Tag Archives: support

Dear De

Dear De,

I dreamt about you last night. You were happy in your new job, and your life. I can’t remember much else about the dream, but we connected again in it. I caught you up on everything since we ended, and you let me in on some basics about how you were doing. 

It was nice to reconnect, even if it was just a dream… 

Peace, 

Sam

It’s weird. I don’t often dream about my therapists, but De seems to pop up in them more than most. I think it’s because I feel like I helped break her. I know it was a combination of the job, a lack of appropriate supervision/professional supports, and a lack of effective self-care while she worked in such a stressful position, but I was part of the job… so, yeah. I helped break her. 

I still feel guilty around it. 

What if I hadn’t been so open about my struggles? What if I tried harder at the techniques she presented? What if I’d made more of an effort to keep myself together? What if I’d have not given her access to my journals? What if I’d have been a better, less demanding client? What if…?

Ultimately, I know it was her responsibility to keep herself balanced and supported. I know that quitting work at the sexual assault counseling center was part of her self-care. I know it was her choice, rather than something she was forced into… yet I feel guilty. 

I think my guilt partially stems from my own experiences of burn-out in the field. I let my own experiences build up so much that they broke my defenses. I definitely feel guilty about the way I left my clients at the domestic violence counseling center. They had no notice, no termination, no chance to either say goodbye or run from the experience. I took their choice away. I took my choice away. I let myself fall apart too much before I finally was forced to pull away… I left because I landed in the hospital again (and again, and again). I could no longer function in the basics of my life, forget about in an intense and emotion-filled work environment…

De never got to that point before she realized she needed out. I’m grateful for that. 

I guess I dream about her more often because I worry about her more than other therapist’s I’ve had. I need to convince myself that she’s happy and thriving, even if I don’t know that for sure…



Blergh… (ok, honestly, I dunno an adequate word for this feeling/sound… also **POTENTIALLY TRIGGERING – SH, SUI**

I had another session today. I have been feeling so crappy lately, I asked for some extra time after group yesterday…

It was productive (and long). We talked about what’s causing so much anxiety, and what I get stuck on. At one point, I mentioned some of the financial obligations causing stress. She asked if I wanted to take care of the most stressful one there, and she offered to take over the phone if it became too much for me to keep talking. My responsible side kept bugging me to say yes, but my scared little kid side couldn’t move. We talked a bit about that, then she talked me through the phone thing (literally starting with telling me to take my phone out and find the number). Before actually placing the call, I mentioned the correlation with making an arrangement with this company in particular, and a subsequent hospitalization (so far, it’s happened after every time, and I wasn’t sure if I only had the courage to call them in an effort to lessen anything L might have to take care of in my absence, or if calling them triggered a hard and fast spiral)… she said we’d make a plan after the call to get me through the weekend.

The call was uneventful as usual. The lady I spoke with on the phone was professional. An arrangement was made, and I hung up. Almost instantly, the berating voices started screaming in my head “I’m worthless. I’m a piece of shit. I should have my shit together. I’m a failure. Why can’t I amount to anything? What a waste of space!…” and many more unkind things. Tears started spilling from my eyes, and I managed to choke out that this is what always happens after calling them. About 30 different self-destruct plans flashed through my head. In an instant, I assessed each for viability. More tears flowing unchecked from my eyes. I don’t really remember what else was said, but I was able to communicate the self-hatred and hopelessness.

I guess I started demolishing my soda can because she asked if the pieces I was playing with were sharp enough to hurt myself with. I was a bit taken aback. I’d never consciously self-harm in front of anyone, let alone in her office (it’s a safe space… though I must admit she’s pointed it out to me in the past when I didn’t realize I was clawing my arms during session).  Anyway, we talked a bit more, and she started saying something about me not being bad, and being allowed to make mistakes and ask for leniency. I can’t remember exactly what the words were, but they triggered a flashback… I just cried on the couch and tried to become as small as possible. Part of me kept silently apologizing and begging her not to hate me or be mad at me. Another part of me tried to remind myself that she would not do what I was remembering at the moment, that she was not the person in my memory, and that she was safe. The two inner voices warred to drown each other out.

