Much of my childhood and adolescence was about surviving. Surviving the best I could given the circumstances. In some ways, I still feel like I’m in survival mode.
Child abuse leaves scars. Both seen and unseen. Both large and small. Both chronic and acute. Yet they are all scars.
I think that everyone carries some scars. Nobody has a perfect life. But the scars that abuse survivors carry are more extreme. They impact daily living for so many survivors.
I try to hide the scars I have. I was “lucky” that my parents tried to minimize leaving marks. My mom was a guidance counselor and knew the things that CPS looked for. I was a cutter for many years, and thankfully, I didn’t scar a lot. Those are the seen scars. The unseen ones are still there, though.
There are times when those scars get ripped open again. Flashbacks, physical memories, panic attacks. All are our mind’s way of reminding us of what happened.
My scars make me who I am. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. I can’t get rid of my scars. As physical scars are permanent, so are psychological ones.
I live my life behind a mask. My mask is happy. My mask is confident. I’m good at wearing this. Despite how I feel inside, I don’t reveal my honest feelings and fears.
I don’t really let people see the “true me”. Hell, sometimes I don’t even know what the “true me” is. I’ve hidden behind a mask for so long that maybe that is the “true me”.
There’s an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation where a character has a bunch of laws to live by. Her law number one was “You always have to rely on yourself”. I totally agree with that. But my law zero is “Trust no one”. If you can’t trust, it’s hard to show your “true self”. It’s hard to take off that mask.
I’m slowly learning to trust Dr. D and Dr. W. It’s been a rough couple of weeks for me. Last week, I tried to cancel my appointment with Dr. D and quit therapy all together. I made a deal to come that one time. Ordinarily, I would have hidden how bad things were and just tiptoed around the issues. But I didn’t. I sat there and talked through the flashbacks. Making myself that vulnerable was extremely scary. And although nothing bad happened, I still want to put that mask on.
Maybe this is a turning point for me. Maybe it’s okay to drop the mask and let safe people see what’s underneath.
I’m having a hard time organizing my thoughts lately. More so than ever, my thoughts are scattered and racing. I have all these memories just swirling around. And I just don’t know what to do with them. It doesn’t help I have writer’s block. Just typing these few sentences has taken me a solid half hour.
So, how to organize the thoughts and memories. Dr. D asked me to think about how I could organize the memories. It could be by house. I was 4 when we moved to MH from L. That doesn’t make a lot of sense. The time just doesn’t work out.
I guess I could organize them by time. But so many things blur together that I don’t think it’ll work.
The thing that makes most sense is to organize things by abusers. These incidents are separated pretty well in time and space.
Now to just get over my writer’s block…
It’s definitely not an easy drug to live with. I’m tired all the time. I’m lucky if I make it 20 minutes on my walk because I just want to climb back in bed. Therapy is draining enough as it is without adding bone numbing tiredness into the mix.
Unfortunately, based on what I said today in Dr. D’s office, I won’t be coming off it any time soon. If I try to go down a bit the voices come roaring back. On the dosage I’m on now, they’re simply a dull roar.
On top of the fatigue, I grind my teeth and clench my jaw. That’s resulted in some TMJ type stuff going on. Next Monday I have an appointment at the local dental school to evaluate one tooth for another root canal and the TMJ. I’m taking Cogentin for this, but it only really works well up to my previous dosage of Haldol. It doesn’t do so well on this higher one.
Thankfully I see Dr. W about all this on Wednesday. I don’t know what she’ll change. I know the one thing I want changed in antidepressants. I take Cymbalta for pain. That’s nonnegotiable. But the Celexa has to go. It’s doing nothing as far as I can tell.
As usual, the med go round goes round and round and round and… well, you get the point.
After working on it for like a month, I’ve finally called a psychologist. I tried doing the Psychology Today route. Too confusing since my insurance is administered by X company, but because it’s Medicaid, people who take X don’t necessarily take my form of X. Today I worked up the courage to call X company directly and get some names. I took those names and Googled. Luckily one of the people specializes in trauma. I left a message on voice mail. Thankfully, she’s out of the office until Monday and I can quit stressing over it until then.
Earlier, I saw useless GP. Remarkably, he wasn’t all that useless today. I guess it helps if you go in focused and only asking for one med change. A few weeks ago, I started Couch to 5K. I messed up my previously messed up ankle. So after resting for almost a week didn’t do anything I made the appointment. Now, all of this could have been taken care of last week, but drunk family member fell down in her driveway and I had to take her to the ER and wait around while they scanned her head. I barely know this person, but nobody else who could do it was around. I swear, I think I’m going to start using the phrase “Not my monkey. Not my circus.” around my family.
So I see GP. He orders an x-ray basically to cover his butt should the 6 weeks of PT he prescribed not work and he wants an MRI. I guess having a GP who also does sports medicine is handy. He says I can continue walking, but no more than a half mile or so and no C25K period.
He also gave me a referral to a different rheumatologist to evaluate for seronegative arthritis. Despite lab results and symptoms and joint pain responding to steroids, current rheumatologist doesn’t think there’s anything else going on aside from fibromyalgia.
Oh, and I get to increase the Vitamin D I’ve been taking because I’m still deficient despite taking a standard 2000 IU a day.
Only other thing is I had a sleep study done. I wish they’d hurry up and send the results. I had a split study, where they monitored the first part and then put me on a CPAP machine the second part. I’m guessing the fact they did the CPAP means I had a significant number of apnea events.
