Hectic

I haven’t been online much in the last month or so and I’ve been really missing it.  My life has gotten more hectic than normal.  I just want to let everyone know what’s going on.

I finally got my cast off my wrist so I’m back to work at my weekend job.  I was able to work my full-time job with the cast. That means I only have every second Monday off now.  Sometimes not that if I pick up an extra shift on that day.  I don’t plan on working like this for the rest of my life but since I bought my house it’s been renovation after renovation and we’ve been doing it on a cash basis.

In the last month and a half I’ve been getting ready for the next phase of renos.  I’m doing most of the prep work in advance of the contractor arriving at the end of the month to save some money.  Between my sister, me and a friend who has helped on occasion it’s been almost non stop.

I also signed up for a photography class that is once a week for a month.  I’ve wanted to take this course for a long time now but it has never worked out.  When the opportunity came up again on an evening I could take it I jumped at the chance.  In between classes the instructor gives us a few projects to do before the next class.  It’s been a struggle to get them done but at least it’s fun and something I really enjoy doing.

Then there is the matter of therapy.  The therapist has given me some work to do as well between sessions. I haven’t really determined how the therapy is going.  I think this therapist is more action orientated.  She says it’s one thing to have insight or knowledge about oneself but what do you do with this knowledge.  I agree with that to an extent but the difficulty with me is that I can have a hard time with the ‘doing’.  We have spent some time tying to figure out why.  I have to say I find this is very frustrating but it’s probably good to have someone push me (I think).  More on that later.

It’s been hard to fit all this into my weeks but hopefully in a couple of months the really hectic will slow down to the normal hectic.

I’m exited about getting this next phase of renos done.  It’s my space in the house that is getting done and I can’t wait to decorate it although decorating is not my strong point.  If any of you out there like decorating you’re welcome to drop by!

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Posted in Therapist, Therapy, Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Feral

I was like a feral cat growing up I told my therapist.  Running from one hiding spot to another.  Constantly trying to find a hiding spot physically and within myself.  Always on edge, always tense, muscles never relaxing.  Always trying to figure out the lay of the land before I made my next move.  Was it safe or not and not always guessing right.  Never knowing when my next meal would be, what it would be or even if there would be one.  It was all about survival.

We were talking about relationships and I was telling her how I needed to learn many social skills when I started making my own way in the world.  Skills I figured I should have known.  Skills I figure everybody knew except me.  I told her how stupid I feel for not knowing.  Things I think I should know, well I don’t.

My therapist asked me how I figure I should ‘just’ know these skills.  How I should just know these skills when they weren’t modeled to me or how I should know them when I wasn’t taught what to do or how to be.  The social stuff I did see wasn’t very pleasant and generally not very acceptable in society anyway.

She asked me how I expected to ‘just’ know this stuff when I was too busy just trying to make through the day or night.  She said the fact that I learned how to get through it all was an accomplishment in itself.  I looked at her and said surviving is not all that it’s cracked up to be.  (negative me popping up).

I didn’t have an answer for her. It all sounds so logical and my mind gets what she is saying to me.  The problem is that there is a part of me who is not ‘getting’ it.  A very strong critical part who assumes I should have ‘got’ it, I should know this stuff and is very, very stupid for not ‘getting’ it.  I can’t seem to shut this part of me up.  The voice is loud in my head drowning out what my therapist is trying to tell me.

In writing this I wonder if that voice is loud because if I listen to what my therapist is saying to me.  If I acknowledge the truth in what she is saying then I must also acknowledge the truth of my life.

I don’t think I’m quite ready for that yet and so I will continue to listen to the loud voice that tells me I’m very, very stupid.

Posted in Abuse, Family, Fear, Relationships, Running, Terror, Therapist, Therapy, trauma, Trust, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Why I Need Therapy

Although I was able to work through the issues that I wrote about in the last post through sheer determination there is still so much more.  And the saddest thing is that I never knew where these problems came from.  They have always been there and always catching me off guard.  I haven’t been able to handle let alone overcome them.

I haven’t been able to overcome being in the presence of anger no matter how mild it is.  It turns me into a quivering mess.  I will either freeze or it sends me into the furthest reaches of whatever building I’m in with my hands over my ears trying to shut it all out.  The expression of anger sends my mind into non thinking mode or into extreme fear mode.  Not always convenient.

