Monthly Archives: March 2014

Violations

Dear A,

We still feel completely devastated.  I don’t know why I’m telling you that except who else do I have to tell?  There’s no one left.  No one who knows me at all.  I think I’ve always been afraid of being alone, and now I am.  But it’s what I wanted, too, isn’t it?  I can’t sort out why.  Maybe to prove I could survive it.  Maybe because I was too afraid of being hurt.  Maybe because it’s easier.  Maybe so I wouldn’t owe anyone anything.  Maybe because I think I deserve it.  Maybe because I feel the need to inflict pain on myself.  Maybe because I didn’t want to inflict my pain on other people.  Maybe because I didn’t want to need anything from anyone.  Maybe because it’s just easier to be alone than to navigate relationships and attachments.  Maybe all of that.  Maybe even more.

Today I walked through downtown, and it was all I could do not to cry in public.  It feels like I’m dying, but I can’t even name what hurts.

I hate myself for feeling like this.  What a fucked-up freak.  I yelled at you about how coercing switches was a boundary violation, but I’m hurt that you respected the boundary I set by ending the therapy relationship.  I told you before that I create impossible situations, but I could never explain it to you so you understood.  This is the kind of thing I meant.  I set up these situations where there’s no way for either of us to win, and every possible outcome inflicts pain.

I have to be pretty goddamn twisted to be upset that you didn’t violate my boundaries.  I guess that’s the only kind of “love” I’ve ever known.  If you don’t force your way into my life, you must not really care about me that much.  Chase me, catch me, violate me.  Hell, when my father violated me and I resisted, maybe I wanted that too.  Maybe I secretly wanted him to force himself on me to prove he loved me.  Maybe I really am that fucked up.

The alternative explanation is I’m just an attention whore.  Maybe I said I was quitting therapy just to get your attention.  Maybe I never intended to quit because I didn’t think you would just let me walk away like that.  Maybe I wanted to make you feel bad so I wouldn’t be the only one hurting, so I wouldn’t be alone with the pain.  Maybe I really am that cold and manipulative.

Either way, I’m a bad person.

I honestly don’t know which of these is true.  I don’t know why I’m feeling these floods of unbearable feelings.  I don’t know what I want or why.  I don’t know what I am anymore.  It’s all a blurry mess: “The absolute erodes.  The boundary, the wall around the self erodes.”  (Louise Gluck)

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The House has passed a forced treatment law — speak up so that the Senate may stop this

Everything Matters: Beyond Meds

Press Release: SOURCE National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery  

stop-forced-txThe bill rushed through the House of Representatives by voice vote yesterday to patch Medicare regulations includes a highly controversial provision that has nothing to do with Medicare, and that would subject people in crisis to forced treatment. Studies have shown that such force causes trauma and drives people away from treatment, mental health advocates warned.

Today, an array of national mental health and disability advocacy groups joined together to decry this provision, which they view as a regressive attack on hundreds of thousands of Americans with serious mental health conditions.

“In its rush to fix a problem with Medicare, the House passed a bill including a highly controversial program, involuntary outpatient commitment, with no debate and no roll call vote,” said Raymond Bridge, public policy director of the National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery (NCMHR), a coalition…

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Devastated

We just feel really devastated right now. We finally read the email A wrote back to us yesterday, and she didn’t even try to get us to come back. Like she didn’t care about us at all.

It’s stupid to be upset about that, we know. I mean, we fired her, right? And we’d be pissed if she was trying to get us to come back. We set up these impossible situations where it hurts no matter what the outcome is.

We wanted her to care enough to fight for us. Or at least make a perfunctory effort. And she didn’t. We feel like we don’t matter to anyone. No one would really notice or care if we just disappeared. We could call and tell the DMH team we decided we don’t want to be in their program. Then we could just never leave the apartment again and nobody would give half a damn.

