Tag Archives: walls

don’t know how to allow myself to feel

I was talking to L today for our usual daily chat (coz what else are you going to do when you’ve been 1500 miles apart for the past year and some weeks?), and I managed to get out (without my voice catching, and without having to go silent) that I was trying to come to terms with having to find one of the cats a new home… The words came, then the emotion hit, and that was all I could say about it without tears welling up in my eyes… even just writing it here they are threatening to burst forth, but I’m frantically blinking them away.

We also mentioned that Monday will be my last session with TM. More tears sprung to my eyes, but behaved themselves…

I don’t know how to allow myself to feel this. It’s too heavy and too scary. I still can’t think of leaving mom here by herself without the tears escaping from the confines of my eyes… So I stop the thoughts or the conversations. I switch the topic quickly and efficiently. And I still don’t release any of it. It’s safer to feel bad about losing TM because the level of emotional investment in her is not as great as it is with everything and everyone else. I care about her, she’s safe, I will miss her a lot, but it’s nowhere near the level of overwhelming hurt that comes with everything else.

It all feels like K & T dying again. It’s that huge. It hurts that much (only maybe more, because it’s them being gone, and worry over mom and the dog and cats and house and future and everything…). The safety net that was supposed to always be there is again going away. I feel like that poor bee I tried to rescue from drowning in the ocean several weeks ago. It was so windy & choppy, every time I fished him out, the wind caught him and threw him back into the water. Eventually the waves carried him away and I am assuming he perished… I feel like that little bee after I had fished him out a second time, and before the wind whipped him away again. There’s a sense of relief in knowing I’m getting out of the waves, but I also know it’s pretty windy. I’m holding my breath for the last time I get knocked in and the waves finally take me away from all hope of getting out of the water. I’m afraid it’s going to happen like that. I’m afraid something will finally knock me so far that all the means of finding safety are too far to get to.

I don’t know how to be ok feeling this emotion. Maybe if I felt support around it; maybe if there was a cushion of safety in attempting to deal with the emotion, I might be ok trying it in bits… but there’s no cushion. I will have 2 weeks after my last session with TM to keep it together and keep moving. There won’t be that neutral party to bring me back to a level-head. So I have to maintain it for myself. The only way I know how to do it and still function is to stuff it all away.

So I stuff. I fight the tears and the sadness and the fear. I fight the panic… I’m not sure how well I will manage that on the last drive out of the driveway, but at least I won’t be the one behind the wheel.

This sucks.

Dear TM…

Dear TM,

Now you are seeing the hopeless mess that I can become. I don’t like that you will remember me this way. I don’t like that we are ending on this note. I’d prefer you to think of me as someone who can figure shit out and make it in life (coz someone needs to believe that about me. I certainly don’t)…

I’ve put up walls b/c I need you to be a stranger right now. I need to be able to leave without feeling completely crushed about all the losses. It’s not just you I have walls up around. It’s the house, and the state, and mom, and the dog and cats, and art time with my friend, & everything… I’m only going to allow myself to miss the beach. That is all. Everything else is too raw and too painful.

I still want to ask if it would be ok if I called you once I’m settled again… I was going to ask if I could call you on the anniversary day, but it will end up being the day we leave. I will need to concentrate on driving and hanging with the wife… I hope she knows she will have to do the first leg of the journey, the one that gets us out of the driveway and away from this neighborhood. I’m not sure how to say goodbye to all this…

Maybe the IOP will work out? I’m not getting my hopes up, because I don’t have faith in them billing for copays, but at least I can go to the intake without having to pay anything that day. Then we can go from there. The little kid in me wants to keep seeing you as much as I can before I go, but the other part of me sees the heaviness of the depression and knows I would be better off with more support…

I really have no idea what I’m doing, but I know I will come out the other side. I always do.

Please don’t actually hate me, just maybe let me think you do for the moment.



Treatment up in the air

TM and I talked about treatment options again today. I was able to be honest with her about not knowing if my depression would get bad again, or if I could handle things till the move.
I also told her I wasn’t sure what would be the best course of action for my current supports… we tossed around ideas, and ended on me attending the iop intake next week. Hopefully I will get a better picture of both the program structure and whether or not it would make sense for me to go. She’s ok offering me at least 2 more sessions at the moment.
There’s so much wrapped up in this move, I’m not totally confident I won’t crash, but I also don’t want to make a crash happen by expecting one…
I also have to figure out treatment for after the move. Dr C has not returned my calls, so I’m not counting on her to be able to see me. I put out feelers to a few other people in the mean time… I really don’t want to have to go through all this again in a few months after I get up there.

TM and I also covered a bit of the details I gave her to read last week. I’m not sure I got anything out of what we talked about. Maybe I need to ask her to let me read it out loud next week… it would cause a lot of anxiety and triggers, but it also helps in the long run… I dunno. We might not have time though.

Might still want to cover that homework I had given her maybe 2 months ago. We never did anything with it, and it feels unfinished. If I’m admitting all that, I need a bit more closure on it with her, but what we covered today was triggering and unsatisfying. It didn’t bring the closure I had hoped, partially because my walls are up. She felt like a stranger today instead of someone I trusted. I’m not sure how I can go from feeling safe with her until the moment we talk about termination, then she’s suddenly someone I have no connection to… it’s frustrating. :/

an end date…

There was so much I wanted to talk to TM about today, but none of it made it to my lips…

We did talk a bit about last week’s confession around how shitty I’m feeling. We also tried to brainstorm some stuff to give me structure. Well, ok, TM tried to brainstorm. I was having trouble focusing. They moved to the new office over the weekend. I guess today was their first day open at the new location. Nothing was ready. I almost wish TM would have just rescheduled me either to later in the day, or another day. It would have sucked, and I would have felt like shit, but it would have been more productive than today. I guess we were productive for stuff on her end, but not on mine. I kept paying attention to all the noises elsewhere in the office. And the room we were in reminded me very much of a hospital… I hope next week it will be more settled.

She kept trying to tell me it was ok to ask for more support. She talked a bit about the various therapeutic programs and how they took a while to get into. She mentioned some volunteering. I just couldn’t concentrate on what she was saying.  We determined that our last session would be June 23rd…

I kept wanting to wheel myself out of the room (we were both in rolling desk chairs). It looked and felt too much like a locked unit. I kept worrying that I wouldn’t be allowed to leave. Rationally, I know that wouldn’t have happened, but it triggered the fear in me. I wasn’t able to put together that I was triggered till long after I left her. I just knew that in the office, I kept pushing myself and my chair as far back as possible, and I was scared of TM. I wanted to reach beside me and open the door, but I kept thinking it was locked. It felt like TM was matching my discomfort because her chair was all the way back against her wall also. I’m not totally sure if she realized that, or if it happened by accident. I kept waiting for the conversation to turn to me needing a higher level of care, and then being hospitalized. It didn’t happen, but part of me was surprised to have walked out at the end of session. It’s not even like I mentioned safety concerns to her, we actually talked about how much better I have been handling this than in the past. It was just that the room looked so much like a locked mental health unit, I couldn’t pull out of the fear…

I think we may have talked about other things too, but I’m not sure what. Maybe those things took up the whole session time. I know I wanted to tell her some of the stuff flying around in my head. I wasn’t sure how to get them past my lips. I wanted to hand her some of the stuff I had been meaning to give her for the past 2 weeks. I wanted to talk a bit about the support forum. I wanted to talk to her about my experience talking to a friend about some of the stuff TM and I have been covering. None of it squeaked out. None of it made it through the panic.

