Therapy Dilemma, Again

When I said I wished someone would tell me to just get a therapist already, apparently the universe was listening.  C told me today that her boss said for me to be eligible for the clinical mentorship I have with C, I have to have a therapist.

C wants me to try again with A.  She suggested doing some sort of consultation with me, A, C, and some undetermined clinician, presumably someone with experience with DID patients.  I don’t know where I’d even find someone to do the consultation, but maybe that would fall on A and/or C to find someone.

I told C I’d think about it and decide by next week.  I find I’m really resistant to seeing A again, and I can’t tease out why.  There’s a mix of feelings: anger, resentment, hopelessness, futility…and also some shame.  I’m not sure I was entirely fair to fire her the way I did.  As a person, I really like her, but therapy had been getting increasingly frustrating for months.  I felt like we were in a holding pattern, not making progress, and we really felt unheard/unseen around the DID stuff, particularly acknowledgement of other parts.  Those feelings are valid–but I’m not sure we did a very good job communicating those feelings to A.  I imagine that she was pretty shocked when we quit and felt like it came out of nowhere.

Conflict is very hard for me.  Anything even vaguely resembling conflict is very hard for me.  And there’s something about the power dynamic in the therapist/client relationship that makes it especially hard for me to address “bad” feelings about the therapist.  If I’m being honest, a lot of that probably comes from kid parts who want the therapist to be a surrogate parent since they often have somewhat of a nurturing role.  (I have a LOTLOTLOT of shame about that.)  It’s the fear that if we express any negative feelings toward the therapist, she will turn on us and attack us like our parents did.  That she’ll blame us for all the problems with therapy.  That it’ll do damage we won’t be able to recover from.  I know rationally that, despite my frustrations with A, she wouldn’t do that…but it’s still so scary we feel like we literally can’t do it.

So we really didn’t give her a chance to change and adapt.  We didn’t tell her we wanted to be seen and heard and acknowledged as separate selves.  We didn’t tell her we felt like therapy was a pointless waste of time.  Well, we tried a few times to tell her we felt like we weren’t making progress, but she told us we were improving.  It didn’t match our reality, but it didn’t feel safe to argue our point of view.  So we stopped saying anything about it.  So it probably wasn’t fair to just quit on her the way we did.  But it felt like the only way to save ourselves, in that moment.  And really, do we owe it to a therapist to be fair to her?  It’s not supposed to be a reciprocal relationship; I’m just uncertain about when it’s reasonable to be selfish.

I don’t know if I want to try again with her.  I don’t know what I’ll tell C next week.  She suggested going back to see if we could work things out with A because I said we didn’t want to have to start all over with a new therapist…but it feels like going back to see A again would still be starting all over.  I mean, she’d already know me-Hope, but she really doesn’t know the rest of the system at all.  She doesn’t know my frustrations with therapy over the last few months before I quit.  In some ways, it feels like it would be easier to start over with someone who doesn’t already know me.

What it all comes down to, I think, is my deep ambivalence about trust.  I honestly don’t know if it’s worth trying right now to trust anyone, new or old.  I’m not actively suicidal like I was a few months ago when I went into respite, but I feel like I’m not that far from it–just one disaster away.  I feel precariously balanced, and another breakdown in trust would push me over the edge.  So is it worth it to try again?  I wish there were a clear answer.  Maybe the universe will hear me and give me another clear answer to that one.

I’m just a person.

I mentioned in my last post that I had a conversation with my regional field director this weekend about disability issues in politics.  My RFD is a really nice guy, but the stuff he said made it really clear that he has little or no experience with disability.

He knows I identify as disabled, so he asked me what one issue could unite the entire disabled community.  I didn’t even know where to begin with that.  First of all, I’m not comfortable speaking for everyone with disabilities.  Disabled people are such a diverse demographic, and I can’t speak to everyone else’s experiences.  For instance, I don’t use a wheelchair, so I’m not very well acquainted with those sort of access issues.  I don’t know what it’s like for blind people to navigate the world.  I have significant hearing loss, but I haven’t experienced being Deaf.  I don’t want to try to speak for those people–partly because I’d probably get it wrong, but mostly because I want them to speak for themselves and be heard.

