Sometimes, You Can Just Be Done

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Today’s Reverb prompt:

What was the greatest risk you took in 2013? What was the outcome?

I read this prompt early this morning and have been pondering on it all day long.  As long as I am medicated and fairly stable, I don’t really take risks.  I don’t even generally take calculated risks.  I was always that kid at the playground who said, “Hey guys, this is a bad idea!”  I was the college-aged kid who said, “We really shouldn’t be doing this!”  And I’m the person now who says, “We can’t do that…it’s too dangerous!”

So, a risk-taker I am not.  As I pondered over the prompt some more, it hit me.  I have done something risky this year.  While it is probably not considered “risky” for other people, it was for me.

I have been in therapy for the past eight years, solid.  Most of it was weekly, some of it twice a week, thrice a week, a few months of every few weeks.  And now down to once a month.  I feel like I’ve made progress and that I am at a point in my life where I don’t need it the way I used to.

I hadn’t seen my therapist in just under a month, the last time I saw her.  We reveled at how well I am doing and at how many of the symptoms of PTSD I had been experiencing have gone by the wayside (through difficult and careful work, I might add).  We talked about how the Intermediate Treatment Group I was in for almost a month had helped that along, and we talked about plans for the future.

I told her I wasn’t sure I needed much more therapy.  She doesn’t know me very well, but she seemed to agree.  I am going to come in a couple more times on a monthly basis, and then, maybe be done with regular therapy.  Of course, the door is always open if I want to go back, and I can see that at some point in my life I might want to.  But for now, I’m going to attend these little monthly sessions, make sure life keeps on going steady and well, and just see what happens.

I never thought I would see a day where I wouldn’t be in therapy.  It wasn’t presented as an option and that makes me sad, although I don’t think I could have really done it until now.  I just have much better coping skills than I ever had, and, thanks to the group I just went through, have much better planning and scheduling and structuring abilities.  Which makes life better because, well, it just does.  It makes ME better, anyway, and that’s what really matters.

Not Quite As Easy As it Should Be

The weekend will officially be over in about two hours and I must say that I am thankful for that.  DSB’s kidney incision opened up and has been draining…four months later, and I am desperate to get him in to see his surgeon tomorrow.  What DSB really should have done, and my mom and sister both agree, is to go to an urgent care center to have it checked out.  Nope.  Not him.  “Bunch of butchers.”  Better to die of blood poisoning, I suppose.  It has been a very frustrating and scary situation for me, so I have been driving him crazy, checking and monitoring.  Ah well, I suppose that’s love.

I didn’t have to work a full day yesterday because it was so slow, so I went to QoB’s house and we set things afire.  I helped her get her goat and chicken chores done, and we sat and bullshitted a bit.  I am nervous about how my winter hours are going to pan out, because she still wants me to work a solid 15 a week and I just don’t know where that work will come from.  I really don’t want to sit down in a cold shop and read my book for five hours a day.  I am sure we will come up with something, I just want that something to be come up with soon so I can stop worrying about it.

Group therapy continues this week.  I am really looking forward to it.  I like the scheduling out of activities and tasks.  It is very soothing to me.  And I must say I am doing so much better on some fronts, like showering, keeping the kitchen clean, and doing laundry.  Those other parts will fall into place, I hope.

I have no individual therapy this week and in a way I think that’s good, because I feel like I need a break.  My therapist can be very intense and I feel really pressured to come up with a lot to say.  The trauma work is coming along very slowly and I have put time in my schedule tomorrow to write an un-sent letter to Blow, an abusive ex-boyfriend.  I think this will be quite difficult, but I am fairly certain that I will feel better once I do it.

I am having coffee with Sister Sara on Tuesday and I am really looking forward to that.  We don’t get together very often, but always have lots to talk about when we do.  I am interested to know how her kiddos are doing and it also gives her a chance to do something out of the norm.  I hope she enjoys our little visits as much as I do.

