Tag Archives: trigger

IOP fail

Wow that was triggering. Not only did the staff not have it together (no one knew why I was there or where to send me), but it’s on the second floor of a locked psych hospital. I needed to be buzzed in the front door, leave my belongings, buzzed in through another set of doors, buzzed up the stairs… it was worse on the way out. There were 5 locked doors to get through that way.

Over the phone I was told it would be a 2-hour appointment: first filling out intake paperwork, then a meeting with the program director. When I got there, I learned they expected me to stay the whole first day. I mentioned that I needed to go after 2 hours because that was all I had alloted per the phone conversation last week. It was also all the time I paid for at the parking lot…

There was a ton of miscommunication and misunderstanding before I even set foot in the door. The groups were rowdy and loud (a huge trigger when I’m already anxious), and everyone spoke over everyone else. Oh, and the only bathroom was a single occupancy room with entries from both group rooms. I hate going to the bathroom anyplace but home. It makes me very anxious. Having people know and hear me pee? Even worse…

I was so glad to be able to get out.  There is no way in hell I’m returning there. I left 2 hours ago and still am trying to center & calm myself. I keep looking around the house to remind myself I’m home.

I left TM a quite panicked message upon leaving, begging her to tell me I never had to go back…

I think I need to call them. I will tell them I changed my mind, and ask them to shred my paperwork… the move should be enough of a distraction at this point (I hope). And I won’t bug TM after tomorrow either. She shouldn’t have to put up with me just because this IOP was more triggering than therapeutic…


Therapy Challenges: I’m giving the wrong impression

Saw TM today. We talked a lot about the disconnection from last week, and what was the same or different about it vs. other times. We also talked about the self-harm and went into a bit of an over-view of the narrative I had done. I had been present most of the session until we talked more about the narrative, maybe? I’m really not sure. I know she asked me to track something, but for the life of me right now I don’t know what it was. Maybe it was dissociation? or triggers? or moods? I would call her to ask, but I’ve already spoken to her about a schedule change, and then called and left her a message asking her not to read the narrative I had left with her… I think that calling her another time would be pushing my boundaries a lot.

Boundaries. Oh yeah, we had kinda talked about reaching out and having that be ok. She had mentioned that sometimes it’s still necessary to reach out when we are struggling because we are all human. She says humans sometimes need other humans when we are in a tough spot… I’m not sure I can justify calling in general, but maybe…

Still not sure what she had wanted me to track… maybe it will come to me later. I know she wants me to work on coming up with other coping skills since the ones I have are getting quite worn. I dunno. It was so hard to find ones that worked even a bit, I’m not quite sure what else to put on my list. She’s focusing on finding a “pattern interrupt”, but I’m not sure how to create one. Things are already different from even a year ago. I find myself at a loss for new suggestions.

TM called just now in response to my message. I think I put her on alert more than I mean to. I know she doesn’t know me all too well, but I have a feeling she thinks I’m more of a risk to myself than I actually am. I’m not sure how to put her mind at ease. She wanted to make sure that the narrative didn’t contain anything that may hint at me being unsafe. I’m not sure how I gave her the impression that it might, but it certainly doesn’t. It’s only a description of what happened 3 years ago. I think I will need to have a conversation around safety. The only issues we have talked about have been in the past. I did admit to the ever-present suicidal ideation, but nothing about any immanent threat. Maybe I should take in that likert scale outline I came up with and flesh it out with her to help find a quantifiable and qualifiable way of talking about safety. It might also help with communicating about the self-harm urges and the flashbacks… I dislike being seen as such a liability when I’m not actually there. I get that it was appropriate at one time, but I’m not in that place anymore. It’s kinda bringing up that feeling of her having pegged me into a certain diagnosis. I don’t like it. There’s too little room for growth if I’m always battling the stereotypes. :sigh: I dunno. Guess I will need to wrap that into the safety conversation. I get conflicting readings from TM. In one moment, I feel like she gets where I’m coming from and is willing to work with what might be helpful. In another moment, I get the impression that she is waiting for me to fall into a specific pattern… Maybe that’s why she keeps using the term “pattern interrupt” when I would say “stepping out of my comfort zone”…  I’m not sure what her field of study was to get her LPC credentials, but her vocabulary is very different from what I am used to for a bunch of stuff…

De felt I was too dramatic. I never intended to be, but I guess I came off that way. Maybe being so worried about coming off as dramatic to TM makes things look worse to her than they actually are. Maybe me insisting that I don’t want to be too focused on the “distractions” of the self-harm thoughts and the suicidal thinking makes it look like I’m trying to hide the level of severity. The truth is, I know that stuff is just distraction when dealing with the trauma gets too overwhelming. I know how to keep it in check, and how to reach out when it gets too dangerous… I know she has no reason to belive that. I have to figure out how to build that trust with her.


Being sick sucks

I was fine until Monday night when I noticed my throat felt weird. By 3 am Tuesday morning, I was awake with severe congestion and a sore throat. By 8 am Tuesday, I crawled back into bed willing my head not to explode. I called out for today’s appointment figuring I didn’t want to get anyone else sick. It was a good thing too, because I didn’t last more than a few minutes at a time upright today. Thankfully, we had an arsenal of various cold medicines at home and I started on the ginger tea early enough. Tonight I was actually able to sit up on the couch and watch TV for about 4 hours. Ok, so I didn’t totally pay attention and I may have nodded of a few times, but I was out of bed for 4 whole hours! That’s huge compared to the last 48 hours.
Tomorrow night is the journal class, but I don’t think I’ll subject everyone to my gems. I found out from the teacher that she will be doing that particular class again at a different location, so I’ll still get to do it (about overcoming the hurdles in our lives). It sounds like a really cool class, so I’m glad I will be able to do it at another time.
I am really missing therapy though. Between the body memories from last session and the really whacky nightmares the cold meds have given me (a combination of really trippy horror-movie-style nightmares and body memories), I’m incredibly triggered but unable to ground effectively. This is the first time in a while that being sick has made things worse instead of better. Normally being sick and sleeping so much gives me a break from my head. This time is amplified everything, only I have no energy to ground or distract… I hope I’ll be able to talk about it with TL when I see her next week. I tend to go in with ideas of what to cover but I get flustered and don’t bring it up. This stuff would likely fall under that category. It’s all body memories that are shameful and embarrassing. I have a hard time addressing stuff like that…
Anyway. Not quite sure where I was going with this post and now the next round of cold meds is starting to kick in… hopefully the cold will be gone soon and I can get on with life. 


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

The Hunger Games trilogy is great, albeit a bit triggering…

L and I went to the movies today.  It ended up being a bit of a bumble.  First, we went to the wrong theater, then got to the right one too late – our original movie was sold out.  We also wanted to see the Hunger Games sequel, Catching Fire, so she got tickets for that.  It started an hour later, and lasted an hour longer, but it was REALLY good!  I was a bit on edge most of the movie, but it was an “ok” on-edge feeling.  The first several scenes involve her going through various PTSD symptoms, and I picked up on the others throughout the movie too.  Either this movie did better presenting the symptoms, or I read a whole bunch more into it than I did the first one.  I could feel her fear, anger, hyper-vigilance… I know it all too well.  But anyway, it was good.  And it leaves you hanging.  Fuckers.

