Category Archives: Therapy

Mask

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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.

Living With Haldol

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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.

Dentists

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2012 is a year for overcoming one phobia.  Dentists.  Nothing bad happened in the chair.  I think it stems from my father putting things in places they don’t belong on a child.

It’s taken me almost 20 years to do this.  I got nice drugs from Dr. P.  I was almost crying in his office yesterday.  Actually I was nearly in panic mode, but I tried my best to hide it.  No IVs for me just to get a dose of Valium.  He gave me Propropanolol.  It’s a BP med, but helps anxiety.

Most places open at 9.  I showed up at 9.  He didn’t open until 10.  At least the door was open.  I basically sat there crying silently for an hour.

But I made it through.  I’m having a dead tooth pulled next week and a temporary crown put on.  Then I’ll get a bridge for the four front teeth to get ride of the gaps.  I have the option of IV sedation, but given nurses’ success in inserting IVs lately, I think I’ll pass.  And he said if it was his wife, he would still recommend the local.  Good drugs Dr. P.  I’m going to need them.

I feel a huge sense of relief.  I’m still very anxious about going next week, but I think it’ll be easier to step in the door.  And I know it’s OK to cry.  Some doctors get all upset.  This guy (missed his name) just tried to talk me down from the ledge.

Part of it is feeling trapped.  Being in the chair is vulnerable.  You’re on your back, the table is over you.  Some guy has hands in your mouth.

But I did it.  And I have a feeling I’m going to need constant reminding of that.

The Bedroom

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It’s ugly.  I won’t deny that.  For some reason, I needed to paint a bedroom.  I mean, it isn’t really hard to figure out why I needed to paint this.  I wanted it to be beautiful and ugly at the same time.  I used the most garish colors I had.  And that pink is very pink.

In it’s own way, it’s a frilly little girl’s bed.  The bed itself might be something a little girl would dream of.  The curtains are poofy and pretty.  The carpet is a deep blue.

When you put them all together, they make a very ugly combination.  That’s sort of how my bedroom was.  It holds so many nightmarish memories for me.  But it was also my refuge as I got older.  I was able to hide from the world when it overwhelmed me.  I used my imagination while I was reading.  I learned so many things while in my bedroom.

I feel so drained now.  It’s amazing how much emotional energy this took.  I didn’t care that the bed doesn’t look right.  I didn’t care that the lines are crooked.  It was coming from a place so deep in my soul, the superficial details just didn’t matter.

I think the strong colors are quite reflective of the strength of the emotions that have been surfacing.  I’m trying to roll with the punches, so to speak.  I’m using all the coping strategies I have, and trying to stick to the healthy ones.  I’m fighting the dissociation that seems to be cropping up again.

I’m not going to let these new triggers get the best of me.  I am stronger than they are.  I’m not exactly sure what they are yet, but I will be the winner.

Now, you all have to remind me of this when I fall down into the depression pit…

Running from Emotions

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Running from EmotionsSo… I bought some poster paints at the store today. I was intending to finger paint with them. But I figured why I was getting art supplies, I should get some brushes. I bought some flat ones and some pointy ones. Can you tell I’m not an artist?

I taped my paper up on my wardrobe. I don’t really have any better place to do it. And I figured the paint would come off of there more easily than the wall paper if I missed the paper (which I only did once). I pulled out the flat brashes and the paint. And I attacked the paper. No, I literally attacked the first piece of paper. It was some sort of anger I was getting out. I pretty much covered the paper in reds and oranges. It was crazy. Then I balled it up and threw it in the trash. That alone was therapeutic.

But there was so many other things under the surface. I don’t even know where the anger came from tonight. It just boiled over. Better to slap paint on paper than to take it out on myself, which has been on my mind lately. I just picked the paints that spoke to me. Yeah, that sounds stupid, but that’s what it felt like. Everything was sort of swirling around. As the emotions came and went, I just made different shapes. Gah! I don’t really know how to explain it. I have no words to explain how I’m feeling right now. And because the painting is reflecting those feelings, I really don’t have the words to describe the painting.

I titled the piece “Running from Emotions” because it occurred to me as I was resizing the picture (no need to upload a 4000×3000 image here) the orange blob in the lower right looks like a person running away from everything else in the painting. That must be the whole sub-conscious thing at work again. The other thing I noticed is how small the “person” is as compared to the rest of the painting.

Overall, for my first (okay, second) try at painting with a brush, it doesn’t look too bad. I’ve seen stranger things in art museums. In a strange way, I like it. I’m looking forward to playing a bit more. I bought white paper (which is gray on the flip side) and black paper. I really want to play with the black paper. Maybe it’s the whole black equals night thing in my mind. I don’t know.

A Letter

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April 26, 2008

Dad,

I’m tired of stuffing my feelings. I’m tired of pretending that I don’t hate what you did to me. I’m tired of ignoring the insanity of my childhood.

Never was my life a bed of roses. I worked hard to get where I am today. And as sure as I am that I am a huge disappointment to you and Mom, that isn’t necessarily a reality. I’m trying harder to accept that there are people who think I’m good at my job. And it warms my heart when one of my students say “I love you, Teacher!”

