Tag Archives: silence

A blanket of silence

I’m in that space where it’s difficult to find words. It’s a quiet shutting down. Everything just feels too heavy… pulling away. Isolating in the only way I can at the moment: going into myself and erecting huge walls (to keep things in, and to keep others out) because it’s all an overload. 

I wish I could just stay home, but there’s work, and appointments, and plans with family & friends. 

I was ok being social a bit at work for about 5 hours, then I was drained. 

I’m so tired. 


Journal page update

Worked on this page again today. Still trying to figure out what to do in the top left corner…

An artist friend suggested a nose, though at first I was thinking the lack of one is symbolic of how depression makes you feel like you can’t breathe. I dunno. It still needs something. The right side definitely needs work too, but that’s looking like a total overhaul. This side just needs *something*…

image

I have to admit though, I worked my butt off on those stupid strings sewing her mouth shut. I must have redone them at least 5 times. They look a bit better in the photograph than in real life, but I’m still pretty proud of them. I had originally planned to glue actual thread on there, but wanted a more 3-d look to her lips, so I painted them in… I’m sure they look amature to more experienced artists, but they’re the best I’ve done so far. I’m happy with how they turned out.


“Surviving” (post link)

…why is it that we are shamed not only by those perpetrating the abuse, but also those that don’t want to bear witness to it?  “Surviving” is so well-written in its brutal honesty… what happens to those of us who survive whatever degree of abuse we endure?  We are labeled “impossible” and “worthless” by the system and by society that has made a choice to ignore the conditions of survival.

I really struggle with not being able to speak about what I endured.  There is so much to the foundations of my shame.  One phrase that always echos in my head is one my dad said often: “what happens in the family stays in the family”  It screamed in my head as I was telling De about some things yesterday.  His voice thundered in my memory as I was suddenly hiding under the bed again, terrified that he was coming into my room… The memory drowned out De’s voice.  The memories to follow sent shudders through me, and yet I couldn’t tell De how loud my head was in the moment.  I couldn’t give voice to the full-on virtual reality playing behind my eyes. I couldn’t even tell her I was lost in the memory. I noticed my mouth moving and speaking to her, but I was hiding under my bed again. G had just had a huge blow-out with mom, and I had run to hide.  I tried to take the dog with me, but she stayed with mom… I don;t know how long I was hiding, but I do remember my brother coming into my room looking for me because the house was so quiet.  I screamed and jumped when I saw his feet from under the bed, I thought he was G… I scared my poor brother.  He had been at a friend’s house while hell broke out that night.  He was spared.  Mom got most of it… and the dog, she got a lot of it… G would kick her just because he could, because he was mad and needed to hurt the thing that everyone loved more than they loved him… and she just took it… :(…

Why is it that society underscores what our abusers tell us?

(With the way some of this stuff slams me, I do not know how my mom survived… I just watched my dad, but she was on the receiving end of so much more… I don’t know how it hasn’t crushed her.  She has some incredible strength…)


“One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, …”

I like this. we are so often told to be mindful of the moment, but remain silent in our pain. It’s in our pain that we need to speak out and have someone share it. I even struggle with this in therapy lately. De isn’t big on talking about what’s eating me, just how to cope with it. Sometimes that’s helpful, but a lot of the time I need to be able to give voice to what’s inside. It took me so long to be able to talk about things, then I get a therapist who focuses on the distractions and coping skills without much energy devoted to just being in the moment of the struggle. I know she has helped me learn some invaluable skills, but at the same time, I feel more alone than I ever have much of the time. My family does not hold a culture of speaking about what bothers you. L tries, but I resist much of the time. It’s so easy to fall back into pushing things away. We need to pay more attention to opening ourselves, to feeling and being less alone in our hurt…

I Dont Want To Talk About It

wolf-howl-silhouette1 “…but by making the darkness conscious.” I went to my Men’s meeting the other morning.   As usual it was an interesting place to be.   One of my issues with AA is the unwillingness to making the darkness conscious at the meeting level.   My wonderful friends who are suffering from the effects of PTSD and other “mental health,” issues express confusion that when they are in meetings and they struggling, most of the other people in the rooms are speaking of gratitude, acceptance and/or tolerance.  They ask me and I question also whether the people speaking of gratitude etc. aren’t just “imagining figures of light,”  because they can’t/won’t deal with the darkness that they carry.

