Tag Archives: needy

When art holds more power than you think it should (the baby, revisited) 

Why is the concept of this baby in a painting so disturbing to me? 

I couldn’t stop the panic around this painting of a baby existing. It was as if it was something from a Stephen King novel; that simply by having a painting of a baby, I was putting that baby in danger… 

I asked Dr C if she had a bit of time after group to either destroy or alter the painting. She had a few minutes, and we took the time to make the painting feel a bit safer. I really had just wanted to destroy it, but she suggested altering it first in case that helped. We added some elements and removed a few others. She then gave me a few options where to store it till our next session. I had her leave again it where she had originally put it (it was a high-up, safe place with other client art so it wasn’t all alone) … 

As I was leaving her office, I realized I really wanted to be at the beach… I needed both to not be home alone, and to be somewhere that felt healing & safe.  I weighed my options, and figured the beach would do me good.

I took the 50 minute drive there, and wandered around for a bit. I sat by the water. I let the waves wash over my legs and get my pants wet. I didn’t care that they would be damp for the rest of the day. I collected rocks and shells and feathers and bones. It helped distract me…

Since leaving Dr C’s office, I’ve had a mantra running through my head, trying to convince myself that the baby in the painting is safe in Dr C’s care. I’m really not sure why it means so much to me. It’s just paint on paper, and it’s not even spouses to be me as a baby. It’s a little boy with no face. I’m not totally site why it feels so in-danger.

Hopefully it will feel safe for the remainder of the weekend.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

:/

Sorry, that was probably tmi…

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


venting

I can’t seem to stop crying. This move is what my wife and I have been working towards for three years, but it still hurts. And it’s all right at the same time as a really crappy anniversary. It just sucks. I’m not sure where to turn for real-life support around any of it. I’m not even sure what I would want or need as support. No one seems to be able to understand that it sucks as much as it does (I’m not sure even I totally get why it hurts so much). Everyone thinks I should just be happy that I’m back with my wife (which I totally am!), but there’s also this anniversary of my aunt’s death (she was the safe place to go when my dad got out of control), and losing her house, and having to re-home one of my cats as well as say goodbye to my mom & her critters, and leaving my friends, and having to have said goodbye to TM… and I’m pms’ing, which ALWAYS makes everything a million times harder.

It’s weird, because my ptsd got so much worse when I moved here, but the thought of leaving the week after next is also really triggering. I feel like I’m leaving my mom to an abusive situation again (did that at 17 when I couldn’t stay at my home any longer b/c of my dad), though this time she lives alone – there isn’t any current abuse, but it still *feels* the same, and I don’t know how to shake that feeling. I was never good at protecting her or taking care of her as a kid, and I’m no better at it as an adult. I feel like a little kid again. Writing it out here though, I’m realizing it’s probably mostly the old stuff, and it’s kinda helping to recognize that.

Yesterday I gave in and went out with friends for our usual Wednesday night trivia at a local restaurant. I should not have gone out and spent money, but I want to get all the time in with them that I can. It took me 10 minutes to walk into the place though. I couldn’t stop crying in the car. On the way home, I tore out of the parking lot and cried again when I got back into my driveway. I know I won’t lose touch with my friend b/c we’ve been friends since middle school. We just keep finding each other and catching up, but it’s another loss at a time when so many are already very prominent.

I haven’t cried this much since ending with De this same time last year. I hate it. I don’t know how not to be overwhelmed by this. I have to keep it together though. I have to sort through all my crap and pack it up and wrap up loose ends. All I want to do is either hide in bed and cry, or go to the beach and ignore the move (still trying to figure out how to get more beach time in before I leave).

I’m really hating that I don’t have a therapist to talk to right now. I could call Dr. C, but I need to ask her if I can skip a payment on my old bill next month. I don’t want to have to simultaneously ask for extra help from her when I know I can’t pay for it in the moment… I’m kinda mad the stupid IOP was so triggering. It would have been nice to be able to process some of this stuff. It’s easier to be rambling and directionless in my whining in a setting like that where it’s somewhat expected. And it would be ok to whine and ask for support. I don’t know how to do that with people in my life. I’m supposed to know what I’m asking for, and how to ask for it, and how to do it on my own before even asking. That’s just what society expects. That way you are not really asking for anything, just acknowledging that you are stuck. People don’t have to be made uncomfortable by not knowing what to do (even if all you need is for them to listen and care so you can just get the jumbled mess out of your head)…

I’m really glad to be back with my wife soon, but I wish the change wasn’t happening on the stupid anniversary. A month earlier or later would have been a bit easier (later, I’m guessing, would have been easiest b/c things always get easier once the anniversary passes… and I might have had TM’s support through that day). July 7th has not been easy at all since being down here. At least up north, some years I wouldn’t even know it was coming up. Down here though, the distress over it hits hard more than a month before, and it just keeps getting worse as the day nears. For the past 2 years, it’s also been the time I have to say goodbye to my therapist, so there’s no reliable support around getting through it. 😦

I’m so tired of all this. It needs to get better again up north. I don’t have the energy to keep going through this all the time.

