Tag Archives: anxiety

Trapped

I think it’s the feeling trapped that’s worst for me.  Feeling like I can’t get out and I can’t say no.

My NP was not insensitive or ruthless.  I think my post yesterday made her sound that way, and she wasn’t.  It just felt that way to me, and my feelings do not always reflect reality.  In reality, she was kind and understanding.  I know she recognized that the discussion about an exam triggered me.  I mean, we went from joking about Star Trek and debating the merits of particular knitting patterns (seamless sweater patterns FTW) at the beginning of the appointment to me staring at the floor and giving one or two word answers.  She knows I have a history of sexual abuse, although she doesn’t know the severity.  (She may have guessed from the severity of my reactions that it was pretty bad, but we haven’t discussed any details.)

She tried to make me more comfortable with it.  She said she wouldn’t do an internal exam because she knew I couldn’t do that (yet).  She said I could bring someone with me, and they could stay with me but not see anything.  (I didn’t tell her I’m so pathetic I don’t have anyone to bring.)  She said some people take Valium or Ativan right before the appointment.  She even said that if I couldn’t do an exam, we could just talk about how things were going with the Nexplanon.  She said it was my choice.

But for me, it never feels like what happens to my body is my choice.  I lose the ability to say no to people in positions of power and authority.  It feels like they’re going to do whatever they want to me anyway, so it’s better to agree to it.  Then they don’t get mad, so they don’t hurt you as bad.  So I say yes and okay when what I mean is I’m so scared you’re going to hurt me, and I really need you to be kind and gentle with me, and I need you to make me feel safe.  Since I can’t say what I really need to say, it never feels safe.  It never feels like my choice.  No choice, no voice.

I felt trapped in that exam room yesterday.  I guess I could’ve said, “I’m sorry, I just can’t deal with this right now.  I need to go.”  Or I could’ve said, “I’m feeling really overwhelmed, and I’m starting to dissociate.”  Or I could’ve said, “I’m trying to work with you, but I need you to slow down even more with me.”  Someone could’ve said those things, but I don’t think I could’ve.  It was taking everything I had not to go into a total dissociative shutdown.  My vision kept going blank, and I kept blinking over and over to bring it back.  My ears were ringing.  I couldn’t be articulate; one or two words or a nod was all I could get out.  And then she wanted me to look at her when I said I’d come back in three months, and I don’t think she understood why I couldn’t make eye contact.

People who don’t live with the extreme shame can never quite understand it.  It doesn’t make sense to them.  They don’t understand the intensity and persistence of the shame of someone else abusing me, even once I’ve accepted and come to believe that it wasn’t my fault.  Then there’s the shame of having a body, which is impossible to explain since everyone has one, and I don’t find other people’s bodies shameful.  The shame of not having anyone close or trusted enough to bring with me for an appointment.  I couldn’t explain my shame that instead of being my normally intelligent, articulate, adult self, I couldn’t help shutting down and turning into a terrified, barely-verbal child.  None of that makes sense to normal people.

I was trapped.  In my reality, I couldn’t leave or say no.  I couldn’t even communicate the depth of my distress, so I was completely alone with it.  And now I’m alone with the aftermath.  The acute trigger has subsided, but I’m still feeling raw and vulnerable.  Body memories, phantom touches, intrusive thoughts and memories, severe anxiety about an appointment that’s not for three months.  A feeling that I was violated, even though I know I wasn’t.  And the incredible shame crushing my chest.

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I hate everything.

I’m not feeling very cohesive, so this post is going to seem kind of scattered.  And I still feel shitty, so it’s not going to be all rainbows and butterflies.  Apologies in advance.

I found out B can’t go to the wedding with me.  Apparently his grandfather has cancer, and he has to have surgery the day before the wedding.  It’s a legitimate excuse, but it does bother me that he couldn’t find 30 seconds in the last month to just shoot me a one-sentence text or email.  I think I just need to let go of this relationship.  I was stupid to think I could ever be okay enough to maintain a serious relationship, so it’s my own fault.  I never should’ve gotten so invested.  I’m just not sure I know how to let go anymore.

I don’t know how I’m going to afford a plane ticket.  I mean, I’m trying to live off of $700 a month, and $400 of that goes to rent.  The last time I checked, early in the year, the cheapest round-trip tickets I could find were $500.  Plus, I’d have to find someone who could take me to the airport, since there’s not one close to me.

