Tag Archives: relax

Beach pics

The sky was amazing yesterday, though my phone’s camera did it no justice… I spent a lot of time watching the clouds change. It never did rain despite their ominous look. They held on to their lightning, but it was cool to watch from below… the water was full of Sargassum sea weed.  It’s baby turtle season. There were over a dozen nests roped-off just in that half mile stretch I was in. While it’s a positive thing to see so many nests, they are often only 1 or 2 species of turtle. Our coasts should be getting 5 out of the 7 species of I remember correctly. Hoping the little guys do well ♡


Fear of going to bed

After yesterday’s conversation with TM, my fear of going to bed returned last night. I couldn’t move off the couch until 4:30am. I managed a few hours though.

A friend passed on some meditations for kids (in looking for the Relax Kids website before I knew what it was called, I also stumbled upon Magical Meditations 4 Kids), and having them on repeat allowed me to get past the anxiety enough to walk to bed. I have to find a way to make the “reality checks” around my current safety help me with this. I tried so much last night to get over it: grounding, reality checks, trying to reach out to the crisis chats (super busy and lagging last night), distraction, music, talking to friends… finally the meditations worked.

I haven’t had to deal with this fear for several months. I thought I had moved past it, but it seems to be making a re-appearance… Another thing to address with TM (time to make a list for all this stuff so I don’t forget).

This fear has been with me on and off at various intensities for many years. I finally think I know why, but it doesn’t seem to make it easier to overcome. I am better able to reality-check around it. I’ve got a semblance of a reason why the fear is there. I know the monster I’m scared of, and I know what to try to tell myself to refute the fear, but it’s old and huge. The anxiety can take a choke-hold at night. But now I have a new tool for that toolbox: the meditations. I also have a video of L reading a book to one of the kids in the family. Hearing her voice and losing myself in the story helps also…


sleep, finally

Sleep is so, so, so, so important… I hadn’t been able to sleep well for the last several weeks.  Last night, after a really rough day, I took Benadryl and it actually worked.  I slept about 8 hours!!!!  I feel so much better this morning.  I’m still having some body memories, but they are easier to deal with when I’m not also horrifically sleep-deprived.  It’s much easier to “get off the train” of spiraling thoughts.  It’s easier to breathe… Now I just have to keep up the sleep 😉


bits of progress

Today started out slow enough, but then L convinced me that we needed to start packing.  We got through a bunch of the stuff in the bedroom.  It doesn’t really look like a dent was made, but we did a lot of work.  There’s still a lot to be done though.  Tomorrow will be spent cleaning the house because a friend is coming for a few days.  Then we resume packing.

We were invited  over to one of Lisa’s co-worker’s house for dinner.  We introduced her family to the game “Apples to Apples” and a fun night was had by all.  I think as we were leaving they mentioned having to go buy it for themselves.  It’s a fun way to get to know people and still not have to talk too much (works amazing for those of us who get anxious talking to new people).  Then, if you already know your competitors, you can have a blast trying to convince them to pick your card.  (They also have a kids version. There is a second game with similar rules, but a bit more crude if you are into that.  I was shocked the first time I played it, but it really can be quite amusing if you remember to keep the humor).

Anyway, I’m off to try to sleep now.  Hope you all have a good night.

 


Emotional roller coaster

As distracted as I was able to get for a good chunk of the day, the night brings with it the return of the depression.  My chest is heavy and tight.  There’s a definite weight on my heart.  I’m tired, but having trouble sleeping. I’m worried about the weekend and anxious for Monday. 
I went to the orientation for IOP today.  I ended up arriving late because for whatever reason my head was convinced I needed to be there at 1, not 12. I realized my error when my phone alarm went off at the 10-minute mark (in the past, I used to set the notification to 15 or 30 minutes, but I got out of the habit for some reason). I called them asking if being that late was ok, then flew out the door.  It ended up being a quick overview of the rules and expectations.  It did serve to make me a bit more comfortable. I’m just still lost as to how I will get there.  I can take our car on Monday, but will need to arrange other transport after that (too far, too much gas,  and L needs the car for work). The place seems ok and the people seem nice.  I hope that first impression holds true… and I hope the program is actually helpful. I think some of tonight’s anxiety is a rush to get the first day over with.  The chest tightness I’m associating with anxiety, the same with the shortness of breath.  I need to dig up my inhaler, but I’m too lazy to move from bed just now. Maybe in a few more minutes?

I find my thoughts continually dipping to the darker side of things.  It shadows my entire world even when I’m supposed to be out and distracted. There was a restaurant giving away free food at their grand opening.  We went and enjoyed the food, but everything was tainted dark.  I tried to focus on the positives (the wrap was really yummy). I repeated over and over again that I was enjoying the time with my wife (which I was) but it was not enough to drown out the whispers.  I’m hoping tomorrow will bring more success: we have our second meditation group meeting at the Japanese gardens.  I really like the place, but I’ve sucked at the meditation exercises we were supposed to do.  I will put more effort into it tomorrow…

This struggle is so tiring.  I’m ready for the break.


making things meaningful

So, in an attempt to find a way to make money fast, and relieve some of the financial pressures on us, I stumbled upon a blog that is all about doing what you love, and making what you do meaningful (the guy makes money off of this, which is how it connected to making money fast), but his original idea is founded in doing what you love…

That got me thinking… I have this blog that, while mainly started for myself, I would really like it to also help others. I began thinking about my struggles to find treatment that works. What are the barriers to finding other helpful and effectual treatments for trauma? What are the instinctual defenses and coping strategies we turn to when we don’t know what we are supposed to turn to?