I can’t get rid of the almost nightly nightmares.  I have them so often I’ve gotten used to them which I guess is a good thing.  But I’d rather not have them at all.  The less frequent but more disturbing nightmares I have are what I call my waking nightmares.  I act these out in my sleep. These nightmares are hard on windows and such as I act out my ‘disparately trying to escape’.  This is one reason I don’t like to sleep overnight somewhere.

Speaking of sleeping, there is no way I can sleep with other people in the room.  I have tried it on occasion.  I tried sharing a hotel room with others to save on costs but I stay awake all night long, nerves on edge waiting and watching.  For what who knows.

The docs say I have PTSD.  If this is true then I’ve had it most of my life.

Then there is the problem I have with relationships. And then and then and then…

I won’t bore you with all the details of what I’m stuck in.

Even though to my dismay there are many things I can’t seem to get past I’m glad I’ve been able to overcome my inability to ask for some help in this.  It makes me feel ‘needy’ and ‘less then’ in many ways but I realize I can’t do this on my own any more.  My body let me know that in no uncertain terms.

In trying to be realistic I’m also beginning to understand there might not be any overcoming of some of these things.  Of the issues (to be clear I don’t know what those would be)  that I may have to live with I hope I will learn to manage them in a healthy way if that’s possible. Or to be able to manage them until I can be healed from them.  And I can’t do this on my own.

Posted in Abandonment, Abuse, Anxiety, Attachment, Change, Control, Conversation, Dissociation, Fear, Hurt, Panic, Panic Disorder, Relationships, Terror, Therapist, Therapy, trauma, Trust, Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Why I Don’t Need Therapy

I often question my need for therapy.  The questions started shortly after ending with my former therapist.  There was so much that I was able to work through before everything fell apart.   I was able to work through stuff without even knowing why I had these weird quirks.  I didn’t consciously know the source of my dysfunction.

I’ve been thinking about some of the things I have been able to work through without the aid of a therapist.  And it was work.  And until therapy I didn’t realize what I was actually doing.  It’s hard to overcome ‘protectors’ that I put in place as a wee child.  I will list a few of these.

When I got old enough to figure a few things out I started to sleep rolled up in blankets like a mummy or when I became a teenager I would also sleep in a sleeping bag under the blankets.  It could be a hundred degrees out but it didn’t matter.  It wasn’t until I started therapy that I was able to figure out why.  Anyway as I became older I realized it wasn’t quite normal to sleep this way besides it was sweltering in the summer.  And so began the work of trying to sleep under loose coverings.  It took perseverance but evidently I succeeded.

Hugging, that was and still is to some extent a hard one.  I would never touch another human being.  I would hug no one.  I began to realize not everyone’s intent was to do harm.  That some people like to show their care with hugging.  Some people like to touch with no evil intent.  And then there is the matter of little kids hugging me.  Also if a niece or nephew showed their love towards me in this manner I wanted to be able to show it back.    I won’t initiate a hug but if someone wants to hug me now and I can determine the safety of it I am able to do so now.  And I can do it fairly freely where as before I’m sure I felt like a stiff board!

I have also been able to work at obtaining some social skills.  I don’t know why I lack in this area.  For example I would be invited to a dinner party or some sort of gathering and be totally inept about what I should do when attending.  I know people didn’t expect things from me but it’s nice to have a certain politeness regardless.  I finally caught on to social etiquette by observing others and what they did.  I was a little inept in this area for a long time.  I was frozen by inaction for a variety of reasons.  I was extremely shy, I’d rather do nothing then make a fool of myself by making a mistake and on it goes.  As I practiced I got braver and as I got braver I practiced even more. Now I do fairly well at functions.

I wore tons of clothes as a child.  Again it could be sweltering hot out and I still would  wear layers of clothes.  As little skin as possible would be showing.  You would not have seen me in shorts and a short-sleeved shirt.  My mother still mentions this to me on occasion. But I never knew when I would have to play strip poker and many layers of clothing was helpful.  I never knew when I would be attacked and layers would at least give me a false sense of protection and sometimes it did work.  There came a time as an adult when I wanted to wear short sleeves or shorts, where I could be free to do a simple thing like swimming.  Now I have no problems with this but clothing is a good indicator of where I’m at in my head.

