Tag Archives: vacation

Hypersensitivity to smells (gonna whine now, feel free to skip reading this)

Back in November-ish, smells started to bug me. I’m not pregnant; I’m 100% sure of that, but strong (and many food) smells turn my stomach.

I mentioned it to my doctor, and she suggested I contact a local taste and smell clinic. They have a long wait, and I just sent out my paperwork yesterday, but I’m hoping they can give me some answers.

The hypersensitivity to smells is just one more thing that seems to be piling on to my list of weird symptoms that come along with the muscular pain.

While I’m waiting to hear back from the clinic, I’m struggling to get through the day dealing with most smells making me very uncomfortable. I’m hyper aware of the smokers in the building, I can’t stand the smell of cooking food… it’s so uncomfortable, I find myself wanting to cry (well, that & the muscle pain/cramps). Mint is a tolerable smell, so I’ve gotten into the habit of dabbing mentholatum rub under my nose to curb the nausea…

I dunno… the clinic’s website says they generally can only help about 1/3rd of the people they assess. I hope I fall into that 33%; I don’t want to have to live with this hypersensitivity (though my mom also has a similar intolerance for smells. She developed it in adulthood…)

I’m so tired and run down. Triggers around loss abound, and it’s not helping anything at all. A friend’s 6-year-old daughter died unexpectedly Sunday morning (in her sleep, cause as yet unknown, though she had several serious medical issues), it’s coming up on the anniversary of Chow’s death, my brothers in law’s dog passed away the same day I felt like someone died, but couldn’t think of any anniversary… and my 40th birthday is around the corner. I don’t feel 40. I don’t want to be 40. I shouldn’t have ever lived this long… Dr. C suggested that maybe this dread of age is rooted in past experiences (especially since it’s paired with the feeling that someone’s passed away)… it kinda makes sense… doesn’t matter though, since she’s now off for 2.5 weeks in the tropics, so I can’t really process that with her beyond Monday’s brief conversation.

I guess I have a fair amount of reasons to cry, but it still feels unwarranted… I’m just so tired.

The depression hit super hard a week ago Monday, and very suddenly; it felt like a switch was flicked. The intense depression hit, the muscle cramps and pain started, that bitter taste came back (it colors everything I eat or drink)… the smell thing is just intensifying… it’s all so oppressive…

So yeah, whining…


Planning

I can’t really remember all of what we covered in session today, but it mostly consisted of me catching Dr C up on the past month… then we talked about being present in my body. I admitted I haven’t really been present for quite some time (several months, if not years). We talked about the barriers to being present. I mentioned liking the disconnect especially after the almost-3-years of constant flashbacks and intrusive memories while living down south. 

That brought us to the topic of what to do about the trauma work. We talked more about emdr and I was able to verbalize my concerns; namely that, while it has felt like the most successful treatment option to date, the last few times I tried, it had left me more triggered and dissociated. I expressed my desire to find some plan for maintaining safety if we are to go ahead with more emdr. 

We talked more about that, then we penciled in a very intense week of emdr to commence during my “vacationless vacation” coming up in October. I half-joking told her it would be awesome if I could enjoy sex again with my wife on our wedding anniversary… so now we are scheduled to do 7 consecutive days of 2-hour sessions, most of which will involve emdr (with talk and art mixed in). 

::gulp!::

I hope the nearly 2 months we have before that time will be enough to establish a sense of safety around the work we will be doing…

We arrived at the intensity of it after talking more about my fears moving forward. Both Dr C and I agree that the ideal setting for me to tackle my trauma work would be an inpatient/residential trauma unit. I don’t always have it in me to tackle the work in the single hour a week insurance pays for, and sometimes things aren’t ready to surface till odd hours when Dr C is unavailable. Other times, it takes a few hours of processing stuff internally before I need to talk about it again with someone. Since all of that is rather impossible, the next option would be a php or iop that specialized in trauma combined with seeing Dr C. Again, rather impossible since there’s nothing like that locally. So plan C is some really intensive therapy for the week both L and I are “on vacation”. The hope (from Dr C) is that L could drive me to sessions and provide some moral support afterwards. I personally think it’s a bit much to ask of L, I guess I can hash it out with her. It’s far enough away at this point that Dr C and I can still change the plan or arrange for iop…

Anyway, so yeah. That’s what we did today. I’m kinda happy we have a plan since I’ve been feeling stalled in therapy lately. 


