I had (most of) my assessment done by the county a few days ago. Yes, I should have help. It was the 3rd or 4th assessment done in the past year and a half. Why am I surprised that nothing has changed? Some good news, though, is that the county is starting a DBT group in a few weeks. The staff was just trained. But, as usually happens when I’m in the status of getting help, it brings everything to the forefront of my mind. And that makes me depressed. No pretending it isn’t hovering nearby. No denying it’s existence. Facing it is hard to do, but I must. Hopefully, this DBT group will help me to get AND USE tools to make my episodes less traumatic for myself and my family. The thought of talking to people, honestly, generates a lot of fear and wanting to numb myself. But I have to do something. All my meds are gone.
I know my last few posts have focussed on stress I’ve felt lately, possibly due to starting a new job. But today I feel good! I just spent an hour reading blogs that I follow, and found many of them helped me to feel more positive, especially http://gentleperseverence.wordpress.com/Her post today was about getting onto a different footing, and also Life After BPDhttp://mybpdstory.wordpress.com/2013/08/09/progress-on-feelings/ and how she made great progress in communicating/reacting with her husband. I gained a lot from these postings! I hope to be able to take the information and incorporate it into my own life.
Gentle Perseverence (Gel) was having a down day, yet managed to be kind to herself and took several steps that helped her feel better about where she was at and what she was able to do – without succumbing to unhealthy coping habits.
In Life After BPD, the author speaks to her relationship with her husband and how they were able to talk about how she was reacting to arguments (BPD-wise) and what could be different.
I’m going to try and learn from them both. Reading the different blogs, this morning, gave me a feeling of hope. It is making for a good day!
Lately I’ve doubted myself a lot. Quite a lot. I’ve doubted my ability to be a decent wife and a competent mother. I’ve wondered if my husband and son would be better off if I left. All I seem to bring to our lives is chaos, anger and arguments. My emotions then plummet into turmoil and depression, self doubt, questioning any value I offer to anyone by my presence. I feel as if I make every day, every situation worse. I no longer know what to say or do that will have a positive effect for myself or those I care about, so I’m afraid of each interaction – no matter how small it may be.
To overcome uncertainty is utterly good.
Commentary:Uncertainty here refers to doubting yourself or the existence of basic goodness. When you don’t punish or condemn yourself, when you relax and appreciate your body and mind, you begin to contact basic goodness in yourself. So it is extremely important to be willing to open yourself to yourself.
As human beings, we have a working basis within us that allows us to uplift our state of existence and cheer up fully. Because we have a mind and body, we can comprehend this world. Existence is wonderful and precious. We don’ know how long we will live. While we have our life. why not make use of it? Before we even make use of it, why don’t we appreciate it?
I’m trying to clarify what’s going on with me for my husband – how he seems to perceive it vs how I perceive it. But I’d like to get some feedback from you who follow my blog to see if what I’ve written makes sense. Please help me to clarify this as much as I can for him. He loves me and I love him.
Here’s how it seems that you see me – please correct me if and where I am wrong. And then I will attempt to explain how I perceive myself to you.
Here seems to be what we’ve both observed: I don’t do well with calmness. I need to keep my plate full to overfull.
* You told me that I seem to seek out things to get upset about. And if those get resolved, I find other things.
* I need to be upset. I need to feel like a martyr
* I take little things and make them into big things.
* I pick on Peter, or you
* I take things too personally
* I don’t see how little wrongs are in the big picture ( I can’t tolerate them) all or nothing
* I obsess
* I look for things to be wrong
* I don’t seem to want to be happy
OK, Here’s what it feels like from inside me … pretty creepy some times
* ANGER upsets me: mine, yours, Dad’s – anyone’s. Loud voices, doors slamming, screams. It doesn’t have to be directed at me even. But I’m always afraid it will be. It can be in a movie, a book, taking place in my vicinity, caused by me, aimed at me, …
* I feel very anxious about … everything … my work (that I can’t do it right, have become incompetent ….etc) moving, making decisions, choices I’ve make that have impact where we’re at in life now, how I’ve been as a parent, wife, daughter, what I’ll do after we move.
* I love you very much and most of the time I feel that you know best about everything. However, there are moments, when my thinking gets twisted and I lose sight of that and only see what I’m upset about, and can’t see the good for the bad (so to speak) It’s called black and white thinking. This doesn’t happen often, but like my anger, is like a switch being flipped. impulsive.
