Tag Archives: judgement

Anxiety hitting really high today

I work part time at a kennel. For the better part of the last 8 months, I have taken my dogs to work with me when I go (though for space reasons, they did not come with me around the 4th of July holiday this past year)… so, while they are with me at work most of the time, there have been times I’ve left them home. For the first time in my recollection, I had massive anxiety/panic around going to work alone today. I almost turned around as I pulled in to work to drive the 45 minutes home to get them, but I talked myself out of it (I would have been 2 hours late if I did that).

I’m not sure what’s going on today, but my panic was at the level it had been when I lived down south. I could barely concentrate. It abated a bit once camp ended and two of the dogs came to sit with me at the front desk, but returned once they both left for the day… L thinks is has something to do with Dr C’s vacation (not having the regular supports in place), and also linked to my judgement around the emotional disruption her vacation is triggering. She may be on to something: 1)I’m hugely upset at myself for taking her vacation so hard. She has every right to get away and enjoy herself. 2)tomorrow would be group if she were here… not only has my individual support been changed, but group is gone as well. I’ll see her colleague tomorrow morning, but I’m also anxious about that. There’s been a whole lot of regression happening lately and I can’t get all the negative mh experiences out of my head…

I’ve wanted to cry on and off since getting to work, and the urge was strong the whole way home. I wasn’t able to let myself cry, but it’s been threatening most of the day. The anxiety even carried over once I got home… it’s finally settling down again 3 hours later. I hope it will let me sleep. 

Speaking of sleep, I didn’t get much last night (or the past few weeks before last night). I’m sure that’s playing into my anxiety as well. Oh, and I’m super emotional courtesy of my period. So, yeah… today was a rough day. I’m glad I only have therapy tomorrow, then nothing again till the weekend (ugh, remind me on Saturday that I actually enjoy the paper meetings and the reptile shows)…

I think tonight calls for some herbal assistance to finish quieting the anxiety and to help me sleep…

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it’s hard to admit…

why is an abuse history so hard to admit? the shame should not belong to me. it was not something I did to someone else. it was done to me, so why is it still hard to say “this happened to me”?

a few co-workers and I were commiserating on insurance quality when I was asked where I get mine. I was able to admit being on disability for ptsd, but when asked what it was from, I couldn’t utter the words… I said “other stuff” (I was asked if I had served, since this is still the first thing people think of when ptsd is mentioned)… they didn’t ask for more details. I wouldn’t have been able to give any even if they had.

at the dentist the other night, I couldn’t check the box that would have disclosed my ptsd diagnosis to them… granted, the office tends to be pretty inappropriate in their banter around patients, so I have reason to hold back, but still. I doubt I would have disclosed even if I didn’t know they talked about their patients freely in front of other patients. it feels like a character flaw. it feels like something that deserves the shame it carries…

stigma, ignorance, judgement… our society oozes it. compassion and understanding are severely lacking on all fronts (see the articles about Charlie Sheen being forced to disclose his HIV+ status because a tabloid believed the public had a right to know his private medical information, or any of the stories on the plight of Syrian refugees). it feels like more and more people I used to peg as understanding are spewing their judgement at every turn… ignorance and hatred are running rampant. it makes me sad, and it fuels the fear that keeps me from admitting my own struggles to the people in my life.


who is easier to talk to?

This whole new therapist thing has me wondering: who is easier to talk to? I know face-to-face is really difficult for me. Strangers are difficult. Family & friends are pretty much impossible to talk to. I worry a lot about judgements. I worry about people’s opinion of me, so the things I bring to therapy are really difficult to talk about with anyone. But I have figured out that speaking with professionals who specialize in certain things are easier to talk to about their specialty… like with De, I was able to tell her things because I knew she was a sexual assault counselor. I knew she would have likely heard most anything I was going to tell her from another client or from other clients in the agency via clinical meetings. I had a reasonable assumption that she would not judge me for anything I opened up about. I have a similar assumption about T, even though she has only been with the agency since De left the agency (4 months? 5?). But she’s been there, and she’s heard some stuff in her experience at the agency…

