Therapy Stuff

Note: I wrote this Tuesday night and thought I hit publish for Wednesday morning, but then I second guessed some of the details, edited it, thought I published it, and I just now found it in my saved drafts. Ooops.  This was supposed to be this week’s therapy post, and it’s delayed by accident.

In which we wander through the confusing maze of the DHM’s brain in no particular order.  Sort of like always.  And, you know, trigger warnings galore. Or… .maybe not since by the light of day I deleted half the post.

So…. I am still trying to figure out how to get to the trauma therapist my regular therapist recommends- it’s about an hour away, and with all the job schedules around here, it’s complicated.

I went to an outdoor live music show at a local winery last week. I went with Shasta’s family and hung out on a grassy knoll behind the band to keep the noise level down and the crowds at a proper distance and watched the grandbabies play in the grass.  It was pleasant and fun, and the following day I slept almost the entire day because that’s how exhausting that effort had been.

I did my therapy homework and cried. I didn’t do some others and I cried over those even more.  I had one assignment that, honestly, I just thought was dumb and trivial and ridiculous.  It involved a coffee filter, and that’ll all I will say about that part of it.  The point was to write down negative self talk in a particular way and then to write down the positive alternatives in a different way.  Example:

Negative: I’m fat and ugly.

Positive: I have pretty eyes, a nice complexion and a good smile.

But the coffee filter aspect just made me go into mockery overdrive.  So I thought about it and came up with something like this (Click to enlarge.  Also, this is an example, I’m handwriting the rest of the real words later):

THEREAPY HOMEWORK SELFT TALK WORDS WATER LILY POND

that’s basically a combination of three different clip art/coloring pages I found via google and I don’t have permission for any of the images and don’t remember where they came from either.  Sorry about that, or rather, I recognize that I should probably feel something more than mild regret about that but I don’t.  So don’t sell it because that would be theft and very bad.

Also this week I realized that all the sleep aids in the world aren’t really going to help me sleep when the real issue is that I do not want to go to sleep. I just don’t.  Bad, bad things have happened when I slept.  I have nightmares when I sleep.  I don’t like sleep.  I will fight it to the end- I don’t want to know that I am sleeping, which is why I prefer falling sleep to movies. Plus, if a movie is on, then when a nightmare wakes me there is immediately something there to distract my attention until I accidentally fall asleep again.  I have to really work hard to force myself to even try to go to sleep and 3/4 of the time, that doesn’t really work anyway so all that fighting was a waste of time. When people wake me up in the morning, it’s like a drowning person coming out of the water- I am noisily, very noisily,  sucking in air and gasping while simultaneously giving my best impression of a person who has been shot with a giant volt of electricity.  This does not give me the sense that awakening is me emerging from the peaceful rest that knits the sleeve of raveled care.  The people who wake me up do not really like, either.

So.  Anyway. I had therapy last night.  Except I am typing this out last night, just a couple hours after therapy.  Well, more like six hours, because that’s about how long it takes for me to get through one of these posts so it’s kind of like I had therapy twice, once with my therapist and once with me and all my nearest, dearest, and best beloved friends and strangers on the internet.

We walked through a long discussion of my childhood.  Earliest memories?  CHeck.

We talked about some choices I made parenting that I am second guessing and feel guilty about now.  That’s because a couple of my adult kids feel badly about their own feelings which are the natural result of what I did in the first place, and yes, I know I’m being maddeningly oblique here.  I feel guilty about that, too.

It’s like a great big heaping pie of guilt in a magically replenishing pie pan that never, ever becomes empty.

guilt pie

Yum?

And so, though I published this post two hours ago, I just went back and deleted all kinds of stuff and I’m holding back. And yes, this is holding back. You want to know what my sharing looks like if I am not holding back?

grenade

 

You hold the grenade, I hold the pin.  That’s what full sharing would look like.

 

Sidetracking here- a few months back I stumbled across a discussion of my blog by some folks who don’t like it and especially don’t like some of my more off the beaten track beliefs and/or practices.   (The definition of stumbled upon here is via vanity search. It’s like eavesdropping- don’t be surprised to read or hear unflattering remarks about yourself should you try it).

Anyway, there was some speculation about what dark secrets my not very oblique references to growing up abused might refer to, and why  I said some of the things I said and didn’t say some other things.  One of the conclusions shared was that I probably believed it would be disrespectful and dishonoring to my abuser to share more details.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

Um, no.  I do not believe in a biblical or any other mandate to ‘honor’ sociopaths by hiding the truth about them.

And, btw, my childhood abuse had nothing to do with patriarchy, nor did my periods of silence or awkward and shadowy hints have anything to do with patriarchy or feeling like as a woman it must somehow just be something I thought I observed or was my cross to bear.   And psychopaths and sociopaths know no dogma. They are everywhere.  But thanks for that anyway, because it put all the other negative speculation and assessments into perspective.    It also caused me to delete a post or two in draft status and hold off on sharing more a little while longer because trauma is weird that way.

But anyway, back to last night.  My therapist and I, we went through this, that, and the other stuff.

 

Then we talked about more of that stuff.

