Tag Archives: panic

Freaking out: meds or ptsd?

Started taking gabapentin for fibromyalgia, and it’s triggered flashbacks (tried it as a psych med many years ago during several stints inpatient). I’m having trouble grounding from feeling out of control and scared… I text Dr. C a bit, but… I dunno. I can’t shake the feeling of being helpless in this situation, and having no choice in whether or not I take this med (though I know I totally have a choice, and could stop anytime I want to; no one is forcing me or threatening me about it this time). Part of me is still shaking in a corner, waiting to be hospitalized if I don’t want it…
I dunno. I’m not sure it’s worth this panic. The pot does reasonably well with the pain, so maybe I just need to stick with that? Maybe now that the neurologist says this is likely fibro, maybe I just need to learn to live with it with the meds I currently have?

I’m totally freaking out on this gabapentin. I want to self-destruct in so many ways, and I’m not sure if it’s the meds or ptsd.

Neurologist said to give it till Monday…


Long-term effects of growing up around violence

…Well, one long term effect. For me.

I worry about and see anger in everyone. I want to appease it, and apologize for it, even if it has nothing to do with me.

Perceived anger frightens me.

Someone was trying to get in the front door of our complex, but it’s locked. They walked back around. I’m assuming they grabbed a key, then tried again. They looked frustrated when it didn’t work.

I started to become scared. I wanted to both hide, and walk over to see if I could help in any way.

It had nothing to do with me, but I reacted as if I needed to fix it because they were mad at me specifically (I’m not even sure the woman knows anyone is home in my apartment)…

My heart is still racing. I’m still ambivalent. It happened 20 minutes ago.

I’m doing nothing wrong. The woman isn’t here for anything related to me, yet I’m scared she will come in and yell at me…

G would have done that. He was (and is) unpredictable and volatile.

This woman is not G.

I will keep repeating that to myself until my inner kid believes it (or stops the panic)


Rough day…

I hate being so defective.

Was at a urologist today for an initial appointment. Didn’t think to ask them if there would be any uncomfortable exams. 15 minutes in, the doctor sprung the concept of a pelvic exam on me. I kinda started to panic, but tried to talk myself down.

She’s nice. She seems nice. Dr F recommended her, so she trusts her, so I can trust her. L is here with me. It’s all good. No worries. Dr F trusts her, so she’s safe…

That worked for about as long as it took me to think the words one time. By the second round, I was already drifting away. I know I spoke to L about my anxiety, but I can’t remember what was said.

By the time the doctor came back in, I was barely breathing and about to jump out of my skin. I managed to mutter someing about panic rising, and as she looked at me to ask if anything in my past would make this more difficult, I could only nod. Tears were welling up in my eyes. I was flying away hard and fast in my head.

I’m not really sure what she said next; everything was happening miles away. All I could do was keep biting my lip (I actually managed to accidentally bite off a bit of it)…

I think she said something about changing the treatment plan, but I have no idea what she said it would be. I will have to ask L later…

I hate being so defective. I want to be a normal human who can go to a new doctor and get through the visit without any major triggers…

After the appointment, L reminded me it was bingo night. She asked if I wanted to go. My first instinct was to stay home and hide. Then I figured distracting would probably be better…

We went to bingo. I took some meds to help me calm and ground a bit more. I’m so thankful I did! Someone who ended up sitting next to us sounded and acted so much like bitch most of the night. Had I not calmed myself down, I would have been more of a triggered mess…


Flashbacks from unlikely triggers…

Financially, things have been rough with L’s medical leave. Friends of ours’ very generously set up a donation campaign. It’s been doing really well. We are getting closer and closer to the goal set (enough to cover 1 month’s rent, car payment, phone bill, gas for the car, and a few other things that wouldn’t be covered by my money).  It’s really awesome, and I’m really grateful; we both are. We are blown away by the generosity of not only friends & family, but also compete strangers. 

On the flip side of that, it’s been triggering. I had to turn off the notifications for new donations… I had a slight meltdown earlier today because all I could think was that I  would owe so many people. It wasn’t after it subsided that I realized it was a flashback… I knew the obvious body memories were flashbacks, but I didn’t really connect the emotion or line-of-thinking to it. 

Dr C happened to have some availability to text between appointments.  She was patient enough to listen to my panicked rambles and try to help me calm down. L probably would have done the same if I had given her the opportunity, but I didn’t know how to let her in… maybe if I were in a different headspace, I could have explained it all to her, but in the moment, I didn’t know what to say… she tolerated my bottled panic, and accepted me being useless for most of the day… I dunno why she puts up with me, but I’m grateful. 

Anyway, so yeah. Getting donations seems to be a trigger. Having to ask for help is a trigger… I feel worthless and like a fraud. I mean, if I were a real, functioning adult, I would be able to at least work more to help us out when L has legit reasons not to be at work… my rational brain knows these donations don’t come with strings attached, but holy shit, is my inner kid ever terrified… ūüėď


Still panic with certain doctors

I’ve seen Dr F for going on 5 years now, yet I still panic sitting in her waiting room. 

I trust her, I like her as a doctor, but the triggers around gyn exams are still huge and scary. I’m trying to remind myself I trust her and like her and that she’s safe. I’m still shaking…

This sucks. 


Anxiety is high today

I’m not sure why, but I’m freaking out about everything today. I’m normally ok driving places, but today I don’t want to drive. I don’t even want to be away from this spot on the couch. 