When I am struggling, and much of the time my depression makes me feel like I am searching for a life raft in the middle of this sea of hopelessness, I have a hard time with…

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#11 – Shattered

So, De has been asking me if I have been thinking more about creating something for Sexual Assault Awareness Month coming up in April.  It’s been tough trying to find something I want to show off (even though my name will not be anywhere on the piece).  I’ve been throwing a few ideas around in my head, and none really “worked” until this one.  The execution of it is a bit off though, so I will be re-doing the piece.  It’s just the “practice” version of the image I will give to her to put up in their little display:

2014 100-Theme challenge #11) Shattered

11) Shattered (preliminary)

I had wanted to do the background in a red chalk, but the one I used was not covering correctly.  I tried to draw over it with the watercolor pencil, but it did not cover correctly over the chalk… There’s also some issues with the faces on both characters, so it’s just going to be a complete re-do.  I really need to work on my coloring technique too.  I wish I could figure it out better on  my own, but I suck at it.  I think my drawing skills are coming back with practice though.  Overall, I’m happy with this piece, it’s just little things that are not working correctly.  I think I will also stick to dry media for the coloring this time.  Any time I use water or something wet, it really warps the drawing.  If I had the correct paper for the watercolors things would look better.


giant, huge, enormous walls

I managed to sit for 5 minutes today (at L’s insistence and with the help of a timer).  I could not stop my mind from racing and jumping and just generally running amuck to escape trying to be still.  This lack of “stillness” is causing huge walls to barricade me from any progress in therapy.  When I try to sit and just “rest” without thinking of a million and one things, my head resists, and I don’t end up with much effort put forth in changing that.  I think I have grown lazy.  I just don’t put much effort into anything anymore.  I do what I want, when I want, and without much regard to anyone else.  It’s messing with me & L, and I’m sure it’s messing with me & mom.  I need to take a step back.  I need to re-evaluate what I’m doing with my life.  I need to step up and return to volunteering (at least it forced me to do something).   I need to stop being so selfish and self-absorbed.  And I need to stop running from myself.  The world will not come tumbling down if I stop running from whatever it is I’m afraid of facing.  I have supports, and I have resources (albeit not the best ones) for extra support if needed.  I just need to stop and breathe.  I need to not only remind myself of this, but also put it into practice.  I think I have inadvertently given myself permission to slack off way too much.  Time to kick things into gear again and start working.  I not only have a ton of work to do in therapy, I have a ton of other things to do as well (art, animal care, cleaning…).  Just because I don’t currently hold a paying job does not mean I can allow myself to continue to be this dead-beat wife.  Get off your fat, lazy ass and do something already.  Take the dogs for walks, clean the house, find the missing cat, work on training, work on art, try to find a part-time job.  Get over yourself and DO something! (just don’t crumble, coz then you are truly worthless).


The Hunger Games trilogy is great, albeit a bit triggering…

L and I went to the movies today.  It ended up being a bit of a bumble.  First, we went to the wrong theater, then got to the right one too late – our original movie was sold out.  We also wanted to see the Hunger Games sequel, Catching Fire, so she got tickets for that.  It started an hour later, and lasted an hour longer, but it was REALLY good!  I was a bit on edge most of the movie, but it was an “ok” on-edge feeling.  The first several scenes involve her going through various PTSD symptoms, and I picked up on the others throughout the movie too.  Either this movie did better presenting the symptoms, or I read a whole bunch more into it than I did the first one.  I could feel her fear, anger, hyper-vigilance… I know it all too well.  But anyway, it was good.  And it leaves you hanging.  Fuckers.

Most of the way through the movie, I remembered that mom had expected us home around 4pm… oops!  It was now 5:30 and the movie still had 30 minutes.  I knew she wouldn’t check her texts, but I shot her one anyway.  I called her as soon as we got outside, and apologized for not showing on time.  Normally, this isn’t a big deal, but being Christmas and all, she was a bit miffed.  We got home in time to watch her down more wine and finish the last bites of her chicken.  We will have to atone for this with a gift of more alcohol sometime in the near future.  We really didn’t mean to get to off-track, but we rarely do.  After apologizing and chatting for a while, the tension eased and we enjoyed our dinner.  L even tried to translate some words into Hungarian through the internet, and we found the weirdest translation for cheesecake yet: “pictures of naked women’s legs to look at”… we laughed at that for a good 20 minutes.  I think either slang has gotten really wacky, or someone is trying to screw up poor, unsuspecting English speakers when they try to translate stuff to a language they don’t know…

Anyway, I’m again renewed in my desire to read The Hunger Games books, but I have to find them in hard-copy ( there’s just something “not right” about reading books on a tablet… I guess I’m old-fashioned that way.  I really like the feel and smell of a book, and they never run out of charge just as you get to the good part).  I wish we had paid better attention to the books my landlord had  left us before we donated them.  I know we had the whole trilogy, but I managed to keep only the second book… then that was donated when we moved out of the place.  oops! I should have known better, I liked most of the books C had left behind…


mostly-finished Inside-out Box & WIP painting that I have also given up on for the time being

ok, so I lied about updating that post… It’s been about 3 weeks since I declared it finished and showed it to De.  Sitting there looking at it in session, I realized how much I hated the ribbon around the outside lid and ripped it off as I walked back out of the building.  I felt much better.  i replaced the ribbon with black sand, but i still want to make a wall of small river stones or gravel along the curtain-line. To do that, i will have to buy some stones though.