Most of the way through the movie, I remembered that mom had expected us home around 4pm… oops!  It was now 5:30 and the movie still had 30 minutes.  I knew she wouldn’t check her texts, but I shot her one anyway.  I called her as soon as we got outside, and apologized for not showing on time.  Normally, this isn’t a big deal, but being Christmas and all, she was a bit miffed.  We got home in time to watch her down more wine and finish the last bites of her chicken.  We will have to atone for this with a gift of more alcohol sometime in the near future.  We really didn’t mean to get to off-track, but we rarely do.  After apologizing and chatting for a while, the tension eased and we enjoyed our dinner.  L even tried to translate some words into Hungarian through the internet, and we found the weirdest translation for cheesecake yet: “pictures of naked women’s legs to look at”… we laughed at that for a good 20 minutes.  I think either slang has gotten really wacky, or someone is trying to screw up poor, unsuspecting English speakers when they try to translate stuff to a language they don’t know…

Anyway, I’m again renewed in my desire to read The Hunger Games books, but I have to find them in hard-copy ( there’s just something “not right” about reading books on a tablet… I guess I’m old-fashioned that way.  I really like the feel and smell of a book, and they never run out of charge just as you get to the good part).  I wish we had paid better attention to the books my landlord had  left us before we donated them.  I know we had the whole trilogy, but I managed to keep only the second book… then that was donated when we moved out of the place.  oops! I should have known better, I liked most of the books C had left behind…


Sometimes telling is worse

De has been trying to build trust and comfort in taking about my trauma. One phrase she has told me a few times has been “You’ve already been through the worst part, the act.”

My gut reaction to that phrase the first time I heard it was a loud “no!” echoing in my head, but I wasn’t sure why. It hit me the other night tho. The act wasn’t that bad because I was able to dissociate from it. I didn’t really have to “pay attention” to what was going on. When i have flashbacks or I have to talk about it, there’s a level of attention to it that I had not had when it first happened. It’s worse because I can’t (or shouldn’t) dissociate from it. The emotions come with accessing the memories. The fear sets in, the anger, everything… It’s worse because I feel and see and hear everything without being able to turn the attention off (at least if I want to be able to get anywhere with processing it). So I have to disagree with her when she says the worst part is over (at least for me. It may be different for a one – time trauma or ones without dissociation)… 