Transference and loss

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

My defenses are working overtime. 

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

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

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

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

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

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


Therapy vacation coming up… :/

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

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

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

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


Confused by my reaction

I talked briefly with Dr C on Wednesday about my anxiety over her vacation… we talked a bit more about it as a group on Thursday…

I’m still taken aback by my reaction. I’m not falling apart. I don’t feel this desperate need to talk to her (it’s happened in the past, with several of my therapists when they took vacation that happened to fall during a vulnerable time for me). I don’t know why it’s suddenly worrisome that she will be away for two weeks. I thought I was in a better place. I was fine when she left for vacation over the summer (though it might have only been a week)… I keep reminding myself I’m doing well. I remind myself that she has every right to a vacation. I remind myself I did fine the last time she was away… yet the little voice in the back of my head echos with whimpering and tears. I dunno…

Sure, I’m a bit stressed with my recent change in schedule, but it’s a positive stress. The paychecks (as minimal as they are) bring so much relief. It gives me something to do that also has me feeling successful and competent. It’s a really good thing, yet it’s still throwing me off-balance ever so slightly. I guess it’s easier to muddle through that when I can touch base with Dr C during the week.

This next two weeks, I will try to find connection through working on my art journal. She had shown me some “mini squares” she has been doing lately. I think I want to try that. I kept meaning to draw the grid into my journal, but I couldn’t find a ruler (not that I looked very hard). I know I’ll get around to it, I just have to find the energy. They are fairly easy she says, since there isn’t the commitment of a large spread in one technique or style. She does hers without much thought to cohesive order or meaning. I hope I can pull off something similar… I just have to find that damn ruler.


Depression colors everything

I woke this morning wanting to cry my eyes out. Depression sucks. It’s a gorgeous day. There was a quick shower, and a pretty rainbow, and I want to cry harder.
L reminded me there are only 12 days till my visit, and I was overwhelmed with a heaviness. How is it that such a happy experience should make me so sad? because I know the sadness at leaving will be heavy and wet and incredibly intense. I know, I shouldn’t focus on the ending before it even begins. That’s the fun part of depression though; it doesn’t give a shit…
An acquaintance made the move to initiate friendship, and that made me want to cry also. People shouldn’t be nice to me. They shouldn’t put forth the effort, they’ll just be infected by this black sludge that invisibly oozes from every pore. I admit, I do my best to hide it if you see me out and about, but it’s there. It’s sticky and heavy and traps everything in its path…
I wanted to cry when I read an account of someone’s snakes living well into their 50’s. I wanted to cry because I was both happy that mine may be with me for a much longer time, and sad that the hurt would be huge when they do finally pass… I know, you are thinking “but they’re snakes!? They’re icky and slithery and snakes!?” But they have their personalities and they are not icky at all… and I will miss them when they move out of my life, like I miss every pet I have ever shared my life with…
So yeah, depression is loud and very present this morning despite my best efforts to smile and decide to be happy. It’s coloring everything with those dark storm clouds… I can see the rainbow, but it’s very faint and fading fast, leaving only the gray clouds.

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And so begins the three months

I’m headed back down south after our “vacation” up north, where I’m leaving L to get us settled before I come up with the zoo. This is the first time we have voluntarily spent time apart for longer than a week, and definitely the longest we have been apart since meeting 6 years ago.  This will be a test of our relationship, but it will hopefully help us ease out of our intense co-dependence…
I’m a bit nervous about my eventual relocation. I was hoping to get back to being able to see Dr C, but she has not responded to any calls or messages since I mentioned we were coming back.  I know I have time yet, but I like to plan when it comes to this stuff. I like to know I have support through transitions. We’ll see.  She may return a call when it’s finally closer to the move. If not, I will have to find someone else that can take state insurance and has expertise in trauma, sexual assault, and “bat-shit crazy” (lol)…


going to an island for 2 days

L and I are so excited!  We are going on our first vacation in years tomorrow. It’s only 2 days, but it is a welcome change.  Not only are we getting out of the daily routing, but we are meeting up with our best couple friend from up north (we have not seen them in over a year).  It has taken someone’s visit to allow us to break free from our rut.  I’m not complaining though.  If it was not for them being down, we would likely have backed out due to lack of funds.  Anyway, that’s my round-about way of saying I probably wont post for a few days.  I hope to not pay too much attention to my phone while there.  We leave at 4am tomorrow, and hope to be down there by 8am.  Cross your fingers that we don’t hit much traffic along the way.  Island life here we come! 🙂