I kept apologizing for being a pain in the ass. She asked again what made me think I was being annoying. I tried to convey that I had answers, but couldn’t find them in the moment, and that is what I thought would annoy her. I couldn’t get past the internal panic though… I kept giving her “I don’t know” because I couldn’t access the answers in my own head. I couldn’t “act as if”. I couldn’t function… I tried to think whether or not I would be annoyed at a client if they presented like I did. I landed on “no”, but I also could not then translate that to apply to myself. I tried to tell her my self-esteem and lack of self-worth didn’t allow me to move out of that head-space, but it all sounded like jargon to me. I imagined her thinking how annoying I was, how frustrating and resistant and willful I was being, and that if I could just stop being that way, we could get somewhere. I tried again to gain an outside perspective, but I still couldn’t apply my own patience with others to myself. Who am I to warrant any compassion? (At the time, a combination of speaking with a DBT clinician and multiple hospital experiences were crowding my head. I remembered being blamed for not trying hard enough, for not being able to use my skills, for being resistant and willful and deliberately sabotaging my recovery because I was stubborn. I couldn’t separate it from the experience of speaking with TM in the present. I couldn’t look at her, and in my head she looked like the DBT clinician L)…

I did manage to tell her about the line of thinking that allowed me to see some smidge of self-worth last week, and how I kept going back to it to try to get through the weekend. Even as the words left my mouth though, they felt stupid and contrived. I was suddenly reacting to her like I would have G. I was afraid that if I said the wrong thing in the wrong way, or because I wasn’t calling her the most intelligent and worthwhile person on the planet, I was being disrespectful. I didn’t attribute all of my change in thinking to her though. I told her of the success and quietly waited for her to blow up at me… Again, the full realization that I was triggered and responding to the past rather than TM or the moment only hit me long after I left.

We set up a time to check in on Thursday. I protested about being bothersome, so she was going to leave it up to me to call if I needed, but I was able to tell her that I would prefer having something scheduled. I told her I would probably agonize over calling her then end up not deeming anything worthy of bothering her for. She said we would schedule it and she would call Thursday… She left an invitation open for me to call tomorrow too if I feel I need it. I instantly shook my head. That would be too much of an imposition to be able to agree to. Though thinking about it now, I may leave her a message hoping it lessens the anxiety. I would like to be able to let her in on what went on for me today without wasting too much session time.

Even writing about it all is triggering a lot of anxiety and fear. I really hope next week feels different. It will be more than a week for settling in (because of the holiday next week), so I really hope they get things decorated and set up better. And I really hope TM’s office doesn’t feel as triggering as the random room we were in today. When I speak with her on Thursday, I should remember to ask if it would be ok for me to leave her a message over the weekend to help get through it. I know she won’t be there or anything, and I wouldn’t expect a return call. It just sometimes helps to leave her messages.


I worried about my walls for no reason…

I managed to keep my walls relatively intact today until the very end, when she asked about something, and I looked at the clock “oh, sorry, time’s up.” I said. She looked at me, looked at the clock, back at me, and said we’ll tackle it next session. She threatened to write a note for herself so we’d be sure to get to it.

There were a few moments I almost cried as we talked about the move, but I held it together and quickly changed my line of thinking. It was relatively easy since I had nearly 10 days to craft my walls. Everything is at a distance right now. If it threatens to come rushing up on me, I hide in bed, or blast music at myself, or listen to one of the meditations, or force myself upon my friends so I have plenty of distractions. Oh, and alcohol. There’s plenty of reliance on that right now too.

Part of me wishes I hadn’t wasted a session when we have so few left, but another part of me is really happy I didn’t activate all the neediness and hopelessness that’s just beneath the surface.

rawr! depression and pms are a fun combination


you know when you put something out into the universe, and it’s supposed to come to you? why the heck can’t that ever happen with the really awesome stuff? why is it always the stuff I really don’t actually want, or stuff I fear?

last night I journaled to myself about my hesitation to meet with TM today b/c I want to maintain my emotional distance… I recognized that I really didn’t want to not meet with TM today, but that I was just uninterested in losing my distance (there’s something about her office that allows me to drop my walls after I spend all week carefully crafting them… grr!).

anyway, she called today about 40 minutes before I was to leave the house to say she was going home sick.

why can’t I win the lottery when I put that out there? or why can’t we find an apartment that allows all our dogs? I would prefer that to stuff like missing an appointment or someone getting sick.

there were other “stupid” reasons I was disappointed about the cancellation: I was going to get pizza from one of the only good pizza places in this state; I was going to drop an art piece off for a local art show the weekend after next; I was going to get my favorite coffee from my favorite coffee shop… :sigh: sure, I could have gone out of the house regardless of my appointment with TM, but that area of town is about 30 minutes away. If I was going to go anywhere, it would have been to some shops to look around (reptile stores and fish stores are particularly relaxing)… but again, I just didn’t have the energy to make the effort. mom went to run some errands, and the thought of having to drive “all over” (3 stores all within 3 miles of the house) was too much effort.


I also made the mistake of posting an “unpopular” opinion on my fb page. I couldn’t think of any eloquent ways to rebuke their stances, so I just closed out the page and left them to rant at me without bothering to read on. maybe tomorrow (or next week, or next month)… I napped instead.

now I’m watching tv re-runs with mom because I need some sort of background noise. trying to find my zen, happy place, but it feels out of reach. hoping TM feels better soon, and I can actually meet with her this week. aside of dragging me to that part of town, there’s comfort in seeing her. stupid feelings of connection. rawr! walls back up please.

Building Walls (art journal – WIP)

TM wanted me to do art this week…
Started Tuesday, and it’s progressed a bit.

Still working on it…



distance = safety

I desperately want to talk to TM right now, in the moment. I know it’s only so strong because I have distance, and because I can’t actually talk to her in the moment. It’s safe to want to be vulnerable because it’s not a real possibility right now…

If I were to be seeing her later today, the walls would fly back into place. I would deem all this “stupid” and not be able to speak about it. But I’m not in danger of seeing her for another 6 days, so it’s ok to feel this need to spill to her. It’s ok to want to talk about details and impact and insights. It’s safe right now.

Only this pattern makes for difficult therapy. I throw other things at her. I create distractions and talk around things. I disappoint myself in my inability to move forward in therapy… I only want to be vulnerable because I can’t really be vulnerable right now. Even if I were to call her, I wouldn’t be able to voice any of this.

