Tag Archives: trauma

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…

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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? 


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 agreed 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)…


Dissociative experiences scale

Dr C had mentioned the dissociative experiences scale a few seasons back, but she couldn’t find a copy in her files at the time. I forgot to mention it again in session. I thought I’d look it up online. I found one at CounsellingResource.com and took it…

While not quite at the DID end of the scale, I did apparently score closer to it than to “normal”;

I also took some of the other screenings they had. I scored really high on depression and anxiety… fun. 


Dissociation frustrations

Talked to Dr C about dissociation today, though I was pretty dissociated when we talked, so I don’t remember much about it. 

I mentioned disliking this state of half-knowing. I’d rather forget completely, without any of the side effects of merely dissociating things, but that’s not totally accurate. I’d probably lose part of myself if I totally wiped the memories… but remembering is overwhelming. It’s painful and distressing. I don’t know how to make it feel safe. 

I guess Wednesday we will talk about something related to all this, but I can’t remember what she mentioned. 

I’m so tired of this struggle.