Tag Archives: thoughts

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.

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More connecting of the dots (or, the elegance of the avoidance dance)

When you’re “allergic” to dbt, you and your therapist have to get creative about integrating ideas from it into therapy.

Yesterday, I was having trouble identifying what was causing my rollercoaster emotions. Dr C and I came up with a chart to help figure it out… she used the dbt diary card and the behavior chain as a jumping off point. We had events, people around/involved, emotions, sensations, and thoughts as the first level. Then another two levels of emotions, sensations, and thoughts, and finally a level of just emotions and sensations. I could fill it out haphazardly and incompletely, then she helped fill in some of the blanks & connect some of the dots… at the root of everything behind the emotional ups and downs is terror (and the avoidance of it)… it’s weird, because the word doesn’t do justice to the overwhelming and crushing nature of the feeling, but it’s the closest word for it.

I’ve been trying to keep up with filling out the chart more often, but I’m finding that it becomes pretty triggering to look at the things I’m trying to avoid (duh!). At least in therapy, it was safe to open up that can of worms. Dr C kept talking with me about it, and that prevented me from getting too lost in the bottom layers. I’m kinda worried/scared that looking at it at home wouldn’t give me the same ability to pull out of what is stirred up. Yeah, it’s probably a cop-out to avoid addressing it, but I need to keep functioning this weekend. There’s work and social stuff happening. I can’t be a wreck… so I keep avoiding.

There’s a fear behind the avoidance: what if it overwhelms me? What if I can’t regain control over the impulsive thoughts? What if I fall back into a cycle of hospitalizations?

Sure, I could reach out to Dr C for support, but how much can she really help if the panicked child and the angry teenage are both triggered and overwhelmed at the same time, and I lose my connection to my adult, competent understanding of things? I know I’ve come a long way since the last cycle of hospitalizations, but the potential of it coming back scares the crap out of me.


thoughts on today’s therapy

It was my second-to-last session with TM today. It ended up really good.

I remembered her wanting to get the assessments out-of-the-way (TSI-II & BDI2), so after the greeting, I mentioned them. She had them waiting next to my chair, along with some journal entries and my timeline to give back to me. I was glad she remembered.

We joked a bit, and kinda chatted while I did the assessments. She busied herself looking up some more quotes for an activity she wanted to do together either today or next session. As I handed the assessments in, I told her that some questions were answered with caveats, but then I suddenly forgot any of the examples (Now I remember that the question around feeling punished on the BDI2 I answered scoring low because it’s not so much that I feel I am punished, more so that I “should” be punished simply because it’s “right”… There was also a question on violence on the TSI-II that I answered high because it was vague, and I acknowledge responding violently towards myself… That one we kinda talked about and she knew why I responded like I did. I answered the suicide/death questions honestly: that I always think about dying, but don’t always have a plan or intent)… I told her I’d be interested in comparing the scores from the first time and now. I know I have a really skewed self-assessment much of the time so I wouldn’t mind seeing it on paper… that & I’m a huge dork around this kind of stuff, so it also holds great academic interest.

I think at about this point TM told me something that blew me away… She reminded me of one of our first sessions, where I refused the descriptor of “therapist” when she had mentioned it. She said she understood where I was coming from (because I never did finish my MA or internship), but that I seemed more insightful, compassionate, and understanding of the therapeutic process than a lot of therapists she has known… ???!!!!???? I think I was in shock and trying to digest that for a good 5 minutes afterwards. I have no idea what topic we moved on to, because I was still reeling (in a good way) from that huge compliment. I was actually so shocked, I didn’t even deny what she was saying… Maybe I could then go back at some point and be a real clinician? That could be cool… It might have been just before she said this that we talked a bit more about my last hospitalization at IOL. She had mentioned the PDoc incident where he threw a stapler or hole puncher at me, and how that was something she never expected to hear happening in a hospital. I brought up that yeah, while it sucked, I’ve had time to process it more. He may have been triggered, or feeling really helpless, or scared, or frustrated (or all of the above) when he did that. It certainly does not excuse his actions, but it would make them understandable. After all, G behaved much the same way: always angry, yelling, violent, abusive… For a lot of years, I had no clue why he was so awful. Then one day we had a more in-depth conversation. He revealed some of his own abuses and traumas. He also said he did not recall being as abusive and horrible as we remember him being… It didn;t excuse his behavior, but it brought an understanding of his motivations. I could empathize. While I am trying my hardest to break that cycle, he was just repeating what he knew…