This morning, I was supposed to have an appointment with Idiot Case Manager.  She was going to take me to the grocery store so I could actually buy food.  But she didn’t bother showing up.  Didn’t call, either.  I called and left her a message, but I have zero confidence that she’ll even hear it, let alone call me back.   I’m so sick of her shit.  She doesn’t check messages, doesn’t return messages, and now she just didn’t show up for an appointment and didn’t call to cancel or reschedule.  I’m so far past done with these people.  She’s not helping me at all with any of my issues, so what the hell is the point?  Maybe I’ll leave a message terminating services, just to see if she really does pick up her messages.

So I basically said fuck it and slept all day.  I just can’t care anymore.  I’m too depressed to function, and the “clinician” (I don’t think she’s even competent enough to deserve that title) who’s supposed to be helping me can’t even bother to call and tell me she’s not gonna show up.  I’m glad to know just how much I matter.

I still haven’t gotten anywhere with finding new roommates.  I emailed a bunch of people from Craigslist, but only one replied.  Last week he said he’d be in town this weekend and would call me about a time to come look at the apartment, but I never heard from him.  Right now I just don’t even care.  I should, I need to, because I can’t afford the rent by myself, but I just can’t make myself give a shit about it.  (Or anything else, for that matter.)

I did manage to go to a phone bank tonight, but it was a waste of time.  My numbers were dismal–I had something like a 2% contact rate.  I think I talked to maybe 5 people in 4 hours, and 3 of them hung up on me.  One did say, “Oh shit!” and hang up when I said I was calling from a campaign, so at least I got a laugh out of that.

And then, right after RFD took me home, he called me.  Apparently somebody was wandering around the neighborhood starting fights, and he beat a lady up pretty badly.  I don’t know what the fuck is going on with my neighborhood lately.  It’s a dead end street two miles from anything, so it’s not like people end up there accidentally.  But this is the third time in two months that we’ve had a bunch of cop cars out here for a disturbance.  One involved a home invasion, one I don’t know what happened but it required an ambulance, and now tonight someone was assaulted.  It scares the shit out of me.  After the first home invasion incident, I was really scared because they guy had banged on my bedroom window, so I bought a big hunting knife that now lives right next to my bed.  This shit puts my PTSD symptoms into hyperdrive.

I just can’t deal with anything right now.  I’m so depressed I’ve actually been considering self-harming just so I won’t have to feel anything.  That or bingeing and purging.  Anything that will make me not have to feel anything for a while.  I’m not fully suicidal [yet], but I’m having a lot of thoughts about not wanting to be alive.

I really need to get a therapist, but I can’t deal with contacting people.  You know you’re really fucked up when you’re too depressed and anxious to even get a therapist.

I really hate myself right now.  It’s really hard not to self-destruct, and I’m losing sight of any reason why I shouldn’t just give in to the urges.

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Crap.

I’m so screwed.

My roommates just told me they’re almost certainly moving out in two months.  They have a legitimate reason–a mother with cancer who doesn’t have anybody else to take care of her–but it’s going to screw me over.  I can’t afford this place on my own.

It took us months to find this place to begin with.  My disability isn’t really enough to live on–around $700 a month.  One bedrooms around here go for $800-$1000.  This place is $800, but I’m pretty sure my landlady is renting it to us for less than market value.  I’ve been on the list for public housing and rent vouchers for almost a year now, but it’s around a five-year waiting list.  I can’t rely on that coming through any time soon.

So I have to find another roommate/s.  Words cannot describe how much I don’t want to deal with that.  I’m not very good with people, especially in my space–it doesn’t feel safe.  (PTSD stuff.)  Part of the reason I get along well with my current roommates is we’re all kind of hermit-ish.  We mostly stay in our own rooms and don’t see each other very often.

The other problem is going to be that it’s a really small apartment.  It’s really only supposed to be a one-bedroom, but we turned the eat-in kitchen into a cramped living room and turned the living room into a second bedroom.  So people who can afford something better probably aren’t going to want to live somewhere so cramped.  It’s also kind of out of town, and the public transit system sucks.  It’s all right if you have a car, but someone who doesn’t have a car might not want to live here.

But I have to find somebody else.  I can’t afford to live by myself, as much as I wish I could.  It’s  stressing me out a LOT.  I just want to go to bed and not deal with it at all, but I can’t do that.

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Alone and Hurting

Warning: there’s some talk of sex and rape down the page a bit, after I start talking about BF.  Feel free to skip it if it might trigger you.