I’m supposed to meet a friend for dinner and give her the art piece she purchased, but I’m about in tears thinking about having to leave home or be social. My heart is doing the floppy fish thing too…

I really don’t know where all this anxiety is coming from. It’s not characteristic for me (at least not lately) to be this agoraphobic… I know Dr C would say she was glad I went out and did it despite the anxiety, but that’s not the bad part. I just don’t like that the anxiety is so intense around it. I also don’t like not knowing the trigger for it. Why is it that sometimes this anxiety feels so debilitating, but other times I’m fine going places? 

I want to curl up and cry and hide from the world…


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…


Hell is…

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Went to a figure drawing thing at a local gallery tonight. The model was supposed to be a woman, but she was unable to make it at the last minute. One of the guys that had come to draw offered to model…

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I made it through the first 30 minute pose, but just barely. I focused on the light and the dark trying to draw the model. It was the only reason I was able to do it at all…

At the end of the first pose, I packed up my stuff and left. Tears started forming in my eyes as I walked out… sometime during the first pose, I had text Dr C about it. I was looking for permission to leave. She hadn’t responded at the point that I left, but I had no faith in being able to remain “together” for the other 4 poses. I lucked out with the first one – he had his back to me and I couldn’t see too much. I wasn’t about to push my luck with the other poses.

I fought tears the whole drive home. I couldn’t get the image of the model out of my head, but it wasn’t really the model… I cried harder when the body in my mind’s eye changed…

Dr C finally responded as I was pulling off my exit from the highway… “No, you need to know that you’re free to leave any room with an exposed penis in it.” (I had asked if it was a failure to leave after the first pose)…

L asked why I was home so early (the text that I was leaving early didn’t get to her). I clarified my initial text about the model not being able to make it. She asked if I was ok, and she saw through my fake answer… I wish I could explain what happened internally, but there are no words…

I poured myself a triple glass of whiskey. It’s helped to stifle my triggered reactions and the impulse to shred myself… idgaf that it’s not the greatest coping skill in the world, but I’m not bleeding, so whatever.


Yesterday & Today

The anxiety was overwhelming yesterday. I wasn’t connected to the emotional impact of it at first; it was just the physical symptoms (being “on alert”, racing heart, tense muscles, distracted by everything, inability to sit still, feeling out of breath). They were intense and lasted the whole day. I tried to breathe through it and repeat grounding phrases, but very little worked to slow any of it for more than a few moments at a time. I jumped almost every time a customer walked through the door. Every loud noise startled me, and the constant barking of the dogs kept it feeling like I needed to stay on alert (in reality, the dogs were just barking because they are away from home and stressing, not because there’s anything to be worried about). I counted all the dogs and did the walk-through at least 7 times before leaving. I felt like every customer might be angry with me or cause a confrontation (no one actually was/did). I went back several times to check the doors to make sure they were locked. I even sat in the parking lot with my dogs ready to leave but mentally going over everything again to make sure everything was done before I left…

This morning is a bit better. It took forever to fall asleep, and I definitely didn’t sleep well, but I got some sleep, so that was good. Unfortunately, my stuff has a habit of kicking in as the day wears on. I noticed the anxiety returning about an hour ago. The echos of the past are still there, though mostly emotional at this point… :/

There’s group later today, so that should help. Then L and I have to clean up and make the apartment look presentable. I hope they don’t freak out over the cats and snakes. They know about the dogs, but the rest wasn’t mentioned at the time we moved in… there’s also some financial stuff I need to get on the ball with asap…Maybe now would be a good time to motive and call for that extra assistance from local social services. If I could just get some support doing all this stuff, it might help make it easier…

The self-harm thoughts are screaming at me still… gotta keep avoiding them, though it would help my head shut up for a while… Maybe I should try the aprn at Dr C’s office and see if he can give me something for the anxiety when it gets this bad..


Where did I leave off?

Let’s see, what have you missed out on?

I’m still having a rough time. I still really just want to cry but can’t seem to. I’m still not sleeping all that well…

I’ve also been creatively dry lately. I participated in an art journal page supply swap, and felt like I was kicking and screaming my way through it. I did most of a page around what I received, but it still needs work.

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I tried working more on a small mixed media piece that I started a while back. I had overdone the silver foil when I added it; It took over the whole painting. I tried to balance it with some steampunk-style, but now I’m feeling the focal image is completely lost. I dunno. It’s definitely something to keep working on.

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Other than that, I’m creatively stalled.

Outside of art, I’m finding the repercussions of wanting to help people out are again causing more stress than happiness. Several weeks ago, I had suggested to someone I could bring something back for her from across the country because, at the time, I thought I could make that trip easier than I actually can… least week, she asked if I was still open to picking up her purchase. I said yes thinking I was doing this trip at my pace. Unfortunately, between work constraints and the preferences of others involved, the trip has been pushed up to the end of this week instead of the beginning of May. That leaves me reeling on a few levels: money is a HUGE issue for this trip. At the time I quoted the person a cost, I was expecting to have more cash at my disposal. I only quoted half the cost of the trip, but that leaves me having to pay the other half, which I don’t really think I can afford right now.
It will also be hugely emotionally draining to go back. I’m going by myself. The whole 2-day drive will be on my shoulders both ways. There’s no one to talk to, or to switch off driving with… and I’m going back to the place that had me so triggered for the last 2.5 years.

Why did I agree to this again on this time-frame?

I hate that my insane push to help out and to please people pushes me into situations I should have thought harder about. It is what I tend to do at work and in my personal life: I push myself way past my own limits until it ends up backfiring… when will I finally learn this lesson?