Anyway… Oh, another thing that I was kinda blown away by from TM was her opinion that I do not fit a bpd diagnosis. She started out asking me why I had self-reported that dx when I first started therapy with her. I honestly don’t know. She is the first therapist I’ve ever volunteered that dx to. Others have either come to it on their own, or been told by a referring therapist and then decided it did not fit. Part of my reasoning was that it had been relatively soon after I had read through my disability records. Most of those had bpd as one of the diagnoses (of course, they also said I was hopeless & bound to live in residential care for the rest of my life unless of course I killed myself first. One PDoc went so far as to say I he did not expect me to survive the next 6 months… and that was oh… 5 years ago now? So I guess I have to take all of that with a grain of salt. TM reminded me that hospital records reflect the worst of my recent history. She also reminded me that they will often pad dx so that insurance companies will continue to pay (I’ve been witness to some “creative billing” in my professional experiences). I’m not sure why I was surprised that TM would say she disagrees with the bpd diagnosis, but I was. She said the “cornerstone” of a bpd dx is unstable relationships (and according to what she read to me from the DSM-V, this is accurate to their wording), which neither of us see in my life. Yes, there’s a fear of losing people, but only because I actually have lost a lot of important and close people in my life. It’s not so much a fear anymore as an expectation… It’s also something I was overtly taught while growing up. And sometimes the people closest to you will hurt you the most, so a difficulty with trust is understandable… She reminded me that while I may be able to check off some of the bpd traits, it makes a lot of sense given my history… Maybe now I can hold on to that longer. I know Dr. C is of the opinion that I do not fit a bpd diagnosis. We had talked about it a long time ago because of my experience with LKB and her insistence that I was bpd & just needed to learn to accept that fact. Aside of Dr C though, no one else had openly and pointedly spoken to me about bpd vs. trauma. I know even D eventually saddled me with that diagnosis. I’m not sure De agreed, though I never asked her. TL and I never spoke about diagnoses either. It was kinda nice to get confirmation from TM as well that my resistance to the bpd label has merit… Personally, I think the whole disorder should be removed completely. I’ve yet to meet someone with a bpd dx who does not also have a trauma history. Bpd comes with SUCH a stigma (which can also lead to an excuse for not working to change the thoughts & behaviors both on the therapist’s end and the clients… think of how you would feel if even the professionals felt you were hopeless) that it’s more a detriment to any person with the dx. I don’t see how it helps the understanding of behavior or attitudes, it simply labels them. I would much rather have an understanding and hope than a mere label… Kinda like labeling someone an alcoholic without taking into account what it’s used to cope with.

Ok, sorry, went off on a soap-box tangent there. So, yeah. Session with TM was good. We laughed and also talked about heavy stuff… Part of me wonders if TM has found me online somewhere. She sometimes brings up things that I have only ever mentioned online either here or in one of the support forums I use. I might have to ask her that next week. At this point, I don’t think I would care since I won’t be seeing her after next week anyway, but if I had found out something like that sooner, I would be censoring more. I already catch myself being careful what I post if I know someone in real life will see it. This blog is written with sensitivity to my wife and my mom having access… There’s something to be said for anonymity and honesty. I’m very careful in what I reveal to others because I have had it twisted and used against me. I’m careful what I write both online and in a physical, paper journal… I actually no longer keep a paper journal because too many have gotten their hands on them and read them without permission… But whatever. I would be interested in how TM thinks to bring some of the stuff up that she does if she hasn’t found me online. Maybe I talk around it enough, or I mention it without realizing it? It’s too much of a coincidence with a lot of the stuff in timing and wording for her to just come up with it out of the blue. Maybe I’m leaving her more messages than I realize? I know a few times I had thought of leaving her a message, but don’t recall doing it, then she mentions the next session that she got my message(s)… Hmm.

