Tag Archives: self harm

Been a while

Sorry for being mia. Time gets away from me easily.

This past week or two (not totally sure on the duration) have been a struggle. I’m triggered on so many fronts, but at the same time, I wouldn’t be able to tell you what they are… I know some is related to the anniversary of my last major self-harming incident 8 years ago; Some is related to G being in the state; some is probably related to my monthly hormone cycle.

I’ve refrained from taking pain meds this past week in an effort to ground into my current body. If I’m feeling and noticing the immediate pain in my arms & legs, I’m not lost in the flashbacks… At least, that’s the theory I’m going by. It’s not really panning out that way, but whatever. I’m not cutting, so, progress maintained.

The flashbacks are a mix of that time frame when I was cutting uncontrollably, and the more distant past of abuse. There’s other stuff I know I talked to Dr C about, but I can’t remember what that was just now.

I’m super dissociative, stirred-up, and generally lost. I finally was able to be a hair more open with L about it (she asked if i was ok because I’ve been listening to a lot of music these last few days; if my phone’s not playing out loud, i have headphones in. I generally only do this when struggling). I was able to acknowledge it when she asked, but I’m having trouble qualifying it… It’s a bit easier when I write, but even that’s a struggle. My head has been very foggy and fragmented lately. I forget what I’m doing a few seconds into starting it. Art has been somewhat helpful for concentration. Been making little things to sell at an upcoming holiday craft fair. We have a 2.5 month lead-time, so hopefully inventory will be good for it.

Anyway… Yeah. Trigger-y & flashback-y of late. Trying to find balance. Struggling to express stuff, even in therapy. Lots of brain farts…

Super exhausted all of a sudden, so gonna sign off and nap for a bit before L comes home on her break. Gotta remember to wish the peanut happy birthday today while L is home… Someone remind me about that?

K, nap time.


Hard NO on gabapentin ever again. **Trigger warning – self-harm thoughts**

I really need to remember (and underscore) that psych meds and I really don’t play well together.

I’ve noticed, and been able to label, psychotic thoughts getting stronger with each dose… The biggest “aha” moment came tonight after my evening dose (#3 in total) when I scratched an itch on my scalp, and thought “I should just rip it off”, and I pictured myself ripping off a large chunk of my scalp to relieve the itch. That is not a normal thought!

I may be experiencing psychotic thoughts, but I’m aware enough to recognize them as such.

After figuring that out, I did a quick Google search; apparently, psychotic agitation is a “rare” paradoxical effect of gabapentin…

References on this phenomenon:

There’s more out there, but I’m having trouble concentrating… My tongue is very present at the moment, and it’s flashing up a thought to “just chew it off to stop it from feeling that way”… Seriously not fun right now…

I feel like I might cry and laugh maniacally at the same time… My emotions are all over the place, mostly hypomanic & psychotic. I know I need to turn over and try to sleep, I just need to stop being scared of the thoughts. They are just thought. I don’t need to act on them. They will pass. I just need to let myself sleep…


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…


How do you break the cycle?

A friend posed a really good question today: how do you actually break the cycle of [abuse/anger/self-harm/ insert whatever cycle applies]?

I didn’t have an answer for her.

I know my brother and I have both broken the cycle in our family, but I have no insight into how we did it. I know I have a deep-seated fear of becoming my father in any way, shape, or form. I think my brother also has that fear, tough I’m not sure.. since we never talk about that kind of stuff… but… how did that enable us to step back from the abuse?

I know I’ve had bouts with rage. They weren’t anything close to what my dad would display, but they were close enough to have me feeling like shit about myself.

So what helped after moments like that? I have no idea. Other than being scared of myself turning into G, I really don’t know what I did that allows me to control my rage…

I used to self harm, in a number of ways. I no longer use that outlet, but again, I have no real clue what changed. Yes, there is a huge fear of being hospitalized again, but there has to be more to it than that… right?

What is it that enables some of us to change patterns, while others are still mired in them? What’s the push that moves some of us out of the only patterns we’ve ever know, but keeps others stuck?

I don’t think it’s a personality thing, because that would mean only some people can ever change. I believe everyone can change, so that can’t be it.

Is it better insight? Not totally sure, because my friend is pretty insightful (I’d say more so than I am), so it’s not just that.

…but what actually is it?

I’ve been told that changing old patterns takes time. A therapist once told me in response to being frustrated at my slow rate of change; “you’ve spent 20-something years using that skill. What makes you think you can change that in a few short months?”

She had a point.

I had practiced my poor coping skills for more than half my life. It would take at least a few years to perfect not cutting…

But is time and fear the only thing that helped me change? We didn’t focus on alternates in therapy; we just addressed the trauma (repressed or otherwise). Was that the key?

So what happens if there isn’t trauma hiding behind the anger, or the trauma was addressed, but the anger remains? How do you resolve it?


To Dr. C

Dr C,

Talking to A Monday brought stuff up, but I’m not totally sure what. There’s a lot of the past floating around, and I’m finding myself really easily startled and frightened…

My head was literally spinning today, it triggered vertigo somehow.

There’s body stuff I’m feeling, and… I don’t even know what else. My heart races over nothing. I feel shaky, like I haven’t eaten in days, but in reality, I’ve been stuffing my face. I wanted to cut; to destroy my body; to pulverized it and stab it and shred it and break it and burn it… and by my body, I mean my pelvic area, where the feelings are creeping in again.

I wish we hadn’t talked about body. The kid really wanted to reach out, but my mouth was glued shut. I wasn’t sure how to speak about it without just screaming… so I kept quiet.

Only now the things I didn’t say are finding other ways to be noticed.

I really wish you were here coz I could talk to you about it, but you are still away through Monday… I don’t feel comfortable bugging A about it. There would be too much to explain… she kept saying she didn’t know my history; she hadn’t read what you gave her. Part of me wished she had. That way I wouldn’t have to figure out how to cram an explanation into the session and still have time to address what was happening in the moment… or just skip it all together because I couldn’t condense it that far.

I can feel the anxiety rising again. There are memories and fantasies and fears all happening in my body at the same time. It feels like I’m throwing imaginary scenarios in to drown out whatever is trying to surface. Imaginary stuff that I create in my head is much easier to control (and tolerate) than the stuff that actually happened (maybe? They’re memories, right? They’re valid? Or maybe even those are all stories?…).

I want to do that body drawing stuff she mentioned because it feels like something the kid could use to communicate. He still needs a translator, but maybe that would help? He seems connected to the idea…

I want to try some more kid techniques sometimes. Maybe the stuff that’s stuck would become unstuck? The kid that talked to De while I colored really likes that idea too. She wants to do more of that. She liked talking… I think she told the boy, because he keeps peeking around the corner wanting to try it…

There’s really not these others inside, but it just feels like there are others there, and I just don’t have a better way to describe the feeling.