There’s the effects of crappy sleep…

2 days into the break and I’m wishing De wasn’t going to be gone for so long. I’ll get through it, but it just feels so long. My lack of proper sleep is starting to get to me. I wake too long before sunrise despite being really tired. There’s too much time to think  I’m not actually thinking about much at all. The only good thing about L working overnights is that i can make noise and turn on the light when i wake up without feeling guilty.  I started Pandora at about 5 am without worries of bothering her or waking her up… i think i need to start taking benadryl for sleep again. I definitely don’t need to add lack of sleep to the stressors right now (holidays, monthly hormones, various body triggers, the holidays…).
I was catching up on a blog, and i related so well to the way she was describing things, but i don’t remember what she said and how she said it all of a sudden. There was something about attachment and a weakening of defenses… i dunno, but she said it so well.  Whatever.  It will come back to me eventually.
On another note, i apologize for the lack of quality lately (make it this past year). I’ve fallen out of my more professional mindset and it totally shows: the writing is crap and there’s little of actual value to anyone else in my posts. Sorry.  I will try to get a bit better about it.  I think my problem is my lack of direction. I’m not thinking critically anymore, just lost in the experience. I’m not sure how to be able to find a happy median between being too detached and being too involved. It’s an art form I have yet to master.

I’m trying to think of something artistic to do to keep me occupied, but my art table had been commandeered as the dinner table for the last 2 days (ok, i admit, that’s what a dining table is supposed to be used for, but i had repurposed it and now I miss it). There’s just something not conducive to the creative process when you have to find another suitable surface to work on… but i digress. I’ve done nothing creative the last few days.  I did work a bit more on my art profile elsewhere, but that wasn’t creating anything new. I wish I had a space dedicated to being an art room with appropriate storage and work surfaces… one day. In the mean time, i have to make do with being creative about my creative spaces…

Sorry.  I think i need to stop writing.  My lack of meaningful sleep is glaringly apparent. Maybe I can sleep a bit more before starting the day. Wish me luck! (L comes home soon, and I’m sure she will want to sleep too). Catch you on the flip side of a nap!


speaking to SJ’s panic

I saw De today.  It was good.  She helped ease some of my fears.  She spoke to the scared little kid in me who was terrified of losing the connection with her.   She did most of the talking, but it was stuff I needed to hear (SJ busied herself coloring a minion).  I was able to ask the main questions weighing on me.  She was able to explain that a discharge for being unstable would be looked at case-by-case.  We will be playing the next few weeks by ear.  She underscored that my safety was her top concern, and she wanted me to feel comfortable asking for help as needed without the fear of immediately losing the relationship.  She was very careful not to make any promises she would not be able to keep, but she was able to promise a termination session if it came down to it.  She explained a bit better what the bounds of that decision would approximate, which gave me a bit better idea of the whole process.  She also agreed we could do more art either in the art room, or her office if the art room is not available… I found out today she has play dough in her office… We may need to break that out next session.

De also seemed relieved that I am willing to go to the IOP (Intensive Outpatient Program – 9am-1pm, three days a week for about 8 weeks) and give it a shot even though it’s not exactly what I’m looking for.  The holidays will be dicey for scheduling, and she will be away for 2 weeks between Christmas and New Year.  She was quite up-front about being relieved that I will have the added support of the program during the time she will be gone.  I kinda feel bad.  I never meant to worry her like that.

