Tag Archives: structure

Planning

I can’t really remember all of what we covered in session today, but it mostly consisted of me catching Dr C up on the past month… then we talked about being present in my body. I admitted I haven’t really been present for quite some time (several months, if not years). We talked about the barriers to being present. I mentioned liking the disconnect especially after the almost-3-years of constant flashbacks and intrusive memories while living down south. 

That brought us to the topic of what to do about the trauma work. We talked more about emdr and I was able to verbalize my concerns; namely that, while it has felt like the most successful treatment option to date, the last few times I tried, it had left me more triggered and dissociated. I expressed my desire to find some plan for maintaining safety if we are to go ahead with more emdr. 

We talked more about that, then we penciled in a very intense week of emdr to commence during my “vacationless vacation” coming up in October. I half-joking told her it would be awesome if I could enjoy sex again with my wife on our wedding anniversary… so now we are scheduled to do 7 consecutive days of 2-hour sessions, most of which will involve emdr (with talk and art mixed in). 

::gulp!::

I hope the nearly 2 months we have before that time will be enough to establish a sense of safety around the work we will be doing…

We arrived at the intensity of it after talking more about my fears moving forward. Both Dr C and I agree that the ideal setting for me to tackle my trauma work would be an inpatient/residential trauma unit. I don’t always have it in me to tackle the work in the single hour a week insurance pays for, and sometimes things aren’t ready to surface till odd hours when Dr C is unavailable. Other times, it takes a few hours of processing stuff internally before I need to talk about it again with someone. Since all of that is rather impossible, the next option would be a php or iop that specialized in trauma combined with seeing Dr C. Again, rather impossible since there’s nothing like that locally. So plan C is some really intensive therapy for the week both L and I are “on vacation”. The hope (from Dr C) is that L could drive me to sessions and provide some moral support afterwards. I personally think it’s a bit much to ask of L, I guess I can hash it out with her. It’s far enough away at this point that Dr C and I can still change the plan or arrange for iop…

Anyway, so yeah. That’s what we did today. I’m kinda happy we have a plan since I’ve been feeling stalled in therapy lately. 

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an end date…

There was so much I wanted to talk to TM about today, but none of it made it to my lips…

We did talk a bit about last week’s confession around how shitty I’m feeling. We also tried to brainstorm some stuff to give me structure. Well, ok, TM tried to brainstorm. I was having trouble focusing. They moved to the new office over the weekend. I guess today was their first day open at the new location. Nothing was ready. I almost wish TM would have just rescheduled me either to later in the day, or another day. It would have sucked, and I would have felt like shit, but it would have been more productive than today. I guess we were productive for stuff on her end, but not on mine. I kept paying attention to all the noises elsewhere in the office. And the room we were in reminded me very much of a hospital… I hope next week it will be more settled.

She kept trying to tell me it was ok to ask for more support. She talked a bit about the various therapeutic programs and how they took a while to get into. She mentioned some volunteering. I just couldn’t concentrate on what she was saying.  We determined that our last session would be June 23rd…

I kept wanting to wheel myself out of the room (we were both in rolling desk chairs). It looked and felt too much like a locked unit. I kept worrying that I wouldn’t be allowed to leave. Rationally, I know that wouldn’t have happened, but it triggered the fear in me. I wasn’t able to put together that I was triggered till long after I left her. I just knew that in the office, I kept pushing myself and my chair as far back as possible, and I was scared of TM. I wanted to reach beside me and open the door, but I kept thinking it was locked. It felt like TM was matching my discomfort because her chair was all the way back against her wall also. I’m not totally sure if she realized that, or if it happened by accident. I kept waiting for the conversation to turn to me needing a higher level of care, and then being hospitalized. It didn’t happen, but part of me was surprised to have walked out at the end of session. It’s not even like I mentioned safety concerns to her, we actually talked about how much better I have been handling this than in the past. It was just that the room looked so much like a locked mental health unit, I couldn’t pull out of the fear…

I think we may have talked about other things too, but I’m not sure what. Maybe those things took up the whole session time. I know I wanted to tell her some of the stuff flying around in my head. I wasn’t sure how to get them past my lips. I wanted to hand her some of the stuff I had been meaning to give her for the past 2 weeks. I wanted to talk a bit about the support forum. I wanted to talk to her about my experience talking to a friend about some of the stuff TM and I have been covering. None of it squeaked out. None of it made it through the panic.