SJ’s gone. I miss her. She was the most brave about talking. She was the face of the other kids. I dunno where she went. The boy misses her too, and the other girl and little blue monster all miss her. She was both 7 and 70. She was protective, but little, but also… I dunno. A container for the other kids? Now that she isn’t here, the others have to speak for themselves? Maybe she split into them when she ran off? She was older when she left though. She felt… I dunno. She wasn’t really older, but now the memory of her feels older? Does that even make sense? She left as a kid, maybe 5 or 7, but now the memory of her leaving feels like a young adult having moved away from home to get on with her own life. She pops by to say hi every once in a while, mostly to the kids, but she’s moved on with her life… like the babysitter going off to college or something.

I know these are all constructs of my head to order and make sense of things (and to keep safe), but it feels so separate. It kinda feels like other people who maybe speak a foreign language, or are extended family, or something… I dunno.

And they shift and change over time. I guess it’s me shifting and changing things as my understanding does the same. Sometimes they make sense as they were, other times the narrative needs to change to compensate for discrepancies. I guess it makes total sense if you look at it all as constructs of my head to help navigate life… they change with my understanding and head-space.

I’m really glad you will be back next week. I hope the trip was fun. I’m really glad you are back (and I was really relieved when I saw you post stuff on ig)…


ramblings about interim therapists and trauma work and body stuff

I’ve been seeing another therapist in Dr C’s practice while she’s been away. It’s been weird, but helpful in maintaining balance, especially with all this physical stuff going on. I didn’t really talk to her about much outside of “safe” things (things going on in the moment, dealing with the physical stuff that doesn’t have a medical explanation yet (or ever?), surface stuff). There were times I wanted to cover other stuff that wove its way into the session, but I couldn’t open my mouth. It felt like my lips were glued together, and even if I did manage to open them, all that would come out were sobs and screams…

That’s not a new phenomenon for me. I’m not sure I’ve ever managed to open my mouth and tried to speak at a time like that. It taps into something I still don’t have an understanding of, and it never feels safe or comfortable enough to just let that part of me do whatever it needs to do for release… maybe I can bring it up with Dr C once she’s back again next week. I wish I could remember what it was that triggered that feeling.

I know before walking into the building, I had wanted to address the body memories that always get triggered (or more intense) when I get my period. We had kinda started taking about bodies, and how comfortable I was in mine (or not comfortable). We had talked a bit about liking or hating any particular part of my body. I said there wasn’t any part I liked. I should have said, there wasn’t any part I liked anymore because at one point, I had liked my eyes and my hands… but both have failed me since. My eyes either hide too much or tell too much; and my hands don’t create to my standards anymore (stupid trembling and fatigue). So no, right now there’s no part of me I like.

She also asked if there was any part I really hated. Of course there are parts I hate more than others, but there wasn’t enough time in the hour to tell her about it and still come out of the session balanced enough to go on with my day… I’m not totally sure I even want to write about it now, though there would be less explanation involved here than with her… I hate my pelvic area, and my stomach, and the insides of my legs. It’s where I feel the most uncomfortable memories, and what triggers the easiest. It’s the fastest way to send me to space…

A had asked if I’d ever done any body work (on paper) with Dr C. I told her I hadn’t, because even though Dr C had offered it, I panicked at the thought of tracing my body. A clarified that she meant doing it smaller scale. No, we never did do that… I’m not sure why the subject changed with A in that session. I think I started panicking and backpedaling into my head, because at some point, she asked how present I was & busted out a ball as a means of grounding (side note: it worked too! Who knew playing catch could actually bring me back? Normally, I can still do that stuff while dissociated. This time, the act of catching and tossing was balancing. Maybe it was the inconsistent way she did it? She would pause, look at the ball, change the speed of her toss… whatever it was, it worked).

Anyway… yeah. There were so many times I could have said more to her, but I didn’t want to get into it knowing that the hour would end too son, and I’d be left dealing with whatever came up for the rest of the week. At least with Dr C, I can reach out during the week if I need to. A did say to call if I needed anything, but I wouldn’t bother her. It takes me a long time to trust that it’s really ok to bug someone outside of the time they are getting paid to interact with me. Even with Dr C, I still hesitate much of the time, and I’ve worked with her on and off for almost 10 years now…

Oh, I remembered what I was originally going to say about the body drawing; it’s another thing where I feel frozen for fear of what I might do or say. There’s still that urge to destroy my body, even if it’s just a drawing. I still want to take a knife and stab the drawing on the parts I hate the most… or, since I no longer carry a knife with me, stab it with the pencil… that would probably freak her out, so… maybe some day I can mention that to Dr C, and we could find a way for me to be ok doing it in some form. The kid really wants to talk about it still. He has no words, just screams and sobs and anger… or silence. He’s usually just silent because the other stuff is not acceptable…

I really wish Dr C was back now. I wish this could be addressed while it’s still here & “relevant.” It’ll be gone again by next week. This is when that concept of easily accessible, more intensive treatment would be helpful; when stuff comes up and would benefit from being addressed in the moment, so it would be nice to be able to walk back into the room and get to work… let’s tackle this shit coz it’s here. Gimme that little body drawing, tack it to a tree, and let me stab the shit out of it. Let me rip it up and scream and cry and cover it in red paint so it bleeds like my body would if I did that to myself. Let me burn the page so it all goes up in smoke. He needs the release. I need the release…

Let me rip the legs off a toy, and bash it and destroy it… but then I’d need to apologize, because the toy did nothing, it’s just a receptacle for the anger. So let me run out into the woods and scream until my voice is hoarse, and my legs are so tired they want to fall off, and my breath burns in my chest (maybe my lungs would actually burn up. That would be an interesting medical & scientific impossibility)…

Sometimes the anger and the hurt is too much. Sometimes I want to disappear to a safe place where I can do something about it without weird looks and panic over my safety, because ultimately, I’ll be safe, this just all needs a release…

Why aren’t there trauma treatment centers in the middle of the woods, with animals and drop-in massage and art and yoga and holistic therapy like they have for substance abuse? And why is nothing local? Why is the only treatment center even remotely like that all the way across the country, and religious?! I want something with no BS about higher powers or gods or spiritual anything. Why does that not exist?! And why aren’t there more art or play therapists around? The kids want time too, but everything’s in an adult world, so they use translators instead…


working helped

I was still struggling with dissociation and being stuck in my head most of Wednesday. Nothing i was trying helped to bring me out of it.

Luckily, I had work that afternoon.

I pleaded with the universe to make it an easy, but distracting shift. She came through for me.

I ended up training a new hire, so I had to constantly think of what I was doing, why, and explain it to her. The dogs were also relatively mellow (though the look on the girl’s face when I mentioned that it was an easier day makes me wonder if I’m not just habituating to a higher level of chaos).

In the end, spending time with the dogs, and having to interact with another human for the whole shift helped ground me for the evening.

