Therapy isn’t going well at present

So just recently, my therapist (actually a psychologist) asked me about dissociation. This was in the context of me having had a bad weekend that I shared with him, and there was a moment where I dissociated, and thus told him about that.

He asked about dissociation so I told him using the easiest method I have. I mentioned some elementary school abuse story. Okay, I should have thought that through farther or something. But I didn’t and here I am. That was last week, I think. I don’t know. You guys would know better than me because I got into a not-quite-okay mode and posted here a lot. I even sketched a comic! I saw him twice that week because there was too much to possibly say because it lead into other things, like a time period I haven’t written about here although have alluded to several times.

Meanwhile, this psychologist stops me and says if I say any more about elementary school, he’s going to have to report it. But days later, he’s able to check with his ethics officer and for reasons I won’t share here, he doesn’t have to. If he had done so, it would have been the end of the world. I can’t share why on here. But without even the strength to put the true emotion into these words, MY world would have ended and so would several others’.

So then I feel safer again, and I share some things to him via email. Not too much, for me, but I hadn’t ever shared w/him outside of the office before, so it probably seemed like a lot.

Now to my point. Today, we had an appointment. I was so ill-feeling this morning (nerves because I didn’t know what to expect), I ended up taking anti-anxiety medicine earlier in the day. So, granted I was still on some amount of medicine by the time our appointment came around (it’s half-life is fairly short so it wasn’t a full dose). So it’s possible the medicine was interfering with any sort of ability of me to feel connected.

But it was weird. Kind of like nothing had ever come up? Well, but he did ask if I wanted to talk about anything? I don’t know. I don’t really know what happened. The whole appointment went by and I left and I’m wondering if it was productive in any way whatsoever. I can’t be wasting money like that. He did say that next appointment, I could talk about whatever I’d like. I asked if it would be helpful or harmful to talk about that shit. He thought perhaps it would be helpful.

So in that case — is that I checked with him several times to see if I could have permission via email to share things with him during this time. For example, any sketches or poems, that sometimes help me to try and explain something I can’t vocalize. He said that was fine to bring to him in-person, but he doesn’t want it being sent to him in other ways. He wants everything to be face-to-face. He gave more reasons for why face-to-face is superior but I don’t recall because I was busy talking to myself internally (well, it’s true. I was talking to myself mentally about how important it was for me to be able to share during the week, since I historically chicken-out the day of appointments and know I wouldn’t bring in anything). I did say that out loud — that I would probably be too shy to bring any in. I think I said it out loud, anyway. It’s all kind of a blur.

Anyway. This is all very unsettling for me because next week is my last week around before I’m gone for a while. Then he’s going to be gone for a while. So basically, why go to next week’s appointment? I should cancel that appointment. But maybe I only say that out of bitterness. Maybe it could be productive in some other way?

But I feel like he just doesn’t get it. The can of worms is already cracked open. Maybe he’s trying to put a lid on it. Maybe I’m trying to open it all the way, but that’s a long, long road to go back down.

There IS a desire in me to open the can of worms. I feel like, there is a piece of my life that I still haven’t threaded together into a cohesive narrative. I feel like I’m more ready now than I ever have been before, and I like to know what’s happened in my life and why and how I grew because of it. I ain’t talking about elementary school; that is black and white, easy to understand.

That part of me, that wants to open the can of worms, is really disappointed in this appointment. I know now that I had wanted an excuse for a muse. I had wanted him to inquire and be curious and try to learn more. I had wanted a reason to get out pencil and paper and sketch and revisit papers on that time period and thread together a cohesive understanding. But it’s a dangerous, time-consuming process and, knowing myself, I would need extra support in the meanwhile. I WOULD become clingy and desperate at times; I WOULD probably ask to come in twice a week instead of once at times. I might be weird as I dig through some dirt. But I feel like, in less than a month’s time, I’d have the understanding I so desire.