Oh, I had mentioned the pattern of March being difficult seemingly every year to Dr C during last session. We brainstormed a bunch of ideas, but none seemed to feel like they fit. Maybe it’s just a rough month for no real reason…


It was a good weekend

It was a good weekend ūüôā

There was a snow storm, but we only got about 5″. The dogs enjoyed playing in the snow. L’s boss got them out on time Saturday night so they could travel safely.

Sunday L and I actually finally got around to starting a joint art project. We ended up doing half and half of a large canvas. The original idea was “you do something, then I do something, then you do something…” but we got distracted with our “sides” and just kept going. It’s still a work in progress, but I like what we have so far.

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It was really nice being able to do something creative together.

We also spent some time watching our newest series obsession: nurse Jackie. We got into it last weekend when hulu had a showtime special for the weekend. Now we binge-watch as we can. There was one scene though that was pretty triggering (and relatively out of nowhere). Jackie and her husband get into an arguement while driving somewhere. He gets mad, pulls the car over, and gets out. In my head, it replayed a memory of one of the many fights my parents would get into, only instead of the husband getting out and walking away, I remembered my dad screaming at my mom and pulling her from the car. I expected the husband character to start pounding on the car as my dad would have. I expected the kids to panic and fear for their mom’s life as I would have…
It wasn’t a flashback, as much as just an intrusive memory coupled with strong emotions. Even thinking about it now enough to write it, I feel the fear in my chest…

I had meant to talk about it a bit with Dr C today, but we chatted about other things instead (like employment plans and art techniques and the dog). Part of me wants to jump back into the working world with both feet. Dr C reminded me that it’s ok to take things slow. I have this comfort/disgust relationship with being on disability. It’s nice to know I have a safety net, but I also feel useless and worthless. We talked about being on disability, and Dr C pointed out that I am on it for good reason: my mental health deteriorated so badly in the past that my condition was very close to being lethal at the time. It really was/can be a life-or-death thing with me. Sadly (or not?), I have no connection to that state of mind if I’m not in it. Dr C reminded me that it is common with dissociative disorders… I just want it under control enough to get back to being productive again.

Another thing giving me pause about trying to get back to the working world full-force is the panic I felt when Dr C mentioned she will be away for 2 weeks starting the end of this week… I’m not sure why it’s such a scary thought, but it really is. We scheduled a second appointment for this week because of it. Hopefully I can be open with her about my panic. I’m sure it’s just an anxiety reaction, but… :/ I think I might cry.


Sundowning is not just an institutional thing

As soon as the sun goes down, my panic skyrockets and my flashbacks pick up stronger. They build each other up cyclically. The panic increases the flashbacks which increases the panic which increases the flashbacks and around it goes… add into the mix that the flashbacks trigger the self harm urges, which also feed into the loop, and I’m a mess shortly after dark.

The anxiety and terror around going to bed are back again too. If I’m in bed before the sun goes down, it’s not so bad (even if I’m up afterwards). It’s when the sun goes down and I’m not in the bedroom that the panic hits really hard about returning to the room… and the flashbacks, and the terror, and the self harm urges…

I’m really hoping it will ease up once L is here, and again once the move is over.

On a cute note, our great niece is already packing for a sleepover at our new apartment… L tried to tell her we won’t even be there for another week, but she’s getting prepared anyway. Once she’s got her mind set on something, there’s no stopping her.  Gotta love kids ‚̧


rollercoaster

moves can be such an upheaval, even if they are wanted and happy…

I go through bouts of panic, or intense sadness, or both.

I want to hide and cry, but I am trying to pack…

I want to break things (but I don’t really, just feeling very broken inside)… so I purge things and pack the rest.

progress is happening. slow, but happening.

“in tomorrow’s light, things will look a lot less frightening” – Lily Kershaw, Maybe


Sudden freak-out moment

I was up early this morning. I normally am awake, but in bed for several hours before I actually get up. This morning I physically got out of bed before 6:30am. I sat on the patio with the dogs and drank my coffee… the problem with that though, is the panic over this move and the losses kicked in earlier in the day. I did my online stuff already and it’s not even 10 am. I’ve finished all the distractions that normally get me through to 1 pm… now there’s time to think. I really don’t want to think. I don’t want to remember that everything changes in 3 weeks. I don’t want to remember that next week is my last session with TM. I don’t want to tackle the giant task of sorting things, packing them, and moving them. I don’t want to think about the fact that I feel people see my animals as disposable. I don’t want to be aware of any of the losses or changes coming up… and I don’t want to cry.

I suddenly feel very needy today. I want to be a little kid and not worry about anything, only I’m worried about everything.

Maybe if I get the dogs up-&-at-’em, their craziness will provide a distraction for the time being. I could do mani-pedis and give the little guy the haircut he so desperately needs. Then maybe I can clean out the snake cages I’m hoping to sell before the move… and… I don’t know. Hoping that provides enough distraction and draining to allow this panic to abate.


IOP fail

Wow that was triggering. Not only did the staff not have it together (no one knew why I was there or where to send me), but it’s on the second floor of a locked psych hospital. I needed to be buzzed in the front door, leave my belongings, buzzed in through another set of doors, buzzed up the stairs… it was worse on the way out. There were 5 locked doors to get through that way.

Over the phone I was told it would be a 2-hour appointment: first filling out intake paperwork, then a meeting with the program director. When I got there, I learned they expected me to stay the whole first day. I mentioned that I needed to go after 2 hours because that was all I had alloted per the phone conversation last week. It was also all the time I paid for at the parking lot…

There was a ton of miscommunication and misunderstanding before I even set foot in the door. The groups were rowdy and loud (a huge trigger when I’m already anxious), and everyone spoke over everyone else. Oh, and the only bathroom was a single occupancy room with entries from both group rooms. I hate going to the bathroom anyplace but home. It makes me very anxious. Having people know and hear me pee? Even worse…

I was so glad to be able to get out.  There is no way in hell I’m returning there. I left 2 hours ago and still am trying to center & calm myself. I keep looking around the house to remind myself I’m home.