* Sometimes, when we’re arguing, I may seem to drift off and to seem to be taking what you’re saying very seriously. What it is it that I can’t connect with what you’re saying so I dissociate from it. This doesn’t happen often, only when I’m really upset by what’s being said like when you said you didn’t think you could stay with me. I just couldn’t register that.
* Nothing seems top be able to remain “little” in my mind. It’s not that I TRY to take little thing and make them into big things, it’s just that by having them around as “issues”, they hale me avoid myself – what are actually the real big issues. Same with picking fights with Peter and you. keeping it away from myself, – I’m not the problem. When I really am. What my problem is is how emotionally sensitive I am an how difficult it is for me to control y emotions. That seems to be why I try and divert everything away from MY emotions and onto someone else’ or some other situation.
* I keep thinking that if someone or something forces me to come face to face with myself, without the ability to run away from it, I’ll be in a sink or swim situation. And I hope it’ll be a swim. Sit me down, force me to face my demons, my feelings, finding out that I won’t actually die from them. I just don’t seem to be able to see things as they really are. I try to, but it’s always distorted.
* When there’s nothing going on to keep me preoccupied, it’s a very uncomfortable feeling. I don’t know what to do! That’s where impulsive behavior can come in, I HAVE to do SOMETHING to have some kind of feeling. If I don’t, other feeling seep in that can be uncomfortable to deal with. And when they do, my behaviors can become even more out of control to try and push those feelings down (cutting, burning, yelling/anger erratic driving – ask Peter)
* I need to learn to tolerate them and listen to the part of my mind that says it’s ok. This move may be a part of that change in me.
* Right now I find myself hyper sensitive to emotions of sadness, loneliness, and fear of loss. I’ve always been afraid of losing you even though you remain with me. Abandonment
After 3 weeks, I’m done with my 6 hours/day 5 days/week partial hospitalization program. I’m nowhere near done with what I need to do, but I now have some tools and support to move forward with.
Coinciding with this is the ‘for sale’ listing of our house. Big stress-or! I know I will have plenty of opportunities to practice what I’ve learned. Communication seems to have improved between my husband and myself lately. I also am better able to have and hold onto my own boundaries, while respecting the boundaries of others. I realize these are small steps, but they are steps forward.
Friday was a challenge. All during therapy sessions, I kept wondering if insurance would cover me for any more days or if it was my last day. Finally, right before I left, I found out that I can have 3 more days, but they want them split up (MWF) rather than MTW. A step-down plan. Anyways, I was anxious about that and other general things on my mind.
Once that part of the day was over, I went to spend the evening with my parents. My dad (I’m sure he’s undiagnosed bipolar) was in a down phase. It had obviously been a difficult week for my mom. Within minutes, I had made myself a stiff drink. It was the first drink I’d had in 2 weeks. I did make it last 2 hours, but it was still a break in abstinence. I was having a hard time being with them because of my dad’s mood, but decided to push through for a few hours, putting on my happy face.
This morning was a session with my psychiatrist to check on meds and fill out long-term disability paperwork. When I got home, I saw that no medical records had been attached, and now I’m worried about that. My appointment started and ended late, and then it took about 45 minutes to get my script filled because the didn’t realize I was waiting for it for about a half hour! All of thins had my morning off to a very late start. I was suppose to help with testing at my dojo, but was now unable to get there in time. It would have been almost done by the time I got there. So … more anxiety. Time to go back to my parents’ to pick up my son. Started off well enough, but then he and I started arguing. Partly 16 year old “I know everything and you don’t) attitude, partly my impulsive anger acting up.
I tried really hard to turn the afternoon around. I stopped myself from yelling or judging. I laughed and talked. I worked in the yard. We decided to spend some family time together doing errands and going out to supper. All went well. I didn’t have anything to drink with supper. We then went for frozen custard. It was really good! I thought I had succeeded. As we got closer to home, I started to feel very full. The custard topped it off and felt cool in my stomach.
I had decided by the time we got home. Into the bathroom I went. I haven’t been able to purge for a long time (possibly years) because of shooting chest pains I get when I try. But ice cream can be different. Slickery. And the coldness helps, I think. Anyway, I did it. I puked up all the frozen custard. I stopped before the burger I’d had for supper started coming up. I’m afraid that would have initiated the chest pains.
