Child Abuse, Emotions, Family

Jealousy

Driving home from mass tonight, I heard one of the local DJs talking about her worst childhood experience. Listening to her triggered so many thoughts and feelings. But the strongest one was jealousy… at least I think that’s what it was. It was the word that seemed to fit the best.

So she was saying that her worst childhood experience was being at Sea World and having her cousin (with the blond curls) be picked to go up and get a kiss from Shamu and not her.

If that’s her worst memory… well… She probably had a pretty easy childhood.

And I’m jealous. All the things my parents and grandparents did to me. All the bullying and teasing that the other kids did. All the times I considered suicide.

And I feel horrible for being so jealous. I should be happy for her. She didn’t live through the hell I did. I should be happy for her. I wouldn’t wish my childhood on my worst enemy.

But I’m jealous. I must be a horrible person to feel this way.

Anxiety, Fears, PTSD, Sleep, Therapy

Making the bed a safer place

On Tuesday, my therapist asked me to start thinking about ways to make my bed a safer place.

I’ve started on this by changing my sleeping position. I’ve also bought a teddy bear.

I’ve taken a couple additional steps. I went shopping…

I bought some new pillows and pillow cases. I didn’t realize how old and cruddy my pillows were. And I wasn’t even using pillow cases on them. When I actually looked at the old one, I was disgusted.

I bought a new blanket. I had been using a ratty old thing I found in my grandmother’s basement. The new one is very cozy and a beautiful shade of blue. It’s really close to the color of the sky in the spring.

I bought a body pillow. I had one a couple of years ago. I used it when my back was really bothering me. I used to put it under my knees. Now I’m using it as a shield between myself and the room.

I only went shopping yesterday. So I’ve only changed my sleeping environment for one night. It didn’t make a difference. But then again, one night isn’t a fair test. I’m willing to keep working on this.

I’m not looking forward to going to bed tonight. Today was a pretty rough day in terms of flashbacks and body memories. Staying in the present was particularly hard today.

I did manage to tire myself out pretty well this evening. I’ve cleaned one of my two rooms from top to bottom, including unpacking the boxes from when I moved back to the US last August (depression will do that to you…). Then again, the only thing that motivated me to do it was the mere fact my best friend is coming over to use my computer to put in her grades to the online system (stupid district… hasn’t gotten around to updating their site to work with IE7, which almost all the teachers have installed on their home and school machines). So now I also have a nice clean room to sleep in.

Dreams, Fears, Sleep, Therapy

Lions and Tigers and Bears! Oh my!

Well, not quite. But I had a nightmare last night that I needed to get outside of my head. So I decided to try the dream therapy Austin’s been doing. It’s actually quite a difficult task…

 

Original Dream:

It started in the backyard of where I spent the bulk of my childhood years. At least I’m pretty sure it was. Everything was there, but it was all in the wrong places. It was almost like everything was reversed. Like looking in a mirror.

It was a stormy day. Very hot and humid, as summer days around here tend to be. I was running from a huge lion that was chasing me around the yard. Then the trees suddenly turned into monsters and tried to attack me.

I ran into the house to escape these horrible things chasing me. Every room I tried to enter had a locked door. As I ran through the house, random objects jumped out to attack me.

I fell down the steps trying to run to the front door to escape. I could hear wild screaming as I lay on the floor unable to move. My legs were broken.

The monsters came closer and closer. The lion was the first thing to reach me. I was completely paralyzed as he started tearing at my clothes. I couldn’t scream. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t protect myself. I let him attack me. He bit me and scratched me. It felt like I was being ripped in half, much the way it did when he did to me what he did at night.

And then I woke up.

 

Rewritten dream:

It was a beautiful summer day. One of those days where the sun is shining and by some miracle, the humidity is low. I was sitting in the back yard reading a book.

Suddenly a lion appeared out of nowhere and charged at me. I threw my book at him. The blow stunned him enough for me to escape into the house.

I tried many doors in the house, but all of them were locked. The lion was still chasing me so I threw various objects into his path to slow him down.