I kept apologizing for being a pain in the ass. She asked again what made me think I was being annoying. I tried to convey that I had answers, but couldn’t find them in the moment, and that is what I thought would annoy her. I couldn’t get past the internal panic though… I kept giving her “I don’t know” because I couldn’t access the answers in my own head. I couldn’t “act as if”. I couldn’t function… I tried to think whether or not I would be annoyed at a client if they presented like I did. I landed on “no”, but I also could not then translate that to apply to myself. I tried to tell her my self-esteem and lack of self-worth didn’t allow me to move out of that head-space, but it all sounded like jargon to me. I imagined her thinking how annoying I was, how frustrating and resistant and willful I was being, and that if I could just stop being that way, we could get somewhere. I tried again to gain an outside perspective, but I still couldn’t apply my own patience with others to myself. Who am I to warrant any compassion? (At the time, a combination of speaking with a DBT clinician and multiple hospital experiences were crowding my head. I remembered being blamed for not trying hard enough, for not being able to use my skills, for being resistant and willful and deliberately sabotaging my recovery because I was stubborn. I couldn’t separate it from the experience of speaking with TM in the present. I couldn’t look at her, and in my head she looked like the DBT clinician L)…

I did manage to tell her about the line of thinking that allowed me to see some smidge of self-worth last week, and how I kept going back to it to try to get through the weekend. Even as the words left my mouth though, they felt stupid and contrived. I was suddenly reacting to her like I would have G. I was afraid that if I said the wrong thing in the wrong way, or because I wasn’t calling her the most intelligent and worthwhile person on the planet, I was being disrespectful. I didn’t attribute all of my change in thinking to her though. I told her of the success and quietly waited for her to blow up at me… Again, the full realization that I was triggered and responding to the past rather than TM or the moment only hit me long after I left.

We set up a time to check in on Thursday. I protested about being bothersome, so she was going to leave it up to me to call if I needed, but I was able to tell her that I would prefer having something scheduled. I told her I would probably agonize over calling her then end up not deeming anything worthy of bothering her for. She said we would schedule it and she would call Thursday… She left an invitation open for me to call tomorrow too if I feel I need it. I instantly shook my head. That would be too much of an imposition to be able to agree to. Though thinking about it now, I may leave her a message hoping it lessens the anxiety. I would like to be able to let her in on what went on for me today without wasting too much session time.

Even writing about it all is triggering a lot of anxiety and fear. I really hope next week feels different. It will be more than a week for settling in (because of the holiday next week), so I really hope they get things decorated and set up better. And I really hope TM’s office doesn’t feel as triggering as the random room we were in today. When I speak with her on Thursday, I should remember to ask if it would be ok for me to leave her a message over the weekend to help get through it. I know she won’t be there or anything, and I wouldn’t expect a return call. It just sometimes helps to leave her messages.

 


what a difference a night of sleep can make

I feel so much better after finally getting a full night of sleep. Thanks to the sleep cocktail I took last night, I was out for 12 hours ❤

I checked in with TM today, though I was still really “fozzy” at the time because the benadryl had not totally worn off. We talked about the message I had left her asking if she knew of any additional support resources. I was able to clarify that it didn’t need to be therapeutic so much as help with structure. We will both brainstorm individually and re-visit it on Tuesday.

At the end of the conversation, I admitted to her that I didn’t want to lose her right before the move. Her only response was “Mmm…” o_O I hope I didn’t do or say something to prompt the “refer out” conversation. After the phone call, I wished I had asked if that was an Mmm that meant “I know you’re hurting and scared of so many changes” or one that meant “Yeah, we already had that conversation, and I’m waiting to spring it on you next session.” I guess I will find out on Tuesday. My panic has me thinking it’s the second one. It’s the same response I had gotten from De when I asked if she would be referring me before the move, then upon her return from vacation she told me she was leaving the agency (back when I thought I was moving in 2 months time). I dunno. If Tuesday comes and she mentions referring out or terminating before late June, I need to put on my big girl panties and walk away. SO not what I want, but that’s rarely been taken into account anyway, so what’s the difference? I will hold out on panicking till I see her again. I need to remember to ask her about it directly at that time. Till then, just breathing. (I wish this happened at a time I could contact her to alleviate some of the worry from the weekend. Even as we were talking though, their phone system went down. She called me back from an unavailable number that I’m assuming was her personal cell. Tomorrow and Saturday their office will be busy moving to another location, and she wasn’t sure if their voice mails would be functioning normally). Just gotta wait till Tuesday. Not that long. It’s do-able, right?

On a lighter/happier note; something in the way she phrased things the last two times we talked made me feel cared-about (in more than that obligatory therapst-y care, but genuine “I care about you as a human being that I’ve come to know” kinda way). It triggered the memory of a bunch of genuine sentiments I’ve heard over the years but wasn’t necessarily able to internalize at the time. It’s actually a really nice feeling. I’m going to work at carrying it through the weekend.