None of these changes were easy and it was a slow process over time.  But I was able to do them on my own.  So why do I need a therapist’s help?  Good question…

Posted in Abuse, Agoraphobia, Anxiety, Attachment, Change, Control, Family, Fear, Mother, Panic Disorder, Relationships, Therapist, Therapy, trauma, Trust, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Feelings

It will be three weeks until I see her again.  She’s on holidays now.  I’m mostly ok with that.  I haven’t seen my new therapist enough to have any attachment issues. I’m hoping it will stay that way.  That kind of stuff is too hard for me to handle successfully.

When I walked into the room I noticed she had art supplies on a table.  Some large sheets of paper and different types of drawing mediums.  We started to talk about feelings, one of my least favorite topics.  Questions are asked that I can’t answer.  “How do you feel about that?” “How does that feel to you?”  “What are you feeling now?” My least favorite question from a therapist, “Where in your body do you feel that?”

We sat down at the table.  She asked me to test out the different drawing materials.  The ones I liked best were the chalk pastels.  They are soft and light.  She showed me different ways of using them.  It was interesting because an artist I am not.  My skill is nothing more than scribbles and stick men.

After a bit the therapist asked me to draw the feelings she named.  How they would look to me.  It sounds difficult and was in many ways but I tried not to over think it.  The first emotion was happiness.  I drew a simple standard happy face.  The second one was joy.  I drew a pine tree with roots.  Funny thing though, it was the therapist who noticed the roots not me.   Joy to me is so much more than happiness.  To me it’s deeper than happiness.  Not as dependent on outside circumstance.  We talked about this for a while.  The third emotion was gladness.  I drew a couple of lines that went slightly upwards.

The last emotion that we talked about near the end of the session was fear.  It took me longer to try to draw this because it’s something I’d rather avoid at all costs.  The picture I scribbled was larger than the others.  It was red, yellow and orange with a small black dot in the center.  The small black dot was me being overwhelmed and swallowed by the fear. Fear making me non-existent.  By the time I finished it I was anxiety filled.  She kept reminding me that I was in a safe place.  Maybe my surroundings were safe but nothing inside felt safe. I did find it quite amazing what my the therapist saw in the picture.  She even noticed the way my hand drew the picture. With energy and short choppy strokes.

We talked about the photo for a short bit and then time was up.  I was glad to leave and leave the picture behind.

Posted in Anxiety, Control, Conversation, Fear, Panic, Terror, Therapist, Therapy, trauma, Trust, Uncategorized | 10 Comments

Who am I?

I left her office feeling beat up and lost.  Questions swirling through my head. Who I’m I anyway?  What happened to me as a child?  These questions have been with me quietly in the background in the last few years. But now the questions are growing louder and all I want to do is put my hands over my ears and go la la la la la, I can’t hear you.

Once again I’m told my experience was extreme.  Once again I deny it.  I don’t want to hear it. How can that be? I don’t feel it. Are you sure?

We talked about many things last session but this is what sticks in my head.  I tell her I lived an average life, a life everybody lives.  Doesn’t everyone live the way I did?  She says ‘no’.  “Are you sure” I ask.  She answers and I sit in silence.

Why do I resist my reality so strongly? She has asked me to think about the resistance and what the particular resistant thoughts are. That’s a good question.  One that will take time to answer.  One that I probably already know the answers to.

How do I come to terms with what I have denied for so long?  I know that I need to accept what happened to me.  Accept what really happened to me and maybe even the severity of it.  I need to acknowledge this so I can move on in my healing.  How can I heal from what I keep denying?

If I fully acknowledge what happened I will have to face all the feelings that come with it.  I will need to see people as they are and not how I wanted them to be as a child.  Fantasy is hard to let go of.

She said my mind needed to do what it needed in order for me to survive.  And as I let myself discover the answers to my questions I will need to let those answers seep slowly into my being.  Because that will mean survival to me as well.