Because of our conversation, I was able to admit that the hopelessness is still very heavy.  She encouraged me to ask for whatever help I think I need. She wants me to be able to ask for inpatient if that is something I feel I need at any time.  I’m going to give this IOP a try, and see how it works out.  I hope it will provide the safety net I am so desperately seeking.  I am a bit hesitant about trusting anyone there with my hopelessness.  I have been misunderstood/over-reacted to in the past by people at IOP’s which lead to multiple involuntary hospitalizations (and that was in a state that had stricter guidelines for involuntary commitment.  here, you just have to “appear to have a mental illness” in order to be able to be involuntarily held for up to 72 hours for psychiatric evaluation.  That’s a really broad phrase open to much interpretation… SCARY!).  I worry about saying things the wrong way (as is often the case) or confessing to my hopelessness and being hospitalized because of it.  To help with those fears, I am filling out paperwork that gives my wife power to make decisions for me (and if she is unable/unwilling, my mom gets the honor) in case they declare me “incompetent to make decisions” for any length of time.  I know both L and my mom are on the same page as I in terms of my mental health treatment.  I am confident they would support any decision I ask for.  It’s scary how paranoid that makes me sound.  However, having been in battles regarding my mental/emotional competence in the past, I want to make sure all my bases are covered.  One of my greatest fears is being forced into a treatment I do not want.


feeling defeated

I know I should be talking about this with the appropriate people, but it is difficult, so I will write it here.

It’s not fair.  It’s not fair that you invite him here and then get mad when I choose to leave for the duration of his visit (I shut him out of my life for a reason, and I really have no desire to let him back in).  You can choose to have him come around, but don’t try to guilt me into sticking around for it.  I don’t want to spend time with him.  That kind of interaction is just not good for me.  I know this last time wasn’t so bad, but I refuse to push my luck.  I have enough trouble with all the crap in my head as it is, I don’t need help going over the edge.

I chose to stay away most of the time last visit because I wanted to limit the chances of me being really triggered.  I want to be completely gone this next time, because I don’t want to deal with all that he brings up in me (and quite frankly, I don’t want to deal with your anger either.  You refuse to tell me what’s bothering you.  You may hint at it, but you leave me pretty much guessing. I don’t want to have to keep guessing).  It’s better for all concerned if we just took off while he was slated to visit.

I get it, we are annoying and frustrating, and you want us gone asap.  We are working on that.  But in the mean time, I refuse to forego everything that helps keep me sane.  I will choose to spend my money how I see fit.  I am saving what I can, and we will be out of your hair asap because that seems like what you desperately want.  Hell, if I could afford to move us out today, I would because you are clearly bothered by our presence.  But that’s just not realistic unless we suddenly win the lottery.

We try to help out around the house, but nothing is ever good enough for you.  It’s always too messy, or too noisy, or too chaotic, or too quiet.  Sorry.  I don’t know how to win with that.  Like I said, we are working on getting out of here so that you can go back to your quiet and solitary existence.  My bad for assuming I could move back to my own house and be welcome.

I know the dogs are bothersome.  I try to work on it, but I can’t do that alone.  I had asked for help with it, but it seems to be too much to ask.  Coming here has thrown everyone off.  It will take extra work to get them settled again (it’s also really hard to do anything with them outside of the house down here.  The state and municipalities make it impossible to go anywhere with them).

I’m also sorry that trying to include you in what we do outside of the house makes you so uncomfortable.  I’m sorry us leaving the house bothers you (but then again, staying home seems to do the same thing).  I know I can’t handle being cooped up all the time, and I’m pretty sure it drives L nuts also.  If we could take the dogs, we would, but again, too hot and too restrictive around here,

I feel like everything we do is wrong.  I feel like everything we do is too little.  If we don’t to the dishes, that’s a problem.  If we do the dishes but don’t do them correctly, that’s a problem.  If we clean up, we never do it to your standards.  If we don’t, you just make passive-aggressive comments about the mess, but don’t attempt to help take care of it.  I feel like we can’t win… and I feel like we can’t ever talk about it because, at this point, you are too angry and we are too defensive.

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I don’t want to do this anymore.  I don’t want to keep running from things and trying to dodge bullets flying at me from the dark…  I want to fix my shit and move on with my life.  I miss my “friends” and my safe spaces.  I miss being away from all this chaos and triggers.  I miss having some idea of where to turn for support…  I hate feeling so lost and hopeless and broken.  I want to figure shit out, get off disability, and get back to working again… I want my freedom back…