I want to commit to handing her what I wrote today, but I am predicting I will label it “stupid” at the appointment and not give it to her. Or maybe I’ll write too much other stuff this week and this will lose place to something that is more of a summary. I’m not sure. But I know so far every time I wrote something intense with the intent of giving it to her, I always find a reason not to. There’s always something more pressing, or I judge the important stuff too harshly, or I lose my nerve…

And the stuff I wrote today would count as trauma processing. I’m not sure she wants to go there right now. I think she still wants to gauge how well I cope, how far I will fall if I put too much on my plate…

Problem is, it’s on my plate regardless. The flashbacks are there whether or not I talk about them in therapy. The memories are there; the nightmares, the hopelessness, the confusion… It’s all there even if I don’t take it to her. I cope poorly or I cope well regardless of her knowledge of it. At least if I’m talking to her about it, I might find some support. (maybe if I print it out now and stick it in my art journal, I might be more inclined to show her?)

transference sucks ass

This transference crap is such a pain in the butt. I got past the stuff that was blocking me from taking TM up on the offer for an extra session (was able to leave her a message after many false-starts). Now that I have though, I’m panicking because I think she’s pissed at me again. Rationally, I know she’s just probably not gotten a chance to check her messages and/or return calls. Irrationally, I think I failed the test. I think she is mad at me because I dared to try get more than I was originally offered; that I thought I was worthy of something else.

I know the rational line of thinking is likely the true one, but the emotional line is the one that is screaming in my head. It’s the loudest one. It’s the one I can’t drown out or talk away with reason… I think TM and I talked about it last session, or the session before (I’m not really sure which). I know she knows about it, and we will continue to address it in the remaining sessions, but right now it’s a huge barrier. I don’t know how to reach out without guilt and fear. I don’t know how to hold on to a consistent, caring, and genuine version of her in my head. She keeps getting mixed up with the past. It’s very frustrating.

I want to ask her how to move past this, but I can’t get the words out in front of her. Most everything gets stuck in my throat (then it erases everything in my head). I’m lost on how to communicate, or even what to communicate to her. I tried writing it down after a brief monologue in my head, but as soon as I tried it, I lost everything I had figured out. Ugh!

Can someone shoot me already?! I’m so tired of this struggle. Stress is building, sleep is waning… I’m out of ideas. Any plans that may be in the works feel hollow; like a smoke-screen to try to assuage the anxiety. It gives the illusion of competence and togetherness, but it’s the furthest thing from it. None of the plans are actually realistic or viable. I know I need to ask for help around them, but I have no idea how. I feel like I should actually know how to fix the issues before I ask for help figuring out how to fix them. I know, that’s not really how asking for help figuring things out should work, but I guess that’s another throw-back to the past. Asking for help should only be done once you actually know how to accomplish whatever it is you are asking about… :/

old defenses kicking in

I know I had therapy today, but… what did we talk about? I was there the whole hour… I think I knew when I had left her, but now a ton of walls went up.

I know at the end of the session, she offered me another one this week. I was really conflicted about taking it. I couldn’t voice to her why. I still can’t really put it into words. There’s a lot of transference. It’s definitely a block to me being able to speak in session with her. It’s kind of blocking me even now. I can’t remember all the reasons I had in the moment…

I think maybe there was also some worry about… I dunno. It’s all kinda just gone. Was gonna call and leave her a message telling her why I was hesitant, but I guess there’s no point now. I can’t figure out what to say. I wouldn’t know what to say in the session. Sure, it makes the days a bit easier to get through, but… 😦

I hate when my old defenses shut me off from everything. It was great when I developed it, but now it just sucks.

stuck inside myself

I want to talk or journal or something, but I find myself starting and stopping before anything materializes. I’m not sure what to say or how to say it. My responses to people are short and substance-less. I dunno. This whole uncertainty about therapy combined with flow is fucking with me today. I just want to cry and sleep.

Those walls that go up are good at keeping emotions at bay, but they also make me blank and stuck.

I have a feeling TM’s not back yet, nor will she be any time soon (or I fear that). I’m not sure what to do with it, how to process that right now. Because I worried about her dropping me based on the direction of the last session, I feel like we are done, and I need closure on this. Only I don’t know how to get it. There’s no closure if she’s out and we can’t meet. There’s also no correcting/confirming my assumption that she wants me out.

I’m also worried about her. I hope she is ok… I don’t want to think she’s really hurting, or worried about a loved one or herself, or sick. I want her to be ok. She seems really nice. I don’t want anything bad happening to her. :/

Hesitation around Tuesday

I find myself looking forward to finally being able to speak to TM again, but also not holding out hope for it to actually happen. Part of me is worried either she will cancel again last-minute, or my back will still be hurting too much to make the drive and sit for an hour… I tried to go out yesterday and even a 5 minute drive hurt so badly that I turned around and came home.

I’m not sure at this point I even know what to talk about with her. I think I need to find a box of crayons and just plan on coloring. I need to figure this trust thing out with her, because right now there isn’t much. I’m not trusting there will be any consistency in our sessions, I’m not trusting that we will accomplish any of the goals I went in there with, I’m not trusting she hasn’t shoved me into a diagnosis box… I’m also not trusting that I will open up to her, or want to talk much about anything of substance. I’m not trusting that I will be able to come out from behind my walls far enough or long enough to make any of this work. She says I have disengaged from therapy, but it’s not only that; I’ve disengaged from myself. It’s still been forever since I’ve done any art (besides the journal class this past week, and even that was a struggle). There’s no connection to my emotions. It’s all nicely sealed away. Even the flashbacks are only playing out behind a wall. I get snippets of them in dreams, I get a sense that they are occurring in the back of my head, but nothing is coming forward except vague body sensations. I feel very disconnected from everything right now.

Maybe it’s better that way? Maybe it’s safer to go through the days without any connection to anything. I have no energy, but I’m also not thinking. My body doesn’t want to do anything; my brain doesn’t want to do anything. Maybe this is ok? Maybe when I go in Tuesday, I will keep the detachment and be able to tell her about the things she wants to know without drifting further?

I dunno…

detached again

not sure how I accomplished it, but I slammed up walls and stopped the emotions (at least for tonight). there’s definitely a switch somewhere, I just have no idea where and how to reliably access it.

gotta fake it through my appointment on Thursday, then smile and nod through the appointment, then keep faking it for another 2 weeks just to smile & nod through another appointment…

I wish I knew how to control the walls more reliably. I wish I knew what I did to get SJ to fall asleep and stop her running dialogue. I wish I knew how I accomplished the detachment I now feel.

Interesting session yesterday

After last week’s termination conversation, my anxiety was through the roof about yesterday’s session. I don’t do well with the loss of significant people, and TL has become a significant person in my life. She kinda brought it into perspective a bit yesterday though (and it made me feel a bit better about it). She asked why I wouldn’t expect to miss someone I’ve seen weekly for 4 months, and been relatively emotionally intimate with… I don’t think I explained the magnitude of the emotions I feel around this loss, but I guess I feel a bit better about the thought of missing her.
She still didn’t give me a definite time frame for the ending, but she explained the process a bit better. She said she wants me to have more control over the situation, and that she’s not on any specific restriction on ending at the agency, so I really do have more control over it than I would if she were simply ending her hours. I guess she’s slowly transitioning to another job that offers more hours from one agency (instead of her current multiple jobs), but it’s not forcing her to leave completely. It sounds like she will be offering a few of her clients more flexibility around ending.