Posted in Abuse, Change, Control, Conversation, Family, Father, Fear, Hurt, Mother, Relationships, Running, Therapist, Therapy, trauma, Trust, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 10 Comments

No Time to Breathe

The last few weeks have been a whirl wind of activity.  A few things that have happened in the last few weeks are I had to go for a MRI after a six month wait.  This week I went for a bone scan which was an unexpected test for my wrist.  In between all of this my mom was in the hospital.  I’ve barely had time to breathe let alone blog or read blogs.  It makes for a very cranky me.

And yes I’ve had therapy in there somewhere also.

Her room is large, very large. Larger than any room I’ve had therapy in.  It’s not very homey.  I can tell it’s used for other functions. But somehow I’m ok with this.  It helps me feel the experience of therapy in a detached way.  It’s hard to explain but I don’t feel fully involved in an emotional way with therapy.  I know this was only my second session but it has a different feel to it that I haven’t experienced before.  This may change over time but  my last experience of therapy has changed something in me.  I’m not sure if this is good or bad but for now I really don’t mind it or maybe I just don’t care.

She started the conversation with the topic we left off on last week.  Suicide.  Last week she had asked me if I knew any people who had done suicide.  I replied ‘many’.  And then time was up.

I had forgotten that we left off on this but she hadn’t.  She was surprised at the number of people I knew personally who had done this.  I explained to her that I live in an area with a high suicide rate and being a small town I know many people.  We talked how that impacts me.  In the midst of this conversation she asked me a question that I haven’t been asked before. ‘Do you think your experience would make it easier to do it yourself?’.  “To tell the truth I haven’t given this much thought, conscious thought anyway,” I said.  It has made me think about this since though.

She talked about having supports through relationships and such and through this I was able to move away from the subject. I really don’t like to talk about this with therapists. We talked about relationships and what could be the things that stand in my way from developing them.  I told her it started way back when I was wee.  I spent most of my childhood trying to hide from people because they meant trouble.  She says I can change.  I’m not sure how.  I know some change is possible. I have been able to change some things on my own with a great deal of effort.  But I’m not sure how much or what more could be changed.  It was a good session but some of the things I said has made me sad.

Please keep your fingers crossed that I get good news about my wrist on Friday!

Posted in Abuse, Anxiety, Control, Conversation, Relationships, Therapist, Therapy, trauma, Trust, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Noncommittal

I spent the afternoon trying to remember what I wanted to work on in therapy.  Even trying to remember the reason I do/have done therapy seemed to have vacated my brain.  I think I was well into what I call my alternate universe.  All through the day my anxiety levels were steadily rising.  I thought I was doing a good job on keeping a handle on the anxiety.  Apparently not.

When I finally pried what I wanted to work on out of the depths of my brain I quickly wrote them down before they disappeared once again.

It’s about an hour and a half trip to the city where the potential therapist is and on the way I tried not to think about the appointment but by the time I reached the city I felt like puking.  Oh the joys of anxiety!

I found the building that she works in with no problem.  I had been there before to see a naturopathic doctor.  I did have to ask someone where her office was because inside the building is like a maze with many rooms.

The potential therapist heard my voice and came out to meet me.  She led me to a room that she said wasn’t her own.  Something else was going on in her room for the week.  I wouldn’t have known the difference anyway.

I sat on a couch while she sat on a chair across from me.  And than the session started.

We chit chatted for a few minutes and then talked about the business end of things.  After that was all done she asked me what were some of the things I wanted to work on.  I told I wrote some things out and when I went to find my list it was nowhere to be found.  I checked all my pockets which is no easy feat when ones arm is in a big bulky cast.  Still no list.  Internally I was beginning to panic about where I could I have left it.  Did I leave it where someone could find it?  At work? At home? I tried to put it out of my mind but it hovered in the back of it all through the session.

Anyways I could remember most of it which was surprising.  I actually surprised myself in many ways during the session.  I was able to talk about more than I thought I would.  Paying hard-earned money might be a motivator for me!  Either that my anxiety got the best of me and I became somewhat of a blabber mouth.

She is a few years older than me and soft-spoken yet I could sense she also had a back bone.  I kind of like the idea of her being older.  She seemed to understand what I was talking about even with the things I was having a hard time describing. She even understood the dissociation when I was trying to tell her about that.  It is something I barely understand at times.

She has advanced training in EMDR and is going to give me some info on it.  She wants to use it in regards to my all-encompassing fear that happens to me when I’m in the presence of conflict no matter how mild the conflict is.

