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.


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? 


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…



Fictional parallels

So, the plotline of one of the characters on Blindspot continues to unfold. I had initially thought that they dropped the story line, but they moved forward with it the last several episodes. 

It originally stared last season when one of the agents ended up arresting his former coach/mentor on child sex abuse charges. The agent (Reade) initially thought that only his peers had been abused, but one of his old friends from that time clued him in to his own abuse. Reade had no memory of any of it. His only hint at proof came from a tape with his own name on it that he found in the coach’s apartment among the stash of tapes the coach made of the abuses.

They introduced some minor hints around it being accurate, but they didn’t focus much on it. Mostly, they showed Reade’s avoidance of it. Looking back, they did a pretty decent job of portraying the denial/overwhelm stage of remembering abuse. 

The most recent episode ended with Reade sitting down with Zapata to watch the tape he had stolen from the apartment. 

The whole story has my interest piqued. I can relate to so much of it: the total dissociation of any memories for decades, the sudden confrontation with an alternate “truth”, the anger, the denial, the pushing it away… I find myself holding my breath to see what happens next. I want to know that I’m not totally alone in how I’m experiencing things… and I want to have some sort of guidebook through all of this. I know Dr C says this isn’t abnormal, but it’s nice to see it presented that way more places than just her office. It’s kinda like feeling alone for so long, then finding someone else that sees things the same way you do. I know it’s just a TV show (and they can still take it in the direction of Reade never actually having been abused), but it’s relatable… it’s the same relief I find in going to the new group (though that is technically over as of Monday). 

I dunno… I forgot where I was going with this post. Maybe it was about finding something to relate to? I dunno… Blindspot is proving to be a decent show despite the frequent cheesey-ness. And unlike Nashville, it’s handling the child abuse ramifications more accurately. Nashville introduced ptsd basically in one episode, then “resolved” it in the next. Blindspot is taking a more accurate approach to the topic. I just hope they follow through on it rather than end it with the whole thing simply being a “scare” for the character…


Triggered

I want to rip my insides out. The body memories are back… 

Between the new group, added work days, recent attempts at contact from my dad’s sister, and other stressor, I’m feeling really triggered lately. 

I told Dr C. I also voiced that I was afraid she might tell me group was not a good idea, since it was contributing to the triggering. She didn’t say I’d have to leave though, so that’s good. I hope she doesn’t change her mind. Yeah, group is triggering, but it’s also nice to know some other people who can relate. I’ve never sat in a room with other people who understood (and voiced their understanding) my symptoms. They understand what it’s like to dissociate, to jump at triggers, to feel things in their bodies that were over decades ago… there’s a sad relief in knowing I’m not alone. 


Sorry I haven’t been around much lately. Losing Chow has been difficult to adjust to. I’ve been withdrawing into myself, yet, paradoxically, throwing myself into things outside the home. It sounds contradictory, I know. 

I’ve been burying the emotional part of me behind a bombardment of stimuli and activities. There’s rarely a moment when I’m not desperately distracting myself.  I’ve not been doing much by way of art or writing though. It’s been mostly “mindless” stuff, like going to dinner with friends (and avoiding anything other than surface conversation), taking the dogs to the park, that kind of stuff. 

I’ve even avoided taking much in therapy. At least, I have up to now. Today’s session might be different. I’ve started attending a group Dr C put together for adult survivors of [mumble, mumble, mumble]… I still cringe and have a small freak-out moment when I hear the title… we’ve met twice so far. The first one was mostly intros and basic group guidelines. The second one was a bit more topic-oriented around explaining PTSD, the symptoms, and how early abuse plays into it. I was ok for the psychoeducational piece of the group, but struggled to stay present when it turned more into talking about the effects on a personal level. 

I think part of my problem with that comes from the walls I’ve put up around the abuse “memories”. I know I was totally convinced at one point that what I was feeling and experiencing were true, but I’ve detached from that the last several weeks. This last group started stirring things below the surface but they still remain below the surface. 

I dunno. On the one hand, it’s a huge relief to have people that seem to struggle with similar symptoms and experiences. On the other hand, I feel like an interloper. They all seem to know what happened to them, and to connect with it. I’m here still trying to remember what the hell it was that came at me in those flashbacks. I know I struggled a lot with them, but they feel foreign to me at this time. It’s like I watched a movie a long time ago, and can kinda remember the plot, but have no idea of the details. And i’m certainly not connecting to it emotionally…


Brain fog 

My head is in a complete fog, and I have no energy. I think it’s because my body is fighting off some ailment. L had a wicked stomach bug this weekend, and others I know have had the flu or respiratory things… I’m just hoping I make it through without succumbing to anything…

