Tag Archives: think about it

Musings on emotions

It feels like this huge, crushing weight (grief does).

It seems like I’m feeling it too intensely sometimes… 

For some reason, it struck me today that some people have “sensory processing disorders” around emotions rather than sights, sounds, or textures… 

The same way loud noises  (or lots of sources of noise) can be overwhelming to someone on the autism spectrum, “loud” emotions can be overwhelming to some people… 

What if that emotional overwhelm they try to always pigeonhole as “borderline” is really just an autistic glitch around emotions as opposed to one of the other senses? 

What if introducing trauma/abuse/neglect into the mix early-on intensifies the inability of a person to deal with this emotional sensory processing disorder? 

We’ve all heard the theories that borderline is better explained by c-ptsd (which I totally agree with). What if we took it one step further and explored the possibility that “borderline”was actually in part an autism-like disorder? 

If you consider that one “symptom” of borderline is “feeling too intensley”, and you understand that even trained clinicians minimize the difficulty of dealing with extremely intense emotions (as they’ve been trained to do; “know that emotions come & go, like waves”), it’s easy to see the disconnect in effective strategies for clients. It’s something along the lines of comparing a stubbed toe to a shattered foot. Sure, you can probably take over-the-counter Tylenol for the stubbed toe & it will likely help, but doing the same for the shattered foot probably won’t make a noticeable impact. For such an intense injury, you need prescription-strength stuff. We should have something more than “Tylenol” to offer people. 

What if we understand that pushing someone to sit with intense pain (physical or emotional)  will likely lead to various ways of procuring relief… so you take a kid who can’t handle loud noises, and you tell them they need to sit through a rock concert. You’re going to get a tantrum and various, inventive ways to deal with the pain from the noise (think stereotypical autistic behaviors like flapping, screaming, hitting self, or attacking others). Now take a kid who feels emotions incredibly intensely, and ask them to tolerate those emotions. You pretty much get the same acting out in search of relief: self injury, tantrums, physical and verbal outbursts…

I’m a huge proponent for dropping the borderline diagnosis from the dsm. It’s an antiquated and “cop-out” diagnosis with way too much stigma attached. While there’s a push to remove the stigma, it’s still very much taught to young clinicians. Professors and supervisors alike instill fear and disgust around the diagnosis. Myths are perpetuated. Doctors do the same. It’s quick to be diagnosed (often inaccurately), and it’s near impossible to step away from even if it’s found to be inaccurate. It follows you and colors every other interaction with every other professional that sees the dreaded diagnosis anywhere in the file…

What if, instead of just working to destigmatize the diagnosis, we came up with more accurate understandings, and got rid of it completely. It was, after all, just a catch-all category for people who didn’t quite fit any of the other categories… 

What are your thoughts on this? Does it kinda make sense? Am I way out in left field? 


thoughts and ramblings… (apologies for this wall of text)

I had my usual appointment with TM today. I struggled to explain to her what was different about this weekend. She asked what the motivators were for my change in attitude. I couldn’t put my finger on the tiny “half-spark” of internal motivation for the change, but I also could not adequately describe the difference in external motivators either. At one point, I tried to explain that I disliked being a cause for concern. I don’t think I explained the “why” behind that very well though… Just now, reading through an older post from another blog I follow, I found a wonderfully concise and accurate description:

“I have always reacted badly to emotionally affecting other people; it’s like I should exist as a neutral entity. Especially when it comes to people who matter to me.” ( blogged about it in this post from last year)…

I’ll have to try to remember this the next time I see TM.

Anyway, we talked about the weekend, and she challenged me to find what it was that allowed for that tiny bit of internal push to change how things turn out. I kinda thought about it already while running errands on the way home… I don’t think she will like the answer (though maybe she will be able to put a positive spin on it): Since I don’t have a fool-proof, guaranteed-to-work method to kill myself, I might as well work to make the interim as pleasant and productive as possible. If I’m in crisis and falling apart at the slightest sign of stress, I will certainly not be making the most of this time I’m “stuck” here. I will also never progress past the initial “dump” of info in therapy. I need to be able to get past this point.