Psychiatrist is being a bit pushy, but I don’t expect less. She’s ready to call up Company X and go off on them because they want to do her job. She’s the one pushing therapy. I think things have lifted a bit because as I said above, I’ve been able to deal with looking into it. She also wants me to go back to the NAMI group I used to attend. But I haven’t been there for like 10 years. There’s a meeting tomorrow night. But I don’t know. I guess I’m minimizing things again. I get all “But it isn’t that bad” all the time, despite evidence to the contrary.
And no, dear psychiatrist, my mother’s voice isn’t going away. It’s been in my head my entire life. And no, I’m not psychotic. I think we’ll have to agree to disagree.
I’m learning to live with the side effects of the Cymbalta. Yogurt is my new best friend. It’s easy on my tummy and I found a flavor I like (Yoplait’s Whips in Chocolate). They’re 100 calories a pop and I can usually get two down. I’ve been eating those for breakfast and lunch and trying to choke down whatever we’re having for dinner.
I actually started adding Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner in my to-do app. It’s definitely got a game type vibe to it, and that helps motivate me to actually open it up.
I’ve given myself permission to take a Klonopin during the day if things get really rough. Yes, I get the doctor’s point that she doesn’t want to change too many variables at once. But there’s no use in torturing myself. All that accomplishes is making me want to eat even less, which feeds back into the anxiety.
Thankfully, I seem to be sleeping better. The increase in the Trazodone has helped on that front. I was hoping the sleep would help with my pain, but alas, that doesn’t seem to be the case. In fact, it seems to be worse than before, with a lot more muscle tension and spasms. I’m going to start back up on the magnesium supplement I was taking since the Cymbalta (or lack of food) is screwing with my lower GI tract.
Finally, I’m taking it one day at a time. That’s the only way I’m going to get through my life. I’ve quit looking toward the future because I don’t see it dramatically changing any time soon.
I swear I can’t win. I started on the Cymbalta almost a week ago. The good news, it is starting to help with the pain. The bad news, it killed my appetite. I’m lucky if I get 1000 calories a day. I’ve lost 5 pounds since I started. While that’s a welcome loss, it isn’t healthy nor sustainable. My anxiety has also gone into overdrive. My blood sugar is running low because of the not eating thing and that tends to trigger anxiety. Despite telling the doctor this, she doesn’t want me to go down on the dosage (I told her 30 mg had worked fine for me in the past but she insisted on putting me on 60 mg even though I’m incredibly sensitive to medication). She also doesn’t want me to take a daytime dosage of Klonopin. She essentially wants me to ride it out. I’ve got enough Klonopin to take it twice a day before I see her again, so I might use it as a crisis kind of thing. Oh and she isn’t worried about the not eating thing either.
I’m debating whether to try a different psychiatrist (see previous entry about the psychosis thing) or see if she works out. I don’t like doctor hopping and it’s my general rule not to do it unless the person is truly an ass or incompetent. But she doesn’t seem to really give a damn.
One step forward, two steps back. That’s the story of my life, or so it seems.
I’m so mentally, emotionally and physically exhausted. I started the day with the psychiatrist. Initial sessions are always long. Having to go through my history is beyond demanding. Fighting back tears (and failing miserably) left me drained after the first 30 minutes. Then she drops the little bomb shell that she thinks I’m psychotics. I basically told her I respectfully disagree. Hearing the voice of one of my abusers is more likely a PTSD symptom (PDF) rather than a psychosis symptom. She wanted to put me on one of the newer antipsychotics. I told her no. I absolutely and positively wouldn’t go down that route again. I gained so much weight on them and they sent my cholesterol sky high. I don’t need that crap again. She didn’t seem pleased with my refusal, but it’s my body. Honestly, it’s not causing me that much distress that I think it needs to be medicated. I’m quite aware the voice isn’t real and what the origin of it is. I’m not putting those drugs in my body unless I’m going crazy. I think they’re overused for things like bipolar, PTSD, ADHD (!) and Autism (!!!). So, in the end, she upped one of my meds and put me back on Cymbalta for the depression and chronic pain. Once I’m doing somewhat better, she wants me to get back into therapy. I’m not against that. I just need to find
someone the energy to find someone.
Then it was to the hospital side to register for blood work and an EKG. I’m still not 100% certain why she feels she needs the EKG, but whatever. The nice man filling in from another department was trying to register me into the ER, which is why he couldn’t find the doctors name. Once that was fixed, I got to the lab where the paperwork was screwed up because my age ended up getting entered as 103. I don’t even know how that happened. I got stabbed in the hand, leaving me with a nice little lump and a big old bruise.
Then the fun really began. Gynecologist time. I kid you not… when the nurse took my BP, I almost had a stroke right there given how high it was (190/130) after it being normal (120/80) earlier in the day. She was pretty alarmed until I told her I was basically sitting there having a panic attack. The doctor was really nice. She tried to be as gentle as she could. It isn’t that easy since my body is a bit weird and I was, well, freaking out. At least I don’t have to go back for a year, and then only for a quick check, not the full thing.
I’m about to take my meds and go to bed. I’ve finally gotten myself mostly calmed down. But I’m exhausted.
I don’t know what to do anymore. I tried to get into the agency that I saw before. They take Medicaid. Just not my version of Medicaid. Then don ‘t advertise that you take Medicaid. That pisses me off more than anything. If I had known that I could have put the energy into finding someone who does.
It seriously took all my mental energy to call this place. I’m sitting here shaking like a leaf, about ready to throw up. I want to cry, but I’m determined not to.
Maybe I’m taking this all too seriously and personally. But I can’t help it. I know I need this. It’s just disheartening.
I should just go jump off a bridge.