Tag Archives: past

:sigh:

Had therapy again today.

We started right into the topic I had text her about last week (she led the conversation there almost as soon as I sat down…). I showed her the page that had been so triggering. We talked about it. For some reason, all I could feel was that she was disappointed in me, like I could do nothing right. I’m sure that wasn’t her intent or meaning, but my inner kid felt so dismissed…
_________________

A few hours after I started writing this post, and I’ve since stumbled on an image that sums up the message of today’s therapy:

image

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That life feels so long ago

I never unsubscribed to the professional mailing lists I was on while working. Partly because I want to keep current on my education, but also partly because it would have been so much work… every day I get several professional newsletters that normally just get filed or trashed from my inbox. For some reason, I read a few of them this morning before hitting delete.

That life feels so removed from where I am today. I can still (again?) click into that mode of thinking, but it feels like another lifetime. There’s still no congruence between the professional side of me that can grasp and implement therapeutic interventions, and the broken side of me that has no clue how to fit the pieces back together. How can they both exist in me? How can the divide be so huge, yet it still all be “me”?

Reading the headlines from one of the newsletters (it focused on maintaining trauma informed practices in congregate care settings), I started to mentally tick off all the ways I noticed the change in practices where I had worked… I thought of ways to refresh the training and take it further.

Then I tried to think of those practices in relation to how I view myself. Immediately my thoughts froze. I can’t hold those values and lessons up when viewing my own life. I don’t see a need for compassion because I should know how to handle this already. I have the training. I’ve learned the skills both professionally and personally. my trauma history has no bearing because I should be further along in healing by now…

And then I remember myself speaking to our staff at training and reminding them to be gentle with our clients. Healing takes time. Everyone does it at their own pace… only my negative voice screams over the professional one and berates me again for not having healed myself already…

I can have compassion and understanding for others’ healing journeys (grammar moment:the spelling of “journeys” does not look correct to me, but I can’t figure it out right now), but not my own… I can know how to hold hope for someone else, but there’s none for me. I can have an inkling of how to proceed with a client on this path, but there’s no hope of ever getting what I think might help me down this road… I feel too broken. And the professional side feels too far removed.


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.

 


transference sucks ass

This transference crap is such a pain in the butt. I got past the stuff that was blocking me from taking TM up on the offer for an extra session (was able to leave her a message after many false-starts). Now that I have though, I’m panicking because I think she’s pissed at me again. Rationally, I know she’s just probably not gotten a chance to check her messages and/or return calls. Irrationally, I think I failed the test. I think she is mad at me because I dared to try get more than I was originally offered; that I thought I was worthy of something else.

I know the rational line of thinking is likely the true one, but the emotional line is the one that is screaming in my head. It’s the loudest one. It’s the one I can’t drown out or talk away with reason… I think TM and I talked about it last session, or the session before (I’m not really sure which). I know she knows about it, and we will continue to address it in the remaining sessions, but right now it’s a huge barrier. I don’t know how to reach out without guilt and fear. I don’t know how to hold on to a consistent, caring, and genuine version of her in my head. She keeps getting mixed up with the past. It’s very frustrating.

I want to ask her how to move past this, but I can’t get the words out in front of her. Most everything gets stuck in my throat (then it erases everything in my head). I’m lost on how to communicate, or even what to communicate to her. I tried writing it down after a brief monologue in my head, but as soon as I tried it, I lost everything I had figured out. Ugh!

Can someone shoot me already?! I’m so tired of this struggle. Stress is building, sleep is waning… I’m out of ideas. Any plans that may be in the works feel hollow; like a smoke-screen to try to assuage the anxiety. It gives the illusion of competence and togetherness, but it’s the furthest thing from it. None of the plans are actually realistic or viable. I know I need to ask for help around them, but I have no idea how. I feel like I should actually know how to fix the issues before I ask for help figuring out how to fix them. I know, that’s not really how asking for help figuring things out should work, but I guess that’s another throw-back to the past. Asking for help should only be done once you actually know how to accomplish whatever it is you are asking about… :/


quote

I don’t know who said this, as the person quoting it did not cite it, but I think it’s something to think about:

“Give up all hope of having a better past.”

Nothing in the world you can do (short of time travel, which we have not figured out) can change the past. We can only hope to make the present and future better…