Speaking of sisters, my fabulously wonderful, pregnant sister is really hard to pin down.  I have been trying to get her to commit to doing something, even for a few hours, for weeks now and it seems like it just never happens.  I know she is busy, I do understand that.  It just seems like she could make a few hours for her big sis, and no, I really don’t think I need Dad as an escort.  I don’t understand.  I have even volunteered to come up and see her in the big city.  People have different priorities.

My mom has also been super-busy, working on her goat/chicken/duck paradise.  I feel like I have barely seen her.  I want to reiterate, I know that people are busy.  I get that.  It just sucks when I don’t have as much going on and the people I want to spend time with always have packed schedules and missions they want to accomplish.

I have missions I want to accomplish, too.  I am hoping to keep working on housework this week, trying to get all the mud up off the floors that the dogs have left in the last few days after a rain.  It is so overwhelming, it’s mind-boggling.  Even my mom, who does not shirk at the most difficult task, says “I would cry if that happened to my floors every time it rained.”  Welcome to my world, the world of where keeping the house clean isn’t quite as easy as it should be.



Creating and then Quashing Disappoitnment

Ack, what a day.  There’s been individual therapy.  There’s been group therapy at the mental health center, and there’s been the bringing-Rose-back-to-reality therapy with QoB and DSB.  I am done therapizing for the day.

Which isn’t to say that it wasn’t all fairly helpful, giving me some good ideas for what I want to do in the future.  As is well known by now, I am doing some trauma work in individual therapy.  So far, it hasn’t been so bad.  In upcoming weeks, I will be writing letters that I do not send.  Letters to people who are featured in my most awful of memories, who both star and lurk in my flashbacks, letters to people that I feel wronged by.  This could turn into a lot of letter writing, but I think I’m up for it.  I can visualize writing a letter to that one ex-boyfriend who always took up his anger with me, abusing me in many ways.  I can picture writing that letter, feeling cleansed, and then lighting it afire.  Now, lighting it afire was not suggested by the therapist, but I think I may want to consider it.

I think I’m going to keep doing group for awhile longer.  Technically, my last day would be one week for today.  I just don’t feel like I’m ready yet.  I feel like there is more for me to learn about how to live my life in a more full and satisfying way, and I feel like I am getting that in group.  It is out-of-town, and I am scheduled to work on Fridays, so I think I will spend a few weeks just going Mondays and Wednesdays.  I haven’t really talked with anyone in my support system about it yet, and I am somewhat afraid of what they will say, but at the same time, this is my life and I have to live it in a way I see fit.  So there.

Group therapy with DSB and QoB usually ends with some kind of disappointment.  Usually, it’s that I have this idea in my head, and then they tell me it’s not realistic and go stomping all over that.  While I might add that they do it in the  most delicate and helpful of ways, that’s still what it feels like.

I was really proud of myself that I am leaning more about how to fill out my activity log, and I shared with QoB and DSB what I would be doing tomorrow.  They were both like, well, that’s just not possible, Rose.  You can’t dust your entire house and clean your floors all in one day.  There’s not enough time.  I thought, maybe they’re right, QoB definitely does more cleaning than I do.  And even DSB agreed.

So now, I’m gonna dust my entire house, bring my plants in, touch-up the kitchen, and do a couple loads of laundry.  I think that sounds do-able.  They do have a point when they said I set myself up for failure by putting too much on my plate.  Somehow I have grown to be 32 years old and can’t recognize when I’ve put too much on my plate.  That is a crap feeling, but I’m glad I have QoB and DSB to point me down the straight and narrow.  At least until I get all this domestic bliss bullshit figured out.

It does get easier, right?

Finding Relief in Words

I think it’s time to name the new therapist.  I went from hating her, feeling like she was uncaring and unhelpful, to feeling like I might be able to trust her with the most secret of secrets, to feeling like she was really listening and understanding, to feeling like she was empathetic and even kind.

