Tag Archives: therapy

Obsessions…

Does anyone else struggle with obsession?

Mine is rooted in “getting it right” so I don’t get in trouble, but… It often does more harm than good. Even things I enjoy become a chore because the obsession has me doing it well past burnout.

A friend tried to motivate me to to get into doing something from home as a means of income. She suggested that energy and success will come from putting effort into whatever it is I want to grow [as a business]. She is convinced that if I just change my mindset around not having energy or motivation, I’ll succeed at whatever it is I choose to do. I couldn’t explain to her that 1) I don’t have the energy to front to that right now 2) I might get energized in the moment doing some things (like my art, or going hiking, or to the beach to look for seaglass), but then I end up crashing & recovering for days afterwards, and 3) my obsession will inevitably kick in, forcing me to stay up late & wake up early to work on whatever it is I’m doing. I’ll do it to the exclusion of everything else because I need to get it right or I’ve failed miserably at everything including life. Despite seeing the intensity and flaws of that thinking, I’m not able to interrupt the obsession on my own yet…

Speaking of doing things obsessively, I love to go to the beach to look for seaglass and other interesting things. Once the idea is sparked, the only thing that stops me from going is being physically unable to go (no transportation, being in so much pain I can’t do anything at all…), or conflicting appointments that cannot be changed. The friend who got me into it text me last night about going today. I said yes… Only problem is, every fiber in my body hurts from exertion this past week. I should probably stay home and chill, but I can’t bring myself to say no. I must go, or something bad will happen. When I get there, I know I will methodically search the beach looking for what interests me. It takes me hours, and I end up in more pain. I know this will happen, but I still can’t bring myself to refuse. Just the thought of declining the invite brings on a whole host of anxiety and self-deprication; everything from my friend being mad at me for declining (she wouldn’t be, but my brain insists she will) to being mad at myself for not pushing through crap & for wimping out on an adventure that might get me out of my head for a while.

It’s so beyond just enjoying whatever it is I’m trying to do… I know I’m doing it to my detriment at times, but I still can’t refuse…

I have therapy before heading out seaglassing. Maybe this can be something we address (though I know there was something else I had really wanted to talk to her about, but I can’t remember what that was at the moment.

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Clean up, aisle 4…

Group was really triggering again this week, though I think it was that way for everyone (there was a text exchange afterwards, which usually doesn’t happen. We only use the group texting to determine attendance).
Anyway, I feel like a turd because I took my triggered anxiety and unease out on my wife this afternoon. It wasn’t a horrible fight, but we were both cranky, so we both snapped at each other. We’ve talked and cleared the air since but… I feel bad.
On top of that, I’m still on edge from group. If I stop bombarding myself with stimuli, the flashbacks pick right up again.
I dunno. There’s so much going on internally, and stressors from outside keep piling on too. It’s all starting to feel overwhelming.
The teenager is wicked pissed with my therapist for challenging so much lately, and for seeming to change her contact policy without warning. The kids are scared about getting in trouble, & about having her mad at us… the adult sides are the only ones that seem to be dealing ok with her lack of responses, but they’ve also retreated into the basement so they don’t have to deal with the attitudes…
I’m having a lot of trouble finding internal balance…


The insomnia amplifier (and safe spaces).

Have you ever noticed how everything experienced through insomnia is amplified?

It’s not only the after effects in the following days, but also everything experienced in the middle of the night while I’m lying awake.

Tonight, the cat food smell is bothering me. It’s turning my stomach, and it’s the only thing I can smell… but do you think I’d make a move to throw it out into the kitchen trash? Nope. Because making such large movements would not only “wake me up more”, but it would also wake the animals up, who would then get restless… at least, that’s my excuse. I really just don’t feel like crawling out of bed when I have a mere 30 minutes left here anyway. It would have been 2 hours if I simply did it when it started bothering me, but it was easier to smash my face into the pillow than it was to move the trash. Now I’m regretting it…

It’s not only smell that gets amplified when I can’t sleep. It’s any sound or extra light. It’s textures and temperatures and thoughts…

I could text any number of friends who also deal with insomnia, but that would require a conversation, and I’m not sure I’m up for that just now.

It is also in the middle of the night when, before I think too much about the ramifications, I feel like I might want to talk more about the things my body remembers… before my brain kicks in and I worry about reactions and fall-out, before the shame and secrecy set it, I sometimes think it might be healing to talk about the sexual abuse stuff with someone other than just Dr C… it might be validating to have some honest and uncensored conversations about it.

Then my brain kicks in. I think about what might happen, who might react & how they might react… I think of all the invalidation and scrutiny I would get for it, and the lost relationships… and it no longer seems worth it.

