listening to it on incessant repeat lately helps me move through that emotion in measured waves.  It helps work through the (still stubborn) fears of losing both my T and my wife to this latest bout of decompensation (though both have told me that, as of the moment, they are still around).  I worry about how much more L can take of this.  I worry that she has no real supports down here.  I worry that the added stress of having to deal with the tension in the house will push her to the point of giving up.  I worry that another hospitalization will mean the loss of De as my therapist (2 hospitalizations would hint to more instability than she feels comfortable moving along with).  And with my luck, that would also be L’s breaking point… I know these are just fears, but they are real and present.  I know how taxing all of this can be.  I understand the impact, even if I don’t like it.  And I would understand if she were to choose to leave… I would hate it, but it would make sense.  I think that is why I fear it so much: because I can picture my own limits when placed under the same stressors.  I could see myself no longer being emotionally able to handle it, and needing to walk away.  It terrifies me that she will come to the same conclusion and leave to spare herself more pain.  It scares me a lot.

I know De’s limits, so it’s a bit easier, and a bit more real to think of losing her as my therapist.  I’m constantly reminding myself that I understand her stance.  I know the training that states that trauma work should not proceed without a stable emotional base – for safety reasons.  De reiterated all that yesterday.  She said she would not want to open something up, only to have me without support afterwards and have me become a safety risk… I know I also don’t necessarily want to do it without extra support because I know my own limits.  I have learned that I often need to process things a few hours later, and that the flashbacks kick in when the added safety of being around someone trained to help me process things disappears.  I know how I react to the telling of certain events.  I know it opens a flood-gate of emotions that I don’t often know how to control.  De keeps saying the worst part is behind me: the actual event.  But that’s not the part that scares me.  I am afraid of the onslaught of negative emotions that seep out after the box is opened.  Part of me is scared to tackle all this outpatient, but I also don’t have the option of a competent residential trauma treatment center at my disposal (most accept only private insurance if they accept insurance at all.  So many of the places I looked into are self-pay only).  So, I’m limited to trying this with an outpatient therapist, and I happen to feel comfortable with De.  She knows more of the “dirty” stuff than even Dr. C knew.  She may not have the full picture of it all, but I was at least able to open up around the concept of some of that stuff with her (I think because a lot of it is more common with assault/csa survivors than with the “general” trauma population as evidenced by some of the questions during the intake interview.  Some of the fear of talking about it dissolves when direct questions are asked about the possibility of it being a reality for me)… Even with all my trauma-awareness training and all my intellectual knowledge of the existence of it does not make it easier to accept in myself.  And even knowing it’s just thoughts, and never actions (especially after it was pointed out that my learning experiences until that time could warrant such a line of thinking.  I confirmed that it was abusive thinking and should never be carried out in action, which I had already known in my gut because it had felt wrong.  I’m consciously breaking those cycles), I feel wrong in having had those thoughts.  So anyway, yeah.  De knows more about the possibility of that stuff than anyone else.  If I want to continue working through all this, I would prefer to do it with her.  I know I need to continue to work on it because it’s very much in my face and present down here.  If I don’t work on it, I’m afraid I’d lose myself completely…

But I digress… This song has so much meaning, and serves such a purpose for me right now.  I apologize in advance to L for the obsessive nature by which I will be listening to it for the foreseeable future.  Just bear with me hon, I’ll use my headphones as much as I can 😉

Did this Sunday (11/14/13)… rough sketch, but I need to figure out how to use this program better before I can call anything finished… I’m better with traditional media…

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Journal entry from 11/15/2010 – TRIGGER WARNING & LONG

Found a few journal entries from a few years ago.  I’m afraid I may lose them in my email, so I’ll be putting them here.  Many will be private, but some I may make public… I’m far-enough removed from the experiences to risk putting them out there…  I may make this one private shortly, but for the moment it’s out there for everyone to read.
This one has some graphic descriptions of SI, a suicide attempt, eating disorder behavior, and details of sexual assault… please don’t read it if it will trigger you.
Names have been removed and replaced with initials to maintain anonymity.  Spelling errors have been fixed, but the rest has been left in tact in the form that was sent to my therapist at the time.
