Tag Archives: self mutilation

The appropriateness of tears

I was journaling to De, and the topic of crying snuck its way in.  I don’t remember if I have talked about it here yet.  It’s not an easy thing for me (crying).  There has to be a really damn good reason to cry “legit” tears (not the ones that seem to spill uncontrollably from my eyes at random commercials or sappy stories, but tears that are backed by deeper emotion, tears that actually mean something or are connected to something).  It’s never appropriate in front of another human being.

Crying was not accepted growing up.  It was never soothed, only discouraged (and in some cases punished).  The only exception to this was when K died; then it was ok to legitimately cry (though only up until the funeral and burial in my recollection).  It wasn’t ok to cry for T though, “because he wasn’t real family” (G hated T and refused to consider him a relative because he “wasn’t blood”… I think love makes a family, not genetic material.  I will never consider Bitch family though she is my father’s biological sister).  T married K.  He was kind to her (mostly), and to us.  He will always be family to me and I have a right to cry when I miss him… But I digress. G never allowed crying.  Mom looks down on it also, though she was more consoling about it than G ever was.  Regardless, crying was like a sick day: hell froze over before it was allowed (or the school kicked us out because we were contagious).

Despite new learning and a cognitive understanding of the benefits of crying, I still have a lot of trouble allowing myself to cry in front of anyone else. That rarely happens.  It has taken me over a decade to learn to talk myself into crying when I need it, not just when it falls under the “ok” column set by my early experiences.  I have to have a drawn-out conversation with myself to convince that gate-keeper to let the tears fall.  Sometimes I can’t convince her to let go, but a few times every few years, I can actually manage to cry as an emotional release.  Most of the time, blood had taken the place of tears… I haven’t cut in months, but I haven’t cried either (except maybe twice in the ER or the hospital).  Tears tumble forth at stupid sappy stories, or emotional moments in movies, but there’s nothing really behind them.  It’s not a full-fledged cry, but just leaking eyes.  I wish I could bring myself to release through crying more often.  I think it might do me some good, but the keys needed to open that gate are stashed away somewhere “safe” from my prying.

One of the few things I remember from my childhood is a recurring nightmare.  I would be crying, and Skeletor would yell at me to stop.  He would tell me that if I didn’t stop right then, he would kill me.  He would grab me and physically threaten until the dream me stopped crying… I think the dream me, conditioned by Skeletor, is the gate-keeper to allowing the adult me to cry.  She’s terrified though, and repeats Skeletor’s words over and over again even when I try to tell her it’s ok to cry.

The other fear of crying comes from the fear of being overwhelmed by it.  If I start to cry, will I ever be able to stop?  I’m reminded of one day in 2007 when I cried hysterically for about 8 hours straight.  I would stop only long enough to catch my breath for a few seconds, then the choking sobs would start again.  I remember calling 211 because I hoped talking to someone would help me stop.  They sent out an ambulance without telling me and I was hospitalized (I cried hysterically the whole time until they drugged me up enough to put me to sleep for a few hours before they admitted me upstairs)… Kinda shitty experience.  Similar in “turn-off” factor as the Skeletor dream.

Anyway, I’m not really sure what the purpose of this post is… We all learn different things growing up (many of us learn really warped stuff), and it tends to affect us into adulthood even when we try our best to shake the lessons.  I look forward to the day that I can cry “as needed” without having to go through a 30 minute back-and-forth with the old tapes.


quick and effective breathing exercise

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

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

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

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

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


Grounding objects

A long time ago, I realized that certain objects helped me ground or de-stress.  As long as I can remember, I have always had a squishy toy, a small bean bag, a beanie baby (they are good for something other than collecting dust!!), a lavender eye pillow (the sound of the insides swooshing as I rotate it around my hands is incredibly calming, as is the lavender scent), spinning rings, things to meticulously shred, Tangle toys, objects of various different textures (I tend to prefer smooth & soft, but sometimes I go for rougher things), things to peel, etc.  Throughout college, I was known to hoard stress toys in my bag, at work, and in my dorm room.  I still carry at least 1, if not 5, stress objects with me daily.  Heck, even our wedding rings serve as stress objects (they are 3 interconnected rings that I can either take off to play with, or easily roll up and down my finger if I need my other hand for something like driving or writing).  I try to keep most things unobtrusive, as I’m supposed to be an adult now, and carrying around a beanie baby just gets me a whole bunch of weird looks (I rarely carry anything I cannot fit in my pockets, and lately they happen to be “girly jean” pockets, so space is at a premium).

I realized I have a piece of jewelry that I use quite a bit, but had no concept of it until I wound up at The Center (a dedicated Trauma Psych unit in DC).  They did a lot with creative expression and making tools to help ground.  One of the things I made while there was a “grounding bracelet”.  It’s pretty much a single enclosed loop of beads with an additional length of beads – long enough to wrap again around my wrist a second time.  When I have it on, it looks like a double-stand beaded bracelet.  If I need something to fidget with however, I can unwrap the long strand and play with it.  It’s really easy to make, and has come in handy when I need a way to ground or calm myself.  Some of the girls I had worked with in the past really liked the concept (though I never disclosed it’s purpose to them) of having something they could wear that they could also play with.  I remember one night sitting down with a handful of them and everyone making a bracelet.

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To make a grounding bracelet you will need: (see also here)

  • thicker stretchy jewelry string
  • beads of your choice (I used glass beads but you can use any beads you like)
  1. cut a length of jewelry string long enough to wrap around your wrist twice, plus about 3 inches (to allow for knots and a length to tuck under the loop when not in use)
  2. tie a temporary knot at one end and string your beads (can also loop the string back through the bead so it stays in place while you add the others). Make sure you do not string them too tight because it will make the next step difficult. I used a larger bead at the loose end help keep it in place when not in use (doesn’t slide out as easily.  It is also a nice “focal bead” to fiddle with – slightly bumpy in texture for when I want to feel something a little more rough).  I used a variety of shapes and colors, but kept to colors I find soothing.  Some of the beads used to have a sand-blasted texture, but that has since worn off from too much fiddling.
  3. tie one end (without the large “end bead”) back onto the string so that you have the closed loop portion of the bracelet (once around your wrist). Make sure you tie a solid knot at both ends, but especially the loose end. Voila! You have a grounding bracelet!