Journal entry from 11/15/2010 – TRIGGER WARNING & LONG

Found a few journal entries from a few years ago.  I’m afraid I may lose them in my email, so I’ll be putting them here.  Many will be private, but some I may make public… I’m far-enough removed from the experiences to risk putting them out there…  I may make this one private shortly, but for the moment it’s out there for everyone to read.
This one has some graphic descriptions of SI, a suicide attempt, eating disorder behavior, and details of sexual assault… please don’t read it if it will trigger you.
Names have been removed and replaced with initials to maintain anonymity.  Spelling errors have been fixed, but the rest has been left in tact in the form that was sent to my therapist at the time.
_____________________________________________________________________________________
had a good day.  signed c’s lease.  we will be moving in around dec 1st… it’ll be a bit weird, but whatever… we need to get out of here, so it’s a step up.. and cheaper over-all then here…
I feel like I should be writing something, but I am not sure what.  Been feeling weird lately.  wanting to take klonpin during the day instead of how it’s prescribed… wanting to drink… wanting to float away.  not as off as I was feeling last week… seem to have alighted on a branch somewhere on my way down.  kinda like that I didn’t take a huge fall.  i can’t afford it; financially, emotionally & in terms of our relationship… it would just be too much for her…  I have fleeting thoughts of od’ing… thoughts of crashing the car, or jumping out in front of a train… just thoughts… and just fleeting.  but fleeting thoughts can sometimes lead to impulsive actions.  I’m not going to go down that road any more… i’m wearing everyone around me out… i’m too much.  too much drama, too much emotion, too much to handle…  I really wish L would get some more support for herself, and use it regularly… she’s frying out her friends and supports and me… it’s a catch-22… I stress her out & she stresses me out in response to my stressing… and it just cycles.  I got her in touch with a therapist in Dr. C’s office, but she only went once and didn’t even call about being sick for the second session, I had to do that… i hope she goes back to her.  she needs more then I or her friends can give her.  and she needs to learn more about depression and ptsd and suicidality…  I can’t teach her that, because I am too wrapped up in it…
I miss Samantha Jane.  she was only with me for a short time (well, she had been there for a while, but rarely showed herself.  just hid in the closet or in the fibers of the carpet…  Dr. C said she thought it may be some mild DID going on, but it wasn’t/isn’t… just someone I can picture loving, coz it’s hard to picture myself as a person during my childhood and much of my teens… I see pictures, but i don’t necessarily connect them to myself.  I try, but it’s hard.  it’s like memorizing what people have said about the events in the picture to know what to say when someone asks what was happening then… I have no real memory of it, just the stories I’ve been told… it’s sad… and empty-feeling, like I’ve just now become worthy of person-hood… but still at the bottom of the ladder…  not totally a whole person, but on my way there… that’s where Samantha Jane should have come in… giving me some link to the world of being a human…  i felt sub-human (proto-human as Andy would call it) for most of my life.  this is a very new feeling.  i don’t think anyone really gets it.  I don’t really know how to describe it to anyone.  It’s just that before I was empty and just a shell… now I’m slowly trying to fill up that shell with something that vaguely resembles a human being… but it’s hard.  I feel like that wire statue that someone has filled with wet sand.  while the sand is moist, it holds the shape.  as the sand dries, it falls out of that form, turning into a pile at her feet.  I’ve wanted to make that piece for a long time now, I just don’t really know how to execute it.  I’ve never really done wire-work before.. and I don’t know how to keep wetting and drying out the sand… it’s a fluid piece that needs that slow progression from emptiness to form to a pile of sand at her feet…  Maybe if i figured out the wire-work, then took a video of the process of filling her up, moistening the sand, then letting it dry… that might work… but I really like the idea of an actual piece that you can see and touch… feel the sand, both wet & dry… pick up the piece in both states and get the metaphor of the feeling… but I will likely sit in my head for a longer while until I gain the skills to produce it.  I wish i was better at my art.  I wish I didn’t take the easy way out with photographs lately… but I just can’t draw anymore.  I can’t paint… it’s all left me.  I try, but nothing looks right… nothing feels right when I’m done… except those pieces from the hospital (and even out of those, I only liked a few).  I need to take a class or something… join a group… anything to get me flowing in art again.  pics are great, but I feel like they take less and less creativity… eventually, everyone’s photos all look the same… even on dA where people are supposed to be growing and finding unique and new ways to present the subject… it’s all really the same.  all the fall pics look alike.  you can’t tell one sunrise from another… even in my own work.  I don’t feel there’s much originality to it…
Speaking of work on dA… I read some moving journals and notes…  they were on recent suicides of people… everyone seems to know how to describe the Hollywood version of it, the romanticized version of suicide where it all goes well and you never have second thoughts… truth is, you do, and it doesn’t always all go as planned.  If it did, i wouldn’t be here today.  I would have died that time with N… No one ever recognizes the second-guessing part.  I don’t even think therapists get it (unless maybe they’ve been there and tried it…).  There’s that momentary feeling of fear and being trapped by your decision… even though you have only made the decision to end your life by yourself, you’ve only committed to doing it to yourself, you somehow feel trapped in that decision… I hadn’t even started taking the pills, but I felt compelled to go through with it, even though I was frightened and unsure… I felt like I had to do it… so I started taking the pills, and the fear slipped away.  I was once again ok (not sure, but ok) with my decision… I didn’t know what to do after I swallowed them all… would I just wait?  would I know what was happening? would I just fall asleep and never wake up?  I grabbed Beary and my iPod on repeat with Breaking Benjamin’s “Phobia” and curled up under the blanket hoping that it would all be quick… I don’t remember stumbling out of bed and throwing up… I don’t remember N finding me.  I don’t remember the ride to the hospital, or having my stomach pumped and charcoal dumped down a tube into my stomach.  I don’t remember getting the IV’s.  I don’t remember watching tv with N and laughing as if nothing had happened… as if I wasn’t in the ICU for a suicide attempt… I don’t even remember the first 20 times my doctor introduced herself to me… (this was all told to me after the fact).  I vaguely remember floating in a soft cloud… someone smacking my hand because it was going for the IV again… someone telling me I would be restrained if I didn’t leave my IV alone… me telling them my arm hurt… them reminding me I had IV’s… vague memories of being tied to the bed… of being talked around and at by the nurses and the visitors (though I have no idea who visited or who my doctors or nurses were…) It was all just a fluffy dream… the impact of not having taken my life did not sink in until I was in IOL…  I became angry at N & those that “helped save my life” because I did not want to be saved… I wanted to put an end to the depression, hurt and emptiness… the worthlessness and chaos inside my head… the feeling of being left alone in this world, because I wasn’t worth the energy to fight to keep me… I had lost someone every time I had gone to the hospital… you think I would have figured it out by then… by now… but it still hits me sometimes… in the car yesterday, L was saying how she never thought she’d be so poor that she would have to go to a food pantry to get food into the house… that she never thought she’d be this sad… in my head, I thought that none of this would have happened if she never had gotten to know me.  If we had never talked that first night… she would be so much better off if she wasn’t with me… if she was with someone stable and caring and easy-going and so much better then me.  she deserves that.  everyone deserves that.  I am not sure why anyone considers me worth a second glance.  I guess I know why when I put on my smile and my happy face… but I don’t know why anyone would want to know me when I’m a mess… which is a lot these days… and people still think I am worth attention… I don’t really get it.  My dad thinks all of this is for attention… all of this is to get away from the attention.  to hide and float away from myself and everyone else.  I threw out M’s pot…  I should have kept it, even though I know it would have messed me up for the next few days, and that I can get better stuff if I just ask around… I want to drink or take pills or something to get me away from myself… but the bad part about it all is that it’s only temporary, and i will “wake up” to myself once the substance wears off… sucks… I wish there was a way to be high all the time, without ruining my life, my relationship, or having all the detrimental effect of substances… cutting does that, but again it’s only for a while… disassociation helps that, but then I end up missing life and just getting myself deeper into a hole… and I want to be present for L & the kids… I want to know and feel them… but at times, being numb would feel great… and not that kind of numb where you know something’s bubbling just under the surface, destined to break out… but the kind of numb where the bad feelings go away, and you are left with the normal, even mood that most normal people experience… where memories don’t intrude daily, and nightmares are about monsters under the bed, not in your bed with you.  agh… I want to cut… I want to float away… I want to be at peace… not pieces… I’m afraid to bring this up to L or Dr. C because I’m not suicidal… and I don’t want to go there (or maybe i really am more comfortable in the blackness and push myself there deliberately…).  I know I should want to be happy, and part of me really does want to leave all this behind… but there’s another part of me that feels really uncomfortable and out of place in a happy world.  she’s the part of me that survived so much… dealt with so much… and gave up so much… she’s the child that Samantha Jane represents… she’s the one who just wants to stop hurting and being scared, but has been like that for so long, that the outside world really scares her… she doesn’t know what to do with it all.  it’s overwhelming and troublesome because the ways she learned to survive all this time doesn’t work there, and she has to learn a whole new way of life… maybe that’s why she ran away… maybe she just doesn’t have the energy to learn it all just yet… maybe she’s really just hiding under the blanket with Beary listening to her iPod to keep her company… music and art have always been comfort to her… and Floppy-dog… I really miss her… I so wanted Budda because he looks and acts like her, though intellectually I know he isn’t her… he just brought me & Samantha Jane comfort… another throw-back to what works… I love Sadie & Alex, but it’s just not the same… there was something very special about Flops… and I think part of it had to do with the situations we were living though.  She did the best she could to protect me, mom & A & K from dad & bitch… she took a lot of abuse for it… but she somehow felt responsible to do it… like I felt responsible to take care of everyone to make it all better… and neither of us succeeded… both Floppy and I ended up just getting more hurt the more we tried… I miss her so much.  And she reminds me of Kl… I miss her too though I’ve been slowly realizing that she wasn’t as great as I remember… she was abusive in her own way… but she also protected us in so many ways.  T tried too… he stayed away from my dad unless he had to physically intervene to protect us… and he stayed away from A because he did not want to end up like his family and abuse him… he really was a good man… but so tortured and protective.  I think that’s why he and K fought so many times… he hated to see dad being abusive to us… he rarely said anything, and was always “a grouch”… but I think that’s how he protected himself from feeling too helpless in protecting us.  I don’t know… nor will I ever know for sure… but i guess that’s my fantasy of him, because I needed to have some sort of positive role-model in my family… everyone else took part in the fights and abuse… everyone else was caught in the mix.  He made sure to stay out of it the best he could…
I feel sad and longing for a real sense of self… longing to have SJ back to be able to assure her and protect her like I couldn’t do with everyone else… like I couldn’t do with myself even with duck-boy… mom even called one time because she thought something was wrong… because she had heard me call out in her head, and needed to make sure I was ok.  I had thought about her helping me just then, but I couldn’t grab the phone, and he wouldn’t leave me alone… to keep him happy, I didn’t tell mom anything, just sat there while he touched me and groped me and told me it all wasn’t sexual… he would lock his bedroom door even when no one was around.  He made sure I always wore short shorts around him so he could feel me whenever he wanted… he would zip open his pants and rub himself on me… but it wasn’t anything sexual… we had intercourse in his parent’s pool… but it wasn’t sexual because we both had our bathing suits on… he put his fingers inside me when we sat on the couch babysitting his little brother… but it wasn’t sexual… he made me dry-hump his erect penis, but it wan’t sexual because we had our clothes on… he made me suck his penis… stroke him and feel him and lick him and fondle him until he came, but it wasn’t sexual… I can feel his fingers touching me and making way for his penis… i can feel him inside me still as I write this.  the memories are strong and painful… it was painful… i remember crying inside, and wishing the date would end so I could go home and curl up… so i could wash him off of me… but I kept going back… for months I kept going back… then he graduated and I thought I’d be free of him when he went away to FSU… it was far enough away, and he would meet other girls… but in reality he called me every night to “chat” which was really checking up on me and grilling me on what I had been doing all day, who I was with, and what I thought about.  Did I miss him?  Did I think of him every second of the day?  Did I know he was coming home this weekend and he wanted me to spend the night at his parent’s place with him…?  We did more sexual acts on those weekends then we had ever done before.  He’d claim it wasn’t sexual, but by then I knew better… I had lost my total submission to him… when he went back to school, I would talk to J and try to find a way to get out of the relationship.  She would even offer me to stay at her house the weekends he was home… but he would come looking for me, so I declined.  I tried to break up with him for months… every time he said he loved me and that we could make it work and that he couldn’t go on without me… the day after he gave me a suicide note, I had J call his school and report it… he got SO mad at me for it… even though I just wanted to protect his life… he said if I really cared about him and wanted him to live, I would not break up with him… so I stayed a few more months, all the time half-assed trying to break up with him… them finally he came home for the summer, and I told him I did not want to see him anymore.  He yelled at me over the phone.  When I hung up, he drove over in the middle of the night crying, begging me to take him back… J and I had written out a script for just this occasion… I kept reading it back to him.  he kept begging me and threatening his life… finally,I told him he had to leave or my mom would call the cops (told him she was there with me, in the bedroom, and if he didn’t leave by 1am, she would call the police)… it made him leave… at least for then.  he kept trying to get back together, but I don’t remember much of that… My anorexia got worse… I started cutting while I was with him… he pretended to care… i pretended to care… but I really didn’t care about anything but being afraid to gain weight… afraid to keep living.  I didn’t remember this part (the early start of the cutting and suicidal ideation) until I read a profile I had written for a website a college student & I had started together… it was supposed to be a peer-run support site for teens and young adults… I vaguely remember doing it for about a year and a half, then it fading away as she & I both got busier (though I think it was mostly her…).  we dropped updating the site and checking the email… so the site closed down… and as I was cleaning to pack today, I found a rough draft of that profile… i didn’t remember that everything had started that early… I know the eating disorder started after K died, and increased significantly while I was with duck-boy… I went from a size 13-14 to a size 3 in a matter of a few months… the woman I babysat for kept asking me if I was losing weight… I kept saying no, coz at the time it wasn’t about the weight, it was just a sub-conscious attempt to deal with life… if I could only fade away, nothing could hurt me anymore… then the cutting started… as scratches with a pin at first for a long time… about the first two years or so of my bout with self-injury remained at scratching with pins, paper clips & keys… that night at the play, when I got no recognition at all for my work behind the scenes, I ran out the back and grabbed the car keys from my pocket.  I scratched my arm so long and hard behind the building that my entire left arm was a huge raw bruise for the next few weeks… I remember G coming after me when I ran out of the auditorium, but not finding me till later… she caught me scratching, but didn’t tell on me… she scratched too… that was the first time I had encountered anyone else that did it. As the months progressed, and my anorexia got worse, J called my parents to tell them about it b/c she was scared for me… my dad said that I was just doing it for attention, and hung up the phone… I had made J promise to call me back after she had spoken to my parents… she told me how it went… i am not sure what else happened, but I remember searching like mad for something to scratch with and only finding scissors… that was my graduation to cutting… she never told them about that though… One time when I got back from Kairos and felt really depressed, I called her and left her a scary message (so she says… I didn’t mean anything by it other then being really tired and wanting an out…)  I went to a Kairos post-event that night, and she almost ended up calling the cops on me because she thought I had tried to kill myself. She had called my mom first though, and she told J that I was at the Kairos thing… later that night J called me and told me how scared I had made her, and that I shouldn’t do that again… so I only left her happy messages after that.  She still knew I was sad and hurting, but we only talked about that stuff in her office… I kept my nightly despair to myself…  She saved my life in so many ways… if she and her boyfriend hadn’t been so caring and helpful, I would have died a long time ago… I forgot I had tried to kill myself then… but it was only a mild overdose if anything… not even enough to make me sleepy… how is it that I forgot all this until writing it?  it’s all coming back to me.  that night after the play, the stays at J’s… the panic of gaining weight again (once it finally became about the weight, and no longer just a method of control),  the vomiting…  the half-spoon of fruit baby food or yogurt that I could barely force down because it felt too much (slowly trying to kill myself with starvation).  It’s funny, I lost so much weight, and refused to eat so blatantly, yet no one noticed except Mrs. K (the woman whose sons I babysat).  Her & J… but J gave up on my parent’s helping me (she had tried so many times) that she just referred me herself to Renfrew for a support group (you had to have been in the hospital before to get out-patient or in-patient treatment…) and then my parents would have to realize I had a problem that was deeper then attention-seeking… so I stuck to the support groups… mom actually came with me a few times… then dad yelled at both of us for wasting gas and time… so we stopped going, and that was the end of my treatment till i came to UConn…  That part is where my memory gets better…
Wow, that was a dump… maybe I should send this to Dr. C and maybe she will have time to read it by tomorrow… (please tell me if you mind that I sent this to you)…