I had meant to ask her today if it would be ok if I call once I am settled after the move. It feels less needed now that I know I will be seeing Dr. C again, but I rarely get the chance to update a therapist on how something went after a termination. I get the boundaries of the relationship. I know it won’t go beyond this termination, but I’m hoping to be able to let her know that things went well, and my idea that I will do better back up north and away from the constant triggers is one founded in reality… I know I would love updates on some of my past clients, though that is me. I’m not sure if she would want one… Dunno though unless I ask.


More art

Therapy on Saturday did not accomplish what I had hoped, though it was an ok session. I was in a good space, and TL went with it. I had wanted to tell her something, an explanation, but it felt like I would get shot down or ridiculed if I mentioned it (not necessarily her style, but she was pushing a topic that is connected to the dissociation. The way she spoke about it made me feel like it was not the right moment to bring up SJ and the other sides of me). Finally, at the end of session, I was able to tell her there was something I had hoped to talk about, but we didn’t have enough time to get into it. I told her I had it written down, but she wants me to say it. Good luck chicky. She will have to read it, then we can talk afterwards about it all…

wpid-img_20140825_024222.jpgAnyway, on to the art. I was messing around tonight trying to put that hesitation on paper in a way that was easier to explain then having to stumble over words. I started with the concept of the woman on the right with the thoughts floating in her head, but unable to make it out of her mouth. It felt unfinished, so I added the left side (the words are what I had wanted to tell TL in session). The overlay represents all that I end up talking about that masks what I really want to say; it’s the darkness and the light that takes over and hides the real things I need to address. Let’s hope I can show it to her next Saturday. I had mentioned that I also really want to show her my art journal but that I have trouble bringing it up. She said she would try to remember that I had stuff I wanted to get to in session. She agreed to try to remind me. I have gone in with lists for my reference to no avail, so I hope she can help me get around to this stuff finally.

 


Yesterday was ok

I had a distraction. It made things a bit easier to get through. But insomnia and no distractions right now are making the morning very difficult. I had fallen asleep by 8 pm last night, which had me awake by 2 am (hey look,  6 hours. That’s the most I’ve gotten recently), and I can’t fall back asleep. I tried for over an hour before I gave in and started my music back up. Damien Rice’s “9 Crimes” is on incessant repeat right now (has been for the last 2 days). I’m trying to figure out what about it is speaking to me at the moment,  and I think I’ve settled on the way his voice (and Lisa Hannigan’s) sounds. There’s something about the way they sing it together that hits right. The lyrics partially fit, though I hadn’t really been paying attention to them, more just the emotion in the voices and the notes they hit. It just works… Hell, it wasn’t until about 30 minutes ago that I actually listened to the first stanza enough to realize I could relate to it completely (Leave me out with the waste/This is not what I do/It’s the wrong kind of place/To be thinking of you//It’s the wrong time/For somebody new/It’s a small crime/And I got no excuse). Before that, I was lost in trying to figure out what he means by the chorus of “And is that alright? Yeah/Give my gun away when it’s loaded/That alright? Yeah/If you don’t shoot it how am I supposed to hold it?” I’m still not sure I understand it,  but it plays through my head…