Sometimes I get frustrated with my lack of supplies, or expertise in technique, or ideas, and just let the project rest indefinitely until I either get what I need, inspiration strikes, or I scrap it and change it all together.  This box has been sitting “mostly finished” since the beginning of the month.  It will likely stay like that for another several weeks as I have mentally moved on from it.

So, to keep from leaving too much suspense over the mostly-finished product, here are some pics.  I don’t know where the pics of the outside of the box went, apologies.

And here’s the WIP painting I mentioned.  It was born of an in-session assignment.  I got frustrated with the way I was painting the chair as well as my lack of definition/direction with the person in the chair, so I moved on to other things (specifically, a shadow-puppet piece based off the same image – also stalled due to my lack of knowledge about where to take the performance of it, and technical know-how to accomplish what I am picturing in my head).  I will finish this painting some day, but I doubt it will be any time soon.  All my current energy is focused on making that shadow-puppet piece work out.  I really miss puppetry.  I’m having a blast trying to figure stuff out for it, and it’s getting me in contact with puppet-arts people to help get things correct.  It has also renewed my interest in puppetry in general.

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there she is… (the daunting thought of recovery from depression means the depression is still very present)

there’s the analytical side again. the professional, composed, and “knows her shit” side. the side that could sit with clients for hours on end prodding and supporting and fostering growth and promoting the will to live… she’s working from underneath. it’s a very weird feeling. normally, she would take over and I would feel like this side was in the background. now she feels like she’s lifting a drape of my currently-dominant self and sneaking a pen from underneath to let herself be heard. she’s being more subtle this time. i guess she has no need to overtly take charge at this moment, but she’s making her presence felt. good thing?

yesterday, when talking to De, I couldn’t bring forth my training for the life of me. my head was stalled in itself and I felt horribly stupid. I could not come up with one single need a child may ask for. I couldn’t put myself in the place of anyone else to even guess what a client may need when they reach out. I was stuck at whatever age it was that I first learned that any needs outside of life-or-death would not be met by anyone (a very overt and spoken rule growing up, though I have no idea when I first heard it). it was extremely frustrating. I can only imagine what it feels like at the start of Alzheimer’s, because that is the closest thing I can relate it to: I know I should know the answers, and had in the past, but I just could not raise them from the depths for the life of me. I had wondered to myself where the hell my analytical side was at the time, why wasn’t she able to jump in? and I remember being worried that her jumping in might mean that I lose connection to whatever emotional space I had contacted during session… maybe that’s why she’s less obvious. she’s respecting that I need that connection to the emotion, but she also wants me to know she hasn’t gone away too far.

again I’m catching myself referring to my “sides” as individuals. it’s just more comfortable that way. it’s easier to express how mutually exclusive they all feel. they are not alters in that they have their own way of dress or speech and you see a noticeable difference immediately when one or the other comes about, but they all have their individual roles. they only come about one at a time, and I have trouble seeing the info/perspective/emotions of any of the others at any given time. I may intellectually know something happened (have a memory of the concept of being a competent professional, or the memory of the concept of feeling depressed) but they never occur at the same time, and I can never connect to anything other than my current state. I have learned to successfully and completely compartmentalize myself.  it worked really well in the past, but is causing a lot of hardship in the present.

I was reading through some forums last night, and responded to someone’s post. the response was given from the analytical side. it was weird reading it again and again knowing the emotional space I am currently in.  the poster had mentioned feeling like a fraud because s/he was afraid of getting better.  s/he was afraid of having responsibilities increased and expectations raised at the slightest sign of improvement.  i can relate.  I very much have those same fears (in fact, I’m dealing with the ramifications of my own raised expectations and responsibilities at the moment).  the response I typed out validated the poster’s feelings but also said that the fear comes from the depression: while the depression is still present, it is very difficult to think of not feeling too drained by all the demands of daily life.  once the depression lifts however, things become easier. the little things no longer make you feel like you are walking through waist-deep mud for miles on end… (I can’t take credit for that little gem if a theory, I had read it a few months earlier on that same forum but can totally relate).  when I am not as depressed, I can handle the daily chores and the socializing and the (gasp) work demands.  when I’m depressed however, all of that feels unthinkable. getting back to a point where I have to do all that feels unbearable.  that is just the depression talking though. when the exhaustion lifts and the fog lifts, it’s possible to do all that and not be overwhelmed.  
while I was able to say all this on the forums, I’m having trouble seeing the validity of it at the moment.  everything feels overwhelming and difficult.  the thought of having to feed the animals is daunting.  the thought of being social is almost unbearable.  i want to hide.  i want to back out of everything that I am committed to participating in…  yet I was able to pass on that insight last night.  I have re-read that post at least 5 times this morning, and I still read my response as if I had not seen it (and it was written by someone else).  I re-read it to remind myself that there is truth in it…  but I still can’t connect to what I wrote.  the analytical side came out from underneath the drape, wrote that post, and has slinked back off into the shadows to let me figure out how to deal with all of this myself.  she’s made her presence known, but is not taking over (at least not as obviously, or to the exclusion of either the emotional, dark, or child sides of myself).  if she is taking over, she’s doing it slowly and not totally kicking out everyone else.  it’s very weird. I’m used to her taking over quickly and completely.  the others will take over slowly (most of the time, sometimes it’s a split-second event without warning), but she has always been the one to snap into place in an instant…

anyway, I’m rambling… i still desire space and peace, but not in as much of a fog as I was yesterday.