Eggshells

How do you tell someone they are acting exactly like the person they hated?  How do you suggest that they are doing the exact same behaviors and still have it received instead of blowing up in your face?  How do you let them in that it is all very triggering and frightening.  How do you tell them that you know they are not that other person, but they are behaving like that other person?  It’s such a hot-button topic that I am pretty sure I will be seen as mean and hurtful by saying it… I wish I had recordings of the past to play along-side of recordings of the present… I think that would be evidence that cannot be over-looked, but I don’t have it.  I know I have said before that the person is not this other person, but they sure sound that way.  It fell on deaf ears and was categorically denied.  I tried stating what bothered me about the past, and what of it was triggering.  I tried to mention that some of that goes on today, and I’m sure it’s not on purpose, but it’s happening.  Again, I was met with denial.

It’s really triggering my PTSD though, and it sends my head in wild spirals…  There’s no way out of the current situation, so that is not an option.  I know I can’t change this person, but I can’t change my reactions either right now (I’m not sure I ever want to be accepting of the abusive language and sentiments)…  I’m trapped again.  It sucks again.  It makes everything else worse.  So now what?  I’m trying so hard to find an effective therapy for myself to be able to over-come the past, but it’s happening all over again (albeit to  lesser degree) today.  No amount of therapy will work if it continues in the present…

Just gotta keep swimming… tiptoeing around these eggshells all over again and hope not to upset the status-quot on a daily basis until we can change the situation.  I hate it all over again.  There are positive times, but the negatives are seared into my brain.  This sucks.


Breathing room

I ended up taking on a chat for a while. I figured out why I was so off, and what I needed to make sure to address next appointment.  The person also convinced me to just leave a message for De to let her know I was struggling with some stuff.  I’m not sure she works again until Monday, but even just leaving the message helped.  I guess sometimes admitting the struggle helps relieve it a bit… it’s not stuff I feel comfortable taking to L or mom about quite yet, but maybe down the line that will happen.  I need to come to terms with it a bit more first.
My trazodone is finally kicking in. Night.


weird space

I don’t really have a better description of it… it’s a combination of depressed, sad, lost, overwhelmed, tired, and… weird.  I dunno.  D and I tried to describe it more accurately, but I couldn’t pinpoint what it is.  Between the stuff brought up in the intake, and then D deciding it would be a good idea to try to give me a DBT worksheet, I’m just lost.  I don’t know why people don’t believe me when I say DBT and anything to do with it is very triggering.  We were able to tackle some of the questions on the worksheet when I asked him to re-phrase them and not have me see the paper… It’s such a trigger for me.  He commented on how I started to shut down after he showed me the paper… why is me saying it not enough?  I am hyper-vigilant to the font, the lay-out, the language… It was such a bad experience for me when I did those stupid programs.  I was able to do the group at D’s office because we didn’t rely heavily on the workbook used at IOL.  The language was triggering at times, but not using it so much helped ground when those trigger alarms went off.  It was difficult to do today because I was already a little raw from the intake… and the stupid worksheet… visuals are harder for me sometimes.  I can often times talk myself out of the auditory triggers when the voices are different and the visuals don’t match.  Talking myself out of the visual trigger was more difficult.  I handed the paper right back to him and asked not to use the same language.  The cognitive tasks of answering the questions that were worded differently also helped ground a bit, but it still sent my mind blank.  I had difficulty thinking and answering.  He had to repeat a lot of what he said a few times before I could get back to my train of thought.  I think if I hadn’t just done the history with De, I would not have reacted so strongly to the worksheet… but seriously, what is it with people needing to test the things I say?  I tell you I react badly to DBT, please respect that.

De expressed disappointment when I told her I was “allergic” to DBT.  She says she uses a lot of the dichotomy of loving oneself but still striving for better.  I had never really picked up on that from DBT, but maybe it’s because I don’t love myself (can’t even really say I like myself most of the time)… She was also surprised at how quickly I completed the Trauma Symptom Inventory (TSI) – I think it took me no more than 15 minutes.  It may have been because I spent an entire year researching the instrument’s validity with eating disordered clients (it is highly correlated with SA, but had not yet been correlated with ED at the time.  My research found it to also correlate highly with ED independent of any SA history)…  but anyway, I digress.    She was surprised at how fast I did it.  We talked a bit about the “answers of concern” and I had wanted to qualify other ones, but I couldn’t remember anymore what they were.  It’s amazing how quickly things can slip from my conscious awareness.  There was one I remembered and wanted to go into more depth with, but I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to open that can of worms so soon.