My RFD’s question lumps us all into this same demographic, but we’re not all that much alike.  I can’t think of just one issue that matters to everyone with disabilities.  We all have different thoughts, experiences, and needs.  I mean, it’s like asking for one issue that will unite all women–that just doesn’t exist.  The access issues that are most important to a Deaf person are likely to be different than the access issues that matter to someone with a psychiatric disability.  The needs of a blind person are probably different than the needs of someone with MS.

It felt like he wanted me to boil all of us down, all disabled people, into something slightly less than people.  I was trying to explain othering to him while he was doing it to me, and the frustrating thing is I didn’t even realize that was what was happening until hours later.  I knew the conversation made me feel uncomfortable, but I couldn’t pinpoint why while it was happening.

He also asked me if I would call all the disabled delegates.  (For the convention, to ensure diverse representation, there are slots reserved for add-on delegates [non-elected, although priority is given for those who ran but lost in their local caucuses] in three categories: youth, minority, and disabled; the people he wants me to call self-indentified as disabled by applying as disability add-ons.  I know there are also elected candidates who identify as disabled.)  I said that I would, and I’ve asked him to dig up for me any information he can on the candidate’s record on ADA compliance cases and so forth while she’s been the AG, as well as any statements or position papers on disability issues. 

But I feel kind of squirmy about making those calls, too.  It feels like I’m colluding, in a way–like I’m agreeing that I should be the one to talk to these delegates because I’m “like them.”  In reality, I may have little in common with these people beyond party affiliation and disability status.  See, all the disabled people I know care about plenty of things outside the realm of disability issues.  Am I really more qualified to talk to them just because I’m disabled too?  Wouldn’t anyone who had information at their disposal about the candidate’s record and stance on various disability issues be just as qualified as I am?

I keep thinking, you know, he wouldn’t ask me to call all the white delegates because I’m white and he’s not.  We do get Spanish speakers to call delegates who are more comfortable speaking Spanish, but that’s a communication issue.  My RFD’s never asked me if I’d talk to female delegates because I’m a female; he doesn’t assume I inherently know more about the candidate’s record on women’s issues just because I identify as female.  I wonder if he’s subconsciously uncomfortable addressing disabled people around disability issues.  I’m not saying he’s a bad person–I think it makes a lot of people nervous because they don’t want to offend or hurt anyone, and society doesn’t often teach us that disabled people are still just people.

I can’t even clearly communicate why the whole thing feels so wrong to me.  I also think I’m making my RFD sound like an ableist asshole, and he’s really not–I think he just doesn’t quite get it.

And I’m not sure how I want to handle the situation.  I don’t want to tell him I won’t call the delegates because that feels almost discriminatory to me–it might be better that I do it just because talking to disabled people doesn’t make me anxious like I suspect it does him.  I also don’t want to accuse him of othering–that tends to make people defensive and shut down conversations.  But I don’t know how to address it.  It’s not like we have a lot of heart-to-hearts; we’re mostly on the ground working with little time for in-depth conversations.

There’s also a part of me that just rolls my eyes and says, “Educating him is not my responsibility.”  I get tired of having to spread awareness and educate people.  I feel like a lot of resources–both time and money–go into public awareness campaigns.  I understand the aim, I do, but they feel so pointless most of the time.  Are they really making non-disabled people more comfortable interacting with disabled people?  A lot of times, it even feels like awareness campaigns contribute to othering us by saying, “Hey!  Look at these ways we’re different from you!” instead of, “Hey, you know, we’re basically just people who want the same basic stuff you want: love, respect, safety, community, stability, and lots of chocolate.”  I end up resenting all the awareness campaigns because it feels like we’re still spending our time, attention, and money focused on the non-disabled people.  Instead, why don’t we put the money into making buildings wheelchair accessible, providing ASL interpreters, providing adaptive technology, helping the many disabled people who live in poverty, creating job opportunities, and so forth?  Benefit US, not the people who are uncomfortable coexisting with us.

Random Post Is Random

Randomness, bullet point edition.

–I got a slot as one of the disability add-on delegates to the state Democratic convention.  I’m pretty effing excited about that.  Full voting rights!

–They’re probably also going to make me a whip.  This probably sounds cooler and/or more sadomasochistic than it actually is.  Basically I’d just be responsible for a group of about 20-30 delegates.  Make sure they all get to roll call in the morning or they won’t be eligible to vote all day, and make sure they pay attention and vote when they’re called to vote.  But hey, I’d get to order people around.  I love authority when I’m the one wielding it (but pretty much no other time).