“I am surprised you can talk about all of this without crying and breaking down,” she said. She looked at her notes and shook her head. ”Wow. You are a really strong person. I just don’t know how you can talk about that childhood without crying. After all you’ve been through, I’d want to just stay in my room, too.”

I shrugged.  It is what it is.  I can talk about it until the cows come home.  I wish it hadn’t happened, all of it. I am aware that it probably broke me in ways I know as well as in ways that I still don’t recognize and will never fully understand. I don’t like it. It’s not okay that these things happened. But I feel like I’m as at peace with it as I ever will be and it’s not a topic I avoid.

I talked about it with a friend later,  She suggested that distancing myself from it, shaking off those feelings, putting teflon between me and them- that is a survival mechanism, and it’s worked pretty well.  I’m not interested in exploring or developing feelings about it.  Yuck.

The problem is, all that stuff  is not the reason I have had this particular PTSD meltdown.  It all probably gave me undiagnosed PTSD in the first place, and is probably why I have fallen to pieces and gone to PTSD hell over the Other Thing, the one that I don’t talk about, can’t talk about.

The therapist knows about that, I told her what happened, once.  And I cried for the whole session just from saying the first three words.  Since I brought it up, now it’s beating on the doors of my brain and I am holding both fists tightly against those doors and I won’t let it in.  It’s not just the elephant in the room, it’s the elephant in my brain and it takes a lot of space, and a lot more energy to ignore it and pretend it isn’t there and avoid it, 24 and 7.

I see status updates on FB where people mention their own brushes with… something like that, and I skim them, letting my eyes go unfocused so I don’t see details. There have been conversations where somebody says something about a similar, um, incident, and my ears roar with sound of my own blood rushing in my ears and my mouth goes dry, my heart pounds, and for a few minutes I can’t even hear what people are saying.  Sometimes I get up and go to the bathroom.  Other times, I’m more like a rabbit- stiff, still, hoping not to be noticed, putting all my energy into not being noticed, keeping my face set as a stone so it won’t betray me.  I feel the gentle, sideways glances of some of my more sensitive Progeny if they are in the room, checking to see my reaction, and I don’t want them to see the real one, so I play freeze tag with myself and pretty much fool nobody.

What I would like most in the world to do is to be able to not feel those feelings connected to…. that. I want to be like this:

PTSD fell into feelings stencil

But I’m not like that. I can’t brush them off.  I am surrounded by them, lurking in ambush under every conversation, every casual comment, every drive to the grocery store, doctor’s office, or anywhere, photo albums, baby pictures, every movie,  - and they are sentient.  Watching me,curling around my ears, whispering,  waiting to glom on like remoras and drag me down into the deep.  And I am not okay.

But I hope I will be.

Thanks for reading.  I’m kinda feeling bad about inflicting all this on you, but I guess if you read it, you did so voluntarily.   Ah, the internets. What would we do without them?

in my head

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6 Comments

  1. Carmon Friedrich
    Posted August 14, 2014 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

    I think you are very brave, and I am reading what you write, remembering to pray for you.

    EMDR. http://www.emdr.com/general-information/what-is-emdr/what-is-emdr.html

    Love to you, dear lady.

  2. L
    Posted August 14, 2014 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

    DHM I really appreciate you. I’ve read here off and on (mostly on) for quite many years. You’ve influenced me in positive ways, had TREMENDOUS effect on my homeschool, and I love your astute political commentary (and links to similar). I’m thankful for your posts about this current challenge, and I’m praying for you. I’m glad for the internets too. :)

  3. Posted August 14, 2014 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

    I am so grateful proud of people suffering from PTSD sharing… because it reminds me I’m not alone. It doesn’t matter that the situations are different, it.matters that we speak and find inner strength. Offer that hope to others.
    Thank you, DHM. Much love and many prayers.

  4. Lee
    Posted August 16, 2014 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

    I experienced a different kind of abuse. For many years whenever I talked about it , I automatically started to cry. It made a lot of things very difficult. Then I used this:

    http://www.learningstrategies.com/Paraliminal/History.asp

    After 3 months of continual usage, I was able to think and talk about the abuse without the emotion attached. I am not affiliated with this product in any way. I receive no financial or emotional or whatever renumeration. I don’t know if this product would work for someone with PTSD. I just thought I would offer it as a suggestion.

  5. Liz
    Posted August 18, 2014 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    Of course I don’t know exactly what you have experienced, so I’m not really comparing, but what you write resonates with me in current and past situations. Thanks for writing what you do. Even the hand grenade would be okay with me – and I mean that in a supportive way and not a pressuring one. I greatly admire your willingness to write about brokenness. I’ve come across “Christian, homeschooler” blogs which seem to be more about presenting a perfect picture in order to impress others, so it’s refreshing and encouraging to read something more honest. You write about guilt, but you’ve actually helped undo some of mine. Keep on!

  6. Donna
    Posted August 18, 2014 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

    Love you! Sending lots of virtual hugs! Your sharing is good for you, good for your loved ones, and good for others to hear, too. Keep it up! It will be better someday. It will.

One Trackback

  1. By PTSD: Self-Talk | The Common Room on September 30, 2014 at 12:21 am

    [...] It’s about the negative stuff you say to yourself- all the ‘nobody likes me, everybody hates me, guess i’ll eat worms stuff.’ [...]

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