Now I have the shame of breaking abstinence in two areas. And no one knows except those who might read it here. Why? Why? I think I have a clue … the last two days have been comparatively quiet. Calm has become difficult for me to tolerate. I sabotage it, returning to chaos. Or was it the conversation with Dave just before we left the house … what WAS it about? I remember holding in tears as I left. But, for the life of me, I can’t remember what he said! If I remember, I’ll add it in.
So, was it the calm or the comment? It may have been either, both, or possibly neither and something completely different. Here I am, at the close of Saturday, having coped in unhealthy ways twice in 24 hours. And the weekend is only half over. I did find a poem that I wrote almost exactly 3 years ago …
Twenty years ago, I was inpatient for 6 weeks for bulimia. I never cried or really let my emotions be exposed. Today I did, first thing in the morning during a small group session. I so want to hear and feel nurturing love from my husband (and looking back to my childhood, my mother.) To know someone loves you is one thing, but my strong emotional need sought and craves more. I want to be held when I hurt or am distraught. I want validation and to hear, out loud, that I am loved. But these things were not in my mother’s nature, nor are they in my husband’s. I guess it’s the still young child in me that is so fearful of not being loved and of being left/abandoned. That doesn’t make me want it any less though. Today I expressed my lack of these things in front of virtual strangers, without aggravating the still healing burn on my arm. Yesterday, I could not talk in group, or with the psychiatrist without constantly rubbing and applying pressure to it. Today, I left it alone by clenching my fist under my arm. Is that progress? Hopefully.
After that group time we went to experiential therapy. There, we worked on mindfulness of our environment and then did some yoga. The mindfulness was new to me, but I can see how it helps as a grounding technique. During the yoga, which was used to relax our body and mind, I found myself pushing my body to physically go as far as I could. But that was a distraction from the purpose. The whole time, my muscles were quivering from anxiety. During a balancing pose, I couldn’t maintain my balance. The therapist tried an exercise with me whereby I held out my arm and stated positive qualities about myself while he applied downward pressure on my hand. I stood strong, which is the usual response. Then, he had me repeat it, but stating negative aspects. Typically, the person is not able to resist the downward pressure and their arm is easily pushed down. Not me. My arm was as rigid and strong as when I stated the positives. What does that say about me?
The staff was meeting for their weekly meeting about the patients today. I’m very curious about their observations about me so far. Will I ever find out? For some reason, I’m almost obsessive about what the “professionals” perception of me is. But they don’t come out and tell you, and I assume terrible things. There’s that word … assume. Make an ass of me.
After lunch, I met with the psychiatrist to discuss my medications. I have a long list. He wants to wean me off of Lorazapam (but not the Temazepam) and add Abilify to help increase the effects of my Effexor. All the other medications will stay the same. As he said, it gets worse (longer list) before it can get better.
The last session of the day was art therapy. We had a large sheet of paper divided into 4 sections. We were given an assortment of drawing media to use, but I asked to use just a pencil. In the first section, we were told a scene of walking down a path, rounding a corner and discovering a river in our path that needed to be crossed. We were to draw how we got across. My drawing depicted a strong river with a steep bank and one rock in the middle. Other rocks were on my side, but too large to move.
The second picture was of being at the top of a mountain with a cliff on one side of the path, a steep incline on the other, and a billy goat blocking the path. How did we get past the goat?
I drew myself having a rope around the goat and tied to a tree behind me. The third was of a cave with two guardians and how we were to get into the cave.
I drew myself up in a tree throwing rocks past the guardians to distract them so I could sneak into the cave.
The fourth was of being in the cave where there was a fire. What would we have with us?
I drew a cave with stalactites, a fire with a large kettle (engrave with dragons: hint – back to the old Kung Fu tv show) and myself with sleeves rolled up exposing bare arms. To burn myself as I picked up the kettle?
We then discussed the quadrants. #1, obstacles. Everyone showed herself making it across, except me. #2, conflict the women in the group befriended the goat, the men kicked it over the side of the cliff. #3, guardians. Everyone confronted the guardians in a positive way and was granted access to the cave. I distracted them, perceiving them has protecting the cave and being adversaries of mine, needing to gain entry secretively. #4: comfort : what things did you have that brought you comfort in the cave? Everyone else had some useful or needed thing: food, a tent, tools. I stood with outstretch arms, having nothing but myself and my only thought was of getting burned if I tried to remove the kettle from the fire. I could not help but think that I had perceived and done the whole task wrong. Everyone else took their drawing. I left mine on the table, left quickly and sped out of the parking lot in a panic.
What will day 4 bring?