I decided to run out of the front door of the house. I dashed down the steps, but fell and twisted an ankle. Even though it hurt, I got back up and kept on running.

Emerging from the house, I found a zoo keeper with a tranquilizer gun. I told him about the lion chasing me. Turns out the lion had escaped from the zoo. The zoo keeper fired a dart into the lion, which fell asleep. He then took the lion back to the zoo and locked him in a cage. Meanwhile a doctor appeared and tended to my ankle.

Anxiety, Friends, Self Injury, Sleep

Random updates

Not much going on in life right now. I had a job interview last week. And I have another one on Wednesday. In all honesty, I’m too tired to get anxious about it.

Changing my sleeping position is odd. But I’m getting used to it. I ended up flipping to my other side because I have to face the wall. It freaks me out to have the front of my body exposed to the room, even though I’m wrapped up in blankets.

Getting a decent amount of sleep continues to allude me. I get into bed and waves of panic wash over me. I try to remind myself of where and when it is. But it’s every easy to get caught up in the flashbacks.

I’m still working on the shower issue. I like my new shampoo and body wash. I try to concentrate on the scent while showering. I’ve worked back up to about 90 seconds of standing in the shower before flipping out. One time I even made it up to two minutes.

I’ve managed to avoid cutting. The SI impulses are still quite strong. But I’m using the coping techniques I have.

I notice myself more and more wanting to push away the very people who are trying their best to support me. I’ve always said the first step to changing a behavior is recognizing when it’s occurring. A lot of times, the words are already out before I realize what’s happening. But I can see it in retrospect. So that’s a step. It used to take people telling me what I was doing for me to see it.

And finally, I’m really enjoying the suggestions you all have made for naming my new teddy bear. He’s anxiously awaiting his new name. I’ll decide before the end of the week.

Inner Child, Therapy

I need a name…

A few days ago, I decided to buy a teddy bear. I figured it would be a good way to try and self-soothe. And we all know I need some serious soothing lately. It might also end up being a vehicle to help me explore some more inner child stuff. I don’t know. I still have to think a bit on that idea.

So tonight, I took a trip to Target. Not that I really like Target. And not that their selection was great… in fact it was pretty crappy. But once I got there, I didn’t think I could handle driving on the freeway to get to any other large type stores (read Wal-Mart). So Target it was.

I need a nameI got this little guy. He was the cutest of the teddy bears they had (and I think they had a total of three).

His little face just called out to me. He really looks sad in this picture, but he’s really not.

And the ribbon around his neck was the ultimate selling point. It looks so adorable.

But now he needs a name. And I completely stink at thinking up names. The stuffed mouse I got when I was three… I named her Mousey. OK, granted I was three. But still…

God help me if I ever have a child. When I adopted my cat, Jeepers, in graduate school, I was very thankful she came already named.

Please give me a name...

And just so you can see his face… here’s a close up.

So please help him. Being called “Hey You!” makes him feel really silly.

Leave your ideas in the comments. Suggest as many as you’d like. The more, the better. After a few days I’ll pick one and we’ll christen him.

Child Abuse, Emotions

Feeling dirty

So many feelings… Don’t know what to do with them… Have to get them outside of myself…

 

You know that physical feeling you get after you’ve gone to the gym or done yard work and you’re all dirty and grimy? Well that’s how I feel right now.

I get caught up in a flashback. And when I get myself back to reality, I feel like I need to sanitize myself. I feel filthy. It’s just how it felt when he did what he did.

And then I think about getting in the shower to get clean. And that triggers me all over again. It turns into a vicious cycle.

It feels like I’ll never get clean. There is this invisible layer of crud all over me. No one can see it. Even I can’t see it. But I certainly can feel it. And it really bugs me.

In the last day, I’ve taken to standing in front of the sink and scrubbing myself with a washcloth using the hottest water our plumbing puts out and lava soap. It doesn’t completely get rid of the dirty feelings, but it minimizes them.