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had a good day.  signed c’s lease.  we will be moving in around dec 1st… it’ll be a bit weird, but whatever… we need to get out of here, so it’s a step up.. and cheaper over-all then here…
I feel like I should be writing something, but I am not sure what.  Been feeling weird lately.  wanting to take klonpin during the day instead of how it’s prescribed… wanting to drink… wanting to float away.  not as off as I was feeling last week… seem to have alighted on a branch somewhere on my way down.  kinda like that I didn’t take a huge fall.  i can’t afford it; financially, emotionally & in terms of our relationship… it would just be too much for her…  I have fleeting thoughts of od’ing… thoughts of crashing the car, or jumping out in front of a train… just thoughts… and just fleeting.  but fleeting thoughts can sometimes lead to impulsive actions.  I’m not going to go down that road any more… i’m wearing everyone around me out… i’m too much.  too much drama, too much emotion, too much to handle…  I really wish L would get some more support for herself, and use it regularly… she’s frying out her friends and supports and me… it’s a catch-22… I stress her out & she stresses me out in response to my stressing… and it just cycles.  I got her in touch with a therapist in Dr. C’s office, but she only went once and didn’t even call about being sick for the second session, I had to do that… i hope she goes back to her.  she needs more then I or her friends can give her.  and she needs to learn more about depression and ptsd and suicidality…  I can’t teach her that, because I am too wrapped up in it…
I miss Samantha Jane.  she was only with me for a short time (well, she had been there for a while, but rarely showed herself.  just hid in the closet or in the fibers of the carpet…  Dr. C said she thought it may be some mild DID going on, but it wasn’t/isn’t… just someone I can picture loving, coz it’s hard to picture myself as a person during my childhood and much of my teens… I see pictures, but i don’t necessarily connect them to myself.  I try, but it’s hard.  it’s like memorizing what people have said about the events in the picture to know what to say when someone asks what was happening then… I have no real memory of it, just the stories I’ve been told… it’s sad… and empty-feeling, like I’ve just now become worthy of person-hood… but still at the bottom of the ladder…  not totally a whole person, but on my way there… that’s where Samantha Jane should have come in… giving me some link to the world of being a human…  i felt sub-human (proto-human as Andy would call it) for most of my life.  this is a very new feeling.  i don’t think anyone really gets it.  I don’t really know how to describe it to anyone.  It’s just that before I was empty and just a shell… now I’m slowly trying to fill up that shell with something that vaguely resembles a human being… but it’s hard.  I feel like that wire statue that someone has filled with wet sand.  while the sand is moist, it holds the shape.  as the sand dries, it falls out of that form, turning into a pile at her feet.  I’ve wanted to make that piece for a long time now, I just don’t really know how to execute it.  I’ve never really done wire-work before.. and I don’t know how to keep wetting and drying out the sand… it’s a fluid piece that needs that slow progression from emptiness to form to a pile of sand at her feet…  Maybe if i figured out the wire-work, then took a video of the process of filling her up, moistening the sand, then letting it dry… that might work… but I really like the idea of an actual piece that you can see and touch… feel the sand, both wet & dry… pick up the piece in both states and get the metaphor of the feeling… but I will likely sit in my head for a longer while until I gain the skills to produce it.  I wish i was better at my art.  I wish I didn’t take the easy way out with photographs lately… but I just can’t draw anymore.  I can’t paint… it’s all left me.  I try, but nothing looks right… nothing feels right when I’m done… except those pieces from the hospital (and even out of those, I only liked a few).  I need to take a class or something… join a group… anything to get me flowing in art again.  pics are great, but I feel like they take less and less creativity… eventually, everyone’s photos all look the same… even on dA where people are supposed to be growing and finding unique and new ways to present the subject… it’s all really the same.  all the fall pics look alike.  you can’t tell one sunrise from another… even in my own work.  I don’t feel there’s much originality to it…