Sorry. I don’t know how not to be so needy right now.


I worried about my walls for no reason…

I managed to keep my walls relatively intact today until the very end, when she asked about something, and I looked at the clock “oh, sorry, time’s up.” I said. She looked at me, looked at the clock, back at me, and said we’ll tackle it next session. She threatened to write a note for herself so we’d be sure to get to it.

There were a few moments I almost cried as we talked about the move, but I held it together and quickly changed my line of thinking. It was relatively easy since I had nearly 10 days to craft my walls. Everything is at a distance right now. If it threatens to come rushing up on me, I hide in bed, or blast music at myself, or listen to one of the meditations, or force myself upon my friends so I have plenty of distractions. Oh, and alcohol. There’s plenty of reliance on that right now too.

Part of me wishes I hadn’t wasted a session when we have so few left, but another part of me is really happy I didn’t activate all the neediness and hopelessness that’s just beneath the surface.


o_O

This move is so anxiety-inducing… and then the decision around whether or not the anxiety and depression warrant a check-in call to TM today is anxiety-inducing. I think I will ask that it’s either scheduled, or that there isn’t a call expected, but that it be decided before I leave session either way. I’m leaning towards “I’ll call and leave you a message if I need to” but not set a day and time for a check-in call that may or may not happen. Having to make that decision (even though she said either choice would be ok) is worse than having to make a decision to simply leave her a message. I keep landing on the side of “this isn’t important enough to warrant a check-in”. It feels like a check-in would only be ok if it was something hugely impossible to get through (kinda like last week). This week is difficult, but not as bad as last week…

The depression is still really bad, but it’s manageable at the moment. Going out for a bit yesterday helped (so did that nap). The flashbacks are once again just “background noise” in my body. Though I would love to get them to stop completely, as well as this newer pain that comes with them, I don’t think it’s enough to bug her today… I can still change my mind for the next 2.5 hours, but at this point, I’m settling on “not gonna be annoying and needy”.

On another note, I don’t know why I thought that the happy memories timeline would be emotionally easier than the aversive memories one. There’s no real emotion attached to the happy memories, but they trigger more aversive memories that are connected to them in one way or another. Those negative memories definitely come with some serious emotions. :/

I keep telling myself I need to handle all this differently. I need to not be so triggered by it. I need to be able to deal with it without contacting TM. And then I cycle around to wondering what use trying to deal with all this is with only a few sessions left. I want to hide and put up walls and push TM away (or, push myself away). I don’t want to feel a need to talk to her about anything. I don’t want to find myself looking to her for support. I don’t want to feel like she is a safe person. I don’t want to trust her. I want to be able to walk away without looking back. I’m trying to prepare for this loss that will be huge when it shouldn’t be… Attachment and trust and safety are sticky and messy things for me. I’m not sure how to navigate them as easily as I should. It plants a lump squarely in my throat, and a huge weight into my chest.

The other day I had a lightbulb moment around why I cling so desperately to anyone I care about right before an immanent ending. I’m not really sure why didn’t realize this sooner. I was journaling when it suddenly jumped out of the screen at me: I pulled away from my aunt before she died. I didn’t spend much time with her in that last year she was sick. It was hard. She was cranky and mean from the chemo. I didn’t want to be around that, so I stopped going to see her. I stopped spending time with her. She was one of my favorite people, and I abandoned her because I couldn’t handle her being sick. Then one day, my parents tell me I should go see her because “she doesn’t have much time left”… I think I might have seen her 2 or 3 more times before she lost consciousness in her final week. Then the hospice nurse told us she was likely going to pass that night. Her body was giving up, it was out of fight. She was out of fight. So we spent several hours with her. We would talk to her, and hold her hand. And then it got late, so my mom, brother, and I left. She died later that night…

I felt cheated. And I was angry at myself for not having been there for her. I was mad that I had let my fear and anxiety win to push me away from “my other mother”… I think because of that regret, my reflex is to cling desperately to any relationship right before it’s over. Be it romantic or therapeutic, if I know it’s ending, I become annoying and needy and ever-present… I’m trying not to do that with TM. The only alternate though seems to be building huge walls and lots of distance. It’s another thing I can’t find a middle-ground with. I don’t know how to take an impending loss and not feel giant emotions around it. It was easy to recognize in the termination timing with De, but it’s been harder to put together when it wasn’t so obviously entangled. With De, termination came 6 days before the anniversary of K’s death. I would trip up and use K’s name with her. It was painfully obvious much of the gravity of emotion came from the first loss (and from the coinciding anniversary of my first suicide attempt, thought that came 13 years after K’s death)… Other losses have felt as huge, but never were that easy to put together. I’m not sure what prompted me connecting the dots with the impending loss of TM, but it finally clicked. I am well aware that most of the emotions going on right now are transference. Yes, I will miss TM. It was a good fit for the most part. I know though, that most of my issues with loss go further back… I know losing people I trust and feel safe with just picks at an old wound that never truly healed. 😦


distance = safety

I desperately want to talk to TM right now, in the moment. I know it’s only so strong because I have distance, and because I can’t actually talk to her in the moment. It’s safe to want to be vulnerable because it’s not a real possibility right now…