We also talked about how I was taking things. I was able to admit that I threw up huge walls, and that I wasn’t sure what the point was in trying to tackle other stuff in therapy if I had to end soon anyway. I know part of my trouble with endings lately comes from the association I have with talking about some of the stuff from the past, and never getting beyond a certain point in dealing with it. I think the walls I put up helped me be able to admit so much to TL yesterday. Had I not had so many defenses up, I think I would have gotten lost in the overwhelming emotion around the topics we covered… it’s interesting how sometimes shutting off the emotions is actually more freeing than letting them out (at least it can be if you don’t know how to keep them in check)…

I did forget to point out to her that I don’t think she got my messages though. I had left her one specifically asking her to shred the journal entries I had given her to read last week. She clearly didn’t get it (or chose to ignore it) because she brought them out to go over later in the session. I don’t really mind because part of me had hoped she’d ignore my request. It really is all stuff I need to talk about, I’m just hesitant to talk about it with someone that’s not going to be able to follow up on it again later… Anyway, we kinda addressed it, but I was also really adept at getting her off onto a related tangent so I didn’t need to confirm exactly what we were talking about (I had left it vague in the journals, though I think she may have pieced things together)… we ended up talking shop for a good portion of the session (I swear, it really did connect to the journal stuff. We were trying to figure out what prompted the change in self-harm association and we were trying to narrow it down in time. It happened to change right around the time I went back for my masters, so we talked about that a bit)… Anyway, I didn’t end up having to tell her too much about the shameful parts of the journal… there was also a point when we were talking about something unrelated to much else, but I was hit with a very intense body memory. I couldn’t talk about it though beyond acknowledging that I was very uncomfortable.  I kinda feel bad because I think I startled her. We were talking and suddenly I jumped in my chair because it felt like someone was caressing my side. When she asked what happened, it felt really wrong to talk about it, so I didn’t say anything. I also really just wanted the feeling to stop…  we moved on to other things. I did call her and leave a message on my way home though. I hoped that saying out loud what happened and why I couldn’t talk about it in the moment would lessen the impact of it for the rest of the week. We’ll see if it actually helps (so far the feeling has only come back a few times in the last 18 hours)…

I’m again torn between really wanting to address this stuff in therapy, and wondering what the point of it all is if I’ll only get to talk about it once before moving on to a new therapist. I really wish I had the money to switch agencies (TL mentioned the name of the agency she is moving to, and I might be able to follow her if only I could afford the rates they charge – 10 times what I pay monthly now). I wish I could afford a therapist that I could stick with until I move :/ maybe I’ll ask TL if I could follow her to the new agency, and then figure out how to pay for it all. She totally deserves to get paid for her work, and I really don’t want to switch clinicians again…

falling into the stereotypes (some of my internal processing)

I’m trying to figure something out, sorry if this post doesn’t make much sense…

Since TL mentioned termination last week, I’ve gone back and forth between putting up huge walls, and desperately wanting to talk to her again. As tomorrow’s appointment gets closer, I find myself having that regular anticipation of talking to her and happy to be seeing her because she represents a safe place and has been a relatively safe person to talk to until now. At the same time though, I’m wondering if tomorrow should be the last session because termination sucks and I don’t want to draw it out. Then I’m again bouncing back to ignoring that she brought up termination at all.

I’m confusing myself and not explaining that well… I think I’m stuck between pushing her away and denial of the termination conversation… :/

I want to go see her because she represents a safer person. I want to talk about what this all brought up, but at the same time I feel like trust has been lost and it’s no longer ok to look to her for support with anything beyond logistics of possibly being hooked up with a new therapist. I don’t know how to straighten that out in my head. Not sure how to proceed… I think my hesitation with looking to her for more support comes from knowing that it’s opening myself up again to that horrid feeling of loss and being lost. I don’t like it, I don’t want it. It’s overwhelming and (again) way out of proportion for the relationship. I have so much trouble with changes like this. I really don’t know how to handle it, and I have not been able to address it in therapy yet with any meaningful results (even after so many therapists and so many attempts at tackling all the issues)…

TL wasn’t clear on what exactly the time-frame is. She refused to answer when I asked how long she had left, and she again asked me how long I thought therapy should take… I don’t know for sure if she meant she was leaving next month, or within the next six months. I’m assuming she meant the next month because she had given one month as a reference point twice when asking how much longer I thought therapy should take.

I have a LOT of trouble with loss. She knows this, so I don’t know if she’s trying to ease into the termination conversation, or if we are just trying to tackle the loss issue. The thing is, my thinking went immediately to “f-this. she’s leaving so why bother dragging it out. no more talking, no more trusting. I’m done”. I know this is a cognitive leap, and that I’m throwing up walls without really knowing exactly what’s going on. Sometimes I can recognize this and think more rationally about it. Other times the emotions take over and I’m totally lost. I think that’s playing a huge role in the back-and-forth I have about wanting to talk to her about this more, and wanting to run away. I’m recognizing the diagnoses and history this all plays into/off-of.

I just can’t consistently figure it all out though. I don’t know how to be ok with it. I am not sure I want to take down any of the walls to open myself up to talking about this just to find out that I am right and she is leaving next month. My head goes SO dark if I try to let myself feel anything more or not take this total detachment right now. I don’t want to land back in the hospital. I don’t want to be the stereotype of my diagnoses, but at the same time, I’m finding I’m nothing but that stereotype…

Years ago, my records indicated I was hopeless and will struggle with this forever. As much as I hate the thought of that, I’m afraid they may be right. I think I live in a fantasy world that I can move out of this behavior when this stuff isn’t actively triggering me, but as soon as it’s triggered, I don’t know how else to react. I’m ashamed by it and frustrated beyond belief that I can’t seem to figure this out once and for all. I wish I could find a therapist that I could stick with, and that was consistent with the “you’re not hopeless” stance so they could remind me once in a while, but the way I fall back into all this every time loss comes up I doubt that will ever happen. It’s really crappy. I don’t want to be hopeless, but I think they are right. I think I really am. If I can’t learn to navigate losses, how the hell can I learn anything else? I think some things are just too broken to fix…

walls. walls as far as the eye can see…

Since last session with TL, I have slapped a lot of walls into place. High ones, thick ones, insulated ones. So much so, that I don’t even really remember what I was all so worried about the last few weeks. I know there were “flashbacks” and that I thought they were disturbing, but I have no connection to them right now. They feel about as real to me as stories someone would have told me and I am simply remembering vague details of the telling. Whatever murky waters I was drowning in before are now far, far away. It’s as if I was caught in a rip current last week, but now have moved off into the desert in the mountains somewhere and the struggles at the beach were just something someone told me about. I don’t even feel a connection to whomever did the telling, as if it were a stranger on the bus just jabbering away at no one and everyone…

It’s funny how the brain works. You hit a point where it simply shuts off and all connection to that other stuff is lost. A breaker was tripped and now there’s no current connecting anything… It’s a weird feeling. And one that makes it very difficult to reliably and effectively address the issues that I know are there.