Last session, we were taking about the extent of my dissociation (when it happens), and ways to try to pool the knowledge from the various emotional states. Dr C suggested trying to “bring all the emotional states together, like at a conference table”… I had trouble wrapping my head around that concept, but I think it was mostly being uncomfortable with the conference table idea. The more I sat with the concept this weekend, the more I was able to ease into the idea. Though I switched the thought of a board room to the concept of a living room, it’s kinda sounding more possible. I’m not sure if I can make it happen, but I was able to doodle out what the different emotions look like, and to write out what I think of when I think of them… they kinda have personal appearances, though they are not actually totally seperate entities… I understand then as all just different emotional states, and can notice when I “slip into” the different mind sets, well, for most of them. There’s two that feel like completely seperate characters. While I’m consciously aware of feeling different in the others, and can access what it feels like to be, say, the brooding teenager, there are two kids whose heads I can’t get into. Those I walled-off more efficiently than the others…

I’ve always felt like my head was set up kinda like a house, with doors that closed to each room. When I was in one room, I was totally in that room. I had knowledge of the existence of the other rooms, but I couldn’t tell what was going on there, nor did I have efficient working memory of what may have happened when I wasn’t in a particular room… More recently (like the past decade or so), it’s been closer to different characters in each room; like an actor slipping into different roles in different sets. The two “kids” are different actors though…

I dunno where I was going with that. Brain fog offs moving back in…


Impossible things (a letter to no one) 

Sometimes I wish I could materialize you here in my living room, where I’m comfortable and engaged in art. It’s easier to talk sometimes when I’m distracted by the flow, but still connected to the inside. 

Sometimes it’s hard to fit all the talking into that hour. Sometimes it would be easier if we could just do art together and I could talk when things popped into my head; when they felt ready and comfortable to come up. 

It’s safe here alone with just the dogs and my art. Sometimes I wish I could start that way, but bring you in to talk to when I was able. Sometimes I wish you were here without me knowing, so I could get past that censor and shame, and maybe you could help me with the stuff that’s too raw to bring up out loud and in your presence. 

I could get lost in my art and music, and you could watch without me knowing. Then, you could blink in when I wanted to talk… it would be safe and non-threatening. I could communicate the things I’m too scared and ashamed to tell you about. 

And while we are on the topic of impossible powers, maybe it would be good if you could read my mind and tell me for sure if I’m making this all up. You could point out the lies and show me where I’m exaggerating. You could look at the stuff that’s all a jumble and help me understand it. You could take an outsider’s perspective without the emotion, and you could tell me I really am making it all up just because I need to feel worth your time and attention. I want attention… (and even as I think that, I can feel hands on my body and between my legs. It’s creepy. I don’t want attention. I don’t want to be special or pretty or paid attention to. I want to melt into the fibers of the carpet and hide away from everything. I want to disappear).  


More stupid triggers

Met with the aprn today. I knew she’d be intense, but I wasn’t expecting the plethora of triggers that would come my way. 

Aside of her abrupt and incredibly direct manner, she started to talk more about ect after I told her I was strongly against it. I started to run away inside myself, and was about to walk out when I stepped back and was able to ask her to stop talking about it. After she recovered from the interruption, she apologized and moved on. 

I had trouble grounding again, but managed by the time the hour was up. I stood to leave. She offered a handshake though I was already turned towards the door and on my way out. I turned to shake her hand more out of obligation than anything. I was expecting a quick one, but she held on to my hand with both of hers, continuing to shake even as I tried to pull mine away twice. She’s not a big woman, but she has quite a grip. My panic was rising when she finally let go.  I had group right afterwards though. I was able to feel safer in Dr C’s presence for the duration. 

I stayed distracted enough during group, but as soon as I left, the sensation of my hand being held grew louder. The memory of the aprn quickly got overlaid with a sense of bitch, and my whole body stated to feel like it was crawling. I wanted rip my skin off and my insides out… 

I really want to cancel the next appointment with her. I’m not sure the potential benefits of getting this generic test done are worth the intense triggers… correction; I know they are not. I just don’t have the courage to call her (or even text) to cancel the appointment. Maybe next week I’ll find the courage  (or I’ll suck up the no-show fee and just skip the appointment)…

I wish I could have communicated during the appointment that my impulsiveness only happens when I take psych meds. The whole mess of hospitalizations happened mainly while I was on meds (save the two instances after I moved back home). 

I also didn’t verbalize that my ptsd kicked up big-time after that move, and that, while home, the flashbacks were 24/7 and incredibly intense. They aren’t as bad up here, nor as pervasive, though they do happen…

I’m not sure I want to keep triggering them by continuing to see this aprn. I’m sure she’s probably a nice person, and good at her job, but… when I try to remember anything about the appointment, she’s replaced by bitch and the things bitch did. 