To that end, TM pointed out what should have been obvious to me but wasn’t: I’m still pretty depressed. We talked about what my barriers are to accomplishing even the simplest things. I had reported to her Friday that I had tried several times between Tuesday and Friday  to go to the beach without any success. She wanted specifics around what had me turning around. I explained that it should have been easy enough for me to go, since I always have a “beach bag” in the car (shirt, shorts, blanket, towel, bathing suit). I could simply head out and either change when I got there, or go in jeans and change into dry shorts after. But I would get stuck on all the steps needed to make it to the beach. Sometimes I would start to go, get much of the way there, then turn around because the remaining effort was just too much. The slightest hinderance to making the full journey (which is really only about 6 miles or less, and maybe takes 20 minutes) had me losing my resolve to go. It became overwhelming to think of having to make all those turns, go through all those lights, find parking, gather my stuff, walk “all the way out” to the water, find a spot to consider “mine” or walk along the shore… And if I decided to go in the water, I would have to make sure my stuff didn’t blow away, and my valuables were safely hidden, and battle the waves to get to a point where I can just chill… It was so much easier to just turn around and go home. (I also described my thought process around going to the mall several weeks ago to exchange my bra. She was surprised at how far I broke it down, and admitted that having to think about doing all that would exhaust her also). She agreed that my miles-long list of “steps to get there” could seem to out-weigh the single acknowledged gain. This was where she pointed out “what [I] probably already know, but…” that’s all depression talking. I sometimes forget that depression can also manifest as a lack of energy or enjoyment from things. I’m so used to it being a horrid, hopeless, lifeless mood that as soon as the mood lifts a bit, I don’t see the depression anymore. I think the universe has been trying to bring this to my attention of late. Not only has TM now pointed it out, but I had followed a few forum posts where it was suggested that the poster still was experiencing depression despite the lack of depressed mood. It was more of a behavioral presentation. If I take an honest look at myself lately, I have to admit I’m still obviously depressed. Not only do I find it incredibly difficult to motivate around anything or take enjoyment out of what used to be enjoyable activities, but I also actively battle a higher intensity of “self-destruct” thoughts than would be considered my baseline… So much for moving past the depression. :sigh:

Anyway, she left me with cognitively challenging homework this week (a good balance to the emotionally challenging timeline from last week). I’m supposed to document (timeline or otherwise) some happy/good events in life. I laughed at her and said it would probably all fit on a post-it, compared to the large piece of brown paper I brought the other timeline in on. We laughed, then commiserated on the salience of negative or traumatic memories as opposed to positive/happy ones. I pointed out that we probably wouldn’t have gotten very far in the history of humanity if we forgot tigers might rip our arms off when we tried to cuddle them in the forest. She laughed at that. I like that we have a similar sense of humor, and our thought-process is somewhat similar. I again almost asked her if I could take her with me when I moved…

The other piece of homework was more of a reflective exercise: to figure out what happened to give me that internally motivated little half-spark of hope that helped me get through the weekend. That is so much more challenging. I can easily figure out the external motivators: L, the animals, not wanting to wind up in the hospital, not liking the feeling of causing others to worry or be concerned… easy-peasy. Internal factors though? maybe the discomfort with causing worry? (because it has changed somehow from not feeling worthy or deserving of worry, to disliking the feeling I get within myself when others say they are worried. I know I’m not describing that well, but…). So yeah, I dunno. This one may take me forever to accomplish.

On another note, though TM offered the possibility of a scheduled phone check-in, we ended with leaving it up in the air. I told her I really wanted to prove to myself that I can be self-sufficient (because I used to know how to do that at one time). She made it a point to say that neither calling nor not calling her would mean a failure of any kind. I’m glad she has been listening to all my fears, lol. While I still am seeing calling her as a failure, I will keep playing her statement over and over again in my head. Regardless what happens this week around seeking support, I will not have failed… (some day, I might believe that).

 


100-theme challenge 2014

I have participated in 100-theme challenges twice now, and I really liked some of what I produced because of them.  This year however, I wanted to put my own spin on things.  I wanted to come up with one myself.  A lot of my list can be interpreted in therapeutic ways (though admittedly, some were inspired by objects/events in the living room at the time of its creation), so I thought I would post it here in case anyone wants to participate.  The rules are simple: interpret the prompt however you see fit.  You can choose to post your work publicly somewhere, or keep it to yourself.  It can be in any form you wish as long as it can be considered creative in some way (drawing, painting, sculpting, writing, music, sounds, pictures, words, collages, performance, anything).  It’s really just supposed to give you topics you may not have thought of on your own to help spark creativity… I have liked the challenges in the past because I did things I never expected to do.  It forced me to take time out for creativity and story-telling.  Since I have been focusing more on my own art therapy of late, I figured this next one could be a way to help me express to De what I need to get out.  I will try to post anything I do of relevance.  I must warn you however, I go in spurts with these things.  Sometimes a whole bunch of work will show up at once, other times, there will be months without anything.  What I’m trying to say is: don’t hold your breathe for me to get the list finished in a timely manner.  I have had 2013’s list for the past year and only this past month have I started it…  I really liked that list though, so I will continue working on that one as well (rather than incorporate stuff from that list into this one).