I did wake up to some intrusive, uncomfortable thoughts, but overall, today has been much more “present” (Though let me not jinx that at 9am)…

I had some bloodwork to get done this morning, and I was supposed to get a CT scan done at 8, but I messed up the directions, so it’s been pushed to 1pm. I could have gone through with the 8am thing, but it wouldn’t have given the greatest results. I’m having ongoing gi issues, so I want to make the scan worth the effort. I already feel like most of this stuff is “in my head” since previous testing hasn’t shown anything… but then again, my aunt had gi issues for over a decade before the testing finally showed the real problem. I don’t want things to get that advanced in my case…

I hate having to balance worrying that I’m just experiencing psychosomatic stuff with legit medical issues. Dr C says it’s all valid, and even if it does stem from past trauma, there’s still likely a physical reason as well, it’ll just take more time to figure it out…


Authenticity (of expression) 

Authenticity of expression is something I struggle with often. I’m constantly worried about what people may think, and the consequences of their opinions. 

This is especially true of my art. While it’s often the most authentic expression of self I’m able to reveal, I worry a lot that people will change their opinion of me based on what they see. I worry they will hate me, and deem me less worthy than even I deem myself. Sometimes I’m able to get past that in my art journals, but lately, even that has been censored. 

I feel stuck around being unable to express what needs to be expressed in any authentic manner. I find myself replacing the reality of what I want to create, with a “rainbows & butterflies” edit. I’m stumbling in therapy and focusing on the same, safe methods of expression; the ugly, scary stuff is replaced with a unicorn sticker…

There’s so much “icky” stuff floating around in my head, but I go silent when it comes time to talk about it. There’s a buffer between my brain and my mouth, and my brain and my hands. Things leave my brain one way, but get “prettied up” before they have a chance to be expressed. 

This piece wasn’t supposed to look so peaceful and serene… it was supposed to represent the struggles around trauma. It was supposed to express the loneliness and alone-ness of experiencing flashbacks and memories no one else knows are even there. It was supposed to be more graphic… but in the last minute, I froze, and changed the “gore” to “pretty” and ” socially acceptable”… 

Lately, no matter what I do, no matter my intentions at the start, everything gets censored for the comfort of everyone else. That all just leaves me feeling more alone and distant than before I started. 

I want to be able to convey what it feels like to constantly remember the physical sensations of things long past. I want to express the hopelessness and fear and loneliness and frustration and betrayal… but I end up stuffing it down and covering it up. 

It’s a betrayal of a different kind; a betrayal of my inner voice… it’s really frustrating. 


What dissociation feels like to me

I’m aware this may be different than what I’ve written before. My understanding of it tends to be limited to what I can access in the moment. 

Today, my understanding of my dissociation is as follows: 

My dissociation is varied. When heavily triggered, I lose all memory of a period of time. I have very spotty memories from my childhood, maybe a handful from my entire 18 years before moving to college. I’m starting to regain some of those memories, but they are all trauma memories coming back. 

When I’m less dissociated, it just feels like i’m floating in a grey fog far away from everyone and everything. Sometimes I can’t hear people talking to me. I’m not always aware of the dissociation until someone points it out to me, but there are times I’m very aware. Those times it feels like i’m on autopilot; saying and doing things because that’s what’s expected of me. 

There are times when I’m surprised at my appearance and the fact that I have a body & a face. That used to happen a lot more when I was younger. I would walk past my reflection and stop to stare at it. I needed to study it because I had no clue that’s what I looked like, or that I even existed as a corporeal being… those instances have lessened in severity. I still stare at my reflection at times, but it doesn’t take as long to understand I’m actually a person. 

Regardless of the type of dissociation, I generally don’t feel anything like physical touch, or even pain… Sometimes the dissociation is accompanied by flashbacks, but other times my mind is blank…


What’s your experience been like with it? 


More anxiety

My chest is still tight. 

Woke up today… triggered? It’s not exactly the right word for it, because triggered implies more intensity. I was “on”, activated. I started journaling about the story playing out in my head. When I went back to it later to proof read it, it felt hollow and substance-less. I thought I had put more detail, but I guess most of it only played out in my head only. 

The story I woke into left me feeling triggered and on edge. I really wanted to cut. I was aware of the intensity of the desire for the release and balance that comes from it. I was also aware that I needed to try to avoid it… I decided to take a shower.  My usual showers last about 30 minutes on a good day, without that loop that has me feeling unable to get clean… Anyway, today’s shower took almost an hour and a half. I can’t recall any reason it would have. For some reason, I lost an hour in there. And when I was done, I no longer needed to cut. I know I didn’t (I wasn’t bleeding at all), but the desire was abated and my body was a bit sore… 

The loss in time caused me to run late for therapy…

I talked to Dr C about it a bit. She then mentioned something related to family that I had apparently told her previously. I don’t recall telling her anything like that, and I’m not sure I would have necessarily described things in that way, but I believe her when she says it’s something I’ve said to her… that got us onto the topic of dissociation and memory gaps. I expressed my frustration at being faced with more recent episodes of amnesia. I understand the function of it for traumatic events, but this random trigger that somehow connects to the trauma thus leading to dissociation frustrates me. I thought I had gotten to a point where I didn’t completely lose time anymore, but apparently I’m not. I still forget spans of time. Today it happened twice totaling over two hours. The second time happened while shopping after therapy. I thought I had been shopping for maybe an hour, but I had been there for 2.5 hours. Nothing notable happened, but it’s occurrence confuses me. Maybe it was left-over triggering from either the “memories” this morning, or my session with Dr C…

With this sudden increase in noticed loss of time, Dr C suggested I leave pen and paper around in hopes I may journal while checked out. She suggested journaling on my phone may be too complicated in a dissociated state. I dunno. It’s comfortable enough a medium for me… I’ve checked out while trying to journal in my art journal before and ended up just sitting frozen in that position while I was “out”. I’m not sure leaving a pen and paper around would do much. I think i’m more likely to journal on my phone. I know I’ve done that in the past while I was dissociated. Sadly, the app I had used at the time glitched and I lost most of that journaling. I do recall at one point before the app failed that I read several entries I had no memory of writing. Since I’ve started blogging, I’ve found a few entries I don’t recall at all, along with several I’m aware I wrote but cannot feel a connection to. I also know I’ve written quite a bit while dissociated in my private journal blog… none of it looks like anything vastly different than what I remember writing except for the entries that detail the flashbacks and memories; those I constantly have to reread in order to know what they contain. I have the general gist that they describe details, but I wouldn’t be able to recite most of it without reading it. It feels like someone else’s story…

Anyway, I think I lost my point for this post. I feel a bit better though. The anxiety isn’t as crushing after writing for a bit. I don’t necessarily feel grounded, but my chest isn’t tight and twitchy. I still want to cut, but I think I can get myself to bed without giving in. I just hope I can actually sleep tonight. I have work tomorrow. It’ll likely be a 10-hour day again. They are so exhausting, even though they “only” involve camp…