I’m really not interested in trying psychotropic meds again (even ones I’ve not tried… all three of them). 

I’ve been feeling pukey and exhausted since the appointment. I really wanted to sleep, even on the drive home. I got home ok, then back out to pick L up at work, but fell asleep while waiting the 7 minutes for her to get out. I slept about 2 hours. I’m not as tired now, but still feel gross. I’m thinking it’s related to the triggering. 

She had asked what was behind the ever-present suicidality. All I could think to say was that I’m so tired… I wish I knew how to qualify what it’s like to struggle through every day. The best I can do is keep journaling the days, but even that doesn’t do it justice… how do you explain carrying a hell no one else can truly understand (nor do you ever wish them to)…


D.E.S. results chat

Talked to Dr C about the results from the assessment, and I took it again with her. I scored a 44 this time… we looked up the scoring; doesn’t look like you can score much higher than a 50… I’m not DID though, so…? I dunno. 

I had questioned how reliable my self-report could be if my score changed so much in just a day. I questioned if maybe I was exaggerating things on the questionnaire. She said that it sounded more like I was trying to downplay my experiences (I was talking to her about a few of the questions).  I have trouble quantifying my experiences, so I’m not sure I answer the same way each time. She said that the test was statistically quite accurate and reliable. She also mentioned that one of the underpinnings of dissociation is not being able to remember the act of dissociating. So, I guess that’s another check in the “you’re really fucked up chicky-do” column… :/

She asked if I was worried about a DID diagnosis. I reflexively answered “no” because I don’t see it as that bad & because I’ve seen DDNOS on my records, so others don’t think it’s that bad. I think I’ve talked to her another time about it also, and I think I remember ruling out DID, so there’s that… but on the way home, I kinda panicked about whether her thoughts on it were evolving to lean more towards that diagnosis. I just text her asking if she was seeing DID. I’m not sure she will answer that through text or not, but as long as we address it at some point, I think I’ll feel better about it. 

I know my dissociation can be severe at times because I’ve completely lost days, weeks, and even months in the last decade. I guess I just don’t think it’s that severe all the time. I don’t see too much evidence pointing to DID other than L’s frustration around never knowing what to expect from me in terms of likes and dislikes…

We chatted more about dissociation and the functions of it. We talked about other coping skills for handling the body sensations and the flashbacks. I think she kinda came to the conclusion that even my healthier coping skills utilize dissociation to a degree. We talked about the writing and the art, and how I often don’t really remember what was created. We did differentiate the “flow” of creating vs more dissociative aspects of it. I think with both the art and the writing, part of the creative process is having no real direction and letting the piece take over its own evolution. It’s when I can’t recall writing something (like a blog entry) or creating something, that the dissociation plays a bigger role in that coping strategy… there are definitely some things I have to look at over and over again because they seem familiar, but I don’t connect to having made them.

Dr C commented that dissociation, especially such intense dissociation, takes a lot of energy. I countered that it’s actually the least draining of my coping skills, but now that I think about it, I wonder if that contributes to the constant exhaustion. I know some of it is the depression, but maybe she’s right; maybe the dissociation is exhausting as well. 


“Weird”

I feel weird. It’s hard to describe. It’s triggery, floaty, disconnected… I’m having trouble putting it into words. 

There were just two of us in group today. Dr C took that opportunity to try to show us both that we are more alike than we might think… 

Dr C and I had been talking about shame around my cutting, and me trying to wrap my head around my recurring “shock” when I hear a dissociative diagnosis in reference to my symptoms…  I think she was trying to allow me an opportunity to talk about it with someone who might understand from a first-hand perspective. 

We ended up talking a bit about extreme dissociation and about coping skills. Something about B describing her DID stirred up my body memories. When she talked about switching, some part of me started to “wake up”… the stirring feelings shifted and swirled and ran through a few “ages”… I dunno. It was weird; and the body memories bubbled up…

Last week, for the first time in almost 2 decades, I connected with a part of myself I had all-but-forgotten ever existed. I suddenly remembered how much I loved to read, and that I used to do it all the time. I connected to the memory and the emotion of it… It only lasted a few hours, but I remembered what it was like. I’m trying to rekindle that part. I’ve started to buy books again and I actually want to read them. I haven’t been able to pay attention to them yet, but there’s an excitement around it (even if it’s just a tiny seedling of excitement). 

Anyway, the rest of today has been emotionally weird. I think I’m still somewhat back in group, trying to process finally not being alone in my dysfunction. I’m also feeling the beginnings of mild flashbacks (at least, I hope they are mild)… I’m guessing the internal stirrings are also playing a part in the weird feeling. It’s like the inside partitions are starting to get hazy and the parts are wandering forward. I’m not sure the walls will always be hazy (they’re starting to solidify again), but they were in group.