We thought we’d finally found a therapist we could work with and like. She wasn’t scared of the dissociative stuff, and she was kind. Even toward the end when things hadn’t been going well for a while, she was always kind to us. We never should’ve let ourselves get attached. We’re always so desperate for attachment figures because we never had safe ones as a kid. We’re overly rigid about boundaries because we don’t want to get too attached or become too much for the therapist, but even with all our boundaries, we apparently got too attached. Otherwise this wouldn’t hurt us so much.

She did say she was sorry, that we were right and she did make a lot of wrong assumptions. She said she was sorry our relationship was ending like this, but she didn’t even ask if we could talk about it. Just said she could give us names for other therapists if we wanted. That’s all.

How are we supposed to be able to fight for ourselves if no one else cares enough to fight for us? We know that’s supposed to come from inside, but for us it just doesn’t. We never learned that because we barely survived childhood.

We should write back and just say, “Yes, those names would be helpful, thanks.” But we want to say, “Don’t you give a fuck? Don’t you care about us at all? You didn’t even ask if we were okay, which we’re not.” But that would make us feel manipulative and too needy. We’re not supposed to need anything from anyone. But we feel hurt and devastated and unlovable and completely, utterly alone. It feels unbearable, and we’re fighting self-harm urges. Anything to make the pain stop. But we deserve it for being stupid enough to get attached and for thinking anyone would give a fuck about us. This is how it should be. We should be alone.

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Quitting Therapy

We just sent an email to A, telling her we quit therapy.  It was a really bad session this morning, and we just cannot take any more.  But now we’re panicking.  What if she calls the cops on us or something?  We’re not suicidal or anything, but the cops never believe the crazy people.  And in two hours we’re supposed to have another meeting with someone from DMH, and we’re really not in a good headspace for that either.

Anyway, this is the letter we sent.

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A,

We’re done. We’re not coming back to therapy because it’s doing more harm than good, and that’s too high a price. You keep making all these assumptions and judgments without ever questioning if they’re right. You’ve never asked if they’re right. Lately, they’re usually wrong.

You assume we’re just archetypes or subpersonalities, but you’re wrong. We’re parts, but we’re also individual and complex people in our own right. Maybe we were just subpersonalities once, but as we interacted with each other and the outside world, we grew beyond simple archetypes like “wounded child” or “protector.”

You assume that those of us who are hesitant to trust are children and are stuck in the past, but you’re wrong. We’re among the oldest/most adult parts in our system, and we’re almost always firmly rooted in the present. Sure, our feelings and decisions are colored by our past experiences–but no more than yours are.

But you don’t want us around; you only want Hope because you’ve decided she’s the only real person. But you can’t have her without us, and we’re as real as her and you. We understand that must be hard to grasp when you’ve only ever experienced being one person, but it doesn’t seem like you’ve made any effort to understand us. You won’t even talk to us. You obviously know we’re out (at least some of the time) because you say so, but you never talk to us. You talk about us to Hope, even when Hope’s not present. You look right at us and call us by her name. You ask over and over if we’re present, but you’ve never once asked who’s present. At this point we wouldn’t trust you enough to tell you, but you never even made an effort.

And when you get someone you don’t like, which basically means anyone who’s not Hope or good at pretending to be her, you try to make us switch. You just shove us aside like we don’t even matter. You say it’s grounding, but you’re wrong. Most of us who you’ve dealt with are already oriented in the present, but you want Hope back. And you don’t even have the guts to admit it. You ask questions about her interests or bring Zelda (A’s dog) over because you know that’ll get her back. It’s manipulative, and it’s not okay. Unless the one who’s out is a danger to self or others or is a kid too young to be out safely on their own, you have NO RIGHT to make us switch against our will. You never asked if we wanted to switch or were willing to–you just manipulate us into it. That’s a HUGE violation of trust.

We don’t trust you anymore, and we don’t want to. And yes, that includes Hope too. So we’re done.

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Frustration

I’m so frustrated with A.  I feel like I need therapy to get over my therapy.