I’m hurting today.  I feel sad and alone, and I just want a hug.  I think it’s the combination of being sick, the aftermath of Mother’s Day, and some triggers I accidentally ran into the past few days.

I talked to my mother yesterday.  I’m ashamed to admit that–for the past couple months, I’ve been in touch with her sporadically.  I think I’m afraid people will see me as weak for going back on the no contact.  But to be fair to myself, I’ve gone into this with no illusions.  I think the years of no contact let me get the distance I needed and grow up enough that I no longer think she can be a mother to me, no matter how sweet she acts.  I see her for what she is now.  When I told her I was sick again and my liver might be in trouble, she said, “Oh, that’s too bad” and then went on and on about her upcoming neck surgery and her troubles with her and her husband’s insurance companies.  A small part of me wanted her to be concerned about me, but I wasn’t crushed when she wasn’t.  I didn’t give her personal information about my life that she could use to hurt me later.  I mean, she knows I’m working for the Democrats, which used to terrify me, but I’m done looking for my family’s approval.  (The way I described it to A, in talking about going to my sister’s wedding and talking to the adults in my family was, “I GET DEMOCRATS ELECTED SO FUCK ALL Y’ALL!”)  She may be my mother biologically, but I know now that she’ll never really be a mother to me.  I’ve come to terms with that as much as anyone can, I think.

But it still hurts.  There’s this hole inside me that will never be filled.  Therapists and self-help books talk about how you have to reparent yourself, but I think that’s probably bullshit.  It’s not going to fill that yawning empty hole or all the pieces broken by my parents’ years of abuse.  I think maybe that’s something that’s supposed to hurt so you know, without a doubt, that what they did was wrong.

I don’t want it to hurt, though.  I don’t want to be alone.  I don’t want to be sick.  It’s beautiful outside, sunny and warm and summery.  The birds are all singing.  And I’m stuck in bed because I don’t have the stamina to do any more than that.  Last night, I couldn’t stand up long enough to boil pasta–I collapsed on my kitchen floor, occasionally pulling myself up on the counter to see if the noodles were soft yet.  I can’t afford to buy enough frozen dinners to last me the whole week, but cooking doesn’t go well when I’m this sick.  And not eating makes me weaker, but eating hurts.  Fuck ulcerative colitis.

And last night, I went to bed exhausted, but then I started thinking about BF and how much I miss him, and then I couldn’t sleep.  It’s been four months since I’ve seen him, even though New York isn’t that far away.  He was doing the play, and I’ve been busy with the campaign.  But we don’t even talk that much anymore.  When I was in the hospital in Baltimore, he called every night, even though he couldn’t always get through.  (22 patients, 3 phones: you do the math.)  When I was in the hospital in Texas, he called every night, and we talked for at least an hour every night.  (We had our own phones there.)  He was my lifeline in that hellhole, the only thing that kept me sane.  He even flew down to Houston for the weekend to see me.  And now it’s been 4 months.  We text and Facebook message.  He hasn’t called me.  Of course, I haven’t called him either.  I’m too afraid of rejection, even from him.

I want to spend the rest of my life with him.  He wants to spend the rest of his life with me.  I even want to have kids with him.  I never thought I’d want that with anyone, but I do.  I just don’t know if it can work.  I’m asexual and sex-averse.  I’d be willing to try to overcome that for him, for us, but I’m not sure it’s even possible.  I don’t think my asexuality can be changed, but I’m okay with that.  It’s the aversion to sex I’m worried about.  I honestly can’t imagine having sex without it feeling like rape.  Hell, it even feels like rape when he kisses me and pushes his tongue in my mouth.  Even though I say it’s okay, anything even vaguely sexual feels like rape to me.  Is it even possible to overcome that?

But I don’t want him to just have to bend to my needs.  He has already for all this time.  I want it to be a partnership, so he shouldn’t have to be the one who sacrifices all the time.  That’s not fair to him.  I want him to get what he needs, and for him sex is a need in a marriage.  Plus, I actually want to have at least a couple of kids with him, and that kinda makes sex necessary.  I think I could just lie there and let him do it, but that’s not what either of us wants–I want to be able to participate, you know?  Because I love him.  I don’t want to feel like he’s raping me.  I don’t even know for sure that it wouldn’t make me flip out or dissociate.  I’ve never had consensual sex, so I don’t know for sure how I’d react.  (I know, I’m 27, but please don’t judge.)