To wear, simply slide the loop over your wrist, wrap the long portion around a second time, then tuck a length of it underneath the closed-loop portion of the bracelet.  I found mine slips loose if I only tuck it under once, so I loop it back onto itself again and tuck under a second time.  It looks just like any other piece of jewelry, but can double as a therapeutic tool when needed without advertising what it actually is.

wpid-PicsArt_1388899069631.jpgI also made a keychain there with similar intent.  It is a “tassel” of different glass beads attached to a larger bead on a silver ring.  There are about 5 or 6 different strings, each with different colors, textures, and shapes of beads.  I do not use it quite as often as the bracelet (it’s a bit bulky), but I carry it with me when I need extra choices for stress toys.  If I have my backpack with me, my current selection offering of stress relief is: 3 different scented lotions, a squishy ball, a sandalwood scented travel candle, a squeezable ghost, a tangle toy, my stress keychain, my iPod, silly putty, and a glass heart given to me by my first ever therapist.  When I’m feeling particularly vulnerable, Beary, my stuffed bear, will make her way into the bag.  If I only have pocket-space, then I take my heart, the candle, and my iPod. I have taken to wearing the bracelet daily regardless of space for other things to bring.  It has come in very handy while shopping (holiday crowds can be crazy!), in therapy, and any other time I need help reducing anxiety.  I even find myself playing with it randomly when there’s no anxiety or stress present.  I’m really glad I was given the opportunity to make it.

Does anyone else have a “portable stress kit” they use?  What’s in it? Do you find it helpful?


Friday Night on Repeat

I was organizing our art stuff and started playing the music on my phone in shuffle.  I hit Miranda Lambert’s “Over You” and it has gotten stuck on infinite repeat.  There are just some songs that are worth the incessant playing.  I’m not 100% sure what I like about it.  I think it’s a combination of the lyrics and the way she sings parts of it. There’s a desperation and… “something” in her voice at times that just triggers something in my brain.  It latches on and holds it.

The last few days have been ok.  I don’t think I wrote much recently, but that may be because a lot of effort is being exerted on visual expression.  I wish I was better at it, but I need to practice again to get back to my drawing level from several years ago.  It’s definitely something you lose if you don’t use… I’m also playing a lot with mediums I’ve never worked with (or did so only a very few times).  I really want to work more with water colors.  They have a feel to them that other paints can’t quite achieve.  I just seriously need more practice.  I would like to take a class, but we don’t really have the extra cash.  I could try learning on my own through videos, but there’s something about being able to ask questions that makes it work better for me. One day…

In the mean time, I will be fooling around with other random stuff.  There’s a lot I want to be able to put on paper, but I’m not quite sure how.  I guess it will take a lot of trial and error.

Random “weird” thought of the moment: I was getting gas and checking a stack of lottery tickets from the last few weeks.  The guy asked if I had felt lucky.  I responded with “No, life hates me…”  The woman at the next register said that I was still alive and breathing, so life must not hate me that much.  My automatic response was “Exactly! Life hates me.”  I didn’t realize what I had said until I saw the look on his face (combination of pity and disgust I think).  It wasn’t even like I have been depressed all that much lately.  I think all those years of living in the dark makes dark things a habit.  I’m not suicidal right now.  I have no desire to die right now.  I might even go so far as to say I have been “happy” lately (ok, maybe that’s more of just “disconnected and slightly hypo-manic” but since I don’t really have bipolar, I will just call it happy and disconnected).  The words just tumbled out of my mouth without me realizing.  I said them laughingly and with a smile on my face that had been there when I walked into the store… It’s weird how “habits” can carry through even the good times.


More for the 2014 100 Theme Challenge

I was messing around with water colors today. I have a LOT of practice to do before I’m reasonable versed in the techniques, but I think these came out ok. The first is a “practice” piece that came out better than the one on the intended painting…
55) Comfort

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The next is the painting I wanted to have the dog in… It’s still in the works, as it’s bottom-heavy.  I need to figure out what to put on the top portion to make it feel more balanced.

60) Superpowers – there’s comfort in the dog’s protection and the wings and the bear.  There’s comfort in the blackness also.  It’s a place to hide and blend in to avoid attention.  Sometimes kids need superpowers to get through the darkness, even the inner kids.

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Meditation via Nature

The other day, we went back to the Japanese gardens.  I have yet to do any of the prescribed meditations for the program, but I really enjoy wandering and finding interesting things to draw or photograph.  I took a few that I really liked this time around, and one in particular that speaks to me, but I can’t figure out what it is saying.  There’s just something hopeful about it: striving and reaching and… persevering.  

b&w tree

2014 100-Theme Challenge – 6) Reaching Up (out)


almost forgot to show you the card I made for L!

I was glancing back at my entries from the last 2 weeks and noticed that I forgot to show you the card I had made for L (that was the top-secret one).  I’m actually really pretty proud of it, though I have issues with the way the mouth came out…  Either way, she liked it a lot too, so here it is:

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Cute, no?  I could have done a better job with the mistletoe, but whatever.  I like the little guy.


Happy New Year’s Eve Day!

(did that make sense?)

So, I’m not going to do a re-cap or anything… 2013 had its ups and downs, and now it’s over.  Good.

2014 will be better.  Growth is happening, change is always happening.  It has to get better.

Today is being spent no different from any other day.  L has to work tomorrow (early – 5am), so we won’t be doing much tonight.  I’m ok with that.  I outgrew partying a few years ago.  I’m sure I will be up with my insomnia, but I don’t think I will be worrying about the clock hitting midnight.

No flashbacks yet today, so it’s a good day.  I’m hoping tomorrow will follow the way today has gone so the year will start off on the right foot.  I need it to go well.  I need to get past all this trauma crap, and resume living my life as a productive member of society.  I’m so over being the “crazy wife”…

Anyway, happy new year all.  Hope it’s a good one.


When The Truth Comes Out The Demons Will Play- Pt. 1

wow, very powerful, especially the last paragraph…
“I’ve heard that some people have tried to put themselves in my shoes but you really can’t. Most people I know don’t wake up everyday wishing they had stopped breathing over night. Most people don’t look at their body and see scars of past pain or red lines from the present. Most people don’t go through the world looking at the ground, afraid that they’ll be seen. Most people don’t know what its like to not feel, to know something is wrong but not be able to describe it. You don’t feel happy, you don’t feel sad. I don’t even like using the word numb. That word still doesn’t describe the feeling. The feeling of just nothing. You’re not calm, you’re not stressed, you’re angry but you’re not happy, you can’t cry but you can’t smile, you can’t move but, well, you can’t move. When this happens, your body isn’t yours anymore. Your body belongs to depression.”


My head is numb. Thoughts are not forming. It feels like cotton is the only thing filling the cavity where by brain should be. I want to be creative, but nothing comes. I want to pay attention to anything, but I can’t get past the “cotton”… and I’m cranky. I’m not sure why, but it’s here. It hit hard and fast. I really dislike all of this. And I wish I knew what was going on. Is this the benadryl after-effects? Is it my lack of sleep catching up to me? Ugh.


I love the way this guy writes…

I may be a bit biased (and would love to have him as my individual T), but I really like the way he explains things… Check out Becoming Superman and Dr. Doyle’s latest blog entry on flashbacks.