It’s taken me a very long time to figure out that life is wroth living. I now realize I spent way too much time contemplating how to end my life. And it’s a miracle that I never tried to end it. When things got really bad, I was lucky to have people to turn to. I was extremely lucky to have J, P, J, R, L and Dr. M in college. I was just as lucky to have L and Dr. D in grad school.

I’m angry. I’m very angry. That’s a hard thing for me to say. All those years you taught me that being angry wasn’t okay. It was fine for you to be pissed off at the entire universe. But for me, I had to be the perfect little lady. I could never let my emotions show.

To this day, I’m never really sure what to do with my emotions. I’m trying, slowly but surely, to learn how to express my emotions safely and in a healthy way. It has been a huge challenge for me.

I don’t know how I feel about you. I know I hate your actions. But I don’t know if I hate you. I know I don’t love you. I don’t feel any sort of emotional attachment to you.

I don’t know whether to hate you or pity you. I’m quite certain horrible things were done to you when you were a child. But that isn’t an excuse for what you did to me. That isn’t a reason. You made the choices you made. No one made you follow the path you did. And now, I have to live with those choices.

The good thing that has come out of this is that I’ve made different choices than you made. I have broken the cycle abuse. My method may not be the healthiest, but it is effective. I have chosen to not have a family of my own. And even though that’s unthinkable for you, I know it’s the right choice for me.

It’s taken me a long time to finish this letter. At times, the emotions were just too much. I had to put them, and this letter, away for awhile. And even though it’s been slow, it’s been a huge step forward. I didn’t run away as I would have in the past. I persevered. Progress is progress, no matter how slowly it may be made.

And even though this has been hard, it’s taught me one thing. I am a stronger person than I give myself credit for.

Sunrise

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Sunrise

I really love this piece. It’s so peaceful. It speaks of hope and renewal and rebirth. I’m not sure why I’ve been into doing water in my artwork lately. But it’s a nice change from some of the horrible images I was doing.

Overall, I’ve been feeling more positive lately. Making the decision and signing my new contract has some to do with it. Better sleep has a lot to do with it.
Right now, I finally feel right in my skin. I don’t know how long this will last. I know I’ll have ups and downs. This is definitely a nice respite from the downs.

Not all is roses, but I feel like I can deal with the thorns.

Still Standing

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Still Standing

It’s been a while since I’ve done any artwork. I don’t know exactly why I stopped. I guess my creative juices dried up. Same with my writing. I’m trying to get those juices flowing again. On a whim, I bought some soft pastels and paper at LotteMart on Saturday. I just pulled them out tonight. I forgot how much I love the feeing of chalk on my fingers. I should be a teacher in an old fashioned school that actually uses chalkboards rather than white marker boards.

Anyhow, I’ve had this image sort of playing through my mind the last few weeks. I get these awesome images in my head, but I never can seem to translate those onto paper. This one actually turned out half way decently.

The basic image is a isolated island out in the middle of the ocean. It’s actually a very small island.

Phew, I’m back. Firefox crashed on me twice. Once randomly and once when I opened a site that had an all Flash front page. I’m guessing the non-Adobe implementation of Flash doesn’t work quite as well as I hoped.

As I was saying. It’s a very small island that contains a very large tree. It’s a stormy night. The tree is getting battered by the storm, but it is still standing (hence the title of the post).

Ya know.  I actually like how this turned out.  I think I captured the movement of the tree in the wind.

Why?

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This is some I wrote a few weekends ago.  I was waiting to go to Costco with some friends.  They had their karate class while I wrote.

April 12, 2008

Why is a question I haven’t been able to ask until just recently. It scared me too much. I didn’t want to think abou tit. Asking why makes me ask if it really was my fault.

Addressing the issue of blame requires me to consider that maybe, just maybe, it really wasn’t my fault.

I’ve heard so many people over the years tell me it wasn’t my fault. I’d argue vehemently with those people because it was so much easier to blame myself.

But now I think I’m ready to take a more objective look at my past. I’ve read the literature. I know all these things. I can tell them to other people who have had similar experiences. But I couldn’t apply it to my own life.

Wow, this is hard. It requires me to ditch my old ways of thinking. Change is rarely easy. There are always challenges to overcome.

So back to the topic of this entire post. Why? Why me? In some ways, it sounds like whining. “But God, why?” (said in a sing-song voice). However, I do think it’s a valid question and I think it’s a question that eventually needs to be addressed. Now that I think about it, asking why is one of the stages of grief.

I think it’s an issue I’m going to take slowly. I’ve been feeling stable (sort of) the last few days. My recent brush with suicidal thinking resolved itself more quickly than usual. A big part of it was the migraine I had. So I don’t want to send myself careening over an emotional ledge.

Somehow, just writing this has strangely cathartic. I need to start writing regularlly again. I got out of the habit and lost the benefit.

I also realize I didn’t really address the topic of the post. But I wanted to make a start. I need to do this in baby steps if possible.