I know I’m not the first person to talk about stuff like this. And I certainly won’t be the last. But it’s bugging me tonight and I have to get it outside of my head.

Emotions, PTSD, Self Injury, Sleep, Suicide

Trying to breathe

I’m sitting here again. It’s 2:00 AM. I’m on the verge of panic. And I’ve been that way for at least the last two hours. I’m trying to concentrate on my breathing. I know I need to calm myself down. But it’s proving to be an extremely difficult task.

Once again, the thoughts of self injury and suicide are running through my head like a run away train. Please just don’t let it end in a wreck. I tried calling a hotline, but hung up before anyone answered the phone. I can put my words on paper, but to speak them… I don’t know how to do it. Plus, the last time I called one of the hotlines (granted, it’s been a couple years), I got a person who was less than compassionate and told me that I just needed to move on. Easy for him to say. So I tend to shy away from the hotlines.

For whatever reason, tonight the flashbacks are multisensory. I can pretty much deal with the flashbacks when they’re limited to one sensory modality. But it’s like a blitz attack when they hit everything at once. It makes my head spin.

The worst part isn’t what I see or hear in my head. It’s feeling it in my body. I don’t know how many times tonight I’ve just been doubled up in pain. It feels like my body is being ripped in two. And then it gets combined with seeing and hearing and smelling everything. I just don’t know what to do.

I’m shaking so bad. I find myself holding my breath. I have to concentrate really hard to remember to keep breathing. And I’m so cold. It’s definitely not cold in the here. I turned up the heat for my grandmother. In all honestly, I should be sweating. But I’m sitting here wrapped in a blanket because I can’t stop shivering.

I wish I could get these thoughts of cutting out of my head. I’ve been trying to write an email to a friend explaining why I have the self-injury urges. But I’ve been failing miserably. I just don’t have the words to describe how and why these feelings arise and why I did it in the past.

I’m tired. But the thought of getting into anything resembling a bed is freaking me out. I tried going down into the basement and sleeping on the old porch glider. But even that was too much like a bed. I tried sleeping in the chair in the living room, but it ended up hurting my back so much that I had to move. So here I am.

I’m finding it more and more difficult to figure out reasons to live. I know I need to hang on… just a little bit longer. But I’m not entirely sure whether it’s worth the fight.

I know I’m not making any sense. But I just needed to get it out tonight before I completely explode.

Anxiety, Emotions, Fears, Sleep, Therapy

Sleeping upside down

Sleeping bat

 

No, I’m not turning into a bat…

 

I tend to be really picky about the position I sleep in (when I actually do sleep). My entire life, I’ve slept on my left side and facing the wall. And in sleeping in that position, I’ve always been able to turn my head and see the door. I don’t know what it is about sleeping facing the wall, but it’s what I’ve always done. Common sense would say I’d want to see what was coming at me, so I should sleep facing into the room.

I guess I’m weird.

But the way my living room is set up now (and there’s really no way to rearrange it) if I sleep on my left side and facing the wall, my head is pointing toward the door. So I can’t see it when I turn my head. And if I sleep with my head on the other end… well, I’m all turned around.

On Tuesday my therapist suggested that I try to start sleeping so that I can see the door. I did try that once a few years ago. But I really felt like I was upside down or backwards. And I didn’t like it. So I went back to the way I was more comfortable. I wasn’t having the severe sleep problems and nightmares I’m having now. So it wasn’t as big a deal.

Yes, I’m definitely weird. You don’t need to point that out…

So I tried it again last night. It was slightly comforting to be able to see the door. But it’s odd to sleep in that position. If I lay on my left side, I’m facing out into the room. If I face the wall, I’m lying on my right side. I was all turned around and my body was confused.

Yeah, yeah, yeah… I know, I know. I’m really weird.

Old habits are hard to break. But changing my sleeping position might be one of those habits to try and break if being able to see the door at a glance helps keep me a little calmer at night. I’m willing to try almost anything to get some decent sleep.