These things can be scary. In addition to the fact that they seem to come out of nowhere, sometimes with very little rhyme or reason, they also seem to take advantage of every sense modality in our brains in order to recreate those old experiences as vividly as possible. It’s not just that you’re “thinking about” or “remembering” something from the past; it’s like you’ve been thrown into a 3D IMAX theater with THX surround sound, and they’re pumping in the proper scents and odors through the ventilation system, and they’ve also hijacked every nerve in your body so you actually feel the experience in your muscles and on your skin. Oh, and you feel like you’re fucking strapped into your seat. There’s that.
It’s not always exactly like that, of course. Just like any symptom, there’s a spectrum of intensity to flashbacks. But flashbacks have an added dimension that make them extra special and fun: there are times we may not even know we’re experiencing a flashback until, you know, we’re curled up in a little ball, either emotionally or physically. A flashback is often not like a sneeze, where it immediately, obviously interrupts what you’re doing. It can creep up on you, begin in your gut, or in your visual cortex, or in your limbic system. By the time we realize we’re disconnected from the present (a symptom we psychology types call “dissociation,” because we’ve temporarily lost our clear connection or association to the people, things, and context around us), we’re sometimes so far down the rabbit hole that we don’t immediately remember how to think our way out.
And good luck explaining all of the above to someone who’s never had flashbacks, of course. “It’s just a memory! It’s in the past! Why are you so upset about it?” Yeah. Kiss my ass.
He thinks a lot like I do, but explains so much better than I ever could!

There’s the effects of crappy sleep…

2 days into the break and I’m wishing De wasn’t going to be gone for so long. I’ll get through it, but it just feels so long. My lack of proper sleep is starting to get to me. I wake too long before sunrise despite being really tired. There’s too much time to think  I’m not actually thinking about much at all. The only good thing about L working overnights is that i can make noise and turn on the light when i wake up without feeling guilty.  I started Pandora at about 5 am without worries of bothering her or waking her up… i think i need to start taking benadryl for sleep again. I definitely don’t need to add lack of sleep to the stressors right now (holidays, monthly hormones, various body triggers, the holidays…).
I was catching up on a blog, and i related so well to the way she was describing things, but i don’t remember what she said and how she said it all of a sudden. There was something about attachment and a weakening of defenses… i dunno, but she said it so well.  Whatever.  It will come back to me eventually.
On another note, i apologize for the lack of quality lately (make it this past year). I’ve fallen out of my more professional mindset and it totally shows: the writing is crap and there’s little of actual value to anyone else in my posts. Sorry.  I will try to get a bit better about it.  I think my problem is my lack of direction. I’m not thinking critically anymore, just lost in the experience. I’m not sure how to be able to find a happy median between being too detached and being too involved. It’s an art form I have yet to master.

I’m trying to think of something artistic to do to keep me occupied, but my art table had been commandeered as the dinner table for the last 2 days (ok, i admit, that’s what a dining table is supposed to be used for, but i had repurposed it and now I miss it). There’s just something not conducive to the creative process when you have to find another suitable surface to work on… but i digress. I’ve done nothing creative the last few days.  I did work a bit more on my art profile elsewhere, but that wasn’t creating anything new. I wish I had a space dedicated to being an art room with appropriate storage and work surfaces… one day. In the mean time, i have to make do with being creative about my creative spaces…

Sorry.  I think i need to stop writing.  My lack of meaningful sleep is glaringly apparent. Maybe I can sleep a bit more before starting the day. Wish me luck! (L comes home soon, and I’m sure she will want to sleep too). Catch you on the flip side of a nap!


What good is it if no one accepts it?!

I was granted a limited form of state medical insurance for being “medically needy.” Only problem is, very few providers accept it.  The one IOP that kicked me out is also the only IOP that takes it.  211 doesn’t have any suggestions, The state is useless (they emailed me a provider list but all the numbers are wrong or out of service), and the Medicaid hotline has no suggestions. 

I’m at a loss.  De won’t move forward on the trauma stuff until January (and then only after I’m also connected with other services).  So I’m stalled.  I see De again on Tuesday and will update on this lack of progress.  She doesn’t have many resources to point me towards.  I just don’t know what to do anymore. I need services but cannot access them, and there’s no help in trying to secure them.  Even the hospital’s social worker couldn’t find an alternate program and she’s supposed to do this regularly. How in the world am I supposed to get anywhere when the professionals can’t?


Updates

I will be seeing De on Friday.  She did not say she was referring me out over the phone, so I’m hopeful to still be able to see her.

I made it to a walk-in clinic today for my ear.  The breaking point was when it hurt a lot to try to listen to music this morning (without even trying my headphones). I have infections in both ears, as well as some gunk going on in my chest – fun times.  My insurance has not totally kicked in yet, so I can’t get any of the scripts filed.  The state told me to call back Friday and see if I met my deductible.  I hope so, because I could really use those ear drops.

We go to see J tomorrow for couple’s therapy.  I’m thinking it will be an emotionally tough session.  L resents when I chose to go inpatient.  Intellectually, she knows it’s better than the alternative, but she still feels left alone.  Intellectually, I know that she’s more mad at the situation than at me, but emotionally I feel like I again cannot get things right… my hospitalizations are turmoil on so many levels.  I’m glad we have J to talk it over with in a way that feels more safe.  Both L and I retreat into our intense emotions when talking about this stuff.  And I’m scared that this time she said she was getting burnt out on my depression.  I totally get where she is coming from, but I also fear the consequences. 

Losses (and the threat of losses) from my break-downs make it difficult to follow through on asking for help, let alone asking before it’s too late.  That, and I go very quickly from “managing” to “complete mess”. There’s not often much time for me to realize I need help.  Pair that with not really knowing what I need in terms of help, and I end up waiting until things are at the “drama” stage.  My emotional meltdowns pick up speed faster than a luxury sports car let loose on the Autobahn (sp?).  I need to figure out how to change that…

Anyway.  As long as I keep moving (and can sleep through sunrise), the hopelessness stays at a slight distance.  If I wake up before the sun, or stop occupying my brain, or if I’m reminded how useless my insurance is, the sadness and hopelessness starts to seep back in.  I can’t allow that right now.  The holidays are approaching.  I want to be here for that.  Also, De will be less available at that time, so I need to keep it together if I want to stay out of the hospital for New Year’s…


10 “lies” your depression tells you + a few of my own

There was this article on HuffingtonPost.com.  I would not necessarily say they are lies so much as they are beliefs I hold.  I would change #1 slightly to read “You are not a worthy person, you deserve only this.”  I equate being a bad person with rapists and murderers of which I am neither, so I find I do not feel I am a bad person, I just deserve all the bad that has, is, and will happen…

I would also add:

11) You have no energy, just go back to bed.

12) No one wants to hang out with you anyway.

13) Since nothing safe makes any of this better, keep on keeping on with the si, pills, and drinking.