None of it was voiced till after she stopped taking and I had continued to silently cry for several seconds. I think I actually interrupted her to try to explain what had been going on in my head… I found safe-enough words with which to speak about it; saying how frustrating it was when seemingly innocuous/nice (and common) responses to emotional upheaval and intense self-hatred were such instant triggers… I’m not sure if she was angry or sad that things like that had become so twisted in my head (not angry or sad at me, but for having gone through situations that caused the perversion of those basic concepts), but at one point I think I saw her hands move to cover her face…

We wrapped up that conversation and moved on to a plan for the weekend. I rated my intent to “harm myself” upon leaving. I said a low number, and she was incredulous (that sounds more distrustful that she actually was… more like pleasantly shocked?). I clarified that I wasn’t going to off myself after leaving. She clarified by asking if I’d self-harm. That number was higher. We talked about that a bit, then she again said we’d make a plan for the weekend. I was expecting to have to come up with the standard “what are you doing when you go home today? How about tonight? Tomorrow? Sunday?”. Instead, she asked me to hold on while she checked on her weekend plans… :gulp!: I panicked for a half-second and asked if she truly was just calling her husband (she’s never hospitalized me without talking to me about it, but others have). She showed me her phone dialing out to her hubby. I tried telling her I’d be fine over the weekend; that I didn’t want to interrupt her time with him. She promised she wouldn’t schedule anything if it interrupted their time together. She also said that she had promised to be there for me if I was having a rough time, and this was her way of being there this weekend… a few phone calls later, and we are going to meet again tomorrow either at her office or at her home office (tbd)… I’m still trying to be ok with wasting so much of her time, but she insists it’s not wasting it…

The ride home was “interesting”… I had trouble paying attention to the drive. There were points of the drive where I struggled with myself to keep the car at a safe speed and away from stationary structures. The whole time I worried that if I did crash, even accidentally, she’d think I had lied to her when I rated my safety. I try to be as honest as possible with her about things like that; it’s what built and keeps the trust. I’m more likely to say nothing at all rather than lie about that… I’ve remained silent in response to the safety question before, and we arranged for me to go inpatient like that in the past. I need the trust to be there. I get so low sometimes, I need us both to know that I’ll be honest about my safety even at the lowest times so I’m not again in a revolving hospitalization cycle…

:/

Sorry, that was probably tmi…

I think I need a nap now… catch you on the flip side.


found some comfort

So, TM doesn’t hate me.

She doesn’t think I’m a worthless, annoying, frustrating piece of shit.

I didn’t piss her off by calling for support the other day.

She returned my call and even said I could call her back to talk.

She was patient and kind and reassuring when I did. It was during her lunch, but she didn’t rush me.

She reminded me that there’s only a few days left anyway. Either I will be all set for the move or I won’t be, but it won’t be the end of the world.

She’s all for me going out with my friend tonight for one last trivia night. Her enthusiasm over that made it much easier to tell my friend I’ll be there.

She didn’t say much of anything particularly inspiring or profound, but she managed to say what I needed to hear: that she know’s I’m struggling with this; it’s ok that I’m struggling with it; and it will all be ok soon (for whatever reason, it sinks in when she says it, but it feels merely obligatory when L says it…).

 

Dr. C does not hate me either.

She doesn’t think I’m a worthless, annoying, frustrating piece of shit.

She scheduled an appointment with me for after the move despite me being so needy before even officially returning to her.

She has seen me at my worst, and is still willing to take me back as a client.

 

I get to hang out with M&B tonight.

M & I have known each other forever, and she still likes me.

B likes me by default I think… at least, he puts up with me.

I’m really gonna miss them when I go, but tonight we will kick ass on trivia.

Some friends will be there forever; M is one. I’m really lucky to call her a friend ❤

 

L will be here in less than 4 days!

I will physically see my wife again for the first time in 7 months!!!! 😀

I don’t know who will be happier: me, the kids, or L… I think maybe the kids, b/c there’s 4 of them, and they have not see her at all since she left last May. They get super-excited when someone returns from getting the mail, and that takes less than a minute. I’m sure they will not know how to contain themselves when L arrives.

 

 

 


moving + shitty anniversary + stress + pms = crying every other second

yeah. that.

I hate crying, yet I can’t seem to stop.

I really wish I still had TM’s support this week.


venting

I can’t seem to stop crying. This move is what my wife and I have been working towards for three years, but it still hurts. And it’s all right at the same time as a really crappy anniversary. It just sucks. I’m not sure where to turn for real-life support around any of it. I’m not even sure what I would want or need as support. No one seems to be able to understand that it sucks as much as it does (I’m not sure even I totally get why it hurts so much). Everyone thinks I should just be happy that I’m back with my wife (which I totally am!), but there’s also this anniversary of my aunt’s death (she was the safe place to go when my dad got out of control), and losing her house, and having to re-home one of my cats as well as say goodbye to my mom & her critters, and leaving my friends, and having to have said goodbye to TM… and I’m pms’ing, which ALWAYS makes everything a million times harder.

It’s weird, because my ptsd got so much worse when I moved here, but the thought of leaving the week after next is also really triggering. I feel like I’m leaving my mom to an abusive situation again (did that at 17 when I couldn’t stay at my home any longer b/c of my dad), though this time she lives alone – there isn’t any current abuse, but it still *feels* the same, and I don’t know how to shake that feeling. I was never good at protecting her or taking care of her as a kid, and I’m no better at it as an adult. I feel like a little kid again. Writing it out here though, I’m realizing it’s probably mostly the old stuff, and it’s kinda helping to recognize that.