I’m getting better at holding conversations, but it’s still difficult. I lose interest pretty quickly… no, “interest” isn’t the right word. I’m not sure what exactly it is, but I lose my motivation to keep talking. I get distracted, and tired, and… yeah. That. 

Sorry, this post is fast losing cohesion. 


Talking about “it”

I’ve decided that I want to talk to my gyn a bit more about my history. She’s seen the aftermath, I figure she might benefit from hearing the original story (though not necessarily specific details).

Granted, I’m struggling with the selfishness of telling her (it’s really only so I can talk to someone other than Dr C about it. I trust Dr F, and she’s still bound by confidentiality), but I hope maybe it will help her understanding of any other patients that might present like I did. I know I scared and shocked her when I presented to her after self harming in an attempt to rid myself of body memories. I can still hear the panic in her voice, and see the expression on her face as she suddenly felt helpless to fix things (I’m guessing she’s not used to feeling helpless regardless of the emergency). I don’t remember much else about that day, but I remember her panic being palpable in that moment before her mask slipped back into place. I never meant to traumatize people, I was just trying to escape hell.

Anyway, I see Dr F again next week. I’m going to attempt to talk to her at that time. I’m going to write down what I want to tell her. I hope that will provide something for her to at least read if I chicken out again. I really want to be able to share this story even though I don’t always believe it myself… now, to put my thoughts in coherent order so I can express them to Dr F. 


Being an EMDR Trauma Therapist Teaches You a Lot and Most of It Is Good

Yes! This.

Go With That

I’ll start with what sucks.  People do astonishingly terrible things to other people–unbelievable, unspeakable, and completely fucked up things.  This happens all the time and on every street.  Trauma happens in virtually every family.  A fair chunk of trauma is caused by people who claim to love the people that they hurt.  Many of the most severely traumatized people I have worked with had extensive contact with modern safety net services throughout their childhoods, with repeated foster care placements that resulted in round after round of additional childhood sexual trauma inside the systems designed to protect them.  Many of my clients have never had a single safe person, a safe place, or any safe time.

In the vast majority of cases, trauma doesn’t end in childhood.  It certainly doesn’t end with the person becoming my client.  Trauma is alive in my clients because so little of it has ever been…

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Art journaling again, finally

It’s been a while, huh? 

The weekend went ok after fixing the art piece, though we didn’t really do much more with it. We were going to, but something else sidetracked us (though in the moment, I can’t really remember what it was). 

I’ve been really stuck in my art. I’ve completed a whole bunch of backgrounds, but nothing really finished. There were also a few doodles, but again, all unfinished and directionless. 

I think I managed to get through a piece tonight. I got further than any other piece in the past several weeks… I was trying for a Halloween theme (because, well, it’s the only holiday I really like, and it usually inspires me). I started it earlier this week but got sidetracked (themes much?). I grabbed some supplies I thought would work with the existing background. I started laying down washi tape. It wasn’t really a pattern with any real direction though, and I got stuck again. 

I began flicking through the screenshots on my phone (inspiration images, things I find interesting, quotes that stick out to me…). I landed on a quote that seemed appropriate; “it takes a huge effort to free yourself from memory” – Paulo Coelho. 

It fit the background and the washi tape pretty well. It also gave me more direction for the page. 

I used crackle paste to form the silhouette of a brain. Appropriate, since lately my brain feels cracked and broken. I feel cracked and broken… I know sometimes I feel these really horrible things, but other times I have no connection to any of it. I have these huge walls that I feel almost no control over. They slam into place with little warning, and they have very little seepage. 

Anyway… yeah. Here’s the page:


Kinda lost

Saw Dr C today. We did some art. It was around the concept of a baby, and how to keep that baby safe…

It came about because of my panic yesterday around the concept of ever having been a baby. I don’t really remember yesterday’s session, but I remember the dread and fear and panic and denial around her statement that I was born a good baby. All I could think was that I was never a baby… I couldn’t even fathom the concept of ever having been a baby. I knew at the time that pictures of “me” as a baby existed. I knew somewhere in my head that it’s impossible to be alive without ever having been a baby, but I couldn’t admit/understand/connect to ever having been one.

Later, after the session (and again today), I am mad at her for suggesting it. Part of me knows it’s a simple biological truth; I was at one time a baby, but… I wasn’t (or I can’t bring myself to accept it). There’s this huge fear around acknowledging that I may ever have been a baby. It pisses me off to think about it. The image that comes into my head when I think of myself as a baby is scary… I don’t want it.