It works the same when I get overwhelmed by things. I lose any sight of balance or competence. This peace is as foreign to me then as the chaos is now…

I see TL again tomorrow morning. I suppose I should print out what I had written right after last session. Maybe reading that to her will help spark a connection to it. I certainly don’t want to get overwhelmed again by it. but I do want to be able to address it…

Where secrets live (it’s about the journey, not the destination)

Didn’t really have a direction for this piece when I started other than wanting to try some techniques I’d seen in a tutorial the other day (I spent the better portion of a morning watching various YouTube art journal tutorials. There are still several more I would like to try, but I have to figure out how to MacGyver some supplies because I just can’t afford to go out and buy them).

This piece wasn’t working out as nicely as it had for the YouTuber that posted the tutorial, but I was able to make it my own.

I picked up “purple” distress paint yesterday (woohoo for 50% off coupons and the honoring of competitor coupons). I thought it would be more purple… it’s really mauve. Oh well, live and learn. Anyway, I picked it up and got to work on the base coat. I still have to learn how to work with it better, because I wanted a different background texture but it dried too fast in some spots and way slow in others. I also have to figure out how these distress stains work with the paints. The stains come out super dark on paper, but not so much when used over the paints (should have remembered they have a “resist” effect on the stains). It’s ok though, because the stain I used muted the horrifically bright background.


It took a bunch of digging around, but I finally landed on a decent silhouette from which to create a mask (reverse of a stencil) for the figure on the right. [Useful tip: those plastic page dividers work well for stencil-making. I would suggest ones that are slightly thicker than the ones I snagged from the dollar store though, because these are pretty floppy and flexible. Just trace or draw out your design and cut with an XActo knife]… I started by tracing around the mask with charcoal, but it didn’t stand out enough. I tried to fill with gesso, but then disliked how light it was. Finally I covered it in black paint (ahh… so much better!). By then though, I had gone outside of my lines quite a bit and it looked like the black sludge creature from the first season of ST:TN that killed Tasha Yar… yes, I’m a huge Trek geek, but that wasn’t the look I was going for. I put the mask back into place and decided to try to give the woman a “glow” (or in this case, a shadow?). I painted over the edges of the mask with am antiqued bronze color. I kinda wanted her to look like she was draining light rather than emitting it (like a black hole). Again I lost the definition of the figure, so once the paint was dry I outlined her in white charcoal. She kinda ended up with a glow, but it reminded me of backlighting, so it worked.


I added the drips and spats. I added more washi tape (new-found appreciation for the stuff), and then I added the words. I was limited by what was on the stickers I have. It took me about 40 minutes to settle on the ones I did use, but then I ended up disliking what it said, so I covered over it. First I tried writing other words over the stickers, but I didn’t like those either. Finally, I settled on ink drops to totally obliterate the words while keeping the boxes… I kept the words inside the silhouette, but had written over them as well, then removed the writing. You can still see both the original words and my own if you look at them hard enough.


Much playing, tweaking, and waiting-for-things-to-dry later, I ended up with this. I try to be lighter in both color and content sometimes, but it’s just not me. I also found I really am not feeling this mauve color much. I’m sure L will end up being the one to use it more than I do… branching out in my art just doesn’t work with me when it involves stepping out of my color-pallet comfort zone. Oh well.

Aside: I think I write so much about the process for these journal pages not only to remind myself it’s often a frustrating and imperfect process, but to show that, while pieces don’t always turn out the way you want, they can still end up decent. One of my biggest challenges is dropping the notion of needing “perfection” from my work. I tend to have a picture in my head that I want to create. I’m slowly becoming ok with the result being different from that picture. One of the things that the woman who teaches the journal workshops always reminds us is to just keep going. Even if you think it’s ugly, just keep adding and tweaking. Eventually you will love the result… it’s more about the process anyway.

Most artists (people) don’t admit the blunders and frustrations of the process (life), they simply show the (happy) end result. Art (life) is rarely that neat and tidy. There are lots of bumps and dips and spins along the way. Projects (goals) start out one way and end up totally different sometimes. That’s just how it goes. We need to remember that. And that it’s ok…

that crappy kind of transference, not the kind that gives you warm-fuzzies…

I just want to cry. It was so triggering today, but not in the usual way. It triggered lots of emotional flashbacks, but only towards the end of the session, and they fully hit only after I left. We talked about how I had been really flat this week (not excited or sad about anything, just emotionless). TL was concerned, but I did my best to express how there was nothing behind the flatness this time (at least not in the moment that I was talking to her). She tried to have me see the “gains” from this week’s lack of emotion. I couldn’t seem to comprehend any of it as a “gain”, just a break. I think that frustrates the hell out of her. She’s insisting it’s a gain, and I’m here trying to tell her things will fall apart again (because they always have). She spent a good deal of time trying to convince me that worrying about things falling apart will make them happen. She says I make it happen with my train of thought. I didn’t know how to explain that I am just going off of past history. Every break from the heaviness is shortly (or rarely: long-ly) followed by a crash. I’d much rather cover what to keep an eye out for, and what to do when it happens, then to think this is finally the time I recover fully with no back-sliding.

I’ve figured out her pushing with the things she does reminds me a lot of my childhood, and I respond to her like I would my parents (mostly G – get defensive, feel invalidated, feel unheard, want to run but fear the consequences of doing so…). This seems to be triggered every single session. I don’t quite know how to address it or what to do about it. I’m hoping she has an effective way of dealing with this transference. With De, it was all the positive stuff that was being felt (and causing the hurt at the loss). With TL, it’s all the negative stuff. It’s preventing a feeling of safety in therapy, which is something I need in order to be able to continue with it effectively.

So I’m here wanting to cry my eyes out, wanting to talk to her again in hopes that I could leave feeling better rather than worse, and I have a week to wait. I know by then I will lose touch with all this. The walls will go back up and I will be as baffled by today’s emotions next week as I was about last week’s emotions today. She says she’s ok with me not knowing how to explain it on the spot, but then she seems incredulous that I truly don’t know or don’t have connection to it if I’m not in the same emotional space. I’m really good at compartmentalizing. The walls go up and that’s it. Sometimes I get a sense of what’s going on in the background, other times there’s nothing. This week, there was nothing I had access to. Now the access is back. And it sucks. 😦


I feel like I have nothing useful or “interesting” to say lately.  I keep going back to the thought of really not liking TL and not sure I can work with her.  I’ll give tomorrow’s session a go, and see where we stand from there, but I still get the impression that I am a nuisance to her.  I don’t want to disclose anything else to her.  I don’t want to talk about anything meaningful.  My walls have gone up hard and fast in reference to her.  I’m not sure why…