For the last two or three months, it seems like every time I see her, by halfway through the session I don’t want to engage at all except to scream at her to shut the fuck up and leave me alone.  She always asks the wrong questions, though I have no idea what the right questions would be.

I know it’s protective parts coming forward.  They/we feel like since she doesn’t really want to know us as people, there’s no use talking to her.  She wants to talk about us, not to us.  Even when it’s obvious we’re there and she obviously knows we’re there, she just talks to Hope.  “These protective parts of you, are they angry at me?”  Stuff like that.  It’s patronizing and dehumanizing.  It’s no different than being in a room with five people and just asking one of them all about the other four.

And then every time it happens, she wants to ask us all these “present-oriented questions” to get Hope back.  We’re not spacing out or anything–we’re just not her.  We don’t need to be fixed.  We don’t appreciate being treated like we’re something that needs to be gotten rid of or pushed back.  Don’t we have every bit as much right to exist and be out as she does?

Some of us want to say all that to her, but we never do.  It doesn’t seem safe.  We’ve had trouble trusting A since we were in respite and the people there threatened to hospitalize us.  We called A, but she took their side even though she knew how bad hospitals are for us.  I mean, she didn’t tell them to lock us up, but she didn’t fight for us, either.  If C hadn’t come and talked them out of it, they would’ve locked me up, and A would’ve let them.  After that, not much trust.  We don’t know how she’d react if we suddenly announced ourselves as being someone other than Hope and insisted on being treated as real people.  It’s too big a risk.

Then again, it’s also a risk not to say anything and continue with the status quo.  We’re getting nowhere, and we usually leave therapy feeling worse than when we went in.  Some of us want to quit therapy and write it off forever, but others of us know we need support.  It’s turned into this big deadlocked internal mess, and it feels like there’s no way out of it.  We don’t know what to do anymore.

–a bunch of us

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Exhausted

I’ve been on my feet most of the weekend, and I am utterly exhausted.

Yesterday, we gathered signatures at a big road race a few towns over.  Even though it rained and 75% of the people there were drunk, we got a ton of signatures.

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My RFD Chris, me, and the other western Mass RFD, Jon.

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John F. Kennedy.  No, wait, that’s just me and a stack of petitions.

Then today, we were marching in the Holyoke St. Patrick’s Day Parade.  Yes, I know it’s almost a week late, but I didn’t schedule the thing.  It’s the second biggest St. Patrick’s Day parade in the country–something like 400,000 people show up for it.  There were people from as far away as Maryland and Virginia.  Chris and I had to sneak into the parade–we were only supposed to have a handful of people, but we snuck in anyway.  We were right in front of a bunch of cops and firefighters, and they didn’t object.  I helped carry the sign for about 3/4 of the parade route, which was a long route.

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A few of us meeting up to get signatures before the parade.  I’m the one in the middle holding the sign.

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A lull in the parade while the marching band in front of us performed.  Me on the left, holding the banner.

Somewhere there are pictures of us with Martha, but I guess her official social media person hasn’t tweeted or Facebooked them yet.  There are only a couple of those because she was zigzagging from one side of the street to the other, shaking hands and posing for photos, but there’s at least one from before the parade and one from after.

So now my back and hip are killing me because I spent WAY too much time on my feet, but it’s okay.  It was worth it.  Not only did we get a lot of support for Martha, I also shook hands with two Congressmen, a Senator, and a DA, as well as several candidates for office.  I even overheard a certain senator from Massachusetts trying to flirt with a beauty queen on his way to the restroom.  (You know you work in politics when….)  Apparently everyone shows up for this parade.  Someone told me that in 1960, the Holyoke and Boston parades were on the same day, and JFK blew off the Boston one to come to Holyoke’s.  (I have no way of verifying that story, though.)

Now I’m going to go collapse and sleep for the rest of the week.

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Out

I want out of my life. It’s empty and meaningless, and nothing makes me feel better for long enough to matter.

Do other people really feel like their lives have meaning? Do any of them actually want to get out of bed in the morning? They must. I’ve felt that way, even. But now I feel so empty I can’t really believe anyone else feels otherwise. I don’t really even want to die–I just don’t want to have to wake up unless things feel better.

I want someone to love me. I want to be a child again, but this time with a good family of people who actually love me. I want to redo my life without all the trauma and its consequences. I think that’s the only way I can ever get better. God knows I’ve tried all the other options.

It’s impossible, of course. Nobody can undo time. I can’t have what will heal me, and I hate myself so much for needing it that I can barely resist the impulse to rip myself apart.

You don’t DESERVE to be fixed, you know. You don’t deserve to be loved. Everybody knows that about you. Everybody.

I know. I’m sorry. I try to stop wanting, but I don’t know how. I can’t grow up. I’m too perfectly stuck. >

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I’ve mostly recovered from the colonoscopy yesterday, although I have huge sore bruises from them trying to start an IV.  It took 4 nurses and three tries.  One of them kept saying I was dehydrated.  Well, yeah, I spent all night crapping out everything I’ve eaten for the last 7 years, and then I couldn’t have anything to drink the morning of the procedure.  You’d think they’d expect dehydration.

It was good news.  I have only mild inflammation and ulcers, which is a huge improvement over the last colonoscopy.  It means the symptoms I’ve been having are probably just due to increased gut motility, which is easier to treat–and with less toxic drugs.  My GI doc is actually talking about reducing some of the meds I’m on now!  Maybe my hair will stop falling out!  But he wants to get the biopsies back before he decides anything for certain, so I should hear from him Monday or Tuesday.

Not doing so well emotionally, though.  Everything feels empty and pointless.  I’m bored all the time, and nothing holds my interest.  It’s all just empty.  I’m still having a lot of suicidal thoughts, but I’m hanging onto my sister’s wedding.  SO and I are going to road-trip it down there, which should be fun, and I honestly can’t WAIT to tell my ultra-conservative family that I work for the Democratic Party.  (Describing it to A last week, I phrased it as, “I get Democrats elected, so fuck all y’all.”  I then had to explain to her the difference between “y’all” and “all y’all.”)  And my sister is SO excited.  She texted me today to say that she wanted to move the wedding up so she could see me sooner, and she and her fiance want to come visit me in Massachusetts.  My sisters are awesome, and I love them more than anything in the world.  And I’m damn sure not going to ruin my sister’s wedding by killing myself before it.

But things are really hard.  I feel so alone almost all the time.  I have plenty of friendly acquaintances, mostly political folks, but no one I could call when I’m having a bad night.  They’re the kind of friends I’d call if I was having a phone bank or a canvass.  They’re great, but I can only be part of myself with them.

Even in therapy, I can’t be all of me.  A seems to have this concept of DID in which there’s basically the “real me” and then a bunch of subpersonalities and archetypes like “the wounded child” and “the most rational one” and crap like that.  To be fair, she hasn’t gone as far as to say only one of us is real, but she certainly hasn’t seemed interested in knowing the rest of us, at least not directly.  We feel like the message is that most of us aren’t welcome even there.

And then there’s this DMH crap.  We had to meet with them Tuesday, the guy from the community-based support program and the woman we talked to while we were in respite.  The guy kept saying the program is voluntary and asking if I wanted to do it, but I didn’t really have any choice because the woman sitting next to me basically threatened to hospitalize us if we didn’t do it.  So we had to say yes, we want to do it, but most of us would honestly rather kill ourselves.  It just means more people we’ll have to lie to and hide from so we don’t get locked up again.  We’d rather be alone by ourselves than alone with a bunch of people who’ll tell us ad nauseam that they’re helping us.