I know there’s therapy that can help with this.  BF and I have discussed doing couples therapy before, and whenever we finally move in together, we will do that.  But a lot of this stuff belongs in individual therapy.  It would crush BF to find out that anything remotely sexual we’ve done has felt like rape, and I don’t think he necessarily needs to know that.  And dealing with this would have to involve details of my abuse that I don’t particularly want to discuss with him–I want him to see me as I am now, not as that broken, abused little girl.  I discussed some of this with A before I fired her, but even discussing it with another person triggered some dissociation and severe anxiety.  Will I ever be able to get past this?  I don’t want to be alone forever.  I want to spend my life with him.  There has to be a way, right?

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Crash Gently

Why do I crash at the end of a great day?

Yesterday was really great. Despite my UC acting up, I met with two volunteers and recruited them to lead canvasses in their town, (probably) recruited a minion intern for the summer, recruited a brand new volunteer for our Sunday canvass, called a bunch of virtual phone bankers, made awful jokes about Votebuilder than no one but Democratic campaign organizers would get, called some delegates to try to set up dates for a couple of convention strategy sessions, cut about 15 turfs, and called a bunch of volunteers to recruit for other upcoming canvasses in our region. Usually phone calls make me anxious, but being at HQ with a dozen other people making calls somehow soothed my anxiety. And then it was one of the regional field directors’ birthday, and we went out to a bar. I think I even managed to seem at least a little social, even though I was surrounded by people I barely knew. Anyone who’s met me knows I haven’t been blessed with social graces. I do great in structured settings like a job where the social expectations are impersonal and clearly defined, but I usually hate informal social events. I felt awkward because I couldn’t drink, and I texted BF through most of it, but I smiled and nodded and occasionally even said something.

But then on the drive home, I crashed. My anxiety went through the roof, almost to the level of a panic attack. Usually my anxiety centers around obsessive thoughts of something–everyone hates me, I don’t have enough money to survive, somebody banged on my window at midnight, etc.–but this time there were no thoughts. There was no specific fear triggering the anxiety. It was all just the physical symptoms–the racing heart, feeling like there’s not enough air, dizziness, ears ringing, feeling like I was going to die.

It just pisses me off that I can’t have a good day without a crash. I knew beforehand that today was going to push me to somewhere near the limit of my supply of spoons, and the surprise UC symptoms subtracted precious spoons. But I was expecting the crash to be mostly physical, with maybe a little bit of depressed mood as I came down from the frenetic high. I was not expecting the sudden anxiety.

And I can’t help comparing myself to others. The other regional lead, E, does this routinely, and he also has a paid job and is finishing college. My RFD, CA, does even more than this every single day. So why can’t I? I mean, I know why: I’m dealing with severe, chronic physical and mental illnesses that take a lot out of me. I know that’s not my fault, and everybody I’m working with on the campaign knows I’m sick a lot, and they’ve been very understanding of my limitations. CA has even made an effort to learn more about UC so he has an idea what I’m dealing with.

I just see all the stuff these other people can do, and I want to be able to do those things too. I love working on campaigns. It’s let me find who I am and feel competent, valued, and important. I love getting to meet interesting people and learn new things. I love that each time I learn something new, I find a little more self-confidence. Working on campaigns makes me feel alive and like I deserve to be alive. And I do better emotionally when I’m busy doing things that feel meaningful.

So of course I want to do it all the time. Who wouldn’t want to do that when they find something they love?

For the most part, I’ve accepted having UC. I can deal with the embarrassment of farting all through a phone bank and finding out in the ONE bathroom stall at HQ that I’m leaking something bright orange out my butt. I’ve even dealt with crapping my pants at my town caucus. Those are messes that go away when you clean them up. They’re over after not too long. But the fatigue, the pain, the unpredictability…the limitations never go away. I can’t clean them up. And it makes me angry. This disease is keeping me from doing what I love full-time.

I’m really trying not to turn that anger on myself, though. I’m actually doing pretty well at that. I tell myself it’s okay that I don’t do as much as CA or E. I tell myself that I’m still WAY more involved in the campaign than almost everyone in the region. I tell myself that I’m doing work that matters and I’m making a valuable contribution. And, amazingly, most of the time, I actually believe those things, which is HUGE for me. But when I crash like this, I really have to fight to believe the good things about myself. I have to accept and allow myself to be anxious, even though it doesn’t make sense to me.

I’m crashing, but I’m trying to put the plane down as safely as possible. And today I think I can.

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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.

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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*

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