Oh, another stressor; my disability is being reviewed. I think I filled out the form correctly, but I was partially dissociated while doing it. I’m a bit worried I might lose my benefits. I felt weird getting it in the first place, though the providers I worked with seemed to think it was appropriate. I know I don’t have the energy to look for (and accomplish) full-time work. I currently don’t have the emotional head space to succeed at it even if I tried. I feel fake though. I should be able to suck it up and plow through all this. I should be able to be productive in society. I shouldn’t be so lazy and unmotivated… I feel like i’m wasting resources, but Dr C says it’s not a waste. She says having needs and taking time isn’t wasteful… I dunno. I think being so needy is wasteful and a pain in the ass, but she disagrees…

There’s that anxiety again. Guess I should sign off before I send myself into a tizzy over something which I have no control…

Sorry this post is so long-winded. I hope it makes sense and that autocorrect didn’t butcher it too badly because I have no energy to proof read just now…


Intrusive thoughts and insights

I find myself thinking about the past a lot, even when I’m trying to distract. It’s seeping through both my conscious and unconscious thoughts. I try to distract from it only to find it making an appearance unintentionally…

I think that was what triggered my sudden and “baseless” anger that later faded to resignation and defeat. I wasn’t really sure where it came from, or why it would quickly dissolve into sadness. I think I put it together finally; I had been absent-mindedly messing with watercolors this afternoon. I was trying to rekindle the relief I had found in session by painting “blood”, then later painting the feeling of comfort cutting would bring. Without meaning to, the pattern the watercolor took on resembled an image representative of the images/sensations I struggle with. I noted the resemblance, them moved on to another page to experiment with more watercolor. 

I guess the first image stirred stuff up because in less than 30 minutes, I was feeling rage bubble up. I snapped at L about something stupid, and wanted to isolate. The rage fizzled to resignation and depression shortly after… I wasn’t able to identify a potential trigger though till after returning home and contemplating the mess I made with the watercolors. I realized seeing the first piece that reminds me so much of trauma bubbled the anger again… and shame. I’m ashamed that the art I was trying to use to satisfy the desire to cut turned into a trigger. I’m ashamed at what I see in the splotches. I’m ashamed of the conflicting emotions it brings up.  I’m feeling a resigned sense of acceptance about these “memories” being accurate… and there’s grief there too: grief over losing the life I had thought I lived. I guess Dr C was right; this depression is at least in part fueled by grief. 


Exhausted

Therapy was difficult today. I’m back to insisting I’ve made everything up. It’s too much to swollow to believe it’s not all made up…

I think I started crying like three times with her. I rarely cry, but lately it seems to come more freely in therapy… I felt really small. And the thought of ever having been a baby terrified me. 

I’m really lucky Dr C is so patient. She puts up with all my crap, and still agrees to see me again…

We were going to try to do some art today, but I digressed. I showed her some [graphic] stuff in my journal, and then we talked more about it. I still need to come up with an acceptable “pass” to allow myself permission to step away from triggering situations. I think we are going to work on that more tomorrow and next week. I’m not sure I have a good idea of what might work. I need something that will not only give me internal permission to step away, but also that would potentially make it ok for anyone else I’m with. When triggered, I feel an obligation to stay in the triggering situation if there’s someone else there that may disapprove of my leaving… it’s difficult to find something that may meet all those conditions. 

So yeah. More therapy tomorrow. I didn’t want to leave her office today, but at the same time, I wanted to be out of there already. It felt safe, but I was really overwhelmed. I wanted to keep the safe feeling while escaping the overwhelm. 

The feeling of desperately wanting to shred my flesh off so I stop feeling the flashbacks has abated somewhat. I still want to obliterate my brain, but that can temporarily be accomplished through alcohol…


Am I pushing myself too hard? 

The emdr stirred up a ton of stuff. It’s not settling much, just cycling through things. She called it progress, but not necessarily relief. I’m not sure how well I can handle this, though when I just unintentionally triggered myself intensley, I was able to sit through it.

I’m feeling this huge internal pressure to talk to someone other than just Dr C about what’s going on, but when I try (even anonymously or ambiguously) I trigger myself… I’m back to doubting if I can tackle trauma processing outside of an inpatient (or at least intensive out patient) setting. I guess I’m doing ok because I haven’t resorted to cutting. I’m just scared I might be pushing myself too hard without enough safety nets in place. I mostly trust Dr C, I’m just not sure I trust myself…


Emdr (TRIGGER) 

Did some emdr kinda spontaneously on Monday. I was really struggling with some intrusive memories/body memories, and Dr C had extra time. 

We aimed for my resistance to emdr, and to deal with the fears around it. That quickly progressed to the body memories. It was fragments of things flooding in and washing each other away just to come back in a few minutes. It was intense. I think I was dissociated through some of it because we worked on re-centering and returned to the fear around exploring these memories. 

One of them was really weird. I think it might have been a memory of both the dissociative experience and the abuse melding together. It was similar to a strange dream, where impossible things are happening, and I’m at once experiencing them and watching them. I was at once floating in the ocean feeling the sun on my body, and being molested in a bed… 

It was incredibly intense afterwards and I kinda freaked out. It was the longest I’ve sat in Dr C’s parking lot after a session (almost 50 minutes) trying to center again. I’ve text her a lot since then. I feel like I might be pissing her off. 

Part of the emdr also covered the self-harm. It feels like the shame and guilt around it are gone, but at the same time, there’s a fear of the consequences. I guess that’s good. I want to destroy the parts of my body that remember the abuse, but I also want to avoid the hospital. 

I made another appointment for later this morning to process this with her. I felt like I was bothering her too much through text. I’m also hoping that seeing her in person and talking about this will help set my mind at ease about the process. I’m starting to remember some of this discomfort and turmoil after the first round, and I’m starting to remember that it passed in a few days. It’s been a bit better this morning. 

I had a really weird dream/memory/thing last night (another thing she said would be normal and expected). In it, I was a kid curled on my bed trying to sleep (similar position to how I was laying in bed last night, so I’m guessing the position was a lead-in to the memory)… it was another impossible situation though. There was a snake moving around the backs of my thighs and found its way between my legs. It felt very strange, not what my pet snakes feel like when I hold them, so I’m guessing it was something my understanding substituted for what was actually happening at the time… it reminded me of an article I read a few years ago that described the arrest of a man for animal abuse and assault when the kid said the man molested her with his pet snake. I think the man told the kid his penis was “his python” and so the kid kept calling it that… it’s quite difficult to make a snake do something it doesn’t want to, and a snake has no interest in worming it’s way into tight body orifices… 

Anyway, so… yeah. I’m waiting for time to pass before I have to leave for my appointment. My body is still shakey from my lack of sleep, and probably also from everything the emdr has stirred up… I wish I had the availability to do that intensive emdr now, but I have to be at work for the next few weeks… I might dissapoint my boss and end up needing coverage soon if I stir up too much. I’m trying to be available out of a sense of obligation to help out (staff vacations need coverage, and one of the main customer service reps is leaving for a full-time job after my boss gets back from her own vacation), but maybe I need to be a little less available. I have the option at this point not to work at all and just concentrate on my therapy. In theory, I should take the time I need to help me alleviate my symptoms… but at the same time, work is a good distraction. I didn’t exactly plan to be less available when we are already under-staffed, so I shouldn’t feel guilty about needing to say no, but I do… L and I need the extra money to help fix the car situation… and I have a huge thing about helping out, even to my own detriment, when someone needs it (especially someone I like/respect/care about). When I first started working there again, I was a bit better about maintaining my boundaries and not taking on too much. I’m falling back into that need to please everyone. I can see it heading to a huge disappointment when I finally find the courage to say I can’t cover too much… ugh. 