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…


“All she does is screech and say No! No! No!”

This is what we need to remember when dealing with people: they all have their different “normals” and how they grew up surviving… We have to look at it with different eyes if we are to see the true potential behind and within each and every being. Without necessarily saying the words, this is a good example of “Trauma-informed” parenting.

Raising 5 Kids With Disabilities and Remaining Sane Blog

 

The above description fit me perfectly.

Yes, me… perfectly.

Marie came to live with us at the age of 6.  She had been picked up off the street at 4 in the morning, barefoot, in her underwear, looking for food.  We took her in as an emergency foster placement because I knew American Sign Language and Marie was deaf. She looked like a wild animal…disheveled, matted hair, flaming eyes of distrust, so filthy everywhere that even an hour in the tub did not wash off all the grime.  Her teeth were dingy yellow, and her body was emaciated.  Being the “good” middle class mother that I was, I cleaned her as best I could and then I took her to buy some clothes.

In the store, she immediately disappeared.  I impulsively called her name, (as though she could hear me.)  When I finally found her, she was in the candy aisle, shoving candy bars into…

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making things meaningful

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


On Suicide

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

Gukira

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

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

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

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Fears

I ditched the job I accepted earlier in the week… it sounded sketchy. They wanted me to do “creative billing” and tack on extra charges… I just don’t feel comfortable with that. So now I feel lost. I gave up the only work prospect because my gut gave me an uneasy feeling about it. I have learned to go with my gut. The only reason I regret it is that now I have to start over again with the job search. I have no leads, and there are no hopes of any money coming in soon. It’s frustrating. I want to have some resources, but there are none… and its making me feel depressed and hopeless. Everything I used to do to make money is unavailable to me right now. That leads to wanting to hide from the world. Luckily, it hasn’t triggered my self-harm urges. Oh, and I need to cancel next week’s appointment with D because I don’t have the $8 to see him. It just all sucks…


My comfort with him blew my mind

I’ve always had difficulty trusting men in positions of power (real or perceived). I was very,  very cautious about the thought of seeing a male clinician,  but since the rest of my visits so far have been less-than-productive, I decided to try. 
I met with D for the first time today.  He is a doctoral student at a local university,  and supervised by the psychologist I had hoped to work with.  He was calm and affirming and in no way intimidating.  I found myself easily taking to him,  and spilling more than I intended.  I was also more honest than I have been since I got down here.  Yes,  he used the textbook responses,  and I could pinpoint what technique he was using and when… but as much as he seems very inexperienced,  he had a very calming presence.  Everyone has to start somewhere.  I just hope I’m not too much for him and he runs screaming from the building one day…
I see the new EAP lady again tomorrow. It will be my last session. While she was nice,  I just didn’t feel like we clicked.  Our focus lays in different spots… and today was too late to cancel. Maybe she can get me hooked up with other services to see if we can get out of this hole we are in.


Early morning pre-coffee thoughts

Why is it that certain words trigger such a strong reaction in me?  There are sentiments that,  when expressed to me, make my blood boil and take away filters for kindness and respect.  I’m specifically thinking about all the references to god and how people have a need to tell me that their god will make it all better if I just believed… The truth about that is that, yes,  your beliefs can improve or deteriorate a situation. But it doesn’t mean that if I don’t believe in your god,  things will stay the same or get worse for me.  Faith can be very helpful,  or very crippling depending on your beliefs,  but it won’t change an abusive situation,  or help your finances. 

As I was trying to figure out why religion is such a triggering issue for me, I remembered the first time I disclosed my abuse to someone that should have been able to help.  I was told to “pray about it and God will make it all better.”  That was the sentiment that was supposed to help keep me and the people I cared about safe. There was no follow up requesting details.  There was no mention of other possible help on the way.  “Just pray about it” and all the physical and emotional anguish will disappear.  Bullshit.  Things don’t work that way.  No amount of prayer healed my aunt. It didn’t stop my dad from being a huge jerk. It didn’t stop his sister from doing all the shit she did.  It didn’t stop my then-boyfriend from assaulting me.  And it didn’t bring me any solace in the least.  So bullshit. Prayer,  gods, and religion don’t make anything better.  Standing up for yourself does. Reaching out to the right people does.  Fighting like hell does.  But religion?  It brings guilt, resentment, and learned helplessness. 
That’s why those stupid posts about bringing god back to schools, and those about trusting god make my blood boil.  I had religion in my schools and it didn’t stop, or even lessen, the violence and abuse.  It didn’t make kids more tolerant of others (quite the opposite actually).  It didn’t prevent students from making bad choices, and it didn’t make the campus safer…  Don’t force your belief system on me or anyone.  You are free to believe whatever you want,  but please stop acting like it’s the only valid belief system in the universe.


i was used to it, and now it’s different

I was all comfortable in my blog page being the way it was when I first came onto wordpress, but now they have gone and changed it… I love blue and all, don’t get me wrong, but the black and grey felt so much more appropriate… and what’s with changing the titles of the functions… now they have me all confused.