She kinda went over a treatment plan, but it was mostly asking what I felt was important to cover.  I think there was only one thing she mentioned that I felt was of no concern: I have no desire to mend relationships with any of my abusers.  There’s some other stuff I admitted to needing to address, but again, the trust is not yet there, so I don’t know how much of it I wanted to talk about today.  One day it may also end up on this blog but, at this time, it’s too personal and raw/immediate/close to touch on even privately (forget about publicly).

So now I’ve floated into this weird space that is neither positive nor negative, but somewhere in between.  I had hoped to be able to sleep when I got home, but I think it may be impossible without some meds.  I don’t want to take those until I am ready to sleep for the night.  I hate taking them, but I’m glad I have them because I know insomnia messes with me a lot.  At least this way I can (hopefully) knock myself into unconsciousness and REM sleep for tonight.  My sleep started faltering a few days ago.  I need to get back on schedule and keep working on that as a coping skill.  De said we will be emphasizing positive coping to help minimize any decompensation that comes from addressing all of this (gesturing to my whole self).

I feel like I need to be writing more, but I am not sure what else to write.  I just feel like I should be reaching out and communicating again.  Once again however, I’m not 100% sure what needs to be communicated or how it should be done, or even with whom.  So I’ll leave it open to discussion as needed/wanted/feels ok.

I’m also struggling with the concept of using substances/meds to help get through this weird numb-but-overwhelmingly-emotional-at-the-same-time state of being.  Depending on what and how much I drink, it may get better or worse.  And depending on which meds I take, I may be pretty out of it for the weekend.  As alluring as those all are, I’m not sure any of them are necessarily smart choices.  I could use the DBT concept of “riding the wave” of emotion, but it’s hard not to worry about even that getting me in trouble again (you’d think therapy programs that are in the same building would communicate about strategies they teach clients so one does not punish what the other would applaud, but I guess that’s asking a lot).


Hurricane by MS MR

“Hurricane”

Didn’t know what this would be
But I knew I didn’t see
What you thought
You saw in me

I jumped the gun
So sure you’d split and run
Ready for the worst
Before the damage was done

The storm never came
Or it never was
Didn’t know getting lost in the blue
It meant I wound up losing you

Welcome to the inner workings of my mind
So dark and foul I can’t disguise
Can’t disguise
Nights like this
I become afraid
Of the darkness in my heart
Hurricane

What’s wrong with me
Why not understand and see
I never saw
What you saw in me

Keep my eyes open
My lips sealed
My heart closed
And my ears peeled

Welcome to the inner workings of my mind
So dark and foul I can’t disguise
Can’t disguise
Nights like this I become afraid
Of the darkness in my heart
Hurricane

Make ash and leave the dust behind
Lady diamond in the sky
Wild light
Glowing bright
To guide me
When I fall
I fall on tragedy

Welcome to the inner workings of my mind
So dark and foul I can’t disguise
Can’t disguise
Nights like this I become afraid
Of the darkness in my heart
Hurricane


well, take 2 might work out better

I met with the new sa therapist for the intake today… she had scheduled 2 hours, and we met for about an hour and 40 minutes.  It was nice that she did not rush through things like the other lady had done.  We covered a lot, but at the same time, not a lot.  Does that even make sense?  I think I like her better than the other woman I had seen there last month.  De seems more approachable, and I didn’t feel as defensive with her.  We didn’t go into too much detail, but I was able to tell her some helpful things and some things that have not been helpful.  She was not all about lecturing me on involuntary commitment, and she was ok taking some things slow.  I wasn’t really forthcoming with the specifics of the SI, but I think I may ask D to tell her about that when he speaks to her (she actually wanted to sign a release and talk to him, unlike the other lady I had seen).  She’s ok taking things slow, and I think I was able to tell her some things to look out for with me, and how I tend to not say things correctly the first 50 millions times around.

I had forgotten the total content of the TSI Belief scale (I had done some research with it in college), and it brought some stuff up.  There were a few things I was able to qualify with her when she asked.  It also wore down my wall a bit.  But, I’m able to sit with that right now and not fall head-long into depression, which is good.

I’m putzing around at Starbucks (they have free wi-fi) while I wait for my appointment with D.  I’m glad I will get a chance to talk to him today, because there are some things I feel like I should probably talk about, though I am not 100% sure what they are.  Stuff was brought up, but the specifics fizzled as fast as they came, and I’m just left with the emotional echo of it all…


Right now

To steal a phrase from a friend: “In this moment…” I feel like I could handle a job. I would welcome the distraction. I feel like I could tackle some stuff in therapy. I am motivated to get the dogs back on track with a routine (one of the larger dogs attacked the little guy the other day, which is totally out of character for her, so I’m seeing the effects of having them cooped-up without any jobs trickling down to even the mellow one). I feel motivated to exercise and get stuff done. I’m not sure how long this will last, because right now it’s very out-of-character for me. But I’m going to go with it.  Some days I worry it’s a bit bipolar, but then I remember that I know I can’t tackle it all in one day, and this is just the effects of the depression not being so bad (and my desperate attempt to fend it off again).
Finances suck.  I have to make a payment on the car today, pay the phone bill, and pay storage (well, ok, L needs to do all this because it’s her paycheck, and I desperately wish I was contributing). The money in the account is barely enough to cover one of those, forget about all three. If I could have a job where I made more than minimum wage when I could work, and it was ok that I didn’t work when the depression got bad, I would take it.  But no one can afford an unreliable worker at minimum wage, forget at anything above that.
I’m also feeling like maybe disability is a mistake, but only because I feel like I can be productive at the moment. (I feel guilty applying for it because I should be able to work and earn my own cash and pay for my own insurance… all these “shoulds”…). I hate myself.  I hate that I feel like I’m just being stubborn and lazy and useless. I really wish I could reliably contribute.  I hate mooching off of others… I know my therapists say I earned it and I need this stepping stone, but it’s a blow to my ego when I feel better (though a huge relief when I don’t)…
Ugh!