I hereby christen the new therapist as “Cognitive Distortion Whisperer.”  Okay, that’s a mouthful, so I think I’ll just call her CG Whisperer.  I like it, I think.  Within the first four sessions, CG Whisperer pointed out things to me that I had not given serious consideration to before.

She let me know that previous relationships sometimes dictate current ones.  That my fears of abandonment and tendency to enmesh with others around me began early in life and were compounded by negative reinforcing experiences over the course of my 32 years.  She told me this was okay, and even to be expected, and that I should not be ashamed.  She made me feel validated, even “normal,”  in a way that I have not felt in a very long time.

We talked about my traumatic experiences with using the shower, and how more negative experiences and reinforcing events brought it to the tipping point it is at now.  To be frank, I shower once, maybe twice per week.  Yes, I know that is gross.  No, it is not as simple as just getting up and doing it.  I am learning more and more about this problem, and I believe that within months, maybe even several weeks, that I will have the problem at least somewhat conquered.

CG Whisperer and I talked about my relationship and how it is positive in many ways.  Overall, we are very happy together.  We have been together for coming on a year and a half and, in a lot of ways, it’s like it was when we first got together and we could lose track of hours worth of times, just talking.  In other ways, it’s like we’ve been together for much longer in that we have been through more trials and tribulations than many young relationships and have persevered.  Yes, we still fight sometimes, but it’s rare and short-lived.

We talked about the “enmeshment” issue and there were parts of that discussion that really hurt.  I was made to think about early life experiences that were disheartening and even mildly traumatic, leading through to later life experiences that were more soul-crushing and extremely traumatic.  The more I make sense of why I struggle with boundaries, enmeshment, and fear of abandonment, the more I feel like I might someday be able to rise above it.




Mother Effer and, Ultimately, Classic Frustration

After a string of days blogging, the keyboard has gone silent for too long.  I do this to myself all the time, you know.  Process through things via this blog, then hit some sort of roadblock, stop blogging for some inane reason, and then just sit in silence and curse those issues under my breath.  When I’m in not-blogging mode, I still read all of the blogs I am following religiously.  I generally know I need to get back on the proverbial horse again when I find myself getting jealous or envious of the emotions that people I follow are having.  That’s right.  You’re having an emotion, and I’m jealous.

I am in that spot in bipolar disorder that is marked with a lack of sparkle for everyday activities.  Now don’t get me wrong, I still like going to my little itty-bitty part-time job and dishing up worms.  I still love my boyfriend and family, still play with my dogs, and still can’t wait to get in the swimming pool (DSB gave me one for my birthday!) at the end of the day.  But there are other things going on, and not going on.

I continue to be plagued by severe anxiety.  I am taking Klonopin PRN’s frequently (although not more than they are prescribed by my pdoc) and find myself unable to cope with day-to-day stressors.  When I am not feeling anxious, I am feeling somewhat flat.  I read other people’s blogs and they have this passion for life, about life, even about hating life.  That’s right, I am jealous of you for having a passion for not wanting to live.  It just doesn’t make any sense.  I was telling DSB last night that it seemed like we had a pretty good life.  It’s like I was just struck by it all of a sudden.

I have a pretty good life.  I have a roof over my head, food on the table, great family and boyfriend, loyal dogs.  There is no serious trouble in my life, I am not having to struggle to survive.  But I feel flat.  I feel alternatingly anxious and flat.  And there are times where I feel just fine, too, of course.  Because it wouldn’t be my life if it wasn’t full of contradiction.  Ultimately, I just feel frustrated.

I wonder if I will ever feel “better” or free of some of this anxiety.  I wonder if I will ever be filled with joy and contentment and serenity (as a blogging friend put it).  Is that even possible?  Am I ever going to accomplish more with my life, or should I just be happy with what I have?  I think a lot of the reason my last therapist was so frustrated with me was because she wanted me to make some giant leap into something that would make me “happy” and I just didn’t know what that would be and wasn’t very open, because I feel like I am still working on current issues.