Speaking of work on dA… I read some moving journals and notes…  they were on recent suicides of people… everyone seems to know how to describe the Hollywood version of it, the romanticized version of suicide where it all goes well and you never have second thoughts… truth is, you do, and it doesn’t always all go as planned.  If it did, i wouldn’t be here today.  I would have died that time with N… No one ever recognizes the second-guessing part.  I don’t even think therapists get it (unless maybe they’ve been there and tried it…).  There’s that momentary feeling of fear and being trapped by your decision… even though you have only made the decision to end your life by yourself, you’ve only committed to doing it to yourself, you somehow feel trapped in that decision… I hadn’t even started taking the pills, but I felt compelled to go through with it, even though I was frightened and unsure… I felt like I had to do it… so I started taking the pills, and the fear slipped away.  I was once again ok (not sure, but ok) with my decision… I didn’t know what to do after I swallowed them all… would I just wait?  would I know what was happening? would I just fall asleep and never wake up?  I grabbed Beary and my iPod on repeat with Breaking Benjamin’s “Phobia” and curled up under the blanket hoping that it would all be quick… I don’t remember stumbling out of bed and throwing up… I don’t remember N finding me.  I don’t remember the ride to the hospital, or having my stomach pumped and charcoal dumped down a tube into my stomach.  I don’t remember getting the IV’s.  I don’t remember watching tv with N and laughing as if nothing had happened… as if I wasn’t in the ICU for a suicide attempt… I don’t even remember the first 20 times my doctor introduced herself to me… (this was all told to me after the fact).  I vaguely remember floating in a soft cloud… someone smacking my hand because it was going for the IV again… someone telling me I would be restrained if I didn’t leave my IV alone… me telling them my arm hurt… them reminding me I had IV’s… vague memories of being tied to the bed… of being talked around and at by the nurses and the visitors (though I have no idea who visited or who my doctors or nurses were…) It was all just a fluffy dream… the impact of not having taken my life did not sink in until I was in IOL…  I became angry at N & those that “helped save my life” because I did not want to be saved… I wanted to put an end to the depression, hurt and emptiness… the worthlessness and chaos inside my head… the feeling of being left alone in this world, because I wasn’t worth the energy to fight to keep me… I had lost someone every time I had gone to the hospital… you think I would have figured it out by then… by now… but it still hits me sometimes… in the car yesterday, L was saying how she never thought she’d be so poor that she would have to go to a food pantry to get food into the house… that she never thought she’d be this sad… in my head, I thought that none of this would have happened if she never had gotten to know me.  If we had never talked that first night… she would be so much better off if she wasn’t with me… if she was with someone stable and caring and easy-going and so much better then me.  she deserves that.  everyone deserves that.  I am not sure why anyone considers me worth a second glance.  I guess I know why when I put on my smile and my happy face… but I don’t know why anyone would want to know me when I’m a mess… which is a lot these days… and people still think I am worth attention… I don’t really get it.  My dad thinks all of this is for attention… all of this is to get away from the attention.  to hide and float away from myself and everyone else.  I threw out M’s pot…  I should have kept it, even though I know it would have messed me up for the next few days, and that I can get better stuff if I just ask around… I want to drink or take pills or something to get me away from myself… but the bad part about it all is that it’s only temporary, and i will “wake up” to myself once the substance wears off… sucks… I wish there was a way to be high all the time, without ruining my life, my relationship, or having all the detrimental effect of substances… cutting does that, but again it’s only for a while… disassociation helps that, but then I end up missing life and just getting myself deeper into a hole… and I want to be present for L & the kids… I want to know and feel them… but at times, being numb would feel great… and not that kind of numb where you know something’s bubbling just under the surface, destined to break out… but the kind of numb where the bad feelings go away, and you are left with the normal, even mood that most normal people experience… where memories don’t intrude daily, and nightmares are about monsters under the bed, not in your bed with you.  agh… I want to cut… I want to float away… I want to be at peace… not pieces… I’m afraid to bring this up to L or Dr. C because I’m not suicidal… and I don’t want to go there (or maybe i really am more comfortable in the blackness and push myself there deliberately…).  I know I should want to be happy, and part of me really does want to leave all this behind… but there’s another part of me that feels really uncomfortable and out of place in a happy world.  