Cloudy, Partial Sunshine

Friday, May 23, 2008  8:05 a.m.

I went and visited my sister and her boyfriend in the big city on Wednesday and invited myself to stay the night, because I was having such a good time.  We didn’t do anything really spectacular, mostly just sat and chatted (and let’s not forget the fabulous ice cream), but there’s something about having a sister, and the things you can talk about, and reconnecting (she’s been in Germany and Italy and I don’t get to see her much even when she’s back home) that is almost like a magical drug.  I also got to spend some time with Kyle, her boyfriend, who is perhaps the funniest and most fun and sometimes absolutely insane person on the planet. 

I could wax on poetic about Ab and Kyle forever, but that would probably bore everyone and Ab would be embarrassed, so I’ll just say, thank you, Ab and Kyle, for the partial sunshine in my life Wednesday afternoon through Thursday morning.  I left your home feeling almost good, almost normal, content, with a little bit of hopefulness in my heart.  There aren’t a lot of things in life that make me feel that way these days. 

Although Thursdays are usually my roughest days of the week (IOP on Thursdays SUCKS BIG TOES…for lots of reasons…and I always have therapy with J afterward, during which she sticks her fashionable shoes up my ass in a kind, caring way), I was coming from Ab and Kyle’s and felt somewhat hopeful that the good feelings would last. 

As soon as I stepped in the IOP door and realized how HUGE group was that day, how some of my LEAST FAVORITE people were there, including the group leader, a lump formed in my throat and dropped into my chest.  Hello, anxiety, welcome back. 

So needless to say, group didn’t go well.  It was chaotic, out-of-control, off-topic, and I didn’t learn a goddamn thing, mostly because the group leader was allowing all sorts of “no-no” behavior in group.  Hmmmm…let’s get a bunch of people with PTSD together and talk about stuff like physical abuse and rape and getting dosed.  Sounds like a good plan to me, you dumb bitch. 

I did have a fairly good session with J and have told her about how I am getting back on a schedule and have been working really hard on mindfulness, building structure, sacred self, and self soothe.  We talked a lot about how little tiny things set off my anxiety (she calls it having emotional third degree burns all over my body) and how I can deal with that and make life easier and less intense and be able to tolerate…um…life. 

I felt better after talking to J, because I feel like we got some things ironed out and some plans and progress made.  I then went to my Dad’s, where he fixed me the best tunafish sandwich on the planet, his specialty.  I’m not sure exactly what he does, but it has walnuts and onions and home-made pickle relish and just the tiniest bit of mayo…on really good bread.  YUM.  He also helped me go to the grocery store (because I still can’t go by myself without having a panic attack) and I picked up some good healthy foods that I can have around…some breakfast and lunch stuff, mostly.  He’s never helped me do anything like that before and was very inquisitive as to why I needed the help, and I got kinda defensive, because in my mind I thought he was implying that I should be able to go on my own and he wasn’t going to enable my anxiety.  Hello, Rose.  I didn’t know you were a mind reader.  But that wasn’t the case and he said that if I ever said that I needed help with something, that he would help me, and that he was just asking because he was curious and wanted to know more about the problems I am having.  God love you, Dad. 

So after the grocery store, which went okay while there, I got in my little car and the anxiety I had been feeling in the store kept creeping up and creeping up until my chest and throat were bursting and my head was spinning. 

Yes, I could have taken some Klonopin, and I probably should have.  I probably also should have taken some Klonopin when I was so anxious in group.  But I didn’t.  Stupid stupid stupid.  The reason?  I am ultra-paranoid that my new Pdoc is not going to prescribe it for me, so I am trying to use my fucking coping skills.  And while it helps for a little while, it’s not a lasting thing.  When I told Mom about it that evening, she was so pissed that she had to walk away and count to ten. 

Mostly because we have been over and over, with my old Pdoc, with Goddess of Mindfulness, and reinforced by Mom seeing my hyperventilating self how I need to use it when I need it.  Anxiety is like pain, you have to get ahead of it, instead of trying to burrow your way out of it.  So I took some last night.  Helped minimally.  Took some more with my evening meds and then again with my bedtime meds.  And then I took a shower and did my evening routine.  I was still anxious when I went to bed, but less so once I started listening to my CD headphones.  I fell asleep pretty quickly and it was still early (around 9:30 p.m.).

I woke up at 1:30 a.m. with the most terrible anxiety and wasn’t really sure why.  I don’t remember a nightmare, although there could have been one.  But I thought I was going to burst into a million tiny pieces, so I reverted to an old bad habit and went downstairs and chainsmoked.  I then realized how stupid that was and went upstairs again to get my CD headphones and CDs and fell asleep on the chaise lounge in the living room (oh so comfortable), listening to the Curious George soundtrack with my dog by my side.  And woke up about 6:30 a.m.

And here I am.  Four cups of coffee, an hour of surfing my favorite websites (blogs, weather, TV guide, YouTube), and chainsmoking the rest of a pack of cigarettes.  I’m awake and I’m going to do what it takes today to follow my schedule.  I’m not going to hope for a miraculous, life-changing day.  Just a day where I don’t drive across the bridge with my eyes closed.

Norah Jones, Broken

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One thought on “Cloudy, Partial Sunshine

  1. Anxiety and group settings is never a good mix. I was part of a men’s group for five years and it probably took me almost two years to become comfortable there. Over the years I found that I could deal with group situations by staying to myself and picking when to start an interaction. Often I will find a perch where I can just sit back and people watch.

    Now the problem with an IOP is that you do have to participate to some degree. Now instead of looking around the room at the big picture, can you focus on something smaller, something that you maybe can help you feel comfortable?

    Pasha

    Like

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