The self-harm urges have been present today, but they were easier to resist. And it was easier to stay out of bed more of the day also. Quite amazing what a night of quality sleep can do. Can someone forcefully remind me of this the next time I start to spiral down? Thanks 😉


back at the farm

wpid-20150322_092353.jpgEven though my back hates me because of it, I enjoyed myself today. I worked with the same horse again and got a picture of him this time. He’s a cutie, though definitely trying to assert who is in charge today…

Horse behavior is so foreign to me. I have SO much to learn about them… but they are fun, and as long as I don’t have to be too close to the big ones, I’m fine working with the little ones.

wpid-20150322_073825.jpgHaving to be at the farm by 8am, I am able to catch the sunrise on my way out the door. I forgot how much I miss watching the sun come up.

 


can’t get out of my own way again

Spent the session with TM pretty checked-out. I didn’t know how to ask for a reality check around what I interpreted as her being sad and tired today, so I didn’t bring up any of what I had intended to. She took that as disengaging in therapy and as me being more depressed and tired… to a degree she is correct, I am totally exhausted with everything on my plate. but I also don’t know how to bring my concerns to her right now. It felt safer for a while, but the last two sessions have not felt that way. I tried to tell her that there is stuff I want to bring to her to talk about during the week, but when actually faced with the prospect of talking about it, it’s suddenly very not safe to address anything. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the courage to admit that till the end of the session, so we didn’t talk more about it… I want to leave her a message, but I am afraid she will pick up the phone if I call while she’s still in the office for the day, so I will leave one tonight after she goes home.

I see her again on Tuesday (finally back to the original schedule), but I am very tempted to bow out of therapy for the time being. I don’t know how to make it feel safe in the time we have left…

I’m supposed to find some structure for myself between now and Tuesday. Dunno. I think I’m just stuck.

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Aside of trying to remember to write or draw in session, think I’m going to show this to her. I did it tonight, in the sketch book vs the art journal (less pressure to have something put-together and presentable in this thing –> easier expression). Hoping this helps vs the huge wall of text I have going on in my journal to her…
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There’s also a rough concept sketch from last week, but for whatever reason it didn’t feel like something I could show her. I didn’t even remember I had done it till just now looking into the art journal. I guess I need things to feel “finished” in there to remember doing them in the moment.
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Home sick from a place we never wanted to call home.

This is pretty powerful, especially the end. It speaks to being more comfortable with the known than the unknown… There’s more I want to say about it, but I can’t formulate the words just now.

andymez

I often wake up hoping I’d be in a cot. Hearing Jason screaming the lyrics to barbie girl. I’d roll over and click play on the pre-mission playlist; Big Krits  “Rise and Shine” plays. Maybe Poly would come in and slap my foot and say lets get chow or Ryan would have already been up giving me his leftovers while I tell him his sister is beautiful, A running joke that has been going on for nearly 4 years now.

I wake up in a full size bed on Long Island. No chow hall but easily accessible food everywhere in sight. I can get a breakfast sandwich if I really wanted. Freshy Fresh isn’t too far. I no longer see the faces I’ve grown comfortable and accustomed to seeing. The things that were so agitating have become memories and jokes. We would tip beer bottles and laugh about the indirect fire…

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dusty tracks in front of rusted bars

I feel like a caged leopard who has given up on trying to escape and just wishes she could hide back up in the trees where it’s dark and safe.

Or not.  That’s too dramatic.  What I am feeling is much less dramatic than that.  There’s no desperation or urgency. It’s flat. It’s resigned. It has no energy behind it.

I have no motivation. I have no energy.  I had a bit this morning, but it has since left me.  I’m torn between the urge to hide away and to seek out someone to sit with. I want to sit at the beach and watch the water, but that would require changing, then driving there, then walking to the water…  I want it to be dark outside.  I thought of calling someone, but I’m not really in the mood to talk, just sit.  I’m searching for that proximity.

I think writing to De between sessions diminishes what we accomplish in session, so I’m trying out not writing this week.  I had written something that night after our most recent appointment, but nothing since.  I’m not sure I even want to cover that stuff this week.  I think I will take in my art, and we can distract with that on Friday… It’s so far away.  I feel so trapped in the house.  It’s those imaginary bars my head has placed on the windows and doors.  They always show up eventually.  They are heavy and dark and strong, and they take away my desire to do anything (or maybe my lack of desire puts them there?).

I’m trying not to drift into depression again.  I’m trying to have a schedule and social activities planned, but everything takes time and energy and money.  I have the time, but not the money or the energy.  Nothing is free here. Nothing is close. As much as I am not feeling social at the moment, I’m also not into being alone.