Anyway, I’ve come to the conclusion that I find it easier to speak to a specialist about the subjects they specialize in. Second to that, it’s easier to speak to a stranger, and only after those is it then easier to speak to a therapist I trust… It’s never easy to speak with family and friends about anything vulnerable. They see me more often and know more details. They can use anything and everything they know against me… and they can judge me without the professional courtesy of not telling me… At least people I see in a professional capacity would only judge me behind my back, and I will not know (hopefully… though as my med records from precious treatment show, that’s not always the case)…

So, who do you find it easier to talk to about all this crap?  Why?


“It’s stupid”

Someone on a forum brought up the concept of thinking something is really important outside of therapy, then getting to the session and deeming it unimportant. It got me thinking about how I decide what to say, and what I will verbalize as being unimportant. I found that I rarely consciously think something is no longer important unless I’m terrified to talk about it. I will have a really strong desire to talk about it outside of session. I feel a lot of emotions relating to it, but when it comes down to talking about it, I panic. I worry about how it will sound, and I worry about judgement. So when I start to say it, I end up pausing and brushing it off as “stupid” or “not important” because I’m really just terrified to talk about it…
It’s times like these I know I really need to talk about it, but I also need some more evidence of trust or acceptance from the therapist. TL had figured out that me labeling something unimportant meant it was actually probably very important but I was afraid to talk about it. We would have conversations around what could make it safer to bring up. She would also remind me a million times that she did not think anything I said was stupid, she held no judgement around it, and she would be there to talk about it whenever I felt ready… I hope she put notes on that down for the next therapist. It might make opening up a bit easier.

I’m holding my breathe for this new therapist to call. There’s something very specific that I need to talk about because it has come up very prominently again. Part of me wonders if I should call the hotline at De’s old office and see if I can talk a bit to someone there. I’m not sure what good it would do though. The hotline is really only there for crisis intervention and emergencies. This is neither. This is just something I really need to talk about with someone in hopes that it fades again for a while… my other thought was calling them to see how long their waiting list was, and if it would be appropriate for me to get on it (not sure how they feel about me having received services there recently and wanting to return). It’s tough to find someone that knows what to do with the sexual assault stuff though…
I wish I had the money to see Dr D (she was D’s supervisor and specialized in trauma). Maybe she could help with this? (Though I would need to have a conversation with her around what is more helpful in response to a crisis. I think I frustrated them when I was there last. It felt like there came a point where they were desperately trying to move me on, but couldn’t find resources to connect me with. I wouldn’t want to put them in that position again. I think when I hit a crisis point, I need someone to remind me that I’m going to figure it out and get through it… it worked with TL, though I didn’t see her for very long. Maybe it wouldn’t work after a few months. I think I would just need to ask that she not panic in response to my panic… I dunno. It’s pointless to think about all this because I can’t afford her anyway…)

I dunno. Thinking about what I label as unimportant in session has me realizing it’s always the most important and scary stuff. Sometimes I just need someone there to hold my hand through it and be with me while I talk. SJ really needs to feel safe. I think that’s why I’m thinking of De’s agency again, because SJ was safe there… there’s something to be said for making the kid feel safe while she cries out her story… I really need it to be OK for her to talk and be heard and be healed. It’s not fair that she has to carry all this alone. I wish I could help her carry it, but I sucked at protecting her when she went through it so what would allow her to think I’d be helpful now?