It reminded me of the way EMDR came about. The woman who developed it noticed that she would go for a walk thinking about her problem, noticed that she unconsciously looked from side to side during her walk, and noticed that she felt better when she returned from her walk. So I began thinking about what my instincts are when I’m stressed. I thought about what others do. People around me are constantly talking and talking about the things that bother them. I do the same thing, I need to get it out and tell someone (or more than one person) what happened or what is bothering me. I think it is not only the telling, but also the audience. So I have 2 ideas that I need to flesh out.

The first is to actually tell the details of the trauma. This poses some dilemmas. One is that it triggers the hell out of me to think about or tell my trauma, so I will need to have support after the telling (that, or I am rendered speechless by the pure force of the emotion and the events in my head, which makes the telling piece difficult). The other is that it has the potential to overwhelm the other person… Clinicians and treaters are just people. They are people with their own troubles, fears, and vulnerabilities. To come up with a viable treatment model that utilizes this spilling of trauma, I’d have to develop (or utilize) a really good support system for the treaters as well as the clients. I would want someone to be able to talk to whenever I needed them, either in person or over the phone. I would want to provide this, or something similar, for the treaters also. I would want to ensure that talk about suicidal thoughts or self-injury would prompt support, and not automatic hospitalization. This somewhat builds on the DBT concepts of riding the wave of emotions, but this time with support and someone “holding your hand” through it all.  While I see the value in learning to handle your triggers and urges on your own, there is also something very powerful about having someone there with you to witness it.  I have always felt this want for someone to be there through the experience; to help keep me safe when I can’t do it anymore.  I turned that desire into action one day while I was working with a particularly difficult adolescent.  She was bent on destroying the house, and pushing the limits of all the staff present (and her house-mates),  At one point, she managed to turn on the stove and was about to put her hands on it to burn herself.  None of what we were saying was getting through to her, so I stepped in front of the stove and took her hands.  I held them as she tried to push past me (she was about a foot taller and a good 80lbs heavier than me, and I’m not small).  I told her again and again that I would keep her safe and I would keep the house safe.  In that moment that I held her wrists, she looked at me and something clicked.  She moved away from the stove after several minutes (and a few half-assed attempts to pull her hands free of mine) and stopped pushing my buttons for the rest of the day.  It only lasted like that for the rest of the shift, but it made a difference for that time.  I think it’s a very powerful thing to have someone there with you in a non-threatening way to help keep you safe when you cannot do it yourself…

The other idea is a spin-off of having witnesses to the journey.  It also builds on a theory I saw on a PBS special.  That theory advocated the telling and re-telling of the trauma until it lost its impact.  They did not flesh out all the points of the treatment plan, but from what they showed, I think it has some merits.  Anyway, and please tell me if this is a horrible idea, I think it might be helpful to do this in an intensive group setting.  Wait! you may say, this will cause a huge domino effect of triggering… Well, that’s kind of the point.  I noticed in groups, the most benefit I got from many of them was when someone’s experiences triggered something in me and I got a chance to deal with it.  This would be tricky as a group where the point is to tell triggering things, and not just walk on eggshells around topics.  But I think with the proper support available (MANY treaters on hand, at least 1.5+ per person in group, because some people need more than one person to bring them back), this could be a viable path to dealing with all the crap we don’t always think of accessing during treatment.  The groups could start with a topic and go from there.  Forget necessarily censoring the details of the event… While I understand that ambiguity of the event to another may help them access their own demons, I find it tends to limit me in the telling of the event.

There are definitely details to flesh out, and many, many conversations with other professionals to figure out the viability of these theories… But I’m determined to figure out a treatment option that works for me… and hopefully I can come up with something that may help others too…

Bring on the firestorm of criticism for this horrible idea! (It goes against all convention and current thinking and insurance company standards…)


On Suicide

I think this is an interesting and important conversation that needs to happen more often. I think suicide is an elephant in the room that so many are afraid to talk about because of the taboos around it, and the knee-jerk reactions even some providers have to it… I have been privileged enough to have many thought-provoking conversations with my former therapist…

Gukira

Writing on suicide is dangerous because suicide is deemed unthinkable. To think about it, then, and here syntax betrays what I’m going to claim, is understood as thinking about how to do it or when to do it. To think about it is to contemplate it. Thus, one says that one is not thinking about it, but even raising the prospect elicits concern and paranoia: why would one think about it if one were not thinking about it? I want to stay with this formulation, because I think its unthinkability is a problem, albeit a problem tied to the unthinkability of death, and the political and aesthetic imperative to think through life and to cultivate thriving life.

Because suicide always elicits confession, let me tell someone else’s story.

My cousin killed himself when I was a freshman. I was in Kenya during my first (and only) summer vacation, and, as…

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