Breathing room

I ended up taking on a chat for a while. I figured out why I was so off, and what I needed to make sure to address next appointment.  The person also convinced me to just leave a message for De to let her know I was struggling with some stuff.  I’m not sure she works again until Monday, but even just leaving the message helped.  I guess sometimes admitting the struggle helps relieve it a bit… it’s not stuff I feel comfortable taking to L or mom about quite yet, but maybe down the line that will happen.  I need to come to terms with it a bit more first.
My trazodone is finally kicking in. Night.


weird space

I don’t really have a better description of it… it’s a combination of depressed, sad, lost, overwhelmed, tired, and… weird.  I dunno.  D and I tried to describe it more accurately, but I couldn’t pinpoint what it is.  Between the stuff brought up in the intake, and then D deciding it would be a good idea to try to give me a DBT worksheet, I’m just lost.  I don’t know why people don’t believe me when I say DBT and anything to do with it is very triggering.  We were able to tackle some of the questions on the worksheet when I asked him to re-phrase them and not have me see the paper… It’s such a trigger for me.  He commented on how I started to shut down after he showed me the paper… why is me saying it not enough?  I am hyper-vigilant to the font, the lay-out, the language… It was such a bad experience for me when I did those stupid programs.  I was able to do the group at D’s office because we didn’t rely heavily on the workbook used at IOL.  The language was triggering at times, but not using it so much helped ground when those trigger alarms went off.  It was difficult to do today because I was already a little raw from the intake… and the stupid worksheet… visuals are harder for me sometimes.  I can often times talk myself out of the auditory triggers when the voices are different and the visuals don’t match.  Talking myself out of the visual trigger was more difficult.  I handed the paper right back to him and asked not to use the same language.  The cognitive tasks of answering the questions that were worded differently also helped ground a bit, but it still sent my mind blank.  I had difficulty thinking and answering.  He had to repeat a lot of what he said a few times before I could get back to my train of thought.  I think if I hadn’t just done the history with De, I would not have reacted so strongly to the worksheet… but seriously, what is it with people needing to test the things I say?  I tell you I react badly to DBT, please respect that.

De expressed disappointment when I told her I was “allergic” to DBT.  She says she uses a lot of the dichotomy of loving oneself but still striving for better.  I had never really picked up on that from DBT, but maybe it’s because I don’t love myself (can’t even really say I like myself most of the time)… She was also surprised at how quickly I completed the Trauma Symptom Inventory (TSI) – I think it took me no more than 15 minutes.  It may have been because I spent an entire year researching the instrument’s validity with eating disordered clients (it is highly correlated with SA, but had not yet been correlated with ED at the time.  My research found it to also correlate highly with ED independent of any SA history)…  but anyway, I digress.    She was surprised at how fast I did it.  We talked a bit about the “answers of concern” and I had wanted to qualify other ones, but I couldn’t remember anymore what they were.  It’s amazing how quickly things can slip from my conscious awareness.  There was one I remembered and wanted to go into more depth with, but I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to open that can of worms so soon.

She kinda went over a treatment plan, but it was mostly asking what I felt was important to cover.  I think there was only one thing she mentioned that I felt was of no concern: I have no desire to mend relationships with any of my abusers.  There’s some other stuff I admitted to needing to address, but again, the trust is not yet there, so I don’t know how much of it I wanted to talk about today.  One day it may also end up on this blog but, at this time, it’s too personal and raw/immediate/close to touch on even privately (forget about publicly).

So now I’ve floated into this weird space that is neither positive nor negative, but somewhere in between.  I had hoped to be able to sleep when I got home, but I think it may be impossible without some meds.  I don’t want to take those until I am ready to sleep for the night.  I hate taking them, but I’m glad I have them because I know insomnia messes with me a lot.  At least this way I can (hopefully) knock myself into unconsciousness and REM sleep for tonight.  My sleep started faltering a few days ago.  I need to get back on schedule and keep working on that as a coping skill.  De said we will be emphasizing positive coping to help minimize any decompensation that comes from addressing all of this (gesturing to my whole self).

I feel like I need to be writing more, but I am not sure what else to write.  I just feel like I should be reaching out and communicating again.  Once again however, I’m not 100% sure what needs to be communicated or how it should be done, or even with whom.  So I’ll leave it open to discussion as needed/wanted/feels ok.

I’m also struggling with the concept of using substances/meds to help get through this weird numb-but-overwhelmingly-emotional-at-the-same-time state of being.  Depending on what and how much I drink, it may get better or worse.  And depending on which meds I take, I may be pretty out of it for the weekend.  As alluring as those all are, I’m not sure any of them are necessarily smart choices.  I could use the DBT concept of “riding the wave” of emotion, but it’s hard not to worry about even that getting me in trouble again (you’d think therapy programs that are in the same building would communicate about strategies they teach clients so one does not punish what the other would applaud, but I guess that’s asking a lot).


Hurricane by MS MR

“Hurricane”

Didn’t know what this would be
But I knew I didn’t see
What you thought
You saw in me

I jumped the gun
So sure you’d split and run
Ready for the worst
Before the damage was done

The storm never came
Or it never was
Didn’t know getting lost in the blue
It meant I wound up losing you

Welcome to the inner workings of my mind
So dark and foul I can’t disguise
Can’t disguise
Nights like this
I become afraid
Of the darkness in my heart
Hurricane

What’s wrong with me
Why not understand and see
I never saw
What you saw in me

Keep my eyes open
My lips sealed
My heart closed
And my ears peeled

Welcome to the inner workings of my mind
So dark and foul I can’t disguise
Can’t disguise
Nights like this I become afraid
Of the darkness in my heart
Hurricane

Make ash and leave the dust behind
Lady diamond in the sky
Wild light
Glowing bright
To guide me
When I fall
I fall on tragedy

Welcome to the inner workings of my mind
So dark and foul I can’t disguise
Can’t disguise
Nights like this I become afraid
Of the darkness in my heart
Hurricane


well, take 2 might work out better

I met with the new sa therapist for the intake today… she had scheduled 2 hours, and we met for about an hour and 40 minutes.  It was nice that she did not rush through things like the other lady had done.  We covered a lot, but at the same time, not a lot.  Does that even make sense?  I think I like her better than the other woman I had seen there last month.  De seems more approachable, and I didn’t feel as defensive with her.  We didn’t go into too much detail, but I was able to tell her some helpful things and some things that have not been helpful.  She was not all about lecturing me on involuntary commitment, and she was ok taking some things slow.  I wasn’t really forthcoming with the specifics of the SI, but I think I may ask D to tell her about that when he speaks to her (she actually wanted to sign a release and talk to him, unlike the other lady I had seen).  She’s ok taking things slow, and I think I was able to tell her some things to look out for with me, and how I tend to not say things correctly the first 50 millions times around.

I had forgotten the total content of the TSI Belief scale (I had done some research with it in college), and it brought some stuff up.  There were a few things I was able to qualify with her when she asked.  It also wore down my wall a bit.  But, I’m able to sit with that right now and not fall head-long into depression, which is good.