More art

Therapy on Saturday did not accomplish what I had hoped, though it was an ok session. I was in a good space, and TL went with it. I had wanted to tell her something, an explanation, but it felt like I would get shot down or ridiculed if I mentioned it (not necessarily her style, but she was pushing a topic that is connected to the dissociation. The way she spoke about it made me feel like it was not the right moment to bring up SJ and the other sides of me). Finally, at the end of session, I was able to tell her there was something I had hoped to talk about, but we didn’t have enough time to get into it. I told her I had it written down, but she wants me to say it. Good luck chicky. She will have to read it, then we can talk afterwards about it all…

wpid-img_20140825_024222.jpgAnyway, on to the art. I was messing around tonight trying to put that hesitation on paper in a way that was easier to explain then having to stumble over words. I started with the concept of the woman on the right with the thoughts floating in her head, but unable to make it out of her mouth. It felt unfinished, so I added the left side (the words are what I had wanted to tell TL in session). The overlay represents all that I end up talking about that masks what I really want to say; it’s the darkness and the light that takes over and hides the real things I need to address. Let’s hope I can show it to her next Saturday. I had mentioned that I also really want to show her my art journal but that I have trouble bringing it up. She said she would try to remember that I had stuff I wanted to get to in session. She agreed to try to remind me. I have gone in with lists for my reference to no avail, so I hope she can help me get around to this stuff finally.

 


“leave the treatment up to the experts”

Ok, so I have heard that statement on more than one occasion from a therapist, doctor, or other “professional” I have just met, or (most recently) from my wife’s new therapist who has never met me, nor does she know my story…

It’s a phrase that really bothers me, because it invalidates any insight or experience I may have with any previous treatment. It invalidates my wife’s experiences with my past treatment, and it pretty much makes me feel like shit about myself. It’s based on snap judgements over incomplete information… The rational part of me knows that it’s based on prejudice and little knowledge of the individual. But then there’s that little kid in me who is terrified that I am as broken and hopeless as many make me out to be.

While I understand that I am seeking help from some of these “professionals”, I’ve also have had a great deal of time and experience with the treatments they are suggesting, and they have not worked for me. Why does a client’s self-assessment and prior experience count for nothing with some of these people? I’m educated in my treatment options, both personally and professionally. I have probably been in therapy longer than they have been practicing, and have tried SO MANY approaches, I have a decent idea of what works and what does not… I have a paper trail from previous providers 10 miles long of what works and what doesn’t. Why does that mean nothing to these people?!

Would a statement like that bother anyone else? Am I blowing it way out of proportion? When I encounter it, I am made to feel like I should bow to their superior knowledge and skill-set without question or opinion. It feels totally invalidating to me. And there’s never a discussion around why I feel that a particular method of treatment won’t work. It’s left at “I’m the expert and you need to do what I say”… UGH!

So far, I have switched from everyone that has said something like that to me. Therapy is supposed to be a team effort. If they can’t even listen to or respect what I have to say on treatment options, what’s to say they will do that with other things I tell them??

I have found a good number of professionals that are not like that, but the ones that are make me hesitate to reach out when I need to. They have me second-guessing myself and feeling like a hopeless wreck. I really don’t need any help in that department lately, thanks.

Sorry, guess I just needed to vent on that…


moving through

I’m still in a fog, and not quite sure what to do about it.  I can finally talk about ending therapy with De without bursting into tears immediately.  Remembering that it’s the emotions from more than one loss is helpful.  It doesn’t make it all better, but the mantra tones it down some.  I’m trying to reign in the feelings that equate this to a death.  I know where those stem from, and I’m reminding myself of that every moment…