Even now, as I write this, I’m angered by the thought of being a baby… angered and scared terrified. It feels like someone might die; like I might die… and my heart rate soars through the roof… and I want to shred my body into a million little pieces so I don’t have to feel the fear and body sensations…

I don’t really know what to do with myself. Whatever was stirred yesterday in session, and re-surfaced today, is continuing to stir and bubble. I don’t know how to process it. I’m not sure what to make of it. The thought of more surfacing is intimidating. It’s creepy & scary & enraging… I hate it.

The baby in the art today had no face, or feet, or hands (though I painted in hands after she suggested it). If the baby has no face though, it can’t see the scary, or hear it, or cry (and get in trouble) or smell anything. The baby doesn’t know if anyone is coming, if they are good or bad, until whatever it is that’s going to happen will happen. It kinda protects the baby, but it also scares him… Dr C was looking for something. In the time she was searching, I grew more and more uncomfortable looking at the baby I had painted. I wanted to scribble over it, or spill paint over it – anything to obliterate the image of the kid. I censored telling Dr C that I wanted to erase the kid from the page. Instead, I asked what we were going to do with the baby because it was making me uncomfortable looking at it (what an understatement!). She said we were going to to make the baby safe. I had no idea what to do, so I tried to draw a protective person in the picture. Unfortunately, she turned out scary. I wasn’t sure how to fix it. I did a few other layers but it was only making everything worse. Dr C offered to help. She drew in someone holding the baby. I added a blanket to cover him… then time was up. As we were cleaning up, she asked if the baby was safe now… I told her he was “safer”, but I wouldn’t go so far as to call him safe. I blew out of there somewhat fast after cleaning up. I wanted to stay and change the picture more, but her light had gone off (indicating another client was waiting). I also felt like I needed to run away from there. It felt like trying to make the kid in the picture safe was a forced thing and wouldn’t really actually do anything to keep him safe. It felt like a facade…

Suddenly I’m out of that head-space. I know I have reactions to things, but once it disappears, it feels foreign. Those walls are back again, and are really high and thick. It feels like all my experiences happen in isolation chambers. If I’m not in the chamber, I really have no concept of what goes on there. I guess that’s the dissociation… I should ask Dr. C what the new name is for that diagnosis. It used to be DD:NOS, but I know the newest DSM changed that. I definitely have isolated experiences, but they are not so severely isolated that I would have “alters”. I just can’t really access much of the experiences unless I’m in that particular head-space. I may know they happened (or the general gist of it, most of the time… there used to be a time where I totally had no memory at all of days or even months), I just understand them as something someone else described to me once…

I should stop writing. My head is beginning to spin, and I’m losing focus on what I want to say.


If I stop for too long, my head starts chattering away at me; my body picks up with a vengeance… 

I can’t slow my heart rate down with any reliability lately. It’s been in the 100’s for the past week straight. That hasn’t happened since the move (or, I haven’t noticed/kept track). It’s nowhere near the 140’s it used to be, but it’s also an increase from the 90’s it had been of late… I can feel it working. I wouldn’t call it pounding so much as quite noticeable. At least the “flopping fish” feeling isn’t back, and the tightness from last month is gone. 

I should just go take my sleep aid, but that’ll require a bit more conversation with myself. When I told Dr C that I knew it was only L and the cats in the bedroom, and that the dogs were lose in the apartment overnight, yet I still couldn’t bring myself to walk in there easily, she changed the perspective. She pointed out that L and all the animals are in the house with me. No one can come in or do anything without being noticed. Maybe getting to look at it that way will help. 

I still have to take the dogs out one last time before bed. As cute as he is, I’m hoping the little skunk isn’t back tonight. It makes taking them out a longer process (they are easier to handle one on one when there’s prey around, and the skunk is only prey if the little guy gets riled-up. The girls don’t much care about wildlife when they are on their own). 

The “hands” won’t leave me alone… they get quieter if I can be distracted enough, but then they return. 

I was trying to see if my insurance would cover a weighted blanket (something I’ve found to be helpful in feeling safe enough to sleep), but they were dodgy about it. I have to get the appropriate treatment code to bill under or its not even considered. They won’t tell me the treatment code though. I wonder if I asked Dr C about it, would she know? She has a fair amount of experience working with autistic clients and definitely trauma clients. Maybe she’s come across the code before? I wonder if her recommendation would be enough, or if it’d need it to come from an OT or a medical doctor. 

We’re still working on the “hall pass” idea, though I’m no closer at having something to try than I was last night. Maybe she’ll think of something to suggest? 

I feel weird going back every day this week. Originally it was to try to get some emdr in, but since that’s not been something I think I am ready for at this moment, we’ve just been talking… Maybe tomorrow we’ll get to the art… I’m not in crisis, but the pressure to keep talking about the memories is strong. I’ve opened them up recently, and now they are spilling out. I’m relieved I can spill them to Dr C rather than try to contain them till next week. I hope she doesn’t get too sick of me.