I’m putzing around at Starbucks (they have free wi-fi) while I wait for my appointment with D.  I’m glad I will get a chance to talk to him today, because there are some things I feel like I should probably talk about, though I am not 100% sure what they are.  Stuff was brought up, but the specifics fizzled as fast as they came, and I’m just left with the emotional echo of it all…


hearing voices: a sane reaction to insane circumstances


behavioral observations

I have a knack for working with animals… and people.  I have found that my success comes from careful (and often unconscious) observation.  When I worked in animal control in college, I was the worker with the reputation for being able to handle and calm aggressive and anxious dogs and cats.  I would take the time to watch them and pay attention to their reactions to things.  Most of the aggression came from fear, so I would volunteer my time and sit with the animals for hours on end, alternately talking to them and just going about my business nearby.  I instinctively made my posture non-aggressive (see, leaning to tip-toe around abusive and explosive adults can help with something).  I brought animals out of their shells, and worked with them to mold the aggression into acceptable and wanted behaviors.

I have found that most aggression comes from fear.  The fear may be deeply rooted and hidden, but it’s almost always there.  I have found this true with my reptiles as well as my mammals.  I have a snake that will strike wildly whenever I go into her enclosure for any reason.  I am working on hook training her and getting her used to handling.  When she does not feel cornered or uncomfortable, she is a cuddle bug (yes, snakes do cuddle, they like the warmth after all).  By using less intimidating body language and actions, I can communicate to her that I will not try to eat her or harm her in any way.

I think the same is true for people.  I think we are either so wounded or so terrified of being wounded that we often lash out in anger.  I think the anger is a defense mechanism.  People don’t have time to get under your armor if you are busy throwing out spikes.  They can’t get close enough to hurt if you run around bearing your teeth and pushing everyone away.

I think this relates to self-harm in some ways.  Self-harm is a form of aggression, only against yourself.  It is the result of anger and fear turned on the body.  It can be preventative – no one can hurt me as much as I can hurt myself; I’m going to get hurt anyway, might as well get a jump on things.  It can also be reactive – I screwed that up, so I deserve to be punished for it.  Both inadvertently work to keep people at bay.  The concept of self-harm is a scary one.  Most people will cringe at the thought, and bolt at the sight of it. They will over- or under-react to the news, but rarely be helpful in their reactions at first.  Those of our family and friends that have dealt with it in the past react a little better (we have given them reading materials, access to our treaters, insights into our pain), but they still give distance, or at least that is what we hope – that is what I hope.  I don’t want questions about my scars.  I don’t want to launch into my story with everyone that notices.  Why write a blog you may ask?  Well, I still want to tell my story, but I like the measure of anonymity the internet provides.  I can give you glimpses of my inner crazy, and you won’t change your opinion of me if you see me on the street.  If you don’t look closely at my arms, you won’t guess that I struggle (ok, if I’m crying my eyes out, you may have a clue, but that’s rare, especially in public).  If you don’t see me on the psych unit, you wouldn’t know I can barely make it through a day without craving peace at least once.

Even those that know me rarely ask about the scars (we are trained to mind our own business, and I doubt they really want an honest answer).  They look past it.  It’s scary and dangerous to be let into a world that allows someone to do so much physical harm to themselves on purpose.  It keeps people from asking with any real honesty what my life is like.  They anticipate a drama, so they avoid the inquiry.

The long and short of it is that aggression is a defense mechanism, as is self-harm.  It keeps people away from the real you so they can’t reject you and confirm all that you fear about yourself (but in their distance, they confirm that you are not worth it, so it kind of just back-fires).

This train of thought was brought to you by the article I saw online this morning that named 3 small breed dogs as the most aggressive… It got me thinking about the roots of aggression, which lead me to the thoughts on self-harm… lots of branches, but really all the same tree

(I want to add also, that self-harm is not only engaged in for the reasons mentioned above, but they are some big ones.  It can also be relief, a grounding method.  It can be a visual and outward symbol of inward pain and turmoil.  For me, it is mainly a release and grounding method.  It also has the added benefit of being somewhat preventative in that I feel no one can ever hurt me more than I can physically hurt myself… it’s really figurative, because it doesn’t really hurt, and mostly it’s trying to prevent further emotional pain, but it has still been a reason in the past).


some history… (a box of triggers maybe. open with caution)

I read another blog (the few lines that came up on my reader, as it refused to load) and it got me thinking… my methods and preferred spot have changed over the years.  I started with a few small scratches on my left arm… I did it with a pin.  It barely left a mark that lasted for a few short hours.  Like any good addiction, it stopped being enough.  I remember the first day I “graduated” to scissors… it scared me, but I felt better.  I also switched arms – I had run out of unmarked skin… I had bruised my arm up really bad with a desperate attempt at hurting myself one night when I had nothing but a key to work with.  I started wearing nothing but long sleeves at school (in the sweltering heat).  I wore a sweatshirt that 90 degree day when I cut at school and it bled through my light yellow uniform top.  No one questioned it… I was usually cold anyway, anorexia will do that to you.  I’m not sure what prompted me to reach out one day and admit to my guidance counselor that I self-injured.  She took it in stride and offered support.  She had experience from one of her other students from a different school… She agreed not to break confidentiality if I would continue to seek help.  I nodded.  She knew it would be ugly if my parents found out.  My dad had not reacted well to the news of Anorexia, forget self-injury.  It was brought on by s**t at home anyway.  I’m glad she left it up to me to tell them.  I don’t really remember when I actually said something to them (if I ever did before I was first hospitalized… it’s a bit blurry).  Once I went  away to school, the intensity changed, and I branched out in my preferred spot to self-injure.  Once anyone noticed, I had to switch to someplace easier to hide.  That, and I was running out of places to cut…  I didn’t scar so easily back then.  My nurse commented on it one day… I was to check in with her regularly (per my therapist) to assess the damage.  I think I saw her about once a month… She saw the worst of the cuts (relatively deep), and they rarely scarred.  She said I was lucky.  I think her saying that broke my body’s spell, and I started to scar up shortly after that.  I don’t really remember the intensity of my cuts changing, but the scars started remaining on my body… I don’t really remember why, but I know I had to see the gyn a few times (I think it had something to do with abnormal test results… or maybe they were just checking up on me).  A few times she had remarked to my therapist that I had words carved into my legs… I remember J gave me the chance to explain them to her, and tell her what I had written… when I did not fess up to it (I was too embarrassed… wasn’t sure why I had written what I did), she asked me outright “Why the words ‘Slut’ and ‘Whore’? ‘Worthless’ I understand, but the other two confuse me”… I don’t remember what I said, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t even close to anything truthful, as I really don’t remember being in touch with it at the time.  I think I confused even myself with that.  I still am not sure I know why I wrote it… There was a sense of shame from Duckboy and being molested earlier in life… I think I internalized that as my fault… I no longer have access to what I was thinking then.