The one perk of waiting is that the VAST MAJORITY of my writings and drawings on this topic and FROM this time period and directly after are at my parents’ house. Perhaps I could gather those documents within the next year and have them ready. Perhaps I could go to an actual trauma specialist this time and do this once and for all.

That’s all well and good, but with this can of worms cracked, it’s difficult to turn my mind to other things, like homework. I made myself exercise A LOT this weekend, yesterday, and today. I think it helped prevent me from nose-diving straight into a terrible depression. Instead, I just feel kind of … unsupported and scared and like, I must have made a terrible mistake. Embarrassed, I guess. But that latter part is likely because I perceived no feedback from psychologist today. BUT, as I’ve already said, that is either because I was on anti-anxiety medicine and perhaps numbed my ability to sense connection, or perhaps he was staying withdrawn on purpose because my emails and sharing of that sketch scared the shit out of him and he took it literally like I was already clung to his leg or something. He didn’t make any comment about that sketch, btw. That probably made me very sad since I drew that to share with him something I experience.

Ah well, you know? Maybe he doesn’t know what the hell he’s doing. I always assume these psych people know what the hell they’re doing but what if they don’t. Or what if he does, and it was my exact contact during the week that caused today’s appointment to be non-existent…or the anti-anxiety drugs.. LOOP! 🙂

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Comic: Not this process again (Comic#050)

Reverting from adult to child

Reversion

Hmm. I can’t figure out how to make this image click-able so you can see it blown up to full size (older pics of mine are still click-able). Perhaps it’s the theme I’m using. Maybe I’ll try switching to a different theme.
*UPDATE*: I fixed it! I had already tried two new themes before discovering what was different about this one compared with older ones that worked as links. I’m staying with a new, more open-feeling theme anyway.

When people argue; Panic

It’s incredible the flood of anxiety I feel when people begin to argue.

These two people do not shout. These two people do not throw things. These two people do not hurt animals. These two people do not give each other the silent treatment later or love each other any less tomorrow.

But they do get intense with their voices. One of them is forceful and the voice raises, not in volume but in pitch. The other gets forceful and uses “YOU” statements that I find very rude. “YOU” are not listening. “YOU” have switched what you are arguing.

These arguments always end peacefully and they love each other the same immediately after. For them, the effects are null. They argue. They debate. It’s part of what they do. Frankly, I would go so far as to say it is part of who they are as people.

But for me, the effects are longer lasting. I will be afraid of them for days. It was not directed at me; nobody is arguing or debating with me. I have already put in my noise-isolating headphones and escaped up the stairs. I have already blared music directly into my earbuds.

But the flooding of anxiety is so strong and so immediate. It’s an emergency for me, when two people argue. It is danger. It is red alert. It is unpredictable and unsafe.

They will not hurt me. The worst either of them could do to me, based on who they are and what I have seen, is to use an insulting tone of voice and say “YOU” don’t understand what I am trying to say. Or something like that. That’s the worst I’ve seen or heard from them.

But my body goes straight to fear. My body says, the monsters have surrounded me. I am prepared to run. I am prepared to hide. I am prepared to face the streets in the dark at night amongst strangers. I am prepared to kill to protect myself.

My intestines prepare to evacuate immediately. I need to run. Outdoors. I need to be one speck in an infinite darkness, alone. Unknown. Safer.

Instead, I am trying to prep for bed. I brushed my teeth. I’m listening to my music, blaring into my ears. I can hear the voices. They are calm but still firm. It’s only a difference of opinion and grilling over various scientific studies to prove one side or the other. My shoes and coat were already on (because me and one of them were about to go on a very short walk). I am ready; I want to run. I could take anxiety medicine that will help me sleep. It’s been 30 minutes, right? I could take off my shoes and coat without offending. … Or I could slip past and go on a jog into the darkness.