On another note, I got a job offer. The pay sucks, but the potential for advancement is great. I also get no benefits (which sucks because I will be losing the ones through my wife as her company continues to drop the ball with her transfer), no paid time off… but I set my own schedule, and work as much or as little as I want (and clients need me) in a given week. It will be tough, as I like having the security of knowing I will at least be getting X number of dollars every paycheck, but again, this is better than nothing, and the learning opportunities are HUGE. I have to formally accept the position on Monday, then meet with my only other co-worker in the state for shadowing, training, and meet-and-greets with my new clients. I will start out with 5, so that guarantees me 5 hours a week… now to get up to the other 35… There will be meetings, calls, and paperwork, so hopefully I can turn that 5 clients into at least 20 hours every week. Here’s to hoping… and hopefully soon I will get a bigger case-load. This will also help me in getting my wife signed up for state services (and possibly myself), as this state does not recognize my marriage, so she’s technically below the poverty level even if I’m working.

Now, I will have to pull it together and function at my best to make this all work, but it sounds cool. Case Managers here have more responsibilities and authority than they did in my last state… That will be cool. While I won’t be doing therapy, I will have more therapeutic contact with my clients and gain the skills I have been dying to get and use since graduating with my BA… And maybe we will be able to save enough money to get our credits out of the endless pit they are in and be able to buy a house… We need our own space.


I can’t win against my defenses

When I have no support,  I’m falling apart. When I finally get someone to talk to,  I suddenly can’t remember why it was that I needed it so badly just a few days ago. 

That’s the story of my defenses.  I freak out when I don’t have the support,  but can manage to hold it together when I do. Great.  When the clinician asked me today what I hoped to get out of our remaining 2 sessions together, I couldn’t think of a single thing other then support… 4 days ago,  I couldn’t see past the huge black cloud surrounding me.  Today I can’t remember the look of it. 

Maybe part of it comes from knowing that I will likely not see her after these 3 sessions.  I don’t think I will have insurance again any time soon,  and I can’t afford a self-pay if it’s not a sliding scale.

I see the intern guy for the first time next week.  I’m hoping I am comfortable enough to work with him.  I can afford his fee ($8) once in a while until I get a job… and maybe I can work on my distrust of men with him.  I was able to connect with a male clinician at the trauma program.  Maybe I can do it again…


Hanging by a thread

The universe is conspiring to screw us… I swear,  someone up there hates me.  Things go ok for a moment, then everything crashes again.  Our phones are shut off again. We had paid enough to just get it back on, and now it was apparently only for 2 weeks.  It went offat noon today… all my applications for work have my number on it, but it is useless.  And I still can’t find a therapist to see… I had to cancel my Friday appointment because I will not have the copay… I’m so on my last thread… maybe that EAP lady was right… maybe I’m just a lost cause… hoplessly doomed to this shit for the rest of my life.


Simple Steps to Save A Borderline from Suicide

Simple Steps to Save A Borderline from Suicide.

I kinda like this in a dark comedy kind of way… I resent that I was ever diagnosed bpd, and I wholly resent the way I was treated by several clinicians & psychiatrists because of the diagnosis, but she puts it well… and I guess I can see myself in the diagnosis the way she describes it (some of it… the abuse history, the fear of abandonment, the preoccupation with death as a means of escape, the self injury, the lack of identity…)


hiding inside the wall

I’ve retreated into my shell. That experience with the EAP clinician triggered a fear deep inside me that has sent my mind scurrying into the wall. This is quite unusual, but happens from time to time. It happens when I’m terrified for my life, or my sanity. It’s that moment when even my analytical side hides, and I shut down. I neither ask for help, not do I have access to the part of me that is crumbling. I fly below the radar. My heart breaks, and I feel the weight in my chest, but I’m suddenly too terrified to even recognize that. The insanity in me takes a back burner…

It’s helpful in a way. I can function again, though every fiber in my being is shaking and pulsing with fear. It keeps the urges at bay (to an extent… i know they are still there and screaming, but they are isolated inside a sound-insulated room). It enables me to move about my day. My only worry is when it will burst free again. It always comes back louder and stronger after it hides for a while.


Defeated

4:36pm – I had a horrible experience with the clinician recommended by the EAP.  Just about as soon as my butt hit her couch, she strongly insisted I see a psychiatrist for meds. I am strongly opposed to medications for myself.  They make me a million times worse than I ever was without them. In the 4 years I was on meds,  I was hospitalized upwards of 30 times.  Before and after,  not once.  She didn’t want to hear that I do not want to entertain the idea.  I thought at one point she may commit me for my refusal.  It was the biggest waste of my time,  and caused way more anxiety that I could ever have dreamed of it alleviating… my heart is still pounding nearly 2 hours later… this sucks.