Shortly after that time, I started cutting my legs more and more… I tried my abdomen, but it wasn’t satisfying… My legs became my next abuse victims.  I did the worst damage there.  Those cuts would take weeks to heal, and my nurse would shake her head.  There were a few she contemplated stitching up, but I never consented… I miss her.  She was gentle and kind, and another non-judgmental person to be accountable to… I wasn’t used to genuine, kind caring, but I liked it.  It was a huge loss when she retired before I graduated.  She had kicked my butt into line for 3 years… my most consistent support yet at that time in my life.  She sent me to the ER one day, and I was beyond hurt and angry at her, but I know she had to do it.  I’m glad she did it during lunch… it was less embarrassing that way, Health Services was more empty… fewer faces to witness my crumbling facade.  I really miss M and my therapist at the time.  They tag-teamed me more times than I’d like to admit just to be able to get me through each year… I don’t know what I would have done if I was kicked out of school and forced to move back home.

The next few years are a blur… I was in and out of therapy after graduating, mostly out because my SO at the time thought it was useless… I held it together as best I could.  Then one day I remembered that feeling of falling… I knew it was there; at a distance, but I was along its ever-speeding trajectory.  I reached out to find a therapist again.  I called so many numbers and left so many messages… one woman called me back.  I met with her, and she became my therapist.  I think it was in that first session that she diagnosed me Borderline Personality Disorder, and said she was “an expert of sorts” in it… She worked hard to convince me that I needed to embrace the diagnosis.  She strongly pushed DBT (I had tried it before in college, but no one ever talked to me about being BPD… or maybe they did and I dissociated it, I’m not sure).  I resisted for quite a while.  She also pushed meds (which I was also resistant to) and finding a psychiatrist.  I grudgingly sought one I could tolerate… I think I went through 3 before I found one I could sit with and remotely trust… She ended up moving away after a few short months.  Back to the drawing board.  I never did find another psychiatrist I liked, but I stuck with meds because I was told I should.  I tried all the ones they had tried me on in college, and continued on through the gamut of available meds that even remotely had psychiatric applications.  I experienced crazy side-effects and was mildly allergic to a few.  My most hated phrase from a psychiatrist (or any medical professional) to this day is “but do the benefits out-weigh the negatives?”… “it’s just a little weight gain” (80lbs in 2 months); “but do you feel depressed when you feel sick?”; “the nausea is just temporary”; “do you really need to drive yourself to work? can’t you get a ride?”; “can you live with the drowsiness for a while longer?” “it clears up in a few days… weeks… months…”  No, it did not clear up.  No, a recently anorexic patient can’t handle 80lbs of weight gain.  No, I can’t rely on others for transportation to and from work over 45 minutes away… No.  The benefits do not out-weigh the negatives (are there really any benefits                       ?  I have been hospitalized more times in the last year on meds than I think most chronic psych patients do in a lifetime)…

Something happened and I was able to maintain a decent facade for the next 2 or 3 years even on meds… I struggled frequently with self-injury and suicidal thoughts, but I was on meds, so it was ok right?

I thought I was well enough to tackle grad school having had 2 years “clean” from major break-downs (little ones littered my days however).  I managed to hold down a relationship, a full-time job, and advance in that job… I had to be ok for school, right?  Wrong!  The pressure and the triggers became too much.  I had not yet dealt with the trauma I was trying to bleed away.  When I encountered it again in the position of helper, I crumbled.  It felt like trying to fill a wire-frame statue with damp sand in the hot, drying sun… I had a new therapist and was glossing over much of the “dirty” stuff in my closet, but we figured I was able to handle a degree in the same field.  The mess at school coupled with the triggers at my internship finally tipped the last domino and I it was down-hill from there.  If I thought my first bout of hospitalizations was a lot, little did I know how often I would be passing through those revolving doors that coming year.  They did not know what to do to help me.  Hospitals are only meant for containment and stabilization on meds… they keep you alive, but don’t help you move on through the pain.  There is physical support, but no real emotional support… their general practice is to medicate to the hilt if anything distressing comes up, and not to help you learn to deal with the feelings that are so incredibly overwhelming… why would they? it gives them more work… I can’t tell you how many times I requested that Haldol be taken off my PRN list at the hospital only to find a nurse had slipped it into my med mix because I was having a rough time.  It would knock me out for 2 days, and I would get shit from family and staff for not participating.  I resent that more than most things… I know my body and I know what medications do to me.  If I specifically ask that something be removed from my available meds, please do so…

It’s amazing how fast professionals can give up trying when their usual interventions don’t have the desired results.  Yes, I’m crashing harder and faster than ever before, but then why are we doing the same old shit over & over again?!  I remember asking, begging for a different program, a different intervention.  I remember adamantly refusing DBT (so far, all 5 times resulted in severe self-injury, suicide attempts, or long hospitalizations; but the 6th time, that one will be different…).  I bought into it, L did a good job of wearing me down on it in the 4 years she was my therapist).  I tried again.  I struggled and floundered and was triggered beyond belief.  I begged for help, and ultimately  I was kicked out for screwing up and “not using my skills.”  Only they didn’t realize I was dissociating so badly I lost several days… I begged for help… it wasn’t good enough.  The week following my discharge that time, I was sent to a PHP program the floor below the DBT program… Apparently the psychiatrist was not versed in DBT despite the program’s proximity.  She committed me for riding the wave of self-harm urges that weekend.  She said I told her I would try to kill myself and could not commit to safety… In actuality, I had said I would use my skills to ride out the emotions because I had done it that weekend, and I was sure I could do it again.  I also said that I would reach out if things got too bad… She only heard what she wanted to.  It was a turning point for me though.  I felt anger towards another person (other than bitch or my dad) for the first time ever.  I was so angry I wanted to pummel her head in with my water bottle as they walked me through the underground tunnels to the locked unit… I was calm outside.  I forced it.  No matter my anger, I would never hurt another person.  When someone walked in too close a proximity to me, I calmly (and barely above a whisper) told them to step away from me… no one thought to take my heavy water bottle from me… I would not have acted on my rage, but boy was I brimming with it.  (How dare you tell me to do all this shit, trigger me to the hilt, have me actually succeed (in my eyes) at something extremely difficult, then negate any progress…  you are just like that bitch…)… I had such a hard time that hospitalization… I was rageful towards everyone in power… I found no one to connect with and no one to seek support from… I was unable to convince the doctors to release me. I was there for a full week… it felt like months (I had just left there 2 days ago).  For the first time in my life, all my anger was focused externally.  I was telling the truth when I told the psychiatrist that I had absolutely no thoughts of harming myself… That time, I lived on Haldol… if it knocked me out for the duration, all the better.  I don’t remember what prompted my discharge, but apparently I was outwardly better, or insurance refused to pay for more.

I do not remember how long after that it took me to find my way back to the unit, but I was back again (multiple times).  While I was intensely suicidal the days before my last hospitalization (and actually planned on carrying out an OD in the woods the day before I was committed), I had no intention of dying by bleeding to death from my self-injury.  That was just an addiction and a release from all the thoughts swirling in my head.  The problem was that I had found a place to cut that was way too dangerous.  I did not realize the extent of the damage I was doing, all I wanted was the relief of the flowing blood.. I actually stopped that time, frustrated that I could not bring more to the surface… I did not know that I had already bled out most of my volume in the last 2 days… there was nothing left to gush, so nothing did.  I reached out to my therapist and others so much those days… I could not go more than 10-15 minutes without cutting… I found ways to do it even with others in the house.