Due to schedules and timing and suckiness, I don’t get to see my new therapist until next Tuesday, even though I have been referred to her for over two weeks now.  I am nervous about doing trauma work, but I know I will never be able to get over insecurities and anxiousness and flashbacks and nightmares without it.  And I SO want to be over those things.  I am also worried about whether or not she will let me address anything besides trauma, or if that is the only thing we can talk about.  Because there is other stuff going on in my life that I need to talk about.  I am very hopeful that I will like this new therapist, and she comes with a good recommendation from Goddess of Mindfulness, so I am even more hopeful.  It would be nice to have a therapist again that I feel understands, empathizes, and acts in my best interest.

Better Living Through Telling the Truth

Change is happening.  I find that, when you tell the truth, the very real truth, about what you need and what you are going through, that people come through for you.  After talking to Goddess of Mindfulness on Friday, I had the direction and the support and guidance I had been looking for in relation to this problem with my current therapist.  Goddess of Mindfulness has always been such a solid person in my corner, and it’s really no surprise that she was of such help and comfort.  I wish I had confided in her sooner.

Her suggestion was to talk with my pdoc, who I finangled a same-day appointment with yesterday.  He was also very supportive and in agreement that I need to work on my trauma issues so that I can get some peace and decrease this building anxiety.  He made it all very simple and actually emailed the Director of Outpatient Therapy while I was there in his office.

I told him I didn’t want to do DBT anymore and that I wouldn’t go to group.  He actually agreed that he didn’t think group was a good fit for me.  Why hadn’t I talked with him about this sooner?  This guy is in my corner!  He said he thought I needed to do some serious trauma work and also to work on my anxiety, and he was going to help me find a therapist to help me with that.

The wheels turned more quickly than I could have imagined and I had a call from the Director of Outpatient Therapy today, telling me that I was being reassigned immediately and that I would be assigned to the therapist that Goddess of Mindfulness had recommended.  She asked me some questions about the problems I have been having and said she thought this new therapist would be an excellent fit.  It seems that anxiety disorders are her specialty and she is very kind and caring.  I need that, seriously.

So, I have my final appointment with my current therapist on Friday at 10:00 am.  I am going to tell her during that appointment that I am moving on to do trauma work in a non-DBT based therapy, and I hope she will be understanding and not flippant, like she is about so many things.  I just need for my time with her to be over and I think it is appropriate to give it closure, even though I would not necessarily be required to, as the Director of Outpatient Therapy had told me that she could just take care of it if I wanted.

I am nervous for the trauma work to begin, but I know I desperately need it.  I am starting to get in a pattern again where it is hard for me to go places like the grocery store or to buy gas.  I am finding myself taking a PRN Klonopin several times a week and I don’t want to have to do that.  I find myself having panic attacks and nightmares and recurring flashbacks.  When my mood is relatively stable, like it is now, it is very frustrating to be going through this.

I am ever mindful that Fall is coming, and, although I didn’t struggle so mightily last year, it and Winter have always been difficult for me.  I may need to use my sun lamp, I may not.  I do know that I can’t fixate on Fall coming, or things will fall apart.  It is what it is.  I just know that I need to get in there and really work on things, so I can feel better, and so I can be a little kinder to the people around me.

Nuts and Bolts

I was able to speak with Goddess of Mindfulness this evening.  It was so very nice to hear her nice, calm, soothing voice.  It really brought me back to how many very troubled times she has seen me through.  She suggested I speak with my pdoc and ask for a referral, and also gave me a name of a therapist at the center that might be good.  We talked about how I am in a different stage of treatment, and at a stage where it would be a good idea to start trauma work.  What I took from the conversation was that a DBT therapist might not be ideal for this sort of work and a different type of therapist might be better.