Poem: I Wait For You

I wait for you.
I wait for you to call me.
I wait for you.
I wait for you to say you’re hungry.
I wait for you.
I wait for you to have an opinion.
I wait for you.
I wait for you to start the music.
I wait for you.
I wait for you to want to go walking.
I wait for you.
I wait for you to smile.
I wait for you to play.
I wait for you to open the door.
I wait for you to say.

I close the door, and breathe in the silence.
The darkness surrounds me. I listen to the breathing in the room.
I close the door, and touch my own arm.
I’m here. It’s me.

I walk away.

Sex and emotional attachments, and me

[I again tried for a while to sleep, and failed, so now I am waiting for 1mg of clonazepam to kick in.] In the meanwhile, I have a really brief comment I want to make on the topic of sex and the stereotypical emotional attachments a female is supposed to make to those she has intercourse with. CUT! for viewing pleasure/lack thereof. 🙂  Continue reading

I identify with this BPD article way too much.

Don’t ask me how I got to this article because I couldn’t tell ya even if I wanted to (I clicked on a comedy link that brought me to another comedy link and another, and then a serious link to another serious link to another serious, and voila).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Borderline_personality_disorder

I only made it through 1/3 of this article (it is quite long). And I’m not saying I 100% qualify. (Just as I’m not saying Wikipedia is normally where I gather my information. 😉 ) But let’s explore this together for just a moment.

Symptoms include:

  • Out-of-control emotions
  • Unstable interpersonal relationships and self-esteem
  • Concerns about abandonment
  • Self-damaging behavior
  • Impulsivity
  • Frequently accompanied by depression, anxiety, anger or rage

The most distinguishing symptoms of BPD are marked sensitivity to rejection, negative criticism and thoughts and fears of possible abandonment.[9] Overall, the features of BPD include unusually intense sensitivity in relationships with others, difficulty regulating emotions and impulsivity. Other symptoms may include feeling unsure of one’s personal identity and values, having paranoid thoughts when feeling stressed and severe dissociation.[9]”

So…. okay minus the anger or rage, could this not be me they were writing about?

Okay, so in later paragraphs, people have added more information and explanation, and there are few other points where I differ. But… wowza.

I can say unequivocally that I was NOT THIS WAY as a child. Or as a preteen or teen. I certainly experienced a shit ton of this during my post-College years (starting probably in 2002). I was NOT THIS WAY by 2006. I was NOT THIS WAY during the first 5 years of marriage. During the last year of marriage… I was headed more toward this. Post-divorce, I’ve definitely been experiencing some of this again.

Blue sky and clouds

Blue sky and clouds

I mean, yeah, my bloody emotions can bounce around like mad. Sometimes I have FELT out of control, which to me is the worst/scariest feeling. I am more impulsive than is my “norm” but I think I’m keeping it in check (I was NOT keeping it in check during the 6 months pre-divorce). I am no longer self-harming, although certainly I harm myself in less concrete ways (not going to bed when I know I need to; eating too much refined sugar sometimes although I KNOW it’ll result in a shit mood for the next 32 hours, etc). Apparently I wrote 8000 text messages this month-phone-period. So that goes under “impulsiveness” as far as I and my parents are concerned (and I’m sure it DOES concern them, because an increase in texting preceeded/coincided with my insanity pre-divorce).

Onward. I’m doing better with the abandonment thing at the moment… although surely that’s only because nobody appears to be rejecting me at this time. I feel stable in that regard.

I was fucking INSANE post-College. This is after she ‘died’ or maybe as she was ‘dying’. I remember one incident where I walked to a small store and bought an alarm clock. The thing scared me to death that night. It was “buzzing” and it sparked a little. I went back the next day and the store owner told me that I couldn’t return it. It had only cost like $5 so not the end of the world, right? But I couldn’t handle it emotionally. I walked away that second and hid in some aisles and cried my eyes out, completely hysterical. Eventually I left without a word. I couldn’t handle any kind of confrontation or disapproval in any way, shape, or form at that point. She must have said it in an unfriendly tone of voice, to boot.