If I could find a way to just do therapy super intensley until I got to a point where I could get a handle on the symptoms and triggers and side-effects, then I could be a real, functioning human again. Insurance has limited that though. They don’t want to pay my therapist for more than one session a week. They don’t want to pay for an iop or php because I’m not in crisis (and if I was, they would want me inpatient first)… it’s frustrating how little they help when the whole reason I have them is because I struggle with mental health issues enough to make regular functioning near-impossible… there’s hope though. I just switched to the basic Medicare, which I’m lead to believe covers stuff easier than the crappy advantage plan I was on… starting September 1 st, coverage for therapy should theoretically be easier. 

There’s a tightness in my chest from all of this… Maybe I will ask Dr C about trying an iop as adjunct to the emdr we are doing. Maybe medicare will pay for it in hopes of getting me to a place where I can get off disability and get back to a real life. I just wish there was a close trauma iop or php… Maybe I could get into that place in Boston this time around (I was too acute 5 years ago when we first tried it. I landed in DC because their program was able to do crisis stabalization).
Sorry this was so disjointed and scattered…


They feel far away

It doesn’t feel real anymore, those “memories” that felt so real when I lived down south. The further I get away from having lived there, the less convinced I am that they were real…

Dr C says that it’s “normal” for trauma memories to be encapsulated & only accessible during certain conditions… I believe her because I trust her expertise, but at the same time, I doubt the validity of my own experience. Yes, if they are true, they explain a lot of seemingly random and unexplained things (like my strong negative reaction to male genitalia, my intense dislike of being touched unexpectedly, the weird body sensations that seemingly never leave, the huge gaps in my memory…). But…none of those memories feel real anymore. As out-of-touch with my earlier adult life as I felt while living at home again, that’s how out-of-touch I feel with what came up living “at home”. The only difference is that I had proof of my early adult life (a resume I could look back on, friends, my wife, journals to re-read, etc). I don’t have that for my life growing up. The only journals I still have are ones that talk about friendships and kid things. There’s nothing in the book I found that would corroborate the story in my head. There’s no person that could or would validate it. Bitch took my journals from middle and high school when she stayed in my room after I had moved to my aunt & uncle’s house down the street for my senior year in high school (they were already dead and the house had been sitting empty for a few years. Some vandalism happened. I jumped at the chance to get away from my parents’ constant battles and offered to “live” there). It started as only sleeping at their house, but eventually I spent more and more time there. At the point I left for college, I had been living at the house full time for several months. My mom moved in there shortly after I left for school; she needed an escape from my dad also… he was really abusive to her. I think she used the excuse that I had left my animals at the house and they needed tending, combined with the house needing the “security” of being occupied. My brother stayed with him in their house, but he had always been safer with G. There were a lot of double-standards flying around when I was little, from both sides (though it took me a lot longer to see some than others). My brother got away with a lot by my dad. He was held to much different standards by my mom & K. The same was true on the flip side; I got away a lot lighter with mom & K than I did with G… I realize now that so much of what I thought was normal growing up was actually really abusive. I had thought my brother escaped much of it, but in reality, he just caught it on another front. 

I’m connecting with some of those memories that came up while living down south simply by having talked more about growing up, but they still feel just barely out of reach. It feels like something I can just barely brush my finger tips against if I reach out really far. They don’t feel totally fake when I think about the specifics of growing up there, but they still don’t feel real either. Part of it is that I don’t want to delve into describing them too much here. What if they really are simply a sick, twisted story I tell myself. If I wrote about them, they would potentially be damaging to those others involved. Unlike the domestic violence incidents, I have no corroboration to them and they are not “public knowledge” within my circle… it feels irresponsible to write too much about them right now. Another part is simply that they are very disturbing to me. I’m afraid of thinking about them and accidentally flooding myself with trauma memories I can’t contain. They do enough of that unbidden, there’s no use inviting it outside of the safety of Dr C’s presence… 

They’ve faded again for the most part. It’s back to the faint tingles in my body, the echos of touches… these I can handle at this level for the time being. There’s no drive to cut the memories out of my body. They don’t trigger a desperation to be rid of them at the moment. They had in the past; it’s how I ultimately ended up at The Center in DC 5 years ago this past week. They had tripped me over into desperately doing anything to change the sensation in my body. I didn’t understand them at the time, I just knew when they got bad, I needed to cut the feel of duckboy out of my body… and in my dissociated state, I admitted to the doctors that there were other memories I was trying to cut out, but the only ones I consciously remembered then were the duckboy ones (it was a combination of disturbing and validating to go back and read that the concept of other sexual abuse had been brought up years before I “remembered” it down South. I have no memory of telling the doctors at the er, but apparently I did during more than one visit. And I didn’t read those files till after the memories surfaced with De; after I had switched to TL)… if I think too much about them, or let my brain wander towards those memories, they intensify and threaten to flood again. I can’t afford that right now…

Now I’m afraid to write any more and also afraid to put this down to try to sleep. They feel closer again, threatening again… I feel like I have to keep rambling to “hold the door” against them, but not rambling in a direction that helps them push forward. Maybe if I put this away and try some music I’ll be able to sleep for the hour or so before I have to wake up. I could ease some of the tension and just cut, but that would bring about a whole host of external consequences I really dislike. Better to sit with those urges instead of giving in. I’d break my “clean” steak also, and that would be frustrating to realize in the morning… yeah, better to try to listen to music and sleep a bit more.


Anniversary looming

This anniversary is kicking my ass… I’m ok at times, then I’m a hot mess at others. 

I want to cry. I want to shred myself… 

I want to drown my head out. 

I’ve had the better part of a 16oz beer with a high alcohol content. As much as I want to throw up from the heaviness of the beer, I’m loving the spin happening in my head. While it doesn’t kill the agony, it dulls it to a tolerable level… 

I know Dr C wants me not to dissociate from this hurt, but I’m not sure I want the same thing she does. Yeah, it’s progress to sit with it all, but it’s also progress simply to be “free” and functioning. I’m battling the urge to simply off myself pretty much daily. I know I’m going to win that battle, but it’s hard on a day to day basis…

I keep telling Dr C, L, and myself that I will be ok at the end of this anniversary. Part of me knows that’s true. And part of me also “knows” that won’t be true. It’s the part of me that’s still stuck in the trauma… it’s the part of me that “knows” death would bring peace finally. I know it’s wrong though. I know that it may bring peace for me, but it would also push the pain to someone else. 