–My regional field director apparently think I represent all disabled people and wants me to do persuasion calls to all the disabled delegates.  This conversation was problematic on pretty much every imaginable level, and it will probably be its own post later on.

–I kind of want somebody to tell me I need to find a new therapist.  Of course, I’m not sure that would actually make me do anything about it–reference previous statement about only liking authority when I’m the one wielding it.  But I feel incapable of making a decision either for or against therapy, and I hate sitting on the fence.

–I think what I really want re: therapy is to not have to do the work of finding the therapist and then be a jerk to them for a while to get the aggression out of my system and make them win my trust.  Which makes me pretty much an asshole.

–I can’t remember if I mentioned that I finally got the results back from the biopsies they took during my colonoscopy.  Mild-moderate inflammation, which is a significant improvement.  Not remission, of course, since my body is a jerk, but definitely improvement from this time last year, which was when I was first getting really sick.  GI doc is trying to taper me off Entocort again.  I hope it works but remain skeptical–the last time we tried that, I ended up in the ER on morphine.

–I don’t know what the fuck my body is up to in general.  I’m having a LOT of muscle and joint pain, but only on the left side of my body.  I swear every joint on my left side hurts.  There’s the old lower back and SI joint pain, but my neck and shoulder have been hurting like hell for the last 6 or 8 weeks–I can’t even lift my arm all the way above my head right now without wanting to cry.  My knee and ankle hurt if I’m on my feet for more than about half an hour.  And the last two weeks, my wrist is hurting too.  At first I thought I’d just slept on it funny, but it hasn’t gone away.  It’s bad enough that I’ve started wearing my wrist brace again.  I’ve never heard of somebody having pain on just one side of their body.  I don’t know if it’s something medical I should be worried about or a trauma/PTSD/DID thing I need to deal with.  Either way, I’m not really dealing with it.  If I went to a medical doctor, they’d write it off as a case of the crazies because who only hurts on their left side?  But it’s not like I have a therapist to help me if it actually is psychosomatic.  So whatever.  I’m just in pain.

–I haven’t had any more panic attacks this weekend, but my baseline anxiety level has been higher than it’s been in a while.  It still bugs the hell out of me that I don’t know what I’m anxious about.  How am I supposed to deal with it when I don’t even know what it is?

–I feel like I should apologize for posting here so much, but I’m trying to resist that urge.  I feel really lonely and disconnected, and I think I’ve been posting a lot because I want to feel connected to someone, even if it’s just via the internet.  It’s hard not having the real-life support I used to have.

Something Is Wrong

I don’t know what it is, but I know something is wrong.  Deep inside, with other parts I’m barely aware of, probably.

I thought I’d managed to calm myself down after the panic attack.  I thought I’d be able to sleep–god knows I’m exhausted.  I barely slept last night, was on my feet all day, and then had a long panic attack.  I was almost asleep, in that in-between, twilight stage where you know you’re still awake, but you’re only slightly aware of it.  And then, out of nowhere:

What if my sister invites our father to her wedding?

And suddenly I was wide awake.  I tried not to be.  Tried to put myself back in that twilight state because if I can do that, I can usually get to sleep after a while.  But my mind was already racing.  Physically, I couldn’t get comfortable.  Most of the joints on the left side of my body are hurting, and I keep flip-flopping between too hot and too cold.  I can’t regulate my body or my mind.

I’m not afraid of him.  I know he wouldn’t dare to try to hurt me.  I’m not even convinced he’d be physically able to.  And if he tried, I know I could do way more damage to him than he could ever do to me–my years of martial arts training greatly increased my confidence in my ability to use my body as a defensive weapon if I need to.

I don’t even think I’m afraid of flashbacks and memories.  Maybe a bit, but not a lot.

Strangely, what I am afraid of, so afraid of that I can’t sleep now, is what everyone else will see.  I’m afraid they’ll think I’m rude if I don’t speak to him or acknowledge him.  I’m afraid everyone will see straight through the tension and know what he did to me.  I’m afraid they will judge me.  I’m afraid that however I choose to handle it will be wrong.