Exhausted

Therapy was difficult today. I’m back to insisting I’ve made everything up. It’s too much to swollow to believe it’s not all made up…

I think I started crying like three times with her. I rarely cry, but lately it seems to come more freely in therapy… I felt really small. And the thought of ever having been a baby terrified me. 

I’m really lucky Dr C is so patient. She puts up with all my crap, and still agrees to see me again…

We were going to try to do some art today, but I digressed. I showed her some [graphic] stuff in my journal, and then we talked more about it. I still need to come up with an acceptable “pass” to allow myself permission to step away from triggering situations. I think we are going to work on that more tomorrow and next week. I’m not sure I have a good idea of what might work. I need something that will not only give me internal permission to step away, but also that would potentially make it ok for anyone else I’m with. When triggered, I feel an obligation to stay in the triggering situation if there’s someone else there that may disapprove of my leaving… it’s difficult to find something that may meet all those conditions. 

So yeah. More therapy tomorrow. I didn’t want to leave her office today, but at the same time, I wanted to be out of there already. It felt safe, but I was really overwhelmed. I wanted to keep the safe feeling while escaping the overwhelm. 

The feeling of desperately wanting to shred my flesh off so I stop feeling the flashbacks has abated somewhat. I still want to obliterate my brain, but that can temporarily be accomplished through alcohol…


Emdr (TRIGGER) 

Did some emdr kinda spontaneously on Monday. I was really struggling with some intrusive memories/body memories, and Dr C had extra time. 

We aimed for my resistance to emdr, and to deal with the fears around it. That quickly progressed to the body memories. It was fragments of things flooding in and washing each other away just to come back in a few minutes. It was intense. I think I was dissociated through some of it because we worked on re-centering and returned to the fear around exploring these memories. 

One of them was really weird. I think it might have been a memory of both the dissociative experience and the abuse melding together. It was similar to a strange dream, where impossible things are happening, and I’m at once experiencing them and watching them. I was at once floating in the ocean feeling the sun on my body, and being molested in a bed… 

It was incredibly intense afterwards and I kinda freaked out. It was the longest I’ve sat in Dr C’s parking lot after a session (almost 50 minutes) trying to center again. I’ve text her a lot since then. I feel like I might be pissing her off. 

Part of the emdr also covered the self-harm. It feels like the shame and guilt around it are gone, but at the same time, there’s a fear of the consequences. I guess that’s good. I want to destroy the parts of my body that remember the abuse, but I also want to avoid the hospital. 

I made another appointment for later this morning to process this with her. I felt like I was bothering her too much through text. I’m also hoping that seeing her in person and talking about this will help set my mind at ease about the process. I’m starting to remember some of this discomfort and turmoil after the first round, and I’m starting to remember that it passed in a few days. It’s been a bit better this morning. 

I had a really weird dream/memory/thing last night (another thing she said would be normal and expected). In it, I was a kid curled on my bed trying to sleep (similar position to how I was laying in bed last night, so I’m guessing the position was a lead-in to the memory)… it was another impossible situation though. There was a snake moving around the backs of my thighs and found its way between my legs. It felt very strange, not what my pet snakes feel like when I hold them, so I’m guessing it was something my understanding substituted for what was actually happening at the time… it reminded me of an article I read a few years ago that described the arrest of a man for animal abuse and assault when the kid said the man molested her with his pet snake. I think the man told the kid his penis was “his python” and so the kid kept calling it that… it’s quite difficult to make a snake do something it doesn’t want to, and a snake has no interest in worming it’s way into tight body orifices… 

Anyway, so… yeah. I’m waiting for time to pass before I have to leave for my appointment. My body is still shakey from my lack of sleep, and probably also from everything the emdr has stirred up… I wish I had the availability to do that intensive emdr now, but I have to be at work for the next few weeks… I might dissapoint my boss and end up needing coverage soon if I stir up too much. I’m trying to be available out of a sense of obligation to help out (staff vacations need coverage, and one of the main customer service reps is leaving for a full-time job after my boss gets back from her own vacation), but maybe I need to be a little less available. I have the option at this point not to work at all and just concentrate on my therapy. In theory, I should take the time I need to help me alleviate my symptoms… but at the same time, work is a good distraction. I didn’t exactly plan to be less available when we are already under-staffed, so I shouldn’t feel guilty about needing to say no, but I do… L and I need the extra money to help fix the car situation… and I have a huge thing about helping out, even to my own detriment, when someone needs it (especially someone I like/respect/care about). When I first started working there again, I was a bit better about maintaining my boundaries and not taking on too much. I’m falling back into that need to please everyone. I can see it heading to a huge disappointment when I finally find the courage to say I can’t cover too much… ugh. 