she’s the part of me that survived so much… dealt with so much… and gave up so much… she’s the child that Samantha Jane represents… she’s the one who just wants to stop hurting and being scared, but has been like that for so long, that the outside world really scares her… she doesn’t know what to do with it all.  it’s overwhelming and troublesome because the ways she learned to survive all this time doesn’t work there, and she has to learn a whole new way of life… maybe that’s why she ran away… maybe she just doesn’t have the energy to learn it all just yet… maybe she’s really just hiding under the blanket with Beary listening to her iPod to keep her company… music and art have always been comfort to her… and Floppy-dog… I really miss her… I so wanted Budda because he looks and acts like her, though intellectually I know he isn’t her… he just brought me & Samantha Jane comfort… another throw-back to what works… I love Sadie & Alex, but it’s just not the same… there was something very special about Flops… and I think part of it had to do with the situations we were living though.  She did the best she could to protect me, mom & A & K from dad & bitch… she took a lot of abuse for it… but she somehow felt responsible to do it… like I felt responsible to take care of everyone to make it all better… and neither of us succeeded… both Floppy and I ended up just getting more hurt the more we tried… I miss her so much.  And she reminds me of Kl… I miss her too though I’ve been slowly realizing that she wasn’t as great as I remember… she was abusive in her own way… but she also protected us in so many ways.  T tried too… he stayed away from my dad unless he had to physically intervene to protect us… and he stayed away from A because he did not want to end up like his family and abuse him… he really was a good man… but so tortured and protective.  I think that’s why he and K fought so many times… he hated to see dad being abusive to us… he rarely said anything, and was always “a grouch”… but I think that’s how he protected himself from feeling too helpless in protecting us.  I don’t know… nor will I ever know for sure… but i guess that’s my fantasy of him, because I needed to have some sort of positive role-model in my family… everyone else took part in the fights and abuse… everyone else was caught in the mix.  He made sure to stay out of it the best he could…
I feel sad and longing for a real sense of self… longing to have SJ back to be able to assure her and protect her like I couldn’t do with everyone else… like I couldn’t do with myself even with duck-boy… mom even called one time because she thought something was wrong… because she had heard me call out in her head, and needed to make sure I was ok.  I had thought about her helping me just then, but I couldn’t grab the phone, and he wouldn’t leave me alone… to keep him happy, I didn’t tell mom anything, just sat there while he touched me and groped me and told me it all wasn’t sexual… he would lock his bedroom door even when no one was around.  He made sure I always wore short shorts around him so he could feel me whenever he wanted… he would zip open his pants and rub himself on me… but it wasn’t anything sexual… we had intercourse in his parent’s pool… but it wasn’t sexual because we both had our bathing suits on… he put his fingers inside me when we sat on the couch babysitting his little brother… but it wasn’t sexual… he made me dry-hump his erect penis, but it wan’t sexual because we had our clothes on… he made me suck his penis… stroke him and feel him and lick him and fondle him until he came, but it wasn’t sexual… I can feel his fingers touching me and making way for his penis… i can feel him inside me still as I write this.  the memories are strong and painful… it was painful… i remember crying inside, and wishing the date would end so I could go home and curl up… so i could wash him off of me… but I kept going back… for months I kept going back… then he graduated and I thought I’d be free of him when he went away to FSU… it was far enough away, and he would meet other girls… but in reality he called me every night to “chat” which was really checking up on me and grilling me on what I had been doing all day, who I was with, and what I thought about.  Did I miss him?  Did I think of him every second of the day?  Did I know he was coming home this weekend and he wanted me to spend the night at his parent’s place with him…?  We did more sexual acts on those weekends then we had ever done before.  He’d claim it wasn’t sexual, but by then I knew better… I had lost my total submission to him… when he went back to school, I would talk to J and try to find a way to get out of the relationship.  She would even offer me to stay at her house the weekends he was home… but he would come looking for me, so I declined.  I tried to break up with him for months… every time he said he loved me and that we could make it work and that he couldn’t go on without me… the day after he gave me a suicide note, I had J call his school and report it… he got SO mad at me for it… even though I just wanted to protect his life… he said if I really cared about him and wanted him to live, I would not break up with him… so I stayed a few more months, all the time half-assed trying to break up with him… them finally he came home for the summer, and I told him I did not want to see him anymore.  He yelled at me over the phone.  