I’m so tired of the struggle. I’m tired of the cycle. I’m tired of fighting for my quality of life…

I think I’m going to take Dr C up on the concept of seeing an interim therapist. I think I’ve seen her before, but I was pretty dissociative at the time, so I don’t remember much of it. I know L saw her briefly, but she wasn’t directive enough. That works well for me. I don’t think Dr C has talked to her yet, but I’m really hoping she will figure it out before she goes away…


A pattern of tolerance for the negative

A theme for the week: tolerating triggering situations for the small benefits they may bring.

It was a topic of conversation during Monday’s session. It came up during the week, it came up again today, and it’s wrapped up in the self-harm… Dr C pointed out the pattern to me Monday, and suddenly it’s weaving it’s way through everything (well, at least, I’m noticing it). It’s even a thread through my healthier coping skills: Breathe through the tuff stuff to get to the other side… as Dr C pointed out Monday, it’s what I did to get through as a kid, and it’s what I keep doing. I get that it would be good for me to change that pattern, but there’s some comfort in it. I tolerate the bad for the bits of good…

There are however, aspects of life where I don’t follow that pattern anymore. My relationship with L is a great example of that. There is no tolerating of the bad to get to the good. Sure, we have disagreements, and both of us have our share of being jerks at times, but I think we have a healthy and supportive relationship. We try to address things as they come up, and we love each other. We avoid trying to make the other feel weak, scared, or small. We build each other up. We hold the other’s self-worth when it tanks. And we genuinely care.

It certainly wasn’t the image I had for a relationship growing up. I always thought I’d marry an abusive serviceman who would beat and rape me daily… I’m not totally sure where I got that idea from, but it had always been there. I would imagine being left alone to deal with the abuse, as everyone would ignore his behavior. I would be told to be quiet and let him do whatever because his job was stressful. I would swallow the fear and just get through the day…

So yeah, some places I’ve broken that pattern, but other places it’s still very present. I tolerate triggering shows and movies because there’s some part of them I’m interested in (Game of Thrones is one of them). I focus on the good parts of it to get through the uncomfortable parts… yet when Dr C suggested I stop watching it in favor of not having to repeat the pattern, I cringed. As triggering as parts of the show may be, other parts are highly engaging.

Similarly, when hanging out with some people, I sit through conversations around triggering topics because I’m not sure how to effectively set a boundary around it one they start (and I’m triggered). I know Dr C and I talked about effective ways to politely set that boundary, but when the moment came, my mind was blank. I listened to my friend talk about her familial abuse history. It triggered flashbacks and dissociation. I felt myself slip into a more detached space. For the life of me, I could not find the words to ask her to stop. The only 2 options that came to mind for changing the topic would not have been very comfortable (for me or her). So instead, I listened to what she said from miles away, and responded when I thought I should respond. I really wanted to scream or run out of there, but I was raised to be polite and courteous. That would have been neither (though probably right on target for a trauma response)…

Anyway, so yeah. Patterns. Fun.


Art and life run parallel

Today, the orange and pink piece is very different. Drying dulled the colors. The gloss finish was too thick too fast and has cracked…

Fits the emotional experience… yesterday held promise of pretty. Today reveals the cracked, dark mess…

image


About therapy last night (**trigger warning, talk of: abuse, self harm, past suicide attempts)

There was a moment of soul-crushing pain. It felt like my chest may cave inward. I could barely breathe through it… no. Just no. I spent the last hour (?) telling her things… they are impossible fictions. I’m not sure why I need to lie about this stuff, but I just do.
They’re not consistent stories. They’re not complete. Some I’m aware of as scripts (I didn’t actually remember them at the time, I’ve just read what I’ve written in the past enough times to be able to recite them. There’s no emotion. I just know what I should be saying)…

I can’t sleep again tonight.
I think we got home around 10:30. We didn’t come to bed till about 11:30. It’s 2 and I’ve already been awake for 20 minutes. I wish I could sleep. But I’m confused about the session last night. And the body memories are loud right now… right now, I can feel the scripts I was reading earlier. There’s a physical aspect to them. The emotional is just tired and spent (and maybe a bit scared).

I just want to sleep.

Please just let me sleep…

There was another point in session where she suggested an activity that involved tracing my body outline onto a large piece of paper. I nearly sunk into the chair and ran out of the room at the same time. In that moment, the thought of laying down on my back to be traced was utterly terrifying. Body memories flared up throughout every part of me. I could feel being held down. I could feel being touched. I could feel the panic… I wanted to curl into the tightest little ball ever. I wanted to hide. I wanted her to just stop describing the activity because no matter what words were flowing from her lips, I was sure it meant even she would hurt me.

I want to rip the skin off my entire body. I want to stab my legs. I want to open my arms up and let all the blood flow out. Part of what I felt and remembered last night must have been one of the hospitalizations. I felt tubes hooked to my arms, and a fuzzy, sleepy feeling. I didn’t want to wake up again. I really, really, really just wanted to fall asleep and not ever wake up… must have been from that time I OD’d for the first time… it would make sense for the emotions that came up on the way home once I was finally grounding… the emotions and the situation fit nicely into the OD attempt from 2007 (last night, L was out, I was supposed to meet her there after therapy. Therapy had been really unsettling and triggering. I thought about not going to meet L. The urge to self destruct in more ways than one screamed in my head. I thought it would actually work before she would be able to get home… I really just wanted to fall asleep and not wake up again). So instead I called her once I was home (I thought about calling her on the way home, but I was using really loud music to help ground. I needed to keep it loud till I got home). I got directions and managed to ask her to give me clear instructions on what I needed to do and where I needed to go. I got lost trying to get to her anyway – a place not 7 minutes from our house, but I messed up twice and ended up towards the other end of the road (near the hospital). I was still checked out at the time I arrived. I was supposed to help out, but it was getting late, and I was in no space to do anything that might require competence. I sat outside on the porch instead. I stayed there until I could finally feel the chill. I would have stayed there until it was time to go if L hadn’t come to chat and tell me to come inside even if I wasn’t going to volunteer…

I’m so exhausted, but I just can’t sleep. I feel like I need to keep talking about the things we opened up in session. Except when I go to talk or write about it, I freeze. I’m scared. It’s hugely triggering. It’s also something I shouldn’t indulge if it’s a story I’ve made up… yet there’s this really strong internal push to keep talking. I dunno…

I’m scared. I’m scared of continuing to address this, but also scared not to address it. I’m scared either will land me inpatient again. Both feel potentially hugely triggering, but one will trigger self-destruct out of fear of what’s being communicated, and the other will trigger self-destruct out of anger at ignoring things again…

Suddenly, I’m remembering Catherine. She was a case manager(?) At one of the hospitals I was at back in 2009. I only remember working with her one time, but apparently I was assigned to her more than one stay. I want to say maybe she was told more than I remember. I know she felt safe that second time (even though I thought I was meeting her for the first time)… she argued with the psychiatrist about the ect he was trying to force me into that time, and fought to get me into a trauma program out of state.