I feel a bit like a cockroach being stepped on after being sprayed with everything under the sun, and smacked with a rolled up newspaper before that. I feel like no one (in mental health) wants anything to do with me because of their prejudices towards my symptoms. For the most part, they don’t want to see beyond the surface to talk about what’s underneath that. If there are a few brave people who don’t automatically squish me, they eventually get grossed out and want nothing to do with me in the long run. I’m too much. I grate on their nerves. I’m too stupid. I never learn. I simply keep falling back to old patterns when things get overwhelming. They get frustrated and burnt out, and I’m left figuring things out on my own again. I feel like the spider who gets killed because she’s a spider, doing spider things. They forget that I’m just doing what I know to get through the day. They want to heard me into a jar so I can’t bite them or touch them, but I never wanted to do that in the first place. I just got scared and was trying to ward off the scariness… I get overwhelmed because the emotions and the memories are overwhelming. I try my best to do “acceptable” and “healthy” things to gain balance, but when that doesn’t work, the “unhealthy” peeks through. I get super needy and stupid and helpless. I revert to little kid (admittedly, a stubborn little kid) because it’s the path of least resistance in my head.  Eventually I run out of energy trying to change things, so I rely on someone else to hold my hand through it. Only that’s when they want to squish me, because I’m now annoying and draining and ever-so-frustrating… so I’m moved on, and everyone sees this tantruming little kid who resides in adult body, and they say “No”. They say I’m hopeless and I’ll never amount to anything.  And I’m beginning to think they are right.  I think this change crap is too hard.  I think I’m out of energy for trying… I think they are right…

I’m so overwhelmed with everything right now. I have moments of being ok, but… I put on a happy face because I need to make people feel better about me.  I need them to not keep confirming that everything I think about myself is true. I need to try to hope that everything I believe about myself is, in fact, not true (as a few have said).  But then stress happens, and suddenly everything is true. Completely and shatteringly true…

I like the dark.  It’s comfortable. I don’t want sunrise to come, because it’s harder to hide in the daylight. The dark is soft and comfortable and home. I’m ok in the dark…


sorry…

sorry I have not been around so much.  or reading.  or contributing. I find I do this less when I am more occupied with real life and less with my inner dialogue.  Have (no?) fear, I will be back more often.  I am trying to do more about my art, and to process some stuff with De (well, I hope to), then be able to write a bit about it.  I have to admit, I have been trapped in my head more today for a few reasons; #1 is that monthly emotional roller coaster that comes with being a woman. There’s something that has been on my mind that I would love to get more outside feedback on eventually, but I need to overcome the shame attached to it and be able to talk to De about it more before I do that.  In the mean time, keep an eye out for more art… and hopefully I will be able to pay more attention to everyone else too.  Sorry I havn’t been keeping up with you all… I suck…


disconnect

had some trouble with some flashbacks earlier today.  got through them ok, but they triggered a stirring in my head also.  still don’t have a clear picture about what was disturbed, but some of the monsters have been roused from their slumber.  they are starting to shift and awaken. not sure I want them awake. don’t know how to get them tucked in all nice again.  trying to get through some of it with art. not really getting anywhere with that.  don’t have coherent words or phrases to explain them.  can’t put pictures to any of it.  just sensations right now, moving, shifting, causing sparks. waking more monsters, but they’re slow to rise this time… really wish I had more talent to put them to pictures.  wish there were words with which to speak of them. wish De was back so maybe some of it could be understood.  teetering on the question of whether to reach out or just sit tight.  thinking sitting tight will work still, it’s not bad enough (or even threatening to be that bad any time soon) to warrant disturbing others.  just going to hold on.

wishing I was different.  wishing there was better communication between what’s buried and what’s conscious.  and things going scream in the night do not help at all.  finally started sleeping last night.  dreams made it feel like awake time.  can’t seem to get enough sleep to make up for what was lost over the last few weeks.  but at the same time, there’s fear of sleeping because the dreams are so compelling.  just want to get rest.  want to actually feel rested.

graphic pictures floating around when they do come.  not sure anyone should know the details of them.  would put them on paper, but they’re scary to others.  wishing there was metaphor to be used.  nothing’s come yet.  just those really graphic images. don’t want to have to explain them.  don’t want to have to show them.  so they stay inside.

really craving hurt again.  thoughts fluctuate between thoughts and cravings.  desire to be hurt because it’s what’s right.  know it’s mixed up signals. can hear De’s voice explaining it.  doesn’t change the desire.  wish there was relief without action first.  dunno.  holding out because it’s what’s supposed to be done.  really just want to hide away in art.  wish it would happen already.  so many topics to express, so little by way of expression…