trigger warning…

I’m trying to be ok with a comment a friend made on fb, as she has every right to be upset by my comment… but it’s hard. A few days ago I had been having a really rough week, and I was tired of being told to turn to religion. My defenses were down and I was raw. The last straw was when a friend of my wife’s commented for the umpteenth time to “Let go & let god” and that everything happens for a reason, and that I should “pray” about my situation… That last sentiment triggered such a deep hurt and rejection, I lost all cool and composure. I ranted long and hard about how a belief in a god does not make everything better… I was rude and disrespectful and cursed a lot… I can understand that people would be hurt, but I didn’t care. I was tired and hurt myself… My wife said that she would take it down in the morning (it was on a status she had put up) because she did not want her mom to be mad at me for not only cursing, but putting religion down… I was fine with it. I got out my rant and could care less if it was up any longer than that… She never did take it down. I’m not quite sure why, maybe it was the strong responses in both directions about what I said, maybe she just forgot and then thought it was up for that long, might as well leave it… whatever. It is still there. Anyway, a friend of mine read it and was very insulted and hurt by it. She made a comment to that effect on her page, but without mentioning who the comment was directed to. She was very respectful and did a great job communicating her displeasure with my stance (and insults) on something she holds dear.
I shouldn’t be hurt or bothered by this. I shouldn’t feel the way I do about it. But then why can’t I shake it?
I am triggered by religion and inaction in the name of religion because of my experience with one individual, and later with a “spiritual” experience… The first person I ever confided in about the abuse and violence going on at home (and my resulting depression and hopelessness) simply told me to “Just pray about it, and god will help you out”… I had just told her that I feared for my mom’s life, I felt suicidal, and was terrified to be home every day of my life, and she told me to pray about it… That was such a let-down. Everywhere they encourage you to tell someone when things like this are going on, and when I did, I was offered no help. It was a guidance counselor at school mind you, a mandated reporter even back then (she left the school the following year and was replaced by a wonderful woman who helped me so much, and i am now privileged to call her my friend)… I felt so abandoned and lost in that moment. My hate for religion grew from there. The ignorance and uncaring she displayed made me feel totally alone. To this day I have trouble asking for help, and believing that anyone with any power to do something will actually do anything to help (well, that and the countless times the police were called to diffuse a situation at home…). I don’t trust easily, so when I went to her with that information, my little bit of trust crumbled to dust in the moment of her indifference…
I know most people today have no clue why I feel so strongly against any organized religion. I haven’t told many people. I definitely keep my mental health and abuse history off of fb (it is not the place for things like that)… I know this friend has no idea why I said what I did, she is just insulted by it… I should be able to take that at face value and move on, as I know I was rude with it… but it just feeds my rejection and feelings of neglect from so long ago. And now I want to be stubborn and not apologize or remove it because it triggered my rebellious side, and I want to stomp my feet and scream that I am right, but only because I don’t want to tell why I really feel that way. I don’t want to spill that my 1)abuse 2)was not stopped by someone who was supposed to help, but 3)instead thought I should turn to “god” to better my situation. I don’t want to explain myself, I just want to be mad about it, because I have a right to be mad. I know I should have done it more tactfully, but I was hurt… All I ever do is apologize for holding the hurt in, until it gets too much and I burst. I play nice and respectful and pleasant, and no one gets it. They keep at it… They insist that I am wrong and stupid and should “give my life to god”, but they don’t hear my protests when I am nice. They don’t respect my pleas to stop hitting me over the head with that. So I snap, and I revert to being 3 and screaming whatever I want, however I need to, in order to be heard.
I don’t like hurting people. I don’t like insulting them or their beliefs. But I can’t bring myself to apologize for my rant, or to back-track and say it nicer just to appease everyone. But that too is an internal conflict. The part of me that strives to please everyone all the time and be pc and nice really wants to take down the comment and apologize for insulting everyone. The 3 year old in me wants to sit there, stick my tongue out and say “Good!” (now you can be as hurt as I was)… It makes me want to cut and cry and break things. It makes me want to hide and delete fb all together… It makes me hate myself for being hurtful… but it makes me feel good too. And that scares me. I never want to be someone who hurts others because she is hurt… I don’t want to be my dad… I never want to be my dad…


Striking a balance.

The trouble with the new year is that everyone expects things to just change.  Life does not know the difference,  it’s only marked on a calendar.  The days will continue to be the same if you let them;  if you don’t work to change them… the same is true for every day.  We need to put forth effort to improve or change the way things are.  Life is not something that simply happens to you. You make big and little choices daily that help steer it in the direction you go.  Even not doing anything is a choice…

So I choose to keep persevering in the direction I want my life to go,  bumps and all.  And maybe I will stop kicking myself for not reaching out. I might actually stop worrying about bothering people on their day off and reach out (or at least try) so I can stop feeling like so much crap.


Wanting to cry

I know it’s a new year, but it’s changed nothing.  My hands brush against my thigh, and I crave a blade.  I’m ready for this struggle to be over for good. The thoughts need to go away. I need to be finally happy again.


triggering

Trying to figure what it is about me that tries to trigger myself,  not so that I will cut, but because I need that feeling to come and go.  I watch movies with a very prominent self-injury or abuse component to them.  I listen to music that  is at once triggering and comforting.  I battle with myself about reaching out.  I want to give voice to all the dysfunction in my head, but I’m afraid of the consequences.  I want to let people in, but I’m scared.  So I crave that feeling to have a definite end to it with the change in song or the end of the movie.  It gives the wave of emotion a forced, set path to follow.  It gives me somewhat of a sense of control; and I desperately need that when I start to feel out of control.

I had written earlier that I was kicking myself for not taking the opportunity to talk earlier on today.   I still am.  I toy with calling back and trying to talk to her again.  I toy with calling a hotline and being upfront that I am not suicidal, but I want to self-harm.  I’m scared because I don’t know what that will bring from a stranger in a new state.  I just know I need to reach out some more and I need more support than I can give myself.  I could talk to my wife more, but I don’t want to scare her.  I could talk to my mom, but the same is true… I need someone to talk to that will have a certain level of detachment that can hear me out… I need someone that is strong enough to listen to what I have to say and hear it all, and tell me how fucked-up I am…  And I don’t want to end up in the hospital… But I’m afraid that the knee-jerk reaction would be to send me there.  It’s a holiday, I don’t want to waste their time…  and I really just want someone I can take the risk of talking to without having to see the disgust on their face and the horror in their eyes as I spill the contents of my head… I don’t want them to see me either.  I don’t want them to notice the smile play across my lips at the thought of hurting myself and the thought of the relief it would bring, even if just for a moment, since shame and guilt set in pretty much immediately after I realize that someone may find out… and think of how messed-up I am…  But the thoughts are supremely comforting, even if the act would bring ridiculous consequences that I know I don’t want or need…


I guess I was on the right track…

Managed to talk to my old therapist a bit today.  She said that my symptoms fit the diagnosis of Dissociative Disorder NOS.  The split is there,  but not full-fledged people.  And I have a very difficult time connecting the two sides when I’m in either (hence this blog).  It’s more pronounced here.  It’s a physical feeling when I switch from one to the other.  It’s a feeling of falling through ice into freezing water when I get to the “dark” side (strangely comforting, not necessarily a panic, but a relief because I know what comes next); and the feeling of patching a wall when I come back here.  It’s relatively sudden (a matter of minutes) and I lose touch with what was before… it’s a weird feeling,  and quite strong since I moved back to where I grew up.  Someone plugged in the amp… I don’t want it to progress like it has been.   That would lead to some scary shit…

I keep trying to reach out,  but fear prevents me from opening up too much… I’ve had the chance again today,  but when asked that crucial question,  I said no.  I am not suicidal,  but I do sometimes want to hurt myself… not to die,  but to let the emotion bleed out with the injury… Only I’m afraid if I said that, they would be obligated to send me to the emergency room… because I said I want to hurt myself… so they are legally obligated to act on that… and it’s nowhere near what I want to do, but they may get sued, so I would be sent to sit in an er waiting room for hours on end just to try to convince them that I will not hurt myself… I’ve played that game before because most places don’t understand self-injury even though it’s become a hot-button topic in the last decade or so.  Legalities and all… and I don’t know the total scope of the laws in this state that could get me committed against my will.  I know it is fairly easy to get at least a 72-hour hold by anyone that suspects you to be even a remote danger to yourself… self-injury would fall under that category to someone who is not familiar with it’s stress-release capabilities…  So I stay quiet…  and I fight it on my own hoping that the dissociation won’t get as bad as it was last year when I “spaced out” for 2 days and ended up being hospitalized…


torn

2:45pm – one of the therapists that I had contacted prior to my move was supposed to call today to get me into the system at a non-profit associated with her clinic… she did not.  I know she is likely busy with her actual clients and her life, but please don’t give me a specific time that you say you will call me and then not do it.  it makes me anxious and brings back all sorts of crap… I had simply asked her for the name and number to the clinic… she gave me the name, but not the number, and I can’t find their number online.  she also said she would call me this morning to set me up… I know I’m not at the breaking point, and this is not an emergency (far from it) but I would like to know I have something in place to help me keep from ever getting to the breaking point.  holidays are tough, for a lot of people.  they are triggering and highly charged with all sorts of emotions.  please don’t leave me in the dark at this time… I was quite anxious making the call to her in the first place to see about finding someone else with this move.  the thought of having to trust a whole other person is scary.  the thought of having to build up a therapeutic relationship is scary.  I just want to get it started so I can alleviate at least that bit of anxiety from my life.  is that too much to ask? am i being too pushy? too needy? am I over-reacting? I don’t want to call her because I don’t want to bother her.  I know I’m not her client, and at this point won’t be.  I know I have no priority there.  So I don’t want to be over-bearing… I just don’t want to crash either.  Things come up, and I package them away neatly once again, but I wouldn’t mind help in that department… and I really just want the anxiety of getting this all started to be behind me… I want someone I can talk to about all those thoughts in my head who won’t over-react and won’t get all worked up over just thoughts that come and go… and memories…