I left TM a quite panicked message upon leaving, begging her to tell me I never had to go back…

I think I need to call them. I will tell them I changed my mind, and ask them to shred my paperwork… the move should be enough of a distraction at this point (I hope). And I won’t bug TM after tomorrow either. She shouldn’t have to put up with me just because this IOP was more triggering than therapeutic…


doh!

I forgot my new insurance has high copays. Trying to check with the hospital¬†whether or not they can bill me for that. If they can’t, it’s no longer an option. I can’t afford $120-$250 a week for a program (depending on the number of days and level of programming, I’d either be paying $40/day for 3-4 days of¬†IOP¬†or $50/day for 5 days of PHP)… I can barely scrounge even $20 at the end of the month after bills and obligations, forget what it would cost for treatment.

I had hoped the hospital program would call me back today so I could cancel early if it’s going to cost that much, but the lady didn’t return my call. She’s supposed to call tomorrow to confirm my attendance on Monday, so I will ask her then.

On a positive note, L signed the lease for the apartment earlier today. It’s more and more official. I need to start getting moving on packing and paring down our stuff…

 


an end date…

There was so much I wanted to talk to TM about today, but none of it made it to my lips…

We did talk a bit about last week’s confession around how shitty I’m feeling. We also tried to brainstorm some stuff to give me structure. Well, ok, TM tried to brainstorm. I was having trouble focusing. They moved to the new office over the weekend. I guess today was their first day open at the new location. Nothing was ready. I almost wish TM would have just rescheduled me either to later in the day, or another day. It would have sucked, and I would have felt like shit, but it would have been more productive than today. I guess we were productive for stuff on her end, but not on mine. I kept paying attention to all the noises elsewhere in the office. And the room we were in reminded me very much of a hospital… I hope next week it will be more settled.

She kept trying to tell me it was ok to ask for more support. She talked a bit about the various therapeutic programs and how they took a while to get into. She mentioned some volunteering. I just couldn’t concentrate on what she was saying. ¬†We determined that our last session would be June 23rd…

I kept wanting to wheel myself out of the room (we were both in rolling desk chairs). It looked and felt too much like a locked unit. I kept worrying that I wouldn’t be allowed to leave. Rationally, I know that wouldn’t have happened, but it triggered the fear in me. I wasn’t able to put together that I was triggered till long after I left her. I just knew that in the office, I kept pushing myself and my chair as far back as possible, and I was scared of TM. I wanted to reach beside me and open the door, but I kept thinking it was locked. It felt like TM was matching my discomfort because her chair was all the way back against her wall also. I’m not totally sure if she realized that, or if it happened by accident. I kept waiting for the conversation to turn to me needing a higher level of care, and then being hospitalized. It didn’t happen, but part of me was surprised to have walked out at the end of session. It’s not even like I mentioned safety concerns to her, we actually talked about how much better I have been handling this than in the past. It was just that the room looked so much like a locked mental health unit, I couldn’t pull out of the fear…

I think we may have talked about other things too, but I’m not sure what. Maybe those things took up the whole session time. I know I wanted to tell her some of the stuff flying around in my head. I wasn’t sure how to get them past my lips. I wanted to hand her some of the stuff I had been meaning to give her for the past 2 weeks. I wanted to talk a bit about the support forum. I wanted to talk to her about my experience talking to a friend about some of the stuff TM and I have been covering. None of it squeaked out. None of it made it through the panic.

I kept apologizing for being a pain in the ass. She asked again what made me think I was being annoying. I tried to convey that I had answers, but couldn’t find them in the moment, and that is what I thought would annoy her. I couldn’t get past the internal panic though… I kept giving her “I don’t know” because I couldn’t access the answers in my own head. I couldn’t “act as if”. I couldn’t function… I tried to think whether or not I would be annoyed at a client if they presented like I did. I landed on “no”, but I also could not then translate that to apply to myself. I tried to tell her my self-esteem and lack of self-worth didn’t allow me to move out of that head-space, but it all sounded like jargon to me. I imagined her thinking how annoying I was, how frustrating and resistant and willful I was being, and that if I could just stop being that way, we could get somewhere. I tried again to gain an outside perspective, but I still couldn’t apply my own patience with others to myself. Who am I to warrant any compassion? (At the time, a combination of speaking with a DBT clinician and multiple hospital experiences were crowding my head. I remembered being blamed for not trying hard enough, for not being able to use my skills, for being resistant and willful and deliberately sabotaging my recovery because I was stubborn. I couldn’t separate it from the experience of speaking with TM in the present. I couldn’t look at her, and in my head she looked like the DBT clinician L)…

I did manage to tell her about the line of thinking that allowed me to see some smidge of self-worth last week, and how I kept going back to it to try to get through the weekend. Even as the words left my mouth though, they felt stupid and contrived. I was suddenly reacting to her like I would have G. I was afraid that if I said the wrong thing in the wrong way, or because I wasn’t calling her the most intelligent and worthwhile person on the planet, I was being disrespectful. I didn’t attribute all of my change in thinking¬†to her though. I told her of the success and quietly waited for her to blow up at me… Again, the full realization that I was triggered and responding to the past rather than TM or the moment only hit me long after I left.