(9:10pm) In talking to my wife about the whole experience, we noted several other ways in which she judged me and lumped me in a “hopeless” category… She suggested I go to a day program to “help [me] deal with everything” (not that she knew what exactly I was dealing with, but she assumed my history of depression, PTSD, SI, etc were all current and looming).  She asked if I was employed, and when I said “not yet, but I’m looking, since we just moved across the country…” her response was: “I figured”  Really?! WTF?!  She continued to insist that I see a psychiatrist for “at least a full and proper diagnosis” Um, Lady… I HAVE one!  I just listed it to you… She then implied that she had no reason to trust me, and stated I had no reason to trust her… Hmm… great! She also wanted copies of my recent hospital records and seemed put-off when I said I did not have them.  I told her I thought my old therapist did, though, and offered to pass on her number so that EAP lady could get in contact with her.  EAP’s response: “I don’t have a release to talk to her”.  I just looked at her with that one.  I was already in flight-or-flight mode (flight being my instinct), and had little energy to retort that I was sitting right there, she could easily get one… She then proceeded to tell me that she is “a straight shooter” and doesn’t “play games”… Like I was looking for someone to play games with?! I took a shaky breath and thanked her for her “honesty”.  I told her I had worked with someone in the past that did not know what they were doing, and it just messed everything up.  I did not want to repeat that… I sat through the rest of her little speeches, and then launched into one of my own.  I told her of my experiences with medications, doctors and hospitals.  I told her about the work I had done with my old therapist, and the work I hoped to continue.  I explained my dissociative symptoms to her (dumbed it down for her, since she wasn’t getting the more clinical terms), and my reasoning for not wanting meds, DBT, or ECT… to which she tried to interject that I should really give it a second thought, but I cut her off.  I told her that the topic of ECT was a hot-button one with me, and came with it’s own mess of trauma.  She seemed to get the hint and moved away from that topic.  She then spent some time trying to convince me that the local university’s psych clinic was wonderful, with students “experienced in dealing with this sort of stuff”.  I cut her off again and told her that I had called the clinic now 8 times in the last 2 months and have yet to receive a return call.  She suggested I just show up… to which I replied: “I’m not interested in begging for what I need when they don’t respond to me over the phone”.  She suggested I “give it a try”

In the end I left her office with no intention of ever talking to her again.  She did the obligatory “call me if you need anything” and actually wanted to hug me as I left… I don’t know her.  I dislike her.  Why the hell does she want to hug me?!  I’m not big on being touched by people I don’t know, let alone don’t like… Don’t hug me.  I’ll take hugs from people I’ve built a relationship with, and only if I feel comfortable with them, but perfect strangers creep me out…

My wife looked at me as I walked out the door and commented “How was it? you’re smiling” to which I was able to respond through clenched teeth: “I just need to make it out of the office…”  I told her all the things this lady said, and she wished she had gone in with me… I kinda wish she had also… Whatever.  I won’t be seeing her ever again that’s for sure.

The whole way home I was worried about the meds issue with the other therapist I’m supposed to meet next week… The anxiety was enough to prompt me to call her.  She was very nice when she called back.  She said that the clinic had no prescribers, but if I was interested, we could always talk about it.  She said she never refused to see a client just because they refused to take medications…  She did mention though that she prefers if her colleagues do the intake session, and it would be good if I could manage to come in earlier in the week to do it… I told her of my money concerns for 2 copays in one week.  She again suggested the non-profit aspect of the office, and I reminded her that I was very uncomfortable seeing a male clinician in the long-term.  She said it was always an option… The more I think about it, the more it may be my only option, as I’m not having any luck with call-backs… and it looks like my wife’s company is totally screwing her over and she will be timed out of their system by the end of the month. That means I lose my insurance, and would have to start all over again looking for a new therapist… This is just way too difficult.


dilemmas…

So, I found out today I have insurance for at least a while… I also got a call back from the clinician from the EAP program… but that happened after I made an appointment with the original therapist I had contacted down here… The EAP appointment is free, but the psychologist will cost me the copay… I kinda want to see both to figure out who I click better with, but I also don’t have the $25 for tomorrow’s intake with the psychologist.  And, I don’t know when I would be able to get in with the EAP lady… i don’t know.  I feel like I should at least call the EAP lady back because the likelihood of continuing with her is greater if I lose the insurance… I’m so confused.

_________________________________________________________________________

I called the EAP lady.  She seems nice, and had time tomorrow, so I decided to make the appointment.  It’s free.  What is there to lose?

I also called the psychologist’s office and told them I did not have the money for tomorrow’s intake.  They kept me on to see her next Friday.  If I don’t call them back before then, she will just do the intake at that time (I hope to have some money to be able to see her by then).  I’ll let both the EAP clinician and the psychologist know I am interviewing both… then I will make a decision after having met both of them.  I’m hoping the psychologist works out, because I know she does EMDR.  I really want to keep up with that.  It helps immensely.