The next day, my therapist convinced me to go see my doctor.  I was worried too, as the bleeding was still pretty heavy (not at all normal for me).  Someone had made a note somewhere in my chart tho, because even though my doctor was on vacation that week and I quickly hung up, the nurse called me back with an appointment time with one of her colleagues.  I was not given much of an option, but told I was expected in at a particular time.  I am not sure how it happened, but my wife was home early to take me… I traumatized a lot of people that day with the extent and nature of my injuries… the sad part is, while I regret it to some degree, I would never have gotten into the trauma program at The Center at PIW.  I would not have started that very crucial step towards recovery… I would have missed out on the trauma of the whole ECT affair, but I would have also missed out on insight and a detox from all the meds they had me on.  That was my rock bottom.  Though I had attempted suicide in the past, this was my absolute lowest point… I was hopeless, frequently suicidal, and easily able to harm myself to within hours of death.  I was dissociating, experiencing very strong and frequent flashbacks, and I was desperately searching for anything to make it all better.  In my flailing, I wounded so many… I truly regret that part…  I’m sorry you have to live with that… If I could do things differently, I would remove you from any instance of my self-destruction.  I would protect you from my demons, because after all, they are mine alone…

That break was not an easy one.  I struggled daily with hating myself and life and wanting to hurt myself again to make the anxiety and pain go away.  I had eyes on me 24/7 though, so I was not able to do anything.  I also had support in DC.  While I was pissed that I was not allowed to dissociate when things got too much, it helped center me.  I was able to find a way to wall off the intense emotions.  I found a way to make it through the days.  I found ways to relieve the stress without self-harming… It was a giant step towards recovery.  It is a rough road, with a ton of bumps… but I have to remember, as D said, the future is not an absolute.  Can’t lose hope just yet.


i want to hide

shame, embarrassment, guilt, shame… i wish no one knew. i wish it was a secret kept only by myself. when I think of how many people know, i want to shrivel and die…


the power of addictions – what a fascinating dragon

I do not currently self injure, but the urges are there.  I know the consequences would (emotionally) kill me if I picked it up again… but I want to do it again SO badly.  I think about it most of the day, and most of my energy is spent on fighting the urges. I smile on the outside, but that one thought floats around my neurons and synapses.  I know people say you have to stop for yourself, or it will not work (like drugs, alcohol or smoking), but the external consequences have kept me from doing it for a year and a half.  I know that I would lose my marriage (or in the very least seriously damage it), and potentially lose my freedom by once again being hospitalized… but some days I think (just for a fraction of a second) that it would all be worth it just to feel that way again (the relief).  So many people just don’t get this (tho I am guessing other people who self injure and anyone fighting any other addiction would get it).  It’s not that my relationship is devalued in any way, or that I would even want to endanger it.  It’s just that the “high” from the si would feel so good.  That moment of amazing just gnaws at me… I want it again, and have not found any other way to produce it.  It makes my anxiety go away, and my thoughts stop racing, and it gives me a really good feeling, up until the second the regret and shame kick in.  If I could find something that did all that without the regret and shame, I would take it in a heartbeat.  I would do it every day because that part feels so wonderful.  Its powers are great… but so is the crash afterwards.  And that part sucks…

There are days I wish it were socially acceptable to cut.  I wish I wouldn’t have to fight the urges.  I wish I could just do it… but that’s an addiction for you.


trigger warning…

I’m trying to be ok with a comment a friend made on fb, as she has every right to be upset by my comment… but it’s hard. A few days ago I had been having a really rough week, and I was tired of being told to turn to religion. My defenses were down and I was raw. The last straw was when a friend of my wife’s commented for the umpteenth time to “Let go & let god” and that everything happens for a reason, and that I should “pray” about my situation… That last sentiment triggered such a deep hurt and rejection, I lost all cool and composure. I ranted long and hard about how a belief in a god does not make everything better… I was rude and disrespectful and cursed a lot… I can understand that people would be hurt, but I didn’t care. I was tired and hurt myself… My wife said that she would take it down in the morning (it was on a status she had put up) because she did not want her mom to be mad at me for not only cursing, but putting religion down… I was fine with it. I got out my rant and could care less if it was up any longer than that… She never did take it down. I’m not quite sure why, maybe it was the strong responses in both directions about what I said, maybe she just forgot and then thought it was up for that long, might as well leave it… whatever. It is still there. Anyway, a friend of mine read it and was very insulted and hurt by it. She made a comment to that effect on her page, but without mentioning who the comment was directed to. She was very respectful and did a great job communicating her displeasure with my stance (and insults) on something she holds dear.
I shouldn’t be hurt or bothered by this. I shouldn’t feel the way I do about it. But then why can’t I shake it?
I am triggered by religion and inaction in the name of religion because of my experience with one individual, and later with a “spiritual” experience… The first person I ever confided in about the abuse and violence going on at home (and my resulting depression and hopelessness) simply told me to “Just pray about it, and god will help you out”… I had just told her that I feared for my mom’s life, I felt suicidal, and was terrified to be home every day of my life, and she told me to pray about it… That was such a let-down. Everywhere they encourage you to tell someone when things like this are going on, and when I did, I was offered no help. It was a guidance counselor at school mind you, a mandated reporter even back then (she left the school the following year and was replaced by a wonderful woman who helped me so much, and i am now privileged to call her my friend)… I felt so abandoned and lost in that moment. My hate for religion grew from there. The ignorance and uncaring she displayed made me feel totally alone. To this day I have trouble asking for help, and believing that anyone with any power to do something will actually do anything to help (well, that and the countless times the police were called to diffuse a situation at home…). I don’t trust easily, so when I went to her with that information, my little bit of trust crumbled to dust in the moment of her indifference…
I know most people today have no clue why I feel so strongly against any organized religion. I haven’t told many people. I definitely keep my mental health and abuse history off of fb (it is not the place for things like that)… I know this friend has no idea why I said what I did, she is just insulted by it… I should be able to take that at face value and move on, as I know I was rude with it… but it just feeds my rejection and feelings of neglect from so long ago. And now I want to be stubborn and not apologize or remove it because it triggered my rebellious side, and I want to stomp my feet and scream that I am right, but only because I don’t want to tell why I really feel that way. I don’t want to spill that my 1)abuse 2)was not stopped by someone who was supposed to help, but 3)instead thought I should turn to “god” to better my situation. I don’t want to explain myself, I just want to be mad about it, because I have a right to be mad. I know I should have done it more tactfully, but I was hurt… All I ever do is apologize for holding the hurt in, until it gets too much and I burst. I play nice and respectful and pleasant, and no one gets it. They keep at it… They insist that I am wrong and stupid and should “give my life to god”, but they don’t hear my protests when I am nice. They don’t respect my pleas to stop hitting me over the head with that. So I snap, and I revert to being 3 and screaming whatever I want, however I need to, in order to be heard.
I don’t like hurting people. I don’t like insulting them or their beliefs. But I can’t bring myself to apologize for my rant, or to back-track and say it nicer just to appease everyone. But that too is an internal conflict. The part of me that strives to please everyone all the time and be pc and nice really wants to take down the comment and apologize for insulting everyone. The 3 year old in me wants to sit there, stick my tongue out and say “Good!” (now you can be as hurt as I was)… It makes me want to cut and cry and break things. It makes me want to hide and delete fb all together… It makes me hate myself for being hurtful… but it makes me feel good too. And that scares me. I never want to be someone who hurts others because she is hurt… I don’t want to be my dad… I never want to be my dad…