We set up a time to check in on Thursday. I protested about being bothersome, so she was going to leave it up to me to call if I needed, but I was able to tell her that I would prefer having something scheduled. I told her I would probably agonize over calling her then end up not deeming anything worthy of bothering her for. She said we would schedule it and she would call Thursday… She left an invitation open for me to call tomorrow too if I feel I need it. I instantly shook my head. That would be too much of an imposition to be able to agree to. Though thinking about it now, I may leave her a message hoping it lessens the anxiety. I would like to be able to let her in on what went on for me today without wasting too much session time.

Even writing about it all is triggering a lot of anxiety and fear. I really hope next week feels different. It will be more than a week for settling in (because of the holiday next week), so I really hope they get things decorated and set up better. And I really hope TM’s office doesn’t feel as triggering as the random room we were in today. When I speak with her on Thursday, I should remember to ask if it would be ok for me to leave her a message over the weekend to help get through it. I know she won’t be there or anything, and I wouldn’t expect a return call. It just sometimes helps to leave her messages.

 


holy panic!

I just agreed to join the ranks of “Admin” for an online PTSD support forum. I had been asked a few times over the past year, and have declined every time. This time, I decided to get more info about what was involved. It seemed too much, but I told the group’s creator that I could help out here and there… She announced it on the board, and suddenly the panic set in. I nearly cried. I apologized and ran out of there.

What did I get myself into?

This is along the lines of work I have done for years. It’s what my degrees are in. It’s what all my experience is in… it’s also what has led to numerous triggered episodes and heavy burn-out. Can I do this? :gulp!:

The pros:

  • I like helping people.
  • It’s not like I will need to give notice if it gets overwhelming and need to step down
  • It’s just online
  • They are aware of my limited availability,
  • It’s not in a therapeutic, professional capacity
  • It’s just rule enforcement and peer support
  • I can still look to the group for support as needed…

The cons:

  • PANIC!!!!!!
  • Having to be more of a support when I am used to going there for support,
  • Needing to keep on top of making sure people are following the rules,
  • Potentially confronting nuisance members,
  • Having made a commitment to pay close attention to something that I can’t even regularly get alerts for because it gets overwhelming.

Ok. Just have to remember to breathe. I can give it a try for a bit, and I can back out if need be. The creator of the group is aware of my hesitation. She was clearly ok enough with my limited availability and reliability… It will be ok. Just breathe…


Dear TM (things I doubt I can tell you)

Dear TM,

I want to spend the day in bed again and just cry my eyes out. I know I need to ride the depression out because there is nothing that will fix it, but it’s so difficult.

I haven’t cried again yet, though I have wanted to every day for the past week. I keep thinking if I can let go and cry in front of you, maybe it will feel more useful than simply sobbing into my pillow, but… I can’t let anyone see me cry. I can barely cry when I’m by myself.

I’m still afraid Tuesday will be a conversation around how I’m in need of more services than you can provide, how you need to refer me out. And I will want to get up and walk away and never return or even finish the conversation, but I won’t be able to move because tears will finally spill out of my eyes (though I won’t admit to crying) and I can’t walk out through the building looking like that (and I doubt my legs would carry me very far at that point. I’ll want to crumple up and melt into the floor. It hurts so much because my safe places and people always disappear. I will want to disappear myself, but won’t want to leave your office because I’ll want to get as much you time in as possible before I never see you again).

I’m so so so scared I won’t be able to keep seeing you the next few weeks before the move. I’m scared that I’m falling apart too much to continue seeing you, and your supervisor and you will determine I need to move on… I really don’t want to lose you right now because I actually trust you enough to feel safe with you. Please, please, please don’t kick me out before I leave. It’s just 5 weeks max… (again, a huge change that lands right before that huge anniversary). I know I’m going “back”, but my supports will not be available (L will be busy working and I don’t even think I have the others anymore) so it will feel lonelier than here. Why is it that everyone leaves around July? K, De, N, D, you, the house, everything and everyone…

So much for leaving the panic around possible termination for after Tuesday…

Pieces,

sj


Monsters in the closet (art journal)

image

This journal page started out with an idea around trying to “find your voice”, but took a bunch of turns. Was kinda trying to both prompt myself to talk openly to TM about the monsters, but also convey the fear and desperation around trying to cram the monsters back into the closet as soon as they appear. There’s the shutting-down when faced with talking about them, the frantic push to keep the monsters out in the first place, and the knowledge that they lose their power when finally talked about. The key to talking about them feels just out of reach, but they threaten to burst through the door anyway (the locks are failing and the door will soon give way)… trying to keep it far away and disconnected, but build on what is already spoken about. All shrouded in darkness except when the flashlight gets turned on in therapy.

Cheesy! But whatever. Maybe I can lead with this tomorrow, because it kinda covers everything from the fear of talking about it to the fear of not taking about it, and the need for safety around it… also much more condensed than the 30+ pages worth of journaling I’ve done this week… hmm.

Now the question becomes: do I warn her I have heavy stuff I need to dump somewhere and need help with dumping it safely? Or do I just go in and hope I get to it so I don’t torture myself all next week about it? (And maybe not waste time on the stress around G coming for a visit next week even though that might be easier to talk about)…


Therapy in T-4 hours 5 minutes

And I haven’t slept well. Insomnia kicking in again this past week, though not as bad as it could be. 4 hours is still double what my average is when things get really bad.