I’m probably stressing myself out over nothing.  My sister hasn’t said anything about inviting him.  We haven’t spoken about him in years.  Then again, that doesn’t mean she hasn’t been speaking to him or that she hasn’t or won’t invite him.  I mean, if I were getting married, I’d want my daddy to be there, and I think we both had to get really good at separating our daddy from the man who raped us and sold us and threatened to kill us.

My sister was the one who first disclosed the abuse.  I was 19 and in a state psychiatric hospital.  My mother and grandparents had gotten tired of my problems and sent me off to live with my father, and after a few months, he had me committed.  I remember my mother calling me at the hospital and telling me, “He’ll never hurt you again.”  I was so dissociated and so deep in denial that I honestly had no idea what she meant.  I had to ask who “he” was.  I think she must’ve gotten me released from the hospital, and then I was back living with her, 500 miles away from him.  I don’t have any memory of how that happened–there was a lot of trauma and dissociation happening during that hospitalization.

My mother pushed and pushed for a police investigation.  Nobody wanted it because my father was a cop, and they kept saying it was someone else’s jurisdiction because the abuse happened across at least 3 different states.  She never asked if I wanted the investigation.  I never considered whether I wanted it, honestly.  I was too dissociated after the trauma of the state hospital, and I let my mother do what she wanted because it was one of her rare Good Mother periods.  (Probably because she got to play the martyr, her favorite role: that poor woman who had no idea what terrible things her husband was doing to her daughters for 16 years.  But that’s a different post.)  The investigation was pretty much a joke; nothing ever came of it.

Several months later, my sister recanted her story.  That was hard for me because it was her disclosure that had let me begin to remember and acknowledge what he’d done to me, the reason I’d suffered so long, the reason I was never quite right.  I felt hurt, but I never got angry at her.  One day, she asked if I could drive her to the bank to make a deposit.  I caught a glimpse of the check: several hundred dollars from our father.  I don’t know if it was a one-time thing, although I suspect it was not.  I don’t know if she extorted him or if he offered to pay her off.  Really, I don’t even know that the money was at all connected to her recanting the abuse allegations.  I never even told her I’d seen the check.

It sounds unbelievable, but I don’t remember feeling anything about it then.  All I remember was curiosity about the arrangement–intellectual, but not emotional.  In the two years after the state hospital, I don’t remember feeling anything, so I blame dissociation.  Several years later, when I was discussing this with my therapist, she used the word “betrayal,” and I remember feeling surprised for a moment.  Until she said it, it had never occurred to me that someone in that situation might feel betrayed, although it made sense after she said it.  But I don’t think I ever felt that.  I remember telling my therapist that I hoped my sister had extorted him and that I hoped she still was.  I said she deserved as much money as she could get out of him–he could never pay off what he’d done to us, but she might as well get something useful out of the whole thing.  I even remember feeling a little envious that she’d thought of it and had the guts to go through with it.  Even if I’d thought if it, I would never have had the guts to actually do it.  Even now, I struggle to trust my memories, and extorting my father for what he did would require complete trust that my memories are real.  I’d also have to be unashamed enough to be willing to out him publicly if he didn’t pay, which I couldn’t do.  I know the shame belongs to him, but it’s so deep in me I don’t think I can ever root it out.  And I envy my sister a little because she could do what I wouldn’t have the balls to do.  She got her own piece of sideways justice, and I never will because I’m not brave enough.

I don’t even know how I got from the beginning of this post to here.  I think I’m half-dissociated.  I’m fighting urges to cut, to OD, even to go out and get drunk.  (And I’ve never been a drinker.)  I just feel like I can’t stand to be me right now, any of me, all of me.  I want out, and all the distractions in the world aren’t helping.  Seriously, I’ve read two entire novels tonight and watched 5 episodes of “Supernatural.”  Still can’t get away from this…this…I don’t even know.  This SELF.  I need an altered state of consciousness.  I can’t even name what it is I’m feeling right now, but I know it feels intolerable.  The physical pain is really not helping either.  Every time I move, my body screams at me.  Only the left side, though, for some weird reason.  My neck and shoulder, my lower back, my wrist, my hip, my ankle.  I don’t know what the hell that’s about.  Tylenol isn’t helping, and I’m out of opiates since the assholes at respite stole my last two oxycodone.  I keep considering buying pot, except I don’t know who to buy it from or have any money to pay for it.  I guess if I take enough Benadryl and gabapentin, I’ll get some sleep eventually.  I don’t know, though.  I’m feeling kind of out of control, and I’m worried that if I start, things could spiral.  I’m not suicidal, but sometimes that’s actually more dangerous for me because I do more and more damage to try to numb out and end up doing way more harm than I intended.  I don’t know what to do.  I don’t know how I feel.  I want somebody to save me but nobody can.