When I hung up, he drove over in the middle of the night crying, begging me to take him back… J and I had written out a script for just this occasion… I kept reading it back to him.  he kept begging me and threatening his life… finally,I told him he had to leave or my mom would call the cops (told him she was there with me, in the bedroom, and if he didn’t leave by 1am, she would call the police)… it made him leave… at least for then.  he kept trying to get back together, but I don’t remember much of that… My anorexia got worse… I started cutting while I was with him… he pretended to care… i pretended to care… but I really didn’t care about anything but being afraid to gain weight… afraid to keep living.  I didn’t remember this part (the early start of the cutting and suicidal ideation) until I read a profile I had written for a website a college student & I had started together… it was supposed to be a peer-run support site for teens and young adults… I vaguely remember doing it for about a year and a half, then it fading away as she & I both got busier (though I think it was mostly her…).  we dropped updating the site and checking the email… so the site closed down… and as I was cleaning to pack today, I found a rough draft of that profile… i didn’t remember that everything had started that early… I know the eating disorder started after K died, and increased significantly while I was with duck-boy… I went from a size 13-14 to a size 3 in a matter of a few months… the woman I babysat for kept asking me if I was losing weight… I kept saying no, coz at the time it wasn’t about the weight, it was just a sub-conscious attempt to deal with life… if I could only fade away, nothing could hurt me anymore… then the cutting started… as scratches with a pin at first for a long time… about the first two years or so of my bout with self-injury remained at scratching with pins, paper clips & keys… that night at the play, when I got no recognition at all for my work behind the scenes, I ran out the back and grabbed the car keys from my pocket.  I scratched my arm so long and hard behind the building that my entire left arm was a huge raw bruise for the next few weeks… I remember G coming after me when I ran out of the auditorium, but not finding me till later… she caught me scratching, but didn’t tell on me… she scratched too… that was the first time I had encountered anyone else that did it. As the months progressed, and my anorexia got worse, J called my parents to tell them about it b/c she was scared for me… my dad said that I was just doing it for attention, and hung up the phone… I had made J promise to call me back after she had spoken to my parents… she told me how it went… i am not sure what else happened, but I remember searching like mad for something to scratch with and only finding scissors… that was my graduation to cutting… she never told them about that though… One time when I got back from Kairos and felt really depressed, I called her and left her a scary message (so she says… I didn’t mean anything by it other then being really tired and wanting an out…)  I went to a Kairos post-event that night, and she almost ended up calling the cops on me because she thought I had tried to kill myself. She had called my mom first though, and she told J that I was at the Kairos thing… later that night J called me and told me how scared I had made her, and that I shouldn’t do that again… so I only left her happy messages after that.  She still knew I was sad and hurting, but we only talked about that stuff in her office… I kept my nightly despair to myself…  She saved my life in so many ways… if she and her boyfriend hadn’t been so caring and helpful, I would have died a long time ago… I forgot I had tried to kill myself then… but it was only a mild overdose if anything… not even enough to make me sleepy… how is it that I forgot all this until writing it?  it’s all coming back to me.  that night after the play, the stays at J’s… the panic of gaining weight again (once it finally became about the weight, and no longer just a method of control),  the vomiting…  the half-spoon of fruit baby food or yogurt that I could barely force down because it felt too much (slowly trying to kill myself with starvation).  It’s funny, I lost so much weight, and refused to eat so blatantly, yet no one noticed except Mrs. K (the woman whose sons I babysat).  Her & J… but J gave up on my parent’s helping me (she had tried so many times) that she just referred me herself to Renfrew for a support group (you had to have been in the hospital before to get out-patient or in-patient treatment…) and then my parents would have to realize I had a problem that was deeper then attention-seeking… so I stuck to the support groups… mom actually came with me a few times… then dad yelled at both of us for wasting gas and time… so we stopped going, and that was the end of my treatment till i came to UConn…  That part is where my memory gets better…
Wow, that was a dump… maybe I should send this to Dr. C and maybe she will have time to read it by tomorrow… (please tell me if you mind that I sent this to you)…