If I could find a way to just do therapy super intensley until I got to a point where I could get a handle on the symptoms and triggers and side-effects, then I could be a real, functioning human again. Insurance has limited that though. They don’t want to pay my therapist for more than one session a week. They don’t want to pay for an iop or php because I’m not in crisis (and if I was, they would want me inpatient first)… it’s frustrating how little they help when the whole reason I have them is because I struggle with mental health issues enough to make regular functioning near-impossible… there’s hope though. I just switched to the basic Medicare, which I’m lead to believe covers stuff easier than the crappy advantage plan I was on… starting September 1 st, coverage for therapy should theoretically be easier. 

There’s a tightness in my chest from all of this… Maybe I will ask Dr C about trying an iop as adjunct to the emdr we are doing. Maybe medicare will pay for it in hopes of getting me to a place where I can get off disability and get back to a real life. I just wish there was a close trauma iop or php… Maybe I could get into that place in Boston this time around (I was too acute 5 years ago when we first tried it. I landed in DC because their program was able to do crisis stabalization).
Sorry this was so disjointed and scattered…


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. 


Updateless update

Not doing much lately. The anniversary has come and gone without major incident. Dr C is off on her globe-trotting adventure. I’m working a bunch. L is settling into her new job (and we actually have time to do things together! She doesn’t come home crying either). 
Insomnia is back again. I think I slept for maybe 3 hours last night. The rest of the night was spent trying to sleep. Had a weird dream involving a former boss. We became friends again, but not really. I’m not sure. It was weird though. 

One of the neighbors is off from work this week. She mentioned getting together at some point because she’s just hanging around being bored. Unfortunately, this week I’m working a bunch again. Maybe I’ll bug her tomorrow. She likes crafting/art stuff, as well as walking, so maybe we will do one of those things (or just be lumps on a log together). I dunno. I’m so tired all the time; it gets difficult to motivate to do things. Maybe if I cleaned the house we could do some art, but it currently looks like something off an episode of hoarders…

I’m supposed to see one of Dr C’s colleagues tomorrow. I’m not even sure why I’m going. Yeah, the thought of going a month without support is daunting, but what in the world am I going to talk to this lady about? It’s not like I can work on anything with her… Dr C had mentioned seeing her weekly, but I think I may just do bi-weekly so I only see her twice. I don’t really have the cash for the copays anyway. I dunno… 

I’m just tired… the depression is at baseline (I think). The flashbacks are at baseline (mostly). Everything’s just… flat. 

Been trying to work on some art, but nothing gets past the initial mess. I start a page without any real plan. Normally, the pages resolve themselves as I work. Now, they just become layer upon layer of mess without any resolution… Actually, now that I think about it, it’s kinda mirroring therapy. I feel like I start a bunch of stuff with Dr C, but we never get anywhere with it. Time runs out for the day and then it’s almost forgotten by next session. It’s a combination of other things getting in the way, and me not having the courage to bring it up again, or not knowing where to go next with it. I keep asking her to help me structure things better, but then I keep eluding her attempts at more structure. It’s like I’m shooting myself in the foot one mile into a hike right after asking to make it 20 miles long… 


Transference and loss

I couldn’t get out of my own way yesterday to be able to address anything I had hoped to yesterday. 

My defenses are working overtime. 

I’ve “figured out” (again) that my reactions to Dr C’s vacation are mostly a reaction to the loss of my aunt almost a quarter century ago, and to the other losses that have come around this time of year since then. 

As much as I love the summer weather, it’s generally been a season filed with losses. It’s a time wracked by hugely ambivalent emotions. I love aspects of it, but hate others… 

I’m glad Dr C is going away on vacation because it means she’s taking care of herself, but I hate it because I’m losing my entire outside support system. That’s the downfall of having your individual therapist also be your group therapist…

I was going to try to see her colleague, but turns out she doesn’t take my insurance. Other options are seriously limited. So I’m just going to have to suck it up for the month. 

All this transference and displaced grief are making my chest feel tight. It’s starting to ache from the constant tension. 

After tonight’s shift at work, I’m not on the schedule for another 6 days; another break I really could do without at the moment. At least I won’t have to deal with the customers. I’ve not worked much with the dogs these last few weeks because I needed to cover the customer service end of things. Hopefully next week skeleton pot me back into camp again. I was back there over the holiday and it was much needed. There’s something to be said for cuddles with 30+ dogs who want to pile on top of you. 


Therapy vacation coming up… :/

Dr C will be on vacation for a month starting in about 2 weeks. I’m not sure what I want to do during that time. She gave me the option of being set up with someone else while she is away, kinda a check-in thing. I told her I needed to think about it. She mentioned having someone that will cover for her in case of emergencies. I wanted to remind her that I would likely not bother that person, but I remained silent and nodded… I’m not really in a place of definitely needing someone to talk to while she is gone, but I also know it’s hard going even 1.5 weeks between appointments because of holidays… I know I’d be overall fine at the end of the month, but getting to the end of the month will be difficult.