Yesterday I gave in and went out with friends for our usual Wednesday night trivia at a local restaurant. I should not have gone out and spent money, but I want to get all the time in with them that I can. It took me 10 minutes to walk into the place though. I couldn’t stop crying in the car. On the way home, I tore out of the parking lot and cried again when I got back into my driveway. I know I won’t lose touch with my friend b/c we’ve been friends since middle school. We just keep finding each other and catching up, but it’s another loss at a time when so many are already very prominent.

I haven’t cried this much since ending with De this same time last year. I hate it. I don’t know how not to be overwhelmed by this. I have to keep it together though. I have to sort through all my crap and pack it up and wrap up loose ends. All I want to do is either hide in bed and cry, or go to the beach and ignore the move (still trying to figure out how to get more beach time in before I leave).

I’m really hating that I don’t have a therapist to talk to right now. I could call Dr. C, but I need to ask her if I can skip a payment on my old bill next month. I don’t want to have to simultaneously ask for extra help from her when I know I can’t pay for it in the moment… I’m kinda mad the stupid IOP was so triggering. It would have been nice to be able to process some of this stuff. It’s easier to be rambling and directionless in my whining in a setting like that where it’s somewhat expected. And it would be ok to whine and ask for support. I don’t know how to do that with people in my life. I’m supposed to know what I’m asking for, and how to ask for it, and how to do it on my own before even asking. That’s just what society expects. That way you are not really asking for anything, just acknowledging that you are stuck. People don’t have to be made uncomfortable by not knowing what to do (even if all you need is for them to listen and care so you can just get the jumbled mess out of your head)…

I’m really glad to be back with my wife soon, but I wish the change wasn’t happening on the stupid anniversary. A month earlier or later would have been a bit easier (later, I’m guessing, would have been easiest b/c things always get easier once the anniversary passes… and I might have had TM’s support through that day). July 7th has not been easy at all since being down here. At least up north, some years I wouldn’t even know it was coming up. Down here though, the distress over it hits hard more than a month before, and it just keeps getting worse as the day nears. For the past 2 years, it’s also been the time I have to say goodbye to my therapist, so there’s no reliable support around getting through it. 😦

I’m so tired of all this. It needs to get better again up north. I don’t have the energy to keep going through this all the time.

Sorry. I don’t know how not to be so needy right now.


the safety of a doorknob disclosure

With the end looming for my therapy, I find myself wanting to spill all sorts of info to TM. I’m not sure why. I suddenly have questions and thoughts and I want to ask her a whole bunch of stuff about my abuse and ptsd and self-harm… why can I only muster this resolve when I’m moving on to someone else? It’s like it only feels safe enough to bring all this up when the threat of having to see the person again is over. I am suddenly realizing I trusted her enough to express this stuff, but I kept freezing and getting scared before. I always worried she would hate me or use what I told her against me in some way. I didn’t think she would actually do those things, but I feared she might… Now I want to get as much support from her as possible, only it’s too late because there isn’t enough time.

These are the ultimate doorknob disclosures. They are all the big things I was scared to address, but now I desperately want to find support around… :sigh: Will I ever learn to do this while there’s still time to talk?

 


Dear TM…

Dear TM,

Now you are seeing the hopeless mess that I can become. I don’t like that you will remember me this way. I don’t like that we are ending on this note. I’d prefer you to think of me as someone who can figure shit out and make it in life (coz someone needs to believe that about me. I certainly don’t)…

I’ve put up walls b/c I need you to be a stranger right now. I need to be able to leave without feeling completely crushed about all the losses. It’s not just you I have walls up around. It’s the house, and the state, and mom, and the dog and cats, and art time with my friend, & everything… I’m only going to allow myself to miss the beach. That is all. Everything else is too raw and too painful.

I still want to ask if it would be ok if I called you once I’m settled again… I was going to ask if I could call you on the anniversary day, but it will end up being the day we leave. I will need to concentrate on driving and hanging with the wife… I hope she knows she will have to do the first leg of the journey, the one that gets us out of the driveway and away from this neighborhood. I’m not sure how to say goodbye to all this…

Maybe the IOP will work out? I’m not getting my hopes up, because I don’t have faith in them billing for copays, but at least I can go to the intake without having to pay anything that day. Then we can go from there. The little kid in me wants to keep seeing you as much as I can before I go, but the other part of me sees the heaviness of the depression and knows I would be better off with more support…

I really have no idea what I’m doing, but I know I will come out the other side. I always do.

Please don’t actually hate me, just maybe let me think you do for the moment.

Pieces,

sj