Monthly Archives: April 2014

Whirlwinds All Around

I feel like crying.  I don’t know why.

I’m just so exhausted all the time lately.  Some of it’s the meds (fucking 6-MP, man), and some of it’s probably depression.  But knowing what it is doesn’t make it any easier to manage.

I slept ten hours last night, was up for about 3, slept another 4 hours, and have been up for 5.  Still exhausted.  I flaked out on the phone bank I was supposed to go to because just thinking about getting out of bed and getting dressed and brushing my hair made me want to cry.  There’s another phone bank tomorrow that I’ll try to make it to, and then Thursday I’ve been invited to go on the road with my regional field director and the other regional lead to do one on one meetings with volunteers and then go by HQ.  I’m leaning toward opting out of tomorrow’s phone bank so I’ll (hopefully) have the energy to do Thursday all day–because I also said I’d cut turfs for a month’s worth of canvasses for five towns in our region by Wednesday night.  If all else fails, I have Adderall and caffeine pills to get me through Thursday.  (No lectures, please.)  Then I have Friday off.  Saturday, the political director for the AG campaign I’m working personally called and asked me to march with the candidate in the pride parade on Saturday, which I said yes to.  Then Sunday I’m canvassing for the gubernatorial candidate.

Don’t get me wrong; I love this stuff.  Okay, phone banking and turf-cutting are boring but necessary.  What I like is feeling needed.  I like having a title (“regional lead” sounds important, right?) and getting calls from important people.  I like having politicians know my name.  I like being trusted with responsibilities.

That probably makes me a little egomaniacal, but…well, that’s me, I guess.  I’m mostly okay with that because it has been SO FUCKING LONG since I felt like I was good at something, like I wasn’t disposable and replaceable.  I mean, these campaigns wouldn’t suddenly crumble if I got kidnapped by aliens or something, but they’d struggle.  They’d be a little frantic trying to fill in the gaps I left.  So maybe it makes me a little bit of an asshole, but I like feeling like I’d leave a hole.  It makes me feel like I can justify my existence.  And every campaign I’ve worked on, my candidate has won.

But the fatigue makes me feel crappy.  I’m not even sure if it’s real, you know?  I keep questioning whether I’m just using it as an excuse to get out of the drudge work of phone banking.  That’s probably my family talking–“You’re just being manipulative, you’re just faking it, it’s all in your head, you’re just making excuses for being lazy.”  I know that…but their voices make so much sense to me a lot of the time.  Their reality was the only reality I had for the 22 years before I could get away from them, and it’s only been 5 years since then.  Their reality still has a powerful hold on me, as much as I don’t want it to.

I need a therapist.  There, I’ve admitted it.  I need someone to help me sort through all this shit because I can’t deal with the competing realities alone.  I told C that I was willing to sit down with her and A and see if that relationship could be salvaged.  Honestly, I’m not terribly hopeful about that, but I’ll at least try.  C was going to email her last week to set up a time.  I see C tomorrow afternoon, so I guess I’ll find out more then.  If I can’t make it work with A, maybe she can at least refer me to someone else so I don’t have to start all over from scratch.  I’m still not entirely sure I’m willing to trust anyone, but I think I have to try.  Because I know I can only carry on the way I am now for a limited time.  I’m treading water in a flash flood.

Unrelated side note: Alabama, where my sisters live, is getting hit by severe tornadoes.  I haven’t been able to reach either of my sisters tonight, and I know that friends have had their homes destroyed.  If you pray or think good thoughts or whatever, could you guys include my sisters?  I love them more than anything else in the world.  And assuming my middle sister is safe, she and her fiance (both cops) will spend the next few weeks digging bodies out of the rubble.  So they could use prayers and good thoughts for that, too.

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Disconnected

I don’t really know where I am lately, psychologically speaking.  I’m out of touch with myself/selves.  The voices aren’t very present most of the time since the suicide attempt, except when I debate what to do about therapy/treatment.  Most of the time I just feel dull.  Not the dissociative numbness I’m used to where I know I’m feeling things, just from a very long way away.  This is just…flat, empty.