I wish the body sensations would stop. They don’t let me sleep (well, them and the chaos in my head). They are closing in on intolerable level… it’s nearly 3 am now. I can’t believe I’ve been babbling on for so long… it’s helping though. It’s helping stop the circles of thought. At least getting them down gives me a safe place to store them so maybe I can sleep at some point… Maybe I need to try to see the aprn at Dr C’s office and get something for the sleep… it’s been too many nights of poor sleep, and too many days of not being able to eat much of anything. Maybe I should try herbal tonight? Might be an improvement over the lack of sleep… I dunno. I really just want to be able to sleep.


At war with myself

Went in to session angry at having to be there. I was able to swallow it at first because I’m aware it’s just this current emotional state, and not her.

Was able to tell her that there was a bunch of stuff that needed addressing today. We covered a lot of it, but I was defensive and obstinant most of the time. I was able to tell her that I was in an “I don’t give a fuck what you say” kinda mood. She rolled with it…

I feel like I’m at war with myself. Everything is an argument between my adult self and the bratty teenage self that is so bent on having her way… both are trying hard to protect the kid side of me…

Going back Wednesday again… I feel like I’m bugging her, like i’m a huge pain in the ass… 😦


Body memories suck.

Woke up with body memories again. I’m getting tired of them. I keep reminding myself that they are from the past, but it’s uncomfortable and difficult to sit through the sensations of being touched all the time… at least L is home today. That’s helping me ground simply because I have to be mindful of her presence.

I’m trying to get through the day without bugging Dr C. It’s mothers day, and the weekend, so I’m going to do my best to keep muddling through.

We need to talk more about the sh tomorrow, and the body memories… :/


Hypnogogic hallucination

Early Friday morning as I was taking the little dog out in a half- asleep state, I thought I heard someone whisper “who’s coming?”. It scared the crap out of me. It took me another two hours to get back to sleep.

Now I’m wondering if it didn’t have something to do with this distanced, slightly dissociative episode that’s going on. Wonder if I was giving myself a heads-up about how intense it will be.

Feels like I’m stuck in angry, rebellious teenage mode. It’s a difficult space to be stuck in…


I find certain things incredibly difficult to bring up in therapy. I’m not sure if it’s the way Dr C and I go about things, or the topics themselves, or my fear of disappointing her, or what, but sometimes I struggle till the end of session (or even after season is up) with how to introduce talking about certain things.

Last Monday, we had mentioned some stuff at the end of session that I really had hoped to cover today… only today I couldn’t bring it up again in time. The only reason I brought it up at all was because she caught me looking at the clock trying to calculate if I had enough time to get into it. I didn’t. She gave me the option of coming in again this week if I wanted. I took the opportunity, and also asked if we could talk about the self harm stuff that session. She said we can always talk about it, anytime. I told her I wasn’t sure how to bring it up; it’s one of those things that feels irrelevant unless I’m mired in it… only it’s difficult to talk about the “grand scheme” of it when I’m wrapped up in doing it, so it would be good to talk about it now when I’m not fighting urges… we established that it isn’t a current occurrence, but that it’s always in the back of my head (much like the concept of dying is always there).

I hope she can help me break into the subject next session.

Does anyone else find it difficult to bring up certain things at times? It’s not so much that it’s triggering or difficult to talk about (though it certainly can be), it’s just that we get going on another topic, or we seem to stay lighter, and I don’t know a good way to break into the heavy stuff. I find when there’s something I really want to talk about, I stall and sputter and pick something totally unrelated/surface to talk about when there’s actually something much more specific and heavier to talk about. I fall into the default notion of “they don’t really want to hear that stuff because it’s too deep/personal/uncomfortable so I’m just going to avoid it. I know it’s counterproductive for therapy (I mean, heck, that’s what I see the woman every week for: to talk about the uncomfortable/icky/ personal stuff), but for some reason I can’t get out of my own way and simply open up about whatever it is I really want to talk about most sessions. I’m so nervous and anxious about presenting well and progressing, I can’t bring up anything that might hint at any regression…

I know she says I don’t have to worry about disappointing her, but I always do (worry)… :/ I have this intense drive to please people and make them happy in order to make them like me. It rarely works. Half the people aren’t swayed by my frantic attempts, the other half take advantage. I know I should be more authentic with Dr C, but I don’t want her to give up on me or be mad that I’m just always drama…

I need people to like me. I need them to know I exist, and to want me around or I might blink out of existence… I know I won’t really cease to exist if they dislike me or no longer want me around, but the little kid in me doesn’t get that. She’s still desperately trying to please everyone around her in an effort to justify taking up space and resources… funny how much the kid in me is desperate to be real, while at the same time another part of me wishes and hopes for an end (the depressed part. The part that’s so tired of fighting and struggling and trying)… annother topic for therapy “some day.”

Oh, I’m supposed to make “balanced happy” art for Dr C. She was thinking I should do something that makes me happy/feel loved, surrounded by more things that make me happy and feel loved to keep out the darkness (or create a shield against it). She did some concept sketches in session today, and I think it might turn out really cool, I just have to figure out how to execute them in an interesting way… guess that’s a project for this week sometime. It won’t be done by Wednesday’s session, but maybe for next week?


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.


Verge of tears (what’s with March?)

They’re right there. I can feel them threatening to erupt at any moment. But they never get past the gatekeepers of my eyes…

Talked way too much in group today. I took up too much time. They didn’t seem to outwardly mind though…and it helped the overwhelm a bit.

I wish I could cry; either salty or red, but something would be an improvement over all this stuffing… I’m so tired…

Is this a pattern? Do I always start a descent around February/March? When I was going to school, the breakdown started around this time of year. When I was down south, it was about this time of year that things would get really difficult… what’s the significance though? There are no anniversaries or major life events that I can point to. July is an easy one: K’s death, my first suicide attempt… even October/November is understandable with the start of the full holiday push. But March I don’t get. There’s nothing going on this month. Nothing happened in March. Why do I seem to struggle more during this month? I’ll have to bring it up to Dr C and ask if she has any theories.

In the mean time, gotta keep fighting through the days. Hope it doesn’t put too much strain on L & I (we’re both struggling in our own right, and it’s starting to show wear on the relationship. Nothing huge and life-changing, but enough to have us both testy and snippy with each other… resentments abound on both sides, though I’m not sure how fair either is).

I wish I could cut. Baring that, I wish I could cry. I’m so glad I have tomorrow off and to myself. Maybe I’ll be able to recharge a bit. I wasn’t feeling totally social today, but I went to my friend’s anyway hoping to just be able to sit and “be” outside of the apartment… she didn’t tell me she had company over though, so that failed… L and I are still touchy and talking it out over text (we seem to do better that way), but she’s also not feeling well. Took nyquil tonight and was out like a light before I got back…

I’m just so tired…


Therapy is kicking my ass…

Went in today to process what came up yesterday. In doing so, we hit upon some other hugely emotionally charged things…

For some reason, her apologizing for a mistake (something I don’t see as her mistake so much as mine) triggered a huge overwhelm of fear. All I could do was apologize and ask her not to be mad at me in a barely-audible whisper…

Now I’m exhausted. Not quite sure how I made it home. I should have taken her up on the offer to hang out in one of the rooms for a while. It just didn’t feel comfortable. And once I managed to will energy into my body to move from the chair, I figured I might as well go to the car where I could blast my music…

I might be asleep by the time L gets home. Not sure I can stay awake right now…

(On the way home from therapy, Good Enough by Sarah McLachlan, Telling Stories by Tracy Chapman, and Angels & Airwaves by Angel Haze came on the ipod, in that order… fit perfectly).