I’m trying not to write my experience over hers.  I’m trying not to create a story around why she is leaving without knowing the full details.  But my head has other ideas.  It’s playing my story over her’s. It’s making me feel guilty, which amplifies my feelings of abandonment, which makes me feel more guilty, which intensifies the loss… and it’s an ever-faster circle of thoughts of which I’m trying to rationalize my way out. I can hear De saying this is a train of thought I need to get off.  The problem is, I’m having trouble catching my breath long enough to talk my way out of it.  I worry that this is how I made my clients feel (or I made them feel worse, which would really, really suck) when I disappeared on them without warning.  At the beginning of my crash in 2010 (which lasted through 2011), I was still seeing individual clients at the domestic violence shelter.  One week (with no notice), I simply did not show up for them.  I had landed myself in the hospital for self harm or severe depression, or something like that, and had my wife call me out of work (or maybe I called myself out from the emergency room, I don’t quite remember).  My supervisor was only told that I was at the emergency room, and not expected back for at least a week, but I would let them know.  It must have been me that called out, because I had to give them my list of appointments for the week so that they could cancel them.  I don’t think I went back right away upon discharge, but maybe I did.  I did not see any clients though, because they had been cancelled pending my return to be able to re-schedule them.  I lasted maybe a day and a half before I walked into my clinical director’s office for spontaneous supervision (I think I scared her because I remember being quite blank and subdued, much different from my presentation prior to my spiral).  I admitted to her I was overwhelmed and highly triggered by one client in particular, but also the whole concept of working in domestic violence.  We agreed that my clients would get transferred to another clinician, and I would concentrate on office work.  I left messages for my clients with instructions to call my supervisor for their new contacts. I did not tell them my real reasons for transferring them, but I did not offer a termination session either.  I feel like I cheated them out of closure (something I value very highly), but I would not have been effective even for that last session.  So the guilt weighs heavy on me.  In the moment, I know how shitty it feels with appropriate termination, it must have felt much worse without it (actually, I know it feels much worse without it.  I didn’t have that opportunity with D and with some other therapists in the past).

The more I sit with it, the more things I can pinpoint as playing a part in my reaction this time around.  I feel guilt at my failures as a provider and support for my clients.  I feel the loss of closure-less endings from both the side of a clinician and a client.  I’m feeling the shock of a sudden loss.  I’m reminded of all the other losses from the past (deaths, endings to relationships, moves, loss of sentimental objects, my failure as a human being… Yeah, I know that last one seems like a huge leap, and it likely is, but my head goes there.  I fail at finances, at life, at caring for people and animals, at all my dreams. I have not found anything that I enjoy but am also good at.  The critical part of me denies even “being” anything at all).  I have trouble pulling out of this right now.  I know I’m being harsh, but it’s the only thing that is keeping me from crumbling under the weight of all this compiled loss.  I can handle criticism.  I know what to do with it.  I can’t handle the loss, so I take the lesser of the two evils.

My fear of sobbing in front of De yesterday brought up the memory of being as disproportionately crushed by the sudden death of a classmate in high school.  He actually no longer attended my school at the time of his death during sophomore year, but we were a small incoming class the year before (maybe 100 students in the whole freshman class) and had all grown at least familiar with each other. The news of his death hit our class hard.  It hit me harder because I had lost my aunt a few months ago at the start of the summer. I wailed at his memorial service. I made everyone uncomfortable, but I couldn’t will my legs to move when my teacher suggested my friend accompany me to the bathroom or guidance office.  I just shook my head and cried uncontrollably.  I didn’t think I could have walked without collapsing to the floor.  I heard my classmates comment and disapprove.  I saw my teacher’s reaction, but I could do nothing except cry hysterically in my seat.  I think that experience plays loudly into my shame at crying right now, at my overly intense reaction to De’s departure… Crying is bad enough when Skeletor threatens death if you don’t stop; add to it humiliation and disapproval of everyone around you and it cements that experience into your soul…

Anyway, yeah, I’m trying to gain more insight around all this in an effort to move through it.  I’m trying to decide how much of this I should try to process with De, and how much I need to just deal with myself.  I’m at once trying to balance pulling away so I can convince myself I will be fine after she is gone (to keep the hurt a step removed), and processing what I can so I am not left hypothesizing.  I want to know that (maybe) I’m just reading too much into all this, and maybe her story is not as close to mine as I think (I hope it’s not as close to mine as I think, because it means someone else is hurting like this)…

Ok, time to take a breath and step away from this for now because it’s getting overwhelming again. Need to keep moving through this without getting trapped…