I’m anxious about session. I brought up the concept of this negative transference via message, and now I want to run from it (and TL). I keep thinking she is mad at me and disapproving. I don’t know how to shake the feeling. I’m pretty sure it’s all related to the past, but knowing that isn’t helping ease it. I just want it to be 10 am already. I want to face this and see if I can figure out if it’s as bad as I fear… at the same time, I want to run and hide. I’m desperately seeking this safe place that doesn’t end up feeling safe because of the triggers. Then I spend the next week trying to get over all the stuff brought up but not adequately addressed in the hour…

I don’t know how to effectively do this right now. I don’t like the “getting to know you” phase, and I like it even less when it drags on for months.


well, that was… triggering.

Went to meet with new therapist, L (not to be confused with wife L, but since I don’t know L’s last name, I can’t think of any way to differentiate her… maybe TL for “therapist L”?). Anyway, met with her last night. ¬†It was pretty uncomfortable in terms of room set-up (gotta love the ironically closet-like therapy rooms at the LGBTQI services center… and the awkward chair placement in that particular room: face to face and only about 2 feet apart). Aside of feeling like my personal space was being invaded, I felt like we were all over the place in terms of what we talked about. ¬†I spilled a lot more than I had intended, and about things I hadn’t really wanted to focus on, but I was unable to lead the conversation (too anxious) so we went where she took it. ¬†I’m not sure how much of the info from De’s conversation with the Clinical Supervisor got passed to TL, but she didn’t really seem to know much. ¬†I know the intake I had done was very bare-bones in terms of info, so even if she had that to read, she didn’t get much from it.

It wasn’t a very chronological or organized first session. ¬†I think I would have liked it better if it were, more like a second intake where I could have gone over more of the basics before getting lost in all the other stuff. ¬†I wish I would have said more about the termination with De, and all the loss that is wrapped up in it, but we got side-tracked on my mention of the huge multiple-anniversary date that had been the previous day (Monday). ¬†We talked a bit about the self harm stuff, and the suicidal thinking. I tried to explain that it’s a reflex reaction for me, that there are almost always thoughts and a plan, but rarely ever intent. ¬†She asked about previous attempts: how many, when, methods… all the basics they always ask around that stuff.

We got a bit off onto the topic of previous hospitalizations and how they were experienced. ¬†It all started to stir more negative feelings in me, but it was still manageable. ¬†Then she brought up safety contracts. ¬†I’m not 100% sure why I react really badly to the signed paper contracts, but I think it has to do with previous experiences of them leading to involuntary hospitalizations (or maybe that they were only really ever done around the times I had to go inpatient, and I don’t feel like this is one of those times). I tried to explain my anxiety. ¬†I tried to explain that I would be fine talking about safety planning; that the paper version really hikes my anxiety, but I was my usual, verbally inarticulate self. ¬†It felt as if everything I said was coming out wrong. ¬†I felt like I was speaking a different language. ¬†I knew why she was likely going to push the topic (being an intern, there’s lots of paperwork that must be done, and stuff that needs to happen because of liability issues), but I couldn’t get out of my own way to get past the anxiety around it. ¬†She had asked if I cared if she left the room to go get the paper, or if I had wanted to write one up there. ¬†I thought nothing of her leaving the room to get it, so I said it didn’t matter to me. ¬†I made sure to tell her that when I say “it doesn’t matter”, I truly have no preference in the moment. ¬†She asked again before she stepped out. ¬†I should have taken that as the universe giving me a chance to bypass a hugely anxiety-inducing experience, but my awareness wasn’t there at the time. Live and learn I guess…

She returned shortly, and we began to fill out the paperwork. ¬†I was having difficulty concentrating on what she was trying to ask me. Had I been more in-tune with myself, I would have been able to notice I was starting to get really triggered. ¬†I should have said something to her, but I didn’t realize the beginnings of the emotional flashback that was about to hit hard. ¬†I just knew I was uncomfortable with the paper form of the safety contract, and we had already talked about that. ¬†Anyway, there was a piece of information she needed for the paper, but we were unable to find it on my phone. She stepped out a second time. ¬†This time it was longer… My panic started going up again. ¬†She popped her head back in and said it would be a moment longer, but she was coming back (at this point, I thought I was just anxious about how long I was keeping her over our hour scheduled time. ¬†We were running into 35 minutes over, and we still had most of the paper to fill in). ¬†Again, I wish I had seen it earlier and simply asked her to return to the room at that time. ¬†If I had, I may have been able to give voice to the real anxiety behind everything that was going on. ¬†Unfortunately, I didn’t figure it out for several hours after I left. ¬†In the end, we filled out the paperwork and she reviewed it with me verbally. ¬†She (unknowingly) mentioned a community resource that I have had really crummy experiences with, and I think that tipped me into full-on panic. ¬†I wanted to bolt from the building and never return. ¬†I held my impulse to run in check though, because I was afraid she would call the police if I left before I was given permission to do so (again, emotional flashback to past situations, but I didn’t realize it at the time). ¬†I made another appointment for next Tuesday for¬†the same time. ¬†I hurried myself out of the building (just about running down the stairs after I was sure she couldn’t see me anymore). ¬†I got to the car shaking and wanting out of there fast. ¬†I drove home in a panic. ¬†It took everything in me not to want to call and cancel immediately after I left. ¬†We had been there 2 hours, and it ended with me in full-on “flight” mode.

Prior to leaving, the really broken part of me apologized to her. ¬†She seemed to think it was for going over by so much time (which she didn’t seem to mind and kept saying the first session often times goes over). I didn’t know how to tell her I was apologizing for not only taking so much of her time, but for presenting how I did; for simply existing… I wanted to ask her not to hate me, not to think badly of me. ¬†The angry, defensive teenager in me was briefly replaced by the scared little 5-year-old… ¬†but then the teenager came back and stayed for a while.