Speaking of sleep… I’m headed in that direction right now. It’s early tonight. Only 1:30 am. But I’m feeling sleepy. The TV is tuned to some shopping channel so there’s some light and noise in the room. That’s another thing I’m trying out. We’ll see how it goes.

Anxiety, Emotions, PTSD, Therapy

Tackling the shower

I’m still working on it. It’s extremely slow going. And that frustrates me. I made good gains the first week and a half or so. I consistently made it up to about two minutes before freaking out. Lately I’ve been doing good if I make it past 30 seconds. And that frustrates me. But I’m not giving up on it.

I did end up going to Bath and Body Works, but not buying anything. The two pairs of dress pants and the blazer (for job interviews) had something to do with it. But I think it was Austin that said to me that perhaps I feel like I don’t deserve it. And that was a part of it.

So I compromised. I found some Suave products that smelled good (and were a lot cheaper). The one I settled on (after a long time thinking about it) was the Toasted Vanilla and Sugar shampoo and matching body wash. No conditioner, I don’t have enough hair to need it.

And actually, my skin feels better using that body wash than it did with the cheap bar soap I was buying at the dollar store. I don’t have as bad dry skin as before.

Anyway. When I saw my therapist on Tuesday we talked a bit about the shower. One of the things I’m afraid of is losing control. I’m a total control freak. Control of my thoughts. Control of the memories. Control of my emotions. She suggested that perhaps I should go ahead and let myself lose control in the shower. Just stand there and freak out and cry and let all that stuff come to the surface. Nothing bad will happen (as if I believe that). In essence, doing the same sort of thing as with the shower in general. Desensitizing myself to those fears.

I don’t think I can do it right now. I need to retain my control. In fact, I’m hanging onto it for dear life. But it’s something I’m willing to try in the future. It worries me that allowing myself to do that now would push me over the edge to cutting or even worse. Maybe when I’m feeling a bit more stable.

Anxiety, Child Abuse, Emotions, PTSD, Sleep

Today’s Trigger

So I was at Mass this afternoon. I play the flute (and rarely sing) in my church’s contemporary choir. The gospel reading was about The Prodigal Son. Deacon Dave gave the sermon. His whole thing was about forgiveness (or at least that’s where I think he was going with it). He started out talking about how many of us have been hurt in life. And then he goes into giving various statistics about sexual assault, child abuse and domestic violence.

Now, I’ve been really sensitive lately. It doesn’t take much to trigger me. And his list of stats sent me over the edge. As he started listing things, I started to panic. After about a minute of this, I knew I couldn’t sit there and listen to anymore. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t stop the waves of memories.

So I walked out. At least our choir is situated near the door. Unfortunately, the way things are set up (we have sort of a “U” shaped formation where I sit in the middle of the entire thing), I had to walk around the guitar players to get to the door.

I walked out of the church and into the cold. I didn’t really have any idea of where I was going. I wasn’t aware of too much. I wasn’t completely dissociated, but pretty tootin’ close to it. When I got my bearings, I was on the other side of the parking lot, sitting in the Children’s garden. We have this small garden that has these small brass trees. Each leaf on the tree is for a child of the parish who has died.

Given everything that happened when I was a kid, it doesn’t surprise me that I ended up in that garden. A part of me died way back when.

So after I managed to calm myself down, I went to the bathroom because I couldn’t face going back in the church. I warmed up some and gathered my courage back up.

When I got back into the church they were playing/singing the offertory hymn. So I sneaked back to my seat and figured out where we were in the music. But my heart just wasn’t into it. I was still extremely anxious and was having a hard time concentrating on the notes on the page. I couldn’t wait to get out of there.

I got into the car and broke down crying. After dinner (which I had no interest in eating) I ended up hiding in the closet for an hour or so. I wrapped myself in a blanket and rocked back and forth. The closet itself isn’t deep, but it’s long, so there’s enough room.

It’s 3:00 am right now and I’m trying to avoid getting into bed. I don’t know that I can deal with it right now. But I’m getting one of my not sleeping headaches, so I know I need some sleep. Avoidance isn’t the answer… but it’s about all I can do right now.