So, now I have tasks, come Monday.  And I have to face my current therapist next Friday.  DSB will be taking me to that appointment, which I am so thankful for, and he will be there for me no matter what the fallout afterward.  As always.

I am getting ready to go to bed,  hoping it will be an okay night.  I have been very tired lately due to having a lot of nightmares and problems falling asleep.  Maybe tonight will be different, now that I have a game plan figured out for what to do with therapy.  Here’s hoping!

Hey Rose…You’re Not Actually Dying Right Now

This is how my anxiety starts.  First, my legs feel a little wobbly in the hip joint.  It quickly moves on to leave me with a feeling of dead weight in my stomach and then a tightness in my chest.  And then my throat closes up and I can’t breathe.  These are all just bodily sensations related to anxiety, and I constantly have to remind myself:  Rose, you’re not dying!

Sure feels like I am though.  I think most anyone with anxiety problems can relate.  And also to the fact that, sometimes, that shit comes out of nowhere.  I mean NOWHERE.  Sometimes I can talk myself through it, sometimes I can seek comfort with DSB or my mom, but a lot of times, I just have to take a PRN Klonopin.

I used to be better at working through my anxiety or panic attacks or whatever you want to label it.  Seems like now, though, the only thing that works is the Klonopin.  Now, mind you, I’m not doing this every day, several times a day.  It probably happens two or three, sometimes four times a week.  But that still seems like a lot.  It hasn’t always been so bad.

The flashbacks, the nightmares, the negative tape in my head, the images that flash through my mind.  They are more severe now than they have ever been and I can’t exactly pinpoint why, although I think it may be that I have stopped working on those things, stopped working on suffering through them, stopped working on the in therapy.

Therapy is a joke with my current therapist.  I leave from a session, not even knowing what we talked about, because it is mostly her talking and me half-listening, and not trusting her enough to actually talk about and work on the things that are bothering me the most.

It is crazy for me to stay in therapy with her, but I have talked with my support system and they say (and  I agree) that I still need therapy, at least to some degree, for now.  Maybe I need something other than DBT therapy, maybe I just need a different DBT therapist.  I know I will not go to group, and I am firm on that.  It doesn’t help me and I don’t like it.  If that means I can’t have a DBT therapist, I am fine with that.

I have been somewhat proactive today, in that I called and left a message for Goddess of Mindfulness to contact me so that I can talk with her about the issue, maybe she can make a recommendation.  I also called a few agencies here in town and found no one that is accepting new Medicaid clients.  I will hold off on making any more calls until I speak with Goddess of Mindfulness, and am hopeful she will have a suggestion or strategy.

I am trying to do something about this before my next therapy appointment on the 9th (next Friday, one week from today).  I really don’t want to go see her and have to fake my way through another session.  I suppose I could be brutally honest and just tell her like it is, but I don’t want to be kicked out of the center and I could really use some advice first.  It is clear to me (and my support system) that I need therapy, and it is clear, to me at the very least, that my current therapist is not cutting it.  I am hopeful that something will change soon.

I’m not a religious person, so I won’t ask you to pray, but light a candle or send good thoughts my way.  I could really use them right now.

(Sneakily) Blogging by Candlelight

Here I am again, up past my bedtime, with my brain whirring.  Whir whir whir.  Yes, I can hear it.  Worse, I can see it.  I see flashes of people’s faces, movements, stumbling walks down an unknown road in the winter, fucked up on pot and alcohol and no meds.  Blithering idiot at important times, lying my ass off in the next, making it all look and seem ok.  I am ok, right?

One thing I know now, and feel now, that I haven’t felt in a million trillion bajillion years, is SAFE.  I am SAFE.  DSB will keep me SAFE.  My Mom will keep me safe.  My dogs will keep me safe.  DSB and Mom won’t let anything happen to me.  I trust in that, build my day around that.  They protect me.  But now?  Now it’s dark and the thoughts and the flashes of people and places and things are my only company.  I want to wake DSB up so he can give me a hug.  I want to call my mom so she can tell me it will all be ok.  I won’t do either of those things, though.  But I can blog.