Without further adieu, here’s my 2014 100-theme challenge:

1) candlelight
2) magnified
3) left standing
4) aftermath
5) breaking ground or ground breaking?
6) reaching out
7) trust
8) broken
9) in the daylight (everything is different)
10) rats in the walls
11) shattered
12) open to interpretation
13) flashbacks
14) heaviness
15) lighter than air
16) combustion
17) lights
18) hope/hopeless
19) under pressure
20) disclosure
21) history
22) presence
23) disappearing from…
24) gone away
25) at the dinner table
26) unbalanced
27) highlights
28) even snakes get the blues
29) enlightenment
30) despair
31) rave with me
32) the itch you can’t scratch
33) slippery slope
34) in my travels
35) it’s the end of the world
36) here there be dragons
37) firefight
38) spirals/spiraling
39) a blank canvas
40) just a thought
41) reflections
42) big trouble
43) happiness
44) wrath
45) associations
46) to the world
47) on the inside
48) truth in advertising
49) memory
50) deception
51) hollow
52) survival
53) turmoil
54) bad choices
55) comfort
56) falling (is like this)
57) open up
58) feety pajamas
59) what would you do?
60) superpowers
61) once upon a time
62) AWOL
63) hunger
64) the light’s gone out
65) running
66) awareness
67) transition
68) humility
69) conscience
70) memorable
71) convergence
72) destroy
73) buildings and bridges
74) the last time
75) vision
76) burning bridges
77) why
78) the first time
79) meditation
80) technology
81) walls
82) containment
83) distraction
84) anxiety
85) heart
86) it hurts like this
87) play it again
88) talk to me
89) open book
90) animals
91) brutality
92) nature
93) family
94) obsession
95) release
96) skeletons
97) peak performance
98) water
99) drowning
100) rescue
In case anyone is interested, the list I’m working on for 2013 is this (I think I have pieces to cover 7 of the topics… I’m seriously slacking!):
1. Break Away 2. Bites the Dust 3. Innocence 4. Drive 5. Sound of Settling 6. Mother Nature 7. No Time 8. Standing Still 9. Two Roads 10. Foreign 11. Breaking the Silence 12. Keeping a Secret 13. Blind Man’s Bluff 14. Waltzing 15. Traps 16. Mischief Managed 17. Lazy Days 18. Hot/Cold 19. Anyone Out There? 20. Seeing Red 21. Through the Fire 22. Between the Raindrops 23. Safety First 24. Puzzle 25. Gateway 26. Fantasia 27. Everyday Magic 28. Irregular Orbit 29. Change in the Weather 30. Nowhere and Nothing 31. Charge 32. Turn the Car Around 33. Colorless 34. Assassin 35. Daughters 36. Instant 37. Don’t Be a Hero 38. Born Without Time 39. Sound Effect 40. Little Bombs 41. Freak 42. American Boys 43. Clue 44. True Believers 45. Portable 46. Caption 47. So Close 48. Under the Red Hood 49. Dragon 50. Making History 51. Rivalry 52. Death 53. Excuses 54. Colors 55. Family 56. Music 57. Off Topic 58. Black and White 59. Memories 60. Song Title 61. Fighting Chance 62. Childhood 63. Shenanigans 64. Elements 65. First Time 66. Lost 67. Strangers 68. Insanity 69. Mirror 70. Silhouette 71. Zodiac 72. Dreams 73. Hope 74. Misunderstanding 75. Relationship 76. Stay Gold 77. Beauty 78. Alice in Wonderland 79. Runaway 80. Our Own World 81. Kiss 82. Little Things 83. Secret Admirer 84. Sweet Dreams 85. Past 86. Present 87. Future 88. Forgotten 89. Human 90. Silence 91. Breathe Again 92. Breaking the Rules 93. Fairy Tale 94. Death 95. Umbrella 96. Pattern 97. Season 98. Clothing 99. Animal 100. The Ones We Left Alive