Writing is a struggle against silence. ~Carlos Fuentes

I struggle to find my voice. I often find it in my writing… It lets me say the things my tongue can’t wrap itself around… and it helps keep some horrors unspoken yet recognized.


EMDR

How strongly should I pursue continuing EMDR? I want to hold out to find a therapist that is adept at it, but I don’t think I can wait long enough. I really need to talk to someone. I need to be able to get my balance back. Almost hourly I have to fight to keep from giving in to the urges to self-harm. I struggle with my doubts about calling a hotline for help. I haven’t had this little support in years. I have trouble asking for help when I feel like I am imposing on someone, so much of the time I don’t ask for anything… and I suffer for it… I torture myself with quiet struggles against self-injury. I don’t reach out even to those around me because I don’t want them to worry. I don’t want to have to explain my every move, so I shut down… which results in the same thing. My actions, facial expressions, web activity and sleep pattern are called into question. I cringe when I get “that look” that questions if I will disappear from life again. I’m trying hard, but not hard enough. I still have trouble over-coming my fear of being a nuisance. I’ve lost too much for being too needy.  My after-hours call, no matter what I may be unable to say, is a desperate effort to stay afloat… If I call more than once in a night, I probably should be in the hospital… I won’t ever say that in my message to anyone, but once you get to know me, you know how much I fear becoming a bother… While I would never be upset if a client called me after hours, I become upset at myself for asking for help outside of the 9-5, M-F grind…

The problem with that is I fall apart much more before I finally seek help, and I seem more unstable. I don’t think I can win. I either ask for help when I outwardly seem fine (thus not able to get what I need), or I beg for help when I completely fall to pieces and wind up hospitalized.

Back to my original question: how ardently should I pursue a therapist trained and competent in EMDR? I know it helps (without it I would have lost my battle to refrain from self harm weeks ago), but I also don’t think I can wait to find insurance or a job. I’m lucky enough to have some access to services through my wife’s EAP. I don’t think I should be too picky at this point. The relief I felt when she told me I could see someone through the company was immense. It made that day a little easier to get through. And today, after calling them again, and calling the referral they gave me, I was able to function for the remainder of the day. Even if I am unable to say the things I want to over the phone tomorrow, at least I have the chance. Maybe I should take notes on everything I want to talk about. I know most of it sounds ridiculous to me when I’m not actively crumbling in the moment, but at least I could have reminders to let me choose whether or not to say anything when I talk to her…

It’s so hard to trust people… the idea of potentially only trusting this woman for 3 sessions, then having to find someone else is a scary one.  I don’t open up easily, unless I’m desperate… I’m quite desperate of late.  But then what? I have to struggle to find someone else to trust that will have a sliding scale and something I can afford on a negative bank account.  I need some consistency in treatment again. I need to find someone down here that knows what they are doing.  I don’t have the energy to convince a treater that meds are the absolute worst route for me, and that no, I do not have to embrace the diagnosis if I disagree with it… and that I need someone open to different methods of treatment for this trauma and dissociation and self injury than is normally prescribed.  I had found someone that I think could be good, but her fees are very high for someone with no job…  I really think she would be good (well, her colleague, but close enough), but I asked for a break and got none.  although I did not ask for a billing option, I did not feel right doing so with no real prospects of being able to pay her in the foreseeable future.  I’m not sure what it was that prompted Dr. C to do that for me from the start, but that is rare… and I didn’t ask for it, she just offered.  While first getting in with her was brought on by a huge stress (my then-therapist ditched me at the hospital because I was too much of a liability, too unstable… but wasn’t that what I was paying her to help me with?!), finding her was the best thing.  She was ok with me coming off meds (though concerned, I was so far down already, there wasn’t much farther I could have gone).  She stood up for me when I had to battle the hospital psychiatrist’s insistence on ECT; supporting my opinion that it would not help for addictions.  She is also very kind… she genuinely helped me refute all the voices in my head that tell me how awful I am, how useless and worthless of a thing I am… and she showed compassion for all that pain I carry with myself.  She helped me unload some of it.  She never once made me feel shameful about my self-injury, despite how sick I got with it…  she helped me understand the motivations, and she let me know that I was not alone with it… THAT was huge.  It made sense in the light of my trauma…  I was the only one supplying the shame for that.  I look forward to returning to see her when we move back…  I hold that relationship in very high regard… Whomever my next therapist is had giant shoes to fill…


This is that point

Where I need to remember the light side… the chaos is fast and furious in my head. .. not really sure how to slow it down…

I pull out my analytical side to combat the chaos, but it doesn’t work that well. The dissociation of one from the other is huge… the rift can be so severe… my panic mode is kicking in, and the other side of me desperately tries to take the reins to keep me on track… No falling apart. Patchwork going on to cover the cracks and keep things in check for another few hours. It’s amazing what our brains can do to to keep us functioning when we fear the outcome of our current trajectory…

Maybe I am DID in some respects, just not as disconnected with fully formed personalities… maybe I’m just more integrated than the average DID person. The change can come on so fast in the way my brain thinks. The analytical, disconnected side can take over to hold things together until the last possible moment… there definitely are two very distinct sides to me… this one steps in and calms me down when I’m about to break… it’s the more adult, mature side that needs to be proper and collected at all times. The other side feels more frazzled and fragile… and smaller. She feels more vulnerable and young… is that where Samantha Jane went?