If I were to be seeing her later today, the walls would fly back into place. I would deem all this “stupid” and not be able to speak about it. But I’m not in danger of seeing her for another 6 days, so it’s ok to feel this need to spill to her. It’s ok to want to talk about details and impact and insights. It’s safe right now.

Only this pattern makes for difficult therapy. I throw other things at her. I create distractions and talk around things. I disappoint myself in my inability to move forward in therapy… I only want to be vulnerable because I can’t really be vulnerable right now. Even if I were to call her, I wouldn’t be able to voice any of this.

I want to commit to handing her what I wrote today, but I am predicting I will label it “stupid” at the appointment and not give it to her. Or maybe I’ll write too much other stuff this week and this will lose place to something that is more of a summary. I’m not sure. But I know so far every time I wrote something intense with the intent of giving it to her, I always find a reason not to. There’s always something more pressing, or I judge the important stuff too harshly, or I lose my nerve…

And the stuff I wrote today would count as trauma processing. I’m not sure she wants to go there right now. I think she still wants to gauge how well I cope, how far I will fall if I put too much on my plate…

Problem is, it’s on my plate regardless. The flashbacks are there whether or not I talk about them in therapy. The memories are there; the nightmares, the hopelessness, the confusion… It’s all there even if I don’t take it to her. I cope poorly or I cope well regardless of her knowledge of it. At least if I’m talking to her about it, I might find some support. (maybe if I print it out now and stick it in my art journal, I might be more inclined to show her?)


running from myself

I feel like I’m running from myself today. I’d bouncing back and forth amongst coping skills and busy-activities in hopes of staving off the intensity of flashbacks threatening to overwhelm me. I really hate this time of month. It triggers on way too many levels.

I’m too distracted to do any one thing for very long. I think 5 minutes would be an overstatement of my ability to follow any one task.

If I had some cash, I would feel better about leaving the house. As it is, I barely have enough to get myself much gas for the rest of the month, forget anything extra. The lottery jackpot is huge tonight, but I am having trouble justifying digging through the piggy bank for even one ticket cost. It would be awesome if I won, but the likelihood of that is pretty slim… so do I waste the $2 on a ticket? or do I save that for my traditional cup of coffee before therapy next week?

Trying to be mindful of the moment and not let my anxiety run amuck. Right now, my fear of what the flashbacks bring is greater than the intensity of the actual ones I am experiencing. My impulses are battling it out with my intellect. Part of me is responding in the old, impulsive, over-blown way, while another part is trying to kick in the newer learning and composure. I was telling TM yesterday that I know I should be responding better to all this, and that’s what I am trying to do. The truth is that I do know how to respond differently, it just takes much more work and energy. Right now, I have what it takes to put in that effort (even if it means re-directing myself a million and one times an hour). It’s exhausting though, so I need to figure out how to breathe through this.

Ok. What to do today to help center? I need gas for the car. Then I can either go to the beach or grab a lottery ticket while out getting gas… beach would be better because gas by the beach is cheaper. Good, that’s one thing. Get gas and go to the beach. Then what? Um… Maybe do some art? art would be good. Ok, so get gas, go to beach, do some art… then…? Um… yeah… sure. that.

You ever catch yourself wanting to call a friend to hang, then talk yourself out of it before you get past that first thought because a million and one reasons pop into your head about why they wouldn’t want to get together (the first of which always seems to be “why in the world would they even want to consider hanging with me?!”)?

I could make candles, but then the thought of how nice the hot wax would feel on my skin floats through my head. Ugh. No. Old coping… need to focus on new coping. Make candles to sell? Or decopage the candle holders to make them prettier? Or finally do something with all the beer bottles I’ve collected this past year? I could try the string soaked in rubbing alcohol to cut the top off the bottles, then make then into glasses or candle holders…

Need to stop this anxious running feeling. Maybe going to an actual run? ok, who am I kidding, how about a brisk walk?

I dunno. Maybe pull out art journal stuff and do something in that?

I should clean the reptile room.

Or maybe I’ll just sit here till some of the anxiety subsides so I can focus on one thing.

Brain, please just shut up and calm down.