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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  1. DMartin
    Posted July 7, 2014 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

    Ignorance speaking here: do you need to use paper and pen? Would you be more likely to have a product if you typed?

    Ai yi yi. God’s blessings to you. Have no idea what else to say.


  2. Alene
    Posted July 7, 2014 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

    My heart hurts for you!
    (It also hurts for me, but that’s another story…)

  3. Lady M
    Posted July 7, 2014 at 11:07 pm | Permalink


  4. Katie M.
    Posted July 8, 2014 at 12:19 am | Permalink

    Reading your blog is *my* coping mechanism for dealing with stress, so perhaps you can take heart in knowing there’s sort of a two-for-one deal happening here when you’re compelled to post a lot. Granted I don’t have PTSD, but I do have an infant and a three-year-old, so that brings a lot of stress of the more mundane variety.

  5. shelleyp
    Posted July 8, 2014 at 3:13 am | Permalink

    Just sending you hugs and prayers…..therapist due here this morning…all I can say is try to be honest..I know how hard that can be when you just want things to go away not come to the surface ….just write things in a point system rather then normal writing…it may be easier…praying for you

    from over the pond

  6. redbear762
    Posted July 8, 2014 at 7:12 am | Permalink

    Be careful – in some states like Michigan, PTSD can prevent you from owning or carrying a firearm.

    • Headmistress, zookeeper
      Posted July 8, 2014 at 11:36 am | Permalink

      As it happens, I’m afraid of guns. My son has a couple, my husband has a couple, and I am totally in favor of the second amendment in theory and in practice for others. I’ve always had a phobia about them, probably stemming from the aftermath of the time I was two and picked up my father’s loaded rifle.

  7. Fatcat
    Posted July 8, 2014 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    I’m proud of you for having a patch kit, using it and coping as well as you do. Whatever crazy tool works, use it.

  8. Alene
    Posted July 9, 2014 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    Spent a LONG time following links to get back to article that included ptsd “diagnostic test”. (Turned out to be in Hurting Homes iv.)

    Stupid diagnostic test 🙁

    But thank you.

    • Headmistress, zookeeper
      Posted July 9, 2014 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

      I have been thinking I need to put together a directory of these posts. And sorry about the test.

  9. abba12
    Posted July 14, 2014 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

    I get where you’re coming from 🙂 I don’t currently see a therapist for my PTSD because I have a rather specific and unusual cause which seems to end up with one of two reactions, a therapist who realizes they aren’t qualified to work with me and begins a string of endless referrals where I am repeatedly passed to someone ‘more qualified’, or someone who thinks they ARE qualified, which is usually a very good sign they are just bigger idiots than the first group, and dangerous to my wellbeing. (the last one confident enough to take my case had me hearing voices for the first time in years. That one was a real gem…)

    I digress.

    Like you, I am an intelligent person who is quite self aware and happy to research, so I have actually come a very long way with ‘self treatment’, and have often had therapists tell me I am already doing everything they would advise, and jokingly ask why I am talking to them.

    Which causes me to ask MYSELF why I’m talking to them, except with less joking tone.

    The point is, I know what you’re getting at. I can make a few guesses at what may have been contained in your deleted sections 🙂 And I, too, view the whole ‘biggest cheerleader’ thing skeptically at best, and frankly patronizing because I’m convinced they don’t mean any of it. But what I need most doesn’t seem to be something therapists often give, so I’m not sure exactly what they could say that WOULD make me happy.

    I’m probably just still bitter that I had to stop seeing the one therapist who was actually truly amazing and competent and understood everything. And now it’s time for my own delete delete delete.

    Wow, I’m rambling, primarily because reading a post like this triggered ME, and spilling what I am thinking into text is one of my coping mechanisms. At least my coping mechanism is funny?

    Reading blogs like yours is one of my coping mechanisms too. It helps me see what I can have one day. A beautiful family, and a future which doesn’t revolve around the threats in my life. There is a future for me now, and I can see it in people like you. I don’t read every day because I save the new posts for when I need help coping and a half hour mental ‘time out’. Thank you for being MY coping mechanism.

    Bah, and to think I only came on here today because I thought I remembered you having a natural nit treatment mentioned in a past post, but apparently I imagined that because I can’t find it anywhere.

    • Headmistress, zookeeper
      Posted July 14, 2014 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

      I’m sorry I triggered you, but spilling what I am thinking into text is also one of my coping mechanisms, so I’m glad you spilled some here. It makes me feel less bizarre.

      I am taking a LOT of Valerian root, 5,000 IUs ofvitamin D, and sniffing Lavender oil like an addict. That last I think only helps really because I love the smell of lavender so it’s a distraction technique that helps me focus when everything in and around me is screaming RUN AWAY FLEE ESCAPE ESCAPE ESCAPE!! If you like smells (I do), then I think whatever you like would be helpful.

      I take one Valerian pill 3X a day, and then three more at bedtime. She also recommended melatonin at bedtime, which I was going to do, but then one of my daughters asked me if I had anything that helped with sleep issues and because I am the mom I gave her my melatonin. I don’t actually *want* to sleep, because sleeping = nightmares so that’s okay.

      I also take a prescription med, but in a couple of days I am going to start St. John’s Wort instead to see how that works.

      The Valerian root helps a little. It’s by no means a huge fix, but it mainly takes the sharpest, bleeding edge of the world around me down just a notch or two so it’s a little less serrated and rusty, and doesn’t cut quite so deep.

      Best wishes, good luck, and keep striving, and I will try to do the same.

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