Actually, I think the walls around my inner self have gone up hard and fast.  I’m blocking it out because it doesn’t feel like I have meaningful support right now.  Without that, I’ll fall apart easily.  It’s scary inside right now, but I can’t access it, so I can’t describe it or know what to do to change it… I really miss De right now….

giant, huge, enormous walls

I managed to sit for 5 minutes today (at L’s insistence and with the help of a timer).  I could not stop my mind from racing and jumping and just generally running amuck to escape trying to be still.  This lack of “stillness” is causing huge walls to barricade me from any progress in therapy.  When I try to sit and just “rest” without thinking of a million and one things, my head resists, and I don’t end up with much effort put forth in changing that.  I think I have grown lazy.  I just don’t put much effort into anything anymore.  I do what I want, when I want, and without much regard to anyone else.  It’s messing with me & L, and I’m sure it’s messing with me & mom.  I need to take a step back.  I need to re-evaluate what I’m doing with my life.  I need to step up and return to volunteering (at least it forced me to do something).   I need to stop being so selfish and self-absorbed.  And I need to stop running from myself.  The world will not come tumbling down if I stop running from whatever it is I’m afraid of facing.  I have supports, and I have resources (albeit not the best ones) for extra support if needed.  I just need to stop and breathe.  I need to not only remind myself of this, but also put it into practice.  I think I have inadvertently given myself permission to slack off way too much.  Time to kick things into gear again and start working.  I not only have a ton of work to do in therapy, I have a ton of other things to do as well (art, animal care, cleaning…).  Just because I don’t currently hold a paying job does not mean I can allow myself to continue to be this dead-beat wife.  Get off your fat, lazy ass and do something already.  Take the dogs for walks, clean the house, find the missing cat, work on training, work on art, try to find a part-time job.  Get over yourself and DO something! (just don’t crumble, coz then you are truly worthless).

It’s the little (big) things

I’m feeling somewhat accomplished today.  I was able to fix my mom’s brakes on her car.  It took seven hours, several trips to the parts store, and lots of muscling loose rusted-together parts, but she now has a new rear braking system (calipers, high-performance rotors & pads). Tomorrow’s goal is to make sure the fluids are set before anyone drives it (I ran out of daylight and energy). I didn’t think it possible, but she ran her brakes top to the point where even the metal backing to the pads had worn away… hopefully these will last longer for her. I made her spring for the performance grade because she drives like she was practicing for NASCAR. Next month will be her front brakes (I hope they don’t get as bad as these ones because these were a pain in the butt to fix). To her credit, she helped quite a lot, as did L. I couldn’t have done it without them. ♥

I also found a few ways to cut down on the light intensity of the fish tank (huge help as I will not have to DIY a freshwater LED set-up for it). I also found some really neat fish at a local store: green neon tetras. They pretty much have the same blue stripe as the red neons, but their accent is a green stripe, not red. Neon and cardinal tetras are some of my favorite community fish and I’m so psyched to find such a variety locally (there was none up north). Among the various stores in driving distance, I can find green, red, black, and yellow neon tetras, as well as several other tetra species. I’m in heaven 🙂 I will have to choose wisely though. I can only get one species of tetra (max 2) for this tank. And if I get 2 species, I can’t get any bottom-dwellers… it’s an ok trade-off in my book.

I got to spend time with family (we also have friends coming over tomorrow), learned a new skill, sold some unused stuff (empty gecko tanks), and figured out the lighting so I can get the plants and fish I want for this tank. A few months ago I would not have been able to accomplish all this in 2 days, let alone feel good about it. I’m really liking the ability to appreciate the smaller things in life. I hope it keeps up. I wish I knew what was behind it (well, I have a theory but it isn’t pretty). I would work towards this more often if I could (well, not if it’s because I put up walls around everything and it’s all just waiting to break through when I crack). I like the distance and the sunshine. I hope I can keep it up even when tackling the cruddy stuff that is hidden right now…

your daily moment of zen

Well, after looking forward really badly to seeing De today, my defenses were up and we talked about a whole lot of nothing.  I told her how I had basically just shut down after my disclosure to her back before the holidays.  She tried to get me thinking, but my brain was like a little kid not wanting to leave the beach – he dug his heels in and refused to budge.  Pictures of planning for my “new to me” fish tank came flying through my brain.  I told her, so we talked more about the fear of re-hashing things.  She emphasized again that the worst is behind me.  Still, all I could picture between visions of planting ideas for the tank was this scrawny little boy with huge dark circles under his eyes, digging his heels into the wet sand, and screaming in protest.  (I think that will end up being an art project).  Every time I saw him, fear coursed through me and “his” thinking of not wanting to go back to that abuse flashed through my head.  I told her about the idea of a kid digging their heels in and not wanting to go (in my head, I was pulling his arm and shoving him forward).  De reminded me to try walking him gently along the sand, staying on the wetter sand so our feet don’t burn.  I still wanted to shove him forward, and no amount of rationalizing that it would probably make him feel safer if I was more gentle worked to change the picture in my brain.  Maybe next week I’ll have worked up to coaxing him along instead of forcing him.  De seems to be ok just doing the “process” piece of things (talking about the feelings and the concept of talking or thinking about things).  She said we can work towards more content down the line.  This week, she wants me to try to talk to L about the fears and what talking about all this stuff to De would be like.  She doesn’t want me to worry about the details of things, but the emotions behind it (sometimes that can be scarier but I guess she is hoping L is a safe-enough person for me to start opening up to).  She also wants me to work up to maybe telling her (or expressing in some way) the stuff I had on my list to talk about but that I tabled for the time being.  She thinks it may be a good place to start.  I’m not sure how well I will be able to talk about it, it’s not something I really like to bring up because it tends to be a taboo topic in most cultures.  I guess I will give it a try throughout the week and see what comes of it.

20140109_170149_zpsypjw6zmeAnyway, after leaving De, I dragged L out to the pet store to get some plants for the above-mentioned tank.  I found 2 that I liked and was able to purchase.  I’m still looking for moss with which to cover the back wall, but these will do for now.  I’m not sure what the bottle-brush looking thing is, but I know the one with the broader leaves is a java fern.  I also have a waterlily bulb in there, and a red mangrove seed.  The waterlily bulb is from the canal out back, and the red mangrove seed is from the beach.  I split the bunch of the mystery plant into individual stalks, and I separated the 2 java ferns.  I hope they take root well and grow in nicely.  I’m hoping to get some christmas tree moss for the driftwood, and some other type of blanketing moss for the back wall.  I’m also thinking of making a “river” out of the blue gravel from Mighty Mouse’s (the betta) old tank.  I’m just not sure how well it will stay in place when I vacuum. (since originally writing this, I was reminded that java fern needs to have the rhizome in the light, so one is now tied to the front branch of the driftwood, and one is tied to a lava rock).

There’s a single betta and 10 ghost shrimp (oh, and the tiny snail that hitched a ride on the bottle-brush looking plant)

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

mostly-finished Inside-out Box & WIP painting that I have also given up on for the time being

ok, so I lied about updating that post… It’s been about 3 weeks since I declared it finished and showed it to De.  Sitting there looking at it in session, I realized how much I hated the ribbon around the outside lid and ripped it off as I walked back out of the building.  I felt much better.  i replaced the ribbon with black sand, but i still want to make a wall of small river stones or gravel along the curtain-line. To do that, i will have to buy some stones though.