::sigh:: to steal a line from an Ani Difranco song: “the English translation is…”

I’m just anxious and unsure of where to turn to next… I could call my old therapist, she left that option on the table.  but again, I don’t want to bother her.  I don’t like bothering people.  I don’t like coming off as too needy… I am terrified of pushing people away… I don’t want to do that.  I don’t want them mad at me or frustrated with me.  I just want to be quietly liked…

It’s hard to hear my wife get texts and calls from friends and family… It reminds me again and again that I am not memorable. I don’t have very many friends, and even those people want to forget me… It’s hard to battle these negative ideas when I have no real strength to push them away and refute them… and I don’t see any evidence to the contrary in front of me… Either I chose not to see it, or it’s not there, but I can’t grasp it when I start to feel so doubtful of myself.  All the old, negative voices and mantras come back, screaming in my ears.  Everything I thought of myself growing up (because I can easily recall so much of the fears and doubts) comes flooding back, and it takes everything I have not to get carried away by it.  I start to think that people only talk to me out of obligation… they only see me when they want to (like the ghost girl in the series we just started watching)… I could easily disappear and very few would notice…

and there it is again, that screaming voice of doubt… I need to find a good way to drown it all out… music maybe, the park, nature… I need something positive to take it’s place…

5:22pm – still spinning.  trying to motivate to find a job and a volunteer opportunity, but it goes as fast as it hits me… I found the contact info for that clinic she told me about, so I sent an email.  I’m hoping they call me back sooner rather than later… You know that feeling you get when you know things are tipping in the wrong direction, but they haven’t fallen yet?  I have that feeling… I don’t know how far things will fall if I don’t figure it out, but I know they will fall to some degree.  I can’t afford the “craziness” of the past, so I need to keep it all together and fight like hell to do so.

9:00pm – the anxiety is building.  little tingles are playing under the scars… I need to keep my head above water for this.  No losing it here… I think I’m making it worse in my head, but I don’t really know how to stop it.  Does everyone experience the same disconnect of intellect and “head” when things start to crack?  Intellectually I know SO much about how to keep this all at bay, but emotionally, that’s a whole different story.  Maybe I should just call my old therapist to get some support until I can find someone new…


the legitemacy of tears

“I know I need to cry… but I don’t have a reason.”

“You do have a reason! We are far away from everyone we love, except your mother.  We have no jobs, no money, and it’s Christmas…”

Why, despite knowing better, can I not let myself cry without “reason”?  Why do I feel like I have to… I don’t know… like I can’t justify being sad without something huge and “legitimate” to be sad about… I can’t just have a bad day or a bad moment.  I can’t just cry.  I need to justify every emotion, every tear… I know better, intellectually.  I know that people can just cry without real reason.  I encourage my clients to cry when they feel like it… but I can’t seem to do that for myself.  How can I ask of others what I can’t (won’t) do myself?


Merry Christmas

No tree,  no decorations,  no presents.  But being with people I love,  so that makes up for it. I truely hate this time of year.  I can’t wait till it’s all over with.  Then life can go back to the normal stresses without the added crap brought up by all this… peace to all…


Flashback or spirits?

I was sitting at the computer, feeling down and sad, wanting to cry.  All of a sudden the air smells like my aunt’s perfume… I know we do not have it in the house anymore, not even anything that smells like it… the part of me that believes our loved ones are with us even after they die jumps to it being her here… my mom had been smelling cigarette smoke in the house lately.  None of us smoke, but my uncle used to.  We live in their house now. They have been gone for 18 years… my heart believes it’s them… my head says it’s a flashback brought on by the intensity of the emotions from being back here,  and from the season.  I prefer to go with my heart…


i feel like i should write something…

…but i have no idea what to write. i hate the holidays. they were never happy for me. they always meant forced get-togethers that ended in vicious fights… It’s been better since I moved out, and better still since I met my wife, but the old days haunt me this year. Being back home is weird. The memories are around most corners… and the lack of distractions facilitates more thinking. I’ve been trying to get out of the house. I’ve been trying to keep occupied. It works for the most part. I go window shopping, I occupy myself with my hobbies… I try not to think.

It’s been weird not having a therapist. I had made contact with one before the move so I would have someone to touch base with once I got here, but finances have prevented me from following through.

What is it about the holidays that brings back all this crap…?  I guess the fact that they’ve commercialized the hell out of it doesn’t help… nor does the fact that they start throwing Christmas at you in August… There’s no way to escape it.  They start triggering memories before the end of the summer, and they don’t let it up until after all the returns have happened.  The movies, the music, the religion… it all makes me cringe.  I am scrooge around the holidays… I don’t want others to not enjoy it, but I want nothing to do with it all.  I like the thought of giving to others, but I do that anyways…

The one good thing Catholic school taught me: give to others until you have nothing left to give, then find it in yourself to give more… be it monetary or emotional, I give until I’m in the negatives… It doesn’t work out all that well in practicality tho.  If you have nothing left for yourself, it’s hard to give to others.  It’s hard to smile when you are a void… It’s hard.

It’s hard to miss people… losses suck.  This time of year always reminds me of them.  This year we are surrounded by images, thoughts, and well-wishes to those effected by the Sandy Hook Elementary shootings… I’m glad I knew no one in the school at the time, but I wonder how their families are coping now.  I think of those people and my heart breaks… and I feel somewhat selfish in that heartbreak.  I’m not really crying for them (tho my empathy for them triggers the tears) so much as I cry for all my losses. That’s one thing I was never good at.  Processing loss is something that eludes me.  My greatest losses happened more than a decade ago.  Any little thing brings them up though.  Big things really bring them up.  The Newtown shootings were a big thing… I feel particularly connected because… well, because I do.  It hit too close to home.  It makes me cry every time I see something about it, and the news is flooded with it all still.  Facebook posts ask you to pray for the victims and families.   Gun-control is a hotly debated topic.  When it’s not a blurb directly about Newtown, it’s a debate about how to fix things like that from ever happening again… How about talking about mental health?  How about making it accessible and not stigmatized?  How about… how about help?

I keep this anonymous because I don’t want my family and friends identified.  But I also don’t want more of those looks than I already get.  I have a bunch of things stacked against me when it comes to judgments and hate.  I don’t want to add a full-disclosure to those very obvious ones.  I especially don’t want it now, when mental health issues are brought into the limelight by one very unbalanced and sick individual’s horrid actions.  It’s tough that I still have very visible scars on my arms.  I don’t want to have to explain that away whenever any little kid asks (they have no filter) or whenever any adult looks at me with either disgust or pity after seeing my arm.  I’m glad most everyone says nothing.  It makes it easier to forget about that point in life… even if for just a few moments.

Why is it that I have such a fog around so much of my life, but I can’t forget the trauma totally?  Why does that have to come back?  I know the psychological answer, but I want to know the purpose of it in our lives… Aside of the evolutionary benefits of remembering dangerous situations so we can avoid them, how does remembering the actual event, and not necessarily what lead up to it, help us survive?  It does just the opposite.  It takes away your will to see another day.  It makes you live in darkness and eventually crave fading away.  So how does that help the species as a whole?  What scientific purpose does it serve?  What survival purpose does it serve?  How does it help humans live longer as a collective?