I’m not motivated to do anything.  I haven’t been writing or making art or listening to music.  I haven’t even been knitting, which is very unusual for me.  I lie in bed with Law & Order playing on Netflix, but I don’t think I could tell you the plot of any of the episodes.  For some reason, it helps to have the picture and the noise to occupy my brain, even though I’m not really paying attention.  (Don’t ask me how that makes any sense.  I’m as lost as you are.)  I play solitaire on my phone just to have something to do with my hands.  You’d think I’d want to knit so at least I’d be producing something, but I don’t.  I’m not opposed to it; I just don’t care.

If I could, I’d just sleep all the time.  I’m not even talking the suicidal “I want to sleep forever” stuff.  I just feel safest in bed with the covers wrapped around my shoulders and tucked up to my chin.  It’s like I almost don’t exist under there, nothing but my face.  It’s soft and warm, and nothing else in my world is right now.

But I can’t even sleep.  Not very well, anyway.  I think I’m almost asleep, but then I turn over and I’m awake again.  Then I wake up several times during the night.  Then I’m up early in the morning because my colon is screaming at me, and then I can’t get back to sleep.  My sleep meds aren’t helping.  Even Benadryl isn’t helping, and that almost always knocks me out.  I just want to sleep.

I haven’t even been terribly motivated to do political stuff.  I have to drag myself.  I went to a phone bank this week, and I spent 5 hours canvassing today.  And I do well at those things, and I enjoy being trusted with authority and responsibility.  But I’m just tired and unmotivated and unexcited.  I’d rather be curled up in bed.

I don’t understand what’s going on.  I have this intuitive sense that something’s going on with my parts just outside my awareness, but I don’t know what.  I should probably be worried, but I’m not, really.  I should be trying to communicate with them and find out what’s going on, but I just don’t have the motivation.  I can’t make me care enough.  I mean, everything is flat–at least I’m not anxious, at least I’m not depressed, at least nothing hurts.  I’m worried if I start digging, there could be another suicide attempt.  And being here isn’t really so terrible.

But it isn’t where I want to be, either.

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Newly Diagnosed with Crohns Disease or Ulcerative Colitis

This post is perfect.

I think it’s a helpful thing not just for IBD patients to read, but also for friends, loved ones, and even acquaintances of people with IBD to read. If more people knew this stuff, maybe IBD patients wouldn’t have to listen to infuriating, unhelpful, blame-y comments as frequently as we do.

Crohnie Man

I want to share some things I wish I knew with any of you who may be newly diagnosed with Crohns disease or ulcerative colitis or know someone who is:

1) There is no right or wrong way to treat Crohns disease or ulcerative colitis. Do what you feel is best for you, your body, your mind and your life. Things can always be adjusted.

2) Inflammatory bowel disease always plays with your emotions, always right in your face. The ups and downs are really challenging which is why a great support system is key and reaching out for help when you feel like you need is crucial. It is okay and healthy to ask for help. Crohns disease and ulcerative colitis are VERY difficult illnesses to live with.

3) Make friends with other people who have IBD…. Even if it just browsing through support pages on Facebook or Twitter…

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“You set up these impossible situations…”

The best therapist I ever had once said, “You set up these impossible situations where no one can win, especially you.”  She wasn’t accusing me or being judgmental, and her observation was accurate.  Her idea about it was that I unconsciously reenact the dynamics of my childhood, where my life was an impossible situation with no way to win.  That explanation resonated with me.  Still does.

Her explanation of why I set up these impossible situations was laced with compassion for me.  All of her explanations of my behavior were.  I can’t find that kind of compassion for myself.  I just get frustrated and angry.  I berate myself for knowing the pattern but not changing it, even though it feels impossible to change it.