Sometimes I get frustrated with my lack of supplies, or expertise in technique, or ideas, and just let the project rest indefinitely until I either get what I need, inspiration strikes, or I scrap it and change it all together.  This box has been sitting “mostly finished” since the beginning of the month.  It will likely stay like that for another several weeks as I have mentally moved on from it.

So, to keep from leaving too much suspense over the mostly-finished product, here are some pics.  I don’t know where the pics of the outside of the box went, apologies.

And here’s the WIP painting I mentioned.  It was born of an in-session assignment.  I got frustrated with the way I was painting the chair as well as my lack of definition/direction with the person in the chair, so I moved on to other things (specifically, a shadow-puppet piece based off the same image – also stalled due to my lack of knowledge about where to take the performance of it, and technical know-how to accomplish what I am picturing in my head).  I will finish this painting some day, but I doubt it will be any time soon.  All my current energy is focused on making that shadow-puppet piece work out.  I really miss puppetry.  I’m having a blast trying to figure stuff out for it, and it’s getting me in contact with puppet-arts people to help get things correct.  It has also renewed my interest in puppetry in general.


almost finished – inside out box

I think I am just about finished my box.  It has become quite crowded on the inside, with many elements to it.  I am having trouble figuring how to adequately photograph it so I can post it here.  There are a lot of things: things that move, things that are hiding, things that blend in, and things that stay still.  Most of it is done in a dark color-palate, so lighting is difficult.  Too much lighting and I get too many shadows that make things hard to see.  Too little lighting and everything blends into everything else.  Because of the “curtain” dividing the box, I have an even more difficult time angling the camera correctly.

The bats came out pretty neat (in my opinion), but are the ones causing the most trouble.  They obscure some of the other elements when I try to take the picture, and they tend to blur-out because even the slightest breeze or bump has them wiggling all over the place.  I try to show one piece, and they get in the way.  They take over the whole picture  as they distract from what it is I’m trying to focus on.  The bats in the box mimic what they are supposed to represent real life.  I think I did a better job at this than I imagined I could, even without consciously trying to make certain elements work as they do.

I’m hoping someone can point me in the right direction for getting the pics correct so I can do the full visual effect.  When I do that, I will post them in this blog with an “UPDATED: Finished Box” leader to its title.

Ooohhh… I just got another idea for the box, but it would involve another purchase. Hmm… I may have to do that. We’ll see.

rifts in the therapeutic relationship

I don’t know.  I think I’m too worried about the inevitability of being referred out, and the chaos of the holidays.  I put up walls after being inpatient, and I don’t know how to take them down.  I don’t feel comfortable getting into anything of substance with De (or with anyone).  It’s a really weird feeling, because I’ve generally felt like I could count on whatever T I happened to be seeing at the time…  there was a lot of care-taker transference before going inpatient tho, and I think to protect from the inevitable abandonment feelings, I have stopped trusting that she will be there when I need it.  On one hand, we are planning out the next six weeks and taking about beginning more intense trauma work come January, but then the next sentence is planning being referred out for more long-term therapy because the center generally only does short-term work to deal with the immediate crisis of assault (only, I can’t be in crisis, so I’m a bit confused)…

De asked me what I thought of what she had said.  I couldn’t find the words, because my head often needs time to process stuff like that.  She threw a couple of feeling words at me, and I was able to tell her that it was sad, not angry.  I was able to say that the sad came from getting so close to being able to process things so many times only to have the processes interrupted every time.  We talked about what “processing” meant.  I said that I did not expect to forget things, but just not handle them so poorly (and to not be so alone in so much of it)…  I told her that I was tired of having to keep building up trust with new people all the time just to get to a point of stalling.  I want to get through this at least once.  But I don’t know if I trust that I’ll be able to complete it with her, so I am not sure I even want to start.  I mean, yeah, I really want to start, but not if I have to abruptly stop again…  she can’t promise not to refer me out.  I get that.  But…  I just don’t know.  She also doesn’t seem to want to put any effort into helping me get that safety net we both know I need.  I’ve never had so little help when trying to get more supports in place…  I have always experienced that the provider helps secure services.  Having to fight for it all by myself is very overwhelming.  J (couple’s T) is willing to go to bat for me, but it’s disheartening that De (who insists extra support be in place before we start processing stuff) is unwilling to help.  I think that’s contributing to me feeling so lost in being able to trust her again. :/  I can’t even talk about this with her for 2 weeks because of the holiday.  Ugh.

I hate that this (not so) irrational fear of abandonment gets in the way of  anything and everything meaningful in my life.  I’ve shut down my feelings because I don’t want to risk destabilizing again over the next few weeks.  De dislikes that I’m not in touch with anything because she says it points to not being stable, or st a bigger risk of losing my sh*t when we actually start going through stuff.  I think it’s more that I need to have distance from the internal chaos before trying to face it again.  I’m afraid it’s all still there under the surface.  If I allow myself to see it at the moment, it will come barreling back.   I’m not willing to risk that right now.  So yeah, I guess things are a bit unstable.  I don’t want to let them get out of hand.  I want to be able to get through this stuff with De and not have to try all over again with someone else.  I don’t want to burn L out on me.  I don’t want to frustrate everyone in my life.  This all just sucks.  I’m feeling very defeated.

damn therapy…

Our session with J was rough, as expected, but in a different way.  I came away feeling angry and invalidated.  I think I need to tell her to let up on the grilling about whether or not I feel like I am getting anywhere in individual therapy.  It’s a process… Trust is a process.  It takes time.  We’ve been seeing J for several months, but I have only been with De since mid-August.  She also said to call the IOP back and ask them for their reasoning behind not letting me back (after all, I did not act on my thoughts/urges, but I sought out help).  She thinks that the rule is stupid.  IOP is supposed to be for the added support, and supposed to be there as a step-down from an inpatient stay.  I was up-front with them about the suicidal thinking when I did my intake.  They knew that was an issue.  I did not make a move to act on the feelings, but I’m suddenly too much of a risk for having to have gone inpatient… J says she would go to bat for me about it with them, but she’s guessing it would be better coming from my individual T instead.  I told her I wasn’t sure I wanted to bother… I don’t like having to beg for help and having to convince someone to provide services.  Yeah, they are the only local place that takes my insurance, but… I dunno.  I’ll see what De thinks. I Just don’t get why I should have to fight for something 1)when I feel like crap and have no motivation, and 2)that I don’t feel worthy of.

J also said that L & I needed to be more direct and say things in the moment more often.  I disagree.  I think that leads to misunderstandings, needless fights, and a lot of hurt feelings.  So F-you J!  Grrr!!!  I’m kinda glad we don’t have her next week…

I see De tomorrow.  Hope it goes well.  I know my walls are up out of fear.  I don’t want to be referred out, but I have a feeling I will be (though that just may be the fear talking).  I’m trying not to get my hopes up, or to want to be too open.  I had mentioned that to J earlier, and that’s when she launched into her lecture on therapy being what you make of it.  