But that did eventually wear away. I am tougher again now. In fact, probably because of so many experiences like that, I am tenacious to the point of obnoxious now. I won’t leave a counter until I am positive I have exhausted any possible option with any possible employee. I am friendly about it now (I went through a phase where I would allow some anger to display; I mistakenly thought that would help matters). I will give you a real life example from a couple of months ago:

Store: “You cannot bring your bike into the store.”
Me: “I understand that but I HAVE to be at the pharmacy counter within 10 minutes of now or the employee who is waiting for me will be off shift.”
Store: “There are places outside for you to lock up your bike.”
Me: I have a cable with me but no lock. My uncle accidentally left the keys for it at the post office, where he is currently bicycling back to. But he won’t be back with the keys in time for me to catch [employee]’s shift.”
Store: “If it was a less busy day, I would let you bring your bike in here, but it’s too busy right now.”
Me: “What if I walk it along that side wall and park it in that back corner near the pharmacy where there are no people?”
Store: “No, I cannot allow you to walk your bike through the store right now. Then everybody else would try to bring their bikes in, too.”
Me: “I understand that the store is too busy for bikes right now. But I really have to speak with such-and-such employee. Can you ask him to come out over here and speak with me?”
Store: “No, the pharmacy is too busy right now for me to ask any particular technician to leave the counter.”
Me: “Hmm. So how can I do this? I can’t bring in my bicycle but I HAVE to be at that counter within 10 minutes.”
Store: “You can leave your bicycle out front of the building and I’ll keep an eye on it.”
Me: “Will you be able to stay with it the entire time? What if someone else needs your attention?”
Store: “No, I will not stay with your bicycle.”
Me: “This bicycle is $1200. I will not leave it unattended. I understand that I can’t bring it to the pharmacy. But I HAVE to hit the pharmacy counter within 10 minutes. It’s very important.”
Store: “You’ll have to leave your bicycle outside.”
Me: “Does this store sell locks?”
Store: “Yes.”
MOTHERFUCKER!!!! LMAO
Me: “Okay. Can you please get me a lock? I can’t bring my bicycle through the store…”
Store: “Yes, I’ll go get you a lock and have so-and-so ring you up right here at this counter. You can return the lock when you’re done.”

WOOT! I made it to the pharmacy desk in time to catch important employee who was waiting for me! And my bicycle was not stolen (this area has a lot of bicycle thefts).

Yeah, so what was I talking about?

Okay. So what to say about unstable interpersonal relationships and self-esteem? Again, never a problem as a child, preteen, teen, etc. But post-college and around-abouts-divorce, hells yes. Paranoid thoughts when stressed, check. Dissociation tendencies, check.

I had a best friend in elementary school who I took entirely for granted (she rejected me at the start of middle school). We were best friends back then, like it was just there. There was nothing to question, nothing to think about. We were just best friends and that was a fact. I also had a group of other friends, who I wasn’t as close with but we all hung out. Middle school, no friends. Long story. High school, made 1 friend. Then another. Kept them, made a bunch of friends in my senior year, when my self-confidence levels were high because I had found myself in several 9th-grade level classes and they looked up to me. lol I was “cool” for the first time in my life. Great fun. Because of my self-confidence, I chatted with many people. One of them turned out to be “the one”, who I spontaneously invited to my b-day party at the bowling alley, and he accepted. Literally I was like, hey want to go bowling with me and (2 friends) at the bowling alley tonight? Sure. Okay. What I can’t remember is if that invite was on the first day we met or just the first week or something. Can’t remember. Doesn’t matter. I remember on our first meeting, I had given him my email address and warned him that I check it like every 10 minutes. Later when I checked my email, he had actually written, “Every ten minutes?” ha.

So since then… yup, shit interpersonal going-ons. Shit self-identity.

My identity was stable, of course, in childhood, preteen, teen. But was DESTROYED during college years. I cannot say that my identity was stable during marriage. I compromised so many values for that, I cannot tell you. What was I thinking?