I can get those thoughts and feelings in ink so that I can remember tomorrow to get a few extra hugs, a few more reassurances.  So I can remember to be a little more thankful for the people who are miracles in my little life.  So I can cherish that kiss, that hug, that kind word a little bit longer, and not let it go so soon.  I didn’t get enough hugs today and that was no one’s fault but my own.

I feel desperation inside of me.  To get these flashes out of my head, to quiet the insistent echoes of voices, to make my brain stop taking me down those paths every night.

I took my sleeping pill tonight, and I’m going to do something, although I don’t quite know what yet, about the therapist situation.  I absolutely have to get to the point where these memories don’t assault me with such force, such consistency, and such mean-spiritedness.  I can’t keep on like this.  I know I can’t.  Can’t tolerate it.  Something needs to happen, and it needs to happen soon.

Measuring Thoughts in Pill Capsules

I am having a terrible time getting to bed tonight.  It’s 11:23 pm, and I am usually fast asleep by now.  Today was a bad day, fraught with tension from arguments DSB and I are having about absolutely nothing.  Rather than doing something productive, instead of just ignoring the problem,  I chainsmoked my way through six episodes of “The Good Wife,” did a couple of loads of laundry, and ignored the fact that I had planned to clean the bathrooms today.  Ignored DSB.  Ignored my dogs.  Put the whole world on ignore.

Tonight, I didn’t take my sleeping pill.  On purpose.  My primary care physician suggested it, as Zyprexa is a “weight gainer” and has other nasty side effects.  I thought I’d give it a go.  I’ve spent the past two hours, lying in bed, listening to my MP3 player, and thinking about all of my past jobs that didn’t work out.  Specifically my job at the prison.  I can’t seem to get over it.

I’ve also thought about people I love, who have died.  I’ve thought about lies I’ve told and secrets I’ve kept.  Secrets I want to stay kept, but that really need to come out.

I secretly hate my therapist.  She doesn’t care about me and is only focused on retiring next year.  She told me during our last session, almost a threat, that if I didn’t start going to group, I wasn’t going to continue therapy.  I’m fed up with her.  She tells me I’m not working on anything in session when, in reality, I have all of these MOTHERFUCKING GOALS that I am working on.

What I need to do is talk about the prison.  About my lies and my secrets.  About the shame I feel.  About the flashbacks I have from my time there.  It comes up in my brain all the time, why shouldn’t it come out in therapy?  She doesn’t think it’s significant, I guess, because I’ve mentioned it.  How can someone have traumatic flashbacks, nightmares, and constant thoughts about a work situation?  I mean, really.  I guess it’s laughable.

She doesn’t seem to think the things I bring up are relevant, apparently.  Maybe I just need a different type of therapy, a kind that doesn’t focus on not focusing on the thoughts, but letting them go.  Describe and observe, describe and observe…that’s all I fucking hear.  I want to talk about this shit.  I need to get through it, because it is killing me inside.

Maybe I was just spoiled by Goddess of Mindfulness, who listened INTENTLY to every concern I ever had.  Who never poo-pooh’ed me or my thoughts or my shame around those thoughts.  I’m afraid she is lost to me, because now she has written off my bill, which also says to me that she has closed my case.  I guess I always thought I could go back.  Maybe I can.  I don’t know.

I know I shouldn’t be having this much psychic pain over a job that I haven’t held in almost 16 months.  I know this shit shouldn’t be in my thoughts anytime I have a still moment.  I know it shouldn’t keep me up at night.  I’m finally getting my shit straight, right?

I’m cleaning my house, taking better care of myself, doing all those things I am supposed to be doing.  But I still have this.  These thoughts.  All of this overwhelming shame and guilt, so much so, that you’d think I had killed someone.  Observe and describe, observe and describe.

Fuck off.