Anyway, came home today and tried my hand at sculpture again.  I haven’t done it in YEARS, so it came out pretty crappy.  Also, the Original Sculpey is super-soft and sticky, which makes it harder to work with (at least at this temp).  My piece ended up flopping over a bit, and it took forever to cure (tho I’m pretty sure somewhere the directions say not to do it in the toaster over, but I didn’t want to have to unpack the big oven for a few small pieces).  I left the sculpture really rough in hopes of being able to add more detail with the Dremel tomorrow.  I have never carved anything.  It will definitely be an adventure.  I took some pics of it tonight just in case I screw it up badly tomorrow.  I’ll only post it when it’s done though (or if I mess it up really badly).  There’s just something about some works that you can’t them show off before they are completed…

reflections on the state of the world (or at least my head)

I was re-reading my post from yesterday (the one on si just being “right”) and I realized that my take on why T’s have always been taken aback by the statement “it just feels .right.” may have missed an important piece.  In my training, and in my work with kids in the state system, I vowed to myself to never let their stories become common-place to me.  I vowed to hold abuse as horrific.  I told myself I would never become desensitized to suffering… While I can maintain that with my clients, I have found I have become desensitized to my own struggles.  Things that should cause revulsion, fear, or (in the least) alarm now barely serve as a blip on my internal radar.  It has long-ago become common-place and “old news.”  Things that should make me cry out against injustice have become reflex reactions I myself have adopted.  Things that turn my stomach when a client reveals it barely register in my conscious mind half the time.  I have taken over the role of my own abuser.  In the same breath that I express torment from having experienced it from someone else, I do it to myself.

When does that switch happen?  When does someone go from fear and revulsion to acceptance and self-infliction? How does that happen?  Even when away from the abuse or trauma, how does it suddenly translate to being ok when done by your own hand (or voice)?  Why is it that I can look at a client and feel sad for the things they must have had to endure to get to this same space, but hold none of that compassion for myself?  There is no awe at the thought of slicing my own flesh to relieve emotional pain.  There is no sorrow felt for the child in me who learned that physical pain can cease to register.  There is no gut-reaction to my own story, it’s simply a story.

I feel more for characters in fiction than I do for myself.  While I may be swept up by emotion elicited by the unbidden memories, I have learned to steel myself against the re-telling.   I have learned to separate myself from that same emotion to make it through the days and nights.  When I no longer separate myself is when it gets scary again.  The only thing is, it’s not scary because of anything I may do to myself, it’s scary because I may be lost in that emotion forever (and even though I know better, it always feels like it will go on forever whenever it hits).

See, I know the emotion is there.  I know the disgust and anger is there, but I can’t ever access it from this “outside” vantage point.  The professional part of me never has direct connection to the emotional part.  When I think hard about it, I know I feel something otherwise the depression and the self-injury and the self-medication would not come.  If I didn’t feel anything about it, I would not be haunted by the PTSD.   I would not need therapy.  So I know I feel something, sometimes, but I can’t empathize with my own emotional self when I’m not in the midst of it all.

Ugh! Clinical detachment can come in very handy when working with clients, but it just messes things up when I’m trying to work with myself.  Some days I wish the walls were not so big and thick and ever-present.  I wish I could be aware of the good amidst the bad and vise versa.  I write this blog to be able to remember what it all feels like, but if I’m not in that space, it’s like reading a poorly-written story.  I can’t access the emotions of the characters.   I’m let in to their surface thoughts, but the feelings behind it elude me.  And if I’m reading the more “professional” side while emotional, it all feels foreign.  It rings about as familiar as something a stranger may say to me.  I know I wrote it.  I know at the time I felt connected to it, but that connection is lost when I’m on the other side.  It’s frustrating!

Right now, if someone were to tell me my story as their own, I would feel saddened and angered and motivated to help them out.  When I realize it’s my own story however, it all melts away and the little voice in my head whispers “all is as it should be” …more defenses to help me make it through the days.  It opens the door to the feelings.  As soon as I’m to that side, the door slams shut behind me and I’m trapped until my brain makes the switch once again.

Some days I wonder if any of it really happened at all.  Some days I fear I’m just really really pathetic and made it all up to give myself something to pass the time… After all, people have different accounts of some of it, everyone’s memory is different…

I wish I had made it all up.  I wish I was just a really good liar… I wish this was all a nightmare that I mistakened for reality, and in actuality I am living a happy life.  I will wake up any moment and this will all fade quickly.  I’ll realize that my life with my wife is the truth, and the “memories” of the past are all just bad dreams… a girl can dream can’t she?

Insomnia, my old friend…

So, I’ve clicked into “safety” mode.  The depression has taken a back seat and has been replaced by insomnia.  Great.

Heard some more news about my friend. It’s not looking good… I wish I knew better what to do to help support her.

Had therapy today managed to keep it light (unlike last session). We talked about plans to keep busy with while G is here.  We also talked about the mediation walks I’m supposed to be doing.  De said it’s ok to just go and not necessarily follow the prompts, as some of them can be quite overwhelming.  I’m glad I have permission to slack on that a bit.  I feel very overwhelmed by everything and find my brain shutting down when it comes to emotional vulnerability lately. Everything outside of her office comes up blank.  I have not been able to do the homework she had given for the last 3 or 4 sessions.  I hadn’t been able to pull myself into the mediation. I’m finding a huge lack in my ability to express myself or deal with anything.  The lack of sleep certainly does not help, but I think my brain has blown into overload.  I’m hoping that doesn’t spell trouble for after G’s visit… I can’t afford a full-on crash.

Also, we have a rental for the weekend.  We took the car back to the place that fixed it after the pole incident and they are taking responsibility for the shot alignment and resulting tire damage (I had just dropped $400 on new tires a month before the accident, so they are at most 5 months old and worn to the metal threads on the inside of the back tires.  We are lucky they did not blow out on us). Anyway, the guy is not sure how long the repairs take, but has said he will try to expedite it.  At least they are giving us a rental at their expense for the crappy work they did.  I had even taken it back a week after originally picking it up complaining that the car was all over the road.  They assured me nothing was wrong.  This new manager is saying that the car’s poor handling was a result of the bad alignment. Definitely glad they are fixing it. I can’t afford repairs or more new tires at the moment.

Speaking of money, does anyone have tips for sticking to a budget? Both L and I have been known to shop to help alleviate depression.  It drains the wallet quickly. :/

I’m thinking I may want to take something to help me sleep.  De reminded me of the importance of good sleep.  She suggested that, while not ideal, at least one night of solid sleep would be beneficial.  I’m thinking she is correct. I just have to get over my aversion to sleep meds.

On a completely random note, it sounds like planes or helicopters are flying overhead like crazy.  This place is normally quiet at night, and the noise is bothersome (especially when insomnia amplifies every sound). I may go outside to see what’s up. Then I shall take the Benadryl when I come back in.