I could look at the lists I used to make as a child or preteen or sometime, and basically write next to each item “Well, maybe that doesn’t matter so much.” “Naahhh, there’s an exception on this one, too.” “Oh, well who really needs THAT?” Etc.

Then you do things you would never do and you know are wrong but you reassess the world around you so they MIGHT not be wrong. I mean, maybe these values aren’t universal but are just regional. Maybe the world doesn’t give a shit which way we go and what we do. How can this be wrong if I’m only human and you’re only human? How do these values get decided upon anyway?

Oh well, there’s more to say but I need to turn off this computer and do other things. There are a lot of things I’m interesting in trying. Some of it will be quite humorous. For example, I want to create a page of “me” where I attempt to solidify some ideas I have about myself. I also want to create a page with a new list of “mandatory” for future long-term partners (this is the list that will turn out to be very funny for me later on down the road, assuming I again compromise on every single point). I don’t see that making such lists could do any harm. Perhaps they will be entertaining to create, and perhaps even do me some good.

Quick additional note: The wiki article’s description of BPD joy felt exceedingly similar to what I experience. I just very rarely experience any true anger. Every now again, I will be a bit crabby, but that is nearly always related to either sleep issues or my blood sugar. I wasn’t even angry when my ex destroyed all of my photographs and backup files. I tried to be. I even tried to express anger. But I guess I felt that I deserved it, so I couldn’t feel angry really. So maybe that doesn’t count. But yeah. My moods change rapidly for sure. And one second of joy for me is one second of absolute heavenly bliss where there is nothing else. But the moment I turn my head, *poof*. And it’s not like I forget about my worries during that moment. But yeah, it’s intense. I think I allow it to be. I mean, I don’t think it HAS to be that way. I could hold back on the positive moments. But since they are what makes my life worth living in those moments, I don’t want to tone them down. But, then there is the anxiety. It’s not like I know any way to tone down the anxiety. Or the sometimes self-hatred (although I don’t THINK I have been experiencing as much of that lately, but I could be wrong). Right, I was leaving. I’m very late now.

UPDATE: It’s tomorrow now. But 2 things have occurred to me.

  1. I did have anger in elementary school and I didn’t know how to express it or control it. I was never, ever angry at school, only at home. I would walk/run away to my room and SLAM the door and STOMP as hard as I could to my bed and maybe throw things at the door. I also went through a phase where I would write “I Hate You” notes and post them on my door. They broke my mom’s heart. But I would just be so mad. Stomping was bad because it made the lights below my room shake and I knew it. I remember one time in particular, I slammed the door shut but it bounced back open. I would be screaming and crying from rage. So I tried to shut it by throwing my stuffed animals at the door as hard as I could. I exhausted nearly all of my stuffed animals and then threw my beloved stuffed dog. Then I felt SO GUILTY and so much self-hate, it made it so much worse. I finally had to get up and shut the door.The thing is, nobody ever knew what it was that had made me mad in the first place. They literally never knew! And once I was experiencing anger, I WOULD NOT talk to whoever I was angry toward (usually my mom, sadly). My hate-you notes would read “DO NOT COME IN MOM. (Dad, you may tuck me in tonight)”. Some just read “I HATE YOU MOM don’t come in!!!!!” Somewhere, my mom has saved some of them. They were quite pointedly hateful. Heck, I wouldn’t talk with anyone, come to think of it. I don’t recall ever explaining to anyone at any point why I was so mad. But then, I also don’t recall anyone ever asking in a way I could relate with.

    But come middle school, all anger had evaporated. All feelings had evaporated, actually. There was nothing left but anxiety and depression and a weird numbness. I’ve said this before, but I’ll put it down here again. My mum “offended” me one night in late middle school and I decided to quit speaking with her. I basically didn’t speak with her for a year (I did answer “yes” and “no” questions and such, but no personal info was revealed to her during that time. It was maybe 2 years after my brother went away), hence when I was drug to a family counselor for the first time and it lasted some 3 years until I decided I didn’t need to go any more. She scheduled the first appointment on her birthday. I don’t know if she did that on purpose or not, but it’s literally the only reason I got into the car to attend; I felt too much guilt to put up a fight on her birthday. Very clever, if it was on purpose. Otherwise, very fortunate timing for her (and me, I suppose, since it did turn out to be helpful in making me a more normal human).