At the end of the hour and half session she told me she thought I was committed to doing the work of therapy and such.  I replied yes I was because the only other alternative I could see was…

She said she had a few ideas on how we could proceed with what I had given her.  She would present some stuff to me in our next session.

And so I booked into a time slot that works well for me.  Six thirty Thursday evenings.

Right now I’m very non-committal about the therapy even though I think the session went well and I think I like her.  Which suits me fine for now.  She still has to prove herself and I’m not ready to give her any trust yet.  Time will tell with all that.  I need to remember that I do have a choice to change therapists if this one doesn’t fit. I’m not stuck with her.

Time was up and I left her office and got in my car and found my list lying on the seat.  Phew!

Posted in Anxiety, Conversation, Dissociation, Fear, Panic, Therapist, Therapy, trauma, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 11 Comments

Distracted, Nervous and all of the Above

On Thursday I meet with the potential new therapist.  This fact has distracted me so much I have to keep checking my calendar to see what the current day is and when my therapy appointment is. I hate when that happens to me.  Grounded? Not at all. Very disconcerting to say the least.

I’m very nervous.  I will need to write out the questions that I need to ask plus some of the things I would like to work on.  I know she will ask what I want to work on.  I need to say something more than ‘I don’t know’.  Most of the time I know I need some sort of help but can’t exactly put my finger on what.  I have gotten better at this since I came to realize a good part of my ‘problem’ is rooted in the trauma.

I also have this feeling that I can’t shake that nothing will turn out anyway with this appointment.  It will all go wrong.  I’ve developed this feeling since everything that has happened with the agency.  So I’m ready for the worst.

I need to remember the potential therapist might be able to help me in ways that my former t couldn’t.  But I also despair of having to start anew.  Having to build up some trust.  I can’t help thinking the trust factor will be harder to develop this time.  You know the old saying (or maybe you don’t)  ‘once bitten, twice shy’.  I’m probably three times shy.

I worried about this whole process.  Because of all the above. And then some.

 

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Development upon Development

Change.  I really don’t like change.  Fast.  I don’t like when things are moving fast.

It makes my head spin.  It makes me dissociative.

On Tuesday I went to the doctor to have my wrist x-rayed once again.  It seems I will have the cast on for anther 4 – 6 weeks.  Great.  Some days it’s all I can do not to rip it off.  I can feel a slow build up of panic.  I feel trapped.  Strange because it’s only my arm in a cast.

A few days before Tuesday when I was at the doc’s I told her what happened with the agency.  She was appalled.  I quietly mentioned that I felt like plan A was slipping through my hands and plan B was looking better.  I told her I felt discouraged about trying to find another therapist.  She said she would talk to the medical clinic’s social worker for some thoughts about therapists.  When I arrived for the x-ray she handed me a note with some other agencies that the social worker has good success with and/or has worked with.  I really appreciate the follow through of my doc.

The next day I was trying to decide which agency I would contact first.  These agencies have private therapists working in them unlike the agency I was with.

In the evening just as I sat down to eat my cell phone rang.  The call display showed the number of the agency I was with.  It took me off guard because I was sure I would have no further contact with them.   Whatever could they be phoning me about?  It turns out it was the therapist I wanted to see and was turned down.  She was phoning me back.  I had left a message a few weeks ago at her private practice.  Because I hadn’t heard from her I was sure she wasn’t going to contact me because of some conversation between her and the clinical supervisor.

It turns out she was away for a week.  She only works at her private practice one day a week but I was able to make an appointment with her at the beginning of March.  We also discussed fees.  I told her I was prepared to pay because I knew I would have to start seeing a therapist in private practice.  I must admit though it irks me that I have to see her privately when she also practices within that dreaded agency.

Here’s the kicker.  I finally set up an appointment with a private therapist to which I’ll be paying big bucks, if I decide she is a good fit, and I find out today I will be losing my full-time job in mid April.

Yeesh… what more can go wrong?  I will have to do some number crunching because  I really do need to see a therapist at this time.

Posted in Anxiety, Change, Control, Dissociation, Panic, Panic Disorder, Therapist, Therapy, Uncategorized | 8 Comments