Can’t sleep

Can’t sleep with the music on. Can’t sleep with the music off. Trying my wife’s pillow because mine’s gotten sadly flat in the weeks since I bought it. Can’t sleep on this pillow either… my head is humming with everything and nothing all at once.
I had toyed with the idea of reaching out to De yesterday for support but landed on the “there’s nothing she can do so don’t bother her” side of the argument. I’m stuck again at not feeling like I can reach out to her for anything other than support around the sexual assault stuff (I couldn’t specify the sa for a good minute. I don’t like labeling that. I don’t like admitting it. If I don’t voice it, it goes away right? It was never real if no one knows about it…). The way she said some stuff 2 weeks ago has me translating what she said to “pathetic drama queen” in more ways than one. It has me thinking that I blow everything way out of proportion, that nothing was ever really that bad. It has me feeling like I just never learned how to deal with little upsets like my pen running out of ink, so I dramatized it to mean the world is ending.
I feel like I shouldn’t be upset about anything. I feel like I should know better. I never do anything to help myself, so I should shut up and stop complaining. There’s starving children in other parts of the world. I should be grateful for what I have. Not everyone’s parents buy them cars (not everyone’s father’s attach the same strings for the gift). Not everyone gets included in the will (not everyone’s father tries to exert immense control long after he hits the grave. I don’t want your stipulations, so do us all a favor and write me out). Not everyone has a roof over their head (that screams with memories and nightmares). It’s not lady-like to be selfish. It’s not appropriate to talk back (or explain). Nothing is good enough, but only because I’m a spoiled little child who let praise go to her head. I only experience all this for attention. I only ever want attention (to hide in the fibers of the carpet so I don’t catch anyone’s attention). Nothing is real.  There’s no black-hole in my chest. There’s no insomnia. There’s no hopelessness, it’s all something I say because I’m lazy and entitled…

Do you ever get hit with something that crumbles the carefully-crafted image you have of someone (because you desperately hoped they were better than they presented, so you choose to interpret their biting criticism as character-building)? Do you ever mourn the loss of the people you thought you grew up with when faced with their reality? Suddenly you have an almost empty corner where you originally had one filled with support and love? Nothing has changed except your understanding of the past, and even that’s sketchy at best.

While I appreciate De’s intention when telling me not to get so lost in trains of thought, it’s easier said than done. I’ve spent so long trying to ignore or run away from everything, then learning to face it, that I have a hard time deliberately trying to pay no mind to it all again. I’d like to understand things better, not just distract. I’d like to know what my arguments need to be when I’m fighting with the negatives, not just blindly deny them… in a way she’s supporting mom’s theory of “just ignore it, it will go away” but with different words.  She’s saying to just not go there. I don’t know how to do that. It never works in the long run anyway.

It’s almost 6:30am, and all I want to do is take something to sleep. I know it would knock me out for way too long though, and it would frustrate me. So I’m going to stop worrying and hope I can get at least 30 minutes in before the dogs start to shift and stir.

(I used to be good at this writing thing back before my brain walked out on me…)


Translations from the dark side

Why is it that something genuinely supportive and helpful comes off as condescending and invalidating? What lens do I put on that turns all the nice into hate? I know my stress is skyrocketing, and that the depression is creeping back in. I guess that’s the lens right there: depression. I had reached out to someone in hopes of finding support, but all I read from their response was how wrong I was doing things, how deliberately miserable I am, and how inadequate I am. In actuality, their response was uplifting, supportive, positive, and understanding.  My head instantly turned that positive into disparaging. Even as I recognize this, my head is battling itself. There’s the side that is berating me for being inadequate and stupid.  Then there’s the side of me that is taking the response at face value and trying to convince that other side that it’s reading into things. Depression will do that to you. Self – doubt and self – loathing become a way of life.
So my eyes will read “you’ve had so much success until now, you need to focus on that” and my brain will understand “you worthless piece of shit, you can’t even get recovery right. I told you you’d never amount to anything more that a useless waste of space. People tell you all the time to focus on the positive, but all you do is choose to be miserable. You’re a horrid person. You deserve everything you get and then some” (note here that a simple line of text has been translated into a tirade of the self…).

I’m writing this and the voice in my head is reminding me how stupid I have become. This is all stuff I should already know. It’s not supposed to be such a revelation… when I try to change the voice, it gets louder, then more sly when the loud doesn’t work.  It rationalizes the negative self-talk and starts whispering little doubts “you have been really off lately,” “you’re such a flake , the driving is getting bad,” “pretty soon you’ll be completely worthless in everything”… it makes the negative sound like logical conclusions. It plants seeds of doubt “everyone can see you’re crazy. It’s written all over you.  Why do you think you can’t get a job?” “Even if you did land one, they’d notice the crazy and find a reason to fire you if you don’t end up walking out first because you can’t take it”

We went to a volunteer meeting tonight at the nature center. We got hugs from people we hadn’t seen in a while, and all I could think was that they were pity hugs. Like they knew I was crazy and wanted to pat me on the head for making it out anyway but figured a hug would be less condescending… I know they are all about the hugs anyway, but my head screamed at me that they knew and just felt sorry for me.

Mental illness, self-doubt, and self loathing have a way of turning even the most positive interactions into something terrible. I wonder how much of my therapy is viewed this way.  I know the obvious ones, but what about the things that don’t necessarily hit my awareness? What about everyday encounters? What if everyone is really a wonderful person and it’s all just me that views them as hating me? I know I really dislike spending time with G. L pointed it out that my disdain for him was very evident earlier today.  I tried to be nicer when we got back home, but I have a lot of work to do on that front. He may be a perfectly wonderful person these days (ok, that’s an exaggeration. He may be at least tolerable), but I only see him through these angry glasses. Everything he says and does I interpret to be mean and hateful so I respond in kind. Then I feel bad for being an asshole. The cycle begins again. I’m once again battling the translation of simple words. I’m twisting what I’m saying to prove to myself how worthless and horrid I am. I just don’t know how to stop it.  There’s only so much arguing one can do with oneself before a splitting headache ensues. I think it’s once again time for sleep.