Like my therapy situation.  I am so ANGRY at myself for it.  Instead of summarily firing A, why didn’t I just tell her what had been going on, how I’d been feeling about the work we were doing, or not doing?  Why didn’t I at least give her a chance to fix it?  Why do I whine about not having anyone to talk to but refuse to fix the situation, either by going back to A or by finding a new therapist?  Why do I whine about not being able to trust anyone to help me figure out the recent suicide attempt when I’m unwilling to do the work and go through the process of learning to trust someone?

It makes me hate myself.  I want to slap myself across the face and say, “Either do something about it or shut the fuck up!  Everyone is sick of hearing you whine about it when you’re obviously not willing to DO anything about it.”  And by everyone, I mean me.  I mean I’m sick of hearing it, of hearing myself.  I’m sick of hearing and seeing and feeling the pain.  I’m sick of feeling pulled in two opposite directions.  I’m sick of feeling stuck and immobilized.  My anger at myself then becomes, in my mind, the entire world hating me.  I start feeling like I shouldn’t post or reply to comments because all I do is shoot down people’s suggestions.

“They’re all sick of you, Hope.  You know that.  You’re so negative all the time, and nobody wants to hear that.  Nobody wants to listen to someone who’s always so negative.  You push everybody away.”  It’s my mother’s voice, an introject, repeating her reasons for why I was unlovable.  I know it’s the things my mother told me, but this introject, she’s also me, and I believe those words because as much as they once came from my mother, now they come from me.

I can never quite manage to find compassion for myself.

I think what I need from a therapist right now is what that therapist could give me.  She could see me almost completely: all the fucked up things I felt and thought and did, all the fucked up things that had happened to me, all the fucked up things I had done.  She had this incredible ability to cut right to the painful, ugly heart of an issue, with scalpel-like insight.  But there was so much compassion and kindness, too.  I never thought someone could see me that clearly and completely but still be kind and compassionate toward me.  That changed me, in some fundamental way I’ve never been able to articulate.

The memory that comes up right now, the closest I can come to articulating the way the relationship changed me, was the end of a family session.  We’d been on the phone with my grandparents, and my grandfather had taken me apart with a saw.  I can’t remember what he’d said, but it was brutal, and I didn’t feel like I could survive it.  I was curled up on the couch, crying.  My therapist said something to try to comfort and encourage me–I think something about how I was doing good work there.

“It doesn’t matter!” I said.  It didn’t matter what she said or thought about me because my own family, the people who were supposed to know me and love me best, thought I was bad, evil, worthless.  “None of it matters!”

“It matters,” she said.  She had this way of talking sometimes that was quiet but fierce.  “And you matter.”

That kindness felt unbearable because it was coming from her instead of from my family, the people I most needed to hear it from.  I all but ran out of there, back up to my room.  I felt like I was going to explode from all the pain built up.  I needed to cut to let it out.  Before I even really knew what I was doing, I had locked my door, and I was sitting on the floor of my room with my scissors in my hand.

But something made me hesitate.  What if she’s right?  What if I do matter?  I wasn’t convinced it was true, not by a long shot, but she’d given me reasonable doubt.  I didn’t cut.

Nobody has given me reasonable doubt about my self-hatred in a long time.  They tell me I’m not bad, don’t deserve to be hated or hurt, but they don’t create that glimmer of doubt of my abusers’ version of me.  I think it’s because I haven’t found anyone with that therapist’s level of incisive insight into me.  If they don’t really see me, then their belief that I’m not a terrible person is flawed.  I need a therapist who can see me like that, but I don’t know how in god’s name to find one.  I wish I could have my old therapist back.

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I’m SO FRUSTRATED with this new case manager, S.  She’s nice, but…completely useless.

Every time we meet, she basically tells me I’m fine.  Apparently, as long as I get out of bed, then my mental health is A-OK.  I feel like she’s basically saying, “So, like, why are you even getting services?  You don’t seem crazy to me.”

