Therapy Stream of Consciousness

Part of my homework from the therapist I am seeing for PTSD is to keep a journal of ideas and observations over the ten days or so between last appointment and the next.  The observations are about what triggers symptoms (more things do than don’t), is there a trend- a time of day that’s harder than another, what typical PTSD symptoms do I notice and when.

Sometimes this makes me angry.

Sigh.  delete delete delete delete delete

I looked up PTSD symptoms and was surprised to learn about some of them- which I have, I just hadn’t made the connection (intense sweating at certain times, not connected with activity levels- there are a couple of totally innocent, innocuous things I cannot do without breaking into a horrible sweat so strong it actually drenches my hair, and unfortunately, they are things I really need to be able to do.  So maybe I should apply for disability.)

Problem is, I can only read stuff about it for about 15 minutes or so and then I have to stop and turn up some K-Pop, write a blog post instead, or crochet a row or two in a dishcloth that will never be used, and those are the good moments.  If I don’t think of something in my patchkit fast enough, soon enough, I’m too lost in the maelstrom to be able to think of it later. I have four websites I want to read that I’ve left up for days because I cannot muster up the… something, gumption? Courage? Mental stability? Emotional loin girding? – to read them.

The ideas part of the journal is generally about what I am finding works to redirect my brain from those all too worn out pathways of pain to something a little less insane.   She didn’t mean what I can do to fix all of them, now, she just wants me to come up with a couple ideas for one or two things.  I’m thinking I’ll just sort of revise this post and print it out and bring it along to my next session.

I already told her some of it- the few times anybody can get me into a car for more than about ten or fifteen minutes I wear dark glasses, pull my hat down, put my iPod on the K-Pop playlist, plug in the headphones and turn it up, baby, turn it up loud.  I wish a little Enya, some nice harp music, even some Psalm chant did it for me, but you know, it just doesn’t drown the demons out.  I can listen to the harps and Psalms and fully sense the monstrous fear bearing down on me like a high speed subway train simultaneously, and I need to not  hear the fright train at all. I can even sing or chant along, but it doesn’t stop the fright train (that’s not a typo).   For some reason, K-pop does it (it doesn’t have to be only K-Pop, I have Sam and the Womp and some TW-pop on the same playlist), the louder the better.

Writing helps a lot, but writing while listening to K-Pop is better still.

Once I thought I’d left my iPod at home and it was all I could do not to demand the car stop and let me out so I could walk home.  Fortunately, it turned up in a different purse pocket than I usually use, or I really do not know what I would have done.  Panic was rising like sea level in a typhoon.

I shared this- my coping mechanism, not the panic attack-  with the therapist in the nature of a confession.

delete delete delete delete

My therapist was excited. She thought it was brilliant that I’d figured this out on my own and doesn’t see any reason to try to change it. In fact, she was planning on suggesting almost precisely that course of action over the next few weeks.   Of course, therapists are by nature supposed to play cheerleader and biggest supporter, so I view all her compliments with extreme skepticism, which is another one of the symptoms of the reason I am seeing a therapist.

delete delete delete delete delete

I haven’t kept any actual journal entries yet, and it’s been a week.  I have written some rough drafts in my head.  I have gotten so far as to think about getting out paper and pen, with a plan in my head for what I am going to write.

And then I turn up the K-Pop.




P.S. This list of PTSD jokes is hilarious.  Especially 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10,11, and 12.

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