Leaving stirred-up after emdr

I went in with an intention to avoid doing more emdr on the unidentified stirrings that I’ve been running from. We hadn’t talked about doing emdr again today, so I didn’t expect her to have planned on doing anything, but she pickled up where we left off Thursday.

I didn’t really want to do it. I had questions about it all. What if all of this is simply another way to stuff things? What if, because I don’t know what exactly I’m “processing”, it will just come back later, with more of a vengeance? Can you really process someing you can’t even identify? I don’t want to be sucked back into that downward spiral again. I don’t want to spend another year and half in and out of the hospital again. I don’t want to feel that hopelessness again…

So we decided to tackle the fear of falling again. It was easy enough to put myself back into the head-space of fearing being so out-of-control again… it quickly branched to remembering what my files for disability read: that I was hopeless and a lost cause… we processed that a bit more, and it continued down the self-hate spiral.

The only thing today’s session brought up was the worthlessness and hopelessness and self harm urges… I kept thinking to myself; “please don’t leave me here. Please don’t leave me stuck in this helplessness…” but I never voiced that.

Then time was up. Way too fast. I was still in the middle of feeling and remembering how shitty it felt 6 years ago… all I wanted to do was cry and hide. She offered to have me stay, but my afternoon was packed. I left with tears in my eyes.

It certainly wasn’t a good place to stop, but it was what it was. At least my afternoon was busy. If I had been at home, the self harm urges would probably have won. I’m still struggling with them (and the urge to completely self-destruct), but I’m sitting with it. I’m not alone at home, so it’s going to be ok for the night. I work tomorrow morning, so that will be ok too. I see Dr C again tomorrow afternoon. Hopefully then we can pack away all of this…

I’m so tired of fighting this all the time. I’m tired of having so much to wade through, only to find so much more each time I think I’m getting to the end.

I’m just tired.


“It sounds like a little kid thought process”

We talked in therapy today about how the distraction and delay is morphing the urge to self-harm into a drive to accomplish the hurt in some way. It feels like there’s no balance without the hurt. If I don’t do it to myself, I need someone else to do it for me.

Dr C asked if there was an urgency to the feeling, something along the lines of “let’s hurry up and get this over with”… then it hit me: it’s anxiety over what is “supposed” to happen next based on all the signals and triggers. Dr C suggested that it was a “little kid” way of gaining control over the uncertainty of when the unpleasant event would occur (she used the word “abuse” but I hesitate to call it that… not that it wouldn’t fit the label, but I can’t call it that at this time). Hurting myself would give me control over when the hurt happened. It would also set in motion the unpleasant consequences I know would follow (and of which I dread the arrival). It would end the anxiety… I guess looking at it like that, it makes sense. I’ve struggled for years with trying to understand the drive for being hurt after being triggered. She summed it up in a few sentences.

I wish I could have said that this revelation helped alleviate the desire to cut, but it’s still there. I’m still feeling the need for the hurt. I know I’m safe in the moment. I know this last week brought up a lot of old stuff. I’ve been running the grounding mantras through my head since the triggers first started, but my body is not listening. The sensations aren’t letting up. The stuff that was triggered last night keeps playing out in my body. No amount of reasoning is helping that…

We talked a bit about the distance from the newer memories that has grown cavernous since the move. I was telling Dr C that every time I got to a place of accepting that those memories were fake, they would pop up in a flash then hide away again. She suggested that it sounded as if I had processed them and filed them away again. I’m not sure they feel “processed” so much as they feel disconnected. I don’t remember them at all, even when I read what I wrote about them (those just seem like stories). There’s no emotion around it unless it comes up in flashback form. I’m totally seperated from it. Dr C still calls it “processed”, though we did throw around the idea that I’ve simply dissociated it again.

I didn’t get to voice my desire to pick up the therapy pace, but she offered an additional session this week without my asking. I don’t really have the gas money, but I took her up on it. I really need to launch myself past all this. The more depressed I get, the more I fear falling apart again. I don’t want that to keep being my future. It’s scary and hopeless. I want something better.


Mandatory distraction can be good

Thursday’s appointment with my doctor was super triggering. Not only did it bring up the distant past, but it brought up the events of 5 years ago.

I had hoped to have individual therapy after the appointment, but Dr C had asked if I was ok moving group to the later time (since I would have missed group for the doctor’s appointment). I agreed to making that individual slot group instead. I regretted it almost immediately, but I had already agreed, so I wasn’t going to reneg…

I’m glad I at least had group. Between group and the triggering appointment, I had asked Dr C if she had additional individual time that day. She didn’t, but suggested I try to talk in group. I wasn’t at all sure I would know how to make what I needed to process group-appropriate, but Dr C managed to lead me there. It helped being able to be a bit more open, though I felt bad for being so self-absorbed during group…

Anyway, today was more distraction: a former college roommate is visiting from another part of the country. We’ve been hanging out quite a bit. It’s nice to have someone around during the day. She gets the depression piece intimately. We don’t talk too much about it, but it’s nice to have someone other than L with whom I can be honest.  She’s also an awesome motivator to get moving. We ended up walking just over 5 miles today with the dogs. I have not done anything like that since several weeks (if not months) before the move. It was good to get out, even if it reminded me exactly how out-of-shape I am…

Tomorrow will be another forced distraction: I will be working a 9-hour day. They generally wear me out. Being at work, interacting with customers all day, also forces me to be out of my head whenever they are there. Then when I finally get home, I don’t want to do much of anything other than veg on the couch… I hope that will all accumulate to be enough to keep me stable.

Speaking of stability, I’m contemplating asking Dr C what she thinks of trying to increase session frequency in an effort to jump-start progress. I’m so tired of feeling so stuck. I will figure the financial piece out somehow…

I’m tired of being so triggered by so much. I’m tired of not being fully in my relationship. I’m just tired… all week I’ve been battling increased self harm urges. I’m tired of that also. I’m tired of struggling with one coping skill or another. I just want to be fixed already.

I mentioned to my friend today that I never pictured myself living to this age. I always thought I’d die by 24. To still be kicking at 36 is almost beyond my comprehension. I need to get my shit together and get back to living a someht productive life. I’m tired of being a failure because I can’t get out of my own way long enough to succeed at something.

So tomorrow is work. Sunday is spent with the wife. And Monday we’ll work on an accelerated plan for therapy. Maybe some day that will lead to being able to being settled and stable.