    So… rage now? Only toward myself. Which I figured out in my next post (the poem).

  2. It’s funny that I say I had a very firm sense of self-identity back in those years. Because I did. Yet I also didn’t. MANY of my personal writings back in middle and high school indicated how completely lost I felt and how I didn’t know who I was and such. But I was very confident about it in elementary school and became confident about it again by 12th grade. If I had a penny for every time I wrote something to the effect of “Who am I?” or “I don’t know who I am.” during those years, I’d probably be a zillionaire right now. My first of a long line of depressing poetry come middle school was titled, “What Is Reality?”

The first poem I ever wrote & hiding in the woods

In early elementary school, we were learning about analogies and such in class. Our assignment was to write what people were “like”. Mine made my mom cry her eyes out, although I didn’t learn that for years. She said it was 100% accurate:

My mom is like the ocean, sometimes stormy and sometimes calm.
My brother is like a teapot, always huffing and puffing and letting off steam.
My dad is like a twig in the river, always going with the flow.
And I am like a deer lost in the forest, who must learn to take care of myself.

There’s a lot I want to say about the last line, but I keep deleting what I write. So I’ll just say that without question, this is how I felt for all of childhood. Anything else I want to say will be for a different day.

Ruby Tiger Moth

Ruby Tiger Moth


EDIT: I was thinking about this poem because of a conversation on blahpolar’s page, which had me thinking about the few people who keep encouraging me to go off of my meds, and how much I’ve argued for staying on my meds (when really, of course I want off of them, but). And it had me thinking that I’ve been depressed for far more of my life than non-depressed. I wasn’t terribly depressed in elementary school, but I was definitely melancholy/sad. The woods and the rain and the caterpillars were my friends. I had built a fort in the woods near my house, and would hide there.

My proudest times were when unsuspecting walkers would walk the trail past me and never know I was there. The most anxious was when their loose dogs would always sniff me out, and sometimes get the people’s attention. At the same time, I liked the visiting dogs. They knew, you know.

Later, my path to the hiding spot became too worn, because these two particular neighbor dogs kept visiting me and they always came up the same way. I would walk around and around in the woods to try and get them used to a different path and throw “people” off, but no. I couldn’t hide there then, because it felt too exposed due to the dogs’ path.

I spent a lot of time there. I know I sometimes wrote sad poems out there. I don’t really remember what else I did. Probably I day dreamed most of the time. That’s what I did most of my childhood anyway, was daydream.

I day dreamed so deeply that people could be talking directly to me and I’d be completely unaware. They could say my name and everything and I would still be lost somewhere in my head.

The book I most identify with is “House of Stairs” by William Sleator (not the plot itself, just a particular character was Was Me Back Then). I hadn’t read the book until middle school, but I knew immediately. If you read that, you’ll know exactly where I was mentally and ashamedly, even what my daydreams were about. I made my high school counselor read that. I don’t think she understood. On the other hand, she kept asking me if I’d had any childhood abuse and I kept saying no, because at the time, I didn’t know it was considered abuse. But I still don’t think she understood the point I was trying to make about my character in that book.

This is so horrible to admit, because my parents are so full of love and they’re great, but yet I was quite sad as a child– that’s how I’ll excuse this: But I used to fog up my window in the back seat and write “help me” signs to the other cars. Sometimes I would press my palm up by the words. Nobody ever responded. At some point, I realized my words would be backwards for the other people, but writing backwards got no response, either. Just as well.

Actually, I spent a ton of time hiding under my bed and also behind a particular couch. No more details.