I prefer anonymity. I prefer the safety-net of confidentiality… and my heart sinks a little. I feel defective. Even just thinking of talking more openly about it makes me feel like a bad person. The guilt and shame hit hard.

On the one hand, I know it wasn’t my fault; I know the guilt and shame shouldn’t be mine (but they are). I know they should belong to the person (people) who did those things… I know this, but I also can’t fully accept it.

What if I’m remembering wrong? What if I’m exaggerating? What if I’m really just doing this for attention? What if I’m just that horrible, spiteful child the voice in my head says I am? What if I’m just plain wrong?

The ramifications for the named people wouldn’t be huge, but they’d be there. The ramifications for me would likely be worse. If I mentioned someone, and they didn’t actually do anything, I’d lose friends and family (it’s not like I have proof. It’s just my word against their’s, and I have a history of mental health issues, so… gotta love stigma). I’d be branded a liar & attention-seeking by those closest to me. I’ve already gotten that label from some people, but they are not really people that matter to me; providers I’ve seen only once or twice, family or friends I choose to no longer have contact with…

It’s just easier to talk around it in anonymous circles, or to keep conversations in the safety of the therapy office. That might change some day, but right now, it’s all I can manage. The fear doesn’t exactly stop me from longing to connect more authentically with others, but it stops the actuality of it happening…

I miss the csa group Dr C ran. It was more structured, but we still had chances to connect around the experiences of having gone through what we did, and many of us having dissociation around it… it was a safe place to be vulnerable, and we seemed to share understandings around it all… I don’t really know how the group would work in the long run though. Part of the safety came from the structure and the limited time commitment… but some days I really wish I could sit again in a room of people who understood the struggle without having to search so hard to explain it; and to know it’s safe to give voice to some of the memories.


Talking about level of dissociation (for the first time… again…?)

My level of dissociation came up again in therapy. She mentioned DID. Apparently she’s mentioned it before, but I just filed it away. Deep away.

I cringed at her labeling it DID, so she called them “ego states”.

I dunno. I’ve been trying to wrap my brain around it all week…

I feel like I need to reach out to everyone I’ve ever worked with to find some corroboration… did anyone else notice the intensity of the dissociation? Did I mention anything about the abuse? Was there any inkling of anything other than major depression and anxiety? Did any of the 18+ therapists I worked with over the years try to clue me in and I just forget?

There were times I remember being told there was more behind my symptoms than just the domestic violence, but no one could tell me what. There were large chunks of time I don’t remember, but I also don’t have any info on what went on during those times…

I have a few records of what happened while I was “out” and hospitalized, but they aren’t very detailed…

I dunno.

I feel like I need someone else to say “yes, this is what we’ve seen all along”; not because I don’t trust Dr C’s assessment, but because I don’t trust what I’ve presented to her… it feels like I’m exaggerating everything, and the words I use give the wrong impression. It feels like I’ve fabricated it all for some reason I don’t really understand.

I dunno…


Oh. I guess that makes more sense…

Dr C managed to piece together for me that today’s flashbacks were probably related to a duckboy anniversary i never really paid attention to: he stalked me at my college freshman year right around thanksgiving… i knew it was an event in our relationship, but i never really thought that it would cause ripples so far forward.  she hypothesized that, since it was finally the last interaction with him, it stuck with me. 

I guess it makes sense then that today’s flashback involved him… 


Authenticity (of expression) 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


So… I’m not really around right now (“thanks captain obvious!”), but I wanted to put something down so I can come back to it later, when I have energy and emotional space for it. 

I was telling Dr C how I didn’t feel like I had a right to be sad that my boss is transferring. I explained it along the lines of not having a right to be attached to her in any way, as well as having been taught that emotional intimacy equates to sexual intimacy, and that my expressing to my boss that I was sad she was leaving might be taken the wrong way… not because I think she thinks that way, or that I think that way, but because G thinks that way. It is what he warned us against, and what he was always going on about when anyone at all showed even casual friendship towards him. My adult brain knows that’s a skewed line of thinking, but the emotional, kid part of me can’t seem to step away from it…

Anyway, I explained that to her…

Her response; “Wow. G really did a number on you to have you believe you are both incredibly worthless, and also irresistible all at the same time…”

It’s not the first time I’ve explained something to a therapist only to have them be awed by the level of dysfunction he lives in… TM commented on the extent of his grooming. Dr C has commented on his ideals on more than one occasion. De & TL commented on the general dysfunction of our family dynamic, and the level of domestic violence I grew up thinking was “normal”…

How did I get so old without realizing any of this stuff before it’s pointed out to me? Or maybe; how can I continually & repeatedly dissociate the reality of my childhood so completely?