Knee-jerk reactions infuriate me…

I know that sounds quite the double-standard, but I need to vent.

Please keep our public schools religion-free.  If you want your religion to be the cornerstone of your education,  go to a religious school that fits with your beliefs and enroll your children there.  Do not force my child to fit into your niche. Do not tell me your god needs to be brought back into every school.  Not everyone believes in your god.  Forcing them to learn about it and preach it every day will not make anything better.  It will make those who believe feel stronger in their beliefs,  yes,  but it will alienate and cause conflict with those that do not.  Instead of bringing your god back into classrooms,  lets bring tolerance,  peace,  and love back.  Lets teach our kids that bullying for any reason is not ok. Lets teach them to work together instead of one-upping eachother… that is what I want thought to my children in schools, not that one god is better than the next.


That doubt no one ever talks about…

Disclaimer: this may be triggering. Use caution when reading. I only write this in hopes that it may help someone.
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No one ever talks about the doubt that bursts onto the scene in the moment between making the decision to actively take your life, and the moment you actually try it.  That moment when FEAR creeps in, but you made the commitment (to yourself) to go through with it. So you hunker down and hug your teddy bear tight as the music plays through your headphones… you fight the fear as you’re shaking in your boots. This is not really what you want all of a sudden… but it’s too late, even if only in your head…

Then you wake up the next evening as if nothing ever happened. You have momentarily forgotten the hell that is your life, and you smile and laugh with concerned friends and family, oblivious to what you just narrowly missed. You get confused about why you can’t move your arms and legs too far (they are strapped to the bed). As the hours of consciousness wear on, the memories slowly seep through the mud. You remember what you tried, and you get angry that it didn’t work. The pain returns. Only this time, there is no escape. You are trapped, physically. There is no release… you forget that moment of fear and doubt until years later… you just know you failed yet again.


Frazzled

My brain is at once mush and racing.  I want to sleep, but I can’t close my eyes.  My head fluctuates between heartbreak and anxiety.  The events of today hit close to my heart.  It’s overwhelming and tears come to my eyes whenever I think of it… and it angers me when everyone automatically jumps to more governmental control… I think we need to make mental health treatment more accessible.  It needs to cater to people not only once they break,  but also “preventative medicine”…  I remember fighting to gain access to treatment that was more intensive but still trying to maintain a full time job. If I was an addict in the traditional sense, I would have had the opportunity to go to an evening program. I would have been able to keep up my treatment while not disrupting my daily life. I had to make a choice: minister to my mental health, or keep myself afloat financially and maintain my home. If I had an addiction, I would not have to make that difficult decision.

I fell through the cracks until I cracked. I maintained myself with weekly therapy until it became too much. I was unable to keep up the facade. I am not totally sure what happened that first time, but I found myself at the emergency room afraid I was going to hurt myself beyond repair… a few weeks after my initial weekend stint on the psych unit, I woke up (several times) in the ICU. The previous night, I had decided to kill myself, and made a relatively decent attempt. I spent the next week locked up. They discharged me with a hope to continue more intensive treatment. I did not follow through. There was no inquiry to my lack of appearance at the program. I had made a serious attempt on my life just over a week ago, and I was free to go. I saw my therapist once a week, and continued my daily grind. I was adept at smiling and pretending everything was hunky-dory while inside I was trying desperately to make sand fill up a wire frame… I fell apart again a few short weeks later. I fell through the cracks inside myself and in the system… mind you I was never as messed up as I was on my meds, but that is also another story…


Little reminders

At the dog park the other day, a kid commented on my scars… “you’re dog really bit up your arm huh?” i simply nodded and mumbled a “oh, yeah…” as I stuffed my arm against my side.  yeah… dog… it suddenly reminded me of all the shame that goes along with cutting.  I haven’t cut in over a year, and not on my arm in about 10 years, but the shame is there.  How can anyone ever see this as attention-seeking?  Especially professionals… they should know that this isn’t for attention.  I cringe at the memory of the time the lead pyschiatrist at a hospital said: “You want attention? I’ll give you attention!” and admitted me for 2 weeks… he was a dick.  he didn’t know what he was talking about, nor did he care to know anything about his patients… It’s sad when “helping” professionals get burnt out and we all suffer for it…


Remembering to breathe

Trying to not let the tension in the air get to me.  It’s difficult.  I forgot how negative of an environment this was… she’s always angry at something,  and the bad energy rubs off on everyone. Just have to remember to breathe.  It’s temporary and it will all be for the better.  There is a huge adjustment.  It doesn’t help that the wife is struggling with this change. Just keep breathing…


goodbyes suck.

she was so nice.  by nice I mean kind.  she gave me a belated card.  I will not let that go.  she got teary when we started, when we addressed this being our last session… I bumbled on through topics, avoiding talking about anything meaningful for very long…  I touched lightly on the fears that have pushed back into my head.  I flitted around the stress of not having the money to move.  I did not voice the memories that have floated up.  I did not acknowledge the thoughts that skimmed across the surface of my mind.  I refused to go too deep into those waters because I knew I only had an hour left in person with her for quite some time.  I wanted to say all this, but it got tangled on my tongue and never made it to my lips.

she refuted the irrational fears I managed to speak.  she reassured me that I will not be forgotten.  she offered a spot to come back to… then she asked a difficult question: what will you do there without therapy?  my brain drew a blank.  I smiled coyly and answered: breathe… then I giggled nervously.  she offered that I could call her if I needed.  I joked that I would be calling her every hour if I did decide to call my dad to help us get down there…  she smiled, then shook her head: “how is that a good idea?” (referring to calling my dad)  I had no answer other than: “at least we would get down there”  she then reminded me that getting down there would be of no use if I proceeded to fall apart after the drive… ok.  so calling dad and sacrificing my sanity is not a good option.  “it’s an okay last resort, but why would you pick that option if you had others to choose from?”  I don’t really feel like there are other options.

at the end of the session, I awkwardly tried to stand, but my body felt glued to the chair.  I was willing myself to shift my weight to my feet, but I was having a very difficult time convincing my muscles to move.  I was trying hard not to cry.  finally I managed to stand, then came the battle to move my feet to the door… I flailed around mentally, and found some random topics to get myself distracted enough to shuffle along.  just then, she touched my arm and gave me a hug.  it took every fiber of my being to not burst out in tears at that moment.  someone actually cares and I believe she is genuine… and she has no other reason my brain can come up with for “having” to care, she just does.  she can’t retire in the time I am gone… she has to be around to come back to.  she didn’t run when she saw my worst.  she believed (without any real evidence) that there was a real person somewhere deep down inside of that mess that presented at her office.  she believed in me when I didn’t think anyone would, and she trusted me to make my own calls to keep myself safe (despite the fact that I didn’t always manage to do so, she kept giving me the benefit of the doubt that this time, I will reach out).  she didn’t try to convince me that I was one diagnosis or another.  and she was ok with different approaches to therapy and treatment when the traditional therapy wasn’t doing the trick.   please still be here when i get back…

now I have to contact that new therapist.  only I don’t have insurance for a month after getting there.  it’s hard to find someone who will do a sliding scale and bill me for later…

my heart is just a little broken over this “extended vacation”


It’s all coming back to me now…

All the insecurities and fears that i had managed to put in neat little boxes in the back of my mental closet have found their escape routes and made it to the forefront of my brain.  Loss is hard, and there are a ton coming up right now with this move. I woke up with an immense headache.  I’m secretly hoping we win at least some of the money from this powerball drawing, at least enough to get us safely to our destination…

But first there are goodbyes… this one will be really hard… I’m sitting waiting for my therapy appointment. I have a lot of crap around having to change therapists… this time will be no different 😦