In talking to L, I was able to realize that most of my reaction to the session was emotional garbage from the past.  The memories were not immediately apparent, but the emotions were very much present and coursing.

Later on that night, I left a message on the agency’s general voice mail asking if TL could call me back. I had the intention of telling her my reaction and my fears about going back for next week, but I am not sure I want to have that conversation at this time. ¬†I go back and forth between letting her in on my experience of yesterday, and asking for either additional support from her if she has the availability, or a referral out to some other type of additional support. ¬†I don’t really want to lose the option of an individual therapist at this point, but I think I need more than once-a-week sessions. ¬†All these transitions are very difficult. I’m having trouble even getting out of bed in the mornings. ¬†I didn’t “get up” until almost 2pm today, and I am already tempted to return to the comfort of my little nest a mere hour and a half later. ¬†I’m exhausted. I’m emotionally tired, and it’s making physically doing anything equally tiring. ¬†I don’t even really want to talk to anyone at this point. ¬†I have no energy to find words to communicate with others. ¬†I’m stalled on any art. I’m actually surprised I was able to write this blog entry (though I have to admit I was interrupted a number of times while writing it). ¬†I’m cooked. ¬†And I am not sure I actually want this lady to call back, or if I’d rather just slink away from therapy (right, coz that would be a good idea after admitting I would benefit from more support, not less.. brilliant SJ, brilliant…). I think I’m afraid I left a bad first impression. ¬†I’m afraid she is currently asking her supervisor to transfer me to someone else. ¬†I’m afraid she thinks of me with the same judgement I think of myself… She gave me no indication of it in session (in fact she challenged some of the judgements I voiced about myself, but I wasn’t really in a place to take that in when she did)…

So that’s where I am with that. ¬†Part of me really wants her to call back, part of me hopes she doesn’t so I can use that as an excuse not to have to open up to trusting someone else; an excuse to run away… ::sigh:: I’m a pain in my own ass so much of the time. :/


I don’t want it

For the first time in forever, I don’t want therapy to happen tomorrow. ¬†I don’t want to say goodbye. ¬†This isn’t the right time. ¬†I can’t get the feeling that she is dying out of my chest. ¬†I know the feeling is not her, it’s K, but right now it feels like her. ¬†And I hate it. ¬†I spent the better part of today in bed; the better part of the last few weeks triggered and startling at everything. ¬†I don’t want to go to sleep because that means tomorrow is closer. ¬†I want to slow down time. ¬†I want to stop it in that moment before she¬†goes away. ¬†So many¬†I have trusted have left my life. ¬†It sucks. ¬†And it’s terrifying.

I don’t have plans for tomorrow after session’s up, but I may go to the beach if I get paid by then. ¬†I have plans for Wednesday evening because I know it will be difficult knowing the time she leaves the office for good. ¬†I have plans for Thursday & Friday because I know I will need the support. ¬†I wish the MeetUp group that had a meetup on Sunday wasn’t holding it at a nude/clothing optional beach. ¬†Maybe if I wasn’t so triggered I could go, but right now it wouldn’t be a good idea even though all the guys in the group are safe… I would need to carpool, and that would mean no escape when I get triggered, no safe place to hide and ground and escape from it all.

I really hope the new clinician calls soon…


Awkward intake

Had my intake at the new agency today. It was really awkward. The clinician doing it was very difficult to talk to. It didn’t help that I kept getting confused, and couldn’t remember the date even after writing it on about 6 pages… the wait time also went up to 2-3 weeks instead of the one week the guy mentioned over the phone. I don’t know if I want to keep doing this…


internet presence

I had a panic attach. ¬†I searched my name on the internet and found a whole ton of information. ¬†Accurate information. ¬†Complete information. ¬†It scared the crap out of me. ¬†I had always wondered how bitch found me all those times… how can you escape a stalker if all your info is out there for the world to see? ¬†how can I erase it? ¬†oh shit. oh shit. oh shit… someone tell me how to disappear. please?