Panic Sucks

I don’t know what’s going on with me right now.

I’d been having a good day, out collecting signatures for both of my candidates.  Gorgeous weather, no particularly nasty people, all was well.

And then, out of nowhere, I got slammed with a panic attack.  It’s been months since I’ve had one–maybe more than a year.  Luckily, I can have a panic attack without anyone else noticing most of the time, and I managed to pull it off this time too.  But it SUCKED.  It’s been an hour and a half, and I still don’t feel like I’m back on stable ground.

It bothers me that I don’t know what triggered it.  Then I start worrying it’s going to happen again.  (I know, I know, one of the hallmark symptoms of panic attacks, but it still sucks.)  It’s especially stressful because my political work is the one area of my life where I consistently feel competent and feel like there’s a point to getting out of bed.  If it starts triggering panic attacks, I won’t have anything left.

I listened to a guided meditation, which helped some–it brought down my heart rate and normalized my breathing, at least, and the panic is not quite as bad.  I think I’m going to run a hot bath, read a book, and eat chocolate…and try not to worry about it happening again.

This probably is a signal I should at least consider finding a new therapist, isn’t it?  *sigh*

My IBD Life

Originally posted on Photography By: Meranda Roben O'Hara:

Differences between IBD and IBS:

Lets start this off by saying I am in no way trying to put down or disvalue what people with IBS go through day in and day out! it is also a difficult thing to deal with. However there is a misconception within the general pubic that IBD and IBS are the same thing, this just simply is not the case.
The names themselves can be misleading…

IBD = Inflammatory Bowel Disease

IBSIrritable Bowel Syndrome

you know IBD or IBS they both start with the letters IB. Also they both do involve our bowel’s, I have made a Chart to visually show the differences and similarities;

Image

If i missed any Symptoms in either IBD or IBS feel free to list them in the comment section.

As you see there are similarities between the two however they mostly involve bathroom issues , those with IBS do not suffer with the…

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Sometimes metaphors are useless.

Last night I dreamed that I walked into a big theater, and a woman told me I was going to dance the part of the Sugarplum Fairy in “The Nutcracker.”  This wasn’t one of those “oh god, I’m horribly unprepared” stage fright dreams–I was excited.  I’ve always wanted to dance, but I never got to learn.  (I got kicked out of ballet when I was 5 for being too hyper and disruptive.)  The woman told me it would be easy, she’d teach me.

She started doing my make-up, pink and green.  I was so happy.  I could hear the music starting to play.  I’d never danced before, but somehow I knew I’d do it perfectly.

Then the woman just melted away into a pool of water.  I thought maybe I could bring her back, but I didn’t know where to begin.  How do you turn water back into a woman?  The music stopped.  The dancing stopped.  Everything stopped.  She was in charge, and they couldn’t do the show without her.  And everyone was looking at me.  I didn’t know if they thought I’d made her disappear, if they were angry at me, if they expected me to bring her back, or what they thought.  They all just stood there, watching me, and I didn’t know what to do.

The dream’s been nagging at me all day.  It feels horrible–like a loss, like grief.  My instinctual interpretation is that this is about my relationships and trust.  I think someone has something to offer me to make my life better, changes start to happen, and then…nothing.  They’re just a puddle of water.  The trust that holds the relationship together melts, and then there’s nothing left.  I want to fix it, to put the relationship back the way it was, but I have no idea how.  It’s all dissolved; there’s nothing left of substance.  I’m left alone and empty-handed and unfulfilled.

I don’t know what I’m supposed to do with that.  I wish my dreams would give me metaphors for where I go from here instead of just reflecting that I feel alone and untrusting.  I already understood those feelings; I don’t need metaphors to clarify them.  What I need is a way to turn the water back into a person, into a relationship, into trust.  But I guess even my subconscious mind doesn’t have answers about where I go from here.  There’s no answer and no comfort.

Of course, I also dreamed that SCOTUS struck down the buffer zone law in a 5-4 ruling.  Let’s hope that’s not a prophetic dream.