She’s also considering having someone take over and run the group for her while she is gone. That would be good, since I think all of us have her as our therapist.

If I see someone while she’s gone, not only will I be keeping it all surface stuff, but I’ll have to do the copay at the time of the sessions… I hope she can find someone to cover the group. At least that copay would be cheaper (by a lot)…

At least she’ll be here for the shitty anniversary… hopefully once that’s over, I’ll be able to balance better.


A pattern of tolerance for the negative

A theme for the week: tolerating triggering situations for the small benefits they may bring.

It was a topic of conversation during Monday’s session. It came up during the week, it came up again today, and it’s wrapped up in the self-harm… Dr C pointed out the pattern to me Monday, and suddenly it’s weaving it’s way through everything (well, at least, I’m noticing it). It’s even a thread through my healthier coping skills: Breathe through the tuff stuff to get to the other side… as Dr C pointed out Monday, it’s what I did to get through as a kid, and it’s what I keep doing. I get that it would be good for me to change that pattern, but there’s some comfort in it. I tolerate the bad for the bits of good…

There are however, aspects of life where I don’t follow that pattern anymore. My relationship with L is a great example of that. There is no tolerating of the bad to get to the good. Sure, we have disagreements, and both of us have our share of being jerks at times, but I think we have a healthy and supportive relationship. We try to address things as they come up, and we love each other. We avoid trying to make the other feel weak, scared, or small. We build each other up. We hold the other’s self-worth when it tanks. And we genuinely care.

It certainly wasn’t the image I had for a relationship growing up. I always thought I’d marry an abusive serviceman who would beat and rape me daily… I’m not totally sure where I got that idea from, but it had always been there. I would imagine being left alone to deal with the abuse, as everyone would ignore his behavior. I would be told to be quiet and let him do whatever because his job was stressful. I would swallow the fear and just get through the day…

So yeah, some places I’ve broken that pattern, but other places it’s still very present. I tolerate triggering shows and movies because there’s some part of them I’m interested in (Game of Thrones is one of them). I focus on the good parts of it to get through the uncomfortable parts… yet when Dr C suggested I stop watching it in favor of not having to repeat the pattern, I cringed. As triggering as parts of the show may be, other parts are highly engaging.

Similarly, when hanging out with some people, I sit through conversations around triggering topics because I’m not sure how to effectively set a boundary around it one they start (and I’m triggered). I know Dr C and I talked about effective ways to politely set that boundary, but when the moment came, my mind was blank. I listened to my friend talk about her familial abuse history. It triggered flashbacks and dissociation. I felt myself slip into a more detached space. For the life of me, I could not find the words to ask her to stop. The only 2 options that came to mind for changing the topic would not have been very comfortable (for me or her). So instead, I listened to what she said from miles away, and responded when I thought I should respond. I really wanted to scream or run out of there, but I was raised to be polite and courteous. That would have been neither (though probably right on target for a trauma response)…

Anyway, so yeah. Patterns. Fun.


Good at something

In session today, we talked about the total disconnect I have with everything relating to the “memories” these last few days.

She says it’s because I’m really good at dissociating things.

I guess.

I reiterated that none of it feels real. (I left out that nothing feels real at the moment. None of my history feels like it belongs to me, not even the things I’ve known all along). I reiterated that it’s all just a story I made up, though I can’t figure out why I would do it.

She said that she believed me anyway. She said I might not have any connection to it at the moment, but she was there when the part of me who experienced it also re-experienced it when I told it.

She said she’d hold the “trueness” of it for me…

Ok… that’s good. Because it feels like a tornado whipped through a store-room full of cabinets and sent the papers flying everywhere. Things are mixed up, employees are battered and confused, and the secretary is running around trying to put it all back together again in some semblance of order (hopefully back where it all belongs). It’s nice to have someone take the weight of the truth away from all that running around and fixing… I picture a woman carrying a huge manual while trying to also pick up random scraps of paper. As she bends down to pick up something else, the manual tips to the side and starts to open. It’s tall and held together with flexible rods through one side. It’s much easier to pick all the stray papers up if the manual is not in her hands…

The boy grew up while we were talking (briefly?). For the first time in several sessions, I actually left feeling ok; like I had stated to talk about what was pressing to come out. I’m not quite sure what the boy wanted to cover, but he seemed satisfied with whatever it was we talked about.

I still don’t like this process. I still feel like I’m falling apart more than coming together, but she says that’s a good thing. She says the system has outlived it’s usefulness and now it’s time to move on… I’m not sure I believe that last part. At least, I’m not sure I want to believe it.