Grief

No bombs were dropped by De in session today, though I did have a few panicked seconds when she started out a sentence with “my supervisor is all over me about…” (heart stalled and breath caught mid-exhale) “…asking you if we can keep your piece for further use” (resume breathing and pumping blood). I didn’t know what to say. I guess they really liked it. I asked if I could get back to her about it. De said that it will be displayed for the month of April, but that they would like to keep it to put up in the building. I’m not opposed to that, but I’m also really attached to the piece. I think if I leave it there, I will ask that my real name be used. Might as well get credit for it.¬† I also told De that I had been toying with asking for it back so I could tweak it because I had a million other ideas since I handed it in. She laughed and reminded me that was why I had given it to her when I did, so I wouldn’t mess with it and end up getting frustrated when it didn’t turn out how I pictured. She’s right, because I would over-work it and feel that I need to start all over again.¬† I don’t think I would have a fourth rendition in me before the beginning of April. It’s good I don’t have my hands on it anymore.
We spent the rest of the session talking about the pending move and how I will need to grieve the loss of the house and such, but that the overall result will be positive (the house does hold many negatives, as does this state. But it also was a “home base” for so long, a safety net if I need it. Hope I can get some sort of other safety net from it. I’m not going to hold my breath for that though).
I’m still adamant about not crying in front of others. She was trying to convince me that it would be ok, but all the judgements and fears around crying screamed in my head. I did tear up a few times with her today but refused to cry. I really don’t think I would have been able to stop if I had actually started. So I moved the conversation along (much like I keep my head moving all day and night so I don’t crack with tears). I had wanted to ask her to focus our work on the assaults and history with DuckBoy. I just didn’t find an appropriate way to slip it in to the flow. I needed more time to explain the rest of the week. I don’t think I expressed my distaste for loss in any meaningful way. I don’t think she gets how hard that is for me. I tend to stuff it all down, so it’s easy for people to miss the little hints. I just don’t do well with loss. A whole lot of loss is coming up real soon. It’s panicking me a bit, but I’m sure it will all be ok in the end (isn’t it always?). There’s always loss. There’s always change. Just gotta learn to go with it… don’t open your heart too much to prevent excessive pain with the withdrawal of whatever it was that you let worm its way inside.
The session flew by before I knew it. On the way out I asked if they had a shredder so I could get rid of the last pictures I found of DuckBoy yesterday. She suggested “making a moment of it” and that we could do it next week. I gave her the pictures to hold on to till then (I certainly don’t want them)…
(Strangely appropriate song just came on my playlist: Goodbye My Lover by James Blunt… covers the feel of all this. ¬†It works for the house, the history, and everything else).
Is it weird that I miss my best friend from high school so much lately? I found some pics of her and of us the same time I found the DuckBoy pictures… one relationship I’d rather forget, and one I wish was still going. But I guess loss and grief are the themes of the moment (sadly there’s only the loss of DuckBoy for which I’m relieved, the other losses just hurt). I wish I had the gumption to track her down and show up at her door. I wish I had been a better friend. I wish I had fought harder when she ran away. But what do you do when a friend ceases wanting to be your friend? …I still have the mug she gave me for Christmas one year. It’s my favorite one. I really miss her.
The loss of this house means the loss of that last connection to a bunch of positive stuff. There will no longer be a safety net here… it sucks…


A tad bit stressed

I’ve done it again; ignored something until it’s too late… now there really isn’t much of a choice. J’s fire that she’s been looking for is firmly lit. We will be moving back up north sooner than expected and under a lot more pressure. This sucks… I’m kicking myself for putting off the asking for help for this long. Now we just have to suck it up and move on. It looks like we will have to re-home two of our pups (one of mom’s and one of our’s), which is totally breaking my heart. I knew we wore out our welcome, but now it’s also our grace period. The house needs to be sold and we will be left with nothing to show for it but more debt. I just want to hide from everything right now (lot of good it’s done so far). Trying not to panic, but not sure how to make things happen. We either find roommates that can cover half the mortgage and stand living here, or we throw in the towel and lose what we have. Pretty shitty choices since I don’t think anyone would want to live here (too many critters, too much stress, too little space)… :/


so, this showed up in my drafts after I frantically searched yesterday to no avail… I guess it’s not as good as I had thought… If you care to read it, this is take one.

Not quite sure what to write, but I feel like I have not posted anything meaningful in my own words lately… Things are… um, I’m not sure. ¬†Had some ups, but mostly downs or leveling out.

We were talking about something else in session this week, and De described this house as “screaming” every day, all day. ¬†She used it in reference to the memories and triggers that are a daily reminder here. ¬†She also meant it literally (no amount of saging the house seems to be able to lift the anger that exists here). ¬†I have always pictured these two houses (I grew up just down the street, this house belonged to my aunt and uncle before they passed) with huge, heavy iron bars on the windows; not to keep anyone out, but that keeps me (us) trapped here. ¬†It also traps all the negative energy. The house screams silently itself while those inside scream for real. ¬†It’s angry and sad and tortured. ¬†The dogs can feel this very palpable presence. ¬†They all jump and start and fright at the slightest trigger. The cats seem miserable (4 have moved out and refused to return over the years, 2 live most of their time outside). ¬†In all the years of having been away, I somehow forgot how much of a black hole this house is… I feel trapped again. L feels trapped again. ¬†We need to change that somehow, but we are not sure how.

I’m still trying to work on that piece for De. ¬†April is coming up fast. ¬†I’m on “take 3” and I think I may finally like this one. ¬†I got the girl to a point where I’m happy with the way she turned out. ¬†I’m also liking the way I managed to paint the adult. ¬†I just have to finish the adult’s arms, and the pieces she is picking up. ¬†I was going to do a background, but I am not sure I will push my luck with this one.

wpid-PicsArt_1393214059745.jpg


quick and effective breathing exercise

I found this on a forum last night (or maybe it was this morning? I’m not 100% sure) and liked it a lot.

I learned this in a hospital so it is based on science and has to do with the vagal nerve which has a connection to the sympathetic nervous system, that fight or flight anxiety feeling.

So best to do this standing. Only 3 breaths so take your time. Open your mouth slightly and breathe deeply in through your nose. Pull the breath so the diaphragm goes as far down as possible. Visualize pulling it all the way into the pelvic floor and at the end when you can’t hold it any more, squeeze the pelvic muscles like a keegle.

Then slowly blow the air out through your mouth until you are almost not breathing. Then start a new in breath. Repeat 2 more times. Careful not to get dizzy. I don’t but some do. It is important to focus on the pelvic region and pull the breath down as deeply as possible. The vagal nerve ends at the pelvic floor and the muscles contracting help stop the panicky reaction.

I know breathing exercises are really helpful, but I tend to get frustrated with ones that are too long, or don’t work immediately. ¬†From what others were saying on the forum, this one works really well and really quickly (seeing as you only have to do it 3 times). ¬†I have not yet tried it myself, but I have not needed to as of yet. ¬†I wanted to share it here not only for easy reference for later, but in case anyone else was looking for a quick and effective breathing exercise.