I guess some of that is her fault.  I mean, I haven’t told her I tried to kill myself a week ago.  But why would I?  I’ve only just met her.  I don’t know her yet, and I certainly don’t trust her.  She doesn’t seem to get that.  She just takes everything at a surface level, and that doesn’t make me feel like she’s someone I even could trust with below-the-surface stuff.

Never mind that I know about 500 times more about mental illness than she does.  She didn’t know what “treatment resistant” meant, for god’s sake.  I mean, doesn’t the term pretty much define itself?  She’s like, “What, you mean like you won’t take your meds?”  She didn’t know what DBT was, either.  I had to explain it to her.  How does anyone who’s worked in psych for more than 5 minutes not know what DBT is?

And clearly she hasn’t read my history at all.  I’ve told her that my diagnoses are major depression, complex PTSD, and DID, but she insists on saying my diagnosis is borderline.  Nope, lady, and it hasn’t been for at least 4 years.  She keeps asking all these questions about my family that I know for a fact are explained in the files my last program sent them.  ZERO sensitivity around the fact that my family is the source of most of my trauma–she just expects me to discuss it offhand.  Today, sitting out in public, she starts asking me what it was like to grow up with a cop for a father.

I mean, what the hell was I gonna say?  “Well, I thought I was hot shit when he took me to school in his patrol car because it impressed all the other kids.  But then at night he’d rape me, threaten to kill me, threaten to kill my sister, make me watch him rape my sister, make me watch him shoot animals, make me participate in animal abuse, and sell me to other men for sex”?

So I just changed the subject, started talking about use of force complaints dropping drastically when one California town made all its officers wear video recorders.  It wasn’t even a skillful deflection, but she did not notice at all.  ‘Cause, you know, I’m totally fine because  I got out of bed, got dressed, and put my hair up.

So now I’m left feeling tense and raw, with memories right at the surface that I didn’t want to have to deal with.  I’ve been having nightmares since the suicide attempt, and I’ve got a feeling tonight’s are going to be even worse.

This just really sucks.

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April 24, 2014 · 11:47 pm

Untrusting

I just don’t even know what to do anymore.

I’m still confused as hell about my suicide attempt.  I mean, five minutes before I did it, I would’ve honestly said I was fine.  I feel fine now, but now I don’t know if I can trust it.  I don’t know if I can trust anything that goes on in my head anymore, and that’s a really shitty feeling.

S is really pressuring me to see a therapist in their clinic.  I agreed sort of half-assed.  I really doubt they have anyone who would have any clue how to help me.  I’d scare the fuck out of them.  I mean, this agency (let’s call it SN) is so bad that people who work there make fun of it and talk about how bad it is. 

S is nice enough, but she has no clue.  I mean, she’s maybe 25, probably younger, and she’s in community college.  I don’t have the right to be an educational elitist since I never managed to get a degree, but honestly it doesn’t give me much faith in her ability to be at all helpful.  I’d do just as well sitting at home watching Supernatural on Netflix.  I know way more about the DSM than she does, and she doesn’t understand dissociation AT ALL.  Today she asked me, “Well, but you’re safe now, so why do you still dissociate?”

IF I HAVE TO EXPLAIN THAT TO YOU THEN YOU ARE NOT QUALIFIED TO BE WORKING WITH ME.

I even had to give her the super-basic primer on dissociation: “Everyone dissociates, but it happens on a spectrum.  You ever get stuck in a boring meeting and daydream about your next vacation?  Ever arrive at work but not really remember the drive from home?  That’s dissociation.  That’s the normal, functional end of the spectrum.  I’m on the other ass-end of the spectrum.”

“But you seem fine.”

“Yeah, that’s pretty much the point of dissociation.  I almost always seem fine unless the shit is hitting the fan.”    I couldn’t tell her I was fine until I dumped two bottles of pills down my throat a few days ago.  I won’t tell any therapist at SN, either.  I’ve been around this block enough times to know that they’d panic and dump me in the psych unit even though I’m fine now (I think).  Literally the only lingering effect is I haven’t pooped since Thursday and hey, my gastroenterologist always said it would be good if we could find a med that made me constipated.  Maybe failed suicide attempts cure UC.