What a day

I’m totally wiped. My old therapist returned my call and we were able to talk briefly. This was on my way to see my new therapist… Without really thinking,  I ended up driving past where my aunt was laid to rest… I haven’t been by there in 20 years… holy cow! Talk about being thrown back into the past.  I was suddenly emotionally back at the time of her death… I don’t know what kept me from mentioning it to Dr C since we were on the phone when it happened.  I just slipped back.  I have no idea what it was we talked about before we hung up. I’m not quite sure how I was able to continue driving.  After a few stops, I was at D’s office.  I was very separate from myself, only I was not dissociative in any way I remember ever being before.  I struggled to explain it to him.  I was fidgeting with a toy, but… it felt like there was something else taking control of that piece… only I was aware I was doing it,  aware that I was “supposed” to be doing it, but it wasn’t really under my conscious control.  I don’t know how to explain it accurately.  There was a protective side to me that took over.  During the session, I was able to identify that seeing the cemetery triggered an urge to cut, but that the fidgeting kept me from trying to act on it. I was able to tell him this. we talked some more,  but I was totally thrown by this sensation.  I think I may have dissociated this way in the past (something felt familiar and safe about it) but not necessarily with this level of consciousness behind it.  I’m still not describing it right,  but I can’t think of the way to tell it accurately.  I’m not quite sure I have a full understanding of it.

Anyway,  I managed to tell him some other things that I had intended to tell him.  We kinda came up with a safety plan.  I was kinda able to tell him my anxieties around calling hotlines and asking help when I don’t feel like my problems are pressing and worthy of attention.  He tried to reassure me about the value of calling 211 in times of “crisis”… I told him I might be able to call if I needed to.  I probably lied…

Later,  my wife and I went to a woman’s drop-in group.  I really liked it.  I was able to ask the clinician after the group for info on any therapeutic group they may have.  She said the one she ran was currently closed,  but offered to ask the group if it was ok that I join, if I wanted her to do that.  I was able to say that I would be interested,  and I was able to do so without apologizing for being a bother (something I do regularly,  and something I did multiple times with D today).

Overall, it was a good day,  but very exhausting.  Now I just have to make it through the next week without crumbling… I told D that I would like to do a day program for the extra support right now,  but I wasn’t aware of any that I could afford without insurance…  He is supposed to get more info from some local places and will call back by Friday…


numb

The overwhelming emotions of the day (days) have given way to a numb state.  My head is having trouble forming thoughts and understanding information coming at me…


Reaching out to nothing

It feels like no matter how much we ask for help,  there is no response… either we are looking in the wrong places, or it’s just hopeless… (or maybe it’s just that we are not asking in the right way… I think it’s all three)


my voice escapes me

There are times when what’s inside is just not able to be formed into sounds… I can type them, but I can’t speak them… It’s funny, because written words are so much more permanent, but the courage to say it is not there.  Writing is more impersonal, more detached… it’s easier… and I’m so much better at it in times like these than I am at giving voice to the thoughts.  It requires less effort. Less commitment to connect with another because I don’t have to hear your voice when you see what it is I am saying.  I don’t have to see your face… I can hide and do it anonymously… I suppose I could do that over the phone also, but then you may not hear what I am not saying… and I am reminded again why I should just melt into the fibers of the carpet…

It’s not happening… the sense of relief that washed over me earlier has given way once again to that dark cloud that seems to permeate everything.  I am alone because I chose to be this way.  I build up the walls not only for myself, but against others seeing in.  I really miss my old therapist.  I miss that I could call her and be squeezed in that week as early as she had available, or she would talk to me over the phone.  I miss that I trusted her… while I am not running from D, I don’t yet trust him… and that makes me feel so alone in this.  I don’t want to burden other people with the weight of my thoughts.  I choose not to let my family in because they have their own shit, and they don’t need to hear what is in my head.

The weight bears down on me almost too much at times, and I just wish it would finally squish me out of existence… but that won’t happen… and even if it did, it would be incredibly selfish of me (as I am so often reminded) .  I wouldn’t want to do that to anyone else… they don’t deserve it… but the peace on my end would be nice…


how quickly things can change…

just a half hour ago, I wrote the following:

“today was easier than the last few days have been. Even though there were low moments, overall I was able to be more social and pleasant. The one time I was reminded of a truly unpleasant thought, I was quickly able to re-direct the conversation and forget the mention of it.

This is really a pleasant surprise. I have been so low lately, it’s nice to make it through a day without wanting to obliterate myself…”

And now, I feel about as polar opposite as I can get from that.  What the heck happened in half an hour? nothing. nothing happened.  nothing changed, except my thought patterns.  I had been pleasantly floating along in my bliss of a “happy” day, when all of a sudden, out of nowhere comes this thought: “You have to do this again tomorrow…”  Now, if one were simply following along the train of thought mentioned above, this would be no issue.  But I am not the average person.  I battle depression and PTSD and self-injury almost daily (tho my random online screening test scored me a zero for PTSD symptoms this last week…), so my brain works differently.  I tend to focus on the negative, and the thought of having to struggle again through a day is a daunting challenge.  Even when I try to focus on the positive, the negative has a slick way of creeping into the picture… I don’t necessarily fit all the stereotypes of my afflictions, but I do fall into the categories.  (I give my treaters a run for their money, and if they don’t know me, they often think I am BS’ing them because I don’t fit what they know… it’s frustrating…).  So yes, to a normal person, that thought would have not meant anything at all, but to me, it brought my little sunny world crashing down.  Thoughts of shiny objects and intoxicating liquids dance in pretty little circles in my head… wtf? I was having a good day.  It had it’s bumps, but overall it was good.  Now I want to take something to knock me out for the night so I don’t have to fight the pictures behind my eyes.  I don’t necessarily want to act on those pictures, but they are comforting and there.  comforting. yes.  that’s the word for it.  They bring me a sense of relief and peace.  Maybe that’s why today was good, because I took the time to indulge in the fantasy of a comforting image and it took over for the act itself… Maybe that is all I need today.  Maybe that will be all I need tomorrow… until the images cease to be enough, and I crave the act…