___________________________________________________________

It just hit me: I was never young. Let me clarify that… when asked about my inner child, there is no young version of me that I identify with… my inner child was always Samantha Jane (in that he or she was always 6 or younger). When my therapist asked me where the young me was, I mentally freaked and could not identify with a young me. All memories carry with them varying degrees of dissociation, but never have I been able to connect my name with a younger me… the image in my head of a young me is also very different than the actual me… it’s weird and I don’t think I’m explaining it well… I was there watching, but never really fully part of the memories… most of them any way. The person I am today for most of the time is far from that terrified little girl. That part never integrated…


I don’t have a good title for this

I’m feeling really overwhelmed by all this.  I don’t know what to do next,  but at least that clinician calling me so many times with different options made me feel a bit better… maybe I’m not so worthless afterall. If a perfect stranger cares enough to work so hard to figure out a solution,  there must be some value to me… maybe?

I don’t have my hopes up about the clinic getting back to me any time soon though… just going to have to struggle through this myself for a while and hope I don’t crack along the way…


I really could use someone to talk to… or: connections

there’s so much that goes on in my head that I don’t voice. I need an outlet for it. Even my old T didn’t hear half of what went on. I tried to tell her, but sometimes the words just wouldn’t form. It was a combination of fear, shame, and guilt for indulging the thoughts and “fantasies” that kept me silent. There were many times when I tried to talk, but literally couldn’t… the air was stuck in my throat and words refused to form. My mouth would open, and shut, but nothing would come out, not even a wisp of breath. I can feel that coming on… this time brought on by fear of someone over-reacting. The words don’t even form in my brain; they just fizzle at the synapses before a full thought can be formed to explain the pictures and feelings in my head. I don’t know why I have such a hard time talking… but then again, maybe I do. I’m not sure where it started, when I lost my voice (in the feminist, allegorical use of the term), but it’s been gone a long time. Once in a while I find what it is that I want to say, and once in a while I can make myself heard, but for the most part, I play alone in the scenes in my head. Samantha Jane used to be there… She used to keep me company, but she’s run off now, and I’m left to my own devices. She was a good little stand-in. She always listened, and I could always protect her (I think… at least… that’s my memory of my inner child… it’s the only memory of her I choose to acknowledge at this time). What happened to her? I’m not quite sure. She never looked the same through the years. She was always young, but her face and her hair changed… The one constant in all my years was the woman with the dark, long hair… She always showed up when I needed to be rescued. She always meant that things were coming to a close, and the horrible nightmare would be over. Her face was never really the same, but I always knew she was the same person. Maybe just the same soul… I’ve met her many times in real life… always someone else, but always the same role… the rescuer… she’s always meant an end to whatever the current drama/trauma was… funny how she has always been there since I was a child. Maybe I remember more than I think I do, I just keep it in the back of a dark closet. She was a neighbor, my friend’s mom, my guidance counselor, my teacher, my therapist, a nurse at the hospital, my doctor… That one presence that was in a different person each time, but always the same presence behind her… I miss her in my dreams. She was always infinitely more comforting in my dreams… or maybe that’s just where I choose to remember her that way… She always made sure I was ok… If I try to put a real face to her, I lose it, but I know her when I meet her… Just like I know Samantha Jane is not anywhere near me lately… she skipped town. I miss her, but I can’t feel her. I feel the lady with the dark hair though. Maybe she will visit me tonight in my sleep… I really could use her presence with me right now…

Does anyone know what happens to us when we die? I’m a firm believer in connecting once again with all we have lost… connecting to the world again in a deeper way. I remember that connection from when I was a child. I could close my eyes and feel the earth breathing… I could see the colors floating and the energy flowing… I would hear horses thundering by the house, and my parents would swear it was the highway… but I believed with all my heart that it was the horses that traveled that land before… A large white stallion that would wait under the window, making noise and breathing heavily after his run… Later that week I found a horse shoe in our yard… It was a neighborhood established for a while, with no livestock anywhere near… He was another comforting presence…

Earlier this week, I was feeling really sad and indulging that sadness when, all of a sudden, the scent of her perfume was in the air… She’s been gone for ages, but she was there at that moment. They are both here… my mom says she smells cigarette smoke in the house… no one smokes, but he used to… Right after she died (3 years after), I moved here and the dog would play fetch with someone, but I was the only one in the house… she would perk up as if being called, and run over to another spot, wag her tail, and lay down as if she was getting a tummy rub… I did not imagine it…