But I do wish there were someone I could trust to help me figure out what the fuck was going on in my head on Thursday.  What’s going on in my head now.  I could go back to see A, maybe, but I don’t think she has enough of a handle on DID to be able to help me either.  And since the respite situation, I stopped trusting her about hospital issues–she would’ve let them toss me in the psych unit even though she knew I have serious hospital trauma issues.  C was the one who saved me from that.  A wouldn’t have.  And if I go back and see her, we’ll have to spend weeks or months mending bridges.  I honestly don’t know if I have time for that.  I mean, how do I know I’m not going to try to kill myself again tomorrow when I wake up?  Or next week?  Or ever?

I can’t trust anyone anymore, not even myself.  Especially not myself.

What the hell am I supposed to do?  I’m really scared.

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At sea.

I feel like I need to talk more about my attempt, but I’m afraid to.  Even here, I feel like it’s wrong to talk about it.  I’m worried about triggering someone else.  I’m generally not a fan of trigger warnings because I feel like they reinforce the ideas that we’re fragile and that we should avoid anything that might upset our delicate sensibilities, but…yeah, I guess I can break my own rules every once in a while.  So consider yourselves warned.  I’m not giving any how-to lessons or anything, but it could be upsetting.

I haven’t made an attempt eight and a half years.  I was 19 the last time I attempted–the previous attempts were at 10, 15, and also 19.  I’ve been close many times since then, and I nearly died a few times due to my eating disorder, but I hadn’t attempted since November 2005.

I don’t even know what possessed me to do it this time.  Things weren’t any worse than they have been for the last several months.  I woke up to the situation with the power bill, and I just…I don’t know.  I’d say I snapped, but it didn’t even feel like snapping.  There’s a violence to that, and I didn’t feel violent, even toward myself.  I remember thinking, “Okay.  I’m going to do this now.”  I wrote the note.  I did cry writing it because I knew I’d be causing pain to people I loved, but that didn’t sway me.

I looked up the lethal dose of the meds I was taking.  I wasn’t sure I had enough, but that didn’t really bother me.  Either I’d die or I wouldn’t.  No big deal.  I set an empty tupperware container beside the bed in case I threw up, so people wouldn’t have to deal with my vomit everywhere.  I texted someone from the campaign to let him know I couldn’t be at the signature drive that night.  That way I wouldn’t have any plans, decreasing the chance that I’d be found and resuscitated.  I took the pills.  I curled up in bed with my stuffed hippo and pulled the blankets up around me.

I wasn’t all that upset when I finally did wake up on Saturday.  Vaguely disappointed: “Oh.  I still have to deal with life.”  Before, I’d always been angry at my body’s survival.  After my first attempt, at 10, I started self-harming to get out the rage at still being alive.  At 15, I was starving myself to get rid of all the feelings.  The last two times, the really serious attempts, I was enraged when I didn’t die.  I remember fighting the doctors and nurses in the ER while they were trying to pump my stomach.  Luckily, those memories are fragmented, and I remember them as an observer, not as the subject.

This time there was no anger.  Just exhaustion.  Sadness.  I just wanted it to be easy, for once.  I just wanted to sleep for as long as I needed.  Which is the same as forever when the world hurts too much.

I still don’t understand why I did it, which bothers me.  It should bother me because I don’t want to end up dead, but that’s not the reason.  It bothers me on principle: I don’t like doing things without understanding why.  The feelings that preceded this attempt were no more intense than they have been recently.  There was no trigger.  I just woke up and then tried to kill myself.  And I don’t know why.

I guess the real reason it bothers me is it makes me feel out of control.  I don’t think it was an alter who did it–I have a clear memory of the whole event, and it felt like it was me doing it.  But I’ve often thought I was doing things and found out later I was being passively influenced to do them by others inside.  The lack of any depth of feelings when I was carrying out the attempt make me think there was some level of dissociation going on–I mean, people don’t tend to attempt suicide when they’re just feeling vaguely crappy.