We feel so trapped.  We know how easy it is for people with power to do whatever they want to you.  When you’ve been diagnosed as mentally ill, they can take your rights away whenever they want.  All they have to do is swear to a judge that you’re seriously mentally ill and in need of treatment.  Sure, you can challenge it legally, but you probably can’t afford a good attorney.  If you get one at all, he’ll be 22, and he’ll talk to you for 3 minutes.  The entire burden of proof is on you to prove that you’re not crazy, which is basically Catch-22 in exact reverse.  It is impossible to prove that you are not crazy.  You have no chance.

The best you can do is lie and hope you’re convincing enough.  Take your drugs like a good little patient, cry a little but not too much, tell them you’ve realized how selfish suicide is and even though you feel really bad, you’ll never do it because you don’t want to hurt the people who love you.  Tell them you think the drugs are starting to work.  Tell them you feel a little bit hopeful.  All the lying will make you feel worse, of course, but you can’t let them know any of that.

I just never should’ve asked for help in the first place.  Ever.  It’s stupid to trust anyone who has more power than you.

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March 20, 2014 · 11:43 pm

Prep

Colonoscopy tomorrow. Happy fun times.

Actually, they’ll knock me out for the procedure–it’s the prep that sucks. The pain is pretty horrible, and I can’t stop shivering. I don’t remember it being this bad last time–but last time I was literally dying, so it probably couldn’t have made me feel much worse.

Yesterday, the local organizer from the AG campaign I’m working asked me to make calls this week. I told her I have a medical thing, but I could do Thursday and Friday, and she said you can make calls from bed. I wanted to say, “Oh, how I wish I could lie in bed. I’ll be shitting everything I’ve eaten for the last seven years and moaning in pain.”

Then this morning, my RFD from the gubernatorial campaign called to ask if I could collect signatures at a town meeting tomorrow. I tried to find a polite way to say it and then gave up and said, “Sorry, I’m having a colonoscopy” on a public bus. So everyone on the B48 knows. Oh well.

I am not entirely convinced this prep isn’t going to kill me.

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This crap, ugh. Polyethylene glycol. Isn’t that what’s in antifreeze?

But I’ve temporarily relocated my office to the throne room:

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And I have a twisty hippo straw from New Zealand to drink from.

And I have the perfect shirt. (Amusingly, a gift from a former therapist, years before the UC was diagnosed.)

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Mixed Bag

Therapy today was frustrating. First I was (accidentally) locked out of the office and left standing out in the cold, which feels like a metaphor for something.

Then I just didn’t want to talk. About anything…but I made the mistake of telling A that I feel totally stuck and alone, and she zeroed in on the alone part. She kept naming people and asking if I felt connected to them and asking when I last felt connected and so on. And I just wanted to scream, “SHUT UP STOP TALKING CANT YOU TELL I DONT WANT TO TALK ABOUT THIS YOU ARE JUST MAKING ME FEEL WORSE.” But of course I didn’t. I just shrugged a lot and said, “I don’t know!” With mounting frustration. It wasn’t quite true–if I’d looked I would’ve known, but I just can’t stand to look at myself right now.

The whole rest of the day, I’ve wanted to binge and purge. I’ve been wanting to do that for the last few days, actually, out of nowhere, and the urges just intensified after therapy. Everything just feels so wrong and sick and I’m way too full of all of it. I need to empty it all out because everything inside me is wrong.

It probably also doesn’t help that it’s a bad pain day and a bad poop day. I’ve been crapping orange for days, and I don’t know why. Is it bad that I hope something is wrong and I’ll just die? Lots of things are definitely wrong, they’re just not wrong enough to kill me yet.

But on the good new front, my old apartment complex finally returned my security deposit, so I have an extra $975. So tomorrow if I feel up to it, I’m going to the bank and then dress shopping. B and I are also planning a road trip to Alabama for my sister’s wedding–B is big on road trips. Last summer he wanted me to go on a cross-country road trip with a couple of his college buddies, but I wasn’t up for that. This’ll be more manageable, and it should be fun.

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