I don’t know.  I don’t know what’s going on, and I don’t know how to figure it out.  There’s no one in real life I can turn to, and there’s not much internal communication happening.  It works fine with the ones I’m closest to, but as for the rest of the system, I have no idea.  (And honestly, I don’t really want to.  Why the ambivalence?)  If I tried to talk to S about it, she’d toss me right in the hospital, no questions asked.  C would probably let her.  I could tell them I feel safe and don’t feel any impulses to make another attempt, but that’s what I would’ve told them up until half an hour before I actually attempted.

I should probably go back to Sheppard Pratt.  They did help before, and they’d know how to deal with something like this.  But the timing just sucks.  They always have at least a 4-week waiting list; I think I was on the waiting list 8 or 9 weeks last year.  So that would put me there at the end of May, at the earliest. 

But then I’d miss the convention.  I know how stupid and shallow and petty that sounds.  You’re willing to risk your life for a party where you get to yell out a few people’s names to make yourself feel important?  Yes, yes I am.  Because it is the only goddamn thing in my life that makes me feel important.  What’s the point of saving my life if there’s nothing left in it that feels important?  Oh, but there will be other opportunities.  Not like this.  Once you flake out for a political campaign, people remember that.  They won’t want you as a delegate again.  You won’t get ranking positions on campaigns.  No one will rely on you.  You won’t really matter anymore.

If they would let me do a planned admission, that would be good.  I’d go right after the convention.  Hell, I’d get on a train straight to Baltimore as soon as the convention ended, without even going home.  Then I’d have a solid 6 weeks before I’d need to leave to go to my sister’s wedding.  But Sheppard Pratt doesn’t do it that way.  They have a waiting list, and they call you when your name comes up.  You get there in two days or you say no thanks.  If you say no and then decide you actually should’ve gone, you have to start all over from the bottom of the list.

So I’m left with no one to talk to, no one to help me figure this out and process it.  Even if I found a new therapist, it’s not like I could flop down on the couch and say, “I’m totally fine now, but last week I tried to off myself.  I have no idea why, and I don’t even think I’m the one who did it.”  Even if they had a ton of experience with DID patients, I think that one might throw them for a loop.  It throws me for a loop, and I’m the one living it.

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confession

Thursday night, I tried to kill myself.

I don’t really know why.  What pushed me over the edge was money problems–I owe a lot of money to the power company, and our oil tank needs to be refilled if we’re going to have hot water–and I’m terrified my roommates hate me now because I fuck everything up.  I wanted to call somebody for support, C probably, but I was too ashamed of how I fucked up again.

I just couldn’t live with being such a fuck-up anymore.

So I attempted.  Obviously, it wasn’t successful, and there don’t seem to be any bad long-term effects on my body.

But psychologically…I’m a mess.  I desperately want to tell somebody, but I’m too afraid.  I’m pathologically terrified of being hospitalized again.  I’m terrified of losing my independence.  I’m terrified that people will lose their respect for me.  I’m terrified I’ll lose my ability to function.  I’m terrified that I’ll lose my ability to be politically active, which is pretty much all I have to hang onto anymore.

I don’t want to be alone with this, and I am.

I should be working through this.  I should be figuring out how I went from okay to suicidal in literally 30 seconds.  I should be apologizing to my roommates for fucking up and trying to make amends.

I’m not actively suicidal right now, but I’m not really okay, either.  And I can’t imagine how I will ever be okay.  There’s never going to be enough money for the things I need.  I’m never going to have the level of support I think I need.  I’m never going to stop being ashamed of my needs.

I want someone to hug me and tell me it’s okay, they’ll take care of me and I don’t need to worry about anything.  But